Katsuki knew this feeling, this constrictive feeling that hurt like nothing else as he tried to breathe, only to choke on the soft petals and blood in his lungs. He was not an unreasonable guy, he was just miserable when ill, and he’s been ill for a long ass time. He’s been sick for so long now, that he’s shocked he’s made it this far. He’s been sick since he was a child, his lungs held by sharp roots that demanded his life ever since he was six. That he was hospitalized at eighteen for his illness was inevitable.
The beeping of the heart monitor by his bed spikes as he has another coughing fit and his eyes burn with tears that won’t fall as he looks at the people who’re sat in his hospital room to make his final days peaceful and loving.
Kirishima Eijiro, his best friend in the world-even if he’d never say it aloud, is curled up shockingly small in his hospital chair by the room door. Eijiro’s eyes don’t want to leave the floor and when he hears Katsuki take a deep breath after the horrible coughing fit he just had, the false redhead seems to relax. Ashido Mina is at his bedside directly, holding his hand-against his better judgement, her dark eyes downcast and her legs kicking at the air. Kaminari Denki is sat by Katsuki’s father and his mother’s purse, a hollowed out expression in his eyes-but the rest of his face is composed, and is trying to remain strong. Of everyone in the room, he’s doing the best of holding himself together to be here for Katsuki. It’s sweet in a weird way.
Hanta Sero is in the hall right now, probably on the phone with Aizawa Sensei or his parents. Katsuki wasn’t certain which, just that Tape Arms’ phone started ringing and the Soy Sauce faced boy stepped into the hall. Katsuki hasn’t seen him smile ever since his friends discovered him, helpless and unable to breathe in his dorm room, on the floor. He doesn’t know if it’s understandable himself, he’s never been good at gauging his own emotions.
His mother has stepped outside for now, which was good, since Katsuki didn’t have the heart to look at her. She was going to have to bury her only baby before he was even a proper adult and before he could even reach his goals.
He’d been so close too.
He’d been getting offers from some pretty good hero agencies when his lungs collapsed completely and his friends dragged him to the hospital. He was on a respirator now and some hefty pain meds since he’d elected to keep the flowers in his lungs.
Orange lilies were for passion, and his heart ached passionately for one person and one person alone. It was inevitable, his fate.
He didn’t recall passing out or taking a nap, it was hard for him to breathe though so it was understandable; without enough oxygen in his blood, he wasn’t going to be able to stay awake for long intervals. When he woke, he woke up to see his teacher, Aizawa Sensei, standing at the end of his hospital bed. It seemed everyone else had stepped out to give the man a moment-except his dad who still sat silent and unwavering in the same seat. Aizawa’s face was passive as ever and Katsuki nodded at him in greeting. It was so hard to speak right now, and his throat hurt so much from coughing up lilies and lily petals already that he didn’t want to speak.
“I figured you should know, as much as you hate him because of what happened at your first year internship, Best Jeanist is having his agency invest in charities looking into alternative cures for Hanahaki because of this,” Aizawa’s face is closed off, and harder to read than usual. In fact, his dark eyes look really, really sad. “He said it’s a shame for potential to be ended before it’s begun. There’s also an incredible amount of media trying to bring attention to this though even I can’t tell if it’s purely profit seeking.”
Katsuki just nods and takes a deep wheezing breath. “I couldn’t let them cut the flowers out of my lungs…”
He so sorely wished he could let the doctors take him to a surgery room and let them save his life. He wished that he could let go of a love like this, he’d tried. But he’d see the smile of his favorite person on this planet and his chest would hurt. For a long time, he’d thought it was anger in his chest. It was foolish to forget his love at such a young age and to mistake it for anger, but he hadn’t wanted to die, so forgetting was easy. It was easier at the time, at least.
Now that he’s remembered, he can honestly say this has been the best year of his life. Spending time with him has made Katsuki so very grateful for the maturity and wisdom of age.
“Midoriya wants to visit you… he’s trying to get a flight from America to Japan even now. He said he wants to say goodbye while you’re still alive. How much longer do you think you can hold out for?” Aizawa asks softly, his face softening even more as the mere mention of Izuku sends Katsuki into a horrible coughing fit.
It’s awful, the sweet smell of the flowers in his lungs perfumes the air and soft blooms make their way up his throat as he violently wheezes for air between coughs. Lilies are hard to choke up; they’re large and take up a lot of space in his lungs too. One of the full flowers he coughs up is white instead of orange, covered in bile and blood and yet still seems pretty and pristine. It reminds him of someone he’d met when this all started to spiral out of control the first time.
“I should have… a few days left… it’s-“Katsuki can’t help but cough in the most pitiful attempt to clear his lungs. It doesn’t work and he makes a horrible rattling cough.
