On his eighteenth birthday, Katsuki woke up.
Not to say that he didn’t normally wake up. Honestly, him waking up was starting to get a little tiring, although he wouldn’t wish to stop. It would just be nice to finally not have to wake up anymore. He already did it every morning—he didn’t need to do it every lifetime as well.
His mother called through the door that breakfast was ready, and Katsuki startled. For a moment, Katsuki didn’t register the voice that had come through his door. It sounded nothing like the voice of his mother Mitsuki, didn’t even use the right name—until he remembered that she had been dead for a couple millenia now.
Katsuki cleared his throat and called back that he would be right down, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.
His voice was slightly off in his head, a higher pitch than what he could remember hearing his entire life. But that wasn’t right either. His voice had never been the exact same as it had been the first time, but that’s what his head defaulted to. His past lives tangled together in his head like leftover twine, but his first life—his life with Izuku—consistently stood out. It was his cornerstone, and it was immovable.
His current body didn’t understand that, however. Muscle memory was formed from Kei’s life, and even though all he wanted to do was leave right that second to find Izuku, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to survive the journey. Kei was average; not a jock and not a layabout, but somewhere in the middle. And Katsuki now had to rectify that.
He wished for the days that the young worked hard, physical labor being the standard rather than the convenience of things in the modern day. Katsuki had been able to wake up and immediately leave, disappearing from existence in the way that only experience had taught. He had been able to find Izuku within days and wake him; now, it took him three months of continuous work to even think about making the trip.
Much of that time was also dedicated to planning. Katsuki had never slacked in his duty of being the one to provide, but he couldn’t say that he didn’t appreciate the time that he now had. Before, he used to search day in and day out for ningyo, knowing that the closer he got to Izuku, the less likely he would be to find people to force-feed it to. Now, he was able to do his hunting casually, like he did when Izuku was awake. Nobody expected the teenager who was working in the kitchens of a local restaurant to be the one killing off the townsfolk, but that’s what he did.
Katsuki was skilled at it, too. He knew how to mask the taste of the fish in any dish, feeding it at random to people. He never put it in the same dish twice, but he occasionally put it a dish twice in one night. It was always the person who left first that was killed later; the other, Katsuki kept close tabs on just in case he had to come back for more meat.
And it was a valid concern. Izuku seemed to not be able to go as long between feedings the older he got, and Katsuki was killing more and more people each lifetime. It shouldn’t be sustainable, but it was. The world population was rapidly growing, almost to the point that people were concerned with the lack of resources. Katsuki had never paid attention to it over the years, but looking back, he could see the growth. Every new town he was born in was larger than the last, even if he never was born outside of the island of Japan. But he was beginning to understand their concerns, since Katsuki didn’t know if he could keep them under the radar and keep up with Izuku’s growing appetite.
But that was a problem that he would figure out later. There was always a solution to be found; his aunt taught him that. When Izuku had been sick for years while her husband was out on the ocean looking for his elusive fish, she had never stopped looking for a cure. And when Hisashi had disappeared three days after returning home—Izuku left sitting in the kitchen in a pool of blood but healthier than he had been in years—Auntie Inko had taken it as the cure it was.
It was only after she had already passed that Izuku grew sick again, and Katsuki took up the mantle she had left as Izuku’s keeper. Katsuki had been the one to convince Mitsuki to not call the usual doctors; instead, he had her take Izuku to one of the old witches that lived on the outskirts of town. And it was there that they learned what Izuku now was. Or, at least, they learned that Izuku wasn’t human anymore.
So Katsuki did what he had to do. He learned how to fish, how to hunt; and then, when he and Izuku were finally old enough to go out into the world, they killed their first man and Izuku feasted.
And that’s how it had been ever since. That first life, when Katsuki aged normally as Izuku stayed forever frozen somewhere in his twenties, they had built their hideaway. It hadn’t been anything big, just three rooms and a basement erected in the shadow of the mountain, three days away from anything even remotely resembling civilization.
