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In another life, Shouto might have called the house ‘quaint’.

It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a sprawling kitchen-living combo. The stairs were covered in shag carpet, as was most of the floors, and there was wallpaper in the attic but for some reason nowhere else.

There were overgrown flowerbeds out front, and the estate agent had assured them with a forced casualness that there would be plenty of space in the yard for children to run about, if that was something they were considering in the future. The intensely horrified look on Katsuki’s face at that remark would keep Shouto laughing for days.

“Give us just a moment, please,” Shouto says pleasantly, taking his husband by the arm and drawing him away.

“It’s horrible,” Katsuki says before they’re even fully out of earshot. “I think I saw some fucking rats in the bathroom.”

“It’s not,” Shouto disagrees. “It’s had the most space for our budget so far.”

“It’s a piece of shit,” Katsuki says, unimpressed, tearing his arm from Shouto’s grip and shooting their oblivious realtor a glare.

“It’s a fixer-upper,” Shouto wheedles. “Just like your personality.”

“Sorry, I thought we were shopping for houses not divorce attorneys.”

Shouto ignores the jab, because he knows Katsuki is just tired and grumpy and sick of looking at houses they have no intention of buying. Shouto feels precisely the same. It’s rare they have a shared day off, and bouncing from one dilapidated trainwreck of a house to another is not how Shouto would have chosen to spend it.

But they want a house, have wanted a house for years now, and they’re not getting any younger. Besides, Shouto has a sneaking suspicion their landlord is one more explosion from kicking them both out. Shouto thinks if he were really so invested in keeping the apartment in tiptop shape, he shouldn’t have rented to two professional heroes with a reputation for mayhem.

“Look,” Shouto says, with as much patience as he can muster, which is not a lot, “there’s no mold anywhere not immediately reachable, enough space for our friends -.”

“You mean your friends -.”

“- our friends,” Shouto continues, undeterred, “to come over and stay, and I haven’t seen one neighbour looking out their window since we got here, which bodes well for privacy.” He gives Katsuki a meaningful look.

“Oh, get off your fucking high horse,” Katsuki says. “If outdoor sex really bothered you as much as you pretend it does, you’d have fucking stopped me five years ago the first time I jumped you in the yard.”

Shouto hears a small, affronted noise and he looks up sharply to see their realtor has crept close enough to hear while he wasn’t paying attention. She looks mortified, although he’s not sure why, because they introduced themselves as a couple, and it seems a fairly safe bet that they’re having as much sex as they like.

Still, he pastes a polite smile on his face and tries to smooth things over. “Why is the asking price for this property so low, if I might ask?”

“Because it’s garbage,” Katsuki mutters from the corner of his mouth and Shouto steps on his foot hard.

The realtor runs a hand through her hair, trying to straighten the flustered coif of her updo. “The house has been on the market for a while now, the owners would very much like to sell it before the year’s out. It’s a bargain price, you won’t find another property with this much space anywhere near Tokyo.”

“And you’re sure there’s no major concerns?” Shouto presses. “Termites? Asbestos? Structural damage?”

“No, no. None of that,” she says, with a careful emphasis that sounds a touch too deliberate. “The neighbourhood is lovely too, just lovely. And I’m sure they’d absolutely love to have heroes living here, you and your husband would be such pillars to the community.”

The idea of either of them being considered ‘pillars of the community’ is as terrifying as it is ridiculous. Shouto tries to imagine Katsuki attending a neighbourly barbeque or offering to babysit the children of Mrs-down-the-street and comes up blank.

Their current neighbours have filed no less than seventeen different complaints against them in the year they’ve lived in the apartment building, only eleven of which were in any way justified. Shouto acknowledges that is still not quite a small number, but it’s as small as it’s ever going to get when you live with Bakugou Katsuki, human firecracker and general disaster.

“How soon would we be able to move in?” He asks and the realtor positively beams at him.

His husband is less than enthusiastic though, if the way he grabs Shouto by the arm and wheels him around is anything to go by. “What the fuck are you -.”

“Look,” Shouto says impatiently, casting their alarmed realtor a tight smile as he talks through his teeth, “this is the thirteenth house we’ve looked at since we started, and if I have to walk through one more property pretending to care about the investment value, I think I’m going to set fire to something.”

Katsuki looks momentarily alarmed, which Shouto appreciates, because he feels like he’s been putting in all the work on this, and it’s good to see that Katsuki hasn’t forgotten that while Shouto’s generally pretty amicable with strangers, it’s a front more than it is a reality and Shouto’s not above having a total (and literal) meltdown when the pressure gets too much.

“I’m pretty sure if we burn a house they’re going to make us buy it,” Katsuki says. “And hero work pays well, but it doesn’t pay that well.”

“Then stop dragging this out,” Shouto says. “This house has three rooms! And a kitchen that doesn’t have bloodstains on the wall! What more do you want from a living space?”

“That’s a pretty low bar to set,” Katsuki says, which isn’t exactly an answer.

Shouto takes a deep breath because he doesn’t want to get into a screaming fight with his husband in public. He’s got a reputation as stony and distant, which may have been true when they were in school, but he thinks ten years in the company of the likes of Katsuki could break anybody.

“What’s your problem with the house, really? You weren’t even this upset about the place that had the All Might mural on the living room wall.”

Katsuki looks uncomfortable. It is not an expression Shouto is used to seeing on his face, as it cannot be easily classed as either rage or fury.

“Look,” Katsuki says, “it just… it makes me uncomfortable, okay?”

Shouto stares at him. “It makes you… uncomfortable?”

Katsuki scowls. “Yes! Don’t you feel it? There’s something fucking off about that house.”

Shouto stares at him in despair, one more word off throwing his hands in the air. “It’s a house, Katsuki. The only thing I feel right now is the increasing urge to murder you and bury you beneath those flowerbeds.”

Katsuki opens his mouth to say something else, but Shouto has had enough and he says, “Katsuki, it’s either this place here, the house with the All Might mural, or we call today a wash, which means we’ll have to be out here again next week, and probably the week after that, and the week after that, because there doesn’t seem to be a single house in Tokyo to live up to your standards.”

Katsuki’s mouth clamps shut. He looks absolutely furious and faintly nauseated at the prospect of more house hunting. Shouto can relate. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, marriage didn't turn either of them into the domestic sort.

Shouto turns back to the realtor and offers her the sunniest smile he has in his arsenal. If the way she takes an unconscious step back is anything to go by, it’s not nearly as impressive as he’d hoped. He blames Katsuki for that too.

“We’ll take it,” he says. “Can we start the paperwork now? As in immediately? Please.”

Whatever terror she’d felt seems to be immediately replaced with gratification and relief and she smiles so widely that Shouto thinks he might be able to count her teeth. “I’ll go get the papers.”

.

They begin moving in the next day, and it actually goes far better than Shouto would have thought. He puts this down to the fact Midoriya and Uraraka have proven to be far better people than he and his husband combined, because Shouto isn’t entirely certain Katsuki would have helped them move if the situation had been reversed.

“It’s lovely,” Uraraka gushes as she floats their couch through the front door and into the living room. “There’s so much space! I’m pretty sure I paid twice as much for twice as little.”

“It’s fucking disgusting,” Katsuki snarls, stomping past with two boxes of pots and pans on each shoulder. Shouto is so distracted watching the tight muscles of his back as he goes by that he almost misses what he said.

“Don’t start,” Shouto sighs, but Katsuki just sneers at him and disappears off into the kitchen. Faintly, he can hear him picking a one-sided fight with Midoriya over the placement of their cabinets.

Once upon a time, Shouto would have considered that as his cue to get involved and smooth things over before Katsuki irreparably damaged one of the few close friendships he had. Somewhere around Year Two of dating though, Midoriya had politely but firmly told him to butt out, that he was old enough to stand up for himself, and if Katsuki crossed a line, Midoriya would be sure to let him know.

Shouto wasn’t sure what had thrown him for the bigger loop at the time; the fact that shy, nervous Midoriya had grown into somebody fully capable of standing up for himself, or that the mess that was Midoriya’s and Katsuki’s friendship had not only survived but flourished over the years.

Either way, Shouto couldn’t say he missed playing peacekeeper on that front; it was exhausting enough keeping the peace between Katsuki and absolutely everybody else.

“Doesn’t Bakugou like the house?” Uraraka asks curiously, letting the couch settle to the ground and sending up a small puff of dust from the carpet. It occurs to Shouto that they perhaps should have vacuumed before they moved in, but it was far too late for it now.

“He thinks there’s something ‘off’ about it,” Shouto sighs, dropping his armful of cushions on the sofa.

“The only thing off is how cheap it was,” Uraraka says wisely, reaching out to artfully arrange the cushions. “If I’d known this place was out here, I’d have swooped in and picked it up first.” She casts a longing look around the room, which is drab and barren right now, but yes, Shouto has to agree smugly, definitely spacious.

“I promise if Katsuki and I die before our time, I’ll leave the house to you in the will,” he says, only semi-joking. He has nobody else he’s interested in leaving it to, so it might as well go to Uraraka.

“Thank you,” Uraraka says, genuinely, “but that is very morbid and I don’t want to think about either of you dying.”

Shouto shrugs. In the kitchen the voices hit a high pitch and then go silent. It’s fifty-fifty whether they’ve killed each other or found something less controversial to talk about. Shouto gives them a minute of this quiet before they start shouting again.

“Now that you two are out of that tiny apartment, you’re not going to have an excuse to avoid hosting movie night,” Uraraka says, throwing herself back on the couch and letting out a contented sigh. “Where did you even get this couch? It’s so comfortable.”

“Katsuki’s mother gave it to us as a moving present,” Shouto says absently. “And we’ll put our name in for the rotation if somebody promises to keep Mineta on his best behaviour. Katsuki can put up with his shit when we’re guests at somebody else's house, but I can’t promise anything when we’re the ones hosting.”

Uraraka changes the topic swiftly with the ease of somebody long used to dodging promises. “I’ve got to go now, I’m on the evening shift at work. Don’t be a stranger, okay? The two of you can be so hard to get hold of sometimes.”

“Sorry,” Shouto says, and he’s surprised to find he means it.

Uraraka smiles up at him, soft and forgiving. “Good luck with the house, Todoroki. I hope it’s everything you want it to be.”

“It already is,” Shouto says, and he means that too.

He doesn’t think anything less than the house falling down atop them could change his mind. He’s twenty-five, married, and more than ready to finally settle down, so to speak. All going according to plan, this is where he plans to die one day, if hero work doesn’t get him first.

