Chapter 1: In Which Midoriya Izuku Gets Into Trouble
This chapter now comes with art! - see next chapter
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
PART I. IN WHICH MIDORIYA IZUKU GETS INTO TROUBLE
“Deku? Todoroki’s fiancé? Impossible.” Never in Midoriya Izuku’s life did he imagine that he would dread hearing those very words – from Bakugou Katsuki of all people.
Then again, he never imagined that he would hear them while pretending to be asleep on the couch in the UA ‘Wonder Class’ 3-A safehouse, while his supposed ‘fiancé' Todoroki Shouto lay unconscious in the hospital.
Izuku panicked internally, never mind that in other circumstances, his inner hero fanboy would give an arm and a leg to be where he was right now.
This was not supposed to happen.
It had started off simply enough – when he rescued Todoroki Shouto from the train tracks two nights ago.
That would have been a straightforward and uncomplicated event, save for a few key facts:
- Midoriya Izuku was quirkless.
- Todoroki Shouto was number 5 Pro Hero “Shouto” – so enigmatically popular that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t aware of his refusal to use the other half of his quirk for some mysterious reason.
It was the work of a few seconds. Izuku had been staring at a letter in his hand when he brushed shoulders with the famous hero, recognizing him later as he walked towards the opposite platform, a little past midnight.
When he turned to speak to the man, he was flung towards the tracks by what looked like a massive tennis racket – a swipe from a drunk commuter with little control over a gigantification quirk.
It was one of those moments where Izuku didn’t even pause to think – he ran towards the scene and jumped onto the tracks, even as the drunk offender fled.
“Shouto-kun. Are you okay?”
It was surprisingly a lot worse than expected, maybe because it was an accident versus an attack that the man could defend himself from – Shouto had a nasty-looking bruise on his head, and he stared at Izuku before his eyes rolled back and he was out cold. When Izuku saw the lights from an incoming train from the distance, he knew there was no use thinking about their monumental bad luck.
How he managed to heave all 70kg of Ice-and-Fire Hero onto the platform as well as himself before the train slowed to a stop, he could hardly recall, but there was never a moment’s doubt that he wouldn’t leave Shouto on the tracks.
“Are you insane? Did you really jump in to rescue that guy?” someone had yelled.
The thing was, that wasn’t even the first time he had heard that question, and he had come to accept this about himself: Midoriya Izuku was insane.
He was not meant to be a Hero.
He had always been ambitious in that dream as a child, and had kept that fierce enthusiasm even when it became clear that he had no right to do so. When it emerged that he didn’t have a quirk, he had approached his devastation with fervid hope – or misplaced denial, as his cadre of childhood bullies taunted.
It had taken words from his actual idol All Might to bring him back to Earth.
‘I don’t think you can become a hero without a quirk,’ straightforward, jaded honesty from the greatest hero himself; ‘If you want to help people there are other ways to do it.’
In a way, he did take All Might’s words to heart – he had chosen a ‘realistic’ and ‘attainable’ path instead. He had given up on getting into the UA Academy Hero Course, settling for the General Studies course in Ketsubutsu Academy High School instead. Instead of becoming a Hero, he had settled on helping behind the scenes by become an analyst for the Public Security Intelligence Agency.
For some reason however, it seemed like he never could really stray from the path he was told to leave.
He ended up being the sole quirkless Ketsubutsu student chosen for a special program spearheaded by UA focusing on promising individuals with passive or non-active quirks. Some of his strongest friendships were with people from UA, like former General Studies alum Shinso Hitoshi, Support Course prodigy Hatsume Mei and underground hero Eraserhead.
Most tellingly, his notable Hero-fanboyism had translated into a specialization in Quirk Intelligence, and his services were so sought after, that he was mandated only on the most high-priority assignments supporting the country’s top heroes. Heroes like Todoroki Shouto, who were meant to do the actual rescuing.
He wondered what his idol would think of him now, as he lay on the train platform, heaving in shock next to the unconscious Number 5 Pro Hero, who he had just jumped in front of a train for.
He didn’t even think when it happened – his legs had started moving on their own.
It must be that troublesome hint of stubbornness in him – that persistent need to pursue what he always dreamed of despite all reason.
