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Damsel in Distress

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Damsel in Distress. That’s what the article read.  “…Uravity, the city’s Damsel in Distress…” The edges of the newspaper began to singe. There was a muffled growling as the new anchor on the TV spoke blearily on the waiting room’s speakers, “Due to the events here in downtown yesterday, Uravity has been rushed to the ER and now is floating between life and death in critical condition.”

The breaking point happens then. In a second, the newspaper goes up in flames, and the TV is blown up. Bakugou Katsuki stands, huffing and sweating profusely, in an empty waiting room. The clock on the walls reads 1:00 AM, his classmates had left hours ago, right when visiting hours ended. But, Bakugou couldn’t move. She was in here, laid up in a hard bed, tubes connected everywhere, a monitor bleeping too slow for his liking. He wasn’t her friend; he was just her classmate.  But he was there; he saw it all happen. And her real friends just left her here. Alone, in that dark room. He couldn’t stand it. The least he could do was stay in the waiting room until she woke up. “If” his mind growled, “If.”

The lady at the desk watched the spectacle and sighed. “Sir,” she starts slowly. Once she had his attention she continues, “Do you want to just be in the room with her?”

“Haah?” He growls, “Isn’t that privilege only for family members?”

The lady nods, “It is, but I’d rather you not blow up any more of the waiting room, and you seem like you care enough about her too –“

“I don’t,” Bakugou interrupts, “I don’t know fucking –“

“Do you want to see her or not, sir?” The lady finishes sternly.

Bakugou snarls, but nods. The lady gives him a pass to indicate he is family, and he makes his way towards her room. He slides the door open quietly and almost breaks the handle at sight. The window’s curtains are slightly open, so just a sliver of moonlight reflects on the crisp white sheets she’s under. Her hair splays against the pillows, she’s elevated ever-so-slightly, and a tube in down her throat. The monitor beeps slowly, “agonizingly slow,” he thinks with a grunt. There’s a chair shoved against the door that he pulls towards the bed. He sits and stares blankly at her face. He can feel his body’s temperature rising, the look on her face isn’t peaceful or pretty.

“You look dead, Uraraka,” he croaks. His hands move on their own, settling just near hers on the bed. He wouldn’t dare hold her hand; he wouldn’t allow himself to break that easy. An hour passes, Bakugou leans back in his chair, drifting off to the sounds of beeps and hisses of machines. Somewhere, deep down, he admits to himself he’d like to fall asleep to her breathing.

***

Since that night, Bakugou is a frequent visitor. The staff knows him well; often he’s found yelling at the vending machine down Hall 5 that gets the candy stuck. His classmates visit as well, but no one stays as long a Bakugou does.  Bakugou brings a duffle with every visit, a change of clothes, a book to read (usually a fantasy genre book, to read out loud to her, but he denies it when asked), his laptop (the UA staff allows him to complete most of his homework online now), and his toiletries. The hospital staff admires his dedication (that he denies) and even set up a temporary bed for him. 

Her parents desperately try to visit her just as often, but due to their business and financial issues, they just can't. They gave Bakugou their blessing, which he accepted with his fists clenched and his head down.

It's when Izuku is done crying, when Tenya stops holding her hand, when Mina stops brushing her hair, it's when he’s alone with her that he’ll sing. Never loud enough for the nurses to hear, but while he sits with her, hands placed next to her hand, he’ll begin with a soft hum, then a lullaby his father would sing to him slip past his lips. 

He’s only cried once, and it was a small moment. One night, just as he eased into the song, her finger shifted ever-so-slightly, brushing against his own. His voice wobbled, and he even growled a bit, but he composed himself to finish the song, and after the silence encased them again, he said softly, “Don’t give up Cheeks. Keep on.”

Sometimes, he leaves the room at dawn. He takes laps around the hospital, concentrating hard on improving himself. He’ll work out between the time's everyone else visits. But, no matter what, by the end of the day: he’s there. The nurses sometimes talk about him, how he’s the sweetest boyfriend, how he must love her. 

It makes him boil; he doesn’t love her, he’s here because it’s the right thing to do. How can everyone just leave her, especially that, in his words: “That fucker Deku?!” 

