Tar was filling his lungs. He tried to escape, tried to scrape it off, tried to get it out. It was hopeless. There wasn't a source he could blast, only endless oil pouring from inside him, encasing him, pulling at him, drowning him.
Katsuki Bakugou had just enough time to see All-Might reach for him before he was gone. In that single moment of darkness, of being totally lost, of what he imagined death must be like, he had a single thought burning in his mind.
'If God exists, I'm going to kick his ass for putting me through this shit twice.'
Air rushed back into him, he was coughing and hacking, he was alive. Red eyes blinked open and he stumbled back. Back from what? Where was he?
Looking around, it seemed he was in the epicenter of a new battlefield. There was a large masked man in a suit in front of him, who seemed unconcerned by what just occurred. Everything about him set Katsuki's nerves on edge, but he didn't cower. Katsuki dropped himself into a fighting stance, ready for whatever this fucker had in store. The man only tilted his head, amused.
Nothing he was doing screamed villain, but Katsuki knew to trust his gut. Whoever this asshole was, he was bad news. Quickly, he glanced around to assess his situation, never turning his back to the man.
Hm. Okay. Still in the city. From the looks of it, he didn't appear to have gone far. The sirens from outside the bar were now a distant screech, but still audible. The heroes would be here soon.
Hopefully, he would still be here when they caught up.
"My apologies, young Katsuki. I know that's not the most pleasant way to travel. Don't worry, you shouldn’t need to do it again."
The goop returned, but further from him, shaping other forms. Other people. Fuck, it was the assholes from the bar. Katsuki was surrounded again, his only comfort being that the others didn't seem to know what was going on either.
Part of him was itching to fight. The element of surprise was the only advantage he had, but he held himself back. Stalling for time was going to be his best option. He didn't know what the new guy's powers were, and the other heroes would be here soon. Hopefully.
The hand-covered fucker spoke first.
"Sensei, I'm sorry. I failed you."
So, this guy was the boss Mr. Hands had mentioned before? What the fuck?
"Don't worry Tomura, we all make mistakes sometimes. It's all a part of the learning process. You still have plenty of time to try again. I'll help you as I always do, just don't give up."
What The Fuck.
Katsuki bared his teeth as the villains’ attention swung back to him. Oh, fuck no. They weren’t getting away with that shit.
"Oi asshole, the only ‘lessons’ any of you fuckers are learning from me is how much it hurts to get your fucking teeth punched in, and what a goddamn jail cell looks like!"
The man chuckled in response, tone uncomfortably pleased.
"What fire this one has! You've chosen wisely Tomura, he'll be a very important pawn."
Part of Katsuki really fucking wanted to tell this asshole that there was no such thing as an important pawn. Pawns were identical and all worth the exact same which was the damn point of them. A pawn could be in an important position, but the pawn itself wasn't actually important. Also, he was a fucking human being, and he sure as fuck wasn’t ‘chosen’ or Shigaraki’s pawn.
However, calling this dickhead out for not knowing how chess worked wasn't currently high on Katsuki's list of priorities. Probably higher than it should be, but not as high as ‘not letting the asshole who turns shit into marbles’ grab him. Which, it turns out, was a big part of his life right now.
Dodging forward, Katsuki managed to zip between the clone guy and Ms. Stabby. This put him closer to 'Sensei' than he would've liked, but oh well. Better than being a marble.
Surprisingly, the man made no move to grab Katsuki, Instead, he extended out a weird tree formation towards the mist-guy on the ground, opening up a portal.
Katsuki had no idea where that portal went, but he was not going to fucking find out. Using his explosions, he managed to duck away from Mr. Compress and the woman who could magnetize shit just in the nick of time, hopping back a fair distance from the portal. Alright, he could do this.
"Take him and go Tomura. I'll handle things here."
"Good luck with that, asshole!" Katsuki shouted in response before the guy with the crusty lips could reply. Fuckhands swung his head towards him, and instead of replying to his Sensei, he lunged for Katsuki.
At the very least the guy was grabbing with four fingers, he was trying to catch Katsuki rather than kill him. That meant Katsuki didn't really have to worry about him. He was a distraction. Just had to keep away long enough for the heroes to catch up. That was all.
What was taking them so long?
Shigaraki grabbed at Katsuki a second time, and this time Katsuki decided he needed a more aggressive offensive. He’d given Shigaraki an explosion to the face earlier, but he’d been trying to make noise more than hurt him. Seriously injuring the guy might’ve triggered the others to kill him regardless of how much energy they’d put into catching him. Katsuki no longer gave a fuck about that.
Rather than dodging like Shigaraki expected, Katsuki launched himself forward towards Shigaraki’s grasp. It was a risky as fuck move, but it paid off. Shigaraki jerked backwards, hands snapping into fists to avoid accidentally decaying Katsuki. The movement threw the asshole off-balance, giving Katsuki the perfect opening for a full force two-handed explosion. Those stupid hands were knocked off in all directions as Shigaraki flew clear across the battlefield, slamming into a building. Probably not going to take him out of the fight, but that must've hurt like hell.
It seemed that Mr. Suit hadn’t been expecting that, one hand darting out and posture going tense as he shouted after the blue haired man-child.
The other villains were thrown off by the move, and Katsuki was able to whip around, giving the marble guy a face full of explosion too. It wasn’t as strong as the one he hit Shigaraki with, but it still knocked him back quite a ways.
Spinning himself with another explosion, Katsuki had been about to make a break for it when something grabbed his collar, slamming him to the ground.
