There was no one in the world, Katsuki was certain, who knew Izuku better than him save Inko Midoriya. He and Izuku had been friends, bully and bullied, rivals, friends again, partners, generally confused by each other's presence, and now lovers, for over two years. He's seen more smiles, more tears, more blood and sweat and pain, more anger and frustration, more broken bones and ugly wounds, than anyone else. He's seen Izuku rage, despair, hope, and doubt.
He'd seen Izuku fall in love first hand, in stutters and steps and bewildered realization, in guilty steps back and in greedy bounds forward. He knew what it looked like, intimately, the little signs that gave him away if you knew what to look for. It was all there, in looks that lingered just a few seconds too long, touches that could be merely friendly if not for the guilty flush and quick disengagement that followed, the starry eyes and soft smiles that made his whole face light up like he had the sun hidden away under his skin. He knew what it looked and sounded like when Izuku was flirting even when Izuku himself didn't seem to realize it was happening. Katsuki could read it in the way he leaned in closer, the lilt of his voice and the shape of words in his mouth when he was watching someone else's lips, the warmth on his eyes when he was peeking up through long dark lashes, face tilted up, coyly shy and waiting.
Bakugou had seen all of this play out twice now. Once with him, in theory second year of college and again, now, as they inched towards graduation, with someone else.
Someone else who returned the gestures with some of his own, maybe also without knowing he was doing it. Probably without knowing.
Iida was a lot of things that Katsuki disliked but he was above all else good and honest to a fault. He wasn't the kind of guy who tried to edge in on someone's boyfriend behind their back or in an underhanded way. The proof was in that Iida had suddenly backed off completely when Katsuki and Izuku had moved in together. Katsuki's prevailing theory was that Iida had become aware of his feelings, and the not that all subtle flirtation, and decided to put as much space between himself and Izuku as possible. No more movie nights without Todoroki and Uraraka present, and between them. No more sparring dates, Iida now claiming their quirks weren't really compatible enough (bullshit) and that they should really branch put more in opponents (this Katsuki had to grudgingly admit was not unreasonable so score one for the uptight robot there). No more study dates with just Izuku and Iida or just the three of them because apparently even that was too uncomfortable now. Iida didn't come by to catch dinner or just to sit around after class anymore. He was swiftly and efficiently cutting himself out of Izuku's life.
Katsuki knew that logically he should have happy for the turn of events. Grateful, even, that Iida had no intention of trying to compete for Izuku, or was aware that he'd have no chance and had backed off. He'd been watching things slowly unfold for months, trying to decide what needed to to be done and now, just like that, there was nothing to do. He could sit back, let his boyfriend lose one of his best friends and his own not-actually-a-rival, and leave it at that. Just forget that his boyfriend was in love with someone else. And move on.
Except Katsuki is not just an observant expert in all things Izuku, but also not one to turn away and ignore what was in front of him. Especially when what was in front of him was a miserable boyfriend who grew a little sadder every time Iida backed out on him. And wondered out loud if he'd done something wrong, if Iida was upset with him, only to catch himself and then go quiet, shame and unease written all over his stupid, beautiful, hauntingly expressive face. It kind of made Katsuki want to punch him, or kiss him, or at least kick him out of the apartment until he got his shit together.
He should have been happy because he was winning here but he wasn't happy, couldn't be happy when Izuku wasn’t. Yet he wasn’t upset about it either, though he knew logically that he would have been justified in feeling that way. It was strange, wasn’t it, to not be pissed off that Izuku’s feelings weren’t for him alone, when for him there had never been anyone else? And he didn’t just mean in the physical sense, with his complete lack of experience prior to their dating compared to Izuku’s handful of relationships, but in the grander, squishy emotional sense.
No, he wasn’t angry or, even, particularly jealous. He didn’t understand it, there had never been anyone else for him. Even before he’d realized what was there, that there could be another layer to their admittedly complex relationship, he hadn’t really been able to see anyone but Izuku. No one got under his skin like that, chipped away at his walls and left him exposed and seething so effectively, kept him up at night or dogged his heels like Izuku had, did, and was likely to always do. Katsuki had been focused on him, blinded by him, all their lives; there had never been a space for anyone else to occupy like Izuku did. It was sappy, and stupid at their age with so much time yet ahead of them, but it had always been Izuku for him and always would be.
So no, he didn’t understand but he didn’t need to get everything that went on in Izuku’s idiot head, not really. He knew enough.
It wasn't as if he'd ever been worried about Izuku cheating, his boyfriend would sooner poke out his own eyes than willfully hurt someone like that and Iida not only wouldn't do something like that but had too much pride to be someone's secret or tool to hurt someone else. He wasn't worried about Izuku leaving him, he knew they were too entwined together, and had been long before they’d gotten together, for that. He didn’t know exactly what the future held for them but he knew they’d be side by side for it.
