Katsuki slams his pencil down after a second set of timid knocks hits his door. He pushes away from his desk and stomps across his bedroom, almost tripping over a pile of books in a mixture of annoyance and lack of lighting. He growls and kicks at the books.
The knocking comes again and Katsuki feels a desire to scream at whoever is on the other side of the door. He doesn’t care who it is, anyone who’s stupid enough to bother him at this hour better have a damn good reason.
He swings the door open, teeth gritted and brows drawn together, fully expecting Kirishima or maybe even Kaminari. He wasn’t expecting Shouto. Actually, Shouto was the last person Katsuki had been expecting because Shouto was supposed to be visiting his family for the weekend. He was supposed be at his home, safe and in his bed.
Shouto was not supposed to be here, covered in blood and burns and leaning into Katsuki’s doorframe like it was the only thing keeping him upright.
Katsuki’s expression morphs into something of horror and confusion as he maps Shouto’s bloody and beaten face, eyes gliding down to scorched clothes and raw skin. His hands reach forward automatically, wrapping around two shaking wrists.
He guides Shouto into his room without a word and gently closes the door behind him. Shouto’s wrists slip free as he reaches for Katsuki forearms to support himself.
“I’m sorry.” Shouto whispers, his voice small and broken and so unnatural. “I know it’s late and I’m sor-“
“Don’t fucking say it again.” Katsuki growls, because why the fuck is Shouto sorry? Why is he looking at Katsuki like he wants to apologise again for having the shit beaten out of him? “Sit down and shut up before you hurt yourself even more.”
Shouto opens his mouth like he wants to say something but decides against it and sits on the bed, careful not to get any blood on Katsuki’s crisp covers.
Katsuki shakes his head as he steps into the bathroom to look for his first aid equipment. He easily finds the box in a high up cupboard and places it on the sink as he wets a small cloth and snatches some painkillers from a shelf.
He marches back into the bedroom with his supplies and dumps them on the bed, except for the cloth which he holds onto. Then sits on the edge of the bed, folding one leg beneath him and prompts Shouto to face him.
The other boy stays as he is, head down and brows drawn. His lips are tight in an expression that Katsuki can’t read, most likely something Shouto is doing on purpose.
“Shouto.” Katsuki says, raising his voice enough to make the other boy turn his head and face him.
Katsuki’s eyes glide over each burn and cut and bruise littering Shouto’s soft skin. His gaze lands on a swollen, crooked nose and his gut swirls with a mixture of sympathy and boiling rage.
It must show on his face because Shouto ducks his head again.
“Hey.” Katsuki growls, placing two fingers under Shouto’s chin to stop him. He redirects the boy’s face toward him again.
Neither of them speak as Katsuki gets to work cleaning his boyfriend up. They’ve done this kind of thing for each other a few times before so it’s not hard for Katsuki to fall into the rhythm of it.
He tries to be gentle when cleaning the more tender parts of Shouto’s skin but inevitably the other boy still winces and hisses through his teeth.
After a few minutes of this Katsuki decides he doesn’t want to deal with seeing Shouto in so much pain anymore. So he grabs the painkillers out and shoves them at him. The other boy inspects the container passively before placing it back on the bed.
Katsuki grits his teeth. “You’re meant to take them, moron.” He growls, pulling the damp cloth away from Shouto so he doesn’t hurt him further in his annoyance.
“It’s fine. I can deal.” Shouto mutters.
Katsuki snatches up the container and tips two pills out before shoving them into Shouto’s hand. “Fucking take them.”
Shouto sighs, his jaw tightening as a small sign of his annoyance. “I said I don’t need them. I can de-“
“You don’t have to, Shouto!” Katsuki grits out. He throws the cloth on the floor and it lands with a splat. Shouto’s eyes follow the cloth. “You don’t have to deal with this shit.”
Shouto’s expression turns stern and he glares at Katsuki from the corner of his eye, not saying a word.
Katsuki rolls his eyes. “Just take the fucking things.” He utters as he moves on to sanitising Shouto’s wounds. He busies himself with uncapping the antibiotic cream and fiddling with some cotton pads but he watches out of his periphery to make sure Shouto takes them.
