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Drifting

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“You need to work harder! Take control!”

Shouto heard the words, but ignored them as he stood hunched over, panting heavily. He was trying, damn it. The right side of his body was numb, frost building up on his icy skin. It was a feeling he became accustomed to and dreaded. He time was nearly up, but he was the only one in the room to acknowledge that.

“Do it again!”

Shouto looked up at his father on the opposite side of the dojo. His flames were strong, melting his ice quickly. Chest heaving with exhaustion, Shouto glared at his father, refusing to cave into his desires. They had been training for hours, relentlessly sending ice spike after ice spike towards his father in an attempt to gain control.

Shivering, he tried to focus his slipping concentration on his father and send another spike his way. The ice froze the floor of the dojo on its path, stopping halfway to the man across from him. Shouto felt himself drifting, knowing what was to come next.

He was on his knees, eyes blurrily focused on the cabinet in the corner of the dojo. He counted the drawers slowly, barely aware of his ice melting quickly as his father approached. He could feel the heat getting stronger, the ice on the floor around him melting, the frost on his skin burning.

Shouto’s focus on the cabinet remained as his father stood over him, his flames burning dangerously close. He could hear the tone in his voice, disappointment lacing his venomous words. He’d heard these words time and time again, each sinking deeper than the last, nearly breaking his daze.

He’d become accustomed to being pushed beyond his limits, using his quirk for so long that the frost that built up on his skin had permeated the deeper layers, doing permanent damage. His father’s flaming hands on him afterwards only made it much worse.

 

“Todoroki!”

Shouto looked up suddenly, his neck cracking from the sudden movement. Midoriya was in front of him, a worried look on his freckled face. Behind him stood Iida and Uraraka, both with frowns on their faces. He briefly wondered what was so concerning.

As if to answer his question, Midoriya supplied, “The bell rang already… aren’t you coming to lunch?”

Eye’s shifting to the clock on the wall, Shouto took note of the time. It was indeed lunch, but how come he hadn’t heard the bell? Brows knitting together in confusion, Shouto came to the only conclusion available. He was exhausted. The extra training sessions as of late were draining him of his energy and time.

“Todoroki?” Midoriya’s voice was uncertain.

“I must’ve dozed off,” Shouto supplied with a shrug of his shoulders. He stood up, shaking the feeling of uncertainty.

“Well let’s not waste time!” Iida called from the door. “The lines will be long by now!”

Shouto followed the three out of the classroom, barely listening to Midoriya and Uraraka’s chatter on the lesson they’d just finished. He took note that he felt especially distant, as if he wasn’t truly walking to lunch down the halls of U.A. with his friends. Frowning, he blinked hard, hoping that would snap him out of it.

 

At lunch, Sero kept elbowing his right arm, seeming to catch his wounds every time. Shouto tried to keep his grimace under wraps, but after a particularly hard jab into his upper arm, he couldn’t hid the sharp intake of breath. He instinctively grabbed the spot and rubbed it slowly.

“Sorry man!” Sero apologized, noticing his reaction. “My elbows are sore from our training yesterday, hard to control, yaknow?”

Shouto nodded. Yesterday’s training at U.A. had been intense, but not as much as the private lessons he was receiving. Nor the aftermath of such.

Wincing as he rubbed his arm slowly, he realized it was tenderer than usual. Pressing the pads of his fingers against his blazer, he could feel a heat radiating from underneath the clothing. Standing up suddenly, Shouto excused himself quickly.

He took to the bathroom just outside of the cafeteria. Once inside, he shed his jacket off. His heart dropped as he saw the stain on his white uniform, blooming darker with each moment. Quickly unbuttoning his shirt, Shouto cursed under his breath. He shed the shirt, revealing in the bathroom mirror stained bandages wrapped around his right arm, from shoulder to just above his wrist.

“What the fuck?”

Shouto spun around, heart in his throat at the sudden outburst. Exiting a stall behind him was Katsuki. Fuck. Shouto had no excuse. His shirt was half off, exposing his right side with blood-stained bandages.

Katsuki approached him slowly, his red eyes boring into his own. He was looking for an answer, an explanation of why he was bandaged like he was. His hands were in his pockets, but the rest of his demeanor was serious. Bakugou reached out, watching as Shouto flinched away from him.

Shouto pulled his shirt back on, only buttoning a few buttons to become decent before grabbing his blazer and quickly exiting the bathroom. Katsuki stared after him, confused and unsure of what to think.

 

Recovery Girl frowned at the state of Shouto’s arm. His head turned away in embarrassment as she examined his injuries. He knew she could tell they were recent, but not recent enough to have been caused by a student. He heard her sigh in acknowledgement before he felt her lips on him and the sudden draining feeling as she used her quirk.

Within moments, his skin wounds were healed and all he felt was a slight twinge, as if he had a sunburn.

“Todoroki,” Recovery Girl began, starting to apply a salve and some bandages. “What happened?”

Shouto looked at the Pro Hero, studying her as she wrapped him up. No, he decided, he couldn’t tell her. He looked away, focusing on the wall in front of him and found himself coming to the same feeling. He felt as if he body was on a boat, being rocked by waves although he was completely still. His brain became fuzzier and more distant, his eyes unfocused.

He’d drifted.

 

Katsuki was the first to notice it. Long before they had moved into their dorms, long before that moment in the bathroom during lunch. The first sign was that Shouto seemed unaffected by his outbursts. While the rest of Class 1-A reacted whenever he shouted or got riled up, Shouto on the other hand seemed to be passive. At first, Bakugou chalked it up to his cold demeanor, like the rest of the class had.

But then, one afternoon after a particularly difficult training session, as the boys cleaned up in the locker room, Katsuki had shouted at Deku, angry that the nerd had the gall to hold back. He told him as much, towering over the green-haired idiot, small explosions popping from his palm. Kirishima was telling him to chill, but his words fell on deaf ears.

“I’m sorry, Kachaan.” Deku mumbled, backing up against the lockers.

“Shut the fuck up!” Katsuki spat, raising his hand, ready to strike. Anger was coursing through his veins. Deku had thrown their sparing match on purpose, letting Katsuki win. It wasn’t a fair fight or victory if his opponent didn’t give it their all like he did.

Midoriya flinched, ready for the impact of Katsuki’s quirk, hearing the loud pops so close to his head. Instead, the angry teen backed off, huffing and turning to the showers.

“Next time, don’t fuckin’ hold back.”

That’s when he saw Shouto, standing in the doorway to the showers, a towel around his waist and that blank stare. Katsuki stopped short. Kirishima and Midoriya were preoccupied with commenting on his outburst of anger to notice.

Continuing forward, he grabbed the spaced out teen by the upper arm and lead him back into the showers, hoping the others didn’t notice. Unsurprisingly, Shouto followed Katsuki’s lead without a fight.

After they passed a few shower stalls, Katsuki pushed him into an empty one and closed the curtain. Each stall had a bench against the wall, but they definitely weren’t meant for sharing. Huffing slightly, Katsuki pushed Shouto onto the bench, taking note of how easily he was moved.

Katsuki didn’t fully understand why Shouto’s eyes were distant and unseeing, but he had enough sense to know it wasn’t right. He stood before him, feeling slightly weird being fully clothed in the shower shall, even more so by being in a stall with another person, but put that out of his head for a moment as he took in Shouto’s lack of awareness.

For someone wanting to be a Pro Hero, spacing out to this degree didn’t seem very advantageous.

“Yo, Ice-for-brains.” Katsuki grunted, hoping to snap him out of whatever trance he was in.

When that didn’t work he snapped his fingers in front of his face, frowning at the lack of reaction. Fuck. Should he get a teacher? Was there something legitimately wrong with his classmate? Before he could move to leave the shower stall, Shouto suddenly shook his head violently. Katsuki observed as he closed his eyes tightly before opening them and looking up at him.

It seemed to take a moment for Shouto to process that Katsuki was standing, fully clothed, in a shower stall while he sat in just a towel. Confusion crossed his face for a moment.

“What-“ Katsuki began, only to be cut off by his classmate.

“… Drifted.”

“What?” Katsuki repeated, more confused. What the hell did he mean by that?

Shouto felt the heat crawl up his neck. He couldn’t believe he had gotten caught like that. This had never happened without his awareness of what triggered it. He couldn’t recall when he had slipped or how he’d gotten here. Everything from the moment he left the showers to somehow finding himself in a shower stall with his classmate was a blur.

“I-“

Katsuki had a million questions swimming in his head. He could tell that this was a normal thing, but not something he’d been caught with before.

“You better keep an eye on yourself,” Katsuki said, his voice low and softer than he intended. “If a villain were to have been here…”

Shouto knew exactly what he was implying.

 

Ever since that moment, Katsuki noticed more and more about their classmate. The way he walked, for instance, was light and with very little sound. His whole body was tensed up, as if he was avoiding making noise. Or the way he ate, quickly but still very trained and proper. Katsuki secretly timed him once, his curiosity getting the better of him. A whole bowl of Miso soup was devoured in merely a minute and a half. The rest of the class had barely taken a bite.

Or how he sat, at all times, back straight, shoulders back and facing forward. He never slouched or showed any signs of fatigue, even after a hard day of training. Or how he used his quirk during training, the way he would dance around the field, avoiding his opponent with a seemingly practiced ease, as if he had years under his belt already.

The one thing he couldn’t get his mind off of was that interaction in the shower. Seeing Shouto completely lost scared him more than he wanted to admit. He’d tried to google the word he’d used, but came up short. There wasn’t a chance in hell he was talking about a car going around a corner in a particular way. So what they hell did he mean when he said “drifted”?

The thought plagued Katsuki for months. He kept an eye on Shouto, watching him closely for another sign. But one never came. He did notice more often or not that he seemed to be bandaged up in some way. Whenever they changed in the locker rooms between training sessions, Katsuki couldn’t help but notice the scars that littered his back. Was his quirk, at some point, as hard to control as Deku’s?

 

 

Shouto noticed Katsuki’s attention suddenly shift from Midoriya to himself. Well, it wasn’t that he stopped paying attention to the green-haired classmate, it was just less intense. Katsuki would let more and more things that he would normally be irritated by slip past him. Shouto cursed to himself for letting his guard down so much in front of his classmate. His face grew hot thinking about the close calls he’d had. He’d been lucky the angry teen hadn’t done anything.

If anyone were to find out what was happening… He shuddered at the thought. His father would be livid. He would have to be more careful, more prepared.

It was the next day that he bought undershirts and started wearing them. He was uncomfortable at first, not used to the many layers, but quickly got accustomed to it. Katsuki, he knew, noticed immediately. That day in the locker rooms, he could feel his eyes on him when he changed. He looked over at his classmate to see his eye brows knitted together.

 

It was getting harder and harder to hide, to escape when something triggering happened. It wasn’t his classmates fault. They didn’t know any better, and frankly neither did he. This was new territory for him. He didn’t know how to live under a different roof than his fathers. The rules were different, everyone was loud and rowdy, pent up energy that wasn’t expelled during training overflowing into the common room.

He’d learned to steal away to him room when the common room would become too rambunctious. All the sounds became disorientating, blurring together and confusing him. There was no way he would get any work done, anyway, in a setting like that, he would say.

He’d learned that being touched when he wasn’t expecting it sent him into a frenzy. Mina was the first to teach him that when she snuck up on him one morning and scared him. He did his best to suppress the panic that rose and tried to keep focus to stop himself from drifting.

