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that ultra kind of love

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Katsuki pretends Kirishima is his first kiss.

He doesn’t really mean to.  One moment they’re walking back from quirk training, the next Kirishima is dragging him away from their friends to talk.  Katsuki doesn’t miss their friends’ impish grins and snickers, but doesn’t realize what they’re for until he sees Kirishima shyly rubbing the back of his neck, pulling him out of eyesight from their idiot squad and asking, “Can I kiss you?”

Katsuki’s so stunned he does the only thing he can think of - he says, “Yes.”

It’s not the most romantic moment - Kirishima’s a little too eager, his lips a little too dry - but it’s nice.  He’s never thought of Kirishima that way before, but he thinks he could when Kirishima looks at him with stars in his eyes and says they should probably head to dinner, now.

Cooking together is good - even if Katsuki is a little miffed that no one trusted him to make a fire with his quirk - and the meal, while objectively mediocre, tastes amazing after their hard day of training.  His idiot friends don’t even needle him too much about his “private talk” with Kirishima, though he throws a few choice expletives and explosions their way just for good measure.  All in all, it’s a good day.

As they’re heading back to the building to sleep, Katsuki and Kirishima lagging a bit behind the others, Kirishima clears his throat.

“So, uh,” he starts.  “Was that your first kiss?” he whispers, almost sheepish.  

Katsuki’s stomach drops, and he freezes.  Memories of green eyes and freckles and soft lips flash behind his eyelids.

“Yeah,” he lies easily.  “That was my first kiss.”

 

-----

 

His first kiss was when he was four.

He doesn’t count it as his first kiss, but it technically was.  He and Deku were traipsing through the woods when Deku tripped and fell and started blubbering like the baby he was (is) and Katsuki did the first thing he could think of to shut him up: he planted one right on his lips.

It worked, of course, because Deku was too shocked to do anything but stare at Katsuki, his tears drying quickly on his cheeks.  Then his whole face turned red, and he stuttered out, “Wh-what was that, Kacchan??”

Katsuki immediately went on the defensive.  “Don’t you know what a kiss is, stupid Deku?”

“Of course I do!”  Deku scrubbed at his eyes.  “But why-”

“‘Cause I wanted to shut you up, that’s why!”  Katsuki huffed.  “And it worked, didn’t it?”

Deku could’ve pointed out that there were other, easier ways to shut him up.  Like an explosion to the face, a move Katsuki had become known for.  But he didn’t.  He just smiled, looked at Katsuki like he hung the moon and said, “It did, Kacchan.”

Katsuki ignored the way that made his stomach feel funny.

They were still four, so Katsuki doesn’t count it.  But it doesn’t matter, because his second kiss - his first real kiss - was with the same person.

They were in middle school, then, after all the rejections and fights and bullying.  Or during.  It was just after they’d both gotten into U.A., and Katsuki was cornering Deku behind the school.

“What dirty tricks did you use to do it, you quirkless twerp?  Huh?!”  Katsuki had him by the collar, slamming him against the wall.  “I was supposed to be the first and only!  My grand plans… you’ve torn them to shreds!”  He shook him a bit, seething.  “Thought I told you to go somewhere else!”

Katsuki expected Deku to cry.  To cower, to run away.  But of course, Deku instead did the thing Katsuki least expected of him - something he’d been doing lately that was driving Katsuki absolutely mad.  “S-someone told me…” he said, grabbing the arm Katsuki was holding him with, “...that I come become a hero!  Kacchan, I earned this!”  He stared Katsuki dead in the eyes, a fierce look on his face, and to Katsuki’s surprise, there were no tears - only determination.  “Th-that’s why… I’m… I’m gonna be here no matter what!”

Katsuki could only look at him in shock.  Deku?  Stand up to Katsuki?   Since when?  Since when did he become so confident in denying him?  He thought of Deku’s eyes shining bright with awe, of Deku’s lips, of Deku’s hand reaching out to him, of Deku looking down on him.  His grip tightened on Deku’s shirt.  

“I hate you,” he whispered, and then closed the distance between them.

He wasn’t sure why he did it, isn’t sure now.  All he knows is that he felt compelled, felt like he needed to know that some part of Deku was still his.  And Deku gasped, eyes widening in shock, but he didn’t push Katsuki away - no, he did the opposite: hands leaving Katsuki’s arm to rest on his shoulders, one snaking its way up into Katsuki’s hair.  Katsuki kissed him breathless and Deku kissed him back, over and over, until finally Katsuki pushed himself back and said:

“Stay the fuck away from me, Deku.”

And that was that.

 

-----

 

Katsuki isn’t given the chance to talk to Kirishima about their kiss, because the next day is hectic with training and after dinner Kirishima is dragged away for remedial coursework.  Katsuki isn’t thrilled at being paired up with Todoroki for the test of courage, but he isn’t even given time to gripe about it - because the worst happens a second time.

The League of Villains found them.

“One of the villains’ targets has been identified!”  Mandalay’s quirk rings in their ears as the forest burns around them.  “It’s the student known as Kacchan!  Everyone get that?!  Kacchan needs to avoid battle!  And don’t make any move alone!”

  “Don’t charge in recklessly,” Todoroki huffs, a 1-B student Katsuki doesn’t know the name of slung over his back.  “Didn’t you just hear that?!  They’re after you.”

Katsuki heard it, alright.  Kacchan .  What the hell was Deku up to?  He tries not to let worry churn in his gut, instead letting anger overtake him.

“Yap, yap, yap, inside our damn heads…”  Katsuki grins ferally.  “What’d that little freak Deku go and do now?”  

In the end they do fight - against some villain that can turn his teeth into blades.  But the forest is burning and Katsuki and Todoroki can’t use their fire quirks, and the villain is winning.

“Bakugou!  Todoroki!”  They turn and sees Shoji running at full speed - with Deku on his back and Dark Shadow at his heels.  “One of you, please…”

The villain sends his teeth-blades hurtling at them at full speed.

“Give us some light!”

Dark Shadow crushes the villain beneath its claw, roaring in anger.  

“Kacchan!”  Deku looks bruised and battered, both his arms hanging uselessly at his sides, and Katsuki feels an inexplicable surge of anger rising in his chest.  What did that stupid, self-sacrificial nerd do?

“Give us some light, quick!  Tokoyami’s on a rampage!”  Shoji dodges as Dark Shadow destroys the tree where he was just standing.

They let Dark Shadow take down the villain before Katsuki and Todoroki use their firepower to light up the darkness, shrinking Dark Shadow down into a more manageable form.  While they all catch their breath, adrenaline pumping through their veins, they formulate a plan - to protect Katsuki while they get him safely back to camp.

Katsuki is, of course, pissed.  “No one’s protecting me, you dweebs!”  He can feel his pride shrivel up at the thought.  His protests fall on deaf ears as they make their way through the forest.  It’s as they’re walking that it happens: all of a sudden he’s no longer standing, but floating, and everything is dark.  There’s pressure all around him, nearly suffocating, and he can’t move.  He can just barely make out muffled voices.

“I’ve taken him,” a stranger’s voice says.  “With my magic.  He’s not a resource that belongs on the heroes’ side.  We’re going to put him on a stage where he can really shine.”

“Wha-?!  Give him back!!”  That’s Deku’s voice, now, and something about the way he says it puts Katsuki on edge.  Give him back?

“‘Give him back?’” the stranger echoes his own thoughts.  “What an odd thing to say.  Bakugou doesn’t belong to anyone.  He’s his own man, you egotist!”

Deku doesn’t listen.  “Give him back!”  He sounds desperate, wild.  Katsuki feels something twinge in his chest, and then the voices are too muffled for him to make out anymore.  

