Katsuki had heard a lot about her. How could he not, when his stupid childhood friend never shut up after meeting her. He knows part of her story, but the details were limited, as Deku and the others are bound to silence. Only sometimes during practice or when she had been around, would he catch tidbits about her.
Still, Katsuki knows enough to be alarmed when he sees her rush through ground beta in the middle of the night, tears steadily running down her cheeks. She’s panting and blindly running from one corner to the next, seemingly looking for something she can’t find.
Katsuki doesn’t know why he calls out to her. He knows she’s dangerous when out of control. It’s the reason she’s here in the first place, under Aizawa-Sensei’s supervision. But something about the look in her eyes is familiar and it isn’t until he calls out, “oi, you, stop,” and she looks back at him that he recognises that look.
She looks haunted.
“I,” she starts, looks around and then covers her ears with her hands. “I need to go back. I have to go back, or someone will die.”
And then she turns around and runs out of sight for a few minutes before the confusing corners of ground beta lead her right back to Katsuki. She’s holding on to the walls, her tears seemingly endless.
Katsuki doesn’t know what to do. He’s not good with children. But he knows he can’t leave her alone, not when she looks two seconds away from passing out. But approaching her in that state is dangerous. There must be a bot around to report this to Aizawa-Sensei. Or he could get Deku. One of those two would know what to do with her.
But then she loses her balance and falls to the ground, and just curls up there.
Katsuki stops, turns back to her and remembers how Deku used to cry at the drop of a hat when they were four. So, he approaches her slowly, lets her hear him and stops a few steps in front of her. She’s only sniffling by now, probably cried until she exhausted herself.
Crouching down, Katsuki holds his hand out, palm up. “Want to see something cool?” He’s only slightly embarrassed, wording the question like that. He scratches his cheek and waits for her to look up. When she does, he activates his quirk, summoning little sparks that immediately catch her attention.
She sits up, sobs forgotten as she looks at the small sparks dancing on his palm. And then, because her breath is still slightly uneven from whatever panic had gripped her, he uses his other hand, too. The sparks light up her face and show the flush of a fever and a pair of bright red eyes.
She looks just like Deku did when they were kids and Katsuki used his quirk to show off. Fascinated.
It’s only a few seconds later that her red eyes light up and she passes out.
Katsuki doesn’t know what to do with her. On one hand, there is no way he will touch her, not without knowing what it will do to him. On the other hand, he can’t leave her on the cold ground and feel good about himself.
He came out to train so that no one surpassed him, not to run into kids and have them pass out on him.
Speaking of Deku, the nerd could probably help him. But if he goes to get Deku, she might wake up and try to run again, in her disorientation.
So Katsuki picks the jacket he had discarded up from the floor and carefully drapes it over her small body and sits down opposite of her, back against a pillar.
He stares down at his hands, not seeing the small scars on his palms in the darkness of the night. Then, because he hadn’t done it in so long, he makes little sparks, just for himself and wonders when he stopped being fascinated by his quirk.
At some point it stopped being cool and became a weapon instead. A means to an end. He lets the sparks die, stands and holds his hand out. He’s just about to shoot some explosions off, when he sees her move, sitting up so suddenly, even Katsuki is startled for a second.
He clenches his fist, holds back the explosion and turns to her. Sparks might be nice, but explosions are scary and he’s not about to scare her.
“Yo,” he says, carefully.
She looks at him, looks at the jacket on her legs and closes her eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cause trouble.”
“No trouble caused, don’t worry,” he says, holding his hands up. “I was taking a break anyway. There is only so much I can do before I’m exhausted, too.” It’s not necessarily a lie. He is rather tired but that never stopped him from training.
But she nods and stands up, brings the jacket back to him and carefully hands it over without touching him. So, she is cautious, too, about touching people.
“Thank you,” she says. And then gripping the hem of her pajama top, she looks around, obviously lost but determined to find her way.
