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half alive until i met you

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Before I met you, before I held you at night
I don’t know how I survived
Before I found you, before you made everything right
I was half alive, I wasn’t really living till you came into my life
I got through baby
But I don’t know how I got by

*

NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Izuku clings to Katsuki, fat tears welling up in his eyes, though he tries to hide it against Katsuki’s shoulder.

“It’s only twelve months. When I come back, it’ll be like I never left,” Katsuki says. He rubs Izuku’s back, reluctantly removing himself from the hug. Wiping away a tear that slips down his freckled cheek, Katsuki frames Izuku’s face with his hands and kisses his boyfriend.

A goodbye kiss, only this won’t be a true goodbye.

Katsuki is coming back. He has to, since he promised.

“Twelve months is a really long time. It’s a whole year,” Izuku protests like a sap.

Katsuki attempts a smile. He understands. This is really hard for him too. They’ve been best friends since childhood. Granted, they didn’t always get along in the best ways. Katsuki grew up with his ego inflated by the adults all around him. That eventually changed when his ego finally burst. Meanwhile, Izuku never gave up in believing that Katsuki would come around. He knew that Katsuki would eventually see that there’s more important things than individual strength—especially since it’s always been Katsuki’s dream to be a Pro Hero. 

Katsuki can’t count the number of times he’s apologized for all the shitty things he’s said and done to Izuku. But more importantly, and perhaps even more shockingly, was that it only took one time. One genuine apology from Katsuki for Izuku to forgive him.

Sometimes he can’t believe that only once was enough. To Katsuki, it never feels like it’s enough.

It’s crazy that Izuku would continually stand by someone like himself.

“I gotta go now or I’m gonna be late,” Katsuki says. He kisses Izuku again, uncaring of the people who glance their way. Plenty of couples kiss goodbye at airports. If some strangers have an issue with them both being males, then they’ll have to take it up with his fist. “I’ll text you as soon as I can to let you know I landed.”

“Okay,” Izuku mouths, but the sound never comes out.

Katsuki hitches the backpack higher up on his shoulder and walks away. The first two steps he takes backwards so he can really take in Izuku one last time. A year is a long time. Maybe that’s why he keeps saying twelve months. Quantifying things in years makes it seem like a long way off but months are nothing. Just a few months ago Katsuki was getting ready to graduate from U.A. and a few months before that he was applying to hero internships all over Japan and abroad.

Three steps away, Katsuki turns his back on his boyfriend. Izuku is crying and Katsuki hates when Izuku cries. He hates that he’s the one responsible. He promised Izuku that he’d never make him cry again. Not sad tears at least. Izuku is one hell of a crybaby too. Any chance he gets he cries.

Everytime Izuku’s eyes well up, his bright green eyes shine brighter and Katsuki can’t bring himself to look away.

This time he doesn’t. He can’t. He can’t get cold feet so he keeps on walking without glancing back over his shoulder.

“Wait!” Izuku calls after him.

Katsuki pauses. His natural instinct is to listen, but he doesn’t want his resolve to waver. He doesn’t want all that he worked hard for to go down the drain if he turns around. He’s weak to Izuku—he’s probably always been weak to Izuku—which is why he can’t turn around. He can’t let Izuku persuade him to stay. It’s selfish and Katsuki is willing to make it up to Izuku in the future, but this time Katsuki has to be selfish. He has to do this for himself. 

“I have a really bad feeling about this,” Izuku confesses, closer than ever. He forces Katsuki to turn around by tugging on his arm and his hand. Izuku’s hands are clammy and cold, and it has nothing to do with the recent cold front that’s come through.

“You think the plane’s gonna crash or something?” Katsuki jokes. He attempts a laugh, but it fails to work.

Izuku wipes his tears away with his sleeve. Technically Katsuki’s. Izuku is the biggest sweater thief Katsuki has ever met before. “Not the plane. This. You going to the United States.”

“We agreed—” Katsuki tries to say, only to get caught off.

“I know we agreed that it would be good for your career, but I—I just have a really bad feeling about it. You can get another internship here in Tokyo. You don’t have to go to another country.” Izuku shakes his head. He sniffles, still tugging on Katsuki’s hand, trying to get the both of them to walk further away from the gate.

“I have to go to the United States. It’s where my internship is. Trust me, I was just as surprised as you were. But Endeavor is the top hero in Japan and if he’s going to America for a year, then that’s what I’m going to do, too.” Katsuki tries to slip his hand free, but in compensation, he takes Izuku’s back so he can hold Izuku’s hand on his own terms.

In the end, he has to let go.

“I know. I know Endeavor is a great hero. I just get this feeling that if you go, you’re not going to come back,” Izuku says.

“I gotta come back. My Visa’s only good for twelve months anyway,” Katsuki replies.

“I’m not talking just about the Visa. I’m talking about us . I just have this feeling that if you get on that plane… if you get on this plane, I’m afraid you’re not going to come back. To me,” Izuku begs harder for Katsuki to change his mind. He reaches up to glide his fingers along the fringe of Katsuki’s hairline. “So stay. Please. You said it yourself that Eraserhead’s agency would take you and you—you wouldn’t have to go anywhere or move. All your stuff is already at my place. It’s only an hour commute every day. That’s not bad at all. That’s nothing compared to going to another country where you don’t even speak the freakin’ language.”

“Hey, you know I love you, right?” Katsuki says, catching Izuku’s wrist. He smooths his thumb over the pulse and smiles, small and private. 

Izuku, through watery eyes, beams and nods. He throws his arms around Katsuki’s neck and hugs him bone crushingly tight. With how sure and strong he holds onto Katsuki, one might think that’s Izuku’s quirk: giving life changing hugs.

“I love you, too, Kacchan.” Izuku pulls back for a moment, his bottom lip wobbling.

“Good,” Katsuki replies. He puts an arms’ length of distance between them. “Then you know a year’s not gonna change a thing between us. I’m gonna do this internship and you’re gonna get your research published. A year is gonna go by in a flash. It’s even gonna be even faster than Four Eyes, alright?”

“Kacchan,” Izuku repeats, his voice as low as a whisper. Hope swells up in his chest like a bubble ready to pop.

Katsuki lets go, backing away again. This time he’ll make it. “I already told Shitty Hair to make sure you’re eating. I’ll do my best to let you know when I touch down, alright?”

“Katsuki!” Izuku protests. He takes a step forward.

And Katsuki turns his back on him. He can’t look at Izuku cry anymore. 

*

13 YEARS LATER

*

Satisfied, Katsuki comes out of the shower with a towel around his waist. Much to his surprise, Sakura is still on his bed, lounging around as she leisurely flips through the TV channels. She sees him and throws the remote down onto the other side of the king sized bed.

“I wanted to say goodbye before I left,” she says, though it doesn’t seem like she made any effort to get ready in the time that Katsuki went to clean up.

Katsuki almost comments on that fact until he sees his face on TV. Earlier this week he stopped a huge disaster from occurring at Takashimaya Times Square. People thought the entire building was coming down and multiple top Pro Heroes from all over Japan were called in to respond to the emergency.

They were lucky Katsuki was so close. He had been in Shibuya that day on business and just so happened to be within response range. Otherwise, the small time shrimps that got to the scene first would’ve had a hard time without him.

Katsuki, emboldened by his face on the screen, crawls back onto the bed on top of Sakura. He puts on his best seductive face and asks her, “Wanna go again tonight?”

Sakura teases him, arching up like she’ll kiss him, then pulls away with a smirk. She shakes her head at him and slips out of bed. “It’s Christmas Eve, Katsuki,” she reminds him. Once on her feet, she bends over to gather her dress.

Katsuki lays down on his side, keeping his head propped up with his hand. “So? We can kick off the holly jolly holiday by ourselves.”

“I’d love to,” she says, sounding somewhat sarcastic. Sakura steps into her scarlet dress, one foot then the other, then pulls the straps up over her shoulders. “But I can’t. I have to drive to Nikko tonight.”

“Nikko? What the hell is there?” he asks her.

“My parents,” Sakura replies, “and I don’t think they’d appreciate it if I missed Christmas morning with them.” She saunters back over to him as she zips up her dress.

“That’s a two hour drive on a good day. That traffic is going to be fucking insane tonight,” Katsuki says in disbelief.

“Well, whether I go by train or drive myself, it’s going to be a long night. I would’ve booked a flight ticket but those prices are jacked up through the roof around this time of year.” Sakura smooths out the bumps in her dress. No panty lines show since she decided to forgo them—a fact that may have persuaded Katsuki to leave the party they had been attending to take her home with him. “I’m gonna take my chances.”

“And there’s no way I can convince you to ditch your folks?” Katsuki checks one last time.

There’s nothing special he plans on doing tomorrow. He fully intends on seeing through with his usual patrol route in the morning and filling out all the paperwork he’s fallen behind on in the afternoon through the night. However, if Sakura’s availability opens up, he could make plans. Katsuki has no issue admitting he’s a workaholic, but he’s not made out of stone. He can squeeze her in, otherwise, tomorrow will be another normal day at work.

His parents understand he has a busy schedule. Their son is the Number Two Hero. Very soon, hopefully, he’ll show Lemillion what a true Number One Hero looks like.

Katsuki not coming home is nothing personal. This isn’t the first holiday he’s missed.

He just has more important things to take care of in the city.

Sakura draws Katsuki out of his thoughts, putting the attention back on herself by dragging her nail lightly down the middle of his chest. “Sorry, tiger,” she replies. “I’ll let you know when I’m back in town though.”

She gives him one more ghost of a kiss—her lips just barely touching his—then she leaves.

Katsuki rolls onto his back, watching as the news moves on from the hero segment to the weather report. He glances outside. He doesn’t need to watch the weather. He already knows it’s going to be cold a fuck outside with a high chance of snow. How does he know? It’s been snowing all week and Katsuki has eyes. Plus, there hasn’t been a day this month that he’s been able to give his heater a break.

His bed is a lot colder without Sakura in it, too.

A shiver runs through his body.

In a matter of minutes Katsuki gets dressed. Black workout pants that are tight and show off his strong thighs and a v-neck shirt which he unfortunately has to cover up with a heavy coat. He runs a bit hot even in the winter, so he doesn’t dress as warmly as some other people do. The most important thing to his wardrobe is his gloves. As long as he has his leather gloves, the rest of his body is just fine.

On the way out of his penthouse suite, Katsuki bypasses his motorcycle helmet and grabs his car keys instead.

Katsuki rides the elevator down to the lobby, thoughtlessly humming along to the elevator’s Christmas music. He stops when the doors reopen to play it cool for the building’s security guard sitting at the front desk.

“Merry Christmas, Ground Zero-san,” the guard says, standing.

Katsuki gives the man a nod. “Merry Christmas.”

As he passes by, Katsuki can’t help but chuckle that a building full of famous Pro Heroes needs a security guard to watch over them all.

He wears his good mood all the way to his car, parked in the adjacent parking garage. There are two spots with his name on it. One for his baby—his beloved motorcycle—and one for his car, a ruby red Lexus LC 500.

He unlocks the car, throws his duffle with his hero costume into the passenger side, and gets in himself.

The ride to work is beautiful, though the traffic is insane. The streets are packed as people rush to work to hand in last minute projects and clean up last minute things before the holiday festivities begin. Stopped at a red light, Katsuki turns his heat up in his car, feeling cold just looking at people scurrying along on the sidewalk.

Katsuki gets to his agency’s building twenty minutes early.

Exiting his car, he hands his key to the new kid—a doorman of sorts—to park his car in the lot behind the building.

“G-Good morning, Ground Zero-san!” Hinata, Katsuki’s personal assistant, says. Hurriedly, Hinata holds his hand out just in time for Katsuki to drop his duffle into the young man’s waiting hand. The other is trying to keep up with Katsuki so he can hand off Katuski’s usual coffee order.

Believe it or not, Katsuki likes his coffee sweet. But not too sweet. Katsuki expects his coffee to have a very particular balance of flavors.

It’s entirely possible that his pickiness has led him to let go of a few PA’s before. Hinata is good though. The young man, who, honestly, Katsuki thought was a girl upon their first meeting, is an exemplary PA. Meaning, Hinata does what he’s told and stays out of Katsuki’s way. Katsuki’s agent already bothers the shit out of him sometimes, but between Hinata and his agent, Hinata is the one that Katsuki probably needs more.

Agents are a dime a dozen, each and every one of them wanting a piece of him. A good PA, who can also deal with Katsuki, like Hinata, is hard to find.

“Merry Christmas!”

Katsuki presses the button for the elevator. His office is on the third floor. He’s been offered a bigger, nicer space on the fifth floor, but frankly he doesn’t like the idea of moving his things when he already has his office in the way he likes it.

“Yeah, Merry Christmas,” Katsuki replies. He steps aside to allow two people to get off the elevator without touching him, then steps onto the elevator without waiting to see if Hinata is paying attention.

A short ride later, Hinata is rattling off things for Katsuki to get done today. A patrol here, a charity appearance here, this person and that person called and left a message and they need to be called back soon.

As per usual, Katsuki goes into his office, only half-hearing the things he has to take care of. His schedule when he pulls out his phone, is already properly synched to his calendar. He starts to close the door to his office so he can make those calls, but hits Hinata’s foot. Katsuki suppresses a glare to instead raise his eyebrows at his PA as if to say Can I help you? I thought we were done here.

“There’s one last thing,” Hinata says. He quickly retraces his steps to his desk in front of Katsuki’s office and brings back a bright neon green sticky note. “You got a call from a Midoriya Izuku. He asked to call back by tonight. It seemed urgent.” Hinata tries to hand over the sticky note, but Katsuki just stares down at the full digit number in amazement.

“You sure you heard right?” Katsuki asks.

Hinata flips the sticky note back his way to reexamine the note. “Y-Yes, I do believe so.” Carefully, Hinata considers Katsuki’s shell shocked appearance and begins to apologize. “I’m sorry, sir! I didn’t realize this must have been a fan. I promise I didn’t give out your contact information. I—”

“He’s not a fan,” Katsuki snaps. He snatches the sticky note from his PA’s hand and rereads the name on the paper, feeling like he’s dreaming. Katsuki wouldn’t dream that Izuku is his fan. Not after what happened between them. “He’s just… someone I used to know.”

“Oh,” Hinata says, his voice trailing off. “May I ask how you know him?”

Katsuki straightens his shoulders and clears his throat a little. “The nerd was my boyfriend. We… we dated for a long time. Even thought we were gonna get married.” Katsuki chuckles bitterly.

“Wow. I can’t imagine you getting married, sir,” Hinata replies. The PA looks up slightly as if imagining someone on Katsuki’s arm. Katsuki clears his throat again, this time with force. “Not that I’m saying you can’t get married! I’m sure you’re very popular!”

Katsuki crumples the sticky note in his fist. “Whatever,” he says, dismissively. “That was over a decade ago. He’s moved on, I’m sure.”

“You think he moved on, but he still called you on Christmas Eve?” Hinata asks, smiling. The boy is a romantic, Katsuki thinks. He doesn’t hide that he rolls his eyes. Hinata glances at Katsuki’s closed fist. “Are you really not going to call him back?”

“I have more important things to do than call back my ex,” Katsuki replies cooly.

For some reason, Hinata can’t drop it. “Did you love him?” He seems more invested in Katsuki’s love life than Katsuki. Nostalgic, probably, since it’s the holiday season. Mistletoe and all that.

Since it’s almost Christmas, Katsuki grits his teeth and allows the personal questions. He and Hinata aren’t friends, but he supposes that today is fine. Only today. “I did.”

“Then why don't you call him back?”

Katsuki snorts. “I don’t love him anymore.”

*

Going on patrol helps keep Katsuki’s mind off of wandering back to Izuku.

Izuku and his big green eyes, and his freckles, and the way he used to laugh and say Kacchan with such wonder and adoration it was like he couldn’t believe Katsuki was standing in front of him. The damn nerd was a sap. Katsuki liked that about Izuku, but damn did it make things hard when Katsuki left. The image of Izuku crying is something he’ll never be able to forget.

When they broke up Katsuki was the one that seemed like the bad guy. Their friends all acted like Katsuki was this big jerk, like he wasn’t hurting too.

Izuku was Katsuki’s first love as much as Katsuki was Izuku’s.

With it being the day before Christmas, Katsuki helps settle plenty of last minute shoplifting attempts and purse thieves from getting away with their haul. It gets his blood pumping and gives an extra burst of excitement in his step. Hearing that Izuku called shook him up a little. Putting some idiots in handcuffs is the perfect way of keeping himself loose.

His patrol ends when the sun sets.

A soft knock comes at his door.

“Come in,” Katsuki replies.

Hinata pokes his head in. By the look of his shoulders, he’s already wearing his winter coat and his earmuffs are held in the hand he puts around the door to keep it open. “I’m going home, sir, is that alright?”

Katsuki rolls back in his chair and stretches. The only problem with taking care of so many idiots is the paperwork afterwards. He can’t just copy and paste the same reports over and over again. He’s thought about it before, but he’s not the type of half-ass things. Plus, he’d hate to hear the guys from the police station bitching about it when they find out. 

The clock on Katsuki’s desk reads eight o’clock on the dot.

“Sure,” Katsuki permits. “But I need you to come in tomorrow. At least in the morning.”

Hinata blinks at him owlishly. “You’re coming in tomorrow?” he asks, showcasing how new he is around this agency. Katsuki has a reputation for working most, if not all, holidays.

Katsuki gives his patented answer, “Crime doesn’t stop for the holiday.”

“I’m supposed to be taking the train home to see my parents tonight. I can’t make it in tomorrow morning,” Hinata replies nervously.

“Where are you traveling to?”

“Shibuya, sir.”

“Your phone works in Shibuya, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

Katsuki reminds himself that it’s the holiday. “Travel safe,” he says graciously. “But keep your phone on you tomorrow. And before you leave, redirect your line to your cell phone in case I get any calls.”

“Ah,” Hinata replies with a mix of relief and disappointment. “Understood. Thank you, sir.” Hinata begins to retreat, then pops the door open one last time. “Merry Christmas.”

Katsuki looks up over his laptop, his eyes tired. He smiles, but he’s afraid with how tired he’s become that it must not look very friendly. In fact, it probably resembles something closer to a scowl.

“Merry Christmas.”

Eventually, when his clock reads nearly ten o’clock and his laptop finishes charging back to full power, Katsuki calls it a night. There’s no one downstairs but the doorman—a different one from this morning—and a member of the cleaning crew to pass by.

Despite the snow on the ground, Katsuki forgoes getting his car so that he can walk. With a couple of hand warmers in his pockets and his coat buttoned close to his chest, the cold doesn’t bother him very much. The walk from the agency to his apartment is a doable distance and the main reason why Katsuki pays so much to live there in the first place.

A convenience store with its lights still on catches Katsuki’s eye. If he’s going home alone, he may as well enjoy himself. Katsuki makes a beeline for the beer in the back, rubbing his hands together as he feels the stark difference between the outside and inside the store. He doesn’t browse for very long. He grabs the most expensive beer hoping it’ll be the best tasting of the selection, and heads back to the counter to pay.

Cutting him off, a man with messy purple hair in a thick coat and a wool scarf wound loosely around his neck asks the cashier, “You do the lotto here?”

Katsuki checks his watch. He should have plenty of time to get home and watch some sports highlights.

“Good, ‘cause I got a big winner right here. I’m talking ¥25500.” The purple haired man slams the ticket onto the counter harder than necessary. “I knew one of these days, had to be my day, you know?” He smirks and slips the ticket across the counter as proof.

The clerk, however, doesn’t even take the time to double check the lotto numbers. He just smiles the fake customer service smile, and slides the ticket back. “I don’t think so.”

“Why not? It’s a winning ticket.” The smirk slides off the man’s face.

“People like you try to fake winning tickets all the time. You gotta make yours more convincing if you want someone to fall for it,” the clerk says.

“This is a winning ticket,” the customer insists, punctuating each word by tapping his finger onto the ticket. “You didn’t even check the ticket. How can you say I faked a winning ticket when you won’t even check the ticket? Check the ticket. It’s a winning ticket!”

“And I’m telling you that it’s fake. Go take your fake ticket somewhere else!”

“Just check it!”

“You need to leave my store right now or else I’m calling the cops. I’m not going to check your damn—”

In an instant, the arguing stops. The purple haired man takes out a gun from inside his coat. He points it at the clerk. A mother standing by Katsuki with her child gasps. Katsuki weighs his options. He’s off duty, but he can easily fix this. Already there are a dozen scenarios running through his head. All Katsuki needs to do is figure out which way is the best way.

Katsuki scans the shop. There are four adults in the store, including himself and the purple haired man with the gun, and a child. He can’t allow the man to fire his weapon.

“Let me see the ticket.”

The purple haired man pauses, an eerie smile gracing his lips. He turns to Katsuki, eyeing Katsuki up and down with a scoff. Right about now anyone else would recognize Katsuki as Ground Zero and run away. This guy just stands his ground, as arrogant as ever.

“I wasn’t talking to you.”

“I’ll cut you a deal. If you say that ticket is really worth ¥25500, let me buy it off you,” Katsuki offers. He walks forward slowly, making sure he keeps his hands easily within sight of the potential shooter.

“Don’t try to play hero,” the man says, shaking his head. He approaches Katsuki with his gun still out. Luckily, he’s no longer shouting. “Do you wanna die right now? Is that what you want?”

Katsuki raises his hands above his shoulders, even still holding the beer he’s changed his mind about purchasing. He stops himself from saying something like No, but do you wanna fucking die? That’s the sort of thing that when it hits the media, Katsuki will have to avoid his publicist and agent for days while they clean his metaphorical mess up.

“No,” Katsuki says. He keeps his eyes on the man, even though naturally, his eyes wish to follow the barrel of the gun. “I only wanna buy a ¥25500 lotto ticket off you. I’ve got ¥25000, cash, on me right now. So after I buy your ticket off you, I’m gonna take it, cash it, and make ¥500 in the process.”

The purple haired man stares blankly at Katsuki’s listening intently to the proposal. Then, as soon as Katsuki is finished, that eerie grin is back. The gun lowers, the safety clicking back on, and the man plucks one of the beers out from Katsuki’s six pack.

“Alright,” he says, tapping Katsuki in the chest with the bottle cap. “You got yourself a deal.”

The man walks back to the counter and retrieves his ticket. “The ticket was real. You’re gonna find out that it was real, and feel real stupid ‘cause you didn’t listen to me.” He wags the beer in the clerk’s face. “C’mon, Kacchan, let’s go.”

Katsuki feels his heart settle back into his chest. The purple haired man exits the store, taking Katsuki’s beer and the ticket with him.

“Ground Zero—” the clerk tries to say, most likely trying to get a hold of what just happened as well.

“Merry Christmas,” Katsuki says. He throws money onto the counter, the first bill he sees in his wallet that he bets will cover the price of the beer, and books it out of the store. “Hey!” Katsuki calls after the man.

The man has since popped the beer open and is leaning against a car parked on the street. He takes a sip of beer. “I’m right here. No need to shout.”

“How’d—you called me Kacchan in there. What, are you some kind of hero stalker or something?” Katsuki asks. Some of his fans—the real hardcore ones—have heard of his old nickname. He and Izuku were dating while he was at U.A. after all and U.A. students aren’t exactly hidden from the world. Katsuki tried telling Izuku to keep his social media private and for the most part he did, but people who really want to be nosy have their ways of finding the information they’re looking for regardless.

“Sorry, do you prefer Katsuki?”

Katsuki opens his mouth to answer, but the man is making a gimmie gesture at him, distracting him yet again. He holds his tongue for a moment and reaches inside his pocket to get out his wallet. He gives the money promised and receives the lotto ticket for his troubles.

“Nice doing business with you.”

The man walks away, nearly leaving Katsuki standing there dumbfounded yet again.

Katsuki should probably know the answer anyway, but he can let someone with a short fuse walk around with a loaded gun in his pocket. “Hey, asshole! One more thing.” The man half-turns. “Do you have a license to carry?”

“I do,” the man confirms. “But it sure is hard to get good ammo in this country. It’s nothing like it is in the United States, right?”

Katsuki bristles at the mention of the U.S., and though he tries to hide it, it still shows. “Don’t do anything stupid. Guns aren’t toys. You shouldn’t go waving it around like a fuckin’ lunatic.”

With quirks evolving with every new generation born, guns have been changing and evolving too. Bullets are made differently these days. If guns and ammunition in Japan were hard to acquire before the luminescent child, the regulations these days are even more difficult to clear.

“Are you… are you trying to help me?” the man asks incredulously. He laughs, throwing his head back, fully entertained. “Why would you think I need your help?”

Katsuki has had this conversation before. He’s done talks and read speeches to troubled teens about these types of things. A hero’s job is never over. “Everybody needs something.”

“Yeah? And what do you need?”

“Me?” Katsuki replies, checking to see if he heard correctly.

“Yeah, you. You just said everybody needs something.”

“I’ve got everything I need.”

The man takes a step back, leaning away from Katsuki to look at him up and down. “Must be good being you,” he says, to which Katsuki has no reply. The man slips the beer he opened and drank back into the six pack carrier. “Just remember,” he chuckles, “you brought this upon yourself, Katsuki.”

“Brought what—?” Katsuki tries to ask.

The purple haired man ignores the question, not even waiting for it to be finished. He just walks away, hands in his pockets, chuckling to himself. “Merry Christmas,” he says, keeping his eyes forward, giving a wave over his shoulder.

Katsuki holds the beer carrier from underneath to look at the opened bottle. Between that and the weird man he just met, he feels in awe of what happened.

He walks the rest of the way home, feeling strange.

Undressing out of his clothes into his pajamas feels like an out of body experience. He tries to think back to the store. He tries imagining the purple haired man’s face, but can’t entirely remember it. It certainly wasn’t a familiar one. Katsuki thinks he would remember someone with such an eerie smile. 

Somehow that man had known him. Knowing he went by Kacchan at some point, albeit reluctantly, isn’t absurdly impossible information to get a hold of, yet it’s not common knowledge either. When he looked at Katsuki, he wasn’t responding the way most people would when they meet Ground Zero. He looked totally unaffected that Katsuki was approaching him.

Kacchan. 

Katsuki can’t get over hearing the name Kacchan again. It’s been so long and only one person ever used that name to address him. Not even his fans dared to use it. It was a thing that they had gathered amongst themselves and agreed to never use. Although his fans were polarized upon discovering upon hearing Katsuki was dating a boy, the ones in support—in solidarity with Katsuki—agreed that the special name would continue being used by Izuku only.

You brought this upon yourself. 

For a long while Katsuki stays awake, running through the encounter over and over in his head. Was the man trying to say it was Katsuki’s fault for getting a gun pointed at him? What did he bring upon himself? Katsuki has to know. The next time Katsuki comes across the asshole on patrol, they’re going to have a talk. The more he thinks things over, the more questions Katsuki creates in his head.

By the time he falls asleep, it’s midnight. But at the very least, in that time, he stops thinking about Izuku. 

Chapter Text

Katsuki wakes up slowly, reluctant to get up. He’s usually a morning person—surprisingly to some—but this morning he feels like he tried and failed to pull an allnighter the night previous. Plus, his back hurts and there’s a weight on top of him that he can’t get rid of.

Lifting his head, Katsuki, through squinted eyes, searches for the reason that’s keeping him in bed. Two arms are around his waist and a head, hidden beneath the sheet, is resting on his chest. Katsuki doesn’t remember taking anyone home with him last night. He thought he went home alone. Unless, Sakura came back for him.

Slowly, Katsuki reaches for the sheet to remove it, and hopefully after, himself from this bed.

He holds onto the edge of the sheet and lifts.

“Five more minutes, Kacchan,” the lump on his chest whines. The arms around Katsuki’s waist tighten. “It’s Christmas.”

Katsuki doesn’t have time for this Kacchan bullshit today. He throws back the heavy sheet despite his bedpartner’s request. Immediately, Katsuki wishes he hadn’t done that.

Using Katsuki as a pillow, an older Izuku nuzzles Katsuki’s chest with his cheek, his eyes still closed. Without the sheet to cover Izuku’s head, Katsuki can see Izuku furrow his brows, scrunching his body tighter to preserve heat. Cold toes trail up Katsuki’s leg and wedge themselves between Katsuki’s shins like Katsuki is some kind of human sized heating pad.

“Kids are gonna wake up soon,” Izuku mumbles quietly. He yawns, clearly awake, but unwilling to accept the fact.

Never before has Katsuki been hit with the urgency to run away so badly. Katsuki tries to disentangle himself the best he can without jostling Izuku too much. In the process, Katsuki, half-sitting up, realizes that this room isn’t his room. There’s a dresser with an old TV on top of it pushed against the wall opposite of the bed. A children’s monkey toy hangs off a hook with a robe on it. Pictures are hung up on the wall that he has no recollection of.

Katsuki looks frantically for a clock to check the time. There’s one on the end table on Katsuki’s side of the bed. It’s covered, however, by a wash cloth with ducks wearing sailor hats. Katsuki wouldn’t have noticed if not for the fact that the red numbers shine through the thin material.

Screw being gentle. Katsuki has to get out of here.

His ex boyfriend is in his bed—or, well, Katsuki is in his ex boyfriend’s bed—and Katsuki has no clue where he is other than that tiny detail. He didn’t even know Izuku was in Tokyo anymore. He thought Izuku left when Katsuki left on his internship well over a decade ago.

This can’t be happening.

Something was in that beer he drank last night and now he’s paying the consequences.

“Jingle bells, jingle bells,” a little girl sings loudly in the hallway. Katsuki freezes. She throws open the bedroom door in haste, holding a baby in her arms. “The bells are ringing!”

Izuku groans, rolling over to push his face into the mattress. Then, after giving himself a moment, his megawatt smile is turned on. He holds an arm out to take the baby, a year old, maybe more, maybe less. Katsuki isn’t very good gauging how old little kids are. The child’s eyes are more aware than most babies Katsuki has encountered, but sizewise it looks too young to be a toddler yet. Babies and toddlers are not his area of expertise at all.

The girl crawls into the bed all on her own, climbing over Izuku’s legs to plant herself in between them both. Following her is a dog; a huge drooling mastiff. It barks, then makes itself comfortable right on top of Katsuki’s legs.

“Did Santa come yet? Did he?” the little girl asks, bouncing up and down on the bed.

Izuku tries to fix the messy wisps of hair on the baby’s head. Amused that the thin strands refuse to be flattened, Izuku kisses the baby on its chubby cheek. There are small crows feet next to the corners of Izuku’s eyes and his curly hair has been shaved back. It’s certainly not a buzz cut by any means—Izuku has too much hair for that—but it looks like he got an undercut a while ago that’s only just started to grow back out. 

A strand of hair gets caught in his eyelashes and Katsuki resists the urge to move it back into place.

This is the strangest dream Katsuki has ever had.

“Merry Christmas, Hiro,” Izuku coos at the child. The baby giggles and claps its chubby little hands together.

“Papa, can we open presents yet? Can we? Can we?” the girl asks. She bounces on the bed on her knees until she hops on top of him, belly flopping onto his stomach. Looking up at him, she gives him a toothy grin.

“Be gentle, Aiko,” Izuku chides lightly. He combs his fingers through the girl’s hair, working the small tangles out. “We’ll go downstairs in a minute.”

Papa. That little girl called Katsuki papa.

Katsuki slips his legs out from underneath the massive dog, flopping out of bed when one of his feet gets caught up in the corner of the sheets. The girl gives him a puzzled look. He recovers quickly, spotting a pair of grey sweatpants laying on the floor. He throws them on, suddenly mindful that he’s only in a t-shirt and boxers around children.

“What’re you doing on the bed?” Izuku asks the dog, setting the baby down. He turns to smile at the girl still jumping on the bed. “And what’re you doing jumping on the bed?” Izuku creeps his hands closer and closer until he’s tickling her, sending the girl into a fit of giggles and flailing legs.

“Save me, Papa!” she yells, rolling around on top of Izuku’s lap.

Katsuki looks for a closet or an open wardrobe, anywhere that he can find a coat so he isn’t freezing anymore.

“Papa can’t save you now! Not when the Tickle Monster has you!” Izuku says, happily pretending to be a villain.

There’s an old tan winter jacket Katsuki grabs. He’s progressed to uncaring about what things look or feel like. This isn’t just a dream. This is a nightmare. He’d really like to wake up sometime soon.

