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New To Both Of Us

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Bakugou is reasonably certain this is going to be the worst mistake of his entire life. He’s a pro hero. He doesn’t have time to look after a pet. Sure, most pets are pretty self sufficient. In fact, even some of his colleagues are pets. All Might, the greatest hero ever, is a pet. And yes, Bakugou does go a little stir crazy when he’s alone in his apartment. And at his level of skill and expertise he’s only called into the field for the toughest of villains, the kind that don’t show up very often, so it would be better than staying around at the office doing paperwork.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to buy a pet. He’s just looking around.

On his day off, he heads down to the local shelter, because Kouda would probably stab him if he tried to go anywhere else. It’s clean and well kept, but it still has a depressing air to it, since most of the pets here are either abandoned, troublemakers, or both.

“What kind of pet were you looking for?”

Bakugou shoves his hands into his pockets and glares at the middle aged man running the place. “Fuck off. I’m just looking.”

“Well, let me know if you change your mind,” the man says calmly.

Each pet is kept in a small room, two or three pets to a room. It’s a necessary precaution, since pets don’t do too well on their own. Most of the pets are talking amongst themselves or sleeping, but there’s one that catches Bakugou’s eye.

A small green rabbit sits in the corner of his room. He’s nibbling on his own shirt as he pores through some books. Given the stack of books surrounding him, he probably stole them from other pets. The rabbit glances up, his bright green eyes locking on Bakugou’s for just a moment. Immediately, the rabbit starts trembling.

Bakugou sighs. He knows he’s not exactly the cuddliest guy around, but he didn’t think he was that scary. “Hey fuckface,” he calls over his shoulder. The rabbit drops his books with a squeak.

“I have a name, you know,” the shelter owner says. Bakugou doesn’t pay attention to what it is.

“What’s the deal with the green rabbit?”

Fuckface gets out his tablet and taps on it for a moment. “Name’s listed as Deku. Twenty-five years old. No quirk on record. Three past owners. Last one surrendered him to us a few weeks ago. Got bored with him. Apparently, he has some issues with his temperament, but he’s pretty docile if you just give him some books.”

Bakugou looks back at the rabbit. He hasn’t gone back to his books, instead starting at Bakugou. Deku’s eyes are keen and sharp, but his body is soft, delicate. Probably couldn’t take very many hits but Bakugou has Kirishima if he needs a sparring partner. What Bakugou doesn’t have is someone he doesn’t have to be tough for. Fuck. He’s getting sappy already. Goddamnit.

“Any health issues I should know about?” he asks. He isn’t considering buying Deku or anything. He’s just curious.

“Some scarring, but nothing disfiguring or disabling. Up to date on all his vaccinations. Not very verbal, a bit anxious, nothing major.”

Right. Bakugou stares into those wells of emerald for a moment longer. Wells of emerald. Hasn’t even properly met the guy and he’s already calling his eyes fucking wells of emerald. Shit. Fuck. “I’ll take him.”

”Hey, fucking pick up you bitch!”

Yaoyorozu tiredly lifts the phone to her ear. “Nice to hear from you too, Bakugou. What do you want?”

She strokes Kyoka’s hair as the bat nuzzles her stomach. Hanta and Mina wrestle playfully on the floor while Shoto watches from the windowsill, his tail wrapped around his feet. He’s not very social, but he’s warmed up a lot in the year she’s had him.

”I bought a pet and I don’t know what to do with him. You’ve got a ton of pets, so-”

Yaoyorozu cuts him off. “And you didn’t call Kouda because?”

”He’s busy. And he doesn’t answer his phone anyway.”

“Okay,” Yaoyorozu sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. Shoto immediately darts over to put his right hand on her forehead as an ice pack. It’s unnecessary, but she appreciates the gesture. “Knowing you, I assume you took him home already?”

”What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

He didn’t deny it. “Where is he now?”

”Hiding in the closet, I think. He fucked off as soon as I opened his crate.”

Kyoka’s eye opens and she stares at Shoto. Shoto blushes. Yaoyorozu puts a comforting hand on his arm.

“Alright. Here’s what you’re gonna need to do.”

The closet is clean, which is already an improvement over Deku’s last master. Deku is trying to think positively. He’s not doing a very good job of it. Deku hasn’t even been in the house an hour and already his master is yelling and screaming and oh god are those explosions? Deku isn’t exactly hiding very well, but he has a couple days before his master comes after him, hopefully. Everyone knows it takes a pet a couple days to get settled in. Deku’s not completely fucked until the end of the week.

He curls up in a ball and tries to control his breathing. His panic is entirely instinctive. His master hasn’t even done anything to him other than be loud. But he didn’t even realize he was back for sale yet and now he’s in a new place with a new master and he’s terrified.

His ears twitch as the explosions quiet down, trying to hear if his master is going to approach. His master stomps around the house, but doesn’t go near the closet. The door opens and more people enter, talking too quickly and over each other and Deku can’t follow what they’re saying. To his surprise, he smells some pets among them. Two alphas and two omegas, all with the scent of the same home on them. Who has four pets? That’s a lot of pets for once person.

Eventually, the intruders leave and it’s just Deku and his master in the house. There’s a pounding at the closet door and Deku presses himself against the back wall, light headed in fear.

“Got some shit for you,” his master growls. “Heard you’d be fucking scared or some shit for a while. I’m not gonna fucking hurt you. Just-” another growl. “There’s food in the dining room. Green plate’s yours. Got you a nest or whatever in the living room. Um, what else? Ground rules. Right. Don’t leave the house. Don’t break my shit. Don’t attack anyone. Take care of your basic needs. Food and water and bathroom and that stuff. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else, but I won’t punish you for breaking rules you don’t know about.”

There’s a thick, heavy pause while Deku tries to work up the courage to reply.

His master huffs. “Whatever. I’m heading out.” The footsteps retreat.

Deku is crying already. Thankfully, this is the closet where his master keeps the spare sheets. He wraps himself up in a comforter and sobs softly. It’s not until he’s spitting feathers out of his mouth that he he realizes he chewed a hole right through his master’s down pillow.

“Sooooo, I heard someone got a pet.”

“Fuck off, Shitty Hair,” Bakugou says with no real heat.

Kirishima just laughs and wraps his arm around Bakugou’s shoulder in a sideways hug. “Congrats, bro. They’re a treat to have around. What’s he look like?”

