Smoke, flame, rubble… That was all Bakugou could see. Combined with the pained groans, panicked cries, and despairing whimpers of his classmates, the Explosive Hero knew this was it… This was their darkest hour. And yet… HE fought on…
Though bloodied and broken, Midoriya continued to stand up against the devil incarnate, the murderous current bearer of All for One… Shigaraki Tomura. He was the last one, the rest of 1A were down for the count, awake but too injured to aid All Might's Successor against the Villain's next, inevitable onslaught.
"Look at this… I almost feel sorry for you… Almost… So what are you going to do now Heroes? Ready to surrender?" Shigaraki never bothered to hide his contempt towards the group, seeing them as an eyesore that needed to be erased. With all his power, he should be very capable of doing such a thing. But the Villain felt the need to sadistically twist the knife, taunt them over the failure that would inevitably come.
And they all would've fallen into despair had it not been for the unyielding back that faced them. The undaunted stance of Deku was their pillar of strength, their unbreakable resolve, their unwavering hope.
"I don't think you get it, Shigaraki-san… No matter how much you thrash us, we'll never give in… Each of us will give you Hell in our own special way… Until either you go down… Or you vaporize us… There's no going in between…" Midoriya answered. Bakugou, even if Deku was facing away from him, could tell what that nerd's face looked like when he said that, no doubt flashing that stupid smile of his.
"Oh please do explain Hero… How are your weak Quirks supposed to stop me? I'm untouchable! Not a scratch on me!" The Villain's sickening laugh as he flaunted his perfect health was certainly a grating way to show off his Hyperactive Regeneration and Lizard Tail Quirks. When they had first discovered that power, it was the start of their spiral into despair as every last bit of damage inflicted onto Shigaraki was restored. He even regenerated the arms and legs Mina so lovingly melted off his body.
He had a point… How do they defeat someone so perfectly invincible? But even if he didn't have an answer, Deku was still standing proudly as One for All began flowing through his veins once more.
"I don't know Shigaraki-san… But that doesn't mean we'll stop trying… Doesn't mean I'll stop trying…" Midoriya replied, raising bloodied arms and readying his unsteady legs. The soft glow of the power cultivated through many generations never ceased to amaze his classmates… It was much like a flame, gentle and warm enough to be drawn in but dangerous should enough kindle be added. Though from how Shigaraki was behaving, the Villain arrogantly threw a verbal forest at his foe. Seeing that nothing could best him at this point, not even All for One's opposite at 100 percent.
"Please, what could you possibly do to me!? Face it! You failed! There isn't a single Quirk that could beat me! It's Game Over for all Heroes! Now and forever!" He laughed. It was disturbing to think about it… But he's right… With overwhelming power like that, what Quirk could win this fight? When the Villain has every advantage possible, Heroes will be forced to bow down to this mad man…
Still, Midoriya hasn't flinched. In fact, he seemed more determined than ever as the glow around his body intensified.
"Maybe there's nothing that could beat you… But don't you think that'll be enough to bring us down… The end of Heroes? That's so funny I forgot to laugh…" The glow around Midoriya continued to brighten, shining harshly enough to be blinding and yet no one could look away.
"Listen… It's not the Quirk that makes a person a Hero, it's the warm feelings that dwell deep in their heart to save those who couldn't save themselves... In a world of chaos and fear, the one you so desperately want to create… There will always be someone who'll stand up for all that's good and fight to end for it… That's why you'll never win… Not now, not ever… Not when there'll be someone standing in your way… No matter how weak they are… No matter how battered or broken they may be… So long as they carry the flame I carry, that All Might carried, then your 'dark age' will never come… We'll push back your evil just as the sun pushes back the night. And if we fail? We'll go beyond that and FORCE the sun to rise…" Midoriya said, a strong grin plastering his face. The glowing stopped…
Only for an unseen force to explode out of the green haired Hero, blowing back his foe. But it was more than that, the inhumanly invincible Shigaraki actually flinched before the demonstration of Deku's will. And Bakugou could see it, the Villain was afraid… Even more so when the ground around Midoriya began eroding.
"Are you cheating!? You shouldn't have this much power!"
