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Ground Zero

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Ground Zero

 

In the wake of Kamino, Katsuki is tested more than anyone could imagine. Bound by a villain’s quirk to keep his silence or die, he lives each day knowing it might very well be his last and that when the villain finally corners him with demands in exchange for his life, there is really only one answer Katsuki Bakugou can give.

 

Chapter 1: Katsuki Bakugou

 

After being dragged through the portal by his neck, Katsuki lets loose the largest explosion he can directly into whatever hidey hole the villains have taken him. The blast is sent through another dark portal, damaging whatever unfortunate space the gate freak saw fit and all Katsuki could do was hope it wasn’t the very flammable forest area his classmates were in.

A split second later, the compression guy has his arm on Katsuki again. The same unpleasant feel of having his body stretched through a tunnel takes hold and he is once more in the damn crystal ball of doom. He can’t move, but he can scream, and he does. He screams until his throat is hoarse and hopes, if nothing else they can hear and be annoyed by it.

It all happened so fast.

He never even had a chance to fight back and its that which pisses him off more than anything else. He’d been taken from behind without even knowing. And now he was trapped. Paralyzed from his toes to the end of his hair.

Fuck them.

Fuck them all.

He’s aware that time passes, vaguely, and when the compressor unravels around him, he feels cold metal against his back. He brings his arms up, but they stop mid movement. Metal wires binding him to… the table? His legs are bound as well. He tries to ignite the palm of his hands, but whatever odd bandages are wrapped around them are soaking up all of his sweat. There’s nothing to ignite.
He turns his head, trying to still the panic as he takes in his surroundings. The compressor freak bows, the mask smiling at him in a much more sadistic way with the wall of medical supplies and tubes directly behind him.

“Special delivery to the Doctor,” the man says silkily.

“Fuck you,” Katsuki snarls.

“Thank you, Sako, I can take it from here.”

Katsuki’s head snaps to the other side to see a man dressed as a Doctor standing before the table. A mustache offsetting a rather round, plain looking face.

“If you’re certain. He can be quite a handful.” Sako tips his top hat, mockingly. “I don’t think any harm came to him though, so this is slightly unnecessary.”

“You can never be too careful. Besides, his medical file is… intriguing.”

“Don’t play with him too much, Doctor, Shigaraki has plans for the kid.”

“Don’t talk about me like I’m not fucking here!”

Bakugou strained against the metal wires, hissing as they dug into his wrists viciously.

“Excitable,” the Doctor murmurs, amused.

“Very.”

Sako bowed once more before turning and leaving the room altogether. The Doctor watches him, clicking his tongue absently as he grabs a tan folder from the desk directly behind him, flipping through the pages with the slowness of someone purposefully trying to be annoying.

“You got a reason you’re trying to draw things out, you piece of shit, or do you just get off on being an overdramatic bitch.”

The Doctor chuckled, using his leg to drag a computer chair over to himself, sitting down and staring at Katsuki with a thoughtful look.

“Interesting medical history you have here, young man.” The Doctor tapped the folder on the metal table.

“If you’re waiting for me to ask you how you got hold of that information, you’re gonna be sorely disappointed. I ain’t fucking impressed.”

The Doctor paused.

“You are quite delightful. I think I’m going to enjoy this more than I thought.”

“Yeah?” Katsuki snarled, feeling a level of alarm he’d never felt before rising in his chest. “And what’s that then?”

“You’re only fifteen years old, yet here it says you’ve donated both blood and bone marrow dozens of times. Why is that?”

Katsuki’s eyes narrowed to slits, with the little available movement he was able, he moved his hands so that both of his middle fingers were jutting out. He grinned as the man tutted.

“Could it be that you are the only one that is a match for your father?”

“Why make a big deal of asking,” Katsuki snarled, “if you already know the answer?”

He hated that shit. It was like people who asked for your opinion and then went and did the fucking opposite. Such fake fucking bullshit. Pretending to value someone’s opinion only to flipped the proverbially bird when it didn’t match up with what they wanted to hear.

“Everything has changed since the development of quirks,” the Doctor murmured, almost as if he was some sort of Professor giving a lecture. “Chaos reigned and governments fell, unable to cope with the magnitude of difficulties these abilities posed to society. Our laws once valued the rights of children far more than they do today.”

Katsuki snorted.

“Your talking like you lived through it.

“Not as such, but I have always had a fascination with history and I have been honored with associates who have indeed experienced the change firsthand.”

