Work Header


Chapter Text

“Wait, so… you mean I need to divide v by t to get d, so I can later calculate a?”

“No, I think it was multiply v by t to get d.”

“But we already know the value of d. It’s hundred-and-thirty meters…”

“What was a again?”

“I… don’t think I get it…”

Izuku sighed as some of his classmates debated over the current physics problem which was part of their homework. When Kirishima, Kaminari and Ashido asked him if he wanted to study together (read: help them with their homework because they were totally lost on how to do it) and maybe tutor them a little for the upcoming exams, he didn’t actually mind. He had plans to meet up with Todoroki and Uraraka for that same reason in the common room anyway. Maybe they’d head to the library. But to say he wasn’t confused about it would be a lie. He was. Because Kacchan was the one Kirishima, Kaminari and Ashido usually studied with.

Then again, he hadn’t actually seen Kacchan at all today, which was odd even if it was a Saturday. A quick, off-handed question to Kirishima where the blonde might be revealed the answer. He had gone home for the weekend. Izuku only needed a short while to figure out why he would so close to finals. After all, as smart as Kacchan was, it wasn’t like he got his good grades just from that. No, just like with everything else, Kacchan worked his butt off and studied as diligently as anyone else (if not more so) in order to stay on top. Or, well, close to the top, since Iida and Yaoyorozu still had him beat most of the time, to Kacchan’s eternal frustration. So yes, it was a bit odd he’d choose to go home for the weekend so close to the finals instead of locking himself up in his dorm room to study like he had the previous term.

But then Izuku remembered the date. March 20th. Uncle Masaru’s birthday had been Monday, on March 15th. That was probably the reason. Kacchan hadn’t been able to be home on the day itself, so he went home for the weekend right after. Or, knowing auntie Mitsuki, she made him come over for the weekend. That made even more sense.

“We’re going to die when finals roll around, aren’t we…” Ashido’s defeated voice snapped Izuku out of his musings and he focused back on the here and now. Beside him, Ochako chuckled and shuffled closer to the pink-skinned girl.

“Don’t say that. You’ll be ok. Todoroki-kun, Deku-kun and I will help you pull through,” she said and Todoroki looked up from his on homework with a raised eye-brow while Izuku rubbed the back of his head bashfully.

“Uhm… yeah… I can try, at least,” he admitted as he leaned closer as well to peer at the sheats. “So what don’t you guys get? I can try to explain again…”

They managed to study for maybe another hour or so before they started to get distracted, Kaminari clearly reaching the limit of time he can stay focused on schoolwork. It was obvious in the way he kept glancing at his phone only to eventually start chatting about some meme or another, effectively pulling everyone’s focus away from what they were doing. Izuku was only slightly surprised, in all honesty, since Kaminari was known for his rather short attention span when it came to school work. In fact, Izuku was surprised Kaminari managed to stay focused as long as he had. His attempts to get them back on track didn’t help much, either. Especially not once Aizawa-sensei showed up and called out to him.

“Midoriya, come over here,” the teacher drawled and the entire common room immediately fell dead silent. Izuku blinked, confused, but obediently rose from the couch and walked over to his teacher. Aizawa-sensei handed him a slip of paper and he took it, blinking in confusion. It was a pass allowing him to leave for the weekend. He didn’t ask for one, though. So why…?

“Your mother called and requested a special pass for you to be granted leave from today until Monday morning. Go and pack up. There’s a cab already waiting for you at the main gates,” Aizawa-sensei said, voice as dead-pan as always. Izuku floundered for a moment, stunned and hardly comprehnding. He didn’t ask any questions, though, because the look Aizawa-sensei gave him made it clear now is not the time for them. He felt a lump in his throat. He just knew that something was wrong.

He quickly took his things from where they’ve been strewn about on the table of the common room and headed to his room. He packed in record time and had to force himself to not run back downstairs. Or outside. Aizawa-sensei didn’t explain much to him even as he escorted him to the gates, but he did tell him his mother’s request has been approved because it was apparently some sort of ‘family emergency’. Which didn’t make him feel better. In fact, it only made him worry more.

He was actually very happy for the cab, to be honest. At least he didn’t have to worry about paying attention to where he was going. Plus, it was faster than the train at this hour anyway.

The relief only lasted until he realized the cab wasn’t taking him home. Instead, he was driven to a hospital. He gulped, his stomach tying itself into tight knots. He relaxed only marginally when he stepped out of the car and saw his mother waiting for him at the entrance. At least she was ok. She wasn’t the one who was hurt. But she was definitely in tears and if she managed to call him out of school for the weekend on such short notice for a ‘family emergency’, and he was driven to the hospital because she couldn’t pick him up but she was waiting at the entrance and seemed fine, then…

“Mom!” Izuku called as he quickly ran up to her. “What happened?”

“Oh, Izuku!” his mother said through tears, drawing him into a hug and sobbing into his shoulder. Izuku felt his own eyes water in response, like some sort of knee-jerk reaction. He hugged her back, biting his lip and just waiting for his mother to calm down, to tell him what was wrong once her tears and sobbing subsided.

“Oh, Izuku,” his mother said once she calmed down a bit, though tears still ran down her cheeks and she refused to let him go. He didn’t mind, hugging her back just as tightly, the worry only coiling more in his stomach with each passing moment. “I’m so sorry,” he heard and he bit his lip again, only more confused and even scared. He had learned not to associate his mother’s apologies with anything good in situations resembling this one.

“Mom?” he asked carefully, his voice quiet and his throat dry. He swallowed. “What’s wrong? What happened?” His mother remained quiet for a while. And when she answered, her voice cracked.

“It’s Katsuki-kun,” she said quietly and Izuku felt something cold and heavy settle in his stomach. For a moment, he couldm’t find his voice or any words to reply with as dread and worry washed over him in equal measure. He swallowed again.

“What about, Kacchan?” he croaked carefully, pulling away from his mother so he could look her in the eyes, his own gaze pleading with her to just tell him. “What happened?”

Inko’s voice shook as she answered the question and Izuku’s blood turned to ice when he heard her reply. It turned out that the Bakugous had planned to leave for a trip today. Just for one day, to belatedly celebrate Masaru’s birthday with a family outing. But they got into an accident on the way, somewhere out in the country-side.

Auntie and Uncle didn’t make it. And Kacchan… Kacchan was being treated right now.

Izuku felt like he’d been plucked from his reality and dropped into an entirely different one. Not even an hour ago, he had been studying for his exams with his friends and UA, hoping Kacchan was having a good time at home. Or wherever his parents had chosen to spend the day. And now he was at a hospital with his mother, waiting for news on Kacchan’s condition. Because he was hurt. He had been in a car crash. And his parents were dead.

It didn’t really feel real at first. It was just… too sudden. But the shock of the news wore off much too soon and Izuku felt the grief wash over him, threatening to consume him. 

Beyond the grief was worry, too, though. Because Kacchan was alive, but he wasn’t unharmed and Izuku had no idea how bad it was. He only knew that Kacchan’s life wasn’t in danger, at least according to what his mother knew. From what she’d been told, he didn’t have any injuries that were life-threatening, at least not immediately. She hadn’t been told any details, though, so for now, they could only wait.

They were in the ER waiting room now. Izuku hadn’t even really registered his mother leading him there to sit and wait in the uncomfortable chairs. In all honesty, the green haired teen wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t have preferred to stay outside at the entrance. Because while they would probably find out faster if there were any good news here, the atmosphere of the waiting room felt downright suffocating, anxiety that wasn’t solely his so thick in the air he could almost taste it.

Izuku hugged his mother tighter, eyes watering at the knowledge that uncle and auntie were dead. Both because he felt close to them as well, even if he hadn’t seen them for a long time, and because he was already hurting for Kacchan’s sake. It took him a while to calm down. His mother wasn’t much better. When he did calm down, though, he couldn’t help but ask a bit fearfully.

“Mom… what will happen to Kacchan? Where… where will he go?” Because Izuku didn’t know of any other relatives than auntie and uncle. No one who could take Kacchan in, because Kacchan certainly couldn’t live on his own. But thankfully, his mother had an answer to that as she dabbed at her eyes.

“I was thinking… he could live with us,” she said quietly, her expression sad. “I promised Mitsuki I would take care of him if something happened to Masaru and her. I won’t break that promise,” she added, a quiet determination in her eyes Izuku had only seen once before, when his mother stood head to head with All Might and admitted to not being sure whether or not Izuku should be allowed to stay in the UA dorms. Or at UA in general.

“Of course not. I wouldn’t ever ask you to, mom,” Izuku said quickly, still sniffing a little as he rubbed at his eyes. He still managed a small, encouraging smile, though. “Besides, that way Kacchan doesn’t… doesn’t have to worry about staying at UA,” he whispered, despite sensing this would be the last problem Kacchan will worry over. At least for now, because eventually, he’ll focus on that. Kacchan was strong. He wouldn’t let this get him down. He never let anything bring him down.

Or at least that was what Izuku desperately wanted to believe. What he needed to believe. Because Kacchan was strong.

Of course, no matter how strong he was, that didn’t mean he would just brush it all off. Izuku didn’t expect him to. But that was ok. Because if Kacchan was going to move in with them like what mom said, then Izuku and his mother could help him every step of the way. His father, too, because Izuku had a feeling the man would do anything and everything to be able to come home now, if only for a short time. If only for the… the funeral.

Sure, Izuku and Kacchan weren’t on the best of terms yet. But… they were getting better. Closer. They weren’t fully friends yet, but they were getting there. So… Izuku could at least try to help Kacchan if he needed it. And he would. He definitely would.