"It looks like you haven't learned your lesson, Shigaraki-san… This isn't a cheat…" Though he was a meek, mumbling fool most of the time… Class 1A knew, when he was determined, Midoriya's whispers would always roar. And its effects were evident as Shigaraki took a step back for the first time since this battle started. And he took a second when the cloud of dancing dust behind Midoriya expanded more and more, as though he was an angel spreading his wings.
"When just enough isn't enough… When perfect isn't perfect… When we've reached our absolute limit… UA taught us four simple words to fix that… Let me show you what they are…" With the way the air chilled, 1A was certain that their friend had just channeled one Hell of a death glare. Reflexively, the Villain activated every CQC Quirk he has in his arsenal, mutating his body into a giant grotesque, six limbed mass of bone, flesh, steel, wood, and every material in between. But despite this, there was still a cold sweat that ran down his body and trembling in his bones.
"W-W-What are you!?" The raspy sound of fear from his throat was satisfying. And it only got better when Midoriya gave him an honest answer, the only thing Shigaraki needed to know.
"I'm a Hero… And my name is Deku, the one who never gives up."
He charged forward, each step launching him like a bullet. White light surrounded his body as both Hero and Villain came within striking each other. But as the first punch was thrown, things seemed to slow down, at least, for Bakugou. Then a voice began speaking to him… The voice of the Hero in the spotlight… He wasn't sure what was going on, but from the way it sounded… Midoriya wasn't going to make it out of this fight…
"Kacchan… Could you please look after everyone? I don't think I'll be graduating with you guys…"
And that pissed him off.
"The fuck are you going on about you nerd! What about being number one!? You cried your eyes out every damn time I shit on your dreams, and now you're just going to throw it away!?"
"I know you're probably yelling at me about giving up… But I don't mind laying down my life right now to give everyone a chance to live… You all deserve much more than dying here with me…"
It was here that the Explosive Hero realized that Deku couldn't hear him, it was one way. Still, that didn't stop him from shouting out to his greatest rival. He screamed and cursed but there were no responses being attributed to anything that came out of his mouth. Midoriya couldn't hear him, only speaking what basically amounts to his final testament. His parting words to a person who antagonized him throughout the entirety of his life…
"Even Mineta-kun shouldn't die here. Despite everything he does, I still believe he could be a great Hero… Kacchan, could you tell him that I'll be cheering him on?"
"Damn it! Don't you fucking tell me to do it when you could! Live you little shit! Tell that to him yourself!"
"Kouda-kun too… He's quiet, but I know he could do a lot with his Quirk… A little courage is all he needs really, could you help him?"
"Do it yourself! You'll make it through this!" Bakugou could already begin to feel his throat growing raspier and more guttural, but continued to scream out in hopes that it could break through this psychic barrier between them. He wasn't about to let that nerd think things were over, there was still so much to do. That they still had a rivalry to settle. That he still had to take care of the shrimp. That he still had to get together with round face. That he still had to be the de facto leader of their chaotic mess of a class. That he still had to graduate and become the Number One Hero… That he still had to live a fulfilling life…
"And there's still a bunch of things I need you say to everyone… Like thanking Iida-kun for being the best class president I had… For looking after all of us…"
"Thank him yourself!"
"Like telling Todoroki-kun to always remember to be himself… That I'm glad he's more than what his father forced him to be…"
"Tell him yourself!"
"Like thanking Tsuyu-chan for being the rock in my crazy life… She really kept me grounded when things were going wrong…"
"Damn it you little shit! Listen!"
"Like thanking Uraraka-san for supporting me through thick and thin… For cheering me up when I'm feeling down… For sharing her 'never giving up' vibes…"
"Don't do this you idiot… Please…"
"Like thanking Eri-chan for teaching me what it means to be a Father… What it means to give people hope… What it means to share warmth…"
"Like thanking Mom for loving me and everything I am… The Quirkless me… The Heroic me… The Son that always hurt himself… Her little Izuku…"
Bakugou didn't know when the tears started falling from his face, but it was only now that he noticed. It was here in this space frozen in time that the explosive Hero became aware, completely lucid to his surroundings. Deku and Shigaraki were about to trade their first blows… Uraraka was sobbing, screaming his name as she tried in vain to get up… Iida desperately crawling towards the battle, in hopes to give his dear friend any kind of support... Tsuyu's face in absolute denial over Midoriya's fate… All of them were calling out to him… But he couldn't hear them…
They could hear him though, piercing the silent air that hung over them all. And the roar has most certainly shattered their already fragile will to press on.
