Apirl 4, 2022
Izuku stood frozen in shock. He forced his limbs to lock in place and dared himself to not breathe should he accidentally alert the other to his presence.
His mind couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing, couldn’t believe it to be true.
When he had first walked into the agency locker rooms, it was with a pounding headache and sore, bruised muscles. He was covered in dirt, sweat and grime, his hero costume torn in multiple places. His bleeding lip had finally stopped, but the cut above his left eye was still leaking, albeit at a sluggish pace now. It had been a long day and definitely not one of his favorites. The villain he and Iida had finally managed to apprehend had been extremely difficult. Her Quirk allowed her to reverse time in rapid intervals, making it almost impossible for Izuku and Iida to keep up with her. It had been even more frustrating when said villain managed to evade every attack they sent her way while also managing to deliver quick and painful attacks of her own.
What made this villain the most challenging, however, was not just her mastery over her Quirk or her advanced skills with a blade. No, this villain was smart. She used her Quirk perfectly to her advantage, employing dramatic tactics that left Izuku grasping air while she sliced through his costume and cut into his skin. She would then employ more subtle tactics, altering time to make certain events seem much slower or faster than they actually were. She had especially enjoyed using this tactic against Iida who had not appreciated the attention one bit.
It had easily been one of the most difficult fights Izuku had had in a while and he assumed the same was for Iida. It had gone on for nearly a whole day resulting in an increased amount of damages, injured civilians (thankfully, only minor bruising and cuts), and a seemingly endless chase across the entire city. Izuku made a mental note to purchase and send a month’s worth of juice pouches and a cat patterned sleeping bag to Aizawa Sensei as thanks for forcing him to undergo such insane training. There was no way he would have been able to keep up with that villain for so long (and without puking even once) if it hadn’t been for his former teacher’s sadistic methods of teaching.
By the time they had finally defeated the villain, it was almost two in the morning and Izuku was sure his limbs were going to fall off. Iida had shared the sentiment and nearly collapsed on the spot, his legs shaking in pain from overuse of his Quirk. Izuku’s arms and legs were not much better. One for All had only been able to help him so much, considering that most of his time had been spent chasing the villain and then saving civilians or Iida at the last second. The villain had hardly given him any time to recover, constantly moving and altering time to her will.
Needless to say, Izuku’s only interest (after giving a brief mission summary alongside Iida to their superiors) was to take a quick shower, clean up and then collapse in bed once he made it back to his apartment without passing out along the way. Somehow.
He had not expected to witness any of ... this. It just it didn’t feel real. It couldn’t be real.
Across the locker room, tucked into the small corner of the wall separating the changing room and the showers, sat the Bakugou Katsuki with his knees drawn up to his chest and his head tucked in his arms. If Izuku hadn’t heard him, he probably would never had seen him to begin with. But he could. He could see and hear everything.
Please, don’t be real.
His gut twisted painfully as Katsuki’s broken sobs echoed against the concrete walls. His entire body shook with each desperate wail that escaped him. It sounded as though he was in complete and utter agony, painfully vulnerable and without any remote sign of stopping.
Another thing that stunned him was Katsuki’s lack of scent. He should have been able to pick up on the smell of an extremely distressed Omega before he had even entered the room. Hell, anyone should have been able to pick up a scent that strong and sour.
Izuku was aware that Katsuki used strong suppressants and scent blockers. Everyone did at the agency, for professional and personal reasons. But nothing was capable of masking someone’s scent that well. Nothing legal, of course.
Something was terribly, terribly wrong.
Izuku so desperately wanted to reach out to him, to ask him what was wrong. But he held himself back. Katsuki wouldn’t want that. He didn’t want help from anyone. He had made that abundantly clear.
During their third and final year at U.A., Katsuki had actually been … pleasant. He was still the same old competitive, explosion detonating Bakugou from before. But he had “mellowed” out in a way. He had been able to get along just fine, if not perfectly with him. They hadn’t become friends, but they weren’t enemies anymore. Hell, Katsuki had even smiled at him once! And not his typical trademark “I’m about to strangle you with your own intestines, you pathetic piece of shit” smile. A for real, genuine smile!
Izuku couldn’t recall a single time Katsuki had smiled in the past four years.