He learned quickly that years of trying to go unnoticed to avoid punishment in his own home came in handy to escape. He could quickly slip in or out of a room without anyone noticing.

 

Katsuki, Kirishima, Midoriya, and Iida were all studding at a table in the common room. Shouto joined them, opening his Chemistry book and setting to work on his homework.

“Oi, IcyHot,” Katsuki called from the other end of the table. “Chemistry too?”

“Yeah,” Shouto responded, looking down the table at him.

Before he could say anything else, Katsuki slammed his book shut and moved to sit beside him.

“Help me with problem five.” he demanded.

Shouto nodded, turning his attention to that problem and reading it over. He didn’t understand it at first, but after talking it over, they solved the problem together. Shouto felt weird about the sudden friendliness between him and Katsuki. There were never on bad terms, but given the scrutiny he knew he was under…. He was sure his classmate knew more than he let on.

Standing up, Katsuki ruffled Shouto’s hair. He felt a heat rise up his neck before he realized the subconscious move; his parents did that all the time with him, it felt natural to emulate it. Suddenly, Shouto went stiff underneath his fingers.

 “You’re distracted, Shouto,” his father grumbled from across the dojo. “Stop suppressing yourself! You’ve got to learn to control your quirk if you want to become the number one hero and beat All Might!”

Shouto felt tears fall from his eyes. He didn’t want to use his quirk. Not after how his mother had reacted to his fire. Not after the days he spent in the hospital. He rose a shaking hand to his scar, touching the still tender flesh.

“You’re weak! Stop crying and show me your power!” He spat.

Shouto looked up at the flames that emitted from his father, fear passing through him. Before he could react, his father was on him, lifting him up with one hand in his hair, gripping tightly. Shouto cried out, hands tugging at his father’s to let him go.

 

“Todoroki!!” a loud voice boomed from across the room.

Shouto looked up suddenly. His chest was tight and his breath caught in his throat. He stared wide-eyed around the room. Frowning, his heart pounding, he tried to make sense of the situation. He was in the dorm’s common room. He was sitting at the table, his homework in front of him. He was not a young boy in his dojo with his father’s hand in his hair. As if to confirm reality, he reached up slowly and ran a hand through his two toned locks.

“Todoroki?”

Shouto turned to his left and saw Katsuki in the doorway, looking at him inquisitively. He knew his classmate knew. He saw the recognition in his eyes before he turned and beckoned him to follow. Shouto did.

Katsuki lead him down the hall and out into the garden. They had a small courtyard between the two sides of the buildings. Katsuki steered him away from the garden and into the forest behind the dorms. They walked in silence, the ill-tempered teen leading the way, hands stuffed into his pockets.

A few minutes passed before the entered a clearing, the forest opening up to allow some sunlight hit the leaf-strewn floor. Shouto stopped next to his classmate, looking around the clearing.

“I come here when I’m pissed,” Katsuki supplied, taking a step into the clearing.

Shouto took a look around at the trees opposite them; they were scarred with marks he recognized. Looking back at Katsuki, Shouto opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off.

“I don’t know what demons you’re trying to hide,” Katsuki started, turning to face him, studying him with a calculating stare. “But come here instead of spacing out when things get rowdy in the dorm.”

Shouto knew his surprise was clearly written on his face. How did Katsuki know? Was he that obvious when he slipped away to his room when he felt himself drifting?

“Tch,” Katsuki scoffed. “I’m not stupid, IcyHot. You just had a fucking panic attack when I ruffled your hair.”

Shouto looked at the ground, a hand coming up to rub his neck.

“Anyway,” Katsuki paused, thinking of how to word what he wanted to ask. Biting his lip, he kept his gaze on his classmate, mumbling an apology.

“Thanks, Katsuki.” Shouto mumbled, looking up at him.

Trying to hide the surprise of someone using his first name so freely, Katsuki brushed past him and left the forest.

 

Shouto went to the forest often. He never saw Katsuki there, but could see the recent damage done to the foliage. He screamed and cried and let out all the pent up emotions, letting his quirk run freely. He wanted to thank Katsuki for showing him his spot, something that obviously had helped him. He found he wasn’t panicking as much in the common room as of late.

Katsuki watched from his balcony every night as Shouto slipped into the forest. He leaned against the doorway, watching the tree line, waiting. Every night he could catch a glimpse of fire licking the trees near the clearing. Every night he would hear a scream that chilled him to the bone drift on the wind. He needed to figure out what the hell that boy had going on.

 

“Did you hear that last night?” Mina asked Tsuyu, looking at the other girls with wide eyes.

“Hear what?” Kaminari questioned, leaning over his breakfast to ask.

“The screams from the forest.”

Katsuki overheard the conversation from the kitchen, where he was leaned against the bar. Eyebrow quirked, he listened to his classmates gossip and theorize about what, who, where the sounds in the night were coming from.

“Tch,” Katsuki pushed himself off the counter, moving away from the dining area. “Don’t you extra’s know the tale?”

He didn’t need to look back at them to gauge their reaction. He knew they would be hanging onto every word, excited for a piece of information. Clucking his tongue at how easy this would be, he divulged, “The forest his haunted. You know of the Suicide Forest in the south right? Well U.A. happens to have something similar, a sister forest, they say. It’s where the spirits of fallen Hero’s roam, reliving their demise over and over.”

“Kachaan is right!” Deku interjected.

Good, Katsuki thought. Exactly what I’d hoped for. Smirking as Midoriya started to ramble, gaining the attention of the class as he told them, in more detail, about the legend. As Katsuki left the common room, heading to the bathrooms to get washed up for the day, he knew he had done his job.

 

Shouto almost broke curfew. He slipped inside the building just before the doors were armed. Heaving a sigh, he leaned against the wall, looking at the bottom of the back stairs. His face was still hot with emotion, the recent tears staining his cheeks.

“Tch.”

Shouto looked up at the sound. All too familiar, Katsuki stood at the top of the stairs, slouching against the wall, his hands in his pockets. Shouto’s shoulders dropped in defeat, looking away from the red gaze fixed on him.

“Fuck, Icy.” Katsuki breathed, taking in his classmate’s appearance. He clothes were ripped, one side bared, the edges of his shirt burnt away. The remainder of his shirt was wet, clinging to his frame. Dirt covered what was left of his pants and his hair was tousled, the two colors usually parted perfectly were mixed.

Katsuki descended the stairs, coming just a few steps from Shouto. He knew whatever Shouto was going through wasn’t easy. He watched from his balcony night after night, heard his pain shouted in the night. The rest of class 1-A seemed to shrug off the sounds carried across the trees, Katsuki’s plan of bringing up the legend seemed to satiate everyone.

Shouto pushed himself from the wall, brushing past his classmate on his way up the emergency stairs, muttering a small thanks. Katsuki nodded, following Shouto back to the main hallway.

 

 

The next couple of weeks found Katsuki tied up with more homework than he’d had in his life. Midterms were approaching and every class seemed to have more and more content needing to be learned before then. Tensions here high in the dorms as everyone tried to complete their work before the evening training.

Finally it all came to a head. After getting endlessly frustrated with Chemistry, he stormed out of the dorms and into the forest. He needed some cool air and something to beat up. Stomping angrily, he let his quirk pop in his palms, feeling the rush of adrenaline begin.

He entered the clearing with a bang, his hands raised and aimed at his favorite tree, one that didn’t seem to take any damage no matter what he threw at it. He didn’t relent, releasing all of his frustrations out. The more he did, the more explosive his quirk became.

Shouto slid down the tree, freezing in the spot at the orange flashing before him. He instantly felt himself drift, leaving and feeling hollow. His breath caught in his throat, unsure of how he’d gotten here and frozen in place as the explosions continued beside him.

Katsuki didn’t notice his classmate in the clearing until he paused, catching his breath and feeling the tension leaving his shoulders. He saw the distant look in his eyes and his slumped body against the tree next to the one he’d been pointing his attacks.

Katsuki felt fear run through him, white hot and numbing. Had he hit his classmate with anything? He took a quick glance at him and noticed he wasn’t singed and determined that no, he was unharmed.

But that look, or lack of one, reminded him of that day in the shower. He crouched beside Shouto, noticing his breathing ragged, his slumped body, the way his head was cocked to the side. If he wasn’t mistaken, he would have thought he was drugged, tripping hard.

But Katsuki had finally found his answer, after months of research, it was staring him in his face. Carefully, he place a hand on Shouto’s shoulder, trying to sooth him. He’d read online that anyone in this state wouldn’t be responsive and should be approached with care. Startling them wouldn’t be useful and would only trigger them more.

Shouto felt the weight on his shoulder and tried to place it. He was far off, swaying with the waves, hoping it would be over soon. They sat there for what felt like hours. Finally, after gently rubbing circles into his shoulder, feeling awkward sitting cross-legged next to the unresponsive boy, he could feel Shouto stiffen, his muscles twitch.

Keeping his hand, he hoped comfortingly, on his shoulder, he said, “Shouto?” His voice cracked.

Shouto turned his head towards Katsuki, unsure of what he was seeing. Katsuki nodded, letting his hand drop to his lap. He twisted his fingers together.

“What happened?” Shouto straightened up against the tree, his back aching from the position he’d been in. “How long…” he trailed off.

“A couple minutes, I think,” Katsuki grunted. “I dunno, I came here to blow off steam and didn’t realize you were here. And then you…”

Katsuki took a deep breath.

“I drifted?” Shouto asked, still a bit dazed.

Katsuki furrowed his brow at his question. Did he not know what it was? Was he… No, he couldn’t be undiagnosed….

“You were disassociating.”

By the look on Shouto’s face, Katsuki’s question was answered. The idiot was undiagnosed. How, he had no fucking idea. His anger bubbled to the surface. What had he been through to experience this? When he finally googled the symptoms he stumbled upon the answer he’d been looking for, found out what Shouto was experiencing when he got spacey. And he had felt as if he was doused with ice water when he found out what could cause it.

“Fuck, Icy,” Katsuki reached up and scratched his head. “How do you not know? You panic anytime someone touches you, you leave yourself don’t you? Feel like you aren’t you whenever something that reminds you of it? Certain sounds or things. Like…”

It suddenly dawned on him, his eyes going wide.

Shouto flinched, pulling himself away from Katsuki, feeling the sudden weight his gaze held. He felt barred to the angry teen, hot heat rising to color his face. He felt his eyes water unwillingly, emotion clogging his throat and weighing on his chest like a ton of bricks.

Katsuki reached out and touched Shouto, trying to pull him forwards. He didn’t say anything else, his brain connecting the dots. The scars on his back, the random injuries that suddenly stopped when they were moved into the dorms, the way he walked as if on edge, hyper aware of his surroundings, that look in his eyes when things became too much. How he reacted when Katsuki had ruffled his hair or lashed out.

Katsuki felt a lump forming is his throat, guilt eating at him as realization fully dawned on him. He couldn’t believe his own classmate….. They were in the damn Hero Course, for fuck’s sake… How could….

“Don’t,” Shouto finally said, his voice weak and full of emotion.

“You need to see someone. This is not something you should work through on your own.”

The statement hit Shouto hard. This wasn’t Midoriya inspiring him during the Sports Festival, pushing him to realize his own potential. This was Bakugou, strong, angry, unsympathetic Bakugou, telling him to find a shrink. The one classmate he never expected to have figure him out. Out of everyone in class 1-A, Katsuki Bakugou was the last person Shouto could have imagined would be giving him mental health advice.

