Chapter 1 : Addicted to a memory
He is standing at a shoreline overlooking a black sea, the salty breeze gently tossing his hair as he stands frozen in place, gawking at the person in front of him.
"What did you say?"
The question scalds his throat, just a small, fragile noise against the crashing waves. He knows the weight of his feet isn’t just the sand in his shoes, knows the salty air isn’t just what makes his scars ache.
"I don't have much longer, I won't live another year. I'm sorry, my boy."
Light-headed, pulse pounding in his ears and behind his eyes, he feels the world shrink to a point. His breath quickens and the cool air singes his face where tears begin to fall.
"But... I don't... Why? Why all of a sudden?! You can't! You..."
Everything he wants to say, all the pleas and confessions, die in his throat. His vision of the most important figure in his life blurs from overflowing tears and as he realizes that soon, all he will have are pictures and memories, he is overcome with nauseating despair. Doubled over and bawling uncontrollably, he feels sorrowful eyes watching him, regretting. He can sense hesitation from the other and he hates that, hates himself for not being able to keep his act together. For the other to watch him react like this is probably more painful than his body deteriorating. No wonder he didn’t tell him sooner.
"I should have told you when I gave you One For All. When I passed the torch to you, I also passed on to you my remaining life. I've been slowly fading into a shadow of who I used to be. The will to teach you and bring you up into a splendid hero has kept me going. But I don't think I can hold out any more. I’m sorry Izuku. "
His knees crash into the cold sand, his thoughts a jumble. He always knew All Might was getting weaker, but hearing it from him is too much. All Might is going to die, and it's all his fault. The withered hero ambles over and sinks down into the sand beside him. He wraps a frail arm around Izuku’s shoulder and gently strokes his hair. He is shaking too.
" I want nothing more then to see you become an amazing hero, Izuku. But I'll have to do that as a spirit of One for All. You’ll become the new pillar of peace in my stead, and I’m sure you’ll make me proud. I don't have much time, but every moment I have left, I will will use it to guide you. "
Izuku almost screams that he doesn’t want All Might’s guidance. All he has done is taken from his teacher, his father, his friend, and even on the cusp of death, All Might is still willing to give. All Izuku can do is hold on to what’s left of All Might, fling his arms around his fragile form and cry into his shoulder. He’s not really sure, but he thinks All Might is crying too.
Izuku blearily opens his eyes to the white ceiling of his room, grunting at the stale crunch of dried tears covering his face. He smiles to himself knowing All Might would have laughed at him, a 20 year old adult, crying in his sleep. Rolling to his side, he digs his phone out from under his pillow. Neon numbers read 5:00 a.m., and he drags himself out of bed with a groan, heading to the bathroom. Splashing cold water over his face he stares at his reflection in the mirror; mussed hair and dark circles greet him.
That dream again? After 3 years you would think I wouldn't dream of such things.
Sleep has become a daunting task for Izuku, if it wasn't the faces of villains he's confronted or the screams of his friends, it was the dream of All Might on the beach. Insomnia is gradually becoming Izuku’s worst enemy. With a quick twist of the faucet, he shuts the water off and stumbles back to his room. Getting only a few hours of rest per night is starting to take a toll on him physically and mentally. Slowly putting on his jogging clothes, Izuku spares a quick glance at a faded photo on his dresser.
See you later All Might. I'll be back soon.
Grabbing his keys, Izuku officially starts his every-day routine as a pro hero.
After a long jog around his neighborhood, Izuku goes home, showers and quickly changes for his patrol. He’s always on call, but a few days a week he made rounds just to ensure sure everything is peaceful. His presence alone dissuades criminals from causing havoc. At age 20, Izuku has control over 80 percent of One For All. He hasn't broken any bones in over a year, and his friends jokingly got him a medal to celebrate. All Might dedicated himself to Izukus training after defeating All For One, and it shows. His impact isn't as overwhelming as All Might’s, but 'Deku' has taken the spotlight as a pillar of peace in his wake. His popularity causes some issues with commonplace activities, but he loves nothing more than encouraging young heroes to do their best. Ironic, coming from someone who can't even get a peaceful night’s sleep anymore. Everyone from class 1-A has split up and gone to different cities to continue doing hero work. Some have stayed near UA to work as teachers, while others have joined pro hero agencies.