Katsuki sighs, throws his jacket over his shoulder and walks towards the teachers' dorm. “I’m going back to the dorms. Wanna tag along?”
She hesitates only a moment before falling into step behind him. Katsuki doesn’t know if he’s supposed to say anything and she doesn’t talk. Whatever had spooked her before, it had left her system and now she just seems anxious to get back to her room.
Once in front of the teachers' dorm, she immediately rushes to the entrance, not even looking at him. Katsuki sighs and turns around to walk to his own dorm. A quick glance at his phone informs him that it’s almost 2 am.
He overdid it today. He needs to adjust his schedule, or he won’t be able to pay attention in any classes. He’s making a quick memo of it, when he hears steps behind him. Turning around, he finds the girl, slightly breathless and still clutching the fabric of her top.
“I... The, the sparks. It... it was not a dream?”
Katsuki shrugs, nods, holds his hand up and creates some as answer.
Her red eyes light up with his quirk and she says, “thank you, Deku-san’s friend,” and then she takes off again, running into the dorms and out of sight.
Katsuki brushes a hand through his hair, then over his face and mutters, irritated, “it’s Katsuki, not Deku-san’s fucking friend.”
It sounds like he’s Deku’s side kick, damn it.
While passing the papers to the back, Katsuki flicks Deku on the forehead. It makes him feel slightly better about what the brat said. Speaking of brat, Katsuki waits until they are training together before he brings her up.
“The brat who lives here, what’s her name again?”
Deku looks lost for only a second before he asks, “you mean Eri-chan?”
“Yeah, she’s staying with Aizawa-Sensei,” Deku explains as he stretches.
“What’s her quirk?”
Deku doesn’t reply. Katsuki holds back the urge to press and does his own stretches.
“She can rewind a person’s time,” Deku says carefully.
“What does that mean?”
“It means that she could erase your very existence.” Deku stops his stretches, turns to look at him and says, more serious than Katsuki has ever seen him, “but she is a good girl.”
Katsuki knows there is a story behind that, but he doesn’t push for answers. Instead he grins. “Ready to get your ass beaten?”
“I’m not going to lose, Kacchan.”
She appears again because of course she does. Katsuki should have seen it coming. She kind of reminds him of Deku, and maybe that’s why he stops his explosions immediately and goes back to stretching. Deku used to be spooked by unexpected things as a brat.
He’s not sure how she found him. Did she remember the way after he led her back to the dorms or did she just wander around until she was lost enough to find him again?
He doesn’t ask. Instead he sits opposite of her and says, “kids should be sleeping at this hour. It’s almost midnight.”
She looks at him, at his hands and then at her own. “I can’t sleep very well,” she whispers.
Which basically means she has nightmares. Katsuki frowns. “Why don’t you ask Aizawa-Sensei to stay with you?”
“No.” She rubs her eyes, sniffing once. Katsuki realises suddenly that she’s only in her pajamas again, without anything to keep her warm.
“Because he worries.”
“That’s the point,” Katsuki replies, irritated, and stands up to pull his jacket off, before he throws it at her. “He’s supposed to look after you, isn’t he?”
She looks at the jacket in front of her and shakes her head. “I don’t want to worry him anymore.”
“Yeah, well, if you catch a cold, he will definitely worry,” he says, pointedly looking at the jacket on the ground between them.
She doesn’t take it immediately and keeps staring at him. It freaks him out because he has no idea what she wants from him. But after sneezing once, she reluctantly pulls she jacket across her shoulders and continues her staring.
Katsuki tries to ignore her. He takes his phone out and texts Deku.
This is all your fault.
Then, he adds, you ripped my shirt. There is no way he is explaining the little brat situation to the big brat.
“The... the sparks...”
Katsuki looks at her but her eyes are locked on her own hands.
“Can you make some?” This time, she looks up. It’s the first time she looked him in the eyes, so he just holds his hands out and makes some before he can even think about it.
