A personal trainer’s day started early, and usually the alarm went off around five and had Katsuki groaning until he could rummage through the crap on the bedside table and turn it off. Get up, shovel food into your face, go to the gym, work, shower, go home, eat, sleep, repeat.
That was his schedule six days a week, so it was only human to let him have one day off to sleep in. Sunday was the day of rest, or whatever. Not that he was religious.
What he was on this particular Sunday was beyond pissed to be jolted from his pleasant and well-deserved slumber by the sound of his phone, only having gotten thirty extra minutes of sleep. Seeing Kirishima’s number onscreen caused an actual physical growl to rumble out of his throat, and he jammed the ‘accept call’ button with fury just shy of cracking the screen.
“This had better be fucking g—“
“BAKUGO. BAKUGO WAKE THE FUCK UP. NOW. YOU NEED TO BE HERE LIKE TEN MINUTES AGO DUDE, YOU NEED TO—“ Kirishima, a fellow trainer, was an excitable guy on the best of days, and on the worst, he was so fucking annoying Katsuki wanted to put him face-first through Nutribullet in the gym’s cafe. Right now? He was thinking about putting him feet-first, just to watch him suffer.
“Kirishima, it is fucking Sunday and that means you have exactly three seconds to tell me why I shouldn’t turn you into a pile of guts and stupid fucking hair the next time I see you.” He snarled, cutting Kirishima’s insane chatter off with his lowest, most hateful tone, the one reserved for when someone had sincerely pissed him off. Because seriously, five-fucking-thirty in the morning.
“All Might is here.”
Just like that, Kirishima was rescued from the jaws of certain doom via smoothie maker. Katsuki’s feet hit the floor and he dove for his closet, thanking whatever universal being was stupid enough to put up with him for the fact that he’d done his laundry two days ago, and thus had a clean workout shirt with the gym’s logo emblazoned across the front and a pair of shorts to go with it.
The phone went between his sleep-puffed face and his shoulder as he hopped around trying to pull on socks, ears not even registering Kirishima’s resumed babble. “—Wait. He’s actually there, in person, in our gym? You’d better not be shitting me. I’ll fucking end you.”
“Yes, dude. Ochako just checked him in, and he spent a few minutes talking to Aizawa, but now he’s in the locker rooms. Get here, like, now.”
Katsuki didn’t even bother with goodbyes as he hung up the phone and jammed it in the pocket of his shorts, struggling into a sweatshirt, and grabbing his duffel bag and water bottle to head out the door. Kirishima would get it, and he didn’t give a flying fuck about offending him anyhow. Bastard’s fucking hair was an offense to public decency, so he deserved it.
The door slammed behind him and Katsuki debated whether or not to run down the quiet, predawn street to get to the bus stop faster, and settled on a light jog.
All Might was there, in the gym, and he was missing it.
Plus Ultra gyms weren’t just your average iron jungles where meatheads pumped iron and ran on shitty, outdated treadmills—nor was it one of those twenty four hour joints where businessmen and yummy mummies alike panted their way through Zumba and mediocre yoga. No, the motto of Plus Ultra was ‘go beyond’, and every staff member knew that meant going beyond simple fitness into working with people on improving their bodies, their health, and ultimately, their lifestyles. They boasted the best personal training programs on the entire coast, extensive facilities that included a ballet and yoga studio, a boxing gym, a pilates studio with state of the art equipment, saunas, sports massage, physical therapy, and nutrition coaching, and it all started with the dream of one man: the wrestler-turned-fitness-legend Toshinori Yagi.
Better known to his fans (and his staff) as All Might.
All Might had been a pro wrestler with a huge and adoring fan base for many years, winning title after title with his impressive moves and his crowd-pleasing antics as a showy, patriotic ‘superhero’ of the ring. Katsuki couldn’t help but feel a tingle of warmth in his chest as he remembered cramming onto the ratty sofa in the living area of his childhood home, wedged between his mother and father, begging them to turn to the wrestling channel and chanting All Might’s name as the theme music began to play. He’d always seemed big and strong, larger than life as he pounded the pre-selected roster of wrestling ‘villains’ into the ground.
