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Explosive Pigtail Pulling

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“That was so cool!”  Izuku gaped down at the little boy he’d just saved.  His blonde hair stuck up off his head in spikes.  Izuku scratched the back of his head while the kid bounced with bright-eyed delight, his cheeks a little red.

“Well, sure,” Izuku said.  “Just doing my job.”  He smiled, something a little cautious.  The boy looked… so much like…

The kid’s eyes went wide and bright.  “I know!  You were so cool, the way you punched that bad guy!  He went totally flying and you were all KA-POW!”  He punched the air with a fierce grin, mimicking Izuku’s move almost exactly.  “I’m gonna be the best hero when I grow up!  A hero that always wins and defeats the bad guys.”  He put his hands on his hips with puffed up pride.

“Oh?” Izuku knelt so he was on the kid’s level, smiling with something that felt suspiciously like nostalgia.  “Do you have a quirk yet?”

The kid shook his head, all enthusiasm.  “Not yet!  But it’s going to be awesome!  And I’m going to be the best hero in the whole wide world!  So, I want you to wait for me!”

Izuku blinked hard at him.  He really looked so much like…  “Wait for you?”

The boy blushed, ducking his head.  “You’re a super cool hero, and I’m going to be the best hero, so I want you to wait for me.”  He looked up, gaze intense.  “I love you.  When I get bigger, I want to marry you.”

Izuku felt his face heat; he laughed a little.  “If you still want to marry me when you’re older, we can talk about it then, okay?”

The boy pouted, but nodded.  “Okay, I guess.  But you have to wait.  You don’t have anyone else you like, right?”  He frowned and leaned forward.  “You don’t already have a boyfriend, do you?”

Izuku smiled, shaking his head.  “I do like someone,” he admitted, “but he doesn’t know.  And I don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend right now, so you don’t have anything to worry about.”  The boy beamed again; Izuku laughed.  “What’s your name, so I know who I’m waiting for?”

“Katsuki!” the boy declared, hands on his hips.  “Bakugou Katsuki.”

Izuku’s breath caught.  Oh, dear God.  He forced himself not to react.  “Well, Katsuki, I’ll keep an eye out for you, hm?  Now, were you doing something today?”

God, he was probably the first responder.  Izuku wanted to scream.  He just had to pretend a little longer.  Get Katsuki somewhere safe where they could wait for… whatever ridiculous quirk this was to wear off.  A siren sounded just behind them.

“I…” His tiny brow furrowed adorably.  “I don’t remember…”

Izuku smiled, aiming for reassuring.  “Well, why don’t you stay with me for now?  We can wait at a park, either for your mom or for you to remember what you were doing, hm?”

Katsuki nodded, smiling again.  One of the police officers jogged up to them.  Katsuki immediately stepped behind Izuku’s leg, hand grasping at the fabric of his pants.  The officer smiled, saluting briefly.

“Deku, seems like you have everything under control here.”  He gestured to the villain, unconscious and bound a few feet away.  “Anything we should know?”

“I didn’t get a good look at how he uses his quirk, but it seems to…” he glanced down at Katsuki. “It seems to make people younger,” he said, almost silent.  The man’s eyes went wide, darting down to Katsuki and back.

“Well, we’ll… make sure to be careful, then.”

“See that you do.  In the meantime, I’m going to take him to the park.”  Izuku rested a hand on Katsuki’s head, ruffling his hair lightly, the way he remembered Mrs. Bakugou doing when they were young.  Come to think of it, Katsuki had always hated it when his mom did that, yelling and throwing a fit.

Katsuki blinked owlishly up at him, his cheeks red.  Apparently that wasn’t going to be a problem this time.  After a quick good bye, he led Katsuki down the street to the nearest park.  It was early afternoon, so none of the kids living nearby were out of school yet, thankfully.

They sat down on swings, side by side.  Katsuki started swinging, chatting idly about adventures he’d been on with his friends recently.  Izuku smiled.  He remembered going on a few of them.

“My friends are all super cool.  Well, except for Deku.”  Katsuki huffed.  “He always tries to do things he’s too little for.”