Katsuki doesn’t know how long they sit there and stare at his hands, but it must have been a while because this time he’s the one sneezing, suddenly becoming aware of the chill in the air. He pulls his hand back and stands up. “Time to go.”
She just stands up and follows him, not saying anything. She mutters a small thank you as she hands him his jacket back in front of the teachers’ dorm and that’s that.
“I didn’t rip your shirt,” Deku says. “I didn’t even touch you. We were training long range attacks.”
“Were we?” Katsuki asks and then remembers something else. “Why did Aizawa-Sensei ask for the thief that one time?”
That distracts Deku at least. “You mean Monoma? He wanted him to copy Eri’s quirk.”
“I can’t say,” Deku answers. “Let’s train, Kacchan.”
Or not. The third time it happens Katsuki knows it’s a pattern but he holds his tongue and sits down. If it takes a few sparks every night to make her sleep, then sure, why not. But there is one thing he must address first.
“If this is going to be happening, you better wear a jacket or bring a blanket or something. I’m not keen on snotfaced brats.”
She frowns at him but doesn’t say anything. Katsuki wonders if he just imagines the stubborn look he sees in her red eyes or if she’s holding herself back from replying.
He doesn’t care. If he can amuse her for a few minutes each night, she can at least wear something warm.
“So,” Katsuki starts because he thinks he should maybe talk to her a little. “Do you have a quirk, too?”
She shakes her head and doesn’t talk for the rest of the night. It leaves a bitter feeling in Katsuki’s chest, when she hands him the jacket without a word.
Deku says, “they wanted Monoma to rewind Mirio Senpai’s time to a point before he was hit by the quirk erasing bullet.”
Katsuki stares at him. He’s not really surprised that Deku told him. Deku can’t keep any secrets from him, it’s all just a matter of time. Point in case: One For All.
But he is surprised to find out that they have plans for her, already.
“Monoma couldn’t copy her quirk, since the need to stockpile it is involved. It’s her horn,” Deku points at his own forehead. “Once she can control it, she might be able to help Mirio Senpai. We don’t know if she can do it. But it’s a possibility. One that can give him back his dreams.”
There is an ugly feeling in Katsuki’s stomach, when he asks, “what about hers?”
“What?” Deku asks but Katsuki turns around and walks away. “Where are you going, Kacchan? What about training.”
“Train alone today, Deku,” he calls back.
This is stupid. There is no reason for him to be angry. Of course, they would think about how to utilize her quirk. It’s a powerful quirk, after all. But for some reason, the thought that she’s a means to provide someone their dream, while hers are only nightmares, it makes him sick.
He only leaves his room that day because he knows she will be waiting.
Katsuki stares. Then he sits down across her and rubs a hand over his face. “Of course, you couldn’t just have taken a jacket, could you?”
She firsts her hands into the soft blanket and says, face determined, “you said a blanket is okay.”
Katsuki nods. “I did.” This is his fault, really. He should have left it at jacket. But at least she can sit in it while drawing it closely around her body so that’s good. “Okay,” he says.
She stares at him, expectantly and Katsuki must suppress a snort. She’s only a kid. So, he opens his hands and provides her some light.
“Any reason why you like them so much?” Katsuki asks. He’s not really been curious about if before but the longer he stares at his own hand, the more bored he grows. “Doesn’t it get boring?”
She shakes her head, hard, and almost topples out from her blanket as she tries to crawl over. She stops a few inches away from his hands and whispers, “it’s beautiful. Like the stars.” It’s the closest she has come to him yet.
“You like stars?”
She nods, eyes firmly on his hands. “I... I wasn’t allowed outside. I was always in my room. But you can make stars in your hands. It’s like being free.”
Katsuki looks away from her gleaming face and into his hands. He never thought about it like that. Not when he knows the destructive power his explosions hold. “I guess it is,” he answers.
The smile she gives him is a first, too.
