Katsuki’s large, strong arm looped around Izuku’s waist and dragged him back into his chest. Izuku savored the warmth and security the embrace offered. In the bright morning light, still so early that the rest of the wedding party wouldn’t be disturbing them, Izuku and Katsuki laid tangled with Katsuki’s chin in the crook of his neck, his thumb gently brushing at the warm flesh of Izuku’s torso, and Izuku sighing contentedly at the touch.
Katsuki lifted his hand so that Izuku could turn around. When he had moved so that his cheek pressed firmly against Katsuki’s warm chest, Katsuki, whose arm propped Izuku’s head, brushed through his curls and groaned in contentment. “You’re so beautiful,” he said, so quiet in the silent morning.
Izuku breathed out through his nostrils and tried to nuzzle closer. “You’re not gonna stop saying that, huh? And your eyes are closed; you can’t prove that.”
Katsuki pressed his lips to the top of Izuku’s head and continued to talk into the curls. “Don’t need eyes for proof, and I’m gonna keep saying it until you believe it; and you don’t, yet.”
“You’re starting to make me believe it…”
“I hope you mean that.”
“I do,” he affirmed. “But I hope you’re starting to realize how good you are, too. I-” Izuku recollected the previous night’s dinner, a disastrous event at its best. Maybe it wasn’t worth bringing it up. Maybe he should let them move on. But then, what if Katsuki was overthinking things the way Izuku did? Izuku didn’t want Katsuki to gnaw away at his own mind with fears seeded by his parents’ disdain. He wanted him to feel secure. “I don’t want your mother making you lose faith in yourself. You’re doing so good.”
Katsuki grunted and wrapped his hand around Izuku’s waist. Even if he wanted to, Izuku didn’t think he’d be able to escape his vice grip.
Good thing he didn’t want to.
“I’m gonna be honest with you,” Katsuki said, voice somber and slow from sleep. “I- I don’t think I would’ve made it without you. Sounds fuckin’ weak as hell saying it, but she- she always does that. She gets in my head no matter how many walls I put up, and she just breaks them all down like they’re nothing. She pulverizes them, and I don’t know when I started letting her do it, or why I put up with it.”
“Because she’s your mom.”
The bedroom was bathed in silence, and Izuku thought for a moment that Katsuki had just elected not to respond. He didn’t think much of it until he heard the slow, soft sniffles. Izuku’s features quickly contorted, and he adjusted himself to look up and see unadulterated agony in Katsuki’s face. His lip quivered, pressed so thin it was hardly there. His brows were angled so far down that they nearly touched his glossy, wet eyes. “K-Kacchan?”
“She- she’s my mom,” he repeated. His voice was a hiccup, like he was trying not to cry. “And I don’t know what I did to make her hate me.” He took his hands off Izuku, just to rub them into his eyes and stop the tears from falling.
Izuku was on his knees in an instant, bending over Katsuki as he buried his head in the pillows. Izuku slowly set his hands on Katsuki’s head and neck and guided him onto his lap. Katsuki’s arms wrapped around his waist and acted as leverage for Katsuki trying to bury his nose in Izuku’s lower abdomen. It was like he couldn’t get close enough. Izuku hated to see it, but he hated the helplessness he felt far more. He carded his hands through Katsuki’s hair and shushed his sobs. “It’s okay, Kacchan. It’s okay.”
“I- I was just a fuckin’ kid,” he whined. “Ever since I was a kid. Blamed me for everything, for things I couldn’t help. I just wanted a mom like you do. I just wanted her to love me.”
‘ She does love you’ was what Izuku wanted to say, but what good would that do. It had taken some time, but Izuku was starting to realize that the delusion he’d held through their youth was just a lie that he’d told himself because he couldn’t come to terms with someone not loving their child as much as Inko loved him. “Your dad loves you. It’s not the same, I know, but he really does.”