“Pull the other leg.”

The Doctor shrugged.

“It is of no concern of mine whether you believe me or not. It is a hard pill to swallow. Our laws nowadays, while moving further and further towards were we once were before the grand collapse, still uphold the idea that children are… commodities rather than people. The idea of garnering bone marrow over and over again from a…”

The Doctor flipped through the medical folder. “…five year old, well, such a thing would have been seen as inhumane and abusive, once upon a time.”

“I chose to give it. Stop fucking dramatizing like some god damn bitch on her cycle.”

“Because if you hadn’t… your father would have died, right?” The Doctor says causally. Katsuki grits his teeth, refusing to answer. What was this fuckers point? What was he trying to get at? Pantsy ass villains and their need to yak and yak. Talking around the point for fucking ever. “I bet you felt like quite the little hero,” the Doctor went on, reading over one of the files even as Katsuki continued to struggle against the wire holding him down. “Did they tell you that you were one? Did they tell you it would be a brave, selfless thing? That a hero would do it? Is that what they told you every time they needed more?”

‘He’s good,’ is his first thought. He knows exactly what this shit bag is implying especially since its nothing Katsuki hasn’t thought before. His teeth feel like their cracking, but he breathes through his nose, forcing his heart to stop its attempts to kill him through sheer force of will. He needed to calm down. He needed to think.

“Is that your tactic?” He forces himself to chuckle, to smirk, even though every muscle in his body is rigid. “You’re not even a real doctor, are you? You got some useless degree in phycho babble and now you parade around calling yourself ‘Doctor’ as your villain name to make yourself feel more legit?”

“Your father has a type of cancer that first appeared a few decades after the grand collapse. I’m sure that you are aware of its history, if nothing else,” the Doctor continues, ignoring Katsuki’s barb.

“Those who inherent quirks, eighty-percent of the population, have a different bone structure from normal humans. Quirimorbus is a cancer that attacks and grows, feeding on this unique bone structure first before stretching out and feeding on the quirk itself.”

“Your voice isn’t good enough for you to be enjoying it this much,” Katsuki drawled. “Get to the fucking point.”

“You grew up watching your father slowly die from this cancer,” The Doctor said thoughtfully. “Then, some time last year, radiation treatment finally showed success. The cancer went into remission. Truly a lucky thing.”

The folder hit the desk with a bang.

Katsuki almost flinched.

“It is a genetic cancer. Inherited from parent to child.”

“What’s this? A scare tactic? Nice try, asshole, but I didn’t inherit it.”

At this, the Doctor grinned, pulling up his sleeves to reveal his fingers. The tips were black.

“It is a recessive trait. I’m sure that they check you every time you go to the hospital just to make sure things are still going well. Chances are they don’t expect any signs of the cancer until at least your late twenties and there’s every chance you could live your whole life without ever experiencing any signs of it at all. Maybe not even your child. Maybe your grandchild will be the next for it to show up in. Who knows?”

That grin was fucking sadistic.

Katsuki pulled all of his weight as far away from the man as possible, straining painfully against the wires as the black fingertips traced his chest, thankfully clothed. When they get a little too close to his mouth he snarls, baring his teeth and trying his damnest to bite those fucking digits… teach him a god damn lesson about personal space.

The Doctor chuckles as he pulls away.

“I watched the Sports Festival, of course, but seeing you face to face, you truly are a savage, feral kid. It is no wonder Shigaraki sees potential in you as a villain.”

“Screw you.”

“No thanks, I’ve already had fun with my assistant today, perhaps tomorrow.”

Katsuki stills at the threat, revulsion sliding its way down his spine. No, no, no, no, no…. the panic must show on his face, or his labored breathing must of given himself away, because the man laughed uproariously.

The black tipped fingers tap his face.

“Come now, a pretty thing like you panicking in such a manner is disgraceful, surely it wouldn’t be your first?”

The grin this time is lecherous and suddenly the idea of being restrained scares Katsuki a hell of a lot more than a moment ago. He flinches violently back, feeling warmth sliding down along his wrists before he ever feels the pain.

“Alright, alright, calm down now, I’m certainly not here for that right now. I was only joking.” The Doctor tuts. Katsuki tries to get his breathing under control, but he can’t. Not with this motherfucker hovering over him like some fucking ra… He stops his thoughts abruptly. Tries to think of something else. Anything else.

Deku’s stupid fucking muttering.