That was going to sting in the morning. Right now he didn’t have time to feel the pain, he jumped back to his feet, only to freeze when his eyes unblurred.
The man in the suit was now 10 or so paces in front of him. Bad, but not impossible to deal with.
What was much, much worse was the blue-clad figure now in his grasp.
Best Jeanist looked like he was on death’s door, he clearly wasn't conscious, and this asshole had one hand hovering above his face.
“That wasn’t very polite Katsuki.”
He couldn’t breath, couldn’t move, couldn’t think of a plan. When had this fucker managed to take down Best Jeanist? What was the guy even doing here? He hadn’t been a part of the rescue team at the bar, at least not that Katsuki had seen.
The guy didn’t seem offended by his lack of response, pressing on.
“You’re quite the troublesome child, particularly with that quirk of yours. I wasn’t planning to do this, but unfortunately I can’t risk letting you hurt Tomura any further.”
What the fuck was he talking about? Katsuki glanced towards the other villains, but none of them seemed to know shit. Shigaraki had stumbled back to his feet while the rest were staying back, allowing the boss to handle Katsuki. The man took a step towards him. It took everything Katsuki had to suppress his instinct to attack, but he managed. Couldn’t risk the guy taking it out on Jeanist. He waited for the other to either make a clear threat or do something, glaring the asshole down. The other paid his angry gaze no mind, his tone conversational. As if they were discussing the goddamn weather.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly mind if I have to kill him today. However, it does seem like an awful waste, doesn’t it? He was so brave earlier, so strong, so heroic when he protected his allies. I was going to spare him for that. I’m still willing to let him live. In fact, I’ll even heal him now to make your choice a little easier.”
As the man spoke, a glow spread out from the hand that was holding Jeanist up, and the heroes wounds began to close. He was still out cold, but his breathing evened out and the only sign he had been damaged was his battered clothing. The glow reappeared, now seeming to pull something back from Jeanist.
“There we go, all better now.”
Katsuki hated this asshole's fucking voice. Hated how the man sounded calm, polite, formal. How he sounded like he was talking to a toddler or something. The other's free hand reached down to cradle Jeanist’s face. Katsuki’s own palms twitched as he barely suppressed the powerful urge to launch himself at the fucker and blow those hands off his fucking body.
“Now Katsuki, if you’d like him to stay alive, you’re going to come here quietly. If you try to attack me or escape, I’m afraid I’ll be forced to kill him.”
It felt like his teeth would shatter from how hard he was gritting them, but Katsuki didn’t have a choice. There was no way in hell he was going to let this asshole kill Jeanist. All he could do was slowly shuffle forward, drawing out the movements as much as he dared, hoping it might buy time for the other pro-heroes to catch up.
One step away from the man, he paused, unsure of what the guy wanted from him now.
“Hold out your arm. Either one will do.”
Probably going to drug him if he did it. Unfortunately, Katsuki didn’t have any other options. Slowly he extended his right arm, careful to keep his palm downwards so it didn’t look like an attack. In a single smooth movement the man tossed Jeanist aside, reaching out to grab Katsuki by the wrist. It took everything Katsuki had not to startle and dodge or try to catch Jeanist. The hero was tough, and the guy in the suit hadn’t thrown him hard, he’d be alright.
Besides, Katsuki had a much more pressing problem to deal with.
“This will hurt a bit, my apologies. Don’t fret about the loss though, I’ll give it back once you’ve learned to behave.”
There was no time for him to puzzle out what the fuck that meant because there was a searing pain in his arm where the man grabbed him. His hand was glowing just like it had before he healed Jeanist, but it was pretty fucking clear the guy was not trying to heal him. It felt like he was trying to pull out Katsuki’s blood from under his skin.
Katsuki didn’t know what the fuck was going on, he didn’t know what this asshole was trying to do, or what this pain was, but he knew he wasn’t going to go down without a fucking fight. With Jeanist safely out of the guy’s reach, Katsuki pulled back with everything he had.
There was no physical movement involved. It wasn’t like the guy was yanking on his arm or something. In all honesty, Katsuki wasn’t sure what the fuck either of them were actually doing, but it felt like tug of war with his soul.
The man in the suit seemed…Tense? Upset? Confused? It was hard to tell. His voice came out as a hiss. His pull weakened ever so slightly.
Katsuki took the chance, he grabbed hold of whatever the fuck it was they were fighting for, and he yanked as hard as he fucking could.
At that very moment, All-Might finally caught up to them. Katsuki didn’t hear him arrive, laser focused on not letting this asshole win. The man in the suit did notice All-Might’s arrival, startling. As All-Might rushed towards him, he lost his focus while Katsuki redoubled his own efforts.
In both the physical and metaphysical sense, Mr. Smith lost his grip on Katsuki.
There was a heartbeat or two where Katsuki could only feel the weird combat they’d been locked in. When the guy let go of his end of the rope, it was like Katsuki was flung backwards from the force he’d been using, the rope coming with him as he fell off a cliff. Then the world came crashing back around him, his legs giving out from underneath him as he struggled to breath again.
All-Might smashed into the man sending him across the battlefield, catching Katsuki as he stumbled.
“Young Bakugou, please tell me I wasn’t too late, did he manage to-”
“I’m fine.” His limbs felt like they were made of lead, but Katsuki wasn’t injured. There was no reason for him to be this fucking exhusted. All-Might set him down gently, and Katsuki pushed away from him. Even though he almost fell, he really did not want to be touching All-Might right now. It was making him feel sick to his stomach for some reason.