He’s smart enough not to say that last part out loud, however, because while Katsuki can usually take his casual, melancholic morbidity with a grain of salt, the rest of their friends can get kind of weird about it.

Uraraka gets to her feet, brushing out the crinkles in her pants and gives him a soft-eyed smile. “Good luck,” she says again, “and talk real soon, okay?”

“Okay,” Shouto says agreeably, and obediently bends down so Uraraka can kiss him goodbye on the cheek.

Katsuki wanders out and snorts as he sees them. “Get your own husband,” he says, with no heat at all.

“He’s too good for you anyway,” Uraraka says without missing a beat, and Katsuki gives her a sharp-toothed smile. It’s been years, and Shouto still does not entirely understand the strange sibling-esque relationship that bloomed between them. It makes Katsuki happy though, and that makes Shouto happy too by default.

“If you’re leaving, take Deku with you. I think I’m this close to killing him and burying him out back.”

Uraraka sighs, but she looks more fond than exasperated. “It was good to see you too, Bakugou.”

“Yeah, yeah, get the fuck out of here. I’ve got things to do.”

He suffers through the kiss she places on his cheek too with good grace, and even manages a passably civil ‘thank you’ to Midoriya as he leaves. The crinkly-eyed smile Midoriya gives the both of them tells Shouto that whatever went down in their kitchen couldn’t have possibly been as dire as it sounded.

Yet another relationship of Katsuki’s that Shouto deeply does not understand. He’s a wonder to him, sometimes, his husband.

“Alright,” Katsuki says after the door closes. He bumps into Shouto’s shoulder as he turns back to the kitchen. “I’m going to fucking get those cabinets sorted before it gets dark.”

“Don’t break anything,” Shouto calls after him.

“I know how to use a fucking hammer, I’m not gonna break a goddamn bone or something, asshole.”

“I was talking about the house, actually.”

.

Bang.

Shouto jerks awake, confused and dazed.

There’s a moment where he’s not sure what’s happening, and his first response is to feel absolutely furious. If his husband has blown up yet another bed in his sleep, Shouto is kicking him out to sleep on the sidewalk. He’s so fucking done with furniture shopping every three months. The salesman at their favourite store has started looking at them funny when they come in, and Shouto is reasonably certain he thinks they’re having such athletic sex that their bedframe can’t handle the stress.

Shouto supposes he could correct him, but it’s much funnier watching Katsuki obliviously explain each and every time they go in that they need a sturdier bed, a sturdier bed, dammnit.

His eyes adjust to the dark though, and there’s no fire, no smell of burning, and Katsuki is sound asleep beside him, arm over Shouto’s waist and drooling into his pillow. Absently, Shouto reaches out to brush Katsuki’s hair back from his face, frowning into the darkness, straining to hear something, anything.

All he can hear is Katsuki snoring and the faint hum of the heater doing its best against the midnight chill. He gives it a minute, but there’s nothing, not even a whisper, and Shouto’s forced to conclude he dreamt it. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s woken up gunshot quick over nothing more than the panicked misfiring synapses of his brain.

It’s the stress of the move, probably.

Shouto settles back into bed, rubbing a hand along his tired face and deciding he’s far too exhausted to deal with this tonight. He takes a breath, closes his eyes, and begins to drift again.

Bang.

Shouto just about jumps out of his skin, heart in his throat, and he’s shaking Katsuki awake before he can stop to second guess himself.

“Wha’ the fuck you want?”  Katsuki slurs, blinking blearily up at him with hazy, faintly homicidal eyes.

“Did you hear that?”

“Did I hear… what?

“There was a noise,” Shouto says, forging forward even though Katsuki looks like he’s only taking in about every second word. “Like a bang, from downstairs, I think.”

“You woke me up over a noise? Do you realize how many fucking boxes of your stupid ass books I carried up these stairs only hours ago?” Katsuki shrugs him off, pulling the covers up over his head like a three year old. “Fuck off, let me sleep.”

“It could be villains breaking in,” Shouto says.

Katsuki lowers the blanket just enough to squint at him disbelievingly. “You really think there’s a villain out there dumb enough to break into the house of not just one, but two top-ten heroes?”

“Relying on the common sense of criminals sounds like a great way to get the both of us killed.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Katsuki growls, throwing back the blankets and climbing out of bed. “You’re gonna feel so fucking stupid when we come back from downstairs alive.”

Sometimes, Shouto thinks that Katsuki doesn’t run half the things that come out of his mouth through his brain first. “Yes, not being slaughtered by villains will be a terrible way for me to end my night.”

Katsuki points at him threateningly, but he’s already stomping to the door, muttering loud enough under his breath that Shouto thinks that even if there is an ambush waiting for them downstairs, Katsuki’s probably going to scare them away.

Shouto trails after him, rubbing his fingertips along the heel of his palm and feeling his fire spark beneath his skin.

They’d left the living room light on when they’d retired upstairs, but there’s something about three-am shadows that make everything seem that much more ominous. Shouto’s on guard, prepared and ready for a full army to leap out from behind their sparse furniture.

Katsuki storms to the kitchen, flicking that light on too as he passes. Shouto skirts the front hallway, finding all the windows shut and the door locked. There’s no sign anybody has been down here other than the two of them, and even he has to admit now that he’s awake and thinking clearly he might have overreacted, just a little.

Katsuki pokes his head out the kitchen, scowling. “What a fucking surprise, there’s nobody here, unless you think they’re hiding in the goddamn fridge or something.”

“Don’t be an asshole,” Shouto says automatically.

“Are you sure you’re not just hearing things in your old age?”

It’s a jab no different than the hundred other smartass remarks Katsuki makes in the course of a day, but something about it rubs Shouto the wrong way. He wraps his arms around himself, aware it makes him look like a petulant toddler but unable to suppresses a shiver. “I heard something, okay?”

Katsuki’s face drops from annoyed to startled concern in a second. Katsuki might never win any awards for subtlety, but never let it be said he’s not perceptive.

“Hey, shit, okay, didn’t mean anything by it,” he says. “I’m just - it was probably the house, you know…” he makes a vague hand motion. “Settling, or whatever.”

“People who say that have no idea what it even means, they just want to convince themselves their house isn’t haunted,” Shouto says.

“Our house isn’t haunted, oh my god,” Katsuki says, sounding just about at his wit’s end. “Clearly I’m not the only one who needs some fucking shut-eye.”

“I’m not saying it is,” Shouto says hotly. “I’m just saying -.”

Bang.

They both freeze in a heartbeat, eyes locked. Shouto experiences a moment of smug satisfaction because unless Katsuki has gone deaf in the past ten second, there’s no way he can possibly claim not to have heard that.

A second later there’s another bang, this one louder, and then another, and another, until it sounds like there might be a whole percussive band hiding in their walls. Shouto and Katsuki share a glance and, as one, sprint for the kitchen.

The light is on just as Katsuki had left it, but as they stagger through the doorway, the room is as empty as it had been before. For a second, Shouto has a momentary fear that they’re both hallucinating now, but, as Shouto watches, their pantry cupboard door creaks open and then slams shut with gusto.

“What,” Katsuki says eloquently, “the fuck?

As if the house can hear him, there’s a loud, echoing creak and Shouto watches as all the cupboards in the kitchen drift open in sync. A beat of silence, and then an eardrum rending crash as they all slam as one.

And just like that, it’s as if the gates have been open. The cupboards fling themselves open and then closed, banging and clattering and clanging. From the corner of his eyes Shouto sees their fridge trembling, and he turns just in time for that door throw itself open violently too, sending a perfectly nice carton of eggs toppling.

For a moment, they just stand there, astonished, watching as their kitchen turns into a damn warzone. Shouto has been in battles that are quieter than this. Distantly, he thinks it’s a good thing that they don’t live in their old apartment anymore, because there would be no way they could ever explain this to their landlord.

Katsuki’s brain finally seems to come back online, because he dashes forward and throws himself at the nearest set of cupboards, pressing against them with his not inconsiderable muscles.

“Don’t just stand there,” Katsuki snaps, roaring to be heard over the cacophony. “Fucking help me.”

“Help with what?” Shouto asks, baffled. He doesn’t even know where to begin comprehending this, let alone stopping it, and Katsuki’s approach seems to be doing nothing but making the wood beneath his hands splinter. “I don’t know - do we call the police?”

“You want to call the police and tell them our kitchen has gained sentience? Are you fucking crazy?”

“I don't know!” Shouto shouts, slightly more hysterical than he intended. The overwhelming noise is getting to him, lighting a fire along the last of his frazzled nerves. “It certainly feels like it right now!”

“I just installed these cabinets yesterday, if this fucking batshit house breaks them, I’m going to be pissed,” Katsuki grunts. He finally loses his battle to hold the cupboards close, and they toss him violently away. Stumbling backwards, he throws out a hand to their kitchen table to hold himself upright and upsets their neglected box of cutlery, sending it crashing to the ground with a sound like a thousand pieces of metal screaming, just another instrument in the orchestra of Shouto’s nightmares.

“Are you serious right now? You want to worry about the goddamn cupboards?”

“You weren’t the one who fucking installed them, you asshole. I put a lot of work into it, and I -.”

“Katsuki, be careful!”

Shouto barely manages to grab his husband by the arm, pulling him out of the way as all of their fancy plates and dishes he’d lovingly placed in one of the top cabinets come pouring out. They shatter against the floor where Katsuki had been only a second ago, showering their feet with sharp shards of glass and porcelain, and if Shouto were not so terrified and confused he might be mad about that.

Shouto and Katsuki cling together, although he’s sure Katsuki will deny it later, watching their kitchen tear itself apart. Shouto can barely wrap his head around what’s happening, but he’s sure of one thing, at least.

Katsuki had been right. It certainly wasn’t villains.

As suddenly as it started, it stops. The cupboards hang listlessly open, creaking only slightly with leftover momentum. There’s a bottle of orange juice by the fridge slowly flooding their kitchen, and Shouto shuffles backwards as it nears his toes.

His ears are ringing something fierce, and he swears he can taste his frantic heartbeat in the back of his mouth.

“What,” he croaks, “the fuck was that?”

For a second he doesn’t think Katsuki is going to answer him, his bare shoulders heaving with adrenaline, but when he turns to look at Shouto there is absolute murder in his eyes.

Oh no, Shouto thinks.

“You absolute fuckface,” Katsuki says, with all the love and adoration that makes a long lasting marriage, “you’ve bought us a fucking haunted house.

.

Shouto goes to work the next morning exhausted, sore, and faintly sticky. It’s not exactly the first time, but usually his reasons are far more pleasant than spending his whole night bickering with his husband as they scrub orange juice and egg yolk off the floor of their haunted kitchen.

