The thing is, Midoriya Izuku has never been good about accepting what life has seen fit to give him.
Some might even go so far as to say that Midoriya Izuku actively challenges what life has seen to give him by demanding more from it.
This is because what life has seen fit to give him has just not been satisfactory in many ways. And if Izuku isn't going to be blessed with the things that he wants from the start, he'll just have to get them for himself.
It's an approach to life that has been paying off for him; see: the quirk of his childhood hero and his place in the school of his dreams.
The one thing he'd never quite managed to gain, though, was any version of Kacchan that he actually wanted. Kacchan, who - Izuku is pretty sure - exists solely to remind him that giving up is also a legitimate option in life.
He challenges this too, until he realises that perhaps it's for the best. A four year old Izuku who wants a friend apparently has vastly different wants and needs as a seventeen year old Izuku, and if he's never even managed the basic level of friendly interaction in all those years, there's little chance that he'll manage it in the next thirteen.
He should probably give up, he thinks. It's something he's never done before; it feels weird. The kind of weird that feels a lot like the seven stages of grief for something he never quite had.
Izuku doesn't really have the time or energy to sort through all of his internalised feelings about it though, so he starts at anger, has a brief interlude of denial, circles back to anger for a bit, and then hovers on the cusp of acceptance for longer than he wants to admit.
"I fucked up, and I'm sorry," Kacchan says, looking awkward and utterly sincere. Izuku's heart is in his throat as he cycles through the stages all over again, this time in the proper order and in the blink of an eye.
He finally tips over into acceptance. This is not quite everything he wants, but it's all he could ever ask for. He feels cleansed.
"Hypothetically," Kacchan says, "how much time do you think should be between me punching your face and, like, me kissing it?"
And Izuku, having plateaued into his new state of acceptance, just thinks: Yes, good, okay. Alright.
It occurs to him only after a solid two hours of replaying the whole thing in high definition with his face in his hands that, really, this might be one of maybe a few times in his life wherein Izuku hadn't actually had to do much to get what he wanted. Kacchan had just kind of... barged in and dropped it on his lap, apropos of nothing.
Izuku doesn't want to sound ungrateful, but he's feeling a little superfluous to the cause here.
He has to be up for class in less than three hours. He's probably not going to sleep, because apparently Kacchan can only dump life changing revelations in the early hours, so he does the next best thing to staring at the ceiling hyperventilating.
He goes on a Wikipedia binge.
So mating rituals in nature are horrifying.
Izuku regrets himself and everything that lead him to this point. He knows his brain has a tendency to latch on to certain, particular and peculiar things, but this is just. Of all the things, he can't believe he's looking up aggressive dolphin sex at four in the morning because his own looming jaunt into intimacy is apparently one of those things.
He takes a few minutes to simply breathe and wonders whether he was betrayed by his own quick acceptance.
When exactly did Kacchan decide he was into this? This being Izuku? He hopes it wasn't when the bullying was still going on; that would set an awful precedent for their relationship going forward.
Is it even a relationship? Is that what they're doing? Does kissing equate to things like dating and holding hands and other type things?
Izuku imagines holding Kacchan's hand. He thinks, even if he was allowed, he probably wouldn't want to. Kacchan has always had sweaty hands and Izuku likes his where they are; attached.
Is this something he should have thought about before taking what was on offer without question?
Izuku would like to say that he's surprised and disappointed in himself; that he's usually much more careful and considered about the challenges he takes on, but that would be a filthy lie. This is exactly the same bullshit, knee-jerk enthusiasm that had him swallowing hair from another man.
Not that he'd do that any differently now, even with all the information. Just, if he'd known, he would have had a water bottle with him that morning. This is also like that, in that he doesn't have a water bottle and he's entirely unprepared to have something not his own in his mouth today.
Izuku has an awful suspicion that in all his wanting, he never actually believed it was possible enough to prepare himself for the reality and now he has to deal with it.
The first person he sees after he finally emerges ready for class is thankfully not Kacchan. It's the second worse though, because it's Todoroki, who's still got a vague aura of betrayal about him that reminds Izuku that he owes him an apology.
The second person he sees is Yaoyorozu, standing in the kitchen with three different types of tea and a freshly brewed batch of coffee, asking if anyone would like some.
Izuku isn't even sorry, he walks straight past where Todoroki is looking sad to get to her.
The rest of the students up and about all part for him like waves, which is worrying. It's possible he's managed to develop some kind of reputation he's not comfortable with, and Izuku silently promises to apologise to everyone individually and as a group when he's functional enough to care.
He's not at that point yet though, so he just holds his head high and says, "Coffee, please."
Yaoyorozu looks at him and wordlessly slides a mug and the entire coffee pot over.
"You look terrible, Midoriya-kun," she says.
"Thanks," Izuku replies, because he's an idiot. He barely stops himself from tacking on a rote 'you too'. He points to the coffee pot, "I'll just - fix that. With this."
He should've just acknowledged Todoroki; this is his punishment. His life is a whole line of awkward moments encountered in the process of trying to avoid other awkward moments.
He imagines this thing with Kacchan is only going to add a whole new dimension to it, and that's also worrying. He should probably limit the amount of ongoing awkward moments he has at any one time.
"Good morning, Todoroki-kun," he says, inching up and cradling his mug like a shield. Todoroki blinks and then scowls at a point over Izuku's shoulder.
"Midoriya," he says. "You've got incoming."
"Oi, nerd!" Kacchan calls from the stairwell. "Where the fuck were you? I went to your room and you weren't even there!"
Todoroki's eyebrows raise suspiciously. Almost knowingly. Izuku wonders if it's possible to drown yourself with the amount of liquid contained in a mug, or if it would require more, like a mixing bowls worth. He has immediate access to mixing bowls.
He holds the mug up as some kind of explanation. Kacchan looks like he got about the same amount of sleep as Izuku and is dealing with it only slightly better. He squints, wobbles on the dismount, and spins in the direction of Yaoyorozu without another word.
Izuku would feel, like, cheated or abandoned or something, but Kacchan and Yaoyorozu have some kind of weird bond over tea that he thinks started with something about calming properties. Whatever. Nobody pretends to understand it, because nobody actually does, but he figures it'll occupy Kacchan long enough for him to put a stop to Todoroki's suspicious glancing between the two of them.
"Todoroki-kun," Izuku says again. "Can we talk?"
