The smell of burning flesh entered his nose.
Izuku was watching a pile of fallen rebels burning. It would be hard to bury all of the slain rebels and finding enough land would be difficult so they always burned their dead comrades.
There were some who were crying but Izuku couldn't do anything. He was weak. If he fought seriously, he could've defeated All for One and then save them. But then he thought how foolish it was.
There was no way he could defeat All for One without casualties. All for One was a giant storm while he was an ant. That was the difference in their power.
"Izuku! Over here!" a man shouted.
Izuku ran and there were two crates of rations.
"Good job in finding more, Chosuke"
"Don't worry. Me and Diamond Experience will dig up some more supplies", Chosuke said and a golden spectral being with diamond fists gave a thumbs up.
Izuku carried the crates and ran at full speed towards their new base.
A week already passed since All for One attacked. More than 75% of them died and their base was unusable. Everyone was injured and morale was low. Food and water supply were unstable and the fear of All for One and Nomus attacking again made everyone restless.
Izuku delivered the crates to their new base. It was more of a settlement than a base since it had tents and was surrounded by weak and hastily-made walls. There were so many injured that the tents weren't enough. Rebels would lie on the ground wincing in pain and wallowing in despair.
It was all his fault. For some reason, he and All for One connected which led the villain to attack the base. He didn't tell anyone about it. Not even Katsuki.
He looked at himself. Izuku burned his green suit along with the dead bodies. He was wearing a white shirt and pants along with his enhanced gloves and shoes. The scent and marks of blood didn't leave his hero equipment.
Izuku dashed back to the former base to get more supplies. It was the only thing he could do.
Meanwhile, Katsuki was grumbling outside a tent.
He was helpless again. As his comrades were getting slaughtered, all he could do was watch. If Izuku didn't change his opinion about killing, they would all be dead. And the hero only started killing when Ochaco died which wasn't a good motivation in the first place.
However, he wasn't thankful for Izuku's change. Katsuki was actually relieved to see Izuku having a kind face. But after killing all of the Nomus, Katsuki saw Izuku's eyes become like All for One's.
"At least he'll be useful now", Hawks said.
"Was it worth it?" Katsuki asked.
"I… No… We are betting on Operation HOPE. You've seen him in action. We might have a chance"
Katsuki was silent.
"I didn't like the idea of bringing someone unrelated from another world just to deal with our fucking problem. But that Mei just had to fucking do it", Katsuki growled.
"I know how you feel. But right now, we're at war. We have to do everything to win. No matter what", Hawks told him and walked away.
Guilt filled Katsuki's conscience. Once again, he allowed All for One to take lives in front of him. And to make things worse, he let Izuku experience a hellish battle which would scar the poor hero for life.
Katsuki entered a tent and saw Momo. She was pale and had eyebags.
"Take a break", Katsuki said and handed her his ration of food.
"No. We lack a lot of things especially medical supplies. I have to do this. It's what only I can do", Momo refused.
"You'd better do what he asks and rest for a while", Shoto entered the tent and also offered his ration.
Katsuki looked at Shoto and more guilt entered his heart. Shoto had his entire right arm was bandaged and Katsuki knew that underneath those wraps were severe burns.
"But… these are your meals for tonight. Our food supply is still unstable and you might not be able to eat for some time", Momo told them.
"Your Quirk requires you to eat. If you get sick, it'll be bad for us", Shoto replied.
"I'm leaving it here. You'd better eat it", Katsuki said and got out of the tent.
He wandered around and saw despair everywhere. Katsuki looked at his robotic arm which reminded him of his weakness and mistakes.
It's all my fault. If I wasn't such a jerk back then… If I respected him… just respected him, none of this would have happened, Katsuki thought.
He turned around and saw All for One. Katsuki was startled and his knees weakened.
"Kacchan? Are you alright?" Izuku asked.
He felt relieved that it was actually Izuku. Even if their faces were the same, their eyes were…
Katsuki took a look at Izuku's eyes. It was different from when he first arrived but it wasn't exactly the same as All for One's. He thanked whatever gods were out there since he wouldn't forgive himself if he created another All for One.
"Kacchan?" Izuku asked again.
"I'm fine", he stood up.
