“We can’t be friends anymore, actually.”
“Mina, come on! It’s objectively a terrible movie.”
“It’s a masterpiece!”
It was easy to get lost in a conversation with the five of them. Bakugou tried to convince himself that it was because they were idiots, which was true, but it also was because of how safe it felt.
“Don’t be so harsh, Hanta, everyone’s allowed to have bad taste.”
“Hey! You lose friend privileges too, Denki.”
The idiot just laughed as Mina punched him in the shoulder.
They were all curled up on the couch in Aizawa and Mic’s apartment, much to the initial awe of Katsuki’s friends. Eijirou was warm against his side with the rest of the idiot squad sprawled around them in a pile. Denki had made a throne of Mina and Sero’s laps while Hitoshi was lurking on one of the soft chairs nearby.
It was late, probably past midnight, and Katsuki was happy just to be sleepy and zone out while they all argued over some old, cheesy hero movie.
“It is kinda cool how they include underground heroes, though, you don’t see that in a lot of shows today.” That was Hitoshi, sounding slightly defensive of whatever movie they were talking about but still amused by Hanta and Denki’s jibes at it.
“Yeah! See, Shinsou gets it!”
He opened his mouth to banter back at her, say something about how Hitoshi had fried his brain controlling Deku’s so his opinion didn’t matter, but it died out. His mind redirected as it processed Hitoshi’s words.
It had been nearly one month since he had started living with his teachers, over two since Aizawa had approached him about being his intern. The man’s advice echoed back at him for a few seconds before he was jolted out of his memories by the arm around his shoulders shaking him slightly.
“Were you gonna say something, bro?”
He glanced up at Eijirou, who was smiling his trademark smile, slowly realizing that the argument had stalled. When he glanced around the room, all of them were looking at him, obviously having noticed him opening his mouth. For a moment Katsuki nearly choked on the defensiveness that washed over him, wanting to deny it and curse at all of them for paying attention to him at any moment where he wasn’t composed.
He swallowed down the uncertainty. These were his friends, he reminded himself, he valued their opinions even if they were stupid sometimes. “It would be...kinda badass to be an Underground hero.” As he spoke, Katsuki shrank slightly into Eijirou. He didn’t often speak his mind without it being an insult or a threat, so he banked on Eiji’s presence to calm him down.
“Hell yeah, bro!” the arm tightened around his shoulders again.
“True, have you seen Mr. Aizawa’s knives? I don’t think Power Loader would ever trust me with something like that.” Kaminari draped himself dramatically over all of them. Sero patted his leg comfortingly.
“No offense, dude, but I wouldn’t trust you with knives like that either.”
Hitoshi just grinned at him from across the room, staying quiet.
“Underground heroes are like ninjas, my quirk is way too flashy for that.” Mina let her hands sizzle a little bit to demonstrate.
“I…” The noise slipped out before he could stop it. Fuck it. If he was gonna open up to them, he was committing. “I think I want to go Underground in the future.”
It was silent for a second.
“Me too. There aren’t enough underground heroes anyways. Popular heroes can only do so much.” Hitoshi sounded a bit more sure of himself than Katsuki felt and he mentally thanked the other boy for it. The others looked like they were processing the information.
So, of course, leave it to Denki to lighten the mood.
“Dude! You let the caterpillar infect you!”
“Fuck off, idiot.”
Eijirou laughed and squeezed him a little bit, settling his nerves. “You still have to make an agency with us, though, you promised.”
“I didn’t promise you a goddamn thing, shitty-hair.”
Mina was grinning, eyes sparkling in the light. “Oh my god, you have to take me on super cool spy missions in the future.”
They all started chattering again, jostling Katsuki and smiling while discussing the future with an enthusiasm that he couldn’t even hope to share. They didn’t really bring up his future plans seriously, but they all shifted closer to him. Hanta’s hand found itself on his shoulder, Mina tucked herself into his side just as he was tucked into Eijirou’s, and Denki dug his cold toes under his thighs. It felt nice but something was still out of place, missing.
Hitoshi looked over at him.
“Get over here. You’re creeping me out sitting so far away.”
The rest of the group paused their conversation to encourage the other boy to join them. Hitoshi’s eyes were wide and confused, but he followed their instructions anyways. Denki made obnoxious grabby-hands at him and pulled him down onto the coach easily when Hitoshi offered the electric boy his hand.
They talked for hours. When Katsuki fell asleep against Eijirou’s shoulder, they talked quieter. They were all slotted together like a messy, impulsive puzzle. Hanta absently braided a strand of Hitoshi’s hair, Mina held Denki’s hand, and Eijirou pulled them closer as far as his arms could reach. Katsuki’s quiet breathing calmed them all down.
When, eventually, they all fell asleep, their teacher made sure they were all covered with blankets. He wasn’t a mother hen, shut up Hizashi. As he checked up on all of them, Hitoshi’s eye that wasn’t pressed closed against Hanta’s chest flickered open.
“It’s alright, go back to sleep.”
Hitoshi hummed, closed his eye again, and snuggled closer to his friends. Shouta ran his hand through the boy’s hair and looked over all of his students fondly.
They were safe, for the night at least. They were warm and together and safe. He stood guard over them for as long as it took for the microwave to reheat his coffee and a little bit after that, making sure to stop the machine before it beeped and broke the silence. They were safe, he repeated to himself again, they were all safe.