Todoroki looks at him, and then back over to where Kacchan and Yaoyorozu are saying things like chamomile and perfect blend and what the fuck is bergamot even supposed to be, and then back at Izuku.
"Yeah," he says. "I've got questions. Like why do you and Bakugou both look like-"
"I just wanted to say sorry for the other day, and for being a prick lately," Izuku says quickly. "So don't take this the wrong way, but I'm walking away now."
He leaves to the sound of Todoroki's maudlin, "Why do I always have to be right?"
Izuku doesn't know, but it's a really annoying trait to have in a friend.
He immediately feels bad about it.
"Okay," he says, swinging back around. "Whatever you're thinking is probably wrong."
"Really," Todoroki intones. "So I didn't hear Bakugou yelling out your name in the early hours of this morning?"
Izuku blinks. "I was just kind of under the impression that he did that randomly, whether I'm around or not. That's what Kirishima-kun says he does."
Kirishima had even provided a recording. Izuku has learned all sorts of things about his classmates since they moved into the dorms, but this little titbit still remains one of the most confusing; should he be flattered or worried? He's always edged towards worried, but now he's starting to think it should be a solid both. One day he should ask Kacchan for context.
"He does, but that's usually angry and followed by booming; I'm this close to asking for a room change, I'll use my father if I have to. But this wasn't that."
"Then I don't know what to tell you," Izuku says blandly. "But I wasn't there for it, and so whatever you're thinking is absolutely, totally wrong."
Todoroki stares at him silently.
From across the room, Kacchan yells at him, "Is that coffee, Deku?! I fucking hate the taste of coffee!"
"I think I'm on the right track," Todoroki says.
"No," Izuku denies, walking away for real this time.
When Kacchan had started staring at him in class for no apparent reason, Izuku was, first and foremost, extremely weirded out.
He also had three different running theories about what it meant.
The first was that Kacchan had decided to try his hand at psychological warfare; particularly as a new, experimental form of intimidation that was surprisingly effective at the start, but waned into something less alarming and more annoying the longer it went on.
The second was that Kacchan had noticed the way Izuku stared at him during class, and had decided that turn-about was fair play. Whether or not he'd realised why Izuku was staring at him in the first place was the subject of intense internal debate that ranged from 'god I hope not' to 'are those come-hithery eyes?' on any given day.
The third was a long shot, but there were a couple of times there where Izuku could have sworn Kacchan was trying and failing to communicate with him telepathically.
Class that morning is an extremely uncomfortable affair, because Izuku suspects that those were, and are, in fact, some version of come-hithery eyes.
Kirishima gives him a subtle thumbs up as Izuku attempts to look anywhere but directly ahead.
He eats lunch locked in a bathroom stall and very pointedly does not think about how this reminds him of middle school.
He is hiding from Kacchan, which is similar. But he's also hiding from everyone else, which is different.
Izuku has friends now that care about his wellbeing enough to ask questions about it when he'd really prefer them not to, and that makes this experience new and novel.
His carefully planned avoidance goes to shit as soon as Todoroki manages to get Aizawa-sensei to pair them for their afternoon practical training. Izuku isn't sure how he did it and he finds it unfair on many levels, but mostly on the one that states that he can't run away because leaving the circle means losing.
Kacchan just finished weeks of pulling this very same trick; Izuku doesn't believe Todoroki's nonchalant shrug for a second. He knows when his sparring partners are rigged.
The how isn't important though, it's the why.
"Because you've been a prick lately," Todoroki says. "And it's probably Bakugou's fault, who's - yeah, look at him. It's like I've pissed on his territory and taken away his toy."
Izuku looks at Kacchan, who is very pointedly glaring at them instead of facing his own sparring partner. Kacchan is about to learn that ignoring Uraraka when she's ready to fight is not the wisest move a man can make; it's a mistake that Izuku can attest to from personal experience.
She moves and Izuku winces as the yelling starts.
"I feel like it'd be easier on everyone if you'd just hit me and call it even," Izuku says, turning away to shift into his own fighting stance.
"It's exactly that kind of martyrdom that makes it more rewarding to take it out on Bakugou instead," Todoroki replies, standing casually and waiting for the first move.
Todoroki can be kind of petty, now that Izuku thinks about it. He can definitely hold a grudge. Izuku should have probably apologised sooner, because Kacchan is still yelling and now Uraraka's yelling back and he thinks they could have avoided this if he had.
"So about this morning-" Todoroki starts.
Izuku decides this is the perfect time to start their own training match. His first point of attack is to slap a hand over Todoroki's mouth and his second is to, god willing, stop this conversation before it starts.
"No," Izuku says, flinching from Todoroki's defensive flames and patting half-heartedly at his smouldering sleeve.
"Yes," Todoroki replies, looking down.
Izuku follows his gaze down to find himself caught in the grip of a steadily growing block of ice. He watches it creep past his knees and head into dangerous territory with a slump of defeat. He could get out, but at this rate it seems like wasted effort and Izuku is trying really hard to be smarter about picking his battles.
There's a cacophony of yelling coming from the background that pairs nicely with his own internal cursing. Iida has apparently stopped his own match to mediate - poorly; he's also yelling and waving his arms around like he's directing traffic. Ashido, Iida's abandoned training partner, seems to have tagged along simply to egg them all on from the sidelines.
Izuku watches the whole chaotic scene unfold, trapped in his own quiet circle of ice and judgement, and really wishes he was in the middle of that instead.
"This is a dick move, Todoroki-kun," he says dully.
"I'll consider it even," Todoroki says. "Friends don't let friends do dumb shit without an explanation."
Izuku glares, because he's pretty sure Todoroki is parroting his own words back at him.
"This isn't the same; this won't end with Kaminari-kun on fire. I don't care what he thinks soap can do."
"Bakugou seems like a pretty dumb thing to do, Midoriya," Todoroki says, blithely ignoring him. "With you two being.... you two."
He says it like Izuku and Kacchan being Izuku and Kacchan explains every concern Todoroki has about them individually and together. Like Izuku and Kacchan haven't spent most of their lives being some sort of volatile package deal already.
Izuku guesses this might actually be a fair point.
"Yeah well," he says. "I'm doing it anyway."
Todoroki raises a brow.
"Not literally," Izuku snaps and then pauses for a bit. "Yet? That's probably - later, there are other - I mean? No, I'm not thinking about it."
Todoroki's other brow goes up, but the rest of his face is infuriatingly impassive in the face of Izuku's clear mental distress.