It’s just as he’s beginning to truly panic that he’ll be trapped in this darkness forever that he hears a pop and he’s back in the real world, a scalding hand wrapping tightly around his neck from behind.

“Kacchan!”  Deku screams, rushing towards him.  Katsuki can feel himself being pulled backwards by one of the villains into some sort of portal, and all he knows is that he can’t let Deku get caught up in this, too.

He thinks of soft lips on his own.

“Stay back, Deku,” he chokes out, and then he’s gone.

 

-----

 

The villains want to recruit him.  

He laughs in their faces.  Him?  Katsuki Bakugou, become a villain?   Pathetic.  As if he’d ever stoop so low.

(He ignores the knife that twists in his gut that they’d assume that, because of his temperament, he’d be better suited as a villain.  His heart soars when Aizawa defends him.)

Then everything is thrown into chaos when All Might arrives, and he’s transported to Kamino by some sort of black goo that has him choking and sputtering, trying desperately to push back memories of sludge weighing down his limbs and dripping down his throat.  A man in a suit - if he could even be called a man - stands before him, oozing an energy so malicious it sends chills down to Katsuki’s very core.  All Might’s there in seconds even five kilometers away, and Katsuki feels hope rise in his chest before he sees his favorite hero smashed through half a dozen buildings like it’s nothing.  But All Might gets back up - he always does - and then the terrifying stranger is telling Shigaraki to take Katsuki and run.

All Might is too preoccupied to hold back the villains and rescue Katsuki, so Katsuki is left on his own to fight against six villains and pray he finds a way out of this.

He doesn’t have to.

“Come on!” he hears screamed at him from above.  Kirishima is there, being propelled by Iida and Deku, reaching out a hand to him.  His friend - his one friend as an equal, who he could respect from the start - calls out to him.  Without hesitation, he blasts himself up into the air, catching Kirishima’s hand with ease.

“You idiots,” he says, feeling a grin split his face.  

Kirishima doesn’t let go of his hand until they’re mingling with the crowd.

“Listen up!  It’s not like I got saved or anything.”  Katsuki can feel his hackles rise, his instinctual need to defend his pride rearing its ugly head.  “You guys just happened to be the best option I had!”

“Good choice!” Kirishima grins, giving him a thumbs up.  Behind his grin was something softer, and Katsuki thinks back to the kiss they’d shared only a few days before.  Somehow, it felt so much longer.

“Mostly, I just didn’t wanna…” Katsuki trails off, mumbling.  “...get in All Might’s way.”

His stomach flips at the thought.  That villain had faced down All Might before, based on their conversation, and lived to tell the tale.  But it was All Might, after all - he always won.

Right?

The fight between All Might and the villain was being broadcast in the square, and as they watch, something horrifying happens.

“Um… what’s… huh…?  A-are you seeing this, viewers?” they hear the newscaster on television stutter.  “All Might… he’s all shriveled up…”

Before them stands an image of a gaunt man who Katsuki would’ve sworn up and down couldn’t be All Might were it not for the unmistakable costume hanging from his frail frame.  The crowd begins to murmur in horror.

Yet with one final United States of Smash, All Might sends the villain crashing down into the dirt, unconscious.  The world waits with bated breath as All Might hunches over, still emaciated and feeble - but then he raises one single fist, and the crowd goes wild.

He points at the camera, then.  “Now it’s your turn,” he says.

The crowd eats it up.  But when Katsuki looks over at Deku, instead of seeing a proud, smiling face, he sees it contorted in despair, fat tears rolling down his cheeks, and that’s when Katsuki knows something is terribly wrong.

 

-----

 

Katsuki doesn’t see any of his friends until they’re moving into the dorms.

He supposes that’s for the best, because he isn’t sure what he’d say to them anyway.  He’s sure they’d ask him about what happened, and he really isn't ready to talk about that now.  Or ever.

They’re greeted by Aizawa tearing into them about how terribly irresponsible they’d been (except Katsuki, since he’d been kidnapped, and Jirou and Hagakure, since they’d been unconscious) and how he would’ve expelled them all if All Might hadn’t retired.  Everyone looks down - particularly Kirishima, who looks close to tears - so Katsuki drags Kaminari away, forces him to over-use his quirk so everyone can poke fun at “Dunce face”’s expense, and feels his heart lighten when everyone seems in good enough spirits to laugh.

One more thing to take care of, though.

“Kirishima,” he starts, walking over to his friend.  “Here.”  He thrusts a wad of cash at him.

“Too scary, dude!  You shook him down for that?!”

“No!  I brought this cash myself!”  Katsuki grimaced.  “I don’t want anyone ever calling me stingy.  It’d just piss me off.”  He hopes Kirishima catches his double meaning.  Here’s the money you wasted on me.  Thank you for saving me. 

Realization seems to dawn on Kirishima’s face.  “How’d you know?”

“Word always gets out with so many idiots around,” Katsuki says, tossing the money at Kirishima, and stalks away.  

Later that night, while Katsuki is sitting scrolling through his phone in his bed, Kirishima knocks on his door.  Apparently 1-A had some stupid room competition which Katsuki completly missed, which he was more than grateful for.  He doesn’t want everyone barging into his room and poking around his stuff.

Somehow, Kirishima doing the same doesn’t bother him.

“Hey, I wanted to talk about, you know…” Kirishima starts, trailing off.  He sits down in the desk chair across from Katsuki’s bed.  “Well, I wanted to talk about us.”

Us .  The word sounds foreign in Katsuki’s ears.

“I just, I really like you, and I wanted to to ask you-” 

Katsuki thinks of a hand on his throat, of terror in his heart, of green eyes and freckles.  He holds up a hand.

“Look, Shitty Hair- Kirishima…” he struggles to put words to how he’s feeling, something he rarely finds himself doing.  The thought of being vulnerable makes bile rise to his throat, but Kirishima was baring his feelings - Katsuki could at least try to return the favor.  “Not right now.  Not after - it’s just a lot.”

“Oh, shit, I’m so sorry, man!”  Kirishima’s words rush out of him.  “Of course.  I’ll give you some space.  It’s gotta be a lot, going through that.”

“Shut up,” Katsuki barks.  “I’m fine.”

“Of course,” Kirishima says easily.  “But if you ever wanna talk about it, I’m here, you know?”

“Yeah,” Katsuki says, staring down at his hands.  “I know.”

 

-----

 

Kirishima, true to his word, gives him his space.

He doesn’t stop hanging out with him, but he doesn’t bring up their kiss either, so Katsuki is more than satisfied.  There’s a hurricane of thoughts in his head right now, all of them jumbled up and confusing, and he doesn’t need to add “potential boyfriend” to the list.  

Kirishima.  His boyfriend .  Something about the idea feels wrong.

Every time he closes his eyes, he sees All Might’s emaciated form on the big screen.  He feels the pressure of a hand around his neck.  He hears the words, “Now it’s your turn.”

The day of the provisional license exam rolls around, and all of class 1-A passes the first round.  

“So you passed… stupid Deku,” Katsuki says, annoyed.  Every day he seems to be getting stronger and stronger.

At least he finally has an idea why.

“Kacchan!”  Deku says in surprise.  “Ah, yeah, I did…”

“No wonder, given that power of yours.”  

Deku starts in shock.  “Huh?”

“That borrowed power… you made it your own, huh?” Katsuki says, brushing past him.  He doesn’t look back to see Deku’s reaction.  He just wants him to know that he’s figuring it out.  He understands what Deku had tried to tell him, all those months ago.