“Shut it, Icy,” Katsuki spat, reading his mind. “I looked it up. Disassociation Disorder is serious and is a big box of shit. You show all the signs associated with,” he paused, turning his head away from him.

He whispered, “With abuse.”

Shouto flinched and stood up suddenly, glaring down at Katsuki. He was losing control, he could feel the heat rising on his left, becoming unbearable. He tried to suppress it. He would never use that power, never.

Katsuki was babbling on, listing all the things he’s observed since they started at U.A. He sounded a lot like Midoriya in that moment. Shouto felt anger rising, feeling it bursting out of his left side as he let out a scream, tears running down his cheeks. Katsuki backed away, trying to calm Shouto before he burned the whole forest down.

Doing the only thing he could think of, he threw himself at the boy on fire, tackling him to the ground. He struggled as Shouto thrashed under him, his flames burning his clothes. A hand grabbed at his bicep, ice cold and freezing him instantly.

Katsuki shouted, backing off him. Before he could formulate another plan, Shouto’s quirk dissipated, leaving him on the ground, shaking with emotion. Katsuki patted out the flames on his leg, frowning at what was left of his sweats.

Chapter Text

Katsuki lay on his bed, head resting on his arms, staring at his ceiling. The moonlight from the window the only light source. He was still, but his mind was racing, thoughts passing quickly as he pieced things together.

He couldn’t get the look of Shouto’s face out of his mind. The vacant stare was haunting and with him not responding, Katsuki honestly thought he’d hurt him. He’d honestly been so frustrated that he didn’t think to survey his surroundings. Hell, he didn’t think he needed too, never had before when going to blow off some steam.

When he’d done some research a few months ago, and found something he thought matched what Shouto was dealing with, Katsuki had hoped that he was wrong. He hoped that it was just a fluke, that he was just weird, dealing with anxiety or depression or something lesser.

“Fuck.”

Katsuki cursed quietly, sitting up and bringing his elbows to rest on his knees. He focused on his palms, twitching his fingers slightly, thinking deeply about what he’d said, what Shouto hadn’t…..

It couldn’t be true. There was no way, absolutely no fucking way that a Hero Course student… Katsuki shook his head, trying to ease the sudden pressure in his chest, the prickle of a burn in his eyes. Clenching his hands into fists, his eyes just as tightly, he sharply inhaled. Maybe he’d just put the pieces together because that’s what fit. Maybe he was wrong. Shouto didn’t deny it, but he didn’t confirm either, Katsuki rationalized. Yes, he reacted, but he would have done the same if anyone suggested his parents were like that.

Flopping onto his back with a groan of frustration, Katsuki turned his thoughts from what had happened to what he was going to do.

 

“Hey ‘Roki!” Kaminari called from the sofa, a controller in one hand, his arm draped over the back as he looked at the teen entering the common space. “Wanna play with us?”

Kirishima, Mina and Sero were gathered around, all looking eagerly up at him. Surveying them quietly, Shouto shrugged and grabbed his water bottle from the fridge.

“I was going to go for a run.” He stared blankly.

“Awh man!” Mina whined, a pout coming to her lips.

“It’s cool, man,” Kirishima pipped up. “But remember, I still gotta kick your ass for last time.”

A smile tugged at his lips, remembering the last game night they had, months ago, where he pummeled everyone in Mario Party. Apparently he was good with RNG.

“Next time,” Shouto agreed, passing by the group as they resumed the game and exited the dorm.

 

Shouto’s breath was labored. His feet pounded the pavement, propelling him further and further on his route. Sweat beaded down his forehead, matting his hair. Eyes clouded with emotion, Shouto was glad he knew his way by heart.

His mind was going as fast as his body, racing alongside him, replaying and speculating on whatever had happened in the forest. He tried to remember details, but his memory was fuzzy. Frustration welled up inside him. He pushed himself to run faster, to escape the thoughts that were overtaking him.

His calves burned, each step sending jolts up his legs. He pushed further, eye blurred and stinging with emotion. His breathing was hard, not enough air coming into his lungs, and too much leaving. Finally, his legs gave out and he collapsed onto the pavement, his knees scrapping against the rough concrete, his palms coming down the stop his momentum. He winced, feeling his skin tear as he came to a halt, everything on fire.

He gasped, trying to get oxygen into his lungs. His heart was pounding hard against his rib cage, his brain slowing. He squeezed his eyes closed, feeling the moisture finally breaking free.

After a few minutes, his breathing slowed, finally easing the ache in his lungs. Shouto fell back onto his behind, surveying his palms. They were torn and bleeding, dirt and stone embedded into his skin. His knees and elbows were the same. Blood ran down his legs and dripped from his hands. He must have been going fast.

Slowly standing, he turned around, heading back to the dorms. In his frustrations, he’d run further than he meant. Wincing for the first few steps, Shouto pushed past the pain in his knees and calves, hoping to get to the dorms unnoticed.

As he approached the main entrance to their building, Midoriya and Iida were by the door, in their own track gear, looking like they were about to head for their own run. Shouto caught their eye and raised an injured hand. By their expressions and return gesture, Shouto was pretty confident he was far enough away for them not to notice.

Either way, he turned and headed towards the tree line. If he could just sneak in the back entrance and up the emergency stairs… As he opened the back door, wincing as his palm came in contact with the hot doorknob, he heard a familiar voice call out to him.

“Oi! Icy!”

Shouto’s shoulders stiffened. He was frozen in place, hearing Katsuki’s footsteps coming closer to him, crunching on the gravel of the courtyard path. He slipped inside, hoping he could ascend the stairs faster than Katsuki could get the door opened. Shouto barely set his left foot on the first stair before the door was yanked open, sunlight illuminating the dark stairwell.

“You fuckin’ runnin’ from me?” Katsuki huffed, crossing his arms, taking in the disheveled appearance of his classmate.

“I already did that today,” Shouto didn’t turn around, his voice trained.

“Ha?” Katsuki voiced.

Shouto blinked hard, taking a step up, hoping Katsuki would get the hint and leave him be. Katsuki was having none of that and grabbed onto Shouto’s upper arm, stopping him from climbing any higher. His grip was hot, Shouto could feel the sweat. He must have come back from a workout, too.

They were silent, Shouto stiff under Katsuki’s grip, Katsuki’s eye boring holes into the back of Shouto’s head.

He’d caught a glimpse at Shouto’s raised hands. The skin was torn jaggedly, blood still beading from the cuts. He looked up at Shouto’s face, surveying him. He was stiff under his gaze, unwavering. Without missing a beat, he moved in front of Shouto and guided him up the stairs.

“What the fuck.” Katsuki spat.

Shouto followed, silent. He could feel Katsuki’s gaze examining him and tried to keep it together, but there was no fooling him. A moment later, he was pushed into the bathroom and towards the showers. He could hear Katsuki mumbling under his breath, but couldn’t make out anything discernible.

Shouto’s heart rate increased as he took a better look at his injuries. His hands were throbbing in pain, the skin torn, dirt and gravel embedded in the cuts. His legs were no better, if not worse. Both knees were a mess. Blood had run down his legs and soaked into his socks and onto his white shoes.

He noticed Katsuki wasn’t beside him and felt panic well up in his throat at the sight of so much blood, the way his skin was mangled made him cringe. His breathing hitched, eyes wide as he stared at his palms. His throat felt like it was closing in on itself, as if an invisible force was squeezing tightly. He could not tear his eyes away from the sight, his vision blurring slightly.

Katsuki returned to find Shouto nearly fainting. He quickly set down the first aid kid and grabbed Shouto’s shoulders, pushing him into the shower stall and onto the bench.

“Fuck, take a deep breath,” Katsuki advised. “Don’t fuckin’ panic now, Icy.”

Shouto nodded but couldn’t calm his breathing. He closed his eyes and tried to breathe in slowly, like he remembered his mother doing when he was younger, but the weight on his throat felt too heavy.

“Hey,” Katsuki grunted, kneeling in front of Shouto. “Look at me. There, now take a deep breath with me. In.” He held the breath in a moment, maintaining eye contact. “And out, slowly. Follow me, okay?”

Katsuki lead their breathing, keeping his eyes locked onto Shouto’s. After a few rounds of guided breathing, Shouto’s shoulders relaxed, he blinked a few times and refocused. Katsuki’s hands were on his shoulder, his thumb rubbing just slightly, calming Shouto’s anxiety. The weight of his hands on him was welcome.

“Better now?” Katsuki grunted, dropping his hands from Shouto’s shoulders and reaching for the first aid kit. “We need to clean you up. What the hell happened?”

Shouto was unsure if Katsuki would even believe him if he told him. He watched as the blonde rummaged through the kit, setting out supplies.

“We’ll start with your hands,” Katsuki said, his voice gruff, his own hands held out with a hint of impatience.

He pulled a wooden bath bucket into the stall and guided Shouto’s hands to it. Shouto let Katsuki work, watching as he rinsed his hands with a small cup, slowly pouring the water over his damaged palms. Shouto winced, the pain searing through him, but he tried to hide it. Katsuki quickly moved his hands away from the bucket, the pink water dripping down the drain.

Katsuki grabbed a brown bottle and uncapped it.

“This will burn like a bitch,” Katsuki warned before pouring the liquid onto the heel of his hand, letting it run over the injury.

Shouto hissed, closing his eyes tightly as the substance seemed to light his skin on fire. He huffed, trying to keep quiet and let Katsuki work.

“You never said what you did to get this, Icy.” Katsuki prodded, hoping if he distracted him from the pain, it would be better. Shouto’s hands were shaking, he knew it probably felt like his hand were ablaze.

“I-“ Shouto stuttered, inhaling sharply at the new sensation. Opening his eyes he saw Katsuki with a pair of tweezers, pulling gravel out of his left palm. “I fell.”

“Well no shit. Couldn’t have guessed that.” Katsuki spat sarcastically, his red eyes trained on the debris in Shouto’s palms.

Katsuki was quick and skilled at removing the gravel. He poured another round of the antiseptic onto Shouto’s hands before moving them into the boys lap. He then surveyed his legs. They looked worse than they were, he supposed, given how much blood had dried onto them.

“Keep your hands still. The antiseptic needs to sit a minute.”

Shouto nodded, asking “Where’d you learn this?”

Katsuki shrugged, mumbling something that Shouto didn’t catch. He quickly took off Shouto’s shoes and socks, throwing them outside the shower stall. Taking the cup back to the water, he repeated the same steps for Shouto’s legs.

After wincing at the antiseptic, Shouto said, “I was on a run and tripped.”

“Really?” Katsuki said more sarcastically than he intended. He joked, “Was Iida with you?”

“No,” Shouto responded mater-of-factly.

Katsuki hummed, bandaging Shouto’s hands and legs skillfully. Shouto was impressed. He hadn’t even had a plan for what to do when he got inside. He had slightly hoped he would have ran into Uraraka or Shoji. 

Katsuki packed the first aid kit back up as Shouto stood. The bandages around his knees felt weird, but Katsuki had taped them, telling him that they shouldn’t slip that way. His hands looked like they were wrapped and ready for a boxing match, thick and tight, but wrapped around each finger so he could still function.

Shouto was admiring the ease and skill in which Katsuki had quickly bandaged him up that he didn’t notice the blonde exit the bathroom, soiled footwear in one hand.

 

“What in the world!” Iida proclaimed at lunch, pointing out Shouto’s bandages.

“I fell on my run.”

“It looks really bad!” Uraraka sympathized.

“It’s not so bad,” Shouto shugged, picking up his chopsticks.

