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Someone Borrowed

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“He’s gonna pick Saki,” Hagakure mused, looking up from pouring herself a third glass of champagne as she peered up to the TV. “She’s the nicest one up there.”

 

“Bullshit,” Uraraka called. “Harumi’s the only independent girl on that show. Clearly he’s gonna go for the more mature option.”

 

“Please stop moving,” Yaoyorozu begged. “I’m gonna mess up your nails if you keep thrashing around.”

 

“Sorry, Yaomomo!” Uraraka flashed an apologetic smile before turning her head to Midoriya Izuku, who was draped over the end of the couch, staring down at his wine glass with fixed concentration. “What do you think, Izu?”

 

He didn’t budge, definitely didn’t notice Uraraka ask him a question as he swirled his glass and watched the alcohol ripple inside it. A sigh escaped his lips and Uraraka shot a sympathetic look in his direction before turning to look back at the girls. Tsuyu was doing Jirou’s makeup in a way very ill fitting manor for the punk rocker, though she was definitely being a good sport. Hagakure was invested in the TV and Yaoyorozu was immensely focused on not messing up Uraraka’s nails.

 

All in all, it was a relatively relaxed night in: Nothing wild, nothing insane. Probably the tamest Bachelorette Party ever, and while Uraraka wouldn’t complain due to the fact that her dearest ‘Man’ of Honor had done his utmost, she somewhat wished for a little more action, a little more excitement.

 

But it was fine.

 

There were two more weeks to the wedding and they could always have a wild night once they got to Hawaii. At least if anything went wrong there, they’d still be on the island. They wouldn’t miss their flight to the destination or anything of the sort. So, really, it was okay that they sat around, doing nails and makeup, watching the Bachelorette while getting tipsy off massive bottles of champagne.

 

“So, Uraraka,” Jirou asked, eyes closed as Tsuyu applied wings of eyeliner to her lids. “Now that you’re marrying into royalty, you taking a private jet to the wedding?”

 

She snorted. “You kidding me? Tenya might be rich, and I might be getting spoiled, but I’m not about to waste money on private jets. We’re taking first class and that’s just because he’d suffer if I put him in business.”

 

“Damn,” Hagakure mumbled,shifting her body away from the television to deliver full attention to the bride-to-be. “I wish I had a billionaire fiance.”

 

“He’s not a billionaire,” Uraraka corrected, raising a hand to her mouth to blow on the drying paint. “His family is.”

 

“Same difference,” Jirou scoffed. “Look at your apartment, Uraraka. It’s basically a penthouse.”

 

“I’d get a smaller one if I could,” she told them. “It’s too much space for two people. It’s a waste of money.”

 

“Uraraka,” Yaoyorozu sighed, looking up from her nail work to fix the brunette with an endearing look. “Can I offer you some advice?”

 

“Hm?” She quirked a brow. “Yeah, Yaomomo?”

 

The other girl grabbed her hand--careful not to ruin her nails--and squeezed it. “Don’t think to much about it, okay? I can understand it’s a bit odd for you, but Iida just wants to spoil you. I think you should let him. Afterall, you’re all he thinks about.” She shifted her gaze to the other end of the couch, where Izuku continued to stare at his glass in immense fascination. “Isn’t that right, Midoriya?”

 

“Hmm?” He perked up, jerking in his seat as he turned his attention to the girls and did his utmost to pretend he’d been paying attention the entire time. “Yup. Yeah, for sure!”

 

Uraraka rolled her eyes, and deadpanned. “Thanks, Izukkun.”

 

“Anything for you, babe,” he winked and she simply shook her head and went back to blowing her nails dry.

 

“Anyways,” Yaoyorozu continued. “Private jets are fun! I’m taking one to O’ahu with Shouto and Touya.”

 

“The rest of the Todoroki’s aren’t coming?” Tsuyu asked.

 

“No, they are,” she answered, reaching for her champagne glass and taking a swig. “But Mr. Todoroki is with Fuyumi on a business trip, so they’re flying in from New York and Natsuo’s skiing in the Alps at the moment so he’s coming later,” she took a moment, inhaled deeply before admitting something else. “I know it’s an awful thing to say, but the truth? No one wants to be on the jet with Touya’s new girlfriend.”

 

Ears perked up as the girls all closed in on Yaoyorozu, curious about what she had to say about Todoroki Touya’s new girlfriend.

 

“Wait, wait, wait.” Jirou’s eyes were wide. “You actually met her? What was she like?”

 

“Guys-” Uraraka tried to but in, but Hagakure interrupted her.

 

“I heard she’s got a criminal record,” she told them. “When I asked Ojiro, he said that Shouto said that she’d done a stint for assaulting her ex-husband.”

 

“Wait, guys-”

 

“Shinsou said she took Touya’s credit card and went wild in Ginza,” Tsuyu added. “She spent upwards of three hundred thousand yen on her outfit for the wedding.”

 

Yaoyorozu looked hesitant, like everything was edging on the tip of her tongue, but her moral compass was holding her back. Uraraka thought for a good few seconds that she’d stop the conversation and they could continue the night without delving into this matter.

 

She was wrong.

 

“Okay, so,” Yaoyorozu spilled. “I don’t want to judge her. I’m sure she’s very nice, but she certainly is… something. She’s kinda wild, demanded that the server at dinner pick out all the seeds from her raspberry vinaigrette and when I asked her why, she looked at me with a straight face and said, ‘Cause I f-ing can’!”

 

“She said ‘f-ing’?”

 

“No, but I’m a lady and I’m not going to say it,” Yaoyorozu explained. “Anyways, the point is that Touya did a total one-eighty when it comes to partners. I mean, she is nothing like-”

 

“Nothing like me?”

 

The room went silent.

 

All eyes turned to Izuku Midoriya, sitting on the couch, no longer swirling his drink around the glass, no longer vacant in expression. He looked somewhat pained, sad, but sporting a smile that didn’t match his eyes.

 

Almost instantaneously, Yaoyorozu’s face went red and a sense of dread and embarrassment washed over all but Uraraka, who’d tried to warn them. She was simply looking at her best friend with a sympathetic, weary smile. “Midoriya,” Yaoyorozu pleaded. “I am so sorry! I forgot that-”

 

“It’s fine,” he told them, clearing his throat as he leaned forward to sit his glass on the coffee table. “You didn’t realize. It’s been two weeks after all.”

 

“Izukkun, baby…” Uraraka cooed, but Izuku only nodded at her with an artificial smile and hoisted himself up onto his feet.

 

“It’s fine, Ocha,” he told her. “Um, keep watching the show. I’m just gonna use the restroom real fast.”

 

“Izu-” But he’d already bolted from the room, headed down the hall. The girls heard the door shut with a soft click! And Uraraka looked back to her other bridesmaids.

 

“Way to go, ladies.”

 


 

Izuku locked the door behind him. It wasn’t out of Uraraka’s character to barge in under the guise of a ‘concerned friend’ to see what he was doing. It wasn’t technically a lie, because she was always concerned when it came to his well being, but still. He didn’t want to talk to her right now.

 

Besides, it wasn’t her job to console him right now. Izuku didn’t even think he should be freaking out right now. After all, he was her ‘Man of Honor’ and this was her bachelorette party. It was supposed to be about her, not him. So, he needed to get his emotions in check so he could go back out there and pretend his life wasn’t falling apart because his boyfriend of nearly seven years dumped him without warning just two weeks ago.

 

Because this wasn’t about him.

 

It’s not about me! Izuku thought, again, before hitting back against the door and sinking to the bathroom floor. He rested his face in his hands and pulled his hair between his fingers while releasing a shaky breath. He felt so guilty sitting here, not enjoying Uraraka’s night like he should.

 

But his wounds were still fresh. The break up was still fresh and he couldn’t for the life of him go an hour without thinking of how Touya wrote him off without a second thought, how he’d been thrown to the side like some week old trash.

 

“Pull yourself together, dumbass!” He scolded himself, smacking his palms against his forehead. “You’re better than this! Don’t ruin your best friend’s night! Be a man!”

 

He took a deep breath, pulled himself to his feet and looked into the mirror hanging above the sink. Though he’d successfully refrained from crying--a big step for him--his eyes were still tinted red, rimmed with dark circles. These last two weeks had not been kind to him.

 

He thought he might invest in some concealer, something to better hide his sorry state from the only person who should matter as of now.

 

So, he splashed some water on his face and left the bathroom to meet her and the rest of the bridesmaids. Though, they weren’t in the living room like he’d left them. No, giggles echoed down the hall from Iida and Uraraka’s bedroom. Izuku quirked an eyebrow as he walked up to the door and pushed it open, finding the girls digging through Uraraka’s closet and throwing her clothes onto the king bed.

 

“Uh, what’s going on?” He asked as the girls stopped their rearranging of Uraraka’s belongings to stare at him like deer caught in the headlights. He quirked a brow at the odd behavior before Uraraka scurried up to him with a smile stretched across her face and grabbed his hands in hers.

 

“Izuku, baby,” she cooed, and now he was very suspicious.

 

“...Yes?”

 

“You have done a marvelous job with this bachelorette party,” she told him, rubbing little circles in his hands while she looked up to him.

 

“Um, thank you, I-”

 

“But it’s our last night in Japan,” she explained. “And I think it might fun to go out on the town, okay?”

 

He shrugged. “Well, it’s your bachelorette party, Ocha. We can do whatever you want to do.”

 

Her grin widened. “Perfect, you phrased that exactly how I wanted you to.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Nothing, nothing,” she sung, skipping off farther into the room to give Tsuyu her opinion on a green-sequin dress she had in her clutches. He watched until another hand slipped around his wrist and he turned his gaze to its owner.

 

Yaoyorozu had a nervous look to her when she addressed him, her eyebrows scrunched in concern. “Hey, Midoriya.”

 

“Um, hey?” He answered. “Why are you greeting me?”

 

She shrugged. “I just--I’m sorry about before. I wasn’t thinking and so-”

 

Izuku raised his hand to rest on her shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. It stung deep in his heart, but he didn’t need to think about that. “It’s okay. I overreacted.”

 

“Y-you’re sure?”

 

Hesitantly, he nodded his head and forced a false grin onto his face. It was hard, his chest constricting and a brokenhearted choke lodging in his throat, but the girls didn’t need to know all that. “Yeah.”

 

It sounded so incredibly fake, but Yaoyorozu seemed to buy it, a more assured look finding its way onto her features. She straightened, smiled at Izuku, and beckoned for him to follow her. “Great! C’mon, we’re gonna get you fixed up! Guys’ll be kissing the ground you walk on when we’re done!”

 


 

“Can I leave the jacket in the car?” He asked as they pulled up to whatever location Ochako had whispered to her chauffeur. “It’s too big and the sleeves keep falling.”

 

“Told you that Iida’s jacket would be to big,” Jirou smirked.

 

“Well, I still think it looks good,” Uraraka admitted, ignoring Hagakure’s jab of ‘because it’s your fiance’s’ and answered her friend. “But sure, just leave it on the seat.”

 

Izuku removed the article of clothing, adjusted the sleeves of his button-up, and made to get out of the car after Tsuyu. He wasn’t exactly sure where they were going since Uraraka and the rest had been oddly secretive about the whole thing, but he assumed that it was probably a spa or something he’d have no interest in going to. Thus, they thought it would be fun to hide it from him until the last minute.

 

Well, that’s what he thought until he stepped out into the Tokyo night and found his surroundings illuminated by a massive, blinking, neon sign. The pink glow was bright, making Uraraka’s excited smile seem nothing but devious. “Ochako…”

 

“Oh, c’mon,” she whined, rushing forward to tug on his wrist. “Let me have this, okay? I’m about to give myself to Iida for the rest of my life! Let’s be free for just one more night!”

 

“Ocha, you don’t have to convince me if this is how you want to spend you Bachelorette Party,” he explained. “I just… have you ever even been to one of these places?”

 

“No, have you?”

 

No,” he insisted. “It’s--Look, I’ve been in a very serious relationship for six years-”

 

“On and off,” Uraraka added.

 

“And so I’ve had no reason to go into one of these places. I’m a loyal boyfriend.”

 

“Are you saying I’m not a loyal fiance?” She deadpanned, a severe expression on her face.

 

Izuku’s eyes went wide as he realized just what he had insinuated. He went red, his mouth gaping in a stutter. “Ochako, I-I-”

 

The brunette broke out into a laugh. “I’m just kidding, Izu. I know that’s not what you meant.” She reached forward and rubbed his forearm with her hand. “But listen. You and he who shall remain unnamed are no longer together. So, it’s okay for you to come in with me…” she told him, gripping his wrist and pulling him forward, closer to the door situated below the hot pink, blinking sign. “Please Izu, this is my last chance to get a lap dance before I’m no longer a single woman.”

 

Izuku gnawed his lip, leaned into his best friend’s pull as he saw the other girls beckon him forward. This was… Not how he expected the night to go, but it was Uraraka’s night. Who was he to refuse her or the others their fun?

 

He flashed the group a weary, but accepting, smile and a cheer echoed through the parking lot as Uraraka and the rest dragged him towards the entrance of Club Ultra.

 


 

 

“Hey!” Uraraka shouted over the music and cheers of screaming women. The club was relatively packed at the moment, crowds of women cheering and waving ten thousand yen bills at the dancers: men glistening in body oils, dressed in underwear so tight that nothing could be left to the imagination. It was a bit stifling, but that didn’t matter to Uraraka. She had a very small window of time to work with while Izuku and Jirou had gone to get cash for the dancers. “Can we please get some help over here?” She asked.

 

Or, more like demanded.

 

They were at the bar now, women crowding around the alcohol-soaked counter to talk to some of the bartenders. There was a girl and two boys, all in heavy conversation with different people. Uraraka rolled her eyes and groaned.

 

“Uraraka, they’re gonna be back soon!” Hagakure reminded her and Uraraka hated to do this--she really did--but she ripped a fifty thousand yen bill from the pocket of her skirt and stuck it up in the air. If her new found rich card would get this done faster, then so be it.

 

Uraraka would do anything for a friend.

 

“WHOEVER HELPS ME GETS FIFTY THOUSAND!” And within seconds of sticking her hand up into the air, a muscular redhead swiped it from her fingers and leaned against the counter top to smile at her.

 

“What can I do ya for, ladies?” He asked, quirking an eyebrow and looking incredibly smug. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, but his muscles glistened in the strobing lights.

 

Extremely attractive, but Uraraka was engaged and on a mission. “Drop the act bud, we’re on business,” she told him and the man immediately picked up, dropping the flirtatious stance and flashing them a genuine smile.

 

“Well, alrighty then!” He told them. “What can I do for ya?”

 

“Look,” she told him, leaning forward on the counter and pointing to him. “It’s my Bachelorette Party-”

 

“Woah, hey!” He clapped. “Congrats, miss! That’s pretty spectacular!”

 

“Thanks, but listen to me,” she demanded. “My sweet, dear-to-my-heart, best friend and my Man of Honor, just got dumped. He’s been a total buzzkill and frankly,” she told him, gesturing to all the girls behind him. “We can all agree that he needs to get the edge off.”

 

“Of course,” he smirked. “Cause the answer to any break up is a stripper.”

 

“Look, buddy,” Hagakure cut in. “We’re not concerned about ethics. We’re just trying to get him a dicking.”

 

The man’s smile dropped as he turned to focus on the plain looking girl. “We don’t do prostitution here, ma’am.”

 

Uraraka waved him off. “Stop. Ignore her,” she advised him, before turning quickly to address her friend. “We are not here for a dicking, Hagakure! We’re here to get him some hot, male contact that is not Todoroki Touya.”

 

Hagakure rolled her eyes, but quieted down as Uraraka turned back to her business transaction. “Look, he’s gonna find us soon. We just want to pay for a guy to pay attention to him for the rest of the night, okay?”

 

“That’s gonna be pretty pricey.”

 

“Money isn’t an issue of concern,” Yaoyorozu cut in, moving up to stand beside Uraraka at the counter. “We can take care of that. Just, please help us. He’s our friend and we hate seeing him so upset.”

 

The man pressed his lips firm together, scrunched his nose in concentration and eyed each of the girls. It felt like forever with Izuku’s impending return, but eventually the man sighed and scoffed at himself. “Alright, alright. What kinda guy is he into?”

 

“Tall!”

 

“Muscular!”

 

“He loves assholes!”

 

“Hagakure, maybe you should be quiet for a little bit,” Tsuyu suggested.

 

“Well, it’s true!”

 

The man laughed, looked down the length of the bar and shouted after someone. “Hey, Pinky!”

 

The group’s eyes followed the man’s beckon and watched as a girl with wild, pink hair came barreling down to where they stood. She was all dolled up, her uniform somewhat reminiscent of a maid’s,  extremely low cut and pink in an attempt to match her curls. She smiled and waved at the girls when she stopped in front of them, before turning to the man. “Yeah, Riot?”

 

“Can you take these girls to one of the private VIP rooms? One of the ones with a stage,” he asked her, and her eyes widened a fraction, spinning on the girls. “Woah, you guys get a package deal or somethin’? You members?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Pinky, chill out a bit.” Riot ruffled her hair and she laughed as he turned to address the bachelorette party. “Pinky’s gonna take you to a room. I got  the perfect guy for your friend so you guys get situated in there and I’ll send him in. You guys want me to bring in any drinks to start out?”

 

“Fireballs,” Uraraka told him, before Hagakure butted in.

 

“And we’re gonna need three shots of tequila for Midoriya,” she told him, and Riot simply looked over to Uraraka and Yaoyorozu.

 

“Should I listen to her this time?”

 

Uraraka snorted. “Yeah, he’s gonna need them.”

 

 


 

“Where are we going?” Izuku asked as Pinky led the group down a vacant hall. “Why are we back here?” The walls were decorated in framed, vintage pin-ups and skillfully-crafted graffiti art. It was very much quiet, though, and it made Izuku slightly uncomfortable.

 

“I feel like we’re gonna be murdered,” Tsuyu informed the others and he and Jirou nodded in agreement.  

 

Pinky laughed from the head of the group and waved off her comment. “No one’s gonna murder you. This is just the way to the VIP rooms.”

 

“Wait, VIP?” Izuku gaped.

 

“Izu-”

 

“Ocha, I know I’m supposed to pay for this cause I’m your Man of Honor,” he muttered. “But I don’t know if I can afford this…”

 

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m paying then,” Yaoyorozu smiled, coming up to his side to wrap her arm around his shoulders and give him a loving squeeze. “You’ve done a great job, so let me treat to this!”

 

“But-”

 

“C’mon, baby,” Pinky cooed, dropping back to walk on his other side. “It’s gonna be real fun! I promise you!”

 

“Oh, wait no!” He told her, waving his hands aggressively. “I’m not looking for any ‘fun’,” he air-quoted. “I’m just here for moral support.”

 

“Moral support?”

 

“Ocha’s gonna get a lap dance for her Bachelorette Party,” he explained and the girl continued to nod.

 

“Yeah, she told me somethin’ about that,” Pinky responded, a smirk tugging at her lip, before turning to address Uraraka. “You excited, hun? To get married?”

 

Uraraka turned her head to the side, tried to look back at the group as she continued to walk forward. “ So excited! He’s amazing, best man I’ve ever met,” she sighed, contendly. That is, before she playfully followed up with: “Besides Izu, that is.”

 

A small smile tugged at the corners of Izuku’s mouth as Pinky ran back up to the front, stopped in front of a graffitied door at the end of the hall, and grabbed onto the knob. As the group packed around it, Pinky took a moment to look each and every one of them in the eye before flashing a devilish smile. “Ladies,” she began. “And our dear gentleman, I welcome you to the VIP lounge!”

 

She swung open the door to a room bathed in tinted lights, warm hues of pink and red. In the center was a rounded stage, a pole standing in the middle, and a short protruding platform off the side, surrounding on three sides by expensive, dark leather couches. A small bar, stocked to its limit in expensive alcohols sat in the opposite corner. A chorus of ooo’s and aahhh's broke out amongst his friends as they entered the room, Pinky shutting the door behind them. “Nice, huh?”

 

“Amazing,” Uraraka assured her, before turning to her best friend and grabbing his wrist. “C’mon let’s get up on stage, alright?”

 

“Are we allowed?” He asked, hesitant to follow her. “Won’t we get in the way?”

 

Uraraka shook her head. “He’s not here yet. It’ll be fine.”

 

“But-”

 

“She’s gotta get on stage anyways for her lap dance,” Pinky assured him, hopping up on stage with a chair she’d rolled out from the corner. “She’s gonna sit right here!” She sat the chair down on the protruding stage and gestured for  Uraraka to sit down, who so willingly went along.

 

She plopped down on it, a rather ornate looking thing, devoid of armrests but having twice the amount of  cushion. Uraraka gasped when she sat down, looked Izuku dead in the eye. “This is so comfortable!”

 

Izuku quirked an eyebrow. “What are you talking about? It’s a chair.”

 

“Yeah,” she nodded. “But it’s a comfy chair! Here, you try it out!” She told him, hopping up and reaching forward to grab Izuku by his shoulders and guide him down. As soon as his ass hit the seat, though, he was relatively confused.

 

“Your chairs at home are way more comfortable,” Izuku told her. “How do you think this is better?”

 

“Well, I-”

 

The door slammed open and a redhead Izuku had not yet met came rushing in with a tray of drinks in hand. “Alright, ladies! I got drinks!”

 

Hagakure rushed for him, grabbing two shot glasses off the tray and started shouting: “Shots! Shots! Shots!” Before downing both and getting terrified looks from both the workers and her friends. Izuku stared at her both worried and curious as Tsuyu offered up a question everyone had been wondering.

 

“How are there not more tabloid scandals about you?”

 

She shrugged, ran towards the sofa Tsuyu sat on and jumped into her lap. “Because I’m stealthy!”

 

While Izuku watched Hagakure continue to act as the group’s resident troublemaker, he didn’t happen to notice Uraraka round on him and, along with Pinky, grab his arms and force them down to the back legs of the chair.

 

He yelped at the sudden force, jerked his head behind him to see what they were doing, but felt the metal around his wrists and the click of a lock before he could actually see what they were doing.

 

His expression dropped as he tugged his wrists and found them restrained. “No.”

 

“Izuku, baby,” Uraraka cooed, coming back to his front to crouch in front of him and rest her palms on his knees. She squeezed them assuringly as she smiled up at him. “You’ve had a rough time recently.”

 

“Ochako, let me out.”

 

“We all think this’ll be good for you,” Yaoyorozu added, hopping up on the stage to stand beside Uraraka.

 

Jirou snorted, joining them. “Even I think you gotta let off some steam, dude,” she told him. “You gotta live a little.”

 

“I don’t gotta do anything,” he told them, miffed. “I am completely fine.”

 

“No, you’re not,” Uraraka told him, getting up and stomping over to the edge of the stage. “Riot, let’s get this started. He needs to cool off.”

 

“On it!” He shouted from behind the bar, fiddling with a high-tech, surround sound stereo. “Give me a second to tell him get over here!”

 

“Him? Who’s him?”

 

“Pinky, get me a tequila shot!” Uraraka ordered, ignoring her agitated friend. Pinky hopped down from the stage--as did Jirou and Yaoyorozu, who took a seat on the sofa opposite Tsuyu and Hagakure. Pinky grabbed a shot off the table near the latter group and lifted it up to Uraraka and the girl grinned. “Pinky, feel free to stay with us tonight. I’m gonna need the moral support.”

 

“Sure thing, sweetheart,” she winked, moving off to sit next to Tsuyu. Uraraka spun on her heels, back towards Izuku, and lifted the glass with a grin.

 

“Bottoms up, baby!”

 

“Ochako, I swear to god if you-”

 

She grabbed his jaw while he spoke, catching him mid sentence and locking her shockingly strong grip to keep his mouth open. And then she lifted the shot glass to his lips and dumped the strong liquid into his mouth before forcing her forearm over it and demanding him to swallow.

 

But Izuku simply shut his lips, puffed out his cheeks and shook his head aggressively as Uraraka stepped back and ordered him to swallow. He was so caught up in the nagging, the begging and pleading from his dearest friends, that he didn’t notice the door slam open and a new figure enter the room.

 

“Cherry Bomb!” Pinky screamed from the couch, and the man turned to talk to her while Uraraka continued to nag Izuku about letting loose and having fun. He was starting to phase out though, flattered that Uraraka would go to these lengths to get him out of his funk, but wanting it to end nevertheless.

 

What the fuck you doin’ here, Pinky?” the man shouted, his voice course and aggressive.

 

And just like that, Izuku cut off completely from Uraraka’s tangent. He knew that voice. It was distant, practically a phantom memory at this point, but it couldn’t be…

 

He jerked his head towards the new arrival and the shock of blonde hair, the chiseled jaw and severe features that he now only ever saw in pictures from their youth, were right in front of him. A body sculpted by the hands of the gods, the one he’d fantasized in the quiet recesses of his childhood bedroom in the dead of night, was there, in the flesh. He was dressed so revealing, too. Tight, black pants sculpted his ass, his thighs and calves like a second skin. He had no shirt, but accessorized with a bowtie, collar, and sleeveless cuffs. Those massive pecs and sculpted abs on display...

 

His jaw went slack, his lips parting and the alcohol stored in his cheeks spilled down his chin, onto his lap. He couldn’t care less, barely noticed. Only Uraraka did, sighing loud enough for all the room to hear. “Izuku, those pants are expensive!”

 

But Izuku wasn’t listening or looking at her. His eyes were fixed on a ghost, a ghost who had heard Uraraka’s complaint. Izuku watched the very moment the blond’s eyes widened and he snapped his head towards the stage to find Izuku Midoriya cuffed to the chair on its platform.

 

It felt like hours that he stared at Izuku, coming to terms with the fact that a man, his childhood best friend, whom he hadn’t seen since their senior year of high school, was there in front of his very eyes. Then his brows furrowed and his jaw clenched before he uttered through gritted teeth the very name Izuku had longed to hear for years.

 

“Deku.”



Chapter Text

“Ka--” he coughed, choking on some of the tequila that hadn’t poured from his mouth when he let it drop open. “Kacchan!”

 

The room was silent now, Uraraka and the bridesmaids swapping curious looks around the room while Riot and Pinky gave warning glances to their coworker. He needed them too, because Bakugou Katsuki looked like he was about to pop a blood vessel. He forgot the girl he was talking to, marched up to the stage, and while Izuku knew this was his intimidation tactic, he was having trouble paying attention to it while those muscles rippled in front of him.

 

Too soon, Katsuki was directly in front of him, looking down in a condescending manner too similar to the one he’d always seen in their childhood. He leaned forward, reached past Izuku’s neck and grabbed the back of the chair before tilting it forward. Face mere inches away from his, Katsuki snarled. “How the fuck did you find me?”

 

“It was an accident,” he admitted, his voice shaking in the back of his throat. “‘S not like I was searching, but now that I’ve seen you--Jesus, Kacchan, you been here the whole time?”

 

“No!” He snapped, dropping the chair back down to level ground and nearly giving Izuku a heart attack in the process. “I’ve been doing shit! Doesn’t fucking matter though cause you’re leaving.” He turned to the bar. “Get ‘em out, Riot!”

 

“Woah, woah, woah, ” Uraraka chimed in, stepping closer to the two boys’ altercation. “We are not leaving!”

 

Katsuki rounded on her, throwing up his hands in a gesture towards her. “And who the fuck are you?”

 

“She’s my friend,” Izuku explained, his voice mild as the situation escalated. “She’s marrying Iida.”

 

Katsuki spun on his heels to look Izuku in the face again. “ Iida? Four-eyes’ got a girl?”

 

“Yeah,” Uraraka snapped. “And she is me and she says you’re not kicking us out!” Katsuki gritted his teeth, turned towards the bar and threw his hands up at his coworker, demanding he fix this.

 

Riot simply shook his head. “Can’t do it, dude. They haven’t done anything wrong. They gotta stay.”

 

“Kirishima!”

 

“Hey,” Riot warned. “No real names! And as general manager, I say they are staying!”

 

“God, this is interesting,” Hagakure laughed from the sofas and both Uraraka and Katsuki turned on her in unison to reprimand her.

 

“Shut up!”

 

“Look, guys,” Izuku chimed in, a bit hesitant and extremely uncomfortable. “Maybe we should leave. I don’t think this is gonna work out.”

 

“No!” Ochako told him, pointing her index accusingly at him. “You’ve been in the dumps for two fucking weeks and you will let steam off if it kills me! You shouldn’t even be that sad, okay? It’s not like he was a good person!”

 

“Ochako-”

 

“Hold the fuck up,” Katsuki cut him off. “You’re here for a goddamn breakup?”

 

“No!”

 

“Yes!”

 

“This is a bachelorette party!”

 

“And you’re the bachelorette!” Hagakure shouted from the seats and Izuku whipped his head around to snap back.

 

“NO, I’m not!”

 

“C’mon, dude,” Pinky chimed in from Tsuyu’s side as she reached for one of the tequila shots on the table. “Just get your rocks off. A dance ain’t gonna kill you.”

 

“Pinky, don’t drink that,” Riot warned. “You’re on the clock.”

 

“Nu-huh,” She argued, shaking her head and her curls. “Uraraka rented me out too.”

 

Riot turned to Uraraka, on the stage and irate at her best friend, for confirmation. “That true?”

 

“Yeah, she’s one of the girls now.”

 

“Told you!” Pinky teased, raising her glass to Riot before bringing it back to her lips. She wasn’t expecting for Katsuki to snatch it, though; stepping down from the stage, he grabbed it from her and returned to the platform.

 

“Y’know, Deku,” he smirked. His brows still furrowed, set in a scowl, though his lips tugged into a devilish smirk that made Izuku squirm in his seat. He approached with sure steps and Izuku wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. Either Katsuki was going to down the drink and sock him in the nose, or he was going to throw it in Izuku’s face. “I’m feeling generous tonight.”

 

He choked. “Wait, what?”

 

“Yeah,” he nodded, before turning to Ochako. “Get off the fucking stage.”

 

“Wait!” Izuku cried out as Uraraka’s lips tugged into a smile and she hopped off the platform without a care in the world, going to sit beside Yaoyorozu and Jirou as Katsuki further approached. “K-Kacchan, this isn’t--you shouldn’t--”

 

He was at the chair now, but he didn’t stop. Spreading his legs, he slid onto Izuku’s lap, causing him to let out a nervous squeal.

 

“Tense?” Katsuki  leaned forward, whispered in his ear. So close . His breath was hot on Izuku’s skin. It made him shiver.

 

“What are you doing? D-don’t!

 

“D-don’t what?” Katsuki smirked, teasing him “Don’t do this ?” He grinded down on his lap and Izuku’s eyes went wide as he bit his lips shut and whimpered. He would not moan, no matter how turned on he was. He shut his eyes, tried to think of old ladies, terms and conditions, mini-golf… Anything that wasn’t sexy.

 

“C’mon, Deku.” Katsuki nipped at his ear, grinded down again and Izuku couldn’t help but open his mouth and moan at the contact. Katsuki grabbed his jaw before he could close it and brought the shot to his lips. “Look at me,” he demanded and Christ, Izuku melted under that voice: husky, rough, and demanding. He snapped his eyes open to come immediately into contact with red ones and froze on the spot. He felt like he could melt, putty in Katsuki’s hands. “Be a good boy and swallow.” he smirked, tipping the glass and spilling tequila down Izuku’s throat. He seethed at the burning, reveled in the genuine laugh that escaped Katsuki’s lips before he turned back to the crowd and barked at his coworkers. “Get me another shot and take his handcuffs off!” He demanded, only for his request to be immediately filled.

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku whimpered as the blond put the second glass to his lips and knocked the drink back. He was a lightweight on the best of days. Two rounds of shots wouldn’t knock him out, but he’d be liberally drunk within a few minutes and he was relatively sure Katsuki realized that.

 

“You gonna be a good boy for me, Deku?” He asked, reaching behind the chair to grab Izuku’s freed wrists and guide them to his chest, letting nervous, shaking fingers trace down oiled, chiseled pecs and rock-hard abs.

 

Izuku gulped, his face red and his head starting to feel fuzzy. He looked up at Katsuki and could only focus on intense eyes--ones he’d dream about and get lost in as children--on lips that formed words sharper than steel, and a jaw so strong and defined that Izuku had dreamed of peppering kisses and bites on the edge.

 

He snorted. He couldn’t help but think on how ridiculous this was. Was it even real? Was Bakugou Katsuki, his best childhood friend and very first crush, really on top of him? Feeding him drinks and whispering hot and heavy in his ear?

 

Izuku shook his head, released an airy laugh and let his face fall forward onto Katsuki’s chest. “Kacchan,” he whined, his lips numb and his voice feeling slow, like molasses.

 

Katsuki smirked. “Drunk already?”

 

“Mmmmmm.”

 

“Lean back, Deku,” he demanded and Izuku obliged, falling back against his chair and watching as Katsuki climbed off of him and gripped the chair’s back to spin him towards the center stage. He looked off into the distance, nodded at something and all of sudden, Izuku’s ears were filled with music. Some sort of R&B echoed through the room, rising and falling in speed and tempo, drowning out any and all distractions as Katsuki went center stage, near the pole, and all Izuku could focus on was the smooth rolling of hips. Katsuki was dancing, slow and idly to the beat of the song. Izuku could see the muscle and sinew ripple under his skin, see his smirk and wild hair in the colored lights of the club.

 

His mouth felt dry, his body cold and needy. The drinks were starting to hit hard, his perception and vision slightly blurred, but his cravings and needs enhanced. He leaned forward in his seat, wanting to get up, chase after Katsuki so he could trail fingers down his abs.

 

The music picked up just as Katsuki saw Izuku move. He buckled his knees and slid across the stage to land in front of Izuku’s chair. He lifted large, hot and calloused hands up to Izuku’s knees and jerked them apart, before lowering his face to mouth against Izuku’s inner thigh and the man had to force himself not to buck up his hips and whine at the sensation. “Kacchan…”

 

Katsuki snaked his hands  up the back of Izuku’s thighs, threw the latter’s legs over his shoulders, and cupped his ass. Hoisting him up off the chair as the song hit a high note, Katsuki held him flush against him with a single arm. He pushed the chair back with such force that its skidded to the end of the platform. Suddenly, Izuku was being laid flat on the floor, legs up in the air as Katsuki bobbed his head around Izuku’s crotch, not touching it but Christ was he close.

 

He moaned and Katsuki sat back up, slid back and spun around so that his ass faced Izuku. Then he was pushing back, knocking Izuku’s knees against his chest as he pumped down, barely hitting Izuku’s ass, but making him crave more. It was so hot, left Izuku gasping for air. The sounds of symphony jazz burned in his ears as his body burned--ached--to be touched more.

 

Katsuki clenched his thighs, lifted his calves and knocked one into Izuku’s raised legs, using the momentum to swing Izuku off his back and onto his hands and knees. The sudden movement made Izuku feel dizzy, stars in his eyes. He sucked in a breath, only to immediately release it when Katsuki grabbed the back loop of his pants and guided Izuku’s ass back into his crotch. A couple thrusts against him and then a grind so hard that Izuku’s legs felt shaky and his elbows buckled.

 

He slid to the floor like jello and lied there for a good moment, his cheek against the cold, polished wood as he heard that hard chuckle behind him. He felt the heat of a body above him as Katsuki crawled forward, traced his fingers down his arm until he reached his hands and squeezed. He outlined Izuku’s body perfectly with his, and as the music softened to a simple hum, he felt a damp whisper in his ear. “Can’t handle more?”

 

“Mmmm, Kacchan,” he moaned, his cheek squished to the floor. Hard hands then wrapped around his waist and hoisted him up to his feet, before he felt another arm slide beneath his knees.

 

Next time he could register his surroundings, he was being carried bridal style to the couches, his head nestled against sturdy pecs. His ears rang with the sound of cheers as he felt himself fall back on the sofa, still in Katsuki’s arms and fuck, did this feel surreal, unnatural…

 

A dream.


 

“Is he dead?” Uraraka questioned, her voice way more curious than concerned.

 

“Nah, the dick’s just too good.”

 

“Hagakure, do you ever think of anything besides dick?” Jirou asked, her voice cut with frustration and disbelief. “Honestly, he’s unconscious.”

 

“Aw, c’mon guys, she’s right,” a newer voice--Pinky’s--chimed in. “Cherry Bomb has mad big dick ener-- OW!”

 

“Guy’s quiet,” a male voice reprimanded. “He’s waking up!”

           

Izuku pried his eyes opened and was immediately met with multiple faces illuminated in multicolor lights. “Did you have fun?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows, looked at each of them individually: Uraraka, the bridesmaids, Pinky, that Riot guy, Katsuki… His eyes widened and he sprung up only to feel nauseous. Hands guided him back down and laid his head on a firm pillow. He was curious, looked right, and saw knees peeking out of his field of vision. He turned left, found chiseled, naked abs. Looked up, saw Katsuki’s hard set expression and quickly blushed into several hues of red. “ Oh my god,” he cried, throwing his hands over his eyes in an attempt at hiding from his actions. “No, no, no.”

 

“He had fun,” Uraraka confirmed. “Pinky can you get him another drink? We need to get him up again.”

 

“If he needs energy, we should get him a Jagerbomb,” Riot informed them, bringing a mischievous grin to Uraraka’s face.

 

“Yes! Bring one of those!” she ordered, before kneeling down beside the sofa and looking Izuku in the eyes as he turned to face her. “How you doin’, sweetheart?”

 

“Embarrassed…”

 

Uraraka sucked in a breath. “Yeah, you were getting really into it,” she snorted. “Like, you were moaning and, well…”

 

The body beneath him vibrated from a curt laugh, and Izuku gulped. He slowly turned his head to look up into a devious expression. He parted his lips, ready to say something… anything… But Katsuki beat him to it. “You were actually grinding against me.”

 

“Oh god, I--”

 

“So, you two really know each other, huh?” Uraraka chimed in, saving Izuku from the uncomfortable situation he’d found himself in. He thanked her silently.

 

Katsuki grunted, offered a nod in confirmation. “When we were kids--”

 

“We were best friends,” Izuku elaborated. “Since we were five to senior year of high school.”

 

“So, what? You two lost contact?”

 

“Actually, I don’t know what happened,” Izuku told her, looking back up into Katsuki’s stone cold eyes with a mixed look of confusion and worry. “I woke up one morning and went to get you for school and you weren’t home. What hap-?”

 

“None of your goddamn business,” Katsuki answered, not even waiting for him to finish the question. “My life ain’t your business.”

 

Izuku’s eyes widened a fraction, before he averted his gaze and inhaled a breath. With a little more strength than he had moments ago, he hoisted himself up and into his own portion of the sofa, no longer draped across his old friend. He tucked his feet under himself and looked down at his lap, played with a frayed hole in his jeans.

 

Uraraka smacked Katsuki when Izuku wasn’t looking, then got up and ran off to the bar. A few moments later, she was screaming from atop the bar, gaining everyone’s attention. “Listen up, people! Tonight we’re gonna have fun, okay? Riot, when d’you close?”

 

“2:30 AM.”

 

“What time is it?”

 

“1:43 AM.”

 

“Okay, well go close up early and bring your friends back here! We’re gonna have a party!”

 

Riot sighed, shook his head. “This is a business. I can’t just close cause I want.”

 

“We’ll pay the difference,” Yaoyorozu offered. “We got the money and we’re trying to make this a memorable night. C’mon, when was the last time you relaxed? This seems like a pretty stressful job.” Riot bit his lip, looked around the room as Uraraka, Yaoyorozu, Izuku, and everyone else looked on in quiet anticipation.

 

Eventually, he released a defeated sigh and walked for the exit door. “I’ll go close up…”

 

When he was gone, Uraraka looked around the room and sighed contentedly, before looking over to Yaoyorozu and shaking her head. “I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but god is it great being rich.”


 

“Kaminari, give me the fucking Rumchata!’ Pinky screamed, chasing the apparent Club DJ around the sofas.

“Gotta fight for it, Ashido,” He shouted back, only for Jirou to roll her eyes and stick her foot out as the blond came rushing by. He tripped and fell to the floor with a girlish scream on his lips. The alcohol--safe--was then snatched from his hands as he rolled over to look up at the woman who tripped him. He smirked. “You an angel?”

 

Jirou scoffed and turned back to her conversation with Tsuyu and Yaoyorozu as Hagakure glided across the room, drinking shot after shot atop Sero’s shoulders. Uraraka was up on stage, getting lessons on how to handle a pole from none other than Riot--apparently named Kirishima--who was built like a boulder. Everyone was drinking, partying, and if a joint or two was secretly being passed around the circle, then no one was going to fess up.

 

Izuku smiled from the couch, sipping his fourth drink of the night, an Asahi beer, as he watched his friends enjoy themselves. It had been quite an embarrassing night for him, but if it meant that Uraraka’s bachelorette party was a success, then so be it. The alcohol going to his head, dulling his senses and making the night’s earlier events seem distant, making it easier for him to think.

 

He spared a quick glance to the other end of the couch, and saw Katsuki staring around the room with a dissatisfied look on his face. He lifted a Ginger Ale to his lips, took a sip and sucked in a breath. Izuku bit his lip, quirked an eyebrow. He wondered why Katsuki wasn’t drinking. He used to be able to drink everyone under the table when they went to Academy.

 

Before he knew it, he was crawling down the sofa until he was sitting on his feet, right beside the blond. Katsuki was obviously pretending not to see him, but Izuku knocked playfully into his side and Katsuki couldn’t help but huff in annoyance. “So, uh,” Izuku started before he even knew what he was going to say. He looked down at his hands, picked at his fingernails. “You gonna tell me what happened?”

 

“No.”

 

“But we tell eachudder everyyyythin’!’

 

Katsuki rounded on him. “We used to tell each other everything! Not anymore! I haven’t seen you in years so don’t act like we’re friends.”

 

Katsuki then turned back to watch the party in silence. Izuku bit his lip, continued to watch Katsuki with deep intrigue. His head felt fuzzy, his lids heavy, and his limbs numb. He shuffled around until he was leaning back, his feet off the side of the couch and his head nuzzling into Katsuki’s shoulder.

 

What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

 

“Gettin’ com-com- com fortable!” Izuku told him, nuzzling his cheek against a warm, shirtless shoulder as he giggled to himself. “Anywaysss, I still think we’re friends! I missed ya sooo much!”

 

Katsuki snorted, shook his head in disbelief.

 

“It’sss true!” Izuku assured him. “I’d did-I’d-- fuck,” he giggled. “I didn’t know who’ta tell everythin’!”

 

“Todoroki.”

 

Izuku went silent, looked down at his hands and picked at a fingernail. “He don’t want me anymore.”

 

Katsuki furrowed his brows. “What do you mean? You have a falling out or somethin’? He was almost as fuckin’ close to you as I was.”

 

Izuku shook his head, sniffled to himself. “Not Shouto… Touya dussin’ want me…”

 

Then he felt Katsuki’s shoulder tense beneath his cheek. “Touya?”

 

“He-He found s-someone else,” Izuku told him, almost on the verge of tears. He twisted his head so that his face buried into the space between Katsuki’s shoulder and the leatherback of the sofa. “H-he told me t-ta get losst…

 

“What.”

 

He choked out a sob, nuzzled his face farther into the crease and cried. “Six years…” He sighed. “A-and I wassn’ good enuugh! H-he left ‘cus I was too needy, clingy…stupid.”

 

“Stop.”

 

“And now I gotta seee ‘em at da weddin’,” Izuku slurred through his cries. “Imma be sooo pathetic.”

 

“Deku.”

 

I don’ wanna go alone.

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up uncomfortable: bitter taste in his mouth, heavy eyes, and stiff limbs. The pounding in his head felt like a death sentence, the ticking of the clock on his bedside table sounding like the thrumming of a drum in his ears. Slowly, he clenched and unclenched his hands. He stretched stiff joints. He shifted his legs and realized from the rough fabric rubbing against him that he’d never climbed out of his clothes from the night before. He felt gross, disgusting, and the urge to shed all of his clothes and simply go naked for the rest of the day was growing in attractiveness. The other passengers on the flight would simply have to get over it.

 

...Shit. The flight.

 

His head still buried in the fabric of his comforter, he flung an arm around the bed blindly. If he’d passed out here last night, his phone couldn’t be that far away. Fingers tracing cotton, they eventually found metal and wrapped around it, pulling it closer.  He scrunched his eyes, shifted his face to the left and squinted through the bright, white light of the morning. He clicked the home button, the screen spurring to life. The time read 11:23 AM and Izuku cursed under his breath.

 

The meeting time was at 1PM and Haneda Airport was an hour away from his apartment. He’d have to be ready and locked up in less than an hour to get to the airport on time, which meant he needed to get up.

 

Izuku inhaled a deep breath, clenched his muscles and hoisted himself up into sitting. The room spun and his head felt like someone had taken a hammer to it. Fuck I can’t do this today,” he muttered, choking at first on a cotton dry tongue. This was way too much. He looked back down at his phone, hoped that maybe he’d read the time wrong and that he actually had a couple more hours before he had to be out the front door.

 

No, the time was correct, but there were some notifications he’d missed at first glance. Several were from Ochako, asking why he wasn’t responding to her messages, reminding him that they had to be at the airport at 1PM and that she kinda, sorta, really needed to know he was up and moving. He spared a moment to inform her that, yes, he was on the move. Then there were some image messages from Hagakure. When he pressed her name in the text app, he was flooded of images from the night before. It only took a moment before embarrassment was flooding through his body, making his face turn a charitable shade of red.

 

The first few were from the lap dance, Katsuki grinding against him, throwing him around like a doll and making him bend to his will. There was a particular image of Izuku on his hands and knees, ass up in the air, as his childhood friend bent over him and Izuku had to immediately click out of that image before he either retreated under his covers in embarrassment or got really, really turned on. He may have drunk far too much, but Izuku remembered last night’s encounter. It had caught him off guard, shocked him in a way he hadn’t been since his best friend’s disappearance. How could it not?

 

Katsuki had disappeared April 1st, senior year. In the eight years proceeding that, he hadn’t heard a thing, hadn’t seen his shock of blond, hadn’t jolted at his iconic outbursts. His parents didn’t bring him up, looked disapprovingly at every mention of him. Sure, Bakugou Masaru always looked a little sad, but his mother always looked flustered at the mention of her son. Now, with the events of last night replaying over and over in his mind, he couldn’t blame Katsuki’s mother for her reaction. How did the son and heir to a fashion empire turn it all in to dance around stage in a jock strap? How did someone with so much money and so much power simply give it up to grind against men and women in an alcohol-soaked, strip club?

 

Half of Izuku’s mind could only question the chain of events that led to this, but the other half was too busy swiping through pictures of Katsukis face pressed near Izuku’s crotch and Izuku’s shocked, pleasured face as Katsuki pumped against him. He could still remember the hot touch against his skin, fingers on thighs and lips so close to his crotch; the only thing separating them was a layer of fabric.

 

He shook his head, his curls following suit. “Bad, Izuku!” He reprimanded himself. “This- You’re not sixteen anymore. Knock it off.” And it was true. He wasn’t sixteen, but the thoughts that had swarmed his head back in his teens were apparently not an isolated incident. Thoughts of his best friend hovering over him, those rippling muscles on display for him--and only him--as Katsuki whispered in his ear and made him unravel at the movement of thick, rough fingers. “Fuck.”

 

He shook his head once more, tried so hard to pull himself from such enticing fantasies. Izuku really wasn’t a kid. He couldn’t just fall back to childish daydreams as a haven from the heartbreak of his long time relationship. He looked back down at his phone, saw the next image was of him, face red from consuming an excess of alcohol, rubbing his cheek against the upper arm of a very annoyed, very uncomfortable blond. Suddenly the blush on Izuku’s face was purely out of humiliation and the half-chub he’d formed from looking back on his night had completely died.

 

At that point, he realized he had had enough with reminiscing. He clicked out of Hagakure’s messages, was about to put his phone down and force himself to get up from his bed when he noticed another text on his messages app. He furrowed his brows, realizing it was from an unknown number, but clicked on it anyways.

 

Water and Aspirin on the nightstand. Is what it said, and Izuku looked up from the phone too quickly, felt his head do a flip and when his vision stilled, he noticed that there was, in fact, a hangover remedy sitting by his bed. He could question it later, but right now he needed relief. He took the aspirin, chugged the water, and inhaled deeply.

 

“Alright, Izuku,” he told himself. “Time to get  going.”

 

 


 

“Izuku!” Uraraka shouted the moment Izuku walked through the mechanical doors of Terminal Three. He winced at the sound, way too loud for his headache. The amount of alcohol sweating from his pores was more than enough to get him drunk again if he very well chose. Frankly, he just wanted to sleep. “Where have you been?” She snapped as he approached the group. It was quite a bit larger than the night before. In the center of the crowded airport, Uraraka’s band of bridesmaids--and Izuku--had combined with Iida Tenya’s groomsmen: Shinsou Hitoshi, Mashirao Ojiro, and Tokoyami Fumikage. Izuku was aware of the fact that Todoroki and Yaoyorozu were flying by jet, but it seemed like Iida’s man of honor, his dear older brother, had also opted out of a public flight. Iida had an arm around Uraraka, who was leaning into him as though she wanted to melt into his side. Jirou and Tsuyu were leaning on each other for support, the two of them seeming to be the only ones besides him nursing a hangover. Uraraka looked like the picture of health, and Hagakure--the one who had undoubtedly had more to drink than any of them--was talking animatedly with her boyfriend, Mashirao, along with Shinsou and Tokoyami.

 

Iida smiled sympathetically as he approached the group. He clapped him on the back with so much force a small breath left Izuku, but he returned the smile. “Hey, Iida. How was the bachelor party?”

 

“Excellent!” He informed him, a wide grin on his face. “Steak dinners, traditional tea, and then out for some drinks! It was a good night!”

 

“What about you, Midoriya?”  Shinsou asked, hands in pockets and a smug look on his face. Izuku couldn’t quite place the reason behind it, but Shinsou always looked a bit suspicious so the look wasn’t entirely misplaced.

 

Izuku chewed his lip, averted his gaze to the floor when he answered. “It was pretty good.”

 

“Midoriya, shut up!” Hagakure called out from under the arm of her boyfriend. “You totally got some!”

 

“Hagakure!”

 

Shinsou quirked an eyebrow as his lips tugged into a smirk. “Oh?”

 

“I-it was nothing guys, seriously,” he assured them before adjusting the grip on the handle of his suitcase and looking out over the group of people. “B-besides, we gotta get going! Don’t want to miss the flight!”

 

He picked up his feet, started walking for the check-in counter only to be stopped by multiple hands clasping his shoulders and forearms. He twisted his head in curiosity, found Hagakure, Shinsou, and Uraraka holding him firm. “Uh-huh. We’re still waiting for people,” Uraraka told him.

 

“Huh?” Izuku furrowed his brow, turned completely to look at her. “What are you talking about? Everyone’s here.”

 

“It appears,” Tokoyami spoke for the first time since he’d arrived. “That a coup has taken place. Your power has been usurped.”

 

“Tokoyami,” Iida reprimanded, his hands slashing down in severe gestures. “It is too early for your ominous remarks!”

 

“There is no witching hour for the truth.”

 

Hagakure laughed nervously, eyeing the man next to her. “ What the fuck?”

 

“Anyways,” Uraraka continued, unscathed by her surroundings. “There have been… some changes to the guest list.”

 

“What?”

 

“They’re here,” Jirou announced, nodding in the direction of the nearest doors. All eyes, including Izuku’s, trailed to the couple walking through the entrance and Izuku could almost pinpoint the exact moment his heart fell into his stomach.

 

“No.”  Bakugou Katsuki, along with the girl from the night before--Pinky-- crossed the threshold into the building with purpose. Dressed in an a pair of low hanging sweatpants, a tight black t-shirt that sculpted his pecs and framed his biceps almost perfectly , and an iconic scowl on his face, the blond seemed to give off an important, no-nonsense attitude. His unapproachable demeanor was only enhanced by the multitude of studs lining his ears. He was almost completely contrasted by the short girl at his side. Her hair was pulled back in a multitude of colourful pins, her outfit a combination of pink ruffles and black scalloped pants. She waved at them with a bright smile on her face which did nothing to subdue to the building dread in Izuku’s chest. “No, no, no, no, no-”

 

“Izuku, shut up,” Uraraka scolded him, spinning him around to look at her as the two approached.

 

“Why is he here?”

 

“You wanted him to be!” She argued. “You felt better with him around!”

 

“No I didn’t!” He snapped back in a harsh whisper. “Ocha, I didn’t want him here!”

 

“Yeah, you did,” a sharp voice cut in from directly behind him and Izuku gulped down a lump in his throat. Slowly he turned to look up at the man staring down at his with a serious, calculating expression. “You begged like a dumbass last night.”

 

“I-I did not!”

 

“Bakugou!” Another voice cut in from behind Izuku and both their gazes shifted to Iida, who was approaching with purpose in his step. “It has been quite some time! I am so pleased that you have agreed to attend Ochako and I’s wedding!”

 

Katsuki scoffed, shrugged his shoulders. “I was promised a free vacation. Why else would I come?”

 

“Hey!” The girl beside him snapped, hitting Katsuki on the back of the head and making him flinch. He whipped around to scowl at her when he’d realized what she’d just done. “We’re their guests! Your momma never taught you to be friendly, Cherry?”

 

“Don’t call me that.”

 

Pinky ignored him, stepping forward to grab Izuku’s hand in hers and shake it firmly. “Heya, Midoriya! We met last night, but you were so drunk I don’t know if you remember me! You can call me Ashido.”

 

“Ashido,” Izuku repeated, gulping down his nervous. “Nice to meet you.” He tried to smile at her, offer her a warm welcome. She had nothing to do with his nerves over Katsuki’s presence, so it wasn’t right to be cold towards her. Still, he couldn’t stop his gaze from gravitating to the blond behind her, who was staring back with fixed concentration, looking Izuku over. He figured he was summing him up, like he did when they were kids.

 

He felt nervous, fidgety. He didn’t break eye contact--he never did in the past--but the craving to run was there. It had been there for awhile now. After some time, though, he suspected the group ended up getting rather bored.

 

“How long are they gonna eye fuck?” Hagakure whisper-shouted, which finally got Izuku to look away, cheeks tinted pink.

 

Uraraka coughed. “Anyways, we’re all together now. Let’s get checked in.”

 


 

Izuku didn’t have a lot of time to think about Katsuki’s presence as they made it through baggage check, security, and the rest of the airport on their way to the gate. His little freak out at Katsuki and his friend’s appearance--along with showing up late in general--had put them behind schedule. By the time they had made it to their flight, boarding had already started and Izuku could only think about how busy the flight was and how lucky he was that Katsuki’s seat may very well be on the other side of the plane and he’d be able to to assess his situation in peace.

 

Of course, fate wasn’t kind and kindness didn’t suit Katsuki anyways. So not even thirty minutes after they were airborne, Izuku was practicing deep breathing by the window while Katsuki sat, unamused, in the seat beside him.

 

It was crazy-- ridiculous-- that this was the hand fate had dealt him and he was not coping well.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Katsuki finally asked, looking over at him with a mix of disgust and curiosity. “You look like you’re gonna shit a brick.”

 

“I am,” Izuku inhaled deeply. “Compartmentalizing.”

 

“Shitting a brick.”

 

“What are you even doing here,” he asked, rounding on the blond. “You disappeared for eight years! Then you show up at a strip club, give me a dance, and then weasel your way into Uraraka’s wedding! You don’t even know her!”

 

“I know Iida.”

 

“Still-”

 

“And I didn’t weasel my way into shit,” he snapped. “You fucking cried last night like a little bitch about your goddamn boyfriend and whined about going to the wedding alone.”

 

Izuku blanched. “I-I invited you?”

 

Katsuki scoffed. “No, but Uraraka sure fucking did. I said ‘no’ too, but your friend’s got some crazy resolve,” He couldn’t help but snort, because yeah. That’s Uraraka. “Then she fucking asked Ashido to be a bridesmaid after four fireballs and Ashido mentioning she had no girlfriends… Anyways, she said you needed some moral support or some shit. Plus, it’s a free fucking trip so why the hell not.”

 

“So,” Izuku started. “You’re just here for a free vacation.”

 

Katsuki shrugged. “I’m here cause I’m here. Just deal with it, Deku.”

 

“But why, Kacchan?” He looked down at his lap, fiddled with his hands. There was a hangnail on his thumb he was grossly interested in. “You were gone for so long, and now you’re just-” He threw his hands up in a gesture of disbelief. “ Here!”

 

Katsuki’s jaw clenched. “I was doing things.”

 

“For eight years?”

 

“Goddammit, Deku, yes!” He snapped. “I had things to do! You’re not just entitled to knowing what I was doing with my fucking life!”

 

Izuku pressed his lips thin. To him, it sounded like utter bullshit. A friendship that spanned nearly two decades indeed meant he deserved an explanation. He dragged a hand down his face, rubbed at his eyes. His headache was coming back and it made him feel sick. “God,” he groaned. “I can’t do this, Kacchan. I have a headache.”

 

“Well did you fucking take the aspirin?”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow, looked back over at him. “How did you-”

 

“Uraraka dropped us all off after you guys were done taking advantage of the club. You got to go first cause you were out cold. I carried you up to your apartment cause I’m a good fucking person.”

 

“How’d you get my number?”

 

Katsuki snorted. “You were literally crying in the club till I promised to save your number and stay in touch. You missed me that bad, nerd?”

 

Izuku sighed, pushed himself up in his seat to look down the aisle and see if the flight attendant was walking down the aisle with her cart of drinks.

 

She was.

 

“Thank god,” he muttered a sigh of relief. “I need a drink.”

 

“Are you fucking serious? It’s the middle of day,” Katsuki snapped. “You can’t seriously be drinking.”

 

“What?” Izuku asked, unphased. “You don’t want anything?”

 

Katsuki’s face went slack, his expression more somber. He looked at the back of the seat in front of him and Izuku thought he could almost see something dark flash across Katsuki’s eyes. “I don’t drink.”

 

Izuku quirked an eyebrow. That didn’t sound like the Katsuki he knew in the last two years of school, doing keg stands every weekend and body shots ever-other. “Since when?”

 

He gnawed at his bottom lip, inhaled a deep breath. “Three years ago. It’s not worth it.” Izuku watched him for a moment, curious and sympathetic. He looked genuinely upset and that was odd for him to see. Katsuki never used to like showing fear or pain. Whatever it was that made him stop drinking must have been serious.

 

“Honey, you want anything to drink?” The flight attendant asked, coming up to their row.

 

Izuku flashed a quick glance at Katsuki, looked back at the woman. “No, thank you. I’m okay.” He told her, before looking back over to Katsuki. “I’m gonna take a nap.”

 

“So?”

 

“Wake me up when they bring pretzels.”



Chapter Text

Twelve Years Ago

 

Izuku walked down pristine halls with a sense of apprehension. He never thought that being in this place, in this school with awards and reputation out the wahzoo, would cause him such anxiety, such uncertainty. Apparently he’d been wrong.

 

He adjusted his tie, the hallway feeling insanely hot as he made the trip to his new homeroom and his new life as one of the very few scholarship recipients accepted to the freshman class of Yuuei Academy.

 

He was thrilled, of course. Izuku hadn’t thought he’d be able to succeed at the rate he did. He thought that he’d have to accept defeat when his letter came back to say ‘sorry, but you’re just not all that’. Insanely enough, though, it had come in the mail saying something vastly different.

 

You scored highest by a landslide. Your electives are impeccable. Congratulations on your acceptance to Yuuei High School.

 

His mother cried. He cried; and now, he felt like crying for a whole new reason. The fear of the unknown and the possibility of not living up to expectations loomed over his head like an angry cloud. It was all he could think of, really, as he weaved between groups of people and twisted down long, winding hallways. The place was massive. He couldn’t help but wonder just how many halls were in the building, when he felt himself get knocked back by something solid. He didn’t even know what it was until he fell flat on his ass, his books scattered all across the tiled floor, as he looked up to see a blond with shocking blue eyes.

 

“Watch it, loser,” he snapped on reflex before actually taking a moment to quirk an eyebrow and bend over to look him in the eyes. “Who are you? You didn’t go to middle school with us.”

 

“I’m the...the scholarship student,” Izuku told him, scrambling around to pick up his books. There was a clear tinge of pink spread across his cheeks and, really, he just wanted to escape.

 

“Scholarship student?” He asked back, before a sneer passed through his lips. “How long you think you’ll last?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

The boy shrugged, pulling himself back up, straight. “Scholarships students don’t last here. Kinda hard to get along when you just can’t keep up with us.”

 

“I--”

 

“Not sure about the rates here, but we had four drop out at the middle school in my year, and--” A giant thump! sounded through the hall, followed by the student squealing out and “ ow!” He rounded on his feet, turning to reveal another person standing behind him.

 

“Get the fuck out of here, Monoma,” he snapped in a sharp, aggressive tone. Izuku perked up, recognizing it.

 

“Bakugou--”

 

Leave, dipshit!” He snapped once more and Monoma groaned, giving him a displeased look before squeezing his fists and stomping off down the hall.

 

Katsuki looked down at Izuku, a vacant look on his face that would typically be mistaken for indifference; his appearance didn’t necessarily negate the fact, either. His hands were stuffed in his pocket, tie missing and the first few buttons of his school shirt undone. His hair was just as wild and messy as usual. Of course, there was never really any taming of Katsuki’s hair, and Izuku was sure that if there was, it would go down as a crime against humanity. Basically, he looked like he truly did not give a shit.

 

He grabbed for his last book, stuffed it in his bulky, yellow backpack and hoisted himself back up into standing. He came a few inches short to the other boy, but that didn’t stop him from looking up and flashing his neighbor with an excessive, excited smile. “Thanks, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki grunted, shrugging his shoulders. “Watch yourself, Deku. I’m not gonna fuckin’ waste my time kicking asses on your behalf. Shape up or get lost.”

 

“Sorry, I just--”

 

“Don’t goddamn apologize either,” he ordered, turning on his heels and stomping off down the hall. He didn’t say more, but out of habit and history, Izuku scurried after him, taking an extra half-step for each one Katsuki took. Without even looking back to make sure he was being followed, he continued to speak. “This place is stocked full with pricks high on mommy and daddy’s goddamn money. You’re not gonna get a pass, so if you can’t handle fucking Psychopath back there, you ain’t gonna stand a chance.”

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku said, hushed. “You’re rich too…”

 

“Jesus fuck, Deku!” Katsuki rounded, face coming up centimeters from his own. Izuku’s breath hitched as he froze, paralyzed in place. “You want me to be like those pricks? Cause I will if you fucking say that again, dumbass.”

 

“S-sorry,” Izuku forced out, before averting his gaze.

 

Katsuki leaned back, looked him up and down before rounding on his heels once more. “And stop saying sorry. You might be a Deku, but I’m not gonna let you tag-along if you act like a weak, little bitch too.”

 

It was a jab, though a light one, and Izuku couldn’t be bothered to worry about it. A massive smile spread across his face before chasing after his friend’s heels. “I won’t! I promise!”

 

“Good, cause--”

 

“Bakugou!” Someone shouted, voice clear and articulate.

 

Izuku’s head jerked, searching for the owner as Katsuki stopped in his tracks and scowled to himself. “ Shit.”

 

Two pairs of shoes clapped against the tile in front of them and Izuku stepped out from behind Katsuki’s taller frame to see who had caused such a distasteful reaction from his friend. His eyes met two people approaching with haste. The first one, incredibly tall, well built for his age, and bespectacled, was taking massive strides, arms swinging back and forth as he approached. He was followed by another, shorter and working hard to keep pace with his companion. Izuku couldn’t help but have his interest piqued by hair colored half red, half white.

 

He quirked an eyebrow. He was fairly certain, through studying the student handbook extensively, that dyed hair was in no way permitted at this particular institution. Add the very obvious burn mark around his left eye, and Izuku had to admit that he was a rather eye-catching character.

 

He didn’t get a chance to ponder more on the matter, however; the pair had approached and, almost immediately, the larger student began to scold them. “Bakugou, it is highly inappropriate to come to school in ill-mannered attire! You should be wearing a tie: red, non-patterned, windsor knot, and--”

 

“Fuck off, Four-Eyes,” He barked back, coming up only to the other’s chest, but still barking as if he were seven feet tall.

 

The man--boy, but he was just so tall-- gawked at him like he might as well have just stripped naked and run down the hall with his dick to the wind. And Katsuki, well, he was red in the face, furious that someone dare talk down to him in that manner. Izuku knew very well from experience that talking to him that way would only result in some sort of violence or property damage.

 

He thought it best to speak up before this got out of hand. “Um, that’s not really fair, is it?” He asked, coming up to Katsuki’s side and looking up at the other boy with only partial confidence. He nodded to the boy with multi-colored hair. “His hair is dyed, and that’s against the rules too. Why are you yelling at Kacchan?”

 

All eyes shifted to him, Katsuki’s in amusement, and the other two in mild bewilderment. The taller one was the first to stutter out his reply. “I...I beg your pardon?”

 

Katsuki snorted. “Beg, bitch.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Um,” the other boy voiced, raising his hand for attention. He looked Izuku dead in the eyes as he parted his lips to answer. “I have poliosis.”

 

Izuku choked. His entire face turned a deep shade of red and he could barely open his mouth to stutter out a timid apology before Katsuki was howling at his humiliated expression. “I am so sorry…I...I didn’t know! I--”

 

“It’s alright,” the other boy assured him, face still void of expression. “It happens a lot.”

 

“Be that as it may,” The taller one added. “It is important to respect people you have not met! You would be best to keep that in mind,” he warned Izuku. “And I do not recall you from Middle School? What is your name?”

 

“Um, Midoriya Izuku,” he responded, looking down at his ratty, red sneakers with a new sense of humility. “I’m the--”

 

An elbow hit him the side, causing a quick jolt of pain to travel through his ribs. He groaned and looked over to the perpetrator, saw Katsuki fixing him with his typical scolding glare. “Act like a goddamn man, Deku.”

 

Izuku inhaled deeply, straightened his spine and looked up at the two strangers. Katsuki had a habit of reprimanding him on all his little ticks, letting him know that he was annoyed and that he’d better knock it off before he’d actually give Izuku something to cry about. Over the years, it had made him grow a much tougher skin. He wasn’t that nervous of a person anymore, but the new environment--in addition to being surrounded by people who spent more money in a week more than his mother made in a month--was making him apprehensive. He swallowed his nerves for Katsuki, though.  “I’m the new scholarship student.”

 

The taller boy’s eyes went wide and he extended his hand to grab Izuku’s--which had been fiddling with the hem of his too-big sleeves--and force him into the most intensive, thorough, handshake he’d ever received. “I severely apologize for neglecting my duties as the Class President and not informing myself of your arrival on school grounds! My name is Iida Tenya and I hope to make your education here as exceptional as possible! Please, inform me if you need anything: pencils, notebooks, tutoring, croquet mallets!”

 

“Croquet mallets?”

 

“Rich people shit, Deku,” Katsuki grumbled at his side, averting his gaze to the lockers left.

 

“Oh.”

 

“I’m Todoroki, Shouto,” the other boy informed Izuku, stepping forward. “I hope we can get along.” He reached his hand out slowly, not as eager as his larger friend, but just as sincere. Izuku looked down at his pale hand, back up at his vacant face, and grinned toothily. He reached for it, gripped tightly, and shook enthusiastically.

 

“Me too!”

 

A sharp, snide scoff came from his left and Izuku released Todoroki’s hand and  turned his head to see Katsuki glaring at him with disgust. “You really gonna be friends with Four-Eyes and Half-and-Half?”

 

Izuku winced at him, shook his head. “Kacchan, he has poliosis.”

 

“I fucking know that! I’ve put up with him since goddamn diapers,” he snapped. “Just like I have to put up with your sorry ass following me around everywhere!”

 

“Hey, that’s not--”

 

“I see that you two are well acquainted!” Iida observed, smiling wearily at their interactions. “Are you…”

 

“--we’re friends--”

 

“--we’re neighbors--” They both said at the same time and Katsuki shot a warning glare that Izuku so obviously ignored.

 

He smiled kindly at the two. “We’re friends. I live two streets over and just so happen to be the only one who doesn’t run away when he starts throwing trash cans.”

 

“I DO NOT, YOU LITTLE--”

 

The sound of bells ringing in the distance sounded throughout the hall, chiming a melody one might hear in a church. It was an odd sound to Izuku, only because he’d only ever been used to an abrupt, shrill alarm to signal the changing of classes.

 

Iida paled, shifting his gaze between each of his companions before blinking as though the sight before his eyes could possibly be a mirage, a trick of the mind. And then he opened his mouth and let his next few words spill in alarm. “We’re gonna be late for our studies…”

 

Before Izuku knew what was happening, the boy had grabbed Todoroki around the wrist, spun on his heels and started stomping off down the pristine hallways of Yuuei Academy. Izuku marvelled after them, as Iida rounded the corner and Todoroki waved passively at him before too disappearing. He couldn’t help but smirk.

 

Maybe the scholarship wouldn’t be that bad.

 

He looked back over at Katsuki, who had a deep scowl set between his brows and in the curve of his lips. Izuku had always thought that, objectively, Katsuki’s scowls looked brand-name compared to the grimaces of others. He shrugged; maybe it was because his parents were designers. “You coming?” He asked.

 

Katsuki snorted. “Fuck off.” He adjusted the strap of his backpack, turned his back on Izuku and stomped in the opposite direction of the homeroom they were supposed to share. He quirked a brow, wanting to ask where he was going, but knowing that Katsuki hated having his actions questioned. Instead, he settled on simply asking: “Do you want to get lunch later?”

 

Katsuki lifted his arm high in the air, hand set in a fist. He kept walking, didn’t look back as he flicked his middle finger up and rounded a corner.

 

Izuku grinned.

 


 

Present Day

 

Whatever he’d fallen asleep on was warm, firm, and made a surprisingly good pillow. It almost pained him to wake up, but he felt--as he stirred from his sleep--that his nap had lasted a little too long. Izuku pried his eyes open slowly, blinked and looked around the cabin. The lights had been dimmed, the window in the corner of his eye was painted black with the night. He yawned.

 

How long had he been asleep?

 

He shifted back up into sitting, looked to his left and found Katsuki there, staring emotionless at him. Izuku blinked, then paled, when he realized he’d been using the man as a pillow. His throat felt dry, like cotton, as time lapsed and his face grew red and heated. He tried to clear his throat, only for it to sting when he coughed. “Why didn’t you wake me?”

 

Katsuki shrugged and grunted. “You looked like you needed sleep,” he said, voice nearly soft. Izuku’s tense features softened and he permitted his shoulders to slump and the muscles in his neck to loosen. Katsuki stretched his neck, looked over the seat in front and off towards nothing in particular, while Izuku observed him silently.

 

The entire situation was mind-boggling, ridiculous. It had taken Izuku two years after his disappearance to come to terms with the fact that he’d never see his best friend again, that he was as distant a memory as his first day at Yuuei Academy. And here, Ochako had overstepped--as she always seemed to do on his behalf--and now Katsuki was sitting beside him on their way to a destination wedding, a two-week long affair with some of the wealthiest people to ever be born on Japanese soil. He wanted to be so excited, so unbelievably excited...but there was a definite grey cloud looming just over the horizon. He didn’t know why it was there exactly, but it had to involve Katsuki. He’d left, no word, no note; and now he was back with no word of what he’d filled those eight years with. It was odd, partially upsetting, and gnawing at the back of his mind like a mystery novel he just had to finish.

 

This was something unbelievable.

 

Izuku looked down at his lap, fiddling with his thumbs. He was nervous, of course. Who wouldn’t be after being forcibly coupled with their best friend--childhood crush, truly--not twenty-four hours after they reappeared in their life? And especially after such a grand entrance as an erotic lap dance…

 

His ears tinged pink at the recollection and he nearly stiffened once more, but was distracted before he could. Something fell into his lap and he flinched at the sudden motion. He blinked twice, opened his eyes once more to find a packet of pretzels in his lap. He furrowed his brow and twisted his neck to looks inquisitively at the man beside him.

 

Katsuki didn’t look soft anymore, having reapplied his hard front and squaring his shoulders. He clenched his jaw. “Don’t fuckin’ look at me like that, Deku. You wanted pretzels, so I got your damn pretzels.”

 

Izuku looked back down at the snack in his lap. He couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks, Kacchan.”



Chapter Text

The moment the plane landed in Honolulu International Airport, a sense of dread washed over Izuku. As they got up from their seats and prepared to exit the cabin, he realized that he was now, without even a glimmer of hope or a deu-ex-machina to come to his aid, stuck in the company of one Katsuki Bakugou. There was no plane crash to be had, no chance the wing of the plane would tear off the side and suck him out of the plane and out of Izuku’s spiraling life.

 

Nope.

 

He was stuck. He took a gulp of air and found himself face to face with Katsuki’s well built pectorals as he reached the aisle and turned around to pop open the luggage compartment above Izuku’s head. He froze, body stiff as Katsuki’s arms grabbed at the suitcase above his head and Izuku watched the rippling of his biceps and tried his hardest not to turn red on the spot.

 

His inner dialogue was running on a constant loop of reprimand. Every minute that passed in Katsuki’s company, he had to remind himself of several key factors: Katsuki had been missing for eight years, if they still had a relationship, it was that of friends, he shouldn’t be holding the same feelings that seventeen year old, pining Izuku had, and he’d only been single for a little over two weeks.

 

Besides, two weeks wasn’t nearly enough to determine whether he and Touya were really over. After all, there’d been periods of their relationship where he’d said he was bored and disappeared for more than a month before showing up at Izuku’s door and telling him that he wanted Izuku back. So, really, he had to stop these intrusive thoughts. He and Touya could still get back together and this childhood crush needed to die before that could happen.

 

A thud near his feet spurred him from his thoughts and he looked towards the sound to find his carry-on luggage at his feet. He looked back up and came face to face with Katsuki’s somber expression. “What?”

 

His eyes widened and he averted his gaze. “Nothing,” he mumbled.

 

“Then shut your fucking mouth,” he responded, turning to walk down the aisle. “You’re gonna catch flies.”

 

Izuku’s cheeks tinged pink as he followed after him, right on his heels as they exited the plane and made their way through the tunnel up to the airport, where they met up with their friends directly outside of the gate. The first welcome sight he met was Uraraka’s smile, which he immediately gravitated to. He pulled up to her side, Iida standing on her left, and gave them a thankful grin as Katsuki gravitated over to Ashido’s side on the other end of the group. He spared a glance Izuku’s way, which he caught. His eyes were hooded, solemn, and Izuku couldn’t put the feeling to words, couldn’t decipher the meaning behind Katsuki’s expression, but he didn’t get the opportunity to dissect it.

 

“So,” Uraraka asked him, nudging his shoulder as they slowly made their way towards the baggage claim. “How’d it go?”

 

Izuku winced. “How’d what go?”

 

“I believe,” Iida spoke up, looking over his fiancée’s little brown bob, towards Izuku’s hunched shoulders. “She is referring to your flight with Bakugou?”

 

He winced once more. “Yeah, thanks Iida. I figured…”

“Oh, stop looking so sad, Izu,” She snapped, smacking him on the back with surprising force. Izuku flinched at the contact. She didn’t seem to notice, though. She picked up her pace, walking forward and flung her arms in wild gestures as she continued to preach. “You’re in Hawai’i! You’re here for my wedding,” she grinned, turning her head to look endearingly at Iida. “Which is going to be the greatest social gathering of the year. You’ve got two weeks off work, you get to spend it all with me, your best friend,” she told him, falling back to his side so that she could whisper the next part in his ear. “And you’ve got a chance to totally make Mr. Grumpy fall in love with you.”

 

Izuku scrunched his face and turned his head to the side to look at her. “Who?”

 

She groaned, shaking her head and bringing her hand up to her face to pinch at the bridge of her nose. “Bakugou, Izu. I’m talking about Bakugou.”

 

“Oh!” He responded, finally understanding. Then the words themselves registered in his brain and he jerked. “Wait, no! Ocha, I am not doing that.”

 

She huffed. “Why not?”

 

He gawked. “Are you serious?” He lowered his voice into a hushed whisper. “He’s not... I mean, I’m not… Ughhh.”

 

“You have a way with words, Midoriya,” Iida informed him and Izuku rolled his eyes.

 

“Shut up, Iida,” he groaned, before looking back at Uraraka. “Ocha, I can’t just go after Bakugou. He was my best friend and he’s been missing for eight years. You can’t possibly think that I have feelings--”

 

“I’m gonna stop you there,” Uraraka stated, holding up a hand to silence him. “‘cause I was there when he gave you the sextiest lap dance I have ever seen. The sexual tension between you two could have been cut with a knife.”

 

“That’s not...I can’t just--” He continued to stammer, not sure where he was going to go in this conversation and in defending his position. As Uraraka stepped onto an escalator, followed by Iida, and then Izuku, he finally got out the best defense he could muster. “But what about Touya?”

 

Uraraka froze, jerking her head up to look at him, tension in her shoulders as she addressed her friend. “What do you mean ‘what about Touya’?”

 

Izuku shrugged under her heavy gaze. “Well,” he told her, averting his gaze to the escalator railing. He drummed his fingers on the rubber and shrugged. “We could get back together…”

 

“Izuku.”

 

“He could get tired of his new girlfriend,” he explained, barely leaving a pause between words so that Uraraka couldn’t but in with an argument. “He always get bored of them after awhile and then he wants me back, and--”

 

“And you’re always waiting for him, because he’s conditioned you to think he’s your best option,” she told him, almost a hiss. “He’s a horrible, good-for-nothing dipshit and you deserve better.”

 

“I agree with Uraraka,” a voice sounded behind him and Izuku’s soul nearly jumped out his body at the surprise. He rounded, nearly stripping on the stopper at the bottom of the escalator. He was saved by a hand wrapping around his forearm and steadying him. He looked up and saw Shinsou, who gave him a half-hearted smile. “Sorry to startle you.”

 

“I-It’s fine…” Izuku responded, placing a hand over his heart to steady the heavy breating. “Just freaked me out.”

 

“Anyways,” Shinsou continued, moving up to stand with Uraraka and Iida as they scolded him. “I think Touya treated you like trash. You’re too nice for--”

 

“He is nice,” Izuku told them, so much sincerity in his voice his friends couldn’t be sure he was trying to convince them or himself. “He just… has trouble expressing himself.”

 

“Okay, that’s it,” Uraraka said, rounding on her heels and marching back to him. She grabbed him by the forearm, dragging him off to the side. Izuku watched out the corner of his eye as she waved to the group to keep walking. Most seemed to walk by without a second glance, the majority used to Uraraka pulling Izuku aside every now and then for a much needed pep talk. The only two who seemed somewhat curious were Ashido, who scrunched her brow at the two before turning back to the group, and Katsuki, who did the same, but didn’t look away until Ashido patted him on the back, urging him forward; he shrugged her off.

 

Uraraka grabbed his chin and jerked his head down and over to look her in the eyes. “We are not doing this, Izuku. My wedding is in two weeks and this trip is supposed to be fun. Touya is an unfortunate parasite that had to come along because the Iidas can’t offend their business partners. That does not mean he’s allowed to ruin your good time.”

 

“He’s not ruining it, Ocha,” he explained, shaking his head. “He’s--I hope we can work out whatever I did wrong and we can--”

 

“You didn’t do anything wrong, Izuku,” She assured him, desperation in her tone. “You are a good person and Touya is a shitstain for not seeing it. Now, I brought Bakugou ‘cause you cried about it when you were drunk--” she lifted her index finger, signaling for him to remain quiet. “And before you try to tell me I shouldn’t take you seriously when you’re drunk, it’s the only time you’re ever selfish and honest about what you want.

 

“Whether you and Bakugou get closer on this trip or not, I think it’s important that you spend time with him and not Touya,” She explained. “I think it would do you good to remember who you were before him, and not what he spent eight years making you into.”

 

“He didn’t--”

 

She threw her hands up in a gesture of surrender. Izuku really believed she’d picked up her habit from Iida, but he’d never brought it up. It would be stupid to make them self-conscious of a habit that made them all the more perfect for each other. “Maybe he didn’t! I don’t know, I wasn’t the one in a relationship with him,” she admitted. “But I do know that you’ve always been nervous around him. I think spending time with Bakugou would be good for you.”

 

“Ocha--”

 

“And you will,” she informed him, turning on her heels to march off towards the rest of the group. “Because he’s staying in your room.”

 


 

It was four in the morning when the group had finally packed all their baggage into the backs of multiple Jeep Wranglers and piled into their seats. It had been as exhausting a day as ever and Izuku only wanted to get to the hotel and fall onto the plush, queen bed of his Grand Level Suite. Realizing he’d have to manage many an awkward encounter with Bakugou under the same roof wasn’t even affecting him as much as the jet lag.

 

Although, the brisk air of the night, the breeze that whipped through the banyan trees that lined the highway and tousled his hair as they drove towards their choice hotel clean air and the salt of the ocean filled his nostrils and he released a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding.

 

By the time they parked in front of the grand entrance of the Ritz Carlton Residence, Izuku couldn’t help but feel a gnawing curiosity. He wanted to explore, to see the island and witness the culture. He knew from school how many people of Japanese descent inhabited the island. He wanted to see the similarities, the differences, and get a feel for just how their cultures varied. He loved that: to travel, explore, and gain knowledge on different peoples, different places. Though right now, he couldn’t. It was 4 AM, and while the staff had said they’d be there to check them in, the valet was off duty and they needed to unload their bags to their drivers could leave.

 

“Hey,” a deep voice barked at his side and Izuku jumped in his seat. He jerked his head to Katsuki, who was looking at him with a disgruntled smolder. “You gonna get out of the fucking car or do I gotta push you?”

 

“Sorry,” Izuku muttered, popping open the door and hopping out onto the asphalt. He looked around, saw others hopping out of their perspective Jeeps. Iida had begun pulling his and Ochako’s bags out of the back. In the one in front of his own, Hagakure was sitting in the passenger’s door, kicking her feet in the air as Masahiro pulled out her bags and Tokoyami attempted to convince her that incorporating black into her wardrobe would definitely improve a sense of mystery.

 

“Deku!” Izuku whipped around, found a disgruntled Katsuki handing hot pink, leopard print bags over to Ashido from the trunk. “Don’t fucking stand there. Get us checked in.”

 

“Sorry!”

 

Katsuki grit his teeth and clenched his jaw. “Stop saying sorry,” he hissed, before furrowing his brows and popping his head back into the trunk. Izuku quirked an eyebrow at his behavior. The Katsuki he remembered always yelled at him about apologizing, but he never seemed particularly bothered. This new one, the Katsuki eight years in the future, seemed agitated by Izuku’s constant apologies. He chewed the inside of his lip and turned towards the entrance.

 

The space was mostly open to nature, no barrier to the inside. White marble covered the floor, white walls adorned with paintings of flowers, mountains, and forests lined him on either side. He approached the main counter, heard mad laughter and looked to his left to find the entrance to one of the Hotel’s restaurants. He could barely make out a bar, as well. Where a few people were still downing Martinis like it wasn’t the early morning.

 

He turned back, up to the dark wood counter. There was a girl there, light brown hair and a freckled face, smiling back at him. She seemed quite cheery for having to work at such an hour. “Hello, Sir. How can I help you?”

 

“Um, I’m checking in,” he told her. “The name is Midoriya--”

 

“Izuku.” He whipped around at the sound of his name. His heart stopped. Shocking blue eyes and a head of wild black hair met him. Todoroki Touya, standing a head taller than him, smirked at him as he walked closer. Izuku noticed his outfit, the white v-neck that showed off a slender neck and defined collarbones and pants that were so tight they sculpted muscular legs perfectly. His jaw nearly dropped at the memory of those same legs between his as Touya…

 

A sharp cackle echoed through the lobby as he walked up and leaned against the counter. He turned to the woman, waved his hand at her. “Well, go on. Do your job.”