That resides in their haunted house.

“Todoroki,” greets his least favourite co-worker as he slouches into his office. “You’re looking… tired.” He looks positively tickled by the idea.

Chad had joined their agency two years ago, after it became clear to him he wasn’t going to make it anywhere big in America. His mistake, of course, had been to come to Japan just as the next rising wave of heroes came onto the scene. Chad does a fairly good job of hiding it, but Shouto thinks Chad hates Shouto almost as much as Shouto hates Chad. To be fair though, it’s not his fault Shouto’s the number six hero, and Chad barely holds his place as number fourteen on a good day.

“Yeah,” Shouto says shortly, elbowing past him to the coffee pot. “Long night.”

Chad raises his eyebrows. “Is that right. I hear you and your friend recently bought a house, hey?”

That was another thing. For some reason, Chad absolutely refuses to call Katsuki his husband. It is both faintly irritating and absolutely ridiculous. Shouto can be professional about it, but barely. Katsuki on the other hand finds Chad’s discomfort hilarious.

Whenever he comes to visit Shouto at his workplace, he goes out of his way to be as affectionate as possible. For somebody who will barely hold Shouto’s hand outside of closed doors, it’s downright hilarious to listen to Katsuki suddenly calling him ‘sweetheart’ and ‘darling’.

The first time Katsuki had kissed Shouto in plain view Chad had looked like he was going to go into conniptions, and Shouto had to admit that baiting him was a good way to waste time if nothing else.

“My husband and I moved in yesterday,” Shouto says, trying not to smile at the way Chad barely hides a flinch at the word husband. Shouto finally manages to pour himself a cup of truly awful looking coffee without getting it everywhere. “So we were up late last night.”

“Ah,” Chad says, nodding wisely. “Finishing up the move, I suppose.”

“Actually, we were breaking in the bed.” He looks Chad dead in the eye and takes a casual sip of his coffee, before adding, in case Chad isn’t getting the picture, “We fucked. It was a good night.”

Chad opens his mouth, stares blankly, and then closes it again. Shouto doesn’t think he could have looked more floored if Shouto had announced his intention to retire from being a hero and take up work as a kindergarten teacher.

Satisfied, Shouto sips his coffee one more time and leaves him in the breakroom, mood slightly improved.

Yaoyorozu is waiting for him by their shared desk, eyebrow raised. “I don’t know what you said to Chad, but he looks like he’s about to pass out in there. Should we check on him?”

“He’s fine,” Shouto says dismissively. “Maybe he’ll learn not to give me ammunition to use against his delicate sensibilities in the future.”

Yaoyorozu raises a brow but doesn’t press. “How was the move yesterday? I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to help, but I was on call and some villain with a flood quirk destroyed half of the river banks near Tokyo.”

“It’s alright,” Shouto says, setting his mug down on the desk and rubbing at his eyes.

“Wow, you really don’t look so good, are you alright?”

“I’m still trying to figure that out myself,” Shouto admits. “Last night was… strange.”

“Strange?”

“Mmhm,” Shouto says, and does not elaborate, because he really does not have the energy to get into it. He’s sore and cranky and he thinks he might still have egg in his hair. The hot water hadn’t been working when they’d finished cleaning the kitchen, and Katuski had spent a good half an hour yelling on the phone to the gas company who swore up and down that the gas definitely worked on their end.

Shouto had offered to just heat them up a bath himself, it would take all of two seconds with his goddamn quirk, but Katsuki had been on a rampage by that point, and Shouto hadn’t felt like he could leave him on the phone with the poor gas company unattended, or else they’d probably lose their gas connection altogether.

In the end, they hadn’t had time for even a cold shower before they had to leave for work. Shouto hopes Katsuki isn’t dumb enough to think that Shouto isn’t going to hold a grudge over this, because as far as Shouto is concerned, he’s far too old to be coming to work rumpled and stinky because his husband won’t listen to him.

Shouto drains the last of his coffee, tips his mug upside down for dregs, and reluctantly sets it down.

Yaoyorozu sighs and immediately hands him her own mug. “Here,” she says. “You seem like you need it more than me.”

Shouto thinks about putting up a token resistance at that, but he’s really far too tired and he takes it grateful. It’s lukewarm at best, and she drinks it with far too much cream, but beggars can’t be choosers and Shouto will take any and all breaks he can get in life at the moment.

“The house is good though?” Yaoyorozu asks, settling on the edge of the desk, hands clasped in her lap. “I was jealous Uraraka got to see it before me, but I suppose she’s far more helpful in a move than I would be anyway.”

“It’s great,” Shouto says, and he even means it. Sure, the kitchen incident had been off putting, to put it mildly, but it didn't change the fact there was enough space in the living room for a grand piano when he finally get around to buying it, and there was an upstairs bedroom just waiting to be converted to a home gym.

“That’s good,” Yaoyorozu says, smiling at him. “You’ll have to host the group movie night so I can come over to see it properly.”

It’s on the tip of tongue to agree before he remembers the state their kitchen is in. “Maybe,” he says.

If Yaoyorozu is suspicious she doesn't show it. Not that there’s anything to be suspicious about, of course, because as far as Shouto’s concerned his house is a perfectly fine house that anybody should be thrilled to visit. It just has a little… personality.

“I’ll hold you to that,” she says, just as the agency alarm starts blaring.

“Alright, everybody, we’ve got an emergency,” says their team leader, sweeping into the office. “Get your gear and let’s go.”

Shouto sighs and knocks back the rest Yaoyorozu’s coffee like a shot. It certainly doesn't go down as smooth as liquor, but there’s enough kick there that he feels like he might be able to fight crime without becoming nothing more than a pasty smear on the pavement.

“Alright,” he says, “let’s go. Hopefully my house will still be standing when we’re done.”

.

Shouto comes home to find that the walls have started bleeding. After any other day but the one he’s had, he’s sure he’d find that alarming. As it is, he’s far too exhausted, and besides, a little blood on the walls is nothing compared to what he’d been put through last night.

Shouto’s reasonably sure it’s meant to say something, but either the dripping or the terrible handwriting has rendered it illegible. Shouto squints at the bloody mess for a moment before giving it up for a lost cause and retreating to the living room with a book.

No sooner has he settled on the sofa and opened his novel then a gust of wind blows out of nowhere. Shouto nearly loses his page, which is annoying, but only a little when compared to the kind of havoc Katsuki is capable of when he wants attention.

Shouto holds his book steady until the wind passes, and then smooths out his pages and resumes reading without so much as looking up. A moment later there’s another wind, this one almost strong enough to rip the book from his hands, but it’s gone just as quick.

Like a sullen child, Shouto thinks, and just barely suppresses a smile.

Katsuki arrives home sometime soon after, making an event of it as per usual, slamming the door hard enough to rattle the very foundations of their house. Some people get ‘honey, I’m home’; Shouto gets dents in the walls from where the door handle ricochets. This is his life now, he supposes.

Shouto waits. Katsuki does not disappoint. There’s silence for a second, then enough creative swearing to fill a dictionary.

“Shouto,” Katsuki says, storming into the living room, “there’s blood on the fucking wall.”

Shouto turns a page. “I saw.”

“It says get out or die.”

Shouto pauses, looking up and raising a brow. “Oh, that’s what it said. I thought it said gout and pie.

“You thought it said - look, it doesn’t fucking alarm you that our walls are bleeding out threats?”

“Well, it doesn’t thrill me, I’ll admit, but if it’s meant to frighten me the wall will have to try harder than that.”

Katsuki gives him a look like Shouto’s being unreasonable, which is hardly fair because Shouto isn’t the one desecrating their walls.

“This is your fault,” Katsuki says. “You’re the one who was like ‘oh, let’s buy this stupid fucking house, that’s suspiciously cheap even though the realtor won’t answer any questions about why’. I said I had a bad feeling about it, and I was right, you motherfucking asshole.”

“The house is fine,” Shouto says, finally setting aside his book. “There’s nothing wrong with it other than a little mold in the attic and the dents you keep putting in the walls.”

“Yeah, I’m sure the dents in the walls are so much worse than the goddamn blood.”

“It’s not the house’s fault it’s possessed,” Shouto says defensively, surprising himself. He’s grown fond of it quicker than he would have thought, honestly. He supposes there’s something to be said about finally having a place that’s just yours; well, yours and the man you’ve reluctantly decided to spend the rest of your life with.

“Are you listening to yourself? It’s not the house’s fault it’s possessed?

“So the walls are bleeding,” Shouto says, “and there’s weird noises in the middle of the night. So what? It’s not all that different from our last apartment when you think about it.”

“Having an insomniac pianist living upstairs and occasionally finding out your neighbours have accidentally punched holes in the walls again are in a different league to sharing your house with a ghost.”

“So we get it exorcised,” Shouto says. The moment the words leave his lips though, the room explodes into chaos.

The wind is back, howling furiously as Shouto’s book is torn from his fingertips. The pages are ripped out in a heartbeat and they spiral through the air, making Katsuki swear and duck. Shouto digs his fingertips into the chair arms to keep it upright and winces as one of the pages slices his cheek on the way past.

He’s never been caught in a hurricane before, but he imagines it must be exactly like this. The wind feels as strong as the aftermath of one of Midoriya’s punches, and Shouto has to close his eyes to keep them from watering.

Oops, he thinks.

He couldn’t say how long it lasted, maybe ten seconds, maybe a thousand, but when it finally died down and he opened his eyes, their living room was in disarray, and Katsuki was staring at him with enough angry fire behind his eyes to power a small city.

“Good one, asshole,” he says.

“Okay,” Shouto says, as calmly as he can manage, “maybe exorcism isn’t an option.”

.

By the end of the week, Shouto is forced to conclude the ghost isn’t the real problem in the equation. Shouto had what some might call an ‘unconventional childhood’ at best, and possibly a ‘traumatic experience of child endangerment and abuse’ at worst; he has a lot of experience with adjusting to situations on the fly.

It’d take far more than the inconvenience of coming downstairs in the morning to find all of his chairs sticking to the ceiling to do anything more than unsettle him.

No, the real problem in the equation is Katsuki and his inability not to turn anything and everything into a challenge.

If it were up to Shouto, his personal strategy would be to continue life on as normal, wait for the ghost to get bored of them and for the hauntings to die out. It was a strategy he’d employed with a fairly impressive success rate on Katsuki himself when Shouto got sick of whatever they were fighting over this time. If he just stopped paying attention to the problem, nine times out of ten Katsuki would decide Shouto’s silence meant that he must have won, and they could move on with their lives.