Kirishima’s annoying perky morning-ness.

Kaminari’s idiotic memes.

Anything.

“Dissociation so early on? Or just distraction?” The Doctor mutters, tone amused. A sharp pain strikes through his stomach and Katsuki is forced to look at the man, his fingertips hovering over his stomach. No wound though. No blood. What did he…? “My Quirk,” the Doctor tells him. “It is much like Recovery Girls, you could say that we are two sides of the same coin.” Katsuki’s eyes widen as he sees the black tips begin to glow, the tiniest of black tendrils leaping off of the tips, like microscopic anchors. “I can remove infections, diseases, cancers… anything really, with the tips of these fingers. More than that though, I can control them. Spread them among masses of people. I have.”

Katsuki swallows bile at the implication.

“Whole crowds have walked away without knowing that in a few years time they will be in a doctor’s office being diagnosed with terminal illness. With no one the wiser. All these amateur villains are so… brash. They are like children, wanting attention for their deeds, acknowledgement for their efforts and existence.”

“So you’re what? Just using the hand’s freak?” Katsuki asked.

“Not as such. I truly admire Shigaraki, he will grow into a fine villain one day. Once he gets some of these more childish notions out of his system. His… father, simply has me checking in on him from time to time, to makes sure things are going smoothly. After I am finished with you, I will be heading out.”

Katsuki eyed the still glowing fingers nervously, trying to keep his face as blank as Icyhot’s always was.

“Apple didn’t rot far from the freak tree then?”

“All for One has been playing this game for much longer than anyone else alive. Shigaraki couldn’t hope to compete, but he does well.”

“All for One?”

The black tips moved to his chest, the Doctor smiling at him knowingly.

“Its cute that you think you can get information from me in your position. Admirable, but cute.”

“Know more now than I did a few minutes ago,” Katsuki grinned.

The Doctor nodded in acknowledgement.

“Yes, I imagine that those around you aren’t particularly willing to give information to such a… passionate, violent soul as yourself. Not willing to trust someone who demonstrates such strong signs of villainy.”

Katsuki is struck by the truth in that. The fact that the Pro-heroes were weary of offering him internships. The weariness of his classmates despite how restrained he tried to be around them. He flips the Doctor off again, trying to show he’s unaffected by his words.

“An abrasive young man like yourself whose entire being strives towards the destruction of others…” The Doctor mumbles absently, as if he didn’t have Katsuki strapped down to a table against his will, as if they were talking while sharing fucking tea or something. “You can throw the title of hero over it all you want, but no one is fooled. Even if you do become a Pro-Hero, the public will never acknowledge you as a real hero, your coworkers will never fully trust you, and your mentors will always be weary of you.”

“You don’t know jack shit,” Katsuki snarled.

Everyone was always so quick to assume they knew him. Knew his limits. Knew his personality. Knew his life. Knew what he would be. It was infuriating.

“Shigaraki wants to give you a choice. He wants you to aide them in their cause.”

Katsuki scoffed.

“I feel the same way,” the Doctor nodded. “You are nowhere near ready. You’ve been raised to admire and respect heroes. You know nothing else. As you are now, you would never agree to such things.”

The Doctor’s black fingertips sunk into his chest.

He jerked, a scream tearing out from his throat.

Pain. Pain. Fuck. Shit.

“As I mentioned earlier,” the Doctor continued, “Quirimorbus is a cancer that is genetic, which means there is a recessive trait I can activate.”

Panic swelled in him at those words. His bones ached. They felt as if they were splintering, every inch of them. Breaking into pieces and stabbing outwards towards his muscles and through his skin.

“There are six stages of the cancer. As I know you are aware.”

The fingers left his chest, but the pain remained. He tried to curl into himself, but the wires restricted his movement, a low, agonized moan escaping.

“I’ve accelerated the rate of its development. In the next ten or so hours you shall feel the cancer move through each, an act that normally takes ten years. Do not worry though. You will not die. I will remove it completely from your body once I come back. This is simply to… loosen you up a bit, to understand completely the situation you are in and all the repercussions that comes with fighting the path you are so clearly destined to undergo.”

Katsuki fought for breath, unwilling tears escaping as his body shook.

And then the Doctor began to leave the room.

He was really… going to abandon him like this…

He wanted to curse at the man, wanted to grab him by the little hair on his fucking balding head and drag him to the ground and punch him in that smug fucking face of his. That sadistic asshole.