Instinctively he threw his hands out to the side to steady himself, letting out little explosions to rebalance his weight. For some reason, All-Might tensed up behind him, mumbling something Katsuki couldn’t make sense of.
“He didn’t? but…”
Neither of them had time to think about it. The asshole in the suit had recovered from the blow and was pushing himself back to his feet. Even without eyes, Katsuki could feel the man was staring at him. From his posture he appeared unsettled, shocked by something. Actually, now that he was able to look around a little more, all the villain assholes were watching him in shock. Shigaraki’s creepy grin had been wiped off his face, a look of disbelief in its place.
Glancing behind him, even All-Might was watching him with a shocked expression. Katsuki did a mental once-over of himself.
Did he sprout horns or wings? Nope. Still the same size as before. Skin was the same color. He didn’t feel any different. Or well, he felt really fucking tired, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. So what the hell?
Whatever it was, All-Might shook it off first.
“The others are almost here, you need to go now Young Bakugou. I will take care of everything here.”
Right. Katsuki quickly evaluated his position and the others near him. The villains tensed, ready to grab for him again, but the only ones he was really worried about were on the other side of the battlefield, well away from him. Still, they were in a city. He couldn’t risk leading them on a chase through the streets. His eyes darted to where Jeanist’s body had fallen. All-Might wouldn’t be able to fight safely with either of them nearby.
“Can you make a smokescreen? I’ve got a plan.”
His teacher grinned at him and his fist slammed towards the ground without pause. Katsuki darted forward at the same time, spurring the villains out of their shock and into action. Too late, assholes.
When All-Might’s fist hit the ground, it shattered the already damaged and rubble filled landscape, kicking up a huge cloud of dust that covered the entire battlefield. None of the villains could see to target their attacks or try to catch Katsuki. The fucker in the suit lunged forward, but All-Might intercepted him, holding him back.
One of the tough things about using explosions to fight, was they were bright as fuck. Katsuki’s eyes had adjusted to the constant sudden bright lights, so they didn’t stun him or leave him blinded afterwards. However, that didn’t mean he could see while he was using them. Instead, he had to fix locations in his mind and navigate without seeing 80-90% of what he was doing. It was hard as hell to learn at first, but it sure as fuck came in handy now. The smokescreen didn’t do shit to hinder him, but none of the other fuckers on the field knew how to fight blind.
He grabbed Jeanist with one hand and launched himself with the other. Since the other had been healed up, Katsuki was able to maneuver the other without fear of harming him.
Flying one handed was a pain and a half, not to mention how fucking tired he was, but the threat of death was a pretty fucking good motivator. He could hear the villains yelling below him. They couldn't reach him though so he paid them no mind. All his focus was on getting as far from the fight as he possibly could. It paid off too, Katsuki's flight took him higher than he'd ever gone before. The good news was it meant he'd land pretty fucking far from the battlefield, and none of those assholes could fly. The bad news was that he wasn't exactly sure how he was going to land. The explosion he'd launched himself with had taken almost everything Katsuki had left.
Oh, and apparently the fuckers were trying some shit behind him. He could hear something else whooshing through the air and braced himself to get hit.
There was a sudden shift in air pressure behind him, and Katsuki twisted his neck just in time to see Mt. Lady expanding to her full height, blocking the assholes who'd gone after him.
So, that just left him with the issue of landing. He was in the clear now, at least as far as he could tell, so he aimed for a nearby park. Jeanist was flipped so he was now on Katsuki's back, if worse came to worst, he should be alright at least. There was some comfort to be had in that if nothing else about this stupid night.
He did try to slow himself down, he launched several smaller explosions, but they were little more than sparks by this point. Alright.
This was going to hurt.
Katsuki braced himself as he slammed into the ground. God he wished he had his hero costume on right now, his boots and gloves were made for exactly this sort of shit.
Skidding through the dirt and grass, his arms got scratched up pretty badly and his whole body felt the force of the impact. Ugh. Didn't feel like he broke anything though. Small mercies.
After giving himself a few seconds to breathe, Katsuki pushed himself up into a sitting position. It only took a moment for him to get Jeanist off his back and laying next to him. The guy was still out cold, but he seemed alright otherwise. Nothing more than a few scratches. His pulse felt strong under Katsuki's fingers.
Katsuki wanted to do more. He wanted to get back up and see if there was any way he could help. See if there were people who needed evacuating, or find his way to whatever the closest police station or hero agency was. Escaping on his own had taken the last of his energy though, and Katsuki found his vision going dark. There were people nearby, civilians. At least one of them was approaching him, wide eyes and tense posture. They were saying something, but Katsuki couldn't make it out. His hearing felt fuzzy.
"C’an yo’u ‘all 911?"
It was mumbled out. Fuck. He couldn't even form words properly. The impact might've shaken his brain a little more than he'd been anticipating. Thankfully, the person got the message, they turned to someone else nearby and he could see them dialing. That was good. Someone would be here to help soon.
Emboldened, the first person came closer, getting a good look at Jeanist. Ah. Yeah. The guy probably looked a bit dead right now. It was hard to see his breathing through the costume. He was also pretty easy to recognize as a pro-hero.
Katsuki didn't know if the person heard him or not. All he could manage was getting those words out, and then he felt his body finally give up. Darkness overtook his vision, and he was falling backwards into an empty void.
He hoped he'd gotten far enough away.
Guess he'd get to find out when he woke up.
It felt like he’d been hit by a bus filled with bricks.
Ugh. Both his boyfriends were here then. Maybe he could fake being asleep for a few more minutes.
“Katsuki, we know you’re awake.”
Damn it, Shouto.
