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The Answer To His Question

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Watching for a moment as the Villain was arrested and pushed towards a cop car, Bakugo Katsuki, ninety-four years old, leans on his cane as he turns to go.

 

It had been eighty years since it happened.

Eighty years since he said those words.

Eighty years, and the world still felt it.

 

Fucking ghost.

 

He still remembers the footage playing from the security camera, the protests, the slander...

 

Eighty years ago, Midoriya Izuku saved him.

Eighty years ago, Midoriya Izuku gave him a sad smile, eyes filled with tears...

Eighty years ago...

And now Midoriya Izuku stood before him, lifeless eyes gazing through him.

 

"Can someone without a Quirk..." he asks, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

 

And that was it, wasn't it?

Back then... The refusals had been continuous, genuine, heroes saying "become a police officer", "try becoming a medic", "maybe work in services".

In a world where 20% of the population was pushed towards death with "they'd die anyway", "it's their own fault for being useless", "they're not human".

That's twice as many people as people who are left-handed.

Twice as many people as those born with "Heroic Quirks" like Bakugo's explosions, One For All, Endeavour's fire, Inasa's Wind...

And yet.

 

"Can someone without a Quirk..." he asks, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

 

Someone looked it up.

One year after the ghost of his childhood friend had started asking, so many people saying they had seen that ghost save do many, someone actually researched Quirklessness.

They tried to answer the question.

And found the biggest hole where Quirkless Laws were.

 

"Can someone without a Quirk..." he asks, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

 

Because his friend was like this, people noticed that whereas there were laws to protect people if other skins, people of other religions, people of many types of quirks, the 20, now 10% of people without quirks had no laws to protect them. There were no laws protecting the babies and infants still without quirks, fuck, you could shoot a Quirkless person point blank in broad daylight and there were literally no laws there to protect them.

The crimewave was immediate. The crimewave was horrific, children snatched from cradles, parents having their babies scanned for the extra bit of bone signalling a lack of quirk, the lack of rights was a loophole and the exploitation within it, Quirkless Hitpeople, Quirkless Victims, even David Shield's daughter was found in a raid, almost sold off like cheap cattle after she was kidnapped.

 

And all that time, "Can someone without a Quirk..." he asks, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

 

Then the CCTV footage of Izuku's question to All Might was released, three weeks after All Might himself had retired.

And protests started.

People were out in the streets, there were riots, Aldera Middle, Jakku Middle, Ushiromuki Middle, they were among the worst of the schools hit.

Fuck, Aldera even got burnt down when the CCTV footage of people bullying Izuku without consequences were released.

 

And still saving people, pulling victims from rubble, helping heroes just to ask them the question...

 

"Can someone without a Quirk..." he asks, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

 

And he was still told no, or to look elsewhere, because the ghost of his best friend was a hero by that point, a hero in everything but name because of the things he did, because he fought villains and protected them and...

 

Bakugo still regrets it.

He was taken in, with twenty-three other people, twenty-three people who had openly attacked Midoriya Izuku, and only he was absolved of guilt.

Because he was the one who, when it finally hit him...

 

Sixteen year old Katsuki holds out his arms.

"Lock me up," he begs, "Fucking shut me up in Tartarus, throw away the fucking key, FUCK--!"

 

He still doesn't think he deserves it.

He helped take down the League, helped defeat Shigaraki, but he still thinks he should have been killed for torturing him.

Mineta?

Locked up on charges of sexual harassment.

Stain?

Murder and vigilantism.

Himself? Despite committing abuse of a minor, suicide baiting, acts of terrorism to all the people in his school with "weak" quirks...

"He was fourteen and the teachers actively encouraged him. They'd been encouraging him ever since Midoriya had turned five and got his diagnosis, will you really charge a minor for actions he was wrongfully taught were right?"

"He's got both a superiority complex and inferiority complex. He has PTSD. This seventeen years old boy has done everything he can to survive in our society, would you really hold it against him?"

He fucking does.

He's ninety-four and he still does.

 

"Can someone without a Quirk..." he asks, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

 

And yet, at thirty, he was Number 3. At Thirty-five he was Number one for two more years. Even if he was just seen patrolling school districts, beating up villains, getting bullies to leave their victims alone...

Does he really deserve the title hero after all of that?

 

He is ninety-four.

And standing opposite him is Midoriya Izuku, still physically fourteen.

 

Even after laws were finally made, after it was, sixty years later, socially unacceptable to bully someone Quirkless, thirty years after Japan's first official Quirkless Pro-Hero made xir debut...

Other Pro-Heroes still said no.

 

Because Midoriya Izuku was his own legend, and no one wanted to finish it.

 

"Can someone without a Quirk..." Midoriya Izuku asks, his mother and uncle long dead, his father and aunt long gone, "Can someone Quirkless... Become a Hero?"

Bakugo Katsuki, ninety-four, looks his childhood friend right in the eye.

"I used to think you couldn't," he says.

Those eyes focus on him.

Ground Zero, Kacchan, takes a heavy, shaking breath.

"Eighty years ago, I said you couldn't, but I don't think that now. You've been dead and gone for eighty years and the trial were I got aquitted happened seventy-nine years ago. It's been eighty years, Deku."

Those eyes, for a moment, seem to hold some kind of life, neck slowly twisting in an imitation of when that child stretched his own neck hanging himself.

But it doesn't affect Bakugo Katsuki.

No, it's the guilt, the remorse affecting him.

"You are a hero. Quirkless people can be heroes!" Katsuki forces out, the long gone childish name choking in his throat. "Icchan, you were my hero, you were the hero to the kids of my co-workers, you were a hero to the twenty, fifty, a hundred, a million people you have continued to save despite how much our society failed you..."

Izuku glows softly.

"Midoriya Izuku," Katsuki, Ground Zero says, "You can be a hero."

 

For a moment, no one moves, no one says anything.

Katsuki watches as those eyes regain life, those tense shoulders slumping for the first time in ninety years, the broken expression piecing together into that soft, lost thing that Katsuki only faintly remembers in the ocean of memories he holds.

 

"Thank you," Izuku says, "Goodbye, Kacchan."

Katsuki adjusts the cane in his hands, smirking right back though his legs are trembling.

"Better tell the idiots on the other side to look forwards to seeing me," he smirks.

 

Izuku fades away, and Katsuki's legs give up on him, a paramedic rushing to his side as Katsuki stares at the ground, watching drops form through the wet blurring his already weak eyesight.

"So long, Icchan."