“Yes,” he belatedly agreed with his interlocutor, dazed. “I am insane.”
But also, it was Todoroki Shouto.
It wasn’t just anyone. Izuku knew him. Sort of.
Setting aside his known hero fanaticism, Izuku was indeed the most sought-after Intelligence Officer in the agency and worked only with the country’s top heroes.
He had also been Shouto’s Handler for their latest mission.
They had never met face to face before, but for three weeks straight before that night, Izuku had been Shouto’s guide and support in an especially sensitive operation investigating an underground syndicate that brokered illegal Quirk Marriages. Through their direct two-way communication line, they pretty much had a constant access to each other throughout the mission.
Izuku never had any shortage of knowledge about heroes in general, and he knew that Shouto was known for being aloof and detached. During their mission however, Izuku discovered that Shouto was also more than insightful in his observations, endearingly awkward in his interactions, and a bit prideful of his own weaknesses. Despite all that (or perhaps because of it), it was refreshing to work with him – he was surprisingly easy to talk to, and he always listened back.
Something about that particular mission struck a deep chord within them both, and it wasn’t long before its disturbing emphasis on Quirk selection had Izuku sharing his own experiences about not having a quirk.
“I suppose that means I’d have no value when it comes to these horrible quirk matches.”
Shouto had gone deathly quiet at that comment, until he slowly and haltingly opened up about his family’s own harrowing experience with quirk marriages. There weren’t enough words for Izuku to share his grief, “Shouto-kun.”
“I don’t know why I tell you these things,” Shouto had confided, hesitating. “It’s this mission.”
“Hm, maybe because I’m nothing but the invisible voice in your ear.” Izuku had joked back, trying to lighten the mood, “You can pretend I don’t really exist.”
“No. You have a tendency to ramble, you’re pushy, and you can’t mind your own business.” That was just the way Shouto was – expressing his thoughts directly without artifice or preamble. “But you have never let me down, and I’m glad to know that you’re there, somewhere other than my ear, existing.”
Izuku started at that, for once at loss for words. But Shouto continued. “Promise me one thing.”
“Don’t listen to what they said about you being quirkless. You’re more than that.” There was only a hint of a pause in his voice. “If there’s anything that this mission has taught me, I’d rather choose a quirkless person like you than be forced by my Father into marrying someone for nothing more than their quirk.”
That mission had ended a week later, and they hadn’t had the opportunity for a face-to-face debrief, but Izuku knew that it had left Shouto shaken. It wasn’t a hard leap to make, that a man who had severely repressed half of his quirk would be left unmoored after a mission that hit too close to home.
Which was why Izuku thought it was more than a bit lucky that he ended up bumping into the man in person by accident that night – why he had made the first step towards making himself known.
You’re worth so much more than you realize too, he wanted to say.
Because that was the other reason why Izuku, and therefore this whole situation, was ridiculous:
- Midoriya Izuku was quirkless
- Todoroki Shouto was number 5 Pro Hero “Shouto”
- Midoriya Izuku was also more than halfway in love with Todoroki Shouto
Of course, that was before a gigantified tennis racket and a train turned it all to shit.
(Art credit to Jellynely)
His friend, of course, found it amusing.
“You have an uncanny gift for getting into the strangest situations. Are you sure that’s not your hidden quirk? What are you doing in a hospital anyway?”
Izuku gave an indignant huff and took a moment to glare at his phone screen – Underground Hero Shinso Hitoshi’s picture smirked back at him. “You got all that just because I texted that I’d be late tonight?”
His neighbor and Intelligence Agency colleague snorted, “There’s always something more to the story when you say that ‘something came up’ – and I wanted dinner.”
“For the last time, Shinso-kun, I am not your personal chef!” Izuku dodged some nurses as he tried to keep track of Shouto. “We may live in the same building, but it doesn’t mean that your kitchen miraculously no longer exists. Also, it doesn’t mean that you get to stalk me when food doesn’t magically appear on your doorstep—wait a second, did you use privileged access from work to find out what I’m doing?"
“Fine, you may get takeout on your way back,” Shinso drawled back. “You’re better off not knowing how I found you. What are you doing in the hospital, anyway?”