Something had changed in Katsuki. Maybe it was the increasingly competitive and stressful life that came with being a young adult Pro Hero. Maybe he hadn’t been able to handle or control the certain aspects of himself that he wanted to. Maybe his pride in his abilities had diminished, felt miniscule and irrelevant in his mind in comparison to everyone else.
Whatever it was, it had destroyed nearly every bit of growth Katsuki had managed to create. He was hardly seen outside the agency or on patrol. He was hyper aggressive and territorial without actually full on assaulting his coworkers. He was constantly on edge, screaming at the smallest of slights and the most mundane of inconveniences. He took offers of help as personal attacks on his abilities and constantly seethed over the criticisms of his work ethic.
When he was on duty as Ground Zero, he was able to maintain a professional, if not hostile manner. He was able to get his missions done successfully and was able to work with others when forced to do so. He was relentless in seeing everything through from rescuing every possible civilian to the mountains of paperwork and reports he had to fill out every night. He was meticulous with his strategizing and was willing to take on any mission, no matter how insanely dangerous or mundane.
These were probably the only reasons he hadn’t been just straight up fired by their agency at this point.
Izuku had heard rumors as well. That Katsuki had stopped eating as much, that he appeared to be sleeping less. He was constantly fidgeting when he was forced to wait or sit still at his desk. He stopped going out after work to hang out with their fellow heroes. He had taken to covering his neck a lot lately, adding a higher collar to his costume. He had started wearing thicker and longer sleeved clothing despite the changes in the weather.
Then there was the the most troubling development: Katsuki had stopped speaking to Kirishima, virtually cutting him out of his life altogether.
Izuku had been beyond shocked to discover just how horribly true that rumor actually was. He had noticed almost two years back that Kirishima had been especially distraught for months on end. When he had accidentally walked in on him silently weeping in his office, Izuku couldn’t bring himself to walk away. He had done his best to comfort the other Alpha, listening to and even holding him when he became particularly distraught. He listened as Kirishima told him how worried he had become over Katsuki, how he had sought him out countless times and done everything he could possibly think of to make his friend happy once again.
At first, Kirishima swore that Katsuki was getting better. He seemed to be getting more sleep and would even hang out for long hours after work and on their days off. He had seemed lighter almost, able to make jokes and banter with him like back in high school. Looking back, however, Kirishima did admit that there were times where things had felt … off. He would glance over to Katsuki when the other didn’t seem to notice him and would be blown away by just how dead his best friend seemed. His eyes were noticeably duller, his skin paler, his facial features completely blank and devoid of any emotion. He would appear to be staring off into nothing as though separated from the moment and his body entirely.
And then he would snap back to his “normal” self as though nothing had happened.
He had tried so hard to get Katsuki to talk to him and would do his best to make sure the other knew he was there for him whenever he might need him. When Katsuki began to talk even less, he gently suggested that perhaps he should seek out someone or something else. He stopped mentioning therapy altogether after Katsuki threw him out of his apartment and refused to speak to him for several days.
Then the day came when Katsuki refused to let them mark each other as pack anymore. Refused to let him anywhere near his apartment again. Refused to let him anywhere close to him altogether. Then there was the night that Katsuki refused to even acknowledge his presence altogether, refused to react or to respond to anything Kirishima said or did. And without a single explanation for any of it no matter how much Kirishima had cried and begged for Katsuki to explain what he had done wrong, what he could possibly do to fix things.
Katsuki never told him why.
Kirishima still remained friendly and cordial with Katsuki whenever they happened to run into each other, but he was always met with a thick wall of silence. Izuku didn’t have to look at his face or seek out his scent to know that the other was still devastated despite the two years that had passed since that fateful night.
When Izuku had run into that wall again, he didn’t even try to fight it. It hurt, yes. God, it hurt. He had hoped beyond all belief that he would never have to encounter that wall again. But things were different now. His world was bigger than his old childhood friend. He had others he could rely on. Others who never repeatedly constructed impenetrable walls against him or made him feel so awful inside with every single interaction. He didn’t want to give up on Katsuki, not after everything they had been through. But ...
Watching Kirishima fall apart on the grey blue carpet of his office … it scared and hurt Izuku to even think about trying again. He just couldn’t do it anymore. He still cared for Katsuki, God knows he did. But he couldn’t experience what Kirishima was going through all over again. He didn’t think he would be able to make it the second time around.
So what he was supposed to do now?