It was a good strategy. It kept the both of them from ever actually having to lose an argument, and Katsuki still hadn’t figured it out. There was no reason why it couldn’t work on their house too.

Except no matter how many times Shouto pleads with Katsuki not to antagonize the house, he doesn’t fucking listen.

Shouto comes downstairs one morning after another night of their kitchen orchestra to find Katsuki on his back beneath the kitchen cabinets, screwdriver in hand as he relentlessly takes each and every door off its hinge. The floor around him is a sea of grey-panelled wood and loose screws.

“So this is how you want to spend our Sunday morning?” Shouto asks dryly, crossing his arms. “Playing handyman?”

Katsuki scoots out from the cabinets beneath the sink to point threateningly at him with the screwdriver. “I’m sick and fucking tired of this bullshit,” he says. “I want to fucking sleep, Shouto, and if I have to take apart this whole house to do it, I fucking will.”

Shouto holds his breath and waits. The house doesn't disappoint. The cupboard doors on the floor rattle ominously, like a particularly strong wind had passed through. After a few seconds they go still, but the warning is clear.

“Yeah, good idea,” Shouto says. “I’m sure this is going to solve our problems.”

“At least I’m doing something to address the problem,” Katsuki hisses. “What is it you’re doing exactly?”

“Well, I’m not going out of the way to piss off the ghost that haunts our house, that’s for sure,” Shouto says. “You don’t think if you take away one of its play things it won’t just find another one instead? Who knows what it’ll decide to go for next.”

“Then I’ll take that apart too,” Katsuki says impatiently, slipping back under the sink to continue detaching the last remaining cupboard door. “It’s a stupid fucking ghost, what’s it -.”

Shouto gets a front row seat to the half unscrewed cupboard door slamming closed on his husband’s shoulder hard enough that it literally cracks down the centre. Katsuki yelps, goes to sit up only to slam his head into the bench above him and fall right back down again.

Shouto gives him a second before he asks, “Are you okay?”

Katsuki groans, one hand pressed to his forehead and the other to his shoulder.

Shouto would be sympathetic if not for the fact that he honestly thinks Katsuki had it coming, really. He’d warned him, let nobody say he hadn’t. “Oh, don’t be a baby,” he says. “You’re the number five hero in Japan, show a little grace.”

“Fuck you.”

.

On Wednesday Midoriya swings by Shouto’s work with lunch.

It’s a ritual they started not too long after they’d both settled into their respective agencies. It turns out hero work generates an almost unfathomable amount of paperwork. Desk days are an unfortunate necessity when you spend almost as much time destroying the city as you do saving it.

It’s just past three when somebody raps their knuckles lightly on desk and Shouto looks up to see Midoriya standing there in all his boyish, freckled glory, grinning at him.

“Midoriya,” Shouto says, setting aside his pen and flexing out his cramped hand. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you.”

“Paperwork that much fun, huh?” Midoriya laughs. “Are you still working on the stuff from that flood villain last week?”

“Unfortunately.”

Midoriya smiles broader and holds up a plastic bag that smells absolutely amazing. “Think you can take time for lunch?”

Shouto considers the stack of unfinished papers on his desk and the likelihood he snaps and murders Chad the next time he approaches to jokingly ask what’s bigger, the stack of paperwork Shouto has to finish before tonight, or the chip on Shouto’s shoulder.

“Yes,” he decides firmly, because it would be unbefitting of a hero to resort to murder even if the victim really, really deserved it. “I’ve got time for lunch.”

(Once, Midoriya had asked Katsuki why he never brought Shouto lunch when they worked within walking distance of one another. Katsuki had looked at him with nothing short of bafflement and said, “Why? Does he not know how to feed himself?”

Midoriya had been affronted on his behalf. Shouto had found it hilarious.)

They usually take their lunch at the park across from Shouto’s agency, and their favourite bench is thankfully empty. Midoriya hands him his bento, and cracks apart his chopsticks.

“So how’s the new house?” Midoriya asks in between mouthfuls of his rice. “You guys have been there over a week now. Settled in yet?”

“Mmhm,” Shouto says, noncommittally. Midoriya’s brought their bentos from the shop two streets down. Shouto hates that shop. He can’t help but think he’s being punished somehow. “We have ghosts.”

Midoriya chokes and has to pound himself on the chest before he dislodges his chicken and can breathe again. “I’m sorry,” he wheezes. “Did you just say you have ghosts?

“Just the one,” Shouto says, putting aside his chopsticks. “I think. It doesn’t seem like enough chaos to be anything more than that.”

“Sorry, what kind of chaos are we talking here? At one point is there enough chaos to justify assuming two ghosts?”

“So far the worst it’s done is make the walls bleed and bang the cupboard downstairs when we’re trying to sleep,” Shouto informs him duly. “I have to believe that if there were multiple ghosts they’d branch out and multitask, maybe try tackling both things at once, get inventive.”

Midoriya is looking at him like he thinks Shouto’s gone crazy, which is frankly ridiculous. Shouto has lived with Katsuki for nearly seven years now; if he were going to nosedive off the deep end of his sanity he would have done it the first time he came home to half their living room reduced to rubble.

“And you’re sure it’s a ghost,” Midoriya says. “It’s not like… rats or something?”

“I suppose it could be,” Shouto allows, “if the rats were advanced enough to write ‘I will tear your eyeballs from their sockets’ on the bathroom mirror while I’m in the shower.” At Midoriya’s horrified expression he adds, “I’m not worried. It seems more like a nuisance than a murderer. My eyeballs are probably safe where they are.”

“Oh my god,” Midoriya says, sounding alarmingly faint considering his daytime job as the Symbol of Peace. “Todoroki, you and Kacchan have to get out of there.”

“Shut your fucking mouth, Deku. We spent a fortune on that house, and no two-bit haunting is going to ruin it for us.”

Midoriya jumps, spinning around to peer at Katsuki who has appeared looming and furious behind him. Shouto sometimes think Katsuki has a sixth sense for when he’s being talked about behind his back, no matter how benign the context.

“Kacchan!” Midoriya exclaims. “Todoroki was just telling me that your house is haunted, you can’t seriously -.”

“We’re not moving,” Katsuki insists furiously. He kicks Midoriya hard enough in the shin that he winces, but obligingly budges over to let him sit down. “If we move, it wins.”

Midoriya looks lost. Shouto isn’t sure why; he really should know Katsuki better than that by now. Katsuki can and will turn anything into a competition and is the sorest loser Shouto knows - and he was raised by an embittered number-two hero.

“Also,” Shouto says, in a bid to keep the peace, “we’ve already finished the contract on our old apartment. Where would we go even if we did leave? All our money is tied up in the house.”

“Come to my apartment, then!”

“Look, Deku, I’m going to be fucking real with you - I’d rather live with the fucking ghost, okay?”

Midoriya looks more frustrated than upset. “You’re not going to be saying that when it possesses you and uses your quirks to destroy the city or something.”

“I really don’t think it’s that type of ghost,” Shouto says.

“Since when are you an expert on ghosts?” Katsuki shoots back before adding, “But also yeah, you’re fucking dumb, Deku. The fuck kind of idea is that?”

“I just don’t want either of you to get hurt,” Midoriya says, talking on like Katsuki hadn’t even spoken, which is often the best strategy to getting through a conversation without murdering him. “I mean, you guys are acting awfully casual about this, and I just… a ghost.”

“It could be worse,” Shouto says reassuringly. “It could be termites.”

“Todoroki, there is no universe where termites are worse than ghosts, okay?”

Shouto shrugs. As far as he’s concerned, that’s a personal preference. “We’ll work it out.”

“Yeah, get your nose out of our business, Deku.”

“Well,” Midoriya says, mouth thin, “if you’re sure…”

“We’re sure,” Shouto says shortly. “It’s nothing we can’t handle.”

Midoriya look dubious, but lets it drop.

.

For a while, it is nothing they can’t handle. Shouto’s lived through a lot worse than some harmless chaos in his life. It’s fine. It’s fine. Or it is for a time anyway.

Shouto should have known better than to let his guard down. He’s had literal years of experience on a battlefield, which is exactly what Katsuki has turned their house into. Still, he’s only human, and he is, at times, distracted.

Like when he wakes up to the feeling of Katsuki’s hands running underneath his shirt, palms brushing along Shouto’s freezing skin and leaving a trail of warmth in their wake.

“You’re home,” he mumbles, only half awake, arching up against Katsuki’s hands. “Wha’ time is it?”

“I don’t know,” Katsuki says, distracted. It’s dark in the bedroom, and when he bends down to kiss him Shouto couldn’t see well enough to push him away even if he wanted to (he doesn’t). “Like, one in the morning or some shit? I don’t fucking know, it was a long day, I’m tired.”

“You don’t seem tired,” Shouto mutters against his lips, but manages to pull his hands free from the covers, pushing his fingers through Katsuki’s untameable hair. “It’s cold out there, come in here.”

“Don’t boss me around,” Katsuki says, but it’s without ire. He bites lightly at Shouto’s lip before he pulls away. Katsuki has been into biting for as long as they’ve been together, and it’s unfair that even after literal years of the same too-sharp kisses, it still manages to take Shouto from sleepy to aroused in an instant.

He can hear the rattle of Katsuki’s belt slithering to the floor, and the rustle as he shrugs off his shirt. Shouto desperately wishes it wasn’t so cold out, because he’d be out of bed helping in a heartbeat, but he stays put and waits for Katsuki to come back to him and isn’t disappointed.

The bed creaks as Katsuki kneels on it, and Shouto can faintly see the roll of his shoulders as he crawls forward. He settles with his knees either side of Shouto’s hips and his hands on the pillow framing his face.

Shouto looks up, unimpressed even though he knows Katsuki can’t see his expression. “You’re still not under the covers.”

“I’m getting there, don’t rush me,” Katsuki says. He lifts one of his hands up and cups Shouto’s cheek, running his thumb along the edge of his scar and making him shiver.

“You’re cold.”

“I don’t want to fucking hear it from you, asshole. You once had a nightmare and froze the whole fucking bed while we were in it.”

“Mmhm, at least I’ve never destroyed the bedframe.”

“Doesn’t sound like something to brag about,” Katsuki says, and Shouto can’t see him but he knows the sound of that smirk. “Maybe you should be trying harder in bed.”

“That sounds like the talk of somebody who doesn’t want me to try anything in bed ever again.”

Katsuki snorts and doesn’t even justify that with a response. To be fair, it had been an incredibly flimsy threat. Shouto leans up and kisses him before he can say anything else. Their back-and-forth is good, but the things Katsuki can do with his mouth are usually better.

