Katsuki first met Deku when they were four. It was during a villain attack.
(Well, not quite, but he’d figure that out later.)
Before the villain attack—and the meeting that happened during it—Katsuki had been playing heroes and villains in the park with a few other kids. His dad was somewhere nearby, though out of sight at the time. Not that little Katsuki cared; he’d always been a smart, independent child, and his parents had always been content to allow him to be.
Deku was probably somewhere nearby too, looking back on it, since he’d also been visiting the park that day with his moms. He’d probably been looking at the flowers or something equally Deku-ish like that instead of playing with the other kids. Not that Deku had been shy as a kid or anything, probably the opposite, but he’d always had a habit of getting distracted by things like that.
And then, right when Katsuki and his small band of heroes were preparing to deal the final blow to the evil villains, the real villain appeared.
No, not a villain, he remembered thinking, as the thing tore through the playground, a monster. It in no way resembled a human form, or anything Katsuki could identify as quirk-related. If anything, it looked sort of like a really big, really angry mutated centipede.
Everyone scattered, Katsuki included. “Dad!” He shouted as he ran, “DAD!” A lot of good that did. His voice was drowned in the shrill collective of screaming. Behind him, the monster let out an ear-splitting shriek and scurried after the fleeing people. Toxic green globs of acid—it had to be acid, nothing could eat through pavement and metal monkey bars like that—were flung about with wild abandon, and on a chancy glance back Katsuki realized it was coming from the creature’s mouth.
He had to get away. He had to find his dad. He had to find a hero so they could beat the monster up and save everyone. He had to—
He collided bodily with a very solid, person-shaped form, falling back on his butt with a startled wheeze. The person he’d run into—a big lady with weird colored skin and rainbow hair—blinked down at him and said, “Oh, whoops. Sorry kid.”
Unlike literally everyone else around them, the lady didn’t seem panicked at all. In fact, she seemed very casual, as if this was just another regular old day at the park. Katsuki gaped at her, bewildered.
“What’re you doing?” He found himself saying. “We gotta run! And get a hero!”
Not that Katsuki was afraid or anything. No way! But he wasn’t dumb either and knew that if there was a monster wreaking havoc nearby, he should probably get away from it. At least until he was big and strong like All Might and could fight monsters on his own. Yeah.
The lady grinned down at him, completely unconcerned. “Nah, don’t sweat it kid. My friends and I are taking care of it. See?” She helped Katsuki up and pointed back towards the monster.
Katsuki turned back uneasily, ready to start running again, only for his expression to lighten with awe. Three other ladies were fighting the monster, just like the rainbow haired lady had said. Katsuki didn’t recognize any of them as any heroes he knew, but they definitely fought like heroes. One yanked the monster back with a whip, while another punched the monster in the face before it could hurl anymore acid. A third leapt gracefully into the air, delivering blows to the monster’s back with a fancy looking spear.
“Whoa…” He said. This was the closest he’d ever been to any sort of villain fight. They were definitely cooler in person.
“Aren’t they awesome?” A young voice chimed in, snapping Katsuki out of his staring. He glanced back and found a previously unnoticed green-haired boy peering around the rainbow lady’s legs. He looked about Katsuki’s age, and was dressed in shorts, bright red sneakers and a too-big shirt. Just like the rainbow-haired lady, he seemed completely unbothered by the monster and their somewhat close proximity to it, though in less of a casual way and more of a fascinated way.
“Yeah,” Katsuki agreed, because they were. “Who are they?”
Katsuki nodded. And then re-processed that statement. “All three of them?” He wondered. Could someone have three moms?
The boy pouted. “Four.” He said, tugging on the rainbow lady’s hand. “Bismuth’s my mom too.”
Bismuth grinned and affectionally ruffled the boy’s hair. The boy beamed.
“Oh.” Katsuki decided to accept that at face value and move on. There were much more interesting things to wonder about, after all. “Why aren’t you fighting too?” He asked, looking skeptically up at Bismuth.
“Well someone’s gotta watch the beansprout here.” Bismuth said. The green-haired boy pouted, but didn’t object. “And, uh, you too now I guess. What’s your name, kid?”
Katsuki puffed up at the question. “Bakugou Katsuki!” He told her. “And I don’t need to be watched. I’m gonna be a hero someday!”
Bismuth raised an eyebrow, looking somewhat amused. “Is that so?”
Meanwhile, the green-haired boy’s face lit up. “Oh! That’s so cool! I wanna be a hero too!” He offered Katsuki a hand and a blinding grin. “I’m Izuku!” When Katsuki didn’t shake it right away, too busy considering the boy and if he was really gonna be a hero—a lot of kids just said stuff like that without meaning it like Katsuki did—Izuku added, a little doubtfully. “You’re supposed to shake it.” Izuku glanced up at Bismuth. “Right?”
Which was weird. It was like he wasn’t completely sure himself. Katsuki decided to take pity on him and shook his hand. “Right.” He said. “Whose your favorite hero?”
