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Healing hands

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By the time he was six years old, his mother had already started to kick him out of the house.. At first he was too scared to leave the yard, instead he would spend the night in the empty doghouse in the back. It was at least dry and warm inside, and well inside the fence away from prying eyes.

A cold night outside was usually enough to calm the household for a few days. Tempers quelled and annoyances forgotten. As time went on however, his parents became increasingly unsatisfied.He would be thrown out for longer, then longer still accompanied by dark bruises, and lash marks. By the time he was nine the beatings were a near daily occurrence, and when he annoyed her enough to get thrown out it was for weeks at a time. And the time spent outside of the house spanded for weeks at a time.

He learned to keep a spare school uniform in his locker- it made it much easier to slip to the showers and change. No one questioned him as long as he still went to class- bruises and marks passed over and ignored.He was a tough kid, with strong convictions, and a loud voice.A voice that often got him into trouble, but not once had he lost to anyone in the school. No child with half a brain could ever land a hit on him, and the ones that didn't never got close enough to land a hit.No one seemed to put two and two together though, because adults didn’t expect other adults to beat on kids.

His mother wasn’t the only culprit anymore. Weeks on the streets led to confrontation after confrontation.. Maybe he was in their territory. Maybe they were drunk. But whatever the reason he learnt quickly that adults couldn’t be trusted, and some were even looking for more than a punching bag. Those ones he made sure to leave them with an extra reminder to keep their hands to themselves.

Still he managed. Trained his body and quirk any chance he got, all the while keeping his grades at the very top. Only perfection would be accepted in his house, and only perfection would get him out.

*

By ten, his parents decided he was strong enough to handle even longer beatings. Limping through the maze of alleyways, he forced his way towards neutral ground- away from the many gangs littering the area.

Settling on a piece of cardboard in the unfamiliar alley he finally gave himself a quick assessment. Bruises around both wrists and over his ribs. Nothing new there. Fractured collar bone. Uncomfortable, and he would have to put his left arm in a sling to limit the movement but still manageable. No need for a hospital visit at least, not like they could do anything for that kind of fracture anyway.

Now his leg, that was a problem. Open wounds were the worst. Getting infected on the street was easy, and deadly. This wound offered two problems:One, there was still a large piece of glass in it and two the cut would need stitches. Pulling the glass out was going to be a pain in the ass, and hurt just as much, but it couldn’t stay in. He had the supplies to do it, but not a lot to keep it from getting infected. He didn’t have enough money to go to the hospital. Nor would he want to be around when his parents were eventually called if he went.

Growling to himself he pulled his book bag close. Looked like he was gonna have to do this.

Using a clean sweater as a blanket, he carefully propped the meaty part of his thigh on it. He washed his hands with an alcohol wipe before taking the medical scissors and cutting away the pant leg. After seeing the bloody mess that was his leg, Katsuki began to doubt whether this was a good idea.Taking a steadying breath he prepared to take out the glass. Once it was removed he wouldn’t have very long to stitch himself up, the blood loss would probably cause his already low blood pressure to fall- rendering him unconscious. It was a drawback to his explosions, the nitroglycerine did odd things to his body’s chemical makeup.

Taking a deep breath, he swiftly pulled the glass out, tossing it to the side. Before he could even register the pain he took up the already prepared needle and got to work. Even at this fast pace he kept his work neat, barely flinching as he impaled his own flesh. Twelve stitches. More than he had thought it would take but it was done. Working through his blurring vision he smeared some antibiotic cream over the area and dressed it with a fresh bandage..

He managed to wiggle into his last clean sweater, before propping himself up on his book bag to pass out. Defenceless on the street was not ideal, but he really had no other options. Homeless shelters were fine every now and then but CPS was usually called when minors showed up more then once, not to mention there were more dangerous predators that kept their eye on young men and women that went in and out of those places. He was ten, he was a prime target for quirk trafficking rings, or even just human trafficking.
A quick nudge at his side jolted him awake. It took several moments for him to register the man hovering over his leg. Flinching back violently he held up a sparking hand.

“Get the fuck away from me asshole!” He sneered out. No way he could win in a physical fight in his current condition but his quirk was still a threat. No one wanted to taste an explosion to the face.

The man though didn’t even blinkHis skin was deeply tanned and wrinkled like leather. Sharp grey eyes peered over an oni mask that covered the bottom half of his face.

“Calm down. You are the one sitting on my front door step, so I thought I’d offer my assistance.”

Sure enough when Katsuki looked around there was a door just to his right, well hidden and disguised to the surrounding alley. He had not noticed it at all when he had limped in here. Giving a huff he struggled to stand.

“I’ll move.” He grunted. Unfortunately the movement sent a wave of dizziness through him that had him tumble back towards the pavement. Surprisingly strong hands gripped him.