 

The receptionist cleared her throat, looking back down at her monitor and punching a few keys on her keyboard. Then she pulled out a key card and slid it across the counter. “The key to room 1032,” she told him. “Room for two.”

 

“One, actually,” Touya corrected her, looking back down at Izuku with a devilish smirk on his face. “Sorry to embarrass you like that, Izuku, but I couldn’t just share a room with you. Pretty sure you wouldn’t like hearing my girl screaming at night.”

 

Izuku winced and looked down at his feet. “I...Um…”

 

“Deku!” Katsuki’s voice echoed from the entrance and both he and Touya’s eyes jerked to him, stopping through the lobby with a scowl so profound that Izuku was glad the room was nearly vacant. He couldn’t imagine the fear that would have jolted through other tourists at the sight of it. Izuku watched as Katsuki’s eyes quickly glanced over Touya, before turning back to Izuku. He smiled wickedly, something Izuku identified as being the very same he had when he was busy embarrassing Izuku back at Club Ultra.  

 

He pulled up to his side and flung an arm around Izuku’s shoulders, making him flinch in surprise. Katsuki flashed his shit-eating grin at Touya, who was trying to quickly recover from shock. “Bakugou? What the fuck are you doing here?”

 

Katsuki snorted. “The fuck you mean? I’m here for the wedding.”

 

“But...You...You’re supposed to be missing.”

 

Katsuki shook his head. “I wasn’t missing. There was no report filed,” he assured him, before squeezing Izuku into his side and continuing to rant at a stiff-looking Touya. “Besides, I couldn’t fucking leave Deku without a date. He’s too special for that.”

 

“What?” Both Izuku and Touya asked at the same time. Izuku looked at him liked he’d just swallowed bleach and Touya looked incredibly unconvinced.

 

“Kacchan, I’m not--”

 

Touya snorted. “You’re right, Izuku,” he interrupted. “You’re definitely not special enough for that.”

 

Izuku’s brows furrowed and he looked back down at his feet as Katsuki clenched his jaw and glared daggers at Touya. “Listen the fuck up--”

 

“Oy, TOOUUYYYaaaaaaaaa!” A cheery voice slurred from behind Touya and all three men shifted their attention to the bar’s entrance. Izuku’s heart fell into his stomach when he caught sight of a short girl in a dress so tight it accentuated curvaceous hips and voluptuous breasts. Her dress was green, the color that Touya always liked seeing on him, and he felt like he could cry.

 

What was worse was her beauty. Her skin was perfect, smooth and glowing and hair so golden it rivaled the sun. She was so different from Izuku, with knotted curls and a face full of freckles. How could he compare…

 

She stumbled over to them, sloshing an apple martini all over the tile. Izuku felt Katsuki’s arm tighten around his shoulders and he furrowed his brow. Looking up and over, he saw that Katsuki had clenched his jaw and set his lips into a thin line. He looked tense.

 

“Touya,” the girl sang, coming up to his side and leaning on him. She pushed up on her toes and slurred into his ear. “Let’s go to bed.”

 

Izuku chewed his lip and blinked hard to stop tears from falling. He could do this. “Just a minute, babe,” he told her, smiling down at her short figure. “Hey, meet Izuku an--”

 

“Katsuki,” she hissed, looking over at him with an acid stare. She pushed off her boyfriend and stepped towards him, stumbling a bit, but staying up. “What the fuck are you doin’ here?” She snapped, her finger extended at him accusingly.

 

“Back up,” he whispered, his voice hard and cold. Izuku, along with Touya, stared at the two of them in complete confusion. Izuku could see the look on his friend’s face. He’d grown up with him, new every tick and expression he possessed. Even with the amount of time that had passed without seeing him, he felt as though he could still decipher what he was feeling.

 

And when he looked at his tensed shoulders and the dark look in his eyes, he deciphered fear.

 

Izuku’s met very few people who felt they were strong enough to stand toe-to-toe with Bakugou Katsuki. He was vicious, tough and unwavering in the face of danger. So, he felt his entire body go rigid as he witnessed this girl--this wild, drunk girl who had usurped his position in Touya’s life--raise a hand high in the air and strike it quick and hard across Katsuki’s cheek.

 

He heard a gasp from the steps into the lobby, saw the rest of their group standing there with baffled expressions. Ochako had a hand over her mouth, Hagakure was squeezing Masahirao’s arm and Shinsou had a hand on Iida’s shoulder. Iida looked like he was about to run forward and jump between them before Katsuki could retaliate.

 

But no one moved as Katsuki gently lifted his free hand to his face and felt the sting on his cheekbone. He averted his gaze to the tile and pulled his hand away from Izuku’s shoulder so that he could clutch it in a fist at his side.

 

Izuku just kept staring as Katsuki grew quieter and Touya’s new girlfriend glared at him, nostrils flaring. “Well, go on!” She screamed, shrill. She stepped forward, pushed at his chest. “Do something!”

 

“Toga!” Touya shouted, reaching for her. Though, before he could, Ashido had made her way over to them, getting in between the blond girl and her friend.  She placed a hand on Katsuki’s chest to keep him there, still. Her other was held flat in front of the girl, Toga, and her face was set in a warning expression far more dangerous than Izuku thought her capable of. “Stay away from him,” she warned, calm. “Or I will make you regret everything you have ever done to bring you to this point.”

 

“You--” She started, but stopped when Touya grabbed her arm and yanked her back.

 

Ashido looked at him critically. “Control your bitch,” she demanded, before looking over to Izuku. “Give me your keycard. I’m taking him to your room while you get the bags.”

 

“Uh, um,” Izuku gawked, quickly scrambling for the card--still on the counter--as he turned around to fully face him. Izuku held it out to her and she snatched it from his hand, not even glancing back at them as she grabbed Katsuki by the wrist and dragged him off towards the elevators without so little as a complaint from the surly blond.

 

Everyone stood there, speechless, far after Ashido and Katsuki had disappeared from the office. The entire time, all Izuku could do was repeat the same question in his head over and over again: What just happened?

Chapter Text

Izuku tried to enter the hotel room quietly. He had a large heap of luggage in the hallway, and he wanted to get it through the door without disrupting Katsuki or Ashido. Lord knows how much they probably wanted him out of their hair after so wild an encounter. Still, he couldn’t help but be curious.

 

Who wouldn’t be after seeing something like that?

 

Himiko Toga, Touya’s replacement for Izuku’s companionship, knew Katsuki in some shape or form. She clearly had a disdain for him, and--if the way his grip on Izuku’s shoulder tightened and his voice grew tense--Katsuki was apprehensive of her. After the slap, after Ashido and Katsuki had gone upstairs and left the rest of the group gawking at the unprecedented altercation, Izuku had been left wondering what kind of woman was able to make someone he knew for being a beacon of strength and victory, an anxious shell of a man.

 

He grabbed a suitcase from the hallway, a dark red one with a cherry sticker on it. Izuku couldn’t help but smirk at it as he dragged the suitcase into the suite. It was nice, decent sized living room with marble floors and tan walls. The furniture was chic, modern, and the kitchenette near the entrance was just as state-of-the-art. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlooked the general dark, but Izuku knew from talking to the concierge that during the day it would overlook the crashing waves of Waikiki Beach. The suite was the purest symbol of the luxury he was living in, a material proof of his hard work and his success.

 

He’d only seen the suite on the Ritz Carlton website, though. Izuku wanted to know if the bedroom really was as good as the pictures. He let go of the luggage handle and walked to the wall opposite the living area, where a closed door sat. He grabbed the shining doorknob and almost pushed the door open, before stopping at the sound of hushed voices on the other side.

 

“Well do you want to go home?” The feminine one--Ashido’s--asked.

 

There was a scoff, undoubtedly Katsuki’s. “Don’t be fuckin’ stupid, Pinky. I can’t just...just--”

 

“Bakugou, it’s okay if you don’t think you can handle--”

 

“I can handle it, Ashido,” He accidentally hissed at her before following with a beat of silence. Then he sighed. “Sorry, I’m just…”

 

“It’s okay,” She told him. “I’m fine with staying. I just think it would be good for you to call home. Maybe talk to Kirishima? Or maybe your--”

 

“Ashido--”

 

“Hey,” she interrupted. “I’m sure either one would be glad to hear from you. Anyways, I’m tired and I’m sure Midoriya will be back any minute. I don’t want to be in the way when he does.”

 

Izuku’s heartbeat accelerated at the implications that comment might have, but was quickly shot down by Katsuki’s proceeding comments. “Fuck off, Ashido. It ain’t like that. He just needed someone to fuckin’ go with him.”

 

She tch ed. “Sure, Bakugou,” she told him, before the door swung open and the pink-haired girl looked at Midoriya on the other side of the threshold with shock and awe. “Well, howdy there!” She grinned, before sidestepping Izuku and darting for the door. “I’m gonna go find the girls, so why don’t you two talk!” She shouted, before making a bee-line out the front door, leaving Izuku to nervously gaze into the bedroom.

 

Katsuki was sitting on the edge of the bed, a wadded-up, wet towel clasped to his cheek and a scowl set in the lines on his face. He looked at him in the doorway with what Izuku perceived to be judgement and scrutiny, immediately making him feel small, obsolete. “Um, h-how are you doing?” He asked, taking a step into the room.

 

“Fine,” Katsuki grunted, averting hooded eyes to the floor.

 

Izuku bit his lip, looked at anything but Katsuki. It was so awkward now, alone in this bedroom with someone he was so repelled and compelled by. He didn’t know if he wanted to run screaming out of the hotel, or leap forward and hug him. Afterall, he did look like he could use a hug right now.

 

He took another step forward, but didn’t know how to continue the conversation. So, he said the first thing that came to his mind. “You need a towel for a slap? How bad did she hit you?”

 

Katsuki looked back at him, his lips pressed thin and his jaw clenched. He looked perturbed by that question, and Izuku mentally reprimanded himself. Then Katsuki pulled the towel from his cheek to show him the huge red blotches that covered the area near his eye. “It’s aggravated. That’s fucking why.”

 

Izuku gulped. “I-I’m sorry, Kacchan. I thought--”

 

Katsuki snorted. “‘S’fine,” he told him. “I can handle a lot worse than you saying the first goddamn thing that comes to your mind.”

 

A smile tugged at Izuku’s lips. “Yeah, I guess I have that problem. Remember our first day of high school? I called out Todoroki for having dyed hair, before I learned it was a medical condition.”

 

“Yeah,” Katsuki nodded. “Thanks for reminding me you’ve always been a dumbass.”

 

Izuku shrugged, striding the room to plop down beside Katsuki on the bed. “It’s what I’m good at! Touya always said that my fuck ups always reminded him he wasn’t the biggest loser in the world.” He laughed, looking over at Katsuki’s face.

 

Katsuki wasn’t laughing. “He said that shit to you?” Was what he asked instead, an edge in his voice. Izuku simply shrugged.

 

“I mean,” he started. “It’s true. I do fuck up a lot.”

 

“That doesn’t mean--”

 

“How do you know Toga, Kacchan?” He asked, blurting out the first thing to come to mind in order to drag Katsuki away from the conversation he knew was building. It always happened when he said things about Touya to his friends. They always seemed to think something was wrong. He didn’t want to have that conversation with a friend he hadn’t seen in ages.

 

Although, he should have realized that was a stupid question to ask. Katsuki grew rigid at the inquiry, jerking his head back down to glare at his lap. He clenched his jaw, gulped and Izuku watched as his Adam’s apple bob. “Don’t ask me that, Deku,” he said, not with the anger or agitation that Izuku used to hear when Katsuki shot down his questions. His voice was reserved, quieter than usual. Whatever he wasn’t saying was something he apparently wanted to keep to himself.

 

Izuku didn’t think it would be right of him to press further, so he simply nodded and changed the conversation. “Okay, well. I brought up the bags, so I’m gonna go get those. Tomorrow we have to be up and out of the room by 11 AM. I’m supposed to go get fitted for a suit with Iida and the groomsmen. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to come too.”

 

“Fine.”

 

“And then Iida planned an itinerary for the rest of the trip. We’re really lucky tomorrow we only have to do suits, cause I’m pretty sure jetlag is gonna hit us hard.

 

“Okay.”

 

“Which brings me to the next order of business,” Izuku rambled, his ears turning red. He looked down at his lap and fiddled with his fingers as he addressed Katsuki. “Um, there’s only one bedroom cause I was supposed to share this room with Touya. So, um… do you want to--I mean what would you… do you want that--”

 

“For fuck’s sake,” Katsuki groaned, standing up and pacing towards the door. “I’ll take the damn couch, Deku.”

 

“Oh!” Izuku hopped up from the bed, following Katsuki out the bedroom door and into the main room. Katsuki paced over to the tan sofa, throwing the pillows around to make it comfortable. Izuku watched, shifting on the balls of his feet, bouncing in place, as he watched his childhood friend organize pillows. After a few moments, it struck him how weird he was being, and ran for the front door, where he started dragging in the collection of suitcases that belonged to the reluctant couple.

 

He heaved his own in lastly, dragging it to the living room and dropping it down in a huff. He sighed audibly and looked over at the couch, where Katsuki was sitting, hunched over. He had the arm holding the towel propped up on his knee and he was watching Izuku with distinct concentration, which made Izuku’s neck feel hot under the scrutiny. “What?” He asked, a nervous laugh pulling from his throat.

 

Katsuki blinked and shook his head at him. “‘S nothing.”

 

“Oh, um,” Izuku started, backing up to lean against the wall behind him. “Then, I’m gonna...I’m just gonna…” He cleared his throat and walked over to grab his bags and glide them towards the bedroom door. “Night!”

 

Then he crossed the threshold and shut the door so quickly that the sound echoed through the room. He winced, hoping Katsuki wasn’t offended by his hurried exit.

 


 

Izuku dreamt of nothing. He was glad, too. Most often his dreams were wild and uncomfortable; they were echoes of the life and people he surrounded himself with. He remembered a lot would have to do with Touya, and whether he was wasting his boyfriend’s time or energy. Sometimes they had to do with work and the relentless deadlines placed on him and his advertisement team. He loved working for Iida, but it was tough.

 

Although now, it was as if he slept like the dead. When he woke up, it was from the gentle song of his alarm. He woke up in a massive, satin bed with goose-feather pillows. Sun shown through the window and he thought he could almost hear the sound of crashing waves in the distance.

 

Then again, maybe that was wishful thinking.

 

The one thing he was sure he wasn’t imagining, though, was the smell of bacon and pancakes that wafted through the room. That was what got him out of bed and trudging towards the door. It was slow going, his eyes closed and his mouth fixed open in a permanent yawn.

 

He walked into the living room, where he stopped in his tracks at the sight of Katsuki in the little kitchenette, armed with a spatula and frying pan. Izuku furrowed his brow at the scene, finding himself nearly teleported back to Saturday mornings at the Bakugou household. He grinned at the sense of nostalgia, the happy memories of him and his best friend. He was glad to see it again.

 

“What the fuck are you doin’ standing there and grinning like a creep?” Katsuki barked, pulling Izuku from his reverie. “Get the fuck over here.” He demanded, and Izuku sprinted over to the counter, hopping up on one of the sleek, black stools and getting a better look at the man on the other side.

 

Katsuki was shirtless, sculpted muscles rippling as he flipped pancakes and jerked his arm away from spitting fat as he fried bacon. He’d filled out well since high school, a body sculpted to perfection by some godly being; he was an Adonis among men and Izuku was seriously thinking he needed to cool it, because that metaphor was absolutely cringe worthy. The one thing that piqued his interest, though, was that there were certain marks that Izuku hadn’t seen under the dark, colored lights of the Ultra Club. Little scars--some fat, some thin, but most short and ending abruptly--scattered defined abs and pectorals. There was a specific one, on the right side of chest, that looked like four dot-scars. “You get those from your many admirers, Kacchan?”

 

“Hmm?” The man asked, quirking and eyebrow as he looked around. “What’re you talking about?”

 

“The scars,” Izuku clarified, thinking it both funny and odd that his close friend was into that sort of stuff.

 

He watched as something dark flashed across Katsuki’s eyes before he turned his head down towards the skillet. “No.” He told him, going silent.  Izuku bit his lip, not positive on how to progress the conversation. Apparently, there was some deeper meaning to those little marks on his skin and he had overstepped by asking.

 

It struck Izuku that it might be best to stop asking in general. He’d disappeared for eight years, had an entire life outside of their highschool friends and him, and was apparently acquainted with Himiko Toga, which certainly begged a lot of question. He didn’t drink, had a few small scars that littered his body, and had a well-versed knowledge of a career as a stripper. He wasn’t the old Katsuki; he wasn’t really Izuku’s old best friend, and so maybe approaching him with greater caution and formality was required.

 

He sighed and looked down at the limestone counter just as Katsuki sat a plate in front of him with a clink! Izuku looked at the plate and smiled at its contents: scrambled eggs, two pancakes, chopped strawberries, and three slices of slightly burnt bacon. It was just how he liked it, just how the maids at Bakugou’s home would fix it for him the mornings after he slept over. “Are you gonna stare, or are you gonna eat it?”

 

“Sorry!” Izuku chimed, grabbing the fork on the edge of the plate and shoving a fat, red strawberry in his mouth. He swallowed and looked across the counter at Katsuki. “Where’d you get the food?”

 

He shrugged. “Went on a run, found a Foodland, and figured I’m not gonna eat the shitty hotel food they serve us.”

 

Izuku rolled his eyes and bit into a piece of bacon. He didn’t bother to swallow before addressing him again. “This is the Ritz, Kacchan. I doubt it’s shitty.”

 

“Well clearly not for you!” He barked back, picking a disfigured pancake up off of a discarded pile and tearing a bite out of it. “You don’t even fucking swallow before you talk! The goddamn disrespect.”

 

“Well, Kacchan,” Izuku goaded. “I am a poor, little urchin boy. Remember?”

 

“Shut up!”

 

“Oh come off it,” Izuku laughed. “They clearly casted me as Tiny Tim in the school play for a reason!”

 

“It’s cause you’re small as shit!”

 

“Am not!”

 

Katsuki pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head. “Whatever, Deku. Did you fucking like it or not?”

 

“What?” He asked, not understanding the question. “You mean the breakfast?”

 

“Obviously.”

 

Izuku grinned down at his plate and his ears tinged pink as he remembered. “Yeah. You remembered my breakfast from when we were kids.”

 

Katsuki snorted. “Fucking ‘course I did. It ain’t hard! And Dominika got pissed that you ate your bacon burnt. Someone had to fucking take over!”

 

“It’s good, Kacchan. Dominika just hated me.”

 

“Not as much as Gabby,” Katsuki sneered, sending a jolt up his spine and making his face burn red.

 

He groaned, bringing his hands up to shield his face from Katsuki’s scrutiny. “That’s not fair Kacchan. I didn’t know she was cleaning in there.”

 

“I dunno,” Katsuki shrugged. “Seemed pretty fair after you gave my maid a heart attack when you jumped in the shower, ass naked, while she was cleaning it.”

 

“WHO CLEANS WITH THE CURTAIN CLOSED?”

 

“Gabby did.” Katsuki devolved into a fit of laughter, something that filled Izuku with a warmth he hadn’t felt in ages. He could remember the last time he heard it, at a party a week before graduation. He’d walked Katsuki home when he got drunk off his ass. He couldn’t even remember what had been so funny, but it had made him burst out into unadulterated laughter and had made Izuku feel alive.

 

God, he missed it.

 

“I missed you, Kacchan,” he blurted, before his mind could catch up with his mouth and he could recognize the embarrassment that went along with admitting it. The laughter died on Katsuki’s lips as he looked over at him quizzically. His shoulders stiffened and Izuku felt the need to explain himself further. “I...I know I sound stupid-- I always sound stupid-- but I just missed having you around. It was weird not being able to tell you everything that happened in my life. Even seven years into your disappearance, I’d want to call you up and tell you about work, or friends, or life in general. Sorry…”

 

“Why are you apologizing?” Katsuki asked, furrowing his brow as he pondered the question.

 

Izuku simply shrugged. “I know I’m annoying when I get sentimental.”

 

“‘S not annoying,” Katsuki told him, crossing well-built arms and leaning against the counter. “Did Touya tell you that?”

 

Izuku’s mouth fell open, before he quickly shut it and shook his head. Then he laughed. “He was never serious, Kacchan. It’s fine.”

 

“I don’t like it.”

 

“Kacchan--”

 

“And I guess it was kinda weird not having you yapping at me,” he added, before Izuku could actually argue. “Always looking over my shoulder for that ratty birdsnest you call hair.”

 

Izuku scrunched his nose. “I like my hair.”

 

“Clearly,” Katsuki sneered, before bumping off the counter and stepping out of the kitchenette. “Go get dressed. It’s ten-thirty. We gotta be out by eleven, right?”

 

Izuku jerked on his stool, grabbing the last pancake on his plate. He forced the whole thing in his mouth without a second thought. Puffing out his cheeks and hopping off his seat, he ran for the bedroom door and slammed it shut in a hurry.



Chapter Text

Katsuki was looking at him funny. He hadn’t done anything wrong, he was sure, but it may have something to do with the fact that he’d been tapping his foot the entire thirty-two floors down to the lobby. He flashed him an apologetic smile, but he couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. Why?

 

He wasn’t sure. It could be because it was the first day of the trip, and he was surrounded by new and exciting settings. It could also be because he was about to go see his friends, hang out with the groomsmen, and finish the last minute tuxedo details. He couldn’t deny that that would be a nice change of pace. He loved the girls, but it was exhausting being the only male in the group.

 

But he was fairly sure that the origin of excitement was that Todoroki Shouto would be there. It was probably the most welcoming gift he could have received at this point. With best frien ds Iida and Ochako busy planning their wedding, and best friend Katsuki being, well… back from the dead and even more attractive than he remembered, it was up to best friend Todoroki Shouto to bring back some kind of grounding force in his life.

 

“Excited for somethin’, nerd?” Katsuki asked, smirking as he cast another glance to his side.

 

“Hmm? Uh, yeah,” he nodded. “Guess so! What about you? It’s your first day in Hawai’i?”

 

Katsuki shrugged as the elevator ding! -ed, and pristine metallic doors opened up to the lobby. It was bustling now. Tourists of all colors and creeds talked animatedly as they formed groups, read daily plans, or made their way excitedly towards the buffet hall. “Guess so,” he answered, nonchalantly. “Dad and the Old Hag fuckin’ dragged me on vacation here all the time as a kid. It’s kinda normal now.”

 

“Oh.” Izuku’s shoulders hunched and he found his eyes dropping to the floor. Then he felt an elbow to his side, knocking him off balance, and jerked his head to find Katsuki smirking at him. For the first time that day, he noticed the slightest bruise beneath his eye. “Cheer up, Deku. That just means I get to show you the good spots.”

 

That made him perk up, the promise of quality time with the best friend he had missed for ages, brought a smile back. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

 

“Hello! Friends!” Someone called from across the lobby, pulling all eyes towards them. It was Iida, surrounded by his groomsmen. A shock of red and white peaked out from behind.

 

“Todoroki’s there!” he exclaimed, grabbing Katsuki’s wrist and dragging him across the marble floors to meet their friends on the other side.

 

“Guys!” he shouted back, waving excitedly with his free hand. Katsuki was dead weight behind him--he could just picture his face at the moment, so annoyed it made Izuku grin wider.

 

Todoroki peeked out from behind Iida’s broad body, as curious a look as he could muster pictured on his face. When they finally joined the group, Todoroki came up front to greet them. “Midoriya,” he grinned. “How’re you doing?”

 

It was a typical, everyday sort of greeting, but the tone weighed on Izuku’s mind. He knew his friend was speaking mainly of his brother, who was an undesirable topic at the moment, and about Katsuki’s surprise return to his life. He most likely heard it from Momo, who heard it from Jirou, who was there. Maybe he heard it from Iida, who wasn’t good at keeping things on the down-low when faced with significant pressure to give up the details. Izuku always thought that were he to find himself in an interrogation for a horrible crime, he might as well take a plea deal cause he’d never be able to fool anyone.

 

“I’m fine,” he lied blatantly. Todoroki accepted his answer at face value, though. A good friend, Todoroki never forced him to talk when he wasn’t ready. It varied slightly from Ochako’s hands-on approach, but he was grateful for both, honestly. Friends who cared were important.

 

Todoroki’s eyes shifted up to the man towering behind him, and a subtle smile appeared on his lips. “Bakugou, I’m glad to see you back. It’s been a helluva eight years without your loud mouth.”

 

Katsuki sneered. “Shut the fuck up, Half-n-Half!”

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku hissed, nudging him lightly in the ribs. “He has poliosis.”

 

Katsuki inhaled, clasped his hands together, and shot a vicious glare at Izuku. “I swear to God, if you start pulling that stupid fucking joke again, I’m gonna lose my motherfuckin’ shit.”

 

“You always do,” Todoroki chimed in. “No one ever needed to prompt you. You’re gifted that way.”

 

Katsuki’s color shifted to an angry red, and Izuku could almost burst out into a belly-laugh. It almost felt like they were back in high school, like the group was never incomplete, like the world didn’t keep on spinning, and they didn’t spend a quarter of their life apart. His smile was wide, blinding, and Katsuki gazed over at him with a furrow in his brows.

 

“Gentlemen!” Iida shouted, earning more than just his group’s attention. “While this has been quite an exciting reunion, we have an appointment at Black Tie Affair in less than thirty minutes! We must depart!’”

 

“Why do I need a fuckin’ suit?” Katsuki barked. “I’m not in the fucking wedding party.”

 

Iida turned to him exclusively. “Bakugou, this is an incredibly formal event. Seventy-five percent of our guests are A-list celebrities and businessmen! We must be dressed to the T.”

 

Iida bolted for the lobby entrance, his arms swinging wildly at his sides. The other men watched as he walked off, taking a moment to shake their heads at him. “He’s so excited,” Izuku voiced, flashing an endearing expression at the man.

 

Shinsou sighed, the first to walk after Iida. The rest simply followed his order. “He won’t shut up about tablecloth colors and centerpieces,” he explained. “I have been to dozens of weddings for business, and I have never seen a man so involved in the process.”

 

“Well, you can’t blame him,” Izuku responded. “He’s been talking about marrying Ocha since junior year of university.”

 

“And now, he’ll be the first of us to get married,” Masahiro reminded them. “It’s kinda weird. I always expected you to be the first of us to get married, Midoriya.”

 

Me?”

 

“You’re a hopeless romantic, Midoriya,” Todoroki reminded him, coming up to walk by his side. He nudged him in the shoulder, a small smile on his face. “It would explain why you stayed with my bro--” Izuku shot him a look and Todoroki trailed off. “Nevermind.”

 

“I wish my heart knew the emotion you call love,” Tokoyami told them, sulking behind the group with his eyes boring into the marble floor.

 

“What are you talking about, dude?” Shinsou laughed. “You and Asui were making heart-eyes at each other the entire way over here!”

 

Tokoyami nodded. “She knows what it’s like to have a beast lurking in your soul.” Everyone stopped and looked back at him with a bewildered expression, while he simply stared back with not an inkling of readable emotion.

 

Katsuki snorted. “Kinky.”

 


 

Iida stepped through the door, exuding confidence as the rest of the groomsmen, with the addition of Izuku and Katsuki, filed in behind him. Tuxedos of every color, every pattern, lined the walls: the best on display. Sales associates flocked to them, greeting Iida with a bow and ushering them further into the establishment. It was something Izuku had gotten used to, years at the side of his wealthy friends. Although, Katsuki seemed to groan at the attention as they were guided over to the counter. “Don’t like the attention?”

 

Katsuki grunted. “Not used to it anymore.”

 

Izuku understood that. After eight years living like an everyday person, making his living at a strip club, out of the public eye, it was understandable that this sort of attention would set his teeth on edge.

 

“We’re all getting tuxedos,” Iida informed the salesman. “They need to be sleek, black, with a navy blue vest and lining. Midoriya there will have the same, but accented in blush pink.” Tenya turned towards him, but looked up above his head to make eye contact with the man towering behind him. “Bakugou, Ochako said we’re treating you to a rental suit. Go pick out whichever you’d like, so long as it is wedding appropriate.”

 

“Sure fuckin’ thing, chief,” he saluted, sarcasm saturating his voice. Izuku heard Shinsou snort from the side as Katsuki rounded on his heels and marched off to the displays. Izuku felt a hand snake around his wrist and turned to find Todoroki as it’s owner.

 

He knitted his eyebrows, confused at the gesture, but Todoroki simply jerked his head towards the other side of the store where dressing rooms and tailors were already starting to line Shinsou, Masahirao, and Tokoyami up on platforms for measuring.

 

Izuku followed his pull, moving up alongside him as his friend watched him out of the corner of his eye. “So, Bakugou’s back.”

 

Izuku gulped. “Uh, yeah.”

 

“Yeah?” Todoroki mimicked. “Is that all you have to say about it?” he asked. As they reached the tailoring section and plopped down into red velvet chairs while they waited for their turns.

 

“I don’t know what else to say.”

 

“Momo told me about the club,” he explained. “I have to say, it was a bold step inviting him to Iida and Uraraka’s wedding.”

 

“No,” Izuku laughed, shaking his head incredulously. “I don’t even remember asking him, but everyone says I was blackout drunk, begging him to keep me company on the trip. It’s humiliating.”

 

“Bakugou doesn’t seem to think so.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?”

 

“Well, Bakugou doesn’t do anything he actually thinks is embarrassing,” he reminded him. “He didn’t even tell his grandmother he loved her during family weekend in high school, cause it made him uncomfortable. Honestly, agreeing to be someone’s surprise date to a wedding, where they haven’t seen anyone in eight years, should be a lot more embarrassing. So, he clearly wants to be here.” A beat of silence, and then: “Do you want him to be here?”

 

“Yes,” Izuku answered immediately, then backtracked. “I mean… I’m not sure. I’m glad to see him again, sure. I’ve missed him for eight years, but I guess I thought... if we met again, it would be the same as it always has.”

 

“It’s not?”

 

“Todoroki, he… he’s different. There’s this wall between us that never existed before, and I can’t break it down cause I think it has something to do with those eight years, but he won’t talk about them. Todoroki, he doesn’t drink anymore,” he whispered, as though it were an earth-shattering secret. “Bakugou Katsuki, Sake King of Yuuei Academy, stopped drinking.”

 

Todoroki leaned back in his chair and looked at Izuku as if he’d just sprouted another head. “He has?”

 

Yes,” he assured him. “And last night, in the lobby, he… Toga slapped him and he just took it ! I’ve known him my entire life and I don’t ever remember seeing him so shaken.”

 

Todoroki released a long, low whistle. “I heard about that, too. Jirou stopped by to tell Momo everything this morning. I’m going to be completely honest, Himiko is a total bitch. It doesn’t surprise me that she’d do something like that, but it is odd if he freaked out like you said.”

 

“I just,” Izuku sighed. “I don’t know what’s going on at this point. I’m trying to be here for Uraraka, but she’s thrown this new obstacle in my path, and--”

 

“Are you mad at her?”

 

What?” Izuku scoffed, shaking his head and waving off his question. “Of course not. She’s always been like this when Touya needed a break. Although, she never bought a plane ticket for my long lost childhood friend to accompany me to her wedding…”

 

“Maybe because she thinks she has to try harder to get you to understand,” he explained, shrugging his shoulders at his friend.

 

Izuku didn’t understand what he meant, fixing him with a perplexed expression. “What do you mean?”

 

Todoroki sighed, leaning forward and resting his arms on his knees, interlocking his hands. “Every time Touya breaks up with you, because my brother’s a complete ass, she tries to get you to see you’re better off without him,” he explained. “Problem is, you never seem to understand that. Because when Touya texts you saying he wants to get back together, you go straight back to trailing after him and taking the brunt of his shitty jokes, making your anxiety spike.”

 

“He’s not that bad, Todoroki,” Izuku tried to convince him, wincing at his friends words. It was never actually meant to insult him. Izuku’s problems were his own and Touya had nothing to do with them, but Todoroki didn’t look convinced. “I’m serious. He’s just a sarcastic person… like Kacchan!”

 

“You and I both know that Touya and Bakugou treat you very differently,” he said, before hoisting himself up from his seat and gesturing for Izuku to follow. “That salesman keeps looking over here. I think they’re ready for us.”

 

Izuku swallowed. “Yeah, right.” He said, following Todoroki as he continued to talk.

 

“Look, you don’t have to listen to anything I say,” he told him. “I fully believe in your ability to act on your own account. I just think it would do you good to take a note out of our basic high school economics class and weigh the costs and benefits of trying out a life without my brother.”

 

“Todoroki…” Izuku stepped up on the platform and looked at his friend apprehensively. He lifted his arms for the man approaching with a tape measure and exhaled an enormous sigh.

 

“I know you value your relationships with others a lot,” Todoroki continued. “And so, maybe, let Touya do his thing with Himiko, and you can try and focus on your relationships with Uraraka and Iida--afterall, it is their wedding--and fixing that strain you’re feeling with Bakugou.”

 

“I guess…”

 

“I thought you missed him,” Todoroki argued.

 

“I have!”

 

“Then do something about it, Midoriya,” he affirmed. “I know how hard it was for you when he disappeared, seeing as you had a big, fat crush on him.”

 

Izuku turned beat red, jerking his head towards Todoroki with wide eyes. “ What? You...yo--”

 

“Relax, Midoriya,” he sighed. “I knew it and Iida knew it. Bakugou had no clue whatsoever. He’s practically blind.”

 

“W-well, it doesn’t matter what I felt in high school,” Izuku informed him, straightening his stance. “I don’t feel that way anymore.”

 

Todoroki shrugged. “I’m not saying you do. I’m just saying I know he’s special to you, and that you should use this trip to try and rekindle that bond before he tries to disappear again.”

 

“You think he would?”

 

“I dunno,” he shrugged. “He probably won’t, but it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. Just give what I said a thought.”

 

Izuku gulped. He hadn’t known that Todoroki and Iida were aware of his crush throughout high school. He was grateful they never said anything, but still… He shook his head, wiping the thought from his mind. His friend did have a point about him finding purpose in his relationships with his friends, his family, and significant others, though there's only ever been Touya. So, if he really did need to do some reflecting, and if Touya was still with Himiko--Izuku would never beg Touya to dump her, simply being too nice--then he’d just have to focus on other relationships.

 

He truly felt that his relationship with Katsuki had been strained since their reunion. He missed when they acted like a unit, read each other’s minds with a simple look. He missed the playful jabs, and the amount of time he spent apologizing for Katsuki’s rude mouth, and laughing at his face. Now, he really could try to rekindle what they’d lost, and it would be even better seeing as Izuku had gotten over his silly, school-boy crush.

 

“Oi, Deku!” Katsuki shouted, and Izuku jerked his head to rest on his friend. “Whaddya think?”

 

Katsuki spun in a circle, arms extended, showing off the suit he’d changed into. It was a deep maroon, accented with black lining, hemming and collar. The shirt beneath fit him snuggly, buttoned so tight the fabric around his pectorals bunched slightly. Still, Izuku would rather die than see him get a larger size. The pants, too, a dark red, snug around the crotch, but sleek in the leg, looked agreeable. Izuku’s mouth bobbed slightly. “I-It’s good!” He choked, voice cracking.

 

Katsuki looked up from his suit, smirking at him as he stuffed his hands in his pockets, tightening the fabric of his pants around his crotch, outlining something quite distinctly. “Yeah?” He asked, voice low and husky.

 

Izuku looked back up, over his head and at the suits on the opposite wall. He inhaled, before releasing a shaky breath, and thanked God that he no longer had his silly, school boy crush.



Chapter Text

Izuku sat the room key on the counter before following Katsuki into their living area. He had his hands in his pockets, yawning so loud it sounded like his soul was leaving his body. Izuku stilled awkwardly as Katsuki walked over to the couch and threw himself back, spreading his legs and arms across the furniture.

 

“Tired?” Izuku asked, fidgeting with the hems of his sleeves as he watched Katsuki yawn again and turn his head to address him.

 

“Guess so.” he shrugged, lifting his ass off the cushion to stick his hand behind him and pull his phone out of his back pocket. He clicked it on and groaned, lifting his free hand up to rub at his eyes. “Fuck, it’s only four-thirty.”

 

“I’d say to take a nap,” Izuku informed him, pacing over and plopping down in the loveseat opposite the couch. “But if we do, our sleep schedules will just be more fucked up than they are now.”

 

“If you went to bed now,” Katsuki told him. “You’d probably end up with a normal sleep schedule on this trip.”

 

Izuku quirked a brow. “Sorry?”

 

“You always stayed up till the early hours of the morning doing God knows what,” He explained. “I don’t think you’ve ever had a normal fuckin’ sleep schedule.”

 

Izuku bit his lip, twiddled his thumbs and looked sympathetically at his friend. “Kacchan… I haven’t done that since I left college. I go to bed at eleven, usually.”

 

“Seriously?”

 

“Yeah…”

 

Katsuki sighed again, turning his head to look up at the ceiling. He rubbed his eyes, then threw his hand dramatically off the side of the couch. He looked back at Izuku, his eyes hooded and his lips pressed thin in one of those sad scowls Izuku remembered so well. “You’ve changed a lot…” Katsuki told him.

 

Izuku continued to gnaw at his lip, not sure what to say to that. Luckily, Katsuki continued. “I remembered before I left, you didn’t know how to take care of yourself if it fucking killed you.”

 

“Kacchan…”

 

“I always had to come to your house to make you eat and sleep when your mom was working,” he reminded him. “And you’d think someone who had to grow up without butlers or maids would be a whole lot better at doing his own laundry and cooking food more complex than cup ramen.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Izuku admitted. He dropped his head to look at his lap and trace the threads of his jeans.

 

“Don’t be,” he responded, and Izuku looked back up at him with furrowed brows. He didn’t know why Katsuki would tell him not to be sorry. Afterall, this life-long struggle of his to do things right, on his own, without fucking shit up, wasn’t a fair burden to have thrown on others. Katsuki should be annoyed at it.

 

Katsuki kicked his legs off the couch and leaned towards Izuku, resting his arms on the tops of his legs. He shook his head and sighed. “Why should you be sorry about me offering to take care of you?”

 

“Cause I should’ve learned to take care of myself.”

 

Katsuki shrugged. “Sure, it feels nice to be independent,” he told him, hoisting himself up from the couch. He walked around the corner of the coffee table and let his finger hit the edge of the loveseat, trail up the back to Izuku’s hair where he let them brush once through soft curls, then he walked off towards the bedroom. “But don’t ever feel bad for lettin’ someone else take care of you, okay? I’m stealin’ the bedroom. I need to sleep somewhere other than a couch.”

 

Izuku heard the bedroom door click, exhaling a breath of air he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. What was that…

 

He lied back on the loveseat and lifted his chin so that he could look up at the white ceiling. “What the fuck?”

 

That didn’t make sense. None of that made sense. Izuku was always a hassle to take care of when they were younger. He knew Katsuki was indifferent to helping him. He didn’t hate it, didn’t like it… or that’s what he’s always assumed. Touya said, too, that he had to learn to take care of himself because his job wasn’t to cater to Izuku’s childish whims. People just don’t enjoy doing things for other people like that. Whatever Katsuki had said, it was just to make him feel better.

 

And that was nice! He was grateful that Katsuki didn’t want him thinking he was a burden, but it didn’t erase the truth. Honestly, he felt sorry that his old friend had felt the need to lie to him like that in order to spare his feelings. Maybe if he stopped being such a crybaby, it wouldn’t have ended up a problem. Maybe if…

 

Ding!

 

Izuku felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and shifted on the leather seat to pull it out.

 

 

Unknown--

 

Midoriya!! It’s Ashido! Uraraka’s been on the phone all day so she’s put me in charge of letting you know we’re having dinner tonight at the cabana restaurant by the pool! I’ll pick you and Cherry up at 6:30! {Sunglasses Emoji}

 

 

Izuku smirked, tired, but happy to know Ashido was having a good time while he stressed out on this couch, trying to figure out just what the fuck was going on in that head of his.

 

He needed a nap, really. He set his phone alarm to six-fifteen and curled up on the loveseat with his feet tucked into the flap where the cushion met the armrest, and inhaled a deep breath. He closed his eyes and waited for sleep to take him away from the noise in his head.

 

 


 

RING! RING! RING!

 

Izuku groaned, clearly annoyed at the alarm blaring in his ears like an airhorn. He pried his eyes open to punch at his phone with a finger until the ear splitting sound finally ceased.

 

He rubbed at his eyes with tight fists, letting a massive yawn pass his lips. He let his hand fall to his side and land on something soft, warm… He let his eyes adjust to being awake and looked down to see a thick, tan blanket draped over him.

 

He furrowed his brows, not remembering putting it there. He forced himself to sit up, stretching his back, and looked behind the loveseat to see the bedroom door was open. Katsuki must have come out here and thrown it on him. He smiled, grateful, but thinking he should have probably done it himself. Izuku hated the thought of Katsuki going to such lengths for him, even if it was only a blanket. He looked over to the couch then over to the kitchenette, but didn’t seen Katsuki anywhere.

 

He got up to pad over to the bedroom and peek inside. Katsuki wasn’t there either... nor was he in the adjoining bathroom. Izuku made a face, confused. He walked back into the living room and over to the kitchenette where green eyes caught sight of a discarded piece of paper he hadn’t remembered leaving there.

 

 

Had to go do something.

I’ll be back later tonight, so you don’t need to wait up.

-Kacchan.

 

Izuku smiled at it, letting his fingers trace over the delicate cursive like the sentimental sap he was. He had flashbacks to their childhood, when Katsuki liked to write and Izuku liked to watch the words spill from his friend’s pen. He would always tell Katsuki how he’d read his grocery list if he could.

 

There was a knock at the door and, not to keep anyone waiting, Izuku folded the paper up, shoved it in his back pocket, and grabbed the room key off the counter. He hurried over to the door, bare feet padding on cold marble. He peeked through the peephole, was met with an eye full of bushy pink hair, and turned the handle.

 

The moment the door cracked, Ashido barreled in, nearly throwing Izuku against the door. “It’s time for mama to get a Piña Colada! Let’s get our butts to the Cabana!” She grinned, causing Izuku to wince at a voice just as loud as the alarm that he’d woken up to. She turned on her heels, her white, halter dress puffing out as she spun towards him. “Where’s Cherry?” she asked, lifting white, heart-shaped sunglasses up to rest on wild curls.

 

“Um,” Izuku started, scratching his own curls as he smiled apologetically at her. He reached for his bulky, red shoes at the foyer, slipping them onto his feet. “He went out… I’m not sure where to. Sorry.”

 

“Oh, hunny,” she started, reaching forward to grab his arm and drag him closer to her. “Don’t worry about that boy. He’s always done whatever he felt like!” She grinned. “What day is it?”

 

“Um, Saturday I think…”

 

“But Sunday back home?” she asked, opening the door and leading Izuku out into the hall.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Oh okay, that makes sense,” she nodded, looking off down the hall. Izuku didn’t know why it made sense, and had the suspicion that he was missing something important. “Well, no worries! I’ll be your date for the night!” Then she dropped her voice, cupping a hand over her mouth, and stepping up on tiptoes to whisper in his ear. “Personally, I think I’ve got better tits than Bakugou anyways…”

 

She pulled back, a crazy smile on her face, and Izuku couldn’t help but laugh and shake his head. “Yeah,” he nodded, letting the girl guide them towards the elevator. “I won’t argue with you on that.”

 

She snickered, interlacing their arms as they reached the elevators and stepped into the first one that headed down to the lobby. “Can I tell you a secret, Midoriya?”

 

He turned his head to look down at her. She was chewing her lip, her bright eyes staring forward at the elevator door. Izuku thought her voice sounded a little tense, and was a little worried about what she’d say, but decided the nice thing to do was permit it. “Um, sure, Ashido.”

 

She sucked in a breath, her chest inflating on the inhale, which caused her breasts to look even larger in that low cut dress. She had smooth skin, too; pretty eyes-nearly glowing--soft hair, and a muscular body sculpted through her job’s physical demands. Izuku somewhat thought that if he weren’t undeniably gay, he’d be interested in a girl as kind and beautiful as her.

 

“This is the nicest thing I’ve ever gotten to experience,” she admitted, her cheeks tingeing pink. “I mean, I’m sure you expected that. I work at a strip club for fuck’s sake, so it’s not like I grew up shitting diamonds or anything...”

 

“There’s nothing wrong with working in a strip club,” Izuku assured her, thinking this was an odd thing for her to bring up, but too polite to tell her. “Besides, Kacchan works there, too, and he grew up with money.”

 

She snorted. “Yeah, but Cherry didn’t mean to get a job at Plus Ultra. He just ended up there, while I was desperate… It’s like, some people leak some photos of you and then all you’re apparently good for is strip clubs and sex work.”

 

“Ashido…”

 

“Sorry,” she told him, waving him off. “I know you probably don’t want to hear that stuff. It’s just that I wanted you to know why I’m grateful to you and your friends for letting me come on this trip. Besides Cherry, Kirishima, and my boys at the club, I don’t get a lot of chances to make friends that don’t think I’m a slut or a loser.”

 

Izuku pursed his lips, thinking hard on how to respond to that. It wasn’t often he was asked to listen to someone divulge a secret darker than the fact that they would shop at a Uniqlo once in a blue moon. He inhaled, looked back down at her and smiled. “Ashido, I’m not good at responding to things like this, but I don’t think that you working at a strip club, or having a ‘past’ or anything, makes you a slut or a loser. I don’t think anyone here thinks that. You’re a really nice girl and, honestly, I think it’s really nice for Ochako--hell, even me--to have another person around who wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth. It’s kinda grounding.”

 

“You guys weren’t born rich?” she asked, the two of them stepping out of the elevator and into the lobby. Ashido pointed off towards the massive, white marble arch to the left of the reception counter. They headed that way.

 

Izuku shook his head. “Nah,” he told her. “I was a scholarship student in High School, so I was just lucky to get here. And Ochako worked at the cafeteria in college to pay for classes. Truth is, I have a single mom and grew up in a cramped apartment, and Ochako’s parents are small-business owners who almost had to foreclose twice. We came from little, and it’s nice getting to talk to people who’re the same as us.”

 

Ashido grinned. “Well, I’m happy to be of service. Thanks for listening to my little rant.”

 

“No problem,” Izuku shrugged.  “But, if you don’t mind me asking, why’d you want to tell me that?”

 

Ashido grinned, the two of them stepping out into the massive outdoor space. There was a wide, crystal-clear pool off to the left and several children were jumping around, playing mermaid and holding cannon-ball competitions. To the right was the cabana hut where a bartender was mixing a massive array of alcoholic drinks. He seemed stressed, in disarray. Servers were preparing a large, white-linen table with over a dozen seats. Hibiscus bushes created a wall between the Ritz-Carlton amenities and the outside world. The sky was bright, a clear blue, and the sounds of laughter and lively conversation filled his ears.

 

“You’re a really good person, Midoriya,” Ashido told him. They made their way towards the Cabana. “I don’t want to bother Uraraka cause she’s so stressed, and I’m trying to be really helpful ‘cause I’ve never gotten to experience having girlfriends before, but I needed to thank someone and tell them why this means so much to me. I didn’t want to keep it to myself. Besides, Cherry trusts you a lot, so I do too.”

 

She released his arm, running off to the table to greet Uraraka, Iida, and the rest of the girls who’d shown up looking as equally put together as Ashido. Jirou had even swapped her usual black and purple for a yellow sundress.

 

As he approached, Izuku thought he even saw Tokoyami’s mouth gape when Tsuyu showed up in a long, green skirt with a hibiscus print halter to pair it.

 

Izuku grinned, glad his friends all looked happy, and stretched his smile even wider when Uraraka ran up to him and wrapped him in a firm hug. He snaked his arms around her waist, spinning her around as she squealed in glee.

 

When he put her down, she grabbed his hand and dragged him over. “You’re gonna sit by me,” she said, sitting him up near the head of the table where a special place had been set for the bride and groom. Then she quirked an eyebrow. “Is Bakugou not coming?”

 

“He had errands to run,” Ashido told her, plopping down next to him.

 

Uraraka nodded, not needing clarification. Izuku smiled at her, as she took her place beside Iida. Everyone filed into their seats. Servers began to scurry around them with platters of bread, butter, and drinks. “How was your day, Izu?” Uraraka asked, reaching for a slice of sourdough.

 

“It was good,” he told her. “I’m glad I got to see Todoroki, seeing as he’s been away on that business conference in Pari--”

 

“Sorry we’re late,” a booming, shrill voice called over the table, silencing any and all conversations. All eyes shifted towards the pool area entrance where Todoroki Touya and Himiko Toga had appeared. Todoroki Shouto and Yaoyorozu Momo came up behind them with looks of mortification on their face. Afterall, who wouldn’t be when the people who accompanied you came to a dress-casual, tropical meal dressed like they were about to go clubbing. Himiko, dressed in a short skirt and the top of a two-sizes-too-small string bikini, was giggling, letting her hands trail all over Todoroki Touya’s chest, which was bare thanks to the fact that he’d unbuttoned his sleek black dress-shirt.

 

They might have looked like total assholes, but Izuku couldn’t help but stare longingly at that rippling chest he’d spent so many nights below.

 

“We were preoccupied,”  Himiko giggled. Touya nipped at her neck and she reached down to smack his ass. They sat down in the chairs at the very end of the table, but didn’t bother to socialize. They were too enthralled in each other’s company.

 

“Jesus Christ.” Uraraka hissed, clearly not thrilled with the couple’s appearance. Izuku watched Iida sneak a hand up to the arm of her chair, and squeezed her hand in a show of comfort.

 

“Believe me, Uraraka,” Todoroki Shouto sighed, he and Yaomomo coming up to sit across from Izuku and Ashido. “If Jesus Christ were listening, they wouldn’t be here.”

 

“I’m sorry, dear,” Iida told her, a sympathetic expression on his face. “I can’t kick them out…”

 

“I’ll kick them out for you,” Todoroki groaned, grabbing a piece of bread from the center of the table and biting into it savagely. “Fuckin’ hate my brother…”

 

“Shouto!” Yaomomo gasped, hitting him on the arm. “You need to be more polite!”

 

“Why?” he asked, his expression incredulous and his mouth piled full. “He’s an asshole! He fuckin’ hurt my best friend!”

 

“That doesn’t mean--”

 

“Hey Midoriya!” A voice called from the end of the table, and all eyes shifted to the buxom girl with double buns and a vicious smile. “Where’s that slut you showed up with?”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows, his lips pressing into a thin line. He assumed she meant Katsuki, but was not thrilled with how she chose to address him. He saw Ashido tense beside him and grabbed her hand, squeezing it in reassurance. “If you mean Bakugou, he couldn’t come tonight. Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’re trying to have a conversation…”

 

Touya snorted. “Seriously?” he asked before repeating in a nasal, childish voice. “‘Now, if you’ll excuse me’... talk like a fucking man.”

 

“Back off,” Ashido snapped. She made to get up, and Izuku forced her back down. On the other hand, Uraraka stood up at the front of the table and banged her fist so forcefully that it caused her plate and utensils to shake.

 

She pointed her index finger at the couple at the end of her table. “I’m trying to enjoy my dinner. If you’re gonna be jackasses, then leave.”

 

Himiko and Todoroki watched her for a second, half impressed, half miffed, before they turned back to each other for company. They started feeding each other slices of bread, and ignored the rest of the guests. People slowly turned back to their own conversations and Izuku smiled over at his friend. “Thanks, Ochako.”

 

“No problem,” she huffed, sitting back down and taking a gulp out of the massive Sex by The Beach that a server had brought her. “Izu, let me tell you. Someone is going to lose an eye before this wedding is over.”



Chapter Text

Izuku hopped up the cobblestone path, making a game of fitting his foot perfectly on each brick he stepped on to get up to the large, ornate home. His bright yellow backpack flopped against his back as he went along his way. Cleanly trimmed bushes, a lawn that took years to cultivate into perfection, and a roundabout driveway were what surrounded a clean, white brick home with decorated windows and expensive french doors. The home itself was three stories high, large enough to have both east and west wings, and a massive entertainment area out back.

 

It was always odd to him how he could wake up in the morning in a small, two-bedroom apartment, walk three streets over to his best friend’s home, and no longer bat an eye at the remarkable difference in size and appearance. It was just natural at this point.

 

Walking up the driveway while hidden surveillance cameras watched after him was normal. Greeting the Bakugou’s gardener as he pruned rose bushes was normal. And so was hopping up onto the porch and pressing the little red button of the home’s comm-system. “Hello! It’s Midoriya!” he called in, then waited patiently with his fingers playing with the frayed sleeves of his cable-knit sweater.

 

“Midoriya, go home,” Gabby’s voice ech oed through the speaker and onto the porch. Izuku winced, knowing that this particular Bakugou maid did not like Midoriya. She sounded curt, seemingly unhappy with Izuku’s appearance. “It’s Sunday. We’re cleaning and young Bakugou is--”

 

“Oh, is that Midoriya?” Another voice appeared in the background, slowly getting louder as she approached the speaker. “ Let him in! Maybe he can get my insolent child to get the fuck out of bed.”

 

“Yes, Madam Bakugou.” There was a click of a lock, and one of the two french doors swung open to reveal a dark-haired woman in a black dress, her arms crossed, the look on her face distasteful.

 

Izuku gulped. “Good morning, Gabby.”

 

She stepped out of the way, gesturing for Izuku to cross over the threshold and into the grand foyer of the Bakugou mansion. As he passed her, she bent down to hiss. “Don’t get in the showers today, got it?”

 

Izuku winced. “I said I was sorry!”

 

“Oh, don’t mind her!” Another voice, louder and substantially more animated, approached. Izuku turned his head just in time for Katsuki’s near look-alike to wrap her arms around him and squeeze his head into her chest. A violent blush broke out across his face as he tried hopelessly to gasp for air.

 

Then she let go, grabbed his shoulders and held him at arm’s length to get a good look at him. There was a wild grin on her face, like a savage animal about to pounce on its prey. “G-good morning, Bakugou-san.”

 

“Good lord, Midoriya,” she started. “You’ve had a growth-spurt! You’re nearly as tall as I am!”

 

“Uh, yeah, I guess--”

 

“I guess when you spend six months in Milan, collaborating with Versace, you miss a lot,” she told him, shrugging.

 

Izuku, having no conceivable way to relate to any of what she just said, simply raised his hands, palms up, and shrugged in acceptance. “Guess so, Bakugou-san.”

 

She waved him off. “No matter. Come with me,” she said, grabbing his wrists and dragging him up the staircase, stopping on the first landing just long enough to switch directions and drag him up the branch that led to the east wing.

 

“Um,” Izuku began. “I can get to Kacchan’s room on my own, ma’am. I come here a lot.”

 

“Yes, I’m aware,” she told him. “But I have been home for three hours and that ungrateful little shit won’t come out to greet me!”

 

“”H-he could be sleeping?” he offered as she dragged him down the hall, passed room after room, until she stopped in front of a black door. There was a yellow ‘Hazard’ sign nailed in the center of it. Bakugou Mitsuki released Izuku’s arm, turned to look him in the eye, then nodded towards the doorknob.

 

“The little shit locked it,” she spat, reaching for the knob aggressively. Izuku was aware that the Bakugou family, save for Katsuki’s father, was extremely aggressive in all they did. There was no room for subtlety when dramatic fanfare was a viable option. So, when Katsuki’s mother started hammering on the door with a tight fist, he couldn’t help but shy away in an attempt to protect himself from the debris that would fly towards him when she eventually blew off its hinges. “Get up you little shit!”

 

There was an agonized groan on the other side of the door. “LEAVE ME ALONE! I’M TRYING TO SLEEP YOU OLD HAG!”

 

“I WILL WHEN YOU SAY HELLO TO THE PERSON WHO POPPED YOU OUT OF HER FUCKING WOMB! I LET MY LADY BITS GET FUCKED UP SO YOU COULD BE HERE NOW, GIVING ME A GODDAMN HEADACHE!”

 

Oh my god…” Izuku whispered, lifting a hand up to his face to pinch the bridge of his nose and rub. He stepped up, getting the woman’s attention. He asked her with a pleading expression to stop, and to her credit, she did, humphing as she stepped back and crossed her arms.

 

Izuku stepped up to the door, knocking lightly. He pressed his cheek to the black wood, his eyes on the door. “Kacchan, it’s me.”

 

There was no response. He sighed. “I brought homework! I’m confused on Cost-Benefit charts, so I thought you might help me?”

 

He waited a minute, let his eyes trail over to Katsuki’s mother, who was now tapping her foot impatiently. Then Izuku heard movement on the other side of the door, then the click of a lock. The door popped open a centimeter to reveal tired, hooded eyes. Izuku’s face melted into a warm smile. “Hey, Kacchan.”

 

“Hey, Deku.”

 

A cough filled their ears and both sets of eyes shifted to Bakugou-san. Katsuki rolled his eyes. “Hey, Old Hag.”

 

The woman smiled, unfolding arms. “Now, was that so fuckin’ hard, Katsuki?”

 

“Yeah, it was,” he groaned, popping the door halfway open to grab Izuku’s wrist and yank him into the recesses of his room. It caught Izuku off guard, making him stumble and fall to the hardwood floor. There was a loud bang! and Izuku looked up to see Katsuki throwing his body against the door as his mother tried to force it open.

 

“KATSUKI!”

 

“JESUS, LADY,” he groaned. “I’LL COME SAY HELLO LATER!” And as Katsuki forced the door completely shut and managed the lock, Izuku found his eyes caught on Katsuki’s rippling back muscles, and the curve of sharp shoulder blades. His skin was smooth, unmarked. Izuku wished it were the same case for him. Izuku’s plentiful covering of freckles seemed to ruin any chance of comparing to Katsuki’s beauty.

 

“What the fuck are you starin’ at?” Katsuki asked, looking down at his friend sprawled on his bedroom floor. Izuku was staring up at him  finally realizing that his mouth was hanging open like a fly trap.

 

“Er, sorry,” Izuku apologized, lifting a hand to rub at the back of his head. “Got caught off guard by you dragging me into your room.”

 

Katsuki huffed, reaching out his hand for Izuku to take ahold of it. Izuku did so without thinking, caught off guard by the strength, and found himself barreling into his friend. He held out a hand to stop the momentum, but went stiff when his palm landed against a firm chest. Katsuki stayed calm, his eyes angled down towards the top of Izuku’s head.

 

Izuku jumped back when Katsuki quirked an eyebrow,completely distancing himself from that warm body. There was a tinge of pink spread throughout Izuku’s face, and Izuku just hoped he wasn’t being weird enough to warrant an inquiry.

 

Katsuki shook his head, then stomped back over to his bed. “You’re so fuckin’ twitchy, Deku.” He flopped down onto his comforter, leaving Izuku to look around the room.

 

It was one of the smaller rooms in the large mansion, something Izuku always found peculiar. Why someone with all the resources and money in the world wanted a small bedroom, he simply couldn’t understand. It was as weird to him as the thought of even having money that he could waste frivolously.

 

Katsuki’s room was furnished with a low, dark wood bed completed with heaps of black blankets. There was an entertainment system on the far wall, a desk beside the walk-in closet, and more books stacked on shelves and on the floor than Izuku could really care to count. He loved reading as much as the next person, but this just seemed to be overkill. Why buy so many books when you could borrow them from a library? For someone who hates spending money as much as Katsuki, it was interesting that he’d waste it all away on something he could get for free.

 

“You gonna do somethin’ besides stand there?” Katsuki asked, his arm stretched over his eyes, but apparently completely aware of what Izuku was doing.

 

Izuku shrugged. “I’m waiting for you to come help me with homework,” he said, readjusting his backpack before walking over and dropping down in Katsuki’s desk chair.

 

Katsuki groaned. “Fifteen more fuckin’ minutes.”

 


 

It was early May, about halfway through their first semester of their first year. Thus, the weather was relatively warm, the sun sweltering and the thick-as-soup humidity that hung in the air. It made Izuku desperate to hop into the Bakugou family pool.

 

Unfortunately, Bakugou had a concrete grip on his arm while he looked through Izuku’s Economic Workbook. “Kacchan, please. I’ll die.”

 

“Then perish.”

 

Kacchan…” he cried. “How the fuck can you just sit out here like we’re not being baked!”

 

“Cause we’re not,” he assured him, his eyes not looking up from Izuku’s untidy chicken-scratch. He pointed at a problem. “That’s wrong. If you put a price ceiling up, there’ll be excess demand.”

 

Izuku groaned. “This doesn’t make any fuckin’ sense!”

 

“Why’d you fuckin’ pick this as your elective anyways?” Katsuki asked, knitting his brows at Izuku. “Math is not your thing.”

 

He shrugged, looking down at the table and pursed his lips. “I’m just trying to catch up to you guys. Iida’s a genius, you’re a genius, and Todoroki’s been taking extra classes since he was eight… I’m so far behind that I’m worried I’m gonna lose my scholarship.”

 

“You’re not gonna lose the goddamn scholarship,” Katsuki snapped. “You can’t fuckin’ help that your other school wasn’t caught up to our curriculum. Just fuckin’ focus and you’ll get it.”

 

“Maybe if the sun wasn’t burning me, I could!” he whined again, and Katsuki released his wrist and rolled his eyes.

 

“Make it quick,” he ordered, and Izuku’s face lit up. He hesitated, waited for his friend to yell ‘psych!’ and tie him down, forcing him to sit in the sweltering sun and do economics homework for the remainder of his school life. But when Katsuki waved him off, Izuku jumped out of his chair and jumped off the porch, only taking the time to discard his shirt before jumping into cold, clear water.

 

He waded to the bottom, trying to stay down as long as possible. He wanted to see if Katsuki would come in after him. He was aware of the fact that his friend hated showing he actually cared about people. He was as allergic to feelings as he was to bees and anything on the sales rack at Uniqlo. Sometimes, Izuku thought a little harmless push to make Katsuki admit he cared wasn’t all that bad.

 

But Katsuki didn’t come after him, and Izuku couldn’t help but be a little perturbed that his longest friend wasn’t reacting to the fact that Izuku was drowning. Well, not really, but Izuku was figuratively drowning and Katsuki wasn’t reacting in the slightest.

 

He kicked his feet on the pool floor, coming to the surface to gasp for air. He dragged himself to the pool’s edge, and hung off the side. He kicked his legs in the water and looked up at the porch to see Katsuki looking at Izuku’s notebook with fixed concentration. “Kacchan, come join!” he shouted, but Katsuki didn’t even flinch.

 

Izuku knit his brows together in confusion before heaving himself out of the water and immediately feeling a chill run down his spine. He padded across the lawn and up the porch steps, watching Katsuki flipping animatedly through the pages of his notebook.

 

The closer he got, the better he could make out the contents. He realized, regrettable and absurdly embarrassed, that Katsuki had flipped to the ends of his notebook to find the doodles he’d drawn while bored in class. It was a range of things, mainly landscapes and anatomy, but haphazard portraits of his friends were sprinkled here and there. The page that Katsuki just so happened to be on had a rather detailed profile of his face on it, which Izuku prayed his eyes would just skip over.

 

Then his best friend’s fingers trailed over the picture of Katsuki’s jawline and then up to his own, real one. Izuku released a choked sound, which caused Katsuki to look back up at him. “You drew these, nerd?”

 

“Um, uh--”

 

“Just fuckin’ spit it out.”

 

Izuku inhaled, nervous. “Um, yeah, I did,” he admitted, stepping closer and dropping down into the lawn chair beside him. “I...I only drew you ‘cause your hair is difficult and I needed to practice something challenging…”

 

Katsuki flipped to the next page, saw the different facial expressions ranging from furious, to fearful, to excited. He looked back over to Izuku. “Is this why you’re always makin’ those weird fuckin’ faces during class?”

 

“Yeah, I gue--wait, I sit behind you. How’d you know I make those faces?” he asked, watching Katsuki open his mouth in response before looking back down at the notebook with severe concentration. Izuku remained silent while his friend flipped through the remaining pages, grateful that he wasn’t looking through his other notebook, which contained a lot more drawings of… well that wasn’t important.

 

When Katsuki was done, he flipped the notebook closed and tossed it onto the table. “Those weren’t actual shit, nerd.”

 

Izuku quirked a brow. “Um, thank you?”

 

“You sure economics is really the elective you wanna take?” Katsuki asked, scooting his chair so that he was facing Izuku specifically. He kicked his legs up, letting them rest on the left arm of Izuku’s chair.

 

“What d’you mean?”

 

Katsuki shrugged. “Deku, you suck at economics. Why don’t you fuckin’ take art as an elective?”

 

Izuku snorted. “Kacchan, this is an elite school. I can’t just waste my time with art classes when I don’t understand half the things that we’re learning in our general classes.”

 

“Well, how are you supposed to do good in economics if you don’t understand anything else?” he asked. “At least with art, you’ll fuckin’ know what you’re doin’. And if you spend so much fuckin’ time in our actual classes drawin’ this shit, maybe if you had an actual fuckin’ schedule that gave you time to draw, you’d focus better in our actual classes.”

 

Izuku bit his lip and looked down at his notebook. He reached for it, flipped it open and looked at his own work. They weren’t bad, but they could be better if he got some help. For some reason, certain anatomical points just didn’t stick with him, like hands, necks, and ears. The concept was certainly attractive, taking art instead of economics, something he honestly loathed. Not to mention, Katsuki was pushing him to do it, and Katsuki didn’t support anything if he didn’t believe in it wholeheartedly.

 

“I’ll… I’ll think about it.”

 


 

“Hey Auntie,” Katsuki’s low voice hummed in his ears. Izuku felt warm, enveloped in a bed of clouds. “Are you still at work?”

 

Izuku struggled with sleep, eventually letting his eyes peek open. He was in Katsuki’s room, in his bed, which certainly surprised him. Last thing he remembered, they’d been watching a movie down in the home theatre. “No, don’t bother. I’m just calling to let you know Izuku’s at my house. He’s had dinner, and he already fell asleep, so he can just stay over for the night.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows, let his eyes rest on Katsuki sitting on the floor and leaning against the bed frame with his back to Izuku. “Auntie, I said it’s fine. He can borrow one of my uniforms and he’s already got his books.”

 

There was a another moment of silence before Katsuki nodded and hummed into the phone. “Hey, Auntie,” he finally said. “Izuku really likes art. He’s not fuckin’ shabby at it either. Convince him to take that as an elective at school.”

 

Izuku stiffened. That was weird. What started as a typical conversation between Katsuki and Izuku’s mother had turned into asking her to help him convince her son to take art classes. He hadn’t seen his best friend this insistent on anything since downright forcing Izuku to apply for the scholarship program at Yuuei Academy. His chest felt tight, knowing Katsuki wanted to support him so aggressively. Maybe he didn’t go after him in the pool, but he very clearly did care.

 

If Katsuki really had that much faith in him and his abilities, it just didn’t seem right to let all that hope go to waste. He supposed he’d try it. Tomorrow--Monday--he’d get a form filled out to switch to Art-I and see how it went, if that’s really what Katsuki wanted.

 

Katsuki put his phone down, started to turn back to the bed, and Izuku shut his eyes tight, hoping his friend didn’t realize he was awake. Katsuki sighed, shuffled, and then he heard a voice speak from above him. “G’night, Deku,” Katsuki whispered affectionately before Izuku heard bare feet pad to the door. He could see the lights dim through closed eyes. There was a soft click of the bedroom door closing and then Izuku was left alone in Katsuki’s room, in Katsuki’s bed, where he fell asleep to the comforting aroma of his best friend’s shitty cologne.

 

Really, it was awful.

 

But it lulled Izuku into a peaceful sleep nonetheless.



Chapter Text

Izuku’s alarm went off far too early for any sane person to be awake, but Iida had made an itinerary for the week preceding the wedding and Izuku was intent on following it. Day two of the fourteen day affair was to be spent at Hanauma Bay, a beach and marine conservation area . It was less than thirty minutes away from their hotel. Iida insisted on buying out the first snorkel tour, which just so happened to begin at seven-fifteen in the morning. They’d have to be ready for the tour bus to pick them up by six-thirty at the latest and Izuku had serious regrets about agreeing to it.

 

He rubbed at his tired features then threw his hand towards the nightstand to grapple with his phone and shut it off. He tossed the comforter off his body and swung his legs off the bedside. The pads of Izuku’s feet hit the cold marble fl oor and th e chill that ran up his legs, spine, and through his body was enough to render him wide awake. He ran a hand through knotted curls and got up to head for the suite’s kitchenette to get himself a glass of water.

 

He opened the bedroom door and his eyes couldn’t help but gravitate to the small entertainment area where Katsuki was sprawled across the leather couch, snoring lightly. When Izuku had come home from dinner last night, Katsuki had already been there asleep, and Izuku hadn’t wanted to wake him. Unfortunately, that meant he hadn’t had the opportunity to tell him what time he needed to be awake.

 

Katsuki grunted in his sleep and Izuku smiled warmly, padding over to the sofa. “Kacchan…” he whispered, smiling as he took in his friend’s sleeping face. He didn’t sport the hard features he had when he was awake. Katsuki didn’t budge when Izuku called, as deep asleep as ever. Izuku sighed and squatted down to eye level and tried again. “Kacchan, you gotta wake up…” He reached forward and nudged his shoulder gently.

 

Katsuki’s eyes sprung open, his pupils like pin-pricks and his brows furrowed. He jerked up and pressed his body farther into the back of the sofa. He looked tense...nervous. His chest heaved, and Izuku retracted his hand slowly, unsure of what was transpiring in front of him. He was shocked by the expression of fear on Katsuki’s face. Izuku had known him all his life and he felt concerned with the fact that he’d seen more fear on his face in a two day trip, than he’d seen in the seventeen years they’d spent together.

 

He remained squatted on the floor, looking up at Katsuki’s shocked face for the few seconds it took his friend to realize where he was and who was with him. When Katsuki finally calmed, leaning forward on the cushion, he lifted his hand to his forehead and wiped away a few beads of sweat. “...fuck.”

 

“Are you okay, Kacchan?”

 

“‘M fuckin’ fine, Deku,” he groaned, letting his fingers rub at the corners of his eyes. His voice was deep, slow and exhausted. “What time is it?”

 

“Five-forty-five,” Izuku told him, an apologetic smile stretching across his features. “I’m sorry to wake you, but we have to be out of here in an hour.”

 

“Why?” Katsuki and glared. Izuku couldn’t tell if it was because he was annoyed at being awake or annoyed at Izuku.

 

“‘Cause Iida made plans for us to go to Hanauma Bay,” Izuku told him, his voice growing quieter the longer he spoke. “I’m really sorry. I should have told you last night.”

 

“It’s fine, Deku.”

 

“It’s just that you were asleep when I got home and I really didn’t want you to be mad at me for waking you up, and--”

 

“I’m not mad.”

 

Izuku snorted, and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, okay,” he teased. “I annoyed you and you’re not mad. Sure.”

 

“You don’t annoy me.”

 

“But--”

 

Katsuki reached forward, his large hands cupping Izuku’s cheeks and squishing them together. It made Izuku’s mind stutter, his brain and mouth stalling at the sudden physical contact. Katsuki looked at him with hooded eyes and Izuku couldn’t help but gulp, both attracted and repelled by the heavy gaze. “You are not in fuckin’ trouble. You did not annoy me. I am not mad at you, and I’m grateful for you lettin’ me know. You don’t have to apologize for me getting jumpy at being woken up. Got it?”

 

“But I don’t get it.”

 

Katsuki released his face and patted the cushion beside him. “Sit the fuck down,” he ordered, and Izuku got up and followed his friend’s command, sitting down and tucking his feet beneath his legs as he leaned against the back of the sofa. He kept his eyes glued on Katsuki while he picked at a hangnail. It stung and he was sure if he looked down, he’d see it was bleeding. He wasn’t going to look though. “What don’t you get?”

 

“You flinched when I touched you,” Izuku told him, which made Katsuki scowl at himself. “And so clearly I upset you, so you should be mad. It doesn’t make sense that you’d get upset by me waking you up, then tell me not to apologize for upsetting you.”

 

Katsuki bit his lip and squared his shoulders. “That wasn’t about you, okay?”

 

“What was it about?”

 

Katsuki looked off into the distance. He still looked towards Izuku, but his eyes drifted, clearly not wanting to catch Izuku’s gaze when he spoke. Katsuki cleared his throat. “That’s not something I want to talk about… not for now, at least.”

 

Izuku understood that. There were eight years of uncharted territory between them, making honest, open communication somewhat difficult. Izuku felt open to telling him all about what he’d done since Katsuki disappeared, but he could understand if his friend didn’t feel the same way. In some regards, it was like they were strangers now, two incredibly different people than the ones they were in their youth. Izuku sighed. “Yeah, okay. Take your time.”

 

Katsuki let a smirk tug at the corner of his lip. “Thanks, Deku,” he said, letting his eyes refocus on him.

 

Izuku shrugged. “It’s… It’s hard, Kacchan. We’ve been apart for so long, so I realize there are probably things you don’t want to tell me. I just wish it didn’t feel like we’re not,” he took a large gulp of air and released a shaky breath, “like we’re not close anymore.”

 

“That’s not fuckin’ true,” he groaned, shutting his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. “I want to tell you. I just can’t. Not yet.”

 

“Sure, Kacchan,” Izuku smiled, nodding his head as he tried to blink away the tears growing in the corners of his eyes. He reached forward and patted Katsuki’s free hand. “Whatever you want!”

 

Katsuki looked at him funny, almost disbelieving Izuku’s assurance. It made Izuku feel uncertain, worried that Katsuki didn’t have faith in him. But then Katsuki smiled genuinely and nodded off towards the bathroom. “Go get ready. I’ll whip somethin’ up real fast for breakfast.”

 

“Sure!”

 


 

“Aloha, travelers!” the tour guide greeted as the group appeared on the steps of the  tour bus and dispersed to choose their seats. She had warm, dark skin and large brown eyes. There was a genuine smile on her face, not the false ones tour guides typically wore. “My name is Michaela and I’ll be your tour guide for today! As you take your seats, I will explain the itinerary!”

 

Izuku chose a window seat in the middle of the bus, and Katsuki filed in beside him, taking the aisle seat. He yawned, and Izuku yawned back.

 

“Good morning beautiful people,” a sing-song voice rang from the door of the bus before a head of wild pink hair popped into view and Ashido came barreling down the aisle. When she saw Katsuki and Izuku, she dropped her legs onto the seat in front of them and leaned on the backrest. She smiled down at them. “How are my two favorite boys?”

 

“Fuck off,” Katsuki groaned. “You only call me that when you want shit.”

 

“That ain’t true,” she argued, scrunching her nose. “I also call you that when Kirishima isn’t around to take your place.”

 

“Wow,” Katsuki laughed, shaking his head. “I can’t wait to tell your boyfriend that he’s replaceable.”

 

“Boyfriend?”

 

Ashido rounded on him, the smile on her face wider than a circus clown’s. “Yeah! Do you remember Riot from the club? We’ve been dating for six months! He’s the sweetest and he always takes me to ramen bars after work.”

 

“How romantic…” Katsuki groaned.

 

Ashido rolled her eyes. “You’re just jealous cause I stole him from you. Well, guess what Cherry? You got Midoriya now, so you don’t need Kiri anymore.”

 

“Fuck off, Pinky.” She hmph- ed, in mock annoyance--she tried so hard to hide her blooming grin--and turned around in her seat. While they’d been talking, Izuku noticed that Uraraka and Iida had gotten on the bus and taken the seat directly behind them for Uraraka to subsequently fall asleep on Iida’s shoulder.

 

Tsuyu got on with Hagakure. Then they split so that Hagakure could go sit beside her boyfriend and Tsuyu could blushingly ask Tokoyami if she could sit beside him. Jirou, Yaoyorozu and Todoroki came on next, then Shinsou who came up to Ashido’s seat and asked her kindly if he could sit there. Ashido seemed ready to burst out of her skin at the thought of making another friend and animatedly bequeathed the seat beside her.

 

The bus was nearly filled with one minute to spare before departure. There was a stomping sound at the door of the bus before a dark-haired Todoroki Touya arrived, dragging an exhausted bikini-clad Himiko behind him. She had dark shades on and a frown on her lips. As they passed Izuku and Katsuki’s seats on their way to the back, Himiko stopped and turned towards them. She dropped a finely manicured hand to Katsuki’s shoulder and squeezed it tight.

 

Izuku saw how Katsuki’s demeanor changed. His frown deepened and his eyes fixed intently to the back of the chair in front of him. That’s when the girl whispered something in his ear and patted him on the shoulder. Katsuki clenched his jaw and shut his eyes as she left. Then he looked down at his lap and started to chew at his lip. Izuku had zero clue what was happening between Himiko and Katsuki, or how they even knew each other, but he didn’t like how she made him feel.

 

Katsuki was a good person. He was rough around the edges, sarcastic, unrefined and opinionated, but Katsuki was good and he couldn’t stand seeing that girl treat him like that. It won’t slide any longer, Izuku thought.

 

Katsuki had his hands grasped in his lap, a knuckle-white grip, and so Izuku couldn’t help himself from dropping a hand on top of his and rubbing Katsuki’s skin with a thumb. Katsuki knitted his brows together and looked over to Izuku, who simply smiled. Katsuki accepted it and turned his attention back to the seat in front of him.

 

 


 

Hanauma Bay was the true definition of beauty. The landscape was fantastic, dotted with the bright pinks and purples of blooming flowers. They had exited the bus and followed their tour guide to a mismatched cobblestone overlook, high on the hills that surrounded the beach and sparkling blue waters. Izuku could see beneath its shining surface the coral reefs, the goal of their adventure.

 

“Now, please follow me to the Snorkel Shack where you will be asked to watch a short informational and procedural film and be given your snorkeling equipment. I ask that you pay close attention because the conservation of this area is very important to our community,” Michaela told them. “This way!” and she guided them over to a large shack nestled beneath looming palm trees.

 

There was a desk off to the left of it, shelves of gear towering behind it. Two thirds of the room were filled with benches sat in front of a flat screen TV. They filed over to them, sitting down. Ashido and Shinsou sat beside them, Ashido talking animatedly about her friends back at the club. “Shinsou, I think you should really let me give you Kaminari’s number. He’s a DJ at the club, and you’re totally his type. What are your thoughts about blonds?”

 

Ochako sat to the right, guided by Iida who seemed to be the only one of the pair to be awake and functioning. “Sweetheart, you have to watch the video.”

 

“Can’t…” she told him, her eyes closed as she dropped her head back onto his shoulder. “Daenerys needs me to watch the dragons…”

 

Iida beamed down at her and whispered soothingly. “That sounds like an important job. You do that and I’ll tell you what you missed later.”

 

She smiled in her sleep. “Thank you, Jon Snow.”

 

Izuku smiled at his friends, then up at Katsuki, who was watching the black screen with fixed concentration. When he didn’t return Izuku’s glance, Izuku looked around the room until the TV turned on and a Polynesian man began to explain the guidelines of the Bay.

 

Izuku tried to watch--really, he did--but he heard giggling from behind him. He couldn’t help but look over his shoulder to see something that made his heart fall into his stomach with an ear splitting smash!

 

Touya was nuzzling into Himiko’s neck, a wide grin on his face as he wrapped her in his strong, tan arms. She giggled and tried to pry herself away, but he retaliated by peppering light kisses over her cheeks, her nose, her forehead and temples. Izuku was immediately struck with memories of Touya doing that to him as they watched movies in bed, or out running errands when the urge to touch Izuku just became too much for Touya to bare. Izuku missed it.

 

Izuku saw Katsuki’s muscular arm wrap around his shoulders out of the corner of his vision and jerked his head towards his friend, who was still staring idly at the television in front of them. “Don’t pay attention to them, Deku. He’s not worth your fuckin’ time.”

 

Izuku hunched under the weight of Katsuki’s arm and looked at the stone floor beneath them. “It’s hard not to.”

 

“Then let’s focus on somethin’ else,” he told him. “You haven’t told me shit about what you do now. You know I’m a fuckin’ stripper. So what do you do? You still an artist like we planned?”

 

“Head of advertisement at Iida’s company,” Izuku muttered. “Art doesn’t pay enough to keep you going…” He knew the answer was disappointing, that Katsuki would be disappointed. He knew Katsuki loved his art and, growing up, he’d loved to do it so that Katsuki would smirk and praise him. He liked Katsuki’s praise.

 

Katsuki sighed, finally turning his attention from the television to fix those cherry-red eyes on him. Oh, so that’s why they call him cherry , Izuku thought.

 

“That’s too bad, Deku,” Katsuki said. “You’re really talented.”

 

Izuku’s cheeks burned from the compliment, his pulse pounding like a drum against his ears and his heart. As children, Katsuki’s compliments were always hidden in sarcasm or insults, not as outright as they are now. He wanted to cower and hide the obvious flush from his friend, but knew that hiding would only make the embarrassment worse. So when Katsuki quirked a brow at him and tilted his head, Izuku thought his life was over.

 

“Deku, are you already sunburnt?”

 

 


 

When the video had finished, they were fitted for their snorkels, flippers, and goggles accordingly, then barreled across the cobblestone deck and down a massive expanse of stairs. The stone steps went from the top of the green mountains that surrounded the bay, all the way to the white sand beaches. As Izuku slowly walked down them, he counted into the hundreds.

 

Most of his friends hardly waited to take in the beauty of their surroundings as they skipped the stairs two by two and landed on the sand. They forced their gear on and ran for the ocean, screaming and squealing, excited for the day’s adventures. Izuku trailed behind, inhaling the salt of the ocean and feeling the cool breeze on the back of his neck and on his bare, muscled chest.

 

“So, this is a lot different than the ocean at home, huh?” Katsuki asked him as they hit the sand and walked towards their friends discarded things to set their own bags down and put on their equipment.

 

Izuku nodded. “I’ve never seen an ocean so blue,” he told him. “They’re bluer than California’s coast, too.”

 

“You’ve been to California?” Katsuki pulled off his shirt and Izuku tried hard not to get lost in the ripple of muscle gleaming beneath the early morning sun. They easily rivaled Touya’s, if not beating them entirely. Izuku truly could not comprehend how well his friend had filled out since high school.

 

“Um, yeah,” he answered, finally catching his voice. “I go on business trips a lot: Europe, United States, Korea, China…”

 

Katsuki nodded, pulling on his goggles before looking seriously at Izuku. Although, Izuku could hardly take him seriously with those bulky things hiding half his handsome features. “I’ve missed a lot..” He sighed, shaking his head before turning and heading for the water. He motioned for Izuku to follow him. “C’mon, Deku. Let’s look at fish and shit.”

 

“I’ll be there soon,” he told Katsuki, waving him forward. “You go on ahead.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Katsuki shrugged and jogged off towards the water, wading up to his waist before breaking out into a freestyle swim. Izuku sat down on the sand and let his hands trail through the sand as he looked at his surroundings and took in the beauty. He’d been able to travel for work, but never to places so tropical and relaxing. It was always cities, always skyscrapers and busy streets, and never shining beaches surrounded by blooming summer foliage. He couldn’t help but tilt his chin up and smile at the light blue sky above him and think to himself that things would be okay.

 

Slowly, surely, he felt that he would figure out where he and Katsuki’s relationship stood, and whether their past friendship had stayed strong into the present day. He was positive that the pain of losing Touya would dissipate and if it were meant to be, he’d come back. He was sure this trip would be as exceptional as he hoped it would be and that all would be fine in the end.

 

He heard Katsuki bark, and dropped his gaze from the sky to the scene of Ashido and Todoroki splashing his old friend. Katsuki smirked before going on the offensive and sending a spurt of water their way.

 

Izuku smiled to himself.



