Chapter 1: 'Why did it have to be you?'
Ochaco Uraraka tapped her fingers on her desk impatiently as her auburn eyes bore holes into her office door. It had been approximately an hour since she had made one of the most awkward phone calls in her entire life and the mere memory of it grated her every nerve.
‘Why did it have to be you?’ she thought, her gut churning. Forcing her eyes closed, she leaned back in her chair and rubbed her temples. ‘This is some kind of nightmare, right?’
It was nearly five years ago when she finally became a Pro Hero and a year since Tsuyu Asui, Nejire Hado, and she had banned together to create their own agency. Things had been a bit rough in the beginning, but after the media caught wind of a few of their big saves, traction grew exponentially and they found themselves able to properly hire sidekicks and get a much nicer office in the process.
Ochaco couldn’t complain. Things were really good, better than she could have hoped for. Not only had she managed to become a partner in an agency of her own, but she was also quickly making her way toward the number eight spot on the charts. Of course, that had been a wonderful accomplishment and she knew she wouldn’t make it much higher, not with Deku taking up the number one spot, followed behind by…
The door to her office opened, breaking her from her thoughts. Her eyes lifted to meet a pair of penetrating crimson orbs and she immediately felt her breath hitch. “Bakugou,” she said, forcing a smile. “I’m glad you were able to meet on such short notice.”
The blonde closed the door behind him, making his way deeper into her office and taking a seat in front of Ochaco. His gaze swept the room, uninterested in the lack of decor and furnishings. “I’m surprised you called me,” he said, returning his gaze to hers, taking in the way her eyes caught the faint glint of sunlight barreling through the windows and catching the flecks of gold. In truth, he was quite surprise by how much the gravity hero had changed since their time at school, like how her auburn hair now reached her waist and the goofy smile she usually wore was more serene and professional.
“If I’m being truthful, it was Tsu’s idea,” Ochaco said, laughing faintly as she idly rubbed the pads of her fingertips. “She said that you arrived back from America a few months ago, so she had Nejire locate your agency’s number.” Despite how nervous she felt talking to Katsuki for first time since they parted ways after graduation, she couldn’t help but take in how tall he had gotten. His blonde hair was still a spiky mess on top his head and his face held its stern features still, even if he didn’t look quite as hostile as he had in school. His body had bulked up in muscle and she swore that despite the frown he seemed more…mature? Not just physically, but mentally as well. She herself hadn’t changed much outside of growing her hair out. She was still rather rounded in her features and despite growing a little bit taller she was much, much shorter than Katsuki and even Izuku.
Katsuki nodded at her words. He was leaned up in the chair, seemingly uncomfortable. He had been so used to things in America he almost forgot that he actually knew people in Japan. The idea of just being a strong hero, saving people, running an agency without having to make small talk with familiars had held it’s own pleasantness. But now that he was home, he was recognized, people wanted to talk, to catch up, and he found himself a bit annoyed by it. Though now of everyone who did want to talk to him, he found it rather unexpected to see that Ochaco was one of them.
“Did Nejire fill you in on the situation?”
“A bit. She rambled the fuck on, so I zoned her out after a while.”
Laughing nervously, Ochaco laced her fingers together. “She does that. Anyway, the reason why we called for help was due to our investigation leading us to a split in the criminal group we’ve been investigating. Our goal is capture their leader with the hope of placing the organization into chaos, making them easier to track down. The dilemma is that we have word that the group is split up into two different hide outs and there’s no confirmation as to which hide out their boss is at,” she explained and began rustling through a stack of papers. She located what she needed, a dossier with a photo paper clipped to the top of it. Handing it to him, she rummaged around for another paper. “That’s the leader, Douglas McDough. He came over to Japan from Ireland about six months ago. No one knows much about him, just that he fled his country due to some kind of feud.”
Katsuki looked over the image, his brows knitting together in thought. “Does he have a Quirk? There’s not much on this dossier.”
“He has one, but no one can confirm what it is exactly,” Ochaco admitted softly. “He works with explosives though. His gang has been sighted several times stealing materials that could be used to make a bomb. McDough is nowhere in sight of the burglaries. He stays out of the public eye a bit too well.”
Katsuki set the dossier down on the desk and crossed his arms. “It sounds like you have a pretty decent handle on things.”
“Sort of.” Ochaco handed him another slip of paper, this time it was a print out of a map with two locations circled on it, one near the beachfront and the other at a hat shop. “Tsu caught sight of one of McDough’s thugs and followed him to the shop, but she said it felt as though he was purposely letting her follow. I think they realized they were being invested by an agency and are trying to throw us for a loop.”
“How do you figure?”
“Nejire had gotten a tip about a few unlicensed boats heading toward small cove. We believe that’s the actual hideout. The hat shop I think is a ruse, though there are also rumors that the McDough’s gang is splitting up.”
Katsuki had to admit he was impressed. Ochaco had come a long way since he had last spoken to her and it appeared she was putting her brain to work and piecing together a complex puzzle of crime bosses and burglaries, sprinkled with potential bombs. From the evidence she had presented him with, he agreed that she was definitely onto something.
For a moment, Ochaco remained silent, her demeanor tense. She stroked the pads of her fingertips again and despite the atmosphere of the conversation, her cheeks still held their unique pinkness to them, making it difficult to take her entirely serious, at least for Katsuki it was.
“Oi, Cheeks.” Snapping his fingers, Katsuki managed to bring Ochaco back to the present. He felt his stomach tighten when her round eyes stared at him, her cheeks flushing pink from embarrassment.
“Sorry, I was just thinking,” she said finally. “I’m thankful that you agreed to help us. Our resources were stretched thin on this case and there was no way we would have successfully raided both hideouts, especially since one seems to be a trap, most likely. Two of our three sidekicks are out with injuries.”
Katsuki looked at the map again. “From what you’ve said, the hat shop is the likely candidate for being a trap. I think Chatterbox and Frog girl should go to the beachfront and—“
“You know, my partners have names, Bakugou,” Ochaco interrupted, glaring pointedly at the blonde. It was clear some things hadn’t changed about him, his inability to care about someone’s name one of them.
Katsuki glared back. “I’m not calling them by their names,” he stated. “Besides, I won’t be working with them, so it won’t matter.”