The matches tended to be pretty similar in setup—the villain would come out, growling and antagonizing the crowd, who would boo and hiss until the lights dimmed and focused on the runway where All Might strutted out, star-spangled uniform gleaming under the spotlights, raising his arms to the crowd and shouting ‘Don’t worry—it’ll be okay because I’m here now!’. Then he’d proceed to make mincemeat of the villain with a Missouri Smash or Texas Smash or other, strangely America-themed move that sent the loser staggering off while the fans went wild.
Yeah, okay, All Might had been his childhood hero.
Then he got cancer.
The former glory of the ring’s Number One Hero had been drained from him so fast it was like someone had deflated a balloon inside him, his once imposing stature whittling down to almost nothing at all. He’d survived, but only barely; Toshinori Yagi lived, but All Might had to hang up his cape for good. Most would have laid down and taken the end of their glory with silence, or maybe a few half-hearted attempts at a comeback, but not him—no, Toshinori had a different idea.
Everyone who worked at Plus Ultra had heard the story: he’d been standing in front of the mirror, looking at the body that had just fought it out with the ravages of the disease and the rounds of chemotherapy needed to cure it, nearly a hundred pounds lighter than when he’d started, almost all of his muscle mass gone. The body that had been his pride and joy was a shadow of its former self, and yet Toshinori found, at the bottom of the well of depression over his loss, a gratitude. The cancer had gone into remission and he was still there. Still standing. He had his body, and therefore he had a hope of being healthy once again, and that suddenly meant more to him than the shelves of trophies and wrestling belts he’d won.
So he’d founded Plus Ultra as a way of sharing his new ideal that anyone, no matter what condition they were in, deserved and could achieve health. No matter what that looked like for them. Plus Ultra had been a massive success, with branches popping up in major cities around the globe, and by the time Katsuki finished his undergrad degree he knew he wanted nothing more than to work there.
Even if it meant he had to get up at the fucking ass-crack of dawn to see his hero.
The bus pulled into the stop just as Katsuki had begun muttering curses against it under his breath, bouncing from leg to leg in an attempt to warm up against the morning chill. Would have been better if he’d not been wearing shorts, but it wasn’t like he had a lot of time to give his wardrobe choices thought. He leapt onto the bus and tapped his card against the reader, scowling at a blank-eyed businessman who cringed into the corner and let him have the aisle seat.
Good. At least his legs wouldn’t be tired before he got to meet All Might.
At the gym, everything was….controlled chaos was likely the best word for it. Ochako Uraraka was manning the desk, but her usually warm and friendly smile had been replaced with something strained and bordering on manic. (Not that he was going to tell anyone that he thought she was warm or friendly. He addressed her only as ‘Round Face’, and wasn’t ready to admit that she didn’t get wholly on his nerves.) Out on the main gym floor, Denki Kaminari was furiously rearranging cold-towels that were already in perfect rolls inside the fridge by the weight racks, his spiked hair somehow managing to be in more disarray than usual, and Mina Ashido’s equally stunning pink locks were just visible from where she appeared to be cleaning the underside of one of the weight benches.
But despite the intense swirl of nervous activity from his colleagues, All Might was nowhere to be seen. Katsuki could only shake his head as Kaminari moved on from the towels to refilling the hand sanitizers, despite the fact that the night janitor already did that. Jesus, these people were insane. Katsuki made a direct line for the men’s lockers, intent on finding Kirishima and working out where the hell All Might actually was, when he rounded the corner and almost collided into an unfamiliar body.
The ‘watch where the fuck you’re going, shithead’ was on the tip of his tongue before he remembered he was at work, and the fact that he’d never seen this guy in his life meant that he was probably a new member of the gym. Aizawa—gym manager and membership coordinator— had almost fired him, or potentially murdered him, or potentially both, because he’d once spoken too harshly to a new member and they ended up cancelling their membership.