"Did you know there are some species of toad that mate for life, even if their mate is dead and rotting?" Izuku says and yes, there was the horror he was looking for.
He can be petty too, and real friends share the trauma.
"I've got more," he threatens. "Unless you've got any more questions that aren't your business?"
"No," Todoroki says." I think you've figured out what to expect from Bakugou pretty well."
Izuku can't help it, he laughs.
"That is awful, oh my god."
Todoroki shrugs at him as he begins melting the ice around Izuku's body. "At least you know he'd be some kind of devoted."
"I want a closed casket at my funeral," Izuku says. "You can tell me 'I told you so' then."
"And I will," Todoroki says, looking over at where everyone is still yelling, Uraraka and Kacchan having expanded their circle to include those in the immediate vicinity. The original owners of the circles are hovering above in the air as collateral damage - or else it was Uraraka's way of getting them out of the danger zone, Izuku honestly can't tell.
"Because this is a dumb thing to do, for the record," Todoroki continues. "Someone's gonna end up burned this time and I don't want it to be you."
Izuku rolls his eyes at all the theatrics he's surrounded himself with. "It'll be fine."
Something comes crashing down close by with a screech; he really hopes that wasn't one of their softer classmates.
"Sure." Todoroki eyes him disbelievingly, but doesn't say anymore.
The thing about Kacchan - one of the many things that Izuku has admired about him over the years - is his complete and utter confidence in moving forward, simply because he believes that there is no other way to go. For better or worse, Kacchan owns his choices with a surety that he is always right and, apparently, surprisingly, the ability to admit when he's not.
Izuku makes his choices and then tends to silently ruminate on all the ways they could, have, and will go wrong until they inevitably go wrong in one of those ways.
He's seen the kind of shit that happens when he makes questionable moves; and while he doesn't let himself regret them for too long, he does try and learn from them so that in the future he can make some less stupidly impulsive choices.
"I'm going to kiss you now," Kacchan announces to their empty classroom once everyone else has left for the day.
"Okay," Izuku says and immediately thinks about how many ways this could go wrong. There's the question of teeth, tongue, and what constitutes as an appropriate first kiss? Shouldn't it be chaste? He thinks it should be chaste. Like, on the cheek chaste.
Which has actually already been achieved. By himself, impulsively.
He would suggest that they take this elsewhere, because the irony of this happening to him in a place of learning is almost too much, but he thinks that might lead to rooms with beds and other, more awkward questions.
This is by far a less hazardous battlefield, even if he is caught unprepared between two desks and slightly blinded in one eye because of the setting sun. It'll do in the face of the alternative, and so he stands his ground, closes his eyes, and braces himself for impact.
Nothing happens. Nothing happens for at least ten seconds.
He didn't consider the worst case scenario: the one where nothing happens.
He opens his eyes to find Kacchan staring at him with a peculiar look on his face.
"Sorry," he says. "I just had this really strong urge to hit you; what the fuck are you doing with your face?"
On the one hand, this is the third time Kacchan has said sorry to him in a 24 hour period and it is still as startling and unnatural as the first time it happened, but also kind of nice.
On the other hand. "That's rude, Kacchan. I thought you said you were over that."
"I'm working on it," Kacchan grunts and shoves his hands in his pockets. "I'm not actually gonna hit you, idiot. I don't even want to. Just give it a second for it to pass."
Izuku grudgingly supposes he can give him that. He's probably not in any position to judge Kacchan's bad habits when he's got so many of his own left unchecked.
Still though, that's not really ideal in a romantic setting, Izuku doesn't think. Some part of him even suspects that punching and kissing should be mutually exclusive even outside of a romantic setting.
Unless Kacchan's like, into that sort of thing.
That actually wouldn't surprise Izuku in the least.
He's still thinking about whether he could accommodate that as a kink or not, given their history, when Kacchan kisses him.
It's quick and closed mouth. Izuku barely has time to process that it's happened before it's over, Kacchan left standing too close and pink in the face.
Even without Izuku's worst case scenarios, it distantly occurs to him that this is all way more vanilla than anything he'd expected from this moment. He expected sparks or, at the very least, some form of aggressiveness.
Passion, he thinks, is the word he wants. He and Kacchan have never been able to treat each other with anything less, even if it just meant that they were passionately at each other's throats.
This is... well. It's actually pretty plain.
"Huh," he says.
Kacchan has his face screwed up like he's thinking the same thing. "So that was fuckin' weird."
It almost sounds like disappointment, like he tried it and found it not worth the effort. And Izuku, in his infinite capacity for panic, does something stupidly impulsive in an effort to change his mind.
"I lied!" Izuku hisses, pulling Todoroki by the arm into a quieter corner of the common area. "It's not fine, I'm a fucking idiot."
Todoroki stares at him.
"I really need you to act like a friend right now and not a statue," Izuku says. "You need to tell me I'm an idiot and then not let me keep doing stupid things."
"I tried," Todoroki hisses back, finally showing emotion in the form of righteous indignation. That's probably deserved. "It's not my fault you never listen when people tell you not to do things for your own damn good."
That's also probably deserved; Izuku can't even defend himself because it's true.
He opens his mouth in a silent wail, mindful of everyone else around throwing curious looks their way. Kirishima looks particularly interested; Izuku suspects he knows exactly what's going on, but from Kacchan's angle.
He resolves to corner Kirishima at some point after this. He's probably got information and insight that Izuku doesn't have and he wants specifics.
"So?" Todoroki sighs. "Do I need to kick Bakugou's ass for something, or yours?"
"Kacchan's been nothing but a gentleman," Izuku says, because at this point defending Kacchan is like reflex, and it's also mostly true.
The problem is that Izuku is apparently less of a gentleman when faced with a challenge and that, apparently, lowers Kacchan's gentlemanly standards accordingly.
He doesn't know why they can't do anything without trying to one-up each other.
"I don't want to know," Todoroki says. "I don't want to know, but I can't judge you if I don't know."
"Did you know that humans are the only species that kiss using tongue," Izuku mutters. "No other species in the animal kingdom does this."
"I was right, I didn't want to know," Todoroki says mournfully. "Why am I always right?"
Izuku would argue this, but this time it is exactly what Todoroki is thinking.
He groans, yanking at his already messed up tie like he could strangle himself if only he pulled on it hard enough. "What do I do?"