“What do you mean?”
“Because you and I are going to the fake hide out while the other two go to the beachfront,” he said, finally finishing his previous statement.
Ochaco’s eyebrows perked up and she opened her mouth to speak, trying to come up with words that didn’t necessarily curse or come out in shouts. “This isn’t your mission,” she said slowly. “We called you in to help us because we didn’t have the resources to do this on our own and just because you’re the—“
“Cheeks, you were going to send Chatterbox and Frog girl to the beachfront anyway, so why are you arguing with me?” He leaned forward and pointed to a sheet of paper that Ochaco had doodled on with various notes written from when she was clearly drafting together a plan.
Ochaco stood, her cheeks slightly puffing out in frustration. Her palms slammed down on her desk, her eyes narrowing into tiny daggers. “Just because you’re the Number Two Hero doesn’t mean you can just come into this agency and take charge!” Her pinky fingers hovered precariously over her desk, threatening to touch down with the rest of her fingers. Apart of her wanted to float her desk and slam it into Katsuki for the gall he had to try to give orders, but for now she refrained to a simple scolding.
Katsuki on the other hand, seemed entirely amused by her display. His lips curled into a smirk as he watched her and he moved to stand. “You’ve gotten a bit gutsier since school, Uraraka. Gotta say, it suits you.”
“Wha…?” She blinked, his words bouncing around in her mind for a moment before her cheeks lit up. ‘Did he just compliment me?’
“When do you want to put your plan into action?”
Regaining her composure, Ochaco cleared her throat and straightened up, her arms crossing over her chest. “Tonight. Nejire and Tsu are doing a bit of recognizance to make sure nothing has changed. Meet me here, outside, at eleven. They won’t expect us to attack so late at night.”
Nodding, Katsuki turned toward the door. “I’ll be there, Cheeks.”
As he retreated through the door, Ochaco couldn’t help the flip in her stomach. It was so hard to believe that out of everyone she knew, it was the most hotheaded and arrogant hero she knew that answered her call for help. This was going to be a long night.
As night fell, Ochaco felt herself more on edge than she ever had before. It was a big mission, one that couldn’t be messed up at any cost. Earlier as she prepared herself to meet Katsuki, she had spent her time compiling all the information she had on McDough. When he first began gathering materials for bombs, she had pulled up whatever records she could online about bomb threats and explosions being set off in Ireland where he originally came from and came up with three main incidents that came close to the information gathered here in Japan. McDough had procured a large amount of materials and explosives and shortly afterwards would set up a bomb near busy streets or large events. After the incidents it appeared that police had trouble figuring out just how such large bombs were placed without anyone seeing.
Which led her to believe his Quirk was somehow involved. Whatever this mans reasons were, he was just a villain who needed to be stopped.
As the alarm on her phone sounded, alerting her to the time, Ochaco changed into her hero costume. She had made it a point to leave her costume at the office and only wear it when she went out on patrol or a mission. It was too much of a nuisance wearing such a skintight outfit while doing paperwork.
The night air was crisp and it felt good against her face as she opened the main door that led out of the small building. Just near the walkway, Katsuki stood, leaned up against the fence, his arms crossed, head down, and eyes closed. He looked like some kind of godlike statue. She had seen articles and newsfeeds of his endeavors, but seeing his muscled physique before her was a whole other story. Katsuki was definitely now as he was in school.
As she approached him, she couldn’t help but let her eyes trail over his muscles and the way they strained against his hero costume. He looked good in it before, but now? She felt her breath hitch for a moment before she forced her attention back on the mission.
“Glad you made it,” she said, smiling. “Here, this is for you.” She held out her palm where a small earbud com rested. “Froppy and Nejire-chan are headed toward the beachfront now. Once we’re all in position we’ll storm both hideouts simultaneously.”
Katsuki lifted his head, giving her a side look as she approached, his eyes falling over to the curves of her body. She was always curvy, but it was like her curves accented everything about her, matched with her toned muscle pressed against her hero costume. She was both soft and powerful, a combo not often seen physically and he had to admit he was impressed by how much she had grown over the years. She definitely didn’t have to worry about anyone calling her frail nowadays.
He took the com she offered and placed it in his ear. “So what’s the plan when we actually storm the joint?”
“We’ll have to readjust as we go,” she admitted. “If it is a trap, there’s no telling what will actually be in store for us, especially since we don’t know much about the Quirks McDough’s crew possess.”
“So we’re fucking going in blind?” Ground Zero quirked up and eyebrow, his crimson orbs watching her carefully.
“Essentially. I’m not saying we’re going to go in guns blazing.”
As the two walked, Uravity pressed on her com and spoke, alerting Froppy. “Are you two in position?”
“Ribbit. Yes, we’re ready to go,” the frog hero responded. Her voice was still deep, but now it held a bit more of a feminine ring when she spoke. “Let us know when you and Ground Zero are in position.”
“Will do, we’re almost there now.”
The hat shop on the map was only a few blocks away from the agency and as soon as it came into view, Uravity and Ground Zero made their way toward the ally next to a coffee shop that overlooked their targeted building.
Katsuki watched intently for even the slightest movement to come from inside the shop. When he saw none, he glanced at Ochaco. “How do you want to play this?”
“There are two ways to get to the back,” she whispered. “If we try to go in through the front it’ll only cause attention of bystanders and they may get too close. If this guy does actually use explosives then we need to make sure no one but us is near.”
“I don’t think he’ll risk an explosion as a trap,” Katsuki stated. “If he did he would likely want to take out more than just two Pro’s. He would want to catch as many people in as possible. Don’t forget you don’t have an idea what any of their Quirks are.” He watched her face shift from thoughtful to annoyed in the course of a minute and when he turned back toward the shop, there was a slight rustle from the front store curtain. They were hidden enough to not be seen in the shadows of the ally, luckily, but considering someone was inside watching the front would make getting to the back a bit more complicated. They could easily be spotted.
“Someone’s in there,” she murmured.
Katsuki tapped the com in his ear and spoke quickly and urgently. “Uravity and Ground Zero, in position. Mission is set.” Before Ochaco could complain, he took hold of her wrist and moved her to where she was standing in front of him. “Go to the right side of the building. The second you’re there gravitate to the roof. I’ll go to the left side and bash in the door. You’ll be the one they don’t see coming.”