The second round starts, and the unthinkable happens: he fails.  He and Todoroki are the only ones of their class, and Katsuki can feel the horror and shame creeping in.  He failed.  He lost .  The rest of his peers and friends were going to be provisional heroes and he wasn’t.

What a fucking failure.

They’re given the opportunity to make it up and earn their licenses with remedial classes, so not all hope is lost, but Katsuki still feels like a goddamn loser.  How could everyone pass except him?  How could Deku pass but not him?

Well.  If he was right about his theory, then it made sense.

They’re back at the dorms when Katsuki confronts him.

“Meet me out front later.” he says.  “We gotta talk about your quirk.”

 

-----

 

Katsuki walks several paces ahead of Deku, not saying a word.  Let the nerd stew for a little while longer.

“Kacchan!  How far are we going?  We’re not supposed to be out at night…”

They make it to their destination quickly, Deku trailing behind him.  Like it should be.  Like it’s always been .

“This is Ground Beta…” Deku says.

“I fought you here during our first battle training,” Katsuki says, his back to Deku.  “It’s where I lost to you.  And I’ve felt like crap about it ever since.”  Anger starts to pool in his stomach as he spills his guts to his - to his what?  His former friend?  His enemy?  His rival?   What was Deku to him, really?

Stay the fuck away from me, Deku .

“You got your quirk from All Might,” Katsuki says, and it’s not a question.  Deku doesn’t even deny it.

“You gotta show me just what it is about you that made All Might wanna bring you this far.”  He’s almost manic.  He needs to know - needs to know what it is about Deku that makes him think he’s better than Katsuki.  That makes him better.

They fight, then, though Deku is reluctant.  Deku kicks him back and Katsuki falls on his ass, groaning, and Deku has the audacity to reach out to help him.

“Are you oka-”

“Quit fucking worrying about me!”  Katsuki screams.  “Just fight!!  I mean, what the hell?!  How?!  How’d I end up chasing after an idiot who was always playing catch-up?!  Why’d a nerd like you get that kind of power…?  You got All Might to recognize you, you got way stronger!  So why was it me …”  He chokes then, tears beginning to well up in his eyes.  

“Why… was it me who put an end to All Might?!”

The tears are coming in earnest now, flowing heavy down his cheeks.  He can’t look up at Deku, can’t bring himself to see what sort of expression he’s making.  Disgust, probably.   “If only I’d been stronger… if I hadn’t been kidnapped by those stupid villains… everything would’ve been fine!  All Might’s trying to keep it a secret himself; he hasn’t told anyone!  But even if I try to forget, sometimes it all just comes rushing back!”  He grips the side of his chest, his heart pounding.

“I’ve got no fucking idea what I’m supposed to do!”

Deku fights him for real after that, trading blow after blow.  And with every punch, every kick, every explosion, came another one of Katsuki’s feelings pouring out of him.  It’s like the dam had burst and he couldn’t stop it, all his fears and insecurities flying from his mouth before his brain could tell him to shut up .

“I could never tell what you were thinking!”  He sets off another explosion, knocking Deku back.  “I’d pound you again and again, but you’d keep sticking around!  Even though you were a punk with nothing to offer!”  Deku’s lips on his, Deku kissing him back, Deku never leaving him alone no matter how many times he told him to fuck off.  “Always looking at me!  With those eyes that seemed to know something I didn’t!”  He sets off another explosion.  “Always like you were looking down on me.  Like you were just waiting for a chance to surpass me.”

Deku looks shocked.

“Is that…” Deku starts, stunned.  “Really what you thought…?”

“Normally…” Deku says, “I wouldn’t want anything to do with a guy who kept insulting me… but, just as you said, I had nothing going for me.

“As bad as your bad side was, your sheer amazingness at everything you do was so brilliant to me, it was blinding!”

What?

“You had so much that I didn’t.  I could admire All Might from a distance, but you were right there.  This amazing person in my life!”

Deku aimed another kick at him, but Katsuki was ready.

“That’s why I always chased after you!”

He wasn’t able to dodge, but he did manage to block.  They trade blow after blow, tumbling through the street until finally, finally , Katsuki has Deku pinned to the ground.

“It’s my win,” he says, staring down at Deku.  He feels something in his chest he can’t name, and his grip tightens on Deku’s wrist.

All Might shows up after that, and explains everything.  It’s comforting to know that at least it wasn’t Katsuki who really ended All Might’s career - it was doomed from the start.  He still can’t help but feel a twinge of guilt, though, when he thinks about the event that truly ended things.

“S’not gonna be like it was before, though,” Katsuki says.  “Deku.”

I won’t underestimate you anymore.

“I’m gonna make all my skills my own and keep rising.  Even higher than you, chosen one.”

They bicker all the way back to the dorms, and it almost feels like they’re the old friends they technically are.

Almost.

 

-----

 

He’s suspended for four days, Deku for three.  

“So, my Shoot Style… what’d you think of it…?” Deku asks while they’re cleaning the dorms - part of their punishment.  Katsuki is quiet for a moment before he answers.

“Gotta cut down on telegraphing your moves.  Even though you got faster, I still managed to react in time.  That’s not good in a melee battle.”

“Gotcha,” Deku says, sounding awed.

“When you added punches to the mix… that really pissed me off.”

“Gotcha…!” Deku says, turning around, but not before Katsuki catches a wobbly smile on his face.  Fucking nerd.

They clean in relative silence the rest of the day, but for once it’s a comfortable silence.  Even so, Katsuki still isn’t sure if he believes Deku when he says he wasn’t looking down on him, when he said he admired him - something feels hollow.

Unbidden, he thinks of their kiss behind the school.  Of Deku’s smile at him when they were children.  Of the love and adoration he saw in his gaze both times.

He wants to see it again.

“Deku.” 

“Yeah, Kacchan-?”

He’s cut off with a squeak when Katsuki presses his lips to his.  For a moment he just stands there, frozen, and Katsuki is suddenly gripped with a terror he can’t name, rearing back -

- and then Deku’s hands grip the front of his shirt and yank him back to his mouth.  

It’s fierce, it’s messy, it’s wet , it’s so unlike the other two kisses they’d shared, even the one in middle school.  Deku’s tongue is in Katsuki’s mouth and it’s so good , and Katsuki is struggling to keep up and he hates that, so in an effort to show him up he just says, “My room.  Now.”

But Deku doesn’t blush or stutter or back off.  He simply yanks Katsuki after him, up the stairs because they’re too impatient to wait for the elevator, and marches him into his room.

The moment the door is shut Deku is back on him, pressing him against the door, grinding against his thigh and it’s too much and not enough at the same time, so Katsuki whispers, “Bed,” and that’s when it’s all over for him.

Deku’s hands are everywhere.

In his hair, on his neck, on his chest, on his cock.  He pounds him into the mattress like it’s nothing, bends him in half and kisses him so soundly Katsuki thinks he might die.  

“Kacchan, Kacchan, Kacchan,” Deku says, peppering kisses on his cheeks.  It’s his mantra, Kacchan, Kacchan, Kacchan .  Katsuki tries - tries to say something, anything, but he can’t.  Everything is too much, too good, he can barely choke out, “yes” and “harder” and “please.”  

Katsuki Bakugou has never said “please” in his life.  Until today.

When it’s over, they lie panting, Deku half on top of Katsuki.  Katsuki feels this horrible ache in his chest, his thoughts jumbling in his head.  Everything is too much again but this time in a bad way, so he sits up and pushes Deku off of him.

“We should-” his voice sounds rough.  He tries again.  “We should get back to cleaning.”