Leaping through the city, Izuku does his job a pro hero; saving cats from trees, helping little old ladies cross the street... You know, just some good ol' volunteer service. After hours of running about, Izuku finds his favorite spot on top of a cellular tower overlooking the city for a short breather. He misses his friends, but at least he sees Uraraka and Iida on a weekly basis, since they both work at UA. Todoroki also occasionally comes around on patrols with Izuku since his family's home is close by. But the one he hasn't seen in the past 2 years, the one his mind wanders towards, is Kaachan. After graduating, he took up a position in Osaka and no one has been able to contact him since then. A persistent mystery, he never shows for the tri-annual class 1-A meet ups that Momo hosts. Izuku has tried calling multiple times, has even tried writing to him, but to no avail. After Kaachan figured out the connection between Izuku and All Might, he stopped being difficult to work with and even stopped picking on Izuku. But then, just as like that, he vanished from their lives. Izuku frowns at the memory. He was just starting to think they could have a normal relationship, too. All the news of Kaachan Izuku either gets from hero news or from his mother. From what he can tell, his childhood friend is making quite a flashy show of his work and even managed to be ranked in the Top 20 Heroes. Izuku feels a distant happiness when he sees Kaachan flash his toothy grin on camera. Knowing that the explosive youth was enjoying his duties was good enough for him.
A vibration in his pocket breaks his train of thought. Plopping down on the edge of the tower, Izuku answers the incoming call.
“Hi Mom .I'm out on patrol right now. No I didn't forget. I promise I’ll be there at 6pm sharp like always. Why does it matter. Ok ok I'll wear something nice. But. Ok. What are you making tonight anyways. Why can't you tell me? Ok ok I’ll go home now and get ready, geeze. Bye. Love you too.”
Izuku lets out another long sigh as he stands up from his spot. He has had dinner every Monday with his mom since he moved out, to keep her company and to indulge in a genuine and comforting home cooked meal. He’s still confused why she wants him to “dress nice.” Maybe it's because you showed up in a bloody torn shirt last time and she almost passed out from shock. Well, it couldn't have been helped. That villain needed to be stopped, even at the cost of a perfectly good shirt. Izuku shakes his head, chastising himself for falling back into his old muttering habit.
After landing on the balcony to his apartment, he does his warm down stretches and takes a long shower. He still has an hour before he has to leave, so he takes his time getting ready. Freshly shaved, hair brushed back and adorning slacks and an ironed dress shirt, Izuku saunters out the door. He briefly considers jumping his way to his mother's house, but abandons the idea knowing it would wrinkles his clothes and ruffle his carefully-groomed hair, so he settles for public transportation instead.
… Which was a terrible idea.
Omg is that Deku?! Should I ask for a picture?
He’s so much taller in person, I wonder where he’s going? He looks like he's going on a date. I'm so jealous.
Do you think I could ask for an autograph? He’s too nice to say no.
Hey, hey, lets move closer I want to snap a picture, It'll blow my blog up!
Izuku pretends to ignore all the whispers around him and idilly scrolls through his news feed. The booming popularity after All Might’s passing is a little overwhelming for the shy hero. While he’s glad he has lots of supporters and fans, it admittedly gets out of hand sometimes. He’s had people put themselves in danger just so he would save them, and one girl even ripped his shirt open while he was trying to help her. He has stalkers and fanatics and everything in-between, just like any celebrity. But if All Might could put up with it for years on end, so could he. He survives by smiling and trying to blend in with the crowd. While on the train, two girls shyly approach him and ask for a picture. With a wide smile he agrees and poses with the girls. I smile to show the pressure of heroes and to trick the fear inside me. A toothy grin pops on Izuku's face for the picture, but once the girls thank him and run off to their seats, the smile fades, and a numbing sensation coils in his chest while All Might’s words echo in his head. He wonders if his mom would be mad if he drank tonight.
He arrives at his old home and gives the knob a try, letting out a groan when he discovers it’s open.
“Mom! You can't just leave the door open like that, it's dangerous.”
Izuku kicks his classic red sneakers off at the front door and makes his way to the kitchen. There is an absence of the heavenly smell of fresh food. In fact there aren’t even any lights on. Mom? Izuku goes into a defensive stance as he presses farther into the quiet home. He cautiously rounds the corner and edges his way to his mother's room. His defensive stance drops the instant he looks into the room. His mother is leaning over in her chair, fastening the strap on her heels.
“Mom, you can't leave the door open like that, what if a villain comes in?”
His mother startles and looks up, relaxing when she sees her son. She gives him a once over as a soft smile grows on her face.