Izuku took a deep breath and lowered his voice. “It’s Shouto-kun.”
There was a cut-off laugh on the line. “Wait – Shouto-kun? Endeavor’s kid Todoroki Shouto?”
“Yes, he was accidentally hit on the head, and I saved him from being run over on the train tracks, and now they won’t let me see him, because I’m not family, when we all know he has crap relatives, or at least one big crap relative—”
“Wait, hang on, this needs to be explained again – slowly and carefully. I need to make sure I can tell Hatsume in full detail later. Todoroki fell onto the tracks, and you saved him?”
Izuku frowned. “Yes.”
“This is your Todoroki? Pro Hero Shouto? My UA school mate? The one you’ve mooned over so much that it’s practically a conflict of interest?”
Izuku blushed. “Well—”
“Number 5 hero Todoroki? In-denial Ice Prince, Todoroki? ‘I’d rather marry you than any of the quirky wunderkind my dad presents to me’ Todoroki?”
“YES! Yes to all of that, yes, thanks Shinso-kun. Where are you going with this?” Izuku snapped back despite himself, bowing hysterically when people stared.
Shinso’s voice was surprisingly quiet, “And they wouldn’t even let you know how he’s doing?”
Izuku deflated. “They said family only, and really,” he gulped, “I am nothing to Shouto. I don’t even know what I’m doing here.”
“You are nothing except his work-husband, shrink, head cheerleader, and now rescuer, apparently. I’m looking through the live police records now. You’ve chosen a great way to introduce yourself in person.” Hitoshi’s wry voice returned. “You do know that this is insane, right?”
Izuku gave a small huff. “Well, we did speak each day and night for the past few weeks…”
There was a dramatic commiserating sigh on the other line, “You even got him to use the fire side of his half-and-half quirk…”
Over the coming days, he would try to recall this part of the story as best he could—would try to wonder if he could have done things differently. At the time however, Izuku could only force out a watery smile as he tried to make light of the situation,
“I even got him to choose to marry me.”
A nurse froze behind him as he said those words, just as he covered his eyes with his palm.
“I am sorry to hear that, kid.” Shinso replied, and Izuku could only nod. It felt a lot more devastating than it had any right to be. “Do you want me to call for a car to pick you up? I can even call for food.”
Shinso was volunteering to move his default can’t-be-bothered ass to help. Izuku didn’t sound that bad, did he? He swallowed past the lump in his throat and did not wipe the tears that were definitely not crowding his eyes.
He was interrupted by a gentle hand on his shoulder.
The nurse was looking at him with bright, feverish eyes.
“If you want to see Todoroki-san, I can help.”
Todoroki Shouto had always been distinctly beautiful despite the scar on his face, but it was still jarring to see him pale, unconscious with that swelling bruise on his forehead, a ventilation mask and probably a feeding tube.
That he had completed a month-long mission relatively unscathed but was then downed by a simple accident didn’t bear thinking. Izuku made for his bedside quickly and turned back to the nurse.
“Will he be okay?”
Before she could respond, the door opened to admit a flock of distraught Pro Heroes.
Izuku had to take a step back – there was the commanding creation hero Creati, the upright turbo hero Re-Ingenium, the gravity hero Uravity with her bright eyes, the colorful Ridley hero Pinky and sturdy hero Red Riot, and all of them were talking at the same time.
“He doesn’t look too good. The others are on their way…”
“We need to understand the prognosis for Todoroki-kun before jumping to conclusions…”
Between his worry for Shouto and his bewilderment at the situation, there was a small detached voice within him that wondered if he should be internally screaming and rolling on the floor to see so many famous idol heroes all in the same room… and if he should be getting their autographs.
The head doctor emerged from the UA wonder-class huddle and addressed the Creati, “Yaoyorozu-san, as you can see, the patient had suffered from blunt trauma to the right side of his head, and further trauma here at the frontal lobe, leading to supratentorial coma…”
Shouto was in a coma – the doctors had stabilized him, but they had to watch for signs of improvement towards waking. Izuku wasn’t alone in his horror at those words, but inexplicable guilt also dogged him – had he moved sooner, or perhaps if he had actually spoken to Shouto instead of waiting to gather his nerves—
“I am here! I came as soon as I heard!”
