Pain. That's the last thing he remembered.
He had been walking somewhere, and then he remembered blinding pain. Everything was dark. So dark and he couldn't see and he didn't know where he was but there was someone talking. Trying to open his eyes felt like a monumental feat, but he tried.
He pried his eyes open and looked around him, only there wasn't anything, anywhere. Just the chair beneath him and whoever was trying to talk to him on his right. The barren wasteland in front of him was just that. Barren. There was no...anything really. The 'horizon' was an oddly neutral grey. He wouldn't be able to tell up from down if he wasn't sitting in a chair. Wait.
He turned to the boy beside him. The boy with bright red hair and...pointy teeth? His mouth was open in a comically large smile.
"Oh good, you're awake. I was starting to get worried Bakugou!"
"Who the hell are you and where am I?"
The boy raised an eyebrow in what he guessed was amusement. "Wow, way to cut to the chase. No nonsense and straight forward, I like it!"
He stared, unblinking. "Answer the questions, dumbass."
The spikey haired boy held up both hands in a mock surrender. "Alright, alright. It's just a little complicated, is all."
"I have time."
The red-headed boy laughed"Fair enough. Well, I am the Guide. I took the form of a person from your past so your brain could comprehend me. I don't want your head exploding on me now, do I?"
The blond boy looked mildly horrified at the thought.
"Wait, sorry I always get ahead of myself, you can't actually die here."
He looked around aimlessly, searching for something, anything to focus on, but there was absolutely nothing anywhere around him. "And where is here?" He asked, only somewhat sarcastically. The 'Guide' looked around a bit himself before humming softly.
"Well, this is the Void."
"What?" He asked, voicing his thoughts.
"Exactly what I said. This is the Void. It's like your own little pocket of space."
"Ok, but why am I here?"
"Please don't freak out."
He raised an eyebrow. "I won't."
"You sure? That's exactly what the last guy said, and if you look around, you'll notice, he isn't here anymore."
Bakugou sweatdropped. "Just tell me."
The Guide paused. He looked almost mournful, but for what, Bakugou couldn't pinpoint.
It was so simply put, for such a life(hah)-changing piece of news. Bakugou stared at the Guide, unblinking and unwavering. How could someone drop a bomb like that so bluntly and so...unsympathetic? "What?" He was bordering on hysterics, but he needed his bloody answers.
"No, I got that part, I meant, what?!"
The Guide smiled sadly at him. Why did that infuriate him so much, getting pity from some 'otherworldly' being? It shouldn't be bothering him as much as it was. "Bakugou, be honest with me, do you remember anything?"
What a dumb fucking question. Of course, he remembered...
Wait. He blinked. Once. Twice.
His breathing sped up. Nothing. No memories, no recollection. He kept drawing up blanks. Objectively, he knew he had parents, whether they were dead or alive. He probably went to school at some point, but no, he had nothing concrete. No definitive memories. Just...empty space. Looking down at his hands, he looked fairly young, but he didn't know how it worked in this supposed 'afterlife'.
"Hey, hey! Breathe, it's totally normal for you to not remember anything! I can help you, you just need to relax."
Bakugou looked back at the boy. He evened his breath as best he could.
"You could have started with that, you know." He grunted.
"Sorry, dude. Ok, here's how you get your memories back, just-"
"Hang on a second, what happened to my memories?"
"OH! I should've mentioned this earlier, but when you die, your memories kind of 'dissipate' from your head to here. In other words, because you're separated from your physical body, your memories have to follow you. And so, they end up in here, in the Void."
"Alright, so where exactly are they?" Bakugou glanced around.
The Guide vaguely gestured all around them. "They're kinda everywhere. I mean, you can't see them, but they're there. That's what I'm here for, really. I only help people get their memories back."
"And my memories?" He asked, impatiently.
"Well, let's get to it!" The Guide reached out and pulled a mirror from...somewhere. He held it in front of Bakugou. He gingerly took it, looking at his reflection. Wow, he had spikey hair. And blood red eyes? Whack.
Bakugou looked up from his reflection to the Guide. "Is looking at myself supposed to help me remember?"
The Guide rubbed his chin, squinting slightly. "Well, sometimes. There was a woman a while back, who looked in the mirror and immediately got all her memories back. It differs from person to person. If you want, I can pull an item of significance from your past to see if that sparks anything?"
Bakugou nodded and watched as the Guide pulled another object from thin air. This one was much smaller than the mirror.