Kacchan wouldn’t deal with this alone. Not if Izuku and his mother had anything to say about it.

But first, Kacchan needed to get out of surgery and they needed to know just how bad his injuries were.

As if summoned by that thought, a doctor with an exhausted expression came into the waiting room with a clipboard in hand.

“Midoriya-san? About Bakugou Katsuki?” he asked into the room and the plump woman all but shot to her feet and walked over to the man, Izuku close behind her, playing nervously with his fingers.

“That’s me. How is he?” Izuku’s mother asked nervously. The doctor gave her a tired, but reassuring smile.

“His injuries have been rather extensive, but nothing life threatening. He’ll make a full physical recovery,” he assured and both Izuku and his mother breathed a sigh of relief. Kacchan’s life wasn’t in any danger. That was good. One less thing to be terrified of and worried over. They’d known that before, but hearing another confirmation still helped them relax a little. “If you wish, I can take you to the room he’s been assigned to. He’s not awake yet, but as his current next-of-kin, you’re allowed to see him,” he added after a moment. Inko nodded.

“Please take me to him,” she requested, but quickly added, “and my son, as well. He can see Katsuki-kun as well, right?” Well, if he wasn’t allowed to see him, Izuku fully planned on going anyway. He was not going to agree to just staying outside the door and wondering about Kacchan’s health. Even if the blonde wasn’t awake, even if they weren’t on the best of terms, Izuku wasn’t going to stay away until he could see Kacchan and assure himself he was fine. The doctor must have seen it in his expression, too, because he nodded after only a brief moment, agreeing to let Izuku come along as well.

Unlike the trip from the main entrance to the ER waiting room, Izuku didn’t space out on the way to Kacchan’s room. On the contrary, he was even almost hyper-aware, making sure to remember each turn and staircase taken so he would be able to find the room again if necessary.

“You said Katsuki-kun’s life wasn’t in any danger, Sensei. But give it to me straight. What kind of injuries did he sustain? He wouldn’t have been in surgery so long if he was fine. He wouldn’t have even been in surgery in the first place,” Izuku’s mother asked as they walked and the teen’s focus immediately shifted to her and the man leading them to Kacchan’s room. The doctor didn’t falter at her question as he stopped in front of one of the doors and turned to her.

“You’re right about that, Midoriya-san,” the doctor agreed with a nod before glancing down at his clipboard. “Bakugou-kun sustained several injuries, some more minor than others. He has a sprained wrist and a few broken ribs, as well as a flesh wound on his cheek that we had to stich closed and which will likely leave a scar. We also suspect he might be concussed, but we can’t say for sure because he hasn’t been awake since he was admitted. Once he wakes up, it’s possible he’ll have a headache and feel nauseous or dizzy, as well as confused because of this. He may also not recall what happened, though if he does experience memory loss, it’s likely to be only temporary,” he said and both Izuku and his mother nodded in acknowledgment. Seeing they weren’t going to interrupt or ask any questions, the doctor sighed deeply before continuing.

“There’s also the distal femoral break. It didn’t break skin, but the bones got displaced, hence the need for the minor surgical intervention to realign them properly. Currently, we have put an external fixation in place to realign his bones. However, that is only a temporary measure. As his next of kin, I would like to discuss with you the best treatment so the break can heal as easily as possible, Midoriya-san,” he said and Inko nodded. The doctor set his clipboard down to meet her eyes properly then, his expression somber, but reassuring. “The worst injury he sustained was the pneumothorax,” he stated, but he was only met with two slightly confused looks, so he was quick to explain. “One of his broken ribs punctured one of his lungs, causing it to collapse.”

“What?” Izuku’s mother breathed, her eyes wide as she stared at the doctor. Izuku couldn’t breathe, as if it were his own lungs that had been punctured.

“Despite how severe that sounds, it is actually not that dangerous an injury. Especially not for a young man like Bakugou-kun,” the doctor hurried to reassure them, his tone calm, but firm. “For now, we’re just keeping him under observation for it and plan to wait so his body can heal on its own.”

Izuku and his mother remained silent for a moment, digesting the situation and, in Izuku’s case, relearning how to breathe properly. It wasn’t that serious an injury. The doctors even said Kacchan could recover from it on his own without them having to intervene. That was good. Better than what he’d thought a minute ago, at any rate. After a moment, it was Inko who spoke, her voice quiet.

“Can we see him?” she asked and the doctor nodded, stepping aside and holding an arm out towards the door to his right.

“Right in here. He’s likely still asleep now, but we expect him to wake within a few hours. Please don’t hesitate to call for a nurse if necessary,” he said and both Inko and Izuku nodded before slowly opening the door and coming inside. The door fell closed behind them and although it was actually quiet, Izuku couldn’t help but feel like it closed with an ominous, foreboding sound that reverberated in his very soul.

Chapter Text

When Katsuki woke up, he wasn’t exactly sure where he was at first. What he did know was that it wasn’t his dorm room, which was odd, that he couldn’t move his body easily, which was both weird and concerning, and that he felt short of breath despite lying flat on his back and barely moving at all, which was definitely worrying. Even more intriguing, he wasn’t alone. Deku’s mother, auntie Inko, was by his bedside and Deku himself was pacing nervously, but on surprisingly quiet feet, at the foot of the bed.

They told him he was in the hospital. That he’d been in a car crash and gotten hurt. Which explained a lot of things and made sense, but only made it more odd why they were there instead of someone else. Like his parents, for instance. Because sure, Katsuki would be the first to rage and complain angrily when the old hag and old man started to fuss about him, but that didn’t mean some part of him didn’t acknowledge that it was simply because they cared and didn’t somewhat like knowing that.

He didn’t ask about his parents’ absence at first, though, because there was another confusing part of the story given to him that, in that particular moment, seemed way more important.

“The midterms are coming up. So why the wasn’t I in the dorms, studying like I da… like I should?” he cut off mid-curse and quickly censored himself, glancing at auntie Inko out of the corner of his eye. The plump woman would never reprimand him for his language, she certainly hadn’t before, but she would give him this odd, not-quite-disappointed look and he didn’t really feel like dealing with it right then. The green-haired woman bit her lip and looked away, hands fidgeting nervously in her lap. She didn’t answer him. Deku did, finally ceasing his annoying pacing.

“You were out with your parents, Kacchan,” he said softly, shoulders hunched and pointer fingers idly tapping against each other in front of his chest. His head was bowed a bit, but he met Katsuki’s stare with a look of his own. His expression was oddly blank. “It… don’t you remember? They wanted to go for a weekend outing because it was uncle’s birthday…”

Katsuki frowned at the news, his gaze falling to his lap. That made sense. He’d seen the calendar, he knew his father’s birthday hadn’t been that long ago. Just a couple of days, in fact, in the middle of the previous week. A birthday gift in the form of a family outing on the nearest weekend made perfect sense, especially since his father was the kind of sentimental idiot who would say he didn’t care what birthday gift he got so long as he got to spend some time with his family. Katsuki knew that was the case because he remembered him saying just that when Katsuki had, for once, called him on the day itself and his mother had barged into the conversation to forcefully make plans for the weekend to celebrate. The blonde had tried to tell them both off. He had midterms coming up, he had to study so he could keep up his good grades, damn it, he didn’t have time to take a break on the weekend! But of course, once his mother made her mind up, there was no fighting against her, so like it or not, Katsuki had been forced to ask for a weekend leave (under threat that his mother would do it for him if he didn’t do it himself) and from there to actually leave the dorms for home once he’d gotten it.

He remembered that part, now that he thought about it. It was the actual weekend, the outing they were supposed to go on and the car crash they’ve apparently gotten into that was a curious blank, parts of the time leading up to it a mere blurr in his mind that he couldn’t really make sense of. But from what little he knew or remembered, he figured that they’d all gotten hurt in the accident, which would of course explain why his parents didn’t visit him. They were probably as bedridden as he was.

He didn’t think much about it in the next couple of days, more focused on himself and his own body than anything else. The headache and occasional dizziness he felt that first day he’d been awake receded soon enough and he wasn’t in much pain thanks to painkillers, but he still tired easily and was often a bit short of breath. It was because one of his ribs punctured a lung, so he was effectively breathing to only half-capacity, the doctors told him, but it was apparently nothing to worry about and would heal on its own just fine. So he didn’t worry about it and, knowing his body would recover, turned his attention to other, more important things. Namely the upcoming midterms, because he still intended to take and ace them, thank you very much. He would definitely be recovered by then, after all. He had to be.

A small mercy came in the fact that Shitty Hair, Dunce Face, Raccoon Eyes and Flat Face also came by. They only managed to get leave for one afternoon, so it wasn’t much, but Shitty Hair in particular had the sense to bring Katsuki the stuff he’d need to prepare for the exams. Of course, that was only because the fuckers chose to use the fact that Katsuki couldn’t kick them out and all but forced him into tutoring them the entire afternoon. Which considering how slow they were on the uptake on a good day basically meant that Katsuki wasted nearly an entire afternoon he could have spent studying efficiently. Assholes.

Auntie Inko still visited him every day. Deku came by as well, but he often left the room for long periods of time, probably to visit Katsuki’s parents instead. Which was perfectly fine, it wasn’t like Katsuki wanted him there, but it was odd that he kept going off alone, that auntie Inko didn’t go with him. She was close to his father, after all, so he would have expected her to stay with her friend more than her friend’s son. But he didn’t question it. He didn’t really have a reason to.