“Oh.  Oh!  Right.  Of course.”  Deku chuckles nervously, and all of a sudden he’s back to his stupid, sheepish self.  He struggles to pull his pants back on, nearly tripping and falling on his face in the attempt.  It’s almost enough to make Katsuki snort.  “Um, Kacchan-”

“Don’t,” Katsuki says.  “This won’t happen again.”

Deku looks away.  “Right.”

 

-----

 

It happens again.

Four more times, if he’s counting (he’s not) until Deku’s suspension is over and Katsuki is left alone in the dorms.

Katsuki on the bed, against the wall, on his knees for Deku.  He wonders how it turned from feeling like Deku was his to feeling like he was Deku’s.  

Each time, he says it won’t happen again.  Deku learns not to ask, but to wait for Katsuki to give in, to come to him.  And he does.  He comes crawling back every time, asking for Deku, begging for him, and Katsuki wonders what’s wrong with him, that he’d let Deku keep looking down on him like this.  That he’d let him own him like this.

Finally his suspension nears its end and he gets to go back to class.  He’s in his room for the night, getting ready for bed, when he hears a knock on his door.  He tries to push down the feeling of eagerness when he wonders if it could be Deku.

He tries not to let the disappointment show on his face when it’s not.

“Hey, man,” Kirishima says.  He looks bashful again, and suddenly Katsuki knows exactly where this is going.  “I know you asked for some space, but it’s been a couple weeks, and I just wanted to check in-”

Katsuki thinks of Deku’s hands on his body, of him pinning him to the mattress with ease.  Of how Katsuki just let him, no, how he begged him for it.

“Yes,” Katsuki says.  “Yeah, I’ll go out with you.”

Kirishima blinks up in surprise, before breaking out in a huge grin.  “You - really?  Oh, that’s awesome, I mean -”  He looks at Katsuki, stars in his eyes again, and all Katsuki can think of is Deku’s eyes when he told him he was this amazing person in his life .  “Can I kiss you again?”

Katsuki nods, and then Kirishima is kissing him, a bit clumsy.  Katsuki doesn’t mind.

Kirishima doesn’t press further, though, just bids him a shy goodnight and goes back to his room next door.  Katsuki isn’t sure if he’s disappointed he left or grateful for it.

He shoves thoughts of scarred hands out of his mind and goes to sleep.

 

-----

 

He should’ve known better than to think his friends would respect his privacy.  The moment he walks in the door to homeroom Kaminari and Ashido are on him like sharks.  

“Is it true you’re dating Kirishima now??”

“Ooo, is he a good kisser?”

“I totally called it!”

“Back off before I blow you to hell,” Katsuki grit out.  He wasn’t exactly planning on keeping things between him and Kirishima a secret, but he’d thought his friends wouldn’t bombard him with questions in front of the rest of the class.  Kirishima, at least, has the decency to look embarrassed.

“Come on, guys,” Sero says.  “Cut him some slack.”  Katsuki’s glad he has one decent friend, that is until Sero opens his big mouth and says: “Besides, he wouldn’t know if Kiri was a good kisser - that was his first kiss, after all!”

Katsuki feels the blood rush to his head and his palms heat up as he leaps over a desk to get to Sero.  “I will fucking end you -”

“Whoa, man!”

“Bakugou, chill-”

It takes Kaminari and Kirishima’s combined strength to hold him back from blasting Sero’s stupid face off, but Katsuki is still livid.  He turns to Kirishima, ready to snap at him for sharing something that was clearly not meant to be shared, but Kirishima beats him to it.

“I swear I didn’t say anything,” he whispers.  “Sero must’ve overheard at the training camp.”

Kastuki can feel the blush on his cheeks and ears, and struggles to stay calm while he hears the snickers of his classmates in the background.  

“Uh, sorry, man,” Sero says.

“Yeah, listen, we’re really happy for you!” Kaminari chimes in.

“Who knew Blasty could land a catch like Kiri?”  Ashido smacks him on the back, laughing.

Face burning, Katsuki yanks away from his friends and stalks over to his desk.  Aizawa will walk in any minute now, and Kirishima and Katsuki will become old news.  He breathes a sigh of relief - until he hears a quiet voice behind him say,

“I’m really happy for you, Kacchan.”

Kacchan, Kacchan, Kacchan .

He whirls around, but Deku won’t meet his eyes.  His expression is carefully guarded, but Katsuki can still see it.

Hurt.

Deku still won’t look at him.  He wonders how much he heard.

“I-”

Aizawa chooses that moment to walk in.  “Get in your seats.  Class starts in five.”  He doesn’t bother to look up from the stack of papers he’s flipping through, more than used to his class’ antics by now.  As the class scrambles to get to their desks, preparing for class, Katsuki can’t help but feel a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach.

This is what you wanted .

Wasn’t it?

 

-----

 

When he hears a knock on his door that night, he naturally assumes it’s Kirishima.

It isn’t.

He opens the door to find Deku, wearing a t-shirt with a dumb phrase on it and a furious expression.  Katsuki tries to quell the arousal rising in him when he sees him standing there.

“What do you want, Deku?”

“What the hell , Kacchan?”

Deku doesn’t wait for an answer, instead pushing past him and stomping inside.

“Did I say you could come in my room, jackass?”

“You lied, Kacchan,” Deku says.  “To Kirishima.  To me.  To everyone.”

Katsuki can feel his anger boiling up.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means since when are you dating Kirishima? Since when -”  He stops himself.  “Do I - did what we do mean nothing to you?”

Katsuki is definitely angry, now.  “What I do and who I date is none of your business,” he snarls.  “I told you, Deku, it’s not gonna happen again.”

“You said that before and it did.”

“Well it’s not gonna happen anymore!”

Both of them are seething, staring each other down.  Katsuki realizes with a start that Deku isn’t looking at him the way he always does.  With adoration, with care, with something Katsuki can’t bear to name.  No - he’s looking at him with anger, with complete and utter betrayal in his eyes.  Deku starts walking forward, forcing Katsuki backwards until his back hits the wall with a thud.

“You sure about that?” he asks quietly, eyes piercing.  They’re inches away, now, and Deku definitely doesn’t miss when Katsuki’s gaze drops to his lips.

He’s not sure at all.

“You lied, Kacchan,” Deku says, and there’s pain in his voice somewhere behind all the fury.  Katsuki gulps, and watches Deku’s eyes trace the movement.  “We both know Kirishima wasn’t your first kiss.”

Katsuki can feel his eyelids lower, can feel his body moving forward, desperate to feel Deku’s lips against his - 

- and Deku pulls away.

“I’m not doing that to Kirishima,” he says, before opening the door and walking out, leaving Katsuki alone.

 

-----

 

It takes awhile for him to even consider sleeping with Kirishima.

It’s not that his boyfriend hasn’t suggested it.  He’s hinted at it a few times, even downright asked once.  Katsuki makes up an excuse each time - he’s tired, he has homework, he’s busy with his remedial coursework.  Kirishima doesn’t push, doesn’t pressure him, and Katsuki feels guilt eating him up each time he’s reminded of how good a boyfriend he has.

Because it’s not that he’s not interested in sex.  No, it’s that whenever he imagines hands on him it’s Deku’s hands, and whenever he comes in his fist at night it’s with Deku’s name on his lips.  He knows, somehow, that nothing with Kirishima will compare.  

But it has to be this way.  Kirishima doesn’t think he’s better than Katsuki.  He isn’t looking down on him.  

Neither is Deku , his brain supplies.  He told you himself .

(He ignores that thought.)

At least you never told Kirishima to jump off a roof.

(He ignores that thought too.)