He does, thankfully, but only after giving Katsuki the stink eye. Katsuki ignores the look and moves on. Shouto still winces slightly as Katsuki cleans the wounds out and he has to pinch his nose to keep it from bleeding too much but otherwise he’s silent.
That’s why Katsuki’s so taken aback when Shouto whispers, “you’re not even going to ask what happened?”
Katsuki stops for a moment, processing Shouto’s words before returning to his task. He carefully dabs antiseptic over a burn on the other boy’s arm as he whispers “I know what happened.” Then, as an afterthought, he adds “I’m gonna kill your dad next time I see him.”
“No, you’re not.” Shouto sighs. “Besides, I’m the one who started it.”
“Doesn’t matter.” Katsuki replies, feeling an awful lot like a broken record. “He can’t do this to you.”
Katsuki knows no matter how many times he repeats himself, Shouto won’t hear him. He’s too stubborn to even try to understand what Katsuki’s trying to say. Match that with the fact that Shouto’s been brought up with this kind of abuse, baring the scars of his father’s temper and his mother’s weak resolve his entire life. Katsuki’s words are destined to always fall on deaf ears, but he’ll never stop saying them. Not until Shouto understands that he doesn’t have to deal with this shit.
So when Shouto responds with another denial, Katsuki glares at him.
Katsuki wraps the bigger burns in bandages, careful not to apply too much pressure to the raw skin. He ends up using his entire supply of wrap bandages pretty quickly so he moves onto square bandages. He’s just finishing up on the last few burns on Shouto’s arms when a thought hits him.
“How’d you get here?” Katsuki asks. His brows pull together as he waits for Shouto’s answer.
He can’t imagine Endeavour driving him here, or authorising any of Shouto’s siblings to drive him. So how did he get here?
“Subway.” Shouto responds, eyes casting toward the floor once again.
“You’re kidding.” Katsuki responds, actually reeling back slightly in disbelief.
Shouto shakes his head.
“You’re a fucking idiot.” Katsuki responds, scowling at the other boy.
Despite his calmness in dealing with the pain, it’s clear to anyone with eyes that Shouto is quite badly injured. Not to mention, the other boy stumbled into Katsuki’s room past midnight. He shouldn’t have been wandering around, alone, at night in the first place, let alone after taking an ass-kicking
Shouto pulls away from Katsuki suddenly and pushes himself off the bed, wincing at every subtle movement. His hair falls over his eyes in a way that hides them from Katsuki’s own but he can still see the rest of him. The way Shouto curls into himself and the tightness of his jaw make Katsuki bite his tongue.
Shouto turns away from him and stalks over to Katsuki’s bedroom door.
“Hey! Where are you going?” His lips fall into a frown as he watches the other boy open the door and step out without a word.
Katsuki sits for a moment, stunned by Shouto’s sudden change in behaviour. Where the fuck was he going? He feels an uncomfortable weight falling into his stomach. Something that feels a lot like guilt, he thinks. Which just makes him angry because why should he feel guilty?
Shouto had come banging on his door at the asscrack of dawn and all Katsuki had done was be helpful.
That ungrateful bastard hadn’t even said thank you. So what was the problem. Why does Katsuki feel like he’s in the wrong? And why had Shouto walked out like that?
Katsuki racks his brain for a few minutes. Yes, he’d called Shouto a fucking idiot, because he was. Shouto was used to that shit now anyway. He never really reacts if Katsuki calls his names, not unless he’s upset about something els-
Katsuki’s throat feels suddenly tight. He starts packing the first aid equipment back into its box, intending to go after Shouto and finish the job, maybe even apologise.
But no, he’s not going to do that, because Katsuki’s not happy with Shouto either.
That bastard walked himself home without so much as a call to let Katsuki know. He should have called. Katsuki could have walked him back, or met him half way, or at least talked to him on the phone while he walked back. He could have made sure he was safe.
Did Shouto not trust him? Did he not think he cared enough to make sure his boyfriend came back safe?
Katsuki shakes the thoughts away. That’s not it. He knows Shouto trusts him. There must be something wrong.
Katsuki sits for a few more minutes, biting his lip as he tries to find an answer. Nothing comes to mind so he picks up the first aid box and stomps out of his room and up to the top floor of the dorms.