Coat on; socks on; pants on. Katsuki begins to make his escape.

“Katsuki,” Izuku says, his voice back to normal. No longer that high pitched playful tone he had been using with the little girl. He grabs Katsuki by the wrist and pulls him back until Katsuki bends down and they’re face to face. Wow, Katsuki forgot how strong Izuku could be. “Coffee. Strong coffee.”

Katsuki nods like he understands, then bolts out of the room. Rushing down two flights of stairs, the front door opens as Katsuki is trying to yank on his boots.

“You’re awfully spry this morning!”

Like a deer caught in the headlights, Katsuki’s attention snaps forward.

Walking through the front door, carrying gifts piled high in his arms, Togata Mirio—freaking Lemillion, of all people; Katsuki’s rival—smiles sunnily at Katsuki. Walking close behind, Suneater steps out of his snow boots and waits loyally behind Lemillion.

“Tin Tin,” Katsuki says, dumbfounded. He doesn’t understand why Lemillion would be walking into Izuku’s house—assuming that this even is Izuku’s house.

Katsuki still doesn’t know where he is right now.

“Morning, Bakugou! Merry Christmas!” Lemillion stuffs the presents under one arm so he can pull Katsuki into a hug.

Katsuki resists, stiff arming the other hero.

“C’mon, it’s Christmas. I know you’re not a hugger, but for today—” Lemillion says, but Katsuki cuts him off.

“Where’s my car?” Katsuki demands to know.

Lemillion raises his eyebrows. “Probably in the garage, I guess. Why? Going somewhere? If Izuku needed something picked up, you should’ve called. Me and Tamaki would’ve bought it on the way over.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Katsuki says with a wave of his hand. “The garage. Where is it?”

“You didn’t forget to buy Sailor Mars’s wand for Ai, did you? That’s gonna be impossible to find anywhere on Christmas,” Lemillion says worriedly.

Luckily for Katsuki, and the first thing that has made sense this entire morning, the keys to Katsuki’s car is hanging up next to the front door on a hook. Next is finding the garage so he repeats, “Where’s the garage?”

“Out back, through the kitchen.” Lemillion follows Katsuki from the front of the house through the kitchen. “Are you feeling alright? Did Hiroyuki get a fever again?”

Katsuki doesn’t even think that the keys feel wrong in his hand until he throws open the garage door and sees an old minivan parked where his Lexus should be sitting. There can’t be a minivan where his Lexus is supposed to be sitting.

“Where’s my Lexus?” he wonders out loud.

Lemillion enters Izuku’s kitchen, comfortable and familiar. “Your Lexus?” he parrots with a small laugh. “That’s not a very family friendly car.”

“My motorcycle,” Katsuki asks.

“You got rid of that a long time ago. Izuku didn’t want you taking Ai out on it.”

Suneater takes a seat at the bar on the other side of the kitchen. “Nobody’s turned the coffee pot on yet?”

“Izuku can’t function without his morning cup of Joe,” Lemillion agrees. He leaves Katsuki in his own panic to prepare a fresh pot. “Maybe you should get a cup of coffee in your system before you go anywhere, Bakugou. You don’t sound like yourself this morning.”

“No fucking way,” Katsuki curses.

Katsuki unlocks the minivan, getting inside with another curse. He sits on a damned Lego. Frustrated and confused, he throws it angrily into the backseat. In his rearview mirror Katsuki can see a car seat and a booster seat. He shakes his head. He has to get out of here.

Opening the garage door, Katsuki pulls out onto the small driveway. Apparently, Izuku lives in a small neighborhood that looks nothing like it does in the city. Katsuki looks at the center of the dashboard, hoping to find a GPS screen, but this old clunker doesn’t have one. In its place is a CD and cassette player. The radio starts playing Christmas music now that the car is turned on. At the very least, Katsuki hopes that this thing’s heating works.

He drives off without knowing where he is. Patting down his coat, he curses yet again. He doesn’t have a phone on him and he didn’t even try looking to find one. Katsuki can’t even pull over to check his phone’s location to see where he is. He’s just lost to driving around on a back road until he finds a sign that’s familiar.

Katsuki passes a woman freezing on the sidewalk as her dog does its business.

He stops the car and puts it in reverse.

“Good morning, Ground Zero!” the woman greets. She crosses her arms even tighter against her chest. “Merry Christmas.”

Finally, a woman with a little sense. Katsuki has no idea where he is, but at least he’s still Ground Zero. He really had started to think he woke up in another dimension. If he’s still Ground Zero here, that has to be good news.

“Where am I?” he demands to know, passing over pleasantries.

“Yokohama,” the woman answers. She eyes Katsuki carefully. “Are you alright? Does Izuku know you’re going somewhere on Christmas morning?”

Katsuki ignores her question. He just rubs his face and his eyes. A nightmare. This is an absolute nightmare. He can’t believe that a drunken version of himself—because surely, he must have had too much to drink the night before and that’s how he ended up in Izuku’s bed—took a cab all the way to Yokohama. It’s not nearly as far as Nikko, but he still can’t believe he brought himself here.

He thinks he tells her thank you, he might not, before he drives off again.

Traffic is hell getting into Tokyo. The cheery Christmas music drives Katsuki crazy. He turns it off so he can hear his own thoughts clearly. It’s scary that he can’t remember how he left Tokyo last night.

There was a man. A man with purple hair and a crazy looking smile, holding a gun . He told Katsuki that he brought this upon himself. This crazy rollercoaster of a morning can’t be what he meant. That man couldn’t have known that Katsuki would get drunk and then unwisely go to his ex boyfriend’s place.

And god. For whatever godforsaken reason that little girl looked at Katsuki and called him Papa.

Katsuki catches the front door to his apartment building just in time. Thank goodness, because he’s pretty sure he just drove without a wallet and valid license on him. If he doesn’t have his license, he definitely doesn’t have his card key to get into the building.

The usual guard that sits in the lobby of Katsuki’s apartment building is there as per usual. His feet are kicked up on the front counter, a newspaper covering his face. He hears Katsuki coming and lowers his paper. A stirring straw from his hot chocolate is in his mouth.

“You won’t believe the morning I had,” Katsuki says. He never thought he’d be so happy to see a freaking security guard. The elevators are only a short means away.

He fully plans on going to bed. Something must be wrong with his head.

“Excuse me,” the guard says, standing. “Only residents are allowed past this point. Are you visiting someone this morning?”

“What the fuck you talking about? It’s me,” Katsuki says. He feels a hand touch his abdomen. The guard is stopping him from walking forward. “I’m a resident.”

“I think I’d remember if Ground Zero was living here,” the guard chuckles, trying to keep things light. “Sorry, sir. I can’t let you past this point.”

“I live here,” Katsuki repeats each word carefully. “Penthouse C. Don’t you remember?”

“I’m gonna have to ask you to leave,” the guard says.

Katsuki moves his hand up and down in a chopping motion. What’s this guy’s name? What is it? He needs to jog this guy’s memory just like he needs to jog his own. The words get stuck in his throat.

“Look, I’m sorry, sir. Allow me to escort you back outside.”

Katsuki can’t bring himself to fight the man. He can’t get arrested. Though, if someone from the police force comes, they might recognize him. He’s still Ground Zero, people have said so. This is one big, unfunny misunderstanding. However, years down the road, they will not be laughing at this mix up. He’s not about to let himself turn into a public joke.

He gets back into the car. It stalls the first time he turns the key. On the sidewalk, the guard keeps looking at Katsuki suspiciously. The second time the car starts, saving Katsuki from further embarrassment.

The only other place that he can think of going to is his agency building.

The agency building, which, is unfortunately locked because Katsuki was the only one coming in this morning. Katsuki smacks the front door with the flat of his palm. “Fuck!” he shouts, startling someone innocently walking by. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

Katsuki spins around with his hands on his hips. Just in case, he pats his pants down for his phone. Nothing. He would’ve felt his phone in his pocket much earlier than this. He pats his jacket down. All he finds is a jelly bracelet designed for a little girl and a dirty pacifier.

Wandering down the street, frustrated, Katsuki stops the next person that he sees.

“Let me use your phone.”

The girl and her boyfriend back away from Katsuki, but comply. Whereas the boy hands over his phone, the girl slowly pulls hers out of her pocket to take a close up picture of Katsuki having a breakdown. He doesn’t have time to give a shit about it. He’s apparently having an identity crisis of some sort.

Quickly, he dials Hinata’s number—not Hinata’s cell phone; Katsuki’s never memorized that one—but his desk number with his extension. A spark of hope warms Katsuki’s chest that he won’t be completely lost in his own side of the neighborhood since the phone rings properly and on the fourth ring, someone picks up.

“Hello?” Hinata asks, unsure. The sound of Christmas music and laughter can be heard in the background.

“Hey, yeah, Hinata. I need you to come down to the agency right now. I woke up in Yokohama this morning so I don’t have my keys or my wallet or my Lexus . I’ve been driving around a shitty minivan all morning so I really, really need you to do this for me. I get that it’s Christmas, but if you come down right now, I’ll compensate you plenty. Those days you wanted off to go to your sister’s graduation, you got it! I won’t even think of calling you that entire weekend. You want a raise, too? I’ll give you a damn raise, too. Just get your ass down here now !”

Radio silence on the other end.

“Hinata. Come back to Tokyo now. Book a flight, rent a car, whatever you gotta do. Put it on my card if you have to. Just get here.”

Hinata shushes someone on his side of the phone. “I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong number. Who is this?”

“No, no,” Katsuki says. He can’t allow this. “No. I have the correct number. You know who I am. I’m Ground Zero. I’m Number Two on the Hero Billboard Chart and you’re my PA, but you’re coming very close to being fired. Oh, so close.” Katsuki wags his finger as if Hinata can see it.

The guy Katsuki borrowed the phone from starts to ask for it back.

“Ground Zero,” Hinata replies, not sounding convinced. “Alright. Uh, I’m sorry Ground Zero-san, but I-I don’t work for you. Is there someone I should call for you than can help you?”

“Yeah, you. You can help me! Because that’s what I pay you to do!”

Hinata makes a sad noise. “I’m sorry, Ground Zero-san,” he says, sounding even more unconvinced that Katsuki is who he says he is, “I can’t help you. There’s a non emergency number you can call if you’re lost and need the police to come help you. Are you in a safe location currently?”

“Excuse me?” Katsuki bites out. Hinata is treating him like an escaped alzheimer patient all of a sudden.

“Sir? I’m sure everything is going to be alright. Is there a family member’s number that you can call?”

“Fuck them,” Katsuki says crudely. “That’s not the point. I know who I am and where I am. It’s everyone else that’s crazy!” He hangs up the phone and shoves it against the guy’s chest in frustration.

When Katsuki walks away, he can hear the couple whispering to each other. They whisper about Katsuki being washed up, which he can’t understand. Katsuki is at his prime. The only way he can top his current condition would be if he did actually become the Number One Hero.

Trying to come up with another plan, Katsuki walks back to his car parked by the meters. People still remember him, but that’s it. There’s no other recognition of who he is aside from his hero name. He has to get to the bottom of this soon. His whole body vibrates with nervousness. The purple haired man must’ve done something to him.

Yes. That’s what happened. He must be under the influence of some mindtrick quirk. None of this is real. All he has to do is concentrate real hard and he should be able to see through the illusion. None of this is real. It can’t be real.

He walks in the front of his car to get into the driver’s seat so he can think in peace and quiet as a red Lexus rolls up. The windows are down and the driver, leans across to presumably give Katsuki a dirty look for not looking before he stepped out onto the street. When Katsuki leans down contemplating whether he should curse the driver for not being more cautious or apologize for not looking, the purple haired man tips his sunglasses at him.

“You got a deathwish?” the purple haired man asks, amused.

Katsuki’s eyes widen and he sees red. Really sees red.

“This is my car! You stole my car!”

The purple haired man chuckles. “Eh, not exactly. This morning must’ve been pretty wild for you, right? I can explain. Get in.”

Katsuki sputters, his words failing to come.

“I’m letting the hot air out with the window down. C’mon, get in. The door’s unlocked.”

“No! I’m not getting in, you’re getting out.” Katsuki peers inside the car, his mouth dropping. The leather interior which used to be red, is now black. It’s sleek looking and on any other car Katsuki would compliment the choice of leather, but not here. “Get the fuck out of my car so I can go back to my life!”

“You don’t even wanna hear me out first?” The purple haired man takes off the sunglasses entirely. He plays with them, putting the tip of an earpiece between his teeth.

“Is this your quirk that’s doing this to me?” Katsuki questions. “Am I under some kind of spell? Honestly?”

The man shrugs. “I can tell you if you get in.” Finally, Katsuki does. “Buckle up.”

Katsuki does that as well, and wonders after if this is the end. Getting into a car with a stranger who is probably criminally insane and keeping Katsuki under some kind of quirk is going to kill him today. How wonderful is this. The number one rule that children are taught—not follow strangers into their cars—is now going to be the reason why Katsuki dies.

“Chill out,” the blue haired man recommends. “Don’t blame this on me. I told you, you brought this upon yourself.”

The car takes off, going from zero to 100 in an instant. Katsuki braces himself, putting one hand against the dash and the other against the door. His body even falls back against the seat with how fast the car starts to move.

“Who the fuck taught you to drive?” Katsuki yells in a panic. He’s not just going to be murdered. He’s going to be thrown out of the car in some terrible vehicular accident. “Who the fuck are you?”

“Well, there’s an easy question that I thought you’d ask earlier.” The man laughs, glancing over at Katsuki. “The name’s Hitoshi.”

“Okay, Hitoshi,” Katsuki says sarcastically, “what did you do to me? What did I do to you ? Why in the hell did I wake up in Yokohama? What’s going on? Because whatever this is sure feels like a fucking acid trip and I’d really like to go back to my life now.”

“Those are some pretty heavy questions, Katsuki,” Hitoshi says, glancing at him from the corner of his eye. He tilts his head, an annoying smirk permanently on his lips.

“Can you fucking blame me? What did you do to me?” Katsuki demands.

Hitoshi puts his foot even heavier on the pedal, speeding through a light that just turned yellow. It’s a wonder that there are no cops that are chasing after them. Hitoshi is driving like an animal. They almost hit a sixteen wheeler. Closing his eyes, not wanting to see how many times he could be dying with the way Hitoshi is driving, Katsuki tries not to hyperventilate. 

“You really impressed the higher ups at the Organization the other night. You really lived up to your name as a hero. That’s why all of this is going on,” Hitoshi explains, slightly mocking. He keeps looking over at Katsuki when Katsuki thinks Hitoshi really needs to keep his attention on the road ahead of him.

“I still don’t know what this is!” Katsuki protests. Hitoshi is telling him nothing useful.

Hitoshi sighs. “Lemme put it in layman’s terms. You earned yourself a glimpse.”

“A glimpse,” Katsuki snorts. “Of what?”

“That’s for you to find out. I can’t help you with that one. Don’t worry about it though. You’ll have plenty of time to figure it out,” Hitoshi says. They turn and Katsuki’s body presses against the door.

“How much time? I’ve got things to do! You can’t just rip me out of my life and tell me all this cryptic shit without answering my questions,” Katsuki argues. His fist sparks. Hitoshi has to be pulling his leg. Katsuki’s never heard of any Organization.

“It varies from person to person. My instincts tell me that it’s gonna take a long while for you,” Hitoshi replies. He looks Katsuki up and down. They turn jerkily once again and thankfully, the car starts to slow down until Hitoshi parallel parks in front of Izuku’s beat up minivan.

“I didn’t ask for this.”

“Nobody just asks for a glimpse. They earn it.” Hitoshi unlocks the doors which automatically relocked when he tore away. “You’ll be fine. Eventually.”

Katsuki runs his fingers through his hair. He needs more information if he’s going to break free from this quirk’s powers. Hitoshi gave him a little, but if he thinks about it all over again, he should be able to figure things out. He’s smart. This isn’t his first rodeo trying to get out of a tight situation.

“Here.”

Holding out a red plastic bag, Hitoshi keeps his eyes forward.

“What is this?” Katsuki snatches the bag out of Hitoshi’s hand and peeks inside. It’s a silver bicycle bell. He rings it. There doesn't seem to be anything unusual about it. “Is this how I get a hold of you or something?”

“I’m not some kinda genie you can summon,” Hitoshi says with a small shake of his head. “We’ll see each other again, I’m sure. Now it’s time for you to take what I told you and try to figure things out on your own.”

“Wha—what?”

“Get out of the car, Katsuki.”

Katsuki opens the door, swinging it out slowly. “What do I do now?”

“You really need the extra help?” Katsuki nods. “A little push in the right direction?” Katsuki nods once more. “Okay, let’s go then. There’s a park we can go to that’s nearby. Let’s talk about things,” Hitoshi says. He releases his seatbelt.

“Okay, yeah. That’s good,” Katsuki agrees. He nods to himself, trying to keep calm. Getting out of the car, he feels a bit better. Anything is better than sitting in a car while Hitoshi drives. “Hey,” he turns around, “what park is around here?”

Hitoshi locks the door behind Katsuki and with a small tilt of his head, he speeds off, leaving Katsuki behind.

“Hey!” Katsuki yells after the car. In his eagerness to be on his own two feet, Katsuki let Hitoshi slip through his fingers.

Scaring Katsuki, a car honks at him to get him to move out of the street.

Katsuki sits in the minivan trying to figure out where to go, coming up with two options. He can drive to Kyoto to his parents’ place or he can drive back to Yokohama. With one significantly further than the other, Katsuki supposes that Yokohama is where he’s meant to go. Once upon a time his parents lived in Tokyo, but they moved, wanting to be closer to the sea. It’s a fucking joke, that move, is what it is.

Japan is an island. They could’ve accessed the sea in any direction if they really wanted to. Now because they’re too far away, Katsuki has to go back to Midoriya Izuku.

Even with the address he got from the registration stuffed in the glovebox, Katsuki has no clue how to really navigate back to the house. He’s got an idea of how to get to Yokohama, but that sliver of an idea doesn’t help him to get there in a timely manner. He winds up lost and driving until the tank in the car is nearly empty. When he comes across an area that seems familiar to the one he sped out of this morning, he pulls over as someone is taking their trash out.

“Excuse me, do you—” Katsuki begins to say, then swallows his tongue. 

Trying to shove a fat black garbage back into a too-small trash can is All Might in his deflated form. His dark, sunken eyes smile back at Katsuki, a tad bit of relief washing over the retired hero’s face.

“Shouta! I found Katsuki,” All Might reports.

Dressed in all black with a snowman pin on his beige wrapping scarf, Aizawa-sensei waves a gloved hand Katsuki’s way, though there’s a touch of hostility in his gaze. “The whole neighborhood’s been looking for you.”

Katsuki winces. He’s in the dog house for running off this morning.

“Come inside,” All Might says. He waves his hand toward the direction of the house behind him. “C’mon. You must be cold. Aizawa,” he switches to using Shouta’s last name for Katsuki’s sake, “made eggnog. It’ll warm you right up.”

So obediently, Katsuki listens to his former teacher and goes.

“Sorry for the mess,” All Might apologizes. He picks up a piece of torn wrapping paper he must’ve missed while he was cleaning up. “Eri!” he calls up the stairs. “Come down and put your presents up in your room!”

“In a minute!” comes the reply.

All Might leads Katsuki into a room toward the back of the house that looks a lot like the man cave of Katsuki’s dreams. A massive TV, wooden paneling along the walls, a fireplace for the winter, and a bar. All Might has Katsuki sit at the bar while he goes on the other side to reach below where the minifridge is.

“You scared a lot of people this morning,” All Might says.

“I can relate,” Katsuki mutters. He woke up real scared too. He was in a place he wasn’t familiar with and it happened with Izuku next to him.

It’s a little crazy to think that he’s gone so long without seeing so much as a glimpse of Izuku. Ktatsuki always thought he’d see Izuku on TV or touring the country giving talks to heroes on analytical data and all that mumbo jumbo crap Katsuki sometimes takes advantage of.

Suddenly, it comes to Katsuki’s attention that All Might has seemed to have moved since he’s retreated deep into retirement as well. Katsuki hadn't realized Yokohama was such an attractive place to move to.

“So,” All Might says, “what happened this morning that you went running off?”

Katsuki remains silent. He’s not sure if this version of All Might will be able to understand Katsuki’s dilemma. Hitoshi knows Katsuki’s situation because Hitoshi is the one that sent him here. Katsuki might mess with the balance of the universe if he exposes that he doesn’t actually belong here.

“There has to be something. People don’t just take off on Christmas morning, leaving their family to worry about where they’ve gone. Marriage can be hard, but it’s a partnership. If you’re not ready to talk to Izuku about it, I understand. I won’t interfere. But if you’d like to talk to me about it, my ears are open.”

All Might pours Aizawa’s homemade eggnog into a glass and puts it in front of Katsuki on top of a coaster made out of perler beads arranged to resemble a cat.

“Marriage,” Katsuki dumbly parrotts.

“Of course!” All Might pours a drink for himself, though it’s orange juice not eggnog. “You and Izuku are celebrating your fifth anniversary soon, correct?”

Not first. Not second, third, or fourth.

Fifth wedding anniversary.

This version of himself got married at twenty-five—twenty-six? What kind of strange universe did Hitoshi drop him in?

Katsuki is supposed to learn something from this somehow. He’s still completely at a loss.

“It’s not work, is it?” All Might puts his hand on top of Katsuki’s as if he understands what Katsuki is going through. “You’ll be fine. Work will be there when you get back. I know it’s natural to worry, but you have a whole support system behind you.”

“This illusion is so real,” Katsuki thinks out loud.

“Illusion?” All Might questions. “Yes, I do suppose life does feel a bit like an illusion at times. Like everything you’ve dreamt and lived through blurs together and you’re stuck wondering how you got to be where you are now. It happens. It’s a part of growing up.” All Might chuckles. “Apologies. I don’t mean to lecture. Sometimes it still feels like you’re one of my students.”

Katsuki takes a sip of his eggnog. The taste surprises him, causing him to cough.

All Might laughs, patting Katsuki on the shoulder. “Aizawa got the expensive white rum this year. Try not to drink too fast.” He winks.

Despite the warning, Katsuki feels even more uncomfortable sitting in front of All Might and talking about their married lives than he did waking up next to Izuku. He has to accept the inevitable. He’s going back to the house, whether he wants to or not. It’s where this quirk-induced reality wants him to go.

All Might sees Katsuki to the door. On their way, Katsuki passes Aizawa mixing cake batter in a bowl while a much older Eri compared to the last time Katsuki saw her licks the spoon from a brownie mix. She waves at him with a tiny blush.

“I know it’s crazy. One day you’re young and you can’t wait to grow up. There’s so much you wanna do and see. So much independence you wanna earn. And then bam!” All Might snaps his fingers. “Like that, you wake up and you’re thirty and you’re wondering how all that time passed you by. But you and Izuku are two sides of the same coin. As long as you two communicate, you guys can work out anything together.”

Katsuki stops at the driver’s side of his car. He only vaguely heard what All Might was saying.

“There’s only two of ‘em, right?”

All Might tilts his head.

“Kids. There’s only two?”

All Might pats Katsuki on the shoulder, surprisingly hard considering his thin arms. “Very funny!” He opens the car door for Katsuki to get in. “I’m sure your family is waiting for you. You’re feeling better, right? You know the rest of the way home?”

Numb, Katsuki shakes his head.

“Drive down to the end of the street and turn right,” All Might instructs. He waits patiently for Katsuki to get in the car, then closes the door. “You can tell Young Izuku that Aizawa and I will be bringing cake and brownies so worry not about bringing anything to the party!”

All Might pats the car door and walks away.

Following the directions given, Katsuki manages to find the house again. He pulls around behind the house so he can park in the garage instead of on the street.

Katsuki removes his shoes while in the garage before stepping back inside the house. He can hear the TV on and a baby’s happy chatter. Then there’s the heavy sound of footsteps pacing back and forth. Katsuki holds onto the red plastic bag like a lifeline.

“I-I’m sorry, can you hold on a second?” Izuku mutes his cell phone to rush across the kitchen over to Katsuki. He braces for a big slap in the face, but never gets one. On his tiptoes, Izuku throws his arms around Katsuki’s neck. Izuku hides his face in Katsuki’s shoulder and he feels a bit of dampness seep into his old coat.

Pulling away, Izuku wipes away the last of his tears with a sniffle. He unmutes the phone. “I’m sorry, he just walked in the door. Sorry to bother you. Thank you. Merry Christmas.”

Izuku wipes his nose with a crinkled up tissue and crosses his arms over his chest. He looks torn between giving Katsuki a piece of his mind and not wanting to look at Katsuki at all. The sleeves of his sweater are much too long to fit him properly. Branding the length of the right sleeve is the name of Katsuki’s favorite soccer team.

If they’re going to argue, Katsuki wants to get it over and done with.

“Talk to me,” Katsuki requests quietly.

“About what, Katsuki?” Izuku asks. For some reason it hurts when Izuku says his name. “What’s there to talk about? From my side of things, this morning it didn’t seem like you were very interested in talking. You ran out of here seven thirty in the morning on Christmas Day without so much as a hint as to where you were heading. I called everyone I could think of. Friends, family, your coworkers. I was this close to calling the hospitals to see if you were there!”

Katsuki bristles. “Don’t yell at me.”

“This isn’t even close to yelling! And I have every right to yell!” Izuku retorts. “What kind of man leaves his family on Christmas morning without a word about where he’s going? What kind of a man does that, Katsuki?”

“I don’t know!” Katsuki shakes his head, rubbing his forehead. He needs to focus. He needs to gather clues if he’s going to wake himself up.

Izuku sits down at the kitchen table. “Where’d you go? And don’t you lie to me.”

“Tokyo,” Katsuki replies quietly.

“Tokyo,” Izuku repeats, sad. “Oh, Katsuki, why would you go to Tokyo?”

Katsuki hesitates.

“It’s already been said and done, just tell me why you went into Tokyo.” Izuku looks up at Katsuki with red-rimmed eyes.

“I work there.”

“Katsuki,” Izuku sounds like he’s pitying Katsuki.

“I’m serious! I work there. I live there. I-I—this house, I just woke up here this morning.” Katsuki gesticulates wildly with his hands. Screw treading carefully with this universe’s duplicates. He’s not going to take heat for something when Katsuki was in the right—when he’s the victim here. “Hear me out. You want me to be honest? Well, this is the truth. I met a guy last night who used his quirk on me and now I’m some parallel, other dimension. This isn’t my life. This isn’t my house. Those aren’t my kids.”

“That’s not funny,” Izuku disregards everything Katsuki says. Fed up with Katsuki, he gets up from the table to walk away. “Making shit up is worse than lying to me. You missed so much today, so much. Why can’t you just own up to the fact that you fucked up today?” Carefully, Izuku curses with his voice low so the kids in the other room can’t hear.

“I’m not joking,” Katsuki replies defensively.

Quietly, the bell jingles while Katsuki continues to speak with his hands.

Of course, the bell.

While Izuku continues to go on about the things Katsuki missed this morning, Katsuki removes the bell from the bag and rings it. He rings it, hoping that something good will come out of it. He’d really like Hitoshi to come get him right now.

“Wha—what the hell are you doing? Are you even taking me seriously right now?” Izuku asks.

Walking over to Katsuki while perched on a tiny bike with training wheels, the little girl plucks the bell right out from Katsuki’s hands.

“What’s this?” she asks, ringing it for herself.

“That’s mine,” Katsuki replies.

“Thank you, Papa!” Aiko says. Clear blue eyes look up at Katsuki with adoration that he doesn’t deserve. Then, content with her new toy, she drops the bell into her princess basket hanging on the front of her bike and toddles off.

“Hey, that’s mine,” Katsuki attempts to reassert. He reaches his hand out while at a loss.

“You were so excited about her bike. You spent hours working on it,” Izuku says, turning his back to Katsuki. His hand holds onto the railing along the steps upstairs. “I don’t know what you got outta going to Tokyo this morning, but I hope you got it. Can I ask you to rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher or would that be too much for you to handle? I need to get dressed now so you can get dressed later.”

“Dressed… dressed for what?” Katsuki follows Izuku close behind. The toddler pushes a fake shopping cart full of groceries into Katsuki’s leg.

Izuku rolls his eyes. “Kirishima’s party. You look forward to it all year. What’s going on with you today?”

“I don’t know if I’m up to going to a party today,” Katsuki says honestly. The most honest and raw he can be. He needs a drink or to lay down. He needs not to get his toes run over by toddler going wild with its toy.

“Fine.” Izuku throws his hands up in defeat. “I’ll call Kota and let him know he doesn’t have to come over tonight.”

“Kota? Who’s that?”

Izuku comes back down the stairs, brushing past Katsuki. He lifts the baby into his arms and pushes the grocery cart back into the living room with a quick shove. “Izumi Kota, our babysitter. You met Kota ages ago at training camp during, what? Your first year at U.A. maybe. Kept in touch ever since. Now he babysits our kids. Does this ring any bells?”

“Okay,” Katsuki says slowly. Then, as he watches Izuku scroll through his cell phone for Kota’s number he asks, “Wait, why doesn’t he have to come over?”

“Because you’ll be here to watch the kids.” Izuku gives Katsuki a duh expression.

“Fu...dge,” Katsuki begins to curse, then changes at the last second when Izuku glares at him. He smiles at the baby and surprisingly the baby doesn’t cry. “I’ll go.” 

“This is the last time you can change your mind!” Izuku calls after Katsuki while he makes his way upstairs. Distantly, Katsuki can hear Izuku telling Aiko, “Can you put Hiro back into his playpen?”

This universe’s Katsuki has a terrible wardrobe. Not a single thing is designer and quite a few shirts have nonsensical English written across the chest. He stands there a good while begrudgingly examining his options.

Next to him, small footsteps pitter-patter across the hardwood floor, then stop.

Standing in the doorway, the little girl looks at Katsuki carefully. He opens his mouth to say something to her, but she runs away, heading back downstairs.

🎄

Kirishima’s house is right outside of Tokyo. It’s large for a Japanese house, but with very little property to take care of around it. A number of cars are lined up in the driveway and along the street.

Last time Katsuki checked, Kirishima had an apartment in Tokyo. He had been considering purchasing property, but with it just being him, there was no need. Katsuki thought that’s where the search ended. Apparently, Katsuki was wrong. He’s wrong about a lot of things in this nightmare universe.

Izuku rings the doorbell and they wait.

Appearance wise, Kirishima looks the same. His hair is still red and ridiculous looking. Today he has a cheesy Christmas sweater to match.

“Glad you guys could make it!” Kirishima greets Izuku first then Katsuki. Drawing Katsuki into a hug before he can say otherwise, Kirishima whispers into Katsuki’s ear, “Heard you had a rough morning.”

Katsuki could really go for someone being on his side and Kirishima might just be that person.

“Let’s get you a drink,” Kirishima encourages. Izuku walks past them both to say hello to their other friends who have arrived earlier. All of the ones that Katsuki recognizes are heroes.

“I can help with that,” a woman cuts in.

“Thanks, Camie.” Kirishima notices the timer in the kitchen going off. “You’ve been here before. Help yourself,” he tells Katsuki, walking away after shooting off finger guns in Katsuki’s direction.

The woman Camie seems familiar, yet she’s more of a distant memory in his mind. They’ve crossed paths before for sure.

“How ‘bout I mix you up something nice?” Camie offers. She slides her hand down Katsuki’s arm as she presses up against him. He looks down at her and gets an eyeful of her cleavage. He’s no virgin, but his cheeks turn a bit red anyway. “You like my dress? I thought of you when I bought it.”

“Oh? That’s—that’s great,” he says. Izuku’s laughter reaches his ears, causing Katsuki to snap his head back up so fast he thinks it cracks.

Camie laughs, unaffected by him checking her out. “I’ll get that drink for you.”

Katsuki nods. He walks into the center of the party, unsure of where to go or who to talk to. As promised, Katsuki sees All Might and Aizawa mingling. Katsuki considers making them his party lifeline then changes his mind. The last thing he wants to do is give away to either one of his former teachers that he isn’t really the Katsuki they know.

Lemillion and Suneater are talking amongst themselves in the kitchen where some people walk in and out to chat. It’s quieter there— safer —but Katsuki doesn’t like Lemillion. He doesn’t want to go there either.

