“Are you ready for this?” Izuku’s mentor, Toshinori Yagi asks him. Izuku nods, checking the straps on his bullet proof vest. This isn’t his first rodeo – he knows the conditions inside are going to be shockingly horrible. They always are. “My boy,” Toshinori places his hand on Izuku’s shoulder and gazes deeply into his eyes. “You’ve been on these raids before, but none quite like this.”
“R-Right,” Izuku nods along. They’ve raided illegal exotic Companion breeders, Companion hoarders, and illegal Companion puppy mills, but this is the first time they’re going to break up an illegal Companion fighting ring. Izuku’s never heard of anything so horrible in his life. What kind of villains could possibly find amusement in forcing Companions, beings created with the sole purpose of caring for humans, to fight for them? “I know, but I have to be here. There’s going to be Companions in there that need me.”
“And you’re sure you don’t want a weapon?” Toshinori asks yet again.
Izuku shakes his head. “I don’t want to frighten any of them. And anyway, what kind of rehabilitator would I be if I needed a weapon to subdue a Companion? They’d never trust me again. Besides, the rest of the squad will have my back,” he says, smiling around at the rest of the men in riot gear around them. Aizawa catches his eye and nods.
“Alright then,” Toshinori takes a deep breath and radios in. “Alpha team, ready.”
“Beta team on standby,” crackles over the walkie-talkie.
“On one, two, three!” Toshinori shouts. The team floods out of the back of the van and rushes the shady looking warehouse. They smash down the door and flood inside. There’s a mad scramble as spectators of the fights scream and try to flee, but beta team cuts them off before they have a chance to escape. Izuku only follows in after Toshinori gives him the all clear.
The officers of the Bureau of Companion Protection, or BCP for short, are arresting the spectators and organizers of this illegal Companion fighting ring. Toshinori himself is wrangling the apparent leader of the ring, forcing him onto his knees and securing his hands with a zip tie. He’s busy shouting threats and swearing at Toshinori and the rest of the Bureau loudly but Izuku doesn’t pay much attention to him. His job, after all, is to secure the Companions so they can be moved to a safe location without injury.
Izuku approaches the makeshift fighting ring with apprehension. The walls are made of chain link fencing and topped with barbed wire. Izuku’s fingers slide between the links, tears already pricking his eyes. He knew this was going to be a hard mission but this…
The concrete floor of the fighting ring is dirty, caked with mud, littered with broken beer bottles, brown and green glass glinting in the harsh florescent lighting, and smeared with patches of old blood. A cat Companion lies on the ground, unresponsive. Its skin is mottled black and blue, scratches and scrapes litter its body. A fresh pool of blood under its body makes Izuku fear the worst. Standing in the middle of the ring is another Companion, still panting and sweaty from the recent fight, back to Izuku. One of its ears flip back in Izuku’s direction and then its head tilts to stare back at Izuku.
The tears start to fall from Izuku’s eyes. The canine Companion stares back at him with narrowed red eyes, lips lifted in a snarl revealing his elongated Alpha fangs. Izuku’s tears fall faster. The Companion’s bare, dirty torso is covered in bruises and scratches and old scars crisscross his back. Izuku can only imagine the sort of abuse that left those scars. Even after all he’s been through, dirty and beaten and bruised, he’s still breathtaking, beautiful and wild and fierce all at once.
Izuku pulls away from the fence, his shaky hands searching for a latch that will let him into the ring. It’s locked, of course. He whirls around and comes face to face with his mentor. Toshinori hands him a pair of bolt cutters, his eyes sad. Izuku takes them and hastily wipes away his tears. He’s been a behavioral therapist and rehabilitator for Companions for years, yet every time he goes on a raid he ends up in tears. He cuts off the padlock and swings the gate open. When he steps into the ring, the canine Companion immediately backs up with a snarl, fangs bared and ears flat against his dirty blond hair as Izuku approaches him.
“Wait, my boy!” Toshinori calls out to him. “It’s not safe!”
“It’s ok,” he calls back. This is his job, this is what he’s here to do. If he can’t get through to this Companion, none of them can. His boots crunch across the ground, grinding bits of glass into dust under his heel. He holds his hands up as he approaches the Companion. “It’s fine, right? See, I’m not going to hurt you,” he says softly. The Companion’s eyes flicker briefly to the officers and criminals watching them from outside the makeshift ring before landing back on Izuku. He snarls wordlessly and Izuku heeds the warning by halting his approach.
“I’m Midoriya Izuku,” he calls out, hands still held up. “I’m with the Bureau of Companion Protection. Can you tell me your name?”
The canine Companion gives him a long, appraising look. Izuku waits patiently; he’s used to it. Half the time his job is just waiting for a Companion to speak up in their sessions. It’s possible this Companion has gone feral and can’t speak, but judging from the intelligent glint in the canine’s eyes, Izuku doubts it.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the Companion drops out of his defensive stance. “Bakugou,” he finally croaks. “Katsuki.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Bakugou Katsuki,” Izuku says, a warm smile lighting up his face.