Chapter Text

Izuku didn’t move until the wind stopped distracting him from the sun’s sweltering rays and his shoulders started to turn red. He didn’t want to move. He liked sitting on the beach with his fingers dug deep in the sand watching his friends laugh and scream, swimming about in their snorkel gear. From afar, it looked as though Katsuki was actively trying to escape Ashido and her new found best friend, Shinsou Hitoshi, as they splashed him violently. Iida and Uraraka were bobbing up and down in the water, alternating between watching the coral reefs beneath them and coming back up to adjust their snorkels so that they could peck kisses on each other’s faces. He wasn’t sure where Todoroki and Yaoyorozu went off to, but he could see Touya and Himiko close to the shore, sitting in the tide and laughing.

 

Izuku felt a pang in his gut, as well as the steadily increasing burn of his shoulders, and decided he needed to do something. He stretched his neck from left to right, pulled his hands out of the sand and reached for the flippers and snorkel resting beside him. Once the goggles were suctioned to his face and the bulky flippers weighed down his feet, he awkwardly hoisted himself up and waddled over to the tide.

 

He looked down as the waves rushed over his flippers, the water the clearest blue he’d ever seen. He smiled and popped the breathing tube in his mouth before wading farther into the ocean. He dove down, breaking out into a freestyle swim while his head bobbed in the water, looking down at the pretty purple coral and the technicolor fish that waded between them, disappearing into anemones and popping out of rock crevices. A school of angelfish passed beneath him and he gasped at the beauty, his mouth opening wide and gulping in water. It caught him off guard and he flailed, breaking the water’s surface to cough and hack the water out of his throat.

 

“Yo, Deku,” Katsuki yelled from his left and Izuku jerked his head in his direction, catching a smirking face and a shock of blond hair in his foggy goggles. Izuku still hacked as he pulled the goggles up to his forehead and smiled as Katsuki waded over to him, Mina and Shinsou on his tail. They seemed to have relaxed on the splashing front, but Katsuki kept looking back at them warily.

 

When he made it to Izuku’s side, he touched gently on the ocean’s floor, sidestepping any of the coral and wildlife surrounding them. He stood much taller than Izuku, who was kicking his feet vigorously to keep himself above water. “Glad you finally fuckin’ decided to join us!” He bumped into Izuku, who responded with a gentle smile.

 

“Sorry,” he apologized, eyebrows furrowed. “I was enjoying the sun.”

 

Katsuki shook his head, his sopping blond hair flying about his head, flinging saltwater droplets onto the people who surrounded him. Then he tossed a hand through his locks, slicking it back against his head and, Christ, the way his arms rippled with muscle when he did it almost made Izuku sink back beneath the surface. “Stop apologizin’ for shit, Deku. It’s a goddamn vacation!” He grabbed Izuku’s face in his palms and squished his cheeks together. “Do what makes you happy.”

 

“Um, yeah ,” Izuku garbled, reaching out and pulling Katsuki’s rough hands from his face. “I’ll try my best.”

 

“Good, ‘cause--” Ashido jumped onto Bakugou’s back and snaked her arms--tinged pink in the sun--around his neck. He groaned and growled, but she popped her head over his shoulder and nuzzled against his cheek.

 

“Baby, why’d you leave us?”

 

“Fuck off , Pinky,” he snapped, shooting a glare back at her. Izuku noticed that Katsuki wasn’t holding her up at all. The girl was doing it all on her own, strong arms around his neck and thick, muscular thighs wrapped tight around Katsuki slim, smooth, tight waist.

 

Izuku shook his head, wet curls flopping around his forehead. When he successfully pulled Katsuki’s body from the forefront of his mind, Izuku focused on Ashido’s pouting lower lip and the fact that Shinsou had waded up beside Izuku. “How you doin’, Midoriya?”

 

Izuku smiled back at him and nodded. “Fine, thanks. How about you?”

 

He shrugged. “Seems like I’m about to get a date when we get back to Tokyo. Ashido’s trying to set me up.”

 

“Yeah!” She squealed. “I’m gonna get him and Kami together,” she told Izuku before jerking back to Katsuki. “Don’t you think they’d be good together? Yellow and purple is a good color scheme.”

 

Izuku watched Katsuki’s face contort into an expression of pain as he rounded on Shinsou. “I’m tellin’ you now dude, run.”

 

“Shut up, Cherry,” Ashido laughed. “You love us!”

 

“I’m stuck with you, ” he countered. “You’re like a terminal disease!”

 

Ashido scrunched her nose, hopping off Katsuki’s back and moving closer to Shinsou. “Fine, Cherry, be that way. I’m gonna go hang out with someone who appreciates me!” She looped her arm around Shinsou’s and guided him in the opposite direction. Katsuki rolled his eyes and turned back to Izuku.

 

“Is… is she okay?” Izuku wasn’t sure he completely understood the science behind Katsuki and Ashido’s relationship, and what counted as ‘going too far’, but he didn’t think he’d enjoy being called a terminal disease.

 

“Huh? Oh yeah, don’t worry about that, Deku,” Katsuki assured him, dropping a hand on his damp, freckled shoulder. “It’s how we are. Kaminari is dunce face, Sero’s just a dumbass, Kirishima has ugly fuckin’ hair, Ashido attaches herself to you like a tumor, and I’m…” he grumbled to himself, lowering his voice. “Sparky sparky boom man...”

 

“Oh…”

 

Katsuki quirked an eyebrow. “What?”

 

Izuku jerked, shook his head and let loose curls fly about his forehead. “Nothing! It’s fine.”

 

“Obviously not.”

 

Izuku chewed his lip. “It’s just… I think you should be a bit nicer to her, okay?” He glanced back to the shore to see Himiko and Touya splashing each other and laughing. The continuous tug at his heartstrings only got stronger. “It’s not fun being a burden…”

 

“Hey,” Katsuki sounded stern, and Izuku would have turned back to look at him if Katsuki didn’t beat him to it. He brushed a hand against Izuku’s cheek and guided his eyes back to him. Izuku noticed how sincere he looked, his brows knit in obvious concern. “You’re not a burden. You’ve never been a burden.”

 

Izuku smirked. “Thanks, Kacchan. It’s alright.”

 

“Deku, I--“

 

AHHHHHHH!” The scream spilled from Izuku’s throat before he could bother registering it. Without warning, sharp pain cut into his left side, searing his flesh from his mid-torso down to his calf.He couldn’t stop his knees from buckling under him. Izuku splashed down beneath the surface as he thrashed about, gulping water down his throat every time he gasped or screamed. It entered his lungs, forcing his remaining breath out of his mouth and into little bubbles that floated to the water’s surface.

 

“Deku!” He heard a muffled scream echo from above, but he could hardly pay attention. It felt like something was attempting to claw its way out of his body, the agonizing pain itching and scratching at his side. Strong hands grabbed at his forearms, hoisting him up and out of the water. He broke the surface with a gasp, coughing and hacking up the water from his lungs. “Deku! Deku, what happened?”

 

He couldn’t answer, his shaking hand reaching back beneath the water to press again his torso, subsequently creating a spasm that wracked his body and made his back arch. He screamed again, blood curdling. He didn’t see his friends’ eyes all dart to his crippled figure or notice Katsuki lift him completely out of the water and cradle him against his chest as he trudged through the tide towards the shore.

 

“Deku, c’mon buddy,” Katsuki cooed, looking down at Izuku as he dropped his head against his bare chest and heaved heavy sobs.

 

“H-hurts…”

 

“What hurts?” he pressed, his grip on Izuku tightening.

 

“Izu!” Someone called from behind them, but Izuku squeezed his eyes shut and focused on not giving into the urge to tear his flesh from his body. “Oh, Izu! What happened?” she asked.

 

“Beat it, round face!” Katsuki barked. “He’s in pain!”

 

“Midoriya! Midoriya what is afflicting you!” Another voice chimed in.

 

“Honey, you okay?” Asked another.

 

“The void is calling him…”

 

“All of you shut the fuck up,” Katsuki growled. “Don’t fucking crowd him! He’s in pain!”

 

Next thing Izuku knew, his back was against the sand, still cool from the early morning. Immediately, he curled into the fetal position on the side that didn’t feel like it had been bathed in hellfire.

 

He heard Katsuki suck in a breath. “Shit!”

 

“Oh my god, what happened?” A girl asked—he thought it was Uraraka. “I-I’m gonna go get a lifeguard!”

 

Someone’s fingers lightly grazed his flesh and he arched his back, whimpering at the pain that shot up his side.

 

Then there was a mocking laugh. “You guys can’t possibly be believing this shit.”

 

“Shut up, Touya.”

 

“Oh, c’mon! He’s faking!” he barked. “He always does this when he wants some fucking attention!”

 

“How did he ever love you?”

 

“Still does sweetie,” he joked. “But I just can’t keep a relationship with an attention whore.”

 

The fingers retracted from his flesh in the same breath Katsuki started shouting. “STOP FUCKING TALKING ABOUT HIM YOU GODDAMN SHITSTAIN! I SWEAR TO GOD I’M GONNA KNOCK OUT YOUR TEETH, GRIND THEM INTO DUST, AND MAKE YOU SNORT IT, YOU MOTHERFUCKING--“

 

“What’s going on here?” A new voice chimed in, followed by Uraraka’s exhausted panting.

 

“He’s...He’s--“

 

“Everyone back up!” the man said. There was a shuffling of sand by Izuku’s ear, then the man sucked in a breath.

 

“What is the issue, sir?” Iida pressed.

 

“The welts are consistent with Box Jellyfish Burns.” His voice sounded strained. “They typically come into the Bay near the full moon.”

 

“Dear God! Midoriya,” Iida whined. “Please tell me you bought travel insurance!

 

“That won’t matter,” the lifeguard told them. “The fact that he isn’t already dead is a good sign. If it were a deadly subspecies, he’d be gone in minutes. But he’s gotten through that and there isn’t an antidote or anything. He’s gonna have to just struggle through the pain.”

 

“WHAT?” Katsuki snapped. “LOOK AT HIM! HE’S SUFFERING! HE NEEDS FUCKING HELP!”

 

“Sir, there’s nothing to do. You could pour some vinegar on it. It’s what locals do, but it’s not a cure all. He just needs some rest and heavy pain meds.”

 

Izuku could practically hear Katsuki’s nostrils flare as the sand sprayed when the other stomped off. Someone called after him, but that’s all he heard. He couldn’t open his eyes, too focused on breathing through the mounting pain. In the back of his mind, though, Izuku wondered where Katsuki went. He wanted him to be back beside him, whispering soothing words in his ear.

 

Instead, he heard Himiko’s shrill complaints. “Bakugou, what the fuck are you doing? YOU DO NOT GO THROUGH A LADY’S BAGS!”

 

“WHERE ARE THE GODDAMN PILLS, HIMIKO?”

 

She sputtered. “W-What are you…” she giggles nervously. “I don’t know what he’s talking about…”

 

“DON'T PLAY DUMB, BITCH,” he snapped. “YOU'RE TELLING ME YOU'RE FUCKING SOBER ALL OF A SUDDEN?”

 

“Hey, that’s not fair! Those are prescription!”

 

“Bullshit!” he barked before Izuku heard the shuffling of feet against sand once more. A few more moments passed and he felt cool hands press against his cheeks. He sucked in a breath.

 

“Hey,” Katsuki cooed in his ear. “Can you open your eyes for me, Deku?”

 

Izuku whined, shoving his face deeper in the sand.

 

“No, no, don’t do that,” he told him, rubbing a thumb against his cheekbone. “I have something that’s gonna make you feel better. C’mon.”

 

His voice was uncharacteristically sweet, like milk and honey. The pain burned across his flesh, but Izuku sucked in another breath and pried his eyes open until he could peer through mere slits. The first thing he saw was the halo of gold wrapped around Kats uki’s blond he ad, and then it was the furrow of his eyebrows, his eyes fixed in a worried expression and his lips pressed into a tight smile. “Good boy,” he praised.

 

Izuku tried to twitch his lip into a smile, but his eyes burned and he could feel the prickling of tears in their corners.

 

“Look, Deku.” Katsuki shook an orange plastic container, the contents shaking inside. He popped off the white lid and poured two white pills into his palm. “This is gonna get you real fuckin’ loopy. You won’t even feel the pain, okay?”

 

Katsuki dropped the container and pressed two pills between his thumb and index. He guided it up to Izuku’s mouth. Izuku slowly parted his lips and Katsuki pressed the pills upon his tongue. His fingers tasted salty from the ocean, distracting him from the bitter drugs.

 

Then there was suddenly a water bottle pressed to his lips and Katsuki was helping him drink. “Good, Deku… you’re gonna be fuckin’ fine!”

 

“God…” Uraraka whined. Izuku could see her now, eyes red and worried. She dropped to the sand beside Katsuki and Izuku tried smiling to reassure her. “You okay Izu? How’d it happen?”

 

Izuku inhaled a deep breath and shook his head. “Don’t know… I just… all of a sudden… sharp pain…”

 

“Well, I can tell ya it looks just as bad as it probably feels,” Katsuki assured him, glancing down Izuku’s body.

 

Izuku inhaled and slowly turned his head to look down his side. Dark, reddish purple lines criss-crossed his leg and torso in streaks of thick lumps. It was as bad as it looked. Izuku lifted a shaking hand to brush against a particularly nasty looking one, and screamed in agony the moment his digits made contact with his flesh.

 

“Shhh, Deku,” Katsuki cooed, dropping a hand into Izuku’s hair and scratching at his scalp in a soothing motion. “You’re gonna be fine.”

 

“Bakugou, when are the pills gonna kick in?” Todoroki asked, directly behind him.

 

“Don’t know. Never used them.”

 

“Well, what was it at least?” Ochako pressed, glancing off towards Himiko who was snatching up her pill bottle and stomping off down the beach. Touya didn’t even spare her a glance.

 

Katsuki smirked. “Just somethin’ to take the edge off.”

 

“Oh…”

 

“Hey, round face,” Katsuki started, turning to look at the worried bride sitting beside him on the shore. “Is it cool if I take him back to the hotel? He needs to fuckin’ rest outside of the sun.”

 

“Oh, um…” She bit her lip, contemplating the answer. Izuku watched her contentedly, as if he’d just seen her for the first time. Her cheek looked so smooth. He wanted to reach out and touch it.

 

It was at that moment he started to think the pain was affecting him mentally. It was that, or the pills Katsuki gave him were extremely quick. Maybe it was a combination of the two.

 

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Touya whined, spurring Izuku from his musings. “He’s fine! Just give him a bandaid and he’ll get over it!”

 

Izuku’s heart plunged into his stomach and he shoved his face into the sand. He heard Ochako humph. “Go ahead and take him, Bakugou.”

 

“Hear that, Deku?” Katsuki asked and Izuku felt Katsuki’s fingers leave his hair. “I’m takin’ you home.”

 

“Bakugou! I will call you both an Uber,” Iida assured him. “May I be of service and assist you carrying him up the stairs to the Bay entrance?”

 

One of Katsuki’s hands slipped beneath his knees while the other snaked under the healthy side of his torso to press against his bare back. “No need,” Katsuki grunted, hoisting Izuku up into his arms and getting to his feet.

 

The sudden movement made the jellyfish sting sear, his nerves contracting in a panic at the contact. He gasped, on the verge of screaming as Katsuki walked off with him in his arms. Izuku pressed his heavy head to his best friend’s chest and whimpered.

 

“Don’t worry, Deku. I’m gonna take care of you.”



Chapter Text

“Yeah, he’s just in here.” The bedroom door clicked open and Izuku shifted under the covers. The noise disrupted his sleep, stirring him from unconsciousness and pulling him unwillingly into the land of the living. “The pills should be wearin’ off soon, so you can talk to him then.”

 

It was Katsuki’s deep voice that was quickly spurring him on. Izuku rubbed his cheek His eyelids felt heavy. His limbs barely moved except for the steady throbbing and contracting of the muscles on his left side. He wasn’t sure what that was from.

 

In the end, he closed his eyes and buried his face deeper into the mattress. He stayed there, unaware of the world outside the confines of his comforter, until he felt a dip in the mattress and the comforter was slowly lifted off his head. He clenched his eyes tighter, groaned, but the thick, coarse fingers were raking through his curls and he couldn’t help but lean into the touch. The fingers trailed down his scalp, then rubbed at the nape of his neck. A thumb rubbed against his cheek and he hummed.

 

“You awake, Deku?”

 

Izuku pried an eye open and shifted his head to look up at the man above him, his face set in an unexpectedly warm expression. There was a slight curve to his brow that hinted at concern and the twitch of a weak smile in the corner of his lip made him seem softer. “I can’t move my body.”

 

“Like, actually?”

 

Izuku grunted. “It’s heavy.”

 

Bakugou snorted. “You’re just groggy from the drugs. It’ll wear off fast. Round face is here to see you. I’ll make some fuckin’ food while you guys talk.”

 

“You don’t gotta…” Izuku mumbled into a mattress. “I don’t want to be a bother.”

 

Bakugou sighed and shook his head. He ran his hand through Izuku’s hair one last time. “You’re never a bother, Izuku,” he told him. His hand left Izuku’s scalp and he lifted himself off the bed and walked out the bedroom door. Izuku’s eyes followed after him until they hit Uraraka, standing in the center of the room with her face contorted into a weary expression.

 

“Izu,” She kneeled on the floor beside his bed so that she could rest her head on the mattress beside Izuku’s. “I was so worried.”

 

He furrowed his brows. “Why would you be worried?”

 

She blanched. “Izuku… you were stung by a Box Jellyfish! Do you… do you really not remember?”

 

He racked his brain, thought hard, and slowly the recollection of the day’s events replayed in his mind. He recalled the burning of his side, falling back into the ocean and flailing beneath the waves. Then he was in Katsuki’s arms, being carried to the shore and fed mystery medication as he cried in the foetal position on the sand. He turned beat red at the recollection of Touya’s comments on how dramatic and attention seeking he was. He felt his embarrassment verge on tears, only to then be reminded of the shouting match that Katsuki championed in his favor, defending him. Then Izuku remembered the sweet cooing and soft brushing of Katsuki’s hand on his cheek, his childhood best friend doting and caring for him.

 

“I remember,” he muttered.

 

“We were all really worried about you, Izu. If it weren’t for Bakugou--Izuku! Why are you crying?”

 

Izuku sniffled against the sheets, a tear falling down the curve of his cheek. “He- he- he really doesn’t want me anymore,” He sobbed.

 

“Who?”

 

“T-touya…”

 

“Oh, honey,” Uraraka cooed, getting up and sitting on the edge of the bed to run her hands through Izuku’s hair and shush his sobs. “It’s gonna be okay.”

 

“N-no it’s n-not,” he cried. “I-I d-don’t know what to d-do! Ocha, I l-love him! I’ve- I’ve tried so hard! I’ve tried e-everything!”

 

“Shh, sweetie, shhh,” she quieted him. “Sometimes, we blame ourselves for not being enough, but in reality it’s just that people don’t appreciate what we do for them. Izuku, it was never you.”

 

“I-it has to be, Ocha,” he argued, scooting up on the bed to drop his head in her lap and sob onto her skirt. “I had to have done something! H-he was s-so loving before.”

 

“That’s when he didn’t realize he had you,” she told him. “Izuku, you’re the warmest, most loving person I know… and he took advantage of you. It’s not your fault that he never realized how much of an incredible person you are.”

 

Her hand rubbed at his temples, subduing the growing pain in his head. Izuku closes his eyes and reveled in it. “What if I’m just… maybe I can’t be loved…”

 

“Izuku, what are you talking about?”

 

“C’mon, Ocha,” he laughed through the tears. “The first time I loved someone… they disappeared without telling me. They abandoned me. Then I give Touya  a chance and he loved me! H-he took care of me… and then I was selfish! I took advantage of his kindness and he retaliated cause I acted too entitled to it.”

 

“Izuku, you are entitled to it! When someone loves you, they take care of you! They don’t make you feel guilty about it!” she told him. “And I’ve known you for years! You’ve always been loving and considerate of him, and he’s given you nothing in return. Love is partnership and he treated it like ownership.”

 

“I just… I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m lost.”

 

Uraraka sighed. “Y’know, I know you think you don’t deserve love, and you think you have validation in that because the two people you cared about left you,” she started. “But from what I’ve seen, Bakugou really cares about you. If he left, are you sure it’s because he didn’t care about you?”

 

“W-what do you mean?” Izuku pressed, the tears slowing as he blinked his eyes open and looked up at his friend’s face.

 

“Himiko slapped him,” Uraraka explained. “Then when you were stung, he knew she’d have pills on her. She went to the bathroom later that day and I… well, I couldn’t help myself. I peeked in her bag and--Izuku, those pills were Oxycodone! That’s, like, a hard drug! People crush those up and snort them to get high!”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow. “What are you saying?”

 

“I’m saying that maybe something happened to him,” Uraraka admitted. “Maybe he left because something bad happened. I don’t think he meant to abandon you.”

 

Izuku looked away from her face, pressing his lips thin and furrowing his brows as he looked over at the bedroom door. Katsuki had shut it behind him when he left. Izuku thought of everything he’d seen on this trip. He knew that Katsuki was a titan, a god among men and he never flinched at anyone who approached him with bad intent, but the way he squeezed Izuku when Himiko approached them the first night was new. Katsuki froze when Himiko spoke to him on the bus, too. Then there was the fact that Katsuki worked at a stripclub, remained out of sight from his parents and the paparazzi for eight years, and hadn’t drunk for three. Izuku could definitely try and infer some things, but he didn’t want to pry into Katsuki’s life right now.

 

Katsuki didn’t want that.

 

“You should have seen him at the bay,” Uraraka told him, “when you were curled up on the beach. You couldn’t see him cause your eyes were closed, but he looked scared . His eyes were looking everywhere and his hands were shaking. Then when Touya called you… well, I’ve never seen anyone so quick to defend someone. He looked like he was going to tear him apart on your behalf. I know you’re unsure of his presence, but, Izuku, he cares more about you than you seem to understand.”

 

Izuku turned his head back to her, looking up into her worried, loving expression.  “He- he can’t.”

 

“What do you mean he can’t?”

 

“Well, he’s… he’s Kacchan. He’s not- I mean, he doesn’t-” Izuku shut his eyes and focused on steadying his breathing. When he spoke again, his voice didn’t waver. “Kacchan can’t love me like that. He just- He can’t.”

 

Ochako rolled her eyes and sighed. “Even if that were true, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve platonic love either. Friends are just as important as lovers, and I think that if Bakugou doesn’t like you--which I totally think he does--he at least loves you enough to fret and care for you. Don’t discount that.”

 

She was right, he knew, but he didn’t want to think of that or any miniscule possibility that the boy he pined for in high school would harbor any feelings other than the fleeting friendship they were holding onto after an eight year separation. For now, it was just nice knowing he had a chance at rekindling that powerful bond they held as adolescents. Katsuki didn’t like him like that, but he was his friend.

 

As the dawning realization came crashing down upon him that he really didn’t mean anything to the old flame he offered six years of his life to, he could only think of improving his relationship with Katsuki. Izuku believed that if he could work on rekindling that, the full weight of the situation he was in wouldn’t completely immobilize him.

 

There was a knock at the door and Ochako shouted permission to enter. The doorknob twisted, clicked open, and Katsuki peaked through the door crack. “I got food.” He squeezed himself into the room, a steaming bowl in one hand a glass of water in the other.

 

Ochako smiled warmly at him, pushing Izuku off her so she could get up from the bed. “Thank you again for taking care of him, Bakugou. I’ll leave you two alone now. Iida’s wanted to spend some alone time together since everything has been group activities and, well, I don’t wanna keep him waiting.”

 

“For fuck’s sake, Round Face,” Katsuki groaned, scrunching his nose in disgust. “I don’t wanna know what you and Four-Eyes get to in your spare time.”

 

She smirked at him, waving him off as she walked for the bedroom door. “Not my fault you’re not getting any.”

 

He snorted. “Fuck off.”

 

“That is exactly what I’m doing,” she promised, stepping out the door. She peaked her head back in one last time. “Izu, I’ll text you tomorrow. Get some rest! Also, I’m freeing you from Man of Honor duties for the next few days. You boys have fun and relax and Bakugou, make sure Izuku doesn’t overdo it. Love you, Izu! Goodnight!”

 

She disappeared behind the door and a moment later, they heard the front door of their suite click shut. Katsuki turned back to look at Izuku, who was situating himself up on the bed, back against the headboard. Izuku was incredibly aware of Katsuki’s presence: the way he shifted on his feet, gazed over him, and said a thousand things with his eyes that Izuku couldn’t comprehend.

 

A moment later, Katsuki sighed to himself and approached the bed, sitting the glass on the nightstand and holding out the bowl for a now-sitting Izuku to take. “I made you ramen,” he told him. “It’s instant, so it’s not as great as back home, but I figured it’ll do.”

 

Izuku looked down at the bowl, then back up to the unreadable expression on Katsuki’s face and his averted eyes. Izuku smiled softly and took the bowl. “Thanks, Kacchan.”

 

He took makeshift, wooden chopsticks Katsuki gave him and took a bite. He hissed. “It’s spicy.”

 

Bakugou smirked and moved to sit beside Izuku on the other end of the bed. “Of course it is,” he bragged, crossing his legs on the messy  comforter. “Would you expect any less of me?”

 

Izuku took another bite, answering his friend with his mouth stuffed full. “Of course not.”

 

“That’s what I thought,” he confirmed, then went silent as he watched his friend eat his meal. Izuku didn’t even register the eyes that followed the moving of his lips and the bobbing of his throat as he alternated between bites of spicy ramen and gulps of ice-cold water.

 

“God, I was starving,” Izuku laughed, wiping his mouth with his forearm when he finished the bowl. He reached over to set it on the nightstand. He didn’t expect a spasm to shoot up his arm and make his hand jerk. He lost control of his fingers  and the bowl went flying. Izuku froze, time slowing as the bowl fell to the hardwood floor and splintered into dozens of fragmented pieces.

 

Izuku’s heart beat out of his chest as he jerked his head between the shattered bowl, his twitching hand, and Katsuki’s unreadable expression. “Kacchan, I’m so sorry!” he assured the other as Katsuki climbed up from the bed and around the edge to get to the debris. “I-I don’t know what happened! My hand just-”

 

“-Deku, relax,” he told him, looking up as he picked up the bigger shards of ceramic. “I read up on what to do for your jellyfish burn while you were asleep, and it said your muscles might be a little spazzy for a few days while they heal from the venom. Don’t apologize for something your body can’t help.”

 

“But-”

 

“I’ll give you some more pain meds to help you sleep tonight and help your body relax,” he assured him, brushing the smaller shards into a small pile away from the nightstand. He got up out of his squat, brushed his hands against his sweats, and went back to sit on his side of the bed.

 

Katsuki’s talk about the pain meds and taking some so that he’d sleep that night got Izuku curious about how much time had elapsed since the bay. “How long was I out, anyways?”

 

“Mmmm, little over twelve hours.” Katsuki leaned back against the headboard and crossed his arms over his chest, looking over at his friend. “You were out like a light.”

 

Izuku blinked, surprised. He turned his gaze to the window and only then realized the  setting sun. He looked back to Katsuki. “Damn, how many pills did you give me?”

 

“Two. Only two.” Katsuki said that with purpose and severity, clearly articulating his point. “And you will not have more than that. The shit I gave you is addictive and I don’t want to be the reason you get dependent on it.”

 

Izuku hesitated, slightly taken aback by the edge in Katsuki’s voice and how he responded to Izuku’s inquiry.

 

“Oh, um, okay.” Izuku’s curious disposition made him want to ask more about the drug and Katsuki’s history with it. He was almost positive that he’d heard Katsuki say he never used it during the early moments after his jellyfish attack, but he wasn’t sure it was true. Afterall, he seemed to have strong feelings against the pills.

 

Katsuki groaned. “What are you thinkin’ about, Deku? You look like you’re about to shit yourself.”

 

Izuku chewed his lip and shook his head as he stared down at the comforter. “Nothing! I just- um, I want to, um, thank you… for helping me.”

 

He looked from the bed to Katsuki, who had his brows knit in obvious confusion. “Why are you thanking me for that? Of course I’d help you.”

 

Izuku shrugged. He curled in on himself and thought about how apparent it now was that certain people really didn’t concern themselves over his well being. He had been crying and screaming on the sand, red-hot pain searing his side, and Touya didn’t even move a muscle. Tears verged on breaking out the corners of his eyes. “I-it’s just nice knowing you care about me.”

 

Fuck, Deku,” He sighed, and then the bed was shifting. The comforter rustled as Katsuki moved closer and wrapped an arm around Izuku’s shoulders while his other stroked at his cheek and pulled his head into Katsuki’s chest. “Of course I care.”

 

“T-Touya doesn’t.”

 

Izuku felt Katsuki’s chest expand with a massive inhale, and then he was moving again, releasing Izuku so that he could grab both his cheeks and force him to look him in the eyes. “Deku listen to me,” he started. Izuku looked into severe, hooded red eyes and gulped. “Todoroki Touya does not deserve you and does not deserve your love. You are, without a doubt, one of the most passionate, sincere, and loving people to ever grace this shitty world. He didn’t see it, and frankly, he didn’t fucking deserve it. I know that it’s hard for you to think you deserve anything right now, but please, for the love of God, accept the fact that you deserve a happiness free from his influence. You deserve to feel wanted and, believe me, you are. Ashido just met you and she called me every hour on the hour to see if you were okay. Uraraka’s showed up at the door crying while you were asleep and refused to leave until I let her see you were okay. Then, she came back again when she thought you’d be awake. Shouto, Yaoyorozu, Iida, and Shinsou all showed up too. Not to mention, my phone was blowing up with a dozen numbers I couldn’t fucking recognize… Deku, the world loves you and you deserve to recognize and accept it. Fuck, even I…” his voice faltered. He looked down at the comforter and released a shaky exhale.

 

Izuku furrowed his brows. “You… you what?” he asked, his voice soft and raw with emotion.

 

There was a beat of silence. “I’m sorry I left you. I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch. I-” he let out an incredulous laugh. “I missed my best friend and I’m sorry that this happened to you while I was gone.”

 

Something sparked inside Izuku. A fire on the brink of suffocating found new fuel and Izuku could feel it burn brighter and brighter until his body was enveloped in warmth. Katsuki looked worried about his confession, as if it broke some sort of trust or crossed an invisible line.

 

Izuku didn’t care. He broke from Katsuki’s grip on his cheeks and lunged forward, wrapping his arms around his neck and squeezing hard. It knocked Katsuki back onto the bed and Izuku sobbed into his chest. “I missed you too,” he screamed, muffled by Katsuki’s shirt.

 

A hand fell on the back of Izuku’s head and he stayed still as Katsuki rubbed his fingers through Izuku’s hair. It was silent for a good moment while they both relished the weight that had lifted off their chests.

 

For the first time in forever, Izuku felt secure in someone’s embrace. It was hard to rewire the thought process he’d used for the past six years. It was hard to stop thinking he needed to prove himself to be of value to someone’s life. He couldn’t completely rid himself of that view, but there was a brief moment, in his best friend’s embrace, that he felt secure and accepted. It was in this moment that Izuku, for the first time in their six years together, believed he didn’t need Todoroki Touya to feel wanted.

 

It felt like freedom.



Chapter Text

Izuku yawned. He looked out the second story window of Yuuei Academy, and then back at his easel. He was trying to paint the cafe across the street, shrouded by the great, green trees and clusters of spider lilies. There was a woman typing away on her computer, a chubby little pug asleep at her feet.

 

The issue he was facing was he simply couldn’t get the dog’s stubby little body right. He sketched it on the canvas lightly in pencil, but the amount of eraser smudging might have already ruined the piece.

 

He didn’t see why he couldn’t draw what he wanted: people, his friends, his mother. He liked practicing anatomy, not landscapes. He liked hands, not trees; and eyes, not rivers.

 

Unfortunately, the professor had said he couldn’t go to people unless he learned how to draw backgrounds first. He didn’t know why that was the process, but if that’s how the rich and plentiful learned their art, he’d go along with it. After all, he was trying his best to blend seamlessly into the the well-to-do lifestyle of his friends.

 

Izuku leaned closer to the canvas, pressing a freshly sharpened pencil to the canvas. He inhaled deeply, prepared to start his hopefully final attempt at drawing the dog. He was about to glide the lead in a curve when someone startled him. “Whatcha doing?”

 

Izuku jumped on his stool, jerking his head to the side he got an eye full of red and white. His heart pounded from surprise, but he quickly recovered. He shot his friend a warning glance. “Why would you do that?”

 

“Do what?”

 

Scare me!” Izuku sat his pencil at the bottom of the easel and spun on his stool to look over at Todoroki. He was dressed in his school uniform, a messenger bag strap across his front. He looked bored, tired. “Why are you in your uniform? It’s summer break.”

 

Todoroki looked down at his uniform and back at Izuku. He shrugged. “Student council meeting. Iida likes us to wear our uniforms because it makes us look more professional.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“Why are you here?”

 

Izuku bit his lip and glanced back at his canvas. “Practicing,” he sighed. “I applied for Art-I for the next semester, but the professor says I need to improve some of my skills for a high school level art class.”

 

“Oh, alright,” he nodded, stepping closer to look at the art piece. “It looks good. I like the spider lilies.”

 

Izuku groaned. “They’re probably the only good thing about it. I don’t even want to draw landscapes.”

 

“What do want to draw then?”

 

“People.”

 

“If you could draw people, who would you draw?”

 

Izuku shrugged again. “My mom, my friends--like you and Iida--and,” Izuku gulped. “Kacchan.”

 

Todoroki glanced at him, unreadable in his expression. Izuku hardly even noticed it, too focused on pointing out the flaws in the ‘damn pug he couldn’t get right’.

 

“Where is Bakugou, anyways?” Todoroki asked, spurring Izuku from his muttering.

 

“He’s in Milan,” Izuku sighed. “He’s been skipping out on business trips for awhile and his parents were getting annoyed. Usually he’d come stay with me for a school break, or I’d stay with him at his house--since its bigger and all--but this time Auntie and Uncle Bakugou said he had to go.”

 

“Oh,” Todoroki nodded. “Do you miss him?”

 

“Well, yeah. He’s my best friend.”

 

“Well,” he started. “What are you going to do for break while he’s gone?”

 

“I’ll probably work.” Izuku rubbed the back of his neck and offered Todoroki a pathetic smile. “I know it’s lame, but I got to help my mom out with the bills.”

 

“Oh, okay.” Todoroki shuffled on his feet and looked down at the tiled floor. “What are you doing tonight?”

 

“Tonight? Nothing,” he admitted. “Mom’s got a shift at the hospital and I don’t start work until next week. I’ll probably get some takeout and watch cult films online.”

 

“Alright.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I just thought you might like to come over?” Todoroki asked.

 

Izuku furrowed his brows and knocked his head to the side. “Like? To hang out?”

 

Todoroki nodded slowly. “Only if you want to. I have three friends: You, Iida, and Bakugou. Bakugou doesn’t like admitting he’s my friend--and he’s out of the country--and Iida is too busy following his dad around on business during breaks. So, I thought maybe we could hang out. I don’t get to hang out with a lot of people because my father is very strict and awful. He typically tries to decide who I hang out with and what I do. He’s really overbearing and my mother doesn’t like to be around him, so the mood is sometimes really strained or the house is completely empty ‘cause no one wants to be around each other. But my brothers and sister are okay! Well, for the most part. Touya can be a handful. The point is, my father is out of town, so me and my siblings get to have fun! And I’d like to have fun with my friends! Like you! If you want…”

 

Izuku stared at him, a little taken back by the sudden life story unfurling in front of him. It was very different from Katsuki, who only let you know what you needed to know at the most inopportune times. Then there was Iida, who was completely business formal. Anything that was not asked, was not answered. Even the things Izuku asked, sometimes, were deemed unnecessary to the conversation and would be left for answering at another time. Until now, he’d expected Todoroki to be somewhat like the other two, not completely open to sharing the intricacies of his life at the drop of a hat.

 

Still, the nervous look on his face was endearing. He seemed almost unsure of whether Izuku would even want to join him. He smiled warmly at his friend and nodded. “I’d love to come over.”

 


 

They took a limo. It was the first time Izuku had ever been in one. Katsuki hated taking the limo home from school, preferring they walk. He’d say ‘It’s good for you!’ and ‘Why would you want all that rich bitch stuff anyways!’. Therefore, Izuku never got the opportunity.

 

Izuku was especially wowed by the fact that there was a container in the center console filled with candy and soda. “Natsuo put them there,” Todoroki informed him. “He likes sweet things. If it weren’t for the amount of time he spends doing sports, he’d probably be as fat as a Buddha.”

 

Izuku laughed and picked a peppermint from the container. “So how many siblings do you have?”

 

Todoroki sucked on his bubblegum lollipop. “Three. We’re each about a year apart. Touya is the oldest, and he’s nineteen. Then there’s our sister, Fuyumi. She’s eighteen. Then Natsuo, who just turned seventeen. I’m the baby.”

 

“Wow,” Izuku grinned. “It must be nice having siblings. I grew up by myself, all alone.”

 

“Didn’t you have Bakugou?”

 

Izuku sucked the mint into his throat, the candy lodging in his throat and blocking his airway. He started to hack and cough as Todoroki continuously asked if he was okay. Izuku grabbed a water bottle from the center console and chugged, the candy sliding down his throat with the helpful lubrication. Tears pricked his eyes, but he smiled and answered Todoroki in a raspy voice. “I-It’s not like that.”

 

Todoroki tilted his head and questioned Izuku. “How come?”

 

“Well, um…” Izuku averted his gaze to the fine, carpeted floor as his face burned. He was sure it would be mistaken as part of the choking, though, so he didn’t panic over it. “He’s just-”

 

The door popped open and the chauffeur appeared inside. “Young Master Todoroki, we’re here.”

 

“Thank you, sir,” Todoroki smiled, nodding. “Are you ready Midoriya?”

 

“Yeah, mhm,” Izuku agreed, scrambling to grab his bag and deck out of the car before Todoroki could ask him more. “Let’s go!”

 

The chauffeur stepped out of the way as Izuku ducked out the door and caught sight of the most extravagant abode he’d ever seen. Katsuki’s home was dwarfed by this one, and a lot less ornate, if that were possible. He knew Auntie Bakugou loved decor, finding a crystal chandelier dangling from the porch was a shell-shocker. Not to mention, that porch was made of pure, white marble. Izuku saw it glitter beneath the chandelier’s illuminated crystals. He looked to his left and his right, finding the drive filled with exotic and discontinued cars in hues of red, orange, and blue. Izuku gaped.

 

“It’s a bit much, isn’t it?” Todoroki asked from his side. Izuku jerked his gaze over to him and smiled softly. “I promise the inside is a bit more humble.”

 

Izuku gulped and nodded. “Right.”

 

They walked up the front steps and the door opened before they even got near enough to enter. A maid appeared in the doorway, bowing. “Young Master.”

 

“Hello, Maj,” Todoroki nodded. “Who’s home?”

 

“Your mother is in her wing,” the maid informed them as they walked past the threshold. “She has asked not to be disturbed. Fuyumi is in her quarters studying so she will not be joining you all for dinner. Touya is watching TV down in the Theater, and-”

 

“-BABY BRO!” A new voice echoed through the extravagant entry way, a room that Izuku’s entire apartment could fit into twofold. Izuku looked up at the marble split staircase where a boy a little older than Todoroki was running down. Izuku noticed that his hair was worse than his friend’s, nearly white in its entirety. Although, his eyes did match Todoroki’s right eye.

 

He barreled over to them, wrapping his little brother in a bone crushing hug. “Oh, I missed you my sweet, little bear cub.”

 

“Natsuo, you saw me last week,” Todoroki deadpanned, his arms limp at his sides. To Izuku, it seemed like he had no intentions of returning his brother’s embrace.

 

“Doesn’t mean I can’t miss the most sane of my siblings!”

 

“Fuyumi is sane.”

 

Natsuo pulled off him, holding him firm by the shoulders and smiling endearingly at him. He bopped the tip of Todoroki’s nose. “Yes, but she’s boring.”

 

Natsuo glanced over Todoroki’s head, seeing the maid who stood behind him. He casually pushed his younger brother to the side and ran up to the maid, wrapping her in his embrace and forcing her head to his chest. “Maj! Oh, dear Maj! I missed you more than you could ever imagine! I dreamed of the day when we--two, star-crossed lovers--could be together again!”

 

Maj groaned and attempted to pull herself from his grip. “Sir, we are not in love.”

 

Natsuo laughed, pulling away to grab her soft, round cheeks in his hands and lean close. “You are a queen! A goddess! I yearn for the day when you accept me, a humble worm, as your loving husband.”

 

“Sir, I am your maid.”

 

“AND I AM YOUR KNIGHT!” he shouted, letting her go and dropping his hands to his waist, puffing out his chest.

 

“But… I don’t need one.”

 

“Natsuo, we have company.” Todoroki groaned, shooting a reprimanding look at his brother.

 

Natsuo broke from his stance, turning his head in the direction Todoroki nodded. He quirked his head to the side. “Shouto! You made a friend!”

 

He ran for Izuku, grabbing his hand and shaking it profusely. “It’s so nice to meet you! Shouto has trouble making friends! I’m so glad he’s got three now! Holy shit,” he turned back to Shouto. “Three friends!”

 

“Maj,” Todoroki asked. “How much sleep has my brother had?”

 

“I do not know, sir,” she admitted. “He got home from his tournament an hour ago. I’m just now seeing him. Katie was the one who took his bags to his room.”

 

“Natsuo, how about we go get some sleep, yeah?” Todoroki asked, grabbing his brother and pulling him off of Izuku. “Maj, can you take him?”

 

“Yes, sir,” she nodded, grabbing Todoroki’s brother by the forearm and leading him up the stairs. She called back to Todoroki. “Dinner is ready for you two over in the kitchen! I’ll be down shortly to serve you.”

 

“No need,” Todoroki shook his head. “We can get it. Please check his bags and make sure he’s been taking his Adderall, Maj.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

Todoroki turned back to Izuku, an apologetic smile plastered on his face. “I apologize for my brother. He is… special.”

 

Izuku shook his head and waved his answers in a gesture of acceptance. “Don’t worry about it! It’s funny! He seems nice!”

 

Todoroki smirked. “He’s probably the most relaxed out of my siblings. He’s the middle child and he’s not very talented at anything besides sports, so my father doesn’t care what he does. Come on, lets get dinner.” He beckoned for Izuku to follow him, and he did. Izuku adjusted his backpack and paced down the hallways to the right of the foyer. It was elegant. The halls’ white walls lined in gold trim, adorned with landscapes paintings. Izuku grimaced at them.

 

“Right in here,” Todoroki nodded, cutting off to a double door on the left wall. He slid them open, revealing an elegant dining hall with a long, cherry wood table, a total of fourteen chairs surrounding it. There was a fireplace on the wall opposite the door, but it was summer and not in use. The table itself was adorned with fresh flowers, a combination of white lilies, light pink tulips, and the occasional yellow rose. “My mother picked those out. Flowers are one of the only things that make her happy.”

 

Izuku blanched. “I’m, uh, sorry? Don’t… don’t you guys make her happy?”

 

Todoroki shrugged, and beckoned him towards the door on the left wall of the room. The two entered into the most illustrious kitchen Izuku had ever seen. It was professional, clearly. The appliances and ovens were state of the art. Cast iron pots and pans dangled from the ceiling and the prepping island was large and pristine. It was nicer than any and every diner kitchen that Izuku had walked into.

 

Two men were at the island, one whisking in a bowl as the other placed garnishes on three individual plates. They walked over to them, hopping onto stainless steel stools on the opposite side of the counter. “Good Evening Calvin. Good Evening Sam.”

 

“Nice to see you, young master.” The one on the left nodded. He was short, stocky, with blue eyes and brown hair.

 

“What’s for dessert?” Todoroki asked him.

 

“I’m whipping up some whip cream for strawberry shortcake. Your sister says she needs it for brain food.”

 

“Of course she does.” Todoroki rolled his eyes.

 

Izuku smiled, was about to mention how good it smelled, when he noticed the other man set a plate in front of him. He was massive, definitely towering over his coworker. His dark skin contrasted his pearly white smile, and despite his clear capacity to knock Izuku out with a single swing, the guy gave off a kind, welcoming aura. “Eat up.”

 

Izuku looked down at the plate, grinned at the fat, juicy pork chop. Fried onions and a bourbon glaze adorned it and Izuku could hear his stomach growl. Unfortunately, it seemed wrong for him to go in and eat it. This meal was far more expensive than anything Izuku would eat back home. He’d be lucky to get this for his birthday, maybe.

 

“Are you sure?” he asked.

 

Todoroki nodded, already cutting into his own. “Go on. Natsuo is going to sleep, so we need someone to eat his portion.”

 

“Oh, um, okay,” Izuku nodded, grabbing the fork and knife in his hands. He cut into the steak and lifted a piece to his mouth. When he chewed, it melted in his mouth and he nearly moaned at the savory, sweet taste. “It’s so good!” he gulped, before diving in, inhaling rather than eating.

 

“Alright guys, I am actually dying!” Someone shouted from the doorway and Izuku, mouth stuffed full, turned to see an attractive man with wild, jet black hair enter through the doorway. His eyes were a piercing blue, and he exuded confidence as he walked, like he was the most important person in the room. “Give me food before I crumble on the floor and wither away.”

 

Todoroki groaned beside him. “Act normal, Touya. We have a guest.”

 

Touya quirked an eyebrow. “A guest you say?” He came up and leaned on the counter as Calvin slid a plate over to him. He ignored it though, letting his eyes trail over Izuku before resting on his face. He smirked. “What’s your name?”

 

“Um, Midoriya Izuku,” Izuku answered, his voice distorted from the food stored in his cheeks.

 

A wide smile replaced his smirk. “Well, hey there Midoriya. It’s nice to meet you!”

 

Izuku gulped. “You too!”

 

“You friends with my little brother?” he asked, reaching over to ruffle Todoroki’s hair and leave it in a mismatched tangle of red and white. Todoroki swatted at his hand, but Touya dodged.

 

“Yeah, I am.”

 

“Hmm,” Todoroki’s older brother hummed, watching Izuku through a curious stare. “How? You look too normal.”

 

“Touya, what the fuck?” Todoroki snapped.

 

“Hey! I didn’t mean it in a bad way,” he argued, holding his hands up, palms out, in a show of submission. “I’m just sayin’ dad isn’t one to let you hang out with normal people.”

 

Izuku felt uncomfortable, fidgeting in his seat. He looked down at his plate and let his fingers drum on the counter. He suddenly felt like he shouldn’t be within a mile radius of the Todoroki household--or any wealthy household--after this. He felt like a rodent, a mutt, or a feral cat that someone would feed in passing and then become stuck with. He didn’t like that feeling.

 

“Anyways, I like him,” Touya assured his brother. That caught Izuku and he looked up, unsure of what he’d just heard. He caught the older Todoroki’s warm smile and relaxed stance. He looked Izuku in the eyes as he went on. “You seem sweet. I’m glad we’ll have someone a little different from Bakugou and Iida around here. You’ll take care of my brother, right Midoriya?”

 

Izuku grinned, nodding aggressively. “Right!”

 

Touya clapped his hands together and rubbed them rapidly. “Excellent!” He turned to his steak, cutting a piece off the edge and popping it in his mouth. He moaned, almost erotically, and it made Izuku feel embarrassed. Touya saw him though, and his awkward demeanor. He winked. “Hope I get to see you around here more often.”



Chapter Text

Izuku’s eyes felt heavy, his face swollen from his tantrum the night before. Light cascaded through the bedroom window and he peeked through hooded lids, not entirely ready to wake up. The sky was a deep blue, full white clouds scattered about. It looked like a nice day from where he lay, but he felt worn from the night before. It didn’t help that Katsuki had given him two Benadryl to sleep after the first pills wore off.

 

Therefore, the groggy feeling he was experiencing was enough to make him groan and agonize over being awake. In fact, Izuku felt anxious about getting out of bed and going forward with his day. He was in full understanding of where he stood with Touya. It was unfortunate, heartbreaking, and his chest felt sore from the wracking sobs and splintering heart he faced the night before.

 

Todoroki Touya did not love him. Izuku was starting to understand that maybe he never loved him, and maybe he had only been there due to convenience. It made him feel empty, like the last six years of his life had been for nothing, like all the work and sacrifice he had put into the relationship had amounted to zilch, nada, nothing.

 

There was a gaping hole in his life and it felt weird to know that Touya was not, and wouldn’t be, at the forefront of his mind any longer. It was time to move on and live life alone.

 

The thought terrified him.

 

He heard the bedroom door creak on its hinges and the padding of bare feet on the floor. The bed dipped and then a warm hand was brushing the back of his head and gently raking through his knotted curls. “Deku, you awake?”

 

“Mhmmm.”

 

“Good,” Katsuki answered, his voice soft and sweet in the early morning. “You wanna get up? I made breakfast?”

 

“Mmmmm,” he moaned, and Katsuki seemed to know what that meant.

 

“Good,” he said again. “Then I’ll meet you out there. Try to hurry ‘cause it’s gonna suck if it gets cold.”

 

“Kay.” Katsuki got up and left the room, leaving Izuku to embarrassingly crave his best friend’s hand back in his hair. He sighed, moving his heavy limbs and forcing himself up into a sitting position. He looked out the window again, saw how beautiful the day was and how unfortunate that his mood did not match the beautiful backdrop. He sighed and threw off the comforter, yearning for the lost warmth. He slowly shuffled out the room with his shoulders hunched, his fisted hands rubbing at his tired eyes. He yawned, shutting his eyelids tightly and simultaneously stretching his arms wide.

 

When Izuku completed his yawn, his eyes opened slowly to Katsuki sitting at the living room table with his feet up on the chair beside him, the table itself topped with an á la carté assortment of breakfast foods. He saw waffles, pancakes, sausages and bacon. There were eggs, spam, and mixed fruits, too. It was more than Izuku had thought.

 

Katsuki got up from his seat and rounded the table to stand beside Izuku. The creases between his eyebrows were defined. He looked nervous. “I made breakfast.”

 

“I, uh, see that,” Izuku said, his eyes not leaving the table. His mouth gaped. “It’s a lot more than I expected…”

 

“Too much?” He grumbled the question. “Your day was fucking shit yesterday. Thought you might like something special.”

 

Izuku felt a flutter in the hole in his heart where Touya used to reside. He looked up at Katsuki and offered him a slight smile. “No, it’s great. Thank you.”

 

Katsuki nodded and pointed to the chair across from the one he’d been sitting in. “You can sit there.” He turned back to his own seat then, sitting down and waiting for Izuku to do the same. He was slow on the go, but Izuku sat down on his chair and stuck his hands between his thighs. He looked down at the assortment and wasn’t sure what to do. Katsuki made it easier. “Go on, eat.”

 

Izuku sighed, reaching for the closest thing to his plate, which just so happened to be a waffle. It was rather plain, so he supposed he’d add some fruit. Then he noticed the berry compote and knew he had to add that. He figured he should eat something other than carbs, so he grabbed some ham and sausage and sat it at the edge of his plate. Before he knew it, what had started as him simply eating to appease the man across from him ended in him genuinely enjoying the meal in front of him.

 

He happily bit into a slice of pineapple, not paying mind to the way Katsuki watched him from across the table. Sometimes, between bites, he’d look up and flashed him an awkward smile, but Katsuki would coincidentally turn his face down towards his own plate when that happened.

 

In the end, Izuku leaned back in his seat and rubbed at his stomach, full and content. Katsuki looked over at him and asked, “Full?”

 

Izuku nodded. “Yes, thank you.” He reached for his glass of water. “But, y’know you don’t always have to make me breakfast.”

 

Katsuki quirked a brow. “Why not?”

 

He shrugged. “Just not your job to do it. I don’t want you to feel obligated to do anything for me that you don’t want to. I’m not entitled to it.”

 

“Bullshit,” Katsuki deadpanned, his expression nowhere near as severe as his voice. He sighed and leaned forward onto the table so that his arms rested on the glass top. “You’re entitled to being cared about.”

 

Izuku snorted. “Yeah, okay.”

 

“Deku, I’m fucking serious,” he sighed. “You deserve to know that one asshole does not dictate everyone else’s opinions towards you, including mine.”

 

“Then what is your opinion?”

 

Izuku watched Katsuki’s throat bob, the little twitch at the corner of his reassuring smile. “My opinion is that you’re the most selfless person I know and that someone needs to make you understand that you deserve a hell of a lot more than you’ve been giving yourself. And,” he continued,” if I’m being honest, I guess I wanna fucking make up for the fact I was gone for so--”

 

“Kacchan, you don’t have to apologize anymore,” Izuku interrupted. He smiled at his old friend in the warmest possible way. “I forgave you before I even found you again.”

 

Katsuki groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. “That’s the whole fucking point, Deku. You’ve always been anxious and flustered, but you’ve stood up for yourself and voiced when you were genuinely angry. You didn’t take bullshit.”

 

“So? I’ve matured.”

 

“You haven’t matured,” he countered. “You’ve just started assuming that you have to sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of others. Well, fuck that. I’m here and I want you to be selfish. I want you to do what you want--what’s gonna make you happy--until you start realizing that you deserve to smile and enjoy life in the way you choose.”

 

“I don’t know…”

 

“Today,” Katsuki started. “Let’s do what you want to do. Round Face says that she’s taking you off the schedule for a while to help you relax, so the day’s open.”

 

“But, what about you?”

 

“Fuck me,” he said, not realizing the underlying meaning behind those words until Izuku was staring at him with his lips gapped, eyes wide, and cheeks a shade of red he was certain hadn’t been discovered yet. Katsuki sputtered. “Shit Deku! I didn’t mean it like that! I meant, like, fuck whatever I wanna do. I’m content just following you around.”

 

It took Izuku a minute to recover from the surprise, but as the shock slowly subsided, he nodded his head and gulped down the dryness in his throat. “Um, yeah, okay.”

 

Katsuki nodded to himself. “Good. So, uh, what do you want to do?”

 

Izuku shrugged.

 

“Knowing your nerd ass, you probably wanna go explore historical sights and stuff,” he mentioned casually, then noted how Izuku perked up slightly at the mention. He quirked an eyebrow. “Sightseeing?”

 


 

“Iolani Palace is the only known Palace on United States soil,” the tour guide informed the group, guiding them into the cream-colored entrance. Arched, light wood doorways and hardwood adorned the palace, as well as the often red-colored furnishings. It was unique to Izuku, who gaped at his surroundings. First, he found it remarkable that this palace, much smaller than the imperial palaces of Japan, was the only one in the entirety of the United States. He was fascinated by it. “It was home to King Kalakaua and his sister, Liliuokalani, who would become Queen shortly after his death in 1891.

 

They passed over into an adjoining room, a parlor of sorts. Izuku gapped at the furniture and paintings that mirrored Hawaiian life in the late nineteenth century. In fact, he was so fascinated that he had a hard time paying attention to Katsuki, who hovered behind him. Sometimes, he’d glance back at his friend to see him observing the vintage flooring or the elaborate designs etched into the ceiling. It was curious to Izuku that whenever he turned to Katsuki, he always seemed absorbed in something or other. It was curious because Izuku kept getting the feeling he was being watched and he hoped that if anyone was watching him in their group of sweaty tourists, it was his best friend.

 

“Queen Liliuokalani saw it as her duty to strengthen the Hawaiian Monarchy while Hawai’i was still a sovereign state,” the tour guide explained, gesturing towards a picture of a regal Polynesian woman in an elegant black dress and a light blue sash. “Unfortunately, her attempts did not bear fruit and the monarchy was overthrown in 1893. Now, if you’ll follow me upstairs, I will show you the Royal Suites.”

 

Izuku made to follow the group, lagging at the very end. He only stopped when he noticed his body wasn’t basked in the shadow of his friend and he could no longer feel the heat that radiated off his body. He turned back and found his friend standing close to the wall, looking up at the painting. “Kacchan,” Izuku started, walking up to him. “We’re going to be left behind.”

 

“I thought royalty were supposed to be hot,” he interrupted, not looking away from the painting. “Like, she’s not all that.”

 

“Kacchan, she’s probably in her fifties in that portrait,” Izuku reminded him. He didn't want anyone to hear him say that, knowing they might take offense. “So that’s not a fair assumption. Apparently she was an amazing ruler. I’m sure she was just as beautiful in her youth on the outside as she was on the inside.”

 

“Humph.” Katsuki looked down at him, his eyes hooded as he watched Izuku and contemplated. Izuku rubbed his neck nervously under his friend’s stare. “You’d be better as royalty.”

 

Izuku sputtered. “M- me?”

 

“Yeah, you.”

 

“Why?”

 

Katsuki snorted. “Yeah, Royalty is supposed to be hot. Clearly you’re good looking enough.”

 

“I-I’m not.”

 

“Yeah, you are,” Katsuki assured him, looking back up at the painting as if what he said hadn’t been embarrassing enough. “Bet you could probably paint this portrait better too. Doubt this guy was half as good as you.”

 

Izuku’s face turned red at the compliment, surprised at the positive attention. He bent his head towards the ground and yanked at the curls at his nape. “Kacchan, I-I’m not that talented or...or any of the things you said.”

 

Katsuki sighed and Izuku could see his sandaled feet turn in his direction. A large hand landed on his shoulder and Izuku looked up to see the weak smile on his friend’s face. His eyes were saturated in sincerity and Izuku stilled under his gaze. “You’ll see it one day. Now,” he started, placing both hands on Izuku and turning him in the direction that the tour group went. “We’re going to miss the fucking tour. Get your ass moving.”

 

Izuku gulped and set off on foot with the intention to rejoin the group. Katsuki followed on his heels.

 

 


 

When the tour ended, Katsuki hailed a cab down in downtown Honolulu and were driven down to Waikiki beach. When Izuku asked why they were going there, he shrugged and kept his eyes fixated on the window, “You missed out on the beach yesterday. Figured you’d want to get another shot at it.”

 

“You don’t have to do that, Kacchan.” Izuku didn’t want Katsuki to feel he had to entertain him, making him feel better for the day before, or anything of the sort. Izuku knew that Katsuki had changed a lot since their high school days, but he knew Katsuki had never liked feeling at fault for anything. He loathed any incident where the blame could be placed on him, and therefore did his best to make any thoughts of guilt flee from his mind. Izuku worried that after everything that happened yesterday--the fact that Katsuki had been the one with him when he was injured and the fact that he’d relied on Katsuki for comfort--Katsuki believed this whole situation was his responsibility. After all, Katsuki’s doting early on at breakfast seemed to be the beginning of a burden.

 

“You’re right, Deku, I don’t have to take you anywhere.” Katsuki pulled out his phone and looked at the time before placing it back in his pocket. “But I fucking want to, so will you let me take you to the goddamn beach?”

 

Izuku sighed, looking down at his lap and conceding. “Yeah, okay.” He let his hand play with the cushion of the seat as they drove through Honolulu. His fingers constantly felt like they were tingling with electricity. The jellyfish venom was still at work and it was making the nerves of the entire side of his body to spasm throughout the day. He had tried his best to keep it under wraps, seeing as Katsuki was being unnaturally warm and nurturing. The deviation from his typical character made Izuku uncomfortable and he didn’t want him to know about the after effects of the sting because he didn’t want to give him a reason to continue the awkward doting.

 

Unfortunately, a spasm shot up his arm and Izuku’s hand twitched and smacked into Katsuki’s outer thigh. “I-I’m so sorry!”

 

Katsuki quirked a brow at it then looked up at Izuku and shook his head. “‘S’fine.”

 

“I-it’s just the jellyfish sting keeps--”

 

“Deku,” Katsuki groans. “I said it’s fine, okay? You can’t control it. It’ll subside in another day or so and you’ll be fine, so stop worrying about smacking me. I--” he halted, his eyes turning dark with a deadly glare directed at the driver’s headrest. Izuku could see how he clenched his jaw, how his shoulders tensed and the warmth that Izuku kept seeing in this new Katsuki disappeared into an expression Izuku remembered being reserved for no one but the worst of Katsuki’s enemies. “I’ve dealt with a lot worse than a fucking smack.”

 

Izuku’s lips parted, surprised by the statement. Deep down, he was incredibly aware of the dark mass that permeated Katsuki’s past. The scowl on his face was enough to worry Izuku, but he was afraid of pressing into the matter. He didn’t know if Katsuki would want to talk about it and Izuku didn’t want to be a pest and bug him.

 

He looked back down at his lap and remained silent until the taxi driver informed them of their arrival and Katsuki ushered him out of the vehicle. They walked together along the sidewalk in silence, bikers and tourists milling about with awe and excitement. Izuku was excited, too, but nerves still wracked his mind and he struggled to concentrate. He was very aware of Katsuki’s presence.

 

They walked down a ramp which shifted into sand at the bottom. Izuku looked out to the ocean and blinked in amazement at the pristine blue waters and white sands. It wasn’t as untouched as Hanauma Bay, but that didn’t take away from its beauty.

 

Families strolled along the beach, newlyweds kissed under the shade of blue umbrellas, kids built amateur sandcastles and massive trenches, and teenagers held their own photoshoots. The people, the beauty of existence and joy, permeated the beach and Izuku loved it.

 

“Do you want an ice cream?”

 

“Huh?” Izuku turned his gaze towards Katsuki and the hand pointed towards an ice cream cart being managed by a robust old man. “Oh, um…”

 

“Don’t overthink it, Deku,” Katsuki warned him. “It’s only ice cream.”

 

Izuku bit his lip and glanced back to the ice cream cart. It did sound appetizing in the mid afternoon heat. “Yeah, okay.”

 

Katsuki smirked. “Good.” He sauntered over to the cart, Izuku on his tail. Katsuki stuffed his hand in his back pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. He looked back at Izuku and waved the money. “This is the tip you guys left at the bachelorette party.”

 

Izuku winced. “That night was so awkward.”

 

Katsuki furrowed his brow, but turned to the vendor. “Can I get, uh, a pineapple ice cream and a coconut popsicle.” The vendor opened his cart and rifled through it as Bakugou turned back to his friend. “Why’d you say it was awkward?”

 

“Are you kidding?” Izuku asked, incredulous. “It was embarrassing!”

 

Katsuki turned around with the treats and extended the hand holding the coconut popsicle. “Here, you like coconut.”

 

“Um, thanks.” Izuku took it and Katsuki nodded down the beach. They started walking.

 

“Why’d you say it was embarrassing?” Katsuki asked, taking a lick from his cone. “You didn’t like the dance?”

 

Izuku turned red, embarrassed by the question. He didn’t want to say ‘no’ because he didn’t want to hurt Katsuki’s feelings. That being said, he also didn’t want to say ‘yes’ and have him believe that Izuku was, like, in love with him or something.

 

Because he wasn’t.

 

“Um, I didn’t exactly say that…” Izuku ended up saying, then quirked a brow at Katsuki. “Why does it matter, anyways? You didn’t seem so excited about us being there in the first place!”

 

Katsuki clenched his jaw and looked out over the horizon. “I didn’t mean to.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean,” Katsuki groaned, his face contorted in a pained expression. “Fuck, I wasn’t sure… how to respond to you being there.”

 

“Cause it’s a strip club?”

 

“No, cause I wasn’t fucking sure I wanted to see you,” he admitted.

 

Izuku bowed his head to look at the sand thrown up whenever he took a step. His heart pounded in his chest and his hands were shaking. The right one was dripping coconut, sticky and cold on his flesh. He didn’t care. “Oh.”

 

“Shit,” Katsuki barked. “Deku I didn’t fuckin’ mean it like that.” He ran up in front of Izuku and cupped his head in his hand, using his thumb to tilt Izuku’s head up so that he could look sincerely into his eyes. “I just,” he cursed under his breath, and averted his eyes to the sand. “You’d be disappointed in me… I knew you would. If you knew everything, Deku, you’d goddamn hate me.”

 

“I wouldn’t.” Izuku was sure of that. To him, Katsuki was a god. Hating him was something Izuku thought he’d never be capable of. Even in the eight years that he’d been missing, Izuku couldn’t even resent him. He always figured he had a reason for leaving. If anything, he was just hurt that Katsuki hadn’t told him why.

 

Katsuki smiled at him, sincere, and removed his hand. “You’re such a goddamn good person, Deku. I hope you realize that not everyone deserves sympathy. Especially me.”



Chapter Text

It was easier to wake up on Tuesday. When he spurred from his sleep he didn’t feel quite as worn. His eyelids were heavy, but they weren’t tear swollen this time around. There was a slight pang in his chest when he thought about the reason why he woke up crying the past two days. Besides that, he opened his eyes to the morning light with a sort of tranquility. His wounded heart felt sore, of course, but he was calmer this time around, more accepting of the fact that there was nothing he could do to mend the broken bond between him and Touya.

 

He looked out at the sun rays that produced bright pools of light on the floor, bed, and walls. It was another beautiful day on the Hawai’i paradise and Izuku was more accepting of it this time. Izuku thanked Katsuki.

 

He didn’t like how his long time friend had decided to shoulder the blame for Izuku’s own insecurities. It wasn’t his fault, was never his fault, and Izuku didn’t want him thinking for a minute that it was. That being said, Katsuki’s attempts at making Izuku see the good around him was improving his trip. Besides their awkward walk along the beach, where Katsuki tried to convince him that he had done something undeserving of sympathy, he had had a good time.

 

Besides Iolani Palace, Katsuki took him to Pearl Harbour and bought him street food on their way back to the hotel. They didn’t see anyone else from the wedding party the whole day and Izuku was rather relieved about that fact. See, if he had met with any of them, the guilt for ruining a perfect day with his own injury would be enough to whittle down his spirits. While he was away from them, though, he could suppress the worry and remorse and try to be happy the way Katsuki wanted him to be. A door clicked open and Izuku, curious, flipped over on to his right side to see which door had opened.

 

It was the bathroom door and now Izuku was blushing.

 

Katsuki walked out of the steamy bathroom clad in boxer briefs and a towel over his head. He was rubbing at his hair, drying himself off and was oblivious to Izuku’s stare. Izuku thanked God for that fact, too, considering the stuttering mess he turned into.

 

He hadn’t seen this much of Katsuki since the night at the club and, even then, the room had been dark, producing a mysterious atmosphere. Now, he was near naked in the morning light and Izuku observed it.

 

Besides the chiseled, scar-speckled chest and swollen pectorals that Izuku had been previously aware of, now he could see the hard angles of muscular calves and strong, powerful thighs. Katsuki walked over to the closet and discarded the towel in the hamper tucked in the corner. As he did, Izuku got a full view of his curvaceous ass and the dimples at the small of his back.

 

Izuku suddenly couldn’t gulp down the knot caught in his throat.

 

When Katsuki turned back around, it was even worse. Izuku saw the bulge beneath the navy blue underwear and his head spun. Suddenly he was aware of his own, and went red when he felt it grow beneath his pajama bottoms. He gulped, panicked.

 

A few seconds later, Katsuki left the room with a click of the door closing behind him. Izuku threw off his covers and kicked his legs off the bed, landing on the floor. He looked down at the fabric of his pants and saw the tent where his newly found erection was making itself known. He bolted for the bathroom, slamming the door shut and locking it. He looked back down at his dick then lifted his hands to his head and pulled at his tangled curls. “No, no, no, no, no!”

 

This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening. This was wrong.

 

Izuku hated himself for the erection he’d earned from watching his best friend waltz around the room in his underwear. It was disgusting, a betrayal to their friendship that Izuku hasn’t had to worry about since their youth.

 

“Yo, Deku, you in there?” Katsuki asked, rapping his fist on the door so that the vibrations hit Izuku in the back of the head.

 

Izuku choked. “Yes!” His voice came out an octave or two higher than he had expected it to.

 

Katsuki paused on the other side of the doorway. Then, Izuku saw the doorknob jiggle. “You fuckin’ okay in there, Deku? You sound goddamn tortured.”

 

Izuku shook his head furiously before realizing that Katsuki couldn’t see him. He cleared his throat and lowered his voice to a false baritone. It sounded odd coming from his lips. “No, I am fine!”

 

“Deku, what the hell are you doing?”

 

“Um, uh, I am obviously,” he trailed off, thinking up an excuse. C’mon, Izuku, he thought, what the hell are you supposed to do in the bathroom. His eyes landed on the counter, where a set up of complementary items were displayed. “I’m waxing my ears!’

 

“...Huh?”

 

“Er, I mean,” he corrected himself. “Scoop- scooping the wax from my ears. It’s, uh, pretty gross. I might be a little while.”

 

“Oh, okay.”

 

“Sorry!”

 

“S’fine, Deku,” he assured him from the other side of the door. “You want me to get some fucking breakfast started?”

 

“Yeah, uh, okay!”

 

“Cool, see ya soon.” Izuku paused and listened intently for Katsuki’s retreat. When a moment passed and he didn’t hear anything else and he couldn’t see the shadow of a person outside the crack at the base of the door, he turned back to his problem.

 

The erection hadn’t gone down and he gulped at what that meant. He was embarrassed about getting hard, something he hadn’t experienced in a long time. He remembered when he was with Touya, his boyfriend would try to get him hard then rub him off in places where they shouldn’t have been doing it. Todoroki Touya was an exhibitonist and a sadist and that had pretty much milked all the embarrassment out of Izuku long ago.

 

That is, until Katsuki came back into his life.

 

Izuku took a deep breath and stumbled over to the toilet, stopping shortly to turn on the faucet. He was going to have to take care of this himself, and he’d rather do it with something to mask the moans.

 

He pulled his pants down around his ankles and looked at the erection between his legs, gulping at the sight of it. He shook his head, snapped his eyes shut, and spat on his hand. He slowly lowered it to grip around his shaft and he pumped twice, trying to think of something to help get him off. He started to think about Touya, then realized that didn’t do the same thing for him anymore. With that, he decided he’d go along the generic route.

 

He tried movie stars. For a minute, he tried to flash back to the bachelorette party at the strip club, and looked along his memories for an attractive dancer to get off to. There had been the redhead, but that was Mina’s boyfriend and he wasn’t going to step over that line. There was the blond one, but he hadn’t been big or bulky enough to turn Izuku on and the dark haired one had weird elbows.

 

Then there was Katsuki. Fuck, he didn’t want to think about Katsuki. Unfortunately, the memory of his glistening body and the way the damp heat of his mouth rubbed against the inside of his thighs made Izuku’s cock twitch. His hand was moving on its own, twisting up and down the shaft, stopping at the head to rub up and down the slit. Izuku lurched forward, a breathy pant passing his lips. “Fuck,” he whined, sliding his hand back down to the hilt of his length to squeeze hard.

 

He cried out at the curling sensation in his gut and the way a tingling feeling rose from the base of his balls, up through his shaft. He dreamed of that stage with Katsuki grinding down on his ass. It had felt so good at the time, even under his drunken stupor. It had been weeks since Izuku had been with someone, but he could imagine what it would have been like without the fabric separating them. He bet it would have been slow, over stimulating and toe-curling with Katsuki’s erection buried deep inside him. He could imagine how Katsuki would have draped over him, grabbing onto one of Izuku’s balled up fists and whispering lovingly in his ear. He could almost hear the slap of skin on skin and the squelching of Katsuki’s dick as it pounded inside him and made him cum hands-free.

 

Izuku keeled forward. Hot, sticky cum exploded from the tip to leak onto his inner thighs and the toilet seat beneath him. He burned red, embarrassed.

 


 

“How about those two?” Katsuki asked, pointing over to two loungers situated beside the cabana. It was half sun, half shade, and the perfect place to relax while they laid by the hotel pool.

 

“Uh, yeah. Sure.”

 

It wasn’t very crowded at the moment. Two kids played basketball in the shallow end while their father snapped at them not to splash. There was one poor woman who had fallen asleep on her lounger and was starting to turn as red as a maraschino cherry, but Izuku wasn’t about to let her know. He didn’t want to risk getting yelled at for waking her up.

 

Izuku and Katsuki padded along the deck to get to their loungers and Katsuki sat their bags in between their. Izuku sat down on the left one, his fingers curling under it and squeezing the plastic tight out of agitation. He looked over at the pool, not capable of making eye contact with Katsuki after the morning’s circumstance. He gnawed at his lower lip and furrowed his brows.

 

“You look like you’re shitting yourself,” Katsuki snorted, and Izuku looked up at him with his mouth bobbing open. He didn’t know how to respond to that. “Anyways, let’s go. I wanna fucking swim.”

 

“U-um, maybe in a little while,” Izuku stuttered out, staring down at the cement.  “I, uh, I think I want to get a drink right now.”

 

There was a moment’s pause. Katsuki walked in front of Izuku and crouched down to look up at Izuku’s blushing face “You okay, Deku? You look more constipated than usual.”

 

Izuku gulped and jerked his head towards the cabana. “I’m fine! Just, um, just thirsty! It’s- it’s so hot!” He laughed awkwardly, springing up from the lounger and hustling over to the cabana. He hopped onto a stool. “Can I please get a Gin and Tonic?” he squeaked, slamming his hand down on the counter. The bartender nodded over at him then grabbed a bottle of Hendrick’s and set to work.

 

Izuku abashedly looked back to the pool and saw Katsuki emerging from the surface, flicking back his wet locks and smoothing them back on his scalp.

 

“Hey, hey, hey!” Someone hopped onto the stool beside him. “Looks like I chose the perfect day to skip the festivities!”

 

Izuku looked over at him hesitantly, already knowing the speaker. He gulped down the knot in his throat and blinked at the man. “Touya…”

 

“Oh, good. Your eyes are working.”

 

“Gin and Tonic, sir.” The bartender sat the drink on a coaster in front of Izuku, who immediately snatched it up and took a gulp. This was bad.

 

“Little early for you to be getting drunk, huh?” Touya asked. “You were always the stick in the mud out of the two of us.”

 

Izuku didn’t like this situation. Katsuki had said he deserved better, and Izuku was trying to understand that, too. The issue laid in the fact that the open wounds that Touya caused also seemed mendable by simply falling back into his life. Touya was a sweet talker, and Izuku was vulnerable to his gravitational force. He needed more time. He wasn’t ready to see this man yet, let alone on his own.

 

“How’s your jellyfish sting?”

 

Izuku quirked an eyebrow. “Why? You care?”

 

“Of course I care, Izu,” he laughed, shaking his head and taking a sip from his whiskey tall. “You’re the longest relationship I ever had.”

 

“But, I thought-”

 

“I was thinking,” he started. “Y’know, maybe you and Himiko could, uh, do something for me?” There was a dirty grin on his face. Izuku leaned back farther on his stool, furrowing his brow.

 

“You mean…”

 

“I’d love to see you two in my-”

 

“-Touya, I-I don’t like that.”

 

“Oh, c’mon, Izuku,” he cooed, leaning forward so that Izuku could smell the liquor on his breath. “Don’t you want to make me happy?”

 

“I, uh-” Izuku turned his head, looking for an ‘out’. He wondered where Katsuki was. He needed him right now. His sore heart was feeling weak. He still felt a strong urge to please his lover-- ex-lover-- and it was hard to say no when he had nothing to remind him that he’d regret the decision. He needed Katsuki’s strong hand and hard resolve.

 

His eyes glanced over the pool ledge, halting when he saw Katsuki’s dripping body, his muscular back facing him. Someone was talking to him and Izuku couldn't make out who was behind Katsuki’s towering figure.

 

“Who is that?” Izuku asked, before realizing he’d said it out loud.

 

“Hm?” Touya looked over in the same direction. “Oh, I think Himiko’s talking to him. Anyways, I thought you could-”

 

Izuku saw a hand wrap around his wrist. He watched Katsuki’s shoulder stiffen and the muscles in his back tensed. Katsuki balled his hands into fists and Izuku was on his feet before he knew it.

 

“Hey, don’t just run off!” Touya shouted after him. Izuku felt a small pang of guilt for leaving Touya like that, but Katsuki was uncomfortable. He knew there was something between him and Himiko. He knew how frantic she made him, and he didn’t want to see his friend like that.

 

He ran up to the pool ledge and saw Himiko’s venomous grin as she looked up at Katsuki. Izuku spun, knocking into her arm and forcing her to let go of him. “Hey!” she snapped, but Izuku wasn’t looking at her. He was looking up at Katsuki, an authentic smile on his face.

 

“Hey, Kacchan!” Izuku started, noticing how his eyes glazed and his mouth was set into a frown. “I really wanna go walk around town for the rest of the day! I promised my mom that I’d buy her a souvenir, so let’s go to some shops!”

 

Katsuki didn’t move.

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku said softer. He reached for Katsuki’s forearm and he jerked, coming back to himself. He looked down at Izuku with a dejected look on his face.

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

“Coming to get you.” He turned around with Katsuki’s wrist still in hand and came face to face with Himiko. She had her arms crossed,her bare foot tapping on the pavement, and her lips pursed in distaste. “Excuse me.” Izuku’s voice was low and a fraction timid.

 

“I was talking to him!”

 

“Well,” Izuku inhales. “Katsuki is not in the mood to talk right now. He’s been busy taking care of me. So, if you’ll excuse us, he’s gonna go take a nap.”

 

Himiko snorts. “So, what? He’s a baby now?” She looks up at Katsuki. “You really are pathetic, you know that?”

 

“Deku… let go of me. I-” Katsuki nodded to himself. “I’m fine.”

 

“See, he’s fine.”

 

“It’s not about if he’s fine,” Izuku told her. “I, uh, want him to spend time with me. Just me. So, if you’ll excuse us.” Izuku pushed past her, a heavy Katsuki lagging behind him. Izuku glanced back and saw how his head hung in shame.

 

“I gotta go get our fucking things, Deku,” Katsuki tells him, but Izuku had none of it. He didn’t let go as they headed indoors and the hot cement beneath their feet shifts to the lobby’s marble, and then the elevator carpeting. He doesn’t let go until they’re back in their room.

 

“Go sit down and calm down,” Izuku ordered him before running to the kitchen to pick the hotel phone up from its stand. “I’m going to call the front desk and have our things brought up.”

 

Katsuki goes to sit on the couch, trailing water after him. Izuku could care less about the mess. He watched a dejected Katsuki while he spoke with the front desk. He arranged for their bags to be brought up to their room and thanked the woman before hanging up. He dropped the phone onto the counter and looked back over to Katsuki.

 

Now that Izuku had time to think, he was a little surprised at what had just transpired. He had walked out on Touya, something he would never have dreamed of doing in the past. He didn’t even think twice of cutting in on Himiko and Katsuki’s conversation either.

 

He supposed the urgency of the situation is what made him act. Katsuki wasn’t good around Himiko and Izuku wanted nothing more than to spare him from the pain she produced. The best part was, though, that he was struggling to feel guilt. He didn’t feel sorry for interrupting them. Katsuki needed help, he assisted him, and he felt good.

 

Izuku wanted to share that fact with Katsuki, but he saw the long face Katsuki wore. His eyes were fixed on the floor and he seemed like a statue decorating the living room. He was dripping wet, water pooling around him on the couch and dripping into a puddle at his feet. Izuku bit his lip and ran off to the bedroom, grabbing a towel from the closet before pacing back to the living room.  

 

“You okay?” he asked, coming into the living room and extending the towel towards his shaken friend. Katsuki didn’t move to take the towel. Izuku furrowed his brows and took matters into his own hands, throwing the towel over his friend’s shoulders.

 

“Mm.”

 

Izuku gnawed his lip and went to sit on the coffee table in front of Katsuki. “Kacchan, please be honest.”

 

“What do you want me to say, Deku?” Katsuki growled, snapping his head up to look Izuku in the eyes. “That I couldn’t fucking get it together? That I’m not man enough to deal with the stupid bitch? You want me to cry and ask for some goddamn sympathy?”

 

Izuku’s eyes blew wide, surprised by the short outburst. He didn’t expect Katsuki to get angry all of a sudden. He was getting used to this new, mature Katsuki who didn’t start a fight at the smallest inconvenience. He gulped, unsure how to answer.

 

Izuku wasn’t good with people yelling at him, but he knew Katsuki. He’d known his firecracker behavior since they were children. Fits weren’t new and weren’t scary, Izuku reminded himself. He sighed, “I’m not going to give you sympathy you don’t want.”

 

“Good.”

 

“I’m just asking if you’re okay because Himiko and you have history.” Katsuki averted his gaze when Izuku mentioned it. Izuku wasn’t going to comment on it. “I, um, I won’t ask about it. I’d like to know, but I know you don’t want to tell me.”

 

“Deku-”

 

“-Just, please understand that if you need someone to get you out of a situation with her, I can help,” Izuku interrupted. He wasn’t giving Katsuki time to cut in. “You’re doing so much for me already and we’re friends. You’re my best friend, Kacchan! I don’t know if you don’t trust me anymore, or if you're just ashamed, but I can be there for you the way you’ve been there for me! Please, Kacchan!”

 

Katsuki chewed his lip, not looking up from the floor.  “Fine,” he finally answered, voice like gravel. “If it’ll get you to shut up.”



Chapter Text

Izuku was midway through his waffles when his phone vibrated on the living room table. Uraraka’s sunny smile lit up the screen. His cheeks were packed full like a chipmunk’s but it didn’t deter him from picking up the phone. “Herro?”

 

“Izu!” Ochako squealed on the other side of the line. “How’ve your two days of freedom been? Anything exciting happen?”

 

“Not rearry.” He glanced up at Katsuki across the table, who was looking back with his eyebrow quirked. He gulped down the bits of waffle in his mouth. “We had fun though! Went sightseeing and stuff.”

 

“That’s fun!” Then, in a mere whisper. “ Did you do anything fun with Bakugou?”

 

Izuku’s ears tinged red, averting his eyes to the tiled floor. “Ocha, that’s not really an appropriate conversation.”

 

He remembered yesterday morning, waking up and getting an immediate eye-full. Having to relieve himself in the locked bathroom to the image of his best friend grinding down on him. No, he thought. They did not do anything fun together.

 

“Well, there’s still time and--yes, Tenya, I’m asking him now-- are you guys ready to rejoin the wedding party? Today, we’re supposed to go ziplining and horseback riding at Kualoa Ranch. Tenya says we need you two to come or else we have to invite Himiko and The Todoroki Embarrassment to come with us.”

 

“Himiko and Touya aren’t coming?” Izuku glanced over at Katsuki, who peeked up from his spam at the statement.

 

“God, no! Tenya bought them a 24 hour pass for free drinks down at the TIki Hut on the beach to keep them from wanting to come.”

 

“Oh, okay.” Izuku put his hand over the speaker and moved it away from his mouth. “Kacchan, do you wanna go horseback riding and ziplining? They need us to go or else they have to take Himiko and Touya to fill up the appointment.”

 

“They ain’t coming?”

 

Izuku shook his head.

 

“Yeah, why the fuck not.”

 

Izuku removed his hand from the speaker. “Yeah, Ochako, we’re gonna come. When do we need to be in the Lobby?”

 

“Perfect!” She grinned into the phone. “Thank you so much! We need you guys to be down in the Lobby in twenty minutes. See you soon!”

 

Uraraka disconnected the line and Izuku sat it back onto the glass tabletop. He looked over at Katsuki and offered him a soft smile. “So, uh, you know how to ride a horse?”

 

Bakugou snorted. “Obviously. You?”

 

“Uh, no.”


 

“Alright, Mr. Midoriya.” The instructor called Izuku up to the mounting stool. He had a wince on his face and apprehension in his step as he approached the cream colored mare that the instructor held the reins to. “This here is Buttercup. She’s a sweetheart, so she’ll go easy on you since it’s your first time.”

 

“Please don’t say it like that…”

 

The instructor ignored him. “Alright, so I want you to get up on the stool, and stick your left foot in the stirrup. Then-”

 

“Not too much at once!” Izuku was nervous. Unbelievably so. Asking a city boy, who never had the money to pay for the equestrian club or polo or any other horse-based club that the wealthy schools he attended had offered. Honestly, why would anyone want to climb atop a ginormous animal with the power to kill you and ride it like you were its bitch.