"A game card?" The Guide asked himself.
"Lemme see." Bakugou grabbed it and started reading the writing aloud. "Playing card; Heroes Edition, character; All Might, power;100, popularity; 100, intelligence; 100." He raised an eyebrow. Weird. The 'hero' depicted was a massive and positively beefy, American themed man. Still nothing. He looked to the Guide and shook his head slightly. The Guide sighed and reached out again. This time, he pulled out a charred-looking notebook. Bakugou felt his heart sink for reasons unknown to him.
"This is a pretty beaten up copy. I wonder what significance this had to you." He handed it to Bakugou, frowning slightly when Bakugou just stared at the cover. The charred, light blue paperback that read; Hero Notes for The Future, No. 13. Curious.
"Bakugou? Maybe reading it will help?"
Said boy slowly opened the notebook, flicking to a random page. It was an entry about...him. He felt tears come to his eyes. Flicking eagerly through the notebook, he scanned the pages quickly. He stopped on one particular entry. A boy with unruly, curly hair. Freckles. Wide-eyed and innocent looking. There was a polaroid photo next to the drawing. He carefully picked it up.
It was the boy. Only, there were so many others as well. All people he recognised from the entries. The glasses dude, the girl with he chubby cheeks, the half and half guy, the same red-haired dude that was standing right next to him, and...himself. In the background, among the other people, glaring almost fondly at the camera. It was weird, seeing yourself and yet not knowing what was happening at the time or how he knew any of the people there with him.
He looked at the green-haired boy again, his name on the tip of his tongue. Then it hit him.
Bakugou looked up.
Said boy looked at him sadly. He shook his head slightly.
"Oh...right. I forgot."
"So you finally remember everything?"
"Even how you died?"
Bakugou paused. He had been walking back to school with Kirishima. It had been their turns to buy groceries, and it was movie night back at the dorms, so they had bought lots of extra snacks, not that he had planned on watching the movie. Things were finally starting to get better for them. Individually and as heroes-in-training.
They had been walking across the road.
It was that simple.
A car gone haywire. A massive truck hurtling towards them.
He had blasted Kirishima out of the way.
He was being crushed.
"I got crushed by a goddamn truck."
"Yup. It was pretty brutal."
"Spare me the details, please."
The Guide (Bakugou refused to think of this thing as Kirishima) gave him a sympathetic look.
"Be honest with me, what are you, because I made damn sure Kiri wouldn't die. However long ago my...death...was."
"It's only been about three days."
"And WHAT exactly are you, in all this then?"
The not-Kirishima sat down in the chair he had woken up in. "Well, to put it in its simplest form, I'm like, a god."
"Yeah, I don't really know either, I just know that I have some control over what happens to people on earth."
"Are you saying YOU'RE the reason some prick is going to be scraping my brain off the fucking road?!"
"Hey, hey! Let me finish. I have some influence, but I can't change peoples choices. Such as the drunk driver who caused the truck to go off track. I couldn't change the fact that he decided to drink before going for a drive. I can't change the fact that you saved your friend over yourself, even though he probably would've survived. He has a hardening quirk. Did you not think of that or did you not want to risk it?"
Bakugou didn't respond.
"Hey, don't look so glum. You saved your friend, and you died a hero's death. Everything happened far too quickly. I honestly don't think you would have survived, even if you had reacted faster. But hey, you'll be remembered in a positive light. You died to save him, and though it may not have been as dramatic or world-changing as you'd have liked it to be, your friends still love you for it. Kirishima might not forgive himself, but he'll learn that there was nothing he could've done in time."
Bakugou tried to wipe away his tears subtly, but he couldn't mask his sniffles.
"Hold on," he said, suddenly, "If you're like a god, does that mean religion and stuff is wrong?"
"Well, I don't think any religion is completely right or completely wrong. In fact, the way I see it, humans invented religion to create a sense of meaning for themselves. They needed some reason to feel as though they had a purpose, that there was a reason why they existed. But let me put your mind at ease. Humans are pointless!"
Bakugou blinked a few times, uncomprehendingly.
"Yup! Humans have no purpose! You were born completely out of chance because you got lucky. The planet earth exists completely by chance because of the way the universe began. The fact that you can die is what makes life bearable! Knowing that human life is finite gives people a reason to keep living!"
Bakugou looked at the Guide incredulously.
"I don't give a hoot what crimes you committed, or what commandments or rules or whatever you broke. Everyone ends up here, in the Void. Time is different, hell everything is different."