But he couldn’t.

He couldn’t move.

He couldn’t…

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At three years old, his dad was his hero. Katsuki loved to listen to his father hum gently as he cooked. He loved the way his dad would gently ruffle his hair. How soft spoken his dad was, how, even though it was so soft, he could command Katsuki’s mom to do anything.

Katsuki was nothing like that.

His words always came out so loud even when he tried to imitate the sound. He walked loud and moved loud and everyone always knew the moment he entered the room no matter how sneaky he tried to be. He hated that about himself. It was frustrating. His dad would always tell him it was a good thing. Katsuki would be like his mom who never let anyone push her around. She was a roaring wind on the high seas, he’d tell Katsuki. She was a brilliant, beaming light in an otherwise dark horizon.

Katsuki still preferred the soft to the blunt though. He loved to hang out with his dad in the kitchen, helping him with the cooking and listening to softly spoken tales of the fashion industry, about how once upon a time his dad had wanted to be a hero, of tales of Katsuki’s grandmother who was one.

His dad was his best friend in the whole world.

Then, of course, his mom had introduced him to Auntie Inko. They had been best friends in college and Katsuki had delighted in meeting Izuku. The little green haired kid was just like his daddy. Shy and soft spoken and never brash like him. He instantly liked the kid.

He dragged Izuku around after him from place to place and game to game.

He wanted to impress Izuku with everything.

They compared their figurines and fought ‘bad guys’ and watched hero movies together and planned an entire future of crime fighting as partners before lunch. They would always be the best of friends.

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Shortly after Katsuki turned four his dad collapsed in the kitchen.

The first stage of Quirimorbus. Aching bones and a burning chronic pain. There had been no one to watch Katsuki so late at night so they’d taken him with them to the hospital. His dad had cried in the car. It had been terrifying.

They’d stuck long needles in him and hooked him up to machines and the adults had all talked like he wasn’t there. Words he didn’t understand were thrown around and amidst all the fear and stress, he’d somehow fallen asleep on a chair outside of his dad’s room.

“Katsuki.”

His mom shook him awake, her eyes red and her too loud, jarring voice subdued in a way he’d never heard before. He stared at her blankly before remembering where they were and looking around as if his father would march out of the room with a soft smile on his face and an apology for scaring him.

It didn’t happen.

“Katsuki, I need you to be very brave for me sweetie, do you think you can do that?”

He rubbed at his eyes.

“Where’s daddy?”

“Daddy’s in a bad way. There’s a special Doctor here who has a Quirk that can help him, but he needs a small bit of blood from you, a match for daddy that’s clean and healthy.”
Katsuki nodded, even though he didn’t really understand.

“Okay.”

“There’s my brave boy.”

He wouldn’t understand until later, but apparently Quirimorbus had a 100% fatality rate. Until ten years ago. It had only been recent that the diagnostic didn’t immediately come with a death sentence. As long as it was caught in the first stage and treated correctly there was a good chance the patient would recover.

There was one downside though.

Every four months or so the blood and bones of the patient needed to be ‘healed.’ Which required a sample of blood and a sample of bone marrow from a match that was healthy. The first few times they were able to find bone marrow matches from other sources, but his father’s was rare and matches were a difficult, time consuming process to procure over and over and over again.

Katsuki was a perfect match.

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At five, his dad was still his hero. He got his quirk and he loved to show it off to his dad. At stage two, symptoms being extreme fatigue, chronic pain, and a weakness of the body that left him unable to move much, his dad often did design work for the Fashion Industry from his bed. Katsuki would sit for hours on the bed with him, talking about his adventures with Izuku and some of the other neighborhood boys.

His dad never complained so Katsuki made it a point to never say anything about how donating blood sometimes left him feeling dizzy or how giving bone marrow left that part of his body aching in a way that made everything a little harder. It was for his daddy and totally worth it.

His dad would design him whatever clothes he dreamed up too. Sitting in bed and sewing up All Might themed jackets and really awesome hero gear and they’d talked for hours and hours and then Katsuki would curl up and sleep right there on the bed when he’d tuckered himself out.

 

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“I have to go to the doctor’s tomorrow,” Izuku told him.

Katsuki grimaced.

“That sucks, are you sick?” He peered at his best friend in suspicion. His dad hadn’t looked sick either. “I can help you if you are.”

“No,” Izuku did that fidgety thing like what his dad did when his mom was asking him stuff.