But for right now he had a problem because he wasn’t equipped to deal with a sad Izuku. It made him feel soft, gross things and as a general rule he tried not to do a lot of that. He wanted, needed, Izuku to be happy for his own mental well being and comfort and he was willing to do what it took to make that happen.
So something was going to have to be done to fix things between Izuku and Iida and he was going to have to be the one to do it because those two would never get around to do it the right way. If left to their own devices they would, at best, go back to being awkward friends and irritating him with disgusting pining before falling apart again. Katsuki didn’t have the time or patience for that kind of stupid shit.
He was just going to have to get them to make a move on each other.
He’d never imagined he’d be one for sharing, he’d always been more apt to break something than let someone else have it but….but Izuku wasn’t a thing to break.
He was someone to support, to hold with hands Katsuki wasn’t always sure were good enough to touch him, to build up and on rare occasions protect. Izuku gave everything he had to everyone else, to the world, and never hesitated in doing so. He didn’t leave anything for himself, and worse didn’t even try or think to. He didn’t mind running on empty, falling apart at the seams, and wearing himself to dust in the pursuit of the greater good. Worse Izuku didn’t know how to think of himself or go after what he wanted, other than things that would get him closer to his goal of being number one.
It was on Katsuki to make sure there was enough of Izuku left at the end of things to put back together when things were all said and done, and to make sure he had something for himself and wasn’t that a position he never would have imagined himself in even three years ago?
He was going to put Izuku on the path to a second boyfriend, or fuckbuddy or whatever the fuck was going on there.
Just as soon as he figured out how exactly to go about that.
The answer presented itself in the way his brilliant ideas usually did: All at once, in a flash of insight that he committed to on the spot and then tweaked to absolute perfection.
Which was to say he dragged Izuku out of their apartment one night with no real explanation beyond ‘get the fuck up nerd, we got business’, marched him over to Iida’s place, and beat on the door until a bewildered and annoyed Shitty Glasses opened up.
“What are you-”
“We’re here to talk.” Katsuki announced as he shoved bodily past the bigger man. “Your brother works late tonight, right?”
“...why do you know that?”
Because he was observant about all things that related to Izuku, including his lame friends (all five thousand of them. Izuku had never met a person who didn’t fall at his stupid red sneaker wearing feet, unfortunately) and especially Iida. But that would have been creepy if he said it outloud so, instead, he scanned the front room of the apartment, quickly checking for signs of the elder Iida while Izuku stumbled through an apology and hesitantly explained he didn’t know what was going on either.
Satisfied that they were alone Katsuki turned to face them then sighed and rolled his eyes. They were doing the lingering eye contact thing again, full second ticking away as they stared at each other silently.
Two second. Four seconds. Red dusted over Iida’s cheeks and nose and rose up on Izuku’s neck. Six seconds.
“We’re going to talk about how you want to fuck my boyfriend.”
Iida’s head whipped around so fast Katsuki felt a twinge of sympathy for his neck. Izuku made a noise that was what Katsuki imagined a chicken with a head cold being stepped up would sound like while squawking for mercy. It was not attractive. Katsuki despaired for his taste in men, not for the first time.
Oh well, they were doing this now, nothing to do but charge forward.
“Best I can tell it’s been years. Since you meet, maybe, which means you watched him date Frog-girl, creepy Aizawa Jr, and me without ever saying anything.” Katsuki watched Iida close, caught a minute cringe. Yeah, that was it and, just like he’d figured, Izuku moving in with him had been too much for Iida. Katsuki could see that, it was one thing to date but something else to cohabitate. Blending everything they owned, being present in each other’s lives almost all the time; no longer could Iida really escape seeing them together in all their sappy domestic bliss.
“Pretty pathetic, since you have to know Deku is in love with you.” There was really nothing else to say there. Saying that Izuku wanted to fuck Iida was true but didn’t say enough, didn’t capture the tension that hung in the air when their eyes met or the breathless way Izuku spoke about Iida anytime he came up in conversation or how crushed he was when Iida blew him off to study or sleep or spend time with his brother when they all knew it was just excuses to stay away.
The change in Izuku’s expression was immediate and strong. The color drained away, his eyes went perfectly round and stretched wide, and his mouth dropped open as a wheezing sound left it. Panic, shame, face twisting guilt all played over his face and then he was looking away, shoulders curving into a hunch and hands balling into fists at his side. Iida’s gaze jumped back to Izuku, red eyes narrowing and brow furrowing.
It occured to Katsuki for the first time that maybe they really didn’t know how the other felt. EIther that or Iida was also a world class actor who could play at being shocked and confused (and hurt?) really well.
“I’ve seen it, Izuku.” Katsuki frowned, cutting off what he hoped wasn’t about to be a lie right to his face. Not about something like this, not when he’d had months to pick up the signs and make them a full, undeniable, picture. “It’s...the same, as it was with us. The way you look at him is the same.”