The door opened again to let in a policeman and no less than the Symbol of Peace himself, and from where he was standing, Izuku let out a little squeak of shock and distress. “All Might?”
It was clearly the wrong thing to do, as the he had now been noticed and now held everyone’s attention in the room. Sweat broke behind his neck and he suddenly found himself lifting his hands defensively. He could practically hear them thinking:
Who the hell is this [weirdo / nerd / stalker / insert standard worst first impression here] stranger and what is he doing here?
One of the junior doctors recognized him, “You! I recognize you from earlier, and you’re not meant to be here. Only family or named emergency contacts like Yaoyorozu-san are allowed—”
Something within Izuku still made him wince at those words – he could see All Might’s eyes narrowing, in all likelihood trying to place where they’d first met.
Exit now, dammit.
You don’t belong here, and not just metaphorically.
“Of course, he belongs here,” the nurse’s clear voice rang out as she faced the junior doctor disapprovingly.
“He’s the patient’s fiancé.”
Izuku choked on his own thoughts. What?
(Art credit to Jellynely)
“What?” someone repeated.
Yes! What, what, what!
The shrillness and disbelieving laughs amongst the voices in the room were no match for the pterodactyl screech in Izuku’s head – and part of him wondered absently if he was under the influence of some quirk or had walked into another dimension.
“I—I’m sorry but what? I’m—”
However, his stuttering went unheard, as the policeman who had come in with earlier weighed in this time:
“This is Midoriya Izuku. This is the man who rescued your patient today.”
Izuku let out a gust of air – that—that at least was true.
“Tsukauchi—” All Might began. Oh, so some of the people here knew the Detective Inspector at least.
“I can confirm that this man jumped in the tracks himself and lifted Todoroki Shouto out just as a train was about to come into the platform.”
There was a sudden silence at the simple absoluteness of his statement.
The detective turned to him, seemingly unbothered by the impact of his words, “Midoriya-kun, I’m sorry to have to take your time again. We’ve spoken to the witnesses and covered the CCTV footage of the accident, but we wanted to confirm a few statements just in case. I can wait for you outside and we can speak once you’re done visiting your,” he paused as he took out a notepad, “fiancé.”
Izuku’s eyes darted between him and the shocked peanut gallery of heroes and medical professionals, and he tried again.
That’s when the blasted door opened again – dammit, don’t those doors have bloody locks—and in came Shouto’s father, flame hero Endeavor.
“What is the meaning of all this?”
However unprepared Izuku felt (and whatever circle of hell this chaos had descended into), something in him rose to attention the moment Endeavor started bandying the words, “medical decisions” and taking his son into his “personally-chosen private facility” despite Creati’s protests because he was “weak enough to get himself hurt in a senseless accident”.
Given what Shouto had told Izuku about Endeavor and what he was capable of as far as his son’s wellbeing was concerned, would Izuku be able to bear it if the man walked away with his son’s unconscious form?
For once, Izuku did not cower when all eyes turned his way – and he especially did not shirk back when Endeavor turned his steely glare at him.
“You are not leaving with Shouto-kun.”
For some reason, he was able to ignore Endeavor’s sneer of disdain at his impudence – and Izuku was for once grateful for his unique ability to summon his sponge-like memory under the least appropriate of circumstances.
“Shouto made it clear many times that he did not trust you and would no longer put himself in your care. There was a reason he filed for emancipation early as a minor; he even went as far as to ensure that his emergency contact and key decision maker was his best friend Yaoyorozu Momo—” Here he looked at Creati, who’s eyes widened at his words. “He knew you’d even try to control his sister to get to him, no wonder they had not seen each other for years. And we’ve not even gotten to the part where he tried to file a restraining order two years ago—”
“Enough.” Endeavor all but snarled at him. Izuku could see his fingers twitching in anger but felt strangely unafraid. “Who are you to say these things? You have no right—”
“I am Midoriya Izuku, and no, I am not anybody special. I am as quirkless as they come, and I don’t have any wealth or power to my name. I know I’m not a Hero like your son and I have no right to be here, but I also know that Shouto is one of the best people I know, and that means that he also deserves to be rescued and kept safe, even if it means keeping him away from you.”
