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Phantom Be Still in My Heart

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Emptiness is a companion,
Blanketed in shades of coldness,
Cloaking you in a heavy shroud,
As does the soul mourn.



There had always been accounts of people claiming they could sense something had changed in their lives, decades before the presence of Quirks. There had been accounts of people having felt off , as if they had woken up on the wrong side of the bed, or had forgotten their contacts or homework for the night. There had been accounts of how people just knew - just felt it in the way the air settled along their room or how the morning sunlight streamed through their cheap blinds.

 

There had always been accounts.

 

It felt like someone was stroking their hand through his hair. Ghosting through his bangs. A faint brush, not necessarily touching. He’d furrowed his eyebrows, nose scrunching up in disdain. Was his mom in his room?

 

When Katsuki opened his eyes, it’d been to the same, unchanging environment. It’d been to the same ceiling, the same ticking of his alarm-clock, set to go off in ten minutes, and to the same old smell of coffee and french toast wafting through the crack of his bedroom door. Nothing had felt different, nothing had felt off. There was no unexplainable pressure in his chest, no tight coil of wrongness in his stomach, not even the slightest tilt of deja vu people always liked to go on about.

 

No, there was nothing of the sort. Just the same, every day morning he woke up to. In hindsight, it was probably ironic. How little his world changed, despite how utterly wrenching it was about to be thrown off its axis.

 

He couldn’t remember his dream, only that it was unsettling and upsetting and he may have screamed in it, but it was gone the moment he sat up. Maybe it was that stupid nightmare of Deku turning into a jug of milk again? Maybe it was because he’d watched that zombie movie two nights ago? Whatever the dream had been, nothing but the tendrils of grogginess clung to him.

 

He was alone in his room and the ghost-touch was gone, leaving nothing but remnant tingles.

 

The first sign of derailing his morning routine was the soft sounds of sobs from the kitchen. Katsuki, head halfway stuck in a shirt sleeve, paused to listen. The sounds were quiet, choked little gasps as if they hadn’t wanted anyone to hear. Katsuki abandoned his shirt, stomping out of his room with the grace of a man with two left feet.

 

He found his mother on the floor of the kitchen, hunched into herself and choking into her hands.

 

“MOM!?” Katsuki roared out, all thoughts flying out the window at the sight of the woman. She looked so frail, so small, huddled against the wall as the house phone stared innocently up at her from her side. “What’s-what’s wrong?!” Something cold and dense fell in his stomach as Mitsuki flinched and shook her head, peering up at him through red, watery eyes.

 

“Katsuki…” Mitsuki forced out, voice cracking and bottom lip trembling. Katsuki’s vision seemed to tunnel on his mother’s mouth, ears filling with cotton. He didn’t hear the words, didn’t notice his legs giving out. His gaze burned as his mother’s lips formed dreaded words.

 

“It’s Izuku-kun. He...he’s dead.”

 

When Katsuki opened his eyes, it’d been to the same, unchanging environment.

 

He wished he’d never gotten out of bed.

 


 

 

This had to be a dream. Katsuki felt like it had to be. He stared at his ceiling, his body unresponsive. Mitsuki had left, saying she was going to the Midoriya household. Katsuki had slumped back into bed, instantly feeling his energy drain from his body.

 

He felt empty, like someone had carved into his chest. Like someone had cracked open his ribcage and had shifted through all the muscles and blood vessels until they’d reached his heart. He felt like someone had cut his heart out, leaving nothing but a pitch black hole that he hoped got wider and wider with each passing second. He didn’t feel anything. Didn’t want to feel anything.



Just black. Just numb. Just...silence.

 

His ears buzzed with that soft white-noise, static from undisturbed silence. He’d just seen Deku that following day. He’d teased him like usual, pushed him around, spoke-

 

“Maybe if you nosedive off the roof of the school, you’ll get a Quirk in your next life.”

 

Katsuki rolled to his side as bile shoved itself past his loose lips. Black spots scattered across his vision, his body trembling  fiercely. What had he said?

 

How had he’d died?