Katsuki huffed in impatience, taking the aggressive tone his mom did to get his dad to talk.

“What is it? If you didn’t want to tell me, then why bring it up!?”

“Its just… he’s gonna help me figure out what my quirk is.”

“Oh, is that all?” Katsuki felt relief. It had scared him for a moment. He thought Izuku might need to have the long needles and the machines his dad needed or that Katsuki himself might need to give more things to his friend to save him. Which, Katsuki was brave, he could handle it, but that stuff always made him feel bad and it would be worse if he had to do it more.

A hero always found a way though.

“Well, its probably something like super soft like giving people extra warm hugs or something,” Katsuki scuffed. “You know… things people don’t really think about? I bet you already have it. Its probably something stupid like you smile and people cheer up.”

Izuku looked up at him from beneath his bangs, big green eyes wide and glistening.

Oops. He hadn’t meant it in a bad way.

No one ever got him. Especially Izuku. It was frustrating and he hated it. Sometimes he wondered if it wouldn’t be better if he just didn’t ever speak. Soft heroes were needed to, after all. They were the ones who picked up after the awesome heroes kicked the bad guys asses.

“Listen, I bet its not gonna be as cool as mine, but it will probably be a good one.”

Izuku nodded, but he still looked upset as he went back to drawing his hero costume.

Katsuki sighed.

Why did he bother trying to cheer people up if they didn’t want to listen?

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The arguments started when his dad reached stage three later that year. Stage three was when parts of his dad’s body started too… collapse? Dark purple marks blotting the area and painful to the touch. Difficulty breathing. Difficulty with everything.

The fights were always about the same thing.

“Fight! Fight this you useless man!” His mom would scream. “If you weren’t so fucking soft, if you’d fight harder…”

“Masaru, you can’t just give up. You can’t. Tuck in that vagina of yorus for one fucking minute and stand up!”

“Baby, honey, please, please, you need to eat. Don’t be so weak willed. You can make it if you only try harder!”

On and on and on, like a background mantra.

Useless. Soft. Weak.

He’d never thought of his dad like that.

That soft was bad, yet it was killing him.

He hated it. Hated the idea that his dad could die because he wasn’t fighting hard enough. Hated that he might lose him because he wasn’t strong enough. Hated that the same things that Katsuki loved so much about his dad were also the things that would kill him.

Suddenly he started to despise the similarities between his dad and Izuku.

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He would never tell Deku this, but when he’d learned the little green eyed kid was quirkless, it was like hearing his dad being diagnosed all over again. All the things he’d admired when they were really little had turned violently on its head.

Deku was no longer kind.

He was weak.

Deku was no longer sweet spoken.

He was cowardly.

Deku was no longer something Katsuki admired.

He was something to be feared.

Deku was just like his dad and his dad broke. Katsuki watched his dad croak and scream and wither away and give up. Katsuki watched Deku shy away and flinch and fall down and not get up.
He hated that weakness.

He wanted nothing to do with it.

But still Deku would follow him, try to be friends with him, smile at him. No matter what Katsuki did to make him go away, Deku always came back. It made him feel sick to his stomach. Deku reminded him too much of his dad. He didn’t want that reminder in his only safe place at school. He didn’t want to be anywhere near either of them at this point.
He was seven and then eight and then nine and the cancer was at a neutral point. Not getting worse, but not getting better, thanks entirely to Katsuki donating so often, giving so much. His dad was trapped in stage three of the cancer, weakening in will and heart and courage and all the good things in the world and Katsuki felt…

Everything he did in the house now was too loud, too much, too bad, too explosive. His dad flinched at anything he did and then… he started flinching when Katsuki walked into the room or talked to him.

It was hard to be home.

So he focused all his energy on school, on training, on ignoring Deku as much as possible and beating him down when Deku wouldn’t leave him be. He focused all his energy, all his heart on being the best. He wanted to be as loud as possible, as abrasive and rude and harsh as he could be. Anything to be nothing like his dad or Deku.

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When he was ten, his dad tried to kill himself.

Only he passed out before he finished. Too weak in the body to complete the job. The gun had been loaded and the safety turned off. There had only been one bullet in the barrel and it had been curled in his hands where Mitsuki found him, Katsuki trailing behind with the groceries in hand.