The unfiltered joy was back. “All Might! He’s the coolest!”
Now that Katsuki could get on board with. He’d soon completely forgotten about the monster, unintentionally becoming one of the few “crazy” people standing a little too close to a rampaging monster with seemingly zero concern. Looking back on it, even then it wasn’t hard to feel safe around one of Deku’s moms. They were a lot like professional heroes that way, radiating a sort of calm, protective aura.
Before anyone knew it, the fight had ended. Katsuki glanced back at the sudden lack of screeching, and was confused to find that the monster had vanished. But how could that be? It’d been huge!
Izuku’s moms were unconcerned though. So one of them probably took care of it somehow, or at least knew where it went? (It would only be later, after a full immersion into “gem stuff,” that he’d realize the “monster” in question that day had been poofed, bubbled and sent back to the temple.)
“Pearl! Amethyst! Garnet!” Izuku cheered as the three other ladies approached their little group. He jumped at the tallest one—Garnet, Katsuki was pretty sure—and she caught him with a small smile. “You guys were awesome!”
The purple one—Amethyst—preened. “Yeah, I know.”
“I’m sorry, Izuku, but we’re going to have to cut this trip short.” The last one, Pearl, apologized, placing a hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “That corruption probably attracted a little too much attention.”
“Aw, but I made a friend!” And at that, Izuku squirmed out of Garnet’s hold and hurried back to Katsuki, pulling him forward and showing him off to his moms like some kind of newly acquired pet. “This is Kacchan!”
“Katsuki.” Katsuki corrected, tugging his arm out of Izuku’s grip. And because his own mom had been bugging him about having better manners lately, he added a grudging, “Nice to meet you.”
Pearl considered him, unsure. “You… too?”
“Sup, little dude.” Amethyst acknowledged.
“Nice to meet you too.” Even with the visor in the way, Katsuki got a strong sense that Garnet’s gaze was unusually piercing. As if she was looking at him and seeing more than what was right there in front of her. It was a little disconcerting. “Sorry to interrupt your fun. Izuku seems to like you.”
Katsuki shrugged, unbothered. He had just met Izuku, so it wasn’t like he was invested in any sort of friendship or anything, even if the boy and his family were admittedly interesting. Now that he thought about it, he really should go and find his dad anyway, he was probably worried…
Except, unlike him, Izuku was bothered—thankfully for their future friendship. The green-haired boy seemed to think frantically for a moment, before his face lit up with realization. He tugged imploringly at Katsuki’s hand and said, “We come to the park on… on…” He glanced up at Pearl.
“Wednesdays and Fridays.” Pearl filled in.
“Yeah!” Izuku agreed, eyes hopeful as he turned back to Katsuki. “Will you come again then so we can play?”
Katsuki mulled it over. It wasn’t like there was any reason not to, so, “Yeah. I guess.”
With the way Izuku lit up, you’d have thought Katsuki had offered to give him free ice cream for a year or something. Before the boy could even attempt to express his sheer happiness though, Pearl was ushering him and the others along. “Yes, yes, wonderful, we’ll see you then, time to go!”
“O-oh, okay. Bye Kacchan!” Izuku waved as they left.
Katsuki nodded and waved back. As Garnet passed him, she pointed and said, “Keep walking that way and you’ll run into your dad. See you later.”
And then they were gone.
The police and a couple pro heroes showed up shortly after. Instead of going straight to them like he usually might have, he decided to take Garnet’s advice—she seemed to know what she was talking about—and head in the direction she’d advised. It only took a few minutes for his dad to stumble upon him, and Katsuki decided then and there that Garnet’s quirk was probably something like mind reading or seeing the future. It made sense.
(To be fair, he’d been sort of right: Deku’s square mom could see the future. It just didn’t have anything to do with a quirk.)
Katsuki did end up meeting up with Izuku—soon to be re-dubbed Deku, because it was only fair, since Deku insisted on calling him Kacchan—again about a week or two later, when the playground was reopened.
Compared to their original meeting, this interaction was considerably more normal. They talked about All Might, and played hide and seek and tag with some other kids, and other typical four year old stuff like that. Garnet lounged on one of the benches nearby, always wearing that same knowing look whenever their gazes happened to meet. (Yeah, she definitely had some kind of future vision, Katsuki was sure of it.) Deku’s other moms were elsewhere that day.
The next park meet-up was the following Friday, with Pearl, who Katsuki quickly learned had a tendency to hover. Then another meet-up with Amethyst and Pearl. (He and Amethyst and Izuku all raced to see who could climb a tree the fastest and Pearl about nearly had a heart attack when Deku almost fell.) And then another couple after that supervised by Bismuth. He’d decided Bismuth was his favorite. She didn’t treat him like a baby and told him awesome fight stories and sometimes brought really cool weapons with her.
And so the days passed. He and Deku grew pretty close pretty fast, despite only ever seeing each other during Deku’s park visits. He wished Deku went to the same school as him, so they could hang out more. He was so much smarter and more interesting than the usual extras that clung to him. He told Deku as much, and Deku got all wistful and said he wished he could go to school too.