 

Oh my god, how had Midoriya Izuku died?

 

Katsuki stared blankly at his vomit, mind utterly empty. It rebooted in a fury of thoughts, panic settling in as his breathing lodged itself in his chest as a heavy rock. How had he died? Had he jumped? Had he killed himself? Had Katsuki inadvertently triggered him to die? Had he pushed him past the breaking point of no return?

 

His chest heaved as he tried to suck in a breath. Nothing came out. Cold sweat blanketed him as he shot up into a sitting position, a hand fisting at his shirt.

 

Had he pushed Izuku to kill himself?

 

Flashes of a tiny child reaching out for him breeched his panic and he gave a whine, curling into himself as he clawed at his chest.

 

“Kacchan!”

 

“I’m gonna be a Hero too, Kacchan!”

 

“K-Kacchan! I-it doesn’t matter if I’m Quirkless! I’ll still try to be a Hero!”

 

“FUCK!” Katsuki screamed, pressing his forehead against his bent knees. “SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” He gripped tightly at his hair, tugging on the spikey locks to ground himself. His hands trembled, nails biting into the skin of his scalp. His eyes itched, burning as his shudders breaths racked his body.

 

“Fuck…” he whispered as his voice cracked.

 

He didn’t know how long he sat there, lost in the buzzing of the silence in his room. His mind just seemed to shut down, falling quiet as he tried to focus on his breathing. He blinked his vision into focus, hearing the TV playing in the background.

 

It sounded like it was coming from the living room. He moved without really registering it, his feet dragging against the wooden flooring as his body stumbled out of his room. His father was hunched over, staring intently at the news report playing.

 

Katsuki stared.

 

“Fourteen year old Midoriya Izuku was a tragic victim in the local Villain Attack that happened yesterday. All Might was reported on scene, chasing after the Sludge Villain, but it seemed he was too late. By the time All Might reached the Villain, he had already murdered young Midoriya. Midoriya was reported as a student of-”

 

“Katsuki? Katsuki!” Masaru seemed to have heard his hitched inhale and turned to see his son tittering against the wall, eyes burning into the screen. “Son, bud, sit down! Breathe. Hey, hey, it’s okay.” Masaru stumbled over to his son, hands hovering as Katsuki slid down the wall, knees giving out.

 

“M-murdered?” Katsuki whispered, mind circling on that word. He’d been murdered? By a Villain? Not because of Katsuki’s thoughtless words? Despite the immediate relief he knew he should have felt, he didn’t. Just that endless pitch black hole that he was desperately desiring to swallow him whole.

 

It didn’t matter, in the end, if he was murdered or killed himself. He was still dead and Katsuki was left with a shadow instead of a sun.

 


 

 

The funeral was small and silent, save for Inko’s wails and Mitsuki’s soft comforts. It was held at Izuku’s grandfather’s house, off in the countryside. It was a day’s trip to and from but no one was complaining, Katsuki least of all.

 

He just sat there in the small room, staring blankly down at the tatami mats. Distantly, he noticed his father talking to some man. Katsuki chanced a glance at the unfamiliar man and couldn’t help his breath catching, seeing Izuku in the man’s eyes, his smile, his freckles.

 

That must have been Izuku’s dad, the infamously absent Hisashi. What horrible circumstances to meet the man under.

 

Katsuki’s eyes flickered around the room. Inko was a absolute mess, falling over herself as she coughed and sputtered into her handkerchief. Her eyes were nearly swollen shut, her complexion pale. She looked thinner than Katsuki remembered, her hair lifeless as it spilled over her shoulders.

 

His eyes trickled over to the framed photo of Izuku, breathing slowing as he took in the dimpled smiled trapped in a moment of happiness. It was a older photo, cropped from an image of the time Inko and Izuku went fishing with his family. Mitsuki had snapped the photo just in time to capture Izuku’s open mouth laugh, a fish flopping through the air as Katsuki tried to get out of the way.

 

It was the perfect picture. It was probably the last time Katsuki had recalled Izuku smiling so widely. So brightly, without the blemishes of burns or bruises maring his skin.

