As a student, the idea of becoming a great hero is romanticized. Tragedy is glimmered with the triumphant smiles, with actions that make the world seem like a less terrifying place. Even death seems to be a force kept at bay, at least it felt that way until Ochaco found herself face to face with it.
Today was just supposed to be a test of their skill progression, yet it appeared simplicity wasn’t on today’s agenda when the arena class A-1 stood upon quaked and rumbled beneath their feet. Each student braced themselves despite their confusion to the situation, a few yelping in surprise, while others quietly speculated to themselves.
Aizawa had instilled the importance of expecting the unexpected, but no one could have foreseen the damage of a single training exercise.
The ground split into large sections, blowing up dust and making the students visibility limited. Shoto Todoroki appeared unfazed, using his ice to form a bridge between two split areas of the arena to keep from falling within the gaps while Momo Yaoyorozu created a net to catch herself and several others. Aizawa watched carefully, assessing each student’s reaction, taking in on whether they used their quirks to protect themselves or help those around. It was a defining moment for some to see if their compassion grew, but as he searched across the decimated arena, he heard one shrill cry that was unlike anything he had heard in long time.
Ochaco had used her quirk almost immediately when the ground began to crack open beneath her. She floated just above the arena, her brown hues scanning the immediate area around her. She caught a brief glimpse of Izuku Midoriya before the dust engulfed him from her sight. “Deku!” she called, her hand reaching out toward him. She, like the rest of her class, didn’t have the slightest idea as to whether this whole ordeal was on purpose or if their training grounds were under attack. It was hard to gain trust in any situation that wasn’t explained beforehand at this point. Either way, there wasn’t time to question any of it, only react.
Using some of the rubble, Ochaco used her legs to propel herself in the direction she last saw Izuku, hoping to catch sight of him again. Her stomach lurched as she floated and it took everything she had to remain focused. “Deku!” she called again, her voice finally carrying over the chaos.
“Uraraka!” Izuku was balancing on a section of the arena that hadn’t entirely been destroyed. He coughed and squinted through the dust, seeing the slightest silhouette of Ochaco’s form floating towards him. He lowered himself against the ground, readying his quirk to try and launch himself toward her. If he could grab onto Ochaco’s hand, then it was possible they could land on the same area and proceed to look for their other classmates.
But things didn’t go quite so easily.
Before Izuku could launch himself, the arena began to quake again. His tiny piece of ground split, forcing him to leap to another section, which unfortunately furthered himself away from Ochaco. He gritted his teeth. “What the hell is going on…” Inquiry was cut short in the young heroes mind when he heard Ochaco’s scream echo. It wasn’t of surprise or fear…but of pain. Izuku’s eyes widened as his head whipped in the direction of the scream. “Uraraka!”
It was then he saw her.
The second quake through the arena had sent a large crack racing up the nearest wall where Ochaco floated. Debris rained down toward her, yet not a single piece hit her. Ochaco hit each chunk, forcing it to float before it could knock her clean out. She pushed each piece she touched away from her as she tried to spot a place to land. Her stomach lurched again. Floating this long was beginning to weigh her down and if she didn’t land soon, she was either going to hurl or crash, neither in which sounded the least bit appealing.
With the new kick up of dust she couldn’t see Izuku anymore. “What the hell is happening?” she murmured, trying to stifle a cough. She was starting to get dizzy. Her limit was fast approaching. Unfortunately as Ochaco surveyed the area below her for solid ground, she was vastly unaware of a large, jagged piece of rebar sticking out of one of the floating arena chunks as it came spiraling back toward her.
The metal pierced her side. At first, Ochaco could only turn her head in surprise. It wasn’t until her body hit another passing piece of rubble, forcing the metal deeper, that her mind registered the searing pain. Her lips parted and the most bloodcurdling scream escaped her lips. Her heart leapt inside her chest, pounding against her ribcage as terror struck every fiber of her being. Her quirk failed her and found herself falling briefly, lost in the dust and chaos until her body hit solid ground with a large, painful thud.
After the last quake, everything on the training ground was quiet. Each student had heard Ochaco’s scream. Izuku had seen his crush plummet to the ground, the blood trailing after her body as she screamed…and yet he found himself frozen in place. His eyes stared toward the direction she fell, his body quivering uncontrollably. “Uraraka…”
Not far from where the zero gravity hero landed, another set of eyes had been watching. Katsuki Bakugou had seen Ochaco’s form skewed by the rebar and her scream had unexpectedly shaken him. His crimson hues watched her fall and immediately his fists clenched at his sides. “The hell….?”
“Was that Uraraka?” From beside the fiery blonde, Eijiro Kirishima stood, seeming almost petrified. “Was this planned?”