It’s after Kirishima, Deku, and the others face off against Overhaul that they finally do it.  Kirishima’s freshly home from the hospital and he’s in Katsuki’s arms, in his bed.

“I thought of you,” he says between kisses.  “When I fought against Rappa.  When I nearly died.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Kirishima sounds desperate, broken, and Katsuki doesn’t know what he went through (an ugly part inside him whispers you don’t know because you weren’t good enough to be there, because you failed where everyone else didn’t ) and he doesn’t know how to help, but he knows he can at least do this.

So he lets Kirishima hold him, lets Kirishima kiss him, lets Kirishima fuck him.  It’s slow and tender and awkward and would be a perfect first time, and he tells Kirishima it is, and tries not to let the lie burn his tongue.

It becomes a regular thing, after, and Katsuki can’t say he doesn’t enjoy it.  But Kirishima’s hands and lips still feel somehow wrong and Katsuki can’t help but think of a different face every time he closes his eyes.

Kirishima asks him if he wants to try topping, once.  Katsuki shoots it down immediately.

“Not interested,” he says.

“That’s cool, man,” Kirishima says.  “I’m happy with how things are.  But if you change your mind, let me know.”

He won’t change his mind.  Because you haven’t done that with Deku , he thinks.  You can pretend, but you know all your firsts belong to him .

What a thought that was.

 

-----

 

Things are fine, for a while.  Good with Kirishima and the rest of his friends.  He even manages to make nice with Todoroki long enough to get his provisional license.  There’s only one problem, really.

He and Deku don’t talk.

That would’ve been fine before.  Preferable, even.  He’d been trying to get Deku away from him since they were kids.  But something had changed since Ground Beta.  Katsuki could admit that Deku was good in bed, but it was more than just the sex.  Something about him craved Deku’s presence, craved his eyes on him.  But of course Katsuki would only realize that once those eyes had turned away.

The school festival comes and goes, and Deku still hasn’t said a word to him since he came to his room that night.  It’s months before they talk again, in winter, when they meet for their joint training exercise with class 1-B, and it’s really only because of All Might.  He and Deku had snuck off to whisper together, and Katsuki wasn’t stupid enough to ignore how suspicious that looked.

“Hey.”

“Waa-!” Deku jolted.  “-acchan, you startled me!”  For a second, Deku just looks like his normal, dorky self, if a little alarmed.  But then he quickly schools himself into something more impassive.  “What do you want?”

That’s it? he thinks.  That’s all I get, after months of silence?

“For guys who made me swear not to blab, y’sure do sneak around out in the open,” he says instead.  “So?  Something happened?  With One For All?”

All Might and Deku explain, and Katsuki is ready to default to mocking Deku out of reflex but before he even gets a chance Deku walks away, brushing past him without a word.  Katsuki stares after him, eyes wide.

Never before did the nerd just entirely ignore him.  Sure, they hadn’t been talking before, but Katsuki had reached out this time.  This was new, in a bad way.

All Might looks after him.  “...Did something happen between you two?  Again?”

“None of your business,” Katsuki spits.

It seems like no time at all before his team is up, and all Katsuki can think is:

Keep your eyes on me, Deku.

Please.

 

-----

 

He can’t help but feel a stab of worry when some strange new quirk goes off in the middle of Deku’s match, rendering him immobile.  

Deku has multiple quirks, now.  Which just pisses Katsuki off.  

What pisses him off more is that it was Shinsou and Uraraka who came to Deku’s rescue.  He’s glad Deku didn’t get the chance to injure himself even more ( since when did he care about Deku’s wellbeing? ) but of course it had to be Round Cheeks of all people who wrapped him up in her arms and held him steady.

Something sick like jealousy wells up in Katsuki and he has to force down bile.  

He helps Deku train with his new quirk - “blackwhip” - after that, at All Might’s insistence.  Deku’s just as distant as ever, but he goes hard in their fights.  Too hard, maybe, but Katsuki was never one to back down from a challenge.  All Might has to step in and separate them more than once.

Katsuki joins in on Deku and All Might’s “One-For-All” talks after that.  It’s the only time Deku ever speaks to him, and it’s usually short and clipped, but it’s something.  Katsuki latches onto it like a starving man, and wonders when he got so desperate for Deku’s attention.

You probably always were , he thinks, but he always gave you all of it so you never even noticed.

Katsuki gets his hero license, finally, finally , and Todoroki invites him and Deku to join Endeavor’s agency for their internship.  Katsuki thinks this is it, Deku will finally start talking to him again, but he’s proven wrong again and again.  Deku talks to him only when necessary, spending all his free time yapping away with Todoroki.  Once, he caught Todoroki staring at Deku with a fond expression on his face, and the smile Deku gave him in return made Katsuki want to punch something.

He lets Kirishima fuck him into next week instead.

They’re over at Todoroki’s house for what’s possibly the most awkward family dinner Katsuki has ever had the displeasure of attending when Deku says it.

“If you really hated him, I think it’s fine if you never forgave him.”

The words still make Katsuki feel like something rotten crawled inside him.  Something in Deku’s tone makes it clear that it’s not only Todoroki’s situation he’s talking about, and if that weren’t a dead giveaway, the involuntary glance he sends in Katsuki’s direction is.  If you really hated him .  Does Deku hate him now?  Has he always?  Katsuki thinks back to all the jeers, the insults, the cold-shoulders.  The beatings and bruises.

If you think you’ll have a quirk in your next life… go take a swan dive off the roof!

Katsuki has certainly done plenty enough for Deku to hate him.  

 

-----

 

Katsuki’s never been a man of words, so he tries to atone the only way he knows how: through action. It’s what he’s been doing all along, he supposes. 

He helps Deku with training near obsessively.  His most recent attempt in helping him control blackwhip ended in failure, with Deku unable to “catch-a-Kacchan” as he put it.  Katsuki is a little on edge after spending hours avoiding being caught by blackwhip, and he tries not to think about more creative uses for Deku’s new quirk.

Deku had thanked him for the practice, after, but Katsuki is pretty sure he only did it because All Might was there.  He’d gone too hard in practice too, again , and Katsuki doesn’t know what to make of it.  He knows they’re still rivals - still competing to be the best - but something about the way Deku throws himself into his training makes him wary.  

All Might sees right through him.  They’re sitting on the bench in the gym, watching Deku practice using blackwhip with Uraraka, Asui, and Sero.  Katsuki has to tamp down a surge of jealousy that Deku asked others to help him with his training.  He doesn’t owe you shit .  But watching Deku speaking softly with Uraraka makes his stomach churn, so he turns his attention to All Might instead. 

(His eyes still never leave Deku.)

“He’s working hard, huh,” Katsuki says.  Too hard , he thinks, even for Deku.   

“You can’t fool them forever, old man.”

Deku has two quirks now, and the number is only growing.  How long until someone realizes what’s going on?  He voices as much to All Might.

“If it were up to me, I would have discouraged him from showing off any of his other quirks, but I would rather not have them manifest explosively in the middle of combat like blackwhip,” All Might says.  “Just like you understood that night, it’s for the best for him and those around him to be able to see him grow exponentially, to prepare for the inevitable future when the truth is revealed.

“After all, those who seek power are not exclusively villains.”  He’s looking at Katsuki when he says this.

“Deku trusts you with his life, but...” Katsuki says.  The silent but I don’t trust you with his hangs in the air.  “But in your notebook with all the successors, the 4th holder’s quirk was scribbled out.  The 5th, 6th, and 7th have signed theirs willingly, so what gives?”  Katsuki finally breaks his gaze from Deku, glaring over at All Might.  “What exactly are you hiding from us?!  Have you realized something?  Maybe the true nature of One For All-”

No ,” All Might says.  “I’m worried for him.”  He pauses, then, softer: “You are too.”