 

Nausea rolled in the pit of his stomach and Katsuki stood faster than he’d realized, stumbling out of the room with his mother’s understanding eyes following after him. He shoved past the few relatives that’d come, mind revolting as he noticed that there were no other teenagers there. No friends, only family.

 

Surely Izuku had made friends, right? Surely Izuku had been liked, right? Katsuki knew that he didn’t have the best reputation, being born Quirkless and skittish like a abused cat but...surely someone would have had the curiosity to talk to the green-haired teen, right? Right ?

 

But there were no classmates, no teenagers pretending to like Izuku to draw attention to themselves. Just Katsuki, skirting his way outside and over to concealed bushes to heave up his pitiful lunch of two bites of rice and some green tea.

 

He caught a glimpse of green out the corner of his eye, so different from the bushes and trees around him, and his head snapped up. Nothing. The green had been so familiar too. Too familiar.

 

Katsuki emptied the rest of his stomach until he was spitting up stomach acid, wheezing and choking. If anyone asked, not that they would, he’d blame the tears from the force of his vomit.

 

Deku was gone. Izuku was gone. Katsuki replayed the last words he said to him, the taunting words that tore him apart from the inside out.

 

“Maybe you should take a nose dive off the roof.”

 

Katsuki hunched over again to dry-heave, coughs wracking his body. Tears and mucus burned his face, his hands trembling as he tried to hold himself up on his bent knees.

 

He could still recall Izuku’s gritted teeth, his face twisted into one of exhausted rage. Tears clouded his dark eyes, his nose scrunched up as he seemed to damn Katsuki with his grimace. That was it. That was the last time.

 

He remembered the service, the hushed whispers of, “ He was so young ” and “ They said it was a Villain attack. The poor dear. He was Quirkless, you know .”

 

Quirkless . They said it like it was the cause, like it was what made him take that shortcut home through the tunnel. Like it was what caused that Villain to choose him as it’s untimely victim of a camouflage host. They whispered it like a curse, like a vile disease terrorizing innocent souls.

 

Katsuki fell to his knees, curling into himself as he tried to bite back a choked sob.

 

Quirkless may have been a guillotine, but Katsuki felt like he had been the executioner.

 

Out the corner of his eye, he could have sworn he saw Izuku crouched down, ghost tears streaming down his cheeks.

 


 

 

The funeral passed and life continued on. No matter how much Katsuki wished it, the world simply did not stop with the death of his childhood friend. He returned to school, that first day back unspoken amongst the students. He’d seen the vase and the flower on Izuku’s desk and had flipped, nearly injuring three students when he set off an explosion at the display.

 

It had taken four teachers to restrain him and he spent the remainder of the day in the counselor's office, ignoring their attempts to talk to him. He didn’t need to talk to anyone. He didn’t need to talk.

 

[ He needed to scream to the heavens, to the cursed fates that ripped his friend away from him because at every glance over his shoulder, he expected “Kacchan” or a tuft of green curls but he’d never see that again or hear him again or-]

 

His parents kept their distance, understanding. They didn’t need to say anything, didn’t know what to say. They knew that the two had grown distant throughout the years, knew that they didn’t have the healthiest of relationships. They knew that out of everyone, Katsuki felt more regret and self-loathe than anyone.

 

He took to spending his evenings at the Midoriya household, helping Inko clean Izuku’s room or sitting with her and going through photo albums. He’d been surprised, at first, at the sheer amount of photos the woman simply had of them as children. He hadn’t even realized that she’d taken pictures of simple moments, finger ghosting over the laminated images of Izuku and Katsuki napping or sharing ice cream.

 

Inko wasn’t the same after Izuku’s cremation. She’d stare at his shrine photo for a good hour every evening after dinner, Katsuki sometimes joining her in silence or leaving quietly. She’d lost a lot of weight too, her grief stealing her appetite. It was selfish, even heartless, but sometimes Katsuki requested Izuku’s favorite dishes for dinner in an attempt to make her cook, make her eat, make her survive.