Bakugou takes a swig of his beer. It tastes like shit, but the bar is pretty quiet and discreet enough that he can drink without getting mobbed by civilians. “Fuck if I know. He’s been hiding since I got him home.”

Kirishima laughs and steals one of his fries, his skin hardening before Bakugou can blow him the fuck up. “Yeah, Denki didn’t leave his crate for like two days after I got him home. Kept hissing and sparking at me every time I got close.”

Bakugou raises an eyebrow. “Stop bullshitting me.”

“I’m not!” Kirishima insists. “Here, I got pictures!”

He does. He has a lot of pictures. He scrolls through selfies with Denki, pictures of Denki playing with toys, sexy nudes of Denki, candid photos of him napping with Denki, a couple videos of Denki trying to braid his hair. “Hold on, I know they’re in here somewhere. Aha!”

Kirishima shoves his phone into Bakugou’s face. Bakugou grabs it and holds it a reasonable distance away. Sure enough, there’s a picture of Denki in a carrier, his little claws batting at Kirishima’s hardened arm. There’s also a blurry picture of Kirishima getting electrocuted. Bakugou texts that one to himself.

“Okay, so Denki took a while to warm up to you. So what? Wasn’t fucking asking you for advice.”

“I was just saying, if you want me and Denki to swing by your place-”

“I’d rather die.”

“-and let them hang out for a little while, it might help your pet relax sooner.”

“Or maybe putting my brand new rabbit in a room with a hyperactive electric cat will be a bit stressful for him,” Bakugou shoots back.

“Ohhhh, you got a rabbit? Wow, I thought you’d get like a pit bull or something. You know, a gentle, family pet. Rabbits are super skittish.”

“I’ve noticed.”

“You can ask for help if you need it, bro. I’m here for you.”

Bakugou rolls his eyes. “Anything interesting happen at work?”

“Nope!” Kirishima pops the p. “No reason for you to come into work at all. So go home and take care of that rabbit, okay?”

Bakugou leaves Kirishima with the bill and walks home. It would be faster to take an Uber or something, but Yaoyorozu had advised giving Deku time to explore the house on his own. When he gets back to the house, it’s just as still as ever, but the green plate is missing.

The closet door is opened a little bit. He peeks in curiously and sees the hole chewed in the pillow. He sighs. He can let this one slide, assume Deku chewed a hole in it before he was told not to and just never ask. Hopefully, this won’t become a pattern.

Once Deku’s tears have dried and he’s sure the house is empty, he slowly opens the door and crawls out. He didn’t notice too much about the house on his way in, but he knows something’s changed. There’s a nest in the living room. He knows for a fact he didn’t see a nest when he first came in. He’d been crying about it.

He knows his master bought him on a whim, wasn’t set up for him at all, but in just the past couple hours, that’s changed. He creeps towards the nest, poking it carefully to ensure it’s not a trap.

It’s smaller than ideal, but bigger than some of the ones he’s had before. There’s room for him to store his things. The clothes his old master dropped off with him are folded neatly in one corner and his small handful books are in another. There’s even a little booklight so he can read inside his nest.

He smiles, ears twitching. The sight of the nest lets him calm down enough to realize he’s hungry. He grabs the food and brings it back to his nest. Before long, his belly is full and he’s curled up in his nest with a book.

He lets himself enjoy this. Might as well savor the few good days he has before his master realizes he’s broken and throws him away. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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The nibbling becomes a pattern. Bakugou can deal with the spare pillows and blankets getting chewed up. He runs so hot that he barely uses them at all. His work papers are a different matter. He hates paperwork enough without having to redo it every fucking time. He leaves it out for two seconds and it gets chewed to pieces. And he still never sees the fucking culprit. He’s never gotten more than the occasional glimpse of green fur to let him know that Deku hasn’t run away.

The third day, Bakugou gets home early to find Deku in the kitchen with a bag of chips in his hand. Deku freezes, his ears flattening to his scalp and his nose twitching frantically. Where Bakugou is standing, Deku would have to get closer to him to get to his nest and there’s no good way around.

“I’m not gonna hurt you,” Bakugou sighs. “Just hold still.”

He steps closer to the bunny. Deku holds still. His eyes fill with tears and he trembles, but he holds still.

Bakugou stares at him for a moment. He wants to show Deku that he isn’t gonna hurt him, but scaring the shit out of him isn’t exactly a great way to do that. “Fuck. Nevermind. Do whatever.”

Deku still doesn’t move. The blood is drained from his face, leaving him so pale that Bakugou is amazed he hasn’t passed out.

Bakugou breaks eye contact. “I’m not gonna hurt you,” he repeats and walks into his room. He closes the door and hears Deku scramble away. He curses, his hands popping with small explosions. This isn’t going well.

After four whole days of Deku cowering away from him, Bakugou figures that the bunny probably isn’t going to be settling in quickly. He asks Uraraka to talk with him after work for a few minutes. Uraraka has been one of his most trusted allies for years and she’s the only one of his graduating class who brought a pet with her to UA.

“What do you need?” Uraraka asks as she finishes up her paperwork for the day.

“I wanna know how you keep Tenya so calm. He’s really anxious, isn’t he?” Bakugou leans against her cubicle, staring down at her.

Uraraka takes a sip of her tea. “Anxious isn’t the right word, really. He just gets overstimulated sometimes, so I’ll float him for a while.”

“Where is he now?”

Uraraka points up. Tenya is floating a few inches below the ceiling, still in his armor. He’s got his eyes closed and earbuds in. “This way, he doesn’t have to be touching anything unpleasant for a while. It helps him keep his mind straight,” Uraraka explains.

“How long did it take you to figure that out?”

“Oh, we’ve been doing this from the start. Why do you ask?”

Bakugou loathes asking for help, but the only possible witness is currently floating above them, listening to music. “My pet. Deku. He’s pretty fucking terrified of me. Haven’t done anything to him. I tried to pet him once and he started crying so I let him go. How do I make him calm down?”

“Well, what have you been doing to make him more comfortable?”

“Got him a nest,” Bakugou offers.

“What have you done besides the bare minimum?”

“Fuck you.”

“You’re welcome.”

This is why they’re friends. Bakugou flips her off and storms out to figure out what his bunny likes.