He hands hurt the most. He winced as he ate, the movement causing his palm to rub against the bandage. Midoriya joined them at the table, his own lunch smaller than the others.

“What happened?” Midoriya questioned, taking a large bite of his rice.

Shouto briefly explained his run this morning.

“Is that why you didn’t come over when we waved?” the green haired boy questioned.

Shouto nodded, “I wasn’t trying to make a scene. It’s not that bad, really.”

From the end of the table, a loud scoff was heard. Turning towards it, Shouto caught Katsuki’s eye on him before the blonde turned and resumed talking to Kirishima and Mina.

His friends didn’t seem to hear, and continued chatting about what they were going to do with the rest of their free day. Iida and Uraraka wanted to get their English project done, which Midoriya was already finished with.

 Shouto shrugged, “I was going to train this afternoon, but I guess I shouldn’t do that now.” He raised a hand as if to explain further.

“You always spend your free time training!” Uraraka exclaimed. “Why don’t you take some time to relax?”

“She’s right.” Midoriya muttered. “Whenever you aren’t in class, doing homework, or chores you are always training or working out.”

Shouto shrugged them off, standing from the table with his empty bowl. After cleaning up his mess, which took more time than usual thanks to the bandages covering most of his hands, he headed up to his dorm room, unsure of what to do with his time.

The elevator dinged when it reached the top floor. Shouto exited and turned down the hall. On his left were floor to ceiling windows that over looked the courtyard five floors below. On his right were four doors. The first was unoccupied, the next was Satou’s, then his, and Sero’s at the end. Each door had a nameplate to the left. It reminded him of the one outside his mother’s hospital room.

Shouto came to a stop in front of his door. Beside it, directly underneath his nameplate, neatly set beside the door, were his white training shoes. Inside, clean and just as neatly rolled, were his socks. Neither his shoes nor socks showed not a single stain or trace that he’d bleed on them that morning.

 

Shouto had just laid out his sleeping mat and was pulling his bedding from the open wardrobe when he heard a sharp rap of knuckles on wood. Someone had knocked on his door. He set the neatly folded bedding onto of his mat and moved to open the door.

On the other side was Midoriya. He looked sheepish, holding a first aid kit in one hand, a bottle of water in the other. Shouto waited for his classmate to explain.

“I – uh, sorry Todoroki. I know you were getting ready for bed!” Midoriya stuttered. “But I figured you might need help with bandaging your hands for the night.” The green-haired teen shuffled awkwardly.

“Oh,” Shouto voiced, turning slightly as if to allow his friend entrance to his room.

Shouto hadn’t thought about changing his bandages until morning. He’d dealt with much more intense injuries, ones that he’d need to clean and rewrap between classes. Of course his injuries ached and were inconvenient, but he knew they’d heal faster than any others.

Midoriya was already sitting on his floor, unpacking the first aid kit and laying out supplies. Shouto pushed his door shut and moved to stand beside him. Midoriya wasn’t as skilled as Katsuki when it came to bandaging. One hand was wrapped a bit too tightly, the other too loose and sloppy. Shouto insisted that he could handle his knees himself, despite his friends’ protests.

Shouto knew that Midoriya was only trying to help, and he did thank him before bidding him a good night. When had he gotten so weak to be bandaged by his classmates twice in a day? He huffed as he shut the door on an apologizing friend.

 

Mr. Aizawa questioned his bandages the next morning. His knees were hidden, but it wasn’t as easy to hide the sloppy work he did that morning in the bathroom. He’d washed his hands carefully, trying his best to keep his breathing calm as the water stung and the salve he spread over the cuts didn’t relieve the burn. His wraps were admittedly more consistent than Midoriya’s, but not nearly as secure as Katsuki’s. It was difficult to keep them from sliding as he bandaged, using his teeth as an extra grip.

“I fell,” Shouto deadpanned. “On a run.”

“And you didn’t go see Recovery Girl?” Mr. Aizawa prodded.

“It’s nothing I’ve not healed from before.”

His teacher eyed him carefully, as if trying to find a lie. “I expect you to still participate in training.”

“Yes, sir.”

 

Training was rather difficult. Shouto mainly used his hands to direct his ice around. He had to focus and intentionally reroute his quirk usage. The cuts were scabbed over, but with every movement, they tugged on his skin, reminding him of the wounds. They were strengthening their endurance of quirk usage, trying to increase the length of time each of them could use them before having to break or deal with side effects.

Shouto was working with Kirishima. He would create an ice wall and Kirishima would break it down. Shouto was trying his best to keep each wall as strong as the last, to put it up quicker than before. Both he and Kirishima knew that he wasn’t on par that day. But Shouto pushed himself, after all that was what the training was about, right?

By the time he’d entered the locker room to change back into his uniform, he’d noticed the bandages around his hands were stained and damp. He sighed and quickly changed, hoping to slip back to the dorms during lunch.

“Tch. Idiot.”

Shouto turned, his uniform slacks loosely being pulled half way up his legs, his grip weak from the training. He was struggling to tuck his shirt into his pants without soiling the clothing. Katsuki was pulling his own slacks on, watching Shouto struggle.

“What.” Shouto deadpanned.

Katsuki didn’t respond, buttoning his pants without tucking his shirt in. He hauled his bag over his shoulder and turned from his disheveled classmate towards the exit. Pausing at the door, Katsuki looked back at Shouto, examining him one last time before leaving.

 

Uraraka’s room was their go to study space recently. It seemed Iida noticed the shift in their study group’s focus when in a more controlled environment. Shouto didn’t complain. He welcomed the quiet space, the humble kotasu they sat around, and the comfort of his friends. Uraraka usually left her door open, as if to invite others.

Shouto rounded the corner to Uraraka’s room. He’d received a text from Midoriya to come study. Her door was open and he could hear Iida and Asui discussing their latest Hero History text. Shouto entered the room to see Midoriya, Uraraka, and Iida sitting on cushions on the floor, their books open in front of them. Asui was on Uraraka’s bed, laying with her head hanging off the edge, watching the three at the table.

“What major event happened in 1934?” Iida asked to the other three.

Shouto took up his spot next to Midoriya, successfully distracting the study group.

“Hey Todoroki!” Midoriya and Uraraka chimed in unison.

“You’re late!” Iida chided.

“Why do you have two different colored eyes? Is it because of your quirk or genetics?” Asui blurted.

Their eyes landed on the upside down girl. Shouto admired her gall, her way to speak her mind, despite the randomness of the thoughts.

He shrugged in response.

“Asui!” Iida reprimanded.

“I told you to call me Tsu,” Asui rolled over.

Shouto observed the curious look in her eyes. He’d never been asked before about the dual color of his eyes. He had received comments on his hair, occasionally, but bodily standards had gone out of the window years ago when more and more people started developing more altering quirks.

“Well my mom’s eyes were brown.” Shouto stated, slowly.

“And Endevors are blue!” Midoriya chimed in, unable to hold back.

Iida huffed. “The origin of our classmate’s eye color has no weight on our coursework!”

Shouto shrugged, looking down at his book. He felt himself slowly start to drift. He tried to fight it, to shake his head, to blink hard, to pinch himself. But as he felt the familiar feeling taking over him, there wasn’t anything he could do besides succumb and hope to withdraw quickly.

He vaguely remembered opening his book, slowly and as if he was drugged. He saw the words on the pages, but they didn’t seem like a language he knew. He could faintly hear Iida’s voice reading out the material they’d be reviewing. It sounded garbled, like Iida was trying to speak underwater.

Their study session lasted well passed dinner. The five of them had left with their heads full and their stomachs growling. Shouto ignored his, telling them he’d head up to his room instead, despite his friends’ complaints. He was exhausted. He felt disoriented and disconnected. He was sure half their study session he spent drifting, but no one mentioned anything abnormal.

 

 

Katsuki, Kirishima and Mina had just finished up cleaning the kitchen after a late dinner. Katsuki was in the mood for curry and he easily roped his friends into helping him. It ended up more of him being frustrated that not a single one of them seemed to have a single skill in the kitchen. Was he the only student at U.A. that was taught basic life skills?

Katsuki scoffed, pressing the button to call the elevator down to them. Only a moment later did it open, revealing Midoriya, Asui, Uraraka, and Iida. They were chatting animatedly about what to eat.

“Oh, hey Kacchan!” Midoriya exclaimed as they exited the elevator.

“Hey!” Mina greeted for them.

“Bakugou made curry, there’s more in the fridge!” Kirishima informed.

“Thank you so much Bakugou! This shall be just the sustenance we need after our studies!” Iida bowed deeply.

Katsuki scoffed, again. “Whatever.”

The three of them entered the elevator as their classmates moved to the kitchen. Bakugou hit the number four much harder than he needed.

“Man that was the BEST, ‘suki!” Kirishima praised, rubbing his abdomen.

Katsuki bristled at the nickname. His mother and auntie called him that. He didn’t particularly enjoy someone else using that on him. “Shut it, Shitty-Hair. I can’t believe you haven’t been taught anything. The fuck you supposed to survive?”

“Oh come on, Bakugou.” Mina whined. “Take the compliment!”

Katsuki didn’t respond, instead pocketed his hands to keep from fidgeting.

On the fourth floor, the elevator came to a stop, the doors opening after a pause. The three friends exited the elevator, Mina moving to the right wing, Kirishima waving and taking a step to the left. Katsuki, however, was rooted to the spot. Mina and Kirishima hesitated, as well.

In front of the elevator, sprawled on the floor, his head lolled to the side, his hair a mess of mixing colors, was Shouto. His notes and books were splayed on the ground, as if he’d dropped them. The way he was positioned was as if he’d collapsed suddenly against the window. It was not normal.

“Fuck,” Katsuki breathed, taking a step towards Shouto, examining him closely.

Mina and Kirishima shared a look, both noting the other was as confused as they were. They watched, apprehensively, as Katsuki grabbed Shouto’s wrist, pressing two fingers against the inside, his other hand pulling out his phone. After a minute, Katsuki let go, pocketed his phone. The blonde leaned over the younger aligning their faces.

“Hey.” Katsuki said softly.

Kirishima furrowed his brows. It seemed to him like Katsuki knew what was going on by his reaction. He’d never really seen the two interact outside of classes and it was rather odd that Katsuki, out of everyone in class, would know how to deal with an unresponsive person, let alone Todoroki.

“Bakugou, what is going on?”

“Shut it,” Katsuki snapped, not looking way from Shouto as his hands came up to the spaced out boys shoulders. “Hey, Icy.”

After a moment of no response from Shouto, Katsuki huffed, turning to his two friends. He needed to be moved, this position wasn’t good for his muscles and he was a bit surprised he hadn’t been found by his friends who’d just took the elevator down. Mina was shaking, unsure of what was happening. Kirishima was at a loss for words, confused by everything he’d learned about Katsuki that evening. He could cook, effectively tutor him and suddenly keep his cool?

“Oi! I said we need to move him!”

“Oh!” Kirishima snapped out of his daze, coming to his friend’s side. “I got his legs.”

“Alright, Pinky, grab his stuff.” Katsuki demanded, positioning his arms under Shouto’s arms.

Slowly, they moved him down the hall to Katsuki’s dorm. Mina opened it quickly, commenting on how Katsuki never kept it locked, and held it open for the two to carry the younger boy in. Carefully setting him on Katsuki’s bed, Kirishima couldn’t keep his questions to himself.

“What is going on? Should we get Recovery Girl?”

“Yeah, I can run and go get her!” Mina chimed in, making her way to the open dorm door.