That had been years ago, and Katsuki had learned not to direct his short fuse at the clients, even when they clearly could not use the eyes set in their own goddamn face. Which were green, in this stranger’s case. The brilliance of the jungle-green color contrasted in a striking way with the soft porcelain-pale of his skin, and was probably the one and only particularly startling thing about him. The rest seemed utterly plain and unassuming. Average height, baggy clothes, dark hair, a face that was neither particularly handsome nor notably ugly. He was the kind of guy you forgot about as soon as you looked away from him, which is exactly what Katsuki did as he muttered an apology and hurried past into the lockers.
Kirishima was leaning back against one of the lockers, a clipboard in his hand and a weirdly blissful expression on his face that Katsuki really, really didn’t want to think of other contexts for.
“Hey—hey, Hair Horror, look fucking alive for a second. Where’s All Might?” He snapped his fingers in front of Kirishima’s face for emphasis, but that didn’t even seem to faze the other trainer as he aimed a dopey smile in Katsuki’s direction.
“Bro, he touched my shoulder.”
“He called me ‘young Kirishima’ and put his hand on my shoulder and said it looked like we were ‘running a tight ship’ around here. I think that’s the best thing anyone’s ever said to me. I’m never washing my shoulder again. Is this heaven?” Kirishima brought the clipboard up to his chest and crossed his arms over it, the way a love-struck teenage girl might clutch schoolbooks to her chest in a shitty high school rom-com. Not that Katsuki had ever seen any of those, but fuck you, he’s aware of tropes.
Katsuki quashed the urge to slap sense into his best friend, not the least because that slap would have been laced with more than a little jealousy. “I don’t give a ripe goddamn. Where is he now?”
Kirishima gestured to the door at the opposite end of the row of lockers, which opened into the spa and physical therapy rooms. “He wanted to drop in on Iida, apparently. Says he knows his older brother from wrestling days, which is cool as fuck. I didn’t even know Iida had a brother, much less that it was Igenium.”
Just like the four-eyed fucker to keep something like that to himself. Not that he and Katsuki talked that often, but still. How could someone as lame as the freaking massage therapist be related to another famous pro wrestler? Some people had all the goddamn luck. Katsuki strode off towards the spa, waving a noncommittal hand in Kirishima’s direction. For his part, Kirishima still seemed to be in his haze of hero-worship, and didn’t notice a thing. Idiot.
The inside of the spa was always dimly lit, and soft harp music played over the sound of water running over stones from speakers hidden somewhere in the walls. Combined with the warmth and cloying scent of almond oil and neroli, Katsuki always felt like he was stepping into some sort of shamanic ritual tent when he came back here. Probably explained why he didn’t do it that often.
“Hello, Bakugo. Nice to see you in here. I don’t suppose you’ve come by for a treatment at this hour, have you?” The deep voice from just over his left shoulder almost had Bakugo lashing out with a fist, and he put two and two together to stop himself before he broke Iida’s glasses. And his nose.
Instead he whirled on the physical therapist and fixed the bastard with a glare that could peel paint. “You never told me your brother was Ingenium.”
“I don’t suppose you ever asked. About anything, at all. You’re usually too busy telling me to clear my schedule because you have a cramp.” Iida raised an eyebrow, arms folded calmly over his chest. Why the hell did a massage therapist have to be so goddamn brawny, anyway? Maybe the whole wrestling thing ran in the family.
“Still would’ve been nice to know that there’s something interesting about you,” Katsuki fired back, standing his ground, determined not to let Iida’s bizarrely calming presence influence him in the slightest.
“Charming as always, Bakugo. I’ll reiterate—why are you in my spa? At six in the morning?” Iida didn’t flinch under the glare aimed his way, but then again, Katsuki was pretty sure he’d seen the guy drop a 42 kilo kettlebell on his own foot once and not flinch. Some sort of weird zen massage bullshit or whatever.
“Kirishima said All Might was in here. I’m going to meet him.”