“Can’t believe we’ve been here two fucking weeks,” Katsuki mutters in between kisses, “and we haven’t had a chance to fuck yet. What’s the point of having your own goddamn house?”

“Been busy,” Shouto mutters, distracted. Katsuki’s hand on his face is slipping down, trailing over his chest and rucking up his shirt. “Occupied with the -.” He hisses as Katsuki’s nails cut into his midriff.

“Don’t you dare bring up the goddamn ghost right now,” Katsuki threatens. “Not when I’m literally about to go down on you.”

If Katsuki thinks a little pain is actually going to discourage Shouto from anything, perhaps he doesn't know him so well after all. He reaches down to slide his fingertips along the back of Katsuki’s hand where it’s resting just above the waistline of his pants. “Seems like I’m still wearing an awful lot of clothes for a guy who’s about to get his dick sucked.”

“You’re not getting jackshit if you don’t stop being an smarmy asshole about everything,” Katsuki says, but he pushes at Shouto’s waist until he’s sitting up straighter, and then he’s slipping into bed, the blankets falling about his shoulders.

He’s close enough now that Shouto can catch the sharp edge of his grin, and the quick flick of his tongue against his lips before he ducks down. Katsuki’s nails scrape against Shouto’s hips as he drags his pants down, and there’s the unexpected warmth of his mouth at his navel, making him jerk.

“Shit,” Shouto hisses, reaching up to grab Katsuki’s shoulder. “Warn me first.”

“No fun in that,” Katsuki drawls, and then Shouto feels the smooth shift of the muscles in his shoulder as Katsuki bends down and puts his mouth around Shouto’s dick.

Shouto’s head hits the wall and one of his hands comes up to tangle his fingers in Katsuki’s hair. He’d been right, Shouto can’t honestly believe they’ve been here two weeks and this is the closest they’ve come to sex since. He doesn’t think they’ve had a dry spell like that since the time Katsuki was laid up by a villain and was too stubborn to call Recovery Girl. That had been a miserable month for both of them.

“Hey,” Katsuki says, pulling off and punching Shouto’s thigh hard enough to make him wince. “Don’t go getting distracted, asshole.”

“I’m not,” Shouto assures him, smoothing his fingers along Katsuki’s scalp. “Keep going.”

“Don’t tell me what to do,” Katsuki says again, like the both of them don’t already know what a turn-on that can be for him in certain contexts. Like there’s anything at all they don't know about each other after so many years.

He goes back down again though, and Shouto closes his eyes and lets himself drown in the feeling. It’s good, but sex with Katsuki always is. He can’t believe he had the luck of finding somebody so compatible with him his first try, and although sometimes a life shared with Katsuki can seem a burden on the worst days, he never does forget the privilege of it either.

Katsuki scrapes the sensitive skin with the sharps of his teeth and Shouto’s hips jump, one hand scrabbling in the sheet and the other in Katsuki’s hair. “Shit,” he says, articulately.

He can feel Katsuki’s smile, but he doesn’t stop what he’s doing, and for that Shouto’s unbearably glad.

It doesn’t take long before he’s riding the knife-edge of orgasm, and he hisses between his teeth. “I’m close,” he warns.

“You’re easy,” Katsuki mutters, but he sounds wrecked, and Shouto can feel how hard he is with the way he’s kneeling over his legs.

You’ve got no room to talk, Shouto thinks, but doesn’t have the voice to say. He chokes on a groan, fists his hand in Katsuki’s hair, and arches his back at the noise that drags out from him.

He’s close, very, very close, so when his stomach turns he thinks it’s just the rush of approaching orgasm. It’s not until Katsuki yelps and scrambles backwards, leaving him cold and confused that he starts to question anything.

“What -.”

“The bed, Shouto,” Katsuki shouts, holding onto the mattress for dear life. “The bed’s fucking floating.”

Shouto stares at him dumbly for a second, the words cutting through the thick haze of lust clouding his head. Slowly, he turns his head to look beside him.

Katsuki is right. So it is.

The ground is a solid several feet below them, the carpet nothing but a distant memory. Shouto feels like he really should be more upset about that, but he’s really far too horny for anything other than the itchy impatience to get back to what they were doing.

On the scale of terrible things the ghost had subjected them to it, it rates below the living room hurricane and only slightly above the blood on the walls. It’s unimportant, anyway, because Shouto isn’t about to be cockblocked by something as minor as a bit of levitation.

“Whatever,” Shouto says, “we’ll deal with it later. Come back over here, please.”

Katsuki looks at him with wide, slightly hysterical eyes. “Are you fucking serious right now?”

There are a thousand and one things Shouto could say that, but he really doesn’t want to get into a debate when he’d been halfway to his first orgasm in weeks. Besides, he loves Katsuki, but the man is exceptionally easy to read and even easier to bait.

“If we make a big deal out of this,” Shouto says as calmly as he can, “the ghost wins.”

Katsuki’s eyes grow wider, if at all possible. He looks like he’s having an epiphany, and when he smiles it’s entirely too-sharp teeth and venom. “You’re right,” he says.

Shouto has to take a deep breath to steady himself, because between that expression and the words you’re right passing from Katsuki’s lips like they aren’t the rarest commodity the world is ever likely to see, it’s all he can do not to come from that alone.

Katsuki leans back in, hand on Shouto’s thigh, and Shouto lets his head fall back, groaning as Katsuki’s teeth barely graze his shoulder. He’s so close he could care less whether they’re two feet from their ceiling or stranded atop a mountain, he just wants to keep going.

“Stupid fucking ghost,” Katsuki mutters. His hand slips under Shouto’s thigh, nudging his legs wider apart as he slithers down his body again. “Thinks something like this is enough to scare me. It’s weak, almost as useless as -.”

Shouto grabs Katsuki’s shoulder hard enough to hurt. “Do not,” he says through his tightly clenched teeth, “bring up Midoriya right now, I swear to god. And please stop talking and do your job.”

Katsuki makes an affronted noise, but he’s pressing in closer, and there’s so much body contact, and Shouto can feel Katsuki’s erection bumping against the inside of his thigh. That shouldn’t be as arousing as it is, and he pulls Katsuki down, closer. He could probably get off on nothing more than this right now, he could -

The world tips upside down. For a second, Shouto cannot wrap his head around what’s happening. He’s looking down at the floor, at the clean square of carpet their bed usually resides atop. He has enough brain space left to think, wow, we should really vacuum, and then gravity takes hold and they’re falling.

If Shouto had been thinking, he would have used his ice to stop the fall. If Katsuki had been thinking, he’d have used his explosions to slow them. As it is, all of their blood is in their dicks and their brains are empty, barren wastelands. They hit the ground at full speed, and it fucking hurts.

“Fuck,” Katsuki rolls over, clutching at his elbow. It’s hard to tell when it’s still dark in the room, but Shouto is relatively sure his face has gone absolutely white. “Shit.”

Shouto lets out a wheeze that sounds like air leaking from a punctured tire. He’s on his back, staring up at their bed pinned to the ceiling. He can see the crease in the sheets from where they’d been only moments before. The covers are slowly slipping off and floating ominously around it like a thundercloud.

Shouto has been hit by bullets that hurt less than the fall had. If he gets his breath back sometime before next year it’ll be nothing short of a miracle. Wincing, he turns to look at Katsuki who is still clutching his arm, pale and furious.

“Are you okay?” Shouto wheezes.

“Am I okay? Am I okay?” If Shouto had thought Katsuki sounded faintly hysterical before, it’s nothing compared to now. “I just had my fucking bed levitate and then buck me to the motherfucking ground all while I was sucking my husband’s dick, so tell me, Shouto, do I seem okay to you?”

Shouto is going to take that as a no. There’s movement from the corner of his eye and he glances up just in time to see the bed quivering on the ceiling. Oh no, he thinks.

In one impressively smooth move he grabs hold of Katsuki and rolls them viciously over and out of the way, not a second too soon. There’s a loud crash that shakes the floor, and Shouto cringes, face buried in Katsuki’s sweaty shoulder as a gust of air ruffles his hair.

For a second the pair of them just lay there, naked, tangled up together. Shouto has never gone from aroused to pathetically miserable so quickly, even beating out the first time he’d gone down on Katsuki, and Katsuki had accidentally kneed him in the face hard enough to break his nose.

Slowly, Shouto pulls back, propping himself up on his elbows which feel absolutely raw with carpet burn. This was not the fun acrobatic exercise he’d had in mind for tonight. “Are you alright?”

“I think,” Katsuki says through gritted teeth, “you should take me to the hospital now.”

Shouto looks at him properly and notices for the first time the awkward way he’s holding his arm, the uneven line of his shoulders, and the impressively pained look on his face. Furious, yes, but agonized.

“I’ll just get our pants then,” Shouto says as diplomatically as he can.

“Please.”

.

Midoriya meets them at the hospital looking half asleep and crumpled. Shouto can’t even tell if he’s bothered to get dressed or if he just left the house in his pyjamas.

“Are you ready to move in with me now?” He asks around a yawn.

Katsuki flips him off with his good hand, the other bound to his chest and wrapped in bandages. “Over my dead body.”

“If you keep this up it just might be,” Midoriya says mildly.

“You don’t even know what happened,” Katsuki says hotly. “It wasn’t -.”

“Let’s not antagonize our ride home,” Shouto says, reaching down to help Katsuki to his feet. Katsuki bats him away irritably, but his balance is still shot from all the painkillers they loaded him up with, and after a moment of swaying in a non-existent breeze he allows Shouto to steady him.

“Your friendly ghost broke your arm and dislocated your shoulder, Kacchan,” Midoriya says, holding open the hospital door for them.

“Not on purpose,” Shouto allows, before adding, “probably. It’s hard to understand its motives sometimes.”

“It accidently broke Kacchan’s arm?” Midoriya asks dubiously.

“It flipped our bed over,” Katsuki grunts, rubbing his face and blinking blearily up at the sky. It’s dark out still, but there’s a light pinking in the horizon that tells Shouto’s dawn’s nearer than he’s strictly comfortable with after their rollercoaster of a night. “Pinned into the ceiling and then sent it crashing down on top of us.”

“Not on top of us,” Shouto corrects, because he put hard work into getting them out from under it and he doesn’t want it being dismissed like that, “but it did try.”

“Its timing was fucking awful too. What a fucking dick.”

Midoriya raises a brow. “Is there ever a good time to have your bed flipped upside down by a supernatural entity?”

“Well, I’d have been grateful if it could have waited maybe five minutes until we were done having sex at the very least,” Shouto says wistfully.  