Creati’s gaze snapped to his; All Might started. Somewhere at the back of his mind, where his nervousness and hysteria still temporarily hid, he could imagine Shinso doing a slow clap at his burst of bravado.
For a moment, Endeavor was stunned into gawking, but he only ended it with a disbelieving laugh. “It figures that my son would associate with filth like you to get back at me. This rebellious phase of his has gone on long enough and I am putting an end to it. I am his father and none of you have the authority—"
“Well,” someone—Izuku risked a glance and saw that it was Red Riot, who was looking at his nails—spoke with deliberate casualness that meant it was anything but casual. “We kind of do.”
Endeavor whirled towards them, but this time, Creati stood firm with him. “With all due respect, sir, I am Todoroki-kun’s chosen decision maker by lasting power of attorney,” and she turned to give Izuku a meaningful look. “And more than that, Midoriya-san here is his fiancé.”
Izuku jumped. What—this again?
But Ingenium also stood with Creati. “His fiancé,” he repeated, “who also saved him earlier today.”
And Endeavor actually roared at hearing that. “That is a lie! I refuse to accept this.”
But for some reason, those last words were what it took to galvanize the various occupants of the room to stand against Endeavor. The medical staff held firm behind Creati, and even All Might was able to lend his support, as strong a figure as ever as he stood next to her and Ingenium.
“I believe their decision counts for more than yours at this point; and young Shouto is not going anywhere with you.”
Tsukauchi looked towards the man, “Endeavor, I suggest you think very carefully about what you would do next, in front of these witnesses, servicemen and professionals.”
That night, Izuku learned that what a restraining order couldn’t do, a group of Pro Heroes including the Symbol of Peace, a deceptively friendly detective inspector, a passionate nurse, the very real authority of a Power of Attorney, and the not-real authority of a mistaken fiancé could:
They managed to keep Endeavor away from Todoroki Shouto.
Izuku was not proud of how he later scrambled to corner the nurse into telling him why in the world she said that Izuku was Todoroki Shouto’s fiancé.
“Why would you say that?”
He was shocked to see that the nurse looked just as confused as he did. “On the phone, earlier. You said that you rescued him, and he was going to marry you.”
Izuku’s eyes widened. No. Nooooo.
“But… it’s not true! And t-that was a private conversation! Really, I was mostly talking to myself. I mean, I did rescue him, and I really wanted to make sure he was okay,” The more he spoke, the deeper he realized the hole he was digging for himself, “but I am not engaged to him. At all.”
The nurse stared at him dubiously.
“Well, the next time you talk to yourself, maybe tell yourself that you’re single, in any conversation.”
Izuku gawked, dumbfounded.
“…And that was what happened, and I hope you would forgive me. And by the way, they invited me to Uraraka-san’s birthday at the 3-A safe house. Apparently, your classmates pooled in together to buy a house that any one of you can stay at if you need to? If I hadn’t told you yet, it bears repeating – you and your UA classmates are epic. I mean, what are you even!”
Izuku lifted his head from Shouto’s bedside.
“And I’m so sorry again, Shouto-kun, for some reason, people seem to think I’m your fiancé. The hospital has even given your belongings to me instead for safekeeping! I never meant to get you caught up in something so stupid. It’s all just a big, crazy misunderstanding.”
He didn’t know what he was doing, confessing to the unconscious hero. But in the absence of someone to speak to who could 1) make sense of the past 24 hours 2) wasn’t a 3-A Pro Hero who would find Izuku insane once he tried to explain himself 3) wasn’t Shinso Hitoshi at his cutting, sarcastic best – he found that it was probably best to talk to the person who he owed the truth to most.
He’d been in that room with Japan’s best Pro Heroes and a lie-detecting Detector when that wild misconception happened, and Izuku was frankly shocked he hadn’t been arrested yet. It just didn’t make sense.
Izuku sighed, “And I know that this makes me sound like a ridiculous stalker who sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. Before I knew it, I was jumping in after you; before I knew it, I was telling your own father to lay off.” He shook his head. “I suppose I didn’t even think, each time.”