He got taken into another surgery not long after he woke up, for his broken leg. They put some metal screws and a plate inside to brace it and keep the bones in place so the injury would heal. He still couldn’t move the limb much afterwards, as was to be expected, but at least he didn’t have a metal contraption that was more an annoyance than anything else sticking out of his knee anymore. And, as he’d been told, he was not only allowed but even expected to try and walk only a few days after the surgery, if with help, to ensure the limb wouldn’t get stiff and healed properly and the muscles remembered what their task was.

It was a few days later that he finally asked about his parents. He could understand them not coming to meet him if they were hurt as well, but a few days without hearing a word from or about them was starting to get odd. Even auntie Inko didn’t mention them. Which just wasn’t right. He would have thought she’d be the first to assure him that they were alright, or at least that they would be. In fact, the more he thought about it, the odder it was that the woman didn’t say a word about them. So eventually, he had no choice but to ask himself.

“What about the old man and old hag?” he asked, maybe a bit out of the blue but straight to the point. Deku’s head snapped up to look at him from where he was sitting in a corner, a book in his lap as he studied. Auntie Inko just blinked, her expression soft and just a little sad.

“What about them, Katsuki-kun?” she asked, her tone quiet and gentle. Katsuki had to force himself to not roll his eyes at the woman in exasperation. He would have thought it was obvious.

“How are they?” he asked impatiently, irritated that he even had to voice the question. He wanted to know, yes, but that didn’t mean he was comfortable openly admitting it. Auntie Inko had watched him grow up (if from afar), had known him since he was a little kid, she should know that. “I’ve been here for nearly a week already and no one mentioned them once. They were in the car with me, weren’t they? So they’ve got to be here, too, stuck in a bed like me or else the old hag would have already come storming here to yell. So how bad is it?” He just wanted the information to be handed to him straight, not pranced around as if he were a little kid. He was a hero in training, he could handle the news no matter how bad they were.

Auntie Inko didn’t seem to be aware of that fact, though.

“Oh, Katsuki-kun,” was all she said, eyes watering. Katsuki clicked his tongue and quickly looked away, scowling angrily and fists clenched. He had always known Deku got his crybaby tendencies from his mother, but that didn’t change the fact that he still disliked seeing the woman cry. “It’s… I mean, they…” the plump woman stuttered a bit, biting her lip, as if unsure what to say. If it were anyone else, Katsuki would have already snapped at her to just spit it the fuck out, damn it. But it wasn’t anyone else and auntie Inko was pretty much the only person the blonde rarely dared to yell and snap at. So he bit his tongue and waited, fighting his growing irritation when he didn’t get an actual answer. Finally, he sighed impatiently.

“Just give it to me straight, auntie. Whatever it is, I can handle it. So how bad is it?” he asked again, tone a bit rougher than he intended. The green-haired woman bit her lip, eyes falling to her lap and shoulders trembling as she wiped at her eyes. She still didn’t answer. She tried, it was obvious that she did, but for whatever reason, the words seemed to escape her. Like she didn’t know how to phrase it. Katsuki bit back a curse, irritation rising.

“Kacchan,” Deku’s voice rang in the room, quiet but firm, and the blonde turned his head to glare at the nerd. He was met with a firm gaze of green eyes, the nerd’s lips pursed into a firm line of determination as he came closer and stopped at the foot of the bed, hands grabbing the metal bar as he braced himself. Katsuki opened his mouth to snap at him, but the other hero-in-training spoke up before he could do so. “They’re dead.”

“Izuku!” auntie Inko found her voice and raised it at her son, her tone nothing short of scandalized. Deku straightened and turned to look at her, expression crumpling and tears forming in the corners of his eyes.

“It’s not like there’s a nice way to break it to him!” he defended himself, fists clenching at his sides as she shook his head. “And he deserves to know! He more than anyone else!” he added determinedly. Auntie Inko paused, looking between them uncertainly. Katsuki just stared at Deku, unmoving, unsure of how to react. The nerd huffed and then rubbed quickly at his eyes before turning back to Katsuki, facing him head on and not looking away as he elaborated.

“Auntie and uncle died, Kacchan. You are the only one who got out of that crash.”

Chapter Text

Deku’s words kept repeating over and over in Katsuki’s head since the fucking nerd had uttered them. His parents were dead. Katsuki was the only one to have survived the crash. That’s what the idiot had said and considering the lack of news and visits from the old hag and old man, it… well, it didn’t ‘make sense’ but it seemed plausible. At the same time, though, Katsuki didn’t feel like it was real. It was like his brain refused to accept the reality of the situation. As if he was unable to compute the information that his parents have died.

He kept expecting someone to mention them. Or to hear the old hag yelling from somewhere down the corridor. Or to see one of them enter his room because they would definitely try to coddle him if they could, his father in particular.

None of that happened, of course. He knew nothing like that could happen, no matter what. His parents were dead. That was a fact. Deku might be an idiot sometimes, but he wouldn’t make that kind of shit up or lie about it. So it was fact. Truth. It was how things were and Katsuki needed to accept that.

He hated the way he still expected some sign to the opposite. He was stronger than that, damn it! He could deal with the issue, he didn’t need to run away from it, even if it was his brain doing the running without Katsuki’s conscious consent. It still pissed him off to no end. Because logically, he knew the truth. He accepted it, because he had no logical reason not to. But it still didn’t feel real and it was fucking infuriating. 

Or at least, it didn’t feel real until he actually remembered for himself what happened. Then there was no more denial to be had.

He had gone to sleep that night knowing that in just a few days, he’d be discharged from the hospital. Auntie Inko had insisted that he move in with Izuku and her. Katsuki agreed, because it wasn’t like he had much of a choice. Auntie Inko was his next of kin according to his papers (the old man’s doing, no doubt) and while he did have other relatives, most of them were old enough to potentially be dead themselves or he’d never even met them to begin with. So it was either accept auntie Inko’s offer, or give himself up for the foster system for the year and a half remaining until he was eighteen. It was easy to guess from there which option would be better and easier for everyone, especially Katsuki himself. He would have to deal with cohabitating with Deku, but it would work out somehow. Probably. They were on better terms than they had been in middle school, after all, even if Katsuki still wouldn’t say they were friends or anything of the sort.

He had gone to sleep knowing that in only a few days time, he’d be free to go and he’d have to face life without his parents. Which didn’t seem daunting then, if mostly because it still hadn’t really sunk in or something. It still didn’t feel real. Katsuki didn’t expect the night to do anything to change that, either, annoying as that was. He expected it to just be another night at the hospital. And for the most part, it was. Except for the part where the memory of the crash finally came back to haunt him.

Katsuki was slumped in the back seat of the car, his arms crossed over his chest and one of his legs propped up against the back of the passenger seat his mother was sitting in. His father was driving. The blonde was sulking,  glaring out the window. With the exception of the radio, the car was silent after the recent fighting between mother and son. The silence, of course, couldn’t last.

“I still don’t fucking get why you have to make me waste an entire weekend,” Katsuki grumbled towards the window. And it really did feel like a waste of time. It wasn’t that he had anything against spending time with his family or anything, though, it was just that the timing was absolutely shitty. He had finals coming up, damn it, and if he was to ace them, he needed to fucking study. His parents should know that, the damn hag had harpied at him about his grades since he was a little kid. At least until he understood that he had to have a perfect, spotless record to better his chances of getting into UA, at which point he made sure his grades were nothing short of perfect himself.

“It’s not a fucking waste you ungrateful brat! It’s spending goddamn quality time with your family!” his mother snapped back, not quite yelling, but close enough. She was clearly still irritated at him and very much willing for another round of arguing. Katsuki wasn’t going to disappoint her as he turned his head to glare at her.

“I know that, you damn hag!”

“Then why the fuck are you asking?!”

“Because the timing couldn’t be more shitty! I have fucking finals I have to study for, you damn hag, I don’t have the time to go on a goddamn trip to the middle of fucking nowhere with you!”

“The timing is the way it is because your father’s birthday was only a couple of days ago! You can spare one fucking weekend of your time for your father’s birthday, you brat, and I shouldn’t have to fucking remind you of it!”

“Shut the fuck up! I didn’t forget!” He really hadn’t, although he still didn’t understand why they had to make a trip, of all things, for this particular birthday of his father’s. They haven’t celebrated much the years before and he saw no real reason why things were different this year. Couldn’t they at least have waited until after the fucking finals?! Sure, it would mean celebrating even later after the actual date, but at least then Katsuki wouldn’t have to stress over the exams and his lack of time to properly prepare for them. It wasn’t that he was worried he’d fail them, of course not, but just passing wasn’t good enough, either. He had to ace them. He had to be the best, or at least not fall further than the damn third best in class he seemed to be fucking stuck at.

“Now now, let’s all calm down,” his father interrupted, glancing at Katsuki briefly with the help of the rearview mirror. “It’s alright, champ. If I know you at all, you took some things for studying with you, right? We’ll make sure to give you some time for it. But you don’t need to think that much of it. I’m sure you’ll do fine regardless,” he tried to placate. Katsuki huffed, slumping a bit more in his seat, but he didn’t protest anymore. His mother was one thing, the two of them were constantly yelling at each other, but with his father, Katsuki just wasn’t capable of going off like that.

“Whatever,” he grumbled, still irritated and dissatisfied, but no longer fighting. He glared out the window again instead. He heard his father snort in mild amusement.

“Don’t be like that,” the man said softly. “This trip is supposed to be fun. So let’s just enjoy our time together as family, alright?”