Todoroki sighs and tilts his head back to pinch the bridge of his nose; this is, alarmingly, the same move All Might does when Izuku manages to miscalculate and break something important, expensive, and/or himself. All Might is typically more supportive and encouraging than Todoroki though, so Izuku steels himself.
Todoroki sighs again, sounding greatly put upon. "I'd say stop doing dumb shit, but we both know you're going to do it anyway. So instead, I'd say you've gotten pretty good at turning unfavourable situations around, so just do that and get on with it."
Izuku takes it back, that's actually somewhat supportive and encouraging, in Todoroki's own idiosyncratic, blunt way.
He can do that.
He can't do that.
Not that he hasn't been trying, but if Izuku is supposed to turn this whole thing around, he really needs Kacchan to be some measure of cooperative with his efforts, and he is just not being that.
He is, in fact, being oddly behaved. A gentleman. He hasn't tried to kiss Izuku again.
It's been three days.
Izuku stubbornly refuses to have a meltdown over this, but he's tempted. For someone so intent on kissing him to start with, the fact that Kacchan's now seems over it is... well, it's confusing and terrible, because there's so many reasons it could be and Izuku spends a lot of time thinking about which ones are the most likely.
The conclusion he comes to is it's probably his fault; he fucked it up somehow. Too much tongue? The accidental bit of teeth that happened? Didn't Kacchan mention something about his face? What if it's just Izuku? Kacchan did spend a large portion of their lives seemingly repulsed by Izuku's very being, it's probably that.
The only thing that he still has going for him is that Kacchan still seems as receptive and as friendly as he ever gets towards Izuku, and Izuku holds on to that.
It's possible, even likely, that Kacchan has simply decided he'd rather a relationship that didn't involve punching or kissing. Izuku accepts this, because it's still not quite what they could have had, but it's more than he could ever ask.
Which is such a boldfaced fucking lie that Izuku can't even get himself to believe it.
And the real tragedy is that he really, really needs himself to believe it.
He tries so hard to believe it he loses an hour just staring at an All Might poster before it assembles itself into something he actually sees.
The fact that it declares 'Never give up!' in big block letters means less to Izuku than the fact that it's of All Might; the man who helped Izuku scam life into giving him a chance, simply because he never gave up.
So no, fuck this failure-funk he has going on. Izuku has never just settled for what he's been given and he's not about to start now.
He thinks, maybe, the reason he'd never achieved what he'd wanted with Kacchan was because Kacchan just wasn't ready to give it. According to Kacchan, he is now; and Kacchan has never been one to suffer a lack of confidence in the things he's decided to do.
He's also still giving Izuku come-hithery eyes at random times and has started to stand just this side of too close for no apparent reason, which is bolstering.
Putting all of this together, Izuku can only come to two conclusions:
The first is that he was right in his first opinion; that Kacchan, for whatever reason, has changed his mind. It doesn't happen often, but Kacchan's tendency towards moody whims and being a dick for the sake of being a dick means that it isn't unheard of.
The second is more unlikely, and if true, it will be the first recorded instance of such a thing happening; that Kaachan is awkward and unsure about how to move forward.
Just imagining the latter sits weird and wrong in Izuku's head.
Either way, he needs to figure out which it is, because this confusion and distraction is making him kind of testy and everyone is starting to look wary around him again.
Izuku decides it's time to get proactive.
Creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened.
This is not that.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
His attempts to pair himself with Kacchan for all their training exercises does not work out. Aizawa-sensei just looks vaguely hunted when he asks and mutters something about Yuuei's finance department being terrifying.
Izuku doesn't know what that has to do with anything, and when he asks Todoroki how he did it, Todoroki just shrugs and says, "I asked; Aizawa-sensei couldn't give less of a shit."
So that's a bust.
Izuku's attempts to get Kacchan's attention in class is similarly unsuccessful, in that he was already staring at Kacchan anyway, and come-hithery eyes only work when the other party turns around to see them and doesn't, say, duck their head lower and pretend you don't exist.
Izuku's still eating his lunch in the bathrooms; he doesn't know, it's quiet and nostalgic. Gives him time to reflect on his life and come to grips with the fact that his dreams are halfway reality now.
His only hope is pinned on some kind of miraculous series of events that mean that Kacchan and himself are alone enough to talk, and paired together enough that neither of them can run away.
He gets his miraculous series of events only two days later. Izuku guesses he can always count on Yuuei's track record of springing surprise training camps on them in the spirit of preparedness, and Aizawa-sensei's apparent renewed lack of caring once they're off campus.
He'd be happier about how this turned out, only he suspects all his demands of life have turned it passive-aggressive; Izuku needs to be more careful of what he wishes for.
He thinks it's about time they admitted defeat. They've well and truly lost.
Not only the challenge - having not even spied any of the mythical flags that are supposed to be littered about - but also half their supplies, Kacchan's gloves, and most importantly, their way in a dense forest of bark and snow.
That tree looks familiar; have they passed it before? Or is a different one? What is the likelihood of two trees in the same forest both growing into an alarmingly close rendition of The Scream?
"Kacchan," he says. "Kacchan."
"No," Kacchan says. "Shut up."
"Kacchan, we're lost."
"Fuck you, we are not lost," Kacchan grunts. "Just keep walking and we'll find where we're supposed to be."
Really, it's times like this that Izuku hates Kacchan's stubborn refusal to see any other direction but fucking forward.
"We're lost," Izuku reiterates with an edge of finality about it. "I remember this tree. I remember passing this tree an hour ago. This tree looks like an expressionist's take on existential dread, and that's not something one forgets seeing."
"We haven't fucking lost, and we're not fucking lost!" Kacchan spins around to yell at him; it would be more dramatic and intimidating if he didn't slip and wobble to catch himself in the snow. "We are walking in a very calculated direction, shithead, and if you'd stop complaining and actually moved it might get us somewhere."
Izuku bets that Kacchan would be one of those characters in a movie that never thinks to run sideways when in danger of being run over.
"We're going in circles!" He says furiously. "How are we supposed to get anywhere, going on like this?"
"Well, what do you want us to do?!" Kacchan yells back, throwing out his arms to gesture at all the nothing they're surrounded in. "Sit our asses in the fucking freezing cold and get nowhere?!"
Which is a legitimate point. Movement means things like momentum and body heat and more odds to find something or someone. Kacchan is right; Izuku hates it when Kacchan is right. He's about as graceful about being right as he is about being wrong.
"Then pick a new direction," Izuku mutters. "Circles are counter-intuitive and I remember that tree."