There’s days after that where Katsuki comes home to an empty house. His dad being committed to the hospital full time and his mother working and spending time at the hospital. Katsuki isn’t allowed ‘to see your father like this’ his mom tells him repeatedly. ‘You need to keep your shit together so that I can make sure he has his shit together,’ she tells him when he complains about being left alone all the time. ‘You need to be stronger than this. You want to be a hero, don’t you? Don’t bitch.’

Katsuki knows he scares Deku during that time. He goes almost a month speaking only when teachers call upon him to answer a question. He ignores not only Deku, but everyone. He doesn’t quite stop taking care of himself, but its close. Meals are missed and sometimes he goes four or five days without a shower. Its not quite enough to garner anyone’s attention outside of Deku’s, but its enough that he scares himself one day when he passes out on the floor.

He doesn’t do that again.

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When he’s eleven, his dad’s cancer finally begins to recede. It’s a new experimental medicine alongside the normal blood and bone marrow treatment. The recovery is long and hard and so very quiet that Katsuki wonders more than once if they’ve all secretly died and are just pretending to be alive inside the house and just don’t know it.

His parents are now reemerging back in his life and its strange and weird and uncomfortable. He knows how to take care of himself. He knows how to cook and clean and wash and he knows when to get up for school and he’s responsible. He doesn’t need his mom to make breakfast for him or to help with his homework. He doesn’t need them at all.

‘This is the person you want to be?’ His mom shouts at him one day. ‘A little ungrateful shit? You think just because everyone else thinks you walk on water that I’ll treat you like that? You ain’t no prince!’

He and his mom fight a lot.

They fight about stupid stuff and they fight about big stuff. His dad is like a shadow. Never saying much and withdrawing to the point that Katsuki doesn’t really recognize the person who sits at the table with them.

His dad is there, but Katsuki still misses him and he hates that. It’s a weakness in himself, to want something that he can’t have. His dad has fallen and crumbled and after all this time there’s no way to really force the pieces back together again. His dad isn’t ever going to sit on a bed with him talking about anything and everything ever again. He isn’t going to design Katsuki’s stupid ideas and he’s not going to smile softly or nudge him reassuringly or make up stories with him about superheroes.

Sometimes he wonders if it wouldn’t be easier if his dad wasn’t there at all.

It’s a horrible thought that keeps him up at night and he quickly stamps down on it so hard and so viciously that he hopes it never, ever comes again. It’s all so suffocating. He feels overwhelmed all the time and only keeping his mind busy with schoolwork and his body with working out and running keeps him going.

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He’s thirteen and UA is within his reach. He needs to escape. He needs to get away from his parents as quickly as possible before the depressive air starts to leak into his skin like an infection. His dad’s cancer has finally gone away completely. His dad is putting on a healthy amount of weight and is starting to go back to work full time.

His parents are starting to fall in love again.

Everything is going good.

But Katsuki feels like an intruder in his own family. An irregularity that causes disruption every time he enters and peace when he leaves.

UA isn’t just a top school for superheroes, its an escape route. If he can get in then he’ll be closer to being a real superhero, to being something that matters. All his time and energy will be dedicated to the extensive, intense hero training. He’ll practically never be home. There will be no reminders, no interaction with his parents, he can practically be his own adult once he gets into UA.

 

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He panics when he hears Deku wants to go to UA.

Because the little shit is resilient and fucking clever. Too clever. He has always kept pretty darn close to Katsuki in grades and his biggest flaw has always been disregarding his body. The little nerd doesn’t work out at all, but knowing the little twerp also means that he’ll find a way. The little shit will follow him, like he always does, and the thought is enough to turn his stomach.

He can’t.

He can’t come to Katsuki’s safe zone.

Reminding him every second of the day of soft smiles and nice things and spineless attitudes. A living breathing flinching, weak hearted, easily broken, shadow of a kid who wants to be something he physically cannot be.

“Just prayer you’ll be born with a quirk in your next life and take a swan dive off the roof of the building.”

He doesn’t regret it.

He doesn’t.

He. Does. Not.

He fucking does. Fuck. He does. He’s just as weak willed and spineless as his fucking dad and Deku. God damn it. He refuses to apologize though. He hates Deku. He might regret the words, but he doesn’t regret the intent.

Deku needs to get it through his thick head that being quirkless means he might get into UA, but it won’t be the hero program. It will be the General Education Program and that would break the little shit. He wasn’t strong willed and he was too fucking soft and watching everybody else in the hero program from afar would fucking destroy him.

Didn’t he get that?