“Fuck off and die,” Katsuki bit back, but the words lacked any actual heat behind them. It was more that he said it because he didn’t know what else to say than anything else. Neither of his parents replied to it and the car grew silent again. For all of two minutes before all Hell broke loose.

It happened so fast. One moment they were driving leisurely towards their destination and the next his father was flooring the brakes and swerving to the side to avoid the truck that was driving between its own lane and theirs on a goddamn serpentine trajectory instead of a straight line, the driver obviously more than a little intoxicated.

They managed to avoid a frontal collision, somehow, but their luck ran out right after as the back end of the truck hit the side of their car with enough force to dent the back doors, the metal being driven into Katsuki’s side and the force threatening to throw him against the door on the car’s other side. It was probably only the seat-belt that kept him in place, but he was still jarred and tossed around like a rag doll, especially as the hit threw their car onto its side.

If it had been just that, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. But gravity was a bitch and the car landed on its side just off the road, on uneven ground which continued further downhill into a ravine. Forced to obey the laws of physics, the car didn’t hold its precarious position and tumbled down the hillside, rolling and bouncing like a ball would until it came to a stop with the help of a tree, slamming into its bark roof first with enough force to dent it and crash the glass of the windows that had up until then somehow remained intact. The windshield wasn’t much better off and the motor was smoking ominously, though it didn’t catch fire.

The combination of the truck’s hit and the following tumble made Katsuki smack his head at one point or another, effectively knocking him out. By the time he woke up again, it was dark and cold and it had started to rain. He ached all over and he felt nauseous. His vision was blurry. The seatbelt had snapped, so he was lying on his side in the backseat, folded over uncomfortably over the back door behind the passenger seat. With a groan, he attempted to push himself up, but the movement sent waves of agony through his side and his right leg, in addition to making him feel even sicker. He groaned, but forced himself to try and sit up properly anyway, as much as he could considering the positioning of the car. Breathing hurt. He probably cracked a rib.

“Katsuki?” a quiet, raspy voice asked and the blonde turned his head in its direction immediately. That was a mistake, as his vision only spun again. He almost threw up as a result, but he managed to hold it down. “Katsuki, are you awake?” that was his mother’s voice. Though it was hard to recognize considering how quiet and raspy she was. Katsuki didn’t think he’d ever heard her talk this quietly in his life.

“Yeah,” he coracked back before clearing his throat and attempting again. “Yeah, I’m fine.” That was actually total bullshit, because he clearly wasn’t ‘fine’. But he was awake and aware, so it counted as ‘fine’ in his book considering the situation.

“Good. That’s good,” his mother replied with a small sigh. He thought she sounded odd. Almost like she was in pain and trying to hide it.

“Where’s the fucking asshole who drove the damn truck?” he asked instead of pondering that, turning his head slowly this time to look outside through the broken window. The car door looked like he might be able to kick it off its hinges and climb out, so he tried to move closer to it to do just that. The movement caused his right leg to flare with agony to the point that his vision whited out, though, and he nearly passed out. He collapsed back against the back door with a grunt, panting and trying to blink his vision clear.

Considering how it felt, his leg was probably broken. And from what he could tell, it was wedged between the back of his mother’s seat and the back seat in such a way that even if it wasn’t, getting it out would be impossible. It was stuck. He was stuck.


“I’m fine,” he insisted, though his voice was hoarse. “Where is that other asshole? Did he at least have the decency to call the police or something?”

“I doubt he even noticed us there. He drove off,” his mother replied quietly before her voice turned firm. “Katsuki, I need you to use your phone and call for help. Your father’s and mine are broken, I wasn’t able to use them.” Her words made Katsuki freeze for an instant before he turned to look back at her. His gut churned. Something… something was terribly wrong here.

“My phone is in my bag. In the trunk,” he said slowly, carefully. He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but the picture he was starting to get of their current situation was starting to freak him out just a little bit. The other driver had continued on his road, possibly without having even noticed that he’d knocked them into the ravine. His parents’ phones were broken, meaning they had waited for him to wake up to use his phone to call for help, not knowing that Katsuki’s phone was currently out of his reach.

“Shit,” his mother responded. Despite himself, Katsuki gulped.

“How long have we been down here?” he finally asked as he looked outside again. It was pitch black, but it was hard to tell whether it was due to just the storm raging outside, or the storm and the late hour. It had still been bright out when he’d blacked out. Surely he couldn’t have been out for so long that night set in?

“I don’t know,” his mother replied and it was Katsuki’s turn to curse colorfully.

“How’s the old man?” he asked after a moment. His mother didn’t reply right away, but he wasn’t looking at her, so he assumed it was because she was checking on him. In the meantime, Katsuki tried to shift at least a little bit closer to the broken window somehow. He managed, though not without nearly passing out again, his vision filled with black spots.

“Out,” his mother said quietly at length before speaking up, her voice holding a worried (if not even scared) tone Katsuki never heard her use before and frankly never wanted to hear from her again. “Katsuki, what are you doing?”

“Trying to do something to get someone’s attention,” he grit out. His attempts to get closer to the window didn’t get him much in terms of results, but enough that he could at least reach out a hand past the broken glass. That was enough. It had to be.

The first sparks of his Quirk lighting up his immediate surroundings were only a test, to make sure himself that he wasn’t so out of it that even his Quirk would be beyond him. Explosion responded as it should and his hand sparked, though willing it to do so was far more mentally taxing than Katsuki was used to, his throbbing head pulsing with every attempt and his nausea threatening to make his stomach empty of its contents. Damn it. He’d have to be careful to not overexert himself, pathetic as that was.


“Shut up, old hag. It’ll work. I’ll get someone’s attention as they fucking drive past or something and we’ll get help from there.”

His mother didn’t reply, but a small, annoying part of him admitted that it might have been because she didn’t share his optimism. Not that that was really what it was. It was more that to Katsuki, there was no other option than this working. Because fuck him if he was going to be stuck here forever. This wasn’t where he’d meet his end. No way in fucking Hell.

However, as time passed and Katsuki failed to see any lights of any passing cars, doubt crept into him. It was still raining and from time to time, thunder clapped and lit up their empty surroundings. As much as the weather ensured the car wouldn’t end up going up in flames, it also lowered the temperature and the cold was starting to seep into Katsuki’s bones. That, and the destroyed windows and position of the car meant that nothing was stopping the rain from drenching the inside of the vehicle. So Katsuki was understandably soaked and freezing because of it. He was shivering, the minute, uncontrollable movement meant to help him keep at least a little warmth jarring his injuries.

He managed to get a look at his father a couple times, when he managed to shift just enough to see him and a clap of thunder illuminated the inside of the car. The man was out cold as Katsuki’s mother had said, limp in his seat and with blood dripping from his mouth and nose, as well as a head injury Katsuki couldn’t locate. The blonde had tried to reach out to him, try and wake him up at one point when his mother wasn’t looking, but not only did the man not wake, the coldness of his skin told Katsuki all he would have normally needed to know. His mind shut the idea (the knowledge) out, however, because there was just no way his father had… no, he was just out cold, like the old hag had said.

At one point, much to his own disgust and the old hag’s worry, he gave in to his nausea and threw up, though there wasn’t anything but bile for his stomach to expel. It didn’t really make him feel better. All it did was make his throat burn, adding another ache to his already beat-up body.

The most frustrating, however, were when the rare car light did pass by and Katsuki used his Quirk to get their attention, only to get ignored. It happened at least three times, each and every one making him just a bit angrier and more desperate. Goddamn it, it might only be just sparks, but his Quirk wasn’t that fucking easy to miss! What, were those fuckers blind ?! How could they not see them?!

“I guess you were right, Katsuki. We shouldn’t have gone on this trip. We should have listened to you,” his mother said at one point, her voice quieter than before, a bit airy even. Katsuki froze, unsettled at the sound, even as he refused to acknowledge why she could sound like that.

“Yeah, well, you’ll know to fucking listen to me next time,” he grouched without turning away from the window, willing another car to pass by and for the driver to finally pay some goddamn attention so he or she would notice them.

The old hag only hummed, and if she attempted to say anything afterwards, Katsuki didn’t hear it because the rain and his Quirk drowned it out as his hand sparked again. Once more, it looked like the car would just pass them by without noticing, however. But Katsuki wasn’t going to stand for it.

“Stop fucking ignoring me, damn it!” he screamed (as much as his abused throat allowed, anyway) and pushed his Quirk to do more than just spark. The explosion he created was small, but bright and loud. The only downside was that the exertion of creating it made his head feel like it was being split open, his nausea getting worse again. Katsuki grunted and collapsed just a little against the seat, retching again. Although since his stomach was now truly empty, it was more dry heaving than anything else.


“I’m fine! Ugh… fucking fine, shut up, damn hag,” he wheezed, hating the mild panic in his mother’s voice. He looked up towards the window again and his eyes widened. Up on the road, the lights were still there, standing still. The car had stopped. Gasping, Katsuki willed his vision to clear, for the black spots he was seeing to recede and made his hand spark again. “Come on, damn it, you have to be seeing this…” he grunted to himself, waiting to see any sort of movement up there, for someone to come down or at least get out of the car to get a better look. Thunder clapped overhead again, illuminating the ditch Katsuki and his parents were stuck in, and although Katsuki flinched a bit at it, he was thankful. Because now, there was no way the driver of the other car hadn’t seen them, hadn’t understood that the flickering light they were seeing was an attempt to call for help, there was no way they wouldn’t-

The car drove away.