He put his head in his hands, “And I swear – all I wanted was to make sure you were okay. Even at the train station, before all of this happened —I just wanted to talk to you. I knew you weren’t okay. Maybe if I had gotten to you sooner, or if I hadn’t hesitated…” he shook his head.
“And I know that we’ve spoken before. And I know you wonder too. About whether or not people actually see you, or if they just see you for the quirk you have – or don’t have. And the truth is, at that moment, I wanted to—talk to you, for real. To see you properly, for the first time, and maybe, to get you to see me too.”
He turned to Shouto again. “I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I also feel invisible sometimes, like I am not quite where I want to be, but I am not sure I deserve to ask for more.” He rubbed at the stinging in his eyes.
“You do, though – you deserve more.”
He let out a deep breath.
“And you have such wonderful friends, Shouto-kun. You’ll never be alone with them. I mean, I’ve only just met them, and they made me feel so welcome – for once, it wasn’t that I didn’t belong. Do you know how amazing that is? You should hold onto them. I mean, they held me in the tightest, most ridiculous group-hug after Endeavor left earlier, and even I didn’t want to let go.”
Izuku huffed out a small laugh; Shouto, of course, remained sadly silent.
“And I know this is ridiculous, me talking to you this way in the middle of the night. I’m not sure that you can even hear me, but I wanted to let you know, anyway: You deserve the best. You’re not alone. It was great to be your fiancé, even if it’s just for one insane night.”
He moved to squeeze Shouto’s limp hand reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I know what I have to do now. I’ll fix this and tell your friends the truth as soon as I get the chance tomorrow.
“So I suppose, this is goodbye.”
He exhaled and made to let go, but he stayed where he was.
Perhaps he could spend a few more moments with Shouto – never mind that he wouldn’t be able to tell. He closed his eyes.
“You’ll still always have me, if you ever need me.”
Behind him, he didn’t see Yaoyorozu Momo and All Might as they stood silently in the doorway.
What do I do now? What—what should I say?
Izuku stared at the driveway before him; one turn and he’d be coming onto the 3-A safe house. It was, to his bewilderment, found in one of the more exclusive areas in Musutafu, with detached brick homes and wide driveways.
He wondered how many other powerful heroes resided nearby, and if they would all chase him with pitchforks once the night was through.
Well, he thought to himself, he only had to go through with this party tonight and tell them the truth.
He turned the corner and was surprised to find Creati waiting in the cold in the driveway. She straightened as soon as she saw him. Just the person he wanted to talk to.
You can do this.
“Midoriya-san,” Creati greeted him. There was an unexpected look of relief on her face, “I’m so glad to see you here. I wasn’t sure you would come.”
“Oh.” Izuku struggled to form a reply as he put a hand to the back of his head. He offered her the flowers and bottle of wine he was holding onto. “Really, I should be thanking you for inviting me at all. In fact, I was hoping to get the chance to talk to you about—"
But Creati interrupted him by offering her hand, “Of course you’re welcome. I know we didn’t get the chance to properly introduce ourselves earlier. I am Yaoyorozu Momo.”
Izuku slowly lifted a hand to shake hers. “It’s such a pleasure to meet you, Yaoyorozu-san.” I know who you are, and I am such a big fan. Please don’t kill me when you find out the truth. He braced himself. “There’s something I really wanted to tell you.”
Buy Yaoyorozu seemed to ignore what he just said. “I never really got to thank you for what you did earlier for Todoroki-san.”
Izuku blinked, somewhat thrown by the fact that Shouto-kun’s self-entrusted emergency contact still referred to him with such formality. “Uh—did you mean with Endeavor? Y-you don’t need to thank me for that. I’m just glad Sh—Todoroki-san has you to make sure the worst didn’t happen with his father. You wouldn’t have let Endeavor leave that hospital with his son.”
Yaoyorozu gave him a measuring look. “No, I don’t think you understand. Despite everything that Todoroki-san had done to be free of his father, Endeavor is powerful and well-respected enough in the public eye that none of those measures might have worked. I would have tried my very best, and I was glad All Might was there too. But if you—” she paused to speak slowly.