“Is he younger than you?” Izuku heard himself ask.

Katsuki shook his head.  “No, but he’s littler.  He’s not strong like me, but he always follows me around, even when it’s not safe.  He gets hurt a lot, too.  I don’t like that.”

“You never get hurt on your adventures?”

Katsuki frowned.  “Sure, but I’m not a cry baby like Deku.  He should stay home, instead of doing things like that.  It’s safer that way.”  He looked down, slumping so he could drag his feet through the sand.  “I don’t like it when he cries.”

“Would you stop doing things that are unsafe because someone told you to?” Izuku asked, eyebrows raised.

Katsuki scoffed.  “Of course not.  No one tells me what to do.  Except my mom.”  Izuku laughed.  “But it’s for Deku’s own good.”  He looked a little harder at Izuku, his head tipping to the side like a kitten.  “It’s kinda weird, but you look like my friend.  Only, if Deku were big and strong, instead of tiny.”  He hesitated.  “Can you keep a secret?”

Izuku nodded, leaning closer when Katsuki waved him in.

“The truth is, I like like Deku.  But you can’t tell him that.  He’s really brave and nice, even though he cries all the time, and I think he’d be a really good hero.  Not as good as me, of course, but second place, definitely.”  He looked down at his hands.  Izuku was grateful; he knew he was blushing but he couldn’t stop himself.

“If you like like him, shouldn’t you be marrying him instead of me?” Izuku asked.

“And put him in even more danger?” Katsuki looked aghast, something that came off as almost comical on a four year old.  “I can’t marry someone weak!  Unless he toughens up, we’ll just have to stay friends.”  He yawned hugely.  “Actually… I think I was gonna play with him today.”

Before Izuku could ask him about that, Katsuki’s head started to loll forward like he was falling asleep.  Izuku smiled.  “Why don’t we get somewhere more comfortable, and you can take a short nap, hm?  You’ve had an exhausting day.”

Katsuki nodded, letting Izuku take his hand and lead him over to a bench in the shade.  They sat down side by side, and Katsuki nestled himself closer, resting his cheek on Izuku’s chest.  He yawned.

Izuku wrapped a careful arm around his shoulders, stroking his hair gently.  It was surprisingly soft for all the spikes.  Izuku let his own eyes fall shut.

“What the fuck?”

Izuku blinked awake.  He wasn’t sure how long he’d dozed off for, but clearly it was long enough.  He turned to face Katsuki, all grown up, his arm still around his shoulders.  Izuku opened his mouth to explain, but Katsuki’s eyes slowly grew wide and his cheeks went scarlet.

Fuck,” he hissed, emphatic.  “This,” he gestured between them, “This never happened.  I was never a fucking four year old, and I sure as fuck did not tell you anything.  Got it?

“I can keep a secret, Kacchan,” Izuku said, unthinking.  Katsuki’s blush spread to his ears and down his neck.  “I’ll make sure not to tell Deku that you like like him,” he said, smirking.  “When did it become bullying instead of pigtail pulling?”

Katsuki stood up, storming away.  Izuku snickered for a moment before he could feel realization washing over him like ice water.  Goodness.

“Kacchan, wait,” Izuku scrambled off the bench, chasing after him.  “You didn’t seriously—the whole time?

“Fuck off!”

“What?  Kacchan, no, I’m not—I can’t ignore this!”

He scoffed.  “Really?  Well, I can, so fucking go away, you fucking nerd.”

Izuku finally caught up and snagged one of Katsuki’s hands.  The scowl he got in return was impressive, but made less threatening by the cute blush and the slight tremor Izuku could feel in his hands.  He stepped closer.

“Kacchan, I didn’t—you never said anything.”

“Would it matter?” he asked flatly.  “Everyone knows you and that fucking half and half are made for each other or whatever the fuck it is Uraraka is always going on about.”

“Todoroki?” Izuku asked, brow furrowing.  “When have he and I—he’s in love with someone else, not me.”

“Yeah, and you just got done saying you liked someone but he didn’t know, right?  Well, I guess both of us are fucking idiots.”  He turned around, tugging at his hand.  Izuku held tighter.  “Now let me go.  I have fucking things to do.”