How could he not be?

“He just… deep down, he doesn’t take himself into account, y’know?  He’s always been like that and now that he can do so much more…”  Katsuki swallows, thinks of a small Deku standing up to bullies twice his size, with no quirk and no hope of winning.  Thinks of Deku after fighting Muscular, his arms completely destroyed.  “Something doesn’t feel right, it makes me wanna keep him at arm’s length.  Back then, I ignored my own weakness... so I ended up bullying him.” 

“But now you’re sincerely helping out with his training. That’s your way of trying to atone... right?”

Katsuki honestly hadn’t thought All Might was that perceptive, but clearly he was wrong.  

“You’ll get a chance to talk… eventually.”  All Might smiles at him.  “I know something’s been up with you two.  Just give it time.”

Katsuki isn’t sure time will solve this, but he nods and watches Deku train.  

 

-----

 

They finally come face-to-face with Shigaraki.

Deku charges off after him alone, because of course he does, but Katsuki is right on his heels.  “Because being a hero means protecting everyone,” he says by way of explanation.  He’s not sure why he keeps making excuses for himself.

Things go downhill quickly.  Even with Aizawa nullifying Shigaraki’s decay and Endeavor roasting him to hell they’re still losing, and Deku’s fighting more recklessly than ever, especially after Gran Torino nearly gets himself killed.  But it’s when Deku rushes off alone again that Katsuki is well and truly pissed.

“That fuckin’ bastard!”  Is he trying to get himself killed?  

He feels a stab of fear when he wonders if maybe Deku is .  If Deku’s recklessness in their training was at all related to that.  He’d never had any sense of self-preservation before, but somehow this was even worse.

Deku has Shigaraki suspended in the air with a combination of float and blackwhip, and he’s facing off against him alone.

“Endeavor!” Katsuki screams.  “You’d better not miss this time!”  He’s aware of how desperate and wrecked he sounds, but he can’t control it.  His thoughts are a mess of Deku can’t die and everything else is taking a backseat.

He’s going to get destroyed at this rate .  Katsuki shouts orders at Todoroki and Endeavor before grabbing the both of them and blasting his way into the air so that Endeavor can make the kill shot.  Please, let it be a kill shot.

Deku looks gone.  Deku looks like a monster .  His rage is unlike anything Katsuki’s ever seen before, his need to destroy Shigaraki once and for all, and all Katsuki can think of is the kid who he beat down over and over again, who kept getting back up.

“I’m not gonna be your worthless punching bag Deku forever… Kacchan, I’m… I’m the Deku who always does his best!”

Endeavor releases his attack, but it’s not enough.  How can it not be enough?   He’s impaled with black, creepy-looking spikes, sending him hurtling to the ground, but Katsuki can’t be preoccupied with that because those same spikes are heading straight to Deku.

All he could think was Deku, Deku, Deku , every moment with him playing like a slideshow in his mind, and his body was moving without him even telling it to.  He shoves Deku out of the way, feels the spikes pierce his body, and then everything goes dark.

 

-----

 

Katsuki isn’t sure how long the battle takes after that.

Todoroki must’ve caught him on his way down, because he wakes up on the ground.  He goes in and out throughout the battle, but he knows he’s conscious enough to tell a fashionably late Best Jeanist and Lemillion his hero name.  They don’t seem to like it.  

He tries replicating his explosions from earlier, when he saved Deku, to no avail.  He’d never felt a sensation like that before.  Deku was going to die, and somehow nothing else mattered.

He comes to in the hospital days later.

He spams the call button until a frazzled nurse comes to his bed.  “Where-” he coughs, voice rough from disuse.  “Where’s Deku,” he rasps.

“I’ll - I’ll go tell your family you’re awake,” she says, then runs off.

His mom cries, which is big, because his mom never cries.  She also smacks him for making her worry, which is more like her.

“We thought you were dead , you brat!”  She says between sobs.  “We didn’t even know if you were going to wake up!” 

“Where’s Deku?” 

“You worry us like that and that’s the first thing you say to me?!”

“Honey, calm down,” his father says, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder.  His eyes were red-rimmed under his glasses.  “He just wants to know about his friend.”

His friend .  Could they even be called friends?

“He’s alive.  He’s…” his father trails off.  “Well, why don’t you let one of your friends tell you.”

As if on cue, Kirishima rushes into the room.  “Katsuki!” he says, and Katsuki isn’t sure he’s ever called him by his first name before.  He reaches Katsuki’s bedside, and then he breaks down.

His parents are kind enough to give them some space, even if it takes some coaxing of his mother on his father’s part.  After calming down a bit, struggling through sobs and choked out phrases like I’m so glad you’re okay and you wouldn’t wake up for days, we were so worried , Kirishima wipes his eyes and tells him what happened.

Most of the villains were detained, but Shigaraki and his group escaped, whereabouts unknown.  All For One was broken out of prison by several high-end Nomu and was also currently missing.  All of their classmates survived, but Midnight didn’t.

“We found her…” Kirishima said, choking up again.  “Bakugou, it was awful .”

Katsuki can feel an ache, somewhere in his chest, but he can’t focus on that right now.  “What happened to Deku?”

“Your parents didn’t tell you?  Bakugou, he…” Kirishima trails off, and Katsuki’s blood turns to ice.  Noticing his expression, Kirishima hurries, “No, nothing like that!  He’s okay, I mean… sort of.  He’s still healing.  He’s in America right now.”

America?  “Why the fuck is he in America?”

“His arms… man, you didn’t see him after.  They were wrecked .  They did all the healing they could, but… he might end up needing prosthetics.  He definitely needs some sort of extra support.  They’re checking him out on I-Island right now.”

He might end up needing prosthetics .  Katsuki feels sick.  Is this his fault?  Is Deku reckless because that’s who he is, or because that’s who Katsuki pushed him to be?

“Listen… Katsuki.”  His name again.  “I didn’t even realize how much trouble you were in until the battle was over.  You could’ve died , and I wouldn’t have known.”  He takes a deep breath.  “You could’ve died.  So I need to tell you something.”  Another deep breath.

“I love you,” Kirishima says.

Katsuki thinks he might puke.

His best friend, his boyfriend , is telling him that he loves him, and the only thing in his head is stupid fucking Deku.  Deku’s eyes, his hands, his soft hands, his stupid freckles.  The way he kisses him.  The way he says his stupid nickname for him.  Kacchan, Kacchan, Kacchan .

I really am the fucking worst.

“You don’t have to say it back,” Kirishima says with a smile that’s all too kind.  “I know you don’t feel the same way.”

“What?”  He knows?  Katsuki wasn’t even sure he knew.

“I’m not stupid,” Kirishima chuckles a bit, but it’s a sad kind of laughter.  “I think I’ve always known.  That you weren’t into me the way I was into you.  That you always had eyes for someone else.”

Katsuki feels ice in his chest.  “What-”

“You don’t have to say it,” Kirishima says.  “I know how you are about feelings.  But, for what it’s worth… I think you should tell him.  Before it’s too late.”

Kirishima stands up, and Katsuki doesn’t miss the way he tries to subtly wipe at his eyes.  “What will people say, huh?  The great Katsuki Bakugou, getting dumped.”

“They’ll say he deserved it.”  And they’d be right.  

Kirishima just shakes his head.  “Take care of yourself, Bakugou.”  He makes for the door.

“Kirishi- Eijirou,” Katsuki says.  Kirishima stops.  “I’m sorry.  I… do love you.  Just not like that.” 