The bloodstains in Izuku's gloves and shoes made Katsuki uncomfortable and even more guilty.
"How's everything back there?" he asked.
"We already scavenged what we can. Mei is still stubborn and wouldn't give up on digging her workshop. Everyone would arrive here around evening", Izuku answered.
"Good. Once everyone's arrived, gather them. I have an announcement"
Everyone had no spirits in their eyes as they stood waiting for Katsuki. After a while, he arrived along with All Might and Hawks.
"Just so you know, I'm not here to make an inspirational speech. I'm here to tell you guys to quit while you're alive", Katsuki said.
Everyone was too tired to be surprised.
"More than half of us died. And if we continue this war, we would lose many more lives. I don't want to tell you to suck things up and die", he added.
It wasn't an easy decision. The greatest thing they needed was manpower and yet he was letting them go. He wasn't doing it for their sake. He didn't want to be responsible for more lost lives. Katsuki Bakugo was ready to give up.
"All for One said that he knew where we were all along. Maybe even right now, he is watching us helplessly wait for another attack", his words struck fear in their hearts.
Katsuki saw a familiar red-haired boy at the back of the crowd and his stomach went cold.
It's your fault, the boy's voice echoed in his head.
"There's a city nearby. I heard that if you surrender, they will accept you. You can live if you put up with All for One's rules", he continued.
He took out his gun and dropped it in front of them.
"You don't have to force yourself"
They saw his pitiful face. Tears were streaming down from lifeless eyes. It was a face that belonged to a broken man.
He left them and walked away from the camp. The shadows of the forest formed the silhouettes of All for One's victims.
It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault. It's your fault, the voices in the wind chanted on and on.
Katsuki was face to face with a red-haired boy. The boy had a gaping hole in his chest and was making an expression that was painful for Katsuki to watch.
It's all your fault, he said and his arms hardened.
Do it, Katsuki thought.
"Kacchan?" Izuku called out and the hallucination disappeared.
Izuku couldn't believe what he was seeing. The Katsuki Bakugo he admired looked so weak and pitiful.
"They left, didn't they?" Katsuki asked.
"…Yes", Izuku answered.
"Heh. That's good. That's a lot of weight off my shoulders"
He sat down on the ground.
"You know… I'm the cause for all of these bullshit", Katsuki said.
"I was an asshole. Always thinking that the world revolved around me. I just treated people as extras that come and go. I even treated a life like it was nothing", he continued.
Izuku knew what he was talking about.
"Izuku Midoriya, the man known as All for One. I made his life as miserable as possible. Guess where that ended up"
"Yeah. I know", Izuku said.
Katsuki was silent for a while and then laughed.
"I can't believe it! Even across another world I am still a world-class jerk?! That's amazing!" he laughed.
His laughter became silent and he clenched his fist.
"You were someone I admired. Someone I wanted to beat", Izuku said.
"What are you saying?" Katsuki asked.
"No matter what the odds, you would fight. You always dashed ahead when everyone was hesitating… even though you shouted "DIE" when you were starting out", Izuku said.
"You weren't easy to get along with and Kaminari and Kirishima tried hard to befriend you. And when we became pro heroes, you solved cases and dealt with crime at an explosive speed. You were my image of victory", he continued.
"So what? Am I supposed to fight again?" Katsuki asked.
"I'm a failure of a leader! I don't have a Quirk!"
"Even so, you must fight!"
"I don't even have an army of my own!"
"The Katsuki Bakugo I know would fight until the very last cell of his body is destroyed!"
"Are you crazy? It's like you're telling me to die alone", he said.
"You're the crazy one here. Who said you'll be alone?" Izuku replied.
"That's right, Katsuki! We're right here!" a voice behind them shouted.
Hawks, All Might, Eri, Mei, Momo, Mina, Kyoka, Kendo, Pony, Tenya, and Shoto were there.
"We swore to defeat All for One. We are not giving up now", Hawks said.
"You are not alone. We share the burden of the deceased. As the living, we must fight on", All Might added.
"You heard them, Kacchan. You are not alone", Izuku held out Katsuki's gun.
It's all your fault, the voice said once again.
Damn right it is. And I'll take responsibility for it, Katsuki thought.
He took the gun.
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