Bakugou tried and failed to comprehend what he was being told. "Then why? Why do all this?"
The Guide smiled softly.
"To give everyone a chance."
"Can you show me my friends?" Bakugou asked softly, hiccuping slightly.
The Guide nodded softly and swiped his hand in a circular motion.
The scene he saw was not something he ever thought he would have to experience. His own fucking funeral. Kirishima was speaking to the crowd of people. His hair was down, Bakugou thought briefly. He saw everyone from his class. Bar one. He felt a lump grow in his throat as he tried to clear it from his head. Clear him from his head.
His parents were balling their eyes out, and low an behold, Inko Midoriya was sitting next to them. Attempting to comfort them, no doubt. How ironic.
"You still blame yourself, don't you."
The Guide's voice shook him out of his macabre thoughts. He was shocked, to say the least.
"It wasn't your fault, Bakugou."
He looked away, openly crying now. "It was all my fault. If I hadn't...if I was better...I let my quirk control me. I know what I did was wrong. I know that now. If I hadn't been such an asshole up to now, it never would have happened."
"No one could have seen it coming, Izu-"
"DON'T YOU DARE SAY HIS NAME."
"Ok, I'm sorry. He was one of the strongest people I've ever seen. Not even I could have known he'd do what he did."
"I never told anyone."
"I never told anyone it was my fault. I wanted to, I wanted to so badly. But I couldn't."
"Why is that?"
"See how eager you'd be to tell people your biggest shame when you see how fast they run from you."
"You don't know they'd run. How do you know they wouldn't stay?"
"Don't even try that shit with me!"
"That therapy shit! I know I fucked up! But how quick would you be to make your fucking friends turn their backs on you when you tell them YOU'RE THE REASON THEIR BEST FRIEND KILLED HIMSELF!"
Bakugou fell to his knees, openly sobbing now. He tried to stop, but he couldn't. He hadn't let himself cry since it happened. Since he'd seen it. Seen him. He let out a broken scream. The Guide looked ridiculously uncomfortable. Bakugou absolutely despised the fact that it had Kirishima's face. Wow, he needed a hug right about now.
"Hey." The Guide spoke ever so softly, gently patting his back.
"What do you want." His voice was so utterly broken. Wasn't he the biggest sob story you never did see. A bully turned fucking murderer who tried to pretend to be a hero. Killed in a car accident at the age of sixteen. Never told Kirishima how much he cared about him. Never told his parents. Never told De-Izuku. What a fucking joke.
"It will be ok. If there's one thing I know is that time heals all wounds and though some may scar, they are proof of how strong we are." His voice was soft and frustratingly comforting.
"Thanks, Shitty Hair."
Bakugou grabbed Kiri-The Guide in a tight hug. Mostly because he really needed it. And because he was really going to miss his best friend.
"Wait a second there, Explosion Boy, I didn't show you the surprise yet."
Bakugou smiled softly at the nickname, hiding it behind a hand as he wiped his nose. The Guide helped him to his feet, smiling all the way. He pulled a blanket out of...somewhere and draped it over Bakugou's shoulders. He stood back a few steps.
"Ok then, but please don't freak out."
"I won't." Bakugou chuckled airily at the repetition.
"If you're sure. Ahem. You can come out now!"
Bakugou didn't know what he was expecting. In fact, he couldn't even tell you what he had been thinking. His entire thought process came to a grinding halt when he saw him. He felt like he'd been punched in the gut. With a brick. Repeatedly. He barely got enough air in to whisper the name he couldn't forget since it happened.
It came out barely audible but said boy looked up, a soft smile on his face.
"Hey there, Kacchan."
His eyes somehow widened more than they already were. He felt himself start to cry again. God, he was crying so much in such a short space of time. Izuku started slowly edging towards him. Bakugou ran to him and crushed him in a hug.
Izuku huffed softly, starting to cry himself.
"I'm so sorry." He could barely speak, the lump in his throat was so big.
Izuku chuckled, and squeezed him tighter.
"I forgive you."
Neither of them moved for a long while. When they finally separated, Bakugou noticed Kiri-Fuck-The Guide strolling away.
The Guide-Whatever- stopped and turned his head back.
"Why...why did you do this?"
The G-Fuck it- Kirishima smiled sincerely.
"To give me a chance."
He started walking off to who-knows-where.
Izuku turned to him.
"Was that Kirishima?"
"I...Honestly couldn't tell you."