"This isn't a nature walk, asshole," Kacchan says. "Look for flags, not fucking trees."
Izuku grumbles, but follows as Kacchan switches direction, heading east. When he wanted them to be alone and stuck together, this was not quite what he meant. This situation seems like a bad time for relationship talks, not least because Izuku suspects if he brings it up now Kacchan will straight up leave him behind to die.
He really wants to, though. Because Kacchan is doing his fearless leadership thing again, confidently moving forward, and Izuku really wants to ask why this thing with them should be any different.
"Oi, Deku," Kacchan calls. "Something red up ahead."
"Is it the body of the last person who got lost here?" Izuku says, because he's feeling petulant all of a sudden.
Kacchan just sneers half-heartedly at him. "It could be you if you wanna keep it up."
Why should it be any different? Why can't he ask why it is? Kacchan can threaten all he wants - because he will and Izuku has come to terms with that never changing - but he's not actually going to follow through. Izuku, better than anyone, knows what malicious intent feels like, and he hasn't felt it from Kacchan for months.
Izuku has the distinct impression he's been tiptoeing his own circles around a tulip for no good reason.
He doesn't bother leaving much space between them as he walks up to see what Kacchan is looking at. It isn't a body, but it isn't a flag either.
"What is it?"
Kacchan shrugs, the movement jostling them both. "How the fuck should I know?"
It turns out to be a bright red envelope encased in plastic and nailed to a tree. It's kind of threatening in its innocuousness, but it doesn't explode when Izuku lobs a snowball at it, so it's probably safe.
He still lets Kacchan be the one to handle it, though, just in case; he really does prefer his hands attached.
"Congratulations," Kacchan says, and then proceeds to stare furiously down at it, smoke raising at the edges. Izuku decides it's maybe best to take over, before the thing catches fire.
Congratulations, it reads, this is a flag. You have until 0700 to return this back to base camp.
+100 points: returning the flag
+50 points: both team members arrive together
+25 points: for each additional flag
0 points: no flag, return outside the time limit
-50 points: injuries, only a single team member making it back (inside or outside time limit)
Immediate disqualification: serious injuries, damage to the environment, death
"We get disqualified if we die?" Izuku says with a vague sense of indignation. "Isn't that just rubbing salt in a wound?"
Kacchan doesn't say anything, still looking furiously ahead into the middle distance. Izuku decides it's also best to put the letter back in its plastic, and then in his pocket and out of Kacchan's sight.
"I really feel like, if they were going to discourage death, they should have started by telling us this was a survival camp and not just a fun romp to collect flags," Izuku pauses. "Especially since, if we'd known, we wouldn't have just left your bag in the lake."
"Oh, you think," Kacchan grits out and stomps off in what appears to be a random direction guided entirely by anger.
If Izuku didn't know better, he'd say the large and repetitive deductions for injury and death were meant for their team, and their team only.
Just because he thinks he's been unnecessarily cautious doesn't mean that Kacchan won't straight up leave Izuku to die to get away from awkward conversations. Izuku's done the math; if Kacchan takes the letter with him, he'd still get at least 50 points.
He can't imagine anyone else having these problems.
What happens from there is one of the most uncomfortable nights Izuku has ever experienced. This includes the multiple nights he's been in hospital with broken limbs and not enough painkillers.
Those nights are usually his own fault, and this time is no different.
They only stop when the darkness becomes too dangerous to navigate, and having only half the supplies they started out with means half the food and only one, single blanket between them.
This is awkward, but doable with some shuffling of elbows and one unfortunately misplaced and quickly re-placed hand. All in all, Izuku finds the damp ground more uncomfortable than anything else, right up until he unconsciously opens his mouth to make it weird.
"Did you know African lions have sex twenty-five times a day on average?"
He's cold. He's cold, and he's picturing warm things and warm places. It's his only explanation.
Kacchan's reaction is... something. Izuku isn't sure how to catalogue it yet, but it is surely something.
Everything is much, much more uncomfortable after that.
They make it back to camp with the letter in time, at a distance that one could generously call together, and mostly intact; Izuku's dignity is in tatters and Kacchan won't look him in the eye, but they're physically fine.
He doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't even want to think about it.
His whole life is just a line of awkward moments encountered in the process of trying to avoid other awkward moments, and if he was gonna have one now, he really should have chosen the one with answers.
Izuku regrets himself.
For the two days after their impromptu survival camp in the woods, things go back to exactly how they were before.
Kacchan still stands too closely, but the come-hithery eyes have been replaced by some new variation of staring. Izuku wants to say scrutiny, because that's what it feels like; he thinks Kacchan is sizing him up for something.
He has no idea what it is, or why, and it's making him nervous.
On the third day, Kacchan invites himself into Izuku's room to study. He then promptly undermines his own suggestion by kissing him.
Izuku feels tongue and teeth and a deeply distracting sense of confusion.
"What," he says, when he's free enough to speak again.
"Less fucking weird, I guess," Kacchan shrugs, and turns back to his risk assessment homework like nothing out of the ordinary had just happened here, in this room, after an extended period of nothing.
Izuku is too stunned to even question it.
"Say a guy kisses you, and then doesn't kiss you again, and then kisses you randomly, what is that even supposed to mean?"
Todoroki doesn't even bother staring, he just skips straight ahead to tipping his head back and sighing in resignation. Izuku considers this some kind of progress, because then he's at least progressing somewhere with someone, and also deserved; if Todoroki hadn't tried to advise him in the beginning, Izuku wouldn't be here asking for his advice now.
"I don't know," Todoroki says. "Why are you asking me this? Shouldn't you be asking the guy kissing you and then not kissing you?"
Izuku waves a hand dismissively. That he keeps meaning to and hasn't quite managed it yet isn't the point.
"Kacchan and I do not have that kind of relationship," Izuku says. "Have you tried to talk to Kacchan? Actually talk, about anything? Kacchan does not talk, because this implies conversation. No. He tells you things, because whatever you have to say doesn't matter."
Todoroki stares at him.
"Midoriya," he says slowly, "I'm no expert, but I think that's a problem you guys should have sorted out before using your mouths for other things."
"I didn't come here for judgment," Izuku says mulishly. "I just wanted your objective input."
"And yet that's all I can find in myself to give," Todoroki says, sounding bluntly honest and a little bewildered. "Objectively, what the actual hell are you guys doing?"
Izuku doesn't know; that's the problem.
Yuuei's class 2-A is known for a lot of things.
