Deku was on TV again, this time saving people from a collapsed building. He was wearing his stupid mint bunny outfit and ignoring the reporters completely. He had a smile on his face, much like the smile All Might used to wear. It suited him, as the number one hero. The fucker deserved that title, though Bakugou would never say that out loud.
It had been years since high school, but Bakugou could still remember first seeing that ridiculous suit. He still hated it, but he had gotten used to it. Besides, it made Deku look like a kid, which brought Bakugou back. High school hadn’t exactly been the time of his life, but it had been so much better than the life he was living now.
No, Bakugou Katsuki was not living his dream like Deku was.
But he had, for a while.
After graduating from UA, they were both instantly scouted. They competed and bantered and they made a really good team when they worked together.
Looking down at his slightly trembling left hand, Bakugou scowled. It was during a battle they were fighting together that his dreams had crumbled.
It was just the two of them against an army of villains. They were both too stubborn to turn and run, but things went downhill fast. Bakugou couldn’t even pinpoint the exact injury that had caused the permanent damage to his hand that he now lived with. They had been overwhelmed and Bakugou had been given the split-second choice of either saving Deku’s life and taking on immense damage, or letting Deku die and probably winning the fight.
Of course he’d chosen to save Deku, but the price was high.
Not even the withering old Recovery Girl could fix him. The damage was done. Even producing small sparks from his left hand was now painful. Trying anything bigger felt like he was setting his own arm on fire. Which, sure, technically he was, but this wasn’t the kind of fire that would help him defeat villains. This was unbearable pain. Bakugou couldn’t continue his life as a hero.
He’d hated Deku for it for years, but with some very helpful therapy, he’d come around to admitting to himself that he didn’t really hate Deku and that it wasn’t the little idiot’s fault.
It still hurt seeing him being such a damn good hero, though.
The news switched stories, the footage of Deku ending, and Bakugou realized he would be late for work.
This just wasn’t his day and it was only morning.
He was positive the client didn’t understand the design. Absolutely sure of it.
Trying to stay calm, Bakugou ran the man through everything again, going into more detail than he had time for.
He hadn’t really known what to do with himself since the fight that left him incapable of battle, until he’d decided to do something he was fairly good at. He went back to school and became an architect, helping design buildings that could withstand attacks.
Bakugou had wanted a desk job where he could hide in an office and not have to face people. He’d underestimated how much architects had to interact with others, but he didn’t really have a fallback, so he stuck with it. And he was good at it. There were few things that Bakugou Katsuki was bad at, especially if he put his mind to it.
And now he was stuck explaining a preliminary design to a client who had no idea what was going on, but pretended he did. Those people were the worst—always nodding along, even if they weren’t paying any attention. Bakugou hated repeating himself, but he’d already had to reiterate the entire conversation to this guy, having to circle back to things he’d said mere sentences ago.
When the client finally left, Bakugou hit his head on the desk and wished he could punch something. Maybe he’d try the gym again after work. Sure, his doctor had told him not to push himself and that if he was careless, he could make things worse, but he just wanted to work off the pent up stress and what better way to calm his mind than letting his body take over and let instinct do all the work? Besides, even if it hurt, he wouldn’t let himself wallow in self-pity. He couldn’t.
An hour before lunch, Bakugou headed off to visit the site of one of the company’s projects. Construction was already beginning and at least once a week Bakugou was forced to go over there and check on how things were doing.
This particular project irked him in more than one way, but the absolute worst thing about it was the construction company.
Looking over at the bubbly girl jogging towards him, he huffed. He was very much not in the mood for this. “Shitty round face,” he said as a greeting when Uraraka finally stopped next to him.
Pouting, she asked, “When’ll you stop calling me that?”
“When you stop calling me Kacchan,” he answered with an eye roll. “Anyway, I’m fucking busy, so run me through everything that’s been happening quick.”
Uraraka pouted, “Always so mean. You know I’m just teasing.”
“Just fucking do your job,” he huffed.
She smiled and nodded, bringing out a tablet on which she had her notes. It had been a long time since she’d been affected by Bakugou’s swearing. She used to be terrified of him when they’d first met. Now she knew that his threats were empty.
When Uraraka finished her spiel, Bakugou nodded and said, “Alright. Send me all those notes and shit and we’re good.”
“Wait, come to lunch with me!” she said, giving him a beaming smile.
“No,” was his instant reply.
“Aw c’mon, that restaurant you like with the deathly spicy noodles is only a block away.”
Well, his lunch hour was coming up and he got done there early… “Fine, but only for the noodles, not for your shitty company.”
Beaming, she radioed someone and told them she’d be off to lunch.
They set off and Bakugou didn’t really know what to talk about. Him and Uraraka were rarely alone together. Sure, they’d gotten pretty close when they both hung out with Deku, but he was pretty much the only thing holding them together.
Firing off a few texts, Uraraka asked, “So how’ve you been?”
With a huff, he grumbled, “If I wanted to hear dumb questions like that, I’d have gone back to the office.”
“I genuinely want to know, though,” she insisted.
“Mind your own business!” he snapped, scaring a few passersby from his sudden change in volume.
“Always so angry,” she berated him.
“When you’re wasting my fucking time, yeah.”