 

He’d lost one Midoriya - he didn’t need to lose another.

 

Katsuki threw himself into school, more determined than ever to get into UA. He had to be a Hero - had to save those who couldn’t save themselves. Izuku’s death had sparked more awareness to the potential harm and injuries to the Quirkless community and Katsuki was desperate to try and change his views.

 

He hated himself, hated how he’d treated Izuku, and hoped that this could help him repent.

 

For months up until the exam to get into UA, Katsuki had watched the interview with All Might about the Sludge Villain. He’d repeated that interview over and over again until he could perfectly recite every single word the Hero said, word tilt and accent and all.

 

“There is no excuse for what happened. The death of this young boy is tragic and it is on my hands. As a Hero, I failed to do my one and only job and for that, I will forever regret his loss. I reach out to his family with my utmost grievance and support.”

 

It had been short, scripted, but each word had held such raw emotion that Katsuki had known the Hero truly would carry Izuku’s death on his shoulders. He’d downloaded the interview into an audio file, playing it on his way to the gates of UA.

 

He’d ignored everyone, did his test, and left for home. He heard the news of how a girl had gotten injured during the exam - her leg crushed by one of those faux Villain robots, and had snorted at the sheer irony of it. Despite her injury, apparently she’d gotten enough points to pass.

 

It came as no surprise when he’d received his letter of acceptance. His parents had congratulated him and they’d migrated over to the Midoriya house to celebrate, Inko and Mitsuki working to whip up a feast.

 

Before he’d left to go visit Izuku’s grave (as he did everyday without fail, no matter the weather), his small family of three (would have been four, was supposed to be four) had stopped him.

 

“Here,” Inko whispered as she pressed a small wrapped box into Katsuki’s hands. He blinked, looking down at the box before he glanced at the expectant, hesitant expressions on his parents faces.

 

He slowly peeled back the wrapping, opening the box top. His fingers hovered over the bracelet nestled in the tissue paper. It was a single silver plate against a black, stretchable band. Simple, but stylish.

 

“Guys can wear jewelry too, you know,” his mother teased and Katsuki’s eyebrows furrowed at the bracelet.

 

“Why a bracelet though?” He asked and Inko opened and closed her mouth.

 

“It was supposed to be a graduation gift for Izu-kun,” she whispered and the food settling in Katsuki’s stomach solidified into a cold ball of iron. “I-I was going to have it engraved. Maybe a quote from All Might or a message from me but-but-” Inko looked away with a shuddered inhale and Katsuki’s arm fell to his side heavily.

 

“...oh.” He swallowed, the air suddenly stifling. “I’m-I’m going to go for a walk.” He turned on his heel and nearly crashed out of the apartment, the simpering spring air burning the wetness growing along the rim of his eyes. He all but dashed down the street, fist clenched around the box as he panted against the heavy tightness in his chest.

 

His feet carried him to the cemetery on autopilot, steps precise as they maneuvered him to the front of Izuku’s headstone. He plopped down heavily on the ground as if gravity was suddenly too much for him and he just blinked, limbs going numb.

 

“What the fuck,” he whispered to the night sky. “What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck. This - this was supposed to be yours, asshole.” His hand trembled as he took the bracelet out of the box, dangling it in front of the headstone. “This was supposed to be on your skinny chicken wrist.”

 

A wrist he’d burned time and time over with his Quirk. A wrist that had been broken from rough housing gone wrong. A wrist that was now forever empty of a bracelet that suddenly held too much importance for the dead to ever know.

 

Katsuki held it in his palm like it weighed the weight of the world, his vision blurring.

 

“You asshole.” He sniffled as he curled his hand around the bracelet. “You fucking asshole. Why did you die?”

 

Why didn’t Katsuki just admit he was insecure against Izuku’s endless determination and drive to prove himself while Katsuki glided through life? Why didn’t Katsuki just stop acting like a immature preschooler?

 

“Why did you go and leave me behind?”