 

Horses can’t be trusted.

 

He situated his foot in the stirrup and looked back at the Instructor. “Now what?”

 

“Okay, place all your weight on the foot in the stirrup, jump up, and swing your right leg over to the other side of the saddle.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Can you please just do it, sir?” he asked, brows furrowed in frustration. “I have other people to attend to.” Izuku bit his lip and huffed, squeezing his eyes shut and swinging his right leg over the horse. His butt hit the saddle and he cracked one eye open to find himself situated on top of the horse. “Alright, sir, now you’re just gonna tense your thighs and lock your legs and you’ll be ready to go!”

 

The instructor tugged the horse’s reins and led it over to the line on already-mounted horses. Uraraka and Iida were up front, followed by a random order of bridesmaids and groomsmen mixed about. Katsuki was up near Todoroki, his horse a massive chestnut stallion with bulking muscles. The two were conversing idly.

 

“Hey, Midoriya!” Ashido twisted on the pinto in front of him. “How’s your jellyfish sting doing?”

 

“I’m okay,” he assured her with a weak smile. “Just some purple bruising and a few weird spasms, but I’m almost back to normal.”

 

“It was so weird, and we were so worried! I called Cherry after you guys got back to the apartment, but he said you were asleep.”

 

The instructor shouted back at the line when they were ready to start the tour. Ashido went silent, looking forward to make sure she was steering her horse in the right direction. Izuku tried, too, to maneuver his horse, but it seemed that he didn’t have to. Buttercup whinnied every time he slapped the reins, voicing her disapproval. Turns out, she knew exactly what she was doing and didn’t feel like having an amateur bossing her around. She followed the horse in front of her, leaving Midoriya to take in the landscape they tracked through.

 

It was lush, green. High stone cliffs touched the sky with long grasses. Lush, technicolored flowers peeked out from cracks in its formation. The ground on which the horses trotted through was rich with dark green foliage and pink and yellow wildflowers. Large trees set them an isolated backdrop and the dirt road down which they trudged was sandwiched between the forests and the cliffs. The sky above was bright, beautiful, and dotted with cotton-candy clouds.

 

“Can you believe this place?” Ashido asked, tugging on her pinto’s reins to slow their stride. She waited until Buttercup had trotted up along her own mare so she and Izuku could ride together. “I don’t think the me two years back would have even dreamed of leaving Japan, let alone going to a place like this!”

 

“Yeah, it’s gorgeous.” Izuku craned his neck to look up at the cliffs.

 

“So, did Cherry take care of you these past couple days?” Izuku whipped his head to look at the girl, whose eyebrows furrowed in worry. “If he didn’t, I’ll beat his ass for you! I swear, I’ll do it for you.”

 

“No, no, no,” Izuku assured her. “He was great! He did more than I could have even asked for!”

 

Ashido’s worried expression quickly shifted to curiosity. “Oh, yeah? Like what?”

 

Izuku gulped, averting his gaze to the leather reins tightly gripped in his palms. “Uh, well, he made me dinner and breakfast, cleaned up the things I broke when my muscles spasmed--it was because of the bite--and, uh, he took me sight-seeing.”

 

“Sight-seeing?”

 

Izuku nodded. “We went to Iolani palace! He-” Izuku’s ears turned red and he grunted to clear the cotton in his throat.

 

“He what?”

 

“...complimented me…”

 

“What did he say?”

 

“Well, uh, nevermind. It was nothing. Just a stupid joke.”

 

“Tell me.”

 

Izuku looked back at Ashido pleadingly. It was embarrassing, just a weird joke that Katsuki had tried to make in the spur of the moment. It meant nothing. Still, Ashido wouldn’t budge, and Izuku sighed and looked back at the group in front of them. “He said I was, um-” Izuku cleared his throat. “He said I was attractive enough to be royalty.”

 

He waited for Ashido’s reply for a good few moments, staring at the passing flowers as he waited. She never did answer, so he looked back over at her. Scrunched nose and the tip of her tongue wedged between closed lips, she was thinking hard.

 

“What?” Izuku asked, curious.

 

She shook her head. “Nothing, just surprised. He’s not one to really compliment people, y’know? Not as long as I’ve known him, at least.”

 

“How long have you known each other?”

 

She looked up at the sky. “About,” she started, elongating the vowels. “A little over two years? Kirishima, Kaminari, and Sero have known him longer though. They were there when he started working at the club three years ago.”

 

“Oh, alright,” Izuku nodded. That was new news. So, Katsuki had been working as a stripper for three years. In the back of his mind, Izuku remembered his best friend also saying he hadn’t had a drink for three years. He wondered if those two events were connected. “Um, Ashido?”

 

“Yeah?” She smiled. “Whatcha need?”

 

“Um, do you know what Kacchan did before he came to work at the club?”

 

Ashido pursed her lips and looked forward at the group, connecting her eyes to Katsuki’s rippling back muscles. She sighed. “I do.”

 

“What was it?”

 

She looked back at Izuku and smiled, sympathetic and apologetic. “Mido, I’d love to help you out, but I can’t do that. It’s not my place to fill you in on his life; it’s his.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I can’t break his trust, Midoriya,” she explained. “But I won’t break yours either. I won’t tell him you asked, and you can wait for him to tell you himself.”

 

Izuku huffed, dejected but understanding. He slumped on his saddle and looked down at his reins. “I don’t think he’ll ever end up telling me.”

 

“He will.” Ashido said it like it was a given. “It took me a little over a year to earn his trust. It took others at the club a helluva lot more. The only one he was upfront with was Kirishima. The thing is, though, that it still took Kirishima about six months for Cherry to even consider him a friend. He’s opening up to you quicker than he did with any of us. So, don’t worry. Just wait until he’s ready.”

 


 

“Hey, Deku!” Izuku turned to see Katsuki holding a helmet out to him. Found you a medium!”

 

“Oh, thank you!”

 

“You ziplined before?” Katsuki asked him, nodding his head towards the first platform where Todoroki Shouto was connecting his gliding device to the nylon rope. He planted a kiss on Yaoyorozu’s cheek and kicked off the wooden ledge, disappearing over a canopy of trees far below.

 

Izuku looked back at Katsuki. “Uh, yeah. Senior year’s class trip. We all went ziplining over the Arashiyama forests in Kyoto.”

 

Katsuki quirked a brow. “I don’t fucking remember that.”

 

“I know,” Izuku snorted. “You skipped it ‘cause you were hungover from the weekend. I brought you back a keychain.”

 

“Oh.” Izuku felt Katsuki’s demeanor change, though the neutral grimace on his face remained the same. His shoulders tensed and he averted his eyes to the side.

 

“WHO’S NEXT?” the zipline moderator shouted over the happy chatter of the large group. Katsuki jerked his eyes over to him and raised his hand. He looked tense, his jaw clenched. Izuku worried he’d seriously upset him.

 

“Guess I’ll fuckin’ go.” He shoved his hands into his pockets and stomped off with a scowl. It was a whirlwind of actions that left Izuku wondering just when he’d been left on his own. He looked down at the helmet, flipped it in his hands and lifted it to set it upon his crown.

 

He clicked the buckle and paced towards the platform.

 

Halfway there, Uraraka and Iida appeared on either side of him, looping their arms in his. “Hey there, Man of Honor!”

 

“How are you doing today, Midoriya? Better, I presume?”

 

Izuku’s eyes glanced between them before offering a small smile. “I’m fine. The sting is just purple now. I’m not really getting spasms either.”

 

“Excellent!” Iida cheered, shaking Izuku’s arm with his. “I am glad to see you are in better health!”

 

“Yes, well, I’m more concerned about how you and Bakugou are doing, Izu,” Uraraka admitted, tugging him closer to the platform. “Have you been bonding?”

 

“Uh, yeah.” Izuku let go of their arms when they reached the platform. Uraraka climbed atop it, handing the sliding gear to the moderator.

 

“I need more details, please.”

 

Izuku shrugged. “I don’t know! We’re just… hanging out more? Talking more?”

 

Uraraka hummed, an inquisitive look on her face. The moderator asked if she was ready, and the woman nodded. She pushed off the platform while waving goodbye to her friend and fiancé. The second she was gone, the moderator looked back at him and Iida. “Who’s next?”

 

Izuku looked up at Iida, who waved and gestured for his friend to go first. “Please, it is only polite that I allow you to go ahead. Besides, I’m sure Ochako will be waiting over there to continue your conversation.”

 

“Thanks, Iida.” Izuku smiled at him, then hopped atop the platform and handed the gear to the moderator.

 

The man hooked the gear onto the rope the moment it became idle--no longer thrumming from Uraraka gliding across the nylon strings. “Alright, keep your legs extended and your hands on the gear that attaches your harness to the connecting rope. Understood?”

 

Izuku nodded and the moderator lined him at the ledge before letting him push off. The next thing he knew, Izuku was soaring through the sky like a bird. The sun beat down bright on his face, bathing the world in a brilliant, beautiful light. The breeze kept it cool, though, and the world  below him looked like a dream. Green, lush. He saw the treetops sway in the wind far below him.

 

In the distance, the light blue of the sea and the white of pure sand created a unique contrast in the island’s natural beauty. He laughed to himself, his smile as bright as the sun above him as he flew through the air. He was free, happy. Up here, he could see the beauty he often forgot in his day-to-day back in Tokyo. There, it was nothing but work, relationships, and saving face.

 

Here, it was joy and adventure that clouded his mind. He loved it.

 

His feet hit the platform on the cliff parallel the one he’d just came from. A manager stood there, greeting and untying him from the rope. He gestured for Izuku to step down from the platform, which he did, and met Uraraka at the base.

 

“So,” she began, beckoning for Izuku to follow him down the hill. Under a blanket of tall trees, they followed the path to the next zipline platform “You two have been talking?”

 

“Uh, yes.”

 

“Well, about what?”

 

Izuku shrugged. “Just, everything. About learning to trust each other again, about when we were kids, and…” He trailed off, not sure he wanted to bring up topics he was still uncomfortable and unsure of.

 

“And what, Izu?” she asked, her eyebrows furrowed in worry as they approached the next platform. “Please, I’m worried about you. I want to make sure he’s not making you uncomfortable.” She stepped up onto the platform and handed her gear to the instructor.

 

Izuku looked at her oddly, disbelieving that she was worried now and not when she had invited his long lost friend on a trip when Izuku was still unsure of where he fit in anyone's life, let alone someone he thought was forever gone from his life. “Wait, wait, wait. Now you’re worried? What about before? When you started all of this?”

 

Uraraka’s eyes widened, her mouth gaped, and she held up a finger as though she was about to make a point. Izuku waited patiently for her to make her argument, but she instead pushed off the platform and disappeared.

 

Izuku stood there, momentarily frozen, as he realized Uraraka had bailed on giving him an answer. Then, he stomped up onto the platform and shoved the gear into the instructor’s hand. The man set him up and Izuku pushed off the ledge as soon as the man had taken his hand off the mechanism, zooming through the air as the trees zoomed by beneath him. This time, he was less concerned with the scenery as he was with getting his answer from Uraraka.

 

When he got to the next platform, he found her standing there idly, twiddling her thumbs as she offered him a puppy-dog pout. Izuku huffed. “No, you don’t get to do that! Why are you worried?”

 

She shrugged, gesturing him to follow as they continued down the forest path to the next zipline. “I just… he’s so good to you. And you get along so well! I’m worried you’ll get scared, or you’ll think you don’t deserve it, and run off!”

 

Izuku stopped dead in his tracks. “You… you think I’ll do that?”

 

She sighed, looking back at him. Her eyes teemed with love, with concern and affection for her dearest friend. “I just… I don’t want you to lose something good. I want you to realize that you deserve to be treated the way Bakugou’s treating you, but I know you get uncomfortable with it sometimes. You don’t always think you deserve it.”

 

They reached the next zipline and Uraraka looked back at him as the instructor hooked her up to the line. “I don’t want you to run off because you think that the attention your old friend is giving you isn’t something you deserve.”

 

“Why would I think that?” Izuku pressed, stepping up onto the platform.

 

Uraraka furrowed her brows at him, her lip quivering. “Because Touya never let you learn you deserved happiness.”

 

She pushed off the ledge and left Izuku to ponder her words.

 

They went along like that for the rest of the zipline course, Uraraka explaining her concerns and Izuku thinking hard on them with the backdrop scenery of Kualoa Ranch. Honestly, the beautiful landscape gave Izuku a positive outlook.

 

He knew Uraraka may have a point. He knew that being with Touya, being under the shadow of someone he was learning had never truly held love and concern for him, had made it hard for him to understand the difference between the good and the bad. For years, he’d thought underhanded compliments were a symbol of love, and that people offering him help or gifts for nothing in return were, in fact, bad. He hadn’t known the difference.

 

Even now, he was still struggling to understand that when Katsuki made him breakfast, or offered to carry his things, he wasn’t doing it because he wanted something out of it. Friends, family: healthy relationships don’t exploit you and offer demeaning comments in return.

 

He was trying, though. Christ, was he trying. He still had such an immense urge to forgive the man who’d hurt him. Touya had been with him for six years. It only seemed right that they’d just hit a bump, and that they could fix their relationship. Of course, Izuku knew that wasn’t true.

 

But it was slow going.

 

When Izuku hit the final zipline platform, he hadn’t expected to knock into something tall and firm. It startled him, his body going tense as he gathered his balance and looked for the source of the impact.

 

Katsuki smiled down at him--if the twitch at the corner of his lips could be considered a smile. His eyes were calm though, not filled with the storm that had previously resided in their depths. His firm chest rose and fell with every deep breath. His firm, coarse hands held Izuku’s shoulders steadfast. “Hey, nerd.”

 

“Kacchan?”

 

The taller cleared his throat. “I, um- fuck, I shouldn’t have ditched you back there… It’s just- well, I- fuck!”

 

Izuku inhaled a calming breath and pulled himself out of Katsuki’s grip, not wanting to disturb him more than he already had. He grabbed his muscular forearm and smiled up at him. “It’s fine, Kacchan. I know you’re working through things. So am I. We just- I guess we learn to give each other time to figure it all out.”

 

Katsuki’s expression was unreadable, constant. His features were taut, but he nodded his head in a gentle understanding. “Thanks, Deku. I’m… I’m sorry.”

 

Izuku simply shrugged, side stepping Katsuki to get off the platform. “Nothing to be sorry about. Now, let’s go. I hear they got fresh pineapple for sale back at the main entrance.”



Chapter Text

Summer break was over and Izuku was surprisingly okay with that. Sophomore year was here and that meant Katsuki was back from Milan. Of course, Izuku wouldn’t see him until tomorrow--Katsuki was still recovering from jet lag--but he could hardly contain himself at the moment.

 

He understood that it would do him well to have a little control over his emotions, but for Izuku, this was a serious event. Growing up, there weren’t a lot of kids in his neighborhood. And the ones that did live there liked to pick on Izuku for his ratty tennis shoes or second hand clothes. So, he didn’t have an opportunity to make a lot of friends.

 

But Katsuki had been there. Katsuki was always there. Even when his parents took him abroad for months at a time, he always came back to Izuku with a souvenir from his travels and several sleepovers worth of stories to tell. After three months of separation, Izuku was excited to see him, like he always was.

 

He glided down the Yuuei hallways, his yellow backpack flopping against his back as he weaved between excited students meeting for the first time since the end of the previous semester. As he walked, he looked for classroom numbers, searching for the telltale 2-A where his homeroom lay. Monoma tossed a paper ball at his head, pulling an eye-roll from Izuku as he passed by. 

 

Near a window overlooking the fountain in the school’s courtyard, Izuku found his classroom. Casually, he opened the sliding door and searched for Todoroki and Iida in the crowd of students. He found them near the seats in the back, talking to someone hiding behind them.

 

Izuku approached, a bounce in his step as he grinned over at his friends. “Todoroki! Iida!”

 

Close now, Todoroki and Iida turned to greet him, exposing Katsuki, whose scowling face had softened to something akin to surprise or excitement. Then Izuku ran, his backpack smacking against his back, as he extended his arms for a hug. 

 

Katsuki side-stepped him, leaving Izuku to run face first into a walk and crumple to the floor with a groan. “That’s not fair, Kacchan.” But Katsuki was laughing, and that somehow made up for the dull pain in his cheek. He smiled, getting to his feet and trotting back over to his friend group. 

 

Katsuki had grown taller over the last three months. His skin was darker, a light caramel, and it made his blonde hair and jewel-like eyes seem radiant on its backdrop. Izuku gulped down the knot in his throat. “How was your summer, Kacchan?” he asked, his voice oddly high.

 

“He was just telling us how he had spent his break touring Italy with the Versace owner’s granddaughter!” Iida shared, watching the two with intrigue.

 

“Oh! Was it fun?” Izuku looked back up to Katsuki and grinned. “Was she nice?”

 

He noticed Katsuki clench his jaw and glance up at the ceiling. Then he looked back at them and shrugged. “She was okay. Clingy, though. Wouldn’t leave me the fuck alone.”

 

“Well, you can’t blame her, Kacchan,” Izuku reminded him. “She probably thought you were the coolest.”

 

Katsuki quirked a brow and tilted his head to the side with a twitch of his lips. He seemed confused, flattered. “Yeah, maybe. Still a boring, shitty trip, though. Even you losers probably had a better time.”

 

“I accompanied my father on business trips!” Iida informed them. “Which would have been substantially more fun if he didn’t keep going off to do paperwork with his secretary.”

 

“Oh yeah!” Todoroki nodded, as though he related to Iida. “My father does that, too. Mother says that’s why we aren’t allowed to go to his work without asking anymore.”

 

Katsuki glanced over to Izuku, who was looking back with a powerful wince. Katsuki shook his head at him, but Izuku couldn’t let it go. “Hey, uh, Todoroki? Did your mom ever say what they were doing at his work?”

 

“No, I didn’t think to ask. Why?”

 

Izuku sucked air through his teeth. He looked up at Katsuki with a weary eyes and Katsuki dropped a hand to his shoulder and squeezed. “Deku, it’s not worth all the fucking man hours in the world.”

 

“But-”

 

“So, Midoriya, how was your summer break?” Iida asked, leaning towards his friend with animated curiosity. 

 

He shrugged. “Oh, y’know, work.”

 

“What kind of work?”

 

“Well, during breaks I work at a ramen shop downtown, and-”

 

“Oh, that’s so fascinating!” Iida clapped his hands together and shook them aggressively. “So you manage a restaurant? That’s such a fine part-time job! It’s a great way to start preparing for real management when you’re older!”

 

“Um, no, Iida,” Izuku started. Would it be wrong to break his naive understanding? Izuku didn’t want Iida to think his intelligence or worldly-knowledge was lacking--Izuku had to secretly admit it was. “Iida, I’m a busser.”

 

“A… busser?”

 

“Yes, Iida, a busser.”

 

“That sounds so unique! What kind of work does a ‘busser’ do, exactly? Analytics? Data collection? Human services?”

 

“Jesus fuck, ” Katsuki snorted. “You guys live under a goddamn rock! A busser cleans tables! How the fuck are you guys even at this school?”

 

“Wait, wait, wait!” Todoroki chimed in, looking specifically to Izuku as he furrowed his brows. “So, like, you clean up after other people?”

 

“Uh, yes.” Izuku felt awkward, uncomfortable with how out of place he seemed.

 

“Woah…”

 

 He’d known the guys for awhile now, and he realized their questions were purely out of ignorance to the world, but it made him feel poor and slightly pathetic.

 

How did he compare with friends who could buy out soccer stadiums to see a private game? Or buy a diamond bigger than his own face? 

 

The bell chimed, signalling for st udents to find their seats. And Todoroki and Iida left with contemplative expressions, as if they were turning the term ‘busser’ over and over in their minds, tasting it on their tongues.

 

Rich people were weird.

 

Izuku shook his head, starting for his own desk, when Katsuki grabbed him by his backpack strap and yanked him back. “Deku.”

 

Izuku looked up at him curiously. “Yeah, Kacchan?” he asked, cocking his head to the side.

 

Katsuki watched him with calculating, heavy eyes and Izuku felt small beneath their gaze. His friend pursed his lips, shook his head and sighed. “Hey, uh, can I come over after school?”

 

Izuku grinned. “Of course.”

 

 


 

 

When the final bell rang, Izuku grabbed his backpack and met Katsuki by his desk. He was bouncing in place, excited to get out of school and spend time with someone he hadn’t seen in months. “Ready?” 

 

Katsuki looked down at his phone and scowled, pinching the bridge of his nose. He swiped across the screen and slipped it into his pocket before looking down at Izuku and nodding. “Let’s go,” he started, making for the door.

 

Izuku followed on his heels as they walked down the hall, down the stairs and out the Academy’s front doors. They passed the front lawn, where some of the boys talked to the girls from the sister-school to Yuuei. Their building was a block away, and acted as a finishing school for high society girls with names and money to match their good looks and uppity personalities. He caught sight of a familiar red-and-white haired student staring awkwardly at a tall, black haired girl who was taking part in a serious conversation.

 

It looked like Todoroki had a crush. 

 

Katsuki grabbed him by the arm, tired of waiting for him to pick up the pace. He dragged him out the tall, iron front gate and the high stone walls that separated Yuuei Academy from the public. He dropped Izuku’s hand a block away when Izuku started taking double wide steps to keep up with him.

 

After that, it was a silent walk until Katsuki’s phone started ringing with a chorus of explosions. It was a corny, childish ringtone, but Izuku found it endearing. Katsuki cancelled the call and shoved it back into his pocket, only for it to ring a second later.

 

 “Maybe you should answer it?”

 

“No, fuck off.”

 

“Yeah, no, Kacchan,” he huffed. “Y’know, if that’s your mom, she’s not going to stop calling you. You know she never stops.”

 

As if on cue, the phone started ringing once more and Katsuki groaned, looking up at the clear blue sky with a dejected expression. As sluggishly as possible, he plucked the phone up from his pocket and clicked the answer button.

 

Immediately, their corner of the sidewalk was drowned by the sounds of a woman screaming on the other end of the line. Even without the speaker on, Izuku could hear the entire conversation.

 

“Katsuki Bakugou, why the fuck have you been ignoring my calls! I am your mother and you will treat me with some goddamn respect!”

 

Katsuki groaned. “Get bent, bitch.”

 

Izuku could see the light of God stray further and further away as he waited for the silence to break on the other end of the line and for Bakugou Mitsuki to materialize in front of them with a bat in her hand and vengeance on her face. Even thinking of the anger she must be feeling, Izuku stepped back a fraction.

 

YOU GET HOME RIGHT NOW, LITTLE BITCH BOY! YOU WANNA MEET YOUR MAKER SO BAD, THEN I’LL BE HAPPY TO SPEED UP THE FUCKING PROCESS, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SHIT!”

 

“OH, SHUT UP, OLD HAG,” Katsuki snapped. “I WAS IN MY FUCKING CLASSES. SEEMS LIKE A WHOLE FUCKING WASTE OF THAT MONEY YOU COULD BE SPENDING ON DRINKING YOURSELF STUPID!”

 

I AM AN ELEGANT DRUNK, YOU MORON!”

 

“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EVEN WANT?”

 

Izuku heard Mrs. Bakugou breathe on the other end of the line, heated and annoyed. She was trying to gather herself, which Izuku was grateful for, because he knew Katsuki wouldn’t be the one to do it. 

 

“Why aren’t you answering Melissa’s messages? She said she’s been trying to talk to you for days, but you won’t answer.”

 

“Wait,” Katsuki sighed, stomping off down the street as Izuku followed on his heels. “That bitch fucking told on me?”

 

“Don’t call her a bitch, you little shit!” Mrs. Bakugou snapped. “And yes, she’s upset you’re not texting her!”

 

“Because I don’t give a shit! She’s annoying and I couldn’t give a single fuck about talking to her!”

 

“Katsuki!

 

“I’m spending the night at Deku’s, old hag,” he barked in the phone. “So I guess I’ll see you when I goddamn see you!”

 

He smashed his finger on the ‘end’ button and looked back at Izuku with a flustered expression. He seemed disjointed, upset. Izuku wanted to say something, but when Izuku opened his mouth to speak, Katsuki whipped his head in the other direction and began his trek to Izuku’s apartment. 

 

Izuku supposed he’d leave it at that.

 


 

When they arrived at Izuku’s apartment, he opened the door and silently ushered Katsuki into the small, dual-purpose living room. It was small, barely maneuverable for more than four people at a time. The furniture was dated, the kitchenette to the right needed so many repairs that certain cabinets didn’t even have doors, and overall it was embarrassing for Izuku to bring his friends into this miniscule apartment when he knew they had so much grander living arrangements.

 

The one person he never seemed to worry about, though, was Katsuki. 

 

Katsuki seemed more at home in a room he could cross in a couple long strides, than his luxurious mansion. It made Izuku feel good.

 

“Mom’s working third-shift tonight! We gotta be quiet,” he warned him, guiding his friend across the carpet and down the cramped hallway to the little bedroom on the right. 

 

The moment he opened the door, Katsuki crossed the threshold and tossed his backpack on the desk chair. Without a second thought, he threw himself onto Izuku’s messy bed. Izuku furrowed his brow at him and closed the bedroom door behind them. “Kacchan, are you okay?”

 

“Fucking peachy, nerd. So, knock it off with the questions.” His voice was muffled by the blankets beneath him.

 

“Uh, right, but you seem sort of--I don’t know-- tense? Well, more tense than usual.”

 

“Deku, I said I’m fine.”

 

“And who’s Melissa?”

 

Katsuki’s strangled groan made Izuku jump and jerk his head towards the door. He hoped it hadn’t woken his mom. He didn’t want to disturb her when he knew she needed all the sleep she could get. He looked back to Katsuki, flopping over on the bed so his eyes watched the ceiling in melancholy. He sighed. “She’s the bitch from Milan. Mom and dad made me hang out with her.”

 

“You really don’t seem to like her.”

 

Katsuki snorted. “Of course I don’t! She’s too… clingy! The bitch didn’t give me any time to myself! And fucking dragged me to every goddamn museum in Italy! All I wanted was to do my own shit!”

 

“Maybe she was just excited.”

 

“I really don’t care what she wanted, Deku,” he snapped. “She’s a selfish bitch. God, unless someone arranges a marriage for her, she’s probably gonna die alone.”

 

“Kacchan, that’s mean!”

 

Katsuki huffed, furrowing his brows and looking over to Izuku. “You think I give a shit? ‘S’not like it fucking matters anyways. Just go do your homework and let me sleep.” He rolled onto his side, back facing Izuku.

 

Izuku rolled his eyes and sighed, not surprised by Katsuki’s behavior. He was jetlagged. Every time he left the country, he’d return in a sour mood for a little less than a week. So, Izuku didn’t take it personally.

 

He glided over to his desk, dropping his backpack on the tabletop and reached for Katsuki’s so that he could use the chair for himself. It was by pure chance that he glanced over the open flap and noticed a green and orange composition poking out from between textbooks. Izuku quirked his head to the side and bit his lip.

 

Curiosity gnawed at Izuku’s mind. Knowing he probably shouldn’t, Izuku reached into the bag and pulled it out. He weighed it in his hands, observed the worn cover, and glanced over towards his bed. Katsuki had his back to him, not aware of Izuku rifling through his things. He knew he should stop, put the composition notebook back into his bag before he noticed it in Izuku’s hand, but he just couldn’t. 

 

He bent the book in his hands and watched the pages flash in front of his eyes, watching the tidy characters race across the pages. The next thing he knew, he was at the beginning, reading the first line: The barbarian king perched atop the crimson dragon, rage and fury in his eyes. As the beast roared, his howl a warning to the footsoldiers that surrounded them, throwing spears and heckling the animal. They were beasts to the barbarian, who looked at them like swine gracefully delivered to the slaughter. 

 

Izuku blinked at the page. This was fiction, a story scrawled across the notebook in Katsuki’s tidy penmanship. He watched it in fascination, not focused on the words but the fact that Katsuki held this secret talent. 

 

He flicked his hand across the leaflette, flipping page after page until Katsuki turned to snap at Izuku to keep it down. He saw Izuku’s eyes boring into the telltale green and orange notebook. 

 

It was his.

 

Izuku was surprised when Katsuki bolted to his desk and yanked the notebook from his hand, glaring down at him with a darting, furious eyes. “What the fuck are you doing?”

 

Izuku looked up at him and paused, his mouth hanging open but words not coming out. He didn’t know what he could say to make it less obvious that he was sneaking a peek at his friend’s things. 

 

Katsuki seemed to realize that, too, his nostrils flaring and his eyes darting across Izuku’s figure. “Kacchan, you write stories?” Not a good response, but Izuku was in too deep. He’d go with it. 

 

“Maybe it’s none of your goddamn business what I write, huh? You ever think about that?”

 

Izuku shrugged. “Not really. We’re friends, Kacchan. No secrets. Besides, you looked at my drawings, so letting me read your stories makes us even.”

 

“No, it doesn’t.”

 

“Yes, it does,” Izuku argued, reaching for the notebook and receiving little pushback from his fiery friend. “C’mon, Kacchan. It sounded really good! Just- can’t you let me support you a little bit? Like how you’re supporting me with art?”

 

Katsuki huffed, staring down at his friend with balled fists and an uncertain, frantic expression. The anger loosened in his features until it was one of quiet contemplation. Izuku looked hopefully at him, using big, green eyes as his trusty lure.

 

Eventually, Katsuki sighed dramatically and threw his hands in the air, resigned. “You can be so fuckin’ annoying, Deku,” he groaned, turning on the balls of his feet and stomping back to the bed.

 

Izuku hardly cared, excited to delve into the world Katsuki had created. He followed Katsuki to the mattress, hopping onto the edge as Katsuki rolled against the wall and grabbed a pillow to embrace in his sleep. He looked up at him, brows furrowed. “Why’re you on the bed?”

 

Izuku flipped to the notebook’s second page, eyes not leaving the first line. “Believe it or not, Kacchan, I live here. This is my bed.”

 

Katsuki groaned, burying his head in the pillow’s fabric. “But I’m tryin’ to sleep.”

 

“And I’m trying to read,” Izuku added. “So why don’t you get to that, and let me be.”  

 

Katsuki went silent and Izuku’s attention grew ensnared by the world at his fingertips. His best friend’s tidy letters brought together a world entangled in mischief, magic, and never ending fantasy. The characters--a curious civilian and a barbarian warlord who fought to protect a rare, dying breed of dragon from a technologically advanced kingdom--almost felt real, relatable. As if they’d been crafted from their very selves. 

 

Izuku wondered…

 

He looked over to Katsuki, sound asleep now. His blond hair lay flat against the pillow, and his hands fisted in the sheets by his side. He grunted in his sleep and Izuku smiled fondly at him. 

 

With a yawn, Izuku dropped the composition notebook to the floor and curled in on himself at the edge of the bed. They only ever slept together at his home, where there wasn’t an excess of bedrooms for them to choose from. Here, they’d always squeeze together in his small twin bed and sleep with the radiating body heat keeping the two of them warm.

 

It had always embarrassed Izuku that he couldn’t offer the same luxuries as Katsuki could, but he’d be lying if he said that he didn’t enjoy their sleepovers here in his small, cramped room.

 

In fact, he thoroughly enjoyed them. 

 

He enjoyed anything with Katsuki involved.



Chapter Text

“Deku,” Katsuki hummed, his voice like honey to Izuku’s ears. Izuku stirred in his sleep, rubbing his cheek against his warm pillow as the earth vibrated beneath him. “Deku, wake up.”

 

He groaned, not satisfied with waking from heavy sleep. Iida had woken them at sunrise, dragged them from one side of the island to the other in an attempt to visit as many historical sites and tourist attractions as possible. He wanted them to ‘understand the heart and soul of Hawai’i’. Izuku supported him, of course. Touring and learning was what he did best.

 

Still, a full day of it was enough to drag him to exhaustion. The fact that Touya and Himiko had for some reason decided to come to this outing of all things had made his fatigue worse. Formulating exit strategies and refocusing his mind onto anything other than their proximity was a mental whirlwind. 

 

But Katsuki had helped. Izuku couldn’t remember a time in the entire day that Katsuki had left him alone to deal with the Terrible Two. Even better, Katsuki dragged Izuku off to do what he wanted to do, rather than make Izuku struggle with picking, choosing, and voicing his own wants. He didn’t want to be a bother, to be demanding or entitled. Katsuki still gave him options, but he focused them on things that weren’t important or significant in the grand scheme, like: “Do you want pineapple or coconut ice cream?”, “Do you wanna go on a walk while the others finish lunch?”, “Can we go to the gift shop?” 

 

Things Izuku didn’t feel guilty about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to.

 

“Deku, seriously.” Katsuki’s voice was a bit less soothing this time. “Roundface is giving me the fucking eye. If you don’t get the fuck up and- Deku, she’s taking out her phone.”

 

Izuku shot up and jerked his gaze around the tour bus. Uraraka sat catty-corner to their row, her cheek squished against the back of her chair as she held her phone up, camera lense focused on them. Izuku scrunched his nose, stuck his tongue at her, and Uraraka snorted. She turned back in her seat and dropped her head to Iida’s shoulder, holding her phone out to him. Iida shook his head, then planted a kiss to her scalp.

 

Izuku turned back to Katsuki, who had his nose wrinkled at the couple in front of them. “They’re so fuckin’ disgusting. Look at them!”

 

“It’s kinda cute, though.” Izuku shrugged. “It’s like- it’s proof that not all relationships end up bad. It’s hope for the rest of us!”

 

Katsuki looked over to him, his lips pressed fine as he took in Izuku’s warm expression. From this close, Izuku could make out every miniscule mark and feature on Katsuki’s face. There was a short scar at the corner of his chin, near impossible to see if not for the way his tan made the pale scar tissue visible. 

 

Had his eyelashes always been that long?

 

They brushed his cheeks when he blinked. Touya had short lashes, and Izuku had always wondered what it would be like to kiss someone and have their eyelashes tickle his skin. Wait. He shook his head, a red tint scattering his cheeks as he came back to himself. He scoffed at the wild, intrusive thought. There was no way that was anything other than a slip of sanity. 

 

“Uh, sorry, Kacchan. What did you say? Kinda spaced out.”

 

Katsuki shook his head and smirked at him. “God, Deku, you are so goddamn spacey sometimes.”

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Don’t be.” He swung an arm around Izuku’s shoulder, pulling him in and making Izuku’s blush deepen. “You wouldn’t be you if you weren’t spacey. Anyways, I said that the whole thing is bullshit. I’ve never been in a relationship that turned out alright.”

 

Izuku shrugged. “Well, neither have I, but maybe we just haven’t found the right people yet.”

 

“Or maybe we have, but we don’t think we deserve them.” Katsuki voice was low, wounded. Izuku could feel the lingering pain in his words and, when he pulled himself out from under Katsuki’s arm, he turned to find his expression somber.

 

Something heavy hit Izuku’s heart, his body going rigid. What did Katsuki mean? Had he found someone? Was he in love? Worse than that, Izuku couldn’t believe how terrifying that thought made him. Katsuki in love with someone, giving them his undivided attention, doting and praising them the way he did to Izuku, wasn’t what Izuku wanted. 

 

Fear enveloped Izuku as the gravity of those thoughts washed over him and Katsuki turned in his seat to talk to Ashido. Izuku thought he’d gotten over it long ago. He thought the moment that he’d agreed to go out with Touya in his sophomore year of college, he’d given up on his old, childish whims. But Katsuki had always had a way of overtaking his life and senses to the point where he couldn’t deny it any longer.

 

Izuku loved him.

 

After pining throughout their childhood and eight years of separation, Izuku couldn’t stand the thought of Katsuki with anyone but him. And maybe he should have realized it when his throat turned to cotton at the sight of Katsuki in a suit. Maybe he should’ve known when he turned red at his compliments at Iolani Palace, or longed for his comfort more times than he could count since the trip’s beginning. It should’ve been obvious when he couldn’t get off behind the bathroom door to anything but Katsuki, but it wasn’t. Not until now.

 

And now he was hopeless.

 

But before he could completely wallow in the dread that would undoubtedly ensue, Iida sprung from his seat and turned back to the bus’ occupants. “My dear friends, we have arrived for dinner! Please exit the bus and follow me into the venue.” He then extended his hand for Ochako to grab and guided her from her seat and off the vehicle. 

 

Row by row, the group exited their seats and joined together on the cobblestone roundabout. The center fountain bubbled at their right, and when Izuku looked up, he saw the palm trees tower above. Their palms swayed in the gentle breeze of the early night, which carried the scent of the ocean with them. 

 

Iida and Ochako walked in front of the rest, hand in hand as they led their wedding party up the stairs and onto the La Mer patio. A chandelier hung from the ceiling, illuminating the entrance in a welcoming light. Massive, stone pillars sat on either side of them, making Izuku feel small in comparison. 

 

As they entered, he thought it a wonder. The walls were decorated in traditional Hawaiian artistry and doorways were adorned with carved, light-wood decorations etched into the sides. Even here, Izuku could smell the sea salt in the air mixed with the restaurant’s floral perfume. The hostess guided them from the entrance to the dining room where blanketed tables rested besides wide windows overlooking the beach. In the setting sun, the trees and sand were silhouetted in black. It accented the heavy reds, soft yellows, and warm oranges that turned the sky into an artist’s wonder. 

 

They sat with that view in front of them, Iida and Uraraka at the head, closest to the cool sea breeze. Izuku grabbed Katsuki’s wrist and guided him along the banquet table. Katsuki’s flesh burned under his sweaty fingers, and he gulped down the nerves as he found his seat beside Uraraka and offered Katsuki the one beside them. Todoroki Shouto and Yaoyorozu glided across from them and, as they situated themselves on the satin and bamboo seats, their server approached with a wide, genuine smile that matched her round, blue eyes. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Barron, and I’ll be taking care of you this evening. May I start by offering you a selection of our wines, or perhaps-”

 

“You got tequila?” Toga giggled from the end corner, knocking into Touya. The server stuttered, before nodding back to her. “Yes, ma’am, we-”

 

“I’ll have two shots.” She rounded on Touya. “Whatcha want, honey?”

 

“Vodka Straight, up, with Stoli Citrus. Two cherries, two olives, an orange, and bring me Four Roses Bourbon, too. Tall.”

 

“Uh, yes, sir,” The woman nodded as she whipped out her notepad and began to scrawl the order on the blue paper. “I’ll just, uh, go to the bride and groom, then?” She paced down the line, stopping just short of Uraraka and Iida. “Sir and ma’am, could I offer you a list of our finest wines?”

 

“No need,” Iida smiled up at her. “We will take your best Cabernet.”

 

“Yes, of course, sir. Did you want to look over the prices before making the decision, or-”

 

“Again, it is no trouble, ma’am.” He looked across the table and reached for Uraraka’s hands. He squeezed them, rubbed his thumbs across her knuckles and looked lovingly into her eyes. “She can have whatever she wants.”

 

Uraraka squealed, face turning fuschia as she leaned into the table. “Tenya, I don’t need all that! Just you, baby!”

 

“Yes, but I have seen you with a bottle of good wine,” he argued. “And the look of joy on your face was gift enough for me!”

 

Uraraka stuttered, but craned her head towards the server and nodded her agreement. Barron turned to Todoroki and Yaoyorozu next and waited expectantly for their answers. “I’d like a Scotch, neat. Momo, what do you want?”

 

“A dry white, please. I don’t keep tabs on all the fancy names, so you can pick for me! Price isn’t an issue.”

 

“And for you, gentlemen?”

 

Izuku twisted his body the best he could, smiling up at the woman as his spine contorted. “Can I get a Tanqueray and Tonic, please? Light on the ice!”

 

She nodded and turned to Katsuki.

 

“Water.”

 

He didn’t look up at her, his voice was deep and agitated, and his eyes were averted to the table cloth as he picked at the threads with his fingernail. Izuku furrowed his brow, confused at his embarrassment until Yaoyorozu leaned forward and whispered across the table. “Bakugou, you can order something more if you’d like. If you’re worried about the cost, I can-”

 

“I’m not fuckin’ poor, Yaomomo,” Katsuki hissed, jerking his gaze up at her. In an instant, his anger melted into regret and he winced at himself. “Shit, uh, I’m sorry. Thanks, Yaomomo, but I don’t fuckin’- I don’t drink.”

 

“So, just water?” The server looked perplexedly at them, before Izuku nodded in confirmation and she moved down the line. 

 

“Bakugou, I am both intrigued and perplexed by your apparent shift from alcohol!” Iida gawked, striking up a conversation. “I would have thought you enjoyed the festivities too much!”

 

Katsuki’s lip twitched. His shoulders tensed. They were short, barely-there ticks, but Izuku saw them and he knew that Katsuki was close to going on the offensive to keep himself from being their circus monkey. “Y’know, Iida, you can have ‘festivities’ and still be fucking sober, right?”

 

“Yes, of course, it’s just-”

 

“Shit, dude, it’s so different from high school!’

 

“So,” Katsuki snapped. “And you ain’t different? High School Todoroki never would've said ‘shit’ or ‘dude’.”

 

“Yeah, living without my father offers some wiggle room.”

 

“Bakugou,” Uraraka chimed in. “I think they’re just saying it’s a little surprising to them considering you were so attached to it when you all were teenagers.”

 

“Round face, you didn’t even fucking know me!”

 

No,” she admitted. “But Iida has told me a few stories! And Todoroki told me that at the first party Yaomomo invited you guys, you got blackout drunk and pissed in her pool!”

 

Yaoyorozu groaned. “My parents were not pleased with me.”

 

“At the Business Leaders of Japan Summit Gala, he raided the open bar, stole an entire bottle of Pappy, and passed out in a supply closet! He threw up on my shoes when I tried to carry him to his parent’s limousine.”

 

Todoroki snorted. “C’mon, that’s nothing compared to the time he got drunk on a keg, swore to everyone--and no one was telling him to do this!--he climbed atop the balcony railing and did a handstand! It was a four-story drop!”

 

Izuku gawked, jerking his eyes from Todoroki to Katsuki, who was squeezing his fists and turning his knuckles white. His nostrils flared and Izuku knew he should try and tame the beast, but his shock at the story was enough to drive that thought from his mind. “Kacchan did you really do that?”

 

Katsuki whipped towards Izuku, the most venomous scowl on his face and most obvious fear in his eyes. They glistened. “Fuck’s sake, Deku, yes! Okay?” He jolted up from his chair, almost knocking it to the floor and stepped back from the table to face the rest. “I’m so goddamn, fucking sorry that I can’t be your stupid ass joke anymore.”

 

He threw up his hand at the table and stomped off the way they came. Izuku froze, sudden guilt rushing over him. He should’ve done something, said something. He hadn’t meant to egg him on or embarrass him. Izuku never went to those parties. He didn’t know that Katsuki had climbed balcony railings and risked his own life in the process. It wasn’t like him to act out in such a stupid, reckless manner. And learning about it made Izuku question all the things Katsuki had done in their youth that he wasn’t privy to. “Fuck…”  

 

“We didn’t know he’d react like that.” Yaoyorozu looked around the group, searching the others’ faces for validation. “He used to think it was funny.”

 

“It was too far. It made him uncomfortable.”

 

“You did it too, Midoriya,” Todoroki added.

 

“I-I was just surprised. I didn’t know he did half those things, but the balcony… hearing about it caught me off guard. I- fuck, I messed up.”

 

“You weren’t aware of the Balcony Incident?” Iida pressed forward, curiosity in his eyes.

 

The question sounded like he had expected the memory to be obvious to Izuku, but he couldn’t remember anything close. Pangs of guilt echoed inside his body and the terrifying, gnawing idea that maybe he didn’t know Katsuki as well as he though consumed his mind. He tried to force it out, convince himself he was wrong, but it was unbelievably hard. 

 

“I should go check on him.” Izuku got up from his cushioned seat and walked off towards the entrance. 

 

Just as he passed the corner of the table, Himiko looked back at the four near the window and shouted. “Hey, if y’all wanna see Bakugou drunk in a gutter, I can fuckin’ do that for you!”

 

Izuku went rigid, fire in his gut. Katsuki was embarrassed by his past. Clearly. And the thought of this woman hurting Katsuki was enough to send him into a quiet rage. His nostrils flared, he inhaled a breath worth five, and rounded on her as she pulled her phone from her purse.

 

Izuku snatched it before Himiko even knew what was happening, slamming it on the table with a thud! and leaning in close to her. His eyes mirrored hers. The only difference was his radiated rage while hers a quiet shock and awe. “If you fuck with him, I will drag you to the nearest volcano and drop you in it.”

 

He let her phone go, pushed off from the table and fast-walked out the exit as adrenaline drained from his body and he started to internally scream. 

 

He’d done that.

 

He’d just done that! God, he hadn’t felt so alive in ages. For almost a decade, he hadn’t stood up to anyone the way he’d done just then. It was small, and minimal, but the fact that he had done it was enough to make him scream inside. And it was all thanks to Katsuki, who brought out such pure instincts to protect that he’d momentarily subvert his own nerves.

 

He needed to find him.

 

With a subtle hop in his step, he sprinted out into the humid night. Katsuki paced outside the entryway while employees eyed him wearily, and Izuku flashed them an apologetic smile as he approached his friend.

 

Katsuki was breathing heavily. His head in his hands as he muttered to himself and jerked around the patio. At times, he’d pull his hair and Izuku fought the urge to run over and grab his hands to stop him. “Kacchan…” Katsuki stopped immediately, jerking his towards his voice. Izuku caught how his eyes glistened under the patio lights and Izuku ran to him. “Kacchan, are you crying?” 

 

He reached for his arm, only for Katsuki to pull away and step back. “Fuck off, Deku! I’m fine!”

 

“You’re not!” 

 

“What? You wanna know if I’m fucking fine after being fucking humilated by those cunts!” He leaned back against a pillar, pinching the bridge of his nose as he took a calming breath.

 

“Kacchan they weren’t trying to humiliate you!”

 

“But they did,” he hissed back. “This is exactly why I didn’t want to come back! I don’t want them looking at me like the shit I was in highschool! I’m different now! I’m better!”

 

Izuku looked at him sadly, shut his eyes and found his center. He was helped along by the sweet breeze brushing through his curls and sending the sea into his senses. When he opened them, he stepped forward and trapped Katsuki between him and the pillar. Katsuki found it peculiar, removing his hand from his eyes to look down at Izuku’s smaller figure.

 

But the look of sincerity and stubborness in Izuku’s eyes was enough to keep him intrigued as Izuku stated his peace. “Kacchan, maybe you’re right, but however you were in high school doesn’t matter to me or anyone else. We’re just happy to have you back, and we missed so much that some people are having trouble piecing together how much you’ve grown. 

 

“You were gone for so long. No one knows where you went, or what happened to you. There’s and eight-year gap that we weren’t apart of. And we want to know-- of course , we want to know what happened--but we’re not pressing it ‘cause we know it’s not right to force you. But they’re trying to figure out what they can talk to you about, and if they can’t talk about the years you were gone, then of course they’re gonna try and talk about ‘the good ol’ days’! So, no, they weren’t trying to humiliate you! They’re trying to fucking engage you! We want you to feel at home with us again. We love you.”

 

Katsuki blinked at him, not saying a word as his surprised eyes looked Izuku over, taking in his dead set perseverance and almost violent concern for his friend. His tense facial muscles softened and contracted over, and over, and over. By the time Izuku had started to understand their pattern, Katsuki parted pouty lips to answer. “You guys love me?”

 

Izuku scoffed. “Of course. So, will you come back to dinner? No one will ask again or I’ll tear them a new one!”

 

Katsuki snorted at that, nodding towards the entrance. Izuku stepped back to let Katsuki pass and the two trodded towards the doors. Izuku reached them first, grabbing the handle and yanking only for Katsuki to push it shut and look down at Izuku from behind. 

 

Izuku craned his neck to face him, finding his vision filled with nothing but Katsuki’s tan skin, red eyes, and blond halo. He gulped.

 

“When you said ‘you guys love me’... what about you, Deku?” 

 

Izuku gulped, worried under his powerful stare. Katsuki couldn’t know--would never know--what kind of love Izuku meant. Sure, Katsuki just wanted to know that his friendship with him was sound--which it obviously was--but Izuku couldn’t help the direction his mind turned. 

 

Friend-love or romantic-love, Katsuki would only ever know about the former. Izuku had just gotten him back, and he wouldn’t lose him due to careless love confessions. It wasn’t worth it.

 

He smiled warmly at Katsuki, cocking his head as best he could from this angle. “Of course, Kacchan. You’re my best friend.”



Chapter Text

“PLEASE EXIT THE PRIVATE JET IN AN ORDERLY FASHION!” Iida shouted from the bottom of the steps, ushering the bridal party off the plane and onto the tarmac . Izuku yawned as he stepped out the door and down the steps and into the Big Island’s hot, humid air. All around him were high peaks, rolling hills, mountains, and volcanoes, which were blanketed in thick layers of green. Behind him, waves crashed along their sandy shores. He looked behind the jet at the beach far off in the horizon.

 

They’d been up since the early hours of the morning, Iida telling them they’d need to be off O’ahu by six in the morning if they were going to get to th e Big Island before the sun was far too high in the sky and hiking would be made unbearable. 

 

The group had been ushered onto Todoroki’s private jet at five-thirty and were just now getting there at seven. They would have been there earlier, but the fact that Himiko had made the bus turn around so she could go back and get her ‘pain medication’ for her ‘flat feet’ had set them back a good half hour.

 

But now they were here, they were on the island, and Izuku was ready to go explore the hiking trails which led to one of two active volcanoes: Kilauea. 

 

At the bottom of the stairs, he waited for the rest of the group to file out of the plane and follow Iida to the tour bus waiting at the end of the airstrip. Izuku watched as Ashido stopped at the doorway, turned back to say something to Shinsou, then kicked her leg over the railing and slid down to the tarmac below. Izuku snorted audibly at the childish act and Ashido, noticing the way she had made Izuku laugh, adjusted her cheetah-print backpack and jogged over to him with a wide smile on her lips. “Freckles!”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow at her, quirking his head to the side. “Freckles?”

 

“Mhm.” She looped her arm in his and guided him off towards the tour bus, not even waiting for the others to follow. “I’ve decided that that is going to be your nickname now. I nickname everyone.”

 

“Do you now?” Izuku asked, amused at her sincerity. “Did you nickname Katsuki, too?”

 

She pursed her lips and shook her head. “No, he came with that name. Kirishima gave it to him when he started at the club, but I think it fits him nice. Kirishima’s good at giving nicknames. It’s probably why we’re so good together.”

 

Izuku snorted. “You’re with your boyfriend because he’s good at giving nicknames?”

 

“Of course! What else would I date him for?” She smirked at Izuku, humored by herself. Then, her eyes widened and she leaned into Izuku’s side, throwing him off center and making him stumble. “Sooooo, what happened with you and Katsuki last night, huh? You yelled at Himiko! And Katsuki was so mad, but he was so calm when you guys got back!”

 

“Oh! Uh,” he started, craning his neck to see who would overhear them if he started talking. Uraraka and Iida were in their own little world, Uraraka’s arms around his waist as she stepped on his feet and made him waddle with her added body weight. She seemed to find it hilarious, her head thrown back in laughter as Iida smiled lovingly at her. 

 

Todoroki had his arm around Yaomomo as he conversed heavily with Katsuki, arms flying in wild gestures. Izuku watched Katsuki bark out a short laugh and a wild grin spread across his face. It made Izuku’s chest swell and his cheeks tinge pink. He liked seeing Katsuki’s smile, and Ashido seemed to realize that. “Oh, you’re smiling like a love-sick puppy.”

 

Izuku whipped his eyes back to her. “Am not!”

 

“Are too,” she argued with hardly any effort. “So, go on! What happened last night with you two?”

 

“Nothing! Nothing happened!”

 

Ashido fixed a knowing glare on him, quirking an eyebrow and pressing her lips tightly together. “Doesn’t sound like nothing…”

 

Izuku wasn’t going to win. He was well aware that Ashido’s resolve was one hundred times as strong as his, and she’d rather die than not know something. He sighed, rubbed the back of his neck and gathered the nerve to answer her. “Nothing really did happen, but I, um, well, I realized last night that I--”

 

That you?”

 

Izuku inhaled a deep breath and steeled his resolve. “I’m still in love with him,” he sighed. “When we were kids, I knew I loved him. I had a crush on him all throughout middle and high school. But I thought I was over it when he showed back up in my life,” He sighed. “I guess I’m not.”

 

They’d reached the tour bus at this point, climbing up the steps and finding their way to the back row of seats. Izuku sat down by the window, Ashido sitting at his side and taking his hand in hers. “And how do you feel about it?”

 

“Lost,” he admitted without a moment’s hesitation. “Ashido, I can’t be with him. It...It’s like Touya was just a placeholder for him while he was gone, which makes me feel so guilty, and--”

 

“Woah, woah, woah,” Ashido stopped him, fixing him with a severe look. “I haven’t known him for long, but Todoroki is cruel to you. There is no reason for you to feel guilty about him!”

 

“But it feels like I used him! Like me loving him must have been fake and he must’ve known about it,” he explained, bowing his head. “And so that would mean that I deserve the way he treated me, because it was punishment for not truly loving him.”

 

“Freckles, I need you to look at me.” He looked up into Ashido’s worried, loving eyes. “You never thought you’d see Cherry again. You put your heart and soul into your relationship with Todoroki, and he treated you like garbage. You do not need to feel guilty for how he treated you, or for how you feel about Cherry, okay?”

 

“But--”

 

“No buts,” she argued. “You deserve happiness, Freckles. Revel in it.”

 

And she had a point. There was no discernible proof that Katsuki would have ever reappeared in Izuku’s life. It had been purely coincidental, so anything he’d done before then really couldn’t have contained any ill intentions. He really did love Touya as best he could, even when Touya didn’t think it was enough. Maybe he did deserve happiness, but with Katsuki?

 

“It wouldn’t work anyways,” he sighed, waving off the thought. 

 

“And why wouldn’t it?”

 

“Ashido, he doesn’t want me like that.” Izuku looked up at the tour bus door, seeing the first of their group start to climb on board. He lowered his voice to a hushed whisper. “We’ve only ever been friends, but even now I’m starting to doubt how close we ever were. It’s like- there are so many things I don’t know. I knew he liked to drink in high school, but I didn’t know about him ever getting black out drunk at serious events or risking his life for some stupid, drunken stunts! I don’t know why he doesn’t drink anymore! I don’t know what he’s done during the past eight years! He won’t talk about what happened, or why he left! He keeps saying he’s sorry, but he won’t say what for! It’s like...It’s like maybe we’re not as close as I thought we were. Maybe we never were…”

 

“Midoriya.” It wasn’t a sigh of pity, or his name in the form of a question. To him, it sounded like an acknowledgment of his feelings. “Look, I...I don’t know everything that goes on in Cherry’s head. No one does. And I can’t say your feelings don’t have any basis, ‘cause I understand how him keeping you out of the loop would hurt you, but I don’t think it’s personal.”

 

Izuku snorted and rolled his eyes. He caught sight of Katsuki boarding the bus, and he waited there at the front, his eyes roaming until he found Izuku. A smirk tugged at the corners of his lips and he started forward, coming to meet him. Izuku sighed. “Everything Kacchan does is personal.”

 


 

 

Izuku didn’t think Katsuki loved him. Maybe as a friend, but nothing more. The truth of the matter was that Katsuki’s hidden past was starting to make Izuku’s skin crawl with anxiety. Not knowing reinforced all his fears that Katsuki didn’t believe him to be the same best friend from their childhood, and that as long as Izuku didn’t know the truth, it gave Katsuki the opportunity to disappear once again. 

 

He hated it. He hated the feeling of uncertainty. His entire life, for the whole six years he’d spent in Touya’s company, had revolved around his feelings of instability in his boyfriend’s life. It had been a never ending game of ‘will he leave me?’ and ‘what can I do to make him stay?’. Feeling like an outsider in Katsuki’s life was starting to bring back those same feelings of inadequacy. 

 

But be that as it may, Izuku wasn’t going to let Katsuki get away from him that easily. Even if he ended up insignificant in Katsuki’s life, Katsuki was still important to his. So, as they arrived at the base of the Kilauea volcano and prepared to hike to his summit, Izuku vowed to make the most of the time they had together.

 

Kilauea was the current most active volcano in the Hawaiian archipelago, and they were going to take the four mile hike up the side, through the Ohia forest, and over the crater floor. For the entire hike, Izuku was dead set on spending his time with Katsuki and trying his best to be the best Izuku he could be.He didn’t want him to leave again. He wanted Katsuki to accept Izuku in his life permanently.

 

“So, uh, are you ready for a hike?” Izuku asked, coming up to Katsuki as he slathered himself with sunscreen. They were at the base of the volcano, Ohia trees towered above them with their curving, moss-coated trunks and branches. Ferns and other surface-dwelling plants scattered at their bses and birds chirped from every which way. It was beautiful, enticing, and Izuku couldn’t wait to bond with Katsuki as they walked through the mountainous environment. 

 

“God, yes,” Katsuki laughed. “You know how long I’ve waited for these rich pricks to do something physical?”

 

“Well, what about when we went to Hanauma Bay? That was swimming. Wasn’t that, uh, physical?”

 

Katsuki snorted, shoved the sunscreen tube back in his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. “Deku, snorkeling is not an athletically or physically taxing activity. And, besides, we left early, remember? You got stung.”

 

Izuku’s shoulders slumped, embarrassed at the memory. “Oh, right. Sorry about that.”

 

Katsuki looked at him thoughtfully before walking so close that Izuku could feel his breath. Slowly, awkwardly, he looked up the moment Katsuki swiped his curls off his forehead and pushed them back. Katsuki left his hand in his hair, the heat of his palm making Izuku shiver. “Don’t be sorry. I like taking care of you.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows and gulped, his face flushing beet red. “Y-you do?”

 

Something melancholic flashed across Katsuki’s eyes. Izuku almost missed it in the way Katsuki’s eyes creased and he turned his lips up into a smile. “Yeah,” he said, voice rigid. “What are friends for?”

 


 

They climbed. The trees were a blessing, shrouding them from the mid-morning sun. But even if its harsh rays didn’t beat down on them and turn their flesh lobster red, the humidity made them suffer. Only half way up the mountain, Izuku was dripping sweat by bucket-loads, his shirt soaked and his pants uncomfortably caked to his legs. He didn’t know how Katsuki did it, climbing up a mountain while remaining gorgeous as hell.

 

Katsuki Bakugou didn’t sweat. He glistened. And when the sun hit him from between the tree tops, his blond hair shone white and his tan skin was highlighted in the light. Izuku could only stare after him, mesmerized by his beauty. 

 

“Pretty sexy, huh?”

 

Izuku whipped his head to the side. Himiko Toga was standing next to him, trudging along the dirt path and hopping over tree roots. She looked too pristine to be there. She was wearing pearls around her neck and on her ears. Her walking shoes were wedges, and her hiking shirt was a halter crop-top. She had a squirt bottle in her hand, misting herself to keep cool.

 

He furrowed his brows at her. “What do you want?”

 

She shrugged and quirked her head to the side, her double buns flopping wherever she turned. “Oh, honey, can’t I just make simple conversation?”

 

“No.”

 

“But-”

 

“-You do realize we’re going to a volcano, right? Do you not remember what I said I’d do to you at dinner last night?”

 

She hmphed, looked over to Katsuki and back at Izuku. She wrinkled her nose and sneered. “You like him, don’t you?”

 

“No, I don’t.” Izuku sounded tense, his voice strained. “We’re friends.”

 

Himiko snorted. “Oh, well, that’s good then. It’s probably best that way, anyways.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Well, come on, Midoriya,” She sighed. “You don’t really know him, now do you? To be honest, I don’t think you could even handle him and his, well, his fits.”

 

Izuku grit his teeth. This wasn’t a good conversation, not in the slightest. Was Himiko trying to hint him in on something that had happened in the eight years Katsuki had been vacant from his life? That’s what it sounded like. It sounded like something dark, something twisted that Himiko knew, but didn’t think Izuku could handle. It sounded like the skeleton in the closet that Katsuki was keeping out of view. He gulped. “What do you mean?”

 

“Well, it’s obvious what I’m talking about, isn’t it? Oh! Unless he didn’t tell you, right? Guess he doesn’t feel comfortable enough to tell you who he is--the kind of person he’s pretending to be.”

 

“Shut up,” he said on impulse. 

 

Himiko blinked. “What?”

 

“I said shut up! You don’t know anything about our relationship! You don’t know anything about me or him!” He said it with purpose, but only with the purpose of convincing himself. He didn’t have enough faith in himself to prove to Himiko his and Katsuki’s closeness. Right now, he could only do his best to prove to himself that his relationship had meaning.

 

But Himiko found it amusing. She laughed at him. “Oh, I know everything about you, Midoriya. Touya’s told me a lot, and so has your precious little crush.”

 

“You talked to Katsuki? When?”

 

She sneered. “Does it really matter? The point is he’s told me all about you, but he’s told you nothing about me! Seems a bit odd, don’t you think? Like maybe he doesn’t want you around?”

 

Izuku’s mouth gaped, his heartbeat pounding out of his chest. No, no, no! he  thought, panic creeping up on him. That didn’t make sense. Why would Katsuki tell Himiko about him? Why would they interact at all, Katsuki being so on edge whenever she was around. It made him want to claw at his own mind, his anxiety getting the best of him. 

 

Himiko smirked at him, then skipped off ahead. But Izuku didn’t want her to go. He wanted to ask what she was talking about. He wanted answers to the questions that were now making him feel like maybe he didn’t mean all that much to Katsuki. Maybe he didn’t mean anything. “Hey! Wait!” He shouted after her, picking up his pace.

 

 As he jogged up the trail, trying to catch her, he snagged his shoe on a protruding root, sending him to the ground and making him hiss. He rolled over onto his ass and looked   at his palms, red and scuffed. Then he glanced down at his knees and they looked just as filthy, but at least he didn’t break or twist anything. He didn’t want to cause a fuss.

 

“Shit, Midoriya, are you okay?” Jirou asked, climbing the path up to him. She crouched down at his side and looked at his legs. “We’re gonna have to put a monitor on you. Or baby proof your limbs so you stop hurting yourself.”

 

Izuku winced. “Sorry, Jirou, but I’m fine! Just hurts a little.”

 

“Pain is but a temporary illusion, Midoriya,” Tokoyami reminded him, gliding up the path in his black sweatsuit. “Real pain is the silence that comes from a life unfulfilled.”

 

“Tokoyami, why don’t we keep moving?” Tsuyu walked past, grabbing his wrist and leading him up the trail. Izuku saw his cheeks tinged pink at the contact. 

 

Jirou rolled her eyes and smirked back at Izuku. “You need some help getting up?”

 

Izuku shook his head and smiled back at her gratefully. “Thanks, Jirou, but I’m really alright.” To prove it, he climbed to his feet and adjusted his backpack, his hands stinging and his legs a little wobbly. 

 

Jirou seemed to take it as a sign he was alright, though, and offered him a clap on the back before moving forward. Izuku started forward, too, just as Katsuki appeared in front of him. He sped over to meet him. “Heard you shout. You okay, Deku?”

 

Had Katsuki climbed back down the trail just to check on him? Izuku blushed, embarrassed that Katsuki had come to ‘save’ him once again. He wished he were less clumsy, less of a hazard. If Katsuki really didn’t care about him as much as he acted, like Himiko had said, then he didn’t want Katsuki to keep coming after him like he was some sort of burden. “Um, yeah. I just...just tripped. I guess I’m just tired or something and didn’t see the roots.”

 

He looked back up at Katsuki and found a contemplative expression on his face, his lips pursed as he looked Izuku up and down. Eventually, he slid his backpack off and slung it around Izuku, ordering him to put his arms through the holes. It was weird carrying two backpacks on his back, awkward, but he adjusted his grip on them and looked back to find Katsuki kneeling on the ground with his back to Izuku. 

 

Izuku sputtered. “Ka-Kacchan?”

 

“Get on,” Katsuki ordered, holding his hands out in preparation to latch onto Izuku’s legs.

 

Izuku shook his head. “Kacchan, it’s fine! I...I don’t want to make the hike harder on you or anything, and- and I’m fine! See!” Izuku dodged him, walking back up the trail with not even the slightest difficulty. He didn’t need to be saved. He was fine on his own.

 

A hand clamped around his wrist and stopped him. Izuku, knowing who it was, shut his eyes and sighed before turning back around to see Katsuki looking up at him from the ground. “Deku, I don’t think you’re weak. I know you can do this on your own, but- but I- fuck, Deku, I don’t do things I don’t fucking want to! So, get on my goddamn back, please.”

 

Izuku gulped, looking around to see if anyone was watching. It was embarrassing, childish, and he didn’t want any more reasons for Himiko, Touya, or any of his friends to tease him about his growing crush, a crush he knew he shouldn’t have. 

 

But he knew Katsuki, and Katsuki didn’t take no for an answer. So, hesitantly, he stepped forward and leaned on to his best friend’s back, wrapping his arms around his neck and broad shoulders. His skin was hot, wet, and the musk coming off Katsuki’s body was almost aromatic to Izuku. 

 

Katsuki hoisted himself up off the ground, Izuku yelping as he was pulled into the air. “Wrap your legs around me.”

 

Izuku gulped, but slowly delivered on Katsuki’s demand. Next thing he knew, his face was buried in the nape of his best friend’s neck, hiding from his current situation. 

 

Katsuki paid him no mind, pushing up the trail.

 


 

“Oh my god, what is that smell?” Hagakure gagged, the group finally reaching the peak of the Kilauea Volcano. Izuku peeked over Katsuki’s shoulder and looked down at the massive crater, plumes of smoke rising from small gaps in the volcanic rock. 

 

He gaped, shocked by the vast beauty, the power of nature, displayed in front of him like a live painting. 

 

“That, Hagakure, is the sulfur deposits,” Iida began, pushing forward in the crowd to get to the front. He turned to address the entire group as Uraraka looked on amusedly. “The sulfur comes from volcanic rock dried from the molten lava that comes from the volcano’s base. I assume we must recognize the odor from the smoke rising from below.”

 

Hagakure wrinkled her nose. “It smells like Ojiro in the morning.”

 

“Why must you be like this?” Her boyfriend winced, looking at her as if he just wanted one outing without her impossible antics. She ignored him and skipped forward to the edge.

 

“You wanna get down now?” Katsuki asked, pulling Izuku’s attention from Hagakure and Masahirao’s banter. Izuku hadn’t really realized he was still in Katsuki’s arms, having gotten used to the feeling his legs held and face nestled in the crook of Katsuki’s neck.

 

But now, after Katsuki pulled attention to it, Izuku’s embarrassment was back. In one swift motion, he cleared his throat and hopped down from Katsuki’s back as his friend turned to look at him. “Um, thank you,” Izuku told him, rubbing at the back of his neck.

 

Katsuki shook his head, his expression somber but his eyes holding an almost soft look to them. “Don’t mention it,” he grumbled, looking off to the crater beneath them. “It’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?”

 

“Mm, yeah.”

 

“Never seen anything like it before, y’know? I’ve been to Hawai’i, but my parents only ever went for business. They wouldn’t let some stupid, spoiled kid go hiking up volcanoes by himself and our driver was too old to do it with me.”

 

“But now you’ve had the chance,” Izuku reminded him. He looked off towards the wonder before him, just as enthralled by the art sculpted by nature itself. He felt so small, so insignificant at its edge; it was like nothing really mattered when compared to the wonders that were there before he was born, and would be there long after he died. Izuku gulped. “I hope it’s as beautiful as you hoped it would be.”

 

Katsuki nodded softly, then turned his head just enough to look at the sparkle in Izuku’s eyes without it being obvious. The wind blew through his hair, pushing it back and revealing the freckles hidden beneath. His lips were parted wide, gaping at the view. Katsuki smirked. “It’s even better than I imagined.”



Chapter Text

Izuku shuffled on his feet, eyeing Katsuki from the bedroom threshold. Katsuki reclined on the couch, watching television as his hair dried from a day at the beach. He looked tanner--if that were even possible--and it did things to Izuku’s gut that made him look away after too much exposure. He gulped.

 

“Hey, Kacchan?”

 

Katsuki glanced towards him, back to the TV, then did a double-take. Izuku didn’t know what that meant, but he hoped it wasn’t bad. He’d really done his best to dress up for the occasion, wearing the outfit Uraraka had picked out especially for him. It made him feel bare, black pants so tight that someone could see the subtle outline of his dick, and a shirt so low cut he was afraid someone would catch an eyeful of his nipples if he bent over.

 

It wasn’t what he’d normally wear, but it was what Uraraka had wanted, and this was her party. Izuku gulped once more. “Um, Ochako is having another bachelorette party and ‘cause I’m the ‘Man of Honor’ I have to go.” Katsuki didn’t respond. He was still staring. Had Izuku done something wrong? “So, uh, will you be okay by yourself for the night?”

 

No answer.

 

“Kacchan?” Izuku asked again, stepping into the living room. He paced over to the couch, and as he approached, Katsuki seemed to come back to himself, shaking his head, and clearing his throat. 

 

“Huh?”

 

“I said,” Izuku started, rolling his eyes mockingly at his careless behavior. “I have to go to Ochako’s second bachelorette party. Are you going to be okay on your own for the night?”

 

“Oh, uh, yeah.” He nodded once, then a second time with more sincerity in his movement. Katsuki grabbed his phone off the adjacent cushion. He checked the time: 4:03 PM. “Yeah, I think I can manage.”

 

“Are you sure?” Izuku asked, guilt swelling in his chest. “I feel bad leaving you alone on a Saturday night.”

 

“Well, Deku, I doubt Round Face and Pinky want me showin’ up, and I think you need to go out and have a little fun of your own. I’ve got some things I can do while you’re gone.” He leaned forward, pushing on his knees to get off the couch. He sauntered over to Izuku, who had to crane his neck to look up into Katsuki’s assuring eyes. “Go have fun, Deku,” he said, grabbing his shoulder and squeezing it tight. “I’ll be fine.”

 

Izuku faintly registered his voice, but found himself lost in Katsuki’s features, in the steady curve of his nose and the sharp lines of his jaw. With his tan so deep, the white hairs of an incoming scruff stood out on his chin. And his eyes looked so bright, so profound against his light lashes, that they shined like the northern star. 

 

Izuku’s eyes flicked across his features, how his frown lines had grown shallow through the years, except for the creases between his brows, which Katsuki reserved for expressions of anxiety and concern. He bit his lip. 

 

“Deku?”

 

He shook his head, coming out of his reverie with wide eyes and a tinge to his cheeks. Katsuki wasn’t there anymore. It was as if in the seconds Midoriya had spaced, Katsuki had managed to disappear completely. “Kacchan?” he asked, searching blindly through the room with a jerk of his head.  

 

Katsuki reappeared from behind the outside pillar of the kitchen where the front door hid behind its frame. In tow, two girls--Uraraka and Ashido--dressed to the nines in lustrous, glittering outfits and sky high heels. Izuku wondered if Ashido had the most customers at the Plus Ultra Club. Despite her natural beauty already an advantage, her dress-up skills were practically unmatched. Then there was Uraraka, looking more sexy than sweet in her pink, glittering fringe dress which contrasted nicely beside Ashido’s leopard print, skin tight romper. “Woah. You girls look amazing.”

 

“Aw, honey,” Ashido squealed, running up to him with surprising dexterity--her shoes looked like a broken ankle waiting to happen. She grabbed his wrist and dragged him into a hug. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’ve fallen for me.”

 

Katsuki snorted behind her.

 

And Uararka laughed in response. “Ashido, I don’t think Bakugou likes what you’re insinuating.”

 

Ashido released Izuku, shrugging as she dragged him with her over to Uraraka’s side. “Doesn’t really matter. Cherry’s put up with me for this long, so I highly doubt me going after his man is an issue at this point.”

 

Izuku turned beet red. 

 

His man? No. 

 

No, no, no, no, NO! 

 

Izuku averted his eyes to the floor. Katsuki shot Ashido a glare, and the girl elected to ignore it. “Anyways,” Uraraka started as tensions grew high. “If you need us, Bakugou, we’ll be in the hotel bar until six. We’re gonna take advantage of Happy Hour for the pre-game before we go find a club.”

 

As Katsuki managed a nod, Uraraka rounded on her heels, backtracking towards the door with Ashido on her tail. Izuku couldn’t even manage to look back at Katsuki and say ‘goodbye’, too embarrassed by Ashido’s insinuation.

 

But he didn’t need to. Katsuki reached out and grabbed his wrist just before he made it to the door, and Izuku looked back hopefully. For what, he wasn’t sure, but his eyes searched for something in Katsuki’s that betrayed feelings held unbeknownst to Izuku. Katsuki bit his lip, bobbed his throat, and sighed. “You’ll be careful, right?”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow, his lips curling up in a curious smile. “Yeah, Kacchan, of course.”

 


 

 

“Alright, everyone, shots in the air!” Hagakure raised her tequila shot high. Izuku and the girls following suit. They sat together at a table, Uraraka at the head and Izuku by her side. The Ritz Carlton’s bar was magnificent. Chic and Clean. The tables were glass and the high ceilings were a marbled green, reminiscent of jade. The bar to the left of them had a built-in Aquarium, fish swimming beneath the bottles of alcohol their party would soon be drowning in. ‘Here’s to Uraraka, who’s propitiously married wealthy! May all the sugar babies of the world look to you as a model for success!”

 

She downed the drink, and Uraraka eyed her funny. Hesitantly, she and all the rest gulped down their shots, and Uraraka slammed hers down onto the table. She pointed accusingly at Hagakure. “I am not a sugarbaby!”

 

“And I don’t think you used ‘propitiously’ correctly in that sentence,” Tsuyu added.

 

Hagakure waved them off, signaling to the barkeep to bring them another round. Then she turned to Jirou, Yaoyorozu, and Ashido. “See how they treat me? Disrespectful!”

 

“Hagakure…” Yaoyorozu whined.

 

“Unbelievable, if you ask me.” Mina tsked to herself, reaching out to grab Hagakure’s hand. “You are an enigma. The model of hedonism.”

 

Izuku choked. 

 

Hagakure said, “Thank you!” 

 

“Enough of that, though,” Uraraka grinned, whipping her head to Izuku and catching the end of her hair in the ring of her empty shot-glass. “How are you and Bakugou doing, huh?” She wiggled her eyebrows with an insinuation Izuku didn’t want to think about. The group leaned into the table, six pairs of eyes staring him down. He was sweating, and the sensation made his tight pants feel all the more uncomfortable. 

 

“Oh, well,” he started, thinking back to the past two days. His mind was a montage of Katsuki comforting him after the realization that Touya hated him, feeding him compliments as if they were air to be freely shared, begging to give him a piggyback ride up a mountain, and just being softer than Izuku had felt from someone in the longest time. He remembered their skinship the other day, Izuku’s legs wrapped tight against Katsuki’s waist, his arms around his neck and his head resting at his nape. His skin had felt so soft. He’d smelled so sweet.

 

The beginnings of a subtle erection worked against the skin-tight fabric of his pants. Izuku shuffled awkwardly in his seat. He flushed a deep red, and jerked for a shot glass from the waiter’s tray the second he arrived. Maybe if he was drunk, he wouldn’t even need to worry about getting hard. Without waiting for the others, he downed it and savored the burn against his throat. 

 

The girls looked at him wide-eyed. Tsuyu whistled. “That’s either a really good sign, or a really bad sign.”

 

“Tsuyu, how in the world is that a good sign? Look at him!” Jirou threw her hand towards Izuku, gesturing to his entirety. Izuku buried his blushing face in his hands.

 

“I don’t know, I drank so much when me and Ojirou started dating,” Hagakure laughed. “He had to pick me up off the sidewalk twenty three times.”

 

“You kept count?”

 

Hagakure quirked her head to the side as she looked at Ashido quizzically. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I?”

 

Yaoyorozu pinched the bridge of her nose. “Typically, I’d say your relationship is dysfunctional, but, if you don’t mind my honesty, I’d say you’re the only dysfunctional one in the equation.”

 

Hagakure finger-gunned her and downed her shot. Then she rounded on Izuku like she just sipped water instead of tequila. “So?” She sat on her knees and crawled half her body onto the table, closing in on him. “How are you guys doing?”

 

Izuku bit his lip, looked at her, then Uraraka, Ashido, and all the rest. He hunched his shoulders, dejected, and complied. “He’s so nice!”

 

Jirou eyebrows raised. “Nice?”

 

“He just- he’s so sweet, and attentive, and I’m so frustrated, because- because I thought I got over this in high school! I thought I was done with all this!”

 

Yaoyorozu leaned to the side and cupped her hand around her mouth. “He was in love with him in high school,” she whispered to Tsuyu and Jirou.

 

“Oh,” they nodded in unison.

 

“Izuku, baby.” Uraraka reached for his hands, taking them in hers and offering him a comforting smile. Her hands were soft, decorated with pristine nails and a diamond ring so fat and embellished that it cost the same as a down-payment on a new car. “You don’t have to be over it. You’ve got a chance to run with it this time!”

 

“But, but I-” he wavered. The tequila made his head pound and his face feel numb. The lack of feelings in his limbs only heightened the strength of the emotions he bottled up inside. He wanted to scream, to cry, to figure out why this was torturing him so much. It wasn’t fair that he’d fallen in love with someone who left him. It wasn’t fair that he fell in love with someone else, just for that person to kick him to the curb, and it wasn’t fair for his first love to return and make his gut clench and his mind do somersaults when he was supposed to be over it. 

 

He just wanted to know where he stood. He wanted to know that he belonged, that he was wanted, and that Katsuki wouldn’t abandon him again. His eyes locked on Uraraka’s shot. He pulled his hand from hers and pointed to it. “Can I have that?”

 

Uraraka looked down at it, seemed hesitant, but nodded anyways. “Um, sure.”

 

He slurped it up in a heartbeat, savoring the burn. Continuing: “But what if he doesn’t want me? Like, what if he really came on this trip for the fun and ‘cause it’s free! What if he disappears again! I don’t wanna be left behind!”

 

“Stop that, Freckles!” Ashido snapped, rounding in her chair to grab his face and force eye contact. He’d never seen such a severe expression pressed into her happy features, too many frown lines on her face. He choked down the knot forming in his throat. “Do you think he’s a liar?”

 

“N-no.”

 

“You think he’d take care of you if he didn’t want to? Do his best to make you feel wanted after Touya ripped your heart out?”

 

When did Izuku start crying? His tears pooled where Ashido’s hand squished his cheeks and in the corners of his nose. He blinked and a wave of them fell down his face. “N-no, he- he wouldn’t.” It was true, he knew, but that didn’t put to sleep his panic, his anxiety over the whole situation. 

 

“Then just trust him, okay? If you love him, then trust that he’s here with you because he wants to be.” She smiled softly at him, reaching forward and pulling him into a brief hug. She was warm, warmer than he was with the alcohol burning through his body. 

 

He pulled away, looked around the group and sighed at their worried and dejected faces. “I’m- I’m sorry.”

 

Tsuyu shook her head. “Don’t be sorry. What you went through was horrible. We all know how big of an ass Touya is, and we’re all mad he made you like this.”

 

“But the good news is that now you’ve got a team of Amazonian goddesses on your side.” Hagakure grinned, gesturing to the girls around him. “We’ll kick anyone's butts for you.”

 

Izuku wiped his eyes and smirked half-heartedly at the group. “Thanks you guys, but that’s not necessary. I can handle myself. I’ve done it my entire life.”

 

“But that doesn’t matter,” Uraraka chimed in. “Family takes care of each other, regardless of whether they need it.” And she meant it, too, looking into his eyes with such sincere adoration that it made Izuku’s heart burst.

 

He didn’t believe that Katsuki wouldn’t leave him, or that Katsuki would love him, but he admired the intensity of what they tried to convince him. He loved his friends and all the trouble they put up with for him, all they did to support him. “Thanks, guys, I love you so much.” And as the tension died down, he cleared his throat and pushed his chair back. “I’m- I’m feeling a little fuzzy. I gotta go get some water, okay?”

 

They nodded at him, and Izuku started with one step in front of the other. His footfalls felt so heavy, his mind and sight a blur, but he knew where he was and what he was doing. Three tequila shots wasn’t enough to make him black out, regardless of how lightweight he was. 

 

An arm wrapped around his waist as he approached the bar, and he furrowed his brows, turning to the person invading his space. His eyes widened at double buns, and he yanked away. Stumbling back as Himiko fixed him with an amused smirk and took a sip from her sloshing martini. “Shh,” she whispered, nodding to his friends. “You don’t wanna make them worry anymore, right? It’s Uraraka’s bachelorette party, after all. It’d be pretty rude of you.”

 

Izuku bit his lip and glanced over at his friends, laughing as Hagakure climbed onto the table and started an accurate rendition of a very familiar striptease. He looked back to Himiko and nodded. “What’re you doin’ here?” he asked, voice slurred.

 

Himiko hopped onto a stool and flagged down the bartender. “Honey, can you get my friend here a drink! Whaddya want, Izuku?”

 

He wrinkled his nose, but the warning sirens in his head were muffled by the powers of the liquor. He took a seat beside her. “Tanqueray and Tonic, please.”

 

The man went to fill his order, and Himiko spun to face him completely. She propped her cheek on her ringed and bangled hand, and smiled at him like one smiles to a lover. “How’s the party going?”

 

“...Fine.”

 

“That’s good.” She nodded, looking back at the girls. “They don’t like me. Not one bit.”

 

“Hard to blame them,” Izuku grumbled, watching the bartender make his drink. “You’re a total bitch.”

 

Her eyes blew wide and she snorted at him, placing her hand to her heart in surprise. “ Wow. Did not know your balls were that big! I thought Touya stomped that out of you.”

 

Izuku ignored her, reaching for his drink as the bartender dropped it on the counter in front of him. He took a swig, savoring the bitter taste seeming sweet in comparison to his company. What she wanted, he didn’t know, but her presence set his teeth on edge.

 

“Anyways, didja talk to Katsuki about what I said?”

 

Izuku paused, looking down at the space between his legs. “No.”

 

“Yeah, probably best for everyone, anyways,” she sighed, gulping down the last of her Martini. “You’re not his type, anyways.”

 

He shot up, his attention grasped. Himiko saw the shocked, curious expression appear on his face, and he didn’t squelch it quick enough to blow the whole thing off. He grabbed the thin, black straw in his drink and swirled it in the ice. “What’s-” He shouldn’t ask it. He knew he’d only hurt himself. Whatever she said would hurt him. “What’s his type?”

 

“Me.”

 

He stilled, his body going rigid at the word. That… that was worse than what he had expected.

 

Me. 

 

Me. Me. Me.

 

He repeated it over and over in his head until it didn’t sound like a real word anymore, then dropped his eyes to the phone Himiko had pushed into the space on the counter below his drink. 

 

A tear fell on the glowing screen, on the silent video of a couple engaged in heated sex. The girl was on top, bucking against the man’s cock. Izuku could only see their abdomens and the base of the man’s cock sinking into the girl. Then she pulled the phone up to her face and smiled into the screen: Himiko. The view flipped to the man and Izuku lurched, feeling like he’d be sick. Katsuki laid on his back, his hands gripping her thighs and his head knocked back in ecstacy. He looked thinner, paler than he did now. Welts, cuts, and pink scars littered his body. Sometimes, the Himiko in the video would prod and press them, tearing an inaudible cry from Katsuki’s throat. 

 

It took Izuku all his strength to close his eyes, to pray that he hadn’t really seen it, a picture of the first man he ever loved sleeping with his ex-boyfriend’s lover. His heart shattered, dissolving in the pit of his stomach as he gagged. This was wrong. The pain in his chest was wrong. Even with his eyes closed, the image of Himiko hopping on his crush’s cock made him writhe.

 

He really wasn’t anything. He was nothing to anyone, being tossed aside by his lover for the same girl who’d taken his first love to bed.