“What? Wait…” But it was too late. Ground Zero had given her a rough push and she found herself running briskly toward the right side of the building. The moment she made it, she could hear Katsuki’s boots hitting ground as he sprinted toward the left. When they were out of sight of one another, Ochaco pressed her fingertips together to activate her Quirk and floated up onto the ceiling where she landed with a soft thud.
Within moments she heard a large explosion and a string of curses flying from the explosive hero’s mouth. She rolled her eyes and ran over to the edge of the roof and peered down. Burnt debris of what used to be a door lay scattered and she could hear Katsuki shouting at someone.
“Showtime, I guess,” she muttered, lifted her hands and pressing the pads of her fingertips together. But just as Ochaco began to float, she felt a stern grip on her calf, keeping her from being able to maneuver toward the ground to aid Katsuki. “What the…?” As she turned, she saw a man with a fedora and a toothy grin staring up at her. ‘Was he on the roof the whole time?’
Briefly her auburn eyes swept the small rooftop. There weren’t really any places to hide. The man’s stealth had to have been due to some kind of Quirk.
Cursing at herself for being reckless, Ochaco moved her free leg and used the man’s grip on her other legs to move herself closer so she could deliver a swift kick to the thugs chest. The momentum of her kick had caused him to release her legs and she found herself spiraling backwards through the air. She was certain from Katsuki’s cackling and the explosions following suit that he was doing just fine on his own. Either way, she tapped the com on her ear. “Ground Zero, there’s one on the roof,” she said. “How many down below?”
“Three, all unconscious. Do you have things handled?” he inquired, his cocky laughter halting as he spoke to her through the earpiece.
“Almost. I don’t know where this guy came from.”
The thug regained his composure quickly, giving a scoff when he saw his fedora knocked off his head and lying on the ground. “Damn bitch. They said you might be tough to deal with, but no one said anything about an anti-gravity Quirk.”
“Don’t you watch the news?” she chided. “You should have known what you were dealing with when I arrived.” Ochaco momentarily cancelled her Quick on herself and landed toward the edge of the roof. She poised herself for a fight, watching the man’s movements carefully. He was cautious, as though he didn’t want to get in too close. Whether it was due to the possibility of getting floated or his own Quirk working best at a distance, she wasn’t entirely sure.
The thug brushed the dust off his hat and placed it back on top his head. “You won’t be so cocky here in a second, hero.”
“Where’s McDough,” Uravity demanded, her hands clenching into fists.
“Not here. Was supposed to wipe out the wave bitch, but instead you came here,” the thug spat. “You heroes already screw everything up, don’cha?” He lurched forward, his hand extended toward her. Ochaco quickly maneuvered and grabbed the man’s wrist and spun him around before flipping him onto his back.
“Uravity, what’s your status? Hey! Uravity, hey come in!” Nejire’s voice rang in her ear, her enthusiasm almost distracting in the moment.
The thug turned over onto his back and stared up at the female Pro Hero and glared. “Was only supposed to be one of ya!” he hissed, struggling to get back up. “Who the hell thought you’d bring someone like Ground Zero here too?”
“Oh, shut up already!” Ochaco lifted her leg, sending a powerful kick toward his chest again, except this time the thug caught her by the ankle and forced her to awkwardly balance on her other foot. “Let go or I’ll float us both.”
Grinning, the man seemed unfazed. “It won’t matter here in a second.”
In that moment, Ground Zero barreled up onto the roof, explosions shooting from his palms. He watched briefly as Uravity and the thug fought, smirking slightly when Ochaco managed to activate her Quirk and use her weightlessness to force the man to release her ankle. He revved up an explosion in his palm, ready to shoot it out to knock the guy out when he heard Ochaco yelp.
“What the hell is going on?!” she cried. She was floating in mid air with her hands held out in front of her. When she turned to see Katsuki, her eyes widened. The explosive hero seemed so much taller all of a sudden. In fact, the whole rooftop seemed to grow in size all of a sudden.
With lightning speed, Ground Zero shot out a massive blast and knocked the guy clean off the roof. He heard him land with a scream and a thud, followed by a pained groan.
"Uravity!” he called, running toward her. But as he arrived beside her, her body had become the size of a pencil, now floating awkwardly in the air in front of him. He blinked several times, not quite sure what he was seeing until he reached up and poked her in the side. “The fucking hell happened?! How the fuck did you manage to get his by a fucking shrink Quirk!?”
“I don’t know!” she shouted back, her voice barely carrying through the air between them. “We need to fix this now!”
Katsuki grabbed Ochaco from mid air, holding her tiny figure in his palm as she walked over the ledge and peered down. The man was below, out cold. “Won’t be able to till he wakes up,” he said, glancing at her. He tapped the com in his ear. “We have a bit of a situation.”
“What happened?” Tsuyu inquired, her voice holding panic. “Is Uravity okay? Ribbit.”
“She’s fine, but she got hit with a fucking shrink Quirk and the guy is out cold,” Katsuki said. “Please tell me you guys didn’t get his with any other stupid Quirks?”
“Is that concern, Ground Zero?” Nejire suddenly piped in.
“Fuck no! I don’t want to have to fucking babysit anyone else!” he shouted. “Just meet back at the fucking agency!” He tapped the com off and glowered down at Ochaco who gave out a slight ‘eep’ and shrank back against his hand. “How could you be so stupid and get his with a damned Quirk?”
Ochaco felt her cheeks puff out as she crossed her arms. “Oh, lay off! It’s not like I intended to!”
“We’re damned professionals now, Uravity! We can’t afford to make mistakes!”
“Asking you to help me tonight was a mistake!” she shouted, her face turning so red it could almost rival a tomato.
“Tch. You succeeded here tonight because you asked for me to help,” he shot back. “Don’t give me that bullshit.”
Ochaco turned to fully face away from him, fully aware that she was literally being held in the palm of his hand. “Did we at least find anything out?”
“Couldn’t find anything and your McDough guy wasn’t here. Pretty lame trap, if you ask me. What kind of weakling criminals are you chasing nowadays?”
She glared at him from over her shoulder. “Ones that steal explosives that could kill,” she shot. “Let’s just go back to the agency, alright? We’re wasting time arguing over all this.”