"Thank you for everything… For pushing me around… For teaching me strength… For being my rival… For being my friend… For first giving me the name I could be proud of…"
A single word couldn't be uttered as time began to speed up again. Bakugou's last chance to speak robbed when Deku gave his final words clearly, concisely, and without regret.
"Thank you everyone… And good bye…"
The Hero and Villain struck each other, a blinding flash enveloped them both as they all cried out his name.
"DEKU!" Bakugou screamed as he shot up, right arm reaching out.
Though his eyes were barely adjusted to the light, Bakugou could tell this wasn't that rubble strewn street where things went wrong for 1A. Blinking a few times and registering whatever feedback he was getting from his senses, he concluded that…
He was in a fucking hospital…
He was sitting on a shitty hospital bed…
He was wired to some damn IVs…
And that his Mom, Mitsuki, was sitting next to the bed.
"You're awake, let me go get the doctor." She said as she got up.
"Hold up, what happened to Deku?"
She didn't answer his question, only looking over towards a pile of newspapers stacked up on the side table besides some get well cards. Snagging all of them, Bakugou began reading each of the dates to get some bearing on what happened. The earliest was from two weeks ago… Was he out for that long?
The Sun Rises Over Japan Once More
What's considered to be the worst battle since the Kamino Disaster, the Heroes of UA's Class 1A squared off against Shigaraki Tomura, the heinous leader of the League of Villains, and defeated him in a dreadful battle seen by all. It is not without tragedy however as all have suffered serious injury and one Midoriya "Deku" Izuku has been MIA since paramedics and additional Heroes arrived on scene. What's more is that Shigaraki has also been confirmed to be MIA. What will our future hold when both the Greatest Hero and Villain are nowhere to be found?
Bakugou tossed that paper aside and picked up the next one, its date from a week ago. He was trembling, eyes widening to every word he came across, breath held stiller than a standing stone…
A Glimmer of Hope in the Dark
Both Midoriya "Deku" Izuku and Shigaraki Tomura are still MIA as their respective sides continue to recover from last week's battle. The Hero Association has been stretched thin with the cleanup and the public is still in a state of unrest. However, despite this disorder, crime rate has never been lower. While there are several reasons for this, this astonishing statistic could be attributed to the video posted on the internet involving Midoriya's inspiring words that fateful night. Though he's still missing, his speech has inspired many to watch the streets for trouble as Heroes continue clean up the damage. Midoriya's family or close friends were not available for comments on this incredible trend.
Throwing that away, the explosive Hero picked up the next one… Though his heart stopped when he did, he wasn't ready for what he was about to read. This one's from today…
Farewell to the One True Hero
With every corner of Japan scoured, both Midoriya "Deku" Izuku and Shigaraki Tomura were unable to be located and have been declared deceased. The Nation's heart goes out to the boy who stood for all things heroic…
"FUCK!" Bakugou couldn't take it anymore, chucking that paper away with enough force to scatter the individual pages. He was really dead? That nerd wanted to prove to the world he was going to be the Greatest Hero… Now he's just, gone... The pebble turned boulder just suddenly crumbled and left Bakugou without an obstacle, a clear run towards his goal to be number one. Yet…
"Not like this… This wasn't how it's supposed to end…"
Mitsuki closed her eyes as her son let out his emotions in a scream, raw and unfettered. She reached out to him, despite knowing how he dislikes being touched, and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. And Bakugou made no attempt to shake it off, too focused on his own falling tears and aching heart. It would be a good while before he considered to stop…
On the same paper he just scattered, there is mention of a memorial service held for Deku at UA in five days time. And though only family and friends could personally attend, the public could still send in letters of condolence… Anything to comfort those who knew the boy that became the One True Hero…