They need to talk about this.
Katsuki knocks quietly on Shouto’s bedroom door. There’s no answer so Katsuki knocks again, harder this time. Still no answer.
He shoves his ear up against the door, holding his breath for a moment so he can listen.
Shouto’s definitely in there. Katsuki can here’s him shuffling around, but more than that he can hear him breathing, it’s loud and broken.
Katsuki closes his eyes, leaning his forehead against the door as he takes a moment to compose himself.
He’s an idiot.
“Shou, I’m coming in, okay?” Katsuki says, trying to keep his voice low enough that he won’t wake Shouto’s neighbours but still loud enough to give Shouto warning.
Katsuki hears Shouto’s breath catch and then there’s a lot more shuffling and some quick footsteps. Katsuki turns the handle and steps into Shouto’s room just as the conjoining bathroom door slams shut.
Katsuki growls quietly, placing the first aid on Shouto’s desk before stepping over to the bathroom door. He slides down the wall, sitting silently by the door.
Shouto’s breathing is still laboured on the other side and Katsuki places a palm against the the door.
“Shou,” Katsuki asks quietly. “Are you alright?”
He’s met with silence.
“I get that you’re embarrassed, Shou. But you don’t have to be.” Katsuki sighs. “This isn’t your fault.”
Shouto still doesn’t say anything.
Katsuki grits his teeth. “I’m sorry I called you an idiot.” He stares at the floor, brows pulled together. “I just- I- you know you can call me when something like this happens? I just want you to be safe, dammit.”
Katsuki waits. He has nothing more to say for the time being so he just waits, listening for any kind of response from Shouto. He hears a few sniffles, which he’d kind of expected, but nothing else for a long time. Not until the door clicks and slides open.
Shouto steps out, carefully closing the door behind him and staring down at Katsuki. He obviously tried to clean himself up but Katsuki can tell he’s been crying. His eyes are red and puffy.
Shouto turns his head so Katsuki can’t see and it’s so incredibly obvious now that Katsuki’s actually paying attention. Shouto’s ashamed of what happened. Ashamed that he -an eighteen year old hero in training- had his ass kicked by his dad, ashamed that he thought things would be better, that his dad had changed.
Most importantly, he was too ashamed to call Katsuki and ask for help. It’s a wonder he even showed up at Katsuki’s door.
Katsuki pats the floor in front of him, an invitation for Shouto to sit.
The dual coloured boy does, clutching almost desperately at Katsuki’s pyjama pants. He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t ask anything of him. Katsuki knows this is because he’s too proud.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that Shouto is just as proud as him, sometimes even more so.
So Katsuki does what he should have done in the beginning, what he walked up two flights of stairs to do. He pulls Shouto in close and holds him, arms wrapped carefully around the other boy so that he won’t hurt him further.
Shouto sucks in a surprised breath and instantly curls into Katsuki, laying his head on the other’s shoulder and gripping at Katsuki’s shirt with both fists.
They stay that way for a long while. Katsuki is unwilling to make any kind of noise or movement that might break the moment. He doesn’t want Shouto to think he’s uncomfortable or eager to let go. He wants Shouto to know that he can stay in Katsuki’s arms as long as he wants, that he can call Katsuki when he’s in trouble, that he can come knocking on his door at any time -on any day- and expect Katsuki to answer.
“I feel stupid.” Shouto mumbles into Katsuki’s shirt.
“Why?” Katsuki asks. He considers reassuring Shouto that he isn’t stupid but decides against it. Maybe it’s time he listened to Shouto rather than talk at him.
Shouto sighs. “I should have known things wouldn’t change with my father.”
Katsuki feels the strong urge to say ‘I told you so’ but he fights it. “It’s not your fault he’s a useless prick. Even I hoped he would be capable of change.” He responds honestly.
Shouto lifts his head to look at him. His eyes are still pretty red and hazy but Katsuki thinks that’s just a sign of exhaustion. He doesn’t expect more tears from Shouto tonight. He does stare Katsuki down intently though, expression a mixture of dubiousness and something curious. “You did?” He asks quietly.