 


 

 

“Cool bracelet,” the redhead by Katsuki’s desk spoke up, his uniform sleeve having drawn up as Katsuki reached for his notebook. “It’s pretty manly!”

 

“Ooooh jewelry?” The pink skinned girl piped up as she turned away from the blonde boy, perched on Red’s desk. “That’s super cute!” She reached for his wrist.

 

Katsuki’s hand barely twitched as he continued to reach for his notebook, avoiding the hand that went for him.

 

“Piss off,” he growled, drawing his hand back. He hid his bracelet against his chest, sneering at the three clustered. “Fuck off and mind your own damn business.”

 

There had been rumors that All Might was teaching at UA. Katsuki didn’t know how to feel about it. He held a small ounce of resentment towards the Hero - after all, if he’d just been a little bit faster-

 

The blonde teen stuck his hand out. “Kaminari Denki! Pleased to meet you…?” His smile was laid back and friendly, nothing like Izuku’s dimpled beam.

 

“Fuck you.” Katsuki turned his attention back to his notebook and his expression darkened. He just wanted the day to end. His gaze softened at the worn notebook on his desk, the scribbled Hero Analysis For the Future messy and streaked from being rubbed over the years. The notebook looked old, the cover bent and creased from being stuffed or opened too quickly. He focused on the notebook, flipping through it leisurely at he waited for homeroom to start.

 

At first, Inko had been adamant about tossing out all of his notebooks, saying they were nothing but painful reminders. Katsuki had offered to take them off her hands, having always been secretly curious as to what all Izuku wrote in the books.

 

He’d been meticulous, sketching out even the tiniest detail to any known Hero. He even had an entire notebook dedicated to Katsuki and his Quirk, updated throughout the years. There had even been a doodle of what Izuku imagined Katsuki’s Hero costume to look like. Katsuki was enraptured, marveled by the sheer thought and observational skill put into these notebooks.

 

He’d burned one, hadn’t he? It’d been one of the double-digit booklets, hadn’t it? What amazing, wondrous details had he ruined, details Izuku had painstakingly stressed over for hours upon hours? It’d been tossed in the courtyard pond, hadn’t it? Did Izuku go back to grab it? Did a janitor toss it? Katsuki didn’t know what happened to it. It didn’t matter, in the end. Not anymore.

 

Absently, he rubbed at his engraved bracelet, thumb brushing over the carved kanji. More students trickled in and Katsuki ignored them, fingers tracing the scribbles on the aged papers.

 

Everyone was so annoying. They were immature, all of them thinking in their own ways that they were ready to be Heroes. They were too cheerful, too innocent. They hadn’t even tasted the true dangers of the world that Heroes faced - dangers Katsuki suffered from night after night in the form of interrupted nightmares accompanied by panic attacks.

 

The homeroom teacher, Aizawa, was someone Izuku would have liked. A No-Bullshit man, he was curt and clear in his words and in his intentions. Izuku would have loved him, would have loved his Quirk, probably would have instantly known he was the Underground Hero Eraserhead. But he would never know, would never fanboy over him, and the school day ended bittersweet for Katsuki.

 

His feet had taken through the memorized path to the cemetery, the trail already burned into his brain to the point where he could walk it backwards with his eyes closed. He settled down in front of Izuku’s gravestone and spoke, beginning with, “the classmates are fucking weird, Deku.”

 

The wind rustled his hair, ruffling his clothing as it trying to entice him into continuing. “There’s this chick - she’s got pink skin. And her Quirk is acid. It’s fucking wicked. There’s this guy, he’s got a stupid hairstyle but he’s like you - super friendly. There’s this other guy who acts like the weight of the world is on his shoulders. He probably thinks he’s Mr. Popular.” Katsuki let the words spill from his lips, eyes glazing as he just kept filling the air with his voice.

 

Fill the silence with his words, since there was a notable buzz that never left Katsuki’s hearing, even in the loudest of settings.