She’d be all alone if he left, and Ochako is not someone who can be left alone. “You’re anything but,” He breathes in, “fragile, Uraraka,” he spits out the cursed word “fragile.” He hates that word, especially when it’s applied to her. It’s a lie, a rouse to demean her, to stunt her growth. 

Uravity could rise through the ranks; he knows she’s competition, especially if she applies herself. Her quirk can be used to amplify anyone else’s, and if she can get over her queasiness, she’d be unstoppable.

“But you let people weigh you down, dumbass,” He tells her quietly. “You have to prove these fuckers wrong, that you are Uravity, top-tier hero. You have to prove them wrong, Cheeks. Don’t let fucking Deku overshadow you, or anyone else. Even me. You have it, use your fucking paw pads and grab it, Uraraka.”

She doesn’t answer, but he doesn’t expect her to. The doctors concluded that it’s up to her when she wants to wake up, that they’ve done all they can. Her classmates cheer her on when they visit, giving her words of encouragement. Her parents, when they can, visit with bleary eyes and weak smiles. They pray over her, asking – pleading her to come back to them. 

Bakugou sits with her, his temper rising at the sight of her motionlessness. One night, he breaks. 

“Fucking,” he mumbles, “Fucking!” He slams his fist against the bed, causing her to shake a little. He steps back, knowing how destructive his temper (and his quirk) can get. “Just, just wake up, already! What are you waiting for, Cheeks?! A fucking invitation?!” He’s screaming now, a first. Bakugou will usually yell anywhere else, but never in her room – but after waiting five months, his temper has finally reached its limit. “Uraraka!” His voice cracks before he finally goes quiet.

It takes a moment before he sits back in the chair. He tries to even out his huffing, and shakily combs through his hair.

He stays for another hour, brushes her hair away from her face, and takes his leave.

When finals finally come to UA, Ochako has a decline in visitors. Izuku barely makes it to visiting hours, Tenya cries that until he finishes with finals, he’ll have to stop coming – soon, the rest of the class decides to follow Tenya’s resolve. Bakugou shakes with anger in the hospital room. He knows finals are coming, but they can study here. They can still be with her. They just abandoned her. 

“Some fucking heroes they are,” He growls. He turns to look at Uraraka, “Oi, you better wake up soon, or you’ll be a grade behind.”

Bakugou sighs and brings his bookbag towards the bed. He clicks his tongue, “Can’t be helped then, asshole. If you can’t study, I’ll study for both of us.”

Finals pass on, and Bakugou places second this time around. The teachers are impressed; the students are slightly baffled. 

“Where did you find the time to study,” Kirishima says boldly in the classroom.

Bakugou looks at him with narrowed eyes, then to the class that is carefully watching the conversation. 

“She’s not exactly a talker at the moment, Shitty-Hair,” He clenched teeth. The class stiffens, but Bakugou is already on his rant-mode,  “Not that any of you would know. Finals?” His voice picks up in volume, “That’s your excuse? It’s a quiet room; she’s in a fucking coma! And you just left her! You don’t want to visit her anymore, just be honest you sack of shits! You’ve given up on her! You all have just decided that she’s permanently broken!” He’s huffing, his face is beet-red when he looks towards his class, who stare back, mouths agape and eyes full.

“Kacchan,” Izuku tries, “That not fair.”

Bakugou whips his head around, “Haah?! You like that’s unfair, eh, Deku?”  He rises from his seat and stalks towards the curly-haired boy, “You know what’s unfair, you sack of shit? She’s laid up in a fucking hospital! Her parents can’t even visit often, and you, you - who she admires the most - you chose to leave her. That’s unfair to her.”

He begins to walk away, a teary-eyed Izuku in his wake, when Kirishima softly calls out, “Where are you going?”

“Where else?” He snaps, slamming the door behind him.

***

When he storms into her room’s hallways, he immediately notices the group of nurses and doctors at her door. He rushes forward, fists curled so tight it stings. They turn to him, teary-eyed. His heart drops to the floor, and his head begins to pound. “This is it,” he thinks frantically, painfully, “She’s gone. She’s gone and I couldn’t –“

“Oh, honey," a nurse breathes, "We already called her parents and the school." He looks at her, eyes wide with panic, "Do, do you wish to see her?” A nurse quietly asks. Mouth hidden behind her hands.