“—If you hadn’t come in as his fiancé and fought so hard on our behalf, we wouldn’t have had a case against Endeavor. If you’re not here now, we wouldn’t have that stronger legal ground as his next-of-kin, and Todoroki-san wouldn’t be free of his father. Do you understand how important that is?”
Her eyes bore so intently into his as she spoke, and Izuku swallowed. “Yaoyorozu-san. I… it’s just that, there’s so much you don’t really know yet…”
To his shock, Yaoyorozu shook her head vehemently, “I know. And honestly, we don’t know much about you and Todoroki-san – he’d been so hard to reach, over the past few months. I know that we’ve only just met you, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more over time. But please…”
And here, she suddenly put her hands on his shoulder, pulling him closer. He was staggered to hear the plea in her voice as she whispered.
“Please, Midoriya-san, remain his fiancé – just for a bit longer.”
Izuku’s eyes widened. She knows the truth? And on fast on the heels of that, Of course she’s found you out, she was the smartest one from their year. And finally, he got to her actual words.
“What are you…? But the truth…”
Yaoyorozu nodded as she held on. “Please… I don’t know you, but I know that you care for Todoroki-san. If you want to help me keep him safe until he wakes up, then please don’t say whatever it is you wanted to tell me. Nobody else has to know.
“Please, stay his for now.”
Izuku felt all breath abandon him at Yaoyorozu’s words. Is she saying what I think she is—
Before he could respond however, the doors to the house burst open and out came Uravity with Pinky behind her. Her cheeks were rosier than usual when she whooped at the sight of them.
“Midoriya-kun! You came! And you brought more wine!” Her vibrant smile was infectious. “I knew there was a reason we liked you!”
Pinky winked at them as she helped Yaoyorozu with the wine. “Glad to know that Todoroki-kun chose well! I hope you can handle your drink better than he does!”
There was a booming laugh behind them as All Might emerged to herd them in, “I am glad you are here, Midoriya shounen.” He winked at Yaoyorozu as Izuku quickly regressed from blushing wildly at the girl’s comments to stuttering and freezing in confused adoration at the sight of his idol.
“Come in, come in!”
And so passed what was increasingly becoming the second strangest night in his entire life.
Owing to the suddenness of the events from the past 24 hours, he met the same people from the hospital in the house, which was both a relief (fewer people to have to lie to) and a disappointment (apparently, he had just missed Taping Hero Cellophane and Rainy Season Hero Froppy!). There were others that might still drop by as soon as they got out from work.
It was hard to fathom that he was there among alumni from the infamous 3-A UA class to begin with, much less All Might himself, who conveniently had a property nearby.
What was unexpected was how surprisingly easy it was to talk to Shouto’s friends, as well as to answer what ought to be difficult questions about their relationship.
“So, Todoroki-kun never introduced you to us.” Pinky, Ashido Mina nudged as she offered him a drink.
“It was all quite sudden for me as well. We were introduced for the first time three months ago at work, and I only really started getting to know him a little more than a month ago.”
“And now you’re engaged?” Ingenium, Tenya Iida exclaimed, “That’s uncommonly fast for Todoroki-kun.”
Izuku took a larger-than-usual sip from his drink. “I, uh, really didn’t expect it either.”
“That must be why Todoroki-san also kept the engagement secret.” Yaoyorozu mused out loud with a cough from across the room. “Because he has such a high profile, and he didn’t want you to be overwhelmed.”
Izuku blinked at her, “Yes—um, that. We are, uh,” he desperately tried to come up with something helpful. “We are very private people. It’s best for us that way.”
The funny thing was that most of his answers weren’t lies to begin with.
“Tell us more!” Red Riot, Kirishima Eijirou egged on further, “We haven’t really been in touch with him recently. What was it about our Half-and-Half guy that attracted you?”
“Was it the hair? People have been going crazy about that since high school!” Uravity, Uraraka Ochako giggled.
“Ah.” Unfortunately, he’d already inflicted this conversation on his long-suffering neighbor before. “It was how—helplessly awkward he was. I thought it was…” cute, irresistible, wildly endearing, and Shinso had called him a raving idiot for it.