Publicly, they are known for being attacked by villains far too often and being scrappy enough to fight them off. They are known for their showy performance in the Sports Festival, and they are known for being a class under the tutelage of the greatest hero, All Might.
Privately, they are also known for their eccentric collection of powerhouses and the ability to incite gossip wherever they go.
This is not a thing exclusive to those outside of 2-A. If anything, the gossip incited originates from within 2-A, because at least half the class is incapable of minding its own business.
Which is another way of saying there's a hotly debated topic going around the class on what, exactly, is going on between Midoriya and Bakugou.
That isn't how Izuku puts it; that's just what it says on the survey Sero hands him. He's mortified to note that one of the options someone has written down says 'secret love affair' surrounded by hearts; he's even more mortified to note that it's written in glitter pen. As a studios note-taker, it offends him.
"Top five answers go up for the betting pool," Sero says. "My money's on 'star-crossed lovers', only instead of your families tearing you apart it's just you guys."
This is actually pretty close, Izuku thinks. If it gets in the betting pool he might even put money on it, because All Might collectables do not come cheap and he's not above rigging the system.
He'd be more surprised that there's a betting pool at all, but he's come to expect this from his classmates over the past month. Izuku missed the previous betting pool of 'what the hell is going on with Bakugou Katsuki' because nobody was brave enough to ask him about it, but he knew it was happening.
"You have way too little faith in their turbulent romance, dude," Kirishima says from the side. "Don't you know every good romance plot has a misunderstanding at some point?"
Kirishima turns to grin at him. "Right, Midoriya?"
Izuku squints back and hums vaguely.
Todoroki might be no help, but he thinks it's about time he cornered Kirishima for that little chat.
Izuku waits until it's dark and quiet before sneaking his way up to the fourth floor of the dorms. He considers knocking, but the mock scenario presented on their risk assessment homework had been targeted towards surroundings and collateral damage. Kirishima's room lies right next to Kacchan's, and Kacchan has proven himself prone to being awake in the late hours.
Izuku decides not to risk it.
Kirishima doesn't even blink when Izuku sneaks through his door, just flops back to lean against his bed as Izuku closes it softly behind him.
"Sorry for the intrusion," Izuku says. "Can we talk?"
"I don't have anything to tell you, man," Kirishima says, not even giving Izuku a chance to ask anything. "I make a point of kicking out raving lunatics after one am."
"It's not even midnight," Izuku points out. "It won't take long. Kacchan talks to you, right?"
Kirishima sighs and chews at his bottom lip as he looks at his ceiling.
"Hypothetically," Kirishima starts slowly, "even if Bakugou did talk to me, it's not really my place to say what about."
Which is a great trait for a friend to have, but not particularly helpful to Izuku.
He's not proud of the pitiful whining noise of frustration he makes in the back of his throat. Kirishima side-eyes him and sighs again, sitting up to look at him properly.
Izuku, sensing that he might actually get something out of this, promptly sits down and gives his full attention.
"I don't want to point out the obvious here, Midoriya," Kirishima says, "but if you want answers, asking Bakugou is your best choice."
Todoroki had told him the same thing; this is not the information he wanted when he sat down.
Kirishima pauses, and then continues with a vague tone of bewildered annoyance. "Literally your only choice, I'm not kidding. He knocks down my door in the middle of the night and garbles shit at me when I'm not awake and then storms out because I'm not as coherent as he'd like."
The expression on his face suggests that he's caught somewhere between flattered that Kacchan relies on him, confused that Kacchan relies on him, and pissed that Kacchan can only rely on him at weird hours.
Izuku leans forward from his place on the floor to pat understandingly at Kirishima's knee. It's nice to finally have someone who understands what he's had to put up with for years.
"You know Kacchan," he says. "He always thinks everyone's on the same wavelength and it annoys him when they're not."
Kirishima looks at him, brows raised. Izuku squints and thinks about that for a minute.
"Oh," Izuku whispers to himself. "Oh, fuck me."
Kirishima nods solemnly. "Something along those lines, I guess."
Kacchan kisses him again the next morning in a break between classes.
"Yeah, okay," he says afterwards, almost to himself, and walks away casually.
Izuku should really ask him what the actual fuck he's trying to achieve with this random habit of laying one on him and then muttering about it.
He really should, but they're moving on to the next class and this probably isn't the best time.
At least Kacchan's comments seem to be getting more positive every time he does it?
Izuku runs a hand across his burning face and tries to get his shit together in the short walk between areas. This was so much easier to confront when he didn't think he had anything to lose.
Izuku looks at All Might's open and attentive face and knows, from the bottom of his heart, that he can't.
He can't do something this awkward to such a pure man. He can't subject him to this.
Mostly, he can't find it in himself to ask his hero for relationship advice, because he has the irrational fear that All Might will think less of him, or judge him, or tell him the same thing Todoroki did.
The part about this being a bad idea, but also probably the other part about actually talking to Kacchan.
"What is it, my boy?" All Might asks. "You know you can always come to me, if you need to."
Izuku notes that while there were always rumours about All Might - connecting him romantically to various other heroes, celebrities, and at one point, a high-profile villain because of one badly timed and easily misunderstood photograph - there's never been any solid proof to suggest the man has been anything other than staunchly single for his entire career.
Izuku wonders if there's a reason for it. There probably is.
He would ask, because it's possible those reasons are ones he'll also need to consider as part of his future as a hero. He would, but he knows he's only thinking about it because he's trying to avoid having realtalk with Kacchan about current problems, and not future ones.
It feels disingenuous to even bring it up now.
So fine. Okay. He'll actually speak to Kacchan like he's been meaning to, in amongst all his running away; if only because he's run out of people who could give him advice and All Might's face is one of his greatest motivators in life.
"Do you... need to?" All Might asks, starting to look concerned. It's possible Izuku has just been staring at him silently for longer than polite society thinks is normal. "You can speak to me about anything that may be troubling you, you know that."
"Of course," Izuku says, already focusing on how his opening words to Kacchan are going to go through a haze of dread. "There's a variety of parrot that uses projectile vomit as a form of wooing, how do you think that'd work for me?"
"It'd depend on the person being wooed, I imagine." All Might says, and then follows it up with a truly concerned, "Wait, what?"
"Thanks, All Might." Izuku says, waving blankly as he leaves to find Kacchan.