He doesn’t answer; his voice is gone. He tries to steady his breathing; he winces as his eyes begin to sting from the on-coming rainstorm of tears. He stands with his head sunk low, in the doorway and deafened by his heartbeat throbbing in his ears. He’s so deafened, he fails to hear the heart-monitor beeps.

“Uraraka, I’m –“ His voice is raspy, wholly torn from the shock.

“Bakugou?!” A small voice squeaks from the bed, “I didn’t know you were coming!”

His head whips-up so quickly that it cracks, and both of them wince. He stares at her, eyes wide and lips hanging open. She returns the look for a moment, then smiles cheekily, “It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”

He shuts his mouth, “’Awhile?’” He takes a few steps towards her, “’Awhile’?”

Uraraka looks nervous; he’s too quiet. He breaks his behavior when he screams, “You! Fucking! Asshole! I thought you fucking died on me! I fucking thought you goddamned left me! And the most, no – no, you fucking! – the first thing you have the goddamned nerve to say to me is: ‘It’s been a while’?!”

She laughs nervously, “Well, it has been, hadn’t it?” But her smile fades away when she sees his head bent low, shoulders slightly shaking, “Hey,” she reaches for him – and almost falls out the bed. He grabs her, hoists her up, and presents a bloodshot-eyed death glare. “Woah, Aizawa would be proud.”

He clicks his tongue, almost pulling away from her, when she grips him, “Thank you, Bakugou. Thank you for coming, and thank you for caring. I know, what happened was –“

“Uraraka!!” A voice cheers from the doorway. 

Bakugou’s arms tense, “Deku” he grates under his breath just as Uraraka says, “Midoriya!” cheerfully. Izuku, followed by the rest of the class piles through the door. Bakugou breaks free from Uraraka’s grip, retreating to the edge of the room.  They gather around her, yapping away. She lights up, happy to see her friends.  He stays against the wall, arms folded. He watches her blush under all the attention, how she waves off any lingering concern. He watches her doe-eyed gaze at shitty-Deku, her too bright smile at Asui, and her laughing face with Mina and Denki’s shitty jokes. He watches it all, but what catches his gaze the most is when their classmates carry most of the conversation – she continually looks for him, and when she finds him, she gives him the most gentle smile he’s ever seen.

“Bakugou,” Shouto says calmly next to him, “The class wanted to apologize but, what you said the other day –“

Bakugou turns sharply to Shouto, hissing out lowly, “Shut the fuck up, Half-n’-Half. She doesn’t need to know about how shitty you’ve all been. Let her have this fucking moment or so help me I’ll –“

Uraraka let’s out a slight cough, and Bakugou quickly turns to her. She waves the other off, but Bakugou knows better. He’s keen with those eyes of his, and he sees that she’s gotten just a smidge paler.

“Everyone,” He bellows, “get the fuck out. You’ve exhausted her.”

Uraraka wanted to fight back, but he was right – she still ached from her accident, and a headache was starting to spring its way forward.   

Her classmates left with a wave and promises they’ll be back. Bakugou scoffed to himself but watched quietly as they all went. Shouto looked towards him, to Uraraka, then to the class, and left.

“Thanks, Bakugou.”

He sat in his usual seat, “Yeah, learn to speak up, dumbass. If they make you tired, tell them to fuck off.”

Uraraka looked at Bakugou, sitting calmly in the chair by her. “He’s…staying?” she thought surprisingly.  Bakugou shifts, uncomfortable under her stare.

“You need something, Uraraka?” He asks calmly, though the blood rushing to his ears betrayed him.

 “Honestly, I don’t really know.”

“Tell me when you figure it out,” He says casually. Bakugou puts the duffle-bag he'd been holding on the floor, unzips it, and takes out a notebook. He tosses on the bed, “Here, everything we had learned this year, and my advice on how to improve your grades.”

She picked up the notebook, starry-eyed. “You’re kidding?!”

“No, motherfucker I am not kidding, you – “

“Bakugou,” she cheers, “Thank you so much!”

Her smile was brighter than he’d ever seen it. He didn’t know what to do. His gut told him to ignite his palms and blow himself through the roof, his mind told him to marry her, but in the end – he huffed a “Whatever.”