By the fourth day, Deku is expecting to be taken back to the store at any moment. He had tried so, so hard, but he couldn’t even makes his master want him long enough to pet him. He forces himself to stay out of the nest as much as he can, but every time he hears his master coming, he still darts away to hide. His master is big and loud and blows things up and he’s terrified.

The fact that his master doesn’t try to hurt him almost makes things worse. It means that for all the screaming and exploding, his master is patient. He doesn’t want to know what will happen when he reaches the end of his master’s patience. All he knows is that it will probably hurt.

The morning of the fifth day, his master actually approaches the nest. Deku presses himself against the back wall, panting in fear.

“Look,” his master says. “I’m not gonna fucking hurt you, but I don’t think you’ll believe me anyway, so… I got you some shit. It’s in a package on the counter. It’s yours. Do whatever the fuck you want with it. Try to stop nibbling all my shit.” He snarls in frustration and Deku bites back a whimper. “I’m not expecting you to calm down any time soon. Just. Enjoy your presents. Or don’t. I don’t give a shit. I’m heading out.”

Deku is confused. He doesn’t know what to make of this. He waits a couple hours like usual before finally slipping out of his nest. Sure enough, there’s a package waiting for him on the counter. He opens it with trembling hands.

Inside are a chewable necklace and a fluffy pink pillow. Both brand new. Both for him.

Deku just stares in awe for a second. Then he nibbles experimentally at the necklace. It’s not as satisfying as fabric or paper, but it shouldn’t get him into the loop of nibbling Master’s things because he’s nervous and then getting nervous because he’s nibbling Master’s things. He clutches the pillow close. It’s soft and firm and cozy and before long it’s damp with tears. Deku wraps himself around it, chewing on the necklace.

As happy as he is, the anxiety doesn’t really go away at all. He should be doing more for his master, but he can’t. He doesn’t want to be ungrateful. Master is just buying him more things, trying harder to make him happy. Maybe Master won’t give him up, but maybe Master will just be angrier when he finally does.

He clings to the pillow to try and cope with his fear of the person who gave it to him.

Bakugou doesn’t see Deku again until a week later. This time, it’s entirely by accident. He’s watching TV on the couch when he remembers he left a load of laundry in the washing machine. When he goes to get it out, he sees Deku in the laundry room, putting his clothes in the dryer. The little rabbit is humming to himself, ears twitching.

“Deku?” Bakugou asks.

He might as well have electrocuted him. Deku’s ears flatten to his skull, he goes tense with a whimper. His eyes dart to Bakugou standing in the doorway and he slowly backs away, hands up to defend himself. When his back hits the wall, he sinks to the floor with a low moan.

Bakugou stares at him. “Hey, it’s okay. I’m leaving. I’m leaving,” he promises, backing out slowly. He gets a good distance away, but he can still see into the laundry room.

Deku hurries out of his corner. He quickly finishes loading Bakugou’s clothes into the dryer before he finally flees. It’s the longest he’s ever tolerated Bakugou’s eyes on him.

Once Deku is gone, Bakugou heads into the laundry room. Deku put it on the wrong setting, but Bakugou just fixes it. He looks over at Deku’s nest, shaking his head in bemusement. He doesn’t know what to make of this little encounter.

The next morning at work, he pulls Tenya aside.

“Is this about your new pet?” Tenya asks. “My mistress mentioned him to me.”

Bakugou appreciates Tenya’s bluntness. “He did my laundry without being asked and panicked when I caught him doing it. Seemed like something you would do so what the fuck is up with it?”

The greyhound’s tail wags and his hands flail as he replies. “He simply needs some tasks to keep his mind occupied! Being left with nothing to do all day just lets him sit in his anxieties! Pets need to feel useful to feel valued! Mistress always has chores for me to do when I need to relax! It doesn’t need to be too strenuous, but we can feel like burdens if we can’t do anything for our owners!”

Bakugou nods. He finds it hard to believe that Tenya would ever feel like a burden on Uraraka given that it was his family’s money that made sure she could afford UA, but he’s not a pet. “Thanks. How’s your new sidekick?”

Tenya grimaces. “She’s-”

“You don’t have to be polite to me.”

“She’s struggles to adjust to the idea of working under a pet,” Tenya says cooly. It’s the closest to rude that he can get.

Bakugou raises an eyebrow. “Enough to be a liability on the field?”

“No. I will alert you if that changes.”

“Good. Make sure you do.” His first couple years at UA, Bakugou had thought Shouta-sensei was a bit over sensitive for expelling any student who didn’t respect the pets in the class. Now that he’s had to try and make heroes from other programs work with his pet colleagues, he understands a lot better.

“If anyone tries to make you fetch, you have my permission to fire them on the spot!” he calls over his shoulder as he heads home.

Master didn’t seem upset about the laundry. That’s a good sign. What isn’t a good sign is when Master gets home and heads straight for Deku’s nest.

“I want to see you while I’m talking to you,” Master says. “I’ll be on the couch.”

The couch isn’t too far from the nest. Deku is at least comfortable enough that he doesn’t cry when he’s in the nest and Master’s on the couch. He’s making some progress. He doesn’t know if he’s made enough progress to be able to endure Master looking at him for so long.

Still, he can’t disobey a direct order. He waits until the footsteps die down and then crawls out of his nest, sitting just outside it. He has the necklace in his mouth and his arms wrapped around the pillow. They help ease the anxiety just the tiniest bit.

True to his word, Master is on the couch. His explosive hands are in his lap and he’s a safe distance away. Deku relaxes just the tiniest bit.

“Thanks for doing my laundry,” Master says. There’s a growl to it, but it looks more like gruffness than anger now that Deku can see his face. “I wanted to give you some time to settle in before I gave you too many responsibilities, but I asked around, and people seem to think responsibilities will help you settle in faster.”

So it wasn’t a guilt trip, then. Master just didn’t know how to make Deku useful. He nibbles harder and nods.

“Okay. Don’t push yourself to get near me if you’re not ready. For now, I want you to do my laundry and keep the house clean. I’ll let you know if I need anything else done, okay?”

Deku nods again, the barest hint of a smile working its way onto his face.

His master looks him over. “Alright. That’s all I needed. You can go.”

Deku darts back into his nest, curling up with his pillow. His ears relax. He doesn’t feel safe, but the looming terror lifts enough for him to breathe.