That night, they don’t get up until her eyelids drop and she has to fight to stay awake. Katsuki throws the blanket over his shoulder and waits for her to groggily stand up before he takes the lead.
Surprisingly enough, the blanket proves to be useful as she holds on to it, half asleep, while he leads the way. He tries to adjust his pace to the tug on the blanket over his shoulder and once they stand in front of her dorms, he huddles the blanket up into a tight ball and presses it into her arms.
“Think you can get to your room?”
She nods, followed shortly by a yawn.
“Don’t trip,” Katsuki calls after her. Once she is out of his sight, Katsuki takes his phone out and calls Deku.
“The brat, is it safe to touch her?”
“Nevermind,” Katsuki says, feeling like an idiot. Even if he were able to carry her here, he would still have to wake her and send her to her room. “Good night, Deku.”
“You're being weird, Kacchan.”
“‘s nothing new.” He hangs up and stares at the sky.
Deku is a stubborn little shit. Katsuki had forgotten exactly how stubborn he could be until the next day, when Deku corners him after school.
“You're hiding something, Kacchan.”
“Get off me, Deku.”
“No,” Deku says and presses him harder against the door of his room. “Why do you keep asking about Eri-chan?"
“It’s none of your business,” Katsuki says and pushes him away as he opens the door to his room.
But of course, Deku pushes his way right in with him. “I don’t know what you're doing, but I can help!”
“I really don’t think so.”
“Look,” Katsuki says and turns towards him. “If I need help, I’ll ask you, okay? Can you leave me alone now? Go get changed and we can start with training.”
“It’s a promise,” Deku insists, so Katsuki nods and pushes him out of his room. “Oh, and it’s okay to touch her. We're just careful if something might trigger her. She’s mostly just with Aizawa-Sensei for training.”
Katsuki pushes him out of his room and sighs.
That night, Eri sits a few steps to his right, probably encouraged by their proximity the night before. She’s bundled up tightly in her blanket and staring at his hands, never bored of the small sparks coming to life.
Katsuki is about to call it a night and lead them back, when she speaks up suddenly. “You have red eyes... Like me.”
“Yeah,” Katsuki says. He had noticed that before. It’s hard to miss her eyes when they light up at the slightest motion of Katsuki’s hand. Deku used to say that his red eyes resembled his sparks. Katsuki insisted that they were not sparks but the fierce red of a strong explosion.
“I don’t like my eyes,” she whispers, hiding deeper in her blanket. “Chisaki said they're red because people die because of me.”
Katsuki takes a moment to take that in before he answers. There is that story again, the one Deku alluded to before.
Now what does he say to that?
“I don’t know who Chisaki is but he’s full of shit.” Katsuki stands up, tugs at her blanket until she lets go and stands, too. He throws the blanket over his shoulder and waits for her to hold on to it. “You shouldn’t believe anything he told you.”
She doesn’t reply, just follows him silently. Katsuki feels irritated, mostly because he has no idea what the fuck he’s doing. Why is he stuck babysitting this kid anyway? He shouldn’t have called out to her that first night, then he wouldn’t have to deal with this.
When they stop in front of her dorms, he crouches down and pushes the blanket into her arms but doesn’t let go. “My friend, Kirishima. He has red eyes, too. And he’s one of the nicest people I know. There is no way that red eyes indicate bad things, not when Kirishima has them, too.” And then, frowning, he says, “Deku used to say that they remind him of sparks. And as much as I hate to admit that he’s right, yours do light up like sparks.”
Katsuki stands up, pats her head and walks away, not waiting for her reply.
He wakes up panting, dread slowly spreading through his body. He reaches out and places a hand to the back of his neck, reassuring himself that it’s only sweat there, nothing else. But his heart doesn’t calm down and neither does his breathing.
He’s alright. All Might is alive. He’s in his room, but the guilt is suffocating so he closes his eyes and tries to remember what All Might had said. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t.