“No!” Katsuki couldn’t help but cry out. “Get back here you damn shithead! Don’t just fucking ignore me!” his voice cracked and Katsuki gasped, closing his eyes as they burned, tears of utter frustration and anger forming in the corners. God fucking damn it! “Asshole…”

“Katsuki, it’s alright. You’ll be alright,” his mother soothed. Katsuki wanted to tell her to shut up, to stop treating him like a fool, but she continued talking before he could. “They stopped. They must have seen us. It’s just likely that they didn’t want to risk anything. But they must have called at least the police just in case before driving off. You… you’ll be alright now.” Her voice was getting quieter. Katsuki didn’t like that. Not at all.

“We’ll be alright, you mean,” he muttered stubbornly as he pulled his arm back inside and rubbed at his eyes. The old hag only hummed again.

“You know, for all the times I smacked you… and yelled at you… I never once wanted you to be any different. You are a brat. But you’re my brat. And I love you. I always will. Don’t… don’t forget that, alright?” she whispered and Katsuki shuddered.

“Yeah, whatever. Quit the damn sappy act, it doesn’t suit you,” he muttered, but tried to shift again to be closer to her and reach his good arm towards her. He didn’t quite reach, he only just managed to make himself move enough to reach her backrest because the agony of moving further threatened to make him pass out again, but his hand still came in contact with hers, lying on top of it.

“I guess it doesn’t… but I mean it, brat. I do love you,” she said and Katsuki looked up in her direction then, just as another clap of thunder lit up his surroundings. The old hag was bruised black and blue (or, well, mostly black in the current lighting) and there was blood in her hair. Some flowed from her nose, too. She didn’t seem to be stuck like Katsuki was, but despite that, she wasn’t trying to move much. Katsuki didn’t try to ponder why that was. He didn’t have the mind to right then.

“I know,” he croaked, then swallowed and tried to squeeze his fingers over hers. His mother gave him a small smile and then leaned more against her seat, her eyes slipping closed as she lost consciousness. Because that was all it was. She was just unconscious, nothing else.

Katsuki was shaking in earnest by that point. Probably from the cold. They’ve been in the goddamn ravine for hours by now, he was sure, and now that he knew (hoped) help was probably on the way, his own body demanded he rest. He tried to fight it, tried to fight the way his eyes slipped shut and the way his vision blacked out. Still, from one blink of an eye to the next, red and blue lights appeared seemingly out of nowhere and the next time he looked up, there were police cars and even an ambulance on the road above. He could even see people carefully climbing down the slope with the help of flashlights. Fucking finally.

“They’re here…” he choked before turning his head to look at his mother. Her hand was still under his. It was limp and cold. Colder than his own. Katsuki swallowed. “Oi, old hag. Wake up. The paramedics are here,” he hissed, squeezing her hand in an attempt to rouse her. When that didn’t work, he carefully stretched his arm to reach further, grabbing her limp arm and trying to shake her. “Old hag!”

She didn’t stir or make a sound. Katsuki swallowed and his eyes burned, his vision blurring. Thunder clapped overhead again and, with his new position, he got a better look at the old hag and the old man. He gasped at the sight of his father, for the man had a broken tree branch sticking out of his chest and passing through the windshield. He must have been impaled - which was probably also the only reason he was still in his seat, because he was pinned there - when the car was tumbling down or something and likely died on impact because no human could survive such a wound, let alone for the hours, it felt, that they’ve been stuck here.

The old hag wasn’t much better off. Her legs were most likely crushed with the way the front of the car was dented and one of her arms was wedged between her seat and the broken door held closed by the ground. There were several cuts, some deeper than others, all over her body from the glass of the broken windshield, but none seemed life threatening. She was still bruised all over, however, and although there was no telling what had beat her up so bad, it was likely that she’d been bleeding internally for a long time.

Katsuki didn’t even try to wake his father. He knew it was useless. But he tried to shake his mother again as the flashlight drew closer.

“Old hag!” he called again, voice cracking as he tried to shake her, to wake her up. Again, she didn’t so much as stir. Katsuki blinked to clear his blurry vision, feeling something hot roll down his face and stinging one of his cheeks, but he ignored it. “Old hag! Come on, wake up!” he tried again, voice unnaturally desperate and even fearful, though he’d deny it to his dying breath. As he would deny that a sob tore out of his throat at that moment. “Old hag!” he struggled to call one more time, breath coming in short, sharp gasps and his vision blurring again, worse than before. He blinked it clear, but it didn’t help. His eyes stung. He couldn’t breathe right. 

The old hag’s eyes did not open. Katsuki felt like something in him broke. Thunder clapped, drowning out his last, desperate yell.

He woke up on his hospital bed in the middle of the night, gasping for breath and tears stinging his eyes. One of his hands rose to his mouth, covering it as he sobbed just a little, the images from the dream (memory) refusing to leave him alone. He squeezed his eyes shut, the vision of that last, proper look he’d gotten at his parents thanks to the light of the thunder flashing across his mind’s eye. He sniffled as it finally hit him. The old man and old hag were gone. They had died in the car. He’d seen them die with his own eyes.

He curled up on the bed then, as well as his injuries allowed, anyway. He hated his own reaction, hated how weak he was being, but he couldn’t stop the damn tears or the soft, broken, choked words that left him. A final, futile attempt to call for someone who couldn’t answer anymore.

“Mom…! Dad…!”

Chapter Text

As none of his injuries required he stay in the hospital, Katsuki was released about a week or so after originally waking up. His first reaction to that was relief. He hated hospitals. He wanted to go home. But then the fact hit that his home would be empty. He’d be the only one there. The old hag and the old man weren’t there, weren’t ever going to be there again.

His eyes stung a bit at the realization, but he scowled and tightened his grip on his crutches. Auntie Inko and Deku came to pick him up and he was not going to cry like a pussy in front of them. Or cry in general, period.

“Where are we even going?” he forced himself to ask as they came out of the hospital doors and towards the parking lot. At the sight of the Midoriya’s small car - wait, since when did they even have a car? - his stomach churned uncomfortably, but he ignored it. Beside him, Deku turned his head to look at him and blinked owlishly, as if Katsuki had asked a question he hadn’t expected. Stupid nerd.

“Uhm… home?” Deku offered uncertainly, tilting his head to the side. “Where else would we go?” he added and Katsuki snorted, pretending his eyes didn’t sting again at the ‘well duh!’ he could hear in the other’s words, even if it hadn’t been said.

“Which home?” he snapped, because really, it was a logical question to ask, wasn’t it? Sure, Katsuki knew he was going to move in with the Midoriyas, but it wasn’t like he had any of his stuff there. But clearly, the greenette hadn’t thought of it because his eyes grew wider and his expression became clearly flabbergasted as he spluttered and quickly shook his head.

“Which…?” he started, but couldn’t finish his sentence in his apparent confusion. Katsuki rolled his eyes at the reaction. Useless idiot.

“I thought it best if we went to your house first, Katsuki-kun. So you can pick up a few things,” auntie Inko cut in, opening the door to the driver’s seat. Deku opened one of the passenger doors for Katsuki, since the blonde’s hands were occupied by his crutches, then quickly scampered to the other side of the car. Katsuki glared at him. Crutches or not, he could open a damn door himself, thank you. He moved to get into the car, carefully maneuvering his braced leg so he didn’t bump into anything.

“For how long should I pack?” he asked once he was seated and carefully pulled the crutches in to situate next to him. He might have bumped Deku with one of them as he did so - completely on accident, of course - but the nerd didn’t make a sound so Katsuki couldn’t possibly be sure since he didn’t look at him. He slammed the door closed, his stomach flipping uncomfortably again. And yet again, he ignored it, twisting carefully in his seat to grab the security belt.

“What do you mean, Katsuki-kun?” the plump woman asked. She turned the key in the ignition and the car rumbled to life. Katsuki felt bile rise in his throat for some reason, but he swallowed it down.

“How long before we come by there again? Or should I just pack everything now?”  he asked quietly, unwilling to admit how uncomfortable the question made him. In all honesty, he didn’t want to move out of his room or his house. It was his home. It was his family’s home. But he didn’t have a family anymore, did he. He was an orphan. He was alone now. The thought made his eyes start prickling once more, but once again, Katsuki grit his teeth and willed himself not to let any tears form. He wasn’t that weak. He wasn’t !

The car started moving then. Auntie Inko backed out of their parking spot and turned, heading for the hospital’s parking lot’s exit. Katsuki swallowed again, feeling oddly nauseous. What the fuck was wrong with him? He’d never been so goddamn queasy in a car before.

“It’s not like you have to move all of your things today, Kacchan,” Deku cut in from beside him, eyes still wide as saucers. “The house is only a block or so away from our apartment. It’s not far. We can bring your stuff over little by little. I’ll help you with it.”

“I don’t need your fucking help. I can do it alone,” Katsuki spat at him. Although was it just him, or was his voice oddly strangled? He cleared his throat, only then realizing how dry his mouth was. And his stomach refused to settle. Goddamn, what was wrong with him?! “You’re not my fucking friend. Stop trying to act like we’re close, damn nerd,” he added in a low tone, needing something, anything, even a conversation as sickening as this to distract him from whatever the fuck was making him so damn queasy. He didn’t really mean that, though. Or at least not fully. Sure, Deku at him weren’t friends, but their relationship was better than before.

“We know that, Katsuki-kun,” auntie Inko said gently from her spot in the driver’s seat. “But we would like to help you anyway. You can do it alone, of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to, right?”

Katsuki bit his lip and swallowed again, fighting the bile that kept rising in his throat and threatening to make him throw up. He was really nauseous, but he had no idea why. He cleared his throat again, trying and failing to push the feeling down.