“Well, you’re too late for that. He already headed out to the gym floor. Something about testing out the machines. He was, however, very complimentary on my organic essential oil blends.” Iida was quickly gaining a glazed, dreamy look in his eyes that appeared to be a more restrained version of Kirishima’s, and Katsuki was instantly done with the whole interaction.
“Like I give a shit. Later, Four-Eyes.” With that, he made a quick spin on his heel and headed out the other door of the spa, the one that led back onto the main gym floor.
And just like that, there he was.
It was a strange feeling, to see one’s hero in person. Katsuki had seen the image of Toshinori Yagi countless times over the years; after he’d grown past watching him on T.V., there had still been a poster on his wall, then the author photograph on the back of the book he’d written on the link between exercise and disease prevention that Katsuki had nearly worn to tatters re-reading during his studies. Even in Plus Ultra, there was a framed photograph of the founder near the door, over a plaque that stated the gym’s motto and founding principles.
Most of the time, people liked to depict the old All Might, the one with a megawatt smile and a jaw like steel, shoulders so big he looked like some legendary Atlas. It had been a persona he’d worn for so long, people enjoyed remembering it, rather than facing the truth of what had become of him. That he’d done what all humans do, that he’d aged and changed and had things happen to him that were beyond his control. The image of the dauntless hero was better, safer, more reassuring to look at.
But the man standing before him now didn’t cause Katsuki a single twinge of disappointment. He was smaller than he’d been as All Might by a landslide, and a person could be forgiven for not recognizing him at first, but there was still something about him that commanded attention. An aura, if you believed in that sort of hippie bullshit, that made every eye in the room flick towards him automatically. He might have been skinnier, he may have aged, but Toshinori Yagi was still much larger than life.
Contrary to even his own expectations, Katsuki didn’t hurtle directly at him, bowling people and equipment out of the way in a rush to meet the man who had indirectly influenced some of the most important changes in his life. Toshinori was standing beside the new supported squat machine they’d gotten in, reading over the label even though the piece itself wasn’t exactly revolutionary. Hell, it still had Katsuki’s weight set on it from the day before—he’d meant to reset the machine, but he’d had more important things to do. Katsuki felt strangely at peace just watching him, just knowing this man really existed in his vicinity. Pride, and something that could have been described as hope flared in his chest, but all he did was go to lean by the water fountain and watch.
“That’s him—oh my god, are you going to say hi? You should totally say hi, bro. He’s so cool.” The calm was instantly shattered into a million tiny fragments by Kaminari’s voice at his shoulder. What the fuck was with people and sneaking up on him today? He hadn’t even had any coffee yet, which was a goddamn war crime if ever he heard of one.
“Shut up. I just—I’m waiting for the right moment or whatever the fuck. I don’t wanna scare the old man, he might have a heart attack and I’m sure as fuck not having All Might’s death on my hands, okay dumbass?” While he was snarling at Kaminari, movement out of the corner of his eye attracted his attention and he turned back towards Toshinori.
It was the kid from before. The young guy with the green eyes. He just strolled up to the biggest legend the pro wrestling ring had ever seen, placed a hand on his shoulder like they were old buddies, and started chatting with him.
Katsuki both felt and saw the red bleed around the corners of his vision. Who in the fuck did this kid think he was? Just walking up to talk to someone like that, without a proper greeting or anything? Some fucking fanboy trying to act all buddy-buddy with All Might? He took a step forward, ready to go and intervene, to apologize to Toshinori for this newbie fanboy trying to talk to him and probably bother him for an autograph, when—
Toshinori smiled back and gestured to the squat machine. The kid eyed it for a second, then shrugged and stepped under the bar, unhooking it and dropping into perfect squat form. It wasn’t Katsuki’s record, but it was pretty damn high for a squat, and yet the kid’s legs bulged through his track pants as he began a set of clean, even reps.