“Do you go at all?” Katsuki asked, puzzled by how the answer implied otherwise.
Deku shook his head. “The Gems teach me lots of stuff though! Pearl says I’m…” Deku took a moment searching for the word. “Homeschooled.”
Katsuki scrunched up his nose. “That sounds dumb.”
Deku pouted. “No it’s not.”
“But you just said you wanna go to school.”
“Well, yeah…” Deku said, his frown deepening. “Just so I can make friends. I don’t really have any, ‘cept for the Gems.”
Katsuki took great offense to that. He scowled irritably at Deku and gave him a rough shove. A hurt expression flashed across Deku’s face, at least until Katsuki said, “Stupid! I’m your friend, you dumb Deku! Your best friend! Got it?”
Deku stared at him, and then his eyes started getting all watery, and before Katsuki knew it he was caught in a hug. He rolled his eyes, grumbling irritably about Deku getting his sad all over his new All Might t-shirt, but didn’t push Deku off for a good minute despite his complaints.
“Best friends.” Deku agreed with a sniff.
A few more park meet-ups later, and one of Deku’s moms and Katsuki’s parents met properly for the first time. Katsuki couldn’t remember which of Deku’s moms it’d been, since he and Deku had been too busy hunting for bugs to notice the interaction. What he did know was that his mom brought Deku up on the car-ride home.
“So you finally made a friend, brat?” She said, with a knowing smile.
Katsuki huffed and didn’t respond.
His mom’s smile widened. “You should invite him over sometime! We can have a movie night or something, yeah?”
Katsuki shrugged. “Yeah, whatever I guess.” He grumbled.
Garnet and Pearl dropped Deku off at Katsuki’s house for a sleepover the next week.
Katsuki's quirk comes in, and he learns some things about Deku and the Gems.
About four months after his and Deku’s first meeting, Katsuki’s quirk came in.
And it was. The coolest. Thing. Ever.
Katsuki tracked down Deku at the park the following Wednesday in record time, eager to show off his awesome new firecracker hands. Deku ooed and awed at the little bursts of explosions, and readily agreed that it was a super cool quirk. They spent the next few minutes blowing up assorted twigs and pebbles.
“Oh! Oh!” Deku lit up, giving Katsuki’s arm an excited shake. “Let’s go show Garnet and Amethyst! C’mon, they’ll think it’s so cool!”
Katsuki, eager to show off his brand new quirk to as many people as he could, agreed readily.
They found Amethyst and Garnet on one of their usual benches. Garnet was as chill as always, and Amethyst was happily chewing some gum she probably pried from underneath the bench. (He’d learned early on that Amethyst was kind of gross. And could eat a lot of things most people really shouldn’t and/or couldn’t eat. Her quirk probably, though he had yet to confirm any of the Gems’ quirks for sure.)
Garnet spotted them first, of course. “Hello you two.” She greeted with a causal wave.
“Hey!” Amethyst nodded to them, grinning around the giant wad of bench gum in her mouth. She then swallowed said gum and added, “Sup little dudes?”
“Look at what Kacchan can do!” Deku blurted, practically vibrating with excitement as he gestured for Katsuki to show them.
Brimming with pride, Katsuki let his palms crackle with a few explosions.
Amethyst leaned forward, eyes bright. “Oh-ho, neat! Humans are so much cooler these days!”
Garnet smiled and gave Katsuki a light pat on the head. “Hm, yes. Very cool.” And then she gave him one of those signature knowing looks. “Be sure to use it for good.”
Katsuki scoffed. “Duh! I’m gonna be a hero, remember! Me and Deku are gonna be the best when his quirk comes in too! Right Deku?”
“Yeah!” Deku agreed, before faltering. “Oh, uh, except…”
“You’ll both be awesome.” Garnet interrupted gently. “Now go play. Pearl wants us home in an hour, and you know how she can be.”
Deku giggled. “Yeah okay. C’mon Kacchan!”
More time passed.
“Have you got your quirk yet, Deku?”
“No, not yet.”
“Deku! Did you get your quirk?”
“No. But I saw this really cool All Might video…”
“When do you think your quirk’s coming in?”
Deku shrugged. “Don’t know. Maybe soon. Maybe not.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
It was one of the first things Katsuki would ask Deku about every time they met up, and yet the answer was the same every time. “No Kacchan” this, and “Sorry Kacchan” that. Katsuki was starting to have some doubts.
“Are you even gonna get a quirk?” He asked one day, fixing Deku with a serious look.
Deku paused. “Maybe,” he admitted. “The Gems aren’t sure. Pearl says she’s gonna learn how to check.”
Maybe. Katsuki frowned. He didn’t really like the implications of that, or how unconcerned Deku seemed to be about the whole thing. How were he and Deku supposed to be heroes together if Deku didn’t have a quirk? For a moment, Katsuki thought about telling Deku as much.