“There you go, big guy,” Camie says, having returned with a basic Scotch on the rocks.

“Thanks,” Katsuki says.

Camie winks at him, her bright red lipstick stretching into a pearly white grin. “No problem.”

“I’m surprised you’re still walking after what happened this morning,” Todoroki snarkily says in place of a nicer holiday greeting. His holiday sweater is even uglier than Kirishima’s.

Katsuki is surprised that Todoroki isn’t off somewhere at a high rise hotel sipping on champagne as he rubs elbows with bigwig execs. He’s learned that that isn’t exactly Todoroki’s personality, enjoying those types of things, but it’s what needs to be done when you play the political hero game.

Kirishima inserts himself between them. He offers them a platter of finger food. “Hungry?”

Delicately, Todoroki plucks an hors d’oeuvre up with his fingers. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” Katsuki huffs. He jams a hand into his pocket and takes a sip of his Scotch.

“Inasa flew all over the city to try to find you,” Todoroki informs.

“Deku called Baldy?” Katsuki asks.

A long time ago he and Izuku made a deal. If Izuku was going to keep calling Katsuki Kacchan no matter who was around them, it would only be fair if Katsuki could continue using Izuku’s childhood nickname too. Both nicknames are stupid and embarassing, but they were still teens when they made that agreement.

Katsuki is still holding Izuku to that agreement until further notice.

“No, Midoriya called me and I asked Inasa to do a sweep of the city.” Todoroki speaks oddly fond mentioning Yoarashi. There’s something Katsuki is missing, go figure.

“I came back.”

Todoroki hums in acknowledgement. “So it seems.”

🎄

Katsuki barely survives the party. He drinks and he eats, and does his best to keep his mouth stuffed with one or the other so he doesn’t have to talk to anybody. People he doesn’t remember being chummy with come over to chat with him, then get whisked away by the other party festivities.

The party was very adult in a way that Katsuki doesn’t always associate with Kirishima.

The Kirishima that Katsuki knows is a bachelor living a bachelor's life. Not a chilled out adult ready to settle down. Katsuki kept expecting someone to drop the bomb on him that Kirishima has a relationship of sorts, but it never came.

Because of how much Katsuki drank, Izuku drives them both home. The house that Katsuki was so eager to run away from this morning now feels closer to a safehouse.

“I’m gonna check on Kota and the kids,” Izuku says. He hangs up his coat, then puts a dog leash into Katsuki’s hands as said dog comes eagerly bounding down the stairs to greet them.

“I’m not walkin’ him,” Katsuki protests, shaking the leash.

Izuku pauses at the top of one flight of steps. “He’s your dog.”

“No, he’s not.”

“Of course you’re right. He’s the kids’ dog. Let me go wake up Ai and she’ll walk him,” Izuku deadpans. To settle things minus another argument, Izuku continues his way up the stairs.

Katsuki sighs, hooking the leash onto the dog’s collar. Its nametag reads Katsudon.

“I hope you know how to get home,” Katsuki says. “I’m talking to a dog,” he bitterly points out to no one but himself. “Let’s go. We’re going down the block and back. I’m not going any further than that.”

Katsudon looks up at him, tongue lolling out, and his tail gently swinging.

🎄

At the asscrack of dawn a crying baby wakes Katsuki up. He hears it not from a baby monitor, but the actual baby’s wails are so loud that it echoes down the hall and right into the open master bedroom. Katsuki sits up slowly, scratching his stomach.

He sighs. This is his life for now. That’s what Hitoshi said.

Katsuki puts his hands into his lap. He’s never been caught under a quirk’s spell that felt so real . Fitted around his ring finger is a plain, white gold wedding ring. He slips it off his finger and turns it around in his hands. Engraved on the inside of the ring is his and Izuku’s initials together with a heart between them.

Opening and closing his fist slowly for some reason hurts. It’s not painful, but it brings a dull ache when that’s all he focuses on.

The baby continues to cry.

Katsuki slips the ring back onto his finger.

Izuku can get the baby. The baby, which, Katsuki still isn’t sure of the gender. Based off the name, Katsuki is assuming it’s a baby boy, but he doesn’t want to make any positive statements without being sure. He’s trying to play a role here. Putting a little bit of effort into the act won’t kill him. In fact, it might help him some.

Katsuki turns to the other side of the bed to find it empty. From the adjacent master bathroom, Katsuki can hear the shower running.

“Oi, Deku,” Katsuki says, knocking. No reply. “Deku.”

More shrill crying.

Deku,” he says with more force. Katsuki opens the bathroom door.

Izuku sways his hips as he sings along to a pop song Katsuki doesn’t recognize. He’s completely naked and slightly sudsy. A seafoam colored loofa is in his hand.

“Careful, you’re gonna get the bedroom floor wet!” Izuku says, urging Katsuki to close the door some.

Katsuki listens, but only so he doesn’t have to look at Izuku naked. 

Izuku looks as fit as ever. His stomach is still mostly flat and his ass—Katsuki couldn’t not look, it was right there in front of him!—is as perky and round as a peach. If they were still hot blooded young teens, Katsuki would want to take a bite out of that sweet fruit. They’re not young teens anymore, and despite the ring on Katsuki’s finger, they’re not actually married.

“Don’t look at me like that.” Izuku smiles at him over his shoulder. It feels like all the events of yesterday that had him mad at Katsuki is over. “You know the deal, Tuesdays are your days.”

“But the baby’s crying,” Katsuki protests weakly.

“Babies do tend to do that when they need to be changed,” Izuku says unhelpfully.

“And you expect me to change it?”

Izuku nods. “I’ve seen you take down S-class villains before. You can handle a poopy diaper, I think.” Smiling sweetly at Katsuki, Izuku steps out from underneath the showerhead’s spray to slowly close the bathroom door on Katsuki’s face.

Finding his way to the nursery is fairly simple considering all Katsuki has to do is follow the source of the crying.

Hiroyuki quiets down some upon seeing Katsuki loom over his crib. The wails become small hiccups as his little chubby arms reach out for Katsuki to lift him up.

“I can do this,” Katsuki tells himself. “I’ve single-handedly defeated S-class villains before.”

Mindful of the baby’s head, Katsuki lays Hiro down on the changing table. There’s a tall white trash can made specially for diapers on one side of the changing table and a stack of clean diapers and baby wipes on the other. A mobile hangs over the changing table that Hiro giggles at.

“Have you ever changed a diaper before?”

Once again lurking in the doorway, this time in her pajamas, Aiko observes Katsuki carefully. This time, however, she doesn’t run away when he turns to look at her.

“No.”

“It’s not hard.”

Katsuki appreciates the encouragement, even if it’s from a child.

Hiroyuki kicks his feet as if he can reach the mobile that hangs from the high ceiling. To keep the baby happy, Katsuki spins it manually with his finger.

The onesie is easy enough to unbutton. Then the diaper is just a matter of peeling off the sticky strands. As soon as the diaper is open though, Katsuki takes a step back and waves at the air. Katsuki would cry too if he had to sit in a diaper this smelly.

Holding his breath, Katsuki takes the diaper all the way off. He holds the baby’s legs together in one hand and tries to roll the diaper up with the other. Then, stepping on the pedal to the diaper pail, Katsuki shoves the diaper inside, careful with what he touches. Next comes wiping the baby down. Wiping down the child is even more gross than handling his diaper.

Katsuki prepares a fresh diaper. He unfolds it and looks at it front and back, trying to decide which is which. When he thinks he has it, he slides it under Hiro by lifting him up by the legs. Katsuki could be doing it wrong, but his peanut gallery hasn’t commented so he can’t be fucking this up too badly.

“Don’t forget the baby powder,” Aiko advises.

Katsuki nods, like he knew that. “Of course.” He looks around for a familiar bottle.

“It’s underneath.”

Taking a half-step back, Katsuki notices that the changing table also has a built in cabinet. He points to one drawer and the girl shakes her head. Helping him, she points to the wide vertical cabinet.

“Thanks.”

Aiko approaches Katsuki, finished with her appraisal. “You’re not really my Papa, are you?”

Katsuki opens the baby powder and sprinkles a thin layer of it onto the diaper. He’s not sure how much is appropriate to put in a diaper. He goes until Aiko gives him another small nod.

“What makes you think that?”

“You look a lot like him, but you don’t sound like him. You don’t act like him either,” she tells him.

Katsuki finishes putting on Hiro’s diaper. He’s been discovered by a five year old. Or maybe a six or seven year old. Katsuki can’t decide and he kept his ears open all last night for clues, but didn’t get any. Aiko could be tall for her age, or she could be short. Katsuki thinks all kids are small until they become teenagers.

“You’re right. I’m supposed to be Japan’s Number Two Hero. I’m supposed to have penthouse apartment and a luxury car, and my only baby is my motorcycle. This isn’t my life. This is just a glimpse,” Katsuki explains, hoping that his frankness doesn’t make the little girl cry.

Babies cry because they can’t talk. It’s their only way of communicating they’re upset. Children that are old enough to talk cry for other reasons and Katsuki doesn’t like to be one of them.

The girl’s bottom lip wobbles. “Where’s my real Papa?”

“Well,” he says, crouching down to her height, “if he’s in my place, he’s probably fighting crime. If he’s anything like me, he’ll be pretty good at it.”

“Is he safe there?”

“Yeah, I’m sure he is. He’s got lots of friends that’ll keep him safe if he can’t take care of himself,” Katsuki promises. His world’s Kirishima will make sure this other Katsuki doesn’t kill himself. Plus, Hinata will follow fake Katsuki wherever he goes.

Fake Katsuki will be fine.

Aiko nods, taking in the information very seriously.

“What?” he asks.

Reaching forward Aiko pats Katsuki in the face. Finding his face to be quite solid, she squeezes his nose and pinches his cheeks and ears. She even reaches to touch his hair.

“They did a good job,” she decides.

“Who did?”

“The aliens,” Aiko replies with such certainty.

Katsuki wants to say that he doesn’t think Hitoshi is an alien, but in a world where people have superpowers, he can’t write off the possibility that extraterrestrials exist somewhere in the universe. If aliens are real, Hitoshi looks very convincing as a human. Except for that smile. That smiles reminds Katsuki of the look Aizawa would give the class when he would go on about his logical ruses.

“When will my Papa come back?”

Katsuki wishes he knew for certain. “Soon, I hope.”

The little girl holds out her pinky to him. “Promise you won’t try kidnapping me or my brother and plant stuff in our brains?”

What kinds of movies does Deku let her watch? he wonders. “I promise.” Katsuki hooks his pinky with hers in a solid, unbreakable promise. At least this is one thing he knows he can pull through on.

“Can you make chocolate milk?”

“I can manage.”

Aiko holds up her thumb. “Stamp the promise,” she tells him. Katsuki listens. A small smile comes onto her face. She has a cute, one sided dimple. “Welcome to Earth.”

“Thanks. I think.” Katsuki looks at their joined hands. Her hand is so fragile and tiny looking, but not defenseless though. He might not be positive how old she is, but she definitely is old enough for her quirk to have manifested by now—unless she’s like Izuku.

She’s not though. She can’t be. Her hair is black and her eyes are blue and her skin is more tanned than Izuku’s or Katsuki’s. She doesn’t have Izuku’s freckles or the same shaped face as Katsuki. If they used a surrogate to have her, she doesn’t look biologically theirs in any way. She must be adopted in the same way Aizawa adopted Eri after Katsuki graduated U.A.

“So, uh,” Katsuki says awkwardly, “what usually happens after the kid’s diaper is changed?”

🎄

Hiro goes to daycare year round for the most part, while Aiko only needs to go when school is out. Conveniently, they go to the same daycare.

Aiko stays at daycare until three, which after she walks to her English lesson alone—she’s big enough to do that now apparently and Kazuchan, her instructor and certainly not an alien waits for her outside to arrive—and then after English Aiko goes to an early start school to help train her quirk. The quirk she has allows things to grow bigger if she kisses them. It’s something she can’t often control—both in terms of when she chooses to make something bigger and how big the thing she kisses becomes. Hence the classes.

So far, Hiroyuki hasn’t shown any signs of having a quirk, but the doctor thinks Hiro will be just fine according to Aiko. She tells Katsuki that daddy cried after Hiro’s doctor’s appointment, but they were happy tears. She knows this because daddy said so.

Now that Katsuki has a phone—an old model, but it’ll do—he uses the GPS to navigate to the daycare since Aiko remembers the name of it perfectly. Apparently, Izuku and Katsuki only drive both kids to the daycare in the morning. Aiko can walk home alone with the rest of her school friends, so only Hiro needs to be collected at the end of daycare. It’s one less thing to worry about which takes a bit of weight off Katsuki’s shoulders.

The daycare technically closes at four, but they make exceptions to parents who are heroes so long as they call in early.

“And where do I work?” he asks as he pulls up to the daycare.

“You don’t,” she replies, unbuckling herself out of her booster.

Katsuki laughs hollowly. “What? How do I not work?”

“Papa got into an accident at the beginning of the school year. He needed surgery on his arm so now he goes to rehab to make it feel better.” Aiko slips off her booster and starts to unbuckle her brother. She does that a lot, Katsuki’s observed. She likes to carry around her brother when Izuku has his hands full with other things.

“I was in an accident?” Katsuki tries to turn around more fully, but the seatbelt he hasn’t taken off stops him.

He thought his hand felt strange, but he’s a Pro Hero. He gets into fights all the time and scars aren’t anything new to him. When he showered after taking Katsudon on a walk there were no huge scars that brought red flags to his mind. At the time .

“Yep,” she replies. Aiko picks up a toy Hiroyuki dropped and puts it back into her brother’s arms. “Papa fought off a big gorilla man and trees fell and big street light bulbs fell and Papa’s arm got crushed, but then Uncle Lemon saved him.”

“No,” he whispers. Katsuki rolls his up his sleeves and holds his arms up side to side and sure as shit, one is slightly more swollen than the other and there’s a scar right above his elbow on his left arm. Their details small enough to miss when they’re not being looked for.

When he showered he didn’t stare at his naked reflection. For the most part, his body seemed like his. He felt just a tiny bit softer around the stomach, but still no red flags. Hitoshi didn’t mention that his body would be different in this universe. A glimpse implied he’d be an outside party looking in, not an active participant. That was what Katsuki was expecting. Expectations don’t always match reality.

“Papa can’t make firecrackers with his left hand very well anymore. That’s why Papa still goes to rehab even though his arm’s not broken anymore. Papa’s rehab is kinda like the school I go to, but Papa’s is for adults only.” Aiko, in the space she has to stand and move around in the backseat, puts her backpack on.

“So when… when does your papa go to rehab? How does he make money?” Katsuki needs to know.

Is his hero career over in this world?

“Papa goes three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and Fridays are special ‘cause Uncle Toshi goes with him. He doesn’t have to work yet ‘cause he gets workers’ conten...complen…”

“Compensation,”  he finishes for her, his shoulders slumping.

“Yeah that! Workers’ compilation.” Aiko nods, proud of herself. “But Daddy doesn’t like Papa sitting at home all the time so he sometimes goes to U.A. to teach Heroics and sometimes he goes to Uncle Toshi’s flower shop to help out.”

“So I don’t have an agency now? At all?” Katsuki asks her, but mostly to himself. 

His line of work is dangerous. He’s not the only hero that’s ever gotten hurt before though. He can remember Kirishima taking time off for an eye injury. Denki short circuited himself so badly that he was out of commission for a month. Sero tore his shoulder and fractured his arm in multiple places from the same mission. Ashido’s jaw broke, and even when she got it fixed, she had trouble eating solids for weeks after.

They all got hurt and had to step away from hero work, but he doesn’t remember any of them being kicked out by their agencies.

“Daddy said Papa and Genius Office parted ways.”

One day Ai will learn that that’s a shitty way of saying he got fired.

Katsuki tries to get his hand sweaty so he can test out his strength. He needs to know what the exact damage is. A doctor can give Katsuki their expert opinion all they want, but only Katsuki knows his body best. If his arm got all messed up and his hand too, why wouldn’t he just go to Recovery Girl to fix it? Unless—but wait, Genius Office. What about—

“Don’t worry, Papa.” Aiko slides her hand on top of his, holding four of his fingers since her hand is too small to grab his. “When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening.”

“Where’d you learn that, small fry?” he asks her, ruffling her hair.

“Family therapy,” the girl replies.

In his car seat, Hiroyuki babbles, wanting to be involved in the conversation.

“We’re gonna be late,” Aiko warns. She reaches for her brother, but Katsuki stops her.

“I’ll get him. You run on ahead,” he allows.

Aiko throws the minivan’s door open wildly with practice. “Don’t forget Hiro gets picked up at four o’clock. On the dot. Daddy doesn’t like when Papa is late.” With that, she hurries off into daycare on her own.

Katsuki lifts Hiro out of his carseat. The baby blows a happy spitbubble at him.

🎄

“Katsuki, my boy!” All Might greets, waving Katsuki into the store. “You came just in time. I got a new shipment of pots in and I would like to request some assistance in moving them onto their proper shelves.”

Katsuki shrugs off his coat and puts it on the coat rack hanging by the door. He never saw All Might retiring and opening a flower shop. Although, it doesn’t seem like a typical flower shop when he takes a full look inside—not that Katsuki has been in too many flower shops before.

The center of the store has four long tables with water paints in the middle of the tables, acting as centerpieces. A front counter is on the immediate left upon entering the store. Lining all three walls, there are an assortment of flowers on display with special lighting. The front wall is more of a display window. It has a bookcase in front of it with tiny succulents and other small plants in pots painted by customers.

All Might brings Katsuki out of the store through an employee’s only section of the building out to where a van is parked.

“There’s a party of twelve coming in later to paint,” All Might informs Katsuki. He takes a single ceramic pot to carry from the van, but it’s also the largest kind Katsuki sees.

Katsuki takes a larger stack of ceramic planters to carry inside the shop. He feels no weaker in this life than he does in his usual one. He feels just as strong, though there’s an added stiffness in his arm.

All Might guides Katsuki to where the pots have to be set down so Katsuki doesn’t have to ask. It takes a half hour to unload the van entirely. After, All Might takes a personal phone call, leaving Katsuki alone in the shop.

“I’ll only be a moment,” All Might assures Katsuki. “Yes, I’m still here,” he then speaks into the phone.

His cell phone is connected to the WiFi, saving Katsuki from having to ask for the password. His phone ran slow as hell on data.

However unwise, Katsuki has to know more about his accident and the outcome. He’s missing too many details. It seems he has this world’s Katsuki’s body and life, but none of his memories. The internet seems to predict what Katsuki is looking for with the autofill feature. There’s a plethora of results, stemming from photos of the incident, which are blurred out heavily, to news reports of that day—videos and articles.

Not wanting to read, Katsuki clicks on a video.

Seo-san, back to you.

Hello, I’m sad to report that the battle between Pro Hero Ground Zero and the villain Kong continues. A few moments ago there was a small quake in the area caused by Kong. Ground Zero is appearing to be fatigued after taking down three of Kong’s associates, who luckily have been apprehended by local police.

The quake which occurred has caused a number of trees and street lamps to collapse. Ground Zero was caught under one of these poles, but he hasn’t given up. I’ve received special word that Number One Hero Lemillion is on his way.

Those in the area are recommended to come no closer than a

The camera shakes and the reporter Seo falls out of the fame. The clip cuts back to the other reporter at the studio.

It appears we are having technical difficulties. 

If you’re in the Mikita area, it is strongly recommended that you evacuate. The following streets that are currently roadblocked are…

“My therapist once told me that the worst thing I could do was agonize over the past,” All Might says softly. He smiles weakly, looking at Katsuki’s phone. “It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but I felt immensely lighter when I did.”

Katsuki locks his phone, cutting of another video from playing. The video’s preview showed an image of him lying on the ground. It was blurry and pixelated, but Katsuki felt like he could see every last detail. It’s strange. He went from feeling detached from this Katsuki’s memories to having a vivid recollection.

“Don’t get discouraged if it takes time,” All Might continues. He pulls up a low stool to sit next to Katsuki and still feels taller than Katsuki. Maybe it’s because Katsuki hasn’t stopped looking at All Might like All Might. Yagi is Yagi and All Might is All Might, Katsuki’s childhood hero and teacher. They’re different people to him, even though they’re really not.

“People think my career is over,” Katsuki says. He lived for his career.

All Might shakes his head. “I’m sure there are plenty of people awaiting your return.”

“My ranking must be at the very bottom.” He sulks and feels childish for it.

“It has fallen,” All Might admits, “but you’re still on the rankings.”

Katsuki grips his phone tight in his hand. If he was feeling himself, he’d squeeze his phone so tight he could break it with his bare hands. “What’s the damage?”

“You’re ranked thirty-two, I believe.” All Might reaches his hand out, wanting to offer a comforting hand, then decides against it. “Rank isn’t everything.”

“I was gonna be Number One,” Katsuki disagrees. Admittedly, with Endeavor’s agency to help him, he climbed the rankings must faster than people, but he—he was let go by Best Jeanist’s agency, according to Ai. He doesn’t understand how an agency he never joined let him go. Every new bit of information he learns gives him whiplash.

He never joined Genius Office, but this universe’s Katsuki must have. This fucked up, quirk-induced idiot version of himself somehow, for some reason , left or gave up being part of Endeavor’s agency to work with Best Jeanist. Maybe this universe’s version of himself fucked up so badly that he got fired from Endeavor’s agency too.

“How high in the rankings did I get?” Katsuki asks. His sullen tone becomes frantic.

All Might startles, sitting up a bit straighter. “Five, I believe. No, four. You may have been promoted to Number Four.”

“Who’s one and two?”

“Togata and Todoroki, respectively, of course,” All Might replies. He hunches over on his stool to be closer to Katsuki’s level. “I really mean it. Goals are fantastic things to have. They can be wonderful motivators, but don’t get caught up in the rankings. I can’t stress that enough.”

The bell softly chimes as a customer enters the store.

“Welcome back, Gota-sama! What lovely flowers are you looking for this time?”

Katsuki looks at the clock hung up behind the front counter. Today is going to be a long day.

Chapter Text

Izuku’s terrible, lumpy mattress isn’t so bad after all, so long as Katsuki is absolutely exhausted while he’s laying on it.

Dressed in a faded t-shirt and plaid pants, Katsuki watches the news as the last thing before he plans on rolling over and going to sleep. Because he does that. Because apparently, in this timeline, he’s become boring and domesticated. Not to mention heavily converted to the civilian lifestyle. He’s no sad sack with a dad bod, but he’s not sure how the other version of himself is okay with the monotony of this life.

Other Katsuki and Izuku have two kids and a dog. Their house looks like it’s been well-lived in for years. Everything around them is a product of many years in the making.

A memory of one of Endeavor’s many lessons comes back to Katsuki. He recalls the hero telling Katsuki to put off getting married and having kids. The moment he starts a family, he’ll change. He won’t be able to run into burning buildings and he won’t be able to fight villains twice his size without really thinking about the consequences. It’s one thing to weigh his options against an opponent, but it’s another thing when the result of his choice affects the people relying on him. Not just the people he might be trying to save, but his family waiting for him at home.

Endeavor had a strained relationship with his family for years—probably still does. And all because Endeavor always acted on his own wants and needs. His family came second to his own desires and if there was one lesson Endeavor wished for Katsuki to understand, it was to think carefully.

Should Katsuki choose to have a family, he must remember that family is a responsibility which shouldn’t go neglected or taken advantage of. 

This Izuku’s Katsuki must have chosen family. 

In his other life—his real life—Katsuki never really gave much thought to having a family. The thought of being married and having kids to come home to always seemed like the solidifying factor that his youth and freedom would be no more.

Another minute ticks by.

Pro Hero Lemillion stopped a bank robbery this afternoon in downtown Tokyo. According to our sources, the villain’s quirk allowed him to transfer his consciousness into another person’s body. This allowed the villain to access the bank’s vault. The villain and his accomplice, who has yet to be apprehended, managed to transport the money stolen from the bank into a truck.

Police are still looking for the accomplice, but the money and the leader of the operation have been taken under proper custody.

More on the weather after the break. 

Katsuki grumbles to himself, sinking into the mattress as Izuku comes into the bedroom with an extra pop in his step. “That should’ve been my bank robbery.”

Izuku closes the bedroom door, then rushes to shut the curtains. “The kids are asleep.”

“Okay,” Katsuki replies. He’s not sure why Izuku is telling him this. It’s half past eight. The kids should be asleep by now, or at the very least, in bed. That sounds about right. He can’t remember how old he was when his parents started letting him stay up past nine. 

“Be excited! This is the first time that they’ve fallen asleep and we’ve still been up,” Izuku says. He kneels on the foot of the bed, attempting to sexily crawl his way up to Katsuki. “We have to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Straddling Katsuki’s waist, Izuku holds himself over Katsuki’s lap. He puts both hands on Katsuki’s shoulders, playing the edge of his hairline with one hand. It makes Katsuki shiver. 

Izuku leans down to initiate a kiss and it feels like forever before the distance between them is closed.

The kiss, despite how long they’ve been apart, feels familiar. It’s familiar because even if Katsuki doesn’t know Izuku anymore, Izuku still knows Katsuki. Rather, he thinks he knows Katsuki. But as it turns out, Izuku’s Katsuki and the Katsuki-Katsuki—he’s the real Katsuki, he can’t forget that—are very similar. Both versions of himself seem to like the same things.

Izuku kisses Katsuki slowly. A little bit of tongue and a slow grind of teeth, pulling Katsuki’s bottom lip in a sweet promise.

Awkwardly, Katsuki’s hands hover. They settle at Izuku’s thighs, then his hips, then that doesn’t feel right. A young Katsuki—a bachelor Katsuki—wouldn’t have the time or patience to go through all the items on the foreplay checklist. He’s an ass man. He would go for that first; squeezing, kissing, slapping, biting. 

Hickies are great, but Katsuki loves leaving his mark where very few can actually see it. That makes it all the more sweet and private, but sweet in a hot way, not a sweet way. Katsuki doesn’t take people home for one night stands to be sweet . There’s nothing soft and sentimental about Katsuki when he takes someone home for the night.

Noticing Katsuki’s indecision, Izuku pulls back, his lips pursed after they had been trailing down Katsuki’s neck. “What’s wrong?” Izuku turns, looking at the TV with a glare. “No more of that. Eyes on me.” Picking up the remote, he turns the TV without any hesitation.

An immature part of himself wants to say Hey, I was watching that, but this is much better. Having Izuku on his lap trying to get into his pants is so much better than watching Lemillion strut around in his ridiculous hero costume. The Lemillion in this world and the Lemillion in Katsuki’s world seems much of the same. Strangely, that pisses him off.

“Hey, where’d you go?” Izuku cups both sides of Katsuki’s face in his hands and suddenly Katsuki is back in the Narita Airport. That warmth and love Izuku had for Katsuki then is still present now.

A young, cynical version of Katsuki thought that look would stop. They had been together for so long. Surely, at some point, they wouldn’t look at each other the same way before. With the same awe and admiration and love. It’s a look Katsuki has only ever seen Izuku give him. He never thought he deserved that look of love then, and he can’t believe that he still has it now. This version of himself is a lucky bastard. Katsuki would kick his own ass if he ever caught himself giving this up again.

The kids, Katsuki isn’t comfortable with. The dog is alright. The overall white picket fence imagery is something that Katsuki can come around to. He wants to be young and do young people things without being tied down by other responsibilities. But having Izuku in his arms is something that a younger Katsuki took advantage of.

They were best friends. Rain or shine, Izuku was there for him. Izuku was always Katsuki’s rock, but Katsuki couldn’t say the same about himself.

Katsuki isn’t impervious to change though. He’s a grown ass man who’s not getting any younger. Izuku was right.

He’s missed so much.

“You’re gorgeous,” Katsuki blurts out.

Izuku laughs. Chastely, he kisses Katsuki once more, his lips stretched into a smile. “Where’d that come from? Not that I’m complaining.”

“You are. You’re the most gorgeous man I’ve ever met,” Katsuki repeats, which earns him a hot grind of the hips and Izuku pulling a low moan out of him.

Two can play at that game when Katsuki was trying to be nice.

He flips them over, pressing Izuku into the pillows. Izuku’s legs wrap around his waist, keeping him close. Katsuki turns little kisses along Izuku’s jawline into little bites. He’s extra pleased to find that Izuku is hard in anticipation.

It’s been so long since Katsuki has been with another man. Taking home women is easy. Nobody bats an eye at it. But taking home another man needs to be done with discretion. Katsuki can’t just take home anyone who approaches him at the bar. He has a public image to maintain, which this world’s Katsuki apparently doesn’t care about.

This world’s Katsuki has chosen Izuku back as many times as Izuku has chosen him.

Izuku shoves his hands up underneath Katsuki’s shirt, unhurried to take it off, but wanting to touch Katsuki’s bare skin all the same. Katsuki pulls back to return the gesture Izuku has done many times to him. He holds Izuku’s face in his hands, thumbs stroking over a constellation of freckles. Curious green eyes look up at him, waiting, wondering why Katsuki stopped.

“I remember when we were kids,” Katsuki starts to say, whispering like it’s a secret, “you were always the cutest fucking thing. You had these round chubby cheeks, but the rest of you was like a stringbean. You were so fucking scrawny at the same time. Until I started to go to U.A. and you remember you helped me train?”

“Yeah,” Izuku says. His eyes flicker from Katsku’s eyes to his lips back to his eyes. “You told me to get lost.”

“But you didn’t.”

“You couldn’t keep me from helping you. Still can’t.” Izuku slips his hands free from Katsuki’s shirt. Instead, his fingers play with the hem.

Katsuki dips down to kiss Izuku, quick but deep. “I’m so fucking glad you didn’t,” he confesses against his husband’s lips.

“Good. ‘Cause you’re stuck with me,” Izuku declares.

“No.” Katsuki shakes his head. “You’re the one that’s stuck with me.”

Izuku rolls his eyes. Of course Katsuki is going to argue with him, but it’s fond. He’s gotten used to all the years of Katsuki needing to have the last word. “How can you do that? How can you look at me like you haven’t seen me everyday for the past thirteen years?”

Katsuki opens his mouth to reply yet nothing comes out. He doesn’t know how to answer that without giving himself away.

He walked away from Izuku in the airport thirteen years ago. There were no follow up confrontations or coincidental passings on the street. The things Katsuki left in Izuku’s apartment were eventually taken by Kirishima and put into a storage unit. It wasn’t even an arrangement Katsuki made with Izuku.

One day Katsuki just got an international call sent to voicemail from Izuku telling Katsuki that he had to move his shit out. Katsuki never called back. He rented a storage unit online and Kirishima took care of the rest. Not even with all their mutual friends. Not a single one of them would ever invite Katsuki and Izuku out on the same night.

“I have something special to show you,” Izuku says suddenly. He rolls both himself and Katsuki over, grinning mischievously.

Izuku isn’t a skinny stringbean anymore.

“What is it?”

“It’s a present,” Izuku replies secretively. “Well, I guess it’s better described as a present for me and a surprise for you.”

“You can’t just tell me what it is?” Katsuki has never been good with surprises. He likes them, but he has to know what they are.

Katsuki was the kid who ran downstairs early on Christmas to shake all the presents underneath the tree.

“Don’t even think about falling asleep. I’ll only be a few minutes,” Izuku says. He pulls something out from the back of the closet, still in the bag it was purchased with. He hides it against his body so Katsuki can’t try to peek.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

Locking himself in the bathroom, Izuku prepares what he has to prepare for Katsuki’s surprise. Katsuki contemplates taking his clothes off to be ready for when Izuku is done. Then he thinks about the slight chill in the air and decides against it. He slips off his sweatpants as a compromise to his thinking and settles underneath the sheets.

Now it’s almost nine.

It’s almost nine and there’s a framed photo of Izuku and the other Katsuki kissing on the wedding day underneath a flower arch.

Katsuki finds himself smiling at a memory that isn’t really his.

He yawns, rubbing his eyes. He told Izuku he’d stay awake, so he has to stay awake. The heating unit kicks on, sending a pleasant hum throughout the house. Things are calm when the kids are asleep and the dog is downstairs. Katsuki rubs his legs together and feels how cold his toes are.

Pulling the blanket higher up his chin, Katsuki lets his eyes rest for a moment. He won’t allow himself to fall asleep just yet.