With a sigh, Katsuki forced his eyes to open. Bright light assaulted him, and he reeled back. After several seconds of blinking, he managed to get the world into focus.
Shouto and Izuku were at his bedside. Izuku was already teary eyed and Katsuki only had a moment to catch his breath before his crybaby boyfriend was on him, sobbing into his shoulder and clutching him.
For once, Katsuki didn’t protest. He let Izuku cry, moving his hands to rub at his shoulders and waiting for him to calm down. Red eyes moved to look up at his other boyfriend, who wasn’t much better off. While the other wasn’t crying his heart out like Izuku was, he was shaking, and both of his hands were clasped to the hem of Katsuki’s shirt. As if Katsuki might vanish if he let go.
“Did anyone die?”
It wasn't the first question he should ask, but it was the one he needed to know. It had been in the middle of a city. Attacks like that were bound to cause casualties.
"No, no deaths reported. The heroes evacuated the surrounding areas before they moved in for the rescue attempt."
Shouto answered him in a too calm tone that Katsuki hated because it meant there was something else wrong. Something else that he didn't want to say. He'd need to keep prying then.
"How many injured?"
"Only a handful of serious injuries. One civilian who was drunk and didn't evacuate. The injured pro-heroes are all receiving treatment and mostly in stable condition."
"Did they catch any of the villains?"
Both his boyfriend's tensed, and Katsuki knew he'd hit the nail on the head. Fuck. Seconds ticked by in the hospital room that now felt too large and too empty.
"They... Three villains were captured at the training camp. All three have been arrested and dealt with. They also were able to destroy almost all the Nomu that were at the factory."
That was all he needed to hear.
"But the rest of them got away. All the actual villains."
Izuku pressed his face more firmly into Katsuki's side. It told him enough.
"All-Might, he was able to seriously injury the man known as All for One. He won the fight, but... All for One had been cautious. He left himself an escape route. Said something about needing to live to try another day."
Ah fuck. So he was never going to sleep again. That seemed like the only reasonable and fair response to the threat left hanging over him. There was something else there though. He looked down at Izuku, knowing the other could feel his gaze and would give in. His boyfriend squirmed and tried to ignore it for almost a full minute, a new record for him, before finally giving up the ghost.
"All-Might, he. He's retired. It's-. It was coming for awhile, but, he, he used the last of his power to beat All for One."
“He- He ended up pretty badly injured. It’s- well- I mean.” Izuku had to pause for a few seconds, and Katsuki could feel the tears against his side. He already knew what his boyfriend was going to say, but he needed to hear it out loud. Finally, Shouto cut in to say what Izuku couldn’t.
“All-Might had several pre-existing injuries including lost organs. He’s not dead yet, but… they’re not sure if he’ll make it to the end of the year. The injuries are too severe and his body was already heavily damaged.”
Katsuki had fucked up plenty of times in his life. Plenty of times. Anything from social interaction, to homework assignments, to trying to use his quirk. You name it, he'd messed it up.
He never thought he could ever fuck up this badly though.
Getting the world's best hero killed because he hadn't been able to stop some gang of assholes from kidnapping him.
Fuckers got away too.
"Best Jeanist is okay though, it was really weird, he was totally fine once he woke up. Just some bruises from when All for One tossed him around. He came by to see you yesterday, said he hopes you make a quick recovery. It was really good that you got him out of there, All-Might's fight, well, it was totally badass but he wouldn't have been able to use any of his big attacks like he did if there'd been someone else on the battlefield."
There was some comfort in that if nothing else. Katsuki closed his eyes and listened to his boyfriend ramble on about the battle, comparing quirk use, tactics, raw strength. Then he turned those words over in his mind again.
Instantly Izuku stopped talking, frozen like a statue. Weird.
"How long was I out for?"
Both his boyfriends relaxed. So, there was something else they were hiding from him. He’d need to get to the bottom of whatever that was too. For the moment he waited for Shouto’s answer.
"About 3 days now. You had three fractured ribs and a lot of little injuries. The ribs weren’t completely snapped, but when your landing in the park jostled them and caused a bit of internal bleeding. Between that and exhaustion, they had to do surgery instead of Recovery Girl healing you right away. Yesterday you were finally well enough for her to heal you, and since then we've been waiting for you to wake up."
Alright. Three days wasn't bad. He could live with three days missing. Now time to figure out what it was that these two were trying to keep from him, because Katsuki was many things, but he was not dumb. He could tell when people were trying to hide shit from him. Particularly these two, since they were both absolute crap at lying.
Before he could begin his interrogation, a figure appeared in the doorway.
It took several seconds for Katsuki to recognize his teacher out of his hero costume and with how fucking exhusted he looked.
Aizawa took in the three of them before sighing and dropping his head. Despite the slump to his shoulders, there was a slight smile on his lips Katsuki could just barely make out. Said smile faded when he looked up, face growing serious as he looked towards Shouto for some reason. Katsuki’s eyes darted between the two, trying to figure out what he was missing.
“Did he lose it?”
Well that was fucking rude, even by Aizawa’s standards. Sure, Katsuki could be a bit temperamental at times but he’d only just woken up and- wait. Nope. Something else was going on here. The look on Shouto’s face as the other glanced at Katsuki’s hands before replying only confused him further.
“He only just woke up, there hasn’t been a chance for…”
That’s it. They were done playing the ‘don’t tell Katsuki what’s wrong game’.
“Alright fuckers, what are you hiding from me?”
Thankfully, his teacher also lacked the patience for that game.
“Use your quirk.”