“Tch. Fine, whatever.”
When Ochaco and Katsuki made it back to the agency, Tsuyu and Nejire were already there. They had a head start back since Katsuki had to stop to readjust how he held Ochaco since each time he tried to keep her from falling or blowing away if he used his Quirk to move it became an awkward debacle since his fingertips wrapping around tended to touched certain…areas.
“You’re such a pain,” Katsuki muttered as he ripped open the office the agency. The two partner heroes were in Nejire’s office, talking about the beachfront bust, stopping only when they heard Ground Zero’s temper clear down the hallway.
Nejire sprang to her feet, bounding over to the two and immediately taking Ochaco into her own palm and poking at her. “Oh, my! You really did shrink!” she exclaimed, almost curiously. “How does it feel being so small? You’re clothes shrunk too. Does my voice sound louder to you?”
“I’ll be fine once the guy who did this wakes up. We’ll be able to get him to undo it,” Ochaco assured, dismissing the bombardment of questions.
Tsuyu pressed her index finger to her chin, her head tilting as she watched her friend. “How did you get hit by a shrink Quirk, Ochaco? It’s not like you to get caught off guard. Ribbit.”
“I should have been more careful,” Uravity relented, sighing heavily. She knew Katsuki was right about what he said earlier. She should have bee more careful, should have had a better plan. It was stupid of her to have tried to kick at that thug without any idea of what his Quick was. Now she was stuck at a mere six inches tall.
Nejire turned toward Katsuki and blinked at him. “Did you find anything out when you raided the place, at least?”
“It was a trap, though not a good one,” he said, shrugging. “Four were there, four got knocked the hell out. I called it into the police on our way back here.”
“They were hoping to take out Nejire, at least that’s what the one I fought had said. They weren’t expecting me or Bakugou,” Ochaco added. “What did you two find out?”
“Ribbit. There were only a couple of guys there, but we found a bunch of bomb making materials. I think it was everything that had been stolen lately,” Tsuyu stated, turning thoughtful. “They definitely weren’t expecting us, so I imagine losing all of their materials will set them back on whatever they had planned.”
Nejire nodded enthusiastically. “Right, so that means they will try and get more. But we can discuss this tomorrow, yeah? Yeah? It’s so late and I’m so tired!”
“I agree. It’s already almost one,” Tsuyu added. “Ochaco, do you want me to take you home? Ribbit.”
For a moment Ochaco pondered. “I’ll probably just stay here. I’m too small to really do anything around my own apartment, so I’ll sleep on my desk or something until we can talk to the thug you did this to me.” She watched as Katsuki quirked an eyebrow at her, yet he said nothing. Her stomach fluttered with the way he looked at her. He had been so angry earlier, but now his stern features almost held concern. She chalked it up to being tired and turned her head back to her two agency partners. “I’ll be fine, you guys. I’m sure everything will get worked out tomorrow.”
“If you’re sure? Ribbit.” Tsuyu took Ochaco from Nejire’s palm and held her in her own. “Are you sure you want to stay here? You can come stay with Nejire or me for the night. Ribbit.”
Ochaco laughed nervously and gathered her auburn locks, running her fingers through it for a moment. “Really, I’m alright. Just take me to my desk?”
As the three agency partners said their goodbyes, Katsuki hovered in the doorway to Ochaco’s office, watching the gravity hero closely. “You’re letting what happened to you eat you up,” he said dryly. “You made a mistake, granted a stupid one, but no one got hurt or killed.”
Ochaco shrugged. She was standing on her desk walking the length on a piece of paper she had scribbled on earlier. “Maybe not this time, but what would have happened if I were fighting that villain while there was a hostage or a bystander? My mistake could have easily cost someone their life tonight.”
Leaving his post by the door, he came over and sat down in one of the chairs. “True. But you’re forgetting about something, Cheeks.”
“We’re only human.”
Ochaco raised an eyebrow, searching his crimson orbs carefully. “I have to admit, Bakugou, you’ve matured a lot since high school.”
“So have you. Now, are you seriously going to stay the fuck in your office while being this tiny?” He stood abruptly, reaching out for her and scooped her up into his palm. “Stupid question, my mistake. You’re not going to stay in your office tonight.”
Ochaco shrieked when he picked her up and flailed her arms helplessly. “Bakugou! Put me down!”
“Nope.” He had shoved up his mask over his forehead and taken off his gauntlets earlier. “You’re not staying here like some loser.”
“Nejire and Tsu already left and I’m certainly not staying with you!”
Ochaco found herself choking on her response. She wasn’t exactly sure what had caught her off guard, if it was the fact that it was Katsuki Bakugou or the fact that Katsuki Bakugou had been the one to offer. Granted he had done his fair share of growing and changing since school, but to actually offer her a place to stay despite having reprimanded her for her stupid mistake. It made her heart beat sporadically against her chest as she looked at him from her position on the palm of his hand.
Finally, she inhaled deeply, speaking after a moment. “Why are you being nice to me?”
It was Katsuki’s time to choke on words. He stared at her, giving her a faint shrug, yet words eluded him. He wasn’t exactly sure of the reason himself. “I don’t talk to a lot of people I went to school with,” he admitted. “Maybe it would be nice to catch up a bit.”
“You still talk to Kirishima and Kaminari, don’t you? Sero said he still talked to you even after you went to America.”
“Look if you don’t want to then I’ll just fucking leave you here to sleep on your crappy little desk,” he snapped, beginning to place her back down.
Quickly she flailed her arms again. “No! No…it’s…fine,” she said, slowly. “It was just unexpected, I guess.”
It truly was odd seeing Ochaco so small, let alone holding her in his palm. “Let’s go then,” he said, turning his head away to conceal the faint blush brushing along his cheeks.
What could possibly go wrong inviting a mini Ochaco to his apartment?
The car ride was filled with awkward silence. Neither of them spoke a single word, though not without effort. Katsuki couldn’t count the number of times he had opened his mouth to speak then changed his mind.
When they arrived, he cleared his throat. To keep Ochaco from flying all around the car, he had placed her in his cup holder with the hope of providing some kind barrier between her and his windshield. Not that he had to slam on his breaks or anything.