“Yeah, we are both idiots.  I’ve been in love with you since I was three,” Izuku said.  Katsuki froze.

“What?”

“The person I like is and has always been you, you jerk.”  Izuku rubbed his free hand over his face.  “This whole time, I thought you hated me, but you’ve—”

Katsuki spun around, his eyes narrow.  “You’re fucking with me.”

Izuku shook his head.  “I wouldn’t do that to anyone, but especially not to you.”

Izuku didn’t know what he was expecting, but Katsuki’s lips crashing against his was not it.  Izuku flailed, off-balance until Katsuki gripped the back of his head, tugging him in closer and keeping him from toppling backward.  Izuku tilted his head, letting go of Katsuki’s hand so he could cup his face and tangle his fingers in his hair.

“You fucking nerd,” Katsuki breathed into his mouth, “you should have fucking said something.”

“When?” Izuku asked.  “When you were picking on me every day, or when you stopped talking to me?  Why didn’t you say anything?”

Katsuki kissed him again, slower and gentler.  “I’d rather fight a villain than talk about feelings.”

“You mean your feelings of looooove?”

Katsuki pinched him, scowling.  “Don’t you fucking dare.  Besides, how was I supposed to know you would say yes, even though I was such a shitty kid?”

Izuku’s heart swelled.  Seeing Katsuki anything but arrogant was always a treat, but the way he looked now, soft and unsure…  Izuku kissed him again, chaste this time, and rubbed their cheeks together, beaming.  “You’re a hero now, Kacchan.  You haven’t been mean for no reason since we started high school.”  He pulled back, wide-eyed.  “Wait—Does this mean we can work together?  Will you stop telling me to fuck off?”

Katsuki faltered.  “What?  Wait, you were serious about that?”

“I’m always serious about hero work, Kacchan.  I want to be your partner.”  Izuku smiled.  “You’re the best, aren’t you?”

“Are you sure I’m good for your image?”  Katsuki’s brow furrowed in what Izuku thought might be worry.  “Symbol of Peace doesn’t really mesh well with…”  He gestured to himself.

“Sure it does.  As the future Symbol of Peace, I think you’ll find I’m the expert.”  Izuku beamed.  “There’s no one I’d rather have at my side than you, Kacchan.”

Katsuki tugged him into a short but hard kiss before shoving him away.  “Fucking fine, then.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  He was smiling, though, soft and pleased.  “Now, I’m gonna go home and take a shower.”

He started to walk away, but after a beat, he frowned back over his shoulder.

“Fucking nerd, what are you waiting for?  A fucking invitation?”

Izuku laughed but fell into step with him quickly.  “Does this mean I get a reward?”

“For what?”

“Well, I saved your life today, didn’t I?  Doesn’t the hero get a reward from the damsel in distress?”  He batted his eyelashes at Katsuki.

Katsuki shoved him without looking.  “What, that kiss wasn’t good enough for you?”

“No, you see, I promised I would wait for you.  Don’t I deserve a reward for that?”  Izuku bumped their shoulders together.

“I think what I actually asked was for you to marry me, Deku,” Katsuki said.

Izuku blushed.  “Maybe we could start with dinner, then.”  Katsuki glanced at him.  Their eyes held for a long, long moment.  He wasn’t technically saying yes, but he thought they could both tell what he was really saying.  Not yet.

“I can order pizza,” Katsuki said, breaking eye contact to face forward again.

Izuku brushed their hands together.  “What a gentleman.”

When their hands brushed again, Katsuki snagged it and laced their fingers together.  “I’m the biggest God damn gentleman you’ve ever met.  Even that stuck up leg guy couldn’t beat me.”

“Stuck up…”  Izuku laughed.  “Iida?  Kacchan, Iida is definitely more of a gentleman than you are.”  Katsuki scowled, but Izuku could see the expression for what it was: pouting.  He squeezed his hand.  “You are my favorite, though, even if you aren’t much of a gentleman.”

“I’m gonna woo your fucking pants off, nerd.”  Katsuki smirked.  “Just you watch.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

He was looking forward to a lot of things.