Very little changes over the next month. Bakugou stops worrying about laundry, which is nice. At least one a week, he gets home to find his clothes clean and folded in the drawers. It takes him a little while to adjust to having his clothes be where they’re supposed to be, but he’s nothing if not adaptive.

As the days wear on, he gets a shadow. While it’s rare for him to every see the bunny, he hears soft footsteps in the corners of the room and by doorways. Sometimes, he catches a glimpse of a fluffy green tail as Deku darts away. Once, he makes eye contact. After that, he doesn’t hear Deku for another couple days.

Bakugou isn’t a patient person by nature, but it’s becoming obvious to him that Deku is trying as hard as he can. He doesn’t want to scare Deku and lose what tiny amount of progress they’ve made. He starts knocking before he enters rooms, moving slowly around his house, giving Deku time to get away from him. The careful dance around each other settles into a rhythm and Bakugou finds that he doesn’t mind waiting for Deku to make the next move.

Then, two months after Deku first comes home with him, Bakugou opens his bedroom door to find the bunny chained to his bed, eyes wide with terror.

Bakugou gapes at him. Tears well in Deku’s bright green eyes as he struggles feebly, but he doesn’t break eye contact. If anything, he’s straining towards Bakugou instead of away. Bakugou’s first thought is that a villain got in somehow, but none of the alarms are tripped and a villain would probably have just stolen Deku.

No, there’s only one possible explanation. His fucking pet has cuffed himself to the bed.

“Deku, what the fuck?”

Chapter Text

Bakugou can only stare as Deku whimpers and pulls at the chains. It takes him a moment to recognize where they’re from. Deku had needed to be cuffed when he first moved in to prevent him from running during transport. Bakugou had just put the cuffs in the closet and forgotten about them, but obviously Deku didn’t. The key to the cuffs lies on the floor between them.

“Did you do this?” Bakugou asks, trying to keep his voice level.

Deku’s mouth opens, but all that comes out is a small squeak. He spreads his legs in a way that would be alluring if not for the obvious terror in every line of his body.

Bakugou sighs. “You don’t-you don’t have to… I’m not gonna…”

The tears in Deku’s eyes finally spill over, glistening as they run down his face. Bakugou is frozen. Something pushed Deku to this, but he has no idea what it was. Bakugou knows a desperate last resort when he sees one. Either way, he doesn’t want to unchain Deku until he knows what’s going on in case that makes things worse.

“I’ll be right back. Don’t-don’t go anywhere.” He cringes internally as he steps out of his room and carefully shuts the door behind him.

His first instinct is to call someone. Kouda or Yaoyorozu, probably. But he’s worked up enough that he knows he’ll start screaming as soon as he does and he doesn’t want to spook his pet. Not to mention Kouda hates talking on the phone so Yaoyorozu is really his only option.

He pauses, examines that thought. Kirishima and Tenya are two of his closest colleagues, while Yaoyorozu is someone he just happens to know from school. So why did his mind turn to her first? Why did he lump her in with Kouda? What’s the common thread. Yaoyorozu’s a world class hero and Kouda’s a D-lister who only keeps his hero license so he can freely use his quirk to help… Shouto’s scar flashes in Bakugou’s mind.

Abused pets. Kouda and Yaoyorozu both have experience with abused pets.

He sits down heavily on the couch, running a frustrated hand through his hair. Of course! Deku is too scared, has been for too long for it to be anything other than trauma. He thinks back to the day he bought Deku, what the shelter owner had told him. Three past owners. Last one got bored with him.

Bakugou may not know too much about pets, but he remembers when Uraraka offered to let Tenya go home to visit his family without her after his brother was crippled. Bakugou had never seen Tenya be so clingy before and he hasn’t seen it since. And that was just the thought of being away from his mistress for a week.

An owner who surrenders a pet out of boredom is an owner who should never have had a pet in the first place. And that sort of owner could easily be the reason why the shelter owner had felt the need to specify that Deku wasn’t disfigured or disabled.

Bakugou grimaces, kicking himself mentally. It took him two fucking months for him to realize he was dealing with an abused pet. It explains a lot. The fear, the fleeing, the inability to speak. It doesn’t explain why Deku chained himself to the bed though.

Luckily, Bakugou knows where to start looking now. A quick perusal of pet advocacy websites reveals the answer.

Touch starvation.

It can happen in humans too, but pets need the contact from either their masters or other pets. Without regular touch, pets get depressed, panicky, fearful. From what Bakugou can tell, they basically turn into Deku. They turn into what Deku was like before he went two months without being touched.

No wonder the bunny got desperate.

When Bakugou finally reenters, his pet is looking even more pale than before. Bakugou keeps his distance. With Deku sandwiched between the bed and the nightstand, there’s no way for Bakugou to get close without caging him in.

“I need to communicate with you,” Bakugou says, keeping his voice as soft and level as possible. “Can you nod and shake your head if I ask you questions?”

Deku nods immediately.

“Okay, okay, that’s good. Are you okay?”

Deku nods again.

Bakugou clicks his teeth. “I need you to be honest with me.” He tries not to make his anger at himself too obvious in his tone, knowing it will just scare Deku, but Deku flinches anyway. “I’ll ask you again. Are you okay?”

Tearfully, Deku shakes his head.

Bakugou lets out a slow breath. “Thank you for being honest with me. Do you want me to touch you?”

Deku whimpers and shakes his head.

That wasn’t what Bakugou expected. He realizes his mistake a moment later. “Do you need me to touch you?”

Deku nods as hard as he can.

Bakugou takes a step closer. “Here’s what we’re gonna do,” he decides. “I’m gonna sit down right next to you and I’m gonna put my hand on your leg. Just one. And then I’m gonna stay there for at least five minutes to make sure you have a chance to settle, but after that, you’re gonna let me know as soon as you need me to stop. Got it?”

When Deku nods, Bakugou does exactly what he said he’d do. He places one hand on Deku’s thigh where his skin gives way to soft green fur. Deku whines in fear, his nose twitching frantically. He writhes like he’s trying to escape, but his leg presses back against Bakugou’s hand. He stops moving before Bakugou can pull his hand away, not calming down per se, but not blindly panicking either

Despite the circumstances, Bakugou is elated at finally getting to touch his bunny. His skin and fur are both soft and smooth. Bakugou wonders if his hair is just as soft, but he doesn’t try to find out. Instead, he just rubs Deku’s leg gently.