“I didn’t realize you lived this close to me,” Ochaco said finally, laughing nervously. “I live in the complex just down about four blocks.”
“Aren’t those apartments super small?” he inquired, unlocking his door. He lived on the second floor. The building he lived in was nice and spacious; the doorman gave him a slight nod before they had gone up the elevator and down the hall. When the door swung open, Ochaco felt her mouth drop open.
“Holy crap! How much do you make to afford a damn place like this!?”
The apartment was huge. In the living room area Katsuki had two full-length leather couches with a matching recliner, a large flat screen mounted to the wall and a dark mahogany coffee table with side tables. On the far wall were lined with bookshelves filled to brim with various things. The hardwood floor by couches were concealed with a black rug and leading in toward the kitchen, which was set up with stainless steel appliances. Down the hallway next to the kitchen led to two bedrooms, one he had set up as a training room and the other his bedroom, housing a king sized bed.
“My apartment is small and cheap,” she confirmed. “But I’m not there very often. I usually crash and head right back to the office in the morning. It does what I need it to.”
“You still make enough to have a more than comfortable living, you know.” He kicked off his shoes and walked in, heading straight for the living room. He set Ochaco down on the coffee table and disappeared down the hallway. He returned a few minutes later, changed into black sweats with a black t-shirt, similar to what he used to wear in the dorms. That at least hadn’t changed about him.
Katsuki flopped down on the couch, lacing his fingers together as he looked at her for a long moment. “So tell me something, Cheeks. Why did you decide to call me in to help your agency? I couldn’t have been your first choice.”
Ochaco sat at the edge of the table letting her legs dangle off the edge as she stared thoughtfully at him. She was still wearing her hero costume, though she had long since taken off the cuffs and her headpiece. Her eyes met his, searching for a long moment. “Well, I’m not really sure,” she said. “I was running out of options for assistance, though I have to say I’m actually surprised you came yourself and didn’t just send a sidekick or something. From what I hear your agency is massive.”
“If it were anyone I didn’t know asking assistance from my agency, then yes. I would have sent an extra to help.” He leaned back, looking mildly uncomfortable. “But when you called, you asked for me and the my agency itself. I felt it was only right to help you myself.”
“For that I am extremely thankful, even if I feel my agency didn’t actually get very far today. We took away explosives, but I got hit with a Quirk and we’re no where closer to finding McDough and now that he knows we’re able to locate his hideouts, he’ll be harder to find now.” Ochaco fell back against the coffee table and stared up at the ceiling. “Earlier you were right, though. We’re not kids anymore. We’re adults and Pro Heroes and we can’t afford to make mistakes.” She raised her hand and examined her palm. “To get hit by a Quirk like this is something that would have happened to an amateur.”
Katsuki shrugged. “Maybe. We all have bad days, Uraraka.”
“But ones that could potentially cost someone their life? What would I have done if you hadn’t of actually been there?” She sat up again and sighed. Her heart ached and she didn’t know why. Having Katsuki there tonight was something she was quite thankful for, which she found rather ironic since she had been dreading working with him when she first made the call to him earlier. Now she was sitting on his coffee table in his apartment.
“You know what we fucking need?” he said suddenly, cutting off her thoughts. He stood and went into the kitchen, grabbing a glass and a bottle. When he returned, he placed it on the table. “Alcohol.”
“I didn’t know you drank.”
“Not often, but it was kind of an odd day so why the fuck not?” He poured a bit into the glass. “Though I imagine just a few drops would be enough to get you fucked up since you’re shrunk and all.”
Crossing her arms, she huffed. “Is that a challenge?”
“Maybe it is,” he said, smirking. He took a drink from his glass and then set it down. “Have at it. Let’s see how much you can tolerate while tiny as hell, Cheeks.”
Swallowing down her nervousness, she stood and walked over to the glass. It was short enough where she could easily reach over it and scoop some of it into her hand. As she did so, she tried hard to drink down the bitter taste without making a face, something she failed miserably at.
“Not able to drink hard liquor?” he inquired, his lips curled into a smirk.
“That is so gross,” she said, shuddering. “Can’t say it’s my favorite. I lean more towards things that don’t actually taste like alcohol when I do drink.”
“Not surprising.” He grabbed his glass and knocked the rest of his glass back before setting it back on the table, now empty. It felt warm going down and he only hoped it calmed him down enough. Since inviting the gravity hero to his apartment, he had felt himself become increasingly more nervous. They hadn’t spoken an excessive amount in school except toward their third year. They had begun talking, growing closer, yet the second graduation came and went they had been whisked away by life. Apart of him regretted never keeping in touch after all this time. It turned out she wasn’t bad company to be in.
He found himself curious about her, how she had been spending her life, how she had actually been doing. “Hey, Uraraka, can I ask you something?”
Ochaco was rubbing the pads on her fingers, her auburn eyes watching him thoughtfully. “What is it?”
“Do you ever wonder if things would have been different between us if we never lost touch all these years?”
His words caught her off guard. She blinked, mulling over what he had asked her. It was a rather unexpected question coming from someone like Katsuki, yet she couldn’t help but feel a bit ecstatic by the question. She watched as he poured himself another drink, first offering another portion for herself, which she gladly accepted. Despite being happy about his words, she felt she needed a bit of liquid courage to help her respond.
“I think things would have definitely been different between us. Maybe I would have said things that were actually on my mind,” she said, laughing softly.
Ochaco glanced away. “It was nothing…just some stupid crush back then.”
Katsuki practically choked on his drink. He coughed and quickly set it down, holding his head in his hands for a moment while he regained his composure. “You had a crush on me?”
The room seemed to spin a bit as the gravity hero looked around. She leaned back on the table again, finding comfort in just staring at the ceiling. The alcohol was definitely beginning to hit her. Clearly it wasn’t going to take much to get her buzzed in such a tiny form. “Do, had, have…same thing,” she muttered. “I never exactly stopped liking you.”
“Why the hell didn’t you reach out to me then?”
Ochaco shot up and glared at him, despite her focus in her vision blurring from the sudden movement. “Hey, same thing could be said about you! Communication is a two way street Mr. King Explosion Murder!” She couldn’t help but laugh at her own words. She hadn’t used that nickname for him in so long, it brought back memories when people used to tease him about when Midnight turned down the name.