If he's quick about it, he can get this over with while the mortification from this conversation is still fresh enough to overpower any additional self-imposed humiliation. He already wants to die, the only way to go from here is up.
He finds Kacchan in the middle of the dorm stairwell.
Well, when he says finds, what he means is they collide violently; Izuku going up and Kacchan clearly in the process of stomping down with angry intent.
"You," Kacchan snaps, catching him by the shirt as Izuku futilely tries to regain balance. "Why are you never in your room when you should be, and why the fuck did half-and-half just hand me the entire Jane Austen collection and tell me to do my fucking research before I 'go around touching people without the proper protocols'? What the fuck, Deku?!"
"Uh," Izuku says and wonders which question he should answer first, or if he really should even answer any of them at all. Each one sounds like a great opportunity to dig his own grave and nothing more. "Can we not do this here?"
"Here is the perfect place," Kacchan argues. "Because here I can kill you and make it look like an accident."
He looks like he actually might.
"Don't think for a second that I won't implicate you fully as a witness to your crimes," Tokoyami says from the top of the stairwell. "You guys are in the way, please do as Midoriya asks and take this somewhere else."
Tokoyami would make a great underground hero, Izuku thinks; he had no idea he was there but he came swooping out of the shadows to save a life. It's admirable.
Kacchan makes an ugly noise and lets go of Izuku's shirt - after pulling him back up on balance, though, which is unexpected and kind of charming. "Fine," he says, turning around to climb back up the way he came.
So they're going to Kacchan's floor, then.
"Put money on option four," Izuku whispers lowly as thanks to Tokoyami as he passes.
"You think we're fucking idiots?" Dark Shadow says. "We put that down days ago."
Kacchan wasn't kidding; the entire Jane Austen collection is scattered around his floor like it was once a neat pile that met with a messy end.
They're all hardcover. Izuku distantly hopes Kacchan hurt himself kicking them; both for their treatment, and also because Todoroki clearly spent some money in his efforts to help Izuku. Misguided efforts, sure, but it's the thought that counts.
"So?" Kacchan seethes after he's closed the door, effecting removing Izuku's escape route. "You wanna explain this?"
He's making weird, jerky hand movements towards the books all over his floor. "Not really," Izuku says, and eyes the window. He can make four floors without any damage to himself; the biggest problem is so can Kacchan. "Todoroki-kun means well."
"I don't know what the motherfucker means at all," Kacchan says, picking up a book and staring at it with an air of confused disdain. "The hell am I even supposed to do with these?"
"Read them?" Izuku suggests, because he has no self-preservation instincts. "I don't know what 'Pride and Prejudice' is about, but going by titles alone it sounds like something you'd understand."
That's a lie; Izuku totally knows what Pride and Prejudice is about, because he went through a phase of reading all of his mothers romance novels in middle school, but he thinks suggesting one by title might actually peak Kacchan's interest enough to try it. He fully expects this to bite him in the ass, but he can't help it; Todoroki paid good money for these.
As predicted, Kacchan flips through it with a vague considering hum before dropping it in favour of glaring at Izuku.
Izuku thinks, not for the first time, that it's so unfair that Kacchan has never suffered the same easily distracted nature as himself. He sits on the floor and starts stacking the books back up neatly in alphabetical order. It serves nicely as a distraction from the uncomfortable looks Kacchan is giving him.
Whatever. It doesn't count when he uses it for his own advantage.
"Oi," Kacchan says as Izuku reconsiders his stack and changes it to publication order, "are you ignoring me?"
"No," he says, placing the last book on top and admiring his work. Bitterly, he wishes there were more to add, just so he could continue to have something to do with his hands and an excuse not to look at where Kacchan is hovering, no doubt with a frightening look on his face.
He eyes the window again and sighs; he was, technically, trying to stop this whole running away thing when he decided to find Kacchan in the first place. Izuku should probably stop entertaining his own cowardice; his inability to just do the thing is starting to piss even himself off.
"Yes," he sighs. "No. Maybe? I'm not ignoring you, I just don't want to look at your face."
He then proceeds to watch as Kacchan's face morphs through different levels of confusion before settling on righteous indignation, with a side order of desperately crazed.
That's slightly worrying.
Izuku has spent a lot of time in his life cataloguing Kacchan's facial expressions for his own safety; he's got it down to an art. The second one has him raising his hands as a signal of peace and squeaking, "Not in a bad way! It's not you - it's me, your face is fine!"
Kacchan makes a noise like a dying bear and mimes strangling Izuku in rough motions.
He hasn't actually strangled him though, so this is going better than expected. It occurs to Izuku that this is probably what Todoroki meant by proper protocols; romance with the threat of murder is no kind of healthy romance at all.
But, well. Too late for that now.
"Your face is fine," Izuku says again. "See? I'm looking at it, it's fine. A little red though, maybe try breathing?"
Kacchan stares him dead in the eye and takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Nope, I still want to kill you," he says."Start talking."
"Doesn't that usually have the opposite eff-" Kacchan's eye twitches, Izuku throws his hands up irritably. "God, fine, but sit down. I'm not talking with you looming over me."
Kacchan sits next to Izuku, shoulder to shoulder, facing forward.
Either he can't stand to look at Izuku right now either, or this is his way of quietly giving Izuku the option of not looking at him. His head says it's probably a combination of both, but his heart flutters like it finds it stupidly charming.
Damn, but he kind of wants to kiss Kacchan for that.
"You can, y'know," Kacchan mutters from beside him. "I've been wondering why you haven't."
"Kissed me, idiot."
"Oh." Izuku must have said that last bit out loud then. He screws his face up and says, "Yes, I have. You were there."
Kacchan crosses his arms, still facing forward. "On the cheek doesn't count; it's weak and half-assed. If you're gonna do something, do it properly."
The movement sways Izuku to the side slightly, and he's just about to elbow Kacchan back and defend his efforts when the irony of the situation hits him. He can't believe this - only he totally, absolutely can.
"Oh my god," he breathes quietly, face in his hands as he processes the ridiculousness of this. "Todoroki-kun was right."
People that hold grudges have long memories; Todoroki must never know he was right, because he'd never let Izuku forget it.
So, okay. He should probably clear some things up. Get some answers and clarity for himself. Despite Kacchan's general... Kacchaness, they're gonna have themselves a conversation, so help him, because they clearly need to.
"To be fair, I did kiss you properly that first day," he says. Izuku had an entire meltdown over it; Kacchan can't just gloss over it happening. "And then I guess I just, uh.. didn't really think to do it again."