But in the end, the desire passed. All he did was scoff and scowl and say: “That’s dumb. Just go to the doctors.”
“Ah, the Gems don’t really like doctors though…”
So it went.
By the time Katsuki’s fifth birthday rolled around, his frustration was only mounting. Deku still hadn’t gotten his quirk, and Katsuki was getting impatient with the wait. It didn’t help that Deku said weird things sometimes, when they talked about his quirk coming in; like there’d always been some kind of doubt about it. Which was ridiculous! Deku had said he’d wanted to be a hero when they first met, but how the heck was someone supposed to be a hero without a quirk?
Deku didn’t see the problem somehow. “The Gems are like heroes.” He’d point out whenever Katsuki brought up the argument. As if that settled it somehow, even though it absolutely didn’t. The Gems all had super awesome quirks: Garnet could probably see the future, Amethyst could eat stuff, Bismuth could make her arms change shape and Pearl was like, super agile or something? (He didn’t actually have a solid theory about Pearl yet; she wasn’t really the type to show off much.)
Plus they all had those mutations going for them with the weird skin and hair colors, and the actual gems imbedded in their skin. They probably weren’t all that great for fighting or anything, sure, but at least they were sort of cool looking. He liked Bismuth’s the best, with how it spiraled inward and was all sorts of different shiny colors.
Despite all this, Deku kept making the same old argument over and over again. And it left Katsuki more annoyed and baffled every time it came up. Was Katsuki missing something or was Deku just dumb? He wasn’t sure.
It’d gotten to the point where it was beginning to cause an underlying strain in their friendship. Nothing irreparable, but it still managed to drive Katsuki crazy whenever he thought about it. He didn’t like not understanding things, and honestly he was reaching his limit of tolerating Deku’s weird obscurity.
So it was no surprise that, when Deku came over for a sleepover the night before Katsuki's birthday, Katsuki was more snappish with him than usual. Which was saying something, since snappish was kind of his default. His mom even scolded him for it a couple of times.
His mild animosity towards Deku was only forgotten later that evening, when the two of them settled in the living room for an All Might movie marathon. Katsuki’s parents set them up with a bowl of popcorn and a couple of juices and left them to it, save for the occasional check in to be sure they weren’t up to any mischief. They needn’t have worried. The two boys were totally fixated on the animated All Might’s heroic escapades.
“I am here!” Deku liked to gleefully shout every time the All Might on screen did, mimicking the hero’s signature smile. Deku was kind of a nerd like that.
The movie came to an end all too quickly, and as the credits rolled Katsuki clambered to his feet on top of the couch, fixing Deku with a fierce grin as he declared, “Die villain!”
Deku yelped and rolled off the couch to avoid Katsuki’s ensuing pounce. “Aw, but Kacchan, I don’t wanna be the villain!” He complained from his new spot on the floor.
“Too bad!” He tackled Deku and started an impromptu wrestling match right there in the middle living room. He was winning, of course, and was preparing to pin Deku and declare his victory and Deku’s imminent imprisonment in imaginary jail, when—
“Ow!” His elbow collided with a startlingly sharp and solid edge, right on that nerve that made your arm feel all funny. “What the fuck was that?”
Deku gasped, attempting to angle his head and shoot Katsuki a scandalized look from where he was still half pinned. “Kacchan, that’s a bad word!”
“Shut up, Deku.” He grumbled. It was half-hearted, his focus directed primarily towards this new mystery. “What was that?”
Deku blinked confusedly up at him. “What was what?”
Katsuki ignored him, instead pressing a hand to where he was pretty sure his elbow had connected. His eyes widened when he found that same edge of something undeniably solid and inorganic. Without another word he yanked up the back of Deku’s shirt—causing Deku to let out a small shriek of surprise—and, to his fascination, found a gemstone nestled on Deku’s back, centered just below his shoulder blades.
“Wha—Kacchan, why—” Deku sputtered, trying to shove his shirt back down, but Katsuki only batted his hands away.
“No way, you’ve got one of these too?” He exclaimed. He shot Deku an incredulous look. “What the heck, Deku?”
Deku paused, the realization of what Katsuki was freaking out about sinking in. “Oh.” He said, craning his neck in an effort to look back at the stone. “Yeah, it’s my gem.”
“Have you always had this?” Katsuki wondered. He gave the gem a light poke, confirming that yes, it was real. It was a pretty, vibrant green color, and cut into a thin, diamond shape that vertically spanned about a third of Deku’s back.
How had Katsuki never known about it before now?
Hey. Wait a minute…
He gave Deku a sharp smack, suddenly very annoyed.
“Hey—Kacchan ow!” Deku protested, twisting around and holding his arms up in a meager defense.
“Stupid Deku!” He growled. “Why’re you always saying you might not get a quirk? You’ve got a quirk!”
“Wha—yeah!” He said, gesturing to the green gem, now hidden beneath Deku’s shirt once more. “Are you dumb? You’ve got a gem thing just like your moms!”