And then he remembers her, flushed with fever and haunted by nightmares as she stumbled upon him the first time. It was because he recognised the haunted look in her eyes that he had called out to her. It’s not only the red eyes they share.
Katsuki opens his hands and activates his quirk, staring down at the sparks. It’s the first time he’s tried to calm himself from a panic attack by using his quirk. It worked for the brat, so he tries.
He stares at the sparks in his hands, remembers how All Might had tried to reach out to him, remembers being gripped by the neck, remembers being confined in a small space without any lights.
The sparks in his hands grow and turn to small explosions and Katsuki becomes aware of the fact that he had played pretend. His quirk isn’t gentle. It’s dangerous.
How the hell did he comfort her, when he can’t even take care of his own nightmares?
Katsuki closes his hands tightly around the small explosions and clenches his teeth against the pain.
“You don’t look good, Bakugou. Did something happen?”
“I’m fine,” Katsuki says again and walks ahead to the dorms. Kirishima has been on his case all day, sneaking glances at his hands. Sometimes Katsuki hates how observant Kirishima can be.
“Want to go to Recovery Girl? Those burns look nasty.”
Katsuki turns around to face him. “Look, I overdid it with training. This is nothing I’m not used to. So drop it.”
Kirishima hesitates and only relents after Katsuki promises to bandage them up or something and then nods. Katsuki turns relieved. Kirishima knows when not to push and Katsuki can appreciate that.
Ahead of them, Deku suddenly starts running to the entrance of the school, leaving his friends behind. Katsuki turns to see what’s going on.
Eri is standing there, holding Mirio Senpai’s hand and giving Deku a small smile. She looks well rested but somewhat withdrawn. Katsuki observes the way she glances up at her companions and down again. Her free hand is holding onto the straps of her backpack as she listens to Deku. She’s obviously shy around him.
And then she looks up and her gaze wanders towards him, until their eyes meet. Katsuki fights against the urge to look away and holds her gaze. She is what, five or six years old? If she can overcome her demons, Katsuki is not about to fall behind.
Deku must have noticed him looking because he looks up and stares at Katsuki, so Katsuki turns around and leaves.
He can feel Deku’s questioning gaze on his back but ignores it.
There is no way Deku will shut up now.
Katsuki is reluctant to leave for ground beta that night. He is in no shape to use his quirk, not with his hands bandaged until they stop hurting so much. He’s burned his hands before, but he was never foolish enough to make explosions in his fists.
He goes there anyway and sits down against a building, waiting for her.
Eri looks ridiculous with the big blanket in her arms but it’s the option she chose so Katsuki is not about to say anything. When she drops the blanket in front of his feet and sits on it, Katsuki holds his hands up.
“No sparks tonight, sorry.”
She gasps, looking worried. “What happened?”
“I burned myself while training,” he lies. She looks spooked enough as it is.
But instead of backing away or insisting he make sparks anyway or anything else a kid might do, she just asks, “can I see?”
Katsuki shrugs and slowly takes the bandages off. It looks worse than it is. At least he’s used to the pain. He will probably go to Recovery Girl tomorrow, when he feels slightly better about the reason for his burns. There is no way he’s skipping out on more training.
What he doesn’t expect is for her to reach out and hold his hands. He has only a second to be surprised before the air shifts around them and the pain in his hands suddenly disappears.
Then she lets go of him just as fast and stares at her own hands in horror.
“Hey,” he says. She has gone pale, her eyes wide and scared. She looks worse than she did on that first night. “You ok?”
Instead of replying, she stands up and bolts away.
Katsuki stares after her, then at the forgotten blanket on the ground and finally at his hands, which only bear the usual scars, no ugly burns in sight.
Had she rewound the time of his hands?
If Deku thought he could corner Katsuki the next day, he was wrong. Instead Katsuki seeks him out right after school and pulls him to his room. He has got questions.
Deku immediately turns to him when the door closes behind them but Katsuki holds his hand up and says, “I’ll tell you what you want to know, if you answer my questions first.