“Look at you,” he murmurs, barely even registering that he’s speaking out loud. “So beautiful. So brave.”

Deku has settled by the five minute mark. Bakugou hesitates to call it relaxation, but Deku doesn’t look like he’s so tense that he’s in danger of hurting himself anymore. It’s progress.

Bakugou focuses on the feeling of Deku’s body under his hand to remind himself why he’s fighting so hard to keep the anger off his face. How could someone have done this to such a sweet looking pet? It pisses him off.

After about an hour, Deku starts squirming again.

“You want me to let you go now?” Bakugou asks, retrieving the key when Deku nods. He sways when he stands, lightheaded from staying in one position for so long. When the chains come off, he steps to the side so he doesn’t block Deku’s path to the door. “Is that okay? Are you better?”

Deku scrambles away as fast as he can, but he pauses on the threshold to nod one last time before disappearing entirely.

Bakugou watches him go. Once Deku is out of sight, he flops down onto his bed face first and screams into his pillow. It doesn’t help much. He pulls out his phone to see a slew of messages from Kirishima, starting casual but drifting towards worried as time goes by without Bakugou responding. Bakugou nearly sends him a quick “fuck off” to let him know he’s okay, but at the last minute, he calls Kirishima instead.

“Dude, please tell me you’re not dying or something,” Kirishima says dryly.

“Fuck off, I’m fine. I’ve called you before.”

“Yeah. Because you were dying.”

Kirishima’s not wrong. The last time Bakugou called him first was after he refused to go to the hospital for injuries that turned out to be a lot more serious than he first thought. “I’m not dying this time, so shut the fuck up.”

“So did you call me just to tell me to shut the fuck up and fuck off or…?”

Bakugou groans. “Is there a way to surrender a pet to a shelter without traumatizing them? I’m pretty sure I’m not cut out to be an owner.”

Kirishima lets out a low hiss, or maybe that’s Denki eavesdropping again. “What happened?”

Bakugou tells him, finishing with “It took me two fucking months to realize that him living in sheer terror all the time wasn’t great for him. I really don’t think I’m the best person to take care of him. He should have an owner who won’t accidentally neglect him for months.”

“Hey, hey, don’t beat yourself up,” Kirishima chides. ”I’m not gonna say you didn’t fuck up, but you were trying to do what’s best for him.”

“Which I did by neglecting him for months.”

There’s a long pause before Kirishima replies. ”Well, if you find an owner number five who’s willing to give up the kind of investment you put into him just to make him more comfortable, you let me know. You’re the best chance he’s got.”

Bakugou hangs up. Fuck. Why does Kirishima have to be right about things? It’s unfair. Bakugou spends the next few hours doing the research he should have done months ago, but he still keeps an eye on shelters and wanted ads for pets. If Deku can chain himself to the bed to deal with his fear, he can deal with moving to an owner who can care for him properly. It’s a last resort, but Bakugou wants his options open. Just in case.

He falls asleep a lot later than usual, closer to eleven than his usual nine o’clock bedtime, so he’s surprised when he wakes up in the middle of the night. He’s always been a light sleeper, but he usually stays asleep. He cracks one eye open to see what’s going on in time to see Deku’s shadow fall across the floor as the bed dips behind him.

Bakugou keeps his breathing level. Whatever Deku is here for, it’s something he doesn’t have the courage to do while Bakugou’s awake. Over the next hour, Deku creeps closer and closer, flinching away every time Bakugou twitches. It’s a good thing that Bakugou isn’t actually asleep or he might have woken up violently when Deku’s hand finally comes to rest on his arm.

Deku’s hand is soft and warm like the rest of him, but trembling and sweaty. He stays there for long enough that Bakugou almost falls asleep again.

A quiet voice, barely audible, fills the room. It’s the first time Bakugou’s ever heard it.

“I-I’m sorry,” Deku whispers. “I’m trying to be good, I promise. Please don’t leave me. I’ll do better.”

Bakugou swears internally. There’s no way in hell he can give Deku up now. He can’t break his pet’s heart like that. He’ll just have to be the best fucking owner ever. He smiles to himself.

He’s always liked a good challenge.

Chapter Text

Deku is more confused than he’s ever been in his entire life, but not really in a bad way. He’s curled up in his nest, hugging his pillow tightly and chewing the necklace his master gave him. It’s not as good to nibble on as cloth, but it’ll do. Over the past few weeks, he’d come to the conclusion that Master is annoyed by him. Master stayed away from Deku, which is a lot better than masters Deku’s had before, but being ignored like that still hurts.

But when Deku finally got desperate enough to get his master’s attention, Master didn’t get upset. Master touched him as much as he needed and no more than that. In Deku’s experience, masters just aren’t that considerate.

And then, after doing so much for Deku in exchange for almost nothing in return, Master still hasn’t given him up.

Deku has a small pad of paper and pen that he’s pretty sure Master hasn’t noticed his missing. He doesn’t write much down, just what he thinks he can get away with, but he’s been keeping a list of things he’s noticed about Master. He knows he’s anxious and paranoid, but as he reads through the list, he can start convincing himself that he’s safe.

The morning after Master touched him, Deku gathers his courage and steps out of his nest before he hears the front door close.

Master is in the kitchen, leaning against the counter, tapping away at his tablet. His back is facing Deku. Deku’s green plate sits on the edge of the dining room table. Deku could easily snatch it and rush back to his nest, but he doesn’t. He stands by the table so he can flee if he has to and stares at Master as he eats.

To his relief, Master seems distracted. He gives Deku a brief glance over his shoulder before going back to whatever he’s doing.

Deku can’t do much more than pick at his food with the anxiety roiling in his gut, but he manages to eat it eventually. The whole time, Master is still and quiet. Not a threat. Deku can feel the tears fill his eyes. His master cares about him.

He dashes up to Master and wraps his arms around his waist in a hug, bolting away before Master can react. When he gets to his nest, his heart is pounding and his whole body shakes, but he smiles.

Bakugou blinks in surprise. He’s just glad he’s been listening to Deku carefully. It could go very badly if his bunny manages to actually take him by surprise. He finishes placing his order and grabs his keys.

“Okay, Deku, I have to head to work. Will you be okay?”

A mass of green curls pokes out of the nest, nods quickly, and vanishes again.