“No, it’ll pass in a moment.” Katsuki said. “He’ll be fine.”

“What!?” Kirishima yelled. “Like hell he will! He is passed out for no reason! He probably needs help!”

“His eyes are open, dip-shit.” Katsuki didn’t have time for this. He was sure that Shouto didn’t want others to know what was going on, let alone himself.

“He’s dead!” Mina cried out.

“No he’s not! Trust me, okay!” Katsuki yelled, his hands popping defensively. “Just go, I’ve got it from here. If he needs medical attention when he comes to, don’t you fuckin’ worry about it.”

Mina and Kirishima both flinched at the tone in their friend’s voice. When they reached the threshold, Katsuki called after them, the threat more real than it had ever been, “If I hear any fuckin’ rumors about this, you’re dead.”

Chapter Text

Shouto screamed. His skin was on fire, bubbling up underneath the weight on his shoulder. He tried to move away, tried to shake off the hand holding him down. It was no use. He was stronger, older, and more powerful. His breathing was erratic. His eyes darting around the room, trying to find a way to get out.

“It’s no use,” his sly voice whispered. “They won’t come. They won’t hear you.”

Shouto sobbed. The hand pushed him further into the dojo mats, holding him there forcefully.

“You need to gain better control, Shouto. You can hardly hold a flame for a minute. I expected better from my masterpiece.” His father’s words cut through him. “Do it, now.”

The demand angers the boy pushed onto the floor. The tears stain his cheeks, bead on the mats below him. His skin is on fire and he screams and screams and screams as the flames consume him, burn his remaining clothing. He can hear the deep rumble of laughter, of a shout, different than his own, one not filled with pain and sorrow, but of victory and satisfaction.

 

Katsuki looked at his phone on his bedside table, the timer app open and counting. It’d already been just over fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes on the edge of his desk chair, watching Shouto lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling with unmoving eyes. His muscles were tense, he could tell, and he twitched a couple of times. Katsuki reached over and shook Shouto for the third time.

“Oi, Icy,” he tried again, hoping this time it would work.

He’d told himself at twenty minutes he’d contact their teacher. Katsuki noted that Shouto was breathing, shallow and slow, almost as if he was asleep, but breathing none-the-less. He was just out of it, deep in an episode and seemingly unaware that he’d been moved or that Katsuki had tried to rouse him many times.

With another sigh, Katsuki grabbed his phone. 17:44. He closed the timer app and pulled up his messages, scrolling through to find Deku’s last texts. He had three unread messages, two from Kirishima and one from Mina. He ignored those and continued his search for their last conversation. As soon as he found it, a sudden gasp startled Katsuki.

The blondes head shot up, looking at the teen on his bed. Shouto was no longer laid out as if he was sleeping, instead he’d pulled himself up into the corner of the bed, his knees up and arms wrapped around them. His eyes darted around the room, as if looking for something. Katsuki noticed that they still seemed unfocused.

Shouto’s slight figure seemed to relax just a tad when his eyes landed on Katsuki, hunched over in the chair. Grey-blue eyes met red ones that scrutinized, searched for answers. They held eye contact for a brief moment before Shouto turned his downwards. Katsuki kept his eyes trained on the younger. The silence stretched between them.

“What’s going on?” Katsuki broke the silence after a long stretch. His voice was gruff, as usual.

Shouto looked up at him, his eyebrows knitted together. His brain felt like mud, like any thought was being pulled through it and when it reached the surface, couldn’t be fully cleaned to read. His limbs felt like they weighed everything and nothing at all. He felt like he was being weighed down to the bed by invisible weights, tied around his wrists and ankles tightly. At the same time, he felt like he was floating in a sea, rocked back and forth by the waves in a slow rhythm.

He blinked slowly, trying to clear the fog that rested on his brain, trying to formulate an answer, something acceptable, something believable. The more he tried to fan the fog away, the more it seemed to gather, filling every recess, every space it could, clogging his brain.

Katsuki was saying something, his lips moving, his eyes trained on him with concern. But Shouto couldn’t understand. Water filled his ears, muffling everything the blonde was telling him, weighing him down further, and making him feel the sway of the waves more intensely. He shook his head, trying to free the fog, the water, the mud. To unclog.

“Icy!” Katsuki called, his voice stern, but not unkind. His growl broke through the clog, bringing Shouto’s gaze onto him. “Five things, now.”

Shouto looked at him, unsure what he was talking about. Did he want something? He wasn’t sure he had five things to give. His brows drew together, his breathing ragged with the unexpected.

“Fuckin’ hell, man,” Katsuki swore, leaning down to run a hand through his blonde spikes. His hand gripped at a spot near the back of his head, pulling the strands in frustration. He growled, not unlike he did when Midoriya would mumble loudly in class. Katsuki blinked, bringing his piercing red eyes to meet Shouto’s blue-grey.

Both Shouto and Katsuki were about to speak when Katsuki’s phone lit up on the bedside table, the old All Might TV Series theme song blaring through the room. Shouto tensed, bringing his lips together and looking away from the blonde.

Katsuki quickly picked up his phone, swiping his thumb over the screen before bringing it to his ear. He growled something of a greeting, his eyes adverted to the hardwood of his dorm floor.

“Hey ‘Suki,” his father’s voice came across, calm and quiet. “It’s your mother’s birthday this weekend-“

Before he could finish his sentence, Katsuki could hear his mother shout in the background, “Tell that brat he’s coming home, I don’t give a shit about whatever dumbass excuse-“

His father’s voice came back, slightly louder, as if he’d walked away from his wife, which was most likely the case. “Your grandparents are coming over.”

Katsuki groaned, not bothering to hide it from his father.

“I know, son. I know.” His father heaved a sigh. “They are a handful, but the family will be over for it.”

Ah, Katsuki understood. Family coming over wasn’t a regular occurrence, especially his mother’s side. And for the family to come over, not just his grandparents, something big must be happening. Something bigger than his mother’s birthday, that is. The family was his and his father’s way of communicating that.

“Fine,” the blonde grunted.

Katsuki looked up at the bed to see it empty. He whipped his head towards the door, seeing it open just barely a crack, the light from the hall spilling into the dim room the only indicator. He stood up, grunted a goodbye to his father and hung up. He pocketed his phone, yanked open the door and looked around the hallway.

Shouto had left. Katsuki hadn’t noticed in the slightest.

 

Katsuki hung back after homeroom to speak to Mr. Aizawa. He waved Kirishima and Mina away with the promise to catch up before lunch. He slung his bag over his shoulder, slouching slightly as he waited before his teacher’s desk for him to finish clearing the board for their discussion.

“What do you need, Bakugou?” Mr. Aizawa acknowledged, continuing to clear the board.

Katsuki huffed, “Parent’s need me home for the weekend.”

Mr. Aizawa turned, eyeing his student carefully. His eyes were bloodshot, particularly strained after his duty the previous night.

“You are the fourth student to request this.” The pro-hero informed, analyzing his student’s reaction. “And by the look on your face, you are also unaware of the others.”

“What?” Katsuki said, confused. Four other 1-A students had needed to leave campus that weekend, too. Was there something he’d missed?

“If this is some type of ruse, rest assured I will find out.”

“Tch,” Katsuki scoffed. “As if I’d collaborate with those extras on something so stupid.”

A silence fell between them.

“If that’s all you have, you may go.” Mr. Aizawa took a seat at his desk, shuffling through the papers scattered on it.

Katsuki hesitated, shifting slightly as if to move towards the door. Mr. Aizawa looked up, studying the blonde’s demeanor. Katsuki looked down at his beat up high tops. He was unsure how to bring this up, how to get the information he wanted without giving too much himself.

“Is there a school counselor or something?” he spat, a slight heat rising on his neck.

“Is there something you need to talk about?” Mr. Aizawa questioned, pausing in his organizing, giving Katsuki his full attention. “I was under the impression you had regular appointments off campus?”

He brought a hand up to rub the heat away from his neck, his eyes focused on the edge of the desk. He contemplated his answer, thinking quickly how to word it.

“Yes,” he said. “But there’s someone else who needs it.”

Without asking another question, Mr. Aizawa pulled open the middle drawer on his desk, grabbed two business cards out and handed them to him. Katsuki looked over both cards in his hand. Both were identical, emblazoned with the U.A. logo, their names and contact information beside the gold foil.

“The top one, Mr. Yamagi, is on campus.” Mr. Aizawa informed. “His office is located a few doors down from the Infirmary.”

Katsuki nodded, flipping to the second card, recognizing the name.

“The second is an affiliate of the schools, Mrs. Takahashi. She works primarily with Pro-Hero’s and students in the Hero Course. Her office is located a short distance from the U.A. campus.”

Katsuki hummed his acknowledgement, turned from the desk and headed out of the classroom with a wave of thanks. Katsuki pocketed the business cards, and headed down the hall towards the cafeteria. He found his friends quickly, sitting at their class table. He slid into his spot next to Kirishima, noting the tray of food there.

“Oi, Shitty Hair,” Katsuki interrupted his conversation with Sero.

“Huh?” Kirishima turned towards the blonde who gestured to the food in front of him. “Oh, Mina and I got that for you, knew you’d be late and all.”

Katsuki studied his friends face as he gave a toothy grin. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know, I know,” Kirishima shrugged, looking across to Mina who smiled.

“We knew you’d be upset if you missed out on today’s lunch!” Mina chimed in.

Katsuki looked down at the meal. There were three bowls, one piled high with white rice, another filled with a dark curry and another with meat. Smirking and grabbing his chopsticks, Katsuki dug in. Through a mouthful, he said his thanks.

 

Shouto avoided Katsuki for the next three days successfully. Yes, they shared classes, a dorm building and have nearly the exact same schedule, but it’s easy to slip away when he noticed Katsuki’s gaze turning towards him. Or when the blonde entered a room and looked around, looking for him, Shouto is sure. Or when Kirishima and Mina start to do the same. Shouto is light and soundless as he disappears out of every single instance that could possibly lead to being cornered by his classmates.

He spends a lot of time in his room “studying”. He’s thankful Midoriya doesn’t pry, that Iida doesn’t lecture about dietary needs, that Uraraka doesn’t worry, that everyone lets him be.

Shouto does sneak out, every night. It’s easy to sneak to the back stairs, to slip down them and out the back door. A rock keeps it open enough to stay unlatched, in case he doesn’t make it back before curfew. He wears all black, to blend into the tree line faster.

The clearing is empty and waiting, an inviting space for him to think and vent. His emotions are jumbled and confusing. Shouto tries to sort through them, to rid himself of the anxiety, the overwhelming pressure. He lies on the forest floor, gaze on the night sky, observing the stars and the satellites. His mind is racing, thoughts faster than he can process, but he lets them pass and focuses on the blinking lights on black.

 

Shouto doesn’t notice the crunch of leaves, or the rustle of the brush around the clearing. The wind that shakes the trees and whispers around him is only comforting. But Katsuki sees his classmate laying still on the forest floor, unseeing eyes on the sky above and his heart jumps into his throat. Was he always going to find him like this?

Katsuki watches for a moment. Shouto is still, arms by his side, hair mused as if he’d been pulling on it. He walks closer, his shoes dragging slightly on the underbrush. He’s not quiet, and doesn’t intend to be. Katsuki lays next to Shouto, looking up at the sky, trying to see what he’s seeing.

Shouto isn’t drifting.

 

“Going home for the weekend?” Kirishima asks, nodding to the overnight bag at Katsuki’s feet.

