Katsuki Bakugou considered himself a lot of things; impressive, talented, attractive— and the lesser traits; such as egotistical, prideful and vain. He wouldn’t admit his weaker personality traits, however — and especially not in front of his so-called ‘friends.’
He was strong; he had to be. It was in his bloodline, urging his warrior genes to not be dormant; to show a possibility within his curdled and temperamental blood.
And he was. He was just like his parents, more so on his mother’s side. He was a warrior, he raged over all and he completed conquests of affirmation — for the highest spot he could procure, for an indisputable win.
But, Katsuki was sure there was nobody more stronger than the male in front of him; with sweet, glassy orbs and a fragile smile, as if someone, or something was going to peel his smile and lock it in a jar, away from Katsuki where he was unable to reach.
Deku was more than Katsuki would ever be, and he fully acknowledged it.
It happened during the summer; when the trees danced joyously within the calm, humid breeze of the sparkling sun and the relaxed clouds. When the sun’s natural rays accentuated the grassy plains, the seaside, or even just the normal pavement where Katsuki was found playing basketball.
He was busy dribbling the ball when he heard a yell from next door; it was scary and shocking, and it made the seagulls perched on Katsuki’s shed flee away in terror. Katsuki wasn’t one to be afraid, but the tone of her voice— he could detect the scream was from a female because of the pitch, and that he knew what Auntie Inko’s voice personally sounded like.
Katsuki let the ball fall as he left his little garden to go check up on what shocked Auntie Inko so badly. His mother yelled for him to stay inside; that what he was seeing was something ‘no eleven-year-old should have to witness—‘ Katsuki didn’t know what that meant; what was wrong with Auntie Inko? Deku should surely know! Speaking of him, where was he? Deku normally always scrambled towards Katsuki, ready to play a one-sided game of basketball, or volley, or whatever sport it was that Katsuki would surely beat him in.
There was an ambulance, and loud, roaring noises. So deafening that Katsuki was sure one of his eardrums popped, and he had to lift a hand towards his ear to check. What was happening? His dad was carrying a body as his mom calmed Auntie Inko down; sobs wracking her petite frame as she cried fearfully.
His mom hugged the shorter woman tightly and whispered words into her ear. Katsuki turned towards his dad and saw him returning back from his short trip to the ambulance with bloodied hands, a sorrowful frown on his face that turned into a weak grimace when he caught Katsuki staring at him confusedly.
He trudged over towards Auntie Inko and spoke some small words with her, whilst she just nodded tearfully and wheezed.
“Katsuki,” his mom called out over the blaring sirens of the ambulance, the sunlight highlighting her stern features as she silently shook her head at him.
“Go inside, dear. Don’t worry.”
Katsuki did as he was told, and he crept back inside his house. He wasn’t feeling alright anymore, and the thought of basketball made him glare. Why wouldn’t they tell him? Why couldn’t they tell him? He could take it; he was eleven!
He knew something bad happened, and he knew it had to involve Deku, considering he wasn't there; he would’ve come running up to Katsuki with tearful eyes and shaking limbs and Katsuki would’ve had to reassure him and make him play some games with him.
But he wasn’t here; for the first time, Deku wasn’t running after Katsuki.
And Katsuki didn’t know what to think.
The rest of the year was spent with him being by himself, or with his parents, of with Auntie Inko. It was with him staring up at the ceiling lifelessly as he laid upon his bed, wondering if Deku was doing the same. It was of him placing a hand on his window and wondering if Deku was seeing what he could see right now. He wondered about a lot of things, and when it neared Katsuki’s birthday; he wondered if Deku even knew, if he even remembered.
“Happy birthday,” his parents and Auntie Inko sang, as they gave him presents and cut the cake and laughed. Katsuki didn’t want to seem ungrateful, but he couldn’t be happy when the person he wanted to spend his birthday with was gone.
It was nearing spring, now, and Katsuki hadn’t seen Deku in over a year. He wasn’t allowed to, for some reason; maybe Deku just didn’t want to see him? Maybe Deku was afraid Katsuki would laugh at him?
But, why would Katsuki laugh at his best friend?