Katsuki, predictably, goes bright red. He pulls back and punches Shouto in the arm. “Would you - can you not - don’t just say it like that, you fucking dumbass.”

“Kacchan,” Midoriya says tiredly, “you two have been together since highschool; it’s not exactly news to me that you’re having sex with your husband, in your shared bed, in the house you bought together.”

“That’s not the - I wouldn’t - I’m just…”

“Careful,” Shouto says, “if you think much harder you’re going to hurt yourself.”

Katsuki jabs his elbow into his gut hard enough to sting this time, but Shouto had been prepared for it, and it’s a little enough price to pay for the furiously flustered expression on Katsuki’s face. There’s so little he can tease him about these days that he really has to take his chances where he can.

“Look,” Midoriya says as they approach his car, “are you absolutely certain that you don’t want to come stay with me? I really, really don’t mind.”

Katsuki scowls and goes to open his mouth, but Shouto stomps down on his foot. “We’re sure,” he says. “The house isn’t going to cease to exist just because we ran away from it. This is something we’re going to have to sort out sooner or later.”

Midoriya looks far from appeased, but he knows them both well enough at this point not to push. The drive back is quiet, mostly because Katsuki falls asleep on his shoulder after five minutes. Shouto lets him be. They’ve had a fairly eventful night, and Katsuki’s a rough enough sleeper on good days.

“Do you want me to come in?” Midoriya asks when they pull up. He’s parked far enough down their driveway that he’s practically on the street. Shouto can’t say he blames him, really.

“It’s fine,” he says generously, because he wouldn’t dare inflict his house upon Midoriya if he can help it.

It’s something of a struggle getting Katsuki out the car and up the porch steps, but Shouto has carried greater burdens in his time, and he figures Katsuki deserves a little leeway after their disaster of a night. Still, it complicates reaching for his keys when he’s got the considerable deadweight of his husband slung over his shoulder.

“You’re no help,” he sighs against Katsuki’s forehead, spitting out a mouthful of his hair. “We’re doing to be here all night if -.”

The door opens. Slowly, so slowly in fact that for a second Shouto thinks he’s imagining things. He stares at it, one hand in his pocket and the other holding Katsuki upright.

“Should I take it that means you feel bad about this whole debacle?” He asks the midnight air.

The door creaks a little on its hinges, although Shouto cannot for the life of him figure out what that’s supposed to mean. Life would be a whole lot easier if their house had come with an instruction manual, or at the very least a translation guide.

Deciding not to look a gift horse in the mouth, he hauls Katsuki over the threshold. He seems to be dead to the world and barely makes more than a grunt when Shouto accidently bangs his head against the doorframe. He tries not to feel too bad about that, all things considered.

The house is as the left it, and Katsuki wakes up for just long enough for Shouto to help him up the stairs.

“Don’t know if I trust our bed after all that,” Katsuki grunts as they stumble into the bedroom. Shouto has to make sure he keeps his arm close to his chest, because Katsuki’s prone to forgetting his own injuries at the best of times, never mind whatever this constitutes.

“Then sleep on the floor,” Shouto says, but he doesn’t mean it. Katsuki gives him a faint glare, but he’s out like a light the second his head touches a pillow. Shouto stands there for a moment, watching him and working out the kinks in his shoulder.

He’s tempted to crawl back into bed beside him, but he’d left the front door wide open, and while Shouto doesn’t necessarily believe that there’s anybody out there dumb enough to break into their house, it’s also not a theory he’s willing to put to the test. He sighs, reaching down to haul the blankets up over Katsuki’s shoulders before he turns and heads down the stairs.

It turns out he needn’t have bothered. When he reaches the hallway, it’s to find their door shut and locked, deadbolt and chain in place despite the fact Shouto very clearly does not remember doing that, couldn’t have with two-hundred pounds of sleepy Katsuki on his shoulder.

He stares at it silently for a second, wondering if this is the kind of think he might reasonably inquire about before deciding the last thing he really feels like doing right now is having a conversation with his house about personal boundaries.

It seems insane to consider this as the house’s tactful way of apologizing for cockblocking Shouto and breaking his husband’s arm, but Shouto is hard pressed to think of what else it could be.

He’s too tired and sore for this. He’s got carpet burn in places he’d rather not name, and an ache in his shoulders from hauling his husband around like a sack of potatoes. Whatever this is, he’ll deal with it in the morning.

He staggers back upstairs to join Katsuki in bed, and resolves to think no more on it.

.

Katsuki puts up with his arm for two days before frustration gets the better of them both and Shouto takes him to see Recovery Girl. She’s as gracious as can be considering they’re some of her most frequent visitors.

Shouto refuses to do that miserable month over again. He loves Katsuki so much sometimes he feels like he can scarcely breathe for it, but if he has to go through that again he thinks he may very well kill him.

It’s a good thing too, because three days later Shouto gets thrown off a fucking building.

It hadn’t been his fault either, which makes it twice as bad. He’d been standing there, doing his own thing, fighting the two-bit villain of the week, when some asshole newbie hero who hadn’t been watching what they were doing activated their wind quirk on the both of them.

Shouto had been too surprised to do anything but let himself be blown off the rooftop like an autumn leaf. By the time he realized what had happened, he’d already hit the ground. Or, more precisely, he’d hit the road.

Blinking blearily up to see headlights bearing down on him had been worse than actually coming off the roof. Shouto had a terrifying moment where he was convinced he was about to end his short hero career as a pancake. Luckily, the driver had been slightly more coherent than Shouto and had veered away at the last second.

Shouto’s going to find out who had been driving that truck and he’s going to send them a bouquet of flowers. And he’s going to find out whatever dumbass hero blew him off that roof and send them a bouquet of scorpions. Or possibly have Katsuki do it for him.

Either way, it’s a good thing that Katsuki had sucked up his pride enough to have his arm healed, because Shouto dreads to think how much of a mess they’d be if both of them were falling to pieces like this.

They stumble into the house sometime past midnight, clinging together and Shouto half high on the good hospital drugs and the lingering after effects of breaking three different ribs. It’s been a while since Shouto has come out of a job this bad off, and it almost makes him wistful.

“God, you’re fucking heavy,” Katsuki grunts as he drops Shouto on the couch, but he’s gentle about it, hands smoothing along Shouto’s chest for just a second like he’s making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be.

Shouto laughs, can’t possibly help himself. Everything feels real funny to him right now, and the living room lights are bright enough to give Katsuki’s spiky hair a halo.

“My angel,” he slurs, reaching out to clumsily pat Katsuki on the cheek.

Katsuki snorts and catches his hand before it can connect, but his thumb smooths along Shouto’s palm comfortingly before he lowers it back to the couch. “Yeah, you’re higher than a motherfucking kite.”

“Yeah,” Shouto agrees. “It’s nice. You should join me.”

The look Katuki gives him is both longsuffering and fond. “Maybe I’ll break half my goddamn bones next time and see if they’ll dope me up too, hey?”

“Yeah,” Shouto agrees.

“Are you just agreeing with everything I say now?”

“Mmhm. Yeah.”

The grin Katsuki gets then would make Shouto’s stomach drop if it didn’t already feel like he’d left it pulverised out on the city road. A hand passes through his hair and Shouto makes a noise, eyes drifting closed as he tilts his head back into it.

“Don’t you think you should do all the washing, ever, for the rest of our lives?”

“Mmhm,” Shouto mumbles agreeably.

“And am I the better hero?”

“Yeah.”

“And the best fuck you’ve ever had?”

“Yeah.”

Katsuki’s laugh is a soft, unguarded rumble as he tucks some of Shouto’s hair behind his ear. “I suppose that’s cheating. I’m the only person you’ve ever slept with.”

“Yeah.”

Katsuki sighs and gets to his feet, groaning as he cracks his back a little. He looks like he’s about to leave, and Shouto really can’t abide by that. He reaches out and snatches the end of his sleeve, tugging him back before he can so much as step away.

“Oh my god, let me go, you fucking idiot. I’ll be right back, I’m just grabbing some pillows and a blanket. I don’t think you can handle the stairs right now.”

There’s a lot of words in that sentence, and Shouto thinks he maybe understands half of them. He looks up at Katsuki beseechingly, eyes wide like he knows earns him his own way most of the time.

He can see the annoyed edges in Katsuki’s face softening. He has the worst poker face Shouto has ever seen. All those years ago when they first got together, they never even had to tell anybody, because their friends took one look at Katsuki’s face and knew.

Still, Katsuki plucks his sleeve from Shouto’s grip. “I’ll be a minute,” he says again. “You’re so fucking needy, fuck.”

Shouto groans and rolls over on the couch, throwing an arm over his face. He hears the creak of the floorboards as Katsuki leaves, and then the sound of him mounting the stairs as he disappearing off to their bedroom.

Without his husband to distract him though, the high is starting to feel more distant, and the pain far more present. The hospital had taken care of the worst of it, bandaged him up and shoved all his bones back in place, but they’d been spread thin and Shouto couldn’t justify wasting the time of the few doctors with healing quirks when there had been civilians about who had needed it more.

It had felt noble at the time. Now it just feels stupid.

He’s so miserable and dazed that it takes him a moment to realize the way that the room is slipping in and out of focus around him has nothing at all to do with his probable concussion and a lot more to do with the fact the couch is quivering and slowly spinning beneath him.

Oh no, he thinks miserably, as his hands shoot down to clutch at the edge of the couch cushions, white knuckled. Not right now, please.

His stomach turns, tosses about like a ship caught in a thunderstorm, and Katsuki arrives in the doorway just in time for Shouto to shove him aside as he sprints for the bathroom, a hand over his mouth.

“What the - Shouto?

Shouto barely makes it in time, clutches weakly at the rim of the toilet as he empties his quaking stomach. There are tears in his eyes and sweat on his forehead. Whatever high he’d been floating on is long gone, and all he’s got is the frantic crash, exacerbated by his goddamn traitor of a house.

Shouto rests his clammy head against the toilet bowl, breathing out heavily. “Do you know how much money we paid for you?” He rasps. “The answer is a lot. The least you could do is be nice.”

There’s a grating sound and he looks up just in time to see the seat cover coming down, but Katsuki is there like a lightning bolt, catching it before it can make mincemeat of Shouto’s fingers.

“Fucking Christ,” Katsuki swears, propping it back up and setting a proprietary hand on the back of Shouto’s clammy neck. His fingertips are cool and feel nice on Shouto’s feverish skin. “You doing okay, sweetheart?”

“Oh no,” Shouto says weakly. “You’re calling me pet names, just how bad do I look?”