“Yeah,” he confirms, turning in his seat to talk to his friend easier.

It’s a break between classes. He was nearly late that morning, having forgotten to pack the night before. He hadn’t gotten back to his room, hopefully undetected, until nearly two.

“Mom’s birthday,” he supplied. “Dad said the family is coming over.”

“That sucks, bro,” the red head sympathized. “I’ve got to go, too.”

“Why do you have to go?” Kaminari asked, leaning over the back of his chair.

“Man, this weekend is going to be so boring if you two aren’t here!” Mina sighed, stretching her arms above her head. “Jiro and I were hoping to get the whole squad together and go out.”

“Yeah,” Jiro confirmed. “There’s this new shop that recently opened up, real cool. They have the brands you like, Bakugou.”

Frowning slightly, Katsuki scoffed. Of course they would all want to do something the time his family has some event. Kirishima huffed in annoyance as well. He never liked missing out on things, especially something that sounded cool.

“Well we’ll have to go next weekend.” Jiro said.

“Yeah!” Kirishima perked up. “I need some new shirts.”

“You need a makeover.” Kaminari deadpanned.

“As if you are one to talk,” Katsuki quipped. “Fuckin’ same outfit every day.”

“We all wear the same outfit every day!” Mina said, gesturing to the class at large, and the identical uniforms.

“Nothing wrong with consistency!” Kaminari defended at the same time.

Katsuki rolled his eyes and situated himself back at his desk.

 

With a wave, Katsuki headed towards the train station instead of the dorms after classes ended that Friday. It wasn’t abnormal for him to do so, but still felt weird knowing that he wouldn’t be back until Monday.

Kirishima shouted after him something about texting him when things got lame. He lifted a hand up in acknowledgement, not bothering to turn around. Kirishima lived further south, growing up a few districts away from U.A. so his parents were picking him up later that night, he’d learned at lunch.

What Katsuki didn’t expect was for Midoriya to suddenly appear by his side, his childish nickname tumbling out of his mouth.

“Kacchan! Are you going home, too?” the shorter boy smiled up at him. Continuing without missing a beat, “Mom wanted me home, too! We haven’t been out of the dorms in a while, huh? I’m so excited to show her how much stronger I’ve gotten! We’ve been training so hard and-“

“Deku,” Katsuki grumbled when he entered the platform. “Shut it, nerd.”

They didn’t wait long for the train. It arrived and they quickly boarded. Midoriya took a seat near the door, but Katsuki stayed standing. It wasn’t rush hour yet, and hopefully there wouldn’t be a delay. He usually just beat that time of day – it was never a pleasant experience to be on the train, crammed with the rest of Japan.

Midoriya tried to strike up conversation about their coursework, their training, how cool it was to be taught by Pro-Hero’s. Katsuki scoffed, rolled his crimson eyes, deflecting with non-committal answers. He had only two more stops until he could escape the nerd’s rambling.

When his stop came, he turned towards the doors, readying to step out of them the moment they opened.

“Kacchan?” Midoriya questioned. “We have three more stops.”

“I know where I’m going, Deku,” he spat, getting irritated. It was stupid, he knew, but he had half-hoped that Midoriya wouldn’t say anything about him getting off at that stop.

“But what do you need to do here?” he pressed, looking at the train map, and figuring out their stop.

“None of your damned business.”

“But-“

Katsuki cut him off just as the doors opened. “Go home, Deku.” And he slipped out of the train.

 

“Ah, hello, Bakugou!” A middle aged woman, just slightly older than his mother, greeted from the desk opposite him. She had short auburn hair, and wore a formal pantsuit. She leaned back in her chair, observing her patient.

Katsuki quickly made himself comfortable in the over-sized chair beside the floor the ceiling window, looking out at the city, U.A. visible to the right, his neighborhood just visible beyond the horizon. This was his usual spot, had been since day one when he refused to speak, just listened to her babble about her services.

“There’s something on your mind,” she stated, knowing he would open up once he’d gathered his thoughts.

“Hm,” Katsuki acknowledged. “I’m going home for the weekend.”

“Oh? How do you feel about that?” She got up and sat on the edge of her desk, closer to the teen draped over the chair.

Katsuki contemplated his answer, keeping his gaze on the city below. “Fine, whatever. Ma’s birthday is this weekend.”  

Mrs. Takahashi nodded, observing Katsuki’s body language. He had one hand stuck in his pocket, the other raised beside his head, slowly twisting a chunk of his ash-blonde hair between his fingers. His chest seems to raise a little more quickly than when he’d entered the room.

“Is it weird to go back home after living at the dorms?” she asked.

Katsuki shrugged. He figured it would be, yeah but didn’t vocalize it. Instead he said, “The family is coming over.”

His leg started to bounce. His fingers working the hair between them moved quicker.

“The family?”

“Yeah. The fucking family.” Katsuki turned to her, he crimson eyes not hiding his anxiety. He’d learned quickly that it was less painful and made their sessions go just a tad smoother if he vocalized his thoughts more than kept them in.

“Will you please elaborate?” Mrs. Takahashi asked, her tone even and warm. “We’ve not discussed your entire family in detail.”

“Fuck, I know,” Katsuki sighed, irritated. His leg bounced faster, his breathing matching in time. “They’re just… a lot, yaknow? They pry and prod and ask questions!”

“How often do you see them?”

“Fuck if I know,” he spat, tensing up. “Something bigger than Ma’s birthday is bringing them over. Last time was…” Katsuki tried to think, but couldn’t remember. Christmas was usually just his parents and grandparents, the rest of the family doing their own thing. Birthdays were usually of the same attendance.

“It’s the same thing every time. I fucking hate it! They ask the same questions as if I’ll have a different answer, as if being a Pro-Hero is not fucking good enough.”

“What are their expectations of you?”

Katsuki clicked his tongue, standing up to face the window. “Nearly all of them are part of the fashion industry in some way. Some work for the parents’ company, others somewhere else, fuck if I know.”

“And they expect you to fall in line?” she prods, hoping to delve deeper into why they make him feel the way he does.

“Fuck yeah! Like hell I want to be a fuckin’ model! ‘You’re so photogenic ‘Suki!’ ‘I got you this outfit that will make all the girls at your school beg you to be theirs!’ Tch! As if those extras would even!” Katsuki fumed, his hands clenched in fists.

Mrs. Takahashi studied his demeanor, giving him a moment to calm himself. When his breathing remained ragged, his anxious ticks continued, she took action.

“Bakugou, five things, go.” She prompted, straightening up to observe the teen closer.

He took a deep breath, eyes darting around the room, his mouth saying the items his eyes landed on. “Desk, that fuckin’ notebook, lamp, book, carpet.”

His demeanor didn’t change. His fingers still twirled the strand of hair, his shoulders tense, his fist clenched.

“Four.” Mrs. Takahashi guided.

“Pencil, glass, hair, pants.” Katsuki said, thinking of things he could touch. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

“Bakugou, three.”

“You, my heart, that annoying clock on the wall.” Katsuki easily identified three things he could hear.

“Two.” She continued, noticing his breathing was starting to even out.

Katsuki took a deep breath through his nose, trying to place the scent of the room. “Carmel and flowers? Whatever incense you have.”

Just as his therapist was about to prompt for the last physical sense, Katsuki spoke, “Spit.”

“Good. Take a deep breath, hold it. Okay let it out slowly…. Good.” She guided, helping him return to a neutral state.

Katsuki’s anxiety lessened slightly at the expectation of this being the worst weekend to spend out of the dorms, away from the hustle of his class, he shoved his hands deep in his pockets. He tensed once more when he felt a sharp pain in the palm of his hand, as if something had poked him. Pulling the offending object out of his pocket, he cursed under his breath as soon as he recognized it.

The business cards he’d gotten from Mr. Aizawa.

“What are you thinking about?”

“None of your damned business.” He spat, throwing himself back into the over-sized chair. “Next subject.”

“Okay,” she shrugged, pushing off the desk and taking the seat across from the angry blonde. She studied him for a moment, watching his idle habits, making mental notes as she went. “How are your classes going?”

“They’re a breeze.”

“And training?”

“Fine.”

Katsuki glanced over to see his therapist frowning. He fidgeted with the cards in his pocket, angry at himself for rushing out of the class that afternoon. The rest of his appointment when by with short answers and a frustrated therapist. Katsuki rolled his eyes as he left her office, heading back to the train, ear buds in, music loud.

 

Katsuki was thankful the family was not at his house when he arrived. He was half-expecting them to already be causing a ruckus, for his bedroom to be overtaken by an aunt or cousin. Taking out his earbuds, Katsuki realized the house was eerily silent. He toed off his shoes by the door, calling out for his parents.

No answer.

Shoulders relaxing, Katsuki took a deep breath and headed to his room. He knew the house like the back of his hand, could navigate in the dark, and knew which floor boards were creaky. He’d ran through the halls from the moment he could walk all through his childhood. And the walls had the evidence of it, slight scorch marks from his unstable growth, the pictures that were in frames showed the same tuft of ash-blonde hair, piercing red eyes that matched his mothers, that famous scowl.

And yet, when he reached his bedroom, he felt out of place.

Chapter Text

He hadn’t been home longer than twenty minutes, at most. He was standing in the middle of his childhood bedroom. It was larger than his dorm at U.A. and had an en-suite bathroom to his left, balcony doors on the right. The walls were a muted grey, a shade lighter than the sheets on the bed across from him.

Katsuki looked around his room, feeling even more out of place. The air was stale, the bed made and the clutter he knew he’d left on the desk was gone. The books he had left stacked haphazardly on the desk from when he packed and had spent too long debating on which theory he should prioritize, were now in a neat row, book-ended by two figurines. One was All Might in his Bronze Age attire, the other Crimson Riot in his debut outfit. 

His chest felt heavy and his breathing shallow. His right hand was twitching against his thigh, his fingers dancing with a beat erratic and jerky. His left hand came up to his hair, his head tilting to the side. He started to twist a chunk between his fingers, like he did at his therapy session.

Katsuki didn’t realize his motions until his phone vibrated in his pocket next to his fidgeting fingers. Frowning, he closed his eyes, and guided his own breathing, still twirling his hair. When he was breathing normally and his thoughts weren’t overwhelming, Katsuki pulled his phone out of his pocket.

He’d received a text from Kirishima. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, Katsuki unlocked him phone and opened the message.

It was an image file that took a moment to load. Once it did, Katsuki was looking at a selfie Kirishima had taken. The red-head was smiling brightly, his eyes squinted nearly closed. His chest was bare, a towel draped across his shoulders, his hair damp and unstyled. His hand was brought up in a peace sign beside his face.

Accompanying the photo was a text that said, Glad to be home. Mom made cookies.

Bring some back. Katsuki responded, hoping that his friend actually would. The last time he’d gone home, he’d brought back a bag of the best cookies Katsuki had ever tasted.

Scoffing at the thought of not getting some cookies come Monday, Katsuki tossed his bag onto his bed and began to strip out of his school uniform. He changed into a pair of cargo shorts, a ripped tank and a loose button up.

 

Katsuki was out of the house and halfway towards his destination when his phone went off again. He paused on the trail, leaned against a thick tree and took a swig of water from his bottle. He was hiking up to his favorite spot since he was a child. He shrugged off his over shirt and tied it around his waist. He’d already soaked his tank, feeling the material stick to his back. He brushed his hair out of his face, leaving his left hand in it, he pulled his phone out of his pocket and saw another message from Kirishima.

Bro, my sisters’ homework is so hard!