“Easy now. Come on, let's get you sorted.” The old man chuckled. Katsuki couldn’t do anything as the man manhandled him through the door into a surprisingly clean, open room. Four futons were lining the walls, each with their own fresh bedding. An examination table was positioned near the back by a well stocked medical cabinet with glass doors and a small swivel stool. Off the left was another room with a kitchenette and old table, to the right a door that led to a full bathroom, old and outdated but like the main room it was clean.

“What is this place?” Katsuki managed to slur out. The old man hoisted him onto the exam table, easing him back to lay down.

“It’s my own little clinic.” The man stated. “I may be retired from medicine officially but I couldn’t abandon the people that needed me. They call me Suku.”

“Retired? So an unlicensed doctor?” Even in his current state his mind fought to put the pieces together. The man chuckled.

“People living around here don’t much care whether I have a piece of paper or not. I am just here to help.”

“I don’t have any money. And I am not offering you anything else old man!” Katsuki sneered, his speech still slurred but a little kick of adrenaline had him pushing himself back up to his elbows. The man’s large hand caught his chest and gave a gentle push down. It sent a sharp jerk of agony through his fractured collarbone. Hissing in pain, Katsuki laid back reluctantly.

“Most pay me back only when they can. I don’t question where boxes of supplies come from, nor the money they do offer.”

“So you encourage stealing and drug money. Honourable.” Katsuki was being rude, but his own moral compass didn’t like what the man was implying. The old man huffed and flicked Katsuki on the forehead.

“Nothing around these parts is so black and white brat. Look at your current predicament. I assume there is a reason you did not go to the hospital. Whatever reasons you have to be in a dirty alley in this state can’t be good. So what if my medicine comes from questionable sources if it is here to help the poor and abandoned? This is a place for anyone and everyone. I do not discriminate, I will heal a mob boss, a thief or a Hero, right alongside a beggar and a child.”

That gave the boy pause. Everyone deserved basic medical care, not just the rich. Alright, maybe the old man made a bit of sense. Suku seemed to see the change in Katsuki’s view and took it as a sign he could inspect the damage.

“You did this yourself?” He asked poking around the deep gash on his thigh.

“Weren’t many other options.”

“Well, I am impressed. You have a steady hand to be doing that kind of stitching on your own flesh.” The old man shuffled around the area, grabbing an IV bag and attaching it to a pole he pulled over. Katsuki didn’t trust him completely and flinched at the appearance of the needle. “No funny business. You have my word. You have just lost a lot of blood and this will help get you back on your feet quicker. Once this is hooked up I’ll give you a quick healing session then you can rest.”

“What’s your quirk?” Katsuki asked, looking away as the needle was pushed into the crook of his left arm.

“Cell regeneration. It will speed up the healing process tenfold, but it relies on my own stamina to work. Being an old man limits my use of it, but a few quick sessions a day is doable. I mostly rely on old fashioned medicines for minor injuries.”

Katsuki nodded and allowed the man to place one hand on his forehead, the other over his heart. Warm waves washed over his body, the pain slowly started to ebb away. Exhaustion hit him hard, he was out cold before the man even stepped away.

When he woke up he was tucked into one of the futons, IV still attached but almost empty. He felt like a million bucks, better than he had in months actually. The old man was nearby but didn’t offer any greeting. Once the IV was removed Katsuki took it upon himself to clean the area thoroughly and wash the bedding he had used. He might not have money but the least he could do was take some of the workload off the man.

A sharp knock on the door made the two silent companions look up. Suku stood and readjusted his mask. He shuffled to the cabinet and pulled out a second mask, this one a fire Kitsune. He handed it to Katsuki.

“Anonymity is very important around here. No real names, and no one sees our faces. It protects us and them.”

Katsuki took the mask and pulled it on, the fox covering the top half of his face. It was a fitting choice, he thought. Suku opened the door to a battered woman, that could or could not have been a prostitute. The only questions asked were those of the medical kind. Suku directed Katsuki to grab him a couple pill bottles, which the boy was quick to accommodate, he did owe the man. Once the woman was on her way the two studied each other carefully.

“If you are going to stick around we need to get you into some clean clothes.” Suku stated.

“What makes you think I want to hang out with you old man?” Katsuki snapped back, but made no move to leave. Really, where would he even go? Suku didn’t seem to mind his rude, stubborn streak though.

“There are some warm clothes in that bin over there. Get changed and wash your own stuff. Afterwards, you can scrub some of the used bedding.”

“Do I look like your damn servant?” He still moved to do as he was asked, opting to leave the mask on in case any more patients showed up.

*

For three years Katsuki frequented the clinic. He would show up whenever he was kicked out, do all the manual work that needed to be done, and even assisted Suku in his own work. They had an easy friendship born from mutual grumpiness. Most of their conversations involved them calling each other vulgar names and bickering. It was an eye opening experience that taught Katsuki many things. The inner workings of the underground for one. Not to mention his way around almost any wound. He continued to hone his fighting skills and quirk, which made him a force to be reckoned with on the street, but it was balanced with his gentle and efficient client care.