“You look so handsome, honey.”
She stands up from her chair and waltzes over to him. Even though he's a world-class hero, Izuku will never understand how she walks so effortlessly in heels. In a fit of motherly habit, she smooths his shirt and tucks flyaway hairs. All the while, Izuku’s tension drains under the familiar, fussy motions.
“If any villain comes in, I'm sure you could easily blast them away for me.”
She smiles up and him and goes to grab her purse from the bed. Izuku’s confusion about the night’s plans returns.
“By the way mom, why isn't dinner started and why do you look like you're about to go on a date?“
His mom gives him a mischievous smile.
Oh no, I don’t like that smile. Last time she did that she set me up on a blind date with some crazy girl.
“I am about to go on a date, with you, to a friends house for dinner.”
She ushers Izuku out the house before he can protest. His mother has had to deal with a lot after he gained a quirk, so anything she wants, she gets. And she knows it. Izuku lets out a long sigh of defeat. His mother takes Izuku’s arm and starts to lead him down the street.
“Can you at least tell me where we are going?’
He mother lets out a soft laugh. “Nope, you’re gonna have to wait until we get there.”
Izuku gulps. If he knows his mother, this is probably going to end badly. They turn left, then right, then another right and a knot starts to form in the pit of his stomach.
Please don't turn left, please don't turn... DAMN IT.
Izuku lets out a childish groan and starts to conspicuously drag his feet.
“Mom PLEASE tell me we are NOT eating at Bakugo’s place.”
She starts to haul Izuku down the street.
“Oh my, you figured it out faster than I thought you would! They invited us over and I thought it was just a lovely idea. I mean you practically lived there when you were younger! Plus they haven't seen you since you graduated UA, I want to show off what a man my little Izuku turned into.”
Inko turns to her son and watches his expression droop. She squeezes his arm reassuringly.
“Don’t worry Izuku, Katsuki won't be there. They actually haven't seen him in person in almost a year now. He doesnt come home often, so if you're worried about that, don't be.”
Izuku feels the knot in his stomach loosen. He does want to see Kaachan again, just… not under the pressure of a family gathering. It has to be of their own accord. He wants to make amends and, hopefully, become some form of friends. But it seems like that's impossible at this rate. It was his fault for what happened last-
“Oh my Lord! Izuku! Look how tall you are! And oh my! Look how buff you are too! I can't believe you are the same little kid from way back when!”
Izuku snaps out of his thoughts when Kaachan’s mother hurls herself at him. He hadn’t even realized that they’d arrived. He suddenly hugs back in earnest and picks her up off the ground.
“Nice to see you too, Mrs. Bakugo! You look like you haven't aged a day since I was four.”
Izuku smiles at her as she ushers him into the house. She goes on telling him how proud she is of him and that she keeps up with all his hero news. Izuku's face starts to flush as she chats up his mother about Izuku’s development.
“I bet Katsuki would spew if he saw Izuku now. He would think twice before opening his smart-ass mouth.”
Izuku and his mom are herded into the dining room and pushed down into chairs. Kaachan’s father immediately engages him in conversation about hero work and his opinions on the new hero reforms. Kaachan’s mother brings over a bottle of sake and pours Izuku a hefty cup, much to his mother's protest.
“Inko! It’s fine! He's old enough and he deserves a drink after working so hard. Here you have some too.”
Izuku downs the warm wine and relishes in the trail of fire it leaves as it travels down his throat. The knot in his stomach finally unwinds and he smiles as food is starting to be passed out.
After giving thanks, Izuku has his chopsticks to his lips when the rattling of a door knob catches his attention. Mrs. Bakugo murmurs a string of curse words as the rattling is replaced by furious knocking.
“I’m coming! Stop with the racket!”
Izuku puts down his food and plants his feet firmly on the ground. If there’s an enemy at the door, he’s ready to spring into action. He listens intently as the door opens, followed by a soft gasp, giggling and shuffling. Mrs. Bakugo pops her head around the corner with a Kaachan-worthy smile.
“Guess who just showed up?!”
Izuku feel the knot return tenfold, and his eyes stay trained on the figure making its way through the entranceway.
“Stop hanging over me you old-”
Izuku’s whole body locks up when their gazes meet, Kaachan’s face going from surprised, to confused, to frustrated in a matter of seconds. All Izuku can do is swallow the lump in his throat.Maybe I can fling myself out the window bef-
“What the hell is Deku doing here?!”
Nope, it’s too late.