 

Who needed Izuku; Himiko was there.

 

“No…”

 

“Oh, yes. Oh, yes.” Her voice was a singsong.

 

“I- I need-” He was on his feet before he could prepare, the world going fuzzy. He toppled to the floor, the marble cold on his cheek. It hurt, his body hurt, but he didn’t want to get up. He wanted to wallow and cry.

 

Soft hands grazed his arm, a honey-sweet voice echoed in his ear, and urged him to look up into gold and brown sets of eyes. Ashido and Uraraka were hovering above him, patting his face and shaking his shoulders. “Izuku! Izuku, are you okay?”

 

“What did you do to him, you nasty bitch!” Ashido snapped, jerking up from the ground and lunging at Himiko. The blonde girl side-stepped her, barking back a witty response Izuku couldn’t quite hear.

 

He blinked up at Uraraka, then let her guide him to his feet. “Are you okay, Izu? Do I- Do I need to call Bakugou? You don’t look good.”

 

Bakugou. Katsuki. Kacchan.

 

 Izuku needed to see him. He needed the truth. He needed an answer as to why Himiko had a video on her phone of them fucking. He needed to know why he’d hidden this, their relationship, and if Izuku was such a joke that he hadn’t thought he deserved to know.

 

He shrugged away from Uraraka’s hold and stumbled towards the exit. “I- I gotta go- go see ‘em,” he told her on his way out the club

 


 

It took him too many tries to get the keycard to work. When it did, he jerked into the room with urgent need. His eyes scanned the entrance, the lights dimmed to nothing. The kitchen, the living room, and the balcony all seemed abandoned. Had Katsuki already gone out?

 

But then the bedroom door opened and bathed the living room in a soft light. Katsuki peeked out from behind it. Upon seeing Izuku, his brow quirked and he came fully into view, closing the distance between them. “Deku? What’re you doing back? Forget something?”

 

He looked… beautiful. He wore a half-buttoned dress shirt, striped white and blue, and dark faded jeans that fit his toned thighs just right. He fixed his hair, still spiky, but tamer. Izuku gulped, realizing that he was stupid to think anyone like Katsuki would love him when they could have girls like Himiko, buxom and risqué, curvaceous and petite. 

 

“Deku?” Katsuki asked, coming too close. Izuku could feel the heat radiate off his body, and his hand grabbed Izuku’s wrist and sent electric shocks through his arm. It was like fireworks being touched like that, but the arousal he felt was nowhere near the absolute betrayal, the draining confidence, and growing self-hatred that burned within him. 

 

He yanked away, pushing past Katsuki and deeper into the suite. By the time Katsuki moved again, having momentarily frozen at Izuku’s cold response, Izuku was already in the living room and Katsuki was chasing after him. He lunged for Izuku’s arm, grabbing it and thrust Izuku back. His muscular arms engulfed him, filling Izuku with warmth. He could hear Katsuki’s rapid heartbeat, feel the tension in his muscles. He shut his eyes and savored it. “What’s wrong? Something happen? Someone fuckin’ mess with you?”

 

Yes. 

 

Too much happened, and now Izuku couldn’t see him without being reminded of his own inadequacy. In less than a couple hours, the hope he tried to cultivate for a decent future was snuffed out. Fear of abandonment gnawed at his mind and worked at his heart until he felt like he’d crumble. The realization that Katsuki’s presence was fleeting made him terrified and anxious. After all, anyone who’d hide their life from another clearly didn’t care about them enough to stick around. 

 

Katsuki would be gone soon. And so would Izuku’s hope for happiness. 

 

“Hi- Himiko. She-”

 

“What the fuck did she do? ” His snarl was cruel, animalistic. He sounded like a monstrous creature ready to murder and mutilate the transgressor that displeased him. Izuku gulped. 

 

“You two were together.” He said it--he didn’t ask-- knowing for himself that it was true, and that his friend kept it from him. Izuku said it so quietly, with words that could’ve been carried off and never heard again if there’d been a wind to pick them up. Katsuki tensed around him, his chin bobbing against the top of Izuku’s head when he gulped. Even if Izuku hadn’t been asking, that would’ve acted as an answer. “Kacchan?”

 

“Does it… does it matter?”

 

Did it matter? Izuku nearly scoffed through his wet, sniffling, silent cries. Of course, it mattered. The fact that Izuku hadn’t been worthy of Katsuki’s secrets, no matter how long he’d held onto their relationship--holding on even when he was sure Katsuki would never return to his life-- mattered. But what was the point of saying ‘yes’, when it didn’t matter?

 

“No. No, it doesn’t,” Izuku choked. “Forget it.”

 

Katsuki pulled out of the hug, a hand still on Izuku’s shoulder as the other reached for his cheek. “Deku, no. Don’t just say it’s fine if it’s not fucking fine! If-”

 

Izuku snorted and shook his head at the tile, disbelieving of the whole attempt at comfort. There was no way Katsuki could be serious. There was no reason to bother if Katsuki would never care enough to tell him the truth. 

 

“What!” Katsuki snapped, acidic and near violent. It startled Izuku from his reverie. He backed up from habit as he looked back up to Katsuki with panic. “What did you say?” His fury was awesome, terrifying. Izuku almost wanted to retreat.

 

“I-I said to forget it.” He shrugged away from Katsuki’s hands, backing up as far as could be deemed respectable. Izuku didn’t want to make Katsuki think he was afraid. He didn’t want Katsuki to know his anger was winning out. 

 

“No,” Katsuki barked. “No, you said there was no point talking to me since I apparently don’t give a shit about honesty!”

 

Izuku blanched, his palms turning clammy. He’d said it aloud. The alcohol had gone to his head, and he’d said it out loud. He wanted to backtrack, to apologize like he’d done for everyone he’d inconvenienced in the past. Arguing, fighting… it broke his heart. It’s all Touya had done with him in the end, ridiculing him and everything he’d bothered to do. He didn’t want to do it with anyone else.

 

But then there was a low, humming in the base of his stomach; it was an urging to keep going, to let his feelings out into the open. What he felt was true, after all. Just because Katsuki hated it, didn’t mean Izuku was wrong. He choked down the knot in his throat and tensed his body, forcing himself to speak. “Kacchan, don’t act like you’ll just tell me everything at the drop of a hat. You- you’ve never told me anything!”

 

Katsuki crossed his arms, his muscles flexing as his face contorted with fury. His lip curled in a vile smirk. “Bullshit!”

 

And that’s when the fire and the anger in the pit of Izuku’s stomach ignited, and the rage and resentment he’d bottled up for years finally spilled forth. His brows furrowed in indignation. “It’s not bullshit!” he snapped. “You didn’t tell me half the shit you pulled in high school! What’d you do? Force everyone to secrecy that you’d get drunk and fucking risk your life? You didn’t tell me you were struggling, or that you wanted to run away! You never told me why you ran away, why you don’t drink, or party, or do any of the shit you did in high school! You don’t even fucking tell me about how you know Himiko, or why YOU GODDAMN LEFT! You’ve fucking lied about everything!”

 

“I didn’t lie!”

 

Izuku scoffed, high-pitched and incredulous. It sounded like a mock, like a complete erasure of Katsuki’s defense. “LYING BY OMISSION!”

 

“LYING- LYING BY OMISSION? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?  I DON’T HAVE TO GODDAMN   CLUE YOU IN ON MY LIFE, DEKU! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PRIVY TO EVERYTHING I DO!”

 

Izuku whipped his hands to his face, squeezing his features as he screamed out into his palms. He wanted to break something. He wanted to shriek until his throat was raw. In a violent, jerking motion, Izuku jerked his hands down in a slash and lashed out on Katsuki. “I DON’T CARE ABOUT EVERYTHING! I CARE ABOUT THE IMPORTANT STUFF THAT I’M APPARENTLY NOT CLOSE ENOUGH TO YOU TO KNOW! I MEAN, FUCK, KACCHAN, DID I JUST SPEND MY WHOLE GODDAMN LIFE THINKING WE WERE CLOSER THAN WE REALLY WERE?”

 

EXCUSE ME?”

 

“YOU LEFT! YOU DIDN’T TELL ME SHIT LEADING UP TO IT! DID YOU NOT TRUST ME? WAS I JUST NOT CLOSE ENOUGH TO YOU FOR YOU TO RELY ON? I MEAN NOTHING TO YOU, DON’T I?”

 

Katsuki looked at him like he was an entirely different person, a feral animal. But Izuku didn’t know why he’d look so terrified; he was the one who’d been waiting for Izuku to finally get angry, finally demand the respect he deserved. It wasn’t Izuku’s fault that Katsuki couldn’t deal with it. 

 

Katsuki’s face turned purple as he tried to cool his rising anger. That made Izuku mad because he wanted Katsuki to get angry. Izuku wanted him to get fired up, to fall into a rage so deep he’d spill the truth. But Katsuki didn’t answer and it made Izuku livid. He lurched forward, jamming the base of his palms into Katsuki’s pectorals, sending him stumbling back from shock alone. Katsuki looked surprised by the outburst, but not knowing how to respond. Izuku fisted his hands in his shirt, wrinkling the fabric as he bowed his head to the tile. “ DON’T I?” 

 

“THAT’S NOT TRUE!” He was so close. When he shouted, it rang in Izuku’s ears, shaking him from the inside out. He could feel his hot breath at this distance. It burned as severely as his temper. 

 

Izuku scoffed, shaking his head at the floor. He pushed off Katsuki’s chest and spun on his heels, pacing across the room as he threw his hands into the air. Everything coming out of Katsuki’s mouth was bullshit. 

 

Not true? Utter bullshit. 

 

He spun back around and snarled at him. “NOT TRUE? KACCHAN, YOU LITERALLY DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ME WHEN YOU LEFT! IF YOU CARED- IF I WAS IMPORTANT OR WORTH THE GODDAMN TIME, IF YOU CARED ABOUT ME AT ALL, YOU WOULD’VE TALKED TO ME! YOU WOULDN’T HAVE JUST LEFT!”

 

“THAT’S NOT WHY I DID IT, DEKU! DON’T ACT LIKE THIS IS ALL ABOUT YOU!”

 

When Katsuki stepped closer, Izuku stepped back. He was almost up to the back wall of the living room, but Katsuki seemed to get the message and stilled in his spot. His face was a contortion of pain and desperation. 

 

Pangs of deep-rooted, apologetic empathy shot through Izuku’s being, but he choked them down and tried to keep his resolve. With tears cascading down his cheeks in fits, wetting the tip of his chin, his clothes, and the floor beneath, how could he focus on anything else. All he wanted was to feel secure again, to feel whole, instead of a man with gaping pieces in his heart and soul. He grit his teeth as his lip quivered, and forced the words to spill from his throat. “Then, please, tell me,” he begged. “Why the fuck did you leave? Was it your parents? College? Why, Kacchan?”

 

“I-” It sounded as if a clog in his throat kept his words from running off his tongue. Realizing he couldn’t form his thoughts, he threw his hand to his face to partially hide his mouth and eyes. Dry sobs wracked his chest. 

 

Izuku shook his head and barked out a disbelieving scoff. “That’s exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t give a shit about me, or how you left me. You’re-” He stopped himself, hesitating on the next bit. A quick wrack of his mind, and he realized he didn’t care if the next part hurt Katsuki. It had already been hurting him for ages. “ You’re just like Touya.

 

The breeze from Katsuki’s lurching body didn’t hit Izuku until Katsuki was at him, his chest distanced inches from Izuku’s own. Was it suppose to scare him? Antagonize him? Izuku wanted to laugh. The hell he was in, the constant emotional turmoil he’d lived for ages… a little intimidation was nothing in comparison. “I AM NOT TOUYA! I AM NOT YOUR SHITTY BOYFRIEND!” His breath hit Izuku in the face, stinging his eyes as his friend spat acid at him. His words burned, but Izuku could bite back.

 

He stepped up on his toes and scrunched his nose as his lips pulled up into a cruel, mocking smile. “OH, YOU’RE NOT? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE, KACCHAN? THE FACT THAT HE USED ME TO WARM HIS FUCKING COCK AND YOU JUST USED MY FUCKING FEELINGS- MY FRIENDSHIP UNTIL IT WASN’T CONVENIENT FOR YOU? THE FACT THAT YOU ABANDONED ME WHEN WE WERE EIGHTEEN, AND HE ABANDONED ME A COUPLE WEEKS AGO! YOU’RE THE SAME! THE GODDAMN SAME! YOU’RE SELFISH! YOU’RE-”

 

“UGH!” Katsuki screamed, blood curdling and aggressive. His hands jerked violently around him before finding their way to his own hair, yanking at blonde locks until Izuku was sure they’d rip. Katsuki spun back on his heels, marched a few steps, then came scrambling back to shake a wagging finger at Izuku. “THIS ISN’T FAIR! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH! YOU CAN’T JUST FORCE ALL YOUR SHIT ON ME! I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THIS!”

 

“THEN GET OUT! GO BACK TO TOKYO AND DISAPPEAR AGAIN! THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE GONNA DO ANYWAYS!” Izuku spat into his face, throwing his hands towards the front door. 

 

“I’M NOT LEAVING AGAIN!”

 

“LIAR!” Izuku pushed at his chest, but Katsuki didn’t move this time. Instead, he pushed closer.

 

“JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE SHIT TASTE IN GUYS, AND HE KICKED YOU TO THE CURB FOR A PRETTY PAIR OF TITS DOESN’T MEAN EVERYONE’S GONNA FUCKING LEAVE YOU! I’M YOUR BEST FRIEND! I’M NOT GONNA ABANDON YOU!”

 

Izuku looked up into rabid, red eyes. The creases in Katsuki’s face were deep, painful to see so close to Izuku’s face. Tears tickled his cheeks as they spilled. He felt so wounded, so unbelievably broken. He should’ve known the only thing in store with Katsuki’s presence would be pain. It had hurt the first time he loved Katsuki, and it hurt now, too. Being abandoned once broke him. If he ever wanted to repair his broken parts--parts that were torn apart by friends and lovers alike--he needed to cut out the pain entirely. His voice quivering when he spoke. “You already did.”

 

Katsuki watched him, processing his soft, wavering voice and painful words. Eventually, he gulped, looking off towards the bedroom, but his eyes hovering on nothing in particular. He nodded. “I can’t fucking do this anymore. I’m leaving.” He rounded, his arm barely grazing Izuku as he stomped off towards the short hall. 

 

Izuku looked down at the tile, laughing incredulously to himself. That had all really happened, despite the disbelief that saturated Izuku’s consciousness. It had been the alcohol’s fault, loosening his mouth and blurring the lines of reality. He couldn’t believe the balls it had taken to admit his pain, and couldn’t believe what happened as a result. Everything was falling apart, for better or worse, so why care anymore?

 

He laughed to himself. “ You want me to send your fucking bags to the airport, then?”

 

A second later, a firm hand squeezed his shoulder and he felt the force of his back slamming against the plaster wall behind him. For a split second after impact, he couldn’t breath, just starting to figure out what had happened. He looked up, saw the fury in the red eyes drilling gaping holes into his heart and soul. Katsuki’s white teeth bared at him, and the panic and rapid beat of his heart made Izuku stutter in processing the situation.

 

Katsuki’s venomous voice hissed against his ear. “You are a mean, spiteful person, Deku. I told you I was sorry. I said I’d tell you the truth when I physically could--when it wouldn’t break me just to think about it--but you had to go and beg like a fucking dog ‘cause you couldn’t help but make it about you. I can’t be the cure-all for your insane abandonment issues.”

 

He pushed off Izuku’s shoulder, spinning on his heels and stomping towards the door. Izuku looked at the floor, his tears creating shiny spots on the tips of his matte, black shoes. His body shook, his lungs and throat laboring to feed him air. He wanted to scream. He wanted to cry. 

 

Katsuki didn’t know what ‘mean’ was. He heard the front door click open, and his words came out breathy. “I… I hate you!”

 

He heard a heavy breath at the front of the suite, followed by a painful, short laugh. “Yeah, Deku, me too.”

 

The door slammed shut.



Chapter Text

“Todoroki, I dunno about this,” Izuku sighed, leaning back in his desk chair to rub uncomfortably at his tired eyes. “I have to work tomorrow morning.” 

            

“Right, and I understand that, Midoriya,” Todoroki answered over the speaker. “ But The Yaoyorozu Momo has asked me to come to her party! Midoriya, she’s perfect. She’s everything I could want in life and more!”

            

“Todoroki, you’re sixteen. You don’t know what you want.”

            

I do,” he said without a second’s pause. “ And it’s Yaoyorozu. Midoriya, I’ve been in love with her ever since she stopped by the Student Council to see Iida. She’s smart, honest, loyal, and talented. Her hair is like- like freshly woven silk! Her eyes are like the night! They’re so dark, but when light reflects off them, it looks like she’s got stars in her irises.”

            

A smirk tugged at Izuku’s lips, and he looked down at the portrait collage on his desk. He’d been drawing his friend and himself, Izuku in the middle with Katsuki’s arm slung around his shoulder, Todoroki walking close on his other side while the three laughed at something Iida had said with unironic seriousness. It was decent, if Izuku were so bold as to compliment himself. His fingers brushed over Katsuki’s eyes, the way they glittered in a way he only showed Izuku. His heart ached.

            

“Todoroki, I’m happy that Yaoyorozu invited you, but I really can’t go.”

            

“Just this once, Midoriya,” Todoroki begged. “ I need moral support and, no, I will not ask any of the other guys to be my moral support. The only other ones who are going are crazy. All of them.”

            

“Todoroki…”

            

“Bakugou will be there.”

            

Kacchan? Izuku furrowed his brow. He’d said he was going to a party tonight, but he hadn’t specified what kind. Izuku had jumped to the conclusion that his parents were having another function, and he was obligated to participate. He hadn’t realized that Katsuki would be going to this kind of party. 

            

He chewed his lip, aggravating it until a deep red hue bloomed in the flesh around his teeth. It felt… odd. Katsuki wasn’t the kind of person to enjoy parties, always saying they were a breeding ground for dumb decisions and a home for people without enough backbone to be alone. So, if Katsuki was going, something was up.

            

There were limits to what Izuku could do, and his biggest fear was invading Katsuki’s privacy, but pangs of worry bloomed inside the cavity of his chest. He needed to talk to him. 

            

“Yeah, yeah,” Izuku sighed. “I’ll go.”

            

“Great! I’ll pick you up in an hour!”

 


 

Todoroki picked him up, as he said he would, but there was a degree of embarrassment to it. In Izuku’s street of apartments, having a sleek Mercedes limo come to your parking lot was unheard of. It made strangers, neighbors, and onlookers curious about what kind of crowd they were involved with, whether they were doing something illegal, or if they just had insanely good luck.

             

The other embarrassing factor was that Todoroki had never come to his home before. He’d never seen the stories high apartment complex, or the dingy, second-hand cars that crowded the parking lot. He hadn’t been around the liquor stores, or the people who loitered on the street and offered day’s old newspaper for some spare change. Clothes lines connected building to building, and old and worn AC units leaked puddles onto the cracked asphalt.

            

Izuku had always felt somewhat embarrassed by the severity at which his life contrasted from his friends. He spent his free time at their homes, was granted use of pools, movie rooms, and endless culinary masterpieces. They had employees to clean up their messes and dropped cash like they breathed air: like it was necessary to living.

            

And so, having your friends come to realize you weren’t the same, that you didn’t have a personal chef or heated bathroom floors, was as agonizingly embarrassing as anything Izuku could imagine. He’d give anything to be different, to fit in with the crowd he’d been accepted into, to splurge his money in the Swiss Alps with his friends, rather than fish coins out of the sofa seat to pay for groceries. He wanted to be different, to be like them.

            

He bowed his head and ran across the parking lot, shielding his features from nosy neighbors as he yanked open the last door of the vehicle and hopped onto the plush leather seat. His eyes whipped to Todoroki, dressed neatly with the red half of his hair slicked back. He wore a casual suit with the two top buttons of his dress shirt undone. His blazer was a delicate teal, with an orange interior peeking through. His pants were teal, his shirt, cream. He looked put together.

            

And it made Izuku feel like he half-assed it, barely running a comb through his hair and wearing a deep red hoodie that spilled over his hands and half way down to his thighs. His mother had bought it secondhand saying it meant he had room for growing. 

            

“Thank you for coming,” Todoroki said to him, his voice stiff. It made the whole mood glum, like Izuku wasn’t going to a party, but had run into a meeting with a highly dangerous gang member—like in the movies Katsuki liked.

            

Izuku cleared his throat. “Yeah, I guess so.”

            

“You won’t regret it.I promise.” Todoroki leaned forward, clapped a hand on Izuku’s shoulder and nodded once. “You’ll have fun, and if you don’t, I’ll make it up to you!”

            

Izuku sighed, nodding in confirmation, but going silent for the twenty minute ride to the Yaoyorozu household. He used the time to think hard about what he was doing here, out of his element. 

            

Yes, he went to a high-profile high school. Yes, he’d been around luxury since he was small—Katsuki had always been his best friend, after all—but going to rich kid parties where the snacks cost more than he made in an hour was excessive. He didn’t belong there. He wished he did, but he didn’t.

            

They pulled up to a wrought iron gate, tall and menacing, where Izuku could see a mansion illuminated in the distance through the gate’s spindles. It was elegant, grander than Katsuki’s and Todoroki’s. He didn’t know what this Yaoyorozu girl’s parents did, but he wouldn’t be surprised to discover they were movie stars, politicians, or a combination of the two. At least Katsuki’s parents had a little class when it came to extravagance. They didn’t go over the top, seeing as they were only a family of three.

            

Yaoyorozu was an only child, as Todoroki had previously told him. Izuku wondered if she’d go weeks without seeing her parents in that house. You could live there your entire life without seeing another living being.

            

The masterfully sculpted garden ornaments, pillars, and antique wooden beams that decorated the front lawn and porch offered an air of opulence so grand that Izuku was surprised he was even allowed to see it with mortal eyes.

            

When Todoroki pushed himself out of the car, tripping on his feet out the door; Izuku followed with a sigh. He was nervous and unsure of his place here. Because he didn’t move, Todoroki came back and grabbed his wrist, dragging him up the porch to knock on the door hammer. 

            

It was mere seconds before a girl in a turtleneck sweater and long, plaid skirt opened the door, her dark hair lifted into a high ponytail. Seeing Todoroki, a smile lit up her face and she pushed the door open further. Izuku could see people milling about inside. “Todoroki! I’m so glad you came!”

            

He bristled, blinking an inordinate amount for the situation. Izuku coughed, trying to spur his friend from his frozen musing. But Todoroki didn’t budge, and Izuku responded by rolling his eyes and stepping forward to extend his hand to the girl. “Hi there, I’m Midoriya!”

            

“Oh, Midoriya!” She smiled, taking his hand. “Todoroki has mentioned you! You’re good friends, aren’t you?”

            

Izuku nodded. “Yeah, we are! And sorry about him! He hit his head on the car door and I guess he’s a little dazed.”

            

“Oh, gosh!” She let go of Izuku’s hand, reaching forward for Todoroki’s wrist and making him flinch out of his daze. His eyes met hers and his ears turned a dark shade, which made Izuku silently chuckle. “Why don’t we get you a drink, yeah?”

            

Todoroki cleared his throat as if he were going to say something, then didn’t. He nodded and followed her through the door, Izuku behind them.

            

He was prepared to be marveled by the interior’s magnificence, but he could barely see it through the crowds of people, the decorations that hung from the banisters to represent Shinketsu Girls’ Academy, as well as Yuuei’s Academy for Boys. Izuku could pick out some faces in the crowd, the Yoarashi boy who always won in school-wide sports festivals, Monoma, ever the pain in the ass, as well as a few from his homeroom. He wondered if Yaoyorozu had invited every grade from each school, because her foyer seemed packed. 

            

“Hey, Midoriya!” Yaoyorozu shouted from the left wall with Todoroki by her side. They blocked a drink station with their bodies, the cherry wood table with crystal glasses lined orderly, and just about every liquor Izuku could imagine. The fact they used crystal glass instead of solo cups really showed their wealth. Izuku raced over to them, self-conscious about standing still at the entrance. “Would you like a drink?” She gestured to the table.

            

Izuku noticed Todoroki already had a short glass of amber liquid in his hand. “What’s that?” he asked.

            

“Pappy,” Todoroki hummed, pressing his lip to the glass and taking a swig. “It’s the first liquor I ever tried. Father always said that real men drink neat, signature bourbon.”

            

Yaoyorozu giggled. “Mine likes Scotch.”

            

Izuku wrinkled his nose. “Anything less… liquor? I have to work tomorrow.”

            

“Hmmmm,” Yaoyorozu started. “I could get you a beer, if you’d like. I’ll have to go to the servant’s-” Someone in a hood bumped into her, sending her stumbling. Todoroki caught her with an arm around her waist, and, though frazzled, she smiled at him gratefully. 

            

“Hey!” Todoroki snapped to the perpetrator. “Watch where you’re goin’!”

           

 Rounding on Todoroki, he shouted. “ You wanna say that to my fuckin’ face, you goddam- oh, Half n’ Half.” If Izuku had thought it would be hard to find Katsuki in the party’s crowd, he was very, very wrong, because Katsuki had come to them, bags under his eyes and reeking of expensive liquor. He squinted as if it was hard to settle his vision on any specific object.

            

“Kacchan!”

            

Katsuki turned to him, and a wide, toothy grin split across his face. It made Izuku’s breath hitch as Katsuki stumbled over and slung his arm over his shoulder. This close, the smell made Izuku internally recoil. “Whaddya doin’ here, Deku?”

            

Izuku coughed. “Todoroki asked me to come.” He pushed up on his toes and whispered in his ear. “He needed ‘moral support’.” 

            

Katsuki snorted, his eyes drifting to Todoroki and Yaoyorozu. They seemed awkward, unsure of every word and action. It would be pathetic if it weren’t absolutely, endearingly humorous. “Aye, Half n’ Half and Ponytail! We’re gonna leave ya to it!” he shouted, then pushed Izuku off into the crowd just after swiping a bottle of Tito’s off the table. He took a swig as they pushed through bodies, sweaty and rank with alcohol. The partygoers may be rich, but that didn’t stop them from getting dirty like the common folk they claimed to be above. Katsuki offered the bottle to Izuku.

            

Izuku shook it off, pushing it away with a flat palm. “No thanks.”

            

“Suit yerself,” Katsuki slurred, now using Izuku more for support than dragging him along. His arm around Izuku’s shoulder, sides pressed flush together, Izuku could only think of how warm he felt. “More fer me! I hadda about six shots already!” Katsuki lifted the bottle to his lips once more, letting the liquid drain down his throat. Izuku counted three gulps before Katsuki’s words resonated with him.

            

“What? Katsuki, give me that!” Izuku lunged for the drink, but Katsuki lifted it out of reach and then went into a fury when the butt of the bottle knocked into someone’s head and they started yelling at him. 

            He pushed the guy, seething at him with a murderous glint in his eyes. “Shut up! Fer fuck’s sake, I’m gonna- gonna fuckin’ beat yer ass, pussy!”

            

“Kacchan!” Izuku snapped, dipping out from under his arm to round on him in the crowd. Someone knocked into his shoulder, but he was more concerned with how his friend was acting, how he was downing drinks like water and picking fights like his life depended on it. “What is getting into you? You’re acting insane!”

            

“Am not!”

            

“Are too!”

            

Katsuki scrunched his nose at him, his eyes looking almost sad. He parted his wet lips to speak, then giggled in a way that was so unlike him, knocking into Izuku’s shoulder as he passed by. “Later, Deku!”

            

“Kacchan!” Izuku chased after him, Katsuki’s large  frame his ally as he barreled through the crowd. It was hard for Izuku to follow. People were crowding him, not budging, and by the time he finally made it through the suffocating mass, he’d made it to the back door of the house. 

            

It was a glass door, open and blowing cool October wind into the back of the main room. Izuku bolted through it, his eyes adjusting to the dark of the night. He stood on a cement platform, surrounded by lounge chairs and a pool decorated with a waterfall. The one light fixture in front of him with multi-color lights embellished a pool no longer in use.

            

And Katsuki stood at its edge, looking into the water with a somber expression. The bottle was half empty, and so was Izuku’s heart. Something was off about Katsuki, the way he moved, drank, and behaved completely out of character. It wasn’t the Katsuki he knew, the one he grew up with. He felt nervous.

            

Wrapping his arms around himself, deflecting the brisk, fall chill, he put one hesitant step in front of the other, approaching him with a knot in his throat. “Kacchan?” he asked, his voice soft, affectionate. If there was ever a time to get away with acting loving towards Katsuki, this was it. This was his chance to use his infatuation to get Katsuki to come down from whatever crazed episode he was acting in.

 

Katsuki flinched when he heard Izuku’s voice, but he didn’t move. He just kept staring at the reflecting pool. “Kacchan, are you okay?”

            

He was two feet away. So close. Katsuki voice shook when he spoke. “Gotta take a piss,” he said. And then, “Hey, Deku? Whaddya wanna do after school?”

            

That was odd. It wasn’t the question he’d expect at a time like this, and he honestly didn’t know how to answer. He needed to go to college, but what to study? What to take on as his career? He had no clue. They still had two years left until graduation, and he still had time to pick. Why Katsuki was bringing it up now, he wasn’t sure.

            

“I- I don’t know.”

            

Katsuki snorted. “Y’know, I thought maybe after school, you and me coulda done somethin’ together. Thought we could-”

            

He paused. There was no hint that he’d speak again. 

            

“We could what, Kacchan?”

            

“Hey, you’re good at art and shit! Let’s make somethin’ together! If we do that, you don’t got a fuckin’ reason to leave-”

            

“-Kacchan, what are you going on about? You’re talking crazy. Why would I leave? We’re friends! Best friends!”

            

Katsuki sniffed. “You’re not gonna leave me?”

            

What?”

            

Katsuki didn’t get to answer. A cruel laugh sounded from the doorway and Izuku jerked towards it. He groaned. Monoma had strolled through the open door, glass in hand and an air of mischief about him. He saw Izuku and Katsuki together, as well as Katsuki’s hunched shoulders, and shuffled closer to them. His friends poured out the door in his wake, watching the two like predators watch their prey. “What’re you boys doin’ out here?” Monoma slurred. 

            

“None of your business.” Izuku was curt, no nonsense. He was trying to talk Katsuki down, not subject him or himself to their classmate’s petty mischief. He turned back to Katsuki, cleared the few steps between them, and wrapped his hand around Katsuki’s thick wrist. “How about we go back to my house? I’ll make you spicy ramen, and we can watch All Might movies. Will that make you feel better?”

            

Katsuki twisted his neck to the side and looked down at him, eyebrows curved up in a pitiful expression. His bottom lip jutting in a pout, he dropped his head to look at Izuku’s hand on him. “Bathroom first.”

            

Izuku smiled assuredly at him and turned to drag him back inside. When he rounded, he found himself chest to chest with his classmate, and looked into a thin, Cheshire smile. “You babysitting, Midoriya?” Monoma asked. His breath smelled vile.

            

Izuku gagged. “No. Now, move.”

            

“Aw, c’mon! I’m just having a conversation!” He feigned hurt and leaned closer. “Don’t you wanna have a conversation, I-zu-ku? Pretend you’re like the rest of us?”

            

“Excuse me?” Izuku hissed, his grip on Katsuki’s wrist tightening. Anger curled and twisted in the pit of his stomach, rising through his chest and making him warm. He wasn’t here to be ridiculed—not by Monoma—but he wasn’t going to start something. It would be wrong, immature, and he was trying to make his own way. Getting in a fight would damage that, damage the school’s perceptions of him. He had to behave, or else he’d say goodbye to any future where he stood equal to his friends. “Back off.”

            

“Deku-”

            

“Scholarship students just keep getting bolder, huh?” Monoma sneered. He looked back at his friends. “Soon they’ll be acting like we’re the same!” His friends howled like monkeys. Izuku scowled at them.

            

“Deku, I-”

            

“Hey, Midoriya,” Monoma cackled, turning back to fix his blue-eyed glare onto him. They scoured him, the expression on his face and the ratty clothes on his person. When they rested on his shoes, his eyes snapped back up and latched onto the space behind him. “Oh- oh my god,” he snorted, looking back at his friends and pointing an accusing finger behind Izuku. “He fucking pissed himself!”

            

Izuku’s eyes blew wide, and he turned with such force that he almost collided with Katsuki’s body. But he stopped himself just short of his chest, and looked up into Katsuki’s furious, wet eyes. Slowly, Izuku’s gaze drifted down to the dark stain blooming on his light jeans, and the trickle of liquid pulling on the cement and spilling over into the pool. Izuku inhaled, embarrassed on Katsuki’s behalf. “Kacchan…” 

            

“God, never mind,” Monoma laughed, waving them off as he rejoined his friends near the loungers. “Forget everything I said, Midoriya! Hard to pick on you when there’s someone as miserable as Bakugou!”

            

“He’s a total screwup!”

            

“God, he’s so embarrassing! Monoma, take a video!”

            

“You think I should?” A chorus of affirmations echoed around them, and Monoma spun back around on his heels with his phone in hand, lifting it up to record the mess unfurling before them. Izuku was looking at Katsuki without a clue as to fix this. He could only imagine how bad off Katsuki was. Too drunk to even hold his bladder. He wanted to hug him, promise him it was fine, but he could hear Monoma in the background and the anger in his gut swelled to insurmountable measures. 

            

“Alright, guys, this is what we call a ‘Waste of Space’. Hey, Bakugou, you wanna tell the camera why you wet yourself like a little piss-ant?”

            

“Fuck off , Monoma,” Izuku seethed, his fist shaking at his side. He could feel his nails digging deep into his palms, piercing the flesh. 

            

Monoma sneered. “C’mon, Midoriya! Don’t tell me you’re defending this embarrassment! I know you guys are friends, but what did he do to make you so protective? Suck your fucking-”

            

Izuku whipped around in a blinding rage, his shaking fist falling square in the center of Monoma’s nose. The guys recoiled, dropping his phone to the cement as he cupped his nose and tried to stop the blood pouring down to dye the ground red. His friends looked on, shocked into stiffness, as Izuku stepped on Monoma’s phone, encroaching on him. 

            

Seeing him in the corner of his eye, Monoma jerked back and lifted his own fist, as if he were going to fight back, but froze when Izuku got too close. He snapped his eyes shut, didn’t dare to look as Izuku reached for the collar of his shirt and tugged him forward. Monoma was pliant, bending whichever way Izuku forced him. And when Izuku tugged him down to whisper in his ear, his classmate shivered. “You can insult me however much you want, but don’t fuck with Kacchan, or this will happen again. Clear?”

            

Monoma choked on his ‘yes’, and Izuku shoved him back, nodding towards the back door. His classmate rushed for it, forgetting his phone. His friends chased after him, shouting his name as he left a trail of blood for them to follow.

            

Izuku’s heart beat in a flurry, adrenaline pumping through his veins and making him shake. He inhaled deeply and turned back to Katsuki on the exhale. He looked so dejected, so ashamed of himself. Izuku would say that it was a result of the accident, but that wasn’t right. He’d been despondent from the moment Izuku had laid eyes on him.

            

Katsuki Bakugou looked broken.

            

Izuku reached for him, his shaking fingers encircling his wrist and tugging him closer. Whether Katsuki was hurting, or this was just a side effect of the alcohol, Izuku didn’t care. He’d simply be there for him the way best friends always were. If something was wrong, he’d be there. He’d always be there for Katsuki, because Katsuki would always be there for him.

            

“C’mon, Kacchan, let’s go home.”



Chapter Text

Izuku didn’t know how long he sat against the far wall of the living room, body rattling with shivers. Tears pooled in his hands, and he tasted them salty on his lips. The click of the front door closing still echoed in his ears with surprising volume, even now that Katsuki had been gone for quite some time. He wondered where he’d gone, if he was coming back, and what he himself had done.

 

Snapshots of their fight replayed in his mind over and over and over. Every sentence, every word, every syllable that spilled from his tongue was a regret he’d never be able to take back. And the pangs in his heart felt like a mortal wound, a gaping hole g that leaked his life force onto the tile beneath him. 

 

Izuku once heard that heartbreak could cause someone’s heartstrings to snap, resulting in death. He’d thought it was silly and untrue; if it were, he believed he would have died when Katsuki left in their senior year, or every time Touya briefly left him for a new piece of ass. Now, he thought it was plausible because his heart was pounding harder than it ever had, and his lungs struggled to keep up. He was gagging, gasping, and sobbing at what he’d done.

 

He was just barely fuzzy from the alcohol anymore, the pain having sobered him up. He wished he was black out drunk so he wouldn’t have to face the reality that he’d ruined whatever friendship he and Katsuki had started to heal. He said he hated Katsuki--the biggest lie to ever fall from his lips. It stuck like a dagger.

 

He didn’t want Katsuki to leave, but he couldn’t act like he’d been left again. He wasn’t. The whole situation was his own fault, forcing Katsuki to talk, comparing him to Touya, and calling him a liar. Katsuki was right when he called him mean and spiteful; he was. He was so angry at the world, at all the people who had used, abused, and left him. 

 

He gasped, hiccupping through the tears. He wanted Katsuki back, to apologize and beg him not to leave. He wanted things to  to go back to the way they were, even if Izuku had to continue drowning in his own anxieties and sorrows. 

 

His ears picked up the sound of something vibrating nearby, and Izuku instinctively reached for his pocket, only to realize his phone wasn’t there. Slowly, exhausted from his own stupidity, he lifted his head and glanced across the room. It was dark now, the moonlight trailing through the open curtains. In the dim lighting, Izuku caught the bright screen of a phone on the coffee table, sending flashes into the gloom.

 

It was Katsuki’s phone. He’d left it, and with the dawning realization that Katsuki would have to come back for it, he scrambled on his hands and knees to the table, grabbing for it. Maybe Katsuki was calling it from another phone. Maybe it was Ashido. Maybe Izuku had the chance to talk to him or her, and apologize or get advice on how to apologize and rectify his transgressions.

 

He snatched it off the hardwood, pulling it close and frantically reading the name rollingling across the screen: Aizawa.

 

Aizawa? Izuku didn’t know an Aizawa. He glared down at it. Answering it would be wrong, he knew. This was Katsuki’s privacy, and he’d already overstepped it once. He didn’t want to do it again.

 

But then he was worried. Katsuki left seething. Izuku of all people knew what stupid decisions people made when they were angry, lost, and melancholy. What if Katsuki had gone out and done something stupid? For someone so ashamed of his past that he wouldn’t tell Izuku, doing something stupid probably wasn’t unknown to him.

 

Izuku ground his lip between his teeth, and watched the screen. The number disappeared, the call ended, and Katsuki’s screensaver--two children in hero capes crafted out of blankets--lit up the device. They had their arms around each other, and grinned with a childlike innocence that Izuku yearned for: him and Katsuki as young as six.

 

Fresh tears brimmed Izuku’s eyes, and he watched with blurry vision as Aizawa’s number lit up the screen again. This time, not thinking, he pressed the call button.

 

“Oh, did you decide I was worth answering the second time around?” A man called out on the other side, his voice soft in comparison to his greeting. Izuku gawked at the phone. “Hello? Bakugou?”

 

“Um, h-hello?”

 

The man--Aizawa--took his time in answering, which gave Izuku a moment to lift the device closer to his ear. “Hello? Who is this? Where’s Bakugou?”

 

“He- um, he- he left!” Izuku sobbed, knowing he had no right to cry over something he’d caused. The guilt lay heavy on his heart.

 

“He left? What? Who is this?”

 

“M-Midoriya…”

 

Deku?”  

 

The name sent a fresh wail to Izuku’s throat. That name belonged to Katsuki. Only Katsuki, and hearing it on someone else’s lips made him grieve. “Yes,” he cried, reaching up a hand to slap against his forehead and drag down his face.

 

“So, you’re the famous best friend, huh?” Aizawa asked, washing Izuku in a gentle curiosity. His tears took a brief pause as Izuku thought hard on how this man knows him.

 

“Do- do I know you?”

 

“No, but Bakugou talks about you.” His words created fresh pangs of longing in Izuku’s chest. He buried himself in them. “Can’t tell you what he says, though. That’s a matter between us.”

 

“Oh, okay.”

 

Can I talk to him?”

 

Izuku’s lip quivered, and he fell back onto the tile, savoring the impact as he looked up at the ceiling. He deserved the little jolt to his head and ache to his limbs. He deserved to hurt right now. “He left…”

 

“What do you mean he left?”

 

Izuku pinched the bridge of his nose, then grazed his digits across his head until they rested and rubbed at his temples. A headache was coming on. “We got into a fight.”

 

“...What happened?”

 

“I, um,” Izuku sighed. The moment he claimed fault to someone else, he couldn’t go back and cry about it. Telling someone meant forfeiting victimhood, and it felt harder now than it had ever been with Touya. With his ex, claiming fault was natural, an important piece of their relationship. Katsuki had told him to be more selfish, and to realize he wasn’t always the issue. And while the fight was his fault, the issue wasn’t his in its entirety. “Himiko showed me a video of her and Kacchan having sex. I- I was drunk and mad that he’d been hiding everything from me. I thought not- not telling me about his past meant that he wasn’t planning on sticking around, and I- fuck, I told him he’d abandon me again.”

 

Izuku’s story flowed from his mouth like a waterfall, quick and violent. His words were saturated with emotions he couldn’t pinpoint, and deeper truths he was too afraid to vocalize. Coming to the end, his voice shook with his own remorse. “I told him I hated him. I told him to leave.”

 

Aizawa didn’t answer at first, sitting on the story Izuku told him, and molding his own thoughts on their squabble. “Eight years is a long time,” is what he started with. Izuku furrowed his brows, surprised at the turn, but captivated.

 

“Yeah.”

“It’s a long time for you to wait, wondering if you’d done something to drive him away, or wonder if there was something you didn’t catch. Maybe he was hurting, and you were so consumed by your own life that you didn’t realize it? Right?”

 

Izuku choked. “...yes.”

 

“And now you have the chance to be better, to fix it all and prove that you’re better at caring now, and you’re better at being there for others. You want to prove to him he doesn’t have to shoulder anything on his own, because you’re there. He doesn’t have to go off on his own again.”

 

“Yes!”

 

“And the fact that he’s not being honest with you is eating you up because you’ve gotten so used to working for validation and love, that you can’t help to think someone who’s not completely honest with you about their life is just going to end up leaving you… like Touya?”

 

“How do you-”

 

-Bakugou told me. He was- He was really distressed about it. He wanted to make you realize that you didn’t have to work for people to want to be around you. Guess you didn’t get that message, did you?”

 

Izuku’s lip quivered. This man, a man whom he never met, was laying out his feelings like it was his job. All Izuku’s insecurities, all his fears and guilt, were aired in the open like literal dirty laundry. “I- I compared him to Touya.”

 

“Can I be honest with you, Midoriya?”

 

Izuku nodded, the back of his head rubbing uncomfortably against the tile. Then, remembering Aizawa couldn’t see his physical cue, Izuku whispered his acceptance. “Yes.”

 

“You can’t place all your self-worth on others. It’s not their job to make you feel secure in your own skin. Fixing your relationship with Bakugou will never suffice for you. All you’ll do is fixate on every individual aspect after that, wondering what will be the tipping point and send them away. You need to see someone. Professionally.”

 

“I’m- I’m not crazy.”

 

“No, you’re not. You’ve just been psychologically manipulated to the point you have no confidence in your own permanence in anyone’s life. And you don’t have to be crazy to see a therapist. It’s not like getting put in a straitjacket and having someone pick at your brain. It’s to help you figure out your feelings and help you react to them in a healthy way. Give it a try.”

 

Izuku closed his eyes and savored the steady calming of his heartbeat. He thought he really did need help with that--coming to terms with his own significance and overcoming his fear of being alone. “I’ll… I’ll think about it.”

 

“Good, now, where did Bakugou go?

 

“I don’t know.”

 

Aizawa sucked in a breath and groaned into the speaker. “Could he be with Ashido? She’s on the trip too, right?”

 

“She’s at Ochako’s bachelorette party.”

 

“Okay, listen, it’s not my place to tell you anything related to him. That’s his own business, but I worry about the kid. Getting him worked up and letting him go isn’t good for anyone, and I take it you want to apologize-”

 

“-Yes!” Izuku jolted up from the floor and rubbed his fingers in the grout beneath him. “I- I don’t want to lose him, okay? He’s my best friend.”

 

“Then I’m going to tell you where he most likely is, but you can’t ask questions. Got it? I want to make sure he’s-” Aizawa pauses. “ Just make sure he’s alright.”

 


 

Aizawa gave him two places. The first was any bar in a mile radius of the Ritz Carlton--Izuku combed them all, forcing his taxi to drive, park, and drive for a solid half hour--and the second was the nearest church. 

 

Now, why Bakugou Katsuki would be at a church, Izuku had no idea. Katsuki wasn’t religious, or he hadn’t been when they were younger. And though he may not know much about this new Katsuki, he still doubted he’d picked up Christianity in his eight years of radio silence. But Izuku didn’t question Aizawa, and proceeded to Church of the Crossroads, which his driver had pointed out to him.

 

The building’s exterior was historic and modern all in the same breath. Tall and white, the building’s entrance was covered with a bamboo roof, and red, Japanese-styled pillars for support. Izuku sat beneath it in the dark, picking at his thumbnail and peeling the top layer of skin from his lip. He gripped Katsuki’s phone in his hand, and looked back to the front door every few minutes. 

 

Aizawa had made it clear that if Katsuki wasn’t at a bar, he was most likely at a church. And he also made it clear that were Katsuki to be at a church, Izuku couldn’t go in. He said Katsuki would be out by ten-thirty at the latest, and that he’d better not disturb them until then. Izuku didn’t know who ‘them’ was, but he took Aizawa’s warning to heart. He waited with sweating palms and an aching heart.

 

Izuku glanced down to read ten-thirty-one on Katsuki’s phone, and he sighed. Maybe Katsuki wasn’t here. Maybe in his time away from the hotel room, Katsuki had returned to reclaim his belongings and hightail it out of Hawai’i. Jostled by his anxiety, he rose from the front step and put one foot forward.

 

That’s when he heard a door open, and the front stoop was bathed in a warm light. Izuku looked back to it, found people leaving with light laughter and genial smiles. Izuku blinked at them, though they didn’t spare him a second guess as they walked off in groups towards the parking lot. But Izuku watched them, how they patted a woman on the back and congratulated her on her ‘ten year coin’. 

 

He’d learned that term as a child, hearing his neighbors talk about it, or how they were going to carpool to the next Alcoholic’s Anonymous meeting. He remembered neighbor ladies dragging the homeless men and women to the meetings, trying to help them sober up good enough to get better entirely. 

 

This was where Aizawa had sent Izuku, where he had expected Katsuki to go. Katsuki was in A.A., Izuku realized. It wasn’t as much of a surprise as it should have been. There was a correlation between Katsuki’s sound mind and the fact that he didn’t drink anymore, and apparently the glue that held those two facts together was this support group. 

 

“Deku.”

 

Katsuki’s voice sounded like gravel, hoarse. The tone in which he called his name was hesitant, harsh, but Izuku didn’t care about the way he said his name so long as he’d still say it. When Izuku spun back around to face him, all he could focus on was the sorrow in his red eyes and the downward curve of his lips.

 

Seeing him felt like a punch to the gut, which Izuku knew he deserved. His breath left him, and Izuku could do nothing but stare as he breathed heavily through his nostrils and tried to remember the apology he’d rehearsed in his mind while he waited on the stoop.

 

“What are you doing here? How did you find me?” Katsuki glanced back at the church’s front door, gulped, and looked back to him. “Did you follow me?”

 

Izuku’s body moved before his thoughts did, shaking his head furiously and taking a step closer. Tears dampened his eyes, and he parted his lips to say words that wouldn’t come out. Katsuki watched him intently. But Izuku bowed his head in silent defeat, knowing whatever words he said were nothing compared to the words Katsuki deserved to hear. So, he offered Katsuki the phone in his hand, and granted him his answer. “Aizawa called. He told me to come look for you here.”

 

He didn’t look up from the pavement, but he felt Katsuki snatch the phone from his hand and let his breath flare through his nose. He was angry, Izuku knew, but he wasn’t screaming. He’d calmed since their fight. 

 

Seconds passed as Katsuki calmed himself, and his heavy breath went silent. Eventually, he took a step forward, and Izuku could feel his loaded gaze hit the back of his head. “Why are you here? Thought you wanted me to leave?”

 

Izuku snapped up, pleading eyes latching on to Katsuki as he stepped into his space and grovelled. He looked pathetic, he knew, but he wanted Katsuki to know he’d never meant it. He needed him to know that that wasn’t who he really was. Above all else, he needed to let Katsuki know that he was wrong; whatever time he needed, Izuku would give it to him. He’d give him anything. “Kacchan, I-” He was already out of breath, not preparing before he started in on his apology. He gulped, sucking down a fresh breath, and continued. “You deserve better. You deserve my trust, and I didn’t give it to you, and I’m sorry! I was wrong to talk to you like that. I was wrong to compare you to Touya, and to accuse you of using me, and accusing you of abandoning me! I was wrong! And I- I don’t want to lose you. You’re the most important person who's ever been in my life, and I-” Izuku reached forward, hooking his fingers in Katsuki’s shirt, tugging it. Izuku dropped his eyes to his shoes. “I don’t wanna lose you again. I can’t.”

 

Izuku didn’t look up. He couldn’t see Katsuki’s expression, because he knew that it would be cold. He didn’t deserve forgiveness at this point. He never deserved forgiveness. From anyone. And this time wasn’t any different.

 

“Hey, Deku,” Katsuki started, his voice oddly soft for someone meant to be so fierce and furious. Izuku slowly lifted his head to find Katsuki’s eyes, but they weren’t trained on him. Katsuki looked up at the night sky, at the bright stars twinkling above them in a never ending show of the universe’s wonders. The light of the moon reflected in his eyes, and his face was bathed in a white glow. “Let’s go for a walk.”

 


 

They made it to Waikiki beach just before midnight, not a word passing between them since they left the church. Izuku was too afraid to talk, too afraid to ruin things any more than he already had. He simply rubbed the hem of his shirt between his thumb and fingers, focusing on the soft feel of the fabric. 

 

He never changed out of those tight clothes Uraraka had given him. The night’s course of events had strayed too far for him to take the time to have even thought about it. Now, the strong sea breeze whipped around him, creating goosebumps where it hit his skin. He shivered, wrapped his hands around his arms, and watched as Katsuki crawled onto the soft sand.

            

Katsuki rested his hands on his knees and looked up to the stars. His throat bobbed with every swallow, and Izuku watched the soft movement against the black backdrop of the sand and tide. Katsuki patted a palm on the sand beside him, sending grains into the air. His eyes didn’t leave the moon. “Sit.”

            

And Izuku did, not bothering with disobedience or obstinance at a time like this. He could correct his misgivings, fix what he’d broken, and get Katsuki to stay in his life. As long as he admitted his fault, everything should be fine. Everything would be-

            

“-You were right.”

 

Izuku jerked a curious, somewhat baffled gaze to Katsuki, who sat calmly against the sand mounds. He didn’t seem angered at admitting fault—something that a younger Katsuki would go feral over—and, if anything, he looked close to dejected. He looked as if his world had withered to ruin.

            

Izuku’s mouth bobbed, like he was trying to say something, but he found it hard to answer when he was still trying so hard to find his own balance, his own feelings, in this fight. But he was aware that you don’t get people to stay by letting them take the blame. Yes, he was mad and jealous that Katsuki continued to hide things from him, but he couldn’t simply say that. Not again. “Kacchan, you don’t-”

            

“-Just listen to me, Deku,” Katsuki sighed, fatigued, as he rolled his eyes over to Izuku. When his eyes hit him, they looked so sad, and the pang that shot through Izuku’s heart felt as if it had sliced the organ in two. Still, he honored Katsuki’s request. He pressed his lips thin and blinked at him. Katsuki looked back at the ocean, his chest expanding on a grief-heavy inhale. “Did Aizawa tell you who he was? Or why I was at a church?”

            

“Um, no.” His voice was small, soft on the wind. “But I heard one woman talking. Is it, um, a sobriety group?”

            

Katsuki’s lips curled at the corner of his frown ever so slightly, then settled back into their melancholic state. He let his legs slide down on the sand and leaned back with his hands digging in the sand to keep him up. He looked out to the ocean and sighed. “Alcoholics Anonymous. Aizawa is my sponsor.”

            

Izuku blinked at him, wrinkles forming in between his eyes, thick with confusion. “Kacchan, wait, you don’t have to-”

            

“-But I do, Deku. You were-” He worried his lip between his teeth, falling all the way back onto the ground. His head hit the sand, and eyes went up to the sky. “You were an asshole about it, but you were right, and I was being selfish.”

            

“What? Kacchan, wait.”

            

Katsuki threw a hand over his eyes and buried the other in the sinking ground beside him. Izuku watched as his lip quivered in the faint light of the moon. “If anything, I guess it’s my fault you ended up like this. I was the one who left you first--’course it probably started when your dad ditched you and your mom--and then that gave Touya the power to capitalize on your fears. So, I- I’m sorry, Deku. You deserved the truth. I was fuckin’ dumb to think I could just come back and act like the last eight years didn’t happen, like they hadn’t been as bad for you as they were for me.”

            

Izuku could hear summer bugs chirping in the distance, filling the shaky silence with blissful, white noise. Izuku was grateful for the way it hid his quiet sniffles. He looked out to the ocean, not strong enough to look at Katsuki’s figure on the sand while he mourned the greatest gift of friendship he ever received.

            

He didn’t deserve forgiveness. He wanted it, but he didn’t deserve it. He didn’t deserve apologies or understanding.

            

“I was so afraid that if I told you what happened—why I left and what I’ve done—whatever we had would disappear.” Katsuki snorted, wet. It sounded the way Izuku did when his tears spilled into his mouth while he tried to stop hiccupping his cries. “But what’s it matter now? You already resent me for leaving—don’t lie, because you made it perfectly fucking clear—and so what’s there to hide now? Telling you won’t make you want me in your life any less than you already do.”

            

“Kacchan,” Izuku sighed, his heart spilling off his tongue. “That’s not true. I said I don’t want to lose you. I can’t.”

            

“That’s great, Deku, but you can’t say that about someone you don’t know.”

            

“I can!”

            

“Stop.”

            

“Kacchan, I-”

            

“I said ‘Stop!’ , Deku!” Katsuki snapped, throwing himself up off the ground and turning to look at him with frenzy in his eyes, desperation in the cracking of his voice. “You can’t promise me that! Deku, I- I-” He shut his eyes and sucked a breath through his teeth, turning his eyes back to the sea. “Do you remember Melissa? The girl from Milan.”

            

Izuku didn’t know what she had to do with this, but he nodded his head in such a slow, hesitant motion, he looked like a machine unoiled since its manufacturing. “Yes.”

            

“I was supposed to marry her.” He paused for effect, looked over at Izuku, and laughed hysterically at the gaping of his mouth. He turned back to the horizon. “Dad and the Old Hag do well with their brand in Asia, but they wanted something more. Better. They made friends with Versace in Italy and wanted to go into business with them—expand their influence to Europe. What better way than an arranged marriage?”

            

Katsuki scoffed to himself, shook his head. They were so close, Izuku could feel his body shaking beside him, and see the tears reflecting the moon on Katsuki’s cheek. “I- They told me in the winter of our Sophomore year. I was free until eighteen. Until I graduated. I thought I had more fucking time to get out of it, to find a way to leave the family and provide for myself and y- provide for myself. I’d have to, ‘cause the fucking old hag would never keep me on her payroll if she couldn’t use me.”

            

His breath came out in spent sobs and he leaned forward and buried his head in between his arms and knees. Izuku, unsure of his gesture, reached to his side and dropped a soft hand to Katsuki’s shoulder. It made him flinch, but he didn’t shrug it away. “So, I left. I thought if I cashed my savings, moved to the city, and got a job, I’d be rich within a year. I’d be able to live on my own, and I’d call home, and have you come out to stay with me. We’d live in the city together.

            

“But I’d never worked before… I had no life skills. No one would hire me, and I ran too short on money, and I started doing odd jobs in shitty, old bars, or cleaning up litter on the streets. Before I knew it, two years had passed, and I’d turned twenty. My coworkers took me out drinking, and I-” He choked, his body going stiff as a board. 

            

It startled Izuku, and he leaned closer to try and peer through the gap between his ear and upper arm. “Kacchan? Are you- are you okay?”

            

He nodded but didn’t lift his head. A few wave crashes later, he started back into his story. “I was so drunk. I don’t remember what happened, but I woke up with a girl in my bed and a ring on my finger. I- Deku-” Katsuki looked up, his ruby eyes glistening with tears from a past dark and foreboding. He bit down on his lips and squeezed his eyes shut. A fat tear ran the curve of his cheekbone. “Deku, Toga was my wife.”

            

Izuku’s heart turned cold, hard like ice, and fell from his chest into the pit of his stomach, where it crashed and cracked into millions of irreparable pieces. The video he’d seen, the anger in Himiko’s eyes and the fear in Katsuki’s whenever they shared space, the pain and curiosity it had caused Izuku to watch it… what happened?

            

“I tried to make it work—I hate quitting—but not quitting meant that the people I was around- the things that happened- I- shit, Deku, I can’t even say it.”

            

“Kacchan.”

            

“I got into drugs. Hard. Me and her both spent so much time high off our asses that I don’t even remember the first year. Cocaine, Pot, Crystal, LSD, and other trippy shit. I was tweaking so hard that the one time my parents actually went searching for me, and actually found me, I couldn’t even recognize them. Himiko told me later who they were, and she lorded it over me--my parents fame and wealth. She wanted drugs. She wanted expensive things. And when she didn’t get it, she’d-” He stopped, his eyes glazing over as he fell back into his agony. His body began to shake once more, and unblinking eyes watered on their own. “The scar on my chin is from when she swung a knife at me for not bringing home her Oxy. The cigarette burns were for fun, and these-” He pointed to his pec. “These are from being stabbed with a fork at a restaurant for talking to the waitress on my way back from the bathroom.

            

“And I- I didn’t want it. I tried to stop her. I tried to be a good husband, the way I wanted to be with y- with someone I loved. But it didn’t work! And fighting back was stupid. The authorities never believed me—I’m a big, strong man. I was the person who hurt her in their eyes—and she used it against me. She’d hurt me and say she was protecting herself from my temper. I got so scared that it really was me! That I’d been fucking her up, that I’d been hurting her, and it was my own damn fault she hurt me to protect herself. 

            

“I tried to fix it! I gave her more drugs, I did every kinky thing she wanted, and used every penny I begged for so that she could have what she wanted… and then she left. She went to a bar, found a billionaire who wasn’t squeaking by while he doped up, and she left me for him. After three years of torture, of trying to be worthy of her, she left me, and I felt like it’d been my fault. I thought I’d hurt her so bad that I’d lost any chance.

            

“I started drinking—harder than I was—and I’d fall asleep in gutters and in crack houses. You could see my ribs and spine, and the scars and burns Toga gave me—same as the welts I picked into my flesh every time I was tweaking.”

            

Katsuki went quiet, contemplative. His body shook, and his tears wouldn’t stop. Izuku’d never seen him so unbelievably torn down. His hunched shoulders nearly sunk to the sand, and his eyes stared glossily at the sea. 

            

Izuku’s chest felt heavy with guilt, agony, and the subtle pain that grew from the knowledge that Toga had had the access to Katsuki necessary to break him physically and mentally. He hated her for it--for making the strongest person Izuku knew feel weak and undeserving. He wanted to throttle her, break her neck and watch her twitch and jerk on the ground until the life left her eyes. 

            

Because Izuku had been mentally ruined by Touya, had forgotten what it was like to be secure in someone’s heart and feelings. He’d had it bad; he had fallen into his own agonizing state far more times than was okay, and he knew the look in Katsuki’s eye as well as his own. His hand slowly slid across Katsuki’s shoulders and guided him closer. He was bigger than Izuku was, but he felt small, and Izuku hated it. 

            

“When I was twenty-three, I found myself drunk off my ass on some side streets I’d never seen. Five guys coming the opposite way saw me, and one checked my shoulder on purpose, expecting me to apologize. I didn’t and they beat the shit out of me.” Katsuki snorted at himself. “I didn’t even fight back. I just hoped they kicked me in the head, and I’d be dead before morning. I just… I just wanted to die, but I couldn’t do it myself. I always had something stopping me.”

            

“What was it?” Izuku asked. 

 

Katsuki looked over to him with wet eyes and smirked, looking up to the moon and marveling in its light and beauty. “I was lucky. I was in the alley beside the Plus Ultra club, and Kirishima found me when he was throwing out trash after the place closed. He dragged me inside, high off my ass, and laid me on a couch. Got me water, food, and bandaged me up. Even offered me a place to stay, and a job, so long as I promised to be on my best behavior and sober up. I- I don’t know why he really did it, but he said it’s because he saw so much pain in my eyes, that it meant I needed a friend and a chance.

 

“And I took the chance. I- I tried to get clean—it was so fucking hard, but I did it—and I worked on my anger, went to AA, and got a sponsor. I saved the money I got at the club, and I was maybe three years away from showing back up at your door. But then you came to mine.”

            

He spared a glance at Izuku, then started to massage his lip with his teeth and thread his fingers through the sand. The mannerisms marked a level of anxiety that Izuku had never seen in Katsuki. It worried him immensely. Katsuki’s eyes quickly found focus on the loose seaweed that had floated up to the shore from the waves, and they didn’t leave it. “Deku, you wanna know why I wouldn’t marry Melissa, right? Or why I needed to make my own way before I came home? Why I couldn’t tell you I was leaving, or why I couldn’t just kill myself?”

            

Izuku’s response lagged, his mind replaying the words and working double-time to decipher their meanings. By the time his lips stopped bobbing and a sound hummed at the base of his throat, Katsuki had started on again. “At the risk of ripping the last shreds of our friendship apart, at making you hate me, I’m gonna tell you the truth.

            

“I couldn’t marry Melissa ‘cause there was someone else I was saving myself for, someone I wanted to love, and maybe marry someday. I needed to make my own way, because my parents wouldn’t allow me to marry them, and I wanted to provide. I wanted them to know they could always depend on me for a good life. 

 

“I couldn’t tell you why I was leaving because you were the reason, and I couldn’t kill myself knowing I’d never see you again. Deku, I did it all for you. I- I loved you. I still do—from the minute you put an All Might band aid on my knee when I fell off the monkey bars when we were seven, all the way to now. And I thought that if I made it to Tokyo and got rich on my own, then you’d want to stay with me. And maybe you’d love me, too. I’m sorry.”           

 

Katsuki’s story finished, and Izuku looked at him through the tears fogging his vision. The quiver of his frown made his bottom lip jut, and his shoulders racked with unceasing sobs. Something light bloomed in Izuku’s chest, and something heavy built in his brain.

            

He couldn’t process Katsuki’s ‘I love you’, or the fact that it didn’t sound platonic. He wanted to scream, to laugh psychotically, and cry at the fact that three words of unfounded importance had escaped Katsuki’s mouth to him. 

            

Katsuki said he loved him, that he’d gone against his parents in the hopes that, one day, Izuku would love him back, and that he’d given up marriage to an heiress on the off chance he could have Izuku one day.

            

And the clawing, gnawing pain that filled him over his own stupidity, his own flaws forcing Katsuki to share a story he hadn’t been ready to tell, was momentarily suppressed with the knowledge that the love he had harbored for his best friend—a love that spanned more than two decades—was reciprocated. And here Katsuki was, thinking that that was what would drive a nail in their friendship’s coffin. He laughed aloud.

            

He couldn’t help it.

            

Crawling to his knees, he lunged at Katsuki, knocking him down into the sand. He threw one leg across his torso and straddled his body as his hands gripped Katsuki’s shoulders and his eyes fixed on red, wide ones. On the impact, Katsuki let out a huff, and his breath brushed Izuku’s face. “I was wrong to yell at you! I was wrong to make you feel so alone back then, and force you to face it now! But, dammit, Kacchan! You’re an idiot!”

            

Katsuki’s shock was evident, the beginnings of a brow crease forming at the bottom of his forehead. “W-wha-”

            

Tears brimmed Izuku’s eyes, threatening to cascade down onto Katsuki’s chin and neck. “Kacchan, I’ve loved you since before I learned what love was. You were the only one I ever thought about in high school, the only person I ever wanted. I settled in everything else after you left, because I knew I’d never find someone better than you. I never could love anyone more than you.”

            

Katsuki blinked up at him, dazed. His eyes scanned Izuku for any ticks that could betray a lie, any proof that this confession was a ploy, a cruel joke. There wasn’t any. “But- but at the restaurant you said you loved me like a- that we’re friends-”

            

“Because I thought if you knew how I felt, you’d hate me. You’d be disgusted.”

            

“Deku-”

            

“-Kacchan.”

            

They both stopped, staring at each other with a newfound twinkle in their eyes. It rivaled the light of the moon above and gave the stars a run for their money. Nothing shined brighter than the soft smiles spreading on their cheeks, or the soft connect of lips when they leaned closer, bodies flushed together.

            

Knots curled in the base of Izuku’s stomach and made his breath shallow. Katsuki trapped his lip between his, his teeth grazing the flesh and sucking a breath from Izuku, who retaliated by swiping his tongue across Katsuki’s upper lip and begging entrance. Submitting, the man beneath him opened wide and let Izuku through, Izuku savoring the shiver that went down his spine as Katsuki sucked hard on his tongue and purred at the taste. His hands hesitantly rested on the small of Izuku’s back and made his flesh tingle beneath his touch. 

            

Izuku pulled away with an overstimulated exhaustion, and looked down into sparkling, zealous eyes. Katsuki’s lips were set firm, though, as if he were holding himself back. “Deku, I- I want you, but I can’t- Deku, fuck, we’re broken. Both of us. I- I can’t be your crutch. You can’t be mine.”

            

“We won’t be, okay? I’ll go to therapy, I’ll work on my problems, and you keep working on yours. We don’t have to be dependent, but we can support each other. We can get better together.”

            

“And you’ll put up with me? I’m gonna struggle. There hasn’t been a goddamn year where I haven’t.”

            

Izuku grinned, elated for the first time in six years. He wanted to scream, to laugh, and thank fate for granting him this chance. He shook his head, looking down at Katsuki on the sand with hope and admiration in the way he looked up at him. He’d put up with anything for that smile, and the chance he’d prayed for since they were small. 

 

“Yeah, Kacchan. If you put up with me.”



Chapter Text

Izuku felt Katsuki’s strong presence behind him. The fingers trailing Izuku’s waist made him shiver. They were back at the hotel by the early morning, somewhere around three, and while Izuku was tired as he slipped the keycard in the reader, the bliss of their recent confessions made him anything but aware of it.

 

Katsuki loved him. He had loved him since they were kids, and Izuku couldn’t help but savor it like he’d just been offered the world, immortality, or never-ending wealth. He felt that if life were a game, he had won. With Katsuki’s arms around him, expelling heat and filling Izuku with warmth, he felt unbelievably lucky. The pounding of his heart was loud, and he worried Katsuki could actually hear how ecstatic he was.

            

The light on the reader turned green, and Izuku pushed the suite’s door open. Katsuki pushed him gently from behind, and Izuku stumbled into the hallway. The door clicked behind them, and Izuku crooked his neck to see the grin on Katsuki’s face as he planted his hands on Izuku’s shoulders and made him turn to face him. 

            

Izuku’s stupid grin made Katsuki’s grow bigger, and Izuku saw how his eyes flicked across his face, as if he were taking in every detail of his best friend’s- no, his lover’s face. Big, hot hands reached up from Izuku’s shoulders to slowly, carefully cup his jaw and stroke his cheekbones softly with his coarse thumbs. They were so close, mere inches from each other’s lips. Izuku could feel Katsuki’s breath hit his face, and it smelled of mint.

            

“Deku,” he whispered, like a prayer. Katsuki had never been one to show his love so openly, but he did it so vocally now—not like he was as a child. The name belonged on his lips, calling for Izuku and claiming him as his lover. He wanted to hear it every morning when he got out of bed, and every night before drifting off to sleep. He loved it. He loved Katsuki.

            

“Yes?” He extended onto his toes and knocked his forehead lightly against Katsuki’s, savoring the proximity. 

            

“I love you.” 

            

A breathy laugh past Izuku’s lips, and his smile split wider. “I know, Kacchan. I know.”

            

“I gotta say it, Deku,” he whispered, cherry red eyes dropping down to watch his lips. “I never- I thought I’d never say it to you, and I never thought you’d say it back. I- I want to make up for not doing it earlier.”

            

Izuku sighed, his hand raising to rest on Katsuki’s nape, and drag him closer, their lips just centimeters away. “We can’t fix how long we waited, but we can make up for lost time, yeah?” Their noses scrunched, pressed against each other. Their panting breaths mixed between them, and Izuku felt an arousal at the way Katsuki’s neck tensed beneath his hand, his body going taut as strong muscles clenched from the way Izuku pressed into him. 

            

“Yeah.”

            

Their lips brushed for a moment, and then Izuku pressed deep into Katsuki’s mouth, savoring the taste of Katsuki’s breath as he pressed his tongue against Katsuki’s, and Katsuki responded with a vibrating moan. They were exploring territory once forbidden to both of them.The large hands on Izuku’s face dropped low on his jaw as Izuku focused on the kiss, on the way their mouths danced together in perfect harmony.

            

Izuku’s eyes felt wet, and the tears cascading from their edges lubricated the flesh of their noses and cheeks as they rubbed together. Katsuki’s hands slid down to his collarbone and sent a shiver down Izuku’s spine. He gasped, and it gave Katsuki the opportunity to take control, one hand shooting back up to rub at the back of Izuku’s head and pull it back. Izuku whined, and Katsuki responded by pressing his tongue as deep as it would go, his tongue flicking across Izuku’s teeth and tongue, sliding against the insides of his cheeks. 

            

Katsuki’s musk smothered Izuku’s senses and sent arousal from his head down to his groin, curling at the base of his cock. He moaned, and Katsuki’s free hand bent lower to grab his hip , then scoop behind his thigh and lift his leg off the ground. 

            

Izuku cried out, thinking he’d lost his balance, but realized Katsuki’s unnatural strength was holding him tall. Katsuki pulled back just enough to observe his entire face in worried contemplation. “What’s wrong?” he asked, voice gravelly from his reining desire. “Are you okay? Do you want to stop?”

            

He looked so nervous, now that Izuku really watched him. His brows were knit in a worried furrow, and the corners of his mouth bent down in a worried frown. He pouted like a puppy, and Izuku couldn’t help but laugh because he found the concern endearing. He shook his head, his sunny laughter passing his lips, and he pressed his hands to his jaw. “No, Kacchan, I couldn’t be happier. I just, uh, well, I-”

            

Courage surged through Izuku’s veins, and he reached down to cover Katsuki’s hand with his and pull it away from his leg. Izuku guided his fingers down to his groin and watched Katsuki’s eyes blow wide when he felt Izuku hard beneath his tight jeans. “Fuck! I mean, shit! Do you want to? I mean, we don’t fucking have to, Deku! Just- fuck!”

            

Izuku snickered at Katsuki’s embarrassment, trying hard to bite down the urge to moan because Katsuki was still groping him. “You sound more like you did in high school, right now. Mmm, haven’t heard you cuss this much the whole trip.”

            

Katsuki blinked, then snorted lightly and leaned into Izuku’s space. “Yeah, well, it’s your fault. I’ve got no sense when it comes to you, y’know?” He pressed a chaste kiss to Izuku’s lips, then bent low to his knees, palming him as he descended. Izuku knocked his head back, vocalizing his moan, then turned to a yelp when Katsuki’s arms wrapped around his calves and hoisted him into the air. Katsuki’s shoulder cut into Izuku’s stomach, and he got a good look at Katsuki’s behind as he walked farther into the suite, stopping by the bedroom door and cutting through the open doorway. Even with the light, the night dimmed the room. 

            

Then Katsuki bent forward, and Izuku fell back onto the mattress, bouncing back towards the pillow as Katsuki crawled onto the bed like a tiger carefully stalking its intended prey. Izuku’s heart pounded in his chest and head, sent a rush of blood to his ears, and burned him from the inside out. His greed, his need for Katsuki was carnal, and he wanted to revel in it. As Katsuki crossed over his legs, a hand reaching up to play with the hem of Izuku’s shirt, he smirked up at him like he intended to stretch Izuku’s desire until it was just shy of snapping.

            

But Izuku, as much as he wanted to savor the moment, needed Katsuki like a fish needed water. He reached forward, curling his fingers in Katsuki’s collar and dragging him closer. Katsuki complied, pulling up to plant kisses on Izuku’s mouth, hot, heavy, and damp. As their moans hummed against each other’s lips, Katsuki pulled away just long enough to rip Izuku’s shirt over his head and toss it to the side.

            

He peppered electric kisses to the corner of Izuku’s mouth, his jaw, and sucked a bruise into the tender flesh above his collarbone. Izuku stifled his cry with a hand over his mouth, which proved useless when Katsuki reached his chest and dropped his tongue to one of Izuku’s nipples, flicking it across the perky flesh. Izuku’s cock twitched at the sensitive skin being teased, and Katsuki felt it on his stomach, his torso pressed against Izuku’s jeans. “Sensitive?” he asked, damp breath on his chest, before bending back down to envelope the nub in his mouth entirely, sucking long and hard. 

            

Izuku grabbed Katsuki’s head and knotted his fingers in his hair as Katsuki’s lips trailed down his stomach, brushing sensitive areas and stopping at the buttons of his jeans. He worked with them quickly, unbuttoning and unzipping. He looped his fingers beneath Izuku’s underwear, and pulled them both down and up, Izuku’s legs going into the air as he ripped them off and tossed them to the floor.

            

And then, Katsuki looked down at Izuku and stopped.

            

Izuku watched Katsuki’s smile drop as he looked down at him. It made Izuku feel vulnerable, embarrassed at his own body fully displayed for Katsuki’s eyes only. The need and adrenaline pumping through his heart quickly turned stale, and he felt seconds from lunging for his clothes and forcing them all back on his body. His hands bunched in the comforter beneath him, and he averted his gaze towards the bathroom door. “Sorry, I’m-”

            

“You’re beautiful.” It came out airy, a weak breath, but when the words hit Izuku, he looked up to see awe in Katsuki’s glittering eyes. His lips bobbed, like he didn’t know what he was trying to say. His expression was as soft and hopeful as if all his wishes had culminated into this. Izuku had never seen such a look of caution and adoration in Katsuki’s eyes. It made his heart swell. “ Fuck, I just- just-”

            

“Kacchan?”

            

Katsuki bent back down, his head falling on Izuku’s abdomen. He laughed, and it tickled Izuku’s pubic hairs. “I can’t believe I’m fucking doing this. I just- you’re so much better than I-”

            

“You- you really think I’m beautiful?” Izuku’s cheeks burned red, and when Katsuki looked up at him, he had to avert his gaze. “Um, Touya- he said I was-”

            

“Whatever that asshole said, it’s not true, Deku,” Katsuki promised, crawling back up to press wet, swollen lips to Izuku’s cheek. “It’s not true. You’re better than I ever imagined; and believe me, I imagined it a lot.”

            

Izuku gulped, turning back to see teary eyes so close to his. He wanted to drown in them. “Please, Deku, let me take care of you. I want to make you feel good.”

            

And the desperate need in Izuku guided him to his answer, granting him a ‘yes’ after a pregnant pause. 

            

Consent was what Katsuki had been waiting for, because the second the word slipped off Izuku’s tongue, Katsuki sat up and reached a hand beneath the small of Izuku’s back to come up and grab his hip on the other side. Then he grabbed the other and flipped Izuku onto his stomach with the same amount of ease it took to lift a feather.

            

Izuku cried out in surprise but was too preoccupied with the way Katsuki’s rough hands gently parted his legs and lifted Izuku’s hips towards him, so that Izuku’s ass hovered and his half-hard dick dangled between his legs. “Just relax,” Katsuki said from behind, and then Izuku gasped from a damp, hot tongue being pressed to his whole, lapping at the muscle. It tickled, making Izuku whine into the comforter pressed against his cheek. 

            

The tip flicked around the opening, wiggling its way through, and Izuku bunched his hands in the blankets below. “Mmmmm.”

            

Katsuki removed his tongue, chuckling as he asked, “You like that, Deku?”

            

Izuku replied with a moan, and Katsuki bent lower to lick a wet stripe up his scrotum and massage his lips around the soft, pink hole. It sli pped inside, exploring him with surprising vigor. As it stroked his walls and tickled his gut, Izuku twitched between his legs, and he looked down to see thin beads of precum drip from his tip. 

            

He pushed back, forcing Katsuki’s tongue as far as it would go, and watched as his cock bobbed with the movement. When Katsuki moaned, his lips vibrated against the muscle, and his tongue quivered inside. “Kach- ahhhn! Mmm, want- want you, okay? Please.”

            

In reaction, Katsuki lifted a hand and trailed his fingers lightly down Izuku’s spine, sending shivers through every nerve in his body. He whined, and Katsuki pulled out, wiping his mouth and looking past Izuku’s spread thighs to smile affectionately at him. “Shhh, baby. I gotta take care of you.”

            

Katsuki had to take care of him? He fluttered, his heart beating at such a rapid speed he feared it would pop! Touya never cared for him like this, never bothered with foreplay or making sure he felt anything during sex. Every time Izuku came, every time he orgasmed, it was by chance alone.

            

Katsuki guided him onto his back then pushed away. “D’you have lube?” he asked, his voice deep with need. 

 

Izuku whined at the realization that no, he didn’t. But he wanted Katsuki; he wanted him to fill him and pepper kisses down his back as he pumped inside him. He groaned into the sheets. “No…”

 

Katsuki didn’t answer at first, and Izuku didn’t look for him. “Hang on,” Katsuki grunted, and then the bed grew lighter without his weight. Izuku shifted his head to watch as Katsuki ran to the bathroom, making a ruckus, before returning with a yellow, plastic jar in his hand. He shook it towards Izuku. “Complementary vaseline!” 

 

He crawled back onto the bed and positioned himself between Izuku’s legs, popping the cap of the jar and scooping a heaping of slick onto his fingers. Izuku watched as he rubbed it between his digits, before dropping his hand to tickle the gel between Izuku’s cheeks and slide into him. Izuku knocked his head back, arching his back as Katsuki’s two fingers scissored him wider, curling at his prostate and sending waves of pleasure through his body. “Mmm- ahhh! Ka- kacchan, I want you. P-please, not the fingers…”

 

“Deku, I gotta,” Katsuki crooned, pushing his fingers deeper. “I- I don’t want to hurt you.”

 

Izuku’s heart ached, looking down to see the concern knitting its way into Katsuki’s furrowed brows. He reached his hand down, grabbing Katsuki’s arm between his legs to still him. Katsuki slowly glanced upward, his lip quivering. Lovingly, warmly, Izuku smiled at him. “You’re not going to hurt me. I know you’d never hurt me.”

 

Katsuki gulped, his adam’s apple bobbing. Izuku glanced at it, wanting to suck hard on the tender flesh as Katsuki bucked up into him. He whined, and that sent fresh waves of arousal through Katsuki, urging him forward. 

 

As Izuku watched, infatuated, Katsuki popped the buttons of his shirt one-by-one, until Izuku could see every crease of his chiselled abs, and the light hairs centered between the V sneaking down into his pants, which came next. Katsuki pulled them off slowly, letting Izuku savor the sight of his tan, scar-speckled skin, and the way his happy trail fell to the base of Katsuki’s cock, which Izuku gaped at the sight of.

            

He felt hot, burning and shaking. He wanted; he needed. Katsuki was big, dark veins crawling up the shaft to end in a round, pink head. Izuku gulped, parting his legs further from desire alone. “Kacchan, please. I- I want you in me. I want to feel you in me.”

            

Katsuki blushed beet red, crawling up onto the bed with quiet excitement. Where his hands brushed down Izuku’s soft thighs, they left tingles of pleasure in their wake. Izuku sucked in his breath as Katsuki positioned himself in between Izuku’s thighs, grabbed a scoop of vaseline and stroked his length, slathering it. He panted, watching Izuku closely as he moaned, his face turning red from the pleasure.

            

He bit his lip and gulped, lining himself up to Izuku’s hole and slowly pushing his dick through the ring of muscle. Izuku cried out, not bothering to stifle the surprise as Katsuki’s fat girth stretched him. Filled him. 

            

Katsuki knocked his head back, grabbed for Izuku’s ass cheeks, and pushed himself deeper, his shaft being drowned by Izuku’s tight walls, and Izuku couldn’t begin to focus. He couldn’t hear him. All he could concentrate on was the blood rushing to his groin, making him twitch between his legs. He felt precum soaking the side of his cock, trailing down to his abdomen and cooling the overbearing heat.

            

And Katsuki stretching him from the inside almost sent him to a new terrestrial plane, filled with bliss and satisfaction he can’t come down from. He looked up, saw the smirk tugging the corner of Katsuki’s lips as he watched Izuku coming undone beneath him. Izuku would be more embarrassed if he didn’t feel so good. 

            

“You- you’re so perfect, Deku,” he said, pumping, and Izuku swooned. “Gonna- mmm, gonna treat you like this whenever you want, okay? Make you feel good- show how much I want you.”

            

But Izuku wanted him, too, so he threw up his hands for Katsuki to take. When Katsuki’s hot hands wrapped around his and pulled Izuku up into Katsuki’s lap, the head smacked against Izuku’s prostate and he arched back in ecstasy. He wrapped his arms around Katsuki’s neck, and rolled his hips against Katsuki’s stomach. His own cock was rubbed tightly between their abdomens. 

            

He dropped his head to Katsuki’s shoulder, his wet lips leaving trails of saliva on his flesh. “Am- ah- am I good, Kacchan? Do- do I feel good?”

            

Katsuki grabbed his ass, lifted him, then slammed him back down on his cock so hard, that Izuku almost came to the sound of skin slapping skin. “You feel amazing, baby! God, you’re good, okay? Such a good boy! Takin' my cock so well!” 

            And Izuku preened, hopping up and down to the chorus of Katsuki’s praises and promises of love. It sent a fire through him, curled in his groin, and traveled from his balls to the tip of his glistening head. He panted, whined, and clenched his walls around Katsuki’s cock, making him grunt. “Fuck, Deku, I’m gonna-”

            

“Me, too. Mmmm-ahh, me, too!”

            

Izuku buried his face in the crook of Katsuki’s neck and the latter lifted a hand to curl into Izuku’s locks. “Fuck, baby, cum- cum with me, okay? Let’s-”

            

Izuku dropped down on Katsuki as Katsuki thrust upward dangerously hard, pounding against Izuku prostate and sending him over the edge. Hot streams of cum spurted from his slit, coating both of their stomachs in Izuku’s seed. Seconds later, Izuku felt Katsuki cum inside him, and relished the warmth as it leaked out between Katsuki’s thick cock and Izuku’s stretched hole.

 

They fell back onto the bed, Katsuki pulling out and a load of cum trailing out of zuku’s ass to coat his thighs and ass in white. He hardly cared, though, sweating and panting as he stared up at the ceiling and savored the tender kiss Katsuki placed to his lips.

 

They pulled apart, and Katsuki splayed his arms so that Izuku could curl up on his side. They laid there for a while, looking up at the ceiling, then to each other, and back at the ceiling; just savoring each other’s company after the best sex Izuku had had in ages. His heart still swelled at the loving praise cooed in his ear throughout the ride. He grinned, and then he turned red once more. 

            

“What’s with the face?” Katsuki asked, huffing as he turned his head to look at Izuku inquisitively.

            

“I just had sex with my best friend.”

            

Katsuki scrunched his nose. “You make it sound like we didn’t just confess our undying love for each other. Some fucking romantic you are!”