Izuku peeked up at Iida then breathed in, shallow and shaking, before turning glossy eyes on Katsuki. “Kacchan, I- this...it’s not. I know how it looks and-not like-I would never!”
Izuku could give away so much while not actually saying anything coherent. The pain and sadness were palpable in his voice and his eyes were brimming with unshed tears. Misery was wrapped all around him, bending his spine and curling his shoulders, making him subtly distance himself from Iida with a lean in the other direction. His hands uncurled and, all at once, he was hunching forward with his forearm pressed over his eyes. Iida lifted a hand, looking like he was going to reach out, then froze in place, hand suspended so close to Izuku yet seemingly unable to bridge the gap.
Izuku was like this, emotional to the point that Katsuki didn’t know how he wasn’t constantly exhausted (it seemed so tiring, projecting so much of himself all the time) and Katsuki didn’t always know how to deal with it.
He said the wrong thing way more than he said the right thing and this was one of those times if Izuku was about to have a breakdown. Then again Deku was a crybaby. No, no, this probably did, in hindsight, seem a little like an accusation or angry confrontation more so than a ‘it’s fine, go for it’.
“I know.” He said finally, sighing. “Don’t cry, fuck. I’m not mad or- I done waiting for something to happen, or one of you to say something. Just-” He paused, eyes rolling up to the ceiling. “Just make a move and go after what you want.”
Izuku inhaled wetly. “No! I can-”
“I’m saying it’s fine. I don’t know what you see in this guy-” Iida huffed but, wisely, said kept his mouth otherwise shut. “But it’s fine.”
“How can you say that?!” Izuku shouted. “It’s not fine! It’s...not. It can’t be.”
Silence. A long, heavy silence. Katsuki looked down, found that neither had moved and they were very pointedly not looking at each other, or him, or anything except the floor. Iida was a shade of red Katsuki had previously only witnessed on Kirishima’s head and Izuku looked....well, like he was still on the verge of a major emotional event.
How could two otherwise competent people be so useless? He was going to have to do everything here.
He stalked across to them, feeling a wry sort of satisfaction when they both flinched and the panic on their faces increased the closer he got. He stopped at Izuku’s side and, hands on his boyfriend’s shoulders, turned him bodily to face Iida.
“Say something you stupid fucks. Or kiss or-” Iida gaped, turned even redder, and stayed pathetically silent. Izuku trembled under Katsuki’s hands. Katsuki sighed mentally then leaned closer to speak into Izuku’s ear, pitching his voice low and encouraging. It might have been dangerously close to his bedroom voice. “Kiss. You’ve thought about it and this is your chance. ...he’s not saying no.”
Another sharp breath in then, quietly: “Tenya?”
Katsuki wouldn’t have been surprised if Iida passed out on the spot, or turned tail and ran himself halfway across the city rather than actually use his words or, fuck, started in with the chopping and shouting.
But none of that happened. Iida’s eyes flicked up from the floor to meet Katsuki’s, darkened with too much emotion for Katsuki to fully track, then dropped down to Izuku. “I...I’m not saying no.”
It took another nudge to get Izuku moving, and he had to school his face into something less impatient when his boyfriend shot a nervous look back at him, but eventually Izuku was there, hands flat on Iida’s chest, raising up on his toes and-
It was weird, watching Izuku kiss someone else. The first kiss was barely that, less than a second press of lips followed by anxious blinking and staring, but the second was more the real thing and it was weird. He knew what it was like, wrapping his arms around Izuku’s thickly built body, feeling the heat from him through his clothes and the plush fullness of his mouth against his own when they found that just right fit. He knew the shape, the texture, the taste, so well that he could close his eyes and feel the echo of it.
But it wasn’t his lips sliding against Izuku’s, parting around soft sighs, trading breath. It wasn’t him Izuku was folding against, holding tightly to, opening up and tasting with a slip of tongue and spit Katsuki couldn’t not see and wet smack he couldn’t not hear. It wasn’t his body Izuku’s hand slid over or his ass being palmed. (He would never squeak like that, for starters.)
It was his stomach clenching and feeling too warm, and him who was feeling…weird.
Time to go. He shuffled back, hands finding a place in the pockets of his coat, and turned to leave.
“Wait! Kacchan!” Izuku called. “Don’t go. I mean…I-”
Katsuki didn’t have to turn back to see his boyfriend getting flustered, searching for the right thing to say that wouldn’t step on toes or hurt feelings. Katsuki could have let him squirm, or said no and told them to get back to swapping spit, but he made the mistake of glancing over his shoulder to find Izuku wideyed and holding out a hand to him, but still in Iida’s arms.
Iida drug a tongue over his bottom lip then nodded. “Yes, you should stay. We could…talk?”
…well, it was probably for the best. If he left they might end up sitting on opposite ends of the room, making moon eyes on each other for the rest of the night. To keep things rolling he supposed he could stay for a little while.