“I guess,” he acquiesced quietly and yeah, his voice was definitely croaky. He scowled at his lap. What the fuck? He’d been fine a mere hour ago! What the fuck was this? What was wrong with him?! Damn it, pull yourself together, asshole!

“Good. Then I’ll drive you to your house so you can pack. Izuku, you’ll help him, right?” auntie Inko asked gently, looking at them through the rearview mirror. Katsuki gulped and held on tighter to the door handle at the sight. Beside him, Deku nodded and muttered a quiet agreement, though his demeanor was more subdued now. “I’ll try to find a place to park not too far from there, but if I don’t find one, I’ll wait in the car so we don’t have to carry everything on foot this time. What do you boys say?” the nerd’s mother continued, still glancing into the rearview mirror every now and then to look at them. Katsuki’s stomach kept churning. He nodded sharply.

“Yeah. Sounds good,” he agreed before taking a deep breath, leaning back and closing his eyes. He didn’t say anything for the rest of the way to his house.

Sitting beside the blonde, Izuku watched him carefully throughout the drive. Kacchan didn’t let go of the door handle once he’d grabbed it. On the contrary, the longer they drove, the harder he seemed to hold on, until his knuckles turned white. He was deathly pale, too, and kept swallowing and clearing his throat. He seemed tense. On edge. Afraid, even. But that was ridiculous, right? Why would Kacchan be afraid? And of what? It wasn’t like there was anything in the car for him to be afraid of , right?

As they drove on, for a brief moment, Izuku entertained the idea that maybe the issue wasn’t something in the car, but the car itself. That maybe Kacchan was afraid of being in a car in light of what happened the last time he’s been in one. But the green-haired teen quickly discarded the ridiculous notion, because there was absolutely no way Kacchan would be scared of something like that. Or scared in general. He was Kacchan! He wasn’t scared of anything. He was amazing like that.

It didn’t mean Izuku didn’t think Kacchan had no weaknesses or didn’t make mistakes or anything of the sort. But at least as far as fear went, the young hero-in-training was pretty sure that was an emotion the blonde simply never experienced. Or at least extremely rarely and in truly dire and dangerous situations.

Just as she said she would, Izuku’s mom drove off in search of a nearby parking spot while the greenette and Kacchan walked into the house. The blonde didn’t hesitate as he walked in, didn’t look around. He headed straight upstairs, footsteps quick and assured and leaving Izuku to scramble behind him, despite the fact that the blonde was slowed down by his injured leg and his crutches. Sadly, though he offered to help, there was little he could actually do. He hadn’t been to Kacchan’s house in a long time, let alone his room, so he had no idea where anything was or what all Kacchan would want to take along. So despite wanting to help, Izuku found himself just standing in the doorway and watching as the blonde messily threw his things together into a large bag, trying to stay out of the way. As the minutes ticked by, however, he couldn’t help but comment.

“Kacchan, you know you don’t have to take everything right now, right?” he asked carefully as the blonde grabbed some workout equipment and haphazardly stuffed it into his already nearly full to bursting bag.

“Shut the fuck up, Deku,” he spat back, his voice seeped in the usual irritation and his eyes shooting daggers at everything around him. Which was standard Kacchan behavior. And yet Izuku couldn’t help but frown and feel like something was off.

Bakugou Katsuki had always been a quick-tempered firecracker of a person. He was angry most of the time, and the rare times he wasn’t he was volatile and prone to exploding into a rage at the drop of a hat anyway. Similarly, his behavior was usually aggressive and somewhat violent. Not in the sense that he lashed out and hit people, not anymore at least, but there was always this underlying tension and thinly-veiled threat in his every movement. And all of that was there right now, too. In spades, even. There was no denying that Kacchan was clearly angry about something and Izuku had several guesses as to the reason.

But at the same time, for all his short temper and volatility, Kacchan’s movements have always been controlled and precise. No matter how angry and irritated he was, Kacchan always had perfect control of himself. Whatever he did, he did it because he wanted to, not because he lost his cool and thus control or for any other reason. That was just how he was. Angry and prone to yelling, but at the core always in perfect control of himself. Even at his worst. Even when he lashed out.

(Actually, that was part of why Izuku had almost grown to resent Kacchan in the past for the bullying, because he was well aware that all that Katsuki did was because he wanted to. Including the Quirk usage and the physical blows. But that was beside the point.)

There was none of that control in his movements now, however. Kacchan’s movements were quick and erratic, volatile and violent in a way Izuku hadn’t ever seen from him before. His anger was undeniable, but it was more than that. What exactly it was, Izuku wasn’t sure. All he knew was that Kacchan wasn’t as ok as he tried to pretend to be. And not only physically. Of course, that was to be expected, but still… a small part of Izuku might have just thought Kacchan above such a reaction. He was an idiot. Kacchan might be amazing, but he was still human, after all.


“Alright. Let’s go, shitty Deku,” Kacchan interrupted before Izuku could even figure out what he wanted to say, shouldering one of his bags and trying to shift to pick up another despite his crutches and the brace on his leg.

“I’ve got it, Kacchan,” he said and quickly stepped up to get the rest of the luggage. The blonde glowered at him, going so far as to bare his teeth before he looked away with an annoyed click of his tongue.

“Could have fucking gotten it myself,” he grumbled as he readjusted the other bag on his shoulder and then gripped his crutches, walking out of the room without a single backward glance.

“I know,” Izuku said indulgently, even though he knew that wasn’t actually the case, if only because of the crutches. “I just wanted to help.”


The way back outside was as quick as the way to Kacchan’s room. The blonde made a beeline for the exit without sparing a glance at anything around. It almost seemed like he wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible, like he was avoiding looking around for whatever reason. Almost.

Thankfully, Izuku’s mom managed to park close to the house and they were quick to load everything into the trunk. Their apartment wasn’t that far, but having to carry several bags worth of Kacchan’s belongings would have likely still been tiring. As they got back into the car, Izuku couldn’t help but notice Kacchan’s scowl becoming even more fierce. The other boy seemed kind of slow to get back inside and close the door, too. Of course, it could have just been because of the brace on his leg and the crutches, but Izuku noticed Kacchan hadn’t had much problem with getting out of the car quickly at his own house. Or when they arrived at the Midoriya apartment.


When they entered the house, they ran into Izuku’s dad as he came stumbling out of his son’s room. The man grinned welcomingly at them, though it wasn’t as bright a smile as Izuku knew his dad to be capable of. It was dimmed by grief, despite his attempts to hide it.

“Ah, there you are. Good to see you, Inko dear. And you, too, Izukkun. Man, you’ve grown a lot since I last saw you, or is that just me?” he asked jovially, but just like his smile, his voice wasn’t quite as happy and rambunctious as always. He was trying to act his normal, goofy self, though and Izuku honestly appreciated that.

“It’s just you, dad,” he said with a small smile of his own as he met the man’s eyes. Hisashi was a tall, thin, yet well-built man standing at a proud 6’7. He had curly hair like Izuku, but it was red-brown, rather than green. His eyes were molten gold and his pupils were more almond-shaped than round, tending to become slitted in bright light. He had horns jutting out of his head, the same color as his hair and curling in a spiral at the side of his head, the tips nearly reaching the side of his jaw. A couple knickknacks hung from them, likely things he’d hung on them ‘for easy reach’ or something and then promptly forgot about. A long reptilian tail covered in scales swished behind him slowly, betraying his somewhat subdued emotions because it usually tended to twitch madly this way and that like the tail of an excited cat. It was midnight-blue, though there were several patches, particularly the very tip, that looked more royal purple. His nails resembled claws more than nails, too, but other than that, he looked perfectly human.

“Oh, and Katsuki! It’s been so long! Do you recognize me? No, probably not, I haven’t seen you since you were a wee little kid! Man, how time flies!” he said enthusiastically as he came up to Kacchan and pulled the annoyed blonde into a hug. The blonde tensed for a moment and then one of his crutches clattered to the ground as he released it to push the man away aggressively.

“Let the fuck go of me!” he yelled angrily, hand sparking lightly as if to further prove just how annoyed he was. The older man, however, only laughed slightly.

“It’s good to see you again, Katsuki. And to see that you’re still alright,” the man replied with a grin before turning to his wife. “Inko, dear, you guys have perfect timing. I just finished up everything that you asked me to do in the boys’ room,” he said proudly, looking for all the world like a puppy waiting to be praised for a job well done. Inko rolled her eyes, but there was a small grin tugging at her lips.

“Did you now, Hisashi?” she asked with a raised eyebrow. “Everything I wrote on the list?”

“Yes, everything! Look, I even made checkmarks as I went,” Hisashi replied proudly as he reached into one of his pocket to provide the list as proof. When he came up empty, he checked his other pocket and then he started to look through all of them in the search of the required piece of paper. “Wait, where…? I was sure I put it in my pocket…”

“Is this what you’re looking for?” his wife asked with a little laugh and Hisashi looked up just in time to see her reach next to his head and pluck something from one of his horns. The short sound of paper ripping followed the movement and then Inko was holding the piece of paper with Hisashi’s to-do list, one of the corners torn from where it had been stuck on his horn.

“Yes, that. As you can see, I definitely checkmarked everything to prove I got everything done and didn’t forget,” he replied with a grin and Inko sighed, shaking her head at him. But she indulged him and reached out again, this time to scratch at the base of his horn affectionately.

“Thank you, dear.”

The tender moment was interrupted when Katsuki cleared his throat before giving the two mushy adults a flat stare.