 

“My homeroom teacher’s Eraserhead. You probably know everything there is to know about the man. He’s a pretty shitty teacher, I gotta say. Looks like he’d rather sleep than teach.” He licked his lips, twining the bracelet around his wrist. “All Might’s one of our teachers...I...I don’t know how to really talk to him?”

 

The wind gave a vicious nudge, trying to get him to speak. “I...I kind of blame him, you know?” His voice didn’t crack but it was soft, barely a whisper. “If only he’d been faster...if only he’d caught the Villain before it’d made it into the sewer line…maybe-maybe you’d still be here?”

 

He ducked his head, hiding his face. His ear tips were burning red, hands clenched into fists. “But then what - I’d still be a fucking jackass to you. Why - why is it...why did you have to die before I realized what I’d been fucking up?”

 

The wind died down, as if at a loss of words to respond in comfort. Katsuki sat there in silence until the stars were beginning to make their greetings and he bid Izuku’s marker a goodbye.

 


 

 

All Might asked Katsuki to stay after school. The class had burst into whispers when the Hero had called for Katsuki’s attention, curious and nosy as they glanced at the teen. Katsuki, smoldering red eyes burning behind the shadows of his bangs, gave a single nod and followed the man into a empty room.

 

“You seemed...hostile towards me, in class.” All Might began slowly, rubbing at his hands. Ever since Izuku’s death, All Might’s appearance became more haggard. He truly was suffering over the death of a teenager on his hands, wasn’t he? Katsuki bitterly thought he deserved it. “Have I...done something to offend you?”

 

Katsuki gritted his teeth and jerked his head to the side, trying to hold his tongue. He’d start screaming otherwise. All Might sighed and settled down on the couch in the room, placing his books on the table in front of him. A tattered, burnt and ripped blue cover caught Katsuki’s attention and he saw Izuku’s No. 13 notebook hidden under All Might’s books.

 

“Why do you have that?”

 

All Might jumped, eyes widening as Katsuki lunged across the room and grabbed at the notebook. The teen handled it with care, cradling it delicately in his hands as he stared down at it. “I thought it was gone.”

 

“Bakugou-shounen?” All Might tentatively asked, chest tight as the student handled the notebook. It had become his momento, a reminder of his failure. He hadn’t meant to steal the evidence (because that was what it was, when you took something from a crime scene), but his curiosity had won over him. It’d been all the more heartbreaking to see the notes, to find out the child was Quirkless. He’d have made a amazing analyst, maybe even a supporter to a agency or a police officer. But now he was just a box of ashes.

 

“Why do you have Deku’s notebook?” Katsuki’s voice broke, watery vision taking in the burnt marks and the streaked ink from the pond water. Izuku had gone back for it. He had it with him when he died. He flipped it open, giving a choked snort at the tiny All Might chibis doodled in the margin. The last entry had been a page on Mt. Lady. God, he’d even commented on her fan service to get more fans.

 

What a fucking nerd.

 

“D-Deku you said? You...you knew Midoriya-kun?” All Might slowly whispered, his shoulders slumping. Katsuki ducked his head, hugging the notebook to his chest. That was their last interaction. This was the evidence of their very last interaction; a tattered, ruined old notebook.

 

“Knew him? I fucking tormented him,” Katsuki laughed, bitter and nasty as he hunched his shoulder up. “I fucking made his life miserable and he followed me around like I held the fucking sun in the sky.”

 

“Bakugou-shounen…” All Might began but a spark from Katsuki’s palm stopped him.

 

“Why?” Katsuki gritted out as he glared at the Hero. “Why didn’t you save him?”

 

It was as if that was the trigger to the metaphorical gun. All Might deflated like a punctured balloon, all the luster and life in him gone. He fell back against the couch with a whoosh of air, hands falling limp at his sides.

 

“Why didn’t you get there faster?” Katsuki forced out, his rib cage trying to cave into itself as he pushed air out of his lungs. “Why was it him? Why did he die?” His eyes burned trails of tears, the hot liquid trying to scorch permanent marks into his flesh as a reminder to his sorrow.

 

“I’m sorry,” was all the man whispered as Katsuki crouched down, hugging the notebook tighter to his chest. “I’m so sorry.”