“But what good is it? He doesn’t have a backbone,” Katsuki laughed. “He might love me, but he can’t even stand up for himself. He’ll say, ‘honey, maybe you shouldn’t’, or ‘baby, I don’t think this is a good idea’. He won’t stand up to her.”
Katsuki snorted, as sad as it may have sounded. His arms tightened around Izuku. “I know you would, and I love you, Deku. I just wish my parents loved me, too.”
“I’ll love you enough to make up for it.”
They sat like that for a good couple minutes, Katsuki crying out his pain in Izuku’s lap, Izuku carding his fingers through Katsuki’s hair and reminding him of all the good. He wished he could make it better. He wished he could make up for all the missed affection he had craved in his youth, and Izuku had been too scared to give him.
Eventually, Katsuki’s cries lessened, and his features softened. He looked on the verge of sleep, and Izuku thought it best that he did. Three more days and the wedding would be over, and he and Katsuki could fuck back off to Tokyo and-
Live together? Izuku didn’t see why they couldn’t. They both lived in the city, and they were both in love. He had questions for Katsuki—he had to plan everything—but he didn’t see any reason why they couldn’t make it work.
But still, three more days and things would get better. They could go back home and ignore any existence of Touya, Himiko, and the Bakugous—though Izuku still believed that Masaru was salvageable.
It brought a fond smile to Izuku’s lips. He brushed his cheek and struggled to bend lower and kiss him, but a knock at the door froze Izuku in his tracks. He couldn’t yell at them to go away or tell them he wasn’t interested. The shouting would wake Katsuki, and Katsuki needed to sleep. But the knocking would wake him, too, so Izuku slowly peeled Katsuki’s arms off of him and gently laid his head on the closest pillow.
He dressed quickly and tiptoed out of the room, the knocking still persistent. It was light, not the loud banging that revealed whether the guest was Ashido or Uraraka. Izuku furrowed his brows and stuck an eye to the peephole.
He looked nervous. Curious and hoping for an apology, Izuku quietly twisted the doorknob and pulled open the door just a sliver. “Yes?” he asked, tense.
Masaru looked slightly disheveled, hair matching Katsuki’s, his scruff a little grown out. He hadn’t shaved that morning. He hadn’t worn his glasses either. “Izuku,” he said with a sigh of relief. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’m sorry if I woke you.”
Masaru worried his lip. “Is Katsuki in there?”
Izuku answered his question with a raised brow and another question. “Did you want me to get him for you?”
“No, that’s okay!” Masaru lifted his hand to his head and scratched at the back. Izuku had never seen him so nervous, used to the calmer, more reserved version. “Actually, I was hoping to speak with you,” he said. Adding, “alone,” as an afterthought.
Izuku’s curiosity was piqued. He opened the door just enough to slide through and meet him in the hall. He kept his back against the door, keeping it open a crack so he could get back inside without needing a keycard. “What did you want to speak to me about?”
Masaru sighed deeply, fiddling with his fingers. “Well, too many things, really. I want to apologize to you both, but I thought it would be best to start with you. A dry run, if you will. Katsuki’s relationship with us is- well, it’s strained. I don’t want to say something wrong to him on the first try and sever the ties completely. You understand, don’t you?”
Izuku took a large, calming gulp of breath and exhaled slowly. He was nervous now. For what, he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and so there shouldn’t be any need for it. But he was, and he thought it could be from the fact that he was talking to Masaru without Katsuki present.
But it wasn’t like he was talking to Mitsuki. He wouldn’t speak to her unless Katsuki was okay with it. Masaru was different, though, because Katsuki did love his father. It wasn’t a mistake in Izuku’s perceptions this time, either. He knew that Katsuki cared for his father. So, this should be fine. This could help Masaru and Katsuki fix their bond.
“Let me grab my shoes.”
Izuku and Masaru walked around the Ritz Carlton’s hibiscus gardens, Izuku’s eyes wandering every now and then to the pool and cabana where Himiko and Touya had cornered them both separately.