“You’re drunk,” he said pointedly.
“Not drunk, but definitely feeling the alcohol,” she corrected, stifling her laugher. “It’s been awhile since I’ve laughed that hard.”
“Heh. I guess laughing isn’t something that comes often in the lives of heroes.”
“Guess not. We should really aim to change that, you know.”
“So you still like me even after all these years of not talking?” He asked, directing the topic back to their conversation. He had been surprised to hear her say it and he wasn’t entirely sure that those were her true feelings or if it had anything to do with the liquid courage she had been pouring down.
Ochaco motioned for another sip of the drink, which he hesitantly gave her. “In school it was a big crush. I had wanted to tell you want some point, but in truth?” She turned thoughtful, tapping her chin. “Well, you seemed to focused on your goal to becoming a Pro Hero that I didn’t want me expressing my feelings to you to become a distraction. I don’t want to be the reason why someone doesn’t accomplish their dream.”
For about the third time, she felt back against the table, this time her eyes beginning to close. It was becoming harder to concentrate and she found herself trying to stay awake.
When Katsuki finally mustered up the courage to speak, Ochaco was already passed out. Her chest rose and fell with steady breaths, her face serene and peaceful. He laughed dryly to himself, downing his drink before grabbing one of the decorative pillows from the couch and laying it flat. Then with careful movements, he lifted Ochaco and set her sleeping form on the pillow before moving to shut the light off.
‘I can’t believe all these fucking years and we both liked each other this whole time,’ he thought bitterly. He hated the fact that he had never reached out to her. From the moment they had begun talking more, he had developed a crush and through the years those feelings never faded, but rather became stronger. Apart of him hated himself for being such a damn coward. He had watched every save she had made on TV, read the articles written about her. She had become one hell of a hero and he admired her in more ways than he could count.
And yet here she was, in his apartment, passed out while he still had the courage to voice how he felt. Maybe it was the alcohol talking, he wasn’t entirely sure. Either way, tomorrow would bring a lot more than either of them expected.
Chapter 2: 'You're scared, Bakugou.'
Ochaco’s stomach lurched the moment she opened her eyes. Her hands flew up to her mouth as she curled into the fetal position. ‘Why do I feel like death?’ she thought, tightly shutting her eyes. The light coming in from the blinds had her head reeling.
“Finally awake, Cheeks?”
Turning onto her back, Ochaco peered over at a familiar figure leaned up against the wall leading to the kitchen, his lips curled into a smirk as he drank his morning coffee. She blinked several times before letting her gaze wander over the apartment, her memory finally becoming clear. ‘Right…I got hit by that stupid Quirk and Bakugou brought me back here.’
Katsuki pushed himself from the wall and strolled over toward her, flopping down on the couch. “Almost thought you were going to sleep all day,” he teased. “Either you’re a fucking lightweight or you have zero tolerance for alcohol while that small.”
“Oh, shut it,” she hissed lightly, rubbing her head. “I would ask for some aspirin, but knowing my luck it’d just kill me.”
“Probably. So, want to hear the good news or the bad news?” he inquired, taking another sip of his coffee.
Ochaco groaned, studying his face for a moment. The only good news she wanted was how to reverse this Quirk so she could get on with her life. She had a damn criminal to stop. “Give me the bad news first.”
“The guy who hit you with the Quirk is still unconscious.”
“Great. Wait, what time is it?”
“Oi, don’t just randomly change the damn subject!” Katsuki set his cup down and crossed his arms over his chest, his red orbs watching her carefully as she inched off the pillow he had placed her on. “It’s ten. You slept for awhile.”
“Ten?! I should have been at the office hours ago!” Ochaco cried. “Damnit, could this day get any worse?”
Smirking, Katsuki held out his palm, motioning for her to get on. Hesitantly she did, not having much choice if she ever wanted to leave the spot she was in. “That brings me to the good news. You have the day off, per your teammates.”
Ochaco stared incredulously at him for a long moment as he brought her into the kitchen and set her on the countertop. “How exactly is that good news? I have a criminal I need to catch!”
“Well, you’re not gonna catch someone while you’re fucking tiny,” he shot back. “Besides, lucky for you I’m taking the day off to hang with you since you…you know.” He motioned at her size, causing her to glare daggers at him. “You act like being around me is the worst thing to happen to you. What the fuck gives?”
“It’s just…awkward,” she said flatly. “Who knows how long it will be before I can get turned back to normal. Besides, what am I supposed to do?”
Katsuki rummaged around the kitchen, taking out a small plate and putting the smallest portion of toast, an omelet, and a single sliced strawberry and put it in front of her. “Awkward or not, you’re stuck with me. Just eat something and we’ll figure things out from there.”
As she stared at the food before her, her stomach churned uneasily. She couldn’t tell whether or not if it was due to the hangover or raw hunger since she had skipped dinner last night. Either way it wouldn’t hurt to attempt to eat.
“While you eat, I’m going to take a shower,” he announced. “Was going to last night, but was too fucking exhausted. I feel gross.”
“Yeah, you’re not the only one,” Ochaco stated, cringing. “What I wouldn’t do for a hot shower right now.” She ripped the corner of the omelet off and munched on it, pondering for a moment, aware of the way Katsuki intently stared at her with slightly flushed cheeks.
“Why don’t you just shower with me?” Katsuki quickly turned to face away, feeling the heat rise in his face. He had thought about them showering together as a general idea, but he had blurted it out without thinking and he quickly felt his pride becoming crushed under his own stupidity. When Ochaco remained silent, he peeked at her from the side to see her own face tomato red, her auburn eyes wide with shock.
“Shower…with…you…?” she trailed, her head tilting to the side, pink lips deliciously agape, a fact that Katsuki didn’t miss.
‘What the hell has gotten into you?’ he cursed, shaking his head. “Forget it, I was just joking,” he said quickly, forcing an awkward laugh. He turned and began to leave toward his bedroom.
Stopping dead in his tracks, Katsuki turned back to her, his eyebrows quirking up in surprise. “I told you I was joking, alright?”
“Joke or not, I still need to shower,” Ochaco admitted sheepishly. “I really want to get out of my costume and feel a little bit human again.”