Katsuki narrowed his eyes, but was cut off as he opened his mouth to ask how the fuck he was meant to do that in a hopsital bed.
“I don’t mean blow up the entire damn room, just test it. Anything works.”
At some point he better get some fucking answers for what the hell was happening here. With a roll of his eyes, Katuski lifted the arm Izuku wasn’t clinging onto and opened his hand. It took a few seconds, he was still fucking exhausted and his nitroglycerin production always went down when he was injured, but sure enough a set of sparks flew from his palm.
Everyone else in the room slumped in relief like puppets with their strings cut. Izuku redoubled his efforts to meld with Katsuki’s side, Shouto dropped into one of the chairs by the bedside with his hands still gripping Katsuki and Aziawa brought his hands up to rub tiredly at his face. What the fuck were the rest of them so relived about? His hands hadn’t even been injured, why would his quirk be fucked up?
“Now will one of you assholes tell me what’s going on?”
It was Aizawa that answered him.
“Good question. As far as we can tell, you might be the most contrary kid to walk the damn planet.”
Red eyes narrowed back down to a glare. That was not a damn answer. Izuku piped up beside him to elaborate.
“You know the man in the suit who warped you away? All for One?”
A nod, yeah, of course, how could he forget the dickhead?
Actually, wait, the fucker was called All for One?
What a stupid fucking name.
Okay, not the most important part of this conversation.
“Well his quirk, it lets him transfer other people’s quirks. He’s been doing it for a long time, stealing quirks and stuff, and we also think it’s how he makes Nomus. It requires physical contact for him to do it…”
“So he was trying to take my quirk? That’s what he was threatening Jeanist for?”
“We think so, yeah. It’s also how he healed Jeanist, he transferred over a healing quirk and took it back.”
Huh. Well, that whole encounter made a lot more fucking sense now. Still didn’t explain why all of them were so scared about him having lost his quirk.
“Why were you lot being so weird about me still having my quirk then? I mean, sure, the guy tried to take my quirk, but he didn’t have enough time to do it. I used it to escape from that whole mess. Why would I have lost it after that?”
Aizawa spoke up again, stepping further into the room to drop himself into a chair to the side of Katsuki’s bed.
“Well, we still don’t know why the hell you still have your quirk. Ragdoll lost hers during the attack, consistent with every other case we’ve discovered. Everything we know about his quirk says you shouldn’t have been able to use it to escape, so it was anyone’s guess whether or not you’d keep it.”
Before Katsuki could ask more questions, Izuku filled in the blanks for him, voice quiet with awe.
“His quirk… it’s not supposed to take time. Or well, it takes a few seconds at most. Once he makes contact, a person’s quirk is as good as gone. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyways, but somehow you broke the rules. It was a solid minute between when he made contact and when All-Might finally arrived on the battlefield. There’s no recorded cases of that happening before. All-Might’s been fighting this guy for ages and even he had no idea how you did it. All for One himself seemed really confused about it too, I don’t think he’s seen this before either.”
That… that was a lot to take in. Katsuki gave himself a little bit of time to think it over. Even though he didn’t want to, he replayed the memories of that moment in a new light. His dual-toned boyfriend was the one who finally spoke up, asking what all of them had been thinking.
“How’d you do it?”
Grimacing, Katsuki struggled to find an answer that would make sense.
“I dunno, I could… I could feel him tugging at something but I didn’t really know what was happening or what it was he was doing. Felt like he was trying to steal my soul or some shit like that. Even though I didn’t understand what the hell he was trying to do, I knew that I wasn’t going to sit there and let that asshole take it. So I grabbed hold of whatever the fuck it was and tugged back with everything I had.”
He finished with a shrug. Aizawa nodded, leaning back in his chair as he contemplated Katsuki’s answer. As much as Katsuki wished he could say there was a magic off button he’d found, there wasn’t. Just his own instinctive, spiteful refusal to let a dickhead like that win.
“Well, good to know it can be resisted. Keep checking your quirk for the next couple of days to ensure there’s no lasting effects. Anything feels off, let us know right away.”
It was Katsuki’s turn to nod, silence filling the room as all of them thought over this new information.
Izuku shifted himself so he could lay more comfortably against Katsuki’s side, now fully stretched out on the bed. If he didn’t know better, Katsuki would swear he had a leech quirk of some kind. Sucking out Katsuki’s natural intimidation abilities by shamelessly snuggling him every chance he got. Shouto had shifted himself too, so he was now slumped on top of Izuku and Katsuki’s mid-sections. Now that he had a moment to really look at them, both his boyfriends looked exhausted.
Actually, now that he was looking at them, he noticed a red mark on Shouto’s wrist. There was one on the other wrist too.
“What the fuck happened to your hands Icyhot?”
Both of his boyfriends going red in embarrassment wasn’t the result Katsuki was expecting, but it was amusing to see regardless. Interestingly enough, Aizawa answered him with a snort.
“That would be from the restraints I had to put on him after his third attempt to break out of house arrest. Your boyfriends and several of your classmates decided that it was a good idea for them to attempt to rescue you themselves. Thankfully, I had a feeling they were going to try something and managed to stop them before they got themselves killed.”
As much as Katsuki loved them, sometimes (most of the time), his boyfriends were total idiots. Neither of them would make eye contact with him, refusing to meet his unamused gaze.
“We were worried... “
Izuku couldn’t even finish his weak justification before he was burying his face in Katsuki’s chest again. Even though he was disappointed in both of them for even thinking about something that stupid, and the thought that they might’ve gotten hurt because of him was terrifying, Katsuki couldn’t help being a bit touched.