Kitsune, as he was known by the people, had become a permanent fixture in the clinic, respected and trusted by all the regulars. Suku would even leave the clinic in his hands for a while if he needed to run errands.

*

Katsuki carefully colour coded his chemistry notes for easier review later on. He had to stay on top of his school work if he had any hope in hell to get accepted into UA. It was still a year off but that was no excuse.

The bell rang signalling the end of the final class of the week. Katsuki took his time packing his bag before wandering down to his locker. Pretty much everyone had filed out by the time he slipped into the bathroom to change out of his uniform and into something more comfortable. He kept his uniform at school, it was easier than trying to keep track of it throughout his many street excursions.

He wasn’t in a rush to head home. His mother was on rampage, if the string of nasty text messages sent to his phone was anything to go by. It had been a few weeks since she had last booted him out, so a blow up was due. With all the extra training he had been doing, the strict diet, and the few inches he had grown he was now as tall as her, with well defined muscles. By all counts he shouldn’t physically fear the woman, but over the years she too had been honing her nasty set of skills. Her words cut faster and deeper than any knife, and when she did get physical she liked to remind him that if he so much as defended himself she would have the cops there in a moment with a tale of a violent son gone crazy. Criminal charges were an instant death of his dream of UA. With that in mind he had to endure her creative punishments silently.

Breathing in the warm spring air, he made sure to take a detour through the public gardens to view the newly blooming flowers. A little piece of heaven before walking into hell.

“Katsuki!” He heard his name vibrate through the walls as soon as he stepped into the house. A long, exasperated sigh left his mouth as he kicked off his shoes at the door.

“What do you want you old Hag?” He demanded back, long past trying to pacify her, he was going to be beat either way.

“Is that anyway to talk to your mother you ungrateful little shit?” The voice came from the kitchen, seconds before the woman’s lithe figure rounded the corner. He took the slap without complaint, simply staring back at her defiantly. “Did you clean up the back yard like I told you too?” She demanded. Katsuki didn’t bother to open his mouth, he had in fact cleaned it but if she was bringing it up then it either wasn’t to her standard or she was looking for an excuse. “Well? Too good to fucking answer me now Katsuki?!” Her voice rose with each word. The second slap was a backhand, and her wedding ring left a sizable scratch across his cheek.

“Jesus you old Hag, what the fuck is the problem? I cleaned it yesterday.”

 

“Did you? ‘Cus it looks like shit. You’re a pathetic little liar! Why do I put up with your bullshit? Should have aborted you some time in the first forty-eight months, maybe I could have convinced your father to try again for a girl.”

“Abort? That’s called fucking murder after twenty weeks bitch.”

“It’s called a fucking blessing to anyone that knows your stupid ass,” her face turned a deep red from yelling. Suddenly everything paused, his mother smirked and turned away. “You can handle your son tonight Masaru. Make sure he gets the point.”

“Yes dear.”

Katsuki stiffened. His mother was brutal but always quick, usually getting too annoyed to finish a beating and just kicked him out. His father was a quiet, obedient man, that would do anything for his wife, which included abusing their only son for her sick pleasure. A large hand clamped over the back of Katsuki’s neck.

“You know this wouldn’t happen if you just behaved yourself don’t you son?” He said quietly as he led him down the hall towards the stairs. His bedroom door was closed behind them. Masaru pushed the young Bakugou down to his knees.

“Take the shirt off. And make sure I hear you count it out.” He instructed as if he was talking about some menial task. Katsuki bit the inside of his cheek to keep his comments to himself. He pulled off his shirt and tossed it onto his bed. Fuck this place, fuck the old man, and fuck the Hag. He would not give them the satisfaction of a single sound.

A leather belt to the back would have been bad enough, but the man preferred to use the metal buckle for added damage. The improvised weapon gave a sickening thud with each swing. Katsuki did not count, nor did he scream, he stared straight ahead, his mind focused on the colour coded notes he had taken earlier that day. The only sign of distress was his tightly clenched fists in his lap. After several minutes his father was panting with effort. The bedroom door burst inward.

“What is taking so long? I haven't heard any apologies yet!”

The man stepped back with a shrug. “Sorry dear, he is being particularly stubborn tonight.”

Familiar red eyes narrowed though Katsuki did not see, his own gaze still locked forward. Manicured claws cut into his scalp as her hand fisted his hair. With surprising strength she pulled him up to his feet. “Miserable fucking bastard …” Her words were mumbled. “I hope you rot in a ditch somewhere. Don’t come back until you are good and sorry!”

He would have gladly left under his own will, but she gave him one last parting gift by shoving him down the stairs. His bloody body hit the floor at the bottom with a dull thud, a traitorous groan escaped his lips. He was pretty sure the fall had dislocated a couple of his fingers. There was no time to set them though. The hag was over him before he even figured out which way was up.

Her pointed heels urged him along to the door where he just managed to grab his discarded bag and boots before he was pushed outside. The sound of the lock snapping into place marked the finale of tonight’s hellshow