“Where should I put my things?” he asked without even a note of apology to his tone. Deku jolted beside him.

“Oh, right. You and I will be sharing my room, Kacchan,” the greenette said as he stepped past his parents with more than half of Katsuki’s luggage in his arms or slung around his shoulders and motioned for the blonde to follow. Katsuki rolled his eyes and clicked his tongue.

“Fan-fucking-tastic,” he muttered in a low tone. Just what he needed, sharing a room with the shitty nerd in what was probably a goddamn All Might shrine.

When he entered the room, however, he was surprised to note that the walls were mostly bare. He expected them to be covered in All Might shit, but while there were two or three posters here and there, it wasn’t nearly the All Might shrine Katsuki had expected. There were two desks, too, as well as a bunk bed. The room had clearly been repurposed and refurbished to house two people instead of one, because Katsuki was pretty sure the nerd’s room looked nothing like this before.

It really hit him then. This was happening. It wasn’t a dream. He was really moving in with the Midoriyas, being taken in by them because his own family was dead, his house empty. This was now his room, the apartment was supposed to be his home. Not his house. Not the room he’d grown up in, that he’d always had to himself. This room here, which he had to share with Deku.

His shoulders dropped and he bit back a sigh. His gaze fell to the ground as the earlier anger and agitation all but bled out of him and an odd sort of resignation set in instead. Like it or not, this was going to be his life now. Here, in the Midoriya home, in Deku’s room. Not in his family’s house. Because his family was dead. And that house wasn’t supposed to be home anymore.

As if from underwater, Katsuki heard Deku’s voice. The nerd was saying something, speaking at him, but Katsuki couldn’t really make out the words. Nor did he care to. Deku’s voice went in one ear and out the other without really registering.

He looked around the room again, feeling distinctly like he was in a place where he didn’t belong. It certainly wasn’t his room. His room was on the second floor of his house. His room was next to his parents’ room, and he always raged when he could hear his mother yelling and cursing through the wall while he was busy.

He would never hear her yelling again, though.

And then after he raged, his father would come knocking on his door, poke his head in with a sheepish smile and ask if everything was alright, if he needed anything. And Katsuki… Katsuki would scoff derisively and tell him to piss off and leave him alone, that he was fine and only wanted the old hag to be fucking quiet, because that was what he’d always done and said, wasn’t it.

None of that would ever happen again, either.

He was never going to get into shouting matches with the old hag again. He was never going to bristle and yell when she hit him over the head again. He was never going to scoff at his father when he tried to smooth the fight over again. He was never going to glower when either of them stroked his head as a silent means of making up again. In fact, he wouldn’t even get to experience that head patting that he secretly enjoyed but would never admit to another time. Not again. Not ever.

Because his parents were dead. Gone. And they weren’t coming back.

Coldness seeped into Katsuki’s bones at the thought. He mechanically moved towards the bunk bed, ignoring Deku entirely as he dropped his duffle bag and his crutches, grabbing hold of the bed frame and hoisting himself up into the upper bunk (with some difficulty because of his injured leg), claiming it as his own. Deku’s voice faded in the background, the nerd shutting up and giving up on whatever it was he’d been trying to get Katsuki to hear. The blonde laid down on his good side on the mattress and just stared numbly at the wall before carefully reaching into one of his pockets and taking out the one photo he’d snagged from home while packing to stare at instead.

His parents were gone.

He’d watched them die.

He’d failed to save them. He was a hero-in-training with a provisional licence and he’d failed . He hadn’t been strong enough. He hadn’t been good enough. He hadn’t been fast enough.

And because of that, just like Endeavor had said during his last internship, his parents paid the price with their lives. They were gone. He was never going to see them again. Not unless one counted the funeral, which would take place in a couple of days, but Katsuki hardly thought that counted.

He grew more and more numb as the thoughts circled in his mind again and again.

His parents were gone.

He was never going to see them again.

His house was empty.

It was no longer his home.

Home… home was supposed to be here now. In this apartment that belonged to the Midoriya family. This room, which belonged to Deku, was supposed to be his, too.

This place was supposed to be his home from now on.

Katsuki had a feeling it would be a long time before he ever considered this place his home, though. Or this room as his, for that matter.

Chapter Text


Chapter Text

When auntie Inko had asked him if he was ready to go, he’d nodded. He hadn’t been, not really. He hadn’t wanted to go. Hadn’t wanted to be here. Hadn’t wanted any of it to be real. And he still didn’t. But he’d nodded anyway, because he wasn’t a little kid and he couldn’t pretend this wasn’t happening. It was, whether he liked it or not. This was real. This was his reality. And he had to face it. He had to overcome it. He had to be strong.

He’d already failed to save his parents. He wasn’t going to disappoint them by ditching their funeral on top of that. They didn’t deserve that.

But by the Gods he didn’t want to be here.

It had already been hard enough yesterday, during the Otsuya. Having to greet all the friends and coworkers of his parents who’ve come to pay their respects even though he didn’t even know them. Any of them. The fact that he was alone throughout didn’t help. The Midoriyas couldn’t be with him. Close friends though they were, they were not family, not by blood. Some of Katsuki’s other relatives had been unable to attend. They’d called him to let him know, asked if he’d accept anything in lieu of their attendance.

He hadn’t asked for anything. He didn’t want anything from them. In most cases, he didn’t even know these people, anyway, despite being related to them. So he didn’t really care whether or not they showed up. Not for himself, anyway. But they should have made it for his parents’ sake. Because they had known them. If anyone should be asked if they’d accept anything in lieu of not attending, it should be his parents, not Katsuki.

It wasn’t like his parents could voice their opinion, though. Katsuki knew that. Of course he did, he wasn’t delusional.

Didn’t mean he was any less irritated.

It wasn’t any easier today. There were less people coming to pay their respects for the Sougi. Most had come for the Otsuya, possibly to not intrude on the actual Ososhiki, but Katsuki couldn’t be sure. Either way, he was glad for it, because there were only so many ‘you have my deepest condolences’ he could take before he actually exploded. Literally as much as figuratively.

Of course, he knew there was little else all these people could say to him. In fact, there was nothing else. But it didn’t change the fact their words pissed him off. Mostly because they sounded so blatantly fake. Like they were only saying them because they had to. Which, in all honesty, was probably the case. It’s not like most of them knew Katsuki, after all. Even his distant relatives didn’t, really, just like he never got to know them, and considering this was the first time he got to see them, he wasn’t sure he was really interested in changing that.

And since they didn’t know him, well, one couldn’t really expect them to care for his loss. They cared for their own. Because they knew his parents and cared for them. They weren’t here for him, they were here to say goodbye to those who were gone. Meeting him, giving their condolences, leaving an Okoden if they had one… that was just tradition. A way to show their respect and support. It didn’t mean they cared. Not for him, anyway.

If he felt alone during the reception, that was nothing compared to once everyone sat down and the priest started to chant. Because not only did he feel alone… he was alone. The room might have been filled with people, but he was alone anyway. After all, the closest seats to the priest and the deceased - the first row - was reserved for immediate family only.

And Katsuki was the only immediate family his parents had anymore.

The Midoriyas’ seats weren’t far. Just in the row behind him, directly behind his own seat, actually. But it was still far enough that they couldn’t touch him, couldn’t talk to him. In a way, it was a good thing. Katsuki didn’t want to talk or be touched anyway. But on the other hand… it made him feel even more alone.

He wasn’t sure which one was worse. The feeling of being all alone despite being in a room full of people, or potentially having to deal with people touching him in an attempt to comfort him or something.

In the end, he spent the entire ceremony clutching the locket auntie had given him like it was his life line. In a way, it was. Holding it grounded him. Helped him stay in the here and now, helped in not letting his thoughts wander, helped in keeping the memories of that day at bay. Which was really a shitton of bullshit because Katsuki should be better than this.

Or rather, he should have been better than he had been when it mattered. When his parents had still been alive and he’d had a chance to save them. He was going to be a hero. He should have been able to do something. Anything.

But he hadn’t. He’d failed and his parents had paid the price. So now here he was. At their funeral.

Gods, he didn’t want this to be real.

He didn’t want to be here.

He barely paid attention to the priest, or the ceremony in general, really. He followed it mostly on auto-pilot, doing what needed to be done up until he offered and burned the incense, the other attendees following suit.

After that… after that came the cremation. A private affair, with only family in attendance.

Which meant Katsuki was alone again. Or, well, mostly. His distant family members stayed as well. But the Midoriyas, the only people he really knew and maybe wanted to stay, did not. They weren’t family. His parents’ closest of friends, yes, but not family. So they couldn’t stay.

Once again, Katsuki found himself clutching the locket in a tight grip. He tried to keep his eyes on the crematorium as his parents’ bodies were pushed in in their wooden caskets. He tried to keep looking as the flames crackled and hissed, eating at the wood and the flesh inside. He really did. But in the end, all he could manage was brief glances now and again before his gaze would fall back to his lap.

His eyes burned and his vision blurred slightly once or twice, but he stubbornly blinked it clear again. He wasn’t going to cry. He wasn’t. He’d cried enough already. More than enough.

Still… he didn’t want this to be real.

He didn’t want to be here.

He wished he could wake up and that all of this could just be a very long, very convincing dream. Or nightmare more like.

But that wasn’t going to happen. Because this wasn’t a dream. This was reality and he had to accept that.

Which the last part of the ceremony was going to pretty much force him to. Because he (and the other family members present) had to transfer the bones and ashes to the urns now. Every piece, one by one, from the feet up towards the head.