They were both idiots, but they were his idiots, and it warmed a deep part of his heart to know they cared about him that much.
Huffing sigh he let his eyes fall closed again. Whatever. He could yell at them when he wasn’t so fucking tired.
When Katsuki woke up next, both his boyfriends were gone. Unsurprising as the clock in the room said it was 2 AM. Visiting hours were over. He felt oddly watched though.
Probably just paranoia.
No more than a few minutes later he was out like a light.
All-Might was nearby. Even though he was confined to the hospital, the former symbol of peace was in high spirits. When Katsuki finally worked up the courage to visit him, accompanied by both of his boyfriends, he’d been greeted by that same big smile.
It was nice of him to pretend he didn’t hate Katsuki. Probably for Izuku’s sake. Really, Izuku should hate Katsuki more than anyone else for taking away the closest thing he had to a father figure. Izuku should hate Katsuki for whole fucking lot of reasons. He didn’t though, for some stupid reason he still loved Katsuki like the idiot he was. More than once Katsuki had wanted to tell him he ought to leave, tell Izuku he ought to run as far away as he possibly could, but he was selfish at his core. He couldn’t bare the thought of losing Izuku, not with All-Might laying on what would probably be his deathbed.
So instead he sat in the hospital room and pretended alongside everyone else. Thanked All-Might for saving him, smiled and pretend this wasn’t all his fault. If he did anything else, Izuku and Shouto would be upset and he’d already hurt them enough.
The next day he was cleared to leave the hospital. As glad as he was to escape the unnaturally white rooms, and headache inducing lighting, Katsuki couldn’t help but regard his departure bittersweetly.
It wasn't all bad. Kinda.
He was escorted home by Best Jeanist and Aizawa, they didn't want to risk too large of an escort drawing attention, but they were also well aware he was still at risk. At the very least current information suggested the villains were too busy recouping to bother with him. That was nice.
His house was only about half an hour from the hospital, but it took them about two hours to get there. Taking long, twisty routes to avoid being followed. He didn't need to ask to know they'd already pulled his address and any trace of where he lived from his file.
Of course, that only helped if the villains hadn't already stolen the information.
Katsuki stepped out of the car to see his house at long last. Home sweet home. Or something like that. It was hard, but he tried to keep the tension out of his shoulders, keep his gaze level and didn't spark off his palms. It'd look weird if he acted like a bitch about going back to his own goddamn house. Didn't want that. Didn't want to look weak, not when he'd already fucked up and gotten himself kidnapped. Couldn't be any weaker.
After hesitating for only a moment, he grabbed his bag and slid out of the car. Jeanist and Aizawa stepped behind him, both looking like they had something to say. For fuck's sake, he was going to have to deal with emotions, wasn't he?
The two shared a glance before Jeanist took the initiative. Aizawa stepped back a little ways, just enough to give them a vague concept of privacy. Unsure, Katsuki couldn't do much but eye the man in front of him and wait for him to get it over with.
Jeanist's eyes softened, shoulders slipping down from their usual formal posture, one hand moving out ever so gently to take Katsuki's shoulder.
It took a lot not to flinch at the contact, but he managed. Lots of practice helped.
"I..." The hero paused, considering his words. "I wanted to thank you, and apologize."
"For what?" Katsuki didn't mean to blurt out his words like that, but he was too shocked to control himself. If anything Katsuki owed him an apology, he'd almost gotten him killed twice trying to save him from some two-bit gang of dickheads. Green eyes scrunched up a bit in concern, but he wasn't scolded for the outburst.
"For my own failings on that battlefield, I was horrified to find out that you were very nearly taken again by the villains, and had I dealt with All for One properly, you would never have had to face him. Let alone the fact that my life was used against you." A beat passed before Jeanist continued. "Should a situation like that ever occur in the future, please know I would never want you to put yourself in harm's way for me."
That got a snort from Katsuki. "You had me as an intern, you know exactly how much I care about doing what you want."
Alright, that might sound a little mean, but it was true! Probably should add to it though.
"That guy had like 15 fucking quirks and every advantage in that fight, it took everything All-Might had to take him down. It's not your fault you couldn't do it. If anything, you being there bought me a good amount of time. I was only able to stall because he decided to grab you as a hostage instead of just grabbing me and going for it. Even putting that shit aside, I still would've done it because that's what a hero is fucking supposed to do. I’d do it again too, if it comes down to it." After a second of thought, he added, "Heroes don’t make excuses; they do whatever they have to do, right?"
Jeanist's expression was hard to read. Maybe frustrated. Maybe worried. Maybe a little bit proud. He ended up staring at Katsuki for a few seconds before sighing. It wasn't a disappointed sigh, more like resigned.
"You know, before I took you on as an intern, I was warned about how stubborn you could be. I thought they must've been exaggerating, there was no way you were that bad.” He huffed a small laugh. "I suppose I was wrong. Though I think the real mistake was I was warned as if it was a bad thing."
Katsuki wasn't exactly sure how to reply to that, he felt like it was a compliment but he wasn't quite sure. After a moment, Jeanist's gaze softened again.
"For all that it might make your life more complicated, your determination is one of your better traits. I hope it's something you hold onto as you grow."
All Katsuki could do was nod. He felt like any praise was unearned right now, but he also felt like maybe determination was something he could accept praise on, if nothing else. At the very least, even though he'd been weak and fucking stupid and gotten himself caught, he hadn't given up. He hadn't stopped trying. It was the only redeeming part of the whole situation. Jeanist took his nod for acceptance and glanced back towards Aizawa.