Deku stared at him, as if Katsuki was speaking some nonsense language instead of plain Japanese. Katsuki was about ready to smack him again—smack him as many times as he needed to until Deku got some sense, really—but held off when Deku’s face dawned with realization.
“Oohh.” He said. Katsuki was almost appeased. Honestly, it was about time that Deku figured this out—
“Kacchan that’s not a quirk.”
Katsuki’s eye twitched. “Yeah it is.”
“No it’s not.”
“Yeah it is.”
“Well then what is it!?” Katsuki burst.
“It’s my gem.” Deku said as-a-matter-of-factly.
“And?” Katsuki felt about ready to pound his head against the nearest wall. Or Deku’s. He hadn’t decided yet. “People don’t have gems on their bodies, stupid Deku! That’s a quirk! A mutation!” Why didn’t Deku know this? He should know this, the nerd was obsessed with quirks! “I don’t have a gem.”
Deku was still staring at him like he was the crazy one, and it was absolutely infuriating. “Of course you don’t have a gem. You’re not a Gem, Kacchan.”
Whatdid thateven mean?
“Deku.” He said very, very seriously, after taking a brief moment to scream into the nearest pillow because Deku was just—agh! “I don’t—quirk.” He gestured wildly to where Deku’s gem was. “Quirk!”
“Kacchan, are you okay?”
“It’s! A quirk!”
“No, Kacchan that’s…” Deku did that thing where he puffed up his cheeks when he was thinking really hard about something. Katsuki hoped whatever he had to say next resolved this whole conversation, because otherwise he was going to have a breakdown. “The Gems say it’s not a quirk. Gems don’t have quirks. But I’m only half Gem, so I could maybe get a quirk, but a few days ago Pearl said probably not cause I got this extra joint in my pinkie toes but since Gems don’t get quirks anyways it probably doesn’t matter cause I can still get some of my mom’s powers and—”
“Oh.” Deku flushed. Clearly he hadn’t meant to fall into one of his muttering spells, but then again, did he ever? “Sorry Kacchan.”
Katsuki, unfortunately used to sorting out the important stuff from Deku’s endless rambling at this point, did just that and asked, “What do you mean the Gems don’t have quirks? They totally do!”
Deku shook his head. “No,” he said. “Not really. They’ve got gem powers and stuff. Not quirks though.”
“That’s not the same thing?”
“I don’t think so?” His expression became thoughtful. “I ask about it. Pearl says different Gems have different powers—like Garnet can summon electricity and Bismuth can make her arms into tools really easy—but different Gems can also all do some of the same things, like shapeshift and summon weapons from their gems! So…” Deku shrugged. “They’re kinda like each other. Kinda not. Quirks are human powers. Gem powers are Gem powers.”
That was understandably a lot for someone to process all at once, but Katsuki had always considered himself smart, even at age almost-five. And he was finally starting to pick up exactly what it was Deku wasn’t outright saying.
“Deku.” He said, his previous fury fading as he mulled over all these implications. He fixed Deku with a semi-skeptical look. “You’re… human? Right?”
“The Gems say dad was human.” Deku admitted. “Mom was a Gem though. Like Garnet and Pearl and Amethyst and Bismuth.”
Katsuki, for once in his short life, was at a loss. He stared at Deku, eyes narrowed. He wanted to say something, ask something, but he wasn’t sure what.
“…What’s a Gem?” He eventually settled on.
“I just said! Like Pearl and Amethyst and—”
“No, Deku, like—” Katsuki struggled with the right words for a second. “What is a Gem? It’s really not a quirk? Don’t lie to me.”
Deku looked genuinely aghast at thought. “I’m not!”
Katsuki still needed to be sure. “You gotta swear!” He decided, leaning forward intently. “Swear on All Might you’re not joking with me! If you’re lying I’ll—I’ll beat you up and we won’t be friends anymore!”
Deku’s eyes widened with horror. “I swear, I swear on All Might!” He quickly agreed, eyes starting to tear up. “I promise I’m not lying Kacchan, please still be friends with me!”
“Yeah, okay, whatever! Long as you’re not lying!” He assured. He really didn’t want to deal with a crying Deku right now, not when they were finally so close to actual answers. “Don’t cry, Deku, I mean it.”
Deku sniffed and rubbed at his eyes. “Okay…”
“So it’s really, really not a quirk?”
“Yeah.” Deku agreed, still a little sniffly. “Promise.”
“So then…” Katsuki did his best to re-wrap his head around this whole situation. Obviously, this wasn’t a possibility that’d ever seriously occurred to him, but being the kid he still was left him more open-minded about the whole thing than, say, an older him might be. “Is it like, magic or something?”
(A part of him was loath to ask that. All the older kids at school said only babies believed in magic, and Katsuki wasn’t a baby. But most of the those older kids were stupid jerks anyway, and he had to start somewhere, so whatever.)
“Um…” Deku thought about it. “No?”
“You don’t sound sure.”