Several things, he knew, were for certain.
One, Katsuki was so lost in his grief that he hadn’t heard Izuku when he first walked into the locker room.
Two, Katsuki believed he was alone. He had most likely chosen this specific place at this specific time to let his emotions out. No one was typically here at the agency this late, let alone the locker rooms.
Three, if Katsuki caught onto the fact he wasn’t as alone as he thought he was, he would definitely lash out. Violently. He had never been comfortable with showing his vulnerability before and his behavior the past four years made Izuku suspect it would only be worse.
Four, Katsuki’s arms and neck were bare for once, seeing as he had elected to wear a tanktop. Izuku took in the dark, ugly bruises that littered his arms. He could make out the distinct shapes of a violent hand grip. When Katsuki made a wet hiccup, his head jostled enough that Izuku could see that the bruises were extended to his collarbone and shoulders.
Five … five made Izuku’s insides run cold and his throat fill with bile. Katsuki’s neck … it looked as though a wild animal had mauled him. He could make out distinct scarred tissue in the shape of sharp teeth. His neck glands looked as though they had been nearly ripped out.
Izuku’s terror quickly turned to pure Alpha rage at the sight of a newly added claiming mark. It was dark red and ugly. He could tell that it was fresh, that it clearly had been bleeding out for most of the day. He knew that it would scar just like the others.
He bit down harshly on his lip and willed his scent to die down before Katsuki would notice. He fought against the urge to jump to conclusions, to add up all the clues in his mind before hearing the full story. If Katsuki was even willing to tell him the whole story.
All the same, it wouldn’t do well if the first thing Katsuki noticed was the scent of an enraged Alpha. Izuku prided himself on his control over his second gender, using it to his advantage in battle while also employing his instincts in order to comfort friends and civilians alike.
Katsuki and him had hardly spoken to each other outside of the rare times when they would get assigned a mission together. He was going to have to tread extremely carefully here. If Katsuki was being harmed by someone, he wouldn’t want anyone to know about it. He would get defensive, deny that anything of that nature was even taking place. If he was feeling this broken, Izuku suspected that his pride was one of the few things that would remain intact.
It also meant that Katsuki would be far more volatile than any time Izuku had ever seen him. There was no way there wouldn’t be an altercation of some sorts, no matter how gently or quickly he handled the situation. But he couldn’t just leave Katsuki like this. He so desperately needed help and while he knew that he was the less than ideal person to be offering this, Izuku resolved himself to take on the brunt of Katsuki’s anger and distrust.
With that, Izuku begin to ever so slowly send out small waves of comforting pheromones in the locker room. Nothing too noticeable at first unless someone was looking for it, of course. Every ten seconds, he would instinctually strengthen his pheromones and spread them farther out, careful to insure that they wouldn’t hit Katsuki just yet.
Izuku waited five minutes and when Katsuki still hadn’t reacted, he took a deep breath and pressed harder. Almost immediately a harsh gasp rang out and Izuku couldn’t help but wince at the startled and terrified expression the other was now sporting.
For a tense moment, they simply stared at each other. Red, widened eyes met dark and determined greens. Neither of them said a word. The silence was practically unbearable to Izuku, but he stood his ground as he relaxed his posture. He held his hands out where Katsuki could see them, taking note of how wildly the other’s eyes followed the miniscule movement. Izuku paused for a moment before tilting his head so that his neck was perfectly exposed: a clear and vulnerable sign of complete submission.
Taking a deep breath, Izuku pushed his pheromones out to Katsuki all the way and watched as he violently recoiled against the comforting scents. He was practically scrambling to get away from it, even going so far as to move onto his hands and knees before sprinting further into the locker room. Izuku blinked in surprise before moving to follow after him.
“Katsuki! Wait!” Izuku cried out.
He definitely hadn’t been expecting that kind of reaction. Katsuki running? From him?
The image of bruised skin and a brutal claiming mark flashed into his mind. Izuku stifled the growl that escaped him before it became too loud and pumped more strength into his legs despite the sting. The locker room wasn’t exactly large by any means and the only clear path Katsuki had was either back towards him or to the showers. Izuku made a mental note to keep an eye on the exit behind him, just in case.