“What’s going on with you and Eri-chan?”
He shakes his head and sits down on his bed. “First you tell me what happened to that brat, then I answer.”
“Kacchan,” Deku protests, frustrated but Katsuki is not about to give in. There is obviously more to Eri than he knows and it’s frustrating, seeing the fear in her eyes but being unable to understand.
So sighing, Deku starts to talk. He starts at his first encounter with her and Overhaul and goes from there. Her words before she collapsed on the first night make some sense now. But even though Katsuki had taken a good guess at some of her story, he still has to clench his jaw to hold his anger at bay.
When Deku is done, he looks upset as well. But what Deku told him doesn’t explain her reaction to her own quirk. So, she used it on Deku, and she doesn’t know how to control it. He can see the danger of that. But it doesn’t add up.
So, he asks. “Why is she so afraid of her quirk.”
Deku looks at him, eyes assessing. He just gave away that he does have contact with the brat, but he couldn’t care less right now. “When she first manifested her quirk, she reverted her father’s time to a point before he existed.”
Katsuki stares at his hands and has absolutely no idea what to do with that information.
“It’s your turn now, Kacchan. Why do you want to know about Eri-chan?”
“I don’t know,” he admits, looking up at Deku. “But for some reason, I can’t leave her alone.”
She doesn’t come that night. Or the one after. By the third night without her company, Katsuki plays around with the sparks he creates and wonders if he can make them fly off into the air. It doesn’t quite work like he wants it to.
By day four, his irritation hits an all-time high. He can admit to himself that he is worried about the brat. But Deku would probably know if something happened to her, so he stays quiet and waits. There is no use getting agitated. She probably got over her nightmares and doesn’t need the comfort anymore.
But every time Katsuki’s eyes fall on her blanket in the corner of his room, he grows just a little more frustrated.
On day five Katsuki is ready to ask Deku about her, when Aizawa-Sensei approaches him after class. “Come along, Bakugou. I need to talk to you.”
Katsuki follows along and wonders if he can ask his teacher about her, just as Aizawa-Sensei asks, “mind explaining why she won’t come to you anymore?”
Katsuki stops in his tracks and stares up at the man. Of course, he knew about them. Katsuki did think that it was weird how they didn’t get caught, what with the surveillance bots and him walking her back to the dorms.
“I don’t know,” he replies.
Aizawa-Sensei sighs and brushes his hair out of his face. “Look, I didn’t mind your little meetups because she slept better afterwards. It was harmless, so I let it happen. But now she looks frightened of her own shadow and I know her behaviour changed after she stopped seeing you. I need to know what happened or I won’t be able to help her.”
“Can you let me talk to her?” Katsuki asks. He knew she wasn’t ok, knew it the first night she stopped coming.
“There are some things I have to tell her.”
Aizawa-Sensei looks at him for a moment before he turns and says, “I’ll bring her to you tonight. You understand I can’t leave you two alone, not with her in this condition. But I’ll keep my distance.”
As promised, Aizawa-Sensei guides her to him that night and then steps out of view. Katsuki knows that he’s observing them from somewhere, but he doesn’t care about that right now. What he needs to do is talk to Eri.
She stands where Aizawa-Sensei left her, staring at the ground, hands gripping the fabric of her top and looking like she wants to be anywhere but here.
“Yo, Eri,” Katsuki says and she flinches. He knows she’s not afraid of him, but it’s still unpleasant to see her react to him like that. So, he steps closer and crouches down until they are eye level. “You forgot your blanket, you know?”
He holds it up for her, changes his mind and drapes it over her shoulders instead, pulling it closed around her front. “I asked Deku about you,” he admits. She looks even more frightened at that. “So, I feel like I owe you.”
Eri immediately shakes her head, not looking up as she whispers, “I asked Deku-san, too, about you. When we were at the gate.”