It sucked with Deku being gone; his parents spent more time over at Auntie Inko’s house and that meant Katsuki would have to stay there too. He was left to his own devices, but it was stupid because he always ended up wandering into Deku’s room. Into Deku’s superhero-themed room that held many pictures taken of him and Katsuki, smiling endlessly as they posed dramatically, grins apparent on their faces.
It made Katsuki sad, and tears welled up in his eyes. He would never let them go, though— because he felt as though Deku was still in this room, and if he cried that meant Deku would lorde over Katsuki showing weakness. And Katsuki would not lose to Deku.
Sometimes, just sometimes, the tears would slip and Katsuki would curl up on Deku’s bed and cry himself to sleep.
Everyone was hurt, and Katsuki couldn’t imagine what it felt like to be in Auntie Inko’s place. It would be devastating; to find out your only child is in hospital and you can’t even help them.
But Katsuki felt as if his heart was ripped into two, jagged pieces, and he wondered if this was even remotely what Auntie Inko felt.
Katsuki couldn’t even celebrate his birthday with Deku. And that sucked. He was alone, on his birthday, and it was probably the same for Deku.
Katsuki was many things, but independent was not one; he could function normally, yes— he had multiple friends but they only saw the ‘cool’ side of him. They didn’t see when Katsuki was hurting, when he was upset, when there was something on his mind.
They didn’t see him like Deku did. Katsuki only felt independent because of Deku, and with him gone, he felt defeated.
Despite Katsuki’s sour mood, he still had to attend class. He still had to go to school. He still had to function like a normal person. It wasn’t particularly hard— who was he kidding? It was exhausting, and Katsuki felt himself coming home with a migraine every day after school. It didn’t help when his parents were on edge and constanly checking up on both him and Auntie Inko; frightful if something were to happen.
Katsuki was expecting a dull, boring day where they learnt about algorithims or something equally tedious when their homeroom teacher, Okuda-sensei or whatever his name was, gestured for the class to be quiet.
“We have a new student arriving today,” he spoke in his usual deadpan voice, and moved his bigger body out of the way for the small one to make an entrance. They were petite and had a mess of curls, a constellation of freckles upon their round face. Wait—
He shouted, surprised, tears threatening to slide down his face before he caught himself; he was in class, with people who weren’t worth an ounce of his time.
Deku was there, standing at the doorway, with a uniform on and a huge smile plastered on his face. His eyes crinkled when he saw Katsuki, and he waved joyfully.
He was okay? But, he was in hospital? Does that mean — does that mean whatever hurt Deku was gone now? That Deku was free?
“Thank you, Bakugou, for introducing Midoriya, but I think he should speak for himself. Introduce yourself to the class, Midoriya.” The teacher dismissed Katsuki with a wave of his hand and gesticulated towards Deku.
Deku bowed gracefully and spoke in a soft voice, “My name is Midoriya Izuku, and I have hodgkin lymphoma, which is,” here he paused for a second and laughed awkwardly, a hand reaching up to rub the nape of his neck, “a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. Like, white blood cells— it’s an abnormal collection of them in the wrong place, let’s just say. I hope this doesn’t change how you see me, and I hope we can be the best of friends!”
The teacher surveryed the class and started to speak when Deku was apparently finished. “Nice to meet you, Midoriya. If anybody says anything – which I’m sure they won’t – you can tell me. Now, your seat is next to Bakugou’s, who you already seem to know.”
Deku nodded quietly and thanked the teacher before making his way to sit next to Katsuki; he smiled at him and started taking out his books for the lessons that day. Deku looked healthy, his skin glowing and his demeanour positive, but Katsuki was still uncertain.
Deku had cancer, or still has it— Katsuki wouldn’t know until Deku confirmed it for himself, but with Deku so close to him; taking notes and muttering and fidgeting in his seat, it felt like nothing had really transpired during that one year with Deku gone.
Katsuki flipped a page and started to write. He’d give his notes later to Deku. The nerd would be thankful. But, for now he’d observe Deku.
He needs to research more about this type of cancer, and see what he can do - if he can do anything, at all - to help Deku.
For now he was going to find out what happened during that year with Deku.