The red head’s voice failed to reach Katsuki. He gritted his teeth, his fist sparking uncontrollably as he crouched down, readying to launch himself in Ochaco’s direction. Whether this was real or some kind test, something very, very bad had happened in the midst of it and he was determined to find out what exactly. Without warning, Katsuki sent himself flying.
Kirishima shielded his eyes from the sudden kick up of dust as he watched the ill-tempered hero fly across the decimated arena. “Bakugou! Wait!”
“Oi! Roundface!” Katsuki shouted. His feet hit solid ground, sliding until the momentum of his power stopped, his crimson hues widening. Before him he saw Ochaco’s limp form and surrounding her a pool of blood nearly the same color as his own eyes. “Shit.” He lunged forward, running the remaining distance and falling to his knees beside her.
Ochaco was unconscious, yet her breathing was labored. She had lost a fair amount of blood, but fortunately the ragged metal in her side prevented her from entirely bleeding out. It was a gruesome sight seeing her like this. Katsuki swallowed hard. He reached his hand out and smoothed away a loose lock of hair from her face. This was bad.
“Fucking hell,” he spat. He stood and inhaled sharply, bringing his fingers to his lips and made a loud, piercing whistle. “Oi! Someone get the fuck over here NOW!” He fell back to his knees and hovered over his classmate. He hadn’t interacted with Ochaco since their fight during the Sports Festival, yet despite that there was something about seeing her suddenly so helpless that made his stomach lurch uneasily. Slowly he reached out for her hand, taking it in his. If he tried to move her, he risked doing more damage than good, even if it meant he could get her to Recovery Girl sooner.
“What happened?” Aizawa had finally located the source of the scream thanks to Katsuki’s whistle minutes prior. The Pro Hero clenched his fists, eyes narrowing as he assessed his students limp form, battered and bloody. “Bakugou, locate Recovery Girl immediately.”
With a loud thump, Kirishima landed beside Aizawa and Katsuki, his body hardened from his quirk. The moment he saw Ochaco on the ground, he stopped.
“Kirishima, locate others and confirm there are no other significant injuries,” Aizawa instructed briefly. He moved forward and knelt down beside his student. “This is bad.”
“You fucking think?” Katsuki spat, standing. He turned away and held his fists together, allowing sparks to form. For the majority of his time at UA, he had respected Aizawa, but in that exact moment he felt nothing but rage toward the hero. What teacher allowed his students to become this injured? His crimson hues took in Ochaco one last time before he propelled himself off the ground with his explosion. It didn’t feel right leaving her side for some reason. His chest ached, but he knew getting her help was more important. “What a shit day…”
He skyrocketed over where Izuku stood, motionless. Katsuki scoffed, his rage becoming more fueled. Had that bastard seen everything and not make a single attempt to reach the girl he obviously had a crush on? “Fucking useless nerd.” Though brief, Izuku and Katsuki’s eyes met before the hot-headed hero disappeared to find Recovery Girl.
Hours passed before class A-1 were fully evacuated from the testing arena. Murmurs flooded through the halls as everyone gathered, speculating the purpose of today’s class. Only three students knew the dire situation Ochaco Uraraka was in.
Recovery Girl was brought in immediately along with an entire team of medical staff. Katsuki had returned with the healing hero and watched as Ochaco was carefully extracted from the arena. Aizawa watched wordlessly, his brows furrowed in thought, fists clenched tightly at his sides. No one had expected something like this to happen, yet it was enough to remind Aizawa of the mortality each of his students possessed.
Kirishima had helped locate the remainder of his class and get them out safely, unable to speak a word about what happened, as though saying something would somehow jinx Ochaco’s life. Aside from a few minor scrapes, no one else had been injured.
Katsuki left the arena once Ochaco was safely brought out. His eyes scanned the hallway, landing on each of his classmates until they finally landed on Izuku. With rage sparking dangerously, he pushed past clamoring students and reached his arm back, fist formed, and launched it directly at Izuku.
Everyone gasped in surprise. Iida quickly intervened, standing himself between Izuku and Katsuki. “Bakugou, what’s the meaning of this?” he demanded. He watched as the ill tempered hero sparked with rage.
“Ask that useless bastard of a nerd,” Katsuki spat. “Standing there like a fucking moron while he watches Round-Face fight for her life.”
Iida’s brows furrowed. “Uraraka? Bakugou, what happened? What don’t we know?” At this point, everyone hung on every word between the class rep and class bully. The excitement of their class had worn into anxiety and fear.
Slowly, Izuku raised his head to look at Katsuki. “I didn’t know what to do, Kacchan. Everything happened so fa—“
“That’s your excuse?!” A large burst of fire hit the wall as Katsuki hit it. “You’re pathetic.” He turned on his heels and left. He was seething and he wanted nothing more than to beat Izuku to a bloody pulp, but there was a larger feeling that nagged at him more. For the first time in his life, Katsuki Bakugou actually felt anxious about the wellbeing of another person.