The noise Kacchan makes is considering, he thinks. Or perhaps confused. He's not actually sure, because Izuku still can't bring himself to look him in the eye.
"Because you were too busy thinking about lions fucking daily?"
"Yea-no!" Izuku's head snaps around fast enough to leave a painful twinge in his neck. "No, no. That was-"
Weird animal sex facts, learned when he tried to process the trajectory of their own relationship. There is no way to say that and not sound unattractively insane and unbalanced.
"-a.. a poor choice of words," he finishes, lamely.
Kacchan snorts. "Is that what we're calling it now?"
"Shut up," Izuku mutters. "What about you?! You kept kissing me and then calling it weird, that doesn't exactly inspire confidence, y'know."
It's Kacchan's turn to stare determinedly ahead at the wall; Izuku knows because he's still squinting at him, head at an awkward angle. He still feels Kacchan's shrug more than he sees it, though.
"It was weird," he says after a minute. "It's weird, so I call it fucking weird; you got a problem with that?"
Izuku thinks about this; he can agree that it's weird from an objective, outside-looking-in perspective. Other people's mouths and saliva and probably little bits of leftover food, oh god, who knows what else has gone in there? The bacteria alone.
It is, he thinks, objectively weird and gross as all hell. But also, as a participant, kind of nice.
He suspects Kacchan has considered none of this, and that his assessment is based purely on the fact that it's happening between them; which is, Izuku can agree, the weirdest part of it all.
"It's getting less weird," Kacchan offers after a moment. "Be even less weird if you actually joined in, instead of just standing there gaping like a fucking fish every time it happens."
"I mean, you're completely useless," he continues, railing right over Izuku's attempts to defend himself. The jerky hand motions are back, jostling him about as Kacchan's ranting gains momentum; it's so typical that Izuku has no other choice but to roll his eyes and settle in for the long haul. "You don't kiss me, and you just stand there when I kiss you. You keep looking like I've fucking slapped you every time I goddamn do it, too - it's weird. Why the fuck do I even need you there, if I could get the same reaction from my pillow?"
"Do you kiss your pillow often?" Izuku asks, feeling unfairly attacked and also, worryingly, more charmed than ever. Kacchan's throwing accusations at his honest efforts, and yet.
"Fuck you," Kacchan says. "About as often as you go down on the king of lions. I'm saying you could do more, asshole, instead of doing nothing and making me think I'm being the asshole."
It's because, between the lines and insults, it means Kacchan's been paying attention to more than just himself. It suggests he cares about Izuku's reactions, which is a positive development, and not because of any underlying masochist tendencies Izuku may arguably have, which is not.
Arguably, when it comes to Kacchan attacking him, either verbally or physically.
For arguments sake, he wants to believe.
It's also because he thinks Kacchan might actually be making a fair point in an uncharacteristically fair and rational way, and Izuku apparently finds this new rationality attractive.
Izuku wasn't lying when he said it hadn't occurred to him to kiss Kacchan, because it hadn't. He was just so caught up wondering why Kacchan wasn't kissing him - a thing he actually kind of gets now that Kacchan's spelled it out - that he'd failed to notice that he, himself, wasn't holding up his end of the bargain.
Relationships, like partnerships, are a two-person thing. All Might had said that they'd make a great team, because they both had something to contribute.
Izuku suspects his contributions here are more panicking than was really necessary and the introduction of tongue. Only one of which is really relevant to this new situation they've found themselves in.
He's an idiot, he has irrefutable proof of it now. What happened to all his stupid impulsiveness?
"I don't know what we're doing," Izuku admits, slumping down in a weird mix of failure and relief.
"Shit," Kacchan says, and he's no longer staring straight ahead; instead offering Izuku an affronted look. "And you think I do?"
Yes, actually; although now he's thinking about it Izuku has no idea why he'd thought that. He'd just assumed, because Kacchan acts like he always knows exactly what he's doing.
Unless he's trying to apologise, which still remains the most confusing fiasco Izuku has ever been a party to, including this one.
Yeah, in retrospect, that was a dumb assumption to make coming off the back of that whole thing.
"I was really hoping you did," Izuku says. "I feel like one of us ought to, and my knowledge is entirely made up of questionable animal behaviours - no, you really don't want to know."
"I do," Kacchan replies. "I really fucking do, because now I'm going to expect you to try weird shit with me and I need to know what kind of behaviours to shut down before you fuck us both up for good."
Izuku thinks about all the truly disturbing shit that happens in nature that he can never unknow and makes a disgusted sound.
"I would never. Did you know the fruit fly has the longest-" Kacchan pushes him over with a hard shove. Izuku lets himself be tipped over to the floor, laughing the whole way down. "What? Not risqué enough for you?"
"Don't fucking touch me," Kacchan says. "Get away from me, you shitty fucking freak."
Izuku kicks him in the thigh and then just kind of.. leaves his foot there. It's fine, he thinks; it isn't being pushed away.
"So, neither of us know what we're doing," he summarises after a quiet moment. "Awesome."
"Have we ever with each other?" Kacchan shrugs, and Izuku has to take a moment to realise that he's right, and then to come to terms with his image of Kacchan shifting with the realisation that confidence does not always mean knowledge. "It's fine, we've got this far without knowing shit."
A lack of knowledge, however, clearly does not hinder Kacchan's confidence in the least.
That's useful information to have. Izuku decides he can work with that.
He even thinks that it's better this way. Obviously not in the roundabout way they got here, but there's something to be said for the equalising nature of shared ignorance.
Izuku kicks out again at Kacchan's thigh, still laying on the floor. He thinks he might stay here for a bit. "Do you have any snacks?"
"I can get some, I guess," Kacchan says and then goes next door to steal some. Izuku can hear him rifling through Kirishima's room and makes a mental note to apologise and replace whatever Kacchan takes later.
He might even leave extra, as thanks.
He's also planning to buy Todoroki one hell of a birthday present and to never, ever tell him why.
First though, Izuku thinks he might to put some actions to his words, and try out Kacchan's suggestion to do things properly.
"It's still weird," Kacchan says later. "You bit me, like a fucking animal."
Izuku puts on his best innocent face and shrugs. In the grand scheme of behaviours, biting seems pretty universal and he's not sorry.
Besides, Izuku might not know what they're doing, but he does know Kacchan bit him back.
My search history after this fic is legitimately questionable; it's all true, even the toad factoid. You're welcome.