“Course I did.” Katsuki breaks eye contact with him, staring at nothing in particular as he pouts. “He’s the number one hero for Christ sake, you’d hope he could at least be able to improve the lives of the people around him in some way. Besides that, he’s your fucking dad. I’d prefer if he didn’t continue to use you as his own personal punching bag.”
Shouto frowns at the last part but seems genuinely thankful for the rest of Katsuki’s confession. Which reminds him.
“Why didn’t you kick his ass?” Katsuki asks. “You could definitely take him on.”
Shouto’s silent for a moment. Katsuki can feel his eyes boring into him, flicking over his features like he’s trying to decide if he should explain himself. Finally, he sighs and his shoulders slump in a way that feels submissive.
“Theoretically, yes, I could beat him in combat. I’m sure of it.” Shouto agrees. “But whenever I’m near him, it’s like I’m a child again. I feel like I can’t even defend myself.”
Katsuki tries to understand, but it’s hard. It’s not like he can just understand what a lifetime of abuse could do to one’s psyche. He doesn’t have the same experiences as Shouto, hasn’t lived through his horrible excuse for a childhood.
There’s a part of him that does get it though. He’s always been the slightest bit scared of his mother, not that he’d ever let anyone know. The woman’s been smacking him around since he was old enough to have an ego. That didn’t mean he was scared to defend himself though.
“It’s stupid.” Shouto mutters, taking in Katsuki’s unintentionally puzzled expression. He twists his lips into something that looks doubtful.
“It’s not.” Katsuki responds cautiously. “It’s just hard to understand.”
“You don’t have to understand.” Shouto mumbles, laying his head down on Katsuki’s collarbones. A common move for Shouto despite the fact that collarbones are sharp and protruding and have got to be the most uncomfortable place to lay your head.
Maybe Katsuki has nice, comfortable collarbones. He can see that being true, every other part of him is above average, why not his collarbones too. Or maybe Shouto’s just a moron. Either works.
“Thank you.” Shouto whispers, “For taking care of me.” and he lifts his hand to Katsuki’s face, placing his palm gently across Katsuki’s cheek.
Katsuki smiles, taking Shouto’s hand into his own. “Yeah well what the hell else am I here for.” He grumbles, moving his other arm around to Shouto’s back where he rubs little circles in between his shoulder blades.
Shouto makes a huffing sound and squeezes his hand.
Katsuki considers how small Shouto feels curled into him like this. He’s still concerned by how small Shouto can allow himself to be. Katsuki had always thought of Shouto Todoroki as a juggernaut. Some tall, unreachable being. A goal Katsuki could never obtain.
He remembers entering UA and feeling untouchable, only to watch Shouto easily beat two of his classmates, in their first week, simply by freezing them to the floor. Remembers thinking he couldn’t possibly beat someone so powerful.
It’s not often Katsuki sees him the way he is now, but it’s often enough to know that Shouto can be small too. That he also needs to be protected.
Katsuki considers this as he imagines the feeling of stomping over to the Todoroki residence and kicking Enji Todoroki’s teeth in. Maybe Deku will let him use his shoes with the metal soles just for extra damage.
As he’s drooling over the possibility, he notices Shouto’s grip on his shirt loosen and a moment later the boy’s body goes completely lax.
Katsuki feels a gentle swirling in his stomach and he laughs to himself quietly. When his laughing makes Shouto stir, he stops and stays completely still until he’s sure he won’t wake him.
Shouto snores quietly against his chest, making Katsuki’s heart stutter and his ass fucking hurt. Sitting on Shouto’s shitty floor was bad enough before but now that he’s supporting the other boy’s weight too it is killing him.
He argues with himself for a few more minutes before deciding he can’t do this anymore. He very slowly and subtly places one arm under Shouto’s knees and the other around his shoulders before awkwardly lifting him off the floor.
Katsuki considers dumping Shouto on his shitty tatami mattress and calling it a night but a small part of him knows that Shouto would appreciate it if Katsuki stayed the night with him instead. So he deposits him onto his poor excuse for a bed, hits the lights and then crawls in next to him.
He makes sure to tuck a blanket right up to Shouto’s chin before he goes to sleep.
His dreams consist of Endeavour taking an unexpected trip to the dentist.