Bakugou smiles fondly and heads to work. The office is unusually busy when he walks in and he ends up spending most of the day at his desk, trying to get his schedule for next month figured out. He only has time to go out on the streets for a couple hours and stopping muggings, while necessary, is pretty boring.

When he gets back, he’s surprised to see Deku outside his nest. Deku sits in the opening of his nest, poised to run back inside at a moment’s notice. Not wanting to spook the bunny, Bakugou just takes his shoes off and moves over to the couch to watch TV. It’s theoretically supposed to help him unwind after work, if he can find anything that doesn’t infuriate him.

He eventually finds himself getting sucked into a cooking show. The competition is pretty excessive and ridiculous, but the show itself is surprisingly engaging. It doesn’t give him any new ideas for his own recipes though and he can only take so much unnecessary screaming and sabotage. He’s about to write the whole thing off as a lost cause when he catches Deku’s reflection in the TV screen.

Sometime in the past couple hours, Deku has emerged from his nest to watch TV. Or at least, to be close to the TV. He’s staring at Bakugou over the back of the couch, but he’s close enough that Bakugou could just reach out and touch him. Bakugou pulls out his phone and takes a quick selfie. The picture is a bit blurry since the noise of the phone startled Deku, but Deku still recognizable in the background of the picture. Bakugou texts it to Kirishima with a feeling of quiet triumph. It’s progress.

He’s gonna have to do a lot more than let Deku get near him if he’s gonna be the world’s greatest master though. He dangles his arm over the back of the couch.

“Hey, Deku. I’m not getting up for a couple more hours. If you need to touch me, come take my hand. I won’t touch back unless you want me to.” There. That should be the happy medium between not letting Deku get touch starved and not traumatizing him by touching him.

Bakugou keeps his eyes on the TV as he hears Deku pad over. He feels Deku’s small hand rest against his and suppresses the urge to twitch. They sit like that until Bakugou can’t put up with the cooking channel any more and changes to a fashion show. The fashion show doesn’t make him any less frustrated, but he can at least take pictures of the particularly bad pieces and text them to Tokoyami. Tokoyami understands his pain.

And they dare to call themselves goth. Tokoyami texts, his frustration mounting with each picture Bakugou sends him. What utter imbeciles. Just putting on a black jacket does not a goth make. Where is the style? Where is the flair? Where is the true darkness of soul?

I know, right? Bakugou texts back.

I think it looks pretty good. Very classy.

“No one asked for your opinion, Dark Shadow,” Tokoyami spits as he opens the heavy curtains in his room. It’s late afternoon, but the sun is shining right through the window.

Dark Shadow flips him off and vanishes inside him.

Tokoyami sits cross legged on his bed as he texts Bakugou furiously about the state of the fashion world. He doesn’t even notice how late it’s getting until a knock on his door startles him out of a rant about eyeliner he was in the middle of texting. He accidentally sends it mid word. sry gtg yuugas calling he texts quickly.

“What is it?”

“Oh, monsieur, your repas is served,” Yuuga trills from outside the door.

Tokoyami’s heart sinks. Sure enough, when he emerges, the dinner table is set for two with romantic candle lighting, a deep crimson tablecloth, and two plates piled high with fancy cheese.

“I thought you ate already,” Tokoyami remarks, eyeing the cheese with no small amount of consternation. It’s not like he doesn’t have money, but he would rather not spend all his money on cheeses. He knows he didn’t give Yuuga permission to buy this much cheese.

“Oh hoh hoh!” Yuuga laughs. Tokoyami wonders if he practices it. “But of course! This meal isn’t for you and I, but for you and your darker half! A feast for both you and the monster lurking within. Indeed-” He throws his arms wide and twirls, his hooves clopping on the floor as he settles into a dramatic pose that might look genuinely menacing if not for the lightup plastic horn stuck to his forehead “-I have prepared a mad banquet of darkness.”

A rush of fondness overtakes Tokoyami, filling the cold black emptiness where his soul is supposed to be. “It’s a most excellent banquet, Yuuga, but I’m afraid that Dark Shadow subsists on the evil that lurks in each of our hearts, not on cheese. He doesn’t eat mortal food.”

Yuuga’s face falls and Tokoyami resigns himself to spending the next day in bright pastels and glitter until the horse feels better. Then, the realization dawns on him.

“Dark Shadow, did you give Yuuga my credit card?”

Dark Shadow’s physical form doesn’t manifest, but a fell voice rings through Tokoyami’s head. Not my fault you weren’t paying attention.

The next few days, Deku finds himself feeling hopeful for the first time that he can remember. He gets into the routine of holding Master’s hand for an hour or so after Master gets back from work. Once or twice, he has to run before he’s ready, but he’s getting the touch he needs and there’s no pain with it. The fear doesn’t abate, but it quiets down into something Deku can manage.

Finally, one morning after Master leaves for work, Deku finds a small box in the living room as he’s going about his chores. It has his name on it, engraved in gold lettering. Next to it is a small note that reads “Just in case you’re not sure or something, this is a gift for you, Deku. Open it as soon as you find it.”

Deku sits down on the floor and opens the box. As soon as he sees what’s inside, he bursts into tears.

Inside the box, nestled in soft blue velvet, is a collar. It’s pink with powder blue trim and a couple small bows. The tag is rose gold. One side has his name on it and the other side reads “Property of Katsuki Bakugou” along with his master’s contact information. Relief and joy mingle in Deku, swelling until he feels like he’ll burst from joy. He sobs so hard that it takes him twenty minutes to calm down enough to fasten the collar on. But it’s okay. He’s safe now.

Master is going to keep him.

The first and most important step in Bakugou’s plan to be the greatest master ever (after “stop neglecting your pet”, which doesn’t really count) is to get Deku a collar. He’s amazed it took him so long to figure it out. He’s never seen an uncollared pet outside of a store or shelter, not even on hero pets. All Might’s bright red collar is instantly recognizable, but even Shouta-sensei wears a thin black strip of leather, mostly hidden under his combat gear.

Tokoyami and Yuuga of all people are the greatest help in this mission. Tokoyami treats Bakugou to an hour long lecture about the role of the collar in goth fashion in the time before quirks and pets first emerged and how it was gradually phased out in favor of being pet-specific. Bakugou spends most of the time wondering when Tokoyami had a chance to learn centuries old fashion history in between their training and hero careers, but he tunes in long enough to catch Tokoyami explain how important a mark of ownership is to a pet as proof that they’re wanted.