            

Izuku snorted, turning on his side so that he could pull Katsuki into a hug, rubbing his head against his chest, and they cuddled. “I’m not, I’m sorry. It’s just- Kacchan, I pined for you all throughout high school, but I didn’t make a move because I thought you’d never want me like that. There was no change in your behavior for me to suspect you might like me.”

            

“There was no change because I went into our friendship already crushing on you, nerd. Everything I did, it’s ‘cause I wanted you to have the world.”

            

“My world would have been perfect if I had just had you,” Izuku mused, sighing up at the ceiling fan. “I settled when you left, and I wish I didn’t. I wish I could’ve had you from the start.”

            

“Yeah. Me, too.”



Chapter Text

Izuku woke when the uproarious and unceasing knocking on the suite door became too much for his ears to bare. Forcing himself to stir, his eyes opened to the light of the bright sun streaming through the windows and bathing the room in a fresh warm glow. It was too beautiful to accompany the cacophony in his ears.

 

It halted for a second, and he savored the silence, with which the songbirds outside could really be heard. Izuku listened intently, his hands unknotting and going into the air to stretch. When they fell, the one limb intending to fall on his hip landed on something unexpected. He glanced down to find Katsuki’s hand already rested there, fingers slack on the cotton of his boxers. 

 

Izuku blushed red, surprised and embarrassed at the contact. He felt soft breath on his neck, and the proximity of Katsuki’s chest to his back. He remembered the prior night, and felt hot at the memory. They’d expressed their love for each other--a love that they’d both harbored for more than a decade and never acted on, and despite their broken bits and damaged parts, their adoration never wavered.

 

And the knowledge that he could have had this far earlier if he’d shared his feelings in high school was enough to fill him with a subtle remorse. He wished he could’ve woken up to this every morning, and go to bed to it every night. He wished he had had Katsuki to lift him higher, and be there to support Katsuki in doing the same. Izuku wanted to make breakfast together, and watch bad movies with their bodies tangled. He wanted the sweet domesticity that Touya had denied him, and he wanted it with none other than the man he’d pined for since puberty. 

 

He wanted their sweet, sweet simplicity. 

 

The racket at the door started up again, and this time Katsuki reacted to it. He groaned, squeezing his eye s so tightly shut that it s crunched his nose and wrinkled his face. He pressed harder against Izuku, and slid his hand up from his hip to rest against Izuku’s chest and guide him back. He buried his face in black-green curls, and breathed out in contentment. “Deku…”

 

“They’re not gonna stop,” Izuku sighed, closing his eyes to savor sleep for just a moment longer. “I should go see who it is.”

 

“Mmm, no.” Katsuki’s nose brushed against his nape, and his breath tickled his hairs. Izuku chuckled lightly at it. 

 

“Kacchan, it’s not gonna stop.” He reached for Katsuki’s hand and lightly guided it off his body. Katsuki didn’t fight as Izuku scooted off the bed and searched the floor for something to wear besides just boxers. He picked up a dress shirt, threw his arms in the sleeves, and climbed back on top of the covers. “I’ll be back,” he promised.

 

Katsuki pouted. “Kiss first.”

 

And Izuku wouldn’t argue with a kiss, having waited years just to touch Katsuki  intimately. He leaned forward, head crooked at an odd angle, and brushed his lips against Katsuki, creating static. Izuku was infatuated with kissing him--Katsuki--his boyfriend. His heart did somersaults just over the fact that they were together. This was a culmination of a lifetime’s worth of dreams and wishes, and Izuku was relishing it.

 

Katsuki hummed against him, and Izuku dodged his hand when Katsuki tried to pull him back down. Chuckling, Izuku weaved off the bed and cut through the bedroom door. His barefoot feet froze on the cool tile as he jogged for the suite’s door, yanking it open without a second’s thought. “Hell- oof!”

 

The impact of the blunt object enveloping him, was enough to momentarily startle Izuku, freezing him. He furrowed his brow, confused, as another object wrapped around him. His hands hovered at his sides, fingers twitching with uncertainty. “Izu, we were so worried!” 

 

He relaxed. The voice was Uraraka’s and so was the chestnut hair below his chin. He saw flashes of pink in his periphery, and he supposed that Ashido was there, too. The fast friends squeezed him tight, voicing their worries a mile a minute. “You left your phone in the bar, and we thought we’d give you some time alone to cool down,” Uraraka explained.

 

“But then when we got back from the club, we went to your room and you weren’t there! We searched! We called Cherry! No one answered , and we- we thought you were hurt or somethin’!” 

 

Ashido pulled away first, gulping up at him with big, watery eyes. “You don’t know how scared we were!”

 

Izuku choked, apologetic. He should have contacted them, phone or not. He could’ve gone up to Iida to let him know that he was fine and that he should call Uraraka and tell her that. It was just that the previous night had been a whirlwind, and Izuku was still reeling from it. As Uraraka pulled away from him,  Izuku blinked remorsefully at them both. “I’m sorry, you guys! I’m so, so sorry!”

 

“No, don’t be sorry,” Uraraka sighed, waving him off. She was in her pajamas, eyes cast down at her bunny slippers. “I just- I mean, we were- and Himiko, the bitch!”

 

Izuku winced at her name, a steady anger in his gut. He hated her for what she did to Katsuki. He didn’t like her before, he loathed her now, and Izuku wasn’t sure how he’d see her in the future without wringing her neck. 

 

“What happened, Freckles?” Ashido asked, looking up at him with a serious expression that didn’t match the curlers in her hair or the under-eye skin-care masks stuck above her cheekbones. “What did she do to you? She wouldn’t tell us.”

 

And Izuku’s mouth bobbed with an answer he couldn’t give. Ashido, maybe, but Uraraka didn’t know Katsuki’s past, and as much as he hated having forced Katsuki to divulge his secrets, he wasn’t going to spread them to anyone. If Ashido truly wanted an answer, he could give it to her in private. He’d abstain from giving Uraraka one, though. “I-”

 

“-Deku, you’ve seen my shirt from last night?” 

 

Izuku twisted uncomfortably to see Katsuki come into the hall from the bedroom and oggle at the sight of him flanked by Uraraka and Ashido. His eyes trailed over them emotionlessly, before resting back on Izuku. A smirk spread across his face, and he flashed white teeth in a mischievous smile. “Nevermind, I found it.”

 

“Oh?” Izuku asked, crooking his head to the side in a gesture of confusion. He didn’t know what that meant, but by the way Katsuki looked at him, he felt it should be more obvious. 

 

“Oh my god!”  Izuku snapped back around to see a look of dawning realization etch itself across Ashido’s rosy face. She reached for Uraraka’s wrist, squeezing it tight, but didn’t tear her eyes away from Izuku’s form as Katsuki stepped closer. “Girl, it happened.”

 

Uraraka whipped her eyes towards her. “What?”

 

“Um, Ashido-” Izuku started, only to get cut off by the girl rounding on Uraraka and grabbing her shoulders. She looked at her intently in the eyes. 

 

“Girl, I bought that shirt for Cherry,” Ashido saidstarted, nodding to Izuku. Izuku furrowed his brows, looked down, and saw the striped button up--unbuttoned, now--that Katsuki had worn the night before. He blanched, realizing how obvious it was. He couldn’t see the grin of knowing on Katsuki’s face, or feel the way Katsuki’s heart felt content at the simple sign of their intimacy. 

 

Izuku was happy for it, too, the intimacy between them--starting out like true partners. He just felt embarrassed to make it so obvious , so fast. When he’d been with Touya in the beginning, the other male tried so hard to make it noticeable Izuku was with him, spoiling him, marking him, and acting overly affectionate in public. He didn’t want to do that with Katsuki. To Izuku, it would mirror his toxic relationship too much, and Izuku wanted this to be different. He wanted them to work out, to be completely positive influences in each other’s lives. He wanted their relationship to be healthy; it was something they both had missed out on. “Well, um, we-”

 

Uraraka gulped, raising her hand, palm outward, to signal for silence. Izuku closed his lips at once, watching his friend carefully. Her eyes darted from Izuku up to Katsuki, then back to her friend with a critical and knowing tone. She squared her shoulders and cleared her throat, a rosy tint to her cheeks. “Are you guys a couple now?”

 

“Um,” Izuku hummed, blinking round eyes up to Katsuki, who looked back down as if waiting for his cue. Izuku wanted to say yes, but he didn’t want to be the first one to put their relationship out into the open. He’d been vocal about his last relationship, and it ended horribly. Now, his biggest fear was that by letting the world know that he was with Katsuki--and Katsuki was his--he would jinx it.

 

Katsuki brushed his cheek, his coarse thumb scratching the light freckles of his soft cheek. Izuku relished it, before Katsuki smiled and turned back to the girls. “Yeah,” he sighed, satisfied. “We are.”

 

Izuku gulped and turned back to Uraraka and Ashido, whose baffled expression morphed into wide smiles and eyes of wonderment. “Really?” Ashido squeaked, bouncing on her toes. 

 

“Yes,” Izuku grinned, nervous, but the smile was wider than he expected he ever thought it could be. Katsuki wrapped his arm around his waist, and Izuku’s heart swelled from the attention. He leaned back into Katsuki’s chest, and felt the rapid beating of his heart against his shoulder blade. 

 

The girls turned to each other, grinned hard, and rushed towards them. Devoured by their hugs, Izuku laughed out at the acceptance and Katsuki’s barking disapprovals of their touches. But it was only seconds before he warmed to the affection, and hugged the girls back. “We’re so happy for you,” Ashido sighed, her breath tickling Izuku’s scalp. “Both of you.”

 

“I never thought I’d see a real smile on your face, Izu,” Uraraka sighed, squeezing him harder. “Ever since I’ve known you, you’d been sucked dry of happiness by that monster, but look at you now. You’re in love.”

 

“Ocha…”

 

She sniffled, backing up and wiping her forearm against her eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m just…” She shook her head and turned away, shielding the others from her crying. Ashido tutted and went to wrap her arm around her shoulders. “I’m just so happy! I’m getting married, I’ve made such incredible new friends,” she said, gesturing to Katsuki and Ashido. “And my best friend gets to be happy, too. Bakugou, you better take care of him, or I swear-”

 

“-Relax, Round Face,” Katsuki scoffed, pressing a kiss to Izuku’s scalp and looking lovingly down at him. “I will.”

 

“Good. Good. Izuku, tomorrow the real wedding work starts. All the other guests are going to start flying in, and I’m going to need your help taking care of it all! So, please, please, please! Go enjoy the rest of your day. Be a gross couple together, and savor it!”

 

“Lord knows you’ve both needed it,” Ashido nods, agreeing. 

 

“Thank you, guys.” 

 

Uraraka and Ashido waved them off, shaking their heads and wiping away tears. As they shut the door behind them, leaving Izuku and Katsuki alone in their suite hallway, Izuku released a contented sigh and shifted his body to face Katsuki completely. Seeing the smile on his new boyfriend’s face, he leaned upwards to pepper kisses to his sharp jawline and feel the scratch of his scruff. 

 

“Izuku,” Katsuki hummed, his breath leaving his nose in a heavy exhale as his hands grazed the small of Izuku’s back, descending lower onto his ass. The sound of his name, not Deku--though he loved the nickname on Katsuki’s lips--sounded so needy and intimate that it sent a jolt of fresh longing through Izuku’s being. 

 

He moaned contentedly at it, his lips reaching upward to press hard on Katsuki’s and force entry into his mouth, desperate for the taste of his saliva and his tongue against his. “Ka- Kacchan,” breathed, pulling away just long enough for Katsuki to dip down and lap his tongue against the side of his neck, biting the skin between his teeth, and sucking hard. 

 

Izuku mewled at the sensation, shivers wracking his body as he wrapped his arms around Katsuki’s neck and hung against him. Bending down to hook his arms around each leg, Katsuki hoisted Izuku up and tore a surprised cry from his throat.

 

“Nervous?” Katsuki asked, smirking up at the surprised expression on his face.

 

“N-no,” Izuku stuttered, his eyes drifting away as red coated his face, ears, and neck. Katsuki laughed, shook his head, and started walking to the kitchenette with Izuku still in his arms.

 

Izuku furrowed his brow. “What are we doing?”

 

“Breakfast.”

 

He dropped Izuku on the counter, his butt hitting the granite top. It hurt his sore muscles, his body feeling weird after the night before. He’d gone a while without sex, and last night had been wonderful and passionate, leaving him feeling somewhat wobbly this morning. He scrunched his nose and watched as Katsuki turned away from him to put a water-filled pot on the stove. “What if I want you for breakfast?”

 

Katsuki didn’t look at him, but Izuku could almost sense the smirk on his face. “Well, you can have me for lunch, Deku. But I’m fucking starving, and something tells me you didn’t eat out with the girls last night. You gotta take care of yourself, nerd.”

 

“I do take care of myself! I- I had to learn,” Izuku sighed, looking over at the clock on the microwave: 10:02 AM. “Touya didn’t like taking care of himself or me.”

 

“Well,” Katsuki sighed, turning back to Izuku. He leaned up against the opposite counter, and grinned at the sight of Izuku in his clothes, hair touseled from sleep and sex. He was a proper mess, and Katsuki reveled in it. “We’ll have to change that for you and me. I’ll take care of you, you take care of me. Good?”

 

“Um, yeah…”

 

“What’s wrong, Deku?”

 

Izuku bit his lip, glancing into Katsuki’s eyes then away again. “What are we gonna do about- about them?”

 

“Them?”

 

“Touya,” Izuku started. “And Himiko. I- I just want you to know that Himiko is not going to touch you again! I won’t let her! And whatever dirt she might have on you- if she has more than just that video, it doesn’t matter! I love you regardless of everything that happened while you were gone, Kacchan! She can choke for all I care!”

 

“Deku-”

 

“-And- and- dammit, Kacchan, I just want you to know that she won’t come between us!”

 

“Deku!” Katsuki snapped, and Izuku stopped still, looking back at Katsuki fearing he’d done something wrong already. He didn’t want to start things off like that. He didn’t want to make Katsuki mad less than a day into their relationship. As an apology formed on his tongue, Katsuki covered the distance between them and landed a hand on either side of Izuku, looking up into his worried eyes. “Are you trying to convince me? Or yourself?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“I know you’re not going to judge me, Deku.,” Katsuki smiled softly. “I trust you, and I trust being with you. I don’t think Himiko is going to make you stop loving me, but are you afraid Touya is going to make me stop loving you?”

 

Izuku blinked, taken aback. He hadn’t expected that sort of response. He hadn’t realized Katsuki had that much faith in him, though he knew it should have been obvious. After years of feeling unsure, it was hard to find any confidence in himself. He worried his lip and bowed his head, eyes looking pitifully towards Katsuki. “I… yeah, I guess so.”

 

Katsuki’s hands came up to grip his head, holding him still as he pressed a warm, light kiss to Izuku’s forehead. When he pulled away, he knocked his own head against his. “I know that he says horrible things about you, but they’re not true. You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met, Deku. It took me a long fucking time to say it, but it’s true, and he’s not big enough a man to make me think otherwise. 

 

“You say I’m safe with you, but don’t forget that you’re safe with me, too,” Katsuki hummed. “We’re a couple now. We’re gonna do this together, and we’re gonna get better together, okay? So fuck everything those two asshats say. We can do this!”

 

And Katsuki’s words set heavy in his heart, providing him with a guarantee of Katsuki’s love and unbending, unbreaking faith in Izuku’s strength, compassion, and humanity. Kat suki said Touya wouldn’t make him think Izuku was less than, and Izuku wouldn’t disappoint him by disbelieving his promise. Together, they could do this.

 

“Let’s give them hell.”



Chapter Text

Izuku never got in trouble for punching Monoma. He knew he shouldn’t have relied on his friends’ statuses, but he’d been in a bind, and he couldn’t risk losing his scholarship. He needed to go to Yuuei, he needed to get good grades, and he needed the chance to leave his poor lifestyle behind him to join his friends on their gold and ivory thrones.

 

He was grateful that the Todorokis, Bakugous, and Iidas made it go away. With enough families backing him, Monoma didn’t even have the courage to approach Izuku after the party. And as guilty as he felt--not knowing if the Monomas had been bribed or blackmailed--Izuku put it in the back of his mind and instead focused on the end of their sophomore year’s first semester. 

 

They’d be back in their heated classrooms and multi-million dollar academic space later, but for now Izuku spent his days working in anticipation of the holidays. He’d feel wrong to give and not accept, though Katsuki never made him feel bad when he couldn’t afford much. But the problem wasn’t Katsuki, it was that Izuku wanted to fit into the lifestyle. He wanted to not feel guilty accepting a gift that cost more than his grocery bill for the month, or having his friends treat him to a dinner and spend more on that than what the Midoriyas typically paid for their heating and electric for a month.

 

He just didn’t want to feel left out.

 

And so he worked, and worked, and worked. It got to the point that he was surprised one day when he was scrubbing tables clean in the ramen shop, that in walked not customers, but the friends he’d avoided for the entirety of the school break. Izuku looked up from the table, ready to grin and greet them to the establishment. 

 

His face fell when he saw the finely tailored, fashion-forward dress of his two friends, and the way Todoroki marvelled at the room he’d entered like he’d never spent five hundred yen on a bowl of ramen. He looked absolutely mesmerized by the simplicity of it all, and it made Izuku feel embarrassed. He became increasingly aware, and increasingly embarrassed, of the dirty, green apron tied snugly around his body.

 

In a hurry, he fumbled with the strings and ripped it over his head, tossing it on the table like it was a rag he’d used to clean. Katsuki was the one to spot him first, and beelined towards him like the man was on a mission.

 

He’d never explained to Izuku what had happened to him at the party, or why he’d wanted to get so unbelievably wasted in the first place. Katsuki never again mentioned his fear of them splitting apart after they graduated, or why he’d even entertained it as a possibility in the first place. 

 

When he woke up the next day, curled into Izuku’s side in his small, twin bed, Katsuki had returned to normal, like he’d forgotten the entire experience. And Izuku, not wanting to ruffle any feathers or open old wounds, didn’t push him. He let bygones be bygones, and did his utmost to quell his own curiosity.

 

And now with Katsuki standing in front of him with a pointed look on his face, Izuku could return a weary smile and not think of the incident a few months prior. “Um, hey, guys!”

 

“Don’t fuckin’ do that shit, Deku,” Katsuki snapped, glaring at him with great offense. “You’ve been avoiding us for the past two weeks!”

 

“Where have you been?” Todoroki pulled up a seat at the table Izuku had been scrubbing and laid his arms on the tabletop, resting his cheek on them. “You haven’t answered our texts.”

 

“Well, yes , but that’s because-”

 

“-No ‘buts’, Deku, let’s go!”  

 

“Huh?” Izuku’s eyes drifted around the room, to his boss snoozing away in her corner chair rather than counting the register like she said she would. Two middle school girls gossiped away in the corner as they pointed at pictures of their favorite idols in a tabloid. “G-guys, I can’t leave! I’m, uh, I have the dinner shift!”

 

Katsuki scoffed and leaned forward, one of his arms coming to rest on the table beside Izuku, blocking him in. “We know damn well that you don’t, Deku. Your mom sent us your weekly work schedule!” 

 

“Well, uh, yes, but Risa is sick, and-”

 

“-Do you not like spending time with us, Midoriya?” Todoroki asked, his brows curving upward in a pitiful expression. “Do we embarrass you?”

 

Embarrass? No! No, it’s just that-” Izuku looked between Katsuki and Todoroki like he was struggling to come up with an answer that didn’t sound insulting or sad. He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “It’s just that Christmas and New Year’s is coming up. I- Well, I want to do something nice for you guys this year, since you guys always buy me this super expensive stuff, and-”

 

“-Deku, we’ve talked about this,” Katsuki hissed low, as if he didn’t want Todoroki to know this was a common conversation. “You don’t have to worry about buying anyone shit you can’t afford. You have to take care of yourself.”

 

Izuku’s eyes darted to Todoroki, who had a furrow in his brow, then coughed and grabbed Katsuki’s arm, turning them both away from Todoroki’s ear. In a hushed whisper, he warned him, “Kacchan, stop it! I want to do something for you guys!”

 

“But you don’t have to, Deku! You do enough shit already! You’re always working, so let us fucking do shit for you ‘cause we’re your friends!”

 

“Kacchan-”

 

“-Bakugou, Midoriya, as nice as this little quarrel is to listen to, we’re here for a purpose.” Katsuki and Izuku turned to look at their friend, bored out of his mind and drumming his fingers on the tabletop like the talk of money and frugality was not something any of them should concern themselves with. “Midoriya, my family--for the majority--is out of town this weekend. I was wondering if you’d like to join Bakugou and me for a sleepover? We’ve got the new Nintendo Switch and the PS system. I thought you could show me this ‘Legends of Zelda’ franchise you talk about? I didn’t know which one you liked, so I bought them all.”

 

Izuku winced, squeezing his eyes shut and thanking Todoroki with a pang in his heart. “Thank you, Todoroki. That’s very thoughtful of you.”

 

But that was exactly what he’d been talking about. He couldn’t just go to the store to buy a friend a shirt, then buy them one in every different color just because he wasn’t sure what color they liked most. He couldn’t just waste away his earnings frivolously on others like his friends could. And he didn’t want them to stop on account of him, but he wanted to return the favor. He wanted to be able to share in the lifestyle his friends did.

 

He sighed to himself and looked down at his wristwatch, a battered and damaged object that had belonged to his father before he’d thrown it, and their family, away for a shinier life. He pursed his lips and tapped his shoe on the floor. Finally, begrudgingly, he rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fine, fine. Let me finish my outwork, and I’ll come.”

 

He turned, grabbing his apron off the table and making his way for the back. He stopped when a hand fitted itself around his wrist and held on tight, stopping him. Izuku looked down at it before looking up at its owner. He furrowed his brow at Katsuki, and Katsuki’s mouth bobbed for a second before he simply said, “...Thank you.”

 

“Um, sure.” Izuku removed himself from his grip and walked off to the kitchen, slightly confused by the grateful look, and shining kindness in Katsuki’s eye. It was odd.

 

“You’re very smooth, Bakugou,” he heard Todoroki laugh behind him, and Izuku didn’t know what he meant by that, but by the way Bakugou hissed at him to ‘shut up’, he didn’t feel like pressing the matter. It wasn’t his business.

 


 

They were in Todoroki’s room, the space far larger than Bakugou’s, though that wasn’t much of a surprise. While Bakugou liked to practice frugality with the majority of his possessions, despite his wealth, Todoroki had no issue with flaunting his money. His room was a tribute to that lifestyle, his bed made of imported cypress from South America, and sheets made entirely of hand woven, Indian silks. 

 

Izuku needed glasses to see to the other end of the room, where Todoroki’s entertainment system had been set up with the latest of every electronic known to man. The boy had drones, for heaven’s sake. What he needed them for, Izuku didn’t know, but Todoroki’s father had apparently brought them home from a job he’d had with the United States’ Pentagon, and had decided he didn’t need them as much as his youngest son.

 

The wealthy were an enigma to Izuku.

 

They sat in bean bags, the most normal thing Izuku could find in the room, and played the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mario Kart, until it was late and the moon and stars laid high in the sky.

 

Izuku had won every game since they’d started, having a natural gift with them despite the fact he could only practice when he stayed the night at Todoroki’s or Katsuki’s. So, it was almost funny to him how his friends seemed to always tie for second far, far below his high score. Izuku had motivation, though, and it kept him from losing every time.

 

Because every time he won, Katsuki would sigh, toss his controller to the ground, and ruffle Izuku’s hair, forgetting to remove his palm until he caught Todoroki staring at him suggestively. Todoroki’s family wasn’t affectionate, so Izuku assumed it to be the reason he always looked at them funny when Katsuki showed an affectionate side to his best friend.

 

Whenever it happened, Izuku’s face would blush a deep red, and he’d avert his gaze. Katsuki would then pick up his controller and demand a rematch. Every time, Izuku would accept and win again to receive more praise. 

 

He loved it.

 

And it’s what brought them to their twelfth game of the night, ending with Izuku on top and Todoroki’s crushing defeat, which Bakugou rubbed in his face. “How does it feel to be a complete failure , Todoroki?” Katsuki sneered, joking as he tossed his controller at him.

 

Todoroki dodged unamused as he yawned and leaned back in his beanbag. “Well, Bakugou, if we’re going by what my father thinks, than I prefer being a failure, thank you very much.”

 

Izuku offered him a pitying look as Katsuki winced and shook his head at him. “Ugh, dude, why d’you gotta make everyone feel so uncomfortable about that?”

 

“Kacchan, stop!” Izuku snapped, smacking him on the arm and fixing him with a reprimanding look. “Don’t talk like that!”

 

What? Deku, we’ve all got shitty parents,” Katsuki snorted, nodding at Todoroki. “You wouldn’t get it. Auntie Inko is too nice,” he explained to a chorus of Todoroki’s affirmations. Katsuki dropped his cheek on his hand and sighed. “I want Inko as my mom.”

 

“Auntie Mitsuki is a good mom, too, Kacchan! Don’t talk about your mother that way.” Katsuki looked away, shutting his eyes as if cutting off his senses would mean he didn’t have to hear those words. It confused Izuku, not understanding why his best friend would be opposed to the idea of his mom being a good person. Afterall, she made sure he went to school, provided him with the things he needed, and gave him opportunities Izuku himself would kill for. She wasn’t a bad person, but it unsettled Izuku how Katsuki reacted to the honesty. “Kacchan, are you-”

 

“Hey, kiddos, whatcha doing?” 

 

All three shifted their attention to the door on the other end of the room to find Todoroki Touya leaning against the doorframe with his bright blue eyes fixed on them. Or, fixed on Izuku, though his question was for everybody. 

 

Izuku offered him a smile in greeting and a wave to the chorus of Todoroki’s groans. He didn’t see how Bakugou’s eyes shifted between Izuku and the newcomer, or how his jaw clenched at it. “Hi, Todoroki! We’re just playing video games!”

 

Touya pushed himself off the wall and sauntered over to them, arms crossed and smirk etched so deeply across his face that Izuku was transfixed by the cool persona he radiated. When he reached them, he bent down by Izuku, nearly brushing his shoulder, and eyed the TV just long enough to jab his thumb at the first place avatar and turn to smirk at Izuku. “That you?”

 

“Um, yeah,” Izuku nodded, eyes darting around Touya’s face like he was surprised at the proximity and his interest in Izuku’s gaming skills. But with his confirmation of first place, Touya laughed and dropped a hand to tousle his tangled curls. 

 

“Doesn’t surprise me in the least,” he hummed, before his eyes whipped to Katsuki and then back to Izuku. “You guys want snacks?”

 

“We’re fine, Touya,” Todoroki snapped, his voice curt. 

 

“We’re good,” came out of Katsuki’s mouth simultaneously. 

 

But Izuku’s stomach rumbled, and Touya smirked at him affectionately, his hand dropping from Izuku’s head to rub at his shoulder. Izuku blushed red from the affection. “What about you, I-zu-ku? You don’t have to listen to them, y’know? I’ll take you to get some food.”

 

“Oh, I really don’t want to be a bother.”

 

“A bother? You’re never a bother,” Touya assured him.

 

Izuku worried his lip between his teeth, and looked to Katsuki, who had his scowl permanently fixed on the hardwood floor. He turned his head to Todoroki, who watched Izuku and his brother with a heavy, questioning look before he rolled his eyes and nodded at Izuku like he was granting permission. 

 

Izuku was grateful for it. “Um, yeah, okay.”

 

 


 

“Alright, Izuku,” Touya sang, prancing into the Todoroki kitchen with a hop in his step. “What’re you in the mood for?” He yanked open the fridge and looked around inside, pursing his lips as Izuku gravitated towards the counter, shuffling his feet awkwardly as he watched the older Todoroki brother play host. “We don’t do leftovers in this house--the jackass in charge says they’re below us--and we don’t do junk food either. So, I can offer you fresh fruit, or…” Todoroki closed the refrigerator door and bent down to take a look in the freezer. He smirked and stuck his hands inside, returning with two pints of ice cream. “Jackpot! Which do you want? Cookies n’ Cream or Coconut?”

 

Izuku bit his lip and looked at him, then scrunched his nose and eyed the pints. “...Coconut.”

 

“Then, here ya go!” Touya tossed it to him, Izuku catching it in the air, and then catching the spoon Touya tossed to him. Touya hopped up onto the counter and patted the granite beside him, beckoning for Izuku to join.

 

Hesitantly, Izuku sat his spoon and ice cream on the corner of the counter and used his hands to spring onto the counter beside Touya. Shoulders brushing, Izuku able to feel the warmth radiating off Touya’s body, he grabbed his ice cream and the two began to eat in respectable silence.

 

Izuku kicked his feet in the air, focusing on evening out the top of his pint after every scoop he shoveled into his mouth. He could almost feel Touya’s gaze on him, but definitely felt the way Touya’s arm came to rest on the countertop on the other side of Izuku when he was finished, his arm knocking into Izuku’s back.

 

He smiled down at Izuku, and trying to be a decent guest, Izuku looked up from his snack to find himself inches from Touya’s face. He was grinning wide, hooded eyes scanning every nook and cranny of Izuku’s face. “How’s the ice cream?”

 

“Um, i-it’s good.”

 

“You like coconut a lot?”

 

“Yes,” Izuku gulped, the back of his neck feeling like fire.

 

Touya’s smile twitched, and he leaned even closer. “See, I-zu-ku, I like the complicated flavors. You like the complicated ones?”

 

“Um, I guess so.”

 

“Good,” he nodded. “Glad I got to learn something about you. I’d like to get to know more if you’d let me.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow, looking up at Touya with traces of confusion etched into his expression. He had an idea of where this was going, but he didn’t want to assume. Afterall, why should he assume someone like this would want to be involved with a scholarship student like him. “Y-you would?”

 

“‘Course I would.” 

 

He closed the distance between them, his lips coming to land on Izuku’s with an underlying gentleness. Stunned, Izuku didn’t react as he tasted the sugar on his lips. Heart beating out of his chest, Izuku closed his eyes and savored it for a moment longer: his first kiss. 

 

And then he pulled away, guilt encroaching on him as he thought of his friends upstairs, of kissing his friend’s older brother, and feeling like he’d just cheated on Katsuki despite knowing there wasn’t an inkling of a possibility that they’d ever be more than best friends. Still, he wanted to hold onto his hopes… 

 

He looked up at Touya with a quiver in his lip and watched him lift an eyebrow in subtle curiosity. Izuku sighed. “I’m sorry, I can’t.”

 

“Ah, you already got a boyfriend? Or a girlfriend?”

 

“Um, no,” Izuku admitted, dropping his gaze to the floor. “But there is someone that I… Well, I’d like to hope I have a chance with them. You seem like a really great guy, though, Touya. And you’re handsome, too. If it weren’t for, um, this other person, I really would be interested.”

 

He didn’t look back up to Touya as the man sighed. He just looked at his firetruck red hightops like they were the most interesting thing in the world. 

 

Eventually, though, the silence grew too much and Touya hopped down from the counter. Izuku’s eyes only came back up when he felt a shadow pass in front of him and saw out of his periphery two hands drop to the counter on either side of him. As he raised his head, he saw the warm smile on Touya’s lips, and the way he looked at him with sincerity and understanding. He sighed. “Not gonna lie and say I don’t wish you’d give me the same chance you’re giving this other guy, but I can understand it.”

 

He leaned in and pressed a chaste kiss to Izuku’s cheek, pulling away to smile at him one last time. “But I’m not lying when I say I’m interested in you, Izuku. If things don’t work out with whoever this person is, promise me you’ll give me a chance? I’ll treat you right, you know.”

 

Izuku smirked, his nerves relaxing at the realization that Touya understood and respected his decision. Slowly, Izuku reached his hand up to brush at Touya’s cheek, and the oldest Todoroki sibling leaned into it and smiled affectionately. It made Izuku chuckle. “I know you would, Touya. If- If things don’t work out, I promise I’ll come back to you.”



Chapter Text

“Kacchan, no! ” Izuku rolled his eyes and looked down at his clipboard, trying his utmost not to smirk when strong arms wrapped around his waist moments later. Katsuki dropped his head into the crook of Izuku’s neck, and exhaled, hot breath tickling Izuku’s neck. 

 

He bent his head to the side to try and force Katsuki out of his neck, but laughed too hard. He leaned forward, and Katsuki followed, refusing to let go. It made him blush, and sputter at the thought, only to come back to his senses when Katsuki hummed against his earlobe. Izuku was grateful they were alone in an elevator, or he would have turned beet red from the PDA alone. “I can’t help it, Deku. You know how happy I am that I can fucking do this? In public with all your friends watching?” 

 

Our friends, Kacchan, and they don’t need to see us this gross,” Izuku whined, turning in his lover’s arms and dropping the clipboard to the floor. He lay his arms to rest on Katsuki’s shoulders and grinned up at loving, red eyes. For something that typically held so much unfathomable anger and pain, they looked sedate. Like they had finally earned some peace. Izuku was happy about that. “ And ,” he added. “We’ve got work to do today.”

 

Katsuki wrinkled his nose, and knocked his forehead against his. “Why the fuck do we gotta work. ‘S’not like Iida doesn’t have billions of dollars to take care of this shit for us.”

 

“Well, yes, but Ochako still wants to have as personal of a wedding as she can get,” Izuku explained. “She’s like me. She’s from the simple life.”

 

Katsuki snorted. “There’s nothing fucking simple about you, Deku.” His voice was affectionate, and Izuku was trying his best to think that was a compliment. He stopped himself, realizing that it was a compliment, and Katsuki didn’t say anything without meaning. If he had meant it to be mean, it would have been clear. 

 

Izuku breathed out, and cast his gaze down to his lover’s lips. He smirked. “Well, then, I hope you like a challenge.”

 

Katsuki leaned in, slowly, breaths mixing as they looked into each other’s eyes then down towards each other’s lips. “You know I do.”

 

And they kissed. Not like the passionate ones from the past two nights--the ones where teeth clashed and lips came away bruised and swollen. This one was soft and sweet. They simply savored the contact of plush lips against one another, the aroma of the other’s body and the meaningful caress of their hands. 

 

Izuku melted into him, and didn’t think of anything outside the elevator until he heard a ding! and the elevator door opened. Still, he didn’t pull away until he heard someone cough in the doorway, and he recoiled. Katsuki groaned at the interruption, a scowl back on his face as Izuku spun around and wiped his mouth, wide-eyed at the person in front of him.

 

“O-Ochako! Hey, um…” She looked amused. Arms crossed, foot arched up to stop the elevator door from closing on her, she pursed her lips in a smirk. Izuku gulped at it, and suddenly the room felt very, very hot. “So, uh, sorry we’re late to wedding planning. We were a bit-” Izuku squealed as he felt Katsuki wrap his arms around his waist once more. He cleared his throat. “A bit busy.”

 

“And we ain’t sorry about it, either!” Katsuki grumbled, only for Izuku to roll his eyes, tilt his head back, and glare pointedly at him.

 

Yes, we are!”

 

“Never mind that,” she said, waving off their banter. Her eyes glanced down at the floor and landed on the clipboard. They blew wide, and she jerked her gaze back up to Izuku, though she did spare a glance towards Katsuki. “ Please tell me you haven’t read that yet.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows, then shook his head. “Uh, no, not yet. The concierge dropped it off this morning, but we got-” He cleared his throat again. “Like I said, we got busy.”

 

Ochako looked back down at the clipboard, to Izuku, and bit her lip. Then, in a flurry of movement, she lurched forward and grabbed it by the edge, yanking it back and running out of the elevator. Stunned, Izuku looked up at Katsuki, who shook his head and shrugged. “She’s a weird one.”

 

Izuku grumbled, smacking him on the arm as he left his grip and headed for the lobby. “I needed that clipboard, though. It has all the incoming guests on it. Iida said he and Uraraka needed us to make sure everyone checked in okay.”

 

  “Well, I don’t know what her fucking problem is,” Katsuki sighed, reaching for Izuku’s hand and intertwining their fingers between them. “But I don’t see why you even fuckin’ need to be doing that job in the first place. All their guests are rich pricks who can just fucking buy the hotel if they can’t get a room.”

 

“I know that, but- oh, great,” Izuku groaned, stopping dead center of the lobby as tourists milled about, arguing with their tour groups and heading in from a night of rough drinking. It was early morning, so it made sense that people were still taking their walks of shame. 

 

Two people who seemed to be taking no shame in it, however, were the monsters of their past nightmares, Himiko and Touya stumbled out of the adjoining bar, mimosas in hand. They laughed, sang ‘ What a Wonderful World’, and stopped when they saw their exes standing before them.

 

Himiko squinted like she couldn’t see clearly, her lips pressing into a thin line as she eyed them intently. Her stance grew rigid and from his spot five feet away, Izuku could hear the breath flaring from her nostrils. Inwardly, he smirked. She seemed to realize her attempt at ruining them had failed, and Izuku reveled in her malice. 

 

Touya’s reaction was on the opposite side of the spectrum, though. He didn’t see the way Katsuki and Izuku’s hands were interlocked between them, or the way they brushed shoulders like they couldn’t get enough contact. No, Touya saw them and he gasped, splaying his arms wide as he left Himiko alone and clambered over to Izuku, wrapping his arm around his shoulder. He earned an animalistic scowl from Katsuki, but it didn’t stop him from leaning low to whisper in Izuku’s ear. His breath reeked of alcohol, and Izuku coughed when he inhaled it. “When did you start drinking today? You’re wasted!”

 

Touya barked out a laugh, and leaned in to smell Izuku’s hair. Himiko and Katsuki both bristled, but Izuku refused to acknowledge the similarity. He wanted no similarities between them. “Hah, I-zu-ku, you stupid boy,” he laughed. Izuku could feel Katsuki’s hand squeeze his. “ I never stopped!”

 

“Back off,” Katsuki growled, and Touya furrowed his brows. Stepping back, he puffed out his chest and pouted his lip at Katsuki, mocking him with a fake expression of fear. 

 

“Oh, and what’re you gonna do about it, big shot? ‘S’not like you got nothin’ more than a ‘best friend’ pass, bucko!” He leaned back down and laughed into Izuku’s face, his stale breath making Izuku recoil. “Hey, I-zu-ku! Ya ran away ‘fore I got to ask you last time! You wanna have a threesome with-”

 

“-Touya!” Izuku snapped the name, his voice the harshest it had ever been when addressing his ex-lover. That alone was enough to make him falter, to make him bob his lips with no words to utter, and stare at him like he’d grown a second head.

 

“Izu-”

 

“Touya, I-” Izuku inhaled a breath and squared his shoulders. “I understand that regardless of you not caring about me, you still want me around to get your rocks off when it suits you, but- um, but I’m not doing that anymore, okay? I- I’m in a relationship now, and I’m going to be loyal to it.”

 

Touya’s laugh was incredulous. When Izuku mentioned a relationship, Touya’s eyes blew wide, and Izuku could see Himiko’s scowl deepen in the background. She fixed her murderous glare on Katsuki, and his hand tightened around Izuku’s. Realizing the effect she had on him, Izuku looked up and smiled at Katsuki, nudging his arm with his shoulder. “Hey, you. You wanna go find Iida and Ochako now?”

 

Katsuki clenched his jaw and  looked down at Izuku, eyebrows upturned in a worried manner. “Together, right?”

 

Izuku laughed lightly, like that much was obvious. He swung their hands between them. “Of course, together.” He undid their hands so that they could turn around, and as they did, Izuku heard Touya begin to sputter.

 

“W-wait! You guys- you’re together now?”

 

Something possessive and powerful sparked inside Katsuki, and as they walked off, he looked over his shoulder. Izuku felt his warm hand come down to smack his ass and squeeze it once, semi-hard. His neck tinged red, as did his ears and cheeks, only to grow darker at Katsuki’s words. “Yeah, fuckwad! This ass is mine, so go bury your dick in something else!”

 

Izuku scurried off, Katsuki right beside him. He dropped his hand from Izuku’s ass and interlaced their fingers once more. It took a second, but as Izuku focused on the sound of their footsteps on the marble below, Katsuki broke their silence. “So, uh, I- I’m sorry if that, um- if I made you uncomfortable?”

 

“Uncomfortable?” Izuku squeaked.

 

“I just- I wanted them to leave you alone, and I thought if I made it clear you were with someone else, then they might- well, I thought-”

 

Izuku turned to face him, but bowed his head to look at Katsuki’s shoes. “I-It’s alright, Kacchan. I’m grateful you were trying to make it easy on me.”

 

“But?”

 

“But nothing.”

 

“Deku.” A strong hand squeezed Izuku’s shoulder lightly, and Izuku looked up into cherry red eyes with quiet apprehension. “We said we’d be honest with each other. We’re- we’re not going to get better if we aren’t honest with our feelings. I’m not gonna be mad at you.”

 

Izuku pursed his lips, clenched and unclenched his jaw, then sighed. He felt agitated, like being truthful about his peeves was far too drastic a move. “I, well, it’s just that I’d prefer if we, um, don’t- don’t refer to each other as a piece of ass… Or act like we- um, like we’re each other’s p- property…” Izuku squeezed his hand and smiled softly. “I love you. I just want us to talk about each other like we’re partners, not possessions.”

 

Katsuki visibly gulped, and casted his gaze to the ground. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to talk about you like-”

 

“-no, it’s okay! I’m grateful for what you were doing! I just think that in the future, we can be more, um, respectful of the other! Like, yknow, be the partners we didn’t have the first time around.”

 

“Of course.” Katsuki smiled warmly and leaned in. “I love you, Deku. I just wanna make you happy.”

 

“I know.” Izuku closed the distance, leaving a chaste kiss on his lips and savoring the warmth of the contact, and the soft texture. He swooned at the kiss, and lagged in breaking away.

 

It was the sound of heavy, echoing footfalls that finally pulled them apart. They followed the sound to the left, and looked curiously at the sight of Iida and Uraraka running towards them with their arms swinging and their feet slamming against the tile. “Ocha?”

 

They stopped abruptly, and Izuku furrowed his brows at Iida’s disheveled state, his shirt untucked and his hair askew. The skin was peeling off Uraraka’s lip as she aggravated it, and Katsuki looked down at Izuku for an explanation. He looked back at Uraraka and Iida when all Izuku could do was shrug for not knowing.

 

Gasping for breath, hands on her knees, Uraraka addressed them. “We, ugh- we have- news!”

 

“Listen, men,” Iida started, squeezing them both on the shoulder as he addressed them. His eyes looked worried, frantic, but he hardly seemed tired by his run. He’d always had good endurance; Izuku wondered how Uraraka kept up. “There has been an unfortunate incident that we have to inform you about-”

 

“-before it’s too late!” Uraraka finished.

 

“Before what is too late?”

 

Iida clapped his hands together and folded his fingers, keeping the indexes extended to point towards the couple. “I am exceedingly grateful that you did not read the final guest list before we got to talk to you! You see, my mother asked for access to the Excel sheet we created with a list of guests and their relationship to us, the Bride and Groom. Well, you see, we did not realize what the reaction would be if she were to see Bakugou’s name on the list,” he admitted. “And when she saw it, she inquired as to how we’d found you, and why you would be at our wedding!”

 

Bakugou clenched his jaw and gritted out his next question. His voice was steady, like he was trying to control his anger. “And what happened?”

 

Iida gulped, his eyes shifting between Katsuki, Izuku, and Uraraka. “Well, you know how these socialites are! She, well- she-”

 

“Spit it out, Four-Eyes!”

 

She invited your parents!” he blurted, hardly leaving a breath between words. Suddenly, Katsuki’s grip on Izuku’s hand grew too strong, and Izuku looked up to see pure terror and fury radiating from his boyfriend’s expression.

 

“We told her not to,” Uraraka said, finally having her voice back. “And she had agreed, but this morning she called us from the Private Jet and said she was excited to bring her special guests! Naturally, we were worried, so we wanted to take a second look at the guest list we had sent to your room.”

 

“You- you-” Katsuki stuttered, his breath growing shallow. Izuku was worried. Extremely worried. The look on Katsuki’s face was that of a scared child, and regardless of whether he wanted to see Auntie and Uncle Bakugou or not, Katsuki’s reaction made him want to keep it from happening. He didn’t want to see that terrified look on Katsuki’s face. Not ever.

 

“When do they get here?” Izuku asked them, stepping closer while maintaining his hold on Katsuki. He didn’t want to leave him now, not when he seemed to be retreating into his own head. 

 

Iida looked to Uraraka, then down at his watch and sighed. “They were supposed to get here at eight. It’s eight-thirty.”

 

“So, any minute?”

 

Iida nodded. Izuku turned around and released Katsuki’s hand, reaching his palms up to cup Katsuki’s cheeks and force him to look down into his warm eyes. “Kacchan, look at me,” he said, and was answered with a pouting, pitiful look. “Kacchan, it’s fine. You’re fine, and you’re healthier now.”

 

“They’re going to ridicule me. They always fucking do.”

 

“They’re not,” Izuku promised. “I’m not going to let them. You stick with me, and I promise they’re not getting away with saying anything to make you feel ashamed of your past. You’re strong, you’re resilient, and you can do this!”

 

“Do what?” 

 

The voice was new, high-pitched and confident. Izuku couldn’t see behind him, but from the way Katsuki’s eyes grew wide with worry at the sight of them, he knew who they were. He sighed, dropped his head, and turned around to come face to face with a woman he hadn’t seen in years. 

 

She looked as young as ever--and without a single hint of surgery to maintain her youthful complexion. Blonde hair spiked up in a chic, fashion-forward pixie, and body fitted in nothing less than first-rate designer clothes, Bakugou Mitsuki smiled at them like she were a spider and they were the gnats caught in her web. She was accompanied by the short, dark-haired woman wearing Gucci from head to toe, pinching at Iida’s cheek like he was still her little boy. Izuku thought it was weird that a woman as nice as Mrs. Iida would do something like this on purpose. There was no way she was privy to the drama unfurling around them, or else she wouldn’t have invited the woman.

 

“Ah, Izuku,” Katsuki’s mother grinned, extending her arms and snapping forward to capture him in a light embrace. “It’s been so long, and you look so nice! How’s work been?” she asked, stepping back to rest her hands on her hips and look him up and down. “You look so well dressed! Really been upping your game, haven’t you?”

 

“Um, yeah, Mrs. Bakugou,” he smiled, trying to look past the tension. “It’s great to see you again. And work is great; the Iidas take care of me.”

 

She clapped him on the back. “Good! They should! How’s your mother doing?”

 

“Better now.” It was getting easier to talk to her. Regardless of the tension in her and Katsuki’s past, it didn’t change the fact that she was a decent woman. She genuinely did care about his life, and that meant she couldn’t be as bad as Katsuki made her out to be. He was sure that if they talked it out, the two could mend their issues. “She’s had more time to herself now that I’m not taking up her time! She’s going back to school part time to be a nurse practitioner.”

 

“Oh, dear! Don’t talk like you were a burden on her,” she laughed, shaking her head and squeezing his hand. “You’re her son! She loved every minute she got to take care of you!”

 

Katsuki snorted behind them, loud and cruel. Silence grew over the crowd, and her eyes snapped up to him. Her lips pressed into a thin line, and she dropped Izuku’s hand. She straightened her back and addressed him. “Katsuki.”

 

“Mitsuki.”

 

Izuku watched her eye twitch. “How’ve you been, son? Are you still working at the strip club?”

 

“And if I am?”

 

The woman shrugged. “Just think you could do something better. You have so much potential.”

 

Katsuki snapped his mouth open to respond, but was cut off by a newcomer. “Honey, I have us checked in. We should get cleaned up before-” Izuku’s eyes caught Bakugou Masaru the same moment his eyes caught Katsuki. Izuku watched as he melted, as his eyes grew softer behind the thick frame of his glasses. “Katsuki,” he said with complete admiration. He stepped forward and threw his arms around his son, squeezing him tight as Katsuki’s body grew rigid. His eyes caught Izuku over his father’s shoulder, and Izuku gave him a reassuring nod. 

 

When Masaru pulled away, he held Katsuki at arm’s length and looked him over, grinning. “You look so much better than last time.”

 

“Yeah, I’m- I’m three years clean.”

 

Masaru sniffled. “I’m so glad to hear it.”

 

“Listen,” Mitsuki cut in, her gaze shifting between all three boys. “Masaru and I would like to invite you both to dinner tonight. It’ll be a good chance to figure out what you boys’ve been up to these past couple years. Lord knows we deserve to be informed on it.”

 

The last part was meant for Katsuki, Izuku thought. It was the first time she’d said something that could be misconstrued as critical since getting there, but Izuku doubted she meant it. She was just blunt like her son. He nodded at her with a gracious smile. “Thank you, Auntie. Kacchan, maybe we should-”

 

-eat shit and die, old hag! ” He spat his words with venom, his fists shaking at his sides as his body shook and his face turned purple. Izuku sputtered, eyes shifting between Katsuki and his mother as his lover stomped his foot on the ground and used his heel to spin around and stomp back off towards the elevators. 

 

Izuku stood there, shocked.

 

If the Bakugous were there for reconciliation, Katsuki wasn’t going to make it easy on them. In fact, Izuku was sure Katsuki would burn Honolulu to the ground before he rekindled their relationship.

 

The Bakugous were on a ship headed for hell, and Izuku was being tugged along behind them on a makeshift raft. 

 

They were all going to drown.



Chapter Text

Dear Freckles: I am writing you this letter on stationary that costs more than my monthly rent, because I must inform you that I am taking your job.

You are, and shall ever be, Uraraka’s Man of Honor, but I have decided that you and Cherry should enjoy your first trip as a couple, and so I will be taking over the ‘work’ part of the trip for you!

No need to thank me; I already know I’m awesome.

Love, Pinky.

 

“Well,” Izuku sighed, dropping the letter onto the counter. “That is the least subtle thing I’ve seen all day.” His eyes trailed to Katsuki, who was flicking through the channels on the TV with his lips set into a deep pout. He didn’t respond to Izuku, and that didn’t make Izuku any happier. 

 

Katsuki was thinking much too hard about his surprise encounter with his parents, and, frankly, Izuku didn’t understand it as well as he wanted to. He knew that the circumstances of Katsuki running away revolved around his parents’ vision for his life--which sucked--and that his parents had some opinions on the years of Katsuki’s life spent in drug-induced euphoria. Izuku knew there was a lot to unpack, and that both parties might be hesitant of the other, but he really didn’t believe the Bakugous had any ill intentions.

 

He wanted to voice that thought to Katsuki, but he knew how deeply this was upsetting him. His response to the dinner invite was… extreme, to say the least. It meant that Katsuki was adamant about not going, but it didn’t explain why? And Izuku had learned his lesson about butting his nose in where it didn’t belong, but he was also in a relationship with Katsuki now. They needed to talk, to be honest and open with each other.

 

And, sooner or later, the Bakugous needed to know about his and Katsuki’s new status as a couple.

 

But Katsuki’s face was set in the firmest of scowls. His shoulders were tensed. His eyes looked as dark and cloudy as a summer storm. He was caught up in his own head, and letting him wallow in it wasn’t going to help.

 

Izuku pursed his lips, drummed his fingers on the counter, and watched his boyfriend--the term still made his chest flutter--look at the TV, but not really watch anything. He sighed, chewed the flesh of his lower lip between his teeth, and thought extremely hard on whether his next call was a good approach or not.

 

Touya had loved coming home from a stressful day to this particular greeting--and it had definitely made him unwind--but Izuku knew he shouldn’t be comparing him to Katsuki in the slightest. Still, if it would take Katsuki’s mind off the issue for a short time, then it had to be worth it. Right?

 

Izuku left the letter on the kitchen counter and rounded the pillar separating him from the living room. His bare feet padded on the tile, and his fingers wiggled against the hem of his shirt as he gulped down his nerves and moved to stand directly between Katsuki and the TV. Hands on his hips, he looked down critically to meet heavy, red eyes.

 

 Katsuki’s brow quirked upwards, and Izuku responded by sinking to his knees and situating himself between Katsuki’s legs. That was what caught Katsuki, what spurred him from his heavy thoughts as he scooted back on the couch and opened his mouth to protest.

 

Izuku’s hands landed firmly on his thighs and squeezed them still, pushing himself up to peck a quick kiss on Katsuki’s lips. It didn’t end up being quick, savoring the taste of salt on Katsuki lips and the way they moved seamlessly against his own. When he pulled away, he mourned it.

 

Still, he smiled mischievously at the longing in Katsuki’s eyes and the slack muscles of his jaw. He pecked once more at unmoving lips and whispered against his flesh, “Don’t overthink it.”

 

Katsuki gulped as Izuku descended, noticing the tent that had already formed in the crotch of Katsuki’s khakis. Izuku smirked, rubbing his warm hands along the tops of Katsuki’s bare thighs as he leaned forward and nuzzled his nose against his clothed erection. Izuku panted at it, his hot, damp mouthing creating condensation around the member as Katsuki produced such beautiful, keening noises. His thighs clenched, Katsuki trying so hard to buck up and create more friction between Izuku and himself. Izuku wouldn’t have it.

 

He pulled away, savoring Katsuki’s whines as he lifted his hands to unclasp the button and zipper, to drag the pants down to Katsuki’s knees and marvel at the rise in his dark boxers and the darker patch where precum soaked through.

 

He clasped his hand around it, squeezing him through the fabric. He pressed his lips to the head, sucked up the beads of precum pooling through the threads, and sighed hot and heavy on the tip. “Already so wet, Kacchan,” he hummed, stroking him once. Twice. Hearing the mewls and thinking them to be heaven in his ears. “I know you love me, but I didn’t know it was this much.”

 

“Fuck, Deku,” Katsuki hissed, knocking his head back against the sofa as he bucked his hips. 

 

“Uh-uh, Kacchan.” Izuku pressed his free hand to the base of Katsuki’s stomach and pushed him back against the couch. “My blowjob, my rules. Sit back.”

 

Katsuki sucked in a breath and did as told, sending a wave of something through Izuku akin to a mixture of power and arousal. Never, never, had he been given control in the bedroom. Now that he had it, he thought he could get drunk on it. Thought he could cum just by giving orders.

 

He looked back down at him getting larger and larger as time passed. Izuku sucked in a breath, felt it twitch beneath the fabric of Katsuki’s boxers. He leaned forward, sucked the beading precum from the head once more, and dropped his lips to envelope half his shaft and lap his tongue around the fabric.

 

He heard Katsuki whine, desperate for more. He popped off and rubbed his cheek against the tent, feeling his own cock grow as he looked up at Katsuki’s burning red face with a degree of smugness. “D’you like it, Kacchan?”

 

“Fuck, yes!”

 

“D’ya want more?”

 

He bit his lip and shook his head, looking up to the ceiling. “Yes.”

 

“Beg me for it.”

 

Katsuki hesitated, gulping in a heavy breath of air and turning a deeper, darker shade of red. If the pulsing of his member was anything similar to the pulsing of his heart, Katsuki was on the verge of bursting from the adrenaline of it all.

 

He watched as Katsuki’s eyes came down to lock on his, and gulped as Katsuki parted bite-swollen lips to speak. “P-please blow me.”

 

“Why?”

 

Katsuki blinked. “Huh?”

 

“Give me a reason to blow you, Kacchan.” Izuku grinned, pressing light kisses to Katsuki’s shaft. “I think you can give me that.”

 

“Fuuuuck, Deku,” he hissed, leaning forward to grab Izuku’s face between his fingers and smoosh at his cheeks. “Please, Deku, blow me ‘cause I wanna cum with your pretty mouth wrapped around my cock. Please.”

 

Katsuki’s cock twitched simultaneously with Izuku’s, and Izuku smirked up at his lover with satisfaction. “Lay back, Kacchan. Let me do my work.”

 

Katsuki fell back against the back of the sofa and Izuku fiddled withthe hem of his boxers, slowly grazing his fingers across the sensitive flesh as he dragged down the cotton fabric, letting it catch on Katsuki’s dick for a second before removing them entirely.

 

Underwear gone, Katsuki stood at attention, a subtle curve toward his stomach and veins bulging with hot blood. He was panting, desperate for Izuku’s mouth to suck him dry, and Izuku knew it. 

 

He glanced up at Katsuki once before sinking down to rub his tongue against a leaking slit, savoring the groans as he pressed hard against it, then dragged his tongue down the underside of the shaft to bury and lap against his scrotum licking up every sensitive part Katsuki owned. “Sh iiittt,” Katsuki whined and Izuku mouthed at the base of his shaft, and inhaled the heavy smell of his soaked member and manly scent. 

 

He keened, traveled back up to wrap his lips tight around the head and bob down to slam Katsuki against the back wall of his mouth, to feel it hit the back of his throat and make his throat contract. He hacked, gagged, and shivered at the subtle pain. His cock twitched in his pants, and he clenched his thighs and rocked his hips to edge himself along.

 

A strong hand came up to tangle in his hair, and then another, and suddenly they were holding his head like reins, guiding him along like a horse to pasture. Katsuki bucked up, precum slicking his throat, his tongue coated in Katsuki’s hot flesh. He was so close, so fucking close to ejaculating without so much as a measly touch, completely urged on by Katsuki’s pretty cries of bliss as he pounded into Izuku’s mouth with force. “C-cumming,” Katsuki groaned, pulling at Izuku’s hair to get him up before thick ropes of white coated his mouth. 

 

Izuku wrapped his arms around Katsuki’s thighs quickly, diving down to bury his nose in the forest of blonde hair and sucked, cumming hard as Katsuki’s hot load poured down his throat to settle in his stomach. He lapped at the flesh as Katsuki grew flaccid, sucking up every drop of cum until Katsuki was clean and Izuku was sitting uncomfortably in his own soaked underwear.

 

He let go with a pop!, dropped his head to rest on the top of Katsuki’s thigh, and brushed his fingers lightly against the base of Katsuki’s abdomen. He opened his mouth wide, sticking out his tongue to show Katsuki above. “All gone,” he gloated, rubbing his cheek against Katsuki’s leg.

 

He looked up at foggy red eyes and parted swollen lips, admiring the look of ecstasy washing over his lover. He shifted uncomfortably in his own pants, but didn’t break contact as Katsuki glanced down Izuku’s body.

 

“Did you just cum from sucking me off?”

 

“...Maybe.” Izuku didn’t blush, and he wasn’t embarrassed. The experience left him feeling hot, horny, and more in control than he’d ever been before. He’d never ordered someone around like that in bed, never taken the dominant role in anything.

 

He loved it.

 

He absolutely thrived on it. If that had put Katsuki off, he was sorry, but he was pretty certain he’d found something in himself that he was set on exploring. He wanted more. 

 

Warm, calloused hands wrapped around his jaw, finger burying in the hair behind his ears. Katsuki guided him up as he leaned forward, and met Izuku in a heated kiss, swiping his tongue along Izuku’s lips, the inside of his mouth, tasting the remains of his own salted cum on Izuku’s tongue, and moaning at it. He knocked their teeth together, pressed his nose firmly against Izuku’s as he lost himself in the kiss, and only pulled away when it became too hard to breathe. “You are so hot.”

 

Izuku blushed red at the compliment, smiling up at him as he wrapped his arms around his shoulders. “D’ya like me taking control like that.”

 

“God, yes. Push me around all you want if it’s gonna be like that.”

 

Izuku laughed, pecking him on the cheek. “Then,” he moaned, dropping one hand from Katsuki’s shoulder to pump loosely at his flaccid cock. “Take me to the beach, Kacchan. I wanna see you with tanlines.”

 


 

“Never have I seen a place that sells more coconut ice cream than I have in Hawai’i.” Katsuki whistles, offering Izuku the pop as he sits back down on his towel and looks out at the rolling tide.

 

Waikiki is busy during the day, and the summer makes it that much more popular. Izuku’s been in high spirits ever since their fun up in their room, and staring at the people walking by is just as much, if not more fun. People-watching in Tokyo is only great if you go someplace worth watching, like Harajuku or Akihabara. You never saw as many characters as you did here, though: people with lobster red skin, or bathing suits that rode too far up their asses, children covered in melted ice cream, and teenagers flirting hopelessly with whatever attractive lifeguard just so happened to be on shift.

 

It was… interesting, to say the least.

 

Izuku felt Katsuki’s hand come to lay atop his, and smiled softly, fondly, at the touch. It was the casual forms of intimacy that made him swoon, like handholds and waking up with Katsuki’s arms wrapped around him, tangled legs on the couch as they watched shitty movies and tried not to fall asleep. He loved it.

 

He craved it.

 

And Katsuki was satisfying those cravings and then some. Sighing contentedly, he took a lick of his popsicle and turned to Katsuki. “I’m glad Ashido is taking over. I know it sounds wrong, me being the Man of Honor and all, but I’m glad I don’t have to worry about it now.”

 

Katsuki grunted, nodding as he looked out to the ocean. Izuku turned back to his popsicle and didn’t think twice about what he’d said until Katsuki sighed and squeezed his hand. “She offered because of me, you know.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow and looked back at him. He was tense now, like the conversation was taking a toll on him. “I,” he started, stopped, and took a deep breath. “She knows how I get about my parents. I think she thinks giving us time together would keep me from, well, going off the fucking walls.”

 

Izuku nodded. He didn’t offer his own thoughts on the subject--he didn’t want to risk saying anything wrong--he simply asked for elaboration. “And?”

 

“And it does. Being with you, I mean.” He turned from the ocean to Izuku, and looked miserably at him. “But I- I don’t know what to do now. My parents, they- I mean, they- Deku, I can’t talk to them.”

 

“Why?”

 

“They’re so disappointed in me,” he sighed. “And some of it is their own fault, yknow? They used me as a tool for business! They wanted me to marry a girl I hardly knew to make their brand grow! I’m- I’m still so furious at them! I hate them for doing that! For making me think my only choice was to run.”

 

Izuku pursed his lips and nodded, pondering Katsuki’s words. “You’re right,” he said. Because of course he was right. Any way Izuku looked at it, the Bakugous had put Katsuki in a position where he had no choice but to accept their offer, or find his own way in the world. 

 

And it had had disastrous consequences. 

 

“And I know some of it is my fault,” Katsuki grunted, turning his eyes to the sand, glaring at it. “I got hooked on too many drugs. I married a girl who milked me for their money. I know I did some fucked up shit, and now I’m a stripper--which I don’t mind, Deku! I- I like my friends, no matter how stupid they are--and my parents are going to ridicule me for it all. I will never live it down, and it’ll fuck with my sobriety. Every time I see them, or think of them, all I want to do is drink. 

 

“It’s so hard,” he sighed, voice shaking. Izuku’s popsicle had dripped onto his hand, completely forgotten. He’d think about the consequences of throwing it in the sand later, but for now he tossed it and grabbed Katsuki’s other hand to look at him affectionately in the eyes. 

 

“Kacchan, I know its hard,” Izuku sighed, gaze flickering across his face, watching the tension in his muscles. “And it was wrong of them to put you in that kind of position. No child should have to choose between their parents’ wishes and their own happiness. They were wrong, and what happened to you is a product of their mistakes, but you can’t assume that talking to them will only cause issues.”

 

“Deku, it-”

 

“-Did you see how your father looked at you in the lobby?” Izuku only paused long enough for Katsuki to shake his head. “He was so ecstatic to see you! He was so happy to see you sober! He loves you, and you have to see that.”

 

“But my mom…”

 

Izuku sucked in a breath and smiled at Katsuki, at the way he pouted his lips and looked deeply into Izuku’s eyes. “Your mom is a strong minded person, and so are you. But I don’t think she means harm, Kacchan. I just don’t think she knows how to talk to you. And- And I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but I really think we should go to dinner with them,” he said, quickly continuing as not to give Katsuki the chance to argue before he could make his point. “I know you’re worried, but ruminating on it won’t help. If they’re really here to cause issues, then we need to find that out instead of just assuming it. 

 

“Plus, Kacchan,” Izuku sighed, knocking his forehead against his. “Since they’re here, we should tell them about us. It’s- It’s only right.”

 

“Deku, no. No, they’ll make an issue-”

 

“-What’s gonna happen if they make an issue of it? Huh? Are they going to cut you off? They already have, Kacchan. Are they going to try and scare me away from you? Newsflash, they couldn’t tear you away from me if they threatened both of our lives. 

 

“Kacchan, you’re not going to lose anything by going to dinner,” he said. “And I’ll be with you. I won’t let them get away with saying anything that hurts you, or your sobriety. You and me? We’re a team, and we’ll do this together.”

 

“You- you promise?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Fuckin’ pinky promise?” 

 

Izuku laughed, pulling away to grab Katsuki’s pinky and squeeze it tight. Closing his eyes, he leaned forward and pecked his cheek. “Pinky promise.”

 

Katsuki’s hands wrapped around Izuku’s back and pulled him on top of him. When Izuku pried his eyes open in surprise, he found himself looking down into an expression of undying love. “Okay,” he whispered, voice tickling Izuku’s face. “We’ll go to dinner.”



Chapter Text

They’d settled on Tuesday night for dinner, and when that day rolled around, Izuku found it incredibly hard to get Katsuki out of bed. It had started at eleven, when he’d gently kissed Katsuki awake, followed by slowly palming him to a climax just before Katsuki went back to sleep. He eventually got him up and out of bed by twelve-thirty, only for Katsuki to shower, order room service, and return to the sheets from whence he came.

 

And now, at four-thirty, Izuku was standing in the bedroom doorway with his hands on his hips and his bare feet tapping on the tile. He had his lips pursed and a scowl set. While he meant for the fixed expression to be due to Katsuki’s sheer lack of motivation to get out of bed, his scowl quickly turned into frustration from not being able to look away from the rippling of Katsuki’s back muscles.

 

He was sculpted like an Adonis, his chiseled abs, arms as thick as Izuku’s head, and back and ass consisting of nothing but tight sinew and honed muscles. He was mesmerizing, and Izuku couldn’t stop himself from wondering just how much Katsuki made at the Plus Ultra club with a body like that, and a demeanor that made it clear he knew what he was worth. Izuku knew that cocky attitude was all an act, but for the girls who came to see him at the club…

 

He shook his head, and blew a puff of air, stirring himself from his musings. He tch! ed and ran for the bed, springing up and landing with a bounce. Katsuki grunted at the sudden jerking of the bed, but he didn’t move at that or Izuku climbing completely on top of him to wrap his arms around his neck. Izuku buried his chin in the crook of his neck and whispered into his ear. “Kachannnnn!”

 

“Wha?” He groaned into his pillow, and Izuku snorted. 

 

“You gotta get up. Dinner is in two hours.”

 

Katsuki whined and adjusted his hold on his pillow, snuggling deeper into it. “Don’t wanna.”

 

“Kacchan, you promised.”

 

He groaned once more, and Izuku was suddenly thrown off his back, his own hitting the soft, satin sheets as Katsuki’s larger form climbed up onto its knees and Izuku caught a brief glimpse of his naked body before Katsuki was falling down, trapping Izuku beneath him. “Can’t we just lie here together?”

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku mumbled, his voice muffled by the warm shoulder pressed against his mouth. “As much as I’d love that, we have a prior arrangement.”

 

As he said it, he felt a coarse hand glide down the side of his bare torso. Katsuki lifted his hips to let the hand trail between their bodies and cup at Izuku beneath his boxers. “I can arrange sumthin’ else,” he said, growling it low and gravelly into his ear.

 

Izuku shivered and moaned into Katsuki’s shoulder, which the latter laughed at teasingly. But when Katsuki arched his head up and pressed a firm kiss to the side of Izuku’s head, he found his resolve and tried to buck Katsuki off his body. “Mmm, Kacchan, no. No- stop!”

 

Katsuki did. As if a switch had been flipped, he snapped off of Izuku’s body and displayed to him wide eyes and a hesitant frown. “I’m- I’m sorry! Fuck, Deku, I- I didn’t mean-”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows at him like he was spouting nothing but nonsense. Then he froze, and dawning realization flashed across his face while Katsuki looked around the room like he’d fucked up and he needed to run and hide.

 

Izuku scrambled up onto his knees and started to coo, reaching forward to press his palms gently against Katsuki’s jaw and brush his cheeks with soft thumbs. Katsuki jerked when he first felt it, but Izuku didn’t withdraw. “Shhhhh! Shhh, shhh, shhh, Kacchan,” he whispered. 

 

“I- I wouldn’t hurt you, Deku. I- I’m-”

 

“-Katsuki, I know,” he hummed, turning Katsuki’s head so that he had to look him in the eyes. “I know you wouldn’t do anything to me.”

 

“I just- I wasn’t trying to take advantage of you, y’know? I just- I thought we were havin’ fun, and-”

 

“-Kacchan, it’s alright.” He leaned forward and dropped his hands to Katsuki shoulders, wrapping his arms tightly around them and pulling him back down onto the bed. Katsuki tucked his head into Izuku’s chest, and the two laid in comfortable silence as Izuku carded his fingers through his lover’s hair and promised him that everything was fine. 

 

It took fifteen minutes before Katsuki moved. “God, that was so fucking weak, ” he sighed, his lips brushing against Izuku’s pectoral. It tickled, and he wanted to laugh, but his curiosity took most of his focus. 

 

“What was weak?”

 

Panicking like that,” he said. “I just- I got so fucking scared that I’d pushed a limit. I’ve been trying hard to remember I’m not the person I was told I was, but I- it’s hard. It’s real fucking hard, and it’s harder when the person you’re with is the only person you’re scared of screwing it up with.”

 

Izuku bit his lip. “The only person, huh?”

 

Katsuki’s breath hit his chest quickly and heavily; it felt how a laugh sounds. “I just want you to trust me with you. I don’t want you to ever think I’d lay a hand on you, or put you in a position you didn’t want to be in.”

 

“I don’t think you’d do that.”

 

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “I know that. And you know that. But there’s a part of me that’s still stuck in the past, and year by year it gets better, but I’m just- it’s acting up recently. The fear that I’m really a monster masquerading as a person crawls back up into my mind and I worry that- that what she said was true, and that I’ll hurt you, too.”

 

It struck Izuku then that Katsuki was right. His anxiety had spiked in the past two days. While he knew that the way his anxiety manifested was thanks to Himiko, he felt Katsuki wasn’t being entirely open about the actual source. Because the only thing to happen in the past two days that was paramount enough to cause a visible impact was his parents’ arrival. And as Izuku realized that, he pursed his lips and thought hard on how to breach the subject.

 

“Hey, Kacchan?”

 

“Hmm.”

 

“I want to ask you a question, but you can choose not to answer if you want, okay?” He gave Katsuki a quick squeeze to drive home the fact that he was safe.

 

“Yeah, okay.”

 

“Kacchan, does this have something to do with your parents?”

 

“Huh?” 

 

“It’s just, I know you’re afraid of hurting me--which I know you aren’t capable of--but the fact that that fear has spiked since your parents came to Hawaii makes me worry. I think they’re the ones really making you anxious. Is that right?”

 

It took a good minute, but Katsuki sighed and rubbed his head against Izuku’s chest. “I don’t want them getting the idea that I’ve hurt you, or that I would hurt you.”

 

“Why would they think that?”

 

“Because Toga got my dad’s number from my phone once and sent them a picture of her broken arm she got in a fight with her drug dealer. She said it was me, and they sent her money for medical bills. She spent it on Gucci stilettos.” 

 

“Oh.”

 

“I think dad thinks I did it just because I was on drugs, but I think my mom just fuckin’ thinks I’m like that. It wouldn’t be surprising coming from her side of the family, but I dunno,” he groaned. “It just fuckin’ hurts that even though my dad has come up with an excuse for it, he still thinks I’m actually capable of it. So, I guess I just- I’m on my best behavior. I don’t want to fuck this up for us.”

 

Izuku bit his lip and rested his chin in Katsuki’s hair as his eyes drifted to the wall. “Kacchan, I want you to know that I know who you are, and eight years of separation isn’t enough to change that person. You wouldn’t hurt me, and your parents won’t change my stance on that. We have to go to dinner, but if it gets to be too much, we’ll leave. No complaints. No questions asked.”

 

Katsuki shuffled, arching his neck so that he could look up at Izuku’s bright eyes with his own curious, hesitant ones. It was unnatural to see Katsuki scared, so unsure of himself. Though he’d seen it more on this trip than ever before, it still wasn’t registering. It was still a complete surprise most of the time, and Izuku had to constantly stop himself from overthinking it, or else trap himself in constant anxiety.

 

Izuku thought he himself probably got like this a bit, at least when things revolving around his past occurred. Izuku couldn’t blame him, certain ticks being just as upsetting for him as they were for his lover. Izuku thought this might be a norm--he and Katsuki reminding each other that they’re better than the people they were forced to be, or told to be--and Izuku would suffer through it if it meant he and Katsuki would come out stronger, more comfortable with themselves.

 

“You sure, Deku?”

 

His lip twitched upward in a smile, and Izuku leaned forward to press a firm kiss on his forehead. “Obviously.”

 


 

“Shit, Deku, why’d you make us get ready so fast if we were just going up a couple floors?” Katsuki asked, swinging Izuku’s hand between them. They stepped out of the elevator and wandered down the hall towards the sound of light piano music and idle chatter.

 

“Because I wanted us to be ready,” Deku huffed. They turned a corner and found themselves immediately before a dark wood host stand, where a man with dark hair and a stiff stance greeted the two with a short bow.

 

Izuku had petitioned the Bakugous for dinner at the bistro atop the Ritz Carlton Residence. He had said it was because he had heard they had an excellent take on westernized sushi that he wanted to try, but the truth behind his request was simply that it’d be easier to escape if things went south. Afterall, he knew how important Katsuki’s mental health was to both of them, and he wasn’t going to jeopardize it if he could.

 

“Good evening, gentlemen,” the man said. “Do you have a reservation?”

 

“Bakugou, please.”

 

He looked down at his stand, his long index finger skimming the page before his eyes widened and his lips parted as if to say, ‘ Ah!’. “Right this way, gentlemen. The rest of your party has already arrived.”

 

He turned towards the restaurant entrance then, expecting the two of them to follow. Izuku and Katsuki paused, though, turning to look at each other with a sense of apprehension, Izuku’s just becoming visible. He offered Katsuki a wobbly smile, and Katsuki dipped down to press a chaste kiss to his lips. Pulling away, he stayed at eye level to Izuku and looked warmly at his lips. “Thought I should do that before we face the jury.”

 

Izuku snorted, rolled his eyes, leaned forward to peck one more to his cheek, and released his hand. “C’mon,” he said, and side-stepped Katsuki on his way into the restaurant. He would have liked to keep Katsuki’s hand in his, but they’d decided not to make their relationship obvious until after they’d informed Katsuki’s parents. It would save them from a little drama right off the bat.

 

Izuku heard Katsuki’s footsteps follow him as they met the host in the corner of the elegant dining room. The smooth, light pine floors and crystal ornaments fixed onto the wall and ceiling gave the space an aura of elegance that made Izuku insecure. No matter how much he tried to grow accustomed to the world of opulence he lived in, he never could. At his roots, he was still simple. Still the little boy pinching pennies for sweets.

 

But Mitsuki sat at their corner table with a finely decorated hand swirling her cabernet in its crystal. Her dress was just as bedazzled as her neck and ears, silver glittering in the dim lights, and her neckline cut so low Izuku felt embarrassed just to be there with her like that. It didn’t exactly seem like a ‘meeting with my son and his best friend’ outfit, though Izuku did think the way Masaru marvelled at his wife more than made up for it.

 

He somewhat wondered if Katsuki looked at him like that. Then he laughed, because of course Katsuki looked at him like that. Katsuki thought the world of him, and Izuku preened at the fact he could say that with the utmost confidence, which he’d struggled with in the past. He was doing better. They both were. 

 

“Izuku! Katsuki!” Mitsuki slammed her glass to the table, and the red liquid sloshed over the side to stain the table. She seemed to barely care, pushing her chair away to meet izuku and her son at the end. Arms extended, she wrapped Izuku into a firm hug, and shook him in her arms. “You look so nice , Izuku! Really spruced yourself up, huh? We put you in some Prada or Valentino, and you could be a model!”

 

With the most delicate strength, Izuku returned the hug and laughed softly. He was quick to pull away so that Mitsuki could offer the same greeting to her son, but as the woman straightened her figure after their embrace, she looked to her son and refused to move. “Katsuki,” she said, no bite, but no joy either.

 

“Mother.”

 

Izuku’s awkward smiled dropped as Katsuki’s eyes found him, and the latter seemed to realize that he wanted them to make an effort. Izuku watched as Katsuki squared his shoulders and released his anxious breath. “How have you been?” he asked.

 

Mitsuki seemed surprised by the inquiry to say the least, styled eyebrows receding to her hairline. It looked like the jury was out, and she didn’t know how to answer him. So, she settled on waving him off with a, “I’ve been fine,” and returned to her seat. 

 

Masaru climbed out of his own chair as she approached, moving out her seat and scooting her in when she dropped atop her cushion. Mitsuki grabbed her glass and swished around her wine as Masaru took his now elevated position as a chance to greet them. Izuku’s smile grew wider and genuine when he saw the man overlook Izuku and immediately turn to his son, wrapping him firmly in his embrace. For the first few moments, Katsuki simply remained stiff, unsure of what to do.

 

And then Izuku heard him release a shaky breath and saw his hands twitch. Katsuki lifted his arms to wrap around his dad’s back, and the two stayed like that for a good chunk of a minute before Masaru pulled away and wiped his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he laughed, shaking his head as he went to take his seat. “I just haven’t seen you look this good in years. It’s- I’m happy. Aren’t you happy, Mitsuki?”

 

As he turned to his wife and the woman nodded in agreement, Izuku looked up at the glossy cover of Katsuki’s eyes, and the way he looked over at his parents with pain, confusion, and an inkling of hope. He was overthinking it, once again, and Izuku needed to guide him along. He grabbed Katsuki’s hand and looked up at him, watching as Katsuki flinched and jerked his gaze over to Izuku. “You okay?”

 

After a moment’s hesitation, Katsuki nodded, and Izuku gestured to the seats. “Wanna sit down?”

 

He nodded again.

 

Izuku dragged him over to the opposite side of the table, and the two took their seats across from Katsuki’s parents. If the atmosphere was already awkward, and the conversations strained, then the ambiance deflated entirely as the four looked at each other and failed to find a way to break the barrier and simply converse. 

 

Not until the first course came around did Masaru even try to start a conversation, and even then, it wasn’t much more than small talk. “So, how has the trip been?”

 

“Good,” Katsuki grunted, and stabbed his fork into a cherry tomato.

 

And Izuku elaborated on it, trying to fill the silence with something . “It’s been overall pretty nice. Iida’s had us on a couple excursions, which was exciting. Of course, it didn’t start out good,” he laughed. “I got stung by a Boxer Jelly.”

 

Mitsuki furrowed her brow and flicked her tongue across her lip, catching the Balsamic vinaigrette that landed there. “What’s that?”

 

“Oh, it’s a Jellyfish. A really bad one, too; I was in pain for hours, and my body kept twitching for a few days.”

 

Masaru tsked. “That must have been awful.”

 

“It was, but I was lucky Kacchan was there!” He smiled over at him and slapped his hand on top of Katsuki’s fist. “He got me some pain killers, and carried me to-”

 

“-where’d you get the painkillers, Katsuki?” 

 

Izuku froze, and his face went slack. He jerked to Mitsuki, whose critical expression was trained on Katsuki, and then to Katsuki, who looked down at his salad and scowled. “They weren’t mine.”

 

She snorted, more incredulous than spiteful. “So, you’re on the beach and what? Someone else had powerful painkillers on them?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Um, Mrs. Bakugou,” Izuku chimed in, settling the situation with a sweet smile. “They weren’t his. I promise you, Katsuki’s sober.”

 

“Clearly!” Masaru turned to his wife and rested his large hand on her bare shoulder. “Look how good he looks! He’s been doing good!”

 

“Hmmm,” Mitsuki hummed, then turned back to her glass and downed the rest before signaling for the waiter to bring more wine. “Well, he looks sober, at least. Best not look a gift horse in the mouth. Anyways, Izuku, how’s work?”

 

“Oh, huh,” he started, extending the last syllable as he glanced at Katsuki and remembered his hand was still atop his. He squeezed it. “It’s good!”

 

“You’re head of Advertising, now?” Masaru asked, leaning back in his seat as the busser came around to collect his empty plate. “That’s quite impressive.”

 

“Yeah, well,” he shrugged, overlooking the compliment. “I worked hard, and it paid off. I just like art, and it seemed like the closest I’d get to art in the business sector was in advertising! Still, the Iidas are a great family. I’m happy being part of their team.”

 

“Well, we’re happy that you’re happy!” Mitsuki reached across the table and pulled a slice of bread from the basket, dipping it in a plate of oil and vinegar, and took a bite. Izuku’s smile twitched. He wouldn’t say he was happy , but he was content. As long as he had a job that paid the bills and allotted him the ability to live in tandem with his old-money friends, he was satisfied. “We would’ve liked Katsuki to join the family business.” 

 

The entrees came, but the group seemed to barely notice them because Katsuki had leaned forward in his seat and fixed a heavy scowl on his mother, who looked smugly at him over the rim of her wine glass. Izuku and Masaru looked on in discomfort, and Izuku couldn’t understand for the life of him why Mitsuki was trying to bring up bad memories. Did she just want an explanation? Had she been denied that?

 

Objectively, Izuku could understand how someone with a personality like hers would ask for answers through jabs and underhanded comments, not wanting to be the one to ruin the mood, but wanting to hint at her underlying frustration. But still, he’d worked hard to get Katsuki here, and now he was radiating fear and anger beside him, and all Izuku wanted to do was protect him from an onslaught of unnecessary hate.

 

Because they all wished Katsuki hadn’t run, but there was no way to change the past. They had to heal and move on, not dwell on words left unsaid, because doing that was like eating yourself alive. He’d learned that just days ago, and he didn’t want to go back there. “For your information, Old H-”

 

Izuku squeezed Katsuki’s hand tight enough to turn the flesh white, and smiled calculatingly at his lover’s mother. “Perhaps, and I hope you don’t mind me saying it, Kacchan isn’t interested in fashion.”

 

She quirked an eyebrow. “Maybe,” she agreed. “But he should at least be interested in his family. Y’know, he left us! Me, Masaru, and Melissa!”

 

“Honey, I don’t think Izuku remembers Melissa,” Masaru hissed. “He only met her once, and I don’t think this is a conversation we should-”

 

“-Melissa wasn’t family, mom!”

 

“Yeah,” Mitsuki sneered, nodding her head in a jerky fashion. “But she was supposed to be! You were supposed to marry her!”

 

Katsuki jaw clenched, and Izuku bit his lip, frozen. The situation was getting tense, and as he and Masaru swapped worried expressions, Katsuki’s hand slipped from beneath Izuku’s. “I didn’t want to marry her!”

 

“Why not, Katsuki? It’s not like you cared about marriage anyways! It was a business transaction,” she laughed, looking around the table as if she were trying to find other disbelieving expressions that matched her own. She seemed to find the whole thing funny, and her laughter turned her cheeks red. Izuku thought the wine might’ve been helping. “All you had to do was marry her for us, and you could do whatever else you wanted!”

 

“I didn’t do it because it wasn’t fair!”

 

“Fair to who, Katsuki? To you? Don’t be so selfish! What about us ?”

 

“IT WASN’T FAIR TO IZUKU!” he snapped, and the conversation from around the restaurant went hushed as eyes wandered to their table,  Izuku was left to offer silent apologies while Katsuki and Mitsuki continued their fight. Masaru looked exasperated. 

 

“Why the fuck isn’t it fair to Izuku? What’s he got to do with this!”

 

“Because I love him, mom! I love Deku,” he snapped. “And- And-” He wrapped his arm around Izuku and pulled him to his side. “And we’re together! So fuck off about Melissa!”

 

“Is this a joke?” She laughed. “Are you pulling him into some scheme just to get me off your back about this? You never even gave an explanation! Just decided you didn’t wanna, ran off to Tokyo, and became a fucking whore!”