“Huh...” Well, that explains why Deku was adamant in knowing about them. But that’s not what he wants to talk about. Leaning back, he holds his hands out in front of her. “What you did the other night, thanks for that. That was good.”
“No.” Eri shakes her head and steps back, not even looking at his hands. “I could have hurt you!”
“But you didn’t.”
“But I did! I hurt Deku-san and papa and many others all because of my quirk!” She sobs, closes her eyes and says, “I could have hurt you, too! My quirk is dangerous! I wish I didn’t have it.”
“Right,” he says and stands up. She has tears in her eyes and it’s making Katsuki uncomfortable. “So, I’m going to show you something, can you look up for a bit?”
He walks further away from her, stands in front of one of the many buildings on ground beta and holds his right hand out. He stabilises it with his left and prepares for the explosion he’s going to make.
It hits with a loud boom, the building in front of him catching fire as it falls apart. Katsuki jumps back, dodging the falling gravel. He really hopes Aizawa-Sensei will overlook him destroying ground beta.
When he turns around, Eri has both hands on her ears and is staring at the fallen building.
“So,” Katsuki starts, crouches down in front of her again and holds out his hands, “my quirk isn’t making sparks. It’s making explosions. It’s dangerous, too. Another thing we have in common.” He points at her eyes.
“But...” She looks at his hands, biting her lower lip.
“But I can make small sparks, too. And big explosions.” he agrees. “You can rewind someone’s time a little, or a lot, once you learn how to control your quirk. It’s only a matter of training.”
When she finally looks up at him again, she’s crying, tears running down her face, so Katsuki brushes his hand through his hair, scratches his cheek and pats her head with his other. “So, while it might have been dangerous, thanks for healing my hands. We are friends, you know. If you need help, just come to me.”
His words do not have the desired effect. Instead of stopping her from crying, she starts sobbing earnestly, tears flowing down her face as she tries to wipe at them. It frustrates him for no reason. What is he supposed to do now?
“You should maybe stop crying?” He looks around, wonders if Aizawa-Sensei will jump out and blame him for her tears. It’s really distressing.
He picks up the blanket that fell when she started crying and holds it up, draping it over her head and body, until only her face is visible. “I’ll be in trouble, if you keep crying.”
“I’m sorry,” she sobs, which really doesn’t help.
“Okay,” he says, stands up and holds his hand out, palm down, up above her head. “Stars, was it?” And then he makes sparks.
They come to life on his hands before they flutter down and cease to exist. He couldn’t quite make them fly but letting them fall over her head has a better effect, he thinks.
Sobs forgotten, she stares at the sparks falling above her and her eyes light up, expression speaking of awe. “So pretty,” she whispers.
Later, when Katsuki is bringing her back to her dorm, he tells her about Deku because he’s someone they both know well enough. “When Deku first got his quirk, he kept breaking his arms because he couldn’t control it. He always used too much strength.”
“Yeah. He still can’t use his whole power. That’s why he keeps training, to learn to control it better.”
There is a moment of silence before there is a tug on the blanket over his shoulder, so Katsuki stops and turns to her. She’s staring at the ground again. He really doesn’t like that. “What is it?”
“Do you think I could do that, too? Learn to control my quirk?”
Katsuki crouches down to pull the blanket out of her hand and balls it up. “Yeah,” he says. “I do. I told you right, you got a spark in your eyes. That’s your spark of determination. As long as you don’t give up, you can do it.”
He’s about to press the blanket into her hands, when she suddenly throws her arms around her neck and says, “thank you, Kacchan.”
Katsuki freezes. She pulls back quickly, takes the blanket from his hands and runs inside.
Damn Deku. He should have known the idiot would introduce him as Kacchan. It’s an upgrade from Deku-san’s friend but still...
Katsuki’s still crouching, when suddenly there is a hand on his head. He knows that it’s Aizawa-Sensei, had seen the man trail behind them, but it still makes him flinch.
“I’ll take care of ground beta.”
Katsuki nods. Once Aizawa-Sensei pulls his hand away, Katsuki stands up to leave.