 

No , Katsuki wanted to scream. Stop. Don’t say that. Don’t apologize. Shut up. The Hero knew just how much he had failed, letting a young teenager die. He knew better than anyone how messed up that left someone. Katsuki knew but he couldn’t hold his tongue, couldn’t hold his anguish any longer. He needed to blame someone.

 

If he didn’t, the only one left to blame would be himself.

 

All Might heaved himself off the couch and knelt down in front of Katsuki, a trembling hand resting on his head. “I am so sorry.”

 

“He fucking worshipped you,” Katsuki choked out, voice nasally and shuddering. “Had a fucking shrine of you and everything. The only thing keeping that fucker going was you. He’s probably jumping for joy in heaven, shrieking about how he almost met All Might before he died.” Katsuki burrowed into his arms as All Might patted his head. “That stupid dumbass.”

 

“He sounds like a lovely young man,” All Might whispered soothingly. “His notes are very detailed and show his love.” The hand fell to his shoulder with a firm squeeze. “He’d have been an amazing man.”

 

Katsuki just breathed, trying to hide his blotchy face from the man. After a few minutes of stifling silence, he stood up and nodded to the man.

 

“I’m sorry,” Katsuki spoke to the still kneeling adult. “I know you probably tried your best to save him.” Katsuki rushed to the door, trying to ignore the exhaustion clawing at his body. “Thank-thank you.”

 

The visit to the headstone was silent, Katsuki unable to muster up any energy to talk. It was okay, he decided. He thought Izuku would understand.

 


 

 

“I’m going to follow him,” Kirishima decided a week before the Sports Festival, their class having grown closer due to the Villain Attack. Kaminari and Mina looked up, the marker in Mina’s hand hovering over Shinsou’s closed eyes.

 

“What?” Shinsou sleepily grumbled as he swatted Mina’s hand away from his face. “Who?” Tokoyami and Todoroki looked up from their lunches, Uraraka and Iida falling silent in their conversation.

 

“Bakugou,” Kirishima answered as he gestured to Katsuki, sitting alone and hunched over his food. “He’s the King of Emo in the class. He’s got you beat on the brooding angst, Todoroki. No offense.”

 

“None taken,” Todoroki responded as he popped a cherry into his mouth. “Where are you going to follow him?”

 

“Home,” came the fast reply. “I noticed he always runs off the moment the bell rings and always takes the same route home. It’s away from the train station, though. I wonder where he’s going.” Kirishima squinted at Katsuki, humming loudly. “I’m curious. The dude rejected every advance to be my friend.”

 

“Leave him alone,” Uraraka frowned, shaking her finger at the teen. “The guy obviously doesn’t want any friends.”

 

“He’s a lone wolf,” Shinsou agreed, yawning. “Which is what I wish I was.” Kirishima rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Katsuki.

 

Bakugou Katsuki was a mystery and Kirishima was always eager to solve a mystery.

 


 

 

“Why are you all here?” Kirishima hissed, seeing most of their lunch group waiting for him to trail Katsuki.

 

“We got curious,” Mina grinned, linking arms with Kaminari and a reluctant looking Shinsou. “Let’s go, he’s moving!”

 

Iida looked very much so lik he regretted the entire ordeal while Uraraka looked excited, Todoroki more so put-out than anything else. Mina and Kaminari squished beside Kirishima as the group followed after Katsuki. Their curiosity grew into confusion as they saw him enter the local cemetery, shared looks of uncertainty passing between them.

 

“Maybe we shouldn’t follow him anymore,” Uraraka whispered. Kirishima shook his head and rushed forward, bounding up the stairs.

 

“....and this fucker had hands all over him, okay? Like, full on up and down his arms and legs. And this dude thinks he can just fucking kill All Might. But his new protege, Lemillion, had been with us that day as a third year guide and it was so fucking lucky he did-”

 

Kirishima looked over to see Katsuki settled down in front of a stonemarker, talking as he fiddled with his bracelet. He heard footsteps and saw the rest of the group trickling closer.