Yuuga, on the other hand, helps point Bakugou in the right direction in terms of style. “Make him feel chéri. Cherished,” he clarifies before Bakugou can pull up a French to Japanese translator. Yuuga’s own collar is obviously a compromise between his style and his owner’s. It’s black, but an opalescent black that reflects the light into shifting colors. Exactly the sort of thing a self proclaimed unicorn would appreciate.

Bakugou is pretty sure the collar he picked won’t mean as much to Deku. Bakugou simply doesn’t know him well enough. But that’s okay. They can get a new collar later. In the meantime, he finds himself surprisingly nervous when he gets home from work on the day the package finally arrives.

When he opens the door, Deku is sitting on the floor by his nest, running his hands over the collar around his neck. He rushes up to hug Bakugou, nearly knocking him off his feet, and then darts right back to his nest.

Bakugou smiles. “I take it you like it?”

Deku nods over and over again. His ears slowly drift up into a relaxed position that Bakugou has never seen before. His mouth works silently for a few moments before he finally manages to get a single word across his lips, the first word he’s ever said to Bakugou that Bakugou was meant to hear.


Chapter Text

Bakugou can’t find his work shirt. This isn’t exactly unusual. He only has a couple work shirts and while he certainly isn’t sloppy or disorganized, it can be hard to figure out which black shirt is the one he needs out of his dozens of black shirts. Still, he has to get to work and he can’t go to work shirtless. After a fruitless twenty minutes or so of searching, he pokes his head out of his room.

“Hey, Deku? You awake?” he calls. They’ve been together for three months now and Bakugou feels confident that he can raise his voice a little bit, even if he hasn’t heard a single word from Deku since that one time two months ago.


Deku pokes his head out of his nest, looking almost criminally adorable. The bun’s green hair is messy and he blinks languidly in the early morning light. His arms are wrapped tight around his comfort pillow and he’s chewing lightly on a wad of fabric.

“Have you seen my work shirt?” Bakugou asks.

Deku’s whole face turns bright red and Bakugou realizes what’s in his mouth.

“Deku, I need to go out in the field today,” he chides fondly. “I need my work shirt.”

He holds firm in the face of Deku’s pout until the bun whines and spits the shirt out, tossing it in Bakugou’s direction. There’s a small hole in the front, but nothing too noticeable. Bakugou sighs and throws it into the wash while he finishes getting ready. He prepares a few snacks for Deku, listening to the frantic pattering of feet that signals Deku moving through the house. When he turns around, Deku has one of his workout shirts in his mouth instead.

It really is adorable, but Bakugou will need his shirts eventually. He can deal with this later though. “I’ll probably be back late today. Make sure you eat dinner.”

He pulls on his shirt while it’s still damp and heads to work, letting it dry on the walk over.

“How’s Deku doing?” Uraraka asks, shouting over the groan of concrete as a massive piece of rubble floats free of the wrecked building. As it pulls away, Shiozaki’s vines lash out to hold the rest of the building up.

Bakugou blasts the rubble to pieces and lets the wind clear it away. Earthquake rescue really isn’t his forte, but he does what he can. “Same as ever. He’s started chewing on my shirts though. I dunno why. He’s still got his necklace.”

A few feet away, Shoji is pinpointing where he hears trapped civilians. Kirishima holds the rubble up while Shoji stretches his dupli arms in to help the civilians pull themselves out.

“It’s probably not an anxiety thing then,” Uraraka explains as she floats herself down an elevator shaft to lift free the civilians trapped at the bottom.

“Well, what is it then?” Bakugou demands to no one in particular.

“Sexual frustration?” Mineta offers from where he’s helping a couple elderly men to the first aid station. His balls are holding the old hospital together and his scalp is bleeding a bit.

“Really?” Bakugou asks dryly, falling into step beside him. There’s enough heroes suited to this job that he feels a little redundant. He can do first aid at least. “Is that your explanation for everything?”

Mineta shrugs. “Tsuyu just gets really weird if we’re apart for too long. If he’s acting weird, that could be why.”

“Where is Tsuyu, anyway? I thought this was her area.” Bakugou likes Tsuyu a lot. She’s smart, level headed, straightforward, and powerful. She joined their class second year, basically inviting herself in as Mineta’s pet. The alpha frog didn’t bother to hide the fact that she was just using him to get into UA, but they have a pretty strong relationship despite that.

“She’s busy with some pirate thing,” Mineta explains. “I think she’s got higher clearance than me now so I can’t even sign off on her missions anymore.” He doesn’t sound bothered by that. “She should be back in a couple days though and then-”

Bakugou promptly tunes Mineta out. He doesn’t really care to hear how Mineta plans to spend his reunion.

After the cleanup is finished, Bakugou is exhausted, but he doesn’t go home right away. He takes a quick shower at headquarters and heads to a clothes store, buying himself a few new shirts. If Deku is going to keep chewing on his shirts, he’d at least rather they be ones he doesn’t wear that much.

He gets home to a quiet house, setting the bag down on the counter. He kicks off his boots and looks around. Usually, Deku is staring at him from the nest when he gets home. Not seeing Deku and not hearing him scamper away is enough to make Bakugou worry a little bit. He doubts Deku would run away and there’s no sign of breaking and entering, but he might be sick or something.

Bakugou peeks into the nest to make sure Deku is okay, taking a wary stance when he hears a strange thumping noise.

Deku is definitely okay. He lays on his side, one hand holding one of Bakugou’s shirts over his nose and mouth. He’s fingering himself with the free hand, three fingers knuckle deep in his ass. His leg thumps as the fingers drive in deeper. His cock is bright red, leaking precum all over what Bakugou distantly recognizes as a pile of his dirty clothes.

“Deku, I, uh--” Bakugou fumbles. He’s more than a little turned on and it’s making it hard to think.

Deku squeaks in surprise and scrambles upright, rushing to cover himself. He looks horribly guilty, trying to hide the shirts he stole.

Bakugou clears his throat, quickly looking away. “I, uh, got you some new shirts. I’ll wear them for you so they get my scent on ‘em. They’re, uh, they’re on the counter.” He heads to his room as fast he can without fleeing. He isn’t sure whether or not to call this progress.