Thirteen years, he thinks to himself. He opens his eyes to look at his wedding band. No, Katsuki corrects himself. It’s not his wedding ring. Katsuki blinks a bit slower, heavier. Then shoves his hand underneath his pillow so he can’t see the ring anymore. It’s not really his to wear.

“Okay, I’m ready,” Izuku declares through the door. He opens the bathroom door and poses, but Katsuki doesn’t see it. “Katsuki?” Izuku asks quietly. Katsuki doesn’t reply.

Carefully maneuvering around the squeaky toys and the baby toys littered around on the floor, Izuku turns the bedroom lights off. Izuku tries one last time to see if Katsuki is awake—a simple hand on the shoulder and a whisper in his ear—before tucking Katsuki into bed more tightly.

Izuku throws on a shirt on top of the lingerie he meant to surprise Katsuki with. Then he crawls into bed, snuggling up to Katsuki’s back. “Good night, Kacchan. Love you.”

🎄

Aiko looks at Katsuki patiently as he stares back at her. When he woke up this morning Izuku gave him two options: change Hiro’s diaper or make breakfast for Aiko. He chose to make breakfast. Instinctually, he looked into the freezer for any frozen breakfasts. The freezer was disappointingly barren. Katsuki never makes breakfast for himself. He usually grabs a protein bar and a coffee and goes.

Izuku might get mad at Katsuki if he makes their daughter a protein shake.

“I like Pop-Tarts and chocolate milk,” Aiko says.

“Is this your way of saying you want Pop-Tarts and chocolate milk?”

Aiko looks down at the kitchen table, twiddling her fingers.

“Is there anything healthier that your dad makes you for breakfast?” Katsuki can make Pop-Tarts happen, but he thinks they’re pretty gross. If there’s something less artificial, he’d rather prepare that instead.

“Scrambled eggs,” Aiko admits.

Katsuki pushes away from the table. “Coming right up.” He looks through the cabinets to find a pan for the eggs and a glass for the chocolate milk. “Can you use a glass cup?”

Aiko shakes her head, her braided pigtails swinging. “I only use the special cup Papa bought me.”

Katsuki takes a second look into the cabinet with the cups. On the top shelf with the baby bottles is a plastic Ground Zero cup. A feeling of pride washes over him. At least he’s the Number One Hero in someone’s eyes.

He prepares her milk first, pouring the glass three quarters full. Katsuki doesn’t want to clean up a bunch of milk off the floor if she accidentally spills it. Next, he digs around to the back of the refrigerator to find an almost empty bottle of chocolate syrup. He pops the cap open, but then there’s a tiny hand tugging at his pant leg.

“Papa lets me pour my own syrup,” she tells him.

Katsuki crouches down to her level. He’s pretty sure that’s what you do when you talk to kids. “Listen, kid,” he tells her, “I might be an alien, but I know that’s not true.”

Aiko gasps. “The aliens really know their stuff.”

He snorts.

He squirts enough chocolate into the white milk to make it brown, then throws in a bit extra since she has been helpful so far. Katsuki not going to be caught by Izuku doing anything he’s not supposed to be doing, is all.

“There,” Katsuki says, handing her the plastic cup. “You use a straw or something?”

Aiko nods, but she opens a bottom cabinet all on her own to get a straw for herself.

Katsuki makes one egg for her and cracks an extra three for himself to eat as well. Since he had found an opened bag of shredded cheese, Katsuki empties out the rest of the bag by pouring it into his scrambled eggs. If this universe’s Katsuki doesn’t make scrambled eggs with a little cheese, he’s making scrambled eggs wrong.

“Totototototo,” Hiro bables, batting his meaty little paw against Izuku’s chest.

“That’s you, babe,” Izuku says, passing Hiro off into Katsuki’s arms. “One day I’ll eat you up,” he tells their little boy. He blows raspberries against the toddler's cheek. 

Izuku steals a bite of Katsuki’s eggs. “Mm,” he says, with a nod of his head. “That’s why you’re the cook around here.”

Katsuki takes that information in. The first night in this universe they had a party to go to. Yesterday was Katsuki’s day so he didn't even think twice about cooking dinner. It was nothing special. Just some curry. The neat typed out menu on the side of the fridge told him to make it. But it seems that every night is Katsuki’s night to cook. Looking at the menu, he supposes that that’s fine.

It’s better than waiting to see if Izuku is still a terrible chef or not.

“So,” Izuku says, preparing his breakfast of toast and peanut butter, “I was thinking that I can drive you to your physical therapy appointment and afterwards we can go to the mall together. Hiro’s shoes are getting a bit tight. He’s a growing boy, aren’t you?” Izuku tickles Hiro’s stomach while he waits for the toaster to pop.

Hiro laughs, kicking and hiding his face into Katsuki’s shoulder. He giggles, then looks at Izuku to see if his dad is looking. Playing peekaboo almost.

“Katsuki,” Izuku says his name, trying to get his attention. “How’s that sound?”

Katsuki looks down at his hand, rinsing the dirty pan until all the remnants of egg wash off. His eggs are probably getting cold. He should’ve eaten first instead of trying to do the dishes. “That’s fine,” he replies. He doesn’t ask Izuku if he really thinks PT is necessary. If the other Katsuki needs PT, he’s not going to be an asshole and screw up the guy’s progress.

PT sucks. It’s a whole lot of hours dedicated to very little progress. Or, at least, that’s the way Katsuki looks at PT. He can do basic training exercises on his own time and dime.

Aiko said that Katsuki struggles to use his quirk on his left side. She didn’t say that his left side was entirely useless.

“I’ll trade you,” Izuku offers. He holds out a fresh cup of coffee in exchange for taking Hiroyuki back.

Katsuki sits down at the kitchen table, pushing aside the newspaper that’s been spread out. His eggs aren’t too bad cold. They could’ve used a bit of garlic powder to really give the eggs a bit of extra flavor. Next time. So long as Aiko isn’t a picky eater, he might explore a bit more in terms of cheese flavors. He’ll add it to the grocery list. He’s not sure when they usually do the grocery shopping in this house, but it must be soon.

“Can I go play?” Aiko asks Izuku, licking her fork. Meanwhile, her plate is clean and there’s a chocolate milk mustache on her face.

“Put your dirty dishes in the sink first,” Izuku replies.

Izuku puts Hiro down into his highchair. His breakfast is going cold as well, since he’s preoccupied with feeding Hiro breakfast.

With Aiko out of earshot, Izuku asks Katsuki, “How do you feel?”

Katsuki sips his coffee with caution. He’s not afraid of burning his tongue. His expectation is that the coffee will be too bitter, but it’s not. It’s just sweet enough with a tiny hint of hazelnut. It’s the best damn coffee Katsuki has had that’s been made at home.

“About?” Katsuki asks, as he imagines himself swimming in this cup of coffee.

“This is your last PT session, you must feel good about it.” Izuku curses under his breath when Hiro knocks the jar of baby food out of his hand so that it spills all over the high chair’s tray. He gets up to bring over paper towels to clean the mess up and interprets Katsuki’s silence as nervousness. “Unless, you think you need more time.”

“If the trainer thinks I’m ready, then I think I’m ready,” Katsuki replies.

Izuku returns with a damp rag and a few dry paper towels. He kisses Katsuki on the cheek. “I’ll clean up. You should get dressed for your appointment.”

“Daddy!” Aiko comes calling, running straight into Katsuki’s legs. She looks up at him, expecting it to be Izuku.

“What is it, sweetheart?”

“Daddy, my braid came out,” she says.

Katsuki continues walking toward the stairs.

“Papa is much better at braiding hair. Get him to do it. He just went upstairs.”

Katsudon follows Katsuki up the stairs, circling around his legs. The dog is a gentle giant. Good with the kids, calm around people that aren’t Izuku or Katsuki. When Katsuki gets back to his own world, he may invest in getting a dog. His schedule might need some fixing, but if anything, he can get Hinata to take care of his pet when he can’t.

Peeking around the doorway, Aiko pushes the bedroom door that Katsuki thought he closed back open.

Katsuki puts a pair of workout pants he’d been examining down on the bed. This version of himself owns a lot of workout pants. He’s been having a tough time of deciding whether the pants are meant for actually working out or lounging around the house.

“Did the aliens program how to braid hair into your brain?” Aiko asks.

“I don’t know,” Katsuki says. He sits down on the bed and makes himself open for her to come to him. “We can test my programming now.”

He tries to use her other braid as a guide of how it should look, but Izuku is shit at braiding hair. From running around and playing, the thing is already so loose that he loosens both her braids entirely to start over from scratch. In the end, he makes her pigtails at uneven heights and it seems a bit tight, but she never complains that he tugs too hard or that something’s tangled. 

Aiko briefly wanders off into the master bathroom to more closely examine her hair, then comes back seeming satisfied. 

“How’d I do?”

“The aliens should show Daddy how to braid.”

That’s as close enough to a compliment Katsuki can see his hairstyling capabilities receiving so he sends her back downstairs so he can get dressed alone.

Where Katsuki goes for PT isn’t very far, but Izuku grabs the baby bag on the way out of the house anyway since Izuku plans on taking the kids and the dog to the park to kill time while they wait for Katsuki to be done with his appointment. Katsudon, almost sensing that they’re going on a trip he’s invited on, continues following Katsuki around the house until it’s finally time to leave.

Katsuki offers to take Hiro off Izuku’s hands, feeling a bit more confident in his fatherly duties after doing his daughter’s hair sufficiently enough. The tangle of straps is easier to figure out than hair once he gets all of Hiro’s squirmy limbs to cooperate with him.

Hiro eventually gets fussy when traffic comes to a halt. Izuku looking at the baby with the rearview mirror, paws at the air near the cup holders until he finds his cell phone. He holds it out to Katsuki. “Can you play the shark song?” he asks Katsuki for assistance.

Pressing his thumb against the ID reader, the lock screen shakes. Wrong password. Katsuki does it again with his nondominant hand and the same thing happens.

Aiko puts a toy into Hiro’s arms and he throws it away.

“You must be hungry, huh, Little Bug?” Izuku asks. He glances into the backseat, then at Katsuki. “Play the song,” he says, as if that will make Katsuki work quicker. Izuku starts addressing Hiro again. “You wouldn’t be so hungry if you didn’t throw your food this morning.”

Katsuki punches in the digits of Izuku’s birthday. Wrong. He tries his birthday. Wrong. Katsuki inputs All Might’s birthday. That doesn’t work either.

“What’s your password?”

Izuku turns on his turn signal, focused on switching lanes. “It’s, uh, Hiro’s birthday.”

“I can do it Daddy!” Aiko quickly interjects. Her tiny hand reaches out between the driver and passenger seats as far as she can.

Katsuki hands over the phone before Izuku can deny her request.

His little sidekick just helped him dodge a bullet there.

Katsuki’s physical therapist turns out to be a Pro Hero that retired when he and Izuku were still in high school. Katsuki wasn’t much of a fan, but when the Hero Gladiolus retired, Izuku dragged Katsuki out to attend the hero’s retirement fan meeting. It was the first and last fan meeting that Gladiolus hosted.

Gladiolus welcomes Katsuki in with a giant hug, literally lifting Katsuki off his feet.

When Katsuki was in high school, he thought Gladiolus was much taller. As a full grown adult, Gladiolus doesn’t seem so big. It comes to Katsuki’s attention that the man’s perfectly crafted body is uneven in size. One arm is noticeably larger than the other, but it’s not the arm that bared the injury that took Gladiolus’s career away. It’s his good arm.

“Ready to knock today out of the park?” Gladiolus takes Katsuki by both shoulders to steer him into the room where they’ll be doing their session.

🎄

The physical therapy session with Gladiolus leaves Katsuki feeling conflicted. He’s never had his quirk just not work. It hurts, the harder he tries to push it. The more he builds up his sweat, the sharper the pain becomes. The sensation of his quirk working against him can feel anything like pinpricks you get when your foot falls asleep to the harsh, throbbing feeling of a heavy object falling at lightning speed crashes onto your hand.

The pain isn’t so bad where Katsuki feels like he’s dying, but it’s more discomfort than he’s comfortable with. Katsuki would rather receive a million Phantom Menace gut punches from Lemillion than continually push his quirk to work on his left side.

It’s not all they do, but the exertion has Katsuki sweating all over and toward the end of the session, Katsuki can barely control the explosions from his left hand.

Gladiolus sees Katsuki off with self-help positivity bullshit. To Katsuki it sounds like well-rinsed and repeated phrase Gladiolus says to everyone of his clients who come to see him. The other Katsuki might buy into it, but this one doesn’t.

You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one!

What is Katsuki supposed to do with that?

“So,” Izuku says eagerly, “how’d it go?”

“It sucked, thanks for asking,” Katsuki says sourly.

Izuku slouches into his seat. “Really? But I thought Gladiolus-san told your doctor that you were doing great last time.”

In the backseat, both kids are sleeping. Hiro is napping and Aiko is going in and out of dozing. Katsudon is missing, having been dropped off between the hour and a half period Katsuki’s been at PT.

“He might’ve.” Katsuki shrugs. “He probably said that ‘cause he knew my hand is fucked and this is the best it’s gonna be.”

“You still have your hand,” Izuku says softly.

Katsuki switches to giving Izuku the silent treatment. Izuku wouldn’t understand.

At the mall, Katsuki helps Ai out of the car so he can feel useful. Drowsy from her nap, she must think he’s her real papa because she reaches her arms out for her to be held. Similarly, Izuku transfers a sleeping Hiro from his carseat to a stroller.

“You should probably wake her up soon,” Izuku says whispering. “She’ll never fall asleep tonight if she naps too long.”

Waking her up doesn’t end up being a problem. Ai is too heavy to carry for long before Katsuki has to stop and hitch her up higher against his hip. The first time she mumbles against his shoulder. The second time she wakes up all on her own. They take a moment to pause, stepping aside to let people pass so Katsuki can set her down on her own two feet.

Her hand slips into Katsuki’s and they keep walking.

Though they came to get Hiro shoes, they go in and out of stores, mostly walking up and down the aisles without buying a single thing. Eventually, Ai wants to walk with her brother and push the stroller so Katsuki gets stuck the meager extraneous purchase here and there Izuku makes while the rest of his family walks ahead of him.

Izuku stops to look into a window of a hero merchandise store when finally, Ai reminds her dad what they’ve come here for.

“Right, Hiro’s shoes,” Izuku says. “Alright.” He swings the stroller back around. They already passed the kids’ store. “Let’s go.”

Katsuki barks out a laugh. Hands on his hips, he snaps, “Of course the only store we came here for, we passed. Why don’t we just go to every store if we’re gonna walk around this damn place a second time?”

Izuku shakes his head disapprovingly. “If you wanted to stay home, you should’ve just said so.” He waves his hand dismissively at Katsuki. “Sit here and wait for us if you don’t wanna come.”

Worriedly, Aiko looks between her fathers, but ultimately follows Izuku, running to catch up when he leaves with the expectation that she’ll follow him. Katsuki sighs. There’s a bench nearby that Katsuki settles down on to sulk. He meant what he said, but he didn’t mean to say it so harshly.

It takes twenty minutes for Katsuki to really feel like he cooled off.

Katsuki retraces his steps, looking for the bright and bubbly-looking kids store, keeping an eye open for a directory somewhere. This outlet mall is the biggest one Katsuki has ever been to. It’s a wonder that he’s never knew about this place before. It must be new. That’s the only reason Katsuki can come up with. Yokohama hasn’t been off Katsuki’s radar entirely. He bets that, by city lines, they’re probably not even in Yokohama anymore.

While not exactly a mall directory, Katsuki comes across a special display of Yamaha motorcycles. Izuku and the kids are still off buying shoes somewhere. Katsuki can look at the motorcycles if he wants to.

The Yamahas are nothing compared to the one he actually owns, but they do well enough. The one that catches Katsuki’s eye is a bit more retro than he usually goes for. Still, it’s black shiny coat gets Katsuki interested. He walks around the display, running his hand along the handlebars and seat.

If this was a dealership and not a mall, he’d ask to take it out for a spin. He’ll put that five-speed transmission to the test.

“That’s a real good model,” a salesman says, walking over.

“Is this the newest version?” Katsuki asks.

The man nods. “That’s right.” He tucks the clipboard with flyers for the motorcycle show going on in the parking lot underneath his arm. “Why don’t you get on it? See how it feels.”

Katsuki doesn’t have to be asked twice.

He straddles the motorcycle. It feels as good as it looks. It’s not too wide that Katsuki feels awkward sitting on top of it. He plays a bit with his redistribution of weight when another motorcycle catches his eye. Motorcycles meant for transcontinental touring don’t usually attract his attention, but he remembers what Lemillion said about his other motorcycle.

Katsuki got rid of it because Izuku didn’t want him taking Aiko out on it.

A transcontinental bike would be much safer for a passenger. She’ll grow into it and they can buy a sidecar. If they get a sitter like that Kota kid, they can make a family trip out of it. Maybe take it out to the coast to see the beach. Hiro would be too young to enjoy it or even remember being taken out. Izuku won’t be able to argue leaving Hiro home.

But at the same time. The Yamaha V Star 250 is his kind of motorcycle. It’s made for fast solo riding. No kids, no husband. Just Katsuki on the road. It’s great for driving to the mountains since the true test of a smooth ride if how well it turns.

“I knew you’d see these eventually.”

Katsuki smirks. How could he not?

“Too bad motorcycles aren’t exactly family friendly and we already have a car,” Izuku continues.

“The kids don’t have to come when I take her out,” Katsuki says, patting the V Star with his hand.

“And what about when you have to drive the kids. They can’t ride this with you even if they were big enough. I’ve seen you on a motorcycle before.” Izuku steps closer to the display so he can look at the price tag hanging from the handlebars. “This thing is over ¥460000. You must be insane,” he laughs. “We’re already paying off the house. Even if you could take the kids out on it, we’ll be paying for it for the rest of our lives.”

Katsuki squeezes the handlebars. “You got the kids whatever they wanted today.”

“Yeah because they needed those things and put together they’re still a fraction of what this thing is worth,” Izuku retorts. “Come on. The kids are hungry and I’m guessing you are too. I heard from Eijirou that the food court is real nice here.”

Tired from walking around the mall, Aiko, not even paying attention to her parents, looks about ready to push her baby brother out of the stroller to steal his place. She leans against it, and puts her leg in it. It makes Hiroyuki start to cry.

“Honey, don’t do that. C’mere,” Izuku says. He holds out his arms to lift her up. “Kacchan, let’s go.”

What a wrong time to call him Kacchan. He’s not some child that comes when daddy calls to him. Katsuki hops off one bike and walks over to the transcontinental bike. “No,” he finally replies. “No. Not today.”

“Excuse me?” Izuku asks with a dangerous tilt of his head.

No ,” Katsuki repeats. “I apparently already got rid of one motorcycle because you told me to. I’m not gonna pass up on another opportunity to have this.”

“Since when is a stupid motorcycle your first priority?” Izuku holds Ai’s head to his chest, partly to allow her to rest and to also hide her away from this conversation. 

Katsuki throws his head back. “Since this isn’t supposed to be my life!” he exclaims. “I’m supposed to be a top Pro Hero. I can buy myself a motorcycle just ‘cause I want to. I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning to freeze my ass off outside to walk a dog or change a dirty diaper! When I have dinner, I can have whatever I want made for me. I’m not the one serving other people all the time without any thanks for it. And my hand isn’t messed up because of an accident. I’m at the best damn shape of my entire life!”

“Wow,” Izuku says. His eyes look sad. “I didn’t realize your life was such a hardship. No, not a hardship. I didn’t realize that you hate the life you have now. I’m sorry I didn’t notice earlier.”

“You’re telling me that you’re not the least bit disappointed about where we are now,” Katsuki demands. “You’re okay with living in a creaky ass house surrounded by empty nesters going through their midlife crises. You’re fine that I’m unemployed and the only money we make is off my workers’ comp and whatever the hell it is that you do. You’re really okay with the way things are?” He doesn’t wait for Izuku to reply, not that Izuku can. Izuku is speechless while Katsuki continues on his rant. “I was so close to becoming the Number One. If I had a little bit more time, I could’ve made it happen. How… how could you do this to me? How could you let me give up what I worked so hard to achieve?”

Izuku tilts his head back, trying to resist the urge to cry. When his eyes reopen, they’re filled to the brim with tears. “Who are you?” he asks in a tiny hissing tone.

The first tear drops. 

Suddenly, Katsuki realizes how hard he’s breathing. It’s like he just came back from running a marathon. His face is heated up and his hands have gradually curled into fists. He needs to abort. He’s done it again. Katsuki has gone and made Izuku cry again. Although he’s looking in Katsuki’s direction, it doesn’t feel like he’s looking at Katsuki at all. He’s looking at Katsuki like he’s an entirely different person. 

A person who isn’t his husband. A person that has become so twisted that the love is gone. 

Katsuki can’t let that happen. He can’t let Izuku slip through his fingers again. 

“I…” he hesitates, an apology on the tip of his tongue. “I’m not really feeling like myself right now.” Even though he can’t come out and directly say I’m sorry, he knows he has to apologize. Katsuki needs to fix this. “I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what it is that I want. Maybe I’m not the same man that you married.”

Katsuki steps off the display platform. Izuku takes a step back. Aiko is gripping her daddy’s shirt hard, her bottom lip wobbling the same way Izuku’s does when he doesn’t want to cry. 

He feels like such an ass for making his daughter cry. But no. That’s not his daughter. She feels like she is, but she’s not and she knows she’s not his.

“Maybe you’re not,” Izuku breaks the silence. He grabs onto the stroller with one hand until his knuckles are white. “The man I married wouldn’t need some popularity rank and a motorcycle to feel like a man.” He adjusts Ai on his hip. “But if you think that’s what you need, fine. Get the motorcycle. Go back out onto the field! Do what makes you happy. It’s what you’ve always done.”

As if challenging him, Izuku holds his chin high as he stands his ground. Tension steps between them. The salesman has long wandered away, trying to do damage control to other people who wanted to see the special display. Katsuki thinks about what he should do next. He wants to buy the motorcycle, but he doesn’t want to lose Izuku just because he wants to feel like he’s won the argument. 

Katsuki reminds himself he’s on borrowed time. The motorcycle doesn’t actually matter. He’ll go back to his universe eventually. The other Katsuki can’t mess things up too badly for him so he should try to do the same. 

“Forget it. Let’s see what the food court has.” Katsuki stomps past Izuku, heading for the center of the mall. 

As Katsuki passes, Izuku’s jaw flexes like he wants to say something else. Aiko is having a hard time watching her daddies fight. Holding back, Izuku chooses to let his anger show by breezing past Katsuki, leaving him behind. 

🎄

Mentally and physically exhausted from being out all day, Aiko falls asleep again in the car. This time she’s leaned into her brother's car seat. Hiroyuki doesn’t seem to mind sharing since he’s asleep too, the stuffed cow on his lap acting as a pillow for his sister’s head. 

Apologize, comes to mind. Say you’re sorry.

Izuku leans his elbow on the car window, resting his head against his hand as they slow to a red light. He keeps his eyes looking straight again. 

Apologize .

“Hey, Deku,” Katsuki says, hoping the mention of Izuku’s childhood name will help soften things, “I’m sorry about what I said back there. I didn’t mean it. I’m just… I’ve been feeling lost lately. Honestly.”

Surprisingly, Izuku tries to hold Katsuki’s hand. “I won’t say that everything’s okay, but if you think you need to see Dr. Amachi again then do it. We’ll make it work if you think you’re feeling depressed again.”

“No. Shit. No, I’m not… I’m not depressed. Am I?” Katsuki squeezes Izuku’s fingers. 

“It’s okay if you are. We worked through it the first time, we can work through it again.” Izuku has to let Katsuki’s hand go so he can continue driving. “It’s a big change what you went through. You’re still Ai’s Number One regardless. Bet you’re Hiro’s, too. And you’re mine. Don’t let some ranking system convince you that you’re less than what you are. You’re so much more than they’ll ever know.”

“I thought I was more,” Katsuki says weakly. He was. He was right on Lemillion’s tail. 

“Accidents happen. What matters is that you’re here . You’re safe now and healthy, despite what you think about your left side. You could’ve died that day, but you didn’t. You’re here and maybe it takes another year to go back to work. It’s fine. Money isn’t everything.”

Katsuki studies Izuku’s profile. He tries to remember all the tics and twitches. “What was it like for you? When you found out?”

“About your accident?” Izuku glances over quickly. “It scared the hell outta me. I wanted to go see you, but I had the kids and I know that I could’ve asked Yagi-san to take them, but… at the time I thought they needed me more. Ai couldn’t understand why you were losing and Hiro was crying. I knew Mirio was on the way to help you and that’s the only reason why I kept the kids home until I knew for certain you were in the hospital.”

“Do you ever wonder what our lives would be like if… if some things had gone differently?” Katsuki asks because he knows. He knows of all the things he could do. 

“Sometimes,” Izuku admits. “Sometimes I think about what would’ve happened if I had kept you home that day or—”

“I mean, with us. When we graduated from high school,” he gently corrects. 

“Oh,” Izuku says. He quirks a small smile, but only for a split second. “That definitely was a surprise. Life can be full of those sometimes, whether we want them or not. Whether we’re prepared for them or not. Good things can come from surprises, even if they seem bad at first. We know that all too well.” Affectionately, he reaches into the backseat to gently squeeze Ai’s leg.

“She was a surprise,” Katsuki deduces, puzzled, and thankfully not driving. He turns around in his seat to look at her fully. He’s been holding in asking how they got her.

“When you came home with a little girl attached to your leg, I couldn’t believe it. You were always so undecided about having kids while you were still working, but when you shut down that quirk experimentation lab it was like fate. A real messed up kind, but fate all the same. You were her hero before she knew what heroes were,” Izuku says in awe. “We thought for sure she’d be taken away from us and homed somewhere else.”

“But she wasn’t.” Katsuki clenches his jaw. The thought of human experimentation—and on children no less—makes his stomach churn.

“She wasn’t. We made sure of it. Aizawa-sensei got us the best damn lawyer,” Izuku says. He takes a deep breath in and out. “The legal battle felt like hell, but I’d fight for her every time.”

“Yeah, I would too,” Katsuki says with certainty. He could tell there was something special about her the moment she looked at him. It scared the hell out of him to think that she was his, but the fact is that he felt it. He felt that she was his. “I like her.”

Drained out, Izuku rolls his eyes. “Glad to hear it. Maybe we’ll keep her.”

Katsuki feels relieved seeing the familiar shape of their house getting closer. “You know what I mean. I love the little small fry.” In knowing they’ll be leaving the car soon, he bravely reaches out to touch Izuku, putting a hand on his husband’s knee. “We made some good memories though, right? Before the kids.”

“We did,” Izuku agrees. He sighs when he pulls into the driveway and the garage door doesn’t open after pushing the button. He pushes the button again. “Do you remember that time Denki hit his wattage limit and Old Man Hirata threatened to call the police on us?”

“Denki got his ass arrested?” Katsuki can’t picture it. His friend can be stupid—he supposes they were all stupid at some point in their lives—but Denki never caused too much trouble.

“No,” Izuku shakes his head, “‘course not. You really don’t remember? You told that story every chance you got whenever we went to your hero socials.”

“Right… guess it just slipped my mind.” Katsuki clears his throat, unbuckling his seatbelt.

Izuku pulls the car into the garage, puts the car in park, then does the same. He catches Katsuki by the wrist, preventing him from getting out. “Listen,” he requests. “I know you miss Tokyo sometimes, I miss it too. But we both agreed that we had to raise Aiko in a safe environment. I get that not working is hard. You did work hard to get where you were, I just hate seeing you regret this . We wouldn’t have been able to have any of this if you stayed at the Endeavor Agency.”

What? Katsuki means to ask. He misses the timing. Izuku gives him a kiss on the cheek, then opens the car door to get out.

“Are we home yet?” Aiko mutters.

Izuku opens the backseat car door to get Hiro out of the car first. “We are, baby. Want Papa to carry you inside?”

“Yes, please,” she replies politely.

Katsuki comes around to the backseat to see her stretched out across the seats and her arms extended for her to carry her. He meets her halfway, leaning into the car as he reaches under her back and her thighs to lift her into his arms. She rests her head against his shoulder.

“You made Daddy cry today,” she rightfully accuses him.

“I did,” Katsuki agrees.

“Real Papa never makes Daddy cry.” Aiko yawns directly into Katsuki’s ear.

“That’s good.”

Katsuki takes Aiko into her room and puts her down onto her bed. She tries to get underneath the covers and he stops her. Her sleepy eyes give him a squinty glare.

“Hey, now, you can’t go to sleep in your clothes. You can either skip the shower tonight and get straight into your PJs or you can get up a little early tomorrow to shower in the morning. Take your pick.” Katsuki holds out a poorly folded set of silk kitten pajamas.

Aiko grabs her clothes and hugs them against her chest. “Fine,” she says dejectedly. She shuffles her feet out of the bedroom toward the bathroom.

“Don’t forget to brush your teeth too!”

Izuku passes over giving Hiro a bath so the baby doesn’t wake up again. “It’s late, and he’ll never fall asleep again if we let him play now,” he tells Katsuki as explanation.

Eagerly, Katsudon sniffs at Katsuki’s heels until Katsuki finally finishes his round around the house: refilling Katsudon’s bowl, making sure that Ai is heading to bed, saying goodnight to Hiro, putting Hiro’s empty baby bottle into the sink to be washed, locking the doors. Once he’s finished, Katsuki gets the leash and even the slightest jiggle of the metal hook has Katsudon prancing around him, dying to be taken out.

Comparatively, tonight isn’t as cold as it’s been the rest of the week so far. A good thing too. Katsuki feels weird around Izuku right now so he lets Katsudon take him around the neighborhood wherever he likes. Almost a half hour later, the Mastiff finally decides that he’s had enough of the cold as well and leads Katsuki back home.

Katsuki finds the house dark when he gets back. The entire first floor is silent. The second floor is nearly the exact same. Ai’s door is closed and dark inside aside from the soft glow of her nightlight. Likewise, Hiro’s room is also mostly dark.

The master bedroom has a single light on.

Bracing himself, he pushes the door open slowly and steps inside. Between his legs, Katsudon darts inside the room to take his place on the dog bed in the free corner of the room. Izuku doesn’t look up, his eyes focused on his computer as he sits up in bed. He types away rapidly with a number of notepads of detailed notes spread out around him.

Katsuki picks out a fresh pair of pajamas, keeping to the outer edge of the room. Izuku is ignoring him now and it stings. Katsuki can’t say that he doesn’t deserve the cold shoulder.

“If you’re going to insult my job again, you should keep in mind that it’s colder downstairs,” Izuku warns, threatening to make Katsuki sleep elsewhere.

“I’m not—I didn’t,” Katsuki tries to defend.

Whatever it is that I do,” Izuku mocks Katsuki. “If that was you trying to be nice back there, you sure have a weird way of showing it.”

“I didn’t mean it,” he backpedals.

Izuku piles up his notes in one neat stack so Katsuki’s side is empty. “I know I’m not some top university professor, but my research does make a difference. It hurts that you’d say you think otherwise.”

“You’re fine with that? You said you were gonna become the world’s top quirk analyst.”

Izuku snorts. “Fine,” he parrotts. “You keep saying that like you and I just settled. I like working at my own company. It was my choice to leave the agency and I don’t regret it at all. My happiness isn’t determined by money or success. Knowing my family is safe and well taken care of is what makes me feel like I’m doing a good job.”

“But research is so expensive without university grant money,” Katsuki says. It’s why Izuku grew up wanting to become an analyst affiliated with a university.

“It is, but I’ve worked my way up to doing independent research and we have good friends who’ve helped us through a lot.” Izuku’s laptop pings. He stops to read the message, then types as he continues to talk. “We’re lucky to have the support system that we have. That’s something that not a lot of people have.”

“Right…” Katsuki says, unconvinced.

“You’ve had a long day. You should take a shower and go to bed,” Izuku suggests. He redirects his attention back to his work, though he’s hyper aware of where Katsuki is in the room. Hearing his husband open the bathroom door, he adds, “I know you didn’t really mean what you said earlier so I forgive you, but that doesn’t mean that I’m done being upset at you for throwing a fit in the middle of the mall.”

He lowers his head like he’s a child being scolded. With how Katsuki previously behaved, that’s not too far off a description.