 

“The fuck do you guys wants?” Katsuki called and they jumped, looking over in shame as he stared at them. His scowl said everything.

 

“I was curious where you went everyday,” Kirishima confessed as Katsuki eyed them. “Um...I’m sorry.” Katsuki narrowed his eyes at them before turning back to the headstone.

 

“That’s the Hard Quirk guy, Kirishima.” Kirishima jumped. “See, her skin is pink. I wasn’t kidding.” Mina flushed at being addressed and Iida uncomfortably pushed his glasses up.

 

“Is this a family member?” Todoroki asked as he stepped forward, kneeling down beside Katsuki. He stared at the name, Midoriya Izuku, and blinked. “Midoriya?”

 

“He was a...childhood friend,” Katsuki gritted out as he flicked his bracelet. “He was that Quirkless kid who died in that Villain Attack last year.”

 

“Oh,” Mina whispered and Todoroki looked seriously at the headstone.

 

“I am so sorry you have Bakugou-san as a friend,” Todoroki told the stone and Uraraka gave a shriek at the utter rudeness of it. Katsuki gave a roar of laughter, crumpling over.

 

“Holy shit Half-and-Half! Deku would have loved you!” Katsuki kicked at Todoroki and chuckled, sprawling out more comfortable. “He was a total nerd. He absolutely loved analysing Quirks. He’d have a field day with all of yours.” He eyed the classmates, expression softening.

 

“That bracelet you wear,” Shinsou spoke as they crept closer, Kaminari and Kirishima kneeling down to give a respectful prayer, “it’s a memorial bracelet?” Katsuki rubbed at the bracelet and nodded, holding it out for the teen to read.



“The Sun Who Lit My Inferno”



“Was Deku his nickname?” Uraraka asked as she gave a soft greeting to the gravestone.

 

“...not really,” Katsuki grumbled. “More like a taunt.” He burned a hole into the gravestone with his stare. “I used to bully him relentlessly.”

 

“But I thought you were - ow!” Kaminari rubbed at his side, which Mina had elbowed. “Oh. Oh .” Katsuki ran a hand through his hair, swallowing thickly.

 

“It was supposed to be a taunt of his Quirklessness, you know?” Katsuki whispered bitterly, grabbing a fistful of his hair. “He was Deku . Someone like him wasn’t - wasn’t supposed to be so happy, so bright - someone who should have been a hero…”

 

“Really?” Uraraka spoke as she straightened, smiling comfortingly, “it sounds pretty hopeful to me! Like ‘You can do it’, y’know? Shouldn’t you think of his name that way, instead of that nasty tease?”

 

“Uraraka-san,” Iida began chidingly, only to falter when Katsuki looked at her like she’d burst into flames.

 

“I...I didn’t really think of it like that. Deku as in Dekiru, huh?” Katsuki sat here, expression dazed.

 

“So what was Midoriya-san like?” Mina asked as she leaned against Katsuki, looking at the flowers placed in front of the marker.

 

“A huge nerd,” Katsuki replied instantly. “Had the dorkiest smile and these stupid freckles that made no sense because his parents don’t really have freckles.”

 

The sun was setting as Katsuki spoke, darkening sunlight filtering through the headstones and stretching shadows towards the clustered students. Katsuki, mid-sentence, looked between Kirishima’s and Shinsou’s shoulders and the words stuttered in his throat at the breathtaking smile on dimpled, freckles cheeks that met his gaze.

 

“You okay?” Kirishima asked, looking over his shoulder to see what had silenced their new friend. Katsuki stared at the open air, seeing nothing. It had been a trick of the light. That was all, just a trick of the light from the setting sun.

 

“...I - maybe. Maybe I will be,” Katsuki answered finally. He inhaled and the wind shoved through him, stealing away a small sliver of the weight crushing down on his chest. He exhaled and almost swore he felt the phantom brush of fingers lightly touching his shoulder in a final farewell.

 

Maybe he would be. Eventually. Katsuki just needed time.