So much had changed since then.
“I’m sorry about dinner last night,” Masaru started. “I understand that was an uncomfortable conversation for the both of you. Mitsuki was drunk, so she wasn’t in her right mind, and-”
Izuku stopped on the cement path. Masaru noticed and turned back to look at him, and Izuku fixed him with a critical stare. “Why do you do that? Why do you stick up for her?”
“Because she’s my wife, and I love her.”
“She harasses your son.”
“She hasn’t had it easy, Izuku. She-”
Izuku cut him off. “She’s the reason Kacchan’s the way he is, Mr. Bakugou. Kacchan left because you guys forced him into a marriage he didn’t want. Kacchan started drinking because your wife pushed him to it, and it became his coping mechanism for the hell she put him in!” He squeezed his fists so tight the knuckles turned white, and he clenched his jaw so hard it felt like a tooth might break.
Masaru stepped closer. “And Mitsuki is the way she is for the same reason. Katsuki’s grandmother was a horrendous person in Mitsuki’s youth. She was just as, if not more, critical of her than Mitsuki is of Katsuki, and it deeply affected her. But for some reason, Mitsuki’s mother loves Katsuki dearly. Sometimes, I think Mitsuki resents him for it.”
“I don’t care, Mr. Bakugou,” he snapped. “I don’t care about why she does it. I care about the fact that I just had to hold your son and promise I’d love him in your guys’ place because he doesn’t understand why his family never really loved him.”
Masaru faltered, his decently confident stance falling away like dust in the wind. His face fell, and his lip quivered. He looked so much like Katsuki did less than an hour ago. “He- he said that?” Face white as a sheet, eyes glossing over, Masaru reached his fingers up to rub away the tears. “We- we do love him.”
“You might, but stop covering for her. Mitsuki doesn’t really care, does she?”
“She-” Masaru stopped. It was clear he couldn’t answer the question honestly, and Masaru was all about honesty. He pressed his lips firmly together and tried not to cry.
“She doesn’t,” Izuku repeated. “But you do. I know you do.” He closed the gap between them. Izuku and Masaru stood chest to chest, and Izuku may have been a head shorter, but he was far more confident of the two. “So, stop covering for her. Stop defending her, and start defending your son. While your wife is drinking wine by the bottle—Kacchan is trying to get his life together, and you don’t know how hard that is when he’s constantly reminded that the two people who were supposed to love him more than anything in the world are degrading him and making excuses for it.
“I love him, Mr. Bakugou,” Izuku smiled. It was a genuine smile. Even in the heat of the argument, even while berating a man far more superior in title and wealth than he, loving Katsuki was enough to bring him true happiness. “I love him more than anything, and now that I have him, I’m not going to let your wife get away with hurting him. And I’m not going to let you get away with defending her either. Do you understand that?”
Masaru gulped like he was... intimidated by Izuku?
Izuku had never had that effect on anyone. It was new. It was surprising, but Masaru nodded and closed his eyes to try and center himself. “I understand, Izuku.”
“Good,” Izuku said, awkward now. Realizing he’d intimidated his boyfriend’s father into accepting his threat, he didn’t know how to diffuse the tense feeling. His face felt hot, and words were hard to process. That was the bravest he’d been in a long time. And now, all he could do was nod, back up, and walk on down the trail. Masaru followed after him.
“So, you two are really together now? As in, you’re a couple?”
Izuku faltered at the question. He didn’t want to say no, because he didn’t want to hide it. He’d feel guilty since Katsuki had lacked love for so long. But if he said ‘yes’ there was the possibility that Masaru wouldn’t approve, along with any possibility Masaru and Katsuki rekindling their relationship disappearing. At least, if Izuku said yes and the Bakugous really abandonded Katsuki, Izuku would still be there to love him unconditionally. He wanted everyone to know that he loved Katsuki, and Katsuki loved him.