🎄

Without physical therapy to go to, the only thing Katsuki has to look forward to is going to All Might’s flower shop to help out. Katsuki has no other reason to leave the house other than to walk Katsudon. He considers taking Hiro to the park one day, but looking at his son trying to eat a spoon, Katsuki decides that a trip to the park might be a bit much for him.

So Katsuki’s once, maybe twice a week visits to All Might’s flower shop increases in frequency.

The shop overall is a one man show. All Might runs the entire place himself. The only thing he really gets help with is obtaining the flowers. Whether he purchases them or the guy who grows the flowers works for the shop is unclear to Katsuki.

Katsuki only gets paid in the form of lunch so it really doesn’t matter to Katsuki who is or isn’t All Might’s employee.

Aizawa-sensei doesn’t ever come into the shop. It has something to do with allergies that Katsuki was never aware of.

One year bleeds into another and Katsuki continues waking up with a ring on his finger and Izuku in their bed. Instead of going out to celebrate, he and Izuku stay home to watch the neighborhood fireworks show with the kids. The calm is a strange mix between boring and plain comfortable that Katsuki almost doesn’t know how to process. He watches the news every chance he gets to keep updated on hero rankings and villain shutdowns and every time the jealousy for not being out in the field decreases.

He’s allowed himself to become domestic.

Katsuki even has boys’ nights out now. He starts off the day excited for it. That is until Kirishima shows up on his doorstep with a polo shirt in hand that has Bakusquad written on the front.

“You were so excited when we ordered them though,” Izuku says, perplexed. Bringing out a cardboard box with Japan Post tape all around it, he tears it open with scissors. What comes out of the box is an even more embarrassing polo with Dekusquad embroidered across the chest.

Kirishima unzips his puffy jacket. His polo is green, just like Katsuki’s and Katsuki bets that if he took the jacket off entirely, they would be able to see where Bakusquad has been written, luckily more conservatively on the left breast. Still. That small embroidery is what catches and keeps Katsuki’s eyes. This stupid matching polo is going to be the most embarassing thing Katsuki has been caught in public with in a long while.

“Thanks for offering to DD by the way,” Izuku says to Kirishima.

“Not a problem! When’s Kota coming?” Kirishima replies.

Katsuki excuses himself, not wanting to change his shirt in front of them. He’s changed in front of Kirishima before, but not this Kirishima and as for Izuku, well, Katsuki has been entirely naked in front of him at many fun points of their lives. However, the Izuku that knows Katsuki has a dimple underneath his right buttcheek broke up with him over a decade ago. This Izuku looks perplexed whenever Katsuki hurries off into the bathroom to change.

Through the door, Katsuki can hear Izuku and Kirishima still chatting. There’s laughter following stories from past bowling nights that Katsuki doesn’t understand, having no context other than the night the hilarious story took place on.

He stays in the bathroom until he hears the laughter subside.

A few minutes earlier than the time Izuku gave him, Kota relives Izuku and Katsuki from having to watch the kids.

An hour later Katsuki forgets about the kids and the cheesy matching shirts because the bowling ball he keeps throwing toward the gutter is replaced with a nice, cold beer. Izuku has already been casually drinking, He’s only two, maybe three drinks deep, but Katsuki vaguely remembers Izuku being poor at holding his alcohol. 

He laughs privately with himself.

“I’m glad you think it’s funny that you’ve lost your mojo,” Kirishima says, clinking his beer glass with Katsuki’s. He sits in the chair next to him now that his turn is over. “They’re gonna win this round and we’re gonna have to convince them to change our wager to best out of five.”

“It’s not that,” Katsuki says. He looks at Izuku and Iida gesticulating wildly back and forth. To strangers it might look like they’re arguing, but they’re probably just talking about the most mundane of things. “Do you remember that time years ago when Deku got drunk off his ass at our move out party at the end of our third year? I tried taking him back to my room and he started going off on me for, like, ten minutes about how he already had a boyfriend.”

Kirishima blinks. “That was a long time ago,” he says, as if Katsuki needs to be told that. “That sounds like something Izuku would do though.”

Team Dekusquad ends up with thirty more points than Bakusquad at the end of round two. With a mixture of begging and coercion, Denki and Sero manage to get the Dekusquad to agree to play best out of five rounds. The catch is that the losing team has to act as servants to the winning team.

His bowling ball might say Katsuki ‘The Hammer’ Bakugou, but his performance tonight is substandard to say the least.

Demoted from the captain of their team to their waiter, Katsuki is sent to get everyone another round of drinks. (“It’s because of you that we aren’t crushing them like we usually do!” Mina cries before telling him to get lost and not to come back without alcohol.) He gives the girl behind the counter their order, then goes to sit down at one of the many tables nearby.

“Hey there, Katsuki,” Camie says, stepping into his path. She smooths down the front of her dress.

Katsuki follows the movement of her hands. “Camie, was it?”

“Very funny,” she chuckles, humoring him. “I noticed you throwing a few gutterballs on lane twenty. That’s pretty unlike you. Did you get the flu recently or something?”

Since Katsuki can’t admit to this woman that he only vaguely knows that he was sent into another parallel universe by a purple haired psycho, he half-shrugs. They don’t seem to have that type of relationship. “Something like that,” he replies.

“Need a nurse?” she asks. Her voice dips, low and sultry, as she steps closer to him.

Stupidly, Katsuki asks, “You’re a nurse?” He thought she was another hero. Then, seeing the look on her face, he feels foolish for not catching on sooner.

“I can if you want me to be,” Camie replies, biting her bottom lip.

Katsuki allows her to step closer into his personal space. He hears his name being called to come get his beers, but he doesn’t move. He has more important matters on his hands right now. Camie is offering him something that he can’t take lightly. She knows that he’s with Izuku, and as far as she should know, Katsuki is a happily married man.

He won’t lie and say that his interest hasn’t been piqued. Camie is exactly the type of woman he used to go out to bars to try to take home. Her boldness worries him though. If she saw him all the way on lane twenty, she has to know that Izuku is here as well.

Knowing she’s got him hooked, she gives him a quick once over, then turns around with a swing of her hips to leave.

“Wait a second,” he calls to her. She stops to show him her profile. “Are we… is there something going on between us?”

Her confidence fades. Her expression transitions into something bare and honest. “Are we finally being honest?”

“That would help,” Katsuki agrees.

“Well,” Camie takes a deep breath, “where do I even start?” she asks herself. “When I hear there’s a party and you’re gonna be there, I don’t invite myself along with Inasa and Todoroki because I’m afraid of being alone on a Friday night. My patrol route just happens to be in the same area that your kids attend daycare. And I partnered with Genius Office even though I have no intention of leaving my agency. So if you’re asking if I’d like it to be more… the answer’s yes. Midoriya would never have to know.”

Katsuki licks his lips. He wants to look over his shoulder at lane twenty to make sure no one is watching.

On one hand, he’s not really married to Izuku and Camie is promising to keep things discreet. On the other hand, despite trying not to get caught up in marital bliss with Izuku, Katsuki has made a grave mistake of wearing a wedding ring that doesn’t actually belong to him everyday. He hasn’t taken it off once, not since he removed it to examine it.

“I have off on Sunday and I live alone.” Her posture changes back to the same sexy confidence in seeing Katsuki only focused on her. “You should come over.” Camie touches Katsuki’s arm, dragging her fingers down to his wrist as she backs away.

“Excuse me, sir?” an employee behind the food counter interrupts Katsuki’s train of thought. “Your beers are still ready.”

“I’m coming,” Katsuki snips. He looks back toward where he left his friends and sees Kirishima heading his way.

Kirishima plucks a beer off the tray and takes a drink. Satisfied, he smacks his lips together. “I thought you got lost up here.”

“Not exactly,” Katsuki vaguely replies.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Expecting a story, Kirishima sits and gestures at the seat in front of him for Katsuki to follow.

“Remind me how we know Camie.” Katsuki takes a beer off the serving tray. They’re all the same so it doesn’t matter which one he takes. He just needs to drink.

“She used to go to Shiketsu with Yoarashi. Why the interest all of a sudden?”

Katsuki is in need of advice. He’s conflicted and the best way to get to a solid decision is being frank with Kirishima. He’ll complain that Kirishima has hair for brains, but if they’ve been best friends this long, Katsuki can trust his instinct that Kirishima won’t lead him in the wrong direction. Honesty is the best policy, especially when Katsuki feels like he’s an actor in a movie that’s last in the series without having watched any of the prequels.

“She offered to have an affair with me.”

Kirishima chokes on his beer. Coughing, he pounds his fist against his chest. “You’re not actually thinking about cheating on Izuku though, right?”

“Well…” Katsuki drawls. He’s leaning toward no, but he hasn’t completely eliminated a yes. With this just sprung on him, he isn’t sure that he believes he’s morally obligated to keep vows that he never actually made.

“Are you serious?” Kirishima leans across the table, scandalized.

“I’m not sure it would actually be cheating,” he admits. Kirishima’s jaw drops and his head tilts, expecting an explanation. “It’s complicated.”

“Complicated doesn’t begin to describe what you’re thinking about messing with here. A little bit of flirting here and there… if you’re asking me, it’s harmless, but it still leaves a gross taste in my mouth. What you’re talking about is much bigger than that.” Kirishima tries to get Katsuki to lean in so they’re both sitting at the table, acting like their conversation is a secret. Technically, accurate. “The Fidelity Bank and Trust is a tough creditor. You make a deposit somewhere else, your account,” he says with a poke to the center of Katsuki’s chest, “is closed forever .”

Katsuki pushes Kirishima’s hand away. “It’s nice that you’re concerned, but those rules don’t really apply to me.”

“That’s what you think! Do you honestly think sleeping around with Camie will give you even half the satisfaction of being with Izuku? And I don’t mean being with him. I literally mean being with him. You and Izuku waited ages to get married and you’re the one that wanted to adopt Ai. You’re really gonna throw that away? Have you hit your head or something?” Kirishima pushes away from the table, leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed against his chest.

“You don’t gotta lecture me,” Katsuki complains.

“I think I do, ‘cause it doesn’t seem like you understand. Izuku is way outta your league, man. I love you like a brother, but what you’re considering is insane.” Kirishima nose twitches, like it does when he feels distressed. “There isn’t a guy in this city who wouldn’t give their left nut to be with Izuku. When you were in the hospital…” He waves his hand, dismissing his own thought. “Izuku is the best damned thing to ever happen to you and you’re gonna fuck it up. I know that you think he’ll forgive you every time you mess up, but there’s no going back if you and Camie go through with whatever you two think you can get away with.”

Aggravated, Krishima takes his beer and leaves Katsuki sitting at the table alone with his thoughts.

When the Bakusquad ultimately loses the bowling match, Kirishima’s mood is no better driving Katsuki and Izuku home. He drops them off at home, seeing Izuku off with a smile and Katsuki with a shake of the head.

Thanks to Kota, the kids have been put to bed and Katsudon has been walked. Kota is found sleeping in the living room with the TV on with Katsudon on his lap doing the best impression of a lap dog a 68 kg dog can do. Gently, Izuku shakes Kota’s shoulder to wake him up.

Katsuki heads upstairs to take a shower. As he undresses himself, he thinks to himself that he feels dirty.

The clock reads a quarter after eleven by the time he’s done and dressed. He’s usually passed out in bed by now, but tonight he has a slight grumble in his stomach. Heading back downstairs, Katsuki optimistically feels better than before.

He opens up the refrigerator, his hand separating the leftovers and the condiments. His hand finds the back of the fridge.

“Where the hell’s my cake?” Katsuki mumbles to himself.

The sound of a plate loudly scraping against the wooden kitchen table reaches his ears.

Katsuki closes the refrigerator and turns to Izuku, who tries playing it innocent. A fork is in his hand and try as he may to appear innocent while reading some trashy novel with a shirtless man riding a horse on the front cover, Katsuki can see right through his act.

“Are you eating my cake?”

Izuku licks a chocolate crumb off his bottom lip. “I didn’t see your name on it.”

“I told you I was saving that. All Might gave me the cake to take home after New Years’.”

“Pretty sure he gave it to us.”

“Yeah, but I called dibs.” 

Izuku laughs. “Dibs? What’re we in elementary school again?” He makes a show of putting another piece of cake into his mouth and moaning.

“Gimme my cake!” Katuski walks toward the kitchen table, his hand extended. 

However, instead of cooperating, Izuku takes the plate and runs. He escapes from the kitchen into the adjoining living room and Katsuki follows. It almost feels like they are kids again. They’re playing tag and cake is the prize.

The living room loops back to the kitchen, but Katsuki manages to cut Izuku off by doubling back and surprising him at the stairs. He catches Izuku by the waist. Together they lose their balance until they’re falling against the stairs. Despite falling against the hard wooden steps, Izuku lets out a small Ow and continues to laugh. 

“You should’ve just let me have my cake,” Katsuki scolds, initially concerned Izuku hurt himself.

“Fine.”

With a fist full of cake, Izuku shoves the piece into Katsuki’s mouth. Most of it ends up on his lips and his cheeks, very little of it eaten. Pieces of the cake break off and fall onto Izuku’s shirt. 

“I think you should just finish it,” he changes his mind. Grabbing the fallen pieces, he picks the biggest one up and tries to feed Izuku with it. Purposefully, he misses, smearing the icing on his cheek instead. 

Izuku throws his head back laughing.

“You’re lucky I didn’t take a shower yet,” Izuku says, grinning ear to ear. In the dim light, Katsuki thinks his eyes sparkle.

“The kids are definitely asleep?” Katsuki asks out of the blue.

Izuku tries to sit more comfortably on the steps so the next one higher up doesn’t dig into his back as much. “Yeah.”

“Good.”

Upon kissing Izuku, Katsuki concludes that nothing Camie could ever offer him would make him as happy as this. There’s nothing else that could ever compare. 

The kiss is chocolatey sweet and sticky. 

“It’s been ages since we’ve had the time to do this,” Izuku confesses. His hands worm their way up Katsuki’s sweatshirt. He arches his body into Katsuki’s, a leg coming up around Katsuki’s hip. “Say it,” he says a little bit breathless. 

“Say what?” Katsuki asks, sidetracked. An arm positioned behind Izuku’s back to keep him propped up, he uses his free hand to sneak his hand around Izuku’s body to get to his ass.

It’s a delicious, perfect handful.

“You know what I like to hear,” Izuku whispers. His thumbs brush over Katsuki’s nipples. 

“Yeah I do,” he responds confidently. He grinds his hips down. “You make me so hot, baby. You’ve been such a bad boy, I outta punish you. I’ll put you—”

“Ugh,” Izuku says, pushing Katsuki off him. “Nice, Kacchan. You really know how to make me feel special.” He slips out from under him. He sighs, regretting their food fight. “Real nice.”

Turned off, Izuku makes for the bedroom. 

“What?” Katsuki says, puzzled. “You make me hot.”

Katsuki lingers kneeling on the bottom stair, his shirt littered with cake and icing. He tries to figure out where he went wrong. When he and Izuku were younger they used to play around with kinky roleplay scenarios all the time. Izuku’s favorite used to be when Katsuki would pretend to be the Number One Hero and Izuku would introduce himself as Ground Zero’s Number One fan. Ground Zero would take Izuku home with him and they’d fuck with Izuku half-dressed and Katsuki in his hero costume.

Having two kids must have dampened their willingness to get wild in the bedroom.

Bitterly, he yanks off the sweatshirt he’s wearing and shivers being just in a t-shirt. He throws the cakey sweatshirt straight into the washer machine. They’ll have to do laundry tomorrow.

Katsuki sneaks into the bedroom when the shower starts to run. He grabs an ugly plaid shirt to throw on, then retreats back downstairs. Waddling around the house with a half-mast boner is kind of a problem. He figures it’s best to stay out of Izuku’s hair for now. There’s cake on the stairwell that he should probably clean.

He wipes it down with a wet rag, then takes a few wet wipes to go over the steps with again to get rid of any lingering sugar and sticky residue. With the rag on his shoulder and the wipes in hand, he walks around the rest of the first floor, retracing their steps to make sure that there’s no cake elsewhere for Katsudon to lick up and get sick off of.

There’s not, so Katsuki returns to the kitchen to get rid of the rag. The wipes go back underneath the kitchen sink. It sounds quiet upstairs, plus with how dark it is, he thinks it’s safe enough to go back up. He’ll sneak into the bathroom to brush his teeth, then go to bed. Katsuki hopes that in the morning Izuku won’t be upset at him anymore.

One foot on the bottom step, Katsuki catches that he left the light on in the living room. He sighs. He reaches around the wall, lazily feeling it for the light switch. When he flips the switch off, the light stays on. Whatever outlet the switch is coordinated to must have nothing plugged into it.

Giving up, he enters the room to turn off the lamp manually.

As he leans across the armchair the lamp is sitting behind, something catches his eye. Hidden behind the chair is three boxes stacked high. The top one is without a lid and there’s a nameplate sticking out of it. Katsuki can’t read the full name, but it’s his. He can read enough to know that it’s his. Curious, Katsuki sits on the armchair and swivels it around, cursing when it knocks into lamp’s post, knocking it into the wall.

Katsuki reaches out a hand to steady the swinging light, eyes focused on ahead.

The top box is filled with the entirety of Katsuki’s belongings from the Genius Office. A nameplate, some empty manila folders for keeping case files, a small, fake succulent plant for decoration, a framed picture of Izuku and the kids without Katsuki in it, little desk items—sticky notes, pens, a stapler with dog stickers all over it, paperclips, and binder clips—, and at the very bottom of the box, an opened bottle of bourbon. The bourbon has a bow tied prettily around the neck. A gift, at some point, Katsuki supposes.

Katsuki flips through the folders to make sure they’re empty. Most of them are. The last one, when he flips it open carelessly, has several children’s drawings fall out of it onto his lap. Most are children’s doodles, courtesy of Aiko from the many days she spent sitting in his office waiting for Katsuki to be done so they could walk home together.

Because at one point in life, Izuku worked too many hours with his agency. His research, which had very little funding to be expended for the use of hiring extra hands, took up much of his day. Izuku’s mornings were spent taking care of Aiko and the house, so by the time Izuku got to work it was mid-afternoon and it was late at night when he arrived back home. And Katsuki, who left early in the morning for his patrol, would have to find a way to take care of Ai sometimes on the clock, even.

They put her in dance classes at one point just so she had a place to be where Katsuki and Izuku would know she’d be occupied for a few extra hours after school, but she hated it.

The last drawing Ai gifted Katsuki was a child’s imitation of Starry Night with Good Luck Papa written in the sky. The tree has flowers on it, whereas the original was barren and the houses painted in the village below is their house.

His heart starts to feel heavy, so Katsuki stuffs all the things back into the box, not caring how they fit. There wasn’t a lid to keep it closed anyway. He feels even more apprehensive about opening the other two now. He has to. He wants to understand more of what his life is like in this world.

The middle box is packed full with notebooks. All of them are well worn and every page, Katsuki sees as he flips through the first few, is filled. The only thing to label the books are penned in vague descriptors of Sessions 1-14 , Sessions 14-22 , and so on. He opens a notebook with his name on it, but in Izuku’s distinct handwriting. The first page is soft from being read so many times.

Katsuki, I know this is a hard time for you, but thank you for sharing it with me. I wish that I could do more, but the doctor is right, we just need to be patient. You have the best team around you and a full support group of friends and family. We’ll always be here for you.

I understand that this is awkward, but I’d like for you to trust me. To talk to me again. I know you think writing notes back and forth is stupid, but Dr. Amachi thinks that this will help. If you can’t bring yourself to talk to me yet in person, I hope that you can at least try to talk to me on paper. I want to be there for you and to help you, but I can’t do that unless you help me.

You’re the strongest person I know. It might take a long time, but I’m confident that you’ll bounce back from this. You don’t need to be at anyone’s agency but your own. I don’t know how we’ll make it happen, but I promise that when you feel ready, if you want to start up your own agency, I’ll be right behind you. We’ll adjust some things and make it happen. Just try not to get too discouraged by the little setbacks. They happen to everyone. You know that you can talk to Yagi-san at any time.

You’re the greatest hero I know.

I love you.

Dragging his finger down the page, Katsuki feels a different texture to the paper in the margins. He absentmindedly rubs against it again and again until he finishes reading the entire letter. When he lifts his finger to examine what he had been touching, he sees that there’s a shadow staining the page in the shape of a teardrop.

He turns through the book. Every other page is a letter from either himself or Izuku, writing back and forth with the dates marked in the top corner. There comes a point toward the end of the book where it becomes Izuku writing to himself and hoping that Katsuki is still checking back in to read.

Scared, but knowing what of, Katsuki opens one of the more recent editions of the Sessions notebooks.

Inside Katsuki finds notes and scribbles of techniques that do and don’t work in rehabilitating Katsuki’s left side. There are updates on his progress and notes from Gladioulus’s feedback to Katsuki. Small things like Still gets frustrated easily or Bakugou fatigues much quicker when using this method for too long.

There must be a dozen notebooks in the second box he found. The only thing that keeps his heart together is that the last few notebooks are entirely blank. They were purchased ahead of time as a means of being prepared for when another notebook inevitably fills.

The dates on some of the most recent entries have become more spaced out, with less detail and with less heart. Katsuki wonders if his other self ever thanked Izuku for taking the time to go all out for him.

Katsuki repacks the notebooks more neatly than they had been placed in there before. He fixes the chair, turns off the light, then leaves to go bed. Izuku is fast asleep, his chest rising and falling steadily. Katsuki brushes his teeth solemnly. When he finally sneaks into bed, he tries not to disturb his softly snoring husband.

Izuku rolls over, throwing his arm and leg over Katsuki’s body. His head slips off his pillow as he tries to pull Katsuki closer but only manages to inch himself forward instead. Katsuki slips an arm underneath Izuku’s head and wraps an arm around his waist. A bout of insomnia washes over him.

Something inside him aches.

Chapter Text

The sound of an alarm going off blares in Katsuki’s ear. He groans, rolling over in refusal to getting up. “Five more minutes,” he mumbles as Izuku leans over him to smack the alarm.

“I’ll get the kids if you get the coffee,” Izuku bargains. With morning breath, he kisses Katsuki’s cheek, then pushes off the bed.

Zombielike, Katsuki drags himself out of bed. He slips his feet into slippers after recoiling from the cold hardwood floor. Katsudon runs on ahead. Katsuki lets Katsudon out into the small fenced in backyard that they have. There isn’t a lot of space, just enough that Katsudon can run around a bit and occasionally prop his paws up on the fence to greet the neighbors.

The pleasant rumble of the coffee pot and the microwave hum has Katsuki closing his eyes while leaning against the kitchen counter. When the microwave beeps and the baby bottle is appropriately warm, he takes it back upstairs to see how the baby is doing.

Hiro is changed, placed back into his crib with only a diaper on. Katsuki dresses Hiroyuki in the clothes Izuku left out for him, then feeds him. Rocking in a rocking chair, Aiko pops her head in for a visit. She says nothing. Her passing by was only a means of getting to the bathroom. After Hiro finishes his bottle, Katsuki puts the baby back down into the crib with a toy so he can get dressed.

Izuku can take Hiro downstairs.

Scratching his stomach, he pads into the bedroom to get dressed while Hiro is still calm and Aiko is occupied.

“Happy anniversary!” Izuku announces with flourish. He bounces up and down on the bed in childlike excitement. In front of him is a wrapped up, cubed-shaped present. He holds the box out in offering, then puts it back down on the bed, unsure if he should hand the gift to Katsuki or not, but all too eager to watch him open it at some point. “Now, I know we promised to keep the gifts small this year, but I couldn’t help myself. I really think you’re gonna like it.”

The word anniversary nearly has Katsuki backing out of the room.

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” Izuku repeats. He drums on the box passionately. “I can’t wait to see the look on your face.”

Katsuki approaches the gift like it’s booby trapped. The wrapping paper has hearts all over it and Katsuki rips one in half. He can’t tell what the gift is until he rips the weakest part of the paper—the front, because it’s the one side that the box shows the shiny, new motorcycle helmet.

His mouth drops open in confusion.

“I know you miss your motorcycle and it got me thinking… maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if you had one after all.” Izuku continues smiling. “That’s only part one of your gift. Come downstairs.”

Izuku takes Katsuki by both hands and drags him away.

In their backyard with Katsudon on top of him, All Might sits playing with their dog, an embarrassed look on his face when he realizes he’s been caught.

“Ah, good morning, you two!” he says, voice booming in the way it used to in his inflated form. All Might rubs the back of his head sheepishly. “I tried to drop the gift off quickly and leave, but I’m afraid Katsudon wanted to engage in a little game of tug of war, and I couldn’t resist.”

Izuku laughs the encounter off. “That’s fine. Thank you for bringing it over. I owe you.”

All Might waves it off. “This is nothing.” He throws the toy he and Katsudon had been playing with far away so that the dog will go chase it, and so Katsudon does. He hands Katsuki a velvet pouch that feels distinctly key shaped inside. “I’ll leave you two to the rest of your morning. Should you need an assist later, feel free to call,” he says with a wink, then gets into the van with his flower shop’s name on it, and leaves.

On the curb, a large object with a tarp over it sits. Katsuki already has a good feeling that he knows what it is. He feels Izuku let go of his hands so he can rush forward to open the second half of his gift.

It’s a gorgeous Yamaha—a little lower end than the one Katsuki had been looking at the mall, but nice all the same. The black paint is glossy, and though it seems like an older model, a novice could easily assume that the motorcycle is new. The parts that Katsuki can easily inspect have been updated and well kept. Suddenly, he wishes he brought the helmet down so that he could take this baby out for a quick test drive.

“Do you like it?” Izuku asks, interrupting Katsuki’s thoughts. He folds his arms, shivering. They hadn’t grabbed coats since Izuku was so excited. “I know it’s not nearly as nice as the one we saw the other day, but I did a lot of research and Present Mic-san told me that this was a good one.”

“Yeah,” Katsuki replies. He nods, small. The mention of the mall makes him bristle. He really showed an ugly side of himself that day. “Where did you—how did you…”

“Afford it?” Izuku finishes for him. “Mic-san has a guy. I bought the bike used off him, and Mic-san did the rest. He finished it up real good.”

Katsuki never realized Present Mic was a motorcycle kind of guy.

“I know you’re probably dying to take it out, but I’m also freezing my ass off,” Izuku laughs. “Let’s take this inside.” He holds his hand out.

Katsuki accepts.

The coffee pot is finished brewing when they go back inside. Izuku fixes them both a cup, then sits at the kitchen table, his eyes starry and eager. Reality crashes back into Katsuki. The motorcycle was an anniversary present. Their fifth anniversary to be precise, and Katsuki has absolutely nothing prepared.

Eagerly, Izuku closes his eyes and holds both his hands out. His feet tap on the ground. He bites his lip to prevent himself from smiling.

“This is probably the part where I give you my gift now,” Katsuki says. He cringes as Izuku nods, stifling his laugh so much that it becomes a snort. “The thing is, it’s our anniversary day, so I hadn’t really planned on giving you your gift this morning. But it’s coming! Tonight, just you wait.”

Izuku peeks one eye open, the corners of his lips drooping. “Tonight?” he scoffs in disbelief. He lowers his hands into his lap. Both eyes open. “You’re worse than the kids on Christmas when it’s our anniversary. C’mon!” He seems concerned, but still hopeful that Katsuki has a reason to be dancing around bringing out his gift.

“That’s interesting that you mention that,” Katsuki says. He tries to laugh, but it comes out dry. His hand squeezes the pouch so tight that the edges of the key dig into his palm.

“You forgot,” Izuku says. His entire body deflates. Katsudon, settled underneath the kitchen table, lowers his head with a whine. “You really forgot our anniversary.”

“I can fix it,” Katsuki promises. “I-I can go out right now and get you something. I’ll make things right.”

Shaking his head, Izuku gets up from the table. He heads back up to the bedroom, his shoulders slumped. Being left to stand in the kitchen alone is worse than being yelled at, Katsuki decides.

Uncertain, Aiko enters the kitchen still dressed in her pajamas. She looks at Katsuki empathetically. “I forgot to tell you. Today is Papa and Daddy’s special day.”

“Don’t worry about it, small fry.” Katsuki sips his coffee. It tastes bitter. “How mad at me does he seem?”

“The door is closed. Daddy never closes his door,” she replies. She opens up the refrigerator to hand him the bottle of chocolate milk. “We should come up with an attack strategy together?”

“We?”

Aiko nods. “I’m supposed to be Papa’s sidekick.”

“The first thing on our plan of attack is chocolate milk?” he asks her.

She grins toothily. “The first plan of attack is always chocolate milk.”

Somehow, Katsuki manages to think it would be nice if all sidekicks took payment in chocolate milk.

🎄

After making several long phone calls to call in different favors, it becomes settled that Kirishima will come by the house to walk Katsudon in the afternoon and All Might will look after the kids once Ai gets out of school and Hiro finishes up with daycare. The kids already know that they’ll be spending the night at Uncle Toshi and Uncle Sho’s.

Twenty minutes later, while Izuku is still stewing in disappointment, Katsuki gets a call back from All Might with even more good news.

Katsuki might be able to redeem himself just yet.

“Hey,” he says, knocking on the bedroom door to announce his arrival. Izuku is dressed ready to go to the office. “I was serious earlier. About making things up to you. I already called and asked if All Might could watch the kids tonight.”

Izuku opens and closes his mouth. His brows furrow as if he can’t decide if he wants to resist. “What did you do?”

“Something I really think you’ll like. It even got Ai’s stamp of approval,” Katsuki says proudly.

“I still have to go into the office and the kids need to be dropped off,” Izuku says. He fastens a watch on his wrist.

“That’s fine. It’s too early to go where I wanna take you anyway,” Katsuki replies. He jingles the keys in his hand. “The kids are gonna be late if someone doesn’t take them now. I’ll do it if you don’t mind taking the bus to your office.”

Izuku looks as though he wants to say yes.

“So, what do you say? I’ll take care of the kids for the rest of the morning and then I’ll swing by your office around ten.” Katsuki would attempt to persuade Izuku with a kiss if he thought that would close the rift between them.

“Okay, fine,” Izuku relents. He looks away, searching for a coat that matches his outfit to grab on the go. He doesn’t see Katsuki triumphantly race downstairs. 

Aiko is waiting at the bottom of the steps, patiently petting Katsudon on the head. Hiro is sitting inside the curl of the dog’s body, occupied by a ring-shaped toy in his mouth. Katsuki gently removes it, wiping drool off Hiro’s chin. He lifts the baby up and props him against his hip.

“How’d it go?” Ai asks.

“I think I’ll be out of the doghouse by tonight no problem,” Katsuki relays.

Her little face becomes shocked. “You can’t fit in there. Papa’s too big!”

Katsuki ruffles her hair, much to her protestation. “It’s called a figure of speech.” He grabs her backpack off the bannister and hands it to her. “Where’s your lunchbox? We gotta go.”

Katsudon sees them off to the garage, sitting when Katsuki commands him to. Ai gives the dog a kiss goodbye right on the snout, then rushes after her papa to get into the car. The kids arrive on time for their respective locations. Now Katsuki has a little over two hours to kill. Somewhat thankfully, there’s a god at home waiting to be walked and two overnight bags for the kids to be packed.

Two hours is nothing.

🎄

“Katsuki,” Izuku says sternly, “this place isn’t open yet.”

Smirking, Katsuki gets out of the car. He walks around to the other side to let Izuku out. “It is for us.”

The Pro Hero Hall of Fame has been a work in progress for years. Between the Hero Public Safety Commission unsure how to design the Hall of Fame and where to put it, it’s been a delayed project for some time. They finally decided upon putting it in Tokyo. On opening day, they plan on having a public induction ceremony for all of the Pro Heros who will be honored in the hall.

Tickets have been made for civilians have been on the resale market for twice to three times the original amount they were purchased.

Katsuki had not been offered a ticket to go and thanks to All Might, he and Izuku will be getting a first glimpse without anyone else to disturb them.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Izuku asks. He steps out of the car.

“We’re here for a special private, pre-opening tour,” Katsuki explains. He crooks out his elbow so they can loop arms. “I bet that you’ll know more than anyone else. We won’t even need the tour guide.”

A pure, bright expression appears on his face. “How?”

“I called All Might, asked him to pull a few strings.” Katsuki shrugs nonchalantly as they walk up the stairs to the hall’s entrance.