“…No, I am.” Deku decided after a beat. “It kinda seems like magic, but so do quirks and they’re not. It’s just… Gem stuff.” Deku shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know how else to explain it.”
“Okay, well what’re Gems then, if they’re not human?” Katsuki prompted. “How come I’ve never heard of them? Where’d they come from?”
“They like to stay secret.” Deku said. “And Bismuth told me space.”
“Yeah. Where they come from.” Deku replied. “Someplace called, um, Homeworld? Yeah.” Deku nodded to himself. “The others don’t like to talk about it a lot, I think. When I’m older, they say. Bismuth’ll tell me some stuff sometimes when I ask her, though.”
“Wait…” Katsuki began, as all the puzzle pieces finally clicked into place. “Wait, so that means…”
For a moment, Katsuki’s mind kind of blanked.
Deku was giving him a concerned look. “Um. Kacchan? Are you—”
“Can you shapeshift?”
Deku seemed thrown, like that wasn’t what he’d expected Katsuki to say. To be honest, that wasn’t what Katsuki had expected himself to say either, but that’s where his mind had gone and now he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“Or summon weapons? You said Gems did stuff like that right?” Katsuki pressed. “So can you?”
“O-oh. We don’t know yet.”
“You don’t—Deku! If you don’t have a quirk, then you’ve gotta have these weird space gem powers, how else are we supposed to be heroes—”
And just like that, before Katsuki even realized, they were right back to where they started.
Katsuki visits Deku's house for the first time.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
There had always been an unspoken rule about Deku’s house, in that it was strictly off limits. Katsuki had never been before, and Deku, for all that he seemed to love hanging out with Katsuki, never invited him over. The same went for the Gems; whenever the topic happened to come up, they were either vague or quick to skirt around it.
Not that Katsuki had ever really cared much. Why did it matter where he and Deku hung out as long as they got to? It was just a bit weird, is all, though with Deku and the Gems that was nothing new. Weird seemed to follow that family around like a friendly stray dog begging for scraps.
However, about three weeks after Katsuki’s birthday, things changed. (Or maybe it was more accurate to say three weeks after his and Deku’s enlightening conversation.) Pearl extended the offer at the end of one of their park meet-ups. His mom had been pleasantly surprised. She must’ve known about the unspoken rule too.
“Oh! Sure, I don’t mind!” His mom turned to him. “How about it, brat? You want to go play at Izuku’s tomorrow?”
Katsuki glared and stuck out his tongue. “I’m not a brat.”
“Yeah, well only brats talk back to their moms,” she rebuked with a light flick to his forehead. “You want to go or not?”
Katsuki shrugged, glanced over at Deku—who was nodding eagerly with an excited grin on his face—and then nodded. “I guess.”
“Yay!” Deku cheered. “Kacchan’s coming over! We can watch movies and—oh, oh!” He tugged at Pearl’s hand. “Pearl! Can we play on the beach? And—and—”
That caught Katsuki’s interest. “You live on the beach?”
“Yeah! It’s super fun! And pretty!”
“I’ll pack you a swimsuit,” Katsuki’s mom told him, before focusing back on Pearl. “Where do you guys live? Me or Masaru can drop the brat off in the morning, if you want.”
“Oh that’s alright,” Pearl assured quickly, “I don’t mind swinging by and picking Katsuki up. We live a little out of the way, so it’s easy to get lost if you don’t know the area.”
“And the area is…?”
“Let’s see… Do you know Dagobah Municipal Beach Park?”
Katsuki’s mom made a face. “That beach everyone keeps dumping their trash at?”
“Ah, yes. That’s the one. We live a little ways down from that. Not to worry though, I personally ensure that our section of the beach remains perfectly clean and safe…”
Pearl and his mom worked out all the details, and then they parted ways. The next morning, at exactly nine, Pearl and Deku came to pick him up in their old but well taken care of little car. Katsuki clambered into the back next to Deku. Meanwhile, his dad passed a small backpack to Pearl.
“Make sure he wears the sunscreen in there, please,” his dad requested with a smile.
“Of course, no problem!” Pearl placed the backpack on the passenger seat floor, before turning back to the two of them. “Say bye to your father, Katsuki.”
Katsuki scrunched up his nose, but at Pearl’s imploring look, sighed and did as she asked. “Bye dad.”
His dad laughed and reached in to ruffle his hair. “Have fun, kiddo.” Then, with a little maneuvering, he did the same thing to Deku. “You too, Izuku.”
Deku beamed. “We will!”
And they were off.
The drive wasn’t long, and Katsuki spent most of it half-listening to Deku chatter about all the things they could do.
“—We can’t go inside the temple though, all the Gems say I’m too little and it could be dangerous—”
It took Katsuki a second to fully process that, but when he did he turned his full attention back to Deku. “Wait,” he said, confused, “what temple?”
That was where Pearl jumped in. “Actually! That’s something I want to talk to you about, Katsuki.” She glanced back at them at a stoplight. “We know Izuku told you about, well…”
“That you’re aliens?”