“Fine then, if you want to talk work, let’s talk work. This project—“
“Ugh, fine, go back to the fucking small talk,” he groaned. There were so many places he’d rather be. Like not with Uraraka. Her stupid bubbly round face annoyed him.
“Then how’ve you been?” she asked again.
Rolling his eyes, he threw open the door to the restaurant and said, “Talk about yourself or something.”
They got their food and sat down at a small table at the back of the restaurant. Uraraka looked a bit annoyed, but she said, “Well, I know you well enough that you don’t want to hear about the boring stuff that most people chat about, so I’ll keep it to everything big.”
“Good,” Bakugou commented, digging into the spiciest noodles on the menu.
“Todoroki-kun got a little intern from UA. She’s very cute and scary powerful. She reminded all of us of you, actually.”
“What’s that supposed to fucking mean?” Bakugou snapped at her, still slurping noodles.
“She’s very explosive—not her powers, just her personality. Anyway, she’ll only be there a few more days, but at least Todoroki-kun knows how to handle her, he’s had years of practice dealing with you.”
“Die!” Bakugou spat, glaring at her.
Uraraka laughed, but her face fell a little as her eyes focused downward. “The tremors in your hand haven’t gotten any better,” she said softly.
Bakugou could feel a flood of real anger rising up. The mood dropped entirely and he could feel his heartbeat speed up. This was something he really didn’t want to talk about. Hiding his left hand under the table, he looked away and managed to keep his voice low, “Don’t.”
“Deku was worried—“
“Of fucking course this was Deku’s stupid idea. Should’ve fucking seen it,” Bakugou hissed, pouring as much ice into his voice as he could so she’d know not to push.
Either she didn’t catch it or was blatantly ignoring it, because she folded her hands on the table and said, “Deku didn’t put me up to this, but I did mention that I’d be working with you a little while ago and—“
“Shut the fuck up!”
“He feels guilty about what happened and I think—“
Standing up, Bakugou nearly knocked down the table. “I don’t fucking care!” He wanted to set the table on fire—and maybe Uraraka’s stupid face too—but he managed to make his feet move before he could cause any damage. He did not want to deal with anyone else today. Besides, he liked this restaurant, he didn’t want to burn it. Didn’t mean it was an easy task, though.
“Wait, please hear me out, I only—“
Leaving the restaurant, Bakugou spun on the small woman and let his anger out, “I don’t fucking care what Deku does, you piece of shit! Leave me the fuck alone!” For effect more than anything, he fired off a few small explosions in her direction as he marched away.
And he thought his day couldn’t get worse.
It didn’t matter that the rest of the day was uneventful, Bakugou was fuming. He couldn’t get his nerves to settle. Every small annoyance set him off, so he canceled his last meeting of the day and headed home early. Sitting in his small office wouldn’t do him any good.
The moment he got home, he changed into workout gear and went running. At least that he could do without worrying about hurting his hand further.
The cool evening air was refreshing, but it didn’t calm his mind any.
All he could think about was Uraraka and her stupid comments.
She said Deku was worried about him, which wasn’t entirely surprising, as the small dipshit had blamed himself for what’d happened. While they were both hospitalized after their big battle, he couldn’t stop apologizing. He’d kept going through what he should have done, but that wouldn’t change anything. The little idiot had pleaded for forgiveness, then immediately switched to saying he shouldn’t be forgiven, and flipping on and on from one to the other. It had been exhausting and confusing and neither of them had handled it with any grace, both firmly placing the blame on the freckled nerd.
Since then, Deku hadn’t even been able to look at him. Whenever he tried, his stupid face would scrunch up as if it physically hurt him to look at Bakugou.
The strong blame had been a mutual feeling for a long time, but Bakugou had gotten over it. It had taken him years, but he did it. It was the fault of the villains who attacked them, not either of the two heroes.
…but it had been such a long time since then. Did Deku really still blame himself?
Of course he did, Deku was an over-emotional little bastard, no matter how powerful he actually was.
Still, it didn’t sit well with Bakugou that he’d moved on and the dipshit crybaby still worried about him. He didn’t quite know why and he didn’t want to think about it, but Deku’s stupid hurt face kept coming back to his mind. He could practically see those wide green eyes avoiding him, trying not to look at what he thought he’d caused.
The sound of a car horn and screeching breaks broke him out of his thoughts and before he knew it, he’d launched himself into the road and saved a young girl from being hit by a car. She stared at him, wide eyed, and started mumbling, “T-thank you. Thank you. Thank you so—“
“Watch where you’re going, dumbass,” he huffed, running on like nothing happened.
He’d acted entirely on instinct.
He could feel the rush of adrenaline coursing through him, just like it had when he used to save people before. He missed it. The light feeling in his stomach, the pure joy of knowing he’d made a difference, the rush it gave him to use his skill for good.
What he wouldn’t give to feel that on a regular basis again.
Bakugou had tried to make the hero thing work. He really had, but without the use of his left hand, it didn’t go well. He’d nearly gotten himself killed and risked civilian lives unnecessarily. Watching people nearly die because of his mistakes was a wakeup call. That was when he gave up on his dreams of being a hero.
…still, he wished he could have made it work.
Shaking his head to clear it, he forced his mind to focus on work instead. If he went down that road, he’d probably set something on fire in frustration. He didn’t need that to top off his day.