The Pro Hero Hall of Fame is a massive building, spanning two stories to fit plenty hero memorabilia and a great hall where the induction for the most high class of guests will be allowed. There are a dozen steps at least to get up to the building itself.

Having been expecting them, the tour guide called in to show Izuku and Katsuki around opens the door for them.

Indeed, Izuku ends up showing that he’s more knowledgeable than the employee hired to show them around. Despite being greatly engrossed into the tour, Izuku manages to not talk over the tour guide inappropriately so. The first walkthrough of the hall takes an hour to complete. The second time through when it’s Katsuki and Izuku alone with free range to explore at their own pace, it takes over two times longer.

There isn’t a plaque that Izuku doesn’t stop to read, mumbling little oohs and aahs underneath his breath when he reads new information. His fingers twitch as he scratches his chin, a habit acquired from hastily taking notes on Pro Heroes. Katsuki thought ahead for this.

Katsuki pulls out a pocket notebook from the inside of his jacket with a brand new ballpoint pen. It’s not Izuku’s preferred methods of taking notes. Katsuki has long learned from their high school days that Izuku prefers composition notebooks because they’re cheap and he goes through them quicker than anyone else Katsuki has ever met.

Izuku takes the notebook, lips curled strangely as he tries to resist smiling. “You’re not off the hook yet, slick,” he tells him, teasing slightly.

Katsuki smirks. “The night has only just started.”

Izuku clicks his tongue. “We’ll see.”

A truce of sorts is formed between them. It starts with the first time Izuku asks Katsuki to take a picture of him while standing in front of an All Might display. The display which also is a replica of All Might’s many customs that Izuku has seen in person before.

After Izuku has studied the Hall of Fame in its entirety, they spend an additional half hour in the gift store so Izuku can debate which Gran Torino action figure he wishes to purchase.

Katsuki makes sure to make a mental note of the one Izuku puts back onto the shelf. Izuku might be thirty, but Katsuki sure didn’t miss that half of his bookshelf in his office were dedicated spaces to action figures. Being thirty doesn’t mean that he can’t have hobbies anymore.

They make a quick stop to the hotel Katsuki got a room for the night so they can freshen up and Izuku can call the kids to tell them goodnight early. 

The restaurant Katsuki takes them too is pricey. It has a dress code and the prices aren’t listed on the menu. It’s that kind of fancy place. Katsuki isn’t a fan of getting dressed up, but his luck always increased when he took people here—ladies and gentlemen, business or for pleasure. He’s hoping that he’ll have the same luck with Izuku.

Katuski takes the initiative to do the ordering, feeling confident since this is the closest to his former self than he’s felt in a while. Even though this isn’t his favorite kind of place to be, it’s a familiar one.

“I don’t suppose you called favors for this place, too, did you?”

He shakes his head, handing their menus back to their waiter. “This was all me,” he replies, putting his hand on top of Izuku’s.

Izuku swirls his glass, then takes a sip of his wine. The bottle, thankfully, had been pre-paid for by All Might and Aizawa after Katsuki sat through a very long lecture from Aizawa outside All Might’s store. Anniversaries are important because the event they celebrate. The price tag attached to the gifts that go along with them are of secondary importance. Aizawa made sure to make that clear.

They split their servings of steak and crab not entirely on purpose. It starts with sharing just a taste, which turns into them sliding closer together in the booth so they can eat off each other’s plates more easily.

“I thought you said you didn’t like shellfish,” Katsuki jokes when Izuku tries to steal the last of his crab off his plate.

“I thought so too,” Izuku agrees. He cracks another crab leg open. “You know, I could say the same thing to you. I don’t remember you liking seafood, period.”

Katsuki would have to agree. His enjoyment of seafood became an acquired taste over the years. He started off taking baby steps. In being friends with Kirishima who will eat almost anything, Katsuki had to learn how to expand his palate. This universe’s Katsuki must not have done the same.

He takes in a deep breath.

“I think… it might be helpful if I’m completely honest with you.” Izuku stays silent as Katsuki reaches for his wine. He drains the rest of the glass, wincing at the sweet taste. But he needs that extra bit of liquid courage to continue. “You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been acting… strange lately. It’s because I’m—I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. One day I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted and then one morning I woke up and… and suddenly it was all different.”

Izuku’s head tilts. He angles his body toward Katsuki, putting a gentle hand on his knee. “Different in what way?”

“I… I used to be the guy who always had a plan, always had things figured out. I didn’t second guess myself, I didn’t look back with regrets. But now I do. I’m not sure what I’m doing and I have no clue what comes next. It scares the shit outta me,” Katsuki says. He tries to avoid looking Izuku directly in the eye.

“No one can predict the future,” Izuku says, offering a small smile. He looks down at his lap, a sad memory that comes to mind. “It’s natural to be afraid of the unknown.”

“I’ve never seen you look afraid,” Katsuki replies. Not even when they were kids and Izuku jumped in between Katsuki and a sludge monster did Izuku let fear overcome him.

Izuku takes Katsuki’s left hand and holds it with both of his own. His thumb finds Katsuku’s wedding band and absentmindedly spins it as he puts their hands on his lap. “That’s because I have you. Whatever obstacle there is, I know that we’ll work through it together. Do I wish that my office was bigger or that the HPSC actually promoted public safety? Sure, but life is never that easy.”

“It could’ve been,” Katsuki whispers.

Both in terms of them going their separate ways—Katsuki was at the top and Izuku, even if Katsuki never heard from him again, surely made a reputation for himself even bigger than the one he has now—or, if they had decided not to have kids in this life. Katsuki could’ve climbed even higher up the rankings and Izuku could have stayed at his agency working full time without feeling guilty.

They could’ve been the envy of others. Together they could’ve been the envy of others.

”It could have,” Izuku agrees. “Sometimes I wonder what kind of life I could’ve had if we didn’t have the kids. If I didn’t marry you.”

Katsuki swallows the lump in his throat. He squeezes Izuku’s hand without realizing. “And?”

“And then I realized I erased all the things in life that I love. You and the kids. I may not know what will happen to us tomorrow, but I know that we’ll be together. That’s the thing I’m sure about,” Izuku says with conviction. “What are you sure about?”

“I…” Katsuki says, mind reeling. He looks at Izuku and can see the kids happily sitting on either side of them, Katsudon worming his wet nose into his hand. All Might and Aizawa look over at them from a distance, All Might giving a big wave where Aizawa offers a small nod, and a smile into his wrapping scarf. Kirishima’s arm wraps around his shoulder, putting him into a headlock. “I like my life… and I’m sure that wherever you are is where I belong.”

Wordlessly, Izuku closes the gap between them for a kiss. However, Izuku breaks the kiss all too soon. Resting his forehead against Katsuki’s, he says, “Is it too early to ask for the check?”

Smooth, Katsuki replies, “I thought you’d never ask.”

Back at the hotel, Katsuki gets some sensual music playing on his phone with a tiny bluetooth speaker for when Izuku finishes up in the shower. He essentially pushed Izuku in the bathroom to have a few moments to himself so that the tiny cake he ordered could be delivered and he could set up the room to be extra romantic. Izuku will be in his pajamas and Katsuki will still be in his suit, but it doesn’t matter what they’re wearing. What matters is that Katsuki finally thinks he’s getting used to this husband thing.

“You’ve really outdone yourself,” Izuku comments, impressed. He lets out a small snort, glancing down at his snowflake pajamas that he’s yet to have retired for the season.

Izuku walks straight into the circle of Katsuki’s arms. Together they sway slowly to the beat of the music. Katsuki reaches for Izuku’s hand so he can twirl his husband around, dipping him as the song ends. Izuku laughs, holding onto Katsuki’s shoulder. Their hands are held tightly against his chest. Katsuki helps Izuku stand back up with another short spin.

This time, he has Izuku twirl so he falls back against Katsuki’s chest into a loose back hug. “So,” Katsuki says in a light tone, “how deep in the dog house am I?”

“I suppose you’ve earned your way out of it,” Izuku jokes. He turns around, wanting to spin Katsuki around this time.

Katsuki does so right as the instrumental music shifts into a solo. “Champagne?” he asks. The hotel had given them the bottle as a complimentary gift when Katsuki called up to make a reservation. He may have let the reason why they were visiting slip in hopes of a little something.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Izuku says. He takes the bottle out of the bottle cooler and pops it open. The cork flies away. Later, they’ll pick it up. For now, Izuku pours champagne into two flutes.

Lifting their glasses, they clink them together in a silent toast.

Katsuki watches Izuku carefully as he pats down the bed for his cell phone to take a picture of the pretty cake and the bottle of champagne. Katsuki, in his good mood, even allows Izuku to take a picture of him. He doesn’t usually enjoy being photographed. He always finds that his expression is tense. Perhaps, because the photo ends up being candid, Katsuki ends up appearing much more relaxed. There’s even a smile on his face he wasn’t even aware he was wearing.

In seriousness, his smile drops. His heart starts pounding. “You’re beautiful,” Katsuki tells Izuku, lowering his drink. He places it back onto the tiny hotel table.

Izuku ducks his chin to hide his blush. “Kacchan, c’mon,” he says in disbelief.

“No, you are,” he asserts earnestly.

If his hair was longer, Izuku would be tucking it behind his ear. “I already told you, you’re outta the dog house. You don’t have to… to you know.”

“You sayin’ I can’t compliment my own husband?” Katsuki asks. He pulls Izuku closer to him, taking him by the hips. He revels in that their height difference is much of the same as it used to be. Izuku is a bit more fit than he used to be and Katsuki is a bit softer, but holding Izuku feels the same as it always did.

“Who are you and what did you do with my husband?” Izuku questions.

Katsuki heart skips a beat. “What?”

“You’ve been a real sweet talker tonight. Not that I’m not enjoying it, but you’re usually more scarce with the compliments,” Izuku replies candidly.

“Yeah, well,” Katsuki says, thinking of his next move. He almost thought for certain Izuku found him out. “Maybe I’m tryin’ something new out. I…” Izuku hums, pressing his body closer, one arm around Katsuki’s shoulders, the other trying to undo each one of his buttons slowly. “I realized that I never stopped loving you. Not a single day in over thirteen years have I stopped loving you.”

Izuku halts. A flicker of heat appear in his eyes. His gentle smile becomes a simper. “That was all I wanted to hear.”

Through thick and thin, they’ve been through it all. No matter what curveball has been sent their way, nothing has been able to separate them for long. There are things that have happened two decades ago, even three, that Katsuki can recall like they were yesterday. They’ve been tied together by a red string of fate.

Out of all the universes and parallel timelines Katsuki could have been sent into, he was sent into the one where he and Izuku are still together. They must truly be meant to be. Katsuki is sure that there’s no one else in life who can make him feel whole like Izuku can.

Katsuki buries his face into Izuku’s neck, mouthing lazily at the skin there. Izuku gasps, arching his neck. His fingers pluck away at Katsuki’s buttons with more urgency than before.

Fearlessly, Katsuki lifts Izuku by holding him tight where buttcheek meets thigh. Cooperatively, Izuku lets Katsuki hold him with a small hop, before wrapping his legs tight around Katsuki’s waist. Now higher than Katsuki, Izuku lifts Katsuki’s face by the chin for a frantic kiss. They kiss, absorbed into each other while Katsuki walks them closer to the bed.

Laid out on the mattress, Katsuki takes his shirt off the rest of the way, then climbs on top of Izuku, pleased when his husband’s legs naturally part for him. A foot hooks around the back of his thigh and a hand comes up to cup Katsuki through his slacks. Katsuki groans into Izuku’s mouth.

“Make love to me,” Izuku requests, whispering low and sultry into Katsuki’s ear.

Katsuki determines that getting Izuku is the best first step. He trails kisses down the slope of Izuku’s neck, slowly unbuttoning each button on Izuku’s top. Katsuki is very selective in the skin that he touches. He can feel Izuku shivering beneath him, chest arching up in an attempt to get his attention. Katsuki ignores it for now. They have all night because Katsuki fully intends on making every penny spent on this room count.

With a small lift of his hips, Katsuki gets Izuku’s pants down and around his legs. He sliding down the bed as an opportunity to adjust himself in his slacks where he’s straining against the zipper. His focus is entirely on Izuku.

Izuku’s boxers are a shade of soft, baby blue with the front dark with precum. Katsuki smirks. He’s about to make that a lot darker.

Katsuki mouths over Izuku’s cock on top of the boxers, laving his tongue in a tease. A hand fists tight in his hair, legs closing in around his head. Katsuki grips Izuku’s thighs and parts them, his fingers pressing in deep marks. He glances up at Izuku and Izuku looks back, face red and breathing heavily. Izuku has opened his shirt wider, his fingers poised around his hard nipples.

A brilliant idea pops into Katsuki’s head.

He reaches up with one arm, poised on his knees, his back arched so he can suck lewdly around Izuku’s cock and play with Izuku’s pink nipples at the same time. Izuku grabs Katsuki by the wrist, squirming.

“Fuck, Kacchan,” Izuku says, trying to smother his moans into the pillow next to his head.

Katsuki pulls Izuku out of his boxers and swallows him deep. Izuku cries out, his hips bucking. Katsuki chokes slightly, but doesn’t allow himself to be discouraged. He continues on, bobbing his head much more cautiously. When his jaw begins to tire, he pulls off with a pop. Handless, he lets Izuku’s cock bounce against his cheek as he mouths up and down the sensitive length.

Occasionally, he curls his tongue out on the underside, letting Izuku take in the image slowly.

“Ka—” Izuku starts, but is unable to finish.

Katsuki tweaks Izuku’s nipple, the hand around his wrist tightening. “Yeah?”

“This,” Izuku says, licking his dry lips, “isn’t fucking me.”

“Pretty sure you said make love,” Katsuki wisecracks.

Izuku would roll his eyes if he wasn’t this close to coming. “I changed my mind. With the kids, we barely have enough time alone to pee. You can be sweet later.” Unexpectedly, he flips Katsuki onto his back. He gazes down at Katsuki wantonly. “Right now I want you inside me.”

Katsuki strips eagerly. At the same time Izuku slips off the bed to rummage through his suitcase for lube. It’s a small bottle that looks mostly empty. Considering the kids have made it more difficult for Izuku and Katsuki to have drawn out sex, they’ve still managed to steal away small moments. 

He tries to sit up to assist Izuku, but he pushes Katsuki back down. 

“Watch me,” Izuku says.

Getting comfortable on his hands and knees, Izuku situates himself between Katsuki’s spread our legs while facing the other wall. He squirts some lube onto his fingers, then slowly arches his back while exposing himself enticingly. Katsuki groans at the image, getting a hand around his cock. He reaches out to touch, his fingers spreading Izuku’s cheeks further apart. 

Entranced, Katsuki watches as slick fingers slide in and out of his hole. Izuku moans Katsuki’s name, but still doesn’t allow him to touch, not really. He gives Katsuki an order not to come until Izuku tells him he can.

Unable to put things off much longer just for the purpose of testing the boundaries of Katsuki’s sanity, he stops at three fingers.

They romp around on the bed a bit longer, kissing and frotting against each other. Izuku marks up Katsuki’s neck with lovebites and Katsuki finally, truly, gets his hands on that perfect ass of Izuku’s. Two soft handfuls that Katsuki leaves his fingerprint marks on. Izuku whimpers into Katsuki’s mouth that he’s about to come, but doesn’t want to.

“Not until you’re inside me,” Izuku says, completely wanton.

Katsuki pushes Izuku onto his back, taking the back of his thighs and guiding them back until Izuku is folded in half. Izuku locks his arms around the backs of his knees. With Izuku presenting himself on a silver platter for Katsuki, he drags his nails down the back of Izuku’s thighs, watching as he tries biting his lip to keep in all the embarrassing sounds.

If Izuku plans on playing things coy, that only gives Katsuki a new goal of dragging all those sounds out of him. A game that should end up being fun for both of them.

Izuku’s back arches off the bed as Katsuki puts his head between his legs, licking a broad stripe from his hole all the way up his cock. The lube leaves a funny taste in his mouth, but it’s worth watching Izuku lose his patience again.

Taking his cock in hand, Katsuki purposefully thrusts between Izuku’s wet cheeks, letting the tip of his cock dip into that eager heat, but not allowing it to sink in. He repeats the motion three times, watching how beautifully Izuku comes apart underneath his touch. Izuku, no longer willing to beat around the bush, reaches between his legs to guide Katsuki inside him. His jaw drops, then he quickly clenches his teeth to let out a long, satisfied hiss.

Fuck ,” Katsuki gasps, fingers digging deeper into the meat of Izuku’s thigh. He rests more of his weight forward, stopping when he and Izuku are chest to chest.

Katsuki regains his breath. He thrusts forward with a quick snap of his hips. Izuku cries out, a hand flying to grip onto the sheets. Easily, Katsuki finds his rhythm, knowing how and when he can make Izuku scream his name. Kacchan never sounded more like music to his ears than it does now.

Unfortunately, Katsuki doesn’t last long. He’s weak to Izuku squeezing tight around him and the way tears form in the corner of his eyes from being so close to orgasming.

Adding a few extra languid thrusts, his thighs quivering, Katsuki jerks Izuku off to completion. He swallows down Izuku’s every last utterance of his name. They bask in the afterglow when all is done. Izuku sniffles, tilting his chin up for another kiss, which Katsuki grants him.

“You know,” Izuku says, a mischievous glint in his eyes, “they have a really nice shower here.”

Katsuki almost wishes they were teens again with endless stamina and quick refractory periods. But even so, Katsuki isn’t turning an offer like this down. “You should show me.”

Izuku happily sighs, burying his face into the crook of Katsuki’s neck. “After cake?”

“After cake.”

🎄

Katsuki picks up the kids from Uncle Toshi’s with an extra pop in his step.

“Things went well, I’m guessing,” All Might laughs.

He takes the baby bag and Ai’s backpack with a smile. “You could say that.” The whole marital bliss thing is rubbing off on him a little. Inside the house he can hear the kids saying goodbye. “Thanks for taking them. I know it was pretty last minute.”

All Might leans against the doorframe, shaking his head. “Not at all! Shouta and I are used to these sleepovers at least once a year. Though, I was surprised that you hadn’t asked earlier.”

Katsuki scratches the back of his neck, kicking off the dried up snow and mud caked onto the bottom of his shoes. “You didn’t hear?” All Might inclines his head, listening. “I forgot. Ended up calling your house in a panic.”

“Ah,” All Might says with a nod. “I do believe I did hear Shouta grumbling about something. Well your plan to go to the Hall of Fame fixed that problem well enough, I suppose. Best not make a habit of forgetting those types of things if I were you though.”

“The first time was my last time,” Katsuki reassures.

All Might nods, accepting and trusting Katsuki’s word quicker than Aizawa did. He turns to look back into his house. “Kids, your papa is waiting for you!”

Katsuki takes the kids back home.

The rest of the weekend goes by without a hitch. Most of their time is spent at home, but Katsuki gets exploratory and takes Katsudon and Hiro to the park. He feels an indescribable sense of enjoyment out of catching the eyes of moms at the park while he walks the dog and pushes Hiro along in his stroller. The smile at him flirtily, but Katsuki looks past them.

He has a husband to get home to.

Midweek Katsuki creates a food menu for the week, taking the car out to the store.

While Katsuki is in the cereal aisle debating how much sugar he should allow Ai to have, he hears screaming.Curious, he takes his shopping cart and rolls out toward the front of the store near the checkout lines. Through the large front window, Katsuki sees a man go flying backwards, crashing straight into the store and onto a checkout conveyor belt.

Katsuki doesn’t recognize the Pro Hero attempting to get back up.

Naturally, Katsuki doesn’t even think. He just walks forward while everyone around him tries to rush deeper into the store for safety. 

A villain with a long, flowing cape floats into the store, suspended in the air with wind. The man’s arms are extended on either side of his body, a triumphant, cocky smirk on his face. He looks confident that he’s already won, however, he hasn’t killed his opponent yet and the look on his face seems to tell that that’s exactly what he plans to do.

The weak Pro Hero turns around, unstable on his feet. “Get back!” he warns anyone who hadn’t had the sense to do so already.

Katsuki can’t run.

Over the years, Katsuki has met enough elemental-controlling bastards. This villain might be strong, but Katsuki is too and he’s not going to run away. 

A hand pushes against his chest. “I said, get back,” the hero repeats.

Katsuki pushes the hand away. “Do you want my fucking help or do you wanna die?”

The hero turns white. “I-I couldn’t possibly ask a civilian

“I’m not a civilian. I’m the Number Four Pro Hero Ground Zero,” Katsuki says. He narrows his eyes at the villain watching their every move.

“Ground… weren’t you recently demoted to Number Thirty-six?” the hero puts a gloved hand on his chin, thinking.

“I’d shut up before I blast you in the face. You worry about getting backup here. I’ll take care of things for now,” Katsuki insits. He pushes the loser away with a sharp shove. Slowly, he takes off his winter coat. Their conversation has amused the villain.

The villain is actually patiently waiting for Katsuki to be ready so they can fight.

“Heroes are so naive getting so caught up in the rankings. If you’re the supposed Number Four Hero, then I’m the Number O—” the villain begins to monologue only to be cut off by Katsuki throwing a Stun Grenade in his direction. It’s not as strong as he could’ve made it in his own universe, but it does just fine in catching the villain off guard.

Katsuki hops up onto the check out belt. While the villain loses control of the wind around him, Katsuki leaps forward, propelled by a one-handed Blast Rush to give the villain a classic roundhouse to the face. Together, they crash onto the ground. Katsuki’s methods have become a bit rougher than they used to be.

He’s going on all brute strength with little reliance on his quirk. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t have his costume. He can’t build up his sweat for even the most basic explosion without his gauntlets.

He’ll have to find a way to make due with weaker attacks.

Abruptly, Katsuki is thrown back with a mix of fire and wind. He feels heat all around his face. Squinting his eyes, and turning his cheek, Katsuki tries not to get burned. He ends up flat on his back, landing hard on the tile.

The villain looms over him, blood welling on his split lip Katsuki gave him. That smug look is still there, but there’s worry in his eyes. Running into Katsuki hadn’t been part of this guy’s plan at all. Katsuki can work with that. This villain doesn’t have a quirk that’s easy for Katsuki to deal with, even if he was in top form.

He’ll have to use this villain not knowing Katsuki’s moves to his advantage.

Katsuki once again leaps forward to attack. However, this time, the ground breaks through the concrete foundation and tiling to wrap around Katsuki’s ankle, dragging him back down.

“Fucking elementals,” Katsuki curses as he tries to figure out how strong the dirt clamped around his leg is. It feels solid.

The villain uses his quirk again, rising Katsuki up from the earth as a funnel of wind surrounds him. The wind forms a funnel around his trapped body, moving so quickly it gradually cuts off Katsuki’s source of oxygen. He squeezes his eyes shut as his body tries to panic—wants to panic.

He can’t though, because if he starts to hyperventilate, he’ll pass out sooner.

The no name hero that Katsuki is unfamiliar with comes to his rescue. Stupidly, but maybe a bit bravely as well, he dives into the funnel. His body, in a quirk that’s very familiar to Katsuki, turns into metal. That helps them both cut in and out of the quirk-made tornado.

Katsuki sucks in air, eyes bulging as he focuses on breathing. He has to breathe.

A hand rubs his back for a short moment, then the lame hero is gone again, having been blasted away with a shot of fire. This time, however, the other hero has been thrown out of the store and away from Katsuki.

The villain circles around him, an eyebrow raised. “Is that all from our Number Four Hero?”

Katsuki grinds his teeth together, his left hand clenched into a fist. He can feel little sparks tickling the palm of his hand. He’s making due. He’ll make due.

Getting back onto his feet, he stretches one arm out, then forming a circle with the other, he lets the sweat build up. The villain continues watching, waiting, as if that’s the polite thing to do. Katsuki really hates this guy. He doesn’t feel the least bit guilty for aiming an AP Shot right at the man’s face.

Luckily, the villain had been standing so close, so sure that Katsuki would be weak. The AP Shot reaches the villain, and as the smoke and dust forms a cloud between them, Katsuki waits to see how much damage was done. He’s not taking a villain who can control, earth, wind, and fire lightly. The move is strong, but the villain’s quirk is stronger.

As predicted, when the cloud clears, there’s a wall of dirt woven with vines between them. The wall slowly crumbles, revealing that there had been two layers put up since Katsuki blasted through the first one.

The villain on the other side, hunches over, holding a hand to his face. It seems that the impact of Katsuki’s AP Shot didn’t hit him evenly. Just enough of the explosion reached the villain’s face, blinding him in one eye. Katsuki can’t let the villain catch his breath. He pushes the villain back into the store, pushing himself to the limit.

The man staggers backwards, using columns of dirt and small gusts of wind to keep himself upright.

It becomes a test of who can move quicker, who can beat who to the next move.

Shockingly, a punch that Katsuki had thought was normal, sends the villain crashing into an aisle shelf and through it. Katsuki looks at his hand, wondering where the strength came from. He had been releasing small bursts of his quirk into each punch, but that would never be enough all on its own to do the same type of damage.

Appearing in front of Katsuki as a bright yellow light, Lemillion poses with his hands on his hips. He turns to Katsuki to give him a proud thumbs up.

“I heard there was trouble in the area and I came as fast as I could!” Lemillion announces.

For once, Katsuki isn’t completely pissed to see the yellow bastard. The other cape wearing freak was really giving Katsuki a run for his money. Katsuki could’ve finished things on his own, but at what cost? His other hand?

How badly would his injuries be at the end of the battle if it was him all alone?

For today only, Ground Zero and Lemillion will work as a team.

Getting back home alive is more important than his pride.

“You better not take all the credit for this,” Katsuki snaps regardless.

Lemillion looks down at the ground rumbling beneath his feet. “I wouldn’t dream of it, pal!”

A long gust of fire and wind with a dirt base inside, shoots out at Lemillion. It phases through the Number One Hero’s body entirely. He even laughs at the attempt, good spirited in a way that Katsuki usually hates. He’s such a friendly, happy bastard. Like a ray of sunshine, which brings to mind the thought of Suneater. Katsuki usually knows them to be a package deal but only one of them is here.

“Let’s finish this, shall we?” Lemillion uses his quirk to dip into the floor. Down below, that gives Katsuki the opportunity to take the element manipulator head on, distracting him long enough for a surprise attack down below.

This fight will be over in an instant.

Katsuki has never been able to figure it out. There’s something so close about Lemillion’s power to All Might’s that transcends the mentor-mentee relationship they had. He pushes that aside in his mind to worry about another time.

He gets as close as he can to the villain, running along the top of the aisle shelves. When in close enough range, he jumps down.

That’s where the battle ends.

The hero from earlier, protects Katsuki with his body, utilizing his quirk like a shield while Lemillion launches the villain into the sky with a Texas Smash. Part of his face hurts and he curls into himself while holding a hand to his face. It seems as though they exchanged an eye for an eye. The villain’s last blow wasn’t blocked entirely.

Katsuki is helped into a sitting position as paramedics and the police arrive on scene. He sits propped up against a destroyed shelf, an ice pack wrapped in a towel given to him to hold over his eye. Lemillion comes to stand by his side.

“Not bad for your first time back on the job, partner,” Lemillion compliments. He pats Katsuki on the shoulder, then leaves to relay what happened to the police.

The civilians who had been in the store at the time of the attack slowly make their way back to the front to leave. Paramedics ask each one of them if they had been hurt at any point. Some have minor scrapes and bruises. Many children that had been in the building are crying. All that Katsuki can see except one.

A little girl hiding behind her father’s pant leg peeks around to look at Katsuki. In one arm she holds on tightly to a stuffed Lemillion. The cape of his costume is clutched tight between her fingers. Her eyes are a brilliant blue and they well up in tears out of concern when he looks wearily at her.

Katsuki smiles at her.

He really needs to call Izuku to tell him he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make dinner tonight.

🎄

An eye patch is given to Katsuki to wear so long as the burn heals. It’s only a surface wound according to the doctor. It won’t scar permanently, though the skin might not be the same for a while. More importantly, his eye should work just fine. His sight will suffer some, but if the doctor was really concerned Katsuki doesn’t think the man would’ve been as calm as he had been.

Little Hiro doesn’t understand what the eyepatch is for and tries to poke and prod at it when Katsuki asks Izuku to let him hold the baby. Katsuki suspects that Hiro sleeps perfectly fine that night. The same can’t be said for Aiko. She knows that Katsuki is a trustworthy alien replica of her father.

She cries seeing his eyepatch and his hands bandaged up. Katsuki offers to let her sleep in the bed with him and Izuku that night, and despite Izuku protesting that there’s not enough room in the bed for all three of them to sleep without risking rubbing against Katsuki uncomfortably, Katsuki insists.

“Do me a favor today, hero,” Izuku says as he prepares to head out for the day, “try not to get into any trouble.”

Katsuki nods. He’s been temporarily banned from doing heavy lifting around the house while his hands are injured. “Technically trouble found me,” he argues beneath his breath.

Izuku strokes Katsuki’s hair. “I know,” he replies softly. “If you need anything, call me.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Katsuki says grumpily.

The whole house to himself, Katsuki makes the time go by doing a variety of things. He pulls down dusty puzzles from the shelves in the garage. He takes Katsudon for longer walks so he can go outside. He watches TV and catches up on some of the movies that he missed from working so much. It’s kind of nice even though being stuck at home drives him a little bit crazy. It becomes a little vacation that Katsuki hasn’t taken for himself in a long time.

There’s no kids to take care of, no husband to worry about, just him and the dog.

The wrappings on his right hand come off before his left. It allows him to do more things again. He takes the kids to school and daycare and goes to help at All Might’s shop. The monotony is relaxing. Katsuki doesn’t have to worry about knowing where all the exits are in the building. He doesn’t jump at every loud noise.

(He does do those things, actually. They make him feel better. It makes him feel like he and his family are in a safe, secure place. They never comment on it. The habit is deeply rooted into him these days. It doesn’t concern Katsuki’s therapist so long as the habit doesn’t hold back Katsuki from going out in public.)

All Might actually calls Katsuki to see if he can come in one day, citing a large party coming through. He needs extra hands on deck and Katsuki will be perfect for what he needs.

The thing ends up being menial labor. There are roses that need their stems cut. After showing Katsuki how to do it, Katsuki is left alone in the back of the store with a pair of gloves and a paring knife. All Might starts up music to play throughout the shop and the tedious job becomes strangely calming.

All Might returns over an hour later when Katsuki is halfway through the order. He’s really gotten a good hang of it now. He can take the thorns off without crushing the petals or nicking his glove.

“How’s the progress going, my boy?” All Might asks, an unfamiliar man following him.

Katsuki feels quite proud that he isn’t destroying the pretty flowers. “Good,” he answers, focused on his task.

“Maybe you can take a little break. There’s someone here to see you,” All Might says. He tries leaning down so he can be more in Katsuki’s line of sight.

“Huh?” he asks.

An older man dressed in a suit with a shiny black briefcase offers Katsuki his business card with two polite hands. Katsuki regards the card with apprehension, though he takes it. Overtaking the card is the logo for the Endeavor Agency in big red print.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you again, Ground Zero-san. I’m Hirakawa Akinari. I’m a talent scout from the Endeavor Agency. You might remember me from your days at U.A. If you don’t, I understand. I’m sure you met a number of people in your days. If you could spare some of your time today, I’d like to talk to you about a future with Endeavor Agency.”

🎄

Katsuki holds they keycard up to the reader, waiting for the lock to click open. He opens the door wide, chivalrously allowing Izuku to walk into the spacious condo first.

“This place is huge,” Izuku says, having only just walked through the foyer to the living room and kitchen. A closed door they passed is supposed to be the laundry room Katsuki hears.

“Four bedrooms and three and a half baths,” Katsuki reports proudly. He saw a 3D blueprint of the place already. The kitchen is smaller than what they have now and the bedroom has the smallest closets Katsuki has ever seen, but it works.

“You didn’t rent this place for the weekend, did you?” Izuku walks into the kitchen, running his finger along the brand new granite countertop.

Katsuki sits on the couch, casually crossing his legs like he belongs here. “Think bigger.”

“The week?” Izuku starts to get that look on his face when he’s ready to argue with Katsuki but reluctant to do so.