“Bakugou,” Aizawa-Sensei calls. Katsuki stills and turns around. “A quirk is only dangerous with bad intentions. I never considered you dangerous.” Then Aizawa-Sensei follows Eri inside.
Katsuki stares at his hands and wonders about that.
The weird little routine continues. Eri appears while he’s training solo but this time, Katsuki doesn’t stop his explosions and continues until he’s done, before he joins her. She observes it carefully and then stares at his spark, slowly understanding that it’s the same quirk used in different ways.
Since Aizawa-Sensei gave himself away though, they got a curfew. Katsuki brings her back before 9 pm. After the first time they missed that curfew, they learned not to miss it again.
And then Eri goes off to test her quirk. She’s very anxious about it but also very excited. She had confirmed that Deku indeed couldn’t control his quirk, when he first got it. Apparently Deku had admitted to it, while fidgeting with his hands and told her all about his broken limbs.
Katsuki knows because Eri had told him. And then she shyly added that maybe, if one day she could be like Deku-san, she could do that, too. Control her quirk.
Katsuki had realised very quickly that she saw Deku as a hero and it had pissed him off so much so, that he had let his anger out on Deku the next day, during training. At least she likes Katsuki’s quirk better, he thought bitterly.
So, he knows that she’s not dreading the day, but it still doesn’t stop him from wondering how it went. Aizawa-Sensei went along, so Present Mic had taken over classes for him.
He’s heading back to the dorms with the class, when the car pulls up and stops in front of the gates. No one from his class really stops but everyone’s gaze wanders to Aizawa-Sensei as he exits the vehicle and opens the door for Eri.
Katsuki stops just as she looks up.
“Bakugou?” Kirishima asks but Katsuki ignores him.
She’s holding onto her top again and he’s starting to recognise it as a coping mechanism. She’s obviously holding back.
Aizawa-Sensei nods towards them and comes around to Eri, holding his hand out for her. She only hesitates slightly before she takes it and they turn for the teachers’ dorm.
“Yeah,” Katsuki says but doesn’t turn to move.
When Eri looks back at him, he sighs and holds his hands out.
Eri stares at him but when he doesn’t move, she lets go of Aizawa-Sensei’s hand and runs.
“Ok,” he says and crouches down.
She runs into him, says, “Kacchan,” and holds on tight.
Katsuki pats her head and looks up to Aizawa-Sensei, who points into the direction of his office. There is an unnatural silence behind his back but Katsuki determinedly ignores it as he takes Eri’s hand and follows his teacher.
He silently dares anyone to say anything. He will blow them up.
“She couldn’t activate her quirk,” Aizawa-Sensei explains later. “She kept trying but it didn’t work. She was excited at the prospect of controlling her quirk but not being able to even activate it had upset her . As you can tell, she tired herself out, trying to use it. She was disappointed that she didn’t even get the chance to try for control.”
Katsuki nods, looking from Eri’s sleeping form to Aizawa-Sensei who’s standing in the doorway. She had told him what happened and then had nodded off as they waited for Aizawa-Sensei to return from a briefing with the other heroes. They brought her back to her room.
“We believe that she used most of her storage up, when she used it on your hands.”
“Most likely,” Katsuki agrees.
“I’ll be in my room, if you need anything,” Aizawa-Sensei says and leaves. Katsuki sits there for a while and thinks about the progress she has made in the short time he has known her. Kids are fucking brave. Then he stands up to leave the room, too, when Eri suddenly speaks up.
“Thank you, for being my friend, Kacchan.”
Katsuki smiles, snaps his fingers to make a small spark and closes the door for her.
A friend, huh? He wonders if it would help him, too, talking to a friend about his nightmares. If Eri could do it, maybe he can, too.
He brushes a hand through his hair and makes his way over to 1-A’s dorm. There are at least two idiots there, who could be his friend and not his hero.
He’ll give it a try.