This was a drabble prompt from Leocatausaurusrex over on my discord. It will be a two shot (the second half prompted by HikaHika ALSO on the discord), and involved flowers with meanings. The three Leo gave me where:Quince- temptation, Raspberry- remorse, and Sweet pea- delicate pleasures.
And regret. So much regret.
Katsuki stared upwards from his sprawled position on the ground, dust, blood, and bits of brick and dirt smeared and sprinkled over his body. In his arms he clutched a little girl, who sobbed and clenched her tiny hands into Katsuki's shirt.
His hands shook. His heart felt like it was in a vice, and his lungs didn't want to expand. He was frozen. Unable to move, to function, beyond what he had just witnessed, what the fucking nerd had-
His vision blackened at the edges.
When was the last time he had taken a breath?
Did it matter?
Gods. It wasn't even-
It was their day off. It was just supposed to be a night out with friends. Deku, Shitty Hair, Dunce Face, Icyhot, (look, it may technically be Todoroki's hero name thanks to Katsuki hollering at him too close to a reporter who ran with it, but Katsuki had been calling him that long before it became a 'thing' and he wasn't planning on stopping himself now, thanks) and himself. They'd been the only ones free, the only ones not on patrol or otherwise occupied. And then-
And then, just-
Fuck, Deku had just-
Kirishima's hand came down hard on his back, a sharp "Katsuki! Breathe!" in his ears, even as the other hand gently pulled the little girl from his grip. Todoroki was already moving, using his ice to freeze the villains they'd captured in place, so he could get closer to the shifting wreckage, and Katsuki could hear Kaminari on the phone with emergency responders. But Katsuki couldn't pull his eyes away from the rubble.
The entire building had been destroyed, blown into wreckage and rubble- and for what?
Money? Murder? Robbery? Some petty need to destroy? A rush? Some kind of sick pleasure drawn from the chaos?
What did that matter, because-
Katsuki staggered to his feet, limbs and body spasming and jerking like a marionette that had a clumsy beginner for a handler. Red eyes were unmoving, not even blinking, as he stared at the epicenter of the blast.
Deku was in there.
Deku was inside the building. He was under what was left of the building.
Because that fucking bastard had thrown Katsuki out the goddamn door. The shitty nerd had just-
Why wasn't he busting out? Why hadn't he gotten himself out from under the rubble and stone? Why wasn't he staggering to the top of the broken bricks, calling that he was fine? He'd done it before. Katsuki had watched him do exactly that before.
Deku should have been-
He would be fine right? That fucking bastard was always fine. Katsuki wouldn't have lost the title Number One to any stupid fucker. Deku was a pro, same as the rest of them. He knew how to fall, how to protect his vital areas, he knew how to survive.
So why wasn't he out yet?
Katsuki staggered towards the stone and brick, as soon as the little girl Deku had shoved into his chest had been taken from his arms. Kirishima had her, she'd be fine, even as Kirishima, Todoroki, and Kaminari continued to react and contain the results of the explosion, the villains, and the civilians.
But Katsuki couldn't bring himself to do anymore than stumble drunkenly towards the remains of the mall. Couldn't react the way he'd been trained, because, because-
It was like there was a disconnect. He knew they had responded to the screams of those around them. It hadn't mattered that were at the mall for a good time with friends- people needed saving, and they were heroes and present on the scene.
Villains had taken hostages, were rampaging across the mall, and the civilians were making it worse as they scattered and screamed and panicked. It was a desperate relief for the civilians to see Deku, Ground Zero, Chargebolt, Red Riot, and Icyhot in the crowd, even if they were missing their iconic hero outfits.
They'd taken control of the situation, easy teamwork born of fighting together for years, and friendships built and remade on trust and shared dreams and traumas.
This never should have happened.
It should have been over with, once they'd gotten the crowd under control and working on evacuating, even as they held the villains in place via the quirk suppression cuffs they all carried around even when they were off. It was easy to handle. Almost routine- in the way only a top hero's life could become routine.
And then a panicking mother had come rushing towards them, frantically asking anyone she passed if they had seen a little girl. A brief meeting of eyes, and Katsuki and Izuku had agreed with the group to leave their villains in the others hands while they went looking for the missing child.
They'd found her of course, and had been headed towards the propped open exit.
That was when the cackles, the broken and twisted laughter, had reached them. Their eyes had met briefly, Deku holding securely to the little girl in his arms, even as they sped up.
And then Deku had gasped, shocked and horrified. Katsuki had already been turning even before his childhood friend's sharp call of "Kacchan!" reached his ears. By the time he had completed the turn, Deku had been shoving the little girl in his arms, where Katsuki had automatically wrapped her in his arms and pulled her towards his chest.
He'd heard the subtle crackle of green lightning before he saw it dance over Izuku's body.
And then Izuku's hands had closed over Katsuki's shirt, yanking him off closer and then off his feet as he snapped "Hold onto her Ground Zero!"
It was pure muscle memory, a mental shift in mindset, triggered by the use of his hero name from Deku's lips. Triggered by the familiar movements of the greenette, the beginning steps to a move they had done dozens of times before, a move Deku had pulled with most of the class, and a few of the teachers over the years, that had Katsuki bringing his legs up and bracing the balls of his feet on Deku's arm.
He was prepared on an instinctive level, when Deku flung his arm out, launching Katsuki and the small girl he clutched protectively forward, their momentum powered by Deku's quirk. But-
But there was no crackle of lightning a step behind, no rush of Deku on his heels as there usually- always- had been before. Katsuki looked back.
And Deku was rushing away, rushing towards something, and Katsuki-
It was something on Deku's face. He was smiling, just like he always was, eyes meeting Katsuki's. And maybe it was the fact that Katsuki had known Izuku since diapers. Maybe it was their rebuilt friendship, the emotional upheaval he had seen Izuku live through. Maybe it was those shared battles and the struggle for survival the entire class had suffered as the League and Shigaraki's attacks grew more violent and targeted.
Maybe it was pure base instinct.
All Katsuki knew was that, when he looked at Izuku something, something, was wrong.
There was an apology in Deku's eyes.
And then he was crashing to the ground, rolling with the momentum and automatically shielding the little girl in his arms, twisting back to his feet, far from the emergency exit they had been thrown through.
He hadn't even made it two steps before the ground rumbled and the building exploded.
And now Deku was inside that somewhere, and he wasn't coming out-
And all Katsuki could think about, all he could see, was that apology in Deku's eyes, even as his lips pulled into a smile