“Hear me out. It’s for us. To live here,” Katsuki explains in brief. “At least until we get a place of our own to rent or buy. It’ll be up to us, but we’ll be able to choose any building or house we wanna live in.”

“How?” Izuku asks, his voice turning stern like he uses with the kids.

“A rep from Endeavor’s agency came in All Might’s shop the other day. They noticed that I’ve been creeping up the rankings recently even though I haven’t officially announced my return to the field and they wanna represent me. They let people who are about to join the agency stay here.”

“That’s nice they’re interested,” Izuku says with little sincerity.

Katsuki takes a deep breath. “I can’t stay home and play house husband all the time. I have to go back to work at some point.”

“I know, but Tokyo? You can find an agency in Yokohama or if your fixation really won’t let you look anywhere else, cut a deal so we don’t have to pack up our entire family.” Izuku sits down at the bar on the other side of the kitchen counter.

“Well, why don’t you wanna move back? I don’t remember you hating Tokyo so much when we were younger,” Katsuki bites out.

Izuku tries to keep his temper in check. “That’s before we had kids and a house and our entire family rooted in Yokohama. Moving to Tokyo wouldn’t just be a matter of moving things. We would have to switch Hiro’s daycare and find Aiko a new school. My office is in Yokohama. And would we even be able to take Katsudon with us? Did you check beforehand if this place will allow dogs as big as him?”

“There are plenty of good schools out here. We went to school out here,” Katsuki defends.

“That’s not the point. Ai just started to really get established at her school and you know how badly she reacts to change. She’s not gonna like being transferred halfway through the school year.” Izuku rubs his face.

Katsuki gets a niggling feeling that he and Izuku have had this conversation before.

“She’s the smartest kid I know. She’ll make new friends,” Katsuki says resolutely.

“Our entire support system is in Yokohama. Kota, Yagi and Aizawa-san, my mom—”

“That’s your support system, not mine,” Katsuki establishes. “My friends are in Tokyo. My mentor—”

My support system!” Izuku repeats angrily. He stands up. “You know for a fact that they’d help you in a heartbeat. I can’t justify moving my kids back to the city just because you… you miss Eijirou? Yokohama isn’t on the other side of the country, Katsuki. He’s an hour away. You can see him any time you want. Don’t act like you never see or hear from him anymore!”

“I’m not,” Katsuki disagrees. “You’re not seeing how much we could have here!”

“And you’re not understanding how much we would have to give up to come out here. If it was so easy to move, people would do it all the time. Moving takes planning and research and careful consideration, especially when there are kids involved,” Izuku says, emphasizing each point by jabbing his finger onto the kitchen table.

“If I take up the job with the Endeavor Agency I’ll make more off of advertisements alone than we do with our salaries combined. We could get Ai the best tutors in the country where she’d never have to worry about where she’s goin’ to school next. The same for Hiro. You can get the biggest office you want out here. I know we’d be giving up a lot to get out here, but we’ll be getting so much out of it too,” Katsuki says, wanting Izuku to understand.

Katsuki isn’t taking things lightly. He knows he’s proposing uprooting their entire family. He just thinks that it’ll be worth it.

Izuku smiles sadly, shaking his head. “I like my tiny office. And the kids… they don’t have to be scholars, Kacchan. They just have to do their best and be themselves. You know how many kids out there are at the top of their class but they hate life and they don’t know how to do anything but school? I don’t want those kids to be our kids. I want them to find something they're passionate about and embrace that.”

“They wouldn’t…” Katsuki replies.

“But we don’t know that. We just have to hope that they’re doing alright and if they’re not, that they’ll tell us.” Izuku’s shoulders slump. He takes one look around the living room. At what they could have if he only listened to Katsuki.

“We’ve already passed on so many good opportunities,” Katsuki says, losing confidence. He sits more modestly.

“Yeah, we did, and look at how much we got out of them. We got two great kids and a home that we built together.”

“We could still have that here. We could be the envy of so many people,” Katsuki stresses.

Izuku licks his lips, looking up at the ceiling. His throat works hard to swallow. “They already do envy us.” He clears his throat as tears threaten to fall. He leaves Katsuki sitting on the couch, alone with his thoughts.

Katsuki sits there, just listening to the clock on the wall tick for some time. When he makes it down to the car, Izuku is sitting in the passenger seat, his eyes closed, breathing in and out heavily. There’s a tissue wadded up in his hand.

He starts the car.

“You’re right,” Katsuki admits. “What if instead, I commuted? You said so yourself, Tokyo to Yokohama isn’t that far away. It’s doable and now that school started back up, the kids will barely even notice I’m gone. I’ll tell ‘em I can’t work weekends and—”

“Kacchan, please,” Izuku says, holding up a hand between them. “I don’t wanna talk about this anymore right now. Let’s go home.”

Katsuki puts the car in drive.

It’s a silent drive on the way home.

Home.

🎄

“Got any fives?”

Aiko giggles, shaking her head. She gleefully informs Katsuki, “Go fish!”

Katsuki groans, taking card after card until he finally makes a match. He always has the worst luck with card games. It’s why he never plays poker with Kirishima. “Whenever you finish kicking my ass, it’s time for you to go to bed.”

“And if I lose?”

“You’re going to bed either way,” Katsuki replies.

She pouts, trying to play the cute card on him.

“Take it up with your dad if you wanna stay up late,” he dares. Katsuki isn’t going to argue with a little kid.

“Fine,” she huffs. She lowers her cards, not noticing that Katsuki can now see them. “Will you braid my hair before bed?”

He raises a brow.

“Please?”

Katsuki hears Izuku upstairs making his bedtime rounds: put Hiro to bed, tell Ai to start the same, make sure all the doors are locked, prep the coffee for tomorrow morning. “Lemme do it now,” he replies. He stretches his legs out. Ai had wanted to play Go Fish while sitting on the floor. She bounces onto his lap. “One braid or two?”

“One French, please,” she says politely. She brings her cards with her, showing Katsuki her entire hand.

A marathon of YouTube videos taught Katsuki how to upgrade his simple three strand braid skills to something more intricate. In execution, his French braiding skills looks ugly, but it makes Ai’s hair wavy regardless. She very seriously, sat him down one night with string, to tutor him to make his braiding neater. So long as she doesn’t break out a mirror, what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

“Ai, did you brush your teeth yet?” Izuku yells into the living room from the kitchen.

“No!”

“Go do it!”

“In a minute! Papa is braiding my hair!”

A butter knife in hand with jelly on it, Izuku pokes his head into the room. “No stalling if you want to stay up and read before bed, okay?”

Ai holds out a hair tie to Katsuki over her shoulder. “Okay.”

Believing his job to have been sufficiently done, he ties the end of her braid with the tie and sends her off. She takes the stuffed toy she had been watching TV with back with her, then makes a quick turn back around. She pecks him on the cheek.

“Goodnight,” she tells him.

“Night.”

Quietly, he cleans up the mess on the floor. He neatly stacks the princess card deck, tucking it away in its box. Katsuki puts it back into the bin of children’s toys that they keep in the living room in a cubby organizer. Cleaning up one toy spurs on tidying the entire living room. He even accidentally throws a dog toy or two into Hiro’s box, which he’ll find out eventually.

All of the kids’ toys put away, Katsuki notes a book left out on the couch. There’s no bookmarks or pages dog eared so he removes it to put on the bookshelf. While the book he returns is a fiction novel, much of the other books are for Izuku’s research. One book even has Izuku’s name on the spine.

Intrigued, Katsuki pulls the book off the shelf. A small booklet of sorts comes with it, falling onto the ground unexpectedly. The books had been so tightly packed onto the shelf that Katsuki hadn’t even seen it before trying to pull Izuku’s book free. Katsuki puts Izuku’s book back onto the shelf, flat on its back as he bends down to pick up the one he dropped.

The book becomes more familiar when Katsuki can see the golden chrysanthemum on the cover. Somehow, Katsuki’s old passport made it onto the shelf. He picks it up even more curious than before. If he remembers correctly—and since he’s missing thirteen years of memory in this life, he likely won’t—there shouldn’t be too many stamps inside. The United States was his only international travel of note.

His passport photo is laughably old. His hair is much of the same and he doesn’t think that his appearance has changed too much over the years, but his facial expression is someone that he doesn’t know. Katsuki shows a scowl in the picture and an unwavering look of annoyance toward the camera.

A younger Katsuki suffered more than an unfortunate case of resting bitch face. He often carried that face and that attitude as a willing package.

Katsuki flips through the little booklet, skimming for marked pages. A momento Katsuki once slipped inside his old passport for safekeeping slips out between the pages. Katsuki crouches down to retrieve it.

He finds a plane ticket leaving LAX for NRT. The date is marked a day after Katsuki left for the States with Endeavor.

“When you got on that plane, I thought I’d never see you again. Imagine my surprise when a day later you show up on my doorstep at eleven at night.”

Coming into the room, Izuku stops right in front of Katsuki. Unable to look at the passport for long, he sits on the couch nearby.

“I came right back,” Katsuki whispers in awe. This entire time he’s been wondering what happened between him and Endeavor. He never found a good opportunity to ask. Even when a man who works with Endeavor came to see him, he wasn’t able to say anything. Whenever he asks questions he should know the answers to, people act worried about him.

They know that it’s strange that Katsuki doesn’t have the ability to recall something so important or recent in life.

“I’ve thought about it some more,” Izuku says, caught up in his own thoughts, “if moving back to Tokyo is really important to you. We’ll do it. We’ll look for good schools for the kids to go to first, then move back up there.”

“I thought you said you didn’t want to take the kids away,” Katsuki says, confused by the change of heart.

“To tell the truth, I still don’t want to. Maybe it’s naive, but I thought we’d grow old in this house.” Izuku laughs sadly. “I imagined that this would be the house that the kids would grow up and bring their kids back to. I saw us hosting holiday parties and eventually you’d get your motorcycle back and end up with a collection of them to show off in the garage and I’d take up gardening in the front yard.”

“What made you change your mind?” he asks, sitting on the coffee table so they can look at each other face to face.

“Because if you need this… if you really need this as much as it sounds like you need this, I’ll go wherever you need to go. I’ll do that because I love you, and I believe in you. I want you to be happy as much as I want the kids to be happy. You’re right… they’ll adapt if they have to.” Izuku looks at Katsuki earnestly, searching for answers. “Keeping our family together is more important to me than our address. I choose us.”

Katsuki puts the ticket back inside the passport, resting it on the table beside him. “I choose us, too. I’m not gonna take the job. I’ll call them back tomorrow. Tell ‘em thanks, but no thanks.”

“I don’t want you to resent me for making you change your mind,” Izuku says, shaking his head when Katsuki thought Izuku would be happy to hear the news.

“I’d never resent you.” Katsuki slides his hand on top of Izuku’s, knotting their fingers together. “I’m choosing you now like I chose you thirteen years ago. If I ever choose otherwise, I’m a fuckin’ idiot.”

🎄

Katsudon barks, jumping around as Ai throws rolled up balls of snow for him to go fetch. Each one breaks between his teeth, then the dog wonders where the ball went. Katsuki watches from the driveway, smiling to himself as he works on his bike. Present Mic really got most of Katsuki’s tastes right, but there are just a few little tweaks he wants to make so the bike really becomes his.

Out of nowhere, a snowball hits him on the back.

The culprit does her best to look innocent, in that she runs away with her metaphorical tail between her legs.

Katsuki chases after her, picking her up off the ground. He spins her around in his arms, then playfully drops her into the snow. She laughs, trying to grab another fistful of snow to throw at him. He does the same back to her in retaliation. He tries to make a snowball of his own, but she’s a fast little one. She gets him good in the face.

And like in all moments where Katsuki is losing, he chooses to improvise. He calls Katsudon over to get her and eventually they all end up rolling in the snow together.

Ai’s laughter fades as she leans her head on his chest. Like he’s a seat to be sat on, she props herself up so she’s sitting on top of his ribs. Katsuki wheezes. She’s so big now. Her skinny, little arms worm their way around his neck and squeeze. “I knew you’d come back.”

Katsuki feels her words sink in. The smile he hadn’t even noticed he put on begins to fade as he cups the back of her head, his other hand rubbing her back.

“Come in for lunch, you two!” Izuku calls into the backyard.

Ai picks herself up, running back inside the house with Katsudon chasing after her.

Katsuki remains sitting on a wet patch of snow, running his fingers through his hair. He’s pretty sure that he should feel happy right about now. Instead, he’s conflicted.

“Kacchan,” Izuku says, coming back to the front door Aiko left open, “you coming in?”

“Yeah… I’m coming,” he replies, nodding.

“Good morning, Bakugou-san,” an old woman waves as she passes by walking her poodle.

“Morning,” he replies so softly that he’s the only one who hears it.

At the kitchen table Ai is devouring a turkey sandwich while Izuku carries Hiro around the kitchen on his hip as he fixes up a bowl of fruit to put on the table to share. There’s an extra dish on the table for Katsuki to sit and eat. His sandwich has been lightly toasted.

“You’re not going to Yagi-san’s today, right?” Izuku asks. He makes a cooing noise as he sets Hiro down into his highchair.

Katsuki hadn’t been planning on it. Although, now, he feels as though he needs to get out of the house somehow. “No. Why?”

“Ai has her first violin lesson this afternoon. I was hoping you could take her and I could stay here and watch Hiro.” Izuku peels the skin gently off a grape to feed to the aforementioned child. He puts his hand on the baby’s forehead. “I think he might be getting a fever again. He’s been warm all morning.”

“Yeah, I’ll drive her,” he says. Instinctually, he takes his napkin to wipe the corner of her mouth when she smears mayo all over herself by eating messily. She grins at him.

“Do you think you can grab some thermometer covers when you’re out? I wanna keep track of his temperature,” Izuku continues speaking until he’s more so muttering to himself than Katsuki. That habit of his never died.

Katsuki changes out of his slightly damp clothes for dry ones so he can take Ai out. She grabs her violin in its case, running off ahead of him to go out to the car. There’s a Christmas bow still tied around the case. So despite her excitement, she hasn’t yet been able to bring herself to open it.

In the car, Katsuki plays a ripped CD of children’s songs. He doesn’t sing, but his finger taps subtly on the steering wheel as he drives.

The place where Izuku instructs Katsuki to take Ai for her lesson is a quaint building that looks more like a residential home than a place to take proper music lessons.

Katsuki parks in front of the street and gets out of the car with Ai to press the buzzer next to the gate door. He rings it and within a matter of seconds there’s a grainy sounding voice on the other side asking Katsuki for his name.

“Oh, yes! How could I forget! I’ll be right there.”

A tall man with a violin shaped body opens the front gate with a smile. When he steps into full view, he shows that he’s wearing a silk robe with stripes down the middle as an imitation of violin strings. He reaches out and takes Katsuki’s hand to shake with fervor.

“Please call me Il Gran Mogul. Your husband and I spoke on the phone. It will be my honor to teach your young one,” he says with broad expressive gestures. “Come in, come in! Would you like some tea before we start the lesson?”

Katsuki walks past the man when granted access. The violin man’s house is massive estate, which must have been why they drove a half hour to get here. Around the property is the same fence that was in the front. He turns down the tea.

“And you must be Aiko. What a lovely name,” the man goes on. He guides Ai by the shoulders to show them into the house. “I hope you don’t mind. I simply haven’t had time to tidy up lately,” he says, though there’s not a single thing out of place that Katsuki can see.

Katsuki almost wants to quip Wait till you have kids. He doesn’t.

Like a supportive father, Katsuki sits with a cup of tea and a biscuit that the Mogul simply couldn’t have Katsuki refuse as Ai scrapes her bow against the violin strings. By the time the hour lesson is over, Katsuki thinks his ears naturally stopped bleeding. However, her teacher claps supportively with a reserved smile.

Ai is given a children’s book containing violin lessons to take home as homework. There are already annotations written inside to make things more clear for beginners even as far as beginners go.

Katsuki swings a hand behind the passenger side headrest so he can look at the other side of the road for him to turn back around. “So, what’s the verdict? Better than dance lessons?”

“Much,” she replies wholeheartedly.

Opening the floodgates, Ai recaps everything that happened at her lesson for Katsuki to listen to again. He glances into the rearview mirror to look at her. She’s so excited that he can’t bring himself to tell her to save it for her dad. It becomes akin to radio music on the way home. Katsuki finds himself listening to it, nodding his head along at the appropriate moments, but he finds himself not really listening deeply to what she rambles on about.

Katsuki eventually turns his turn signal on to head into their comfortable neighborhood, then swerves back into the lane he just tried to leave.

“Shit,” he curses. “Thermometer covers,” he grumbles.

Ai laughs when she swings around on her seat. “Rollercoaster!” An idea comes to her head. “When we get home we have to play rollercoaster!”

Since Katsuki isn’t sure what playing rollercoaster is, though he could probably take a good educated guess, he replies, “Don’t you wanna show your dad what you did at your lesson?”

“Family concert time!” she cheers, easily distracted.

“Yeah.”

Katsuki isn’t going to be the only one who has to listen to her chalkboard screech. She’ll get good at it, eventually—so he hopes.

🎄

“I’ve tried everything,” Izuku sighs. He wraps Hiro into a yellow blanket. Hiro squirms, rubbing a hand over his face in discomfort. “The fever won’t come down. I’d feel more comfortable taking him to his pediatrician instead of a walk in clinic doctor.” Tucking the toddler’s head against his shoulder, he rocks the child.

“Did you give him ibuprofen?” Katsuki asks.

“No,” he replies. Izuku calmly shushes the fussy child. “I don’t like giving Hiro over the counter medicine unless we have to.”

“We might have to.” Katsuki puts their rinsed off dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

“I know,” Izuku admits. “I know you already went to the drug store today, but do you mind going back? I’m pretty sure the pediatrician said Hiro can take Tylenol made for babies.”

“Don’t sweat it,” Katsuki says. He wipes his hands off on his jeans. “I’ll go out now. Is there anything else you think Hiro might need?”

“Not that I can think of right now…” Izuku makes to go upstairs. “Can you bring the humidifier to Hiro’s room before you go? I’m going to try to put him down for bed.”

“Yeah.”

The garage isn’t very large. It’s enough for passengers on both sides of the car to get out, which in turn leaves very little room for storage. Katsuki tries to use the labeled boxes full of holiday decorations as a guide. Of course, the humidifier is stacked all the way at the top of a collection of storage tubs.

He should be just tall enough to reach the top to grab the box without having the rest of the boxes fall on top of him.

Katsuki gets his fingertips on the edge of the corner, teasing the box forward in tiny increments. A bell ringing in rapid succession scares him, causing him to jump back.

“You scared the shit outta me,” he tells Ai. He clutches his hands into fists unwillingly, his heart racing. “What’re you doing out here? You should be inside getting ready for bed.”

“I was riding my bike,” she replies simply. To demonstrate her purpose, she rings the bell again.

“You know the rules. You can go out and ride your bike alone if you tell us, but as soon as it’s dark enough that the street lights come on, you come back inside. C’mon,” he says, jerking his chin toward the door leading into the house.

Ai peddles her bike next to the car where she likes to leave it parked until Izuku comes into the garage and moves it like always.

Finishing up taking the humidifier down, Katsuki brings it inside the house. He fills the humidifiers tank with water, then carefully stepping around Katsudon, he takes it to the nursery. Katsuki notices on the way that Ai has gone into the bathroom to start her shower like Katsuki told her to.

Katsuki places the humidifier on top of Hiro’s toy chest.

“You think of anything else Hiro needs?”

“No.” Izuku shakes his head. He turns the humidifier on with a timer. “Thanks, babe.”

Katsuki pulls Izuku close in a one armed hug around the shoulders. He kisses Izuku on the temple. “The kid’s gonna be fine. I’ll be back in a half hour, tops.”

With a book, Izuku sits in the rocking chair to wait for Hiro to try to fall asleep. The baby coughs. It’s unlikely that Hiro will fall asleep before Katsuki gets back. Or, if he does fall asleep, the coughing won’t allow him to stay asleep for long. Katsuki won’t speed on his way to the drug store, but he’ll drive a bit faster than he would if he had either of the kids with him.

A few other cars are in the parking lot when Katsuki arrives.

Bypassing the front counter with so much as a glance, he wanders the store looking for the cold medicine. It takes some time for him to scan the shelves for medicine that’s appropriate for children. The specific brand Izuku told him to get is nowhere to be found. He finds two bottles by different companies, but the same medicine, and takes them both to be safe.

Initially, he ignores the cough syrup on a nearby shelf. Before he strays too far from the aisle, he remembers Hiro’s worsening cough, and picks up a bottle of children’s codeine as well. Katsuki takes the bottles, carried in the crook of his arm so he can check the time on his watch.

“Come back soon, but not too soon,” a dry voice jokes to a customer wearing a white mask over their face.

Katsuki looks up, finally taking in his surroundings. “What the fuck are you doing here?” he hisses.

“Working,” Hitoshi replies. He scans Katsuki’s items with a gun. “Sorry to hear baby Hiroyuki is sick. Immunodeficiencies are rough to take care of, but,” he examines Katsuki’s items more closely, “looks like Papa’s got that covered. You’re so domestic now. It’s cute.”

“Don’t. I’m not going back,” Katsuki says firm. He clenches his teeth together so hard, he thinks he feels his jaw pop.

Hitoshi bags the items, reading the total out to Katsuki, who hands over a big bill to cover his entire purchase. “That’s not up to me to decide. I’m merely a guide.”

Guide? You guided me through shit. You stole my car and drove off with it.” Katsuki snatches the bag angrily. He would storm out if he knew Izuku wouldn’t mind him leaving the change.

“You got the hang of things without me. Granted,” Hitoshi shrugs, putting on that obvious smirk he has, “I didn't think it would take you this long. But it’s time, Kacchan.”

“Don’t you fucking call me that.” Katsuki holds his hand out for the change. “I won’t let you send me back. This is my life now. You can’t rip me outta it again. You already took me away from one life I knew. You aren’t doing it again. I finally have Deku back… and I got kids now. You can’t do this to me.”

A bill is placed into his hand with an assortment of coins. “I told you I was giving you a glimpse and a glimpse by definition is an impermanent thing.” Hitoshi holds his hands up, showing he has nothing to hide. “I can’t change the rules. You got what you came here for and now it’s time for you to go back.”

“You and your shitty rules can go to hell. I’m not going anywhere!” Katsuki shoves the bills and the change into his pocket, cramming it on top of his wallet.

On the way out, Katsuki bumps into an old lady with a cane. He doesn’t stop to apologize. He doesn’t want to look back and see Hitoshi behind the counter. Seeing Hitoshi is like living a nightmare. Only, if this life is part of that nightmare, Katsuki isn’t sure if he ever wants to wake up.

Only in the strangest of nightmares is Katsuki comforted by seeing Izuku sleepily welcome him home, seated right where Katsuki left him.

“He’s sleeping,” Katsuki points out. He glances at Hiro’s crib. “You should take a shower while you can. I can watch him.”

“Good idea,” Izuku agrees. Despite the assurance that Katsuki will look over Hiro, Izuku takes the baby monitor on the way out.

Throat tight, Katsuki walks to stand over the crib. Hiro’s tiny face is scrunched in his discomfort and his body is tangled up in his blanket from rolling around so much in search of sleep. Katsuki swipes his fingers over the toddler’s wild hair. The hairs always stand up in the worst cowlick he’s ever seen.

Katsuki leans into the crib to give Hiro a kiss on the forehead, finally feeling how hot the child is.

“I love you, little man,” he whispers. “Your daddy’s gonna take real good care of you.”

After a moment of watching Hiro sleep, he leaves the room, keeping the door wide open behind him in case Hiro wakes up.

Creaking Ai’s bedroom door open, he sees her laying in bed, her eyes closed with a book fallen shut next to her face with her thumb stuck between the pages. The cover advertises that it’s a children’s encyclopedia on all the recorded quirks in the world, conveniently organized from A to Z.

Katsuki carefully slips the book out of her hand, putting her colorful bookmark inside where her thumb had been. Ever so slightly, she stirs.

“Papa?” she asks. “It’s time to get up already?”

“No,” he answers, whispering back to her. He pulls the blanket over her shoulder. “Just coming in to check on you. Go back to sleep.”

That little bit of encouragement is all she needs to close her eyes, falling back asleep as easily as she had woken up. Much more cautious this time, Katsuki kisses her on the forehead as well. Her face relaxes, a small sigh escaping her lips. Katsuki tucks a strand of hair that’s fallen out of her braid behind her ear.

“Good night, small fry. The mothership is coming back to get me,” he tells her.

When he leaves her room, Izuku is heading back into Hiro’s room. 

Katsuki cuts him off. “You should go to bed,” he suggests. “We can’t have both of you sick ‘cause you stayed up all night with him. It’s better to let him sleep while he can. You still gotta go to the office tomorrow, don’t you?”

“You’re probably right…” Izuku trails off as Katsuki forcibly guides Izuku back into the master bedroom. Katsuki draws back the covers and waits for Izuku to get inside. “I’m going right in there if I so much as hear a peep though. You can’t stop me.”

“I wouldn’t,” Katsuki guarantees. He sits on the edge of the bed as Izuku picks up a book to read before bed. “I’m gonna ask you something really fucking weird in a minute, but I need you to promise me that you’ll do it.”

“What, did something happen?” Izuku asks, lowering his book in concern.

“I’d explain it to you if I knew how say it without sounding corny as hell or crazy. I just need you to promise me that… the way I am now, I need you to put that image of me in your heart. I need you to keep it no matter what happens. You just gotta keep this… this me, the man I'm trying so fucking hard to be, in your heart and remember it, ‘cause if you don’t, then it’ll be like none of this ever happened and I can’t have that,” Katsuki says urgently. He grabs Izuku’s hand and squeezes. “You gotta promise.”

Izuku scans Katsuki’s face. “Okay,” he says, forgoing asking questions. He shakes his head with a smile, as if asking strange things of him is Katsuki’s MO. “Okay, I promise.”

In thanks, Katsuki holds Izuku gently by the neck and leans forward for a kiss. Izuku smiles into the embrace, falling into Katsuki’s arms. Ending the kiss is painful for Katsuki. He’s not going to let things end so long as he gets a say in it.

“I love you,” Izuku confesses unprompted.

“I love you, too.”

Ruining the moment, Katsudon prances in the doorway, his toenails clicking on the hardwood. His tail swings idly as he waits for his owners to notice that it’s about the time he gets let out at night. Katsuki gets up reluctantly. Yipping at his feet, Katsudon rushes on ahead. Izuku opens his book, amused.

Katsuki throws on two jackets, noticing it’s snowing outside. When he jingles the leash, Katsudon finally settles down enough for Katsuki to clip it on.

Katsudon leads them through the neighborhood the long way, as if sensing a reluctance in Katsuki.

“If you promise to look after them,” Katsuki says, petting Katsudon’s scruff, “I’ll give you twice the treats later. You help me, I help you kinda thing.”

Katsudon barks in reply, digging his snout into Katsuki’s palm. He pets the big dog on top of his head and underneath his chin.

“Let’s go home.”

At a quarter to eleven, Katsuki turns on the TV in the living room and puts up a pot of coffee. Instead of sleeping on his dog bed, Katsudon curls up on the couch with Katsuki. Headstrong, he refuses to close his eyes for long though his eyelids start to feel heavy. He has a strong intuition that he shouldn’t go to sleep.

So he fights against it.

Chapter Text

Loudly, Katsuki’s cell phone rings. His sleepy self, thinking it’s his alarm waking him up for the morning, rolls over and slaps his hand on top of the flat surface. When that doesn’t work, he cracks open a dreary eye to accept the call.

“Ground Zero-san, there’s someone at the front desk waiting to see you. Are you expecting any visitors today?”

Katsuki groans, trying to bury his face back into his pillow. He looks at the clock on his bedside table. It would be meaningless to go back to sleep. Hiro will be waking up any moment now and Ai will need to have her breakfast prepped. Swinging both legs out of bed, he expects Katsudon to run up to him.

Reorienting himself, he curses.

“Excuse me, sir?”

“Not you,” Katsuki bites out. “Whoever it is, send them up. Whatever, that’s fine.” He hangs up first.

Something possesses Katsuki to run around his apartment looking for his family. He doesn’t find them. There’s no trace of Izuku or the kids or Katsudon lingering in his bachelor pad. A knock on the door disturbs him midway through his fruitless search.

Katsuki rips open the door with one last bloom of hope of who it could be.

“Merry Christmas, Katsuki,” Sakura says. She poses against the doorframe, flipping her hair over her shoulder.

Katsuki has so many questions. “Christmas? I thought… didn’t you say you were heading back to Nikko for Christmas?”

“I did,” she confirms, entering his apartment with asking. He did already somewhat give her permission when he invited her up. “The roads got snowed in so I didn’t make it very far. I’ll call them later and if the roads are cleared up by tonight, I’ll head over to them. I might be the only crazy person willing to still drive in this weather so I might make it in good time.”

“Right, well—” he attempts to say.

“Don’t you wanna unwrap your present?” she asks.

“I-I don’t have time. I gotta go.” Katsuki ignores her. He needs his keys and his wallet. Katsuki glances out the window in the living room. He’s going to need a heavy jacket and pants thicker than the thin cotton ones he has on now.

Sakura follows him. “What’s the rush?”

Katsuki turns to tell her that he has a husband to find, but when he turns around, his words get caught in his throat. Impatiently, Sakura opened up her coat, revealing a thin see through lacey number underneath. His eyes travel over the curve of her breasts down, down, down her body. She’s gorgeous, but since Katsuki is being honest with himself now, she doesn’t hold a candle to Izuku.

“I told you,” he says, insistent. “I’ve got better places to be.”

Katsuki closes his bedroom door on her face so he can get dressed in peace. It shocks, but doesn’t stop her from following him inside anyway.

“What kind of places?” Sakura puts her hands on her hips.

“Christmas is the last day I have—that I know of at least—where I can correct a mistake I made.” He yanks on a pair of black jeans and the first long sleeved top he can find in his closet. Katsuki doesn’t care whether it matches.

“You’re joking,” she deadpans.

Katsuki shakes his head. He rushes back into the living room. Inwardly, he contemplates between getting in his car or getting on his motorcycle. If the roads have a lot of snow, he might want to take his bike to get around any dense traffic, but his car would be safer. Since he has both keys, he decides to screw it. He’ll figure it out when he gets to the parking garage.

“If you got a family to go to,” Katsuki says, pulling on one shoe then the other, “you should go to them. That’s where I’m going.” He feels anxious, but there’s a good type of excitement bundled deep inside. “The door locks automatically so don’t let it hit you on the way out.”

Alone, Katsuki leaves.

A quick check on his phone convinces Katsuki to take his car. He needs to get to Izuku in one piece. The traffic at this time isn’t terrible. Snow and ice is the biggest deterrent Katsuki has getting to Yokohama. This time, however, he knows the proper backroads and shortcuts that he didn’t know the first time he woke up in a strange place.

Driving through the neighborhood Katsuki expects to see All Might walking out on the lawn with a large garbage bag as he passes. Katsuki doesn’t wait to see is that prediction proves true.

Straightening out his jacket, Katsuki runs across the lawn, leaving his footprints in the fresh snow. He knocks three times on the door, rubbing his hands together to keep them warm as he waits.

He had forgotten his gloves since he had been in such a rush.

The door opens.

“Can I help you?” A middle aged man opens the door, keeping the door mostly closed as he regards Katsuki with suspicion. Katsuki lowers his hand from his face. Recognition clicks. “Ground Zero! I-Is there something I can do for you?”

“Does… did a Midoriya Izuku ever live here?” Katsuki asks.

The man hums in thought. “No, I don’t believe so. Perhaps you’re thinking down the road. A nice young couple bought that house right down there.” He steps out onto the porch to point at a house with a single reindeer decoration in its front yard. The man turns his head into the house. “Dear, who moved out of the house down the street? The one that has a quirkless woman living in it now,” he shouts at his wife.

“What?” she yells back at him.

“Never mind. Sorry to interrupt your morning,” Katsuki says. He stomps back across the lawn, leaving his car where he parked it. It’s a short way to the house that should be All Might and Aizawa’s. He’s hoping that something between this and that world are the same.

All Might and Aizawa still adopted Eri ages ago so the chance is high.

Katsuki’s fist is raised to knock on the door again when All Might swings it open. The retired hero steps back in surprise. He rubs at his eyes, checking to see if Katsuki is really standing in front of him.