He gives him a small, bittersweet smile.  “I know.” 

 

-----

 

It’s another three days before the hospital lets him out. 

Katsuki spends the entire time wanting to bounce off the fucking walls.  The extra days are just a precaution - since he’d lost so much blood and been knocked out for so long, plus checkups to make sure Shigaraki’s black-spike quirk didn’t have any lasting effects - and it drives him absolutely mad.  How the hell did Deku manage to get out of the hospital and cleared for travel before he did?

(He ignores the sinking feeling that they cleared him for travel because of how bad his injuries were, because he needed I-Island’s expertise.)

He calls Deku multiple times a day, sends him a barrage of texts consisting mostly of things like where the hell are you deku and i swear to god deku if you dont answer your phone i'll kill you .  Before today he’d really only sent him a handful of texts about training and got curt, dry responses.  Now he was sending texts by the barrel and getting no response at all.  Deku refuses to respond to any of his texts, refuses to answer a single call.  He only knows Deku’s still alive because he sees him posting about I-Island on social media, obsessive fanboy that he is.

All Might stops in to check on him on the second day, after non-family members are cleared for visits (Katsuki isn’t sure how his parents smuggled Kirishima in, but he’s grateful for it.)  Katsuki assumed he would’ve gone with Deku, but All Might says he was too worried about his other students to go - namely Katsuki.

“I’ll meet up with him soon,” he says.  “But I needed to make sure you were alright first.”

Katsuki scoffs.  He doesn’t need anyone’s pity.  He has to admit, though, being worried for by his childhood idol does feel kinda nice.  Nevermind that Deku clearly wasn’t worried enough to stop by , he thinks.

When Katsuki asks how long Deku will be away, All Might begins to fidget.  “We… don’t know how long,” he admits.  “As long as it takes to treat his injuries, at least, but possibly longer.  With Shigaraki and All For One on the loose, he’s in more danger in Japan than anywhere else.”

Katsuki tries not to let that get to him.  Deku is gone, for God knows how long, and he didn’t even tell Katsuki about it.  Didn’t even wait for him to wake up.

After All Might stops Todoroki.  Katsuki could say he was the last person he was expecting to see, but that would be a lie.  As much as he hates to admit it, Todoroki had grown into a genuine friend over their shared internship.  Even if he does want to blast his face off half the time.

“Bakugou,” he says.  “You really had us worried there for a moment.”

“As if that lame-ass villain could take me down.  I’m fine.”

Todoroki ignores him.  “I saw you take the hit for Midoriya.  You almost died.”

“Would everyone stop telling me I almost died?!  I’m fucking fine .”

Todoroki ignores him again.  “You risked your life for him.  You saved him.”

Katsuki shifts uncomfortably.  “Yeah, well, Shigaraki wanted stupid Deku for whatever reason.  Can’t let villains get what they want, now can we.”  Can’t exactly admit Shigaraki wanted Deku to steal One For All.   The secret was going to come out eventually, but Katsuki sure as hell wouldn’t be responsible for it.

“That’s not why you did it and you know it.”  Todoroki levels him with a piercing, two-toned glare.  His eyes really are distracting when he stares.   

“I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, Half’n’Half.”

“Yes you do,” Todoroki insisted.  “And don’t play dumb.  Midoriya told me everything about you two.”

Katsuki freezes.  Everything?

“Not that it’s any of your goddamn business, but we were just fucking.  It didn’t mean anything.”

Todoroki blinks.  “...Midoriya did not tell me everything about you two.”

Oh Jesus fucking Christ .

“Icy Hot, I swear I will fucking skin you alive-

Todoroki puts his hands up.  “I won’t say anything.”  Katsuki wills his blood pressure to go down, lest the nurses rush to his aid because Katsuki had a fucking Todoroki-induced aneurysm.  “I meant he told me about how he was your first real kiss.  And how you lied about it.”

“What exactly is your point here?!” Katsuki barks.

“My point is that it’s clear you love him, and I’m sick of watching you two dance around it.”  Todoroki sighs like he’s put-upon.  “The tension during our internship was so awkward.”

God.  If Todoroki could pick up on their awkward relationship problems, then it must be really bad.

“And what exactly do you expect me to do about it?  It’s not exactly like it’s reciprocated.”  Katsuki snaps.  He can feel his face burning up.  Did he just indirectly admit that he loved Deku?

Todoroki just stares at him.  “What?”

“What.”

“What do you mean it’s not reciprocated?”

“What do you mean it’s not - what the hell do you think I mean, fuckface?!  It means Deku doesn’t-” he chokes a bit, clears his throat.  “Deku doesn’t love me.”

Todoroki is looking at him like he’s grown a second head.  “Of course he does.”

“He hates me.”  Katsuki is 110% done with this conversation.  He would like Todoroki out of his room now, please.  “If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have flown halfway across the fucking world without even saying goodbye.”  Katsuki blinks, and his eyes are wet.  Fuck, is he seriously tearing up about this?

“...Bakugou,” Todoroki says, seriously.  He looks him dead in the eye.  “You didn’t see Midoriya after you took that blow for him.”

The memories from that fight after his injury are blurred and hazy.  “What’s there to see?  We fucking lost.”  The truth of it stings.

Todoroki shakes his head.  “No, you didn’t see him.  He just… lost it.  I’ve never seen him like that before.  I’ve never seen anyone like that.  The look in his eyes when he saw you fall…”  Todoroki stares at him again.  “He just looked so... broken.”

Katsuki can’t do much but stare back at him.  Deku, broken?   

“His rage was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  Because of you.”

“Why are you telling me this,” is all Katsuki can manage.

“Because Midoriya is my friend and I want him to be happy.”  Todoroki pauses.  “You are, too.”

Katsuki feels like his head is spinning.  This is too much all at once.  Todoroki seems to get the hint for once and stands up.

“I have to get going, but think about what I said, Bakugou,” he says.  “Oh.  And I’m glad you’re okay.”

 

-----

 

He books the first flight to I-Island once he’s out of the hospital.  His mother is furious.

“You just got home and now you’re leaving?!” she shrieks.  “What an ungrateful son I raised!”

“Shut it, you hag!”  He stuffs his clothes into a suitcase.  He has no idea how long he’ll be there for, considering he knows next to nothing about Deku’s recovery.  No one would spare him the details.  “I have something important to do.”

“More important than your mother’s peace of mind?!”

“Yes!”

The plane ride is mostly spent with Katsuki bouncing his knee up and down so hard it nearly rattles the whole plane.  He never thought of himself as one for nervous tics, but he guesses Deku brings it out in him.

Idiot.

He books it out of the airplane the moment it lands.  All Might had given him directions to a recovery center Deku was supposedly visiting for treatment, but when he got there, Deku was nowhere to be found.

“I’m sorry,” a nurse said.  “But he’s not here.”

Katsuki nearly tore his hair out in frustration.  How exactly was he supposed to find Deku on a whole ass island?  He took out his phone to dial All Might in frustration when he got a notification.  Deku just posted a picture of himself and a pretty girl - Melissa, he thinks her name was - with a tagged location: I-Island Academy.

Katsuki tries not to let rage boil in his gut when he sees the way Melissa is draped over Deku, the way Deku’s obviously blushing.  She’s gorgeous; blonde hair, blue eyes, nice curves.  He shoves his phone in his pocket and heads to the academy.

It takes him a while to finally find them.  Melissa’s got her own lab at the school, according to the extras he demanded directions from, and he figures they’re in there.  He’s not wrong.