Izuku and Iida watched silently, before the class rep finally turned to All Might’s successor. It was clear he would question his friend to what really happened.
Three days after the incident with Ochaco, the whole class was buzzing about it. Thanks to Recovery Girl Ochaco would survive, yet at the moment she remained in critical condition. There was only so much healing that could be done each day and so much that modern medicine could do.
Several classmates had attempted to visit, a few being Mina Ashido, Momo Yaoyorozu, and Tsuyu Asui. Until Ochaco was no longer in critical condition, visitors were prohibited. Despite this, Katsuki didn’t seem to care. During the day he acted normal, attended classes, hung out with Kirishima and Kaminari, but at night… Night was when he broke the rules and went to see Ochaco. No one expected the students to leave their dorm rooms and by that time Recovery Girl and her team were not heavily guarding the young hero’s room from visitors.
For Katsuki, it was the perfect time to visit.
He slipped inside her room effortlessly and made his way slowly to edge of Ochaco’s bed. She lay there unconscious, her body hooked up to several machines and monitors, each making their own subtle noises. The only one Katsuki cared about was the one monitoring her heart rate. What exactly would have happened if she had died out in that arena? The question plagued him like a nightmare. He had never seen anyone critically wounded, let alone someone he had come to respect during his time here.
Swallowing hard, he took a seat in the chair beside her bed and reached his hand up to gently take hers. Her skin felt cool and soft against the warmth of his. Apart of him idly wondered whether she always felt cool to the touch or if it were only on these dire circumstances. She was so pale, so frail. It bothered him more than it should. All he could think about was the determination that flared into those brown hues during the Sports Festival.
Katsuki admittedly thought Ochaco was weak until he faced off against her. She had truly surprised him, something no one had done for a long time. To him, she went from being a nobody who hung out with that nerd to someone he respected. Was that why seeing her like this bothered him so much or maybe it was because he was the first to find her after she’d been impaled? It didn’t make any sense and apart of him felt rage for not understanding.
He drew in a sharp breath and forced his thoughts aside. He was going to drive himself insane before too long if he kept at it. Releasing her hand, Katsuki reached up and swept a lock of hair from Ochaco’s face. Despite the motion being soft, it caused the zero gravity hero’s face to stir.
“Roundface?” he whispered, surprise evident in his tone. This was the most movement he had seen from Ochaco since he had begun visiting her two nights ago.
“Nhnn…” Her voice was hoarse, nearly inaudible. Slowly Ochaco swayed her head as her eyes began to open. She was stirring awake.
Katsuki took her hand back in his. “Can you hear me?” he inquired. His eyes darted toward the door, watching for any shadows of nurses periodically checking on Ochaco. A sense of relief washed through him, though he didn’t fully understand it. A large part of him was happy that she wasn’t waking up alone. He could only imagine how it would feel to wake up from death’s door to being alone in a dark room hooked up to a dozen machines. It made him internally shudder.
Ochaco stirred again, this time her eyes opening entirely, finding his. For a moment it was like she didn’t recognize him, like nothing around her was fully registering. And then panic flew across her round features. She squeezed Katsuki’s hand unknowingly, her heart rate increasing as she reached up a hand to feel the IV sticking into her arm. She clawed at it as she began to hyperventilate.
“Damnit, Roundface, stop,” Katsuki said sternly. He gritted his teeth, wanting nothing more than to yell at her for being an idiot but something stopped him. Instead, he took both her hands in his to keep her from clawing at the tubes. His crimson hues stared her down until she looked at him, recognizing finally registering. Once he was certain she wasn’t going to panic, he slowly released her hands and reached up to remove the oxygen mask on her face.
“B-Bakugou….?” Her eyes welled with tears. Her heart rate was still high, but she hadn’t made any sudden movements just yet. “Am I dead…?”
Her words took him by surprise. It wasn’t often Katsuki was left speechless, especially by a girl, nonetheless. “You’re alive,” he said slowly. “You got pretty fucked up during a training exercise, Roundface. You’ve been in intensive care for three days now.” His chest ached. He didn’t have the slightest idea what to do. Granted he was glad she didn’t wake alone, especially after seeing her panic, yet he didn’t imagine he’d be the one present when she did.
“I thought I died,” she cried weakly. Her tears spilled over and all Katsuki could think to do was give her hand a squeeze while his freehand gently wiped her wet cheeks.
“Just take it easy. I doubt someone like you would go down that fucking easy,” he laughed dryly. Comfort was not his strong suit. But too his surprise, Ochaco’s lips curved into a faint smile as she squeezed his hand back.
“Thank you, Bakugou.”
For the remainder the night, Katsuki sat beside Ochaco while she quietly cried and wrapped her head around the accident. The pain in his chest worsened as the night went on and the spark of something unfamiliar agitated his nerves and plagued his every thought.
What exactly had sparked?