"Stay safe Katsuki, and I'll look forward to seeing where you go as a hero."
With that, he was stepping away, going back to the car while Aizawa stepped forward. Katsuki was still left stunned by his former mentor's parting words so it took a few seconds before he could look up at his teacher. Aizawa was patient, waiting for his gaze before he started on his own little speech.
"Alright, I'm sure you already know most of this but I'm supposed to go over it with you anyways. Stay in your house, we'll be keeping in touch with you, and your family over the summer, but the less you're outside the better. Keep your phone on you at all times, and if anything feels wrong you call me, the police, or another teacher. Even if it's not a full attack or you're not sure, we'd much rather be safe than sorry. Obviously, don't go talking to strangers or anything like that."
At that Katsuki rolled his eyes and snorted, having recovered from his flustered state.
"I'm not dumb. I'm not going to go looking for these assholes or try to get myself caught."
His teacher glared at him for a few seconds, but relented when Katsuki held his gaze steadily.
"I know you aren't dumb kid, just... be careful. Don't try to handle this on your own." He paused for a moment. "You'll call if anything strikes you as suspicious or if you see anything? No trying to pretend it wasn't that bad or brushing it off?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'll let you know if anything's up. I know better than to ignore that shit."
While Aizawa didn't seem entirely satisfied, he didn't protest any further. Instead, he just sighed. Looks like Katsuki was good to go. He adjusted the bag on his shoulder, ready to head towards his house, only to be stopped when his teacher spoke one last time, voice much softer than it was before.
"I'm glad you're alright kid. I'm proud of you too. You did a damn good job in that fight. Makes me happy to know at least one of you brats was paying attention during classes."
Once again Katsuki was floored. Of all the things he'd been expecting, a lecture on not getting himself caught, maybe telling him off for requiring other heroes to rescue him, or letting him know just how much danger he'd put everyone else in, he'd never considered praise from Aizawa of all people over this mess.
Had it been anyone else, Katsuki would've assumed they were saying shit to make him feel better. Or maybe they were making fun of him for getting his stupid ass kidnapped in the first place. Aizawa was one of the few teachers Katsuki had come to respect though. He didn't give out participation trophies, or praise them for doing basic shit. When they fucked up, he called them out on it, and when they did well, he'd let them know.
So instead of making a sarcastic remark or taking offense, Katsuki’s gaze fell and he replied in a voice that was quieter than he would've liked.
There was a lot more he should probably say, questions he wanted to ask. Some pathetic part of him wanted to ask if his teacher really meant that? Ask how he could possibly mean it, when Katsuki had fucked up so much. He didn't though, instead he just turned back to his house.
"Keep yourself safe, kid."
The words sound like something between an order and a request. A weird tone to his teacher's voice.
"I will." He replied, unwilling to let his voice waver. Unwilling to let any of his doubt or fear spill out from his lips.
Aizawa had to leave after that, had to head home. Katsuki needed to do that too, even if he didn't want to.
He braced his shoulders and pushed his way through the door to his home.
Silence greeted him. Blessed, wonderful silence. Oh thank fuck, they weren't home. No wonder he'd been able to talk with his teachers without her coming out to start in on him.
With a sigh of relief, Katsuki made his way to the kitchen. There was a note on the table.
Your mother and I are working late today. There’s some of your favorite in the fridge. Don’t leave the house, don’t invite anyone else over. We’ll talk when we’re home.
His favorite food wasn’t in the fridge, it was some takeout from a local restaurant. It wasn’t bad by any means, but that particular restaurant hadn’t been his favorite for years. At least his dad was trying. Of course, the effort went to waste because nerves had settled into Katsuki’s stomach, twisting it into knots.
The food was left in the fridge, and he went upstairs to try to nap. He’d need any extra energy he could get for the impending arrival of his mother.
He didn’t sleep. Not for a nap, one that he desperately needed, and not that night either.
Katsuki Bakugou was 16 years old. He was a hero in training at the best school in Japan. He had a strong quirk. He got good grades, third in his class. He’d fought high level villains four times now and survived all four times. He never wavered, never backed down from a fight, never showed fear even in the worst circumstances.
None of that saved him from his mother.
Lead overtook his limbs at the rumble of his parents car in the driveway. The air in his room turned to water, filling up his lungs just like the man in the suit had. Throughout the entire fight with the villains who’d abducted him, his hands had held steady and true. Now it took two tries for him to get the doorknob to his room open. He knew better than to try and hide from her. It’d only make everything that much worse. Make him that much more of a coward.
There was no reason for him to be this scared of her. Usually he wasn’t. Usually he’d stomp downstairs, slam the doors, pick a fight with her just to prove he didn’t care what she thought.
Tonight, he couldn’t find that courage.
Tonight, he already knew what she was going to say, as he shuffled down the stairs into hell.
Tonight, he knew she was right, and that made it all so much worse.
Stepping into the living room, he could feel both of their gazes on him. Pulling himself together, he managed to look up to meet her eyes. Mirror images of his own.
Both pairs of eyes were red, the exact same shade. Both were tired, angry and cold. Both of them could see Katsuki for what he was, a complete and utter fuck up.
She didn’t yell at him. Not tonight. She didn’t need to. Hell, she only hit him twice. A smack upside the jaw before she set into him, one on the back of the head before she stalked out of the room.
Neither hit hurt. Fuck, with what he’d lived through they were practically pats instead of hits. What got to him was everything in the middle.