Isn’t your sister like… eight? He sent back.

Kirishima responded with a picture of a math text book with a homework sheet next to it. Katsuki could see the messy scribblings of his best friend’s handwriting. Katsuki huffed and quickly snapped a picture of himself leaning against the tree, his hand still in his hair. His face had a sheen of sweat that caught the sunlight just right. He smirked at the scowl he’d put on, knowing that his friend would be laughing at the look.

On a hike. Maybe I’ll help when I finish.

Katsuki took another long swig of water and pushed off the tree, ready to continue his journey. His phone buzzed again.

Hike? I didn’t know you lived near the mountains

Rolling his eyes, Katsuki responded quickly. You can hike without mountains dumbass. Theres some trails near the house I used to go to. He quickly snapped another picture of the trail ahead of him, showing the leaf-strewn trail and the tall trees and the definitely not mountainous terrain.

Katsuki continued on his hike, his phone back in his pocket and his mind on the subtle changes of the forest since his last visit. There were a few more fallen trees since the last time he hiked through, the undergrowth was thicker and the brambles more hazardous. The trail rounded and split into three. Katsuki stayed left and noticed the trail faded into the underbrush, only clear every ten feet or so.

He knew his way, path or not. He’d walked this path enough times to do so from memory alone. Just down an embankment up ahead was his spot, his little hideaway, as he referred to it, before he went to U.A. Katsuki paused at the edge, taking in the area.

It hadn’t changed in the last few months. There was still a large tree trunk on the edge of the clearing, a great spot to sit and take in the surrounding area. In front of the downed tree was a pond, large enough to be a substantial source for the forest, but small enough not to garner attention from any passing hikers.

Katsuki slid down the steep embankment. He slowly sunk onto the tree trunk, eyes scanning the area as he relaxed. He had so many memories here. He had found this spot after storming out of the house after a fight with his parents. He couldn’t recall how old he was, but he knew it wasn’t long after his quirk manifested. He’d been in awe at the way the sun reflected off the pool of water, the way the trees seemed to create a barrier around the secluded spot, the way it seems like he stepped into his own little world every time he returned.

And he kept returning. Anytime he was confused, conflicted, anxious or angry or hurt or scared. He’d figured out many emotions, many things about himself beside this pond, within these trees. It was almost surreal that he had figured out so much since his last visit. So much about himself, his classmates, what being a hero really was to him, aided by another forest, another clearing, but a therapeutic one so similar to the one he sat in now.

Katsuki pulled out his phone and took another picture, leaning back further on the log to get a better angle of the evening sun on the water. The way the light was coming through the trees was stunning. He sent the photo to Kirishima. He would appreciate it.

He received a reply less than a minute later. Wow, Baku! That’s beautiful is that really near your house?

Hell yeah, he responded, a smirk on his face. The city has some okay spots, if you know where to look.

Man not by me. Kirishima sent a picture out of what Katsuki assumed was his bedroom window. There was building after building and to the left was the highway packed with cars, raised up and running over a few of the buildings. I’m in the thick of it, man.

Katsuki couldn’t imagine living in such close proximity to so many people, to a busy highway, in the heart of the city. Dude that sucks. I’d tell you to sneak out but youre what? Two hours away?

Ugh, yeah. Kirishima responded.

 

Katsuki watched the sunset from the edge of the forest before he finished his trek home. His eyes were sore and his brain tried from the long day. He hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, being out in the clearing with Shouto far too late. He was ready to take a nice shower and collapse in bed.

As soon as he came within eye sight of his house, Katsuki knew that would not be happening easily. He paused just down the street, letting the annoyance of what he knew was waiting inside the house wash over him. He pulled out his phone and texted Kirishima.

The family is already here. They weren’t earlier. Fuckin’ hell

Katsuki leaned against the wall behind him, watching his house, in the shadow the streetlight ahead of him casts. The front door opened and he could hear the loud boisterous voices of his extended family drift down the street. His phone vibrated and he looked down at it.

I thought the party was tomorrow?

Yeah, it is. Katsuki sends back, annoyed. They always come too early.

With a huff, the blonde teen pushed himself off the wall and into the light cast from the streetlamp. He slouched over, his hands in his pockets, and shuffled towards the house, hoping to draw out the distance. He crossed the front gates, and was hoping to slip around the house to the back door. He ducked around the vehicles, using them as cover to sneak past the light from the windows.

Taking a moment to pause and listen to the commotion inside the house, he could hear his aunts gossiping in the kitchen. Shit, he should have realized they would congregate there. Crouched beside the vehicle, Katsuki surveyed his options. He couldn’t go through the backdoor, if he wanted to avoid his family. The front door was just as dangerous. If he could get up to his balcony, he could easily avoid everyone. He looked down at his hands, mouth set in a hard line.

He had been working on that new move, gaining more control over his trajectory… If he controlled the blast and timed it just right, he would be able to easily get to his balcony from the side of the house. But that would most definitely draw attention. Not only with the sound, but a sudden flash outside the dining room window would be a dead giveaway. His mother would skin him alive.

Katsuki frowned and rethought his options. Using his quirk was a risk not worth it.

The blonde crept out from behind the vehicle, slowly circling the side of the house, stealthily creeping towards the back yard. The back porch’s railing and post he could easily scale, get onto the roof and up to his bedroom window.

He hid behind a bush and strained to hear the commotion from inside. He could hear two of his aunts chatting loudly by the back door. He’d have to be quick. Taking a deep breath, Katsuki leapt from the bush, up onto the railing and quickly scaled the post. He hauled himself up onto the roof of the porch and slowly moved closer to his bedroom window.

His bedroom light was on, shinning out onto the roof. He did not remember leaving the light on and scowled. If that hag had given his bedroom to one of his ungrateful relatives….

Katsuki quickly lifted his window and ducked in. No one was in his room, and with a quick glance around, he didn’t see any luggage either. With a sigh of relief, Katsuki crossed the room and locked his door. There was no way, none at all, that he was giving up his room after what had happened last time.

Katsuki fell back onto his bed, his phone hovering over his face, a text already being sent to Kirishima.

I just scaled the fuckin house to get inside. 

Kirishima was quick to respond, as always. Bro, really? Why not just go in the door?

Fuck that. I’d be trapped for hours. I’m just glad I got up here before they took my room.

Katsuki sighed thinking about what could have happened. He sat up in bed, yawning long, and moved to the bathroom. He pulled off his shirt and pants, dropping them by the door where his hamper used to be.

Once he was showered and in a clean pair of boxers, Katsuki finally sunk into his bed. It was plush and felt like a cloud and he knew he wasn’t going to be awake long. Compared to his bed in his dorm, this was almost too soft, but his tired body was not complaining.

He plugged his phone it and put his earbuds back in. Resting back against the pillows, Katsuki noticed he’d gotten a text back from his best friend.

Sharing a room isn’t fun. I miss the dorms. It’s too loud and yet too quiet here different

Katsuki chuckled. He knew exactly how his friend was feeling. He could hear the commotion downstairs and knew it’d be hours before they went to bed. In the dorms, there was a nine o’clock curfew to be back in their building and a ten-thirty quiet campus curfew. By ten each night, most of class 1-A were yawning and heading to their rooms. They’d passed the ‘this feels like a sleep-over, let’s stay up late’ phase rather quickly. Katsuki was rather grateful for the collective adherence to an earlier bed-time.

I know. He texted back. I’d rather listen to you snore than the ruckus downstairs.

He let out a particularly deep yawn, sinking further into the bed. He opened up YouTube and quickly pulled up his current playlist he fell asleep to. He shuffled the videos and listened to the guided meditation, tensing and relaxing each muscle and slowly falling asleep.

 

“KATSUKI!!”

The blonde grumbled, shift under the covers to bury himself deeper within the bedding. The pounding on his door and the shrill voice of his mother continued.

“KATSUKI, YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SHIT. OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW.”

“NOT A CHANCE.” He yelled back, irritated from being woken up. He grabbed his phone and groaned loudly. It was five am.

“GET YOUR ASS DOWNSTAIRS IN TEN MINUTES!”

 

Fifteen minutes later, Katsuki had stomped down the stairs, grumbling the entire time about what could be so important to be up before the sun. Sure, he was an early riser on most days, but he usually wasn’t up for another hour. As soon as he hit the landing, he could hear his mother grumbling in the kitchen.

“That ungrateful child, I swear. Comes home at god knows when and then expects to sleep all day.”

“He is a teen, dear.” another voice said.

“He sure as well doesn’t act like that at that school! They practically have him on a leash, finally!”

“Oh good, you’re awake!” an unrecognizable voice said behind him.

Katsuki turned around and saw he cousin, Hitomi, coming down the stairs. Her long blonde hair was tied up, her make up already done, and in her arms was a bundle of blankets.

“You’re getting tall!” she commented when she hit the landing, looking him up and down. “Anyway, Auntie Mitsuki, Mom and I are going out to get outfits for the party. Will you watch ‘Sumi?”

“Haa?” he voiced, confused. ‘Sumi’? Who was that?

Suddenly the bundle of blankets was being shoved into his chest. Instinctively, he brought his arms up to hold the bundle. It was heavier than he thought, given the size. Looking down, his eyes widened. There was a baby. A newborn, maybe a month old, by the size.

He looked up at his cousin who beamed. “Wow, she’s usually fussy whenever shes away from me! Good, come with me!”

Katsuki followed, holding the child in his arms, eyes still wide. She couldn’t be serious. How could he watch a child? He didn’t even know how to change a diaper! Or what to do if it cried, or how to feed it. What did infants even eat? He was pretty sure not curry but…

 

Katsuki was suddenly alone in his house, a task list on the counter, an infant (he found out quickly that this was ‘Sumi’) in his arms. His cousin had handed him a bag, telling him everything he’d need while they were gone would be in there. And then they left.

Katsuki had paced the house for longer than he’d admit, struggling to figure out what he was even supposed to do with his cousins kid. She was sleeping, for now, but he knew soon she’d wake up and he wasn’t sure what he would do when that happened.

He pulled out his phone and took a picture of himself holding the bundled up infant. His face was scrunched up in distaste, as if he’d eaten or smelled something foul.

???? what the fuck He added.

Chapter Text

“Okay so, what you want to do is lay her down on a flat surface.” Kirishima advised. “Not the table though, she could roll off.”

“How’s she going to roll off, huh? She can’t even control her limbs!” Katsuki argued, exasperated, looking at his phone he had held out. Kirishima had face timed him shortly after his text with some helpful tips.

“Baby’s do that, just trust me!” the red-head huffed, looking away from the phone for a moment.

“What, do you have a secret child or some shit?” Katsuki questioned, laying the infant on the floor of the living room. He sat near her, watching for a moment as she wiggled before looking back to his phone.

“No!” Kirishima was blushing. “I have younger siblings, okay? I had to take care of them.” He cleared his throat awkwardly. “I learned okay?”

“Just tell me how to do this?”

It took nearly fifteen minutes for Katsuki to change Sumi’s diaper and get her redressed. Kirishima had walked him through each step, to which Katsuki was very grateful. He would have never figured it out on his own.

He had picked her back up and got her settled against his chest, swaying slightly. He could hear Kirishima chuckle from the table he left his phone propped up on.

“Shut it, Shitty Hair,” he grumbled, halfheartedly. Sumi wasn’t crying, but her bottom lip was pouting, her eyes scrunched closed, the cries just under the surface. A big tear swelled in the corner of her eyes, threatening to fall at any moment. Katsuki brought his other hand to her back and rubbed gently, swaying a little faster.