Katsuki would go out to a city and work as a fisherman, selling his wares and scoping out good meals for Izuku, and save the meat to bring back after his work was done. Occasionally they were seen out together in public, but as Katsuki got older, the story had to change. Katsuki had been labelled as everything under the sun in relation to Izuku. But his most favorite was always when they were able to be lovers in the eyes of the world.
And now that Katsuki was awake and physically eighteen again, he was going to get the most out of it. As soon as he made it back to Izuku.
Katsuki wiped the blade of his machete off on the shirt of his latest kill, getting rid of the blood. It was his third kill in as many days, and this latest hunt had finally given him enough to take to Izuku. Katsuki knew when Izuku was first roused from his slumber, he was ravenous, and Katsuki had gotten into the habit of having more meat than he normally would.
The first time he had been short, Izuku had gone unresponsive, not reacting to Katsuki’s attempts to make him respond. It had taken Katsuki bringing a struggling man to their home after forcing ningyo down his throat for Izuku to move.
Katsuki remembered that day with startling clarity. The sharp teeth that Izuku suddenly sprouted, filling his mouth to the point of bulging, as he pounced on the man. Katsuki watched as Izuku went for the throat, ripping it out before devouring it in a single gulp. The blond had never seen Izuku eat before, the green-eyed boy always taking his meals away from people, and now Katsuki knew why.
Izuku was almost feral as he ate, blood sliding down from the corners of his lips and pooling in the hollows of his collarbones, overflowing onto his clothes in bright red rivulets. He picked the meat from the bones with scary efficiency, consuming it almost faster than he was pulling it apart. He was mesmerizing, so different from the prim and proper boy he portrayed to the public, or the mischievous imp he was when it was just the two of them.
No, this was animalistic, instinctive to the highest degree; and Katsuki knew that nothing else would bring them closer. Izuku had seen him kill, had helped on occasion; but even then, Izuku was reserved, hiding a part of himself that Katsuki knew was there but couldn’t bring out. And now it was exposed, laid bare for red eyes that stayed locked onto his partner as Izuku snapped a femur in half between his teeth.
After that, Izuku had come back to himself, flushing dark even past the blood coating his face, but Katsuki refused to let him be embarrassed. It was a natural part of who Izuku was now, and Katsuki didn’t find it off-putting in the slightest. He loved who Izuku was, not who had pretended to be, and the flush on Izuku’s face shifted from embarrassment to adoration at Katsuki’s words.
From then on Izuku took his meals with Katsuki, changing his schedule to fit his partner’s. Izuku would normally eat once a week in the basement, but he soon began to eat at the table every time Katsuki did. And the change was startling.
Izuku was normally average, not sickly but not the pinnacle of health either. He retained color in his face but didn’t have much energy for the long hikes or the strenuous labor that Katsuki parktaked in. But that wasn’t how he was any longer.
After eating daily for a few weeks and filling himself full, Izuku had far more energy than Katsuki did, and he had turned almost preternatural in his looks. His eyes shimmered, something that Katsuki had noticed them only doing right after he woke from his long slumbers, and his skin had a faint glow, like he was holding the rays of the sun under it. It took Katsuki running out of his stash of ningyo meat to feed people to realize why it had looked so familiar.
The ningyo he caught, with it’s strange human-like face, also had that glow to it. The scales reflected light like a smooth piece of glass, blues and greens that did exactly what the water did, and when he shoved into his bag, he saw the light flickering in the dark. But by the time he got home and started gutting the fish, the glow had faded from sight.
Three lifetimes passed, with Katsuki hunting both ningyo and people, before he put it together. The glow was their life force, a signal that the creature was alive and well. And now that Izuku was eating regularly, he also had that glow. Did that make Izuku ningyo? And if so, did that mean Izuku could become the ningyo that Katsuki hunted?
Katsuki had brought it up to Izuku one day, and suggested that they both go out onto the ocean and see if Izuku could maybe communicate with one of the living ningyo. Izuku had snarled, eyes flashing, before flinching back in surprise at his reaction. Katsuki had only watched him wide wide eyes before demanding that they go to one of the witches in the nearby village.