The hand on his neck squeezes, but Katsuki doesn’t quip back. When he looks up, he realizes Katsuki looks furious. Funnily enough, the familiarity of that expression is enough to make him relax, ever so slightly, although he really doesn’t know what he’s done, personally, to piss him off considering Shouto’s the victim here.

“C’mon,” Katsuki says. “Let’s get you laying down before you fuck up your ribs again. Do you think you can walk?”

Shouto’s ribs are screaming, and his stomach is swimming something fierce. He swallows and tries to climb to his feet, but he’s as shaky as a newborn colt, and he can’t help but curl an arm around his middle, like the pressure alone might steady all the bits of him that feel ready to fall off.

“Yeah, you look like shit,” Katsuki says unsympathetically.

“I just got thrown off a building two hours ago,” Shouto says defensively, “and then our haunted house turned our couch into a carousel, so I think I deserve just a little patience here.”

“It did what?”

Shouto waves a hand weakly, too tired truly explain. “It doesn't matter. I just want to lie down. Just… not on the couch, please.”

“I literally just brought the blankets down.”

“I’ll sleep on the floor, then. But if you put me back on that couch, it’s going to make me throw up again, and this time I can’t promise I’m going to make it to the bathroom.”

“Oh, Jesus Christ - you’re not sleeping on the fucking floor, Shouto.”

He lifts his head, ready to start an argument he’s much too tired for, but before he can get a word out there’s one arm around his shoulders and the other slipping down around his waist. “What -.”

“If you puke on me, we’re getting a divorce,” Katsuki says, which is all the warning Shouto gets before the ground vanishes from beneath his feet. He makes a startled noise, stomach turning, and manages to throw his arms around Katsuki’s neck, burying his face in his shoulder as he tries to calm his breathing.

“You,” Shouto says tightly, “are such an asshole.”

He feels more than hears Katsuki laugh. “It’s just like our wedding night.”

I carried you on our wedding night.”

“Only because I was too drunk to walk.”

“That’s not something to be proud of.”

“I got it up in bed, didn’t I? Wasn’t that bad of a night.”

“I’m too tired for this,” Shouto decides. “Please be quiet.”

“Not on your fucking life,” Katsuki says.

They’re walking now, Shouto can feel the up-and-down motion of it, but it’s easier when it’s not on his own two feet, he has to admit. From the corner of his eye he glimpses the start of the stairs, and he tightens his grip around Katsuki.

Katsuki’s hand comes up, gently directing Shouto’s face so it’s pressed into the crook of his neck. “Probably better if you just pretend nothing’s happening,” he says.

“I could -.”

“You’re not sleeping on the floor, shut up.”

The stairs are… tolerable. Shouto distracts himself with the flex of Katsuki’s back muscles beneath his hand, and takes deep, steady breathes that press at his ribs hard enough to make his eyes water.

He doesn’t remember the last time he was this miserable. They’ve had such a good run of luck lately that he’d almost forgotten the less pleasant parts of hero work; like falling off buildings and nearly being run over by trucks. He could stand to forget that again, he thinks.

“Alright,” Katsuki says after what feels like a small eternity. “We’re done. Now, it’d be real fucking handy if you could open the door, because my hands are full carrying your giant ass.”

Shouto opens his eyes and, after a moment of weak fumbling, manages to get their bedroom door open, but he immediately winds his arm around Katsuki’s neck again.

“You’re worse than goddamn python,” Katsuki grumbles as he shuffles them over to their bare bed. Shouto won’t lie, the relief of a solid surface that doesn’t seem to be spinning after the day he’s had is more comforting than he’ll ever admit.

Katsuki untangles them gently, and Shouto doesn’t even protest when he lowers him onto the bed with far more caution than he’s used to seeing from his husband. The mattress feels like heaven beneath his bruised back, and he groans, just a little, curling up as tight as his ribs will let him.

“Maybe not a python,” Katsuki says, “maybe a fucking cat or something.”

“Fuck off.”

“That’s some gratitude,” Katsuki says. “See if I get the blankets back for you now.”

Shouto opens his eyes to glare at him, and Katsuki grins back, unruffled. He goes to say something, but he barely opens his mouth before he feels the bed tremble beneath him.

Oh no, he thinks, feeling his face going sheet white.

“Oi!” Katsuki snarls, and he’s half kneeling on the bed like his weight alone while keep their ghost at bay. “You knock it the fuck off, you hear me?”

The bed shivers again, and Shouto can feel it lift off the ground ever so slightly. It only lasts for a second though, because then Katsuki is bearing down with all of his strength and it hits the floor hard enough to make Shouto’s stomach leap to his throat.

“Katsuki -.”

“Shit, sorry, sorry,” Katsuki says, one hand coming up to squeeze Shouto’s shoulder, but he’s scowling out at the room with a thunderous expression. “Now, you listen up, asshole; any other day but this one and you can pull your fucking poltergeist routine. But not today, not now. Don’t even fucking try it, because I will motherfucking hurt you.”

Shouto stares up at him, amused and confused in turns. “Are you seriously… bargaining with the house right now?”

Katsuki whips around to glare at him. “I’m threatening it.”

“Okay,” Shouto agrees. “Threatening, then.”

The house creaks, long and loud and for a second Shouto is worried it’s about to fall down on top of them. The light above their heads swings ominously, flickering like a bad horror movie.

Katsuki points at the ceiling, scowling. “No, none of that bullshit. I said cut it out. We put up with a fucking lot from you, and the least you can do is give us one goddamn night to recover after the shit show that was today. My fucking husband has been through enough without whatever the fuck your issues are making it worse.”

The house creaks again, and before now Shouto had never known a house could sound angry before. It feels it too, like there’s a pressure building in the room, sudden enough to make his ears pop and his heart skip a beat. Tentatively, he rolls over and looks up just in time to see the blood begin oozing from the walls, thick and fast.

“Katsuki,” he starts to say, voice catching in his throat, but Katsuki holds up a hand and he falls silent.

“Stop it,” Katsuki says, and his voice is deceptively even. “Stop it, or we will leave you.”

It’s like he’s said the magic words. The blood on the walls freezes in its tracks, and the thunderous groaning of the house goes dead silent. The moment stretches long and heavy enough to snap, and then the lights go out.

“What -.”

They come back on before Shouto can so much as finish the thought. The blood on the walls is gone, not even a trace of it left behind, and, neatly folded at the foot of the bed, is the blankets and pillows Katsuki had left downstairs.

Shouto stares. He feels like he’s slipped sideways into a parallel dimension. His husband, meanwhile, looks unbearably, suffocatingly smug.

“What,” Shouto says, “just happened?”

“I showed the house who’s boss,” Katsuki said, climbing off the bed. He hands Shouto the pillows and he takes them more on autopilot than anything, stuffing them under his head. Katsuki fluff out the blankets one at time, floating them down around him and looking ridiculously domestic as he does it.

“I feel like I just hallucinated,” Shouto says, muffled beneath the heavy goose down. “Did I?”

“Well, I don’t know what you think you saw, so I can’t answer that, can I?”

Shouto glares at him blearily. “You’re just being difficult now.”

Katsuki reaches out to ruffle his hair. “You knew I was difficult when you married me.”

Shouto shakes away his touch with a low, annoyed sound. “Maybe I thought you’d get better.”

“Babe, you’re way too fucking smart to ever believe that,” Katsuki says. “Or else the blow you got to the head earlier did way more damage than I fucking thought.”

“Now you’re just being mean.”

Katsuki pauses and gives him a look that if it came from any other person in the world, Shouto might call adoring.

“Shouto, I just carried you up a flight of stairs after you nearly puked on me, fought a house for you, and now I’m tucking you into goddamn bed. I don’t think I could be fucking nicer if I tried.”

There’s a lot to unpack in that declaration, and Shouto is far too exhausted to even try. He hopes Katsuki will attribute the flush on his skin to his almost-fever, but the way Katsuki looks at him and laughs tells him it’s in vain.

“We’ve been married for five years, and you still get fucking weird over the dumbest shit.”

“I’m not the one who nearly combusts whenever our sex life is brought up with our friends.”

“That’s fucking different and you know it.”

Katsuki’s hand runs through his hair again, gentle enough to ache and Shouto can’t stop his eyes drifting closed. “Go to sleep,” Katsuki says.

And Shouto does. The house is quiet, and his husband is there, and he thinks he’d be hard pressed to find a single time in his life where he’s felt this happy or safe.

.

In the days following, the house is unusually well behaved. There’s no blood on any walls, and when Shouto climbs out of the shower there’s nothing waiting for him on the mirror but steam. The kitchen cabinets to do not bang, and their dining room chairs keep all four feet firmly on the ground.

It’s enough to be eerie. Shouto feels like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop, but as the week goes on nothing is even slightly amiss. It’s like he’s living in a normal, regular house where one might expect things to stay where they leave them.

Recovery Girl makes a house call three days after Shouto’s fall off the building, and by Friday Shouto can walk completely unassisted, and is more than ready to go back to work. Spending his days sitting in the living room with nothing but a dog-eared book for company has been slowly driving him insane.

He should be happy, he thinks. He’s got his house back, doesn’t have to worry about tripping over unexpected objects on the stairs, or trying to sleep through the endless banging in his kitchen during the night.

He doesn’t feel happy. He feels unsettled and restless.

He’s not the only one either, because by Saturday night the smugness has well and truly faded and Katsuki is just as jumpy as he is. The TV turns to the right channel on the first try, but Shouto has never felt less like watching their regular weekend gameshow in his life.

“Are you…” Shouto trails off, clears his throat and tries again. “Do you…?”

Katsuki sighs, rubbing a hand over his chin. “Yeah,” he says, sounding fantastically irritable. “Yeah, I do. I know.”

“This is good right?” Shouto says, and he doesn’t know who he’s trying to convince here.

“Yeah, of course it’s fucking good. I haven’t had to clean blood off the walls all goddamn week.”

“My alphabet soup hasn’t threatened me once,” Shouto says, trying to sound upbeat. “And the morning papers haven’t been torn to shreds and made into ransom notes either.”

“Good, that’s real good,” Katsuki says, just a touch too loudly.

They go silent. On the screen, their favourite contest wins the jackpot. Shouto can barely stand to look at it. He never thought he’d miss the television cutting in and out between the show and terrifying, ominous images, but here he is, mourning it keenly.

“This is so fucked up,” Katsuki says after a moment.

Shouto sighs. “Yeah, I know.”

.

On Sunday Shouto gets out of the shower to nothing but steam again. He feels lonelier than he thinks he should.