 

“MITSUKI!”

 

Masaru’s stern voice cut through the fight, and the table went silent as Mitsuki whipped towards her husband with big, shocked eyes. “‘Saru?”

 

“I think you’ve had enough to drink, sweetheart,” he said lovingly, though the expression on his face was anything but. He reached for her glass, and she simply snorted to herself.

 

“Why?” She laughed. “I can hold my alcohol; I’m not Katsuki.”

 

Katsuki’s jaw clenched so hard it looked like he’d chip his teeth, but Izuku barely registered that. His mind replayed those words over and over again, realizing how truly awful the acidic statement was. Because Katsuki had tried so hard for sobriety, and Mitsuki was making a mockery of it. He kicked out from his seat, and stood with his hands fisted on the table. “Kacchan, let’s go.”

 

“Hah? You wanna leave?” Katsuki gawked.

 

“I’m not gonna sit here and listen to her talk shit about you. So, let’s go!” He grabbed for Katsuki’s hand and tried to help him up, though Katsuki didn’t need it as he jumped abruptly to Izuku’s side and wrapped his arm around Izuku’s neck. 

 

“Thank you, Mr. Bakugou,” Izuku said through gritted teeth. “For being so courteous, but I think your wife needs to learn not to mock things like this. We’re going to go.”

 

And they turned, making for the exit as the restaurant patrons ogled them and whispered in hushed tones at their table. Katsuki’s arm felt heavy on Izuku’s shoulders, but he welcomed the warmth, and he leaned into him to return the feeling of security.

 

“Wait!”  

 

They stopped, hesitantly so. Gnawing at his lip, Izuku turned back to find Mitsuki breathing heavily at the table, her chest clearly expanding and deflating in her navel-deep neckline. “Is it true, Izuku? You guys are a couple, now?”

 

He gulped. “Yes.”

 

“You should be smart about this. We care about you, and what’s the business world going to think about you sleeping with a stripper?”

 

Izuku bristled, white-hot rage burning in his gut and turning to venom as it crawled up onto his tongue. “Why don’t you learn to give a shit about your son, first. Then you can give a shit about me.”



Chapter Text

New Year’s Eve of his junior year was probably the wildest holiday Izuku had ever, and would ever experience. Katsuki begged him to come. Or, at least, he came as close to begging as Katsuki thought acceptable. He didn’t grovel on his knees, but he told Izuku he needed someone that didn’t grind on his nerves or make him want to chuck forks into the wall. And it wasn’t like Izuku had any other plans. His mother was working the night shift at the hospital, and the Todorokis and Iidas were spending the holiday together in Fiji. 

 

So, what else did he have to do besides eat jagarikos on his couch while he watched reruns of the old All Might anime adaptations?

 

Nothing.

 

So, he walked up the front steps to the Bakugou mansion with a little exhaustion, and a lot of warmth in his heart. No matter how hectic he knew the night would be, he was grateful that Katsuki wanted to spend it with him. In the back of Izuku’s mind, no matter how fucked up he felt thinking about it, he felt like this was a date. 

 

The whole ‘meet the parents’ thing. 

 

In the movies, meeting the parents always happened on holidays, and even if Izuku grew up with the Bakugous, he couldn’t help but feel like this was special. Though, he knew he shouldn’t, and that his infatuation with his best friend needed to stop before he ruined everything. 

 

He inhaled and watched his hot breath turn into fog on his exhale. His fingers wiggled and clutched tightly into a fist before he rapped on the door in a distinct rhythm. The door opened to the warm and brightly lit foyer. 

 

“Oh. Midoriya, what are you doing here?” 

 

Like always, the Bakugou maid, Gabby, fixed her gaze into a scrutinizing glare and crossed her arms as she addressed him. Izuku thought she needed to get over the shower accident--it happened years ago, for fuck’s sake--but now wasn’t the time to start caring. He gulped down the nerves before it threatened to come up as word vomit. 

 

“Um, I’m here for dinner.”

 

Gabby quirked a brow. “Dinner?”

 

“Um, yeah,” he said, shuffling on his feet. “Kacchan invited me to New Year’s dinner, so, um, can I come in? It’s getting pretty cold out here.”

 

Gabby rolled her eyes and stepped to the side, beckoning for Izuku to hurry inside. With a quick dip of his head in a gesture of gratitude, Izuku stumbled in and slipped off his shoes. He discarded his jacket on a coat rack, and turned back to Gabby. “So, where is everyone?”

 

“Dining room. Come with me, I’ll take you.”

 

“No, that’s okay!” Izuku assured her, not wanting to take more time from a woman who wasn’t very concerned with helping him in the first place. “I know the way! Thank you, though!”

 

Izuku spun on his heels and took off down the hall extending off the foyer. He knew his way around the Bakugou household better than Katsuki’s parents themselves. Mitsuki and Masaru spent too much time abroad and nowhere near enough at home with Katsuki. And so, Izuku had taken it upon himself to always be there, because they might be on different sides of the class system, but they were both latchkey children. 

 

And it wasn’t fun coming home to no one every day.

 

Izuku rounded into the open threshold of the dining room just in time to see Mitsuki laugh cooly with a hand over her heart. Katsuki took a heavy step towards her, shouting expletives as easily as breathing air. There was a girl beside him, hair a darker blonde than Katsuki’s, but much better styled. Her face was soft, her eyes round and blue. The clothes draping her body looked simple enough, but from experience, Izuku knew he was the only one to enter the Bakugou household in discount clothing. As simple as they may be, that girl’s clothes were designer. 

 

Izuku felt a smidge underdressed.

 

A hand wrapped around his wrist, and Izuku jerked from his daydream to find Katsuki’s furrowed brow and heavy scowl angled just above him. Izuku could smell his cologne, and it made him shiver. Katsuki squeezed his wrist tighter and leaned in, his jaw clenched and his chest heaving. No matter how close and how furious he was, though, Izuku knew that Katsuki’s anger wasn’t directed towards him. He felt safe.

 

He always felt safe with Katsuki.

 

“Where the fuck were you?” Katsuki growled, voice low and strained. 

 

Izuku stepped back and furrowed his brow at him. “You said eight-thirty. It’s eight-fifteen, Kacchan. I’m early.”

 

“Look, Deku,” Katsuki grunted, leaning in closer. Izuku could barely hear him through the rush of blood in his ears and the pounding of his heart. His crush had only tripled since they’d started at the same high school. No matter how much he tried to ignore it, he couldn’t. No matter how much Todoroki Touya asked him for a chance, he couldn’t give up the dream that he’d maybe get the courage to confront his feelings. “I fuckin’ needed you here hours ago! I can’t fucking deal with these punk-ass bitches alone!”

 

“The only punk-ass bitch here is you, Katsuki,” Mitsuki hummed over her wine glass, and Izuku watched as Katsuki’s eye twitched. 

 

But before he could blow another fuse, Izuku side-stepped him to get to Katsuki’s mother and their guest, dragging his best friend along since Katsuki didn’t seem close to releasing his arm. “Hello, Mrs. Bakugou,” Izuku greeted, bowing a little before turning to the younger girl. She looked close to his and Katsuki’s age, but she was foreign. European, he thought. “Hello, I’m Midoriya Izuku.”

 

“It’s nice to meet you!” she said, beaming as she reached her hand out for him to shake. Her accent was thick, but he could understand if he strained his ears. “My name is Melissa! I’m Katsuki’s-”

 

“Katsuki’s nothing!” Katsuki spat, knocking his shoulder into Izuku’s. “You’re my nothing!”

 

“-Katsuki!-”

 

“-Kacchan!-”

 

It was Izuku who smacked him on the shoulder, though Mitsuki seemed close to going a step further and unhinging her jaw to bite down on his head and rip it off his body. “Kacchan, what has gotten into you?” Izuku asked, looking back to Melissa with an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Melissa! He’s probably just-”

 

“-No, no, it’s alright!” She smiled, waving her hands at him like he need not continue. “I know it’s all a bit tricky, and I’m a bit nervous myself! I’m willing to wait until he gets used to me a bit more!”

 

Izuku furrowed his brow, and quirked his head to the side to show his confusion. “Wait for what?” he repeated, not sure what she was referring to. 

 

Melissa’s eyes darted up to Katsuki, then to his mother, and it was so quick Izuku barely even noticed it. Then she shook her head, laughed to herself, and smiled at him. “It’s not important! ‘Wait to be friends’ is what I meant! Hopefully, we could be friends, too?” she asked.

 

Her kindness was refreshing for Izuku, who felt grateful whenever someone of her caliber was simply nice to him. Besides the Bakugous, Todorokis, and Iidas, he often got treated like a charity case or a nuisance--like he wasn’t all that important to talk to or interact with. Of course he nodded and opened his mouth to confirm her request. “Of course, I’d-”

 

“-Sorry I’m late! Had some last minute things to take care of before the new year!” 

 

The collective trained their gazes towards the dining room entrance, where Masaru came marching through with purpose. He quickly slid his winter jacket off his shoulders and propped it on his chair. Scurrying over, he grabbed Mitsuki by the side of her head and guided her closer for a kiss on the cheek. He tried to do the same to Katsuki, but he groaned and side stepped, finally releasing Izuku’s arm. Masaru pretended not to be hurt, it seemed, and clapped his hands together, rubbing them to create warmth. “So! Who’s hungry?”

 

“Oh, starving, Masaru,” Mitsuki grinned, her cheeks rosey from the chardonnay in her veins. She reached for his hand and guided him over to their seats. Izuku saw how Katsuki’s eyes followed after their hands, His scowl sunk deeper. 

 

He grabbed Izuku’s hand, and a rush of red immediately washed over Izuku;  ears, neck, cheeks, and all. 

 

“C’mon, Deku,” he grumbled, pulling him towards the table. Feeling guilty about leaving someone out, though, Izuku grabbed ahold of Melissa’s wrist and pulled her after them. 

 

“Don’t wanna leave you out!”

 

Melissa laughed at that, grateful for the kind gesture. She seemed to relax, and as she nodded and took the seat beside him, thanking him, Katsuki’s grip on Izuku’s hand turned into a vice. “Don’t fucking talk to her like that,” he growled, lifting his wine glass high for a server to come and fill it to the brim. As the same server asked Izuku if he’d like some, and Izuku declined, Katsuki took a massive gulp and continued. “You’re my fucking friend. Not hers.”

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku hissed. “I can be friends with more than one person! And you’re acting like a brat! Knock it off and be a good host!”

 

Katsuki’s mouth gaped, but the moment the first syllable of his protests left his mouth, Mitsuki snorted from across the table. “Oh, I’m sorry!” She smirked. “It’s just so funny!”

 

“The fuck is funny, bitch?”

 

Izuku kicked him beneath the table, and Katsuki sucked in a hard breath and glared, but Mitsuki continued as if nothing had happened. “It’s just, you and Izuku act like such a married couple, and Izuku and Melissa are talking to each other like they’re in a honeymoon phase, but, really, Katsuki and Melissa are-”

 

“-are good friends,” Masaru finished, reaching over to pat his wife’s hand. “You’re right dear.”

 

“No, I was going to say-”

 

“-I hope we are not intruding!” 

 

A loud voice boomed from the dining room entrance, the conversation curtailed as the Bakugou family chef and staff delivered large trays of lobster, sushi, and misoshiru, as well as foreign dishes Izuku couldn’t even begin to pronounce. Izuku didn’t stop Katsuki from piling his plate high. When Katsuki was in the mood to fret over Izuku, he never tried to fight him. The fact that Katsuki doted on him alone was enough to make him happy; At least, make him happy enough to ignore the pitiful looks Mitsuki and Masaru cast his way, as if he was a homeless child who’d just had a hot meal for the first time in his life.

 

He didn’t complain.

 

He was grateful for the meal, the company, and the fact that putting food in front of Katsuki subdued his anger and kept Mitsuki from making obnoxious jabs at him. Izuku and Melissa were the only ones who really talked during the meal, mostly about what her home was like in Italy and what she wanted to do with her life. She said she wanted to design, though clothes weren’t the kinds of designs she talked about.

 

Melissa wanted to design machines. She wanted to be an inventor.

 

Izuku thought it incredible.

 

“What about you, Midoriya?” she asked, picking up a piece of sushi between her chopsticks to dip in her soy sauce. “What would you like to do?”

 

“Oh, uh,” he started, looking down at his plate. “I’m not sure yet, to be honest. I know Kacchan and I were thinking about doing something together, but in case that’s not really productive, I think I’ll go to business school!”

 

“Oh, that sounds fascinating! Business school is really important if you want to be successful in the-”

 

“-what were you two ‘planning to do’?” Mitsuki asked, quirking a brow over the rim of her cup. “Katsuki?”

 

Izuku looked over to Katsuki, who looked over at his empty wine glass with a sulk. “Nothing,” he grumbled, then lifted his glass. “Yo, can I get some more wine?”

 

“Oh, c’mon Katsuki,” Mitsuki snorted. “Look at your father, drinking a scotch. Why don’t you drink something a little more manly?”

 

“I don’t want scotch.”

 

The mood grew grim then, Mitsuki’s apparent disdain at not being followed putting Katsuki on edge. Izuku saw how his hands shook on the table, and the way Melissa chewed her lip and drummed her fingers together. Mitsuki didn’t tear her eyes away, prepared to glare at her son until he folded and she came out victorious again, proving her dominance in the Bakugou family. “Bakugou men drink real liquor, Katsuki,” she said. “Of course, if you’re so stuck on staying a brat, be my guest.”

 

“Dear, I don’t think that he needs to drink what he doesn’t want,” Masaru hissed beneath his breath, gathering his wife’s attention. “That’s how kids get complexes.”

 

“Katsuki already has a complex.”

 

“Shut the fuck up, you miserable, ugly hag!”

 

“Don’t talk to your mother that way,” Mitsuki sighed, grabbing a piece of lobster tail and stuffing it in her mouth. “It’s disrespectful.”

 

“You don’t deserve respect!” Katsuki snapped, jumping up from his seat and pushing his chair out behind him. Izuku stiffened, face going white as Katsuki went violent. It had been happening more often recently, at least that's what Izuku had heard. Katsuki never lost it with him. He hadn’t ever seen it, only heard rumors.

 

Now he saw it.

 

Katsuki walked off then, arms flying in the air as he crossed the room with a stomp in his step. “YOU JUST FUCKING LOVE TO BE A BITCH, HUH? LOVE TO FUCK YOUR SON UP! YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ME! YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYONE BUT YOU AND YOUR FAKE ASS TITS! WELL, FINE!” 

 

He reached the liquor bar, hopping over the polished wood counter and dropping to a squat behind it. Mitsuki leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms, watching the bar like she was enjoying the show. Masaru tried to get up, but she just patted her hand over his and told him to wait. She wanted to see what happened.

 

Izuku looked quickly to Melissa, who looked more and more uncomfortable with how her night was unfolding. Izuku smiled apologetically, then turned back just as the clinking of glasses disappeared and Katsuki appeared once more with a large bottle of Rum in his hand. Izuku knit his brows. “Kacchan, what are you doing?”

 

Katsuki snorted, eyes not leaving the bottle as he popped the cork. “The fuck does it look like? Bottoms up!” He lifted the bottle to Izuku then back to his lips and knocked his head back. Izuku stood there, shocked--absolutely gobsmacked--as Katsuki’s throat bobbed once, twice, three, four times and Izuku realized he wasn’t going to stop. 

 

Izuku scrambled onto his feet before Katsuki could take a fifth, and sprinted to him with the intrinsic urge to protect. “Kacchan! Kacchan, stop!” 

 

Izuku reached the bar, and jumped half way on top to grab at the bottle. The sudden force jerked it from Katsuki’s lips, and the amber liquid spilled down his front. He growled and jerked his head clumsily towards Izuku. “The fuck whazzat for?” he slurred, and fuck the alcohol hit him fast.

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku hissed silently. “You need to stop. This is ridiculous.”

 

“Fuck off.”

 

“Kacchan, you-”

 

Giggling erupted behind them, and Izuku turned his head halfway to the side to find Mitsuki doubled over in laughter. “He’s such a lightweight, Masaru!” She laughed, coming back up to wipe a tear from her eye and smile at her husband. “He reminds me of you!”

 

“Mitsuki, dear-”

 

“-You’d think he’d be doing better, being my son!” Mitsuki hiccuped. It was ugly, drunk and stupid. Izuku always admired Mitsuki for being a hard-working woman, but she just seemed mean right now. It was odd, completely alien to him. Mitsuki was always so doting of him, and concerned about Katsuki. She cared about him. “Guess I failed on this one, huh, honey?”

 

“SHUT UP!” 

 

Izuku felt the wind of something flying past his face. It temporarily stunned him. He didn’t hear the breaking of glass, or loud shouts of protests until his eyes caught the liquid dripping down the wallpaper to his right, or large, broken chunks of crystal sharp and sparkling on the floor.

 

Izuku’s eyes turned to Melissa, looking ghostly white in her seat, while Mitsuki had sobered enough to fix Katsuki with the most loveless glare he’d ever witnessed. She didn’t mean it, Izuku thought. She was only drunk, only too inebriated to realize a joke had hurt her son.

 

 Izuku turned back to Katsuki, who looked surprised to see the glass sprinkled across the floor. He looked down to his hand, his fingers twitching. Katsuki looked back up to Izuku, his eyes glossy with what Izuku feared were tears, and he sprinted from the room.

 

His shoeless feet crunched atop the glass as he ran. Izuku winced as drops of blood speckled the hardwood where Katsuki’s foot made contact, and Izuku looked back at Melissa and the Bakugous one last time before whispering an apology and fleeing after him.

 


 

“Kacchan,” Izuku asked, bending over his bed to cup his cheek and force him to look towards him. Katsuki didn’t fight the touch, but he kept his eyes closed like he couldn’t bare to look at him. “Kacchan, do you have a first aid kit in here?”

 

“Mmmmm, maybe.”

 

“Kacchan, answer me. You’re getting blood all over your bed.”

 

Katsuki squeezed his pillow tight, buried his face in the satin, and groaned. “Desk.”

 

Izuku was over there in a second, back to the bed with the kit in his lap a second more. Katsuki dangled his foot off the bed for Izuku, who bit his lip and grit his teeth to peel the sock off and pry the glass shards from his foot. Blood oozed down onto Izuku’s jeans where he’d propped the appendage, but he wasn’t mad his clothes were ruined.

 

No, if anything, he was scared. 

 

“Kacchan, are you sure you’re alright?” he asked. “You’ve been- you’ve been a lot quicker to anger recently.”

 

“‘M’fine , Deku,” Katsuki grumbled into his pillow. “So stop fucking asking about it.”

 

Izuku found cotton pads at the bottom of the box. He held it to his foot, then secured it in place with a gauze wrap. “You keep saying that, but I’m still worried. I- if you’re going through something, you can tell me. You know that right? I’m always here for you if you need anything.”

 

“I know, Deku.”

 

“It’s just-”

 

Katsuki groaned louder, throwing the pillow away so that he could sit up, centimeters from Izuku’s face, and snap. “I said I’m fine, okay? It’s just that old hag, alright? She’s always trying to fucking make me out as a bad guy, or a shitty son, and-”

 

“-Kacchan, she loves you!”

 

“Fuck, no she doesn’t! Stop trying to convince me she does, okay?” It sounded like pleading to Izuku’s ears, and in the dark of Katsuki’s room, his voice and breath so close to his face, how could he say ‘no’? He couldn’t even think straight. If he leaned in--just a little closer--they’d be kissing. If he wanted to, this was as good as a chance.

 

But something held him back.

 

He’d never have the balls to do it. He was weak for their friendship, and he wouldn’t risk it for a kiss.

 

Katsuki sighed, shook his head, and flopped back on his pillow. “I’ll be fine by tomorrow, Deku. New year, new me. Remember?”

 

Izuku laughed, as artificial as may be. “Yeah, right.”

 

“Just- I’m serious, Deku,” he said, looking up at him with red eyes that glistened in the night. Was he crying? “I’ll be okay in the morning, so relax. Just- I mean- if you want to make sure, though, you can spend the night…”

 

“I thought I already was.”

 

Katsuki sighed. “Yeah, yeah you are.”

 

The silence grew awkward, and Izuku nodded to himself and looked down at the first-aid kit still in his lap. He sighed, went to close the lid and sit it on the floor. “Well, I guess I’ll go pick a room.”

 

He climbed to his feet, headed for the door, and only just rested his palm on top of the handle, when Katsuki stopped him with a tired, melancholy voice. “I know this isn’t your house, Deku, and I know we don’t have to, but if you want, you can sleep with me tonight.”

 

And suddenly, the doorknob felt molten, and Izuku withdrew his hand and stumbled back towards the bed with a craving for Katsuki’s hot skin touching his. “You mean it, Kacchan?” Izuku asked, regretting it the minute he asked the question. He feared Katsuki would say ‘psych’ and Izuku’s hopes would have been raised high for nothing. 

 

“Yeah, I mean it.”

 

Izuku’s heart burst with want and need, but he did his utmost to hold it in. It felt harder than normal to crawl onto the bed--like it required the same precision necessary to diffuse a bomb. 

 

With a delicate touch, his forehead pressed against Katsuki’s shoulder blades and his hands tucked between his own chest and Katsuki’s back. He inhaled his scent, savored the warmth of his body, and sighed in contentment.

 

It was times like these when Izuku felt like wanting Katsuki to be his--his boyfriend, his lover, and the only one for him--was a selfish craving. Because why did he need more than this? He had Katsuki like this, intimate even if they were only friends. He could accept that. He could accept anything that made Katsuki happy.

 

“G’night, Kacchan,” he said, his voice filled with nothing but love and admiration. 

 

He was asleep in seconds.



Chapter Text

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-” 

 

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.”

 

“I will.”

 

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- 

 

And what? 

 

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.

 

Katsuki snored.

 

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.

 

Masaru.

 

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.”

 

“You didn’t.”

 

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?”

            

“Um, sure.”

            

“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.

            

Izuku smirked. 

            

It was a heavy conversation, but things were looking up. Things would get better from here.

            

He knew they would. 



Chapter Text

“Is this alright?” Katsuki grumbled from behind. Izuku turned from the closet, watching as Katsuki entered the bedroom through the bathroom door. He was dressed well, in tight, black slacks and a fitted navy and grey pinstriped shirt. The first three buttons were undone, and Izuku could see the glint of a chain between the collar. His hair was partially slicked back, his forehead bare. It made him look sleeker, like a business man you’d be afraid of crossing. 

 

Izuku loved it.

 

“You look amazing.” He scrambled forward, extending his arms to work around Katsuki’s waist. He pressed his chin against his chest and looked up into hooded red eyes. But Izuku realised it wasn’t just his irises that were red, but the whites, too. It looked like he’d been crying. “Kacchan, are you okay?”

 

Katsuki’s jaw clenched. He sucked in a breath like he didn’t want to answer, but he did look down to lock eyes with Izuku. “You weren’t here when I woke up.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Izuku smiled. “I thought I’d let you sleep.”

 

“It- It’s okay,” Katsuki frowned, letting go of Izuku and crossing the room. He stopped by the nightstand to pick up his wallet and his keys. “I’m- I’m overreacting. I just- nevermind, forget it.” He hustled for the door, his face contorted like he couldn’t wait to get out. 

 

“Kacchan, stop.” 

 

It came out more assertive than he meant it to, but it did the trick. Katsuki stopped in the doorway, his body tense. Izuku, quick to rectify, jolted over to him and delicately intertwined their fingers. Katsuki’s throat bobbed, and he slowly turned back to fix Izuku with a worried gaze. “Kacchan, you have to tell me what’s wrong. I’m- I’m really trying not to let my insecurities ruin this, but you gotta, too. Okay?”

 

Kacchan’s lip was red, swollen. He’d been aggravating it too much, and Izuku could see the effect. “I thought you’d left.”

 

“What?”

 

“I fucking cried, Deku, and I was weak, and it would’ve made sense if you left because of it,” he said. It sounded almost automatic, like he was reciting an equation--like he’d recited those same words so many times. 

 

“No,” Izuku barked. It was firm, but there was compassion in his voice, and Katsuki picked up on it. “No, it wouldn’t have made sense.” He squeezed Katsuki’s hand and tugged him forward, Katsuki following suit like he’d wanted to be in Izuku’s arms since the beginning. “I know things were rough in the past,” Izuku said, letting go of Katsuki’s hand to rub at his back. He let Katsuki adjust himself, let him bend down and squeeze the small of Izuku’s back; he let Katsuki bury his head in the crook of his neck and sink his shoulders. “But I’m not going to leave you because you cried to me about your parents. We said we’d be open with each other, and you did that. I’m proud of you.”

 

Katsuki tensed. “Proud?”

 

“Yes, Kacchan,” he laughed. “I’m proud of you. You’re my good boy.”

 

 Katsuki’s fingers curled at the base of Izuku’s spine, and the proceeding sensation made Izuku shiver and arch his back. Katsuki’s hand slid down to grab the round globe of his ass, and Izuku’s breath hitched. “K-Kacchan?”

 

“Tell me again.”

 

Izuku gulped, his face burning now. He’d only meant the last part as a lighthearted joke. He hadn’t intended for these consequences. But still…

 

 “You’re my good boy,” he said, hands snaking up to cup Katsuki’s jaw and guide him away from his neck. When he saw the longing in Katsuki’s eyes, something needy curled in his stomach, and he leaned close enough to taste Katsuki’s breath on his tongue. “You’re so good.”

 

Katsuki closed the distance, his swollen lips pressing against Izuku’s. Hot, heavy. That tongue slipping into Izuku’s mouth and making him moan, Izuku could only pull him closer. Katsuki used his muscular arms to pull his ass up, and Izuku wrapped his legs around his waist. 

 

Izuku’s groin rubbed up against Katsuki’s abdomen and he moaned into the kiss just as Katsuki turned and slammed him against the wall, the surprise knocking the breath out of him and temporarily stunning him.

 

Katsuki dropped him back to the ground. He wrapped him firmly by the hips and spun him so that Izuku’s face pressed firmly against the wall and his ass arched against Katsuki’s crotch. He felt the outline of Katsuki’s cock, hard beneath his clothes, and moaned at the man-handling. He loved his fingers digging into his hips, and the breathy pants coming from his lips as he bent over him and laid a hand against Izuku’s. “I love you, Deku.”

 

“Love you, too, Kacchan,” he groaned. “Love you so much.”

 

Katsuki pulled off him, and as Izuku groaned at the absence, fingers came back to rub between his cheeks. Katsuki’s other hand fumbled with the buttons of Izuku’s pants, and when they and his underwear came down around his ankles, he heard Katsuki spit. Then there were wet fingers rubbing him open, inserting and pumping with fervor. “Fuck, Deku, you’re so- ugh, does it feel good? Do I make you feel good?”

 

“A-always, Kacchan.” Izuku’s breath dampened the wallpaper. “Always make me feel good. Always a hhhh!” Katsuki’s fingers curled against his prostate, sending a shiver through his body and making his legs wobble. Katsuki caught him around the waist, holding him up as he pulled his fingers free and fumbled with his belt. 

 

Izuku heard the clinking of metal, the fabric of his pants falling away. He felt Katsuki’s hot and aching cock touch the globe of his ass, felt drops of pre-cum on his flesh. Izuku couldn’t wait for Katsuki to be inside him, to feel like one.

 

“Fuck the lube,” Izuku grunted. “Want you now, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki’s fingers curled around his abdomen, but his dick didn’t move. “Deku, that’s gonna hurt you.Y’sure?”

 

“Mm, like it when it hurts a little.” His hand searched blindly behind him for something to grab, but when it couldn’t find anything, Izuku pressed it against the hand on his stomach. “Please, baby.”

 

Izuku felt Katsuki’s cock twitch when he said it, and a cunning smile curled its way across his lips. Katsuki’s fingers dug into his hip, and Izuku savored the gentle sting of Katsuki lining himself up with the soft, pink muscle, pressing into him slowly from behind. Izuku clenched down, gasped out, and knocked his forehead against the wall. 

 

He pushed back, helping Katsuki fill him to the base, before sucking in a breath and squeezing Katsuki’s hand against his belly. Izuku burned inside and out, and cried in harmony with Katsuki’s grunts. He dropped his head, saw his own wobbling legs splayed between Katsuki’s, and his own dripping erection between his thighs. He bit his lips, hummed as Katsuki started pulling out. He threw his head back, panting as Katsuki slammed back into him. Izuku dug his nails into the wallpaper. 

 

“Y’okay?” Katsuki whispered. Izuku pressing his eyes closed, focused on the bliss and sting of Katsuki stretching him open. 

 

“Good,” he gasped out, pushing himself back on Katsuki. “Good. Feels- feels good, Kacchan. Always feels good.”

 

Katsuki’s nails clawed deep into his flesh, and Izuku’s moans synced up to the rhythm of Katsuki pumping in and out, pushing him up against the wall. The hand on his abdomen scaled up, stroking an erect nipple then brushing over the soft flesh of his throat. Panting, drool slipping out the corner of his mouth, Izuku didn’t think twice when two fingers lodged themselves in his mouth, and the slapping of skin grew louder in his red, burning ears. He sucked on them hard, savoring the salty taste and coarse skin against his tongue. His toes curled, spasms shooting through his groin, shivers goosebumping his skin as Katsuki hit him just right, and the precum leaking down his leg turned to cum shooting onto the wall. 

 

He cried out around Katsuki’s fingers, savored the satisfied grunts hitting his ears from behind, and the steady chants of ‘I love you’s’. The fingers digging into Izuku’s hips softened, leaving finally to rise up and scoop Izuku’s jaw and turn his head just slightly. Fingers left his mouth, and were immediately replaced with a tongue, wet swollen lips, and a hum of euphoria. One final pump, and Katsuki’s body tensed over Izuku’s.

 

Izuku filled with a warmth, with Katsuki spilling inside him. It felt filling, intoxicating. Katsuki slipped out of his ass and helped him turn around, Izuku still shaky on his legs. He wrapped his hands around Katsuki’s neck, held himself steady as he breathed into the kiss, and the two slowly slipped to the ground.  

 

Izuku leaned back against the wall, Katsuki following after him, pressing his cheek against Izuku’s pounding chest and hugging him around the middle. “Fuck, Deku,” he sighed. “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you too,” Izuku assured him, petting his hair as he felt the cum leak out of him. He grimaced. “We’re gonna be so late for the luau.”

 


 

They almost missed the ferry to Maui. 

 

Almost.

 

And Uraraka eyed them both with a mixture of annoyance and humor when they climbed onto the boat and found their seats beside her and Iida. Izuku didn’t even bother to greet the other guests. His eyes were solely on Uraraka, nervous about her scrutiny. He didn’t expect her to scrunch her nose and turn away from him to rifle through her purse. Izuku thought for a good few seconds that he’d really blow it by almost missing the group event, that she’d finally had enough of his and Katsuki’s antics, but then she turned back to him with a comb. “Use it,” she smirked. “You look like you have sex hair.”

 

Izuku burned red and jerked his gaze to Katsuki, who blushed pink and looked down at his knees with a furrow in his brow. Izuku turned back to Uraraka and took the bottle with shaking fingers. “Sorry about that.”

 

“Don’t be. Pretty nice knowing my bestie is having a good trip,” she said, then leaned against Iida’s shoulder. “Now everyone is in a relationship.”

 

“Everyone is not in a relationship,” Shinsou sing-songed in the row of seats in front of them. He stretched his arm around Ashido’s shoulder and turned in his seat to glare at Iida and Uraraka. “I just so happen to be single.”

 

“Well,” Uraraka hummed. “Maybe if you tried some moisturizer and got rid of those eye bags, maybe that would be different.”

 

“Don’t listen to her, Zombie boy,” Ashido laughed, patting his shoulder. “When we’re back in Tokyo, I’ll set you up with Kami. He liked your picture, so that’s a good sign.”

 

“Anyways,” Iida chimed in. “Bakugou, Midoriya, it is of the utmost importance that you arrive on time to these events. They are required wedding events, and we must have all of the wedding party attending them.”

 

Izuku opened his mouth to offer an apology, but Katsuki squeezed his hand and caused Izuku to stutter. He turned back to see what his boyfriend needed, but he only saw his lips pressed thin and his eyes still trained on his lap. He felt guilty.

 

It was obvious.

 

“Oh, c’mon, baby,” Uraraka laughed. “Look how happy they are now. They wanna be a little late to the party ‘cause they’re in their honeymoon phase, we should let them.” She leaned into him, her chin resting on his shoulder and her voice merely a whisper. “We were like that too when we started dating, huh?” Her hand rubbed at his thigh, and Izuku felt embarrassed just being there. 

 

Iida choked and dropped his hand atop hers, stopping it from moving any further. “Yes, yes, point taken. Let’s not reminisce on that with company present.” He looked over the edge of the ferry, at the rolling waters, to hide his blush.

 

Izuku smirked at it, at how sweet his friends were together, and looked back at Katsuki, who was still pouting. Izuku wasn’t having it anymore. He lifted his hand to brush Katsuki’s cheek and guide his gaze back to him. Katsuki quirked his brow, and Izuku closed the distance with a delicate kiss to his lips. Katsuki hummed against him, and when Izuku pulled away, he laid his head on his shoulder and the two of them fell into a warm, comfortable silence.

 

Izuku’s eyes wandered for the rest of the ferry, bored and curious, but halted when he looked across from him and found Himiko and Touya pressed up against each other, their eyes not on each other, but on him and Katsuki. Something possessive and proud overtook Izuku, and he dropped his hand to Katsuki’s thigh and squeezed, eyes not leaving their exes.

 

No one needed to know the satisfaction that swelled in Izuku as the two scowled and looked away.

 


 

It baffled Izuku how the luau hadn’t even started, but the night was already so lively. Torches lined the walkway to the stage and dining area, each housed under shelters with bamboo and grass roofs. Beautiful women in grass skirts and flowers in their hair placed leis around their necks. Izuku swung his and Katsuki’s interlaced hands between them as they followed the sound of Hawaiian music to the Lahaina Luau’s main events area. Izuku saw a fire pit on their way, two men lifting a cover to reveal the smoked pig beneath it. 

 

As the sun set on the ocean to their left, bathing the night in glorious, orange lighting, Izuku and Katsuki followed the wedding party through the buffet line. Izuku, his stomach growling after an afternoon of… eventful activities, didn’t think twice of piling double servings of everything on his plate. First came the Kalua pig, then the poi, the Laulau meat and Chicken Long Rice. What he couldn’t fit on his plate, he pushed onto Katsuki’s. And Katsuki let him, not an ounce of complaint as half his plate was filled with Izuku’s food. 

 

“Woooow,” a voice called from further down the buffet line. “Pretty whipped now, aren’t you, Katsuki? What happened to having balls.”

 

Katsuki’s jaw clenched, and Izuku leaned forward to look past Katsuki’s body. “Shut up, Himiko,” he snapped.

 

“To be honest,” she continued. “Kinda surprises me you’re both still so lovey-dovey. He hasn’t hit you yet, Mido?”

 

Izuku’s fingers tightened around the salad tongs, and out of his periphery, he noticed Katsuki’s eyes trailing him. Katsuki wasn’t going to stand up to Himiko--he’d stand up to Touya, but Himiko’s wounds were still too damaging. Izuku opened his mouth with the intention of defending him, but-

 

“It’s ‘cause Izuku doesn’t know how to stand up for himself,” Touya smirked. “If you hit him, he’d probably just be happy you paid attention to him long enough to leave a bruise.”

 

Katsuki dropped his plate on the buffet line and was over at Touya’s side before Izuku could stop him. But Izuku sat his own plate down and was over to grab Katsuki’s fist before he could land a punch. “Kacchan, no,” he barked. “It’s not worth it, okay? It’s not worth it.”

 

Katsuki didn’t answer. He had a fist bunched in Touya’s collar, fiery, murderous eyes trained on him and the nervous bobbing of Touya’s throat.

 

“Damn right it isn’t!” The voice was at Izuku’s side in an instant, and he jerked his head to the side to see Ochako glaring at Himiko and Toga with a vengeance. “You know this party is for my wedding, right? You’re here as a favor to your father, Touya. So stop fucking with my boys, or I’ll rescind the invitation and you can fuck off back to Tokyo.”

 

“Fuck off,” Touya snapped.

 

“Fine, then-”

 

“-Okay, okay,” he groaned, grabbing Katsuki’s hand and prying it from his shirt. He pushed back beside Himiko, and the two grabbed their plates and made to leave. “I’ll fucking behave, so calm your goddamn tits.”

 

They were gone before Izuku could snap at him for what he said to Uraraka, but part of him thought he wouldn’t have been able to do it even if Touya had stayed. Izuku still didn’t have the confidence to completely defend himself, no matter how horrible Touya was to him. He could stand up to Himiko all he wanted, but his history with Touya made it hard.

 

It seemed to be the same story for Katsuki.

 

“Sorry about that,” Uraraka grinned. She hooked her arms in Izuku and Katsuki’s and drug them back to pick up their plates and head to the tables. “You boys are sitting at the head of the table because I love you, and I miss my Man of Honor.”

 

“Sorry, Ocha,” Izuku winced. “I’ve just been-”

 

“-No apologies, Izuku,” she huffed, letting go of the two of them to find her seat beside her fiancé. The tables were incredibly long, decorated with floral centerpieces and plates of cookies and cakes for after the meal. Izuku looked down the table, found Himiko and Touya at the other end, and sent them a glare. He hated them, the both of them. His hatred for Himiko was the purest of its form, and he knew that if he could pay her back for what she’d done to Katsuki, he wouldn’t hesitate. Touya was different, obviously. He hated Touya, too, for all he’d done, but the man was still his first everything: first kiss, first relationship, first time. He couldn’t erase the fonder memories if he scrubbed them with bleach.

 

“Y’know what?” Ochako started, spurring Izuku from his thoughts. He was the only one standing now, and embarrassment quickly consumed him. 

 

“What?” he responded, taking his seat as quickly as possible. He scooted closer to Katsuki, and turned to his left to offer a smile to Yaoyorozu and Shouto, who’d taken the seats beside them. 

 

“I think you two getting together is probably the best wedding gift I could’ve gotten.” Uraraka turned towards Iida and wrapped her arms around his bicep. “Don’t you agree, hun?”

 

Iida, nodded curtly and smiled down at his fiancée. “Seeing your best friend find happiness truly is a fantastic gift.”

 

“But-”

 

“-But nothing.” Izuku turned to his left. Shouto was leaned back, staring at them. With his arm wrapped around Yaoyorozu’s shoulder, he looked perfectly content in his spot. “She’s right, Izuku. We’re happy to see our friends finally get together. It took you guys over two fucking decades to get your heads out of your asses.”

 

“Shut the fuck up, Icyhot,” Katsuki snapped. He hadn’t any bite in his words, and it made Izuku, Todoroki, and Iida all smirk, taking them back to high school. Izuku knocked into Katsuki’s side, and Katsuki turned his head from his plate to look Izuku in the eyes. His brow was furrowed, and Izuku could see the worry shrouding his lovely eyes. 

 

He bit his lip. “Kacchan, are you okay?” he whispered, not wanting to gather the attention of their friends.

 

“You don’t believe her, do you?”

 

Izuku quirked his head to the side. In his periphery, he saw the hula dancers in their grass skirts and the fire jugglers with their torches climbing on stage. The show was about to begin. “What do you mean?”

 

Katsuki looked down at the space between them, then cast his gaze down the table. “Himiko.”

 

Izuku nearly choked, but definitely gawked. It seemed almost insane--ludicrous that Katsuki would even believe Izuku could think something so grim. He loved Katsuki; he trusted Katsuki. “Kacchan,” he hissed. “You can’t- I mean, you- fuck, Kacchan, no. I don’t think you could ever hit me.”

 

“But it hurt earlier when we-”

 

Izuku slammed a hand over his mouth and cast his gaze to the side. Ochako and Iida had their eyes on the stage. He didn’t know whether Shouto and Yaoyorozu were watching them, but he wasn’t going to turn his head around and risk catching their attention. “Kacchan,” he whispered in a cool, calm voice. “I said I was okay with that. That was consensual, but if you want to know if I think you’d hurt me deliberately, outside of sex or anything consensual, then no, I don’t think you would.”

 

“Do you promise?” he asked, voice muffled by Izuku’s palm.

 

A smile tugged at Izuku’s lips, and he knew he was looking up at Katsuki with a little bit of pity, but for once, Katsuki didn’t seem to mind. The hand on Katsuki’s lips shifted to his cheek, brushing at the skin beneath his eyes. His eyes were beautiful, the most calming thing Izuku had ever seen. “Yeah, Kacchan,” he said. “I promise.”

 

Katsuki seemed to take that as an acceptable answer, looking down at his lap and nodding to himself. The show started, but Izuku didn’t watch it. The entire time the jugglers threw fire through the air, the entire time the hula dancers shook their hips, Izuku only watched Katsuki.

 

He was getting worse: more scared and more vulnerable. In the years Izuku had known him, he’d gone from an angry kid lashing out at the world, to the secretive, hard-to-reach man Izuku had met at a stripclub, to someone so scared of losing Izuku to the people who hated him that he’d started to lose all the gumption, all the fire that Izuku knew him for.

 

It scared him.



Chapter Text

Izuku drummed his fingers on the table, watching the performers juggle their fire and dance their hulas. It was interesting, but the timing wasn’t right. He couldn’t properly enjoy it with Katsuki staring discontentedly at the table. His hooded eyes were fixed within a scowl, and his lips pressed incredibly thin. He was picking at his nail beneath the table, Izuku could see, and it made him uneasy. 

 

Izuku looked around the tables, four or five set up in long vertical lines parallel to the stage. He could see Iida’s parents at the head of the farthest to his right, and a shock of red hair far down the table to Izuku’s left made him think that Todoroki Enji was there. The man had always been vocal of his displeasure over Touya and Izuku’s relationship. For him, Izuku was poor, altogether disadvantageous as a member of the family, and most importantly, male.

 

Izuku snorted to himself, finding it ironic that Mr. Todoroki seemed to have gotten exactly what he wanted at the same time Izuku got what he wanted. At least, the Bakugous seemed to be absent. 

 

He turned back towards the stage and watched curiously as a hulking man with tribal tattoos, grass and wooden accessories, appeared to juggle three torches in the air. He sighed. 

 

He needed to do something, fidget with something. His food was gone, and so were the desserts. Izuku sat up straight and looked off past the tables on his right to where the bar was. He pursed his lips, inhaled deeply, and tapped Katsuki on the shoulder.

 

Katsuki glanced back at him and leaned into his space as Izuku pushed closer. Izuku cupped his hand around his mouth and whispered into his ear. “Would you be fine if I go get a drink?”

 

Katsuki furrowed his brow and looked thoughtfully at the table. “You don’t have to ask me, Deku. Don’t be uncomfortable just because I can’t drink.”

 

“Well, I know that. But still, I don’t want you to feel left out, and-”

 

Katsuki turned back towards the performance. “Go get your drink,” he said, indifferent. Something uncomfortable churned in Izuku’s heart and stomach. Katsuki sounded like he didn’t care, which Izuku knew should be a good thing, but it wasn’t. He didn’t want Katsuki controlling him, but he didn’t want to feel like his lover didn’t care what he did, either. Izuku pressed his tongue to the roof of his mouth and sighed. He was overthinking it.

 

He had to be.

 

He climbed up from his chair and grabbed Katsuki’s head, pressing his forehead to the man’s scalp. “I’ll be right back,” he muttered, then rushed off down the table rows, not wanting to block anyone from the show. 

 

As he made his way to the bar, Izuku thought it almost odd how barren it was, save for one customer and the tender. He didn’t care much, though. It’d be easier getting his drink and getting back to the table before Katsuki started wondering where he was. 

 

Katsuki.

 

Izuku couldn’t help the gnawing at the back of his mind, feeling like something was wrong. The way Katsuki’s scowl had been deeper and more prominent throughout the night, the way he’d been crying earlier, and kept asking Izuku if he took Himiko, or Touya, or his own mother seriously. Izuku wanted to ask, wanted to pry, but they’d promised to be open with each other, and if Katsuki said there was nothing wrong, he needed to try and trust him. Asking now, nagging him for input, would only make things worse. 

 

Unfortunately, so did having to wallow in your own curiosity and doubt. 

 

He reached the bar, flagged down the bartender with a wave and a smile. “Tanqueray and Tonic, please.”

 

The bartender nodded his acknowledgement and turned towards the display of bottles behind him. Izuku leaned up against the counter and looked back towards the stage. It looked like the performers were nearly finished. He wondered what was planned after it.

 

“Are you a part of the wedding party?” 

 

Izuku quirked his brow and glanced down the bar, finding a sickly looking man sitting at the farthest stool. Long blonde hair stuck out in every which way, and his cheeks were sunken, his bones and sinew so noticeable beneath his thin layer of pale skin. Was he sick?

 

Izuku got the impression this might just be a man on a final trip before keeling over and dying. It was heartbreaking and Izuku then felt the obligation to humor him with a conversation. He nodded. “Yeah, I am.”

 

The man smiled. “Bride or groom?”

 

“Both,” Izuku said. The bartender sat his drink beside him, and Izuku took a swig. Glass in hand, he gravitated to the seat beside the man and hopped up. “But for the ceremony, the bride. I’m the ‘Man of Honor’.”

 

The man snorted. “That’s clever. That Uraraka girl sure is a spit-fire from what I hear. Iida really picked a good one.”

 

Izuku smiled and nodded, in complete agreement. But then it struck him that this man knew the wedding party, the bride and groom’s names. “Are you- you’re part of the wedding?”

 

The man nodded, took a sip of his water.

 

“Family friend of the Iidas,” he said. “My business did a promotion campaign with the Iida corporation when young Iida was a boy. He was pretty ecstatic about it. We’ve stayed in touch since then. I was thrilled to get an invitation. Part of me feels like my own son is getting married.”

 

Izuku smirked and took another sip of his drink. “I get that. I’ve been friends with Iida since highschool, and Ochako since college. I’m happy to see them getting married.”

 

“What’s your name, son?” 

 

“Midoriya.” Izuku extended his hand, which the other man grasped firmly and shook. “Midoriya Izuku.”

 

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, young Midoriya,” the man smiled. “I’m-”

 

“-I’M GONNA BREAK YOUR SKULL YOU FUCKING CUNT!” 

 

A cold shiver ran down Izuku’s spine. He jerked his head back towards the dining area at the sound of shattering glass, and fixed his eyes on Katsuki, his fingers locked around Touya’s throat, Touya lashing back at him. 

 

“Shit,” Izuku hissed, jumping up and sprinting. He’d find the man later and apologize, but there were three people trying to hold Katsuki back, and it didn’t seem to be working. Himiko was scratching at his hands, trying to pull Katsuki off of Touya, but there was a look in Katsuki’s eyes that made Izuku want to vomit. He wanted to purge his body of the anxiety it induced in him, purge his mind of the memory.

 

Uraraka was shouting, barking at both boys like she’d snap someone’s head off, and Ashido simply stood beside Katsuki whispering something in his ear. Izuku ran so fast he nearly collided with her, and grabbed onto Katsuki’s bicep in an instant. “Kacchan,” he said, his voice stern and sincere. Katsuki’s tense muscles faltered, but he didn’t relent. There was a murderous glint in his eyes. “Kacchan, let him go.”

 

Katsuki gritted his teeth. “He’s fucking scum… I’m gonna-”

 

“-You’re gonna do nothing, Kacchan,” Izuku snapped. “Put. Him. Down.” He squeezed his fingers into Katsuki’s flesh, and slowly, agonizingly, Katsuki released him. He blinked, knocked Touya to the ground and snarled at him. 

 

“Jesus, fuck, you’re insane,” Touya coughed from the grass, rubbing at his throat. There was blood dripping from his nose onto his lip, a gash on his forehead. Himiko kneeled beside him, rubbed his shoulder affectionately, and glared up at Katsuki. Then her eyes shifted to Izuku. “Told you he was insane.”

 

Izuku opened his mouth to refute her, but he choked. The words wouldn’t come out, but his eyes scanned the surrounding area. Iida, Todoroki, and Yaoyorozu looked so pained, like the very thing they feared had come to life--like the Katsuki from their past had come back full swing. Izuku looked to Uraraka, who thankfully glared down at Touya like he was the cause--not Izuku’s boyfriend--and Ashido rubbed at Katsuki’s arm in soothing motions.

 

The rest of the wedding party stared aghast at them, Shinsou with his jaw clenched tight, and Tokoyami looked like he’d expected this ending. Hagakure whistled and turned to Ojirou. “Holy fuck,” she whispered.

 

The knot in Izuku’s throat dissolved, and he looked back to Iida, scared that if he kept looking around the dining area, he’d see more ashamed faces. “We’re- I’m gonna take him home. Sorry, guys.”

 

His hand wrapped around Katsuki wrist, and he began to pull. Katsuki didn’t move at first, chest heaving and eyes locked on a retreating Touya. But when Izuku’s hand sunk from his wrist to his palm and interlaced their fingers, he started to move.

 

Izuku tried to get them out quickly. He didn’t want to see anyone’s faces, or feel more embarrassed than he already was. They’d been doing so well, so close to finishing the wedding and running off into oblivion together without a hitch, and now there’d be talk. Now it would be like the days after Izuku had beaten Monoma on Katsuki’s behalf, and people eyed him funnily in the halls. 

 

But this time was different. They were guests at a wedding, Izuku was employed by the groom’s family, and they couldn’t just make Katsuki hitting someone important go away. This was the real world, not high school where you could make mistakes and get away with it. Izuku wasn’t mad, but he was lost, embarrassed, and confused. He wanted answers, and he doubted Katsuki would give them to him.

 

On the ferry home, Izuku noticed the cut on Katsuki’s cheekbone, the discoloration beneath his eye. He’d gotten hit. 

 

Izuku would patch it up when they got home.

 


 

The door to the suite clicked shut, and it echoed as loud as a bomb. The silence between them was deafening, and Izuku wasn’t sure how to address it. Katsuki walked in front of him, down the entrance hall, and into the living area. He sat on the couch and leaned forward on his legs, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.

 

“Fuck,” he hissed to no one in particular.

 

Izuku shuffled his feet by the counter, worried his lip between his teeth. It was nearly impossible to keep his thoughts from spilling out, but he feared vocalizing them. What if he messed up?

 

What if he asked Katsuki about the outburst, and they got set back to square one? 

 

He didn’t want that. 

 

He ran for the bedroom, then rounded into the bathroom. He opened the cabinets, pulled out a bare-bones first aid kit left by the hotel, and ran back towards the living room. He was at the bedroom threshold when Katsuki appeared before him, blocking his path. Izuku stammered, surprised. “Um, I- I went to get a first aid kit. I was gonna bandage you up.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“Do you wanna come sit on the bed, Kacchan?” he asked, brushing his hands against Katsuki’s wrist and looking down on it. A bitter expression was on Katsuki’s face as Izuku guided him cautiously to the bed. 

 

He sat down, and Katsuki followed, before Izuku unzipped the fabric pouch and started removing items: gauze, disinfectant, q-tips. He poured some peroxide on a q-tip and lifted it to Katsuki’s face, dabbing the blood away from the cut. Katsuki’s eyes watched him intently, a hint of terror hidden inside. “Remember when I did this on our last New Year’s together? Although, that time was your foot.”

 

Katsuki’s lips curled slightly upward. “I didn’t walk right for two weeks.”

 

“Well, there was a lot of glass…”

 

“Thank you for that, by the way,” Katsuki said, slow and somber, which Izuku returned with a nod. And in the following silence, Izuku’s thoughts had the opportunity to once again gnaw at his mind. Reminiscing on the past didn’t do much to quell his worries anymore. 

 

“You’re upset.” Katsuki’s voice was broken, a quiver detectable on the last word. 

 

Izuku’s heart palpitated, his head felt heavy. It was too much, the conversation. He didn’t want to ruin things by being vocal, by agreeing. He didn’t want Katsuki to think he hated him, but he didn’t want to stay silent. They were trying to get better, so they needed to try and be better. “Kacchan, I’m- I’m upset, yes. But I’m not angry at you.”

 

Katsuki cast his eyes down to the comforter and inhaled a heavy breath. “Don’t do that.”

 

“Don’t- don’t do what?”

 

“Don’t spare my feelings, Deku,” he said, his voice so soft. He sounded like he was holding back tears, or a scream, or both. “I hit him first. He talked shit about you, and I lost it.”

 

“Kacch-”

 

“-Do you believe her?” He reached out for Izuku’s hand, squeezing it tight. The grasp was desperate, like he thought Izuku was planning to run. “Do you think I’m crazy?”

 

Izuku couldn’t take it, the pain and anguish in Katsuki’s voice and expression, the way he himself felt about all this. The anxiety was closing in on him, making him feel like everything was slipping through his fingers. The cut on Katsuki’s face was clean of blood now, and Izuku could see the layers of skin in the gash. He saw the purple beneath his eye and knew the black eye would be severe. He wanted to take that pain away, wanted to carry it all so Katsuki didn’t have to. 

 

He wanted to, but he’d done that before.

 

And it only ever hurt.

 

He brushed his spare hand against Katsuki’s jaw and cooed him into silence. Izuku’s eyes trailed over every detail of his face, every long eyelash and every stud in his ear. Izuku brushed his thumb over the scar on Katsuki’s jaw, and tutted to himself. “You’re not crazy, Kacchan. I’m just- I’m so confused. Why would you hit him?”

 

“He talked bad about you, Deku,” he hissed. “He called you sloppy seconds! I’m not going to just-”

 

“-you can’t do that, Kacchan.” Izuku pulled his hand from his and cupped the side of his face so that he had both hands forcing Katsuki to look at him. “You can’t hit people like that. No matter what Touya’s done, his father is an investor for the Iidas. I could lose my job.”

 

Katsuki’s expression twitched. He tried to pull away from Izuku’s grasp, but Izuku wasn’t letting go. “What did you expect me to do? Let him talk about you like that?” There was an edge in his voice, a new occurrence. Izuku didn’t like it. 

 

He tried to keep his voice steady, his expression calm. “Kacchan, we just need to get through the next few days, and then we can leave and not see them again, but I need you to behave.”

 

A pregnant pause filled the room. Katsuki’s eyes went wide, and then he laughed and pulled away from Izuku. “You need me to behave…” 

 

“Kacchan, you know what I-”

 

“-No I get it,” he said. “You do think I’m crazy.”

 

“No, Kacchan.”

 

“You think I’m violent, don’t you?”

 

“Kacchan-”

 

“-Are you afraid of me?”

 

“-Kacchan, stop !” His voice came out sterner than he’d expected; he had a dangerous tone, and Katsuki picked up on it. He clenched his jaw and looked at Izuku like he was going to break, like a gust of wind would knock him over. Izuku let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. “I would never be afraid of you,” he promised, reaching out to grab his hand. He interlocked their fingers, and Katsuki squeezed with a vengeance. “I love you more than anyone else on this planet. I just- I’m worried about you.”

 

Katsuki furrowed his brows and looked down at the tile. “Worried?”

 

“You’re acting out,” Izuku admitted. “You’ve started--or almost started--two fights today, you keep asking me if I think you’ll hurt me, and you thought I left you for good when I went to talk with your father this morning, and I just-”

 

“-you talked to my dad?”

 

His hand yanked away from Izuku’s, and he wasn’t holding back eye contact now. He stared at him with fear and anger, two emotions battling inside him like they couldn’t pick just one to take charge. “I- well, yeah,” Izuku admitted. “He wanted to talk to me about how to-”

 

Katsuki snorted, cruel in its tone. “How to get me back into the family? How to ruin my life?”

 

“How to apologize, Kacchan,” Izuku hissed. “He wants to apologize to you for never standing up on your behalf. He used me as a dry run.”

 

“W- what?”

 

Izuku closed his eyes and inhaled. He pressed his fingers to his temples and tried to center his breathing, his heart hurting in his chest from all the pain radiating off of Katsuki. He wanted to fix it, but he didn’t know how. “Kacchan, what is going on? We were doing so good.”

 

“We are doing good, Deku.”

 

“No, we’re not. You’re bottling something up, and it’s stressing you out. You hurt Touya. You-”

 

“-I wouldn’t have to hurt him if you’d just stand up for yourself.” The words left Katsuki in a heated flurry. The bed shifted beside him, and Katsuki was on his feet, towering over Izuku with panic in his eyes. “You- you don’t try to stop him from talking shit about you! You just let him walk all over you still, and I’m trying to get it to stop because you won’t!”

 

Izuku’s mouth gaped, his lips curving downward in a frown. He climbed to his feet, stood straight so that their chests were centimeters apart, feeling Katsuki’s breath on his cheek. “You’re the same, Kacchan. You don’t have a right to say that about me.”

 

Katsuki snorted. “The fuck do you mean by that?”

 

“I mean,” Izuku started, struggling to keep his cool. He refused to yell, refused to give in to the dark desire to shout, and scream, and cry. He wanted to handle this calmly. He wanted them to handle the situation and move on. “I mean you don’t stand up for yourself, either. You say you’ve healed a lot over the years, that you’ve worked on your issues with Himiko and your mom, and I know it still hurts, but you can’t even stand up against them. You freeze up, and I do the talking.”

 

“That’s not fucking fair, Deku. They abused-”

 

“-I WAS ABUSED, TOO,” he snapped. It sounded so aggressive, so royally pissed off. It hurt him to say, like he was discounting Katsuki’s issues, but it hurt him more to leave it at that. He needed to explain. “We’re both victims, Kacchan. I know how fucking hard it is, but I’ve learned from experience that me constantly assuring you that I don’t believe your mom, or Himiko, or anyone else, isn’t going to stop you from believing you’re a bad person. You need to learn that for yourself.”

 

Katsuki blinked, and his eyes came back glossy, devastated. He tried to curl his lip up, fake a smirk, or a sneer, or something to hide how broken he was; it didn’t work. He sniffled, and lifted his hand to rub at his eye. Izuku didn’t blink when the hand came close to his face, didn’t move an inch, because he didn’t want Katsuki to think he was flinching. If that happened, Katsuki would think Izuku believed he was bad, and it would all be over. “I’m trying, Deku. It’s not easy to-”

 

“-Kacchan, I’m aware it’s not easy. It’s why I’m not mad.” He tried to grab the hand fisted at Katsuki’s side. The moment his fingers brushed the flesh, Katsuki pulled back.

 

“Did we start this too early?”

 

Izuku didn’t say anything. 

 

The question surprised him, but hurt him worse than any poisonous jab from his ex. This was- Katsuki was the first person he ever loved, and the only person he’d give anything for. 

 

And he was asking if they should really be together right now.

 

Izuku felt his heartstrings snap, felt the agony of being tossed aside once more. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he wouldn’t stop watching Katsuki as they trailed down his cheeks to pool at his chin and drop to the floor. 

 

The moment their existence registered with Katsuki, he stepped forward with a ravenous fear and lifted his coarse thumb to swipe away the tears. His touch was so tender, so warm and loving. Izuku couldn’t wrap his head around it, around how loving Katsuki was after asking if they should never have been together in the first place. “Don’t cry, Deku,” he whispered. “It’s just a question.”

 

“A question about if we should break up…”

 

“I don’t want to,” Katsuki whispered. His lips were so close to Izuku’s, and Izuku wanted them. He wanted to feel the warmth of them on his mouth, the feeling of Katsuki’s hands stroking up and down his sides. He wanted to be comforted by the same person breaking his heart. “We’re both so broken, Deku. Maybe we pushed this too fast; we’re not done healing.”

 

“Kacchan, we’ll never be done healing,” Izuku hissed, reaching forward to grab him by the collar. “If not now, when? Why can’t we heal together?”

 

Katsuki smiled down at him so warmly, so affectionately. His hand stroked Izuku’s cheek, and Izuku leaned into it. He needed Katsuki to know he loved him; he needed Katsuki to know he wanted him to stay. Warm, wet lips pressed against his, moved so softly, so slowly. They tasted like Katsuki and a hint of coconut. Izuku could get high off the taste, off the feeling of Katsuki pressed so close against him. Eyes shut, he savored it. He wallowed in it.

 

When Katsuki pulled away, Izuku tried to chase his lips. When they didn’t hit anything, he opened his eyes and looked up into Katsuki’s teary gaze. His lips were pressed tight, like he was doing the hardest thing he’d ever have to do. “I’m- I’m gonna stay with Pinky tonight, Deku. We need time to think.”

 

He let go of Izuku, though the movements were stiff and stuttered. He took one step back, then another. He was at the bedroom door by the time Izuku’s heart started pounding and he realized what was happening. He stepped forward, but his legs were shaking. 

 

His whole body was shaking.

 

“You-” he quivered, squeezing his fists tight. He couldn’t see Katsuki through the tears--there were too many. “You can’t leave whenever it gets hard on you, Kacchan. That’s not how a relationship works.”

 

“I’m not leaving because it’s hard on me,” Katsuki whispered from the doorway. His back was facing Izuku, and Izuku could see how his shoulders tensed. Even from behind, he looked tortured. “I’m leaving ‘cause it’s hard on you.”

 

He closed the door behind him. Izuku sunk to the ground, curled up in the foetal position, and focused on the feeling of his tears falling down the curves of his face. 

 

He was living a nightmare.



Chapter Text

Izuku pursed his lips and pressed his pencil to his cupid’s bow. He tried to balance it, wiggling his head to keep the object steady. It wasn’t a productive way to be spending his night, but it beat what he’d been intending to do.

 

He really, really, did not want to study anymore. He knew he had to, knew he’d regret it the day of his final admission test if he didn’t. That’s why he’d decided to stay home that Saturday night and study, even if half that time was wasted finding other things to do rather than crack the books and practice formulas.

 

The pencil fell. Izuku groaned and rolled his eyes, reaching to the carpet to pick it up. He set it back down on his desk and looked at the practice problems on his computer screen. Calculus, geometry… The test for Tokyo University was insanely difficult. He needed to have those formulas memorized if he was going to get in. The thought of being the only one not to, the only one of his friends not accepted, was a nightmare. He could imagine Iida, Todoroki, and Katsuki milling around the campus, getting coffee and studying without him, and it was enough to make him want to cry.

 

Izuku had to get in.

 

He had to find a good major, a good job. He had to make himself someone who could finally keep up with his friends’ extravagance, and it all started with getting accepted to the best school in Tokyo.

 

Izuku pinched the bridge of his nose, rubbed the corners of his eyes, and saw in his periphery his phone screen come to life with Todoroki’s name. The sound of buzzing filled Izuku’s ears, and then he was reaching for the phone like it was a lifeline.

 

In a way, it was. Izuku would die being cooped up studying any longer. Getting a call was like being tossed a life preserver. He swiped the phone and held it to his ear. When the line connected, he heard heavy breathing and shouting in the background. “Hello?”

 

“Hey! Deku!” Katsuki slurred against the line, his voice heavy and disjointed. “Whaddya doin’? Why’re you not here?”

 

“Kacchan? How’d you get Todoroki’s phone?”

 

Katsuki hiccupped. “Borrowed it. He was busy swappin’ spit with Yaomomo,” he grunted. Then, “Why Ain’tchu here, Deku?”

 

Izuku looked back to the computer screen and pursed his lips. “I’m studying,” he said. “The exam is next week. I gotta be ready for it.”

 

“Why? You’re gonna get in.” Katsuki said it like it was a fact, like saying the sun goes down at night, or that people needed oxygen to breathe. A soft pang shot through Izuku’s heart, and he felt warm. “You’re the smartest outta all o’ us, Deku! You’re overworkin’ yourself, so come see me.” His voice went quiet, like he didn’t know if he should say it: “I miss you.”

 

Izuku clenched his jaw. He looked to his bedroom door, then the computer, and sighed down at the floor. He needed to study. He needed to study, but he couldn’t shake his mind of those words. Izuku knew he was stupid to read too much into them, to think that there was anything besides friendship in Katsuki’s tone. 

 

But even if Katsuki just missed Izuku’s company, and not in the way Izuku wanted, it was fine. Izuku was fine with it, because what he really wanted was a pipe dream, and he’d prefer having Katsuki in any way as opposed to none at all. 

 

There was shuffling on the other line, static and odd noises. A loud shout and the sound of Katsuki spitting swears and insults nearly shattered his eardrums. “Hey, Midoriya.” Todoroki sighed over the line, seemingly exhausted. “What are you doing right now?”

 

“Studying, Todoroki. I’m studying.”

 

“Right, yeah. The test.”

 

“Is Kacchan okay? He sounds…” Izuku trailed off, not sure how to explain it. Katsuki sounded like he was whining, like he was needy. He slurred his words worse than Izuku could remember, and Izuku’s nights had been disrupted by a drunk Katsuki more than a few dozen times over the past two years. 

 

“He sounds like a baby,” Todoroki grunted over the speaker. “He’s been shifting between crying over you, threatening to fight everyone, and breaking shit all night. The party host has started keeping tabs on all the things Katsuki will need to replace.”

 

“He’s been crying over me?”

 

“God, yeah.” Todoroki said without missing a beat. “He says he doesn't ‘want to give you up’, whatever that means.”

 

Izuku quirked his brow and pursed his lips. It didn’t make any sense, but Katsuki was drunk, so reading too much into it wasn’t a mistake Izuku wanted to make. He looked down at the notebook on his desk and shut his eyes, finally letting his urges take control over his actions. “Text me the address, Todoroki. I’ll come get him.”

 

He hung up, put on his coat while he waited for the incoming text, and headed for the door. It was funny, Izuku thought, that in four years of high school, in the three years that Katsuki’s partying had escalated, Izuku never felt inconvenienced by being the one to pick him up from parties, help him stumble home and put him to bed.

 

It had never been a burden taking care of him, but Izuku supposed that was just love at work.

 


 

  The party was in a field this time, but somehow still exuded the same frivolity that any mansion party did. Fancy, expensive sports cars and convertibles littered the grassy fields, all pointed towards the tree-high bonfire set ablaze in the center of the ruckus. It was cool outside, the middle of March. Buds on the trees blurred to nothing by the dark of night, but the moon was full and Izuku attributed that to the wild behavior he could see near the fire’s base. 

 

As he got closer, and the warmth of the fire thawed his frozen face, he stuck his hands in his pockets and looked around. Billboard Top 100 played over the speakers of one kid’s truck, and there was a keg far in the distance. Foldable tables had been adorned with drinking games, and couples danced around the firelight. It was a typical high school party, but there was a distinct lack of Katsuki’s loud, antagonistic voice.

 

Izuku searched, walked around the fire until he found Todoroki and Yaoyorozu lying in lawn chairs on the other side, hands interlocked with Yaoyorozu’s head on Todoroki’s shoulder. She was sleeping, her clothes wrinkled and her makeup smeared, and Todoroki looked down at her like she were the greatest treasure he had ever had within his reach. The corners of Izuku’s mouth curled upward, and he cut the distance from the fire to the pair, Todoroki’s eyes drifting to meet him. “Hey.”

 

Izuku nodded his greeting. “How’s the party?”

 

“It’s alright,” Todoroki shrugged, trying not to move enough to wake Yaoyorozu. “It’s not as wild as some of them, though.”

 

“I expected to be coming to a house. What could Kacchan break out here?”

 

“Headlights, car door mirrors, and the dock to the lake.”

 

“What?” Izuku hissed, crouching down beside his chair. “How do you break a dock?”

 

Todoroki shrugged, and looked past Izuku’s shoulder towards the tree line. When he looked back at him, he looked more somber. If Izuku wasn’t mistaken, he almost looked concerned. “After he did it, he snatched my phone and ran off to call you. He’s acting up more than usual, Midoriya.”

 

“Do you know why?”

 

Todoroki shrugged. “Could be because we’re about to graduate. Maybe he’s scared of the future. Either way, though, I think he just wants to see you.”

 

“Me?”

 

“You’re all he talks about when he’s drunk.” Todoroki nodded towards the tree line and looked back down at Izuku. “He’s sleeping under a tree over there. You should spend some time with him, then take him back home. He stays here any longer, he won’t even get out of bed for graduation tomorrow.”

 

Izuku hummed and nodded, his eyes glancing over at a sleeping Yaoyorozu before going back up to Todoroki. “You guys are cute, by the way,” he said. Todoroki dropped his head atop hers. “I’m glad y’all got together. She’s good for you.”

 

Todoroki released a contented sigh and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I’m glad I confessed to her.” Izuku stared at the couple with a smile and a clenched jaw, trying to mask the envy he held for not being able to do the same. Todoroki fixed his heavy, heterochromatic eyes on him and lowered his voice to a soft, emotionally charged whisper. “Even if it’s scary, sometimes you have to make the jump, or you’ll never know what’s on the other side.”

 

Izuku’s neck felt hot and his hands sweated in his pockets. He wondered half-heartedly if that last message was secretly for him, if Todoroki had guessed his love for Katsuki, or if Izuku was just reading too far into it. But his heart was beating in his ears, and Izuku didn’t want to think about what he could or couldn’t do. He just wanted to find Katsuki and monopolize the remainder of his night.

 

Izuku climbed back up onto his feet when his cheeks started to burn. He said his goodbyes to Todoroki and a sleeping Yaoyorozu, then stomped across the frosty grass fields, savoring the crunch of the weeds beneath his boots. 

 

He didn’t know what he was expecting to see when he arrived at the tree line. He thought maybe Katsuki would be sleeping peacefully against the trunk of an oak tree. He also somewhat expected to hear couples fucking just beyond the shrubbery. What he did not expect was to find Katsuki lying in a fetal position in a pool of his own vomit, pants unbuckled and halfway off his ass. 

 

He was cold, shivering, and Izuku looked up at the bright moon and sighed pathetically. He centered his mind and crouched beside Katsuki’s side, observing the damage. There was bile on his lips, and Izuku—God, love made him do disgusting things—wiped it off with his jacket sleeve, then rubbed the sleeve on the grass. “Kacchan,” he whispered. “It’s time to get up.”

 

Katsuki grunted and rubbed his head against the grass. Then, as if smelling the vomit beneath him, scrunched his nose and opened his eyes, resting them on Izuku. “Deku,” he hummed. “Whaddya doin’ here?”

 

“You called me,” he said, smiling softly. “Remember? You said you missed me and wanted me to come see you?”

 

Katsuki squeezed his eyes closed and snorted. “Drunk me knows what it wants.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Nothin’,” he groaned. “Deku, is this vomit?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Gross.” 

 

Izuku helped Katsuki up against the nearest tree, then sacrificed his scarf to wipe the bile from his cheek. Katsuki’s hooded red eyes watched him calculatingly as he did it, and Izuku felt his ears burn. “What’re you staring at me for?” Izuku mumbled, flicking a chunk of indiscernible food off his chin. 

 

Katsuki shrugged heavy limbs and looked down at the grass. “I dunno, what else am I gonna look at?”

 

“Are you feeling okay?”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

 

“You sure? What did you even do to yourself?” Izuku asked, looking down at Katsuki’s clothes. Remembering Katsuki’s unbuttoned jeans, Izuku blushed and cleared his throat. Slowly, awkwardly, he fumbled with the button and zipper to the sound of Katsuki’s ‘had to take a piss’ comment. 

 

Izuku felt awkward with his hands on the lining of Katsuki’s pants. In the dark recesses of his bedroom, in the early hours of the morning, Izuku had wondered what was beneath those jeans and red boxers. He had wondered how big it would be, what it would be like to touch it, hold it in his hand or in his mouth. He wondered what it would be like having it stretch him open, making him-

 

“Deku?”

 

Izuku popped the button in its loop and hopped back onto his feet. Face feeling hot, he extended his hands and waited for Katsuki to grab them. “C’mon, Kacchan.”

 

Large hands wrapped around his, hot and sweaty. “Where’re we goin’?” Katsuki asked, climbing back onto his feet. He grabbed onto Izuku’s shoulder to steady himself and dipped down to look him in the eye. Izuku could smell the bile on his breath, the stale alcohol on his clothes, but it still smelled comforting to him. 

 

“Wanna go to the park?”

 


 

The park was lodged in between Katsuki and Izuku’s respective streets, consisting of a swing set, monkey bars, and a jungle gym. The bright plastic had faded to dull reds and blues, looking nothing like the land of adventure the two had considered it to be in their childhood. But even if the play equipment was old and beat down, even if the rusted swings squeaked every time a gust of wind hit it, Izuku loved that park.

 

He had met Katsuki there long ago. It seemed more like a dream than a memory, the edges foggy but the main plot intact. Izuku always found it funny how people always said they perfectly remembered the moment they found their true love, because for him, it was hard to remember whether it was spring, summer, or fall. He didn’t remember what he or Katsuki wore, or what games they played. When he thought back to meeting the boy that stole his heart, he only remembered shining red eyes and an infectious smile. He remembered a soft, sweaty hand, but nothing else. Because nothing that day was as important as the characteristics he came to attribute to the only person he wanted to be with.

 

Meeting true love isn’t like a photograph; you can’t pick out the insignificant details like a picture can. When you meet someone you want to give your world to, you only remember them.  

 

And Izuku knew that well.

 

Katsuki stumbled over to the swingset on the far side of the park, the benches where the mothers always sat to watch the kids play just behind them. Izuku felt the chilly breeze hit the back of his neck and shivered. One foot in front of the other, he followed Katsuki and took a seat on the swing beside him.

 

Katsuki stared down at the woodchips beneath his feet, his eyes sad and cloudy. Izuku looked up at the moon, listened to the inconsistent traffic in the distance, and hummed quietly to himself. The tune was an old one, a song his mother would sing to him before bed when he was young. He didn’t know why that was the melody he decided to follow.

 

Maybe it was nostalgia.

 

“Auntie used to sing that,” Katsuki said quietly. Izuku looked over at him, but Katsuki hadn’t moved his gaze from the ground. 

 

Izuku smiled softly. “You remember it?”

 

Katsuki nodded slowly, and his fingers tightened around the swing chains. “I remember the first time I ran over to your apartment and demanded to spend the night. We were nine, your mom was at work, and we laid in your bed talking until midnight. I wouldn’t fucking tell you why I was upset, but you didn’t force me. Just hummed that stupid song until I fell asleep.”

 

Izuku pursed his lips. “Not stupid if you’ve remembered it after nine years.”

 

Katsuki snorted lightly and shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t offer a quip, or a sarcastic comment. It felt peculiar, like Katsuki wasn’t himself. He hadn’t been acting right for a few weeks now, but asking why seemed futile. Every time Izuku and their friends tried, Katsuki would change the conversation the minute he sensed someone was about to ask. 

 

Izuku aggravated his lip. “Why were you so upset back then?”

 

“My mom.”

 

“And,” Izuku tried. “Why are you so upset now?”

 

The question weighed down the mood, turned it sour and far more serious. Katsuki’s grip on the swing was knuckle white, but when Katsuki finally looked up from the ground to find Izuku’s face, he didn’t bare the dark expression Izuku expected. He smiled sadly. The curl of his tight lips looked as strained at the pain in his eyes. “Have you ever been in love, Deku?”

 

Suddenly the spring didn’t feel so cold, and the blood rushing to Izuku’s face, turning it scarlet, filled him with warmth akin to a heat wave. He choked up, and then quickly averted his eyes to his boots. “I haven’t.”

 

Lies.

 

“Oh, well if you did- if you could imagine, um, just- just fucking loving someone so much more than yourself,” he said. Izuku breathed deeply through his nostrils, trying not to think too hard on the implications of Katsuki’s question. He didn’t want to hear him talk about love. Not when it wasn’t about him. “But being with them meant losing the life you’ve ever known, would you do it?”

 

Would Izuku give his world for Katsuki? Yes. Izuku had worked so hard to get into a prestigious high school, to get into a high-ranking college and improve his standing, but he’d throw that all away for Katsuki.

 

“Yes. Absolutely.”

 

Katsuki snorted. “You answered pretty quickly for someone who’s never been in love…”

 

“Well, I was thinking hypothetically,” Izuku mumbled, squeezing his hands in his pockets and trying not to blush bright enough for Katsuki to see. It might have been dark out, but even in the pitch-black night, Izuku worried his face was hot enough to notice.

 

Katsuki’s smile fell, and he looked back down. “I can’t give them the life they deserve… I’m no good.”

 

“You’re the best,” Izuku said without missing a beat. “You’re a great man, Kacchan. Don’t talk about yourself like that.”

 

“…thanks, Deku.” Izuku heard the shifting fabric of Katsuki’s coat, then the sharp squeaks of the swing. Wood chips crunched beneath Katsuki’s shoes, and then Izuku was shifting with the weight of Katsuki’s hands when he grabbed at the chains of Izuku’s swing.

 

Katsuki hovered above him, his hot breath hitting Izuku’s forehead, his somber red eyes looking intently into Izuku’s. The night was cold but being so close to Katsuki made him feel hot. Being with him like this felt like heaven. The words Izuku so desperately wanted to say tickled his tongue. 

 

He needed to come clean. If Katsuki was talking about love, Izuku needed to admit it before Katsuki went after the person he was talking about. He needed Katsuki to consider him. 

 

He needed Katsuki to love him.

 

“I’m gonna head home, Deku. There’s-” Katsuki closed his eyes and sighed. Suddenly, he knocked his forehead against Izuku’s and breathed out against his cheek. It smelled horrible, alcohol and bile on his breath, but it still caused Izuku’s heart to palpitate. “I gotta do some t hinking.”

 

Say it, Izuku, He ordered himself as Katsuki pulled away and released the swing. 

 

Don’t let him get away, he demanded as Katsuki spun on his heels and started his exit. 

 

Izuku bit his lip, then opened his mouth and choked. The sound was strangled, and Katsuki looked over his shoulder at him. “Kacchan!” he said, so much pent up need in his voice. Katsuki quirked his brow, waiting for him to continue. Izuku’s lips bobbed, he tried to say it, to say he loved him more than air, or shelter, or life. “Kacchan, I- I-”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Izuku pressed his eyes closed and squeezed his fists. “I’ll come pick you up for graduation tomorrow. Please don’t sleep in.”

 

Katsuki gave him a gentle, crooked smile and a quick nod. “Sure,” he said, turning back around and heading for the park entrance. Izuku felt a tear trickle down his cheek and released the shakiest of breaths. He rubbed his eyes and shook his head. “It’s okay, Izuku. You can tell him tomorrow. Right after graduation.”

 

But when he woke up the next morning, when he got dressed in his graduation gown and sprinted over to Katsuki’s, knocked on the door with the full intention of facing Katsuki with his feelings that day, he was met in the foyer with a somber-faced Masaru and a sour Mitsuki. Katsuki was gone they said, and he wasn’t coming back.

 

No matter how many celebrations proceeded the end of his high school career, they couldn’t mask the gaping wound in his heart. And nothing in the eight years that followed ever did.



Chapter Text

Blood trickled from the corner of Katsuki’s thumb, but he bit at it anyways. The thin veil of pain was the only thing keeping him grounded, his anxiety making pictures out of the shadows cast by the dim light of the hallway. He cleared his throat, squeezed his eyes shut and knocked his head back against the door. Opening his eyes, he saw the number 423 written in a fancy, golden cursive. 

 

Ashido wasn’t back from the luau yet, and he didn’t know when she would be. She was the only person on this island who he could talk to, the only one to understand what was happening to him. He needed her; he needed to talk to someone.

 

He wondered what Izuku was doing, how he was coping with Katsuki leaving again. Katsuki knew it hurt him, knew the consequences of running off, but it was the only thing that made sense. How could he be there for Izuku, give him the life that Touya couldn’t give him, if he ran the risk of hurting him? If there was a possibility that Katsuki really was bad, and the man Toga had said he was, he couldn’t be with him. 

 

His parents believed it; people who’d just met Katsuki could read the anger and aggression on him, so where was the jump in expecting him to hurt someone?

 

There wasn’t one.

 

His palms felt sweaty. He clamped his teeth against his thumbnail and found himself at a nub. There wasn’t anything left to bite, to focus on. He looked down that hallway and watched the flowers in the wallpaper bleed together. Water lilies and hibiscus fused, pinks and reds mixing and dancing in his tired, red eyes. He clenched his teeth, pinching his lip between, and squeezed his eyes closed. He felt his eyelashes brush the top of his cheek, and large tears fall down to the sharp edge of his jaw. The pain inside his heart was visceral, hurt like his head cracking against the curb of the gutters where he spent his early adulthood. It hurt worse than the first needle he stuck between his index and forefinger, or the pain of waking up from the euphoria it brought him.

 

“Fuck,” he hissed, dropping his head in his hands and digging his palms into his eyes. It burnt, but it felt right. He couldn’t see the world that way, and somehow that made him feel better. 

 

He needed Izuku. 

 

He’d always needed him, but he needed him most right now. And what killed him is that he would be here if Katsuki hadn’t fucked everything up--if he hadn’t walked out, or sent the first punch to Touya’s nose. It would have been better if Izuku didn’t leave to get a fucking drink was the thought that echoed in the back of his mind. 

 

He knew that was wrong, an intrusive thought he didn’t want. But he’d already thought it, though, and it was funny how the single echo of the word ‘drink’ made him crumble. Suddenly, there was a gnawing at his throat, a phantom taste on his tongue. If he had tequila right now, he’d be happy. If he downed a bottle of fireball he’d be the life of the party until someone said something foul and he’d sink into a concoction of depression and fury. 

 

Somehow, that, and the swollen knuckles that accompanied it, sounded better than mourning Izuku, the sunshine smile that made his living horror show worthwhile. Another pang shot through his heart, but this one traveled up to his mind with a vibration that sounded a lot like ‘drink something’, and he was hurting. 

 

There was a bar downstairs. There was nothing saying he couldn’t head down there, order five shots, and gulp them all down on his own.

 

It was so easy, but his hands had developed minds of their own that came in handy when his head went off the deep end. Every time he craved the bitter taste of liquor, his hands went to his pocket, his fingers wrapped around his phone, and he pulled it out and scrolled through his contacts. His index finger would make the decision of pressing the ‘call’ button, and he’d listen to the dial tone before Aizawa’s voice hit his eardrum. 

 

“Hello?”

 

“H-hey,” Katsuki hissed over the receiver, his voice as ghostly quiet as the dripping of the faucets in the bathrooms where he spent his withdrawals. 

 

“Katsuki? What’s going on?”

 

He bit down on his lip and stared at the carpet threads between his legs. “I… I got in a fight-” His exhale was heavy, trembling. “And I left Izuku. There’s a bar downstairs, and- and I-”

 

“Where are you?” There was the clinking of something in the background, and Aizawa’s tense concern at the forefront. “Do you have someone with you?”

 

“N-no. Aizawa, I-” His lip quivered. He watched as a tear fell onto the carpet and turned the maroon carpet blood-red. “I let go of the best thing I ever had.”

 

Why would you do that? I thought you guys figured that shit out?”

 

“Me too, but- but, fuck, his ex was there! He called Deku sloppy seconds, said he was the kind of guy who kept your cock warm, but you don’t fuck them for anything other than that, and I- goddamnit, I hit him!”

 

“Well, it’s not the ideal circumstance, but-”

 

“-Toga told Deku I’m crazy, and he apologized on my behalf. We went back to the hotel, but I- he said I put his job at risk, and that I can’t just hit people, and-” He barked out a hysterical laugh and knocked his head back against the door. “And I fucking realize I am the person Toga said I was. I’ll hurt him, just like I hurt her, and-”

 

-Katsuki! ” Aizawa’s voice was stern, like he wasn’t going to keep listening if this was how Katsuki was going to talk. And the fear of losing him, one of the few people he felt safe to talk to, made him shut his mouth. He’d just let go of one; he didn’t want to lose another. “You did not hurt Toga! I mean, do you really think you did? After three years?”

 

Katsuki laughed, wet and scared. He sniffled into the receiver and shook his head. “I- I don’t know! How can I be sure? How can you be so sure? Even my parents don’t believe I’m innocent. They think I’m trash! My own mother never wanted me!”