“Young Bakugou! What’re you doing here?” All Might asks, even more confused than the strange man Katsuki encountered first.

“I need to get hold of Deku,” Katsuki says urgently.

All Might’s eyes widen. “I don’t know...” he lies. “Is everything alright?”

“The copy of his number he gave me the other day I don’t have anymore. Can you tell me how to find him or do I need to go somewhere else?” Katsuki repeats. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and holds it out to All Might.

“Alright,” All Might says reluctantly. He takes Katsuki’s phone and comparing it with his own, he types in a number for Katsuki to call.

Snatching his phone back, while freezing his ass off, Katsuki marches back to his car. Over his shoulder he calls out a sarcastic, “Merry Christmas!”

So he won’t be loitering in his car where people might be able to see him, Katsuki drives away, dialing the phone as he shifts gears. The phone rings and rings. With each additional ring, Katsuki fears that All Might gave him the wrong number. Someone does, however, pick up, and again it’s still not Izuku.

“Hello, you’ve reached the office of Midoriya Izuku, how may I help you?”

“Is Deku there? It’s Bakugou Katsuki.”

Katsuki swings into a gas station to park. While he’s here, he’ll get gas as well. It’s not often that he takes his car around and the drive to Yokohama almost emptied his tank.

“Ah, yes. I called your office yesterday and spoke to your assistant. There are some things of yours Midoriya has that he’d like to return. I can arrange to have it shipped or—”

“I’ll come to you. If Deku is gonna be there, I’ll come pick it up personally.” Katsuki opens up his glovebox and his center console looking for something to write on. He’s probably got a pen in his jacket pocket somewhere too. He’s not going to give this person the opportunity to shrug Katsuki off so easily.

“O-Oh, alright,” comes the surprised response. “The address is…”

Katsuki writes it down in his best scrawl. He quickly realizes the address is familiar because it’s not too far from his agency building. He and Izuku were so close by all these years. By pure luck and ignorance, Katsuki had no idea. It makes him wonder if Izuku knew how close they were to each other. How many close calls they may have had if Katsuki took some time to look around and smell the roses more often.

He tries to erase that feeling of longing for optimism. “I’ll head out now. I’m gonna be, like, an hour away. I’m coming from Yokohama.”

“Yokohama?” the person on the other line repeats.

“Yeah,” Katsuki says bitterly. He steps out of his car to fill up his tank. “It’s a great area for raising a family.” He ends the phone call on that strange note.

Katsuki exhales deeply, watching as his breath forms a puff of air in front of his face. He’s going to see Izuku again. Some minor setbacks have occurred, but they’re nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Tank full of gas, Katsuki gets back into his car. He inputs the address given to him into his GPS, finding it interesting, but a good sign that the address given to him is definitely a residential building of sorts. For the second time this morning, Katsuki takes off.

🎄

“I’m here to see Midoriya Izuku,” Katsuki tells the doorman.

“Of course, Ground Zero, I’ve been expecting you.” The man steps aside, gesturing into the building. “You can Midoriya-san on the fifth floor, 504.”

Katsuki shakes his hands, getting rid of the cold and the jitters. He could take the stairs, but he needs to rid himself of some of this anxiety. He takes the stairs. Going two at a time, he probably makes it up much faster than if he had waited for the elevator to collect him. The rapid beating in his chest isn’t only the result of his on the spot cardio.

Standing in front of 504, Katsuki rings the doorbell, standing slightly off the side so the camera can’t capture his face. He’s not sure why he’s sensitive about being caught by it. Izuku should know he’s coming.

Katsuki checks his watch. It’s eleven thirty. His entire morning was spent driving.

A thin young man with long hair opens the door for Katsuki. Despite being indoors, he wears a scarf around his neck. “Ground Zero, come in,” he says, welcoming Katsuki in.

Katsuki enters, greeted by a million moving boxes scattered around the living room of the apartment.

“Izu-san is somewhere in the apartment. I’ll go get him!” the assistant helpfully supplies, leaving Katsuki alone to stand around while moving workers pack things away in boxes.

Dressed in all black with only a sliver of green in his outfit, Izuku steps out with his assistant, a box with Katsuki’s name scrawled on it in his arms. Izuku offers a polite smile, stopping when he’s within arm’s distance to Katsuki. He doesn’t come any closer than he has to.

“Long time no see, Kacchan.” Izuku laughs nervously.

Katsuki puts his hands in his pockets, then awkwardly folds them across his chest instead. He couldn’t be more unsure of himself. “Feels like just yesterday to me.”

The air between them becomes more awkward.

“Well,” Izuku says, dodging Katsuki’s comment, “I was cleaning out my closet the other day and I found some things of yours that I thought you might like back.” He hands over the box, careful not to let their fingers brush.

“You’re moving somewhere?” he asks. The sound of masking tape sealing a box makes Katsuki wince.

“Yeah, I am.” Izuku gestures to all the boxes around them. “Toudai is starting a partnership for our Quirks Research Department and since I’m the head of that department I was the first one offered an opportunity to move to Canada. It’s a threeway thing between us, the University of British Columbia, and Princeton. It’s gonna be good. The funding we’re gonna get through grants is,” he whistles, “amazing to say the least.”

“You’re not moving today though, right? It’s Christmas,” Katsuki scoffs.

“Trust me, if I could put it off to the new year I would, but the program starts in January, so.” He claps his hands together. “Toudai is giving me a generous stipend for my living expenses so if they tell me I have to leave on Christmas to have things ready by January, that’s what I’m gonna have to do.”

“They shouldn’t be able to do that! What… what if you had a family to spend the holiday with?” Katsuki takes a step forward to close the gap between them. Thankfully, Izuku stays rooted where he stands, but he crosses his arms over his chest uncomfortably.

Izuku waves the concept of family off. “I’m still single so that definitely makes things easy for me. This one of those things that people congratulate you for. Not being tied down by family, I mean.”

“What about All Might and Aizawa?” Katsuki barrels on, grasping at straws.

“What about them? I’ve interviewed them before, but I’ve never met them for anything other than work.” Izuku tilts his head inquisitively. “What about you? Has anyone locked down Ground Zero yet?”

“No…” Katsuki replies sadly.

An employee from the moving company comes between Katsuki and Izuku to ask Izuku a question, stealing Izuku’s attention off Katsuki. Izuku comes close to leaving.

“If you ever come to BC we should get coffee,” Izuku offers since the chances of Katsuki ever going back overseas is slim.

“Or we could get coffee now,” Katsuki bargains. He sees Izuku whip back around to look at him and he loses bravado. “Today. Sometime. I’m free all day.”

Izuku fakes a smile. Katsuki is familiar with many of Izuku’s smiles and this one isn’t one of them. “I wish I could but I have to finish up packing and then my flight is tonight. My whole day is booked.” He jerks his thumb over his shoulder. “Things here are actually running a bit late. Michi can see you out. I mean it though! If you’re ever in Canada, I’ll be there for the year at least.”

Michi, the assistant smiles at Katsuki, showing off a row of pearly white teeth, holds his hand out for Katsuki to shake. Numb, Katsuki accepts. “Don’t tell Izu-san I said this,” he whispers behind his other hand, “but I’m a big fan.”

Katsuki can’t even bring himself to put on his media smile. He just nods. Taking his hand back, he walks for the door alone. Quickly, Michi catches up.

“You know,” Michi says, continuing to talk though Katsuki gives him the cold shoulder, “I always wondered what it was about you that made Izu-san so unwilling to talk all of a sudden. I didn’t realize it was because you guys had a past together.”

“We grew up together,” he replies, short.

“I heard about that. It seemed like more though… more personal. Lots of people grow up together. It’s a small world,” Michi says in a very simplistic philosophical way. At the elevators, Michi presses the button for Katsuki. “Izu-san’s riding the red eye tonight, but still, you’re not hearing it from me.”

Katsuki glances over at the other male. He’s hearing the information without having a clue what he would have to do with it. It’s not like he can stop the plane from leaving tonight.

Sulking, Katsuki goes back down to his car. He sits there under the pretense of allowing his car warm up when really, he doesn’t want to leave. He should have insisted that he and Izuku get coffee somewhere. Even if it was for only a half hour. That would be better than nothing. It would be more time spent together in a long, long time.

He hadn’t thought of it at the time. Not to mention that Katsuki would hate to make a fuss in the middle of Izuku’s apartment. He wants Izuku to know how much he’s matured in the past month—or what at one point was a month. Katsuki is unsure what the strange time-universe travel has done to his mental calendar. The main thing is that he needs Izuku to know that he’s changed.

Katsuki isn’t the same man he was when they broke up. He’d like to think he’s a lot better than how he was before.

Having kids and a husband to take care of can mature a person quite a lot.

When sitting in front of his ex boyfriend’s place starts to become pathetic, Katsuki leaves. It would only make him feel like a sad loser by going home and he doesn’t want to encounter Sakura if she stayed for whatever reason, so he goes to his office. It’s what he planned to do anyway. The big difference from how he had long ago planned things and how things have turned out to be, Katsuki doesn’t have his costume.

If a disaster breaks out, it can’t be a big one. He’ll end up hurting himself like a dumbass if he jumps into something ill prepared.

Katsuki throws the box with his things onto his desk in frustration. Something inside clanks together.

“Great,” he complains to himself. “I better not have fuckin’ broken anything.”

He opens the box to look inside.

Folded neatly at the top is a grey knit sweater. When Katsuki lifts it, it smells musty from unuse. It used to be his favorite sweater to wear in the winter until it was stolen from his closet under the pretense of being borrowed. He used to see the sweater all the time, but it was never on his own body. Katsuki always thought he looked pretty good in it, too.

Katsuki didn’t see how much better Izuku would look in it until it happened for the entirety of the winter.

The item that clanked loudly ends up being an old watch Katsuki used to wear when he worked out. It fell against a box of grenade pins Katsuki uses for his costume. He had match boxes of them everywhere. He liked to experiment with sizes and thicknesses to test which would be the easiest to use.

The rest of the box’s contents are things that Katsuki hasn’t thought or cared about in years. They’re items that, had Katsuki known about them, he would’ve thrown out a long time ago. If Izuku ever called him or Kirishima ever asked, Katsuki would have told them to toss the trinkets. In a way that makes him very bitter. It was considerate that Izuku held onto them so long. Though, if what Izuku said was the full truth, Katsuki’s things weren’t kept in the back of his closet on purpose.

Buried at the bottom of the box Katsuki uncovers a small bottle of sake.

Uncaring that he’s put himself on the clock, Katsuki cracks open the bottle to drink. He downs the first swig like it’s a shot, knocking it back without hesitation. It’s a bit gross to drink it this way, but it’s Christmas and he wants to feel sorry for himself.

Halfway through drinking his misery away with the measly amount of alcohol he has, he gets a call from an unknown number on his cell phone.

Katsuki answers it because it’s not as if he’s making a better use of his time. 

“How’s it going, Bakugou?” Lemillion talks loudly into the phone. Even though Katsuki didn’t have Lemillion’s personal number in his phone, there’s no denying who the voice belongs to. There’s very few people Katsuki knows who carries that much energy for no reason.

“Good,” he bites out, lying. 

Lemillion laughs. “Great! I heard that you swung by the Yagi house this morning. If you’re still in the area, they’re having some folks over for a big pot luck and on their behalf we’d like to invite you over.”

Katsuki puts his feet up onto the desk, glaring at the clock. “Can’t. I’m on patrol right now.”

“You are?” comes the confused reply. 

“Yeah. I wasn’t in Yokohama for long.”

“Oh… when you finish up, you could always head over. The party doesn’t stop when dinner ends. We usually keep things going with a friendly family game night!”

“Can’t,” he says, stubborn.

Lemillion hums, thinking how he can change Katsuki’s mind. “Everything is alright… right? You made All Might worried this morning after you came knocking on his door. He said you were looking for someone. Did you find them?”

“I did and it’s over now,” Katsuki says rudely. He doesn’t want to talk about it to just anyone, but at the same time he wants to vent to someone about losing Izuku twice.

“You sure about that? ‘Cause to me it sounds like you’re holding onto something. You sound real upset if you got the closure you were looking for.” On Lemillion’s end of the phone Katsuki can hear Eri in the background trying to get his attention. 

For someone Katsuki usually sees as a wide eyed ditz, he’s more perceptive than Katsuki gives him credit for.

“The person I was looking for is moving. I waited too long to look for him,” Katsuki admits. He takes another drink of his sake, then turns on the TV in his office to make sure that he’s not missing a big tragedy because he’s wallowing in his own pity.

“It’s never too late to go after something if you really want it!” Lemillion encourages. He speaks away from the receiver for a moment. “I gotta help Aizawa in the kitchen, but the invitation stands if you want.”

Katsuki hears the other hero hang up on him.

Since it’s early still, Katsuki goes through the small closet he keeps in his office to get out an old costume he’s retired. It’s a bit tighter than that he finds comfortable these days, but it’s doable. He’ll be extra lax on his patrol today. Unless he comes across someone who’s really making an ass of himself, Katsuki isn’t going to put in his two cents. 

Cops should be on their own patrol routes. They don’t need someone like Katsuki working and getting in their way. 

In front of an apartment building, Katsuki nods stiffly to someone walking their pet. The reset of the afternoon passes in a similar manner. Hinata calls at one point to let Katsuki know he’ll be forwarding a number of voice messages and emails his way. Katsuki doesn’t listen or read a single one. 

He breaks for lunch at a fancy restaurant for a late lunch, early dinner all by himself. It’s what he feels he deserves at this point. There’s nothing else that he has to look forward to. He took a risk to see Izuku and it failed.

Katsuki orders the most expensive bottle of wine to his table for one. However, to make him feel even more depressed today, the waiter, after the hostess had seated him, asked if he was waiting for someone else. There was only one menu on the table and Katsuki was holding it. So, Katsuki has a lot of things to say about Christmas right now and none of it is holly jolly.

He barely touches the wine.

“Sulking doesn’t solve problems,” a taunting voice tells him.

“Oh, fuck off. Haven’t you messed with my life enough?” he asks Hitoshi. 

The purple haired man fixes his tie. “As amusing as it may be to see you struggle, I was assigned to guide you. I thought you would’ve gotten the hang of things by now.”

“Everything I had to get you took away from me as soon as the glimpse ended.” Katsuki lazily holds his glass of water out for Hitoshi to refill. If the man is going to masquerade as a waiter all of a sudden, Katsuki is going to put him to work.

“And I saw that you had a chance to get it back this morning and you let it slip through your fingers,” Hitoshi says. 

Katsuki narrows his eyes. He can never tell how much Hitoshi knows and how he knows those things. “Even if I asked him to stay, he would have no reason to listen.”

“I’d argue that you could give him a number of reasons.” Hitoshi shakes his head minutely.

“Like what?” Katsuki chooses to humor the man. “Everything we had that kept us together in that other world is gone in this one. We don’t have kids, we don’t have a dog, and we don’t have a house. The only reason why we saw each other today is because he still had some junk of mine from high school.”

“You could choose to add those things to your lives at any time. And now you both can say that you got to live your dreams before letting those things tie you down.” Hitoshi eyes another table sitting in his section. He brings out a pad and pen from his apron. “Don’t be mad at the world because you didn’t take a chance. I think you’ll be the first person I’ve met who got a glimpse and wasted it.”

Katsuki wishes he was still wearing his gauntlets so he could blow Hitoshi into a million pieces. He tried to make his glimpse count. He did. He thought he did.

His meal doesn’t satisfy him very much after that.

So Katsuki pays, and heads back out to finish the rest of the day. While scoping out a bank to make sure nobody gets any ideas, he calls his parents to wish them a Merry Christmas. He gets an earful for not calling earlier from his mother, however, the phone call is appreciated all the same. Part of her excitement stems from his dad finally getting a fat, orange tabby.

More of a commotion hits the streets when it nears dinner time since not everyone has a place to on Christmas night.

Out of the corner of his eye he sees a little girl in a summer dress worm her way between bodies. She’s running away for one reason or another. Katsuki follows her from a distance, pushing past people with his gauntlets if they don’t get out of the way in time. All these lonely people need to get a grip and stay inside for the holiday.

A real sour taste settles in his mouth when he sees her go into a building that looks long abandoned. She does a small spin so the door closes softly behind her and that’s when Katsuki notices that she has a bundled up child in her arms too large to be a doll. He needs to do more reconnaissance before he goes storming in there though. He needs a better idea of what’s inside the building.

Katsuki climbs to the roof of the building across the street, searching for any open windows. From the utility belt he wears around his waist on his back, he pulls out binoculars. There’s no good angle through the cracks of the boarded up window that helps him obtain any new information. He curses, giving up.

He needs to readjust his methods.

Katsuki comes back down and makes his way around the condemned building. Out back, he finds a vehicle parked and tucked away. It’s a van that can only be seen if someone is looking for it. Carefully, he stalks around the van, not seeing any hints of movement from inside the tinted windows. With the license plate in plain site, he calls it in.

“You said the regional marking belongs to Miyagi, correct?” Katsuki grunts out a confirmation, balancing the phone between his cheek and shoulder as he tries to look into the building with binoculars again. “And the class number is five-oh-two, correct?” He reconfirms that as well. “And, one last thing to verify, the identification number is four-three-two-one, correct?”

“That’s what I said the first time,” he complains to the operator.

She humpfs at him, unhappy to be working on the holiday. “I have a record here that a Toyota Yaris with that plate was reported stolen a month ago. Would you like backup to your location, Ground Zero-san?”

“I’ll take whoever you got in the area,” he says confidently. He tucks away the binoculars. He needed permission to act, and now he has it.

“Understood. I’m sending Senior Police Officer Yamaguchi your way. His ETA is fifteen minutes.”

Katsuki almost hangs up the phone, his hand poised on the front door the little girl went through. He takes in a deep breath. He’s gone into hundreds of missions alone prior to backup arriving. “Merry Christmas,” he says as a gruff way of apologizing for being so short to her.

She makes a surprised noise. “Happy Holidays to you, too, sir.”

Katsuki puts the phone away and goes in. The door had been unlocked.

Aside from a sleeping man, a hat hung low over his face while sleeping, the first floor is clear. He almost goes straight upstairs where he thought he saw some artificial light coming from inside. The slightest of sounds from a backroom stops him in his tracks. He’ll check upstairs later. Surely, whoever the man is failing to guard must be tucked away in a safer room.

A gang boss that welcomes in children wouldn’t sit on the first floor.

The backroom, Katsuki comes to see, has a dozen children all laying on shared, tattered tatami mats. Markings on the wall show plumbing that’s no longer hooked up to anything. The children look up at him in awe, eyes wide, but dark and tired. The little girl Katsuki followed and the child she’s holding are in the mix, looking to be in better shape than most of the kids, but not by much. She looks washed, that’s the only thing Katsuki notices that makes her stand out.

The backdoor opens.

A grungy man with slicked back hair and a toothpick in his mouth sees Katsuki and runs. Like a trained dog, Katsuki sees the man tear off and he chases him. The man tries to get into the van Katsuki had seen earlier. Katsuki doesn’t allow it. He throws a small stun grenade at the back of the van’s tires. The van takes the impact, flipping over on its back, skidding out into the street.

From a distance, Katsuki hears sirens wail as his backup speeds, picking up the pace after hearing the explosion.

Katsuki walks to the vehicle, throwing open the two back doors. The two men inside the van try scrambling out through the driver’s side. Knowing their route, Katsuki cuts them off. He kicks the door back in on their face, watching how it makes the man’s nose crunch.

“Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” he asks through the rolled down window.

On foot, a sidekick appears in the alleyway behind the building. He eagerly gives Katsuki a salute.

“Sidekick Absolute Zero at your service!”

Katsuki looks at the sidekick in front of him, his eye twitching. His head cocks to the side. The sidekick’s costume is strangely like Katsuki’s.

“Make sure these clowns don’t run off,” Katsuki orders, then walks briskly back into the building.

“On it! I will stick to them like gum on a—” he hears the sidekick eagerly say as the door closes.

The officer and his partner burst into the building. One kicks the door down while the other pins the guard down onto the ground, a pair of handcuffs out.

“Are the top floors clear?”

“Haven’t checked.”

The officer curses, mumbling about heroes barging in without a plan. He takes his partner to go upstairs to canvas the rest of the place out. Katsuki can’t hear any idiots jumping from windows and the sidekick outside hasn’t yelled for help, so Katsuki feels comfortable in assuming that the rest of the building is empty.

A tiny hand tugs at his finger.

“Ai,” he whispers without realizing. Her brows furrow, not responding to the name. To her, he’s just a strange man that barged in right as, god knows what was going to happen.

With her hair all knotted and wild, Aiko looks up to him with her big, blue eyes. “Are we not going to Mongolia now?” Hiro coughs, being held in her arms, so she pats his back.

Katsuki wants to cry taking a knee. “Mongolia? Who was taking you there?”

“The snake man.”

“Didn’t your parents teach you not to go off with strangers?” Katsuki asks. He puts a hand on her shoulder.

She looks down at her dirty white shoes. “The snake man said he could make Hiroyuki better if we came with him.”

“He’s got an immunodeficiency,” Katsuki says.

“Yeah! He’s got that. That’s what the doctor who came to Mari-san’s house said,” Ai nods proudly.

“Does Mari-san work with the snake man?”

She shakes her head. “Mari-san is the lady we live with. She’s real nice. She’s got lots of kids to take care of though.”

“Where’d you meet—”

“Ground Zero,” the officer says, cutting off their conversation, “we can take things from here. The rest of the building is clear.”

Katsuki stands. “What’s gonna happen to these kids?” Not a single one of them can be older than thirteen, and that’s being generous. Katsuki doesn’t remember being that small at thirteen.

“Well, we’ll try to ID them all. The ones that have homes to send back to, we’ll send them back and the ones that don’t… there’s some great shelters here in Tokyo. The shelters will find places to rehome them.” The officer takes off his hat, running his fingers through his hair with a sigh. “It’s a damn shame.” He pats Katsuki hard on the shoulder. “What timing you had finding this place. In another day… there might not have been any trace of this.”

Yamaguchi’s partner takes his place. “If you have a moment, can I take your statement real quick for the records? You can fax your report over to the station later this week when you get the chance.”

Katsuki nods.

Paramedics enter the building.

“You’ll consent to an on the record recording of this conversation, right, Ground Zero?”

Hiro begins to cry.

“Yeah, I consent.”

“Great, so I have here that you were on your patrol route when you noticed a little girl and a baby walking alone on the street so you decided to follow them. What was it about them that made you suspicious enough to tail them?”

🎄

When you came home with a little girl attached to your leg, I couldn’t believe it.

Laying in bed, Katsuki closes his eyes, but can’t find sleep. He’s never shut down a quirk experimentation lab before. Either someone else did or Ai lived in that lab for years and somewhere along the line wound up in the same foster house as Hiro. He wants to look it up, but he doesn’t want to end up even more frustrated than he was before.

Silently praying for good news, he turns on the TV.

Unfortunately, earlier this evening ,” the anchor on the TV begins, “or should I say fortunately, an attempt to traffic six underaged girls and five underaged boys was shut down by Pro Hero Ground Zero. Most of the children appeared to be under the gang’s custody for some time now. The police strongly encourage all parents to warn their children of a Snake Man.” A composite sketch of the man appears next to the woman’s head. 

The police have reported that the Snake Man lured almost all of the children to come with him in promises of taking them away to a ‘better place.’ So, please, caution your children—especially those of you who may live in lower income areas of town.

Be safe, and, on behalf of JNN, Merry Christmas. An update on the status of tonight’s snowstorm is coming up next.”

Katsuki rolls over in bed, glaring at the box with his name on it. Earlier he thought Izuku was stupid for keeping his things meanwhile here he is doing the same.

Grabbing the bottle of beer off his side table, he walks over to the box. He flips the lid open. The sweater stares at him, taunting him. Katsuki can hear Hitoshi teasing him. He should’ve knocked the bastard out when he had the chance.

Katsuki downs the rest of the bottle. Carelessly, he throws it into the trash with the other one.

He looks out the window, sighing heavily. He wonders how All Might’s party is going and if Hinata got to his hometown alright. At the very least they’re having a better time than Katsuki. For a split second he considers calling Hinata for an excuse to bitch. He doesn’t though. He’s not going to feed into his image as the Grinch.

I think you’ll be the first person I’ve met who got a glimpse and wasted it.

Katuski pops open a room temperature bottle of beer. The condensation around the bottle makes the label easy to pick at. He glares when it sticks to his fingers.

He knocks back a swig of the beer, reaching for his cell phone. The front desk is only a short call away.

“I need a cab.”

“Merry Christmas, Ground Zero. I’ll have one waiting for you when you come down. How long will you be?”

“Now.”

He hangs up.

The car is waiting for him by the time that Katsuki gets himself fixed up. He brushes his teeth and changes into clothes that looks like he’s trying. The ride to the airport makes him anxious and they catch the first wave of traffic heading out of Tokyo. The closer the clock gets to eleven, the more apprehensive he feels about his decision.

Mentally, he shakes himself.

Katsuki needs to be firm and unwavering. He has to see Izuku again. Going to Canada is a mistake that Katsuki can’t let him make. He’d want Izuku to come after him if he was going to do something so foolish. Izuku did try to prevent him from doing something so foolish.

Hastily, Katsuki pays the cabbie and runs for the automatic sliding doors into the airport. Locating the Air Canada sign inside, he heads toward it. For it being so late at night, there’s a surprising number of people waiting to check in their luggage. Katsuki is cutting it awfully close. Especially when doesn’t recognize a single person on line.

The next place he can think of is going to the gate before the terminal. Katsuki runs past a family, uncaring when they point at him.

There, he sees a familiar face.

“Deku!” he shouts.

More than a few people this time turn to look at him. Deku isn’t exactly the best thing to shout in a wide public space. Although it’s not the most polite thing he could have done, it does the job in getting Izuku’s attention. He leaves the front of the line, a simple carry on slung across his shoulders.

Izuku apologizes to the airport employee who had been checking his ticket.

“What’re you doing here?” Izuku asks incredulously. He looks around at the people staring at him. When they know they’ve been caught, their eyes transfer back to their phones. “Seriously, what are you doing here?”

“I can’t let you get on that plane,” Katsuki says. He points, finger shaking, but not of his own volition.

“You’re not actually doing this,” Izuku deadpans. His arms cross over his chest. “Are you… is this payback? Are you trying to get back at me?”

“No! It’s not—I’m not. It’s hard to explain, but if you let me, I’ll explain it. I’ll explain everything,” Katsuki promises. He puts a hand on his chest, willing it to slow down. Part of him is afraid that it will beat straight out of his chest.

Izuku glances at his watch pointedly. “I have a flight to catch. Is there anyway we could this another time?”

“If you get on that plane, I’m not sure if we’ll have another time.” Katsuki wants to hug Izuku, but he doesn’t think the other man will let him.

“Is this about closure?” Izuku asks, voice small. “If it is… I forgive you. I forgave you a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong. I was mad at you for a long time. Every time I heard your name I got angry. I couldn’t believe you left. But I got over it. You did your thing and I did mine. No hard feelings.”

“But—but that’s the thing. There’s still feelings. I still have feelings. I thought that I didn’t, but I was fuckin’ lying to myself. I’m not… I’m not over you or us. Please, coffee is all I ask,” Katsuki pleads.

Izuku runs his fingers through his hair, mussing up his curls. “You can’t just come out of nowhere with something like that. That’s not fair… it took me ages to get over you. Kacchan— Katsuki , don’t. You don’t get to play with my feelings like that.”

“I’m not. I’m not,” he insists. “I know I probably sound like a fuckin’ lunatic to you right now, but I have my reasons. This past month, I got a glimpse. And that glimpse showed me that I can’t let this happen. I can’t let you go to another country for an entire year without putting up a fight.”

“A year’s not that long,” Izuku disagrees. He steps away, shaking his head. “I don’t want to leave you hanging, but I have to go.”

Katsuki watches Izuku’s receding back. He gets back on line behind a family of three. A teenage girl leans against her mother tiredly. Izuku offers a small smile to them in apology when the parents turn to look disapprovingly at him.

“We have a house in Yokohama,” Katsuki says, stretching out his hand in desperation. “Fucking Yokohama,” he repeats, amazed.

Izuku pauses, his passport and ticket in hand. He keeps his back turned away from Katsuki, but he doesn’t handing his things over to the airport worker to check.

“We live in Yokohama ‘cause we have two kids and a dog. It doesn’t hurt that All Might and Aizawa-sensei live right down the road. Our older one is a girl named Aiko. I’m pretty sure we named her that after I found her. I-I found her and I knew that she was ours. She’s brilliant and so fuckin’ perceptive. She’s got your love of learning. And she… she plays the violin now. She’s real shit at it but her teacher is some kinda master so, who knows? Maybe one day she’ll be touring the country, selling out stadiums, that sorta stuff.”

Biting his lip, still shaking his head in a plea for Katsuki to stop, Izuku turns around. It could be because of the embarrassment. It could be because hearing about a family they don’t really have is hard. At this point, Izuku might even think Katsuki has truly lost it.

“Then we got a baby boy. He’s got an immunodeficiency of sorts and you drive yourself crazy whenever he’s got the slightest thing. But he’s the happiest baby I’ve ever seen. It’s… it’s probably why he’s named Hiroyuki. We’re still waiting to see what his quirk is, but the doctor’s sure that he’s gonna get one. And—and we already know what Ai’s is. When she kisses somethin’ she really loves, it gets massive. Takes up the entire house.”

“Katsuki, we don’t—” Izuku tries to say. He chokes on his own words.

“And you… you do independent research. You make your own rules and you get to be your own boss. You do it ‘cause we have two great kids at home. You never needed a big university backing you to publish that book I know you started writing when we were kids. And I… we’re in love. After spending three decades of our lives together, we’re still in love. That doesn’t mean that we don’t fight anymore—we still do that from time to time, but that doesn’t change a fucking thing between us.”

“I can’t…” Tears well up in Izuku’s eyes, just as Katsuki thought they would. He’d be more surprised if Izuku was stone cold, dry.

Katsuki would freeze right in his tracks if Izuku shut down on him. But Izuku doesn’t, so Katsuki keeps going.

“Our lives are nothing like we imagined it would be. You with your independent stuff, and me… I said goodbye to the Endeavor Agency a long time ago ‘cause I chose you and us , and the future I saw us having together. But we got this house… this big house where we wanna grow old together,” Katsuki’s voice becomes a whisper. He doesn’t have to keep reaching out because Izuku is right in front of him, pressing his cheek—hiding his tears—into the palm of Katsuki’s hand. “I was a real dumbass once, letting myself walk away from what we had. All it took was one glimpse thirteen years too late for me to realize I had made a mistake. Now this is me trying to make things right.”

Izuku sniffles, wiping away his tears. His plane ticket is crumpled in his hand. “Maybe there was a reason why we were apart for thirteen years.”

“Maybe,” Katsuki can admit. “But I’m saying fuck that. I’m choosing us. I’m not letting the universe or some organization keep us apart any longer than they already have. One cup of coffee is all I’m asking for. If it’s still about your flight, I’ll buy you the first fucking flight outta here tomorrow morning. I’ll even make it first class. I’m only asking for coffee.”

“A cup of coffee,” Izuku repeats. His phone buzzes, his calendar letting him know that he has an appointment to go to.

“There’s a lot we gotta talk about,” Katsuki says.

“Thirteen year’s worth,” Izuku agrees.

Katsuki wonders if what he said was enough. If he really came in time or if he wasted his glimpse after all. Every second that goes by is painful. People continue to move around them. Katsuki holds his breath. There’s nothing left he has up his sleeve. The only other thing that Katsuki can think of to make this all real is taking the two kids and showing up on Izuku’s doorstep in Canada.

It’s something that has to be seen to be believed. Pure imagination might not be enough.

He backs down. He’s laid out all his cards onto the table.

Izuku laughs, light and airy, despite Katsuki dying inside. “You know,” he says, nearly scaring Katsuki, “I’m more of a tea person nowadays.”

“I’ll buy you whatever you want,” Katsuki says without thinking.

Izuku takes one last look at his ticket, pocketing it. “I hope you know that I plan on holding that to you.”

Katsuki feels Izuku reach up to wipe away a tear dripping down his cheek. Somehow, he manages to smile. “I’d be worried if you didn’t.”