Pearl spluttered, caught off guard. “W-well, yes, but—there are certainly better ways to put it.” She faced forward again, though not before Katsuki caught her mildly peeved expression as she muttered, “I mean, honestly, we’ve been on Earth longer than any human alive right now. I think we’ve more than earned the right to call it our planet too.”
“Oh. Okay.” Katsuki leaned forward a bit, curious. “How long have you been here?”
“Hm? Oh, around six-thousand-ish years, give or take.”
Katsuki’s eyes went wide. “WHAT?!” he exclaimed, startling both Pearl and Deku. “You’re so old! How’re you so old?” Even his grandma wasn’t that old, and she seemed ancient to him.
“Easy. We don’t age like you humans do,” Pearl explained. “But we can get into that later. Right now I want to set some… ground rules, so to speak.”
At once, all of Katsuki’s interest in the conversation drained away. “That sounds boring.”
“Well you can think so if you want, but it’s for your safety.”
Several beats of expectant silence passed.
“…Fine,” Katsuki groaned. “What rules?”
“No going into the temple, for one, like Izuku said,” Pearl began to list, “No playing around on the warp pad. Absolutely no eating any food Amethyst makes.” Pearl shuddered at that one, and Katsuki nodded in grudging understanding. He’d seen some of the things Amethyst ate on a whim, and he was not looking to ingest any of that any time soon. “No playing in the ocean without supervision. No leaving the gated area. No messing around with any weapons or Gem artifacts you might find lying around. I try to keep them cleaned up, but you never know with Bismuth and Amethyst. And—”
“There’s more?” Katsuki not-quite-whined, boggling at the idea of this rule list getting any longer. How were he and Deku supposed to do anything fun with all these restrictions?
Pearl sighed, but seemed to sense that she was losing him. “That’s all the important stuff, I suppose. Just be smart, and ask if you’re not sure about something, understand?”
Katsuki nodded. “Is that everything?”
“Not quite.” They passed Dagobah Municipal Beach Park—aka the Garbage Beach—and kept going. “There is one more thing.”
Pearl turned off the main road, onto a thinner, lesser used one that wound through the trees towards the ocean. They didn’t get far on it before coming across a wire fence. Katsuki eyed it and its bright ‘Private Property’ and ‘No Trespassing’ signs curiously, only turning his attention back to Pearl when she put the car in park and twisted around to look at him.
“Now I know Izuku told you about our… preference for secrecy,” Pearl began carefully. “But do you understand what that means?”
Katsuki huffed, a little annoyed. Did they think he was stupid? “Duh. I’m not supposed to tell anyone you’re aliens. Or that Deku’s half alien.”
Pearl’s eye twitched at the use of ‘aliens’ again, but she didn’t correct him this time. “Yes. Good. That also applies to where we live, and what’s there. Can you do that?”
“My parents know where you live. You told them,” Katsuki pointed out skeptically.
“They’re an exception,” Pearl amended. “No one else though, alright? Not without our permission. It could put you and Izuku in danger.”
Deku frowned at the thought, but didn’t comment.
At once, Katsuki understood that this was something serious. He didn’t know why, or what danger Pearl was referring to specifically, but knowing that it could put Deku in danger was enough. “Alright,” he vowed, “I won’t tell anyone.”
Pearl observed him for a second, searching, before nodding once with a smile. “Good. Now wait here while I go and open the fence.” With that, Pearl opened the door and stepped out of the car, leaving him and Deku alone for a few moments.
“…Thanks Kacchan,” Deku whispered. “The Gems were worried, I think.”
“That I’d tell?” Katsuki was offended by that. “I’m not dumb. I haven’t said anything to anyone.”
“I know!” Deku beamed at him, grabbing his hand. “Your my bestest friend, Kacchan! I trust you!”
Katsuki rolled his eyes. What a Deku thing to say. “Tch. I’m your only friend.”
Despite his words, though, he didn’t let go of Deku’s hand.
Katsuki’s first question, upon seeing Deku’s house, was: “Why’re the washer and drier up there?”
Of course, this was after several long moments of silence, as he took in the giant statue of a two-faced, multi-armed lady looming along the cliffside. It looked old, with plants growing along its weathered surface, and a couple of the arms broken off. Like something tourists should be flocking around and taking pictures of.
Awesome, he couldn’t help but think. Then he noticed the absurdly normal looking house, built right against the statue’s base, and then the washer and drier nestled in one of its palms, and the rest was history.
“Well…” Pearl began as-a-matter-of-factly, only to trail off. She squinted at the washer and drier set suspiciously. “Wait, why did we do that?”
Katsuki decided he didn’t care. “C’mon, let’s go! I wanna see!” He grabbed Deku’s hand and together they rushed down a set of wooden stairs, towards the beach.
Pearl was left spluttering behind them. “Ah! Careful, careful! You might trip—”
Her warnings fell on deaf ears.