 

“I don’t give a shit what your mother wanted, Katsuki,” Aizawa snapped. “ Listen to me very clearly. There is a world of people who love you, who trusts you, and want you in their life: myself, Ashido, Kirishima, Kaminari, and Sero. Hizashi’s been asking about you, too. He wants to know when you’ll come to dinner with us again. And then- what about Izuku?” 

 

Katsuki bit his lip. “What about him?

 

“Well, do you really feel good letting him go? Is that what you want? What he agreed to?”

 

“No... but it’s what’s best for him! If he’s not with me, then- then I won’t hurt him, and-” Katsuki rubbed his cheek and sighed. “I can’t live with hurting him, Aizawa. Not again.”

 

So, what do you call this?”

 

Katsuki’s held his breath, blinking once and feeling fresh tears trail down his cheek. What did he call this? Security? Thinking ahead? 

 

Protecting the person who mattered most to him? 

 

“Maybe your parents never saw it, but you’re important to so many people. You’ve got a family who wants you to succeed, so do you really want to break that? To go down to that bar and wallow in a drink that’s just going to feel good as long as you stay buzzed?”

 

“Can’t stop feeling good if I don’t stop drinking.”

 

Katsuki!”

 

Katsuki sniffed and brushed the back of his hand against his eyes. “No,” he muttered.

 

“Listen, Katsuki,” Aizawa said. “ I’m not the one who can tell you what to do with your life. I’m just supposed to keep you from relapsing, but I need you to understand that Izuku? He doesn’t want you to let go; do you? Do you really want to give that up?”

 

A pregnant silence filled the speaker, and all Katsuki could hear was the rush of blood in his ears and his own heavy breathing. He knotted his fingers in his hair and pulled, before shaking his head. “It doesn’t matter, does it? He might believe in me, but I don’t. I- I can’t. How do I believe in myself when all the people who were supposed to believe in me think I’m trash? They say the only person you need is you, but it’s easier to get shit done with a stadium of supporters screaming your name than just you shouting at yourself in the mirror.”

 

A huff echoed on the speaker. “ That’s some analogy, isn’t it? You come up with that by yourself?”

 

“Fuck off.”

 

Well, the short answer is that I don’t know. The only thing I’m certain of, though, is that you need to make peace with the past. Five years ago, ‘Zashi watched paramedics stab me with Narcan in a gas station bathroom, and now I’m helping him put up a godawful Christmas tree in our living room.

 

“The point is you can’t change who you were in the past, but if you ask yourself right now: Would I hurt Izuku if given the chance, and your answer is no--and if you’re disgusted by the thought of it--then I think you have a pretty good idea of what kind of person you are.”

 

Silence rippled in Katsuki’s ears; it consumed him. He felt the beat of his heart--steady like a drum--but so soft, so broken. He looked down at his free hand, the calloused and scarred palm, and the idea of striking Izuku with it made him want to throw up. Right now, he knew he wouldn’t touch Izuku save for brushing his fingers against his jaw, lightly guiding him into a kiss. He’d caress him, hold him securely in his arms, but not hit him.

 

But what about in the future?

 

It was an intrusive thought Katsuki couldn’t shake, because right now, he was sober; sober Katsuki wouldn’t do something like that, but a wasted, high off his ass Katsuki was different. He was brutal, argumentative. Katsuki remembers only fighting people that attacked him first, and not hurting people he cared about.

 

But he wasn’t in his right mind then. There were nights he couldn’t remember, nights he didn’t want to remember. So who was to say he’d never hurt Toga? He couldn’t trust his own memory, after all.

 

And what if he did it again?

 

“But-” Bright floral prints flashed in Katsuki’s periphery and he jerked his head to observe the end of the hall. Ashido had a heavy stride, her shoulders slumped. She seemed tired, but the smile on her face looked like she’d enjoyed her night. That is, until her cheerful expression dropped at the sight of Katsuki.

 

Her steps quickened.

 

“Ashido is back,” Katsuki hissed into the receiver. “I’ll call you back later.”

 

No drinking. Okay?”

 

“Okay.” Katsuki pressed the ‘end call’ button and sat his phone on the carpet beside him. He looked up the instant Ashido bent into a squat beside him. Her pink curls had fallen in her eyes--clearly she hadn’t used enough hairspray--and her eyeshadow was smeared. The smile she fixed on Katsuki was considerate, as was her touch when she brushed her thumb against Katsuki’s tears. 

 

He leaned into it. It wasn’t as warm as Izuku’s, but it still belonged to someone who loved him. In a sense, he needed her just as much as him. “What happened?” 

 

Katsuki’s lip quivered, as his glossy eyes looked at her like she was an angel. Slowly, he pushed off the chair and dropped his head against her chest. His hands snaked around her middle, and he gripped her tighter. “I left him.”

 

He felt her tense, but that was okay. It was a shock; she was allowed to tense up, and the hand that fell on the back of his head to massage his scalp told him he wasn’t in trouble. “Why?”

 

“If I stayed, I’d end up hurting him.”

 

“You know that’s not true.”

 

“Do I?” Katsuki laughed. Ashido was so warm, so comforting. He thought he could fall asleep then and there, if his heart didn’t ache so bad for the love of his life. “I don’t actually remember half of what happened when I was high or wasted. I could’ve actually hurt her, and I didn’t even love her. I love Izuku, and I couldn’t live with myself if I ended up hurting him.”

 

He felt Ashido bury her face in his hair, and the hot exhale against his scalp. He held her firmly in his arms and let his tears fall against her flesh. She didn’t stop him, just sighed and let her lips vibrate against him. “Let’s go to bed, okay? We can talk in the morning.”

 


 

Morning came; morning went. The sheets were too soft, the comforter too warm, and Katsuki’s eyelids were too heavy to open. He heard Ashido roam around the room for hours, leave, come back, and Katsuki still couldn’t find the energy to wake up. Maybe the pain had worn him down to the bone, or maybe sleep was as good a deterrent as any from finding the nearest local drug dealer, or raiding the mini fridge for the travel size vodka bottles. 

 

His fingers bunched in the sheets, and searched for Ashido--for human warmth. Ashido, Kirishima, Kaminari and Sero had always been his source of comfort and human affection when he’d get too close to breaking, too close to relapse. He’d curl up with one of them in private. They’d thread their fingers through his hair and let him cry. A teenage Katsuki would hate him for the weakness of needing another, but adult Katsuki depended on their loving reassurances to stay sane.

 

He was so afraid of being alone.

 

Of being a monster.

 

Of being unwanted.

 

Ashido wasn’t there--not at first. Then he felt a dip in the bed and the warm brush of fingers against his ear, tucking his hair away. Katsuki grumbled at the touch, grumbled at how it woke him, but chased the feeling when it dissolved.

 

Slowly, he pried his eyes open to the dim light of the hotel room, the natural yellows and oranges of the sun shining through the open windows, and landed on the unruly brown hair and bulky glasses of the man sitting on the bed’s edge. 

 

Katsuki shot up in bed, pushed himself to the farthest edge and scowled. Wavering fists felt sore at his sides, and his face felt heavy, his eyes swollen from tears. “The fuck are you doing here?” 

 

The smile that had occupied Masaru’s face dropped quickly. Then he was just sitting there, awkward, trying to find an in into a conversation with his son. He kept opening his mouth like he was going to say something, but then shut it quickly and squeezed his eyes shut. Katsuki watched him hesitantly, furious that he’d even come find him. Why was he there? Why did he care?

 

“I called him.”

 

Katsuki whipped his gaze to the left, to the girl sitting at a vanity and pushing bulky gold hoops into her ears. She wasn’t looking at him, her eyes on her mirror, but Katsuki could see the reflection of her face and the ferocity in her gaze. “You need to talk to him.”

 

“The hell I do!”

 

She twisted her body and slammed her hand on the back of her chair. “Do you think I didn’t hear you talking to Aizawa last night?” she snapped. She rose up onto her feet, looking much taller with heels five inches long. Her furious smile didn’t match her soft pink dress, her tea-cup skirt looking too playful and kiddish to belong. “You don’t think you can do it on your own! Despite the fact that me and the boys are rooting you on--the fact that we believe in you--you still can’t believe you’re not a bad person, or that the people who hate you are wrong! 

 

“Katsuki, I saw Izuku talking to your dad; I met him. And going in, I thought I’d have to knock some teeth out if he insulted you, but the guy cared. He thanked me for taking care of you! He- I don’t think he’s the person you’ve convinced yourself he is.”

 

Katsuki’s lip curled, and he climbed quickly to his feet. He stomped towards her, squeezed her wrist and looked anxiously into her eyes. Sweat built in his palms, glistened on his back, and made his forehead shiny. Suddenly, the room was fuzzy, and he didn’t know if it was from anxiety or exhaustion. “Mina, I- I can’t just-”

 

“-Katsuki, I only came to apologize.” 

 

Six words he didn’t want to hear, because they sounded too much like a fairytale. His throat burned; his mind raced. Katsuki didn’t want to respond, because he didn’t know how. Slowly, shaking, he looked up at his father standing uncomfortably by the bed, twiddling his thumbs. “I- I love you so much , but I wasn’t a good father to you.”

 

“Yeah- yeah, that’s right.”

 

“I- It’s funny.” Masaru’s nervous smile twitched at the corner, and he bowed his head. “I met with Izuku to try and figure out how I’d apologize, but I’m starting to realize that no matter how much practice I put into it, I- I don’t know how to face you.”

 

“Maybe you shouldn’t.”

 

“Or maybe you should,” Ashido hissed in his ear. “You’re so afraid of being the person you’ve been gaslighted into believing you are. This is your chance to ask if that’s true!”

 

“Pinky, stop!”

 

“It’s not true.” 

 

Katsuki clenched his jaw and watched Masaru step closer. His lips pressed thin and his eyebrows quirked up like he was still hoping he could reach a man long gone.

 

How could he be so hopeful?

 

“What?”

 

“Katsuki, I wasn’t the father you needed--the father you deserved. You needed me, and I didn’t help you.”

 

Why were there tears in his eyes again? Why did it feel like something, or someone, was squeezing his heart? When someone said something so sincere to him so desperately, he didn’t know what to believe. How could he argue? How could he know what he really was?

 

“Does- does it matter? I’m exactly the person you and mom thought I was. I’m a monster. I’ve hurt people!”

 

“You haven’t hurt anyone!” Ashido yanked herself free of Katsuki’s grip and rounded on him, grabbing him by his cheeks and holding him firmly. His sad gaze dropped down to her. “Cherry, listen to me, okay? No one thinks you’re a monster. No one thinks you did anything to ever hurt anyone except yourself. Whatever happened between you and that bitch was self-defense. I don’t think you’d hurt anyone, your friends and your father don’t think you would, and neither does Izuku, so-”

 

The tinny tune of a synthetic pop song echoed through the room, and Ashido turned her gaze to the phone sitting on her messy vanity. “Shit,” she hissed, running towards it. She picked it up, typed a response to whoever called with clicking acrylics, and then shoved the phone into her purse. She put the strap on her shoulder and stomped back to Katsuki. “I have to go to the wedding rehearsal, okay? I’ll be back after dinner, and we can talk more about this. For now, though, please try talking to your dad. For me?”

 

She looked up at him with shining, hopeful eyes, and shit she’d done so much for him. He hated the thought of speaking to him, trying to rekindle something with his dear old dad, but he didn’t want to disappoint one of the few people who believed in him, and end up driving them away. Slowly, almost to the point he didn’t realize he was doing it, he nodded his acceptance. 

 

Ashido smiled, patted him on the cheek, and whispered in his ear. “I believe in you. If he’s an asshole, you already know you can live without him, and you know you have a family. This is your chance to say everything that’s been on your mind and your chance for closure.”

 

With that said, she spun on her heels, her big skirt twirling with her body. The door shut behind her, and the hotel room was filled with the most uncomfortable silence Katsuki had ever experienced. Slowly, hesitantly, he lifted his eyes to his father, who shuffled in place and held his hands in front of him. “Um, I’m not exactly sure where to start.”

 

Katsuki sucked on his teeth and nodded, looking back to the ground. He didn’t want to cry again. Apparently, no matter how old he got, Katsuki hated the concept of crying more than necessary--especially in front of those who didn’t deserve to see it. 

 

His father didn’t deserve to see him cry. Someone who let him hurt, who never supported him, or made him feel like he wasn’t secure in his own family didn’t deserve to see him break. A spark of anger flourished in his stomach, and Katsuki realized that Ashido was right. “Then-” he started, stopped and took a great breath. “Then let me start.”

 

Masaru nodded enthusiastically, like an ox who didn’t know he was being led to the slaughter.

 

Katsuki’s shoulders ached from the tension. His knuckles throbbed, and it felt so hard to simply stand. Eyes planted on the carpet, he gritted his teeth and exhaled. “I needed you. I needed a parent who actually cared , not one who thought they were playing a game of chess, and I was just a pawn.”

 

“I- I didn’t realize I was doing that until it was too late, Katsuki. I’m sorry.”

 

Katsuki jerked his gaze back towards his father, his brows knitted in fury. “You can’t say ‘sorry’ now, okay? It won’t fucking change the fact that I was alone! Maybe- maybe I wouldn’t have turned out rotten if I’d been shown some fucking love! Maybe I wouldn’t have turned to drugs and drinking if mom hadn’t egged me on and made me think I needed to get some goddamn praise! Maybe I wouldn’t have run away if I hadn’t been forced into an arranged marriage when you knew that I’d give anything to be with Deku! Maybe- maybe I wouldn’t have hurt my wife if I’d just been- been-”

 

“Katsuki, you didn’t hurt her!” It came off sterner, harsher than Katsuki had ever heard his father speak. Katsuki curled his lip and scowled at the ground, cursing himself for starting this fight and cursing his father for having the gall to yell at him when he was part of the problem. “Katsuki,” Masaru continued, but his voice was softer this time, more worried. “You’re not that kind of person, okay? You’re right that your mother made you a drinker, and that we drove you to running away. That was all on us.”

 

Katsuki’s scowl softened, his ears finely tuning to the sound of an apology he never thought he would hear. He looked up at his father, the soft expression on his face. Masaru took a step forward, and Katsuki wanted to retreat. 

 

His legs felt stiff, his body numb. He felt like he would topple from a mild gust of wind. Like his soul, his body, was crumbling. 

 

“Why- why are you-”

 

“-But you were never an abuser, Kastuki,” Masaru smiled softly. “You’ve always been too good at that. When- when we went to see you, you were too out of it to remember, and your mother was furious. She wouldn’t leave the door, but when I saw you on the couch, in and out of it, there were-” Masaru’s lip quivered, his smile faltered, and the wetness of his eyes became apparent. “You had these cigarette burns on your hands, and Toga said you’d done them to yourself. I- I didn’t know what to believe back then--I had trouble wrapping my head around that, so when she said you hurt her- no, I didn’t think you could do it.”

 

He pinched his nose and his shoulder shook. “God, I’m sorry, Katsuki. I- I didn’t do right by you.” 

 

Katsuki’s legs buckled. He didn’t have much energy stored anymore, too drained from anger, dread, and anxiety--too tired to stand, to think, or feel. He wanted to curl in on himself, forget the world around him. He heard the bed shift, and saw his father’s shoes enter his line of sig ht.  

 

What had his father seen of him? What had he looked like?

 

His father was a soft man, but he’d never seen him cry.

 

Not like this.

 

Suddenly, he was sitting in front of him. Hands the same size as Katsuki’s, the same shape but much less damaged, grabbed onto his and squeezed them firmly. Not knowing why the urge was so strong, he looked up to Masaru and found tears in his eyes. “Katsuki, you’re not an abuser. You never were. 

 

“But you’re angry, and you don’t know what to believe. You’ve convinced yourself that Toga is right, and that Izuku’s just too in love to see what you can be, but I know-” He pulled his and Katsuki’s hand to his heart, hit it once for emphasis. “I know that you could never hurt someone you loved. I might have done horribly at it, but I raised you, and I know you’re not capable of it.”

 

Katsuki’s lip trembled, and his spotted vision turned opaque, like looking through distorted glass. He blinked and streams rippled down his face. Submitting, terrified and confused, Katsuki looked back down into his lap and shook his head. “I love him so much. I don’t want him to be in pain because of me. I- I don’t know what I’m fucking doing.”

 

“I know you don’t,” the older man nodded. “But he’s probably in a lot of pain now. He’s really in love with you, you know? Seeing him like that, so scared for your safety- I was wrong to tell you not to pursue him when you were younger. I was wrong to not be on your side.”

 

If he was expecting Katsuki to respond, Katsuki wasn’t biting. He was tired, worn to the bone. He need rest. 

 

Proper rest.

 

“I’ll support you now,” Masaru said. Katsuki looked up at him quickly, his lips parting but no words coming forth. Masaru smiled softly at the expression and continued. “Whatever your mother says is on her, but I won’t make excuses for her anymore. If you want Izuku, then you go after him. You love him, and you marry him. If you still want to strip, then you strip. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I can give you the support I didn’t give you when you were younger.” His right hand left Katsuki’s to grab him by the nape and pull him forward. He knocked his forehead against Katsuki’s and smiled warmly. “You’re my son, Katsuki. I’m sorry for ever making you feel like you’re anything but.”

 

Katsuki didn’t know how long he’d been silent, how long he’d held back his breath, or his tears, but he let it all out in a strangled sob. He lurched forward and grabbed his father violently by the shoulder, hugging him firmly, aggressively. 

 

Strong arms wrapped around his back, and for once, he felt like maybe he did have a parent who loved him. Maybe it wasn’t all worthless. Masaru snorted shortly, and patted Katsuki’s back. “Who knew I’d get a hug? You weren’t like this as a child.”

 

“I- I’ve changed a little,” Katsuki said. “Going sober, getting a therapist, having friends that love and support me, and- and I wanted to be the man Deku deserves.” He smiled softly to himself, then remembered the pain that he’d experienced ripping himself away from Izuku--the pain he’d caused Izuku in return. He pulled away from his father, his frown reappearing on his face. 

 

Masaru blinked at him and tilted his head. “Katsuki?”

 

“I still can’t have him, dad,” Katsuki said. “We said things to each other we can’t take back. I- I told him I can’t keep fighting his problems for him, and he said he couldn’t do it for me, and I-” Katsuki shook his head. Every knife scar, cigarette burn, and claw mark Himiko etched into his skin ached in that moment. Her vicious smile flashed before his eyes, and then the savage, young blond morphed into his mother, and Katsuki shook his head hard. “I- I’m not ready. I can’t face them yet. I don’t know how.”

 

“Katsuki, it’s okay.” Masaru’s hand slipped to Katsuki’s face, guiding him by his chin to look up at him. “You don’t have to do this on your own, and you don’t have to do it now. Because right now, you need to rest.”

 

“But-”

Masaru shook his head and smiled. “But nothing. I have to get Mitsuki and go to the rehearsal dinner, but this isn’t over, okay? You and me are going to figure it out together, so rest for now. There’s still time.”

 

Masaru climbed up to his feet and bent down to place a kiss atop Katsuki’s head. Katsuki shivered with the unfamiliarity of a parent’s affection. He watched with unblinking eyes as Masaru made his way slowly to the door and gave him a soft wave, before clicking it shut behind him. 

 

In the following silence, all Katsuki could do was watch the door and wonder how long it would be until someone came back. Eventually, his exhaustion overcame him, and he felt more comfortable lying on the hard, carpeted floor and watching the door than trying to sleep in a vacant bed. His heavy, swollen eyelids drifted shut, and he curled into the fetal position as sleep overtook him.

 


 

The room was dark when the door slammed shut and Katsuki jumped up from the ground, heart pounding and eyes darting for the source. It brought him back to his and Toga’s apartment, unsure of whether the slam was from a happy, intoxicated Toga, or a hysterical, violent one.

 

The light flickered on, and he was met with the sight of Ashido in total disarray. It looked like she’d been thrown into a pool, her curls caked to her cheek and mascara running down her face. Her pink dress was stained red with what he hoped was red wine and not the unfortunate alternative. 

 

Her chest heaved, her eyes blown wide as she gasped and lurched for Katsuki. She grabbed him by the wrist, and pulled him close, the smile on her face almost manic. “Pinky?” he asked her, inhaling the distinct smell of alcohol. She’d definitely been doused in wine. 

 

But she laughed and grabbed him by the cheek, brushing his jaw. “Holy shit, Cherry,” she snorted. “You’re not gonna fucking believe what just happened.”

Chapter Text

Izuku wondered why they had to return to the beach. It wasn’t the same one he and Katsuki had confessed on— this one was private, the sands unsoiled and the gardens bordering the beach cultivated to perfection— but simply being near one brought him back to that night where everything seemed perfect and he was filled with a joy he hadn’t imagined possible. It had only been five days since that night, since learning he could have Katsuki in the way he always wanted.

 

But they’d fucked it up fast.

 

Izuku shuffled his feet in the trimmed, green grass and looked up to a pink sky blending to orange just beyond the ocean’s horizon. Gorgeous. Peaceful. Hawai’i really was a land of paradise, and Iida and Uraraka were smart to get married here, surrounded by hibiscus bushes and tall palms, and steady waves crashing in the background. 

 

Izuku wondered how his life could still be so fucked up in an Eden like this. He looked across the green, at Shinsou lying uncomfortably over a row of chairs and the other groomsmen talking over him. They looked good, proper. A yelp to his right had Izuku turning to find the girls keeping Hagakure’s skirt from blowing up in the wind. Funnily enough, Hagakure didn’t seem to be the one who had yelled, because she was grinning ear to ear as her pastel underwear flashed beneath a billowing green skirt, which Yaoyorozu beat down with a blush on her face.

 

The minister eyed them from the altar as if he expected an influx of trouble from the girl. Izuku didn’t know why Hagakure hadn’t caused more scandals in her days. He thought an actress who consistently drank herself stupid and flashed the crowds like this would have been a Tabloid icon. But now, he simply wished that her antics would have been enough to keep eyes off of him as he leaned against a chair and tried not to catch their stares.

 

Because Izuku didn’t want to see anyone, didn’t want to talk to them or pretend he was okay. He was just here to do his job for Uraraka and help her celebrate a marriage that Izuku knew he should be more excited about. He knew this whole event wasn’t for him, and his thoughts shouldn’t be about his own sad life right now. He had to keep it hushed and pretend he wasn’t dying inside.

 

“Midoriya.”

 

Izuku looked up from the grass, finding the band of groomsmen surrounding him. Even Shinsou had woken from his nap, and stood over him like he was looking for chinks in his armor. 

 

“I know that look,” Tokoyami said, peeking out from behind Todoroki and Masahiro. “Midoriya has submitted to the darkness, bowed to the powers of the abyss. He’s found his home in the-”

 

“Tokoyami, he’s just sad.” Shinsou tossed a hand in his direction. “Look at him!”

 

“Hey…”

 

“What’s going on, Midoriya?” Todoroki asked, sitting down in the chair Izuku leaned against. There was a look in his eye that told Izuku he knew— what he knew was a mystery, but he knew something. “Are you and Baku-”

 

“-It’s fine, Todoroki.”

 

Shinsou pursed his lips and shoved his hands into his pockets. “That’s bullshit. Your eyebags are worse than mine, right now.”

 

“So?”

 

“So, you’ve either been crying, or you didn’t sleep all night. And if you stayed up all night, it either means you were thinking too much, or you were fucking.”

 

“Judging by, well, what happened last night-” Masahiro trailed.

 

“-You weren’t fucking.” The last part came from Todoroki, and Izuku’s neck began to burn. He didn’t want to have this conversation, didn’t want to let the world know that Katsuki walked out on him once again, and that he was a fool for falling in love so quickly after eight years without him. 

 

And if he said it out loud, would that mean that it was true? He’d have spoken it to the universe, and then it couldn’t be taken back. If he admitted it, would that mean this was a breakup and not a ‘break’ like Katsuki had said?

 

He didn’t want that.

 

Izuku bit his lip and shook his head. “Nothing’s wrong, guys. It’s just been really busy with the wedding, and I was worried I wasn’t doing enough to help.”

 

Silence followed. Izuku’s eyes trailed around the circle, waiting for someone to try and argue with him. No one believed it, but Izuku didn’t really care about that. As long as they had reasonable doubt, he didn’t have to talk about the agony of being left behind. He smiled to himself, looked down at his shoes with watery eyes, and waited for the group to file away.

 

Sorry!” 

 

Eyes trailed to the distance, towards the direction of the parking lot far out of view. Iida and Uraraka walked briskly towards them with their parents in tow, Ashido just ahead with a kind smile on her face and her purse swinging at her side. There was another man far behind them, but Izuku couldn’t tell who from the tear-induced haziness of his gaze. 

 

Izuku sniffled, wiped at his eyes when the rest of the group was distracted, and found his friends greeting the wedding party with short breaths and rosy-cheeked smiles. The groomsmen herded over to them, delivering hugs to a smiling Uraraka in a yellow sundress and a flustered Iida. Their parents were behind them, Uraraka smiling over at the group while her mother and father looked on warmly and Iida’s stood stiffly to the side. 

 

Their eyes gravitated towards Izuku. Ice water trailed down his veins, and Izuku pushed himself off the chair and dragged himself over to greet the crowd. The shift in the distance made Uraraka halt in her conversation with Jirou and her eyes turned to him. She broke away from the crowd, ran to him, and Izuku’s heart swelled at it.

 

Maybe the men he loved kept leaving him, but Uraraka always ran towards him, never away, and that level of love made him feel whole.

 

At least for a little while.

 

Warm fingers carded through his hair as she smiled up at him. “How’re you doing?”

 

“Fine,” he lied, grabbing her hand from his head and the other at her side. Fingers interlocked, he stepped back and gave her a once-over. “Don’t you look stunning! You get any prettier, and Iida’s gonna have a heart attack!”

 

Ochako pulled away and slapped his shoulder lightly, laughing with a gaping mouth. “Don’t say that! It’s like saying it's gonna rain on my-” 

 

“-Um, excuse me, miss Uraraka,” the minister called from the altar, taking great strides to meet them. “I don’t mean to be rude, but we should really get started! We only have the area booked for another forty minutes before-”

 

“-Right!” She clapped her hands together and spun back towards the group. She smiled at them all so lovingly, and Izuku, standing behind her, suddenly felt isolated. All the pain came rushing back and his smile wavered. His shoulders hunched. As Uraraka talked on, and she and the minister positioned everyone, Izuku’s eyes caught Ashido’s.

 

Darker than usual, he noted. She didn’t seem happy, weighed down by something deep, painful. Izuku was stricken with an urge to meet her, to take comfort in her kindness, but also to run far away from her grasp, her voice. He didn’t want to meet his problems head on in the way she’d demand, or talk of Katsuki when the very name made his heart palpitate.

 

Because at the moment, he didn’t know what he was doing, or where to go from kneeling on the bedroom floor and sobbing at the fact that he’d let Katsuki slip through his fingers once again. He gnawed at the peeling skin of his lip, felt the sting when raw flesh hit the air, and squeezed his eyes shut in an attempt to center himself.

 

“-ku! Izuku!” 

 

His eyes snapped open. “Huh?”

 

Uraraka quirked her brow at him. She was positioned far behind the aisle, hidden behind a wave of bridesmaids and groomsmen, arm looped with her father’s. Everything looked different, like the whole wedding party had been arranged while he curled in on himself. “You okay, Izuku?”

 

“Uh.” His eyes darted to Ashido, who stared at him curiously from just behind Uraraka, her hands extended like she was holding up an imaginary train. He looked back to Uraraka and smiled. “Yeah, I’m fine! Just tired!”

 

She pondered him slowly, then nodded and pointed just in front of her. “You’re there,” she said. “With Tensei.”

 

Izuku’s eyes followed her pointed finger to find Iida’s brother in a finely pressed suit. Izuku did a double take, surprised he hadn’t noticed him. Perhaps he really was out of it, he thought. He hadn’t seen Tensei in a good while, and he hadn’t picked up on the sudden addition to the party.

 

Izuku hurried over to his side and looped his arm in his. “Hello,” he mumbled, embarrassed. He should have noticed his employer’s older son arrive. “Sorry I didn’t greet you earlier.”

 

The man beside him smiled as the procession began, and looked at Izuku out of the corner of his eye. “It’s nice to see you too, Midoriya,” he said. “You don’t have to apologize. I hear you’ve been quite stressed recently.”

 

Izuku burned red, humiliated. He wondered what he knew, and who told him. “You, uh- you have?” Tsuyu and Tokoyami started down the aisle. There were three more pairs just ahead of them, and Izuku shuffled on his feet impatiently. “What did you hear?”

 

Iida Tensei shrugged, and when he smiled, it accentuated his square jaw. “For one, you’re no longer together with Todoroki Touya.”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“And Bakugou Katsuki is back,” he continued. Izuku went rigid, and Iida laughed. “From the way you just squeezed my arm, I take that it’s a touchy subject.”

 

Izuku’s eyes trailed to the ground. He wanted to run, to hide. He didn’t need more people butting into his life, reminding him of the mess it had turned into. But he also didn’t need people thinking he was more fragile than he was. The sort of pity that came with that was too much.

 

“It’s not touchy.”

 

“Really?” Tensei smiled. Hagakure and Masahiro took their first steps down the aisle, and Tensei patted Izuku’s hand. “I’m actually really glad to hear that,” he said. 

 

“You are?”

 

“Well, Todoroki has never been a kind person,” he admitted. “And he always seemed to be pushing you around. It’s good seeing you stand up for yourself!”

 

Izuku blanched. He looked up at his friend’s brother and gawked, but Tensei’s gaze was on Todoroki Shouto and Yaoyorozu Momo gliding down the aisle. They were next to go, but Izuku struggled with the concept of moving. With Tensei’s words echoing inside his head, all his energy went towards dissecting them.

 

Tensei thought he was standing up for himself?

 

Izuku almost corrected him as they began their procession. He hadn’t done much to defend himself— not much at all. And the guilt of people thinking he had, thinking he’d put his life together, started to eat away from him. The pounding of his heart felt abhorrent in his chest, and Izuku gnawed at his lip as Katsuki’s words from the night before echoed in his mind.

 

Fight your demons, he’d said. 

 

Well, people thought he had, thought he’d stood up for himself when it was obvious he hadn’t. He found issue with that, wondered if Katsuki, who’d also been unable to fight his own problems felt that way, too, and wanted to scream. 

 

It wasn’t fair.

 

They reached the end of the aisle and Izuku went off to the side as Uraraka glided forth with her father in tow. She looked so happy, so eager to join hands with Iida at the altar.

 

Izuku looked on fondly.

 


 

The reception was held in the banquet hall of the hotel. For the wealthier guests, it seemed rather cheap, but Izuku still thought the marble dining room was impressive, as were the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the wide windows looking out to the Hibiscus Garden. 

 

Izuku looked around the room to the parents of the bride talking warmly to the parents of the groom, to the rest of the wedding party sitting at the white linen tables. They ate off of plates stacked high with BBQ and drank from glasses filled with wine and mixed liquors. They were having fun, and Izuku smiled at them as he walked the line down the buffet table to pick from the selection available. 

 

His heart had been injured, but food had always been a useful coping mechanism. He reached for a miniature cupcake over at the end of the table, and suddenly a half empty glass of amber liquid slammed down on the table beside him. Izuku followed the hand now coated in the sloshing drink up to its owner and pursed his lips when he found his face, furious in its natural state, but ironically contrasted with the red in his cheeks. “Midoriya,” he said.

 

“Um, yes?” Izuku looked up at Todoroki Enji and froze, unsure of what was coming next. “Can I help you?”

 

The man’s eyes followed him from the toes of his shoes to the tallest curl on his head. Todoroki looked out towards the banquet tables, then dropped his head and sighed. “I don’t like you,” he said, as if it were news to Izuku. “I don’t like you, but god dammit, I don’t like her more.”

 

Izuku furrowed his brows. “Who? Himiko?”

 

“God, yes,” he laughed, critical and aggressive. “She’s a nightmare! At least you had your head on your shoulders. You’re not walking through my kitchen at 3 a.m. in a thong drinking vodka straight from the bottle.”

 

“Mr. Todoroki, she’s only been dating Touya for a little less than a month. There’s no way that could’ve happened.”

 

“No, it did,” he groaned. “Happened nine days into the relationship. But that’s not why I’m talking to you.” He looked back down at Izuku with a sharp, serious expression and lifted a hand to his mouth, burping into it. He’d definitely had a good amount to drink, and Izuku thought him disgusting. “Get back together with Touya,” he said to a chorus of Izuku’s stuttering.

 

Huh?”

 

“Listen, Midoriya,” he continued, not missing a beat. “You’re male, you’re not from the same class as us, and you’re a bit of a pushover, but, my God, you were a better fit than that woman. If last night was an indication of anything, it’s that things aren’t working out with Bakugou. Get back with Touya.”

 

Izuku nearly scoffed in his face, but a boiling rage started building in the pit of his stomach. He sat his plate on the buffet table and crossed his arms, unhappy with the conversation. “Mr. Todoroki, I-”

 

“-What’s going on here?” A female voice asked the same second a light hand rested itself on Todoroki Enji’s upper arm. Izuku and his ex’s father both turned to address its owner, finding Mrs. Iida coming forth with her husband and Uraraka’s parents in tow. 

 

She had a kind smile on her face, as did her husband. Izuku noticed how Uraraka’s parents looked on curiously, their clasped hands and tense smiles a giveaway to their discomfort in a situation so much more extravagant and ostentatious than what they were used to. Izuku knew that feeling; knew it well.

 

“I was just telling Midoriya that he should consider getting back together with Touya,” Mr. Todoroki said, fixing an intimidating stare on Izuku, whose hands began to sweat at the same time as his forehead. He gnawed his lip and turned to Mrs. Iida when she squealed.

 

“Oh, I think that’s a wise decision,” she told him, smiling so brightly her skin wrinkled near her eyelids. “He’s of a good caliber, Midoriya, darling.”

 

“I- I know that.”

 

“Yes, well,” she continued, grabbing hold of her husband’s hand. Something far more grim hung in the air now, hidden well by the party. “Midoriya, honey, he’d be a wise fit for business, too.”

 

Izuku froze, his face blanching. Suddenly, he realized what she meant, what the intended threat was, and the white in his face turned red. “Excuse me?”

 

“Midoriya,” her husband said, his voice much louder than hers. It boomed, actually, and in all the years Izuku had known him, it was still flinch-inducing. Izuku glanced over to Uraraka’s parents, the lovely people they were, and wondered how they felt about this conversation, as well as if the Iidas and Mr. Todoroki knew that they were making them uncomfortable. “Have you spoken with Mr. Bakugou about last night? I don’t think I need to tell you, but that sort of behavior is inexcusable. We can’t have our Head of Advertising’s significant other attacking the children of some of our highest investors. It’s not acceptable behavior.”

 

“Granted, the little shit deserves it,” Mr. Todoroki said over the rim of his drink.

 

Izuku’s face set in a deep scowl and he glanced across the group. His heart was pounding again, rage the culprit this time around. As his fists shook and the first sounds of an argument left his lips, a large gasp interrupted the cacophony of party sounds. 

 

Music stopped, a girl screamed, and Izuku looked towards the main event to go numb entirely. Standing tall in the center of the room, Himiko grinned at a drenched Ashido, her pink hair stained red with wine, droplets of the alcohol dripping down her cheeks, chest, and shoulders to stain her dress. She looked down at herself, didn’t move. For the first time since Izuku had met her, he saw her expression turned vulnerable and she looked around the room like she was afraid of who saw. Himiko watched her cruelly, and something inside Izuku snapped.

 

He and Katsuki might be arguing, but Ashido was shared custody now. She was good, kind, and did not deserve this kind of humiliation in a space where she was already the odd-man-out due to her class and occupation. Izuku knew from the bottom of his heart what it was like to not belong, how isolating and terrifying it was. She didn’t need this, too.

 

Izuku marched forward, listening to his footsteps echo in the silence that enveloped the room. He squeezed between the tables and made eye contact with Himiko just as he clasped his hand around her wrist and jerked the empty glass from her palm. It shattered on the ground, the crash echoing off the vaulted ceiling as Himiko’s snarky expression turned rigid and shocked, like the last thing she expected was for Izuku to grow a set of balls.

 

 White hot rage radiated from him, his body shaking and his head pounding hard. His vision blurred with anger-induced tears, and jerked Himiko’s wrist to pull her closer. “Don’t you fucking touch her,” he hissed in her face, watched her flinch as the sheer proximity and the wind from Izuku’s breath stung her eyes.

 

He squeezed harder and she groaned in pain, but she didn’t move. The action had surprised her, the room was still silent, and she stumbled. 

 

“-ku! Knock it off!”

 

“Remember the volcano, Himiko? I’ll still put you there.”

 

“Izuku!” A strong, warm hand wrapped around Izuku’s wrist and yanked. The surprise made him flinch, but he knew the voice, knew the feeling of that hand, and the only thing that seemed reasonable was that this man, the man that had made him miserable with emotional abuse for six years had no right to touch him. He let go of Himiko’s wrist, pivoted on his feet, and drove his other fist straight into Touya’s cheekbone. The subsequent gasps that ripped through the room were like a symphony, and Izuku watched through a cinema lens how Touya jerked back, curled in on himself and cradled his face.

 

Izuku’s breath was short, spent. He laughed to himself, as crazy as it sounded to the people around him. He looked down at his fist, shaking, split knuckles and the soreness of his thumb. He hadn’t angled the punch right, damaged his own finger in the process. 

 

But it felt good.

 

He recalled what Katsuki had to say about fighting his demons, what Tensei had hinted to. Whatever he had been doing before wasn’t worthy of being called ‘fighting’, but this- 

 

Well, maybe Katsuki was right. Maybe it was too much for someone like him to fight for Izuku over and over when Izuku wouldn’t fight for himself. Maybe he needed to do this on his own, prove that he was dedicated to changing, to living free of this godawful pain.

 

His chest heaved. He came back unto himself and watched Touya look at him with a black eye from the night before and an aggravated, red spot swelling on the opposite cheek. That was Izuku’s handiwork, and he felt pleased with it. 

 

“Don’t- don’t you ever touch me,” he said. It came off so exhausted, so spent, but it added to the grit, the raggedness of his demands. “You let me live in constant fear for six years, so you never get to touch me!” A giggle sounded behind him, and he rounded on Himiko. “And you don’t fucking touch my friends, or my boyfriend, or I will come for you and you’ll be back in a goddamn orange fucking jumpsuit.”

 

“Midoriya, that’s enough!” Izuku’s eyes jerked towards his previous occupied spot by the parents, by the man who’d created Touya, the biggest bane of Izuku’s existence, and his employers, the people he’d been trying to do right by for years.

 

But the funny thing was, he’d done all he could to be seen as their equals. He’d been a latchkey child raised in a one-parent home on the wrong side of the city. He’d had to save for months for new uniforms, for books, and for college. He wasn’t the same as them; he never could be. 

 

He’d been trying to gain a higher title, a higher class, ever since he knew there was one. The minute he could tell the difference between sneakers his mom bought at goodwill and the latest samples Mitsuki brought home from her studio for Katsuki, he’d wanted to be the same— not even for the money, but just so he knew he belonged with him and his other friends. 

 

Fight your demons, Katsuki had said, and now Izuku was thinking about his demons— he was thinking about the things that had hurt him, the things that had made him lose sight of who he was. He wanted to be happy.

 

He wanted to be happy for Katsuki.

 

For his friends.

 

For himself.

 

He laughed, incredulous. The whole room stared at him, and he could see Ashido, Uraraka, and Iida’s stunned faces out the corner of his eye. He heard Hagakure stifling laughter in the background, and could feel Shinsou’s stare on the back of his head. He threw his hands up in the air like he was tossing away the fear, and looked at Mr. and Mrs. Iida with serious intent.

 

“I quit.”

 

Mrs. Iida whipped her eyes up to her husband, mouth hanging open. Izuku didn’t wait to measure the damage of his words. With a heaving chest, he turned over to Ashido, who blinked at him like he was a rabid animal. He didn’t mind the expression. “You tell Kacchan that I’m fighting my demons. Tell him to find me when he’s ready to do the same.”

 

Izuku rounded on his feet, ran between the table aisles as wedding guests turned and craned their eyes to see him exit the open glass doors out into the Hibiscus Garden. The humidity was stifling, but the delicate breeze rattling the shrubbery balanced it. He sprinted past the flora without stopping to observe, down stone paths without a second thought to what was happening back at the rehearsal dinner.

 

Had he been stupid? 

 

Part of him felt that way. After all, he’d just quit his job, just hit his ex and threatened his new girlfriend. He’d just challenged his own sorta-lover to make the same jump he did. Izuku was absorbed with the sensation of being stranded at sea, kicking, paddling, but getting tired too quickly. He’d been drowning, and now as he stopped, he looked up at the moon and breathed— really breathed— and it felt like his first.

 

“IZU! WAIT!” He jerked, spun quickly and found Uraraka and Iida running up the path behind him. Suddenly, his confidence began to sway and the dawning realization he’d just ruined their rehearsal dinner engulfed him. Then he wanted to cry, grovel at their feet for forgiveness. It wasn’t right to have done that to them.

 

He knew that, and it hurt him on a profound level.

 

Uraraka’s eyes were wide as they stopped beside him. She put her hands on her knees and gasped for breath, and Iida laid his hand on her shoulder and looked at Izuku. Before they even began speaking, Izuku was building his apology.

 

“Guys, I- I’m so sorry,” he said. “I don’t- Something just came over me, and-”

 

“-What was that?” Uraraka asked, straightening her posture and looking at him with such obvious concern. “Izu, what was that?”

 

“I- I don’t know. I just- Mr. Todoroki told me it would be better for me to go back to Touya, and then Iida’s parents started talking about how being with Katsuki will put my job at risk, and- and I saw Ashido get humiliated— I don’t even know why Himiko did it— but then Ashido looked so freaked out, and I-” Izuku looked down to his shoes and laughed out a breath. He shook his head and looked back up to the moon. “It’s hard not feeling like you belong, and I didn’t want her feeling like the odd man out, the one people can just pick on cause you’re not the same.”

 

“Midoriya,” Iida said, his voice as stern as usual, but saturated with concern. “What are you talking about?”

 

Izuku bit his lip and looked back at them. He hadn’t noticed the glimmer of Uraraka’s eyes before, how she looked so close to crying. She squeezed Iida’s hand firmly, and Izuku smiled warmly at the sight. They were in love— so in love— and it made him hurt. “Katsuki left again. I- I didn’t want to tell you, but-” He tossed his hands around. “We got in another fight last night. He said I needed to fight my demons, and I thought he was crazy, but you know what? He’s fucking right.

 

“I’ve lived my entire life for other people,” he said. “I applied to Yuuei because Katsuki and I wanted to go to school together, I applied to Tokyo University because that’s where you and Todoroki were going. I dated Touya because I thought he wanted me, and I was willing to give myself away to him because the only person I wanted wasn’t there anymore. Fuck, I worked so hard — gave up art for advertisement— just so I could be rich like you guys! I just- I wanted to feel like I was worthy of being your friends, and I can’t do it anymore! So, I’m- I’m fighting my demons, the things that are driving me insane, because I am miserable.

 

“I can’t do it anymore.”

 

Silence consumed them, and Ochako and Iida watched Izuku like he’d split open to reveal a stranger inside. Izuku bowed his head and felt the tears finally fall, sad because he’d hurt his friends, but so, so happy to feel a decades old weight falling off his form. “I’m sorry I ruined everything for you guys.”

 

Arms wrapped around him, embraced him. 

 

He didn’t know until he was being held up by strong, sturdy arms that he was shaking. He felt a kiss to his forehead and a large hand pat at his head. His friends held him firmly, and he melted into it. As the tears streamed, as he cried and cried for no discernable reason, Ochako began to shush him. “We love you, Izuku,” she said. “You didn’t ruin anything.”

 

“I never knew you felt so separated from us.” Iida squeezed him tighter. “Midoriya, we don’t care if you have pennies or billions to your name. You’re our family.”

 

“But now that you quit your job, you should go into boxing,” Ochako laughed. “You really landed a good one on Touya.”

 

That tore a wet laugh from Izuku’s lips, and he pulled away just enough to look them in their faces. He smirked through his anguished expression, and squeezed their arms. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Ocha. My fingers are throbbing.”

 

They both smiled fondly at him, pulled away completely, until the only touch Izuku had was Ochako’s hand in his. She looked at him warmly, sighed contentedly. “You’re braver than you think you are, and we support you. So don’t worry about us, okay? Don’t worry about ‘ruining the wedding’, because you haven’t.”

 

“The best gift you could give us is your happiness.” Iida nodded, resting his hand on Ochako’s shoulder. “We’ve seen you turn into a shell of yourself over the years, and haven’t been able to help. If we can help now— help you learn to care for yourself, love yourself first— then we will.”

 

Izuku bit his lip and shut his eyes. He felt a fresh wave of tears fall down his face, and laughed lightly at the sky. “I… love you both so much,” he said. 

 

“We love you, too.” Ochako squeezed his hand. “Now, go bandage that finger. We’ll go deal with the fallout. Don’t forget to be at my suite tomorrow morning for wedding prep, alright?”

 

Izuku nodded firmly, and Ochako released his hand. She and Iida said their final goodbyes and sprinted back towards the venue. Izuku only watched for a second before shaking his head and finding a bench to rest on. He was so tired from Katsuki, from his work, and from putting on a facade for so fucking long.

 

He lifted a hand to his face and dragged it down, wiping the tears away in the process. Dropping his elbows to his knees, he placed his face in his hands and took solace in the dark, wanting to bathe himself in it.

 

“That was an interesting development.”

 

Izuku pulled his hands from his face to see a brittle looking man in the moonlight. Izuku furrowed his brows, watched him come closer, and discerned long, bedraggled blond hair and a sunken face. Izuku’s heart fell. “Oh my god, I totally just ran off on you at the luau,” he said, watching the man take a seat beside him on the bench. “I am so, so sorry about that! My boyfr- my friend got in some trouble, and I-”

 

“-No need,” he said, holding up a hand to silence him. “You had pressing matters to attend to. How did it go, by the way?”

 

Izuku laughed and bounced his leg. He looked over at the man as if he were insane for even asking, then shook his head at the ground. “Horrible.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“This just- it’s not how I ever imagined my life going.”

 

A beat of silence consumed them, and Izuku could hear palms swaying in the distance, crickets chirping in the hibiscus bushes. “And how did you expect it?”

 

Izuku bit his lip and dreamt back to his childhood, to him and Katsuki planning to be together forever, to start their own stories with Izuku’s illustrations and Katsuki’s writing.

 

To be happy.

 

“I wanted to be an artist,” he said. “I’m good at it, too, but when Katsuki disappeared, I lost my motivation. He was my bridge, my link to the others, and I wanted to stay with my friends. I figured I’d only be able to if I was the same, so I took up business. 

 

I also wanted to be loved, and I think I am— my friends love me, and Katsuki loves me— but do you know how hard it is for two abuse victims still in recovery to not freak out at the concept of unintentionally hurting others, or being hurt by the other? It’s- our lives are a fucking mess, but I still want him so bad, and I- and I’m turning you into a therapist. Sorry.”

 

The man chuckled and shook his head. “No need to apologize. Seems to me like you’ve needed to talk like this for some time. I’m glad I can be of service.”

 

Izuku’s lip twitched upwards in a smile, and he sighed. “I just don’t know where to go from here. I don’t have a job anymore, don’t have the love of my life.”

 

“Well, I can’t help much with your lovelife,” he said. Izuku heard rustling and looked over to find the old man pulling something from his breast pocket. 

 

A card.

 

He offered it to Izuku, who reached out cautiously for it. As his fingers clasped down on the thick paper, the man looked Izuku in the eye and smiled. “I know the Iidas and their company intimately, so I think I can surmise that you’re a pretty good worker. When you get back to Tokyo, come by my building. I’ll interview you myself.”

 

“Huh?” Izuku brought the card closer, looked at it in the dark of the night and felt his throat go dry. The words on the little piece of paper didn’t seem right— couldn’t be right. This man was- 

 

Izuku looked at him with widened eyes. “You’re- You’re Toshinori Yagi? From All Might Comics?”

 

“The one and only!”

 

“And- and you’re offering me a job?”

 

“I’m offering you a chance . You gotta come in for the interview first, but I’ve seen your work for the Iidas. You’ve got a way with grabbing people’s attention.”

 

Izuku laughed, looking back down at the card like it was a treasure, like it was made of gold and the letters were constructed of encrusted diamonds. “Me and Kacchan used to read your comics all the time! All Might was our favorite superhero! It’s how we became friends! It’s- God, he’d combust if he heard you were offering me a job.”

 

“Then, tell him.”

 

Izuku’s smile faltered. The card suddenly felt heavy, as did the weight in his heart. “I can’t.”

 

Toshinori sighed, smacked his hands on his knees and used the momentum to pull himself off the bench. Izuku looked up as the man blocked out the moon, and studied the somber expression on his face. “Can I offer you some advice, Midoriya?” he asked.

 

“You can do whatever you want. You’re God.”

 

Toshinori’s laugh sounded like sunshine, like hope and happiness. He sounded like All Might in the cartoons from his youth, promising that ‘ He was there!’ and the world was safe in his hands. When the laughter settled, he smiled down at Izuku and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “You’re what? Twenty-five?”

 

“Twenty-six.”

 

“Midoriya, you’re twenty-six years old. I know it feels like you’re running out of time, but there really isn’t an age limit on happiness, love, or success. You said that you love him? He loves you? Then just wait a little while. You two have the rest of your lives to be a gooey, gross couple like young Iida and Uraraka. 

 

“Your life doesn’t end when you turn thirty, or thirty-five, or whatever age. I didn’t even write my first comic until I was forty. Just be there for each other right now, learn to heal, and try again later. If he really is the love of your life, if he’s yours, then it won’t matter if it’s one, five, or ten years in the future.

 

“It sounds like you haven’t had it easy, and I think you’re a strong, admirable person for all you’ve done despite that, but focus on your own happiness right now. Re-learn who you are, let him learn who he is, and then learn who you are together. You’ve got a lifetime.”

 

Izuku blinked and lagged in his response. In eight years of losing his best friend, falling into a lifestyle fit to please, and chasing after someone who hurt him brutally time and time again, feeding into his fears of abandonment, he’d never heard ‘just let it all go’.

 

It had only been ‘try hard’. 

 

No matter how hard it hurts, how bad you have to work for nothing significant in return, try harder.

 

To ‘just let go’ felt impossible, felt earth-shattering and terrifying. It sounded like a truth he’d been running from, not the pessimistic view, or an idealistic wish. But he didn’t want that— he wanted Katsuki, wanted to be loved. He wanted to know that at the end of the day, he could monopolize his undying love without really being with him, without his kisses, or their bodies intertwined? 

 

Izuku leaned back and sighed, rubbing his cheeks with his hand. “Thanks, Mr. Toshinori. I’m- I’ll think about it.”

 

The man smirked, nodded warmly and looked back towards the building. “I think I’m going to go see what’s happening back at dinner. You take your time, okay? And in case I don’t get the chance to talk to you before the trip is over, just know that I’m serious about that job. Call me when you get back to Tokyo.”

 

Izuku nodded, elated at the prospects, but weighed down by the uncertainty of his and Katsuki’s future. As he watched Toshinori Yagi disappear in the dark of the Hibiscus Garden, his head swarmed with thoughts and concepts. He didn’t know what to do.

 

He wasn’t sure what he wanted.

 

He had some thinking to do.



Chapter Text

For some indiscernible reason, waking up the morning of the wedding didn’t feel like an uphill battle. When Izuku opened his eyes, the sky was a light blue, birds chirped outside, and he could smell the salt from the sea breeze wafting in through his open window. 

 

The seeds of fear, anxiety, and dread that had been buried deep in his gut ages ago, had bloomed into thorny bushes. Their vines squeezed at his heart and head, making him hate himself and the world he could not control. For a time, the suffocating growths had caused him to believe he’d never make things better for himself, for others; both they were gone now. He woke in the morning with a light heart and blooming hope for the future. 

 

He hadn’t noticed until now how his fears had consumed him, how when he was with Touya, or with Katsuki— though the latter had felt like a fantasy— he hadn’t felt as sure of himself as he did now.

 

He rolled over in his lonely bed and grabbed his phone off the nightstand. Eyes tired from sleep, he rubbed them and focused on the notifications on his screen. One from Uraraka:

 

 

Big day!!!! Be at my room by 10 A.M.!! I’m getting MAaAaAaArried!!!!!

 

 

Izuku snorted and looked up at the time on his phone. He still had an hour and a half; no rush. He was more interested in the text notification from his boss just below:

 

 

Izuku, I’m sorry if we overstepped yesterday, but I hope you reconsider your resignation with our company. You are a valuable employee, and we would prefer not to lose you.

 

 

Izuku was tempted. 

 

In his defense, the Iidas had been good to him, given him an ‘in’ into the business world, into the upscale life of the upper class. He held a profound gratitude for what they’d done for him, but he smiled sadly at the notification and swiped left to delete it. It had taken so long to get to a place where he could make a decision on his own, with no other person’s wellbeing as significant as his own in determining it, and he reveled in that. He didn’t want to be swayed now.

 

Izuku threw off the covers and tossed his legs off the bedside. He stretched and glided across the floor to the bathroom. The latter hours of the day were dedicated to the bridesmaids, the girls who needed their hair fixed and lips glossed. He was easy, though, so he did his preparations on his own, twirling his unruly bangs out of his eyes and clipping them back with a white clip. 

 

He brushed his teeth, washed his face, went back into the room and opened the closet to get his suit. His fingers brushed along the plastic, then lifted the hanger off the rack and turned back to the bed. He halted, though, when he saw the hamper. Something odd and greedy curled in the base of his stomach, and he reached forward and flipped the lid off.

 

One of Katsuki’s shirts rested atop the pile, and as gross as it was, Izuku dropped his hand inside and picked it up. He lifted it to his nose, inhaled Katsuki’s earthy, calming scent and felt something akin to desperation and arousal deep inside. 

 

He missed him.

 

It was as simple as that. Katsuki was his one and only, and even if he couldn’t have him now, even if Katsuki was so afraid of hurting him that he couldn’t be in the same room, the same home, that wasn’t going to change Izuku’s mind. He’d loved Katsuki since childhood, lost him and lost himself in the process, and now that he had him back, he wasn’t going to completely let go. 

 

Katsuki felt he wasn’t ready?

 

Fine.

 

Izuku could wait— he’d done a lot of it in the past, after all. 

 


 

Izuku knocked on the door to Uraraka’s suite. It subsequently opened, manicured fingers wrapped around his tie, and he was yanked past the threshold. Disoriented, he stumbled into the entry and looked around to see the other girls laughing as they slipped into their dresses. A woman he’d never met was there, fixing Jirou’s hair.

 

Arms wrapped around Izuku’s middle, and he grabbed at them, feeling the fingers wrinkle his pressed suit. In the person’s arms, he turned awkwardly to find a wide smile and frazzled, pink hair. “Ashido?”

 

“Thank you, Freckles,” she said, her voice muffled by his shoulder.

 

Izuku’s lips curled in a smile and he embraced her, holding her firmly in his arms. “No worries, Ashido,” he said. “You didn’t deserve that— no one does.”

 

“Cherry’s grateful, too.” She shifted to look up at Izuku with her golden eyes. 

 

Izuku tensed in the shoulders, and his arms fell from around her. He brushed his fingers on her shoulders and pushed her back lightly. “Did- did you actually tell him that I-”

 

“-I did.” She looked down at the floor and clicked her pastel pink heels. “Not sure what he thought, if I’m being honest. He, uh- he kinda shut down after that, but he’ll be there today!” She grabbed Izuku’s wrist in her small hand, looked up at him with twinkling eyes and a firm expression. “Will you talk to him?”

 

He looked over his shoulder at the bridesmaids laughing and sipping on champagne. “What if he doesn’t want to talk to me?”

 

“Freckles,” Ashido sung. “You’re not talking like the man I saw last night. You tell me yourself, do you want to talk to him?”

 

Izuku’s lip quivered. Suddenly, gnawing at the back of his mind reached incredible heights and the worry dissipated under the sheer intensity of his desires. “Yes,” he nearly whined, turning back and leaning into Ashido’s space. The girl smirked at him, knowing so clearly the urges written on his face. “I want to.”

 

“Good,” she smirked, side-stepping and dragging him further into the room. “Uraraka, your side-piece is here.”

 

A white swivel chair spun to reveal the brunette in her silky-white robe. She saw him and her smile doubled in size. She pushed off the armrests and lunged for him, wrapping her arms around his waist but refusing to bury her face in his chest in fear of messing up her makeup. Her eyes glittered up at him. “Don’t you look spiffy, baby!”

 

Izuku’s laugh was the personification of sunshine, and it made the room seem lighter. Yaoyorozu and Tsuyu’s shoulders seemed to drop from their tense position, and Hagakure’s carefully bottled excitement burst. Suddenly, the room was lively, and Izuku was hugging her back. “Only the best for the love of my life.”

 

“Let’s run away together, Izuku!” 

 

He tutted and looked around the room. “No one tell Iida she said that,” he told them. “Don’t want to start a fight today.”

 

Uraraka shrugged. “Well, always wanted two men to fight for my love! It’s not too late!”

 

“Honey, you’re marrying into billions,” the hairstylist laughed. “You gonna give that all up for— sorry, honey, what do you do?”

 

“I’m, uh, I’m unemployed.”

 

“Well, Unemployed, my name is Nemuri.” She sat her curling iron down and extended a hand for Izuku to take, which he shook firmly. She pressed her lips thin and looked him over before turning her gaze to Uraraka. “Am I doin’ him, too?”

 

“Nah, he’s too cute already,” Uraraka laughed, falling back into her seat. “So, Izu, about the unemployed thing-”

 

Izuku lifted a hand to stop her, then waved his hand at Hagakure to get her to scoot over. He sat down on the bed beside her and leaned onto his knees. “It’s gonna be fine, Ocha. I already got an interview, and-”

 

“-Woah, who’d you blow to get that?” Hagakure hissed.

 

“Tooru!” Ashido snapped from the open bathroom to the left, but the spitfire just brushed it off.

 

“No one, Hagakure,” he groaned. “Anyways, I’m gonna be fine, and we’re not gonna talk about me, because it’s not my wedding.”

 

“Hey, Izu, I’m not complaining if you wanna take a little of the spotlight,” Uraraka laughed, taking a swig of champagne. “I’m not used to all this attention, and a little drama will keep me going. My mom’s side of the family doesn’t even consider it a wedding unless four people cry, one person gets slapped, and another falls asleep wasted in a ditch behind the venue.”

 

“Holy shit,” Hagakure hissed. “Ochako, can I come to the next wedding?”

 

“You’d fit in too much.” Hagakure twisted her body and stuck her tongue out at Tsuyu, who was laughing across the room at her own comment.

 

“Anyways, thanks, Ocha, but I want this day to be about you and Iida,” Izuku smiled softly, reaching out to grab her hand. “You guys deserve that.”

 

Uraraka’s scowl appeared too quickly, and she leaned in just as Hagakure got on her feet and climbed across the bed to pounce on Tsuyu. “What about you, Izuku? I want you to be happy, too.”

 

Her eyes were so serious, so sullen. And the pangs in Izuku’s heart, spurred on by his love for such caring friends and craving for a man he’d see in a few hours time, filled him with a sort of longing he wasn’t accustomed to. Because now, all he wanted was happiness for himself, his friends, and lover.

 

Before, his goal had been to ensure everyone’s happiness other than his. But now- Now, he wanted to revel in it with them, share in their happiness. Izuku pushed forward, kicking off the chair to come forward and press a quick, chaste kiss to Uraraka’s forehead. When he pulled away, she looked at him painfully.

 

“I’m getting there,” he said.

 


 

Izuku rode between Jirou and Yaoyorozu on the way to the venue, and he spent the whole time rubbing his palms on the knees of his pants. He didn’t even know why he was more nervous than Uraraka; He wasn’t the one getting married, the one the day was about. 

 

But he’d see Katsuki there, the employers he’d written off, and the ex he’d given a second black eye to match the first. It was kind of funny to him, that his and Katsuki’s first matching-anything as a couple ended up being a pair of matching black eyes. He snorted, the sound masked by the rambunctious singing in the back of the limo, then frowned at the thought that it could be their last.  

 

A hand brushed his knee and Izuku flinched, jerking his gaze to the right and finding Yaoyorozu’s soft smile. “You okay, Midoriya?”

 

“Yeah, I’m- I’m fine,” he laughed awkwardly, bumping her shoulder. “Just a little nervous.”

 

“For Uraraka and Iida, or for you?”

 

Izuku shrugged, looked at the dark carpet and sighed. “Does it matter?”

 

“Well, yeah,” Jirou shrugged. “Listen, last night was-”

 

“-wild,” Tsuyu finished.

 

But,” Jirou continued. “That was new for you! No offense, Midoriya, but you’re not exactly the type to start defending themselves all of a sudden. You’re too nice, care too much about other people.”

 

Yaoyorozu intertwined hers and Izuku’s fingers and nudged his shoulder. “And now you’re going to the wedding, and you’re gonna see the people you stood up to, and see Bakugou, and it’s okay to be nervous about it!”

 

A pop and a sharp squeal made Izuku jump, and Izuku looked across to find Hagakure opening another champagne bottle and pouring two glasses. She offered one to Izuku, who took it confusedly, and furrowed his brows at her. But she didn’t seem to care as she clinked their glasses and leaned closer to him. “Listen, Izuku,” she smiled. “I know you think I’m a mess— and, granted, you’re probably right— but I do know a bit about confidence. And I know for a fact, that it doesn’t show up overnight. So, go ahead. It’s fine to be nervous. 

 

“Just don’t let it stop you.”

 

The part of Izuku who secretly thought Hagakure was simply full of hot air did a somersault, and he shut his eyes and sighed. In the following silence, he heard the driver inform them that they were five minutes from the venue, and then he opened his eyes and looked around the limousine’s backseat. “Thanks, guys,” he nodded, his voice light with the gratitude he hoped to convey.

 

“And if it makes you feel better, Izuku-” Uraraka leaned forward in her wedding dress, her veil falling around her bare shoulders. “I could probably talk Tenya into polygamy.”

 


 

Izuku filed in beside Tensei and felt his heart leap into his throat as he scoured the crowd. He wasn’t sure why it felt like the guests’ eyes kept wandering towards him, but he hoped it was his anxiety or because the spectacle he made the night before was that memorable.

 

And, frankly, it wasn’t as important as finding Katsuki in the crowd. 

 

But he couldn’t— not even on his tip-toes— and when the music started and Uraraka started squealing in excitement, he left it up to fate. It was time to be a best friend, not a pining teenager. 

 

“She looks beautiful, doesn’t she?” Tensei whispered in his ear, and Izuku craned his neck to look behind himself, and, yeah, she was a wonder. Uraraka’s rosy cheeks matched the blush of her lace top and tulle skirt. She smiled at her father, and she looked like the embodiment of love and joy, like there was no one as deserving of it as her.

 

And that was probably right.

 

“Your brother is a lucky man,” Izuku assured Tensei as they took their first steps down the aisle towards the baby’s breath and pink peony canopy at the altar. Izuku’s eyes kept scanning the crowd, and his heart picked up when he thought he saw shocks of blond he thought belonged to his lover, only to find his mother.

 

He sighed and bit his lip, parting with Tensei and going to stand beside Yaoyorozu on the left of the altar. His eyes shifted to Iida, saw the glisten of a tear down his cheek when he saw Uraraka take her first steps down the aisle. Their eyes met, they both laughed, and Iida wiped away the tears with a forearm.

 

When Mr. Uraraka left his daughter at the aisle, she doubled over with a laugh and hiccup, and Iida leaned forward to grab her by the hand and help her up onto the raised platform. Ashido rested her veil on the ground and scurried into position beside Izuku, and even if Izuku couldn’t see Uraraka’s face from his position, he could see Iida’s. He could see his friend’s soft expression, the way his thumb lightly brushed at her cheek, and Uraraka leaned into his space.

 

Izuku could feel his heartbeat vibrate in his chest, extend to his fingers and toes and radiate into the crowd. He didn’t think there was a soul in a mile radius of the union that didn’t feel the extent to which Uraraka and Iida’s love radiated, and suddenly Izuku was jealous.

 

His gaze drifted out into the crowd, and finally, thankfully, they connected with red. Far in the back, so far that Izuku could only see half his face, Katsuki looked over at him and Izuku felt his face grow hot, his hands twice as sweaty. Izuku’s feet ached to run to him, his arms yearned to embrace him, his lips to mold perfectly to his.

 

And he saw in the glitter of Katsuki’s own eyes a pain and longing that could only be meant for Izuku, and the somberness that belonged to him.

 

And Izuku pressed his lips thin and squeezed his eyes shut, feeling a tear trace his cheek. Uraraka began her vows and the hitch in her voice made Izuku turn back to her, made him curious to see the love and longing on her face.

 

Izuku wanted nothing more than to get lost in Katsuki, but he had to wait.

 

He wasn’t ready just yet.

 


 

Izuku thanked the waiter for his steak as he laid it out in front of him, but he wasn’t about to eat it. His stomach had been doing an olympics-worthy gymnastics routine since the wedding, and eating was the last thing on his mind. He bit the inside of his bottom lip and looked to his right, to Mrs. Uraraka, and then to his left, to Ashido laughing gleefully with Yaoyorozu.

 

Izuku’s eyes fell across the crowd. He was happy the Iidas were on the other side of the long table, not wanting to look them in the eyes at the moment. He needed a break from them, from any repercussions there could be from quitting their company in the middle of the rehearsal. No, he looked across the ornate ballroom and pinpointed the locations of the people he needed to avoid and the ones he needed to see.

 

He determined that the right side of the room was off limits— no way he’d pass by the Todoroki table with Touya and Himiko getting drunk off their asses and Todoroki Enji eyeing them and Izuku himself as if he had it out for all three of them. 

 

The left side of the room was where Yagi was, where his— hopefully— new employer sat beside an old woman Izuku had never met. He’d go say hi when the reception’s required activities were over and he could move about the room. There was an issue with side-stepping Mitsuki, who he counted was on her third margherita. That said, Masaru had her hand in his, and he figured the man would be on his side in keeping his wife busy.

 

But it was just off-center of the room where his prize was, where Katsuki sat with his legs spread out and his contemplative scowl— the one Izuku loved so fucking much— sat staring down at his glass of water. Izuku’s heart did leaps at the sight of him in that red, fitted suit he’d seen him in on their trip to the tailor’s. 

 

If there was a way to describe the sheer concept of Katsuki’s allure, Izuku would have, but his tongue couldn’t even begin to articulate the vision in front of him because the light from the crystal chandeliers above bathed his blonde hair in a halo of spun gold, and the angle at which he rested turned his shoulders wide and square, and Izuku knew he’d feel safe and warm between them.

 

 Katsuki pulled at the knot in his tie, and the way his Adam’s apple bobbed made Izuku crave the feeling and taste of it between his teeth. Katsuki was a spectacle, but even with an unlimited supply of canvases, paints, and pens, Izuku couldn’t begin to translate it. 

 

It wasn’t something to be captured, only to be experienced in its entirety.

 

“Here’s to the happy couple!” Hagakure shouted over the music, and it jostled Izuku from his ogling. Izuku turned down the table to watch her say it again, and then, when not enough people turned to face her, she grabbed a tealight candle off the wedding party’s table, blew out the light and dumped the wet wax onto a napkin before chucking it at the DJ. He didn’t dodge, it hit him in the face, and he slitted his eyes and jerked his gaze to Hagakure. She threw her hand down, ordering him to turn the sound off, and he did so begrudgingly. “I said : HERE’S TO THE HAPPY COUPLE!”

 

A cheer rang out around the room, and she laughed. “Now, since we’ve got food, and we’ve all spent enough time forcing conversation at tables with people we don’t know and probably don’t want to talk to-”

 

-HAGAKURE!-”

 

“-TOORU!-”

 

“Anyways, there are, like, three people who have to do speeches, so can we start that now?” She turned to Iida and Ura- Tenya and Ochako. “Please?”

 

Ochako turned to Tenya and pecked him on the lips, which made his grin grow toothy. Always one for schedules, Izuku almost did a double take when he smiled up at Hagakure and nodded his approval.

 

The crowd broke out into claps and cheers, and Hagakure leaped from her seat to run over to the DJ and grab the microphone from his hand. “Who’s first?” She asked, running back to the table. 

 

And Izuku turned beet red and turned his head towards the white-linen table cloth when Ochako and Tenya cupped their hands around their mouths and shouted his name. Cheers turned to murmurs, and Izuku cast his glance towards the guest tables, to Katsuki. 

 

His words caught in his throat when he saw Katsuki staring back.

 

Then there was a microphone in his face, and Hagakure smiling down at him, and others grinning on either side of him. Having no other choice, he jerked up from his seat. The chair skidded out behind him and tumbled over, which made him jump and scramble to pick it up while two laughs he knew far too well echoed behind him.

 

“Izuku,” Ashido hissed beside him. He quickly turned to look at her, felt his ears burn, and she nodded firmly at him. “You got it, Freckles.” Only three words, but it was a vote of confidence he needed. He pulled himself back up, squared his shoulders and turned to grab the microphone from Hagakure before squeezing out from behind the long table and walking out to the dance floor.

 

His dress shoes clicked on the hardwood, and the steady sound was calming until he found himself in the middle and looked out into the crowd. There were too many eyes, too many people that he didn’t know, that had judged him for the first time the night before when he hit his ex-boyfriend and threatened his date.

 

His shaking breath echoed in the microphone, and he looked back to Ochako and Tenya. He nodded to himself— he could do it. He had written the speech weeks ago. 

 

He had this.

 

“I, uh,” he started, looking back out at the crowd. “For reference, I met Tenya for the first time when I entered a school where I did not belong, and he welcomed me with open arms. And, um, that doesn’t seem really important to their wedding, but listen. Tenya was— and still is— one of the kindest, most welcoming people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.

 

“And I met Ochako in college. We shared an economics class together, and— again, for reference, we were both scholarship kids, and we worked for the school a lot to pay for tuition— and we kinda took it upon ourselves to help the other keep up with classes, but I can’t begin to tell you how comforting her presence was, how much it meant to me to have her in my life, and-”

 

He turned back towards Ochako and Tenya, and saw how they closed their eyes and knocked their foreheads together. There was so much love, so much warmth. 

 

Izuku swooned, his heart palpitating at a hummingbird’s pace. He turned to the crowd and laughed. “Do you know how hard it is to find love these days? To find genuine, true love?

 

“You know, I always wondered if that was real— if two people could find each other and just know that that was it, that they had found their person, and that no other would ever compare— but from the moment those two met, Tenya looked at Ochako like she was his sun, and he was just a planet in her solar system. I’d never seen a man who could have anything and everything fall to his knees and just love one person so wholly.”

 

Izuku’s cheeks felt hot, and when he swiped his tongue across a chapped upper lip, he tasted salt. And that’s when he squeezed his eyes shut and laughed, realizing that those were tears and he’d fallen, too. Because the speech was about Ochako and Tenya, but he could only envision Katsuki.

 

He’d written that speech when finding Katsuki had still been a pipe dream, and the feelings he’d held as a teenager had been put away in exchange for a man who he felt increasingly distanced from. He’d written this speech in a cold bed, with longing, confused tears on his face. And now-

 

Now he shed tears once again, but they were produced with a deeper understanding of what he wanted, what he craved, what he knew was just beyond his fingertips. Izuku’s eyes fell onto Katsuki, the hopeful expression etched across his face. Suddenly, they were teenagers again, and he was saying the words he’d been too scared to share when they’d been alone in that park, holding onto each other’s presence for just one last time. “I believe in my heart that there’s one person you were destined for, who makes your world stop spinning because now there’s nothing as important as their smile, their laugh, and the way they hold you in their arms.

 

“Ochako and Tenya were made for each other,” he finished off, his eyes flicking back to the couple, then back at Katsuki now leaning forward in his seat. He’d intended to end the speech there— where it was supposed to— but the words gnawed at his throat, burned on the tip of his tongue. He leaned into the microphone, his lips resting on the cool metal. He pressed a whisper to it, looking at Katsuki and Katsuki only. “They found that impossible love, they made it real, and I guess that means we all can, too.”

 

He pulled his lips away from the microphone and looked around at the crying old women and somber men. He couldn’t help but laugh through his tears at the envious stares that some women were shooting their boyfriends. Izuku’s eyes glanced over at Katsuki one last time, his gaping mouth and wide eyes, and turned back to the wedding party’s table. “I love you,” he hummed to Ochako and Tenya, and they sang it back.

Chapter Text

“And now,” said the DJ over the speakers. “We ask for the bride and groom to join us on the dance floor for the first dance.”

 

The lights dimmed, and the reception hall was bathed in a warm, rose-tinted glow. And as Ochako and Tenya found their way to the center of the floor, Tenya wrapped his shaking hands around Ochako’s waist. She pressed her cheek gently to his chest and sighed so contentedly. Izuku looked across to the guest tables, to Katsuki’s stern, somber eyes looking at him over a ginger ale. He drummed his fingers on the table, bounced his leg beneath it, and tried not to give in to his primal instinct and run towards him.

 

Let him come to you , Izuku thought, grabbing his fork and scraping the tongs through the leftover icing of his cake slice. Izuku swirled the chocolate buttercream with the funfetti dye that had come out the cake, and smiled softly to himself. Leave it to Ochako to weasle something ‘common’ into their wedding, making one tier of the seven tier Belgian Chocolate Cake into the confetti cake she’d buy from the corner store every year for her or Izuku’s birthday.

 

“Back to simpler times,” she’d say, pressing a firm kiss to his cheek before cutting through the hardening frosting.

 

Waves of nostalgia dragged Izuku away from his metaphorical beach, and he looked up out of the corner of his eyes to find Katsuki’s eyes had not yet left him. Izuku pursed his lips and drifted his gaze to the right, to Himiko sending warning glares towards Katsuki while Touya nuzzled into her neck, and Natsuo, Shouto, and their father watching in disgust.

 

Izuku shared the same opinion.

 

But it felt like ice had run down his spine when Himiko’s eyes wandered over to him, and Izuku knew she wasn’t going to let him leave today without some inkling of revenge. Which, Izuku thought, was upsetting due to the fact that he was tired of it all, tired of dealing with her childish behavior and flare for the dramatic. 

 

Exaggerating it as much as he could, Izuku rolled his eyes at her and turned back to Ochako and Tenya just as the soft murmur violins faded. Ochako pushed up on her toes to kiss Tenya firmly on the lips. When she did, his hands trailed up to her cheeks and held her there until the DJ started clearing his throat over the microphone. Then, “The bride and groom now ask for others join them on the dance floor.”

 

Which, of course, was the last thing Izuku wanted to here. Heat rose to his cheeks, his ears and neck, and he looked through the passing guests to Katsuki rising from his chair with purpose. He tugged at his jacket, the deep red suit so tight and firm on his body. Izuku wanted it off him, wanted something warm and passionate somewhere private— their room, a janitor’s closet. 

 

But Yagi’s words echoed in his mind, and he knew it wasn’t the time— not now, or any time soon. Izuku‘s heart yearned for Katsuki, but they had years to do it, to relearn each other slowly and thoroughly. They needed to talk, but with Katsuki coming towards him now, with most likely no thought in his head but a dance, Izuku didn’t know how he’d deny his strong arms around him, or how Katsuki’s radiating body heat would make him shiver.

 

Izuku bolted from his seat and rushed past Ashido to accept Shinsou’s invitation to a Waltz, straight for the dessert table. When in doubt, cake was a good option, and he hadn’t tried the Belgian Chocolate yet. The gold foil baked inside it made the gutted cake shimmer in the same way the chandeliers did.

 

He cut through two people on his way, grabbed at a slice on fine china, and swiveled on his feet to find Katsuki’s direction, too, had veered towards the cake, and that the people loitering on either side of Izuku made it difficult for him to escape.

 

Izuku’s hands were so wet he was surprised the plate didn’t slip to the floor, and heart pounding so intensely it was all he could hear over the classical music reverberating off the walls and the guests chatting in wine-enhanced geniality. 

 

Izuku could see the longing buried in his eyes before he could hear his voice, or feel the pressure in the way he grazed fingers over Izuku’s coat sleeve— Izuku wishing his arm was bare and he could feel him more wholly. “Deku,” he said, his voice like gravel and his expression just as rough.

 

His eyes were red, but his shoulders were held up like he hadn’t broken under the weight of the pain or crying. The most loving smile curled at the corner of his pursed lips, and he leaned further into Izuku’s space.

 

Izuku squeezed his slippery fingers on the rim of his plate. “Y-yes?” 

 

Katsuki’s brows curled up pitifully, and the closer he leaned, the more Izuku could smell his musky cologne. It smelled so right, so warm and inviting. Izuku felt a lump form in his throat. “Would- would you dance with me?” he asked.

 

And for all intents and purposes, Izuku squeezed his eyes shut and bit firmly on his lip. “I can’t, Kacchan. I can’t just- God , you know I want to, but- but I can’t just give in every time you come back to me, okay? I can’t do that again.”

 

“I know.”

 

“What we need-” Izuku inhaled a deep breath and looked firmly at his reflection in Katsuki’s glossy red eyes. It looked like he was close to crying, like he’d forgone the carefully bottled fear he’d hidden away and was preparing to pour it out onto the earth, like he was accepting vulnerability. Izuku choked, and his voice came out weak. “What we need is to talk.”

 

A rough hand wrapped around Izuku’s wrist, and Katsuki nodded with fervor. “Talk and dance,” he said. “That way neither of us will leave.”

 

As hard as he fought against it, Izuku’s heart tugged him forward. Katsuki pulled the plate from his grip and leaned past Izuku to lay it back on the table. Their chests brushed, and Izuku fell firmly into him, like the sheer proximity would stitch them together.

 

He didn’t want that now, wanted to wait, but Katsuki was so woven into his soul— and he with Katsuki— that he couldn’t rip away the urge.

 

Katsuki pulled back, his hand still wrapped around Izuku’s wrist, and guided him onto the dance floor, their dress shoes tapping on the firm flooring as the song turned over to something old and American that Izuku had never heard before. A firm tug on his arm threw him into Katsuki, his head firmly hitting Katsuki’s chest, and hands wrapped around his waist in quick succession.

 

By the time Izuku had realized his position, he also understood that nothing was as loud and jarring as the rapid beating of Katsuki’s heart through his suit; it sent a shiver down Izuku’s spine, and he slowly pulled away to look Katsuki cautiously in the eyes. “So.”

 

Katsuki snorted shortly, eyes never leaving Izuku’s face, and started their shuffle. “So?”

 

“Um, well,” Izuku started, not knowing where to start. It felt like his common sense and his love were battling fiercely with each other, turning his insides to shreds and making his stomach hurt. What was he supposed to say?

 

“You really laid a good one on Todoroki,” Katsuki said amusedly, which made Izuku’s eyes blow wide and his mouth quickly shut. 

 

Right, he reminded himself. Mina had told him, because Izuku had told her to, and this was the outcome. “Yeah…” Izuku bowed his head and watched their feet shuffle in unison.

 

“I’m, uh, I’m really proud of you,” Katsuki said, and Izuku looked back up, but his vision caught on his lips, aggravated and chapped, but still so kissable. Izuku bit his own lip as Katsuki continued. “You know, Deku, I, uh- fuck,” he laughed. “When we talked about fighting demons, I thought it would take a little longer.”

 

Izuku sighed, not thinking he should really be praised for it. His outburst had happened on impulse, and not because he was ready for it. If he were asked to repeat the same scenario, he wasn’t positive he could reenact the same series of events. “Yeah, but- Kacchan, it was just- well, I saw how Himiko attacked Mina and I was so furious, and-”

 

“-and I’m,” Katsuki inhaled deeply. In the beat of silence, Izuku noticed Katsuki was shaking. He was trying to pass it off, though, and that made Izuku’s perplexed expression drop into a frown. “Izuku, I’m grateful. And- and I love you— you know I do, and all I’ve ever done was— and I shouldn’t have walked out and I want you so fucking bad! And-” His voice cracked. “And I’m not whole without you.”

 

Izuku watched the tears brimming his eyes break free, and the way his lip quivered on the last sentence. His grip on Izuku’s waist tightened, and Izuku felt a surge of panic and euphoria swirl inside him. A pathetic smile cracked his worried frown, and he lifted a hand to brush away the tear sliding down Katsuki’s cheek. Freshly shaven, face so soft and warm from a blush and crying, Katsuki pressed his cheek firmly into Izuku’s hand and gasped out shakily. “Kacchan,” he said, fighting the way his voice wanted to quiver. “You aren’t ready.”

 

Katsuki went stock-still, and worried eyes planted on Izuku. “Huh?”

 

“Kacchan,” he hissed. “Look at yourself, okay? You’re so worried, so scared, and- and you're not alone, okay? I am, too. I want you, but- but I talked to someone last night, who made a lot of sense, really, and I-”

 

“I am sick of seeing you two like this.” The voice was a hiss, acidic like the spit with each syllable was enough to burn through their hearts. Katsuki’s hands bunched into fists, wrinkling Izuku’s suit, and the couple turned to the edge of the dance floor. Himiko stumbled over in a low cut green dress, the jeweled embroidery flickering with light from the chandeliers above. Touya grabbed her shoulder and hissed something in her ear, but she shoved him off and stomped forward, each click of her heels as deafening as a gunshot. Her hand  shook when she pointed accusingly at Katsuki, and Izuku wanted to snap her neck. 

 

“Leave us alone,” Izuku gritted, pulling Katsuki’s hands off him and ushering him behind his smaller frame. “Don’t you have lives to ruin elsewhere?” Izuku looked out at the crowd of guest tables behind her, looking for any security, or anyone who’d notice the altercation growing on the dance floor.

 

Himiko laughed, too cruel and high-pitched to do anything but make Izuku shiver and make Touya look at her oddly. She took another step forward, looking past him to land her piercing gaze on Katsuki. “You’re just gonna hide behind him?” she asked. “You really that small of a fucking man, to-”

 

“-What is wrong with you,” he barked, and now he noticed that outside conversation and movement had grown to a minimum, and people were rising from their seats to get a better look. He saw a flash of blonde far away, then found Mitsuki’s emotionless eyes leveled on them. Izuku looked back at Himiko. “This a wedding! And this,” he said, pointing to him and Katsuki. “Has nothing to do with you. So, please, stop-”

 

Something tugged at his sleeve firmly, and stopped Izuku from finishing his thought. He followed the feeling to find his shirt pinched between Katsuki’s index and thumb, his eyes wide, and wet, and terrified. “Stop, Deku,” he said, his voice so soft and pleading.

 

“W-what?”

 

The music had stopped. Katsuki’s footsteps as he pushed his way in front of Izuku were sharp and distinct in Izuku’s ears. He watched as Katsuki stopped in front of Himiko, squared his shoulders and looked down at her with incomplete purpose, the pain in his expression ruining the confidence he tried to produce. “Toga, this has gone too far.”

 

“Too far?” She laughed, looking around the room like she was making sure everyone was watching. Izuku’s fists shook, and he cut his nails into his flesh as a grounding force. “Too far was you breaking my arm! Too far was you beating me within an inch of my life!”

 

“I didn’t do that.” His voice was nowhere near as loud as Himiko’s, and that was making people whisper their speculations around the room, muttering about what they thought of Katsuki and how he could show his face.

 

Himiko pressed her lips firmly and spat. “What was that?”

 

Izuku lunged for Katsuki, firmly grabbing his hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze. Katsuki looked up to the side to find Izuku, and squared his shoulders. “I didn’t do that,” he said, firmer, and that made Himiko respond with a stutter. Katsuki took the opportunity, stepping closer and looking her