“Kacchan?!” Deku splutters from where he’s sitting at Melissa’s desk.  His arms are covered in bandages, and he looks genuinely shocked to see him.  “I - what - ?”

“Oh, you’re Bakugou, right?”  Melissa’s smile is friendly and genuine.  “I remember you from the villain attack on the expo!”

“Out of the way, blondie.”  He brushes right past her.  

“Wh- Hey!”

“Kacchan, don’t be rude!”

“That’s a load of shit, coming from you,” he spits.  “You,” he barks at Melissa.  “Get out.”

“This is my lab.  You can’t just kick me out!”

“I can and I will,” he says.  “Deku and I need to have a chat.”

“No we don’t,” he says to Melissa.  “No we don’t,” he says again, this time to Katsuki.

“We sure as hell do.  After that fight with Shigaraki you just - you just left!  You didn’t even bother to say goodbye.”  Katsuki can feel tears start to form in his eyes and goddammit, not now .  He struggles to keep them from falling.  “You left me .”

“Um,” Melissa says.  “This sounds like a personal moment.  I’m gonna go.”

“No, Melisa, wait -”

But Melissa is already gone, shutting the door behind her.  It’s just him and Deku, now.

Things are awkward and silent for a moment, Katsuki trying to compose himself and Deku fidgeting with his hands, looking anywhere but at Katsuki.  His arms don’t look as bad as he expected; clearly whatever medical equipment and healing quirks they had on I-Island had seriously sped up his recovery.  When Katsuki feels like he’s not at risk of bursting into angry tears at any moment, he says, “So what, is she your fucking girlfriend now?”

Shit.

That was not how this was meant to go.

Deku bristles.  “What the fuck , Kacchan,” he says, and Katsuki can’t help the little thrill he gets at hearing Deku swear, as inappropriate a situation as it is.  “ That’s what you came all this way for?  To yell at me for having a girlfriend?”

Katsuki feels his world spin.  “So she is your girlfriend.”

Deku jumps up from his chair.  “She’s not!  Not that it’s any of your business, considering you, you know, have a boyfriend already.”

“I don’t.” 

“Did you hit your head harder than I thought?”

Katsuki grits his teeth.  “No.  Kirishima and I broke up.”

Deku blinks a few times, looking stunned.  “You… what?”

“In the hospital, after I woke up.  Listen, Deku -”

“No, no, wait.  Why?”  Deku is looking up at him with wide, pretty green eyes, and Katsuki is pretty sure whatever Deku demanded of him in that moment, he’d do it.

“Because,” he says, “I have feelings for someone else.”

“Oh,” Deku says softly, turning away from him.  Katsuki can see his eyes start to well up with tears.  “Of course you do.”  He looks a second away from bawling, and Katsuki would shake him in frustration if they weren’t both so injured.

“Deku, you idiot!  I mean you .”

Deku whips back around to face him so fast Katsuki is sure he must have whiplash.  “Wait, what?”

“How much of a dumbass are you?  You think I flew all the way out here to tell you I found someone else?”  Katsuki shakes his head.  “You idiot .  It’s always been you.”

Deku’s tears begin to stream down his cheeks, his bottom lip trembling.  “Kacchan…”

“When I saw Shigaraki aiming those spikes at you I didn’t even think.  I just moved.”  He’d been standing about six feet apart from Deku this entire time, too afraid of spooking him, but he begins to move closer, slowly.  “The only thought in my head was you.  How you couldn’t die.  Not if I could help it.

“And then, I woke up in this shitty hospital bed and you were gone , Deku, and I didn’t even know if you were alive, and -”  Shit, now Katsuki’s beginning to cry, too.  “What the fuck, Deku?!”

Deku’s crying in earnest, now.  “Kacchan, I-”

“You just left!

“I know!  I know, Kacchan,” Deku hiccups.  “I’m sorry .  I just… seeing you like that - it hurt too much.  Shigaraki could’ve killed you and it would’ve been my fault.  You’d just saved my life and - I didn’t know what to do.  So I ran.”

“First of all, it’s my goddamn choice if I throw myself in front of an attack to save you.  That’s not on you, that’s on me .  Second of all, you thank the guy who saved your life by bailing on him?”

“I’m not the only one who runs away from his feelings, Kacchan.”

“Well I’m not running now.”

Deku looks into his eyes, his own still wet and shiny from his tears.  Katsuki feels naked.  “No, you’re not.”

“Fuck.  I didn’t come here to yell at you.”  Katsuki runs a hand through his hair.

“What did you come here for, then?”

“To tell you how I felt,” he says.  “And… to apologize.  For everything.”

Deku shakes his head.  “You don’t need to apologize -”

Yes, I do, so shut up.  I treated you like shit most of our lives, including after I told you things would be different.  Especially then.  I’m sorry.”

It’s hard to choke out, but he needs to do this.  He needs to make things right.

“I forgave you a long time ago, Kacchan,” Deku smiles at him.

“That’s not why I said it.”

“I know.”

There’s a moment where they just stare at each other, each unsure of what to do next.  Then:

“So.  How do you feel, Kacchan?”  There’s a teasing lilt to his voice.

“Ugh.”  Katsuki rolls his eyes.  “You’re really gonna make me say it?”

“Of course.  I think I deserve that much.”   He says it lightly, but Katsuki knows what he means.  Deku needs him to say it.  To mean it.

“Okay, well listen up, ‘cause I’m only gonna say this once.”  He walks up to Deku, taking his scarred hands in his own and looking into his eyes.  Katsuki takes a deep breath.  “I love you, Izuku.”

Deku bursts into tears right then and there, and for a second Katsuki is worried he’s done something horribly wrong before Deku launches himself at Katsuki, wrapping his arms around his neck.  “I love you too ,” he says between sobs.  “Kacchan, you’re an idiot .”

Katsuki wraps his arms around Deku’s waist, burying his face in his neck.  “Yeah,” Katsuki agrees.  “Yeah, I am.”

 

-----

 

They’re nearly indecent by the time they make it to Deku’s hotel room.

They still have (most of) their clothes on, but Deku’s kissing him in a way that is just absolutely filthy , and Katsuki knows if this keeps up they won’t even make it past the door.

“Deku, door ,” he growls, because he really does not want to have sex in the hallway.  Deku pulls away, pupils blown, long enough to unlock the door and drag Katsuki inside.

“Kacchan,” he says between sucking bruises into Katsuki’s throat.  “Kacchan, you’re amazing.”

Deku ,” he says, before tossing him onto the bed.

They lie there afterwards, sweaty and sticky but wrapped up in each other nonetheless.  It should be gross, but it’s kinda nice.  He never did this with Deku before, never really did it with Kirishima either.  He thought he wasn’t a big cuddler, but as Deku nuzzles into his neck, arms wrapped around his waist, he thinks maybe he was wrong about that.

“So,” Deku starts, head propped up on Katsuki’s chest.  He’s drawing lazy patterns on his pecs with one finger, and it’s comforting instead of annoying like Katsuki expected it would be.  “Does this mean we’re dating now?”

“Hell yeah it does,” Katsuki says.  “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

“Good,” Deku says, leaning up to kiss him.  It’s soft and sweet, and reminds Katsuki of something.

“Hey, Deku,” he says.  “I’m, uh…”  Even with all his practice saying ‘sorry’ these past few days, he still has trouble swallowing his pride and getting the words out.  “I’m sorry for lying about our first kiss.”

Deku laughs.  “You’ve already apologized for everything.  Why that specifically?”

He shrugs.  “I dunno.  Just thought of it.”

“Well, Kacchan,” Deku says.  “I’m really glad you were my first kiss.”

“Yeah,” Katsuki says.  “Me too.”