He’s needs to be realistic here. He needs to go off and work for some business helping kids or talking to troubled people or some shit that’s inspiring or something that’s not physically beyond him. Most of all though… he needs to stay the fuck away from Katsuki.

Every time he has to look at that stupid nerd, he just feels anger and resentment and hatred. He’s all that’s wrong in his life and he just wishes Deku would take a hint and leave him be.

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He’s fifteen and has been kidnapped.

He is at stage four of the Quirimorbus.

‘There’s no coming back from that stage,’ his mind tells him, unhelpfully. His lungs refuse to expand fully. He can’t feel his feet or his hands anymore. He knows if he could turn his head at this point to see, they would be an ugly purplish black in color.

Stage Four, Katsuki knows, is when the law allows patients to choose a mercy killing if they so desire. It is the stage that no amount of medication or treatment or transfusions can cure or help. It is simply pain. Agony. Paralysis.

Katsuki can feel drool sliding out of his mouth, he can feel it sticking to his cheek, but he can’t quite close his mouth. Every time he does, there’s a clicking of the bones in his face and its like a grinder has been taken to the bones there.

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He is fifteen and has been kidnapped.

He is at stage five.

He can’t feel his hips anymore. He can’t move even if he wanted to. His back feels as if all the bones are grinding together there. His heart feels more like a throbbing, living thing. It is all he has left. A heart and lungs ramming into one another.

Beating.

Breathing.

Beating.

Breathing.

Throb. Throb. Throb.

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He is fifteen and has been kidnapped.

He is at stage six and he is going to die.

There is nothing left. No feeling at all. His breaths stagger, halt, stagger, halt. They will stop soon. Agony has consumed his mind for so many hours that this is actually quite nice. He can’t say goodbye to anyone, but he pretends to.

He pretends to tell Deku to not be a weak ass nerd and to grow a spine so he can actually pull off his idiotic fucking dream.

He pretends to tell his dad that he’s sorry he didn’t try harder to be there for him.

He pretends to give his mom a hug cause he’s not sure what to say to her.

He pretends a lot of things to a lot of different classmates. Mainly the moron patrol for their idiotic choice for picking him to hang out with. Especially Kirishima who should really fucking know better than to slack off all the God damn time when the idiot had such golden potential.

He pretends to tell All Might to watch the nerd’s back.

It’s as things are starting to go dark that he hears the distant sound of footsteps.

“Oops, left you a little too long, haven’t I?”

Pretends to flips the fucker off.

 

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He is fifteen and has been kidnapped.

He is not dead.

Why the fuck isn’t he dead?

“Finally quiet then, Katsuki Bakugou?”

He does not have the energy to so much as glare. It is taking everything in him to simply keep breathing. Sweat covers him from head to toe. He is slick with it. His body is trembling hard enough that there are little spasms, jerking against the wire, hitting the metal table beneath him. It hurts, but its like a drop of water compared to the ocean he’s been drowning in for hours.

“Half a day,” the Doctor notes, “in case you were wondering.”

‘Motherfucking piece of shit,’ Katsuki’s mind seethed. ‘Sadistic fucking bastard.’

Nothing comes out though.

He has been rendered mute in the aftermath of that.

“Now that you’ve been softened up,” the Doctor ends the last word with a pop on the P. “Here is the threat.”

A small thing escapes Katsuki’s throat. It’s a little hysterical, the noise reminiscent of a laugh, but cracked. The Doctor moves forward with a needle, stabbing it into Katsuki’s arm and drawing blood. Once its pulled out, full, the man taps it and holds it up to the light as if admiring it. And then he puts it up to his own arm, the needle hovering over veins, and inserts. Katsuki’s own blood goes into the monster.

“When Shigaraki asks you to join the League, you will do so.”

‘I’d rather die,’ Katsuki thinks, but he still can’t respond.

“With your blood in me, I no longer need to physically touch you to give you the Quirimorbus. I can manifest it in you at any stage, at any time, for any length of time I so please. There is no need for you to suffer from it though, All for One has made his wishes clear that he desires Shigaraki to succeed and Shigaraki wants you.”

‘Shigaraki can go fuck off.’

“Of course, we can’t have him believing you were coerced into joining. It would defeat the purpose of what he wants. We can’t have his journey being diverted in anyway.”

What was this? The Doctor and this All for One were manipulating the entire situation from the shadows, creating end results before the League’s leader could make one move forward. Guaranteeing results so that the crazy pycho got everything he needed.