It was there that they learned what Granny Chiyo hadn’t told them during their first life. The ningyo in the ocean were once land creatures, just as Izuku; which is why they bore their human-like faces. But it was once they touched the waters from where their first-eaten ningyo had come from that they would also revert into this form. Something that was impossible to come back from.
So Katsuki moved them farther inland, further up the mountain they had their first home on, not willing to chance Izuku being near any large body of water. They didn’t know where the ningyo Izuku had first eaten came from, as it had been Midoriya Hisashi who had fed it to his son. And Hisashi was long dead, Izuku’s first victim in his quest to feed his hunger as a young child.
It was that home that Katsuki was heading to now, as soon as he finished breaking up the better chunks of meat from his kill.
The drying process of the meat took three days, which Katsuki used to stock up on other items they may need to survive the winter. It had been a year and a half since he had woken up, and he was finally ready. He would be finally be back with Izuku.
The trip used to take him days, even weeks when he had been born farther away, but this trip would take him twenty-six hours at most. He hadn’t spoken to the parents he had in this life for over a year now, and he had a feeling they thought him to be dead. Which was better that way. He was Bakugou Katsuki, son of Bakugou Masaru and Mitsuki, noble-born, and partner to Midoriya Izuku. That is what followed him through his many lives, and that is what he will be until he isn’t born again.
It was only as he approached the sprawling estate, hidden on a lucky plateau off the traditional mountain roads, that Katsuki felt like he was finally complete. The door stuck a little as he forced it open, eyes wandering over the covered furniture. The dust in his air made him cough a little as he stepped inside, dropping his bag by the door with a loud thump. He was tempted to call out, announce his presence, but that was only something he did when he knew there would be an answering call back, green eyes and a wide smile waiting to greet him.
So instead he moved to the small painting that hung on the wall to the right of the front door, a smile flickering briefly over his face at the sight of Izuku and Inko, his mother, forever immortalized on canvas. And then he forcefully ripped it from the wall, taking the wallpaper underneath with it. He pulled more pieces away from the wall, slowly revealing a door that was locked with multiple deadbolts. Katsuki pulled the key ring from his pocket—another thing he had to pick up before attempting this journey, hidden away in a field that had once been the graveyard to Katsuki’s first body.
Katsuki caught a faint outline of his face in the dull silver shine of the door as he reached out to unlock it, and he couldn’t help but thank Granny Chiyo once again. The spell she had cast for him in order to be reborn over and over again had a nice side-effect of having him look similar enough to his first life that there was no way to mistake who he was. Izuku would never come awake wondering if he was safe or not, as Katsuki would always be the first person he sees.
Katsuki finally began his descent into the basement of their home, where it was much colder than above ground. Izuku tended to like the colder weather, thrived better in it, and if he was to sleep for a while, he may as well be comfortable.
Katsuki turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs, holding the small piece of meat that would wake Izuku enough to get him upstairs to finish his meal, and grinned. Laying there peacefully was Izuku, hair long and unruly from where it had grown over the years, chest rising faintly before deflating. Katsuki approached, impatient, and firmly gripped Izuku’s jaw, hinging it open. He was careful about putting the meat on his tongue, however—he didn’t want Izuku to choke before he awoke—and brought his other hand up to cover Izuku’s nose and mouth.
For a while, there was nothing. Katsuki knew that in this state, Izuku went long minutes between breaths, not needing to breath as much as if he was active. But eventually Izuku inhaled, his chest stuttering when it couldn’t pull in air, and the green-haired man swallowed reflexively.
Eyes fluttered open after a few moments, green glittering brightly as they focused on the face above him, and Katsuki felt lips work against his palm. Removing his hand, he watched as a brilliant smile spread across Izuku’s face.
“Kacchan,” he breathed out, looking as if he had just struck gold.
Katsuki’s lips pulled into a wild grin, eyes equally as bright. “Deku,” he replied, and it was the sound of life being poured right back into his very existence.