Mindful of the slick floors Izuku swung around the wall that led into the long hallway en route to the showers, using the momentum to gain even further distance. A shock of blonde hair disappeared quickly around the next corner, causing Izuku to muster up 15% of One for All. If Katsuki managed to make it to the pool exit at the end of the shower room, there was little chance of him being able to catch him before he hid and then disappeared altogether.
His heels audibly skidded with a sharp squeal as he rounded the corner and entered the shower room. Immediately his eyes narrowed, the room suspiciously empty. He eyed the sign at the end of room that signaled the entrance to the pool area and slowly walked towards it. Something didn’t feel right. Katsuki had been moving quickly, but he wouldn’t have been fast enough to keep up with Izuku even if he had used One for All at a meager 5%. Not at that short a distance.
No, Izuku had a distinct suspicion as to where exactly Katsuki was.
“Katsuki, I’m not going to hurt you,” he said aloud, careful to keep his voice as nonthreatening as possible. “I didn’t mean to scare you like that. Promise. I just wanna talk. Is that okay?”
Even though he suspected it would be useless, Izuku sniffed out for the other’s scent and was unsurprised to find none. The soft thud of his boots echoed eerily as he walked across the shower room tiles, almost ominous sounding to even his own ears. He came to a quiet stop once he reached the center of the room.
“I know I’m the last person you want to see right now,” Izuku tried again. “And I know that you don’t like people seeing you … I get that this is probably a lot right now. But I’m worried about you and I just wanna make sure you’re okay.”
He let out a long sigh when no response came.
“You probably don’t want to hear me say that, either, huh?” he asked.
Again, silence. Izuku worried his lip before an idea suddenly popped into his mind. He couldn’t detect Katsuki’s scent, but he definitely could smell his own. And he had doused the area near Katsuki the strongest back in the locker room. Maybe …
Taking a deep breath, Izuku close his eyes and sniffed at the air around him before opening them again. He turned his head to a series of stalls to his back right, careful to avoid tipping Katsuki off that he now knew where he was hidden. Working fast, Izuku pumped One for All at nearly 50% capacity, unwilling to risk losing Katsuki again. He moved so quickly that he practically smacked into the stall door, but managed to pry it open despite the lock.
A soft whimper shattered his focus.
Izuku could only stare in paralyzed shock as Katsuki clung to the side of the shower stall, his fingers clinging to the top of it with a white knuckling grip. At the realization he had been caught, he all but crumpled to the tile floor, letting go and sliding against the wall. This close up, Izuku was able to take in everything in greater detail. Katsuki’s tears were streaming down his face again, desperate whines and loud whimpers falling from his mouth uncontrollably. His eyes appeared sunken in, his skin sickeningly pale making the bruises and markings even darker in comparison. He was shaking so violently his teeth would rattle against each other and his arms wounds tight around him as he began to rock himself back and forth. He felt himself almost vomit at the sight of pure fear in Katsuki’s eyes.
He hardly had a moment to contemplate who that fear was directed towards before Katsuki stunned him once again.
“Alpha. Alpha. I’m sorry, Alpha.”
No, no, no, no-
“I’m sorry I ran, Alpha. I won’t do it again. I promise, Alpha.”
Katsuki’s voice was desperate, almost erratic. Begging, even.
Stop it. Stop it. Just stop-
“I’ll be good, Alpha. I’ll be a good Omega. I’m taking care of your pup, just like you told me to. I’m being good!”
What the fuck, no, no, no, no, NO!!!
“I’m being good, Alpha, I promise! I promise I’ll be your good Omega! I won’t put your pup in danger! YOU’RE RIGHT! I’M BEING SELFISH!!!”
His voice was rising even higher now, borderline hysterical.
This couldn’t be happening. There was just no way something like this would ever happen-
"I WON'T DO IT AGAIN, ALPHA!!! I WON'T FIGHT YOU ANYMORE!!! I'M DONE BEING A HERO!!! I QUIT TODAY JUST LIKE YOU WANTED-"
Izuku’s hand flew to his mouth, but the damage had already been done. Katsuki’s expression had gone completely blank, not even attempting to fight off his accidental Alpha Order. He had fallen silent and his rocking had ceased altogether.
If there was ever a moment Izuku truly hated himself, it was now. The sight of Katsuki tilting his neck in submission and staring back at him, his eyes glazed over and virtually dead to the world made Izuku’s stomach roll dangerously.
“What happened, Kacchan?” he sobbed. “What happened?”