A few moments later, her face relaxed, a small hand gripping the collar of Katsuki’s shirt. He smirked, continued swaying, his hand rubbing her back in small circles. He wasn’t half bad at this, he supposed.

“She asleep?” He heard his best friend ask from his phone on the table.

Katsuki scooped up his phone, looking at the red-head staring back at him with a knowing smile. “Yeah,” he said gruffly, turning his phone to let Kirishima see. “Now I need help with that thing I told you about. I gotta get that stupid list done or Ma will skin me.”

The blonde grimaced just thinking about it.

“Okay okay, go get it.”

 

After an embarrassingly long amount of time, a slew of curse words, and having to rock Sumi back to sleep, Kirishima succeeded in helping Katsuki get Sumi into the baby sling and onto his chest.

“It’ll be easier the next time, now that you know how to position the fabric!” the red-headed teen assured.

“There won’t be a next time, you idiot!” Katsuki spat, adjusting the fabric now crisscrossed on his body, the baby swaddled comfortably against his chest.

“It would have been so much better if I was there just to put it on for you.”

“No,” Katsuki deadpanned, picking up his phone and walking back into the kitchen. “It would have been easier because you would have had her strapped on you!”

Kirishima laughed, his head tilting back onto his pillows, his phone following his fall. Katsuki rolled his eyes and propped his phone up on the counter. He grabbed the to-do list up and read down it once more, groaning as he went.

“Bake a cake? Clean and set up the guest rooms?” Katsuki read the list aloud. “Gather dry cleaning from the shop?”

“And watch the kid?” Kirishima questioned.

“Apparently,” Katsuki groaned. “What the fuck, Ma?”

“EIJIRO!” came a shrill bellow from his phone on the counter. Katsuki quirked an eyebrow at his friend who seemed to have dropped his phone onto the bed, if the image of the ceiling light was anything to go by.

“Yeah!?”

“COME DOWN HERE!”

“Welp, gotta go, bro! Good luck with the kid!” Kirishima came back into view, giving a smile and a peace sign before disconnecting.

Katsuki looked down at the sleeping infant against his chest, heaving a sigh.

 

Being a teenage male with an infant strapped to their chest was the perfect way to attract every middle-aged woman’s attention on the way to the dry-cleaners. Every single female stopped him and fussed over how responsible he was, how heartwarming it was to see him take responsibility and step up to the plate. Every single one of them fawned over how adorable the infant was, sleeping against her daddy’s chest and how she had his nose.

By the time he’d made it into the shop, Katsuki’s patience was already gone. He couldn’t get a word in edgewise to any one, to explain that the kid was just dumped on him, that there was no stepping up to do, damn it! He was only fifteen for Christ’s sake! He hadn’t even thought about liking anyone, let alone a girl to knock up! The thought grossed him out, if he was being honest with himself. He was not going to have any kids.

After picking up the garments, Katsuki made his way back home with less resistance. By the time he hung the dry cleaning up in the guest room, Sumi had begun to fuss. She whimpered and squirmed against his chest. Katsuki tried to sway like he had been most of the day, but she wasn’t having any of it.

Loud wails filled the downstairs of the Bakugou household. Fat tears began to soak through Katsuki’s shirt. As he made his way back into the kitchen, he tried to hush the infant, swaying back and forth. His arms came to hold the bundle on his chest, slowly rubbing her back and patting her bottom.

Kirishima told him what a full diaper would feel like, though Katsuki was still unsure as he swayed. He peered down at the bundle in his arms. Her small face was scrunched up, her mouth wide as she cried, and fat tears ran down the sides of her face.

Sumi continued to cry and it seemed like no amount of his swaying or hushing or pats were going to soothe her. Katsuki felt panic well up in his chest. What was he to do? What could possibly be wrong that she would be this upset?

His throat began to tighten and his chest grew heavy. His left hand came up to twirl a chunk of his hair as he paced the kitchen, his thoughts scattered and disconnected. His breathing became labored. His ears rang with the cries, a headache forming. His eyes darted around the counters, looking for something to help, some solution.

When he found none, he grew more frustrated. Katsuki quickly took Sumi out of the sling wrapped around him and held her in front of him. The infant continued to cry, her legs kicking in her onesie.

“What the fuck do I do, huh kid?” Katsuki asked, as if he was going to get a response.

 

 

Shouto woke with a start. His hair was matted and his sheets stuck to him. He felt damp all over and shivered, both in disgust and from a chill. His head throbbed and when he opened his eyes, the beam of sunlight that stretched across the room seemed to be as bright as the sun itself.

Slowly closing his eyes, Shouto swallowed thickly. His mouth was dry and his throat felt sore. His arms were heavy and slow when he pulled off his blanket, the cold air sending another shiver through his body. He stayed there, his eyes closed, willing himself to get up. The pressure from his bladder the only thing making him get up in the first place.

The trek to the bathroom, although short, was strenuous. By the time he’d relieved himself and made it back to his futon, his breathing was labored and his muscles ached. Shouto lay sprawled out, too tired to cover himself once more, even as another chill ran through him.

The next time Shouto awoke he could have sworn there was a knock on the door to his dorm room. He was shivering and pulled the blanket back over himself, groaning and coughing with the effort. His head was throbbing, his eyes ached, feeling like there were bits of sand. His chest felt heavy, as if there was weight pressing against his ribcage, making it hard to get a deep breath.

The teen was jarred awake suddenly by a louder sound. There was someone at this door, knocking rhythmically. Shouto groaned, trying to open his eyes and hoist himself up off the futon.

“Todoroki?” Iida’s voice called out, followed by another round of knocks. “Todoroki, Aizawa sent me to collect you!”

Shouto’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion. Was he hearing correctly? Mr. Aizawa needed him? Why?

The doorknob rattled, the knocking continued. Shouto got to his feet, shaking both with a chill and unsteadiness. He leant against the wall and slowly opened the door, wincing at the hallway lights that shone brightly.

“Ah! I was worried that you were out!” Iida shouted. “Mr. Aizawa needs you right away, Todoroki!”

“Why?” he croaked out, his shoulders slumping.

“He did not say! Please get dressed and meet him downstairs!” Iida turned on his heal and stalked off down the hall.

 

“Endeavor is here to collect you.” His teacher stated in his mono-tone voice. He looked his student up and down briefly. “That is, if you are well enough.”

Shouto stood in front of his teacher by the common room doors. He tried to control his breathing, trying to look convincing that he wasn’t as sick as he was. He swayed slightly, stifling a cough. He felt like there was an extra three feet between his eyes and his brain, like a tube was placed between the two, making the world seem more distant that normal.

Mr. Aizawa eyed him closely before leading his student to the main entrance. Endeavor was standing beside the gate. He was in civilian clothing and his normal flames were tame. Shouto shrank beside his teacher, feeling reluctant to step off the U.A. campus.

“It’s quite odd that such a large number of my students are leaving the campus this weekend, Endeavor.”

“I can assure you, Eraserhead,” Endeavor said coolly. “That my business has nothing to do with theirs. I will not approve of such behavior from one of mine.”

Shouto swayed slightly beside his teacher, feeling lightheaded and confused by everything. He felt like he left his thought process back in his dorm room when Iida had knocked. Feeling more dazed when he felt his father’s hot hand come down on his back, pushing him forward towards the gates.

“You know the rules, Endeavor. No later than six on Sunday.”

 

Just as Katsuki was putting the last touches of icing on the cake, the front door burst open, loud laughter suddenly filling the house. Pipping bag in hand and icing smeared on his forehead, Katsuki admired his work. It was the best one he’d made yet.

“KATSUKI!” Mitsuki shouted from the foyer.

“WHAT!?” Katsuki shouted back, turning to the sink to finish cleaning the dishes he’d created.

“GET OUT HERE AND HELP US YOU DAMN BRAT!”

Katsuki looked down at his dirty apron and hands, grumbling as he quickly washed up and headed into the foyer, drying his hands on a kitchen towel. When he entered, all he saw were shopping bags with various designer names spread out.

“What the hell!?” he exclaimed. “You had me watch the runt so you could go on a shopping spree?!”

“Shut your damn mouth and lug this to the guest room!” his mother scolded, pushing past him into the kitchen. “Besides where is Sumi anyway?”

“She was taking a nap, before you got here.” Katsuki’s point was made as a shrill cry carried through the house. Grumbling about being used to do the dirty work, Katsuki quickly carried their haul to the room and dumped it into the corner.

 

 “I’m leaving!” He shouted, shoving his shoes on and opening the front door.

“Like hell you are!” MItsuki yelled, grabbing him by the back of his shirt and pulling him back into the house. “You need to clean up and get ready for the show!”

“What the hell are you talking about!?” Katsuki questioned, exasperated. What the hell had she signed him up for this time? “I fucking watched the kid and did your errands all damn morning!”

“You are going to the line’s debut tonight!” she growled, busying herself in the kitchen. “We’ve been working so hard on this and you will not ruin it with your sour attitude! Go change now!”

 

“You’re going to a fashion show!?” Kirishima exclaimed, his face breaking into a grin on the computer screen on Katsuki’s desk.

“Yeah,” he sighed. “The damn hag pulled me out this weekend to go to a fucking fashion debut! What the fuck!?”

Kirishima laughed deeply. “Man I would kill to go with you! All the great food that must be there!”

Katsuki laughed. Of course his friend would be thinking about the food. He probably would want to dress up too, thinking that the formality of everything was such a novelty. He rummaged through his closet, hollering to Kirishima to help him figure out what to even wear.

“Shouldn’t you know man?” Kirishima laughed harder. “Your parents are the designers.”

“Shut it,” Katsuki growled, holding up two button down shirts he didn’t know he owned. One was a deep red, very rich in color and looking at the tag still attached, from his mother’s line last year. The other was a blue, lighter than Navy but just a rich.

“I mean,” Kirishima paused, shrugging his shoulders. “Blue isn’t really your color, is it man?”

Katsuki scowled. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“Whoa,” Kirishima exclaimed, holding up his hands. “I mean, when was the last time you even wore blue?”

 

Katsuki went with the deep red shirt tucked into a pair of black slacks. He left the top buttons undone, a suggestion from Kirishima. Katsuki looked himself over in his mirror once more, pausing to twist a spike in the direction he wanted it to go. He snapped a picture, a cocky smile and an eye brow quirked.

Damn, he looked good.

 

Shouto gasped, falling onto his hands and knees on the dojo floor. His breathing was erratic and his chest ached. He coughed heavily. His eyes dropped closed, sweat dripping from his nose. He stayed there for a moment, trying to collect himself.

“Weak!” the older man shouted, standing tall across the hall. “Get up and spare like a man!”

Shouto felt his vision swim as he lifted himself back up, facing his father across the dojo, trying to focus on the flames that encased him. He swayed and stumbled, sending an unintended ice spike in his father’s direction. It was weak and melted faster than it traveled.

“You’ve been slacking on your training! From now on, you will be coming here twice a week to train with me, that school must be too lenient on you!”

Shouto raised his hand, letting the fire that bubbled under his skin from his fever break free, raging around him uncontrollably. His body tried to regulate the sudden change with a rapid cool down from his opposite side, frost covering his limbs.

“Is that all you’ve got!?”

Shouto fell to his knees, feeling his quirk and trying to subdue the flames. It made his head spin, the heat rising and causing him to shout. His vision blurred and he could feel the bile rise as he pushed himself beyond his limits.