It must’ve been at least an hour, an hour of her tearing him to shreds in her low, snide, vindictive tone. Letting him know what a weak bitch he was. How pathetic it was that other people had to go save his stupid ass. How he’d gotten exactly what he deserved for how he acted. How the pros should’ve left him there to rot. If he’d been stronger. If he’d been better behaved. If he’d been smarter. If. If. If.
By the time she was finished with him, Katsuki felt numb. Hollowed out, worn down, split apart and emptied.
Afterwards his dad finally bothered to speak up, having stayed silent during his punishment.
“You know she only says those things because she cares about you.” He didn’t want to hear that. His dad didn’t care. “We were really scared for you Katsuki.” No they weren’t. “We love you, we want you to be better, we want you to be safe. ”
Katsuki turned his back on his father, heading straight back up to his room with robotic steps. Shaking fingers touched his pillow ever so gently before he lost it, pulling the fabric up to smother his near silent sobs.
This was going to be a long fucking summer.
Two months passed Katsuki by trapped in his house.
He wasn’t allowed to leave. He did anyways, sometimes. Just enough to keep up with his training. He had workout equipment in the house, but he had to keep using his quirk or he’d lose his progress with it. Obviously, he couldn’t use his quirk in the house, not at the level he needed to. Katsuki left only when he had to and never when there was chance of her catching him. She’d probably put a fucking collar on him if she found out. Every waking moment he felt eyes on him, even when he was in his own room. It suffocated him.
Beyond that, he was stuck in his house for two fucking months with no outside contact. Nobody was allowed to come over. Not his boyfriends, not his friends, not even his fucking teachers. His mother’s excuse was that she didn’t want to risk anyone tracking down the house. The real reason was it was part of his punishment. Leaving him to his own thoughts and fears. Everyone bought her reasoning, bought his excuse that he didn’t feel like seeing people, left him alone with sickeningly kind words and promises that they’d see him at school.
At the very least he still had his phone. While using a touchscreen was hard for Katsuki, nitroglycerin fucked with how the devices registered his touch, he managed. His classmates had a group chat that he started using to keep himself entertained, and he texted his boyfriends almost every day.
It was just out of boredom. It wasn’t because he was feeling lonely or scared or lost. It wasn’t.
At the end of those two months, an end to his confinement finally appeared, in the form of the U.A. dorms.
Katsuki almost cried again when he laid down on his new bed, for the first time not worried about when his mother was going to get home or when he’d next to be able to work on his quirk. The window to his dorm room was wide open and there was nobody to yell at him for it.
The others were having some dorm room competition, which he’d steadfastly refused to take part in. Partially because he didn’t want those fuckers snooping around in his room, partially because he was already overwhelmed from being around this many people again. Even now he could still feel all the eyes on him, watching him when they thought he wasn’t looking. It faded though as he lay in his bed, relaxing for the first time since he’d gone home.
Somewhere far away, a man without eyes broke the connection. Yet again releasing Katsuki from his quirk and letting the boy fade from his mind.
His face was twisted in a grimace,
“No answers yet, I assume?”
The man made of smoke spoke politely, sympathetically. Anyone else would’ve been punished with how bad a mood the eyeless man was in, but his question was a kind one.
“None. Still no sign of it.”
Silence between them. They’d had this conversation before so many times. It was endlessly frustrating, a game of what-ifs and calculating the risks of a second capture attempt. The eyeless man spoke at last, tone firm.
“We’ll try again tomorrow.”
And that was that.
Back in the UA dorms, Katsuki had fallen into a light sleep, worn out from the exhausting days leading up to the move.
Nearly five hours passed before he was awoken by a knock on the door.
He knew who it was before he opened it. Shouto had a unique sort of knock, quiet but firm.
Katsuki wasn’t expecting his tear-stained face. Before he could speak, he had been damn near plowed down, the door swung shut behind them and several steps stumbled backwards before they fell onto the bed.
Several seconds ticked by before he realized the hitch in Shouto’s breath was sobbing.
Not knowing what else to do, he brought his hand up to comb through his boyfriend’s hair, holding him as he cried. This was the sort of thing he’d expect from Izuku, but he tried to be comforting regardless.
It took awhile for Shouto to explain around his tears. A nightmare. Of course. His father had been downright awful before Shouto left, and now he couldn’t help but see him wherever he looked in the mirror. Couldn’t help but hate himself that much more. Couldn’t help but wish his fire gone yet again.
He hadn’t wanted to go to Izuku, unable to hear gentle encouragement or a talk on how it was his own fire.
Katsuki could understand. Sometimes endless positivity wore you down. If it had been just that, they could’ve managed. Unfortunately, Shouto’s emotions got the better of him as he tried to repeat what his father had said. Katsuki hardly felt the tiny flame that flicked out from Shouto’s palm, it didn’t even leave a mark.
That didn’t stop Shouto from jumping backwards like he’d just killed him.
After that he was damn near inconsolable. Unable to deal with the idea that he might’ve hurt his boyfriend with his flames. Even though Katsuki was pretty damn fireproof, Shouto launched into sobbing again and it pulled at Katsuki’s heart. Made him feel that much more guilty.
How dare he be upset for having to stay inside for barely two fucking months and a couple mean words when his boyfriend was dealing with the worst shit imaginable? He was so fucking weak, so useless, couldn’t even get Shouto to stop crying.
All he wanted was some magic way to take the pain away, to make it all better. To make his boyfriend not hate himself this much. As he clutched his boyfriend close, holding him as best he could, trying to provide any comfort, all Katsuki wanted was to make this better.
In their tearful, pained, panicked desperation, neither of them noticed the odd sensation pulsing through their bodies for a few seconds.