Katsuki felt as though he were treading dangerous territory, like somehow her statement was luring him into some kind of trap. “So then what the hell do you want to do?”
Strolling over toward the edge of the counter, she crossed her arms and tapped her foot, one hand reaching up to rub her forehead. Maybe it was the pounding headache or a mixture of feeling hung over and gross that made her judgment foggy. “If you promise not to make a huge deal about it, let’s just take a shower together, okay? My head is killing me right now and my mood isn’t the greatest.”
‘She actually wants to shower together?’ It was unexpected, but the explosive hero couldn’t deny that the thought made him a bit giddy of seeing that curvaceous body naked, even if it was shrunk down to only six inches tall. He swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded, almost mechanically, and held his palm open for her to step on. “Alright.”
He took her to his room, shedding light on the simplistically decorated walls and furniture. Yet despite it lacking a feminine charm, it still held more personality than Ochaco’s entire dinky apartment combined. She couldn’t help but notice that he went more towards darker tones, like greys and black, mixed with small flares of red here and there, much like his hero costume.
Ochaco smiled eternally, finding it all so intriguing. She had never been able to see what Katsuki’s dorm looked like, but here she was several years later inside his apartment. “Your place isn’t at all what I expected it to be,” she said, as they passed through and entered the bathroom, which was huge for something being inside an apartment.
“What did you expect it to be like?”
“Not sure, more rugged, I guess?” she said, tapping her chin. “It’s more sophisticated.”
Katsuki rolled his eyes and set her down near the sink, immediately taking his shirt off and tossing it in the corner. He started up the water, completely unaware that Ochaco was staring at him, mesmerizing by every muscle, every scar that made up his body. He had most definitely bulked up since high school. There was one scar in particular that caught her attention, one that ran down the length of his back, its jagged edges stretching across him as his muscles flexed.
“Where did that scar come from?” she asked and instantly covered her mouth with her hand. “Sorry, you don’t have to tell me.”
“Acid Quirk,” he said simply. “Got hit with it, burned like hell.” When he turned back toward her after starting the water, his crimson orbs met her auburn ones, bearing into her and becoming strangely hypnotizing. His entire demeanor almost seemed to shift into a far more serious one. “How do you want to do this?”
“Uh, well…good question?” She smiled sheepishly at him, rubbing the back of her head. “Is there a ledge you can set me on?”
“Yeah, there’s one. I can just angle the water toward you.”
Nodding, she motioned for him to pick her up again. “Alright, let’s do this.”
A few moments of intense silence and Ochaco was certain that things couldn’t possibly become more awkward than they already were. Katsuki had set her up on a small ledge where his shampoo sat and merely angled the bottles so she could easily stay behind them and out of sight while the water hit just enough for her to wash off with. She had undone the zipper of her costume and peeled it from her body; relieved to feel the warmth hit her skin.
“Are you doing alright, Cheeks?” Katsuki asked finally.
“I think so. The water feels nice on my head.”
“I bet, lightweight.”
Scowling, she crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m not a lightweight. It’s because I’m shrunk, that’s all.”
Katsuki nudged one of the shampoo bottles, causing her to jump back in surprise. “Move over, I need soap.”
“Give me some too,” she said, quickly ducking behind the body wash and momentarily losing the heat from the water. When she was able to get warm again, she saw Katsuki reach his index finger around the bottle with a dab of soap on it, which she gladly took. “I’m kind of surprised by how many scars you have.”
“Yeah, like the one of your back. Must have been a pretty bad attack to leave you with that big of a scar.”
Despite himself, Katsuki couldn’t help but smirk. “You seem intrigued, Cheeks. What’s the sudden interest in my scars?”
Ochaco’s words caught in her throat as her face burned red.
“No reason,” she finally said, rushed. “Just having a conversation.”
“If that’s the case… Then do you have any scars?”
“A few, mostly minor ones. Only one large one,” she said softly. “So what do you want to do for the rest of the day?”
“Oi, don’t just start a conversation then suddenly fucking change it!” he hissed. “Tell me about the big scar.”
Ochaco shrugged, even though she knew she was out of sight and he couldn’t see the action. “It was a long time ago.”
Katsuki quickly rinsed the shampoo from his hair before reaching for the shampoo bottle and scooting it aside so he could see Ochaco. Surprisingly she didn’t yelp or try to scramble away, instead she looked almost lost in thought. “What happened?” he tried again. When she looked at him, her auburn eyes gleamed with tears.
“Probably the worst mistake of my life,” she whispered, hugging one arm around herself. She had her body angled away so that her left leg was mostly out of sight and it was then that Katsuki saw a brief glimpse of a dark scar running the length of her thigh.
To her surprise, Katsuki held his palm out to her and despite her earlier embarrassment she hopped on, letting him lead her in close to him. He watched her intently, now able to see in plain view the scar adorning her pale skin. It was extremely dark, yet well healed, indicating how deep the wound must have been. All along her arms she had a few small ones that he barely could see, a few larger ones on her stomach and even one on her hand he was surprised he didn’t notice earlier.
He wanted so badly to trace each scar, to take in the battles this woman had fought during her time as a Pro Hero and relish in the heroics and failures. It was something that all Pro’s had in common, the battle stories.
“So what happened? Tell me, Cheeks.”
Ochaco met his gaze and finally sighed, relenting. “I made a huge miscalculation. I was one of the first to arrive on the scene of a collapsed building. There was a woman who was caught beneath the ruble. I thought I had assessed each piece carefully and floating everything I could without causing a bigger collapse of debris.” She swallowed, dropping her gaze to the wall. Her long hair trailed around her body, accenting each curve and darkening as the water hit it. “When I went to move to last piece, I created a chain reaction. A larger piece from above wound up falling toward the woman. To save her, I placed myself in the way and my leg got snagged by a wire, keeping me from being able to fully shield her.”
Katsuki found himself lightly cringing. Getting hit with acid had been bad, but having your leg almost severed by a wire sounded much worse. He was actually quite surprised that she was still able to use her leg. “What happened to the woman?”
“I wasn’t able to shield her enough. She ended up dying.”
A guilty pang wrenched at his heart, his mouth suddenly becoming dry. There was always a possibility of not being there to save someone. He hadn’t had it personally happen, but he knew some heroes who never recovered from such a failure, despite it being a sad fact that not everyone can be saved.