The Doctor made a hand motion. From the corner of the room, Katsuki saw a young woman walk up to them. Silver hair pulled back tight against a face that looked painted on. Her movements were stiff, but her smile was relaxed, almost lazy.

“My assistant, her quirk means she was practically born to be a villain, the ability to force others to retain silence. It is widely versatile. She can render individuals mute or on a more specialized scale, she can render them incapable of communication (spoken, written, hand gestures, etc.) for certain topics.”

The woman smiled, grabbing Katsuki’s neck with the enthusiasm of a child getting their hands on a puppy. A burning sensation encircled the spot from where she touched all the way around to the nape of his neck.

“Anything to do with myself or my assistant is now… taboo. Should you try to communicate my actions to Shigaraki in any way, you will not only be unable to, but Rheina here will know about it immediately and I will bring the Quirimorbus to stage six. No second chances, Katsuki.”

He passes out.

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The next time he is aware, truly aware, he is strapped down in a chair. His hands are bound and locked inside a box he is, unfortunately familiar with. A quirk suppressor. Though why it was necessary when he could still feel the strange bandages around his hands, he has no idea.

Hand’s freak is rambling.

This is just fucking great.

He’s surrounded by his kidnappers. Exhaustion and phantom pain gripping his entire body. He’s not even paying attention to their words. The television is on and theirs news outlets covering UA and the attack. And his honest emotions are just… he doesn’t care. He wants to crawl into a hole and sleep for a decade. He feels the odd out of body experience that comes with trying to stay up too late for too many days in a row.

This is all such a god damn sham.

He wants to mock Shigaraki. He wants to tell the A-hole that he’s never actually made a real decision in his life. He’s been spoon fed this farce of leadership. It’s clear he’s not the true power behind all of this.

But he can’t.

He stays silent, for the most part, glowering at them as they yak and yak and yak back and forth between them. About real heroes and fakes, about half formed plans and declarations, and its all just so… fucking hysterical.

Finally, finally, Shigaraki turns to him. He’s already told them to fuck off numerous times tonight, but he feels this time is different. They’ve been yammering on and they’ve made their point and they are ready to get down to business.

“I’ll ask you one more time, aspiring hero, Katsuki Bakugou,” the tone is mocking, almost. Shigaraki turns somber as he leans forward on his stool. His eyes are anxious and excited. Like a child whose finally made it to the front of the line in a candy store. “Will you join me?”

The thought of it all ending here is painful.

Katsuki doesn’t want to die.

Especially not like that.

But anything else is unacceptable.

He will win like All Might, that will never change, he will face them head on.

He will never join them.

Never.

 

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After the rescue, Katsuki spends the entire evening waiting to die.

He watches the fight between All Might and All For One with Deku beside him and is sickened that its all in vain. That All Might…

He waits to die at the police station.

He waits to die in his living room as his mom sobs into his chest and his dad pulls him into a hug that is almost suffocating.

He waits to die in his bed that night, staring up at the ceiling.

But it never happens.

Death does not come.

Not the following day or the day after. The shock of it all eventually wares off and suspicion begins to take hold. What are they waiting for? Had the Doctor lied? Had he been bluffing about being able to do it from anywhere? Did it require something more that Katsuki wasn’t aware of and the moment the Doctor was able to fulfill that need he would drop dead?

Four days pass before he gets an answer.

It is as 11:59 moves seamlessly into 12:00 on another sleepless night that Katsuki’s feet and hands go numb. He drops to the ground of his room and the bottle of water hits the floor with a ‘thud,’ making more noise than his pained lungs are capable of. Pain wrap around every muscle and bone and inch of his body. He has just enough ability to curl into a ball as he trembles.

This is it.

This is how he dies.

Only he doesn’t.

One hour on the dot, as 12:59 moves into 1:00 A.M, it all stops. He can breathe and move, though the lingering agony leaves him stunned and breathless. He can move, but he doesn’t want to. The thought of moving makes him want to vomit. So he stays there on the ground for who knows how long, trembling and breathing too deep, trying to pull himself together.

And then it happens.

The smallest portal Katsuki has witnessed so far from the gates creep forms over his desk. A tiny piece of paper fluttering to the wood and sitting there innocently like it wasn’t a fucking condemnation of his life. On it is written a message in red, as if it needed the extra dramatic affects to be fucking terrifying.

‘It appears as if you need further conditioning before you are ready. That is fine.’