It felt kind of surreal. Like it was happening to someone else. But he knew it wasn’t. He was the one standing there, chopsticks in hand, picking the remains of his parents from the crematorial tray to the proper urn, piece by little piece, one bone shard at a time.

Ashes and little pieces of bone that weren’t fully destroyed by the flames. That was all that was left of his parents. Two human beings, two people he remembered alive and warm and bleeding and living reduced to what could fit in two small urns. It was hard to believe. Hard to wrap his head around. Or it would be if he’d tried to do that. He didn’t. He just focused on the task at hand. From tray to urn, one piece at a time.

At least his hand didn’t shake. That would have made the procedure last hours longer. Then again, there was no reason for him to shake, because at this point, Katsuki felt entirely numb and not really in control of his own body. It seemed to move on its own. Tray to urn, one piece at a time. Until there were no pieces left and the ashes were poured in to cover the bones before the urns were sealed and then buried.

By the time it was all over, the sun had begun to set. As he stepped out of the cemetery, hobbling slightly on his crutches, Katsuki distantly wondered how he was supposed to get back to the Midoriyas’ house. He needn’t have worried, though, because auntie Inko, her husband and Deku were all still there, waiting for him close to the exit. He blinked at the sight of them. He honestly hadn’t thought they’d bother to stick around. The cremation and following remains transfer took some time, after all, surely they had better things to do than wait around for Katsuki to finish and come out?

Well, apparently not. That, or they left and now came back to get him, though that was somehow even more unlikely.

No one said anything at first as he came closer. Hisashi gave a little smile that didn’t fully reach his eyes and his tail twitched behind him before carefully curling around Katsuki’s shoulders when he came close enough. Katsuki didn’t bother shaking it off. The warm weight was oddly welcome, for once, even as it gently pressed against his shoulder blades and pushed him forward, towards the car door that Deku held open. The tension Katsui usually felt lately when getting into the car was absent this time, likely because he felt too drained to even have the energy to tense up. Once he was situated and Hisashi’s tail slipped off his shoulders, though, he had to suppress a shiver. He felt oddly cold, though he didn’t say anything about it.

Auntie Inko got behind the wheel, her husband taking the passenger’s seat. Deku climbed into the seat next to Katsuki in silence. The motor rumbled to life quietly and the car started moving. Katsuki felt the cold seep into his bones and had to suppress another shudder, one of his hands gripping on to the door handle tightly. He swallowed. They drove in silence for a while, until auntie Inko spoke quietly.

“There is a nice, quiet restaurant on our way home. Izuku told me it’s one you like to frequent, Katsuki-kun. How do you feel about stopping there for a quick dinner before we head home?” she asked, her tone soft and quiet. Katsuki barely heard her. She sounded so far away…

“Sure,” he murmured before turning his gaze back to the window. The cold seemed to be getting worse and this time, he couldn’t quite hold back the shiver that ran down his spine. Maybe he should tell auntie Inko to turn up the heating. It was really cold.

Then something warm landed on his hand and squeezed. Someone’s hand. Deku’s. Katsuki blinked and turned his head slightly to glance at the other boy, but the nerd wasn’t looking at him. He didn’t say anything, either, just squeezed Katsuki’s hand again. The blond looked back out the window without commenting or moving. Let the idiot hold his hand if it made him feel better.

And if it gave Katsuki a little bit of comfort, if it chased away the odd chill just a little bit… well, no one needed to know that.

Chapter Text

Katsuki covered his mouth with his hand and yawned, long and drawn out, as he waited to be called in by the nurse. He had an appointment scheduled for some ten minutes ago to finally remove the stitches on his face. He’d gotten here five minutes early and had been waiting since. He hoped he wouldn’t have to wait much longer or else he might actually fall asleep in the uncomfortable chair.

He wasn’t sleeping well lately, though he wasn’t really sure why. It wasn’t that he was waking up in the middle of the night and it didn’t feel like his sleep was haunted by nightmares. Although he couldn’t really tell for sure. He didn’t remember whatever dreams he might have had whenever he woke up in the morning, groggy and disoriented and oddly disappointed. But it didn’t feel like waking up from a nightmare. Nothing like the few hard nights he’d had after the Kamino incident or the sludge villain before they passed. He wasn’t on edge, he wasn’t sweaty, he wasn’t trembling from tension and restrained anger (because it had been anger, he hadn’t been scared back then, he hadn’t!) or anything like that.

Instead, he was just tired and empty. Sometimes, there was a hollow feeling in his chest that disappeared over the course of the day or didn’t. It depended on the day. Katsuki hated when it stuck around.

Mostly, he was just tired, though. Tired and wanting to sleep more, although he rarely allowed himself that. He would be going back to school in a few days, he couldn’t allow his sleeping schedule to get completely out of whack. Plus, auntie Inko was giving him enough worried looks as it was. She and Deku both. Uncle Hisashi probably would have, too, if he was there. He had to go back to the States, though he promised to talk to his superiors to be moved back to Japan so he could be with them.

Katsuki thought it was a good thing he wasn’t around right now. Auntie’s and Deku’s worried looks were irritating enough. Katsuki was fine! A little tired, maybe, but fine! He didn’t need their fucking worry!

He was too tired most of the time to snap at them, though.

He yawned again.

Fuck, he just wanted to sleep…

“Bakugou Katsuki?” A voice asked and Katsuki blinked to focus his vision and chase the sleep that had crept up on him away. It was the nurse from earlier. She was smiling at him. “Doctor Soukon will see you now. If you would follow me,” she informed him and Katsuki nodded, getting up from his chair and walking after her, hands in his pockets and posture slouched. He’d grabbed the first clothes he could find when he realized today was the day he’d get the stitches out, which turned out to be his U.A. uniform. It felt a bit weird to be wearing it when he hadn’t been to school since the day of the crash, but he hadn’t bothered to look for anything else. His wardrobe in the Midoriya apartment was still a bit limited anyway, so it wasn’t like he had much choice. He was still moving stuff from his old house. It was a bit slow-going.

The stitches were removed without much fanfare or trouble. Just ten minutes of sitting still while the doctor picked at his cheek and the occasional tug as a piece of surgical thread was pulled out of his skin. He was told it would still be better if he kept it covered for a few days, but it wasn’t a necessity. And then he was allowed to go.

The sun was almost setting by then. He stretched once he was out of the building, unable to hold back another yawn. He rubbed at his eyes and looked around. It had rained when he’d gotten to the hospital, but now the clouds had parted and allowed the setting sun to cast its golden light on the street. If Katsuki were a sap, he might have thought the sight was pretty. But he wasn’t, so he barely paid attention to it and started walking in the general direction of the Midoriyas’ apartment.

It was a bit of a walk, but he didn’t want to take the bus. The fresh air would do him good and hopefully chase the sleep away. He usually went to bed early, but sunset was too early to sleep even for him. Why the fuck was he so sleepy all the time?! It wasn’t like he wasn’t getting enough rest, he made sure to still go to bed at his usual time of 8pm sharp!

It must have been whatever dreams he was having. Not that they left him particularly shaken. Or that he could even remember what they were about.

He paused briefly as he was walking past a puddle created by the earlier rain. He didn’t bother looking in a mirror at the hospital, he didn’t think there was anything in particular to see, but something caught in the corner of his eye now and made him pause. He turned and looked down at the water, at his own reflection and the reflection of the sky above him.

He looked the same for the most part. Like nothing had happened or changed at all. His uniform was still half a size too big and his pants hung from his hips as a result, excess material creating folds around his legs and making him look a bit like a delinquent. He was carrying the sports bag he’d grabbed half on purpose (to throw his school ID, wallet and stuff like that into it, because he took a bus to get to his appointment on time) and half by habit over his shoulder like usual. The top buttons of his uniform shirt were open like always. The locket hung around his neck, a new addition, but not new enough to warrant much attention, or at least he didn’t think so. Maybe he looked a bit paler than he remembered being, but he wasn’t sure.

There was one stark difference, though, one that caught him off guard more than it should have. He turned his head to the side a bit to see better.

His cheek, once completely smooth like the rest of his skin, was marred by a thick, dark line where the glass from the broken car window had cut him. The wound was closed, the stitches were out without a trace he could see, but the cut had left a mark that would forever be there, forever remind him of what happened if he ever thought he could forget.

The doctors did say the injury was deep enough that it would probably scar.

Still, he didn’t expect it to be so large. Or… so noticeable.

His stomach lurched. He couldn’t look away from it. That mark on his skin that would forever be there, a constant reminder of that night, of what he’d caused, of the way he’d failed…

He shook his head and looked away, then started walking at a brisk pace. For a short moment, he thought about covering it once he got to the apartment he shared with the Midoriyas, but then decided against it. He wasn’t going to be a coward. So he had an ugly reminder of the accident and his failure on his face, so what?! He wasn’t going to run away from it. He wasn’t going to hide it. He was better than that.

Besides, what right did he have to cover it up, to look away, to try and forget? If the sight of it made him sick, then it was nothing short of what he deserved.

If this was his punishment, he wouldn’t run from it. He wasn’t a coward.

He wasn’t a coward .

He wasn’t!

The locket hung around his neck, feeling heavier than it should, a cool reminder of what he had lost as much as the scar on his face was going to be. His hand rose to grip it without his conscious decision, the cold metal feeling good against his skin. He wasn’t running from this. As much as it was a reminder, it was also a comfort, even if it was one he wouldn’t admit to out loud. The scar on his face would be nothing of the sort, admittedly, but it was all the more reason not to hide it.

He wouldn’t run.

He wouldn’t hide.

He wasn’t a coward.