“I’m sure you did everything you could, Cheeks.”
“It was my fault she lost her life. My miscalculation caused a chain event and I couldn’t protect her from the debris,” she said, stifling a sob. “Like I said, it happened a long time ago. It was my first year as a Pro. I guess I should just be lucky that incident didn’t bomb my whole career.”
Katsuki found himself at a loss for words. Comforting someone wasn’t his strongest suit, let alone finding words to make someone suddenly feel okay again. Instead he shut the water off and grabbed his towel.
When he opened the door he set Ochaco back by the sink and quickly wrapped the towel around his waist before rummaging through a cupboard and taking out a washcloth and handing it to her. “Might still be big, but only thing small enough I have you can use as a towel,” he said softly.
With her hero costume being soaked from the shower, Ochaco remained wrapped in the washcloth, idly walking around the edge of the sink. She forced her gaze forward as Katsuki dried himself off and quickly dressed, despite her having snuck a few peeks.
“What’re you going to do about clothes?” he asked suddenly. “You can’t just run around wearing a washcloth.”
“I can’t run around naked or in a wet costume, either,” she snapped flatly. “It’s not like there’s a place that we can buy tiny clothes and I’ll be damned if I wear anything meant for a doll.”
“Fair enough, but that doesn’t exactly fix our dilemma, now does it, Cheeks?”
Ochaco tapped her chin, turning thoughtful. “Actually, there might be something we can do. The mask you wear for your hero costume, how many do you have?”
“A few, why…?”
“Get me one will you and wait outside the bathroom while I work my magic.”
After bringing her one of his masks, Katsuki waited outside the bathroom, impatiently tapping his foot. “You’d better not fuck up my mask,” he hissed, low.
“Oh, relax. You can do without one. Besides, I don’t have many options, so deal with it.”
“Oi, you challenging me, Cheeks? Don’t you use that attitude!”
“Says the King of Attitude,” she laughed. “Alright, I’m done. You can come in now.”
When Katsuki opened the door, he felt his breath hitch. Ochaco had managed to mostly dry her long auburn hair as it fell in shiny locks down her back. But it wasn’t her hair that took his breath away, but rather the way she had managed to wrap the black cloth around her figure, giving it almost a strapless dress appearance. What was more impressive if she managed to get the orange lined flare design to set behind her like a pair of fiery butterfly wings.
It was strangely erotic seeing her wear his colors the way she was and he couldn’t help the blush that tinged his cheeks in that moment.
“Well, does this work?” she asked, spinning around.
“Don’t do that.”
“Do what? Spin?” She watched him carefully, seeing his cheeks darken and a mischievous smirk curled her lips. “Do you actually like seeing me wear your mask like this?”
“The fuck you saying, Cheeks!? Shut up!”
“Then why are you blushing?”
Scoffing, Katsuki quickly turned and walked out the door.
“You know I can still use my Quirk, right?” she called after him. A second later she moved through the doorway, using the wall to guide her floating figure toward him until she reached him and grabbed onto his shoulder. She let out a small breath, watching as he stopped dead in his tracks to glare down at her.
“You think you’re so damn cute floating around like some kind of damn butterfly, don’t you?”
"Only if it gets me that kind of reaction each time,” she said, stifling a laugh. “Anyway, what now? Should we call the station to see if he’s awake yet?”
“Yeah, yeah… Sooner you stop being so damn small, the better.”
“Why’s that?” she asked, batting her eyelash at him in a teasing fashion. “Do you not like when I’m this small?”
“No, it’s like babysitting a fucking gnat. Besides, I’d like you better if you were normal sized anyway.”
It was Ochaco’s turn to blush. “I’m misinterpreting that, I’m sure.”
“Hah…? The hell are you going on about now? Misinterpreting what?” As he made his way into the living room, he flopped down on the couch, careful not to send the gravity hero flying off. He grabbed her carefully and brought her down and perched her on his knee before reaching for the remote and switching on the TV.
“Nothing,” she muttered, sitting and crossing her legs. “Wishful thinking,” she added, almost inaudibly.
“You don’t remember our conversation from last night, do you?”
“Huh?” Ochaco tilted her head up at him, blinking in confusion. “What conversation? Wait, just how much did I have to drink?”
“Enough to where it hit you pretty fucking hard.” He felt his chest tighten. He didn’t have the liquid courage like last night and the words he wanted so badly to say were beginning to choke him. “You said you still liked me.”
A long, awkward silence drifted between them as Ochaco looked at the TV and focused on the new broadcast about Deku returning to America to help with a major disaster in New Orleans. She certainly felt as though his impact on the world was bigger than hers. When Katsuki cleared his throat, making some unsavory comment about Deku under his breath, Ochaco finally decided to speak.
“If I admitted to liking you still, then it must not have been so bad if I’m still here,” she murmured. Katsuki coughed again, this time out of surprise.
“Why would I just kick you out, Cheeks?”
Ochaco stood and spun to face him, her bare feet pressing into his legs as she walked up his thigh. “Be honest with me, Bakugou. Do you still like me?”
“What does that have to do with anything? Stop being stupid.”
Smirking, she pressed her fingers together and caused herself to float upward. “You’re scared, Bakugou.”
“I’m not fucking scared you damned butterfly!” He used his hand to swat at her lightly, causing her to float away from him. He glared daggers at her, yet it hardly seemed menacing with the blush still very present on his cheeks. “What the hell do you want me to say, Uraraka?”
“The truth, for starters,” she challenged.
“You want me to admit that I never stopped thinking about you? That I’ve had feelings for you since high school?” he said, his crimson orbs becoming more intense the longer they stared at her. “Do you know how ecstatic I was when you called my agency and asked for my help? I finally had an excuse to see you after all these years.”
“That’s all you really had to say, you know.” Moving slowly through the air, Ochaco reached out her hands until she came with reach of his nose and pulled herself in close, planting a single kiss on the tip. “I still really like you too…Katsuki.”
Growling under his breath, he grabbed her and put her back on his knee. “We need to hurry the fuck up and get this Quirk off you, damnit.”
“I agree. We have a mission to finish and a lot of catching up to do.”
“A lot of catching up.”