At first glance, hanging out at Deku’s place wasn’t all that different from when Deku hung out at his place. They played heroes, and ate snacks, and went exploring outside; all their usual stuff. But he also got to play on the beach, and see what a warp pad did—even if any plans for a spontaneous trip across the world were swiftly shut down by Pearl—and play a weird but fun game that combined tag and shapeshifting. He even managed to peek through the strange doors to the temple when Bismuth came out to join them. And while he might’ve only gotten a brief glance, the image of racks of weapons and streams of lava had permanently seared itself into his mind.
He was definitely exploring the temple someday.
As the day wound down, Katsuki found himself sitting up in Deku’s loft bedroom, watching an All Might movie. He felt a little tired, but in a good way. Deku, who was curled up next to him, seemed to share the mood.
“What’re we watching?” Amethyst asked, flopping onto the bed behind them.
“All Might: Origins!” Deku chirped happily.
Amethyst made a face. “Again?”
“Duh.” Katsuki made a face back at her. “It’s awesome.”
“Whatever you say, squirt.” Before Katsuki could retort, she held out an open container full of chocolate chip cookies. “Want one before I eat ‘em all?”
Katsuki quickly took two, and then two more for Deku, since he was already absorbed in the movie. Amethyst didn’t joke when it came to eating things. He’d watched her eat a whole large pizza in a minute flat once, box and all. Those cookies would be gone in seconds.
“Here,” he said, passing Deku his cookies.
Deku lit up just like he expected him to. “Thanks Kacchan!”
They finished the movie, and then persuaded Pearl into letting them watch a second one after dinner. By the time those credits were rolling, it was dark out, and Katsuki was holding back a yawn. Deku had already fallen asleep next to him, his head pillowed on Katsuki’s shoulder. Katsuki stared at him, feeling surprisingly reluctant to move.
“Here,” Garnet said, carefully lifting Deku into her arms. “I’ll wake him up. You go brush your teeth. Pearl’s got a spare toothbrush for you.”
Katsuki blinked in surprise at that. “I’m staying the night?”
“Your parents said it was fine. If you want to.” The last part was added almost as an afterthought, as if Garnet had already known the answer. He squinted at her. She smiled slightly.
He had to know. “You can see the future, right?”
Garnet’s smile widened. “What makes you think that?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “You act like it, I guess.”
Katsuki’s face lit up. He was right! He knew—wait. Did she mean yes, she could see the future, or was she just agreeing that she acted like she could see the future? He asked as much.
Garnet only hummed noncommittally, still smiling, and turned away. Katsuki huffed, very much aware that he was being teased.
“I think you can,” he decided.
“I know you can.”
“So if you can, can you…” Garnet glanced back at him, her expression unreadable. Katsuki hesitated for a second. “Do you know if Deku will get gem powers too, someday? Like you guys?”
Garnet considered him. “Does it matter if he doesn’t?”
“W-well, yeah! We’re supposed to be heroes together, and we can’t if—if he doesn’t have a quirk. Or something like a quirk. Everyone knows that.”
“Hm. I see.” Garnet took a moment to lay Izuku back down on the bed, before going to sit down next to Katsuki. He couldn’t bring himself to meet her eyes, for some reason. He felt kind of icky. Guilty. Like he’d done or said something wrong. “Do you want to know what I think?”
He shrugged and nodded.
“I think it doesn’t matter,” Garnet said, “as long as you’re friends.”
They sat in silence for a few beats as Katsuki processed that.
“…Okay,” he finally agreed. “That makes sense.”
And it did, weirdly enough. Katsuki was strong. He knew that. So if Deku didn’t end up with any powers, then all Katsuki had to do was be strong enough for the both of them. It was easy to warm up to the idea. He could beat up the bad guys, and Deku could be like… like Nighteye! Yeah! Deku could come up with plans and stuff, and Katsuki would help with them and make sure Deku was safe.
“It’d still be cool if Deku could shape-shift though. Or summon weapons.”
Garnet chuckled and ruffled his hair. “That would be cool,” she allowed. “I guess we’ll have to see what happens.”
Well this took me a little bit. I got some serious writer's block near the end there, and I wrote myself into a corner a couple of times, but I think I've finally got something I'm satisfied with.
I was a little worried about Katsuki coming off as out of character in that last scene, but I think it makes sense given his age and the circumstances. Katsuki's main concern has always been whether or not he and Izuku can be heroes together, which he doesn't think is possible if Izuku doesn't have a quirk or something quirk-like. It's not that he's purposefully prejudiced, it's just that he's an impressionable kid and no one has told him otherwise. So when Garnet, an adult he respects, does just that, he's quick to reconsider some things. It helps that he really does care about Izuku, and wants to keep being friends.
But that's just my perspective on the whole thing. Let me know what you guys think!
Next in the series: Practice Makes Perfect!
Featuring: a two year time-skip, Izuku exploring some of his gem powers, fusion and, of course, lots of fluff.
Stay tuned! ^_^