It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that Katsuki stared, or perhaps even gawked open-mouthed, as the green-eyed stranger did fifteen reps, re-racked the weight, and strolled around to talk to Toshinori again. The older man gestured towards the plates hanging from either side of the machine, and the kid obediently added another five kilos to either end and started again. He strained a little this time, pale face starting to flush red with the effort, but he still made it cleanly through the fifteen reps before re-racking the weight.
Only the feeling of Kaminari’s hands gripping his shoulder kept Katsuki from lunging across the gym and decking Pond Scum into the rowing machines. “Fucking let go of me, I’m going to kill that little shitstain, he’s going to be a bloody little smear on the tile by the time I’m done with him.”
Kaminari, damn him, was also impressively strong despite his lean build, and hung onto Katsuki with the grim tenacity of a bulldog. “Dude, you can’t! Chill with your anger issues, man! Besides, I don’t think All Might would like it very much if you went over there and murdered his son!”
Katsuki rounded on Kaminari, eyes screaming murder even when his mouth was suddenly, eerily silent. “His. What.” Each word was enunciated with such venom that it brooked no questions or hesitations.
“His son. Y’know, the kid he adopted a few years back? Izuku Yagi? The guy over there with the green hair?” Kaminari pointed, like Katsuki was too stupid to figure out who he was talking about. Katsuki actually closed his eyes, and took deep breaths while counting backwards from ten, the way the therapist taught him, because otherwise he was going to smack the everliving shit out of his second best friend. That was no way to act and he knew it, but right now, a mixture of anger and jealousy and torn passions was warring so hard in his chest that he felt like he wanted to scream with the sensation of it. The breaths rasped in the back of his throat, but slowly and surely, the tightness in his chest eased and he opened his eyes to look at Kaminari again, who was now regarding him with less fear and more seriousness.
“Bro, you’re seriously scary at this hour of the morning. If you need to take five, take five. I don’t think he’s going to disappear into thin air.” Kaminari slowly released his hold on Katsuki, and Katsuki just rolled his shoulder and glared down at the grey floor tiles. He knew that Kaminari was talking sense, and that right now, he needed to listen to his reason rather than his rage. It was one of those things he’d worked so hard on getting under control in his early twenties, and he wasn’t about to let himself pop off in front of his hero. Didn’t stop him from scowling, though.
“Fuck you. I’m fine, get off my goddamn back. I just—didn’t know he had a brat, that’s all.” Honestly, it wasn’t as though he was the same kind of fan of Toshinori that he’d been as a kid. He didn’t hunt down details on the man’s life, or read about every little article published in gossip rags about what he did with his time. In fact, Toshinori was more of a quiet idol in his life. A goal to aspire to, a person he wanted to be like, but not someone whose life he wanted to copy. That wasn’t Katsuki’s style, and so he’d kept Toshinori on the horizon, a solid point in a turbulent life. But it wasn’t surprising that even something as big as him adopting a son had escaped his notice.
Before he had much time to rein himself in, though, Kaminari’s gaze had gone bug-eyed and he urgently but ineffectively flapped his hand in Katsuki’s direction. “Dude—oh man, get your shit together! He’s coming this way!” Katsuki’s heart lept in his throat; finally, he’d be getting the chance to meet Toshinori, his number one hero, the reason he was the person he was right now.
Then he turned, and got an eyeful of dark green hair and shining green eyes, and his temper flared up again with such violence that his fists clenched at his sides. Seemingly oblivious, the kid used the towel around his neck to wipe at some sweat on the side of his face, and offered up a wave to the two trainers. “Hi there, it’s great to meet you. I’m Izuku Yagi. Guess I’ll be training here with you guys from now on!”
It was a friendly, casual greeting, and everything about it made Katsuki hate this Izuku with his entire being. Fuck him, fuck his big puppy-dog eyes, fuck his perfect squat form, and fuck all of this. He was out.
“You should reset your weights when you’re done with the machine,” was all he said before he turned on his heel and walked away, leaving the green fucker and Kaminari wondering what had just happened. There needed to be so, so much more coffee before he could deal with today.