That sound seems to pull Masaru from his thoughts though and the older Bakugou brings him a fresh water bottle. Katsuki has never been so thankful for his soft, ever caring father before and when he looks at the meekest of the Bakugou family, his eyes sting with tears again. All he can think to do is to grab his dad’s hand in an attempt to comfort the man. All it does is make him weepy though, and Katsuki can’t help but sigh as his father kneels at his bedside.
“I know it hurts… Don’t cry now Old Man…” Katsuki lets his Dad hold his hand with both of his own and looks back at Aizawa. “I’ve… probably got a week… before I can’t… breathe anymore…”
His teacher nods in understanding and Katsuki leans back, his eyes heavy as he tries to ignore his Dad’s crying. He’s so incredibly exhausted and his throat hurts so much that it’s all he can do to drink the water his dad brought him. Finally, with his throat somewhat soothed by the cool water, Katsuki can take a few deep breaths before turning to lay more on his side. He closes his eyes this time, and he’s so tired.
He’s so exhausted, so drained; he doesn’t hear his Dad break down after looking to Aizawa Sensei for help.
Katsuki wakes up what feels like a few minutes later, though he knows it’s been hours judging by the rotation of bodies in his hospital room, as well as the first rays of dawn sliding in through his window. His mother and father were sat in the chairs by the door. Kirishima was in the chair next to his bed, upper body leaned against the hospital bed’s shitty mattress with his head resting on his arms. Across the room, in the bench by the window, sat Mina, Kaminari, and Sero in an exhausted puppy pile.
Looking at his poor idiots, Katsuki wondered if they’d make up how much school they were missing without him to guide their study habits. They were his idiots, and while he knew Ponytail and Engines could take care of them, he wondered briefly if they’d even bother. Then he remembered that Ponytail and Engines were nice people, not like him, and they wouldn’t let their friends fail. He did hope they learned quickly that Pikachu needed verbal one on one and Shitty Hair needed someone to stand over him and make him focus. He didn’t leave anyone any notes on how they needed to fucking take care of themselves.
Then, he sees the reason for his abrupt wake up at his door. Izuku Midoriya, Deku, is in his doorway. Katsuki wants to hate him. Katsuki wants to take Deku out of existence with a horrendous explosive blast that would rip his arm out of socket. But instead, Katsuki lays back in his pillows even more and reaches down to gently ruffle Kirishima’s hair, the redhead only groaning softly and not waking. Finally, Katsuki looks back up at Deku and just sighs.
“Come in… they won’t wake,” Katsuki’s voice rasps harshly and he can’t help coughing again, this time is just because his throat hurts though.
“Kacchan,” Deku’s approach is swift and quiet, and he’s almost immediately at Katsuki’s side, scarred hands reaching for Katsuki’s own softer hand.
Katsuki is too tired to fight the hold on his hand and instead just looks at Deku, and if only he could bring himself to say it now. If he could bring himself to tell Deku the flowers are for him. Katsuki can’t though, he wishes he could, but he can’t. What he says instead is far more morbid.
“Hey, at least there’s no need to buy any flowers for the funeral procession. Just have the mortician split my chest open. I’ll have all the pretty flowers I could ever need.”
When Izuku’s eyes fill with tears, Katsuki just knows somehow that those will be his last words on this earth. He’s already wheezing and coughing again, just watching those big crybaby eyes start to water. Watching those eyes water is like watching a dam burst because everything is a palatable heartbreak. It’s the sound of that fragile heart in Izuku breaking over lost friendship that Katsuki can’t stand. There’s a small and soft retching sob from Izuku and Katsuki just coughs harder. His chest is flaring with sharp and stabbing pain, his throat is raw hurts like hell, but he can’t look away from Izuku Midoriya.
Katsuki can vaguely hear his heart monitor going off radically, and in the back of his peripheral vision, he sees his room of people getting up and looking on in worry that they were about to sleep through his last moments with him. No doctors would come to try to save him, he’d refused treatment. More prominent in his mind is watching Izuku start to cry, words are being spoken now, but Katsuki can’t hear, because in his lap and across his chest is soft white blooms of lilies, death lilies, and even more flowers with different meanings.
He knows them all. Jonquil flowers whisper softly, “Return my affection.” Love Lies Bleeding, such a dramatic flower really-it blends in with the blood from his lungs and screams to the world how hopelessly in love Katsuki is. Bellflowers tell the room that his love is unwavering in the face of death.
Katsuki tumbles forwards, coughing more and more flowers into his lap, he’s choking on air he doesn’t have and the world is fading fast. He always could hold his breath for a long time, it’s going to take him a while to pass out and just fucking die already, he knows it with the inevitability of how much he irrevocably loves the stupid nerd crying over him and holding his hand.
One second of peace persists and Katsuki can drag in one small rattling breath as a final and comforting thought warms him. At least, he’s not dying alone, he can feel Izuku’s hand in his and that’s a comfort he didn’t think he deserved.
“Kacchan… I love you.”