“Yes,” he said before the courage could leave his body. “We are.”
“I’m happy for you,” Masaru said, and Izuku turned to him with wide and surprised eyes. “I’ve known Katsuki’s feelings for you since they developed when he was four. He told me once that ‘I want to marry Deku one day’.” Masaru bowed his head and sighed. “I said he could love you all he wants, however he wants, but he mustn’t tell his mother. Ever.
“Mitsuki had plans for Katsuki since he was born, and she wouldn’t accept anything less. And saying ‘no’ wasn’t an option. I- I understand what you’re saying, that I make excuses for my wife, and that I cater to her, but I’ll take your words to heart. I should have taken his side from the beginning, even if I thought it was a schoolboy crush.”
Izuku watched him quietly. He looked so sincere; his glossy, teary gaze cast down towards his feet. Shoulders slumped and face pale, he seemed almost sickly over the state of Katsuki and his relationship.
Izuku felt sorry for him.
“Don’t blame it all on yourself for it taking us so long,” he said. “I had so many opportunities to tell Kacchan how I felt, but I had been too scared of ruining things. Now, me and him are working on fixing that. We’re being honest with everything now.”
“That’s good.” Masaru sounded thoughtful. “I think you will be good for him. You always have been.”
Izuku nodded, looked up to the sky, and smiled. Something light and warm filled his chest, and the sun looked just a bit brighter. The sky looked bluer, and the joyful screams of children at the pool sounded more real. Katsuki made his world like that. “He’s good for me, too. He-”
“FRECKLES!” Izuku’s eyes whipped down the path where Mina sprinted towards him at full speed. How she could do it in six-inch wedges was a mystery, but the girl herself was an enigma. There wasn’t a point in trying to figure her out.
By the time she got to them, she was spent. Hands on her knees, gasping, she started to shout with a wheeze. “I- I’ve been looking for you! I was about to- to head up to your room. I wanted to tell- oh, um…”
Her eyes gravitated towards Masaru, who stood curiously at Izuku’s side. Izuku seemed to notice the confusion in both of their expressions, because he offered his own introduction. “Ashido, this is Kacchan’s father, Bakugou Masaru. Mr. Bakugou, this is Ashido Mina.”
“Nice to meet you, sir,” she said, extending her hand. Her mannerisms seemed just as perky as they normally were, but Izuku heard the edge in her voice. She knew how Katsuki’s parents were, and she was weary of it.
But Masaru grabbed her hand and smiled warmly, shaking it. “It’s nice to meet you, Ashido. How do you know Izuku?”
“Oh, I just met him right before the trip,” she said, a cheeky smirk on her face. “I actually work with your son.”
Masaru blinked. He was processing the information, Izuku could tell. He wondered if Masaru would be uncomfortable now, or if he’d wipe his hand when he pulled away from her. But in the end, Masaru just smiled once more. “Thank you for taking care of Katsuki,” he said, genuine in his tone. He turned to Izuku. “I should go get medicine for Mitsuki before she wakes up; she’ll have a hangover. We’ll talk again, Izuku, but thank you for this conversation.”
“Sure.” Izuku nodded as Masaru clapped his hand on his shoulder once and strolled down the path at a slow, contemplative pace. A long moment passed.
“Huh. Funny guy,” Ashido deadpanned, then grabbed Izuku and forced him to look back towards her. “Anyways! I wanted to tell you that as the technical manager of the wedding-”
“-Ocha gave you that title?”
“What? No, I did,” she laughed. “But anyways, I planned a luau for tonight so that all the wedding guests can mingle before the rehearsal tomorrow! It’s at eight, so don’t be late. Okay?”
“Great, now I gotta go chase after everyone else!” She laughed, waved a firm goodbye, and sprinted off in the direction Masaru exited, a smile on her face and a jump in her step.
It was a heavy conversation, but things were looking up. Things would get better from here.
He knew they would.