He grips the basin and stares into the mirror. After a moment he clears his throat. “Uh, hey. If you – if you’re listening, you should…”

Should what? He doesn’t know how to finish the sentence, doesn’t even really know who he’s talking to. He’s standing alone, naked in his bathroom, and speaking to his sour looking reflection. People have been committed for less, he thinks.

“You should know we’re not … mad at you or anything. So that’s – that’ something you should consider.”

Silence. Nothing but the dripping of the tap. Shouto doesn’t know why he expected anything less.

He goes about his morning, but he can’t help but feel a little foolish, and a lot empty.

.

On Monday Shouto comes home fully prepared for a miserable evening and instead finds his husband painting their hallway wall.

“Uh,” he says, lacking anything else. “Are we… redecorating now?”

He’d had a therapist once who said sometimes people dealt with stress by rearranging the environment around them. He wonders if this is what Katsuki’s doing, but he’s not dumb enough to ask.

“Shut up,” Katsuku mutters distractedly, wiping at his face with his free arm. There’s an almost manic glint in his eye. “I’m nearly done.”

Curious, Shouto trails closers. The nearly full tin of paint at Katsuki’s feet is a bright, bloody red, and now that he’s near enough to see he realizes that the brush Katsuki has is an art brush, not a painters brush. He’s not redecorating, Shouto realizes, he’s writing something.

“Alright,” Katsuki mutters, and he drops the paintbrush back in the tin, uncaring of the way it splashes onto their floorboards and makes Shouto wince. “Are you fucking listening, you asshole of a goddamn fucking house?”

Dead silence. Shouto holds his breath.

“I’m talking to you!” Katsuki hollers.

More silence and then, after a very long moment, a creak so faint it’s almost inaudible. Shouto breathes out before he can stop himself. It’s almost a relief, he thinks, because the past couple of days have been driving him crazy, and he’d been half convinced the both of them had just imagined the whole thing from the start.

“Alright, pay attention because I’m only going through this once,” Katsuki says, jabbing at the wall he’s desecrated. “This right here is a contract, and you’re going to fucking sign it.”

On the wall is a neat, bullet-pointed list, and at the top it reads, in Katsuki’s surprisingly neat handwriting, HOUSE RULES.

“Rule number one; on week nights you’ve gotta let us fucking sleep. In our line of work, exhaustion leads to death, and I promise you, if either of us die the surviving one is going to make life - existence, whatever - for you absolutely miserable. Understood?”

A door somewhere upstairs slams. Katsuki looks pleased. Shouto feels strangely overwhelmed.

“Rule number two; if you fucking hurt either of us again, I’m going to turn you into rubble.” A small collection of explosions goes off in Katsuki’s palms. “I’ll forgive you the broken arm out of the generosity of my heart, but if you so much as bruise either of us again, you’ll regret it.”

Quiet. Not a noise other than the fizzling in Katsuki’s palms. Shouto feels tense enough to snap, and, before he can overthink it, he snaps, “He asked you a question. Do you understand?

The floorboards under their feet squeak. Katsuki turns and gives Shouto a surprised look and Shouto shrugs. It’s his house too, and he’s long used to following Katsuki’s instincts. He doesn’t see why this should be any different. If he trusts his husband to watch his back out on the battlefield and to wear his ring on his finger, then surely Shouto can trust him with this too.

Katsuki’s expression morphs from surprise to a burning sort of affection that Shouto is intimately familiar with. The look in his eyes alone is enough to make Shouto’s skin feel tight and his bones too hot. Shouto tears his gaze away and clears his throat. “What’s next?”

Katsuki stares at him a moment longer, his teeth making an appearance in his grin, but when he speaks next his voice is clear and uncompromising. “Rule number three; you’ve got a damage budget of a hundred dollars a month. Use it fucking carefully, because whatever we have to replace is coming out of the money we planned to use to fix you up.”

Two thumps from upstairs, and Shouto doesn’t think he’s imagining how thoughtful that sounds.

“Is that it?” He asks, scanning Katsuki’s scrawled rules.

“Unless you got something to add.”

Shouto thinks about it for a second and then nods, stepping forward and plucking the paintbrush from the tin. He manages to cram one last rule in at the bottom, between where Katsuki’s had ended and where the space for a signature comes.

Katsuki watches him paint and then makes an agreeable noise. “Good call.”

Shouto steps back, gently placing the brush in the tin. “Rule four; stay out of our bedroom,” Shouto says. “Whatever pranks you’ve got planned we can take, but if you interrupt me when I’m going down on my husband again, I’m really not going to be happy.” He pauses to make sure the house has heard him before he adds, “And if you think Katsuki is the scary one, it’s only because you haven’t seen how quickly my fire can gut a house yet.”

The whole house seems to shiver. Shouto suddenly understands why Katsuki was so smug before. There’s something powerful in this, he thinks.

“Is that agreeable?” Shouto asks. “Are you amenable to our terms?”

Shouto’s not entirely sure how he expects it to answer him, seeing as how it’s a vaguely sentient house, but he thinks he really should have expected the total black out as their lights hiss and then flicker off. His heart skips a beat but he tries to keep calm. He reaches out, fumbling in the darkness, and Katsuki’s hand meets his halfway.

It’s fine, Shouto thinks. If it was going to kill us it would have done it already.

It’s not as comforting as he would like it to be.

There’s a wet sounding noise that he can’t place, and then the lights come back on all at once. It takes his eyes a second to adjust, but when they do he finds himself staring at a bloody handprint, right on the line Katsuki had left for signatures. It’s still oozing a bit, and Shouto despairs for the state of their floorboards by the time this is said and done.

“I think,” Katsuki says, “that it sounds like we have ourselves a deal.”

His grin is a sharp vicious thing, and he holds up the hand not attached to Shouto’s. “Seems only fair that we sign it too, hey?”

“This is going to destroy our property values,” Shouto sighs, but he steps forward, and his left hand bursts into flame. “If you blow up the contract because you lack control, I’m not going to do this again.”

“God, shut your fucking mouth, I know what I’m doing.”

As one, they press their hands to the wall either side of the house’s mark. Bakugou’s explosions are muted but no less terrifying, and Shouto can hear the hiss of the paint on the walls melting beneath their touch. It lasts all of a second, and when they pull back it’s like some truly morbid modern art; a horror movie handprint in blood, one burned into the wood behind the paint and still smouldering at the fingertips, and a third a scorched, shallow hole only in the vague impression of a palm.

The lights flicker but don’t go out, and the house gives one of its impressively loud groans that both sounds and feels like an earthquake.

The contract is sealed, Shouto thinks, and it’s only semi-hysterically.

“Man,” Katsuki says, “Deku is going to shit a fucking brick.”

.

The group comes over for their first movie night three days later. It goes about as well as Shouto had anticipated it would, which is to say hilariously.

“What the fuck,” Kaminari says in the voice of somebody who has grown up on B-grade horror, “is that on your wall?”

“Hmm? Oh, that’s just the house rules,” Katsuki says, setting the tray of drinks down on the living room table. “You don’t need to worry about it, it doesn’t apply to you.”

“You told me you got rid of the ghost!” Midoriya says, looking pale enough that his freckles pop.

“We did,” Shouto agrees, sitting down beside his husband and picking up a glass. “And then we got it back.”

“Oh,” Uraraka says, rolling with it easily. “I suppose the asking price of the house makes sense now.” She thinks for a moment and then laughs, giving Katsuki a sunny smile. “I do remember you saying that you thought there was something wrong with it.”

Thank you,” Katsuki says empathetically. He shoots Shouto a look that’s sharp enough to cut. “At least somebody listens to me.”

“Wait, you guys have a ghost and you didn’t tell me?” Jirou looks more offended than angry, which Shouto supposes is fair.

“It’s been a busy month,” he says.

“Wait, wait - you got it back? But - why?

Katsuki shrugs. “Why not?” He says, which seems to be his strategy regarding life in general. “It’s like a pet. A cat or some shit.”

“Kacchan, there is no universe in which a ghost is the same as cat.”

Shouto’s not so sure. From what he’s heard, cats are restless and needy housemates who push things off tables for attention. As far as he can tell, it rather suits his house to a T.

“So this is why you’ve been so frazzled at work,” Yaoyorozu says. “And here I was thinking you were just having marital issues.”

“Oi,” Katsuki snarls, snapping his fingers at her. “You watch your mouth, I’m a great husband.”

“Most of the time,” Shouto agrees. “Except when you piss of our house and it cuts off our hot water, and you spend so long fighting with the gas company that I wind up having to go to work without a shower.” He sips peacefully at his tea.

“Come on, that was just that one fucking night and -.”

“How about,” Iida says loudly, in the voice of somebody long used to playing peacekeeper, “we pick a movie to watch?” He holds up a DVD hopefully.

“I’d rather talk about the haunted house,” Tokoyami says from somewhere behind Shouto’s shoulder, and he doesn’t jump but it’s a very near thing.

“I don’t know about this guys,” Kaminari says nervously. “How do we know it’s not going to, like, eat us or something?”

“It wouldn’t do that,” Shouto assures him. “It’s against the house rules.”

“Oh, well in that case -.”

“If you’re going to be an ungracious guest, you can go sit on the fucking porch or something.”

“Hey, it’s a reasonable concern! How do I know your house isn’t haunted by a complete psychopath and -.”

The lights cut out and the television turns on, flooding the room with the crackling of white noise. There’s a creaking from upstairs, and then a loud bang from the kitchen. Somebody squeals, and Shouto would put money on it being Kaminari.

The lights come back on. For a second the room sits in silence.

Nice,” Jirou says, voice thick with admiration.

Behind them, Tokoyami makes an appreciative rumble.

Somewhere down near their feet, Shouto thinks he hears Mineta crying.

“I think you upset it, Denki,” Kirishima says, giving Kaminari a comforting pat on the shoulder. “Maybe try not to be an asshole and it’ll warm to you?”

Shouto sighs and turns to look at his husband. Katsuki looks like all his birthdays have come at once. “You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”

Katsuki turns his head just slightly to smile at him. It’s not a nice smile, but then again Shouto did not fall in love with a particularly nice man. A hand squeezes his knee, palm worn and rough and matching the hole in their hallway wall. “I think we deserve a bit of entertainment,” Katsuki says. “Don’t you?”

Shouto thinks about that for a second. Yes, he decides. For once, he can wholeheartedly say he well and truly agrees with his husband.

“Yeah,” Shouto says, reaching down and plucking up Katsuki’s hand, folding it with his own. “I think you’re probably right.”

Around them their friends continue to argue, and the house rumbles and creaks. Katsuki’s palm feels real warm against his own, fingers curling thoughtlessly together.

Shouto smiles.

It’s nice, he thinks, to finally be home.