“Remember, he might be a bit nervous to meet you,” Master Kirishima says and it’s all Denki can do not to roll his eyes too obviously, his tail lashing in annoyance.

“Yeah, yeah. He’s a bunny with trust issues. I heard you the first twelve times. I can play nice.” Denki doesn’t even glance up from his phone, though he at least pulls out one of his earbuds. He’s actually really excited to meet Master’s best friend’s pet, but that doesn’t mean Master isn’t being really irritating about the whole thing.

Master probably notices that Denki isn’t actually paying much attention to his phone, but he doesn’t mention it. He just lets Denki lean against him as they drive over to Master Bakugou’s house and trails kisses everywhere he can reach.

“Remember to stay behind me,” Master cautions as he starts picking the lock. Denki hides outside the door as it slams open and Master takes an explosion to the face.

“Kirishima!” Master Bakugou yells furiously.

“Bro!” Master yells back gleefully, pulling him into a tight hug, hardening against another explosion to the face.

Denki turns his music up to drown out the sounds until Master pulls on his arm and leads him inside. He slips his phone into the pocket of his bright yellow Red Riot bomber jacket. He had it custom made because yellow looks a lot better on him than red. Master’s PR team refused to make any more than the one because they thought it would confuse people.

“So, where’s your pet?” he asks, looking around curiously. He sees the nest in the living room, but he can’t see into it.

Master Bakugou looks around and rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. “He’s, uh, well. Loud noises. They tend to spook him.”

Denki laughs, secretly relieved that he’s not the only one who doesn’t appreciate their habit of greeting each other with fucking explosions, and sniffs the air. Most of the house just smells like Master Bakugou, but he can smell the delicate scent of a fellow Omega too. He stands up on tiptoes to kiss Master on the nose and then wanders deeper into the house to make a new friend.

Deku isn’t exactly upset that Master hasn’t tried to fuck him, but he’s starting to get frustratingly horny. He can jack off on Master’s clothes multiple times a day and still not be entirely satisfied. He’s not in a full blown heat, but that doesn’t mean that his own hand is gonna be good enough when he’s constantly surrounded by Master’s delicious, tantalizing scent. Master’s scent is thick and heavy, like wildfire and cinnamon and Deku wishes he could get closer to it than just Master’s clothes.

Master at least promised to let him meet other pets, which is nice. Hopefully, it will distract him from how needy he is until he can imagine Master touching him without wanting to cry.

Right now, he’s hiding in the laundry room. Master warned him that Master Kirishima tended to be… loud, but loud is different than explosions. Which he knows are Master’s quirk. Buried under the instinctive terror is an emotion almost like fond annoyance.

He sits in the back of the laundry room as he listens to the new footsteps approaching and he smells sharp ozone and fancy pet perfume.

“Hey, are you Deku?” The voice is bright and cheerful and friendly. “I’m Denki. Can I come in?”

Deku stares at the door.

There’s a brief pause, but Denki is determined. “Master Bakugou said you’re not much of a talker. Knock one for yes and twice for no. Can I come in?”

Deku weighs his options carefully. He doesn’t think Master would let someone in who would hurt him, not when Master could hurt him himself and chooses not to. He knocks once on the floor.

The door opens and Deku is greeted with the sight of a cat with bright yellow hair and fur. The cat smiles brilliantly, so wide that Deku can’t help but smile back just a bit. He’s a bit nervous about a cat, but this one is keeping his distance.

“You mind if I shut the door?” Denki asks.

Deku knocks once. He doesn’t want to feel trapped.

Denki turns around to close the door, then stops. “Wait, that means you do mind, right?”

Deku doesn’t reply, his eyes going wide. Denki stares at him curiously, sees where he’s looking. “Oh, you like my jacket? It’s one of a kind. Master wanted something special for his pet.”

Deku is so shocked that the words spill out of him despite the fear. “Your master’s a pro hero?”

Denki looks at him like he’s an idiot. “Uh, yeah? So is yours? Did you- did you not know this?”

Bakugou feels pretty bad for scaring his pet, but in his defense, he’s not going to take a charitable interpretation of someone picking the lock on his door. He pours Kirishima a mug of tea and leans back against the counter as Deku and Denki socialize. Bakugou had wanted a less potentially dangerous pet than the one with the electric quirk, but Denki is better with people than anyone else Bakugou knows except maybe Tooru and she would probably spook Deku worse.

As much as Bakugou wants to go check on his pet and make sure he’s alright, Kirishima just keeps him engaged in small talk.

“Denki knows what he’s doing,” Kirishima promises. “Besides, omegas always feel safest with each other. They’re vulnerable. Let him do what he does best.”

Bakugou sighs. “Fine. But if he does get through to Deku, save the congratulatory fuck for when you’re out of my apartment.”

“That was once, bro.”

“Yeah. Once. A week. At least.”

Kirishima shrugs. “How about I let you fuck Deku at my place once he calms down a little? Is that fair?”

Bakugou can’t blow people up with his eyes and he can’t blow Kirishima up at all anyway, but neither of those little facts will stop him from trying. Before he can spit a scathing remark though, Denki’s voice echoes through the house.

“Hey, Master Bakugou! Get your ass over here!”

The pets are in Bakugou’s room. Deku’s back is pressed against the wall and Denki is shielding him with his body, but then Deku whispers something into Denki’s ear.

“He wants to know why you didn’t tell him you were a pro hero. Although he worded it more politely,” Denki explains.

It’s a bit of a pain to go through a middleman like this, but it’s the most communication Bakugou’s ever gotten from the bun and he doesn’t miss the awe and wonder in Deku’s eyes. “It never came up,” he says apologetically. “I kinda thought you knew.”

Deku whispers something else. “He thought you just had a really physical job. Maybe construction or something.” From the expression on Deku’s face, Denki probably added the construction part himself.

Bakugou is a bit taken aback. He tries not to let his fame go to his head, but he’s not used to people not knowing who he is, especially not people close enough to him to chew hole in his hero costume. “Well, yeah. I’m a pro hero. Ground Zero.”

Deku doesn’t seem to recognize the name, but he whispers something else in Denki’s ear, his whole body shaking with excitement.

“He wants to know if you can introduce him to All Might.”

Years ago, Bakugou would have been enraged at someone caring about another hero more than him, but now he just smiles. “I’ll see what I can do.”