“Seriously? That’s adorable!” Ashido squealed. “He’s a bit hit or miss, that one. It’s cute sometimes.”
“Right?” Right? He internally squealed, probably a few metaphorical decibels higher, glad to have someone to talk to about this. “Like how he wanted a pet—”
“But he thinks animals are scared of him.”
“Exactly, which was ridiculous, I told him to just get a cat. And then there was this one time when I told him I’d just nearly broken my hand doing katas, and he mentioned that he had another friend who had his arm injured while working with him—”
“That was me!” Iida realized with wide eyes.
Izuku nodded enthusiastically, “That was you? Then you know that he was genuinely worried that he was a curse on hands everywhere, that he was this—
“Hand Crusher,” they both whispered conspiratorially, making the room break into peals of laughter.
It was just as surprising for him to realize that he knew quite a lot about Shouto-kun based on his long conversations with him during their mission. It was also quite unexpected, how his classmates seemed to treat Izuku’s relatively fewer interactions with him with more weight than theirs… as if he’s meager time with Shouto was important enough to validate their own experiences with him.
Of course, he thought, as he met Yaoyorozu’s inscrutable gaze across the room, these are the sort of a things a fiancé should know.
“You’re absolutely right, dude.” Kirishima wiped tears from his eyes. “It’s hilarious how uncool he is,”
“I made that joke once,” Izuku said softly, “he thought it was a bad pun. He,” he laughed to himself, “he stopped responding to me for an entire hour.”
“I’m sure he overcomes those slights quickly enough!” Iida put in a token effort to make their erstwhile classmate less uncool.
“Ah, not always.” Izuku found himself exhaling, guiltily remembering Shouto’s face when he extinguished his fire side—after using it for the first time in decades. “He doesn’t like it when I question him during missions, when I try to get him to see things differently. He thinks I’m too pushy.”
This time, it was All Might who coughed to interrupt, “I’m sure we meant to ask this earlier, Midoriya shounen, but would you mind telling us what it is that you do exactly?”
Eep. The strange irony and sense of being caught out rose within him, considering what All Might already might know of him. He hoped he didn’t disappoint.
“I’m an Intelligence Officer for the Public Security Intelligence Agency. I specialize in Quirk Analysis.”
Is that realistic enough for someone quirkless like me?
Uraraka’s eyes grew wide, “The Intelligence Agency? Some of our UA ex-schoolmates regularly coordinate with your office.”
Iida cleared his throat, “Do you know Hatsume—”
“Mei?” Izuku couldn’t help but smile proudly. “Yes, she consults with me on gear upgrades sometimes, and she’s a good friend.” He flushed a bit, “In fact, we worked on some improvements to your belt, Uraraka-san. I hope it’s been working better for you.”
“That was you? The Agent Deku that Hatsume-kun had been working with?” She gasped, “It’s helped so much with keeping my balance in the air!”
Izuku couldn’t help himself. “I’m so glad! I actually suggested it for stabilizing low postures as well. I know you specialize in rescue missions, but I’m sure you’ve also seen the offensive potential of your quirk. If you are able to touch enough objects on the ground, no matter how low, your options improve significantly. If you ever need to fight, no one will know what hit them—”
He only realized that he was halfway through another mumble-storm when the room grew silent around him. Izuku paused and had horrible flashbacks from his middle school years.
“Not! That I would presume to know your quirk better than you! I just love studying them as part of my job. Um! Please excuse my rude behavior, I wasn’t thinking!” He turned to bow deeply.
“Are you kidding me?” Uraraka all but yelled when she found her voice again, “That was amazing. You should tell me more. Now I want to experiment with my hero costume and other options I can do with my quirk!”
Izuku started; he was still unused to being praised instead of reviled for his hero analysis. People were normally so suspicious and wary of him as a result. The fact that he was quirkless also never helped—
“Do me next!” Kirishima jumped before him. “My quirk’s not really all that flashy—"
“Not true! It’s definitely a quirk suited for hero-ing!” Izuku argued back on instinct, “And your Unbreakable form! What—”
“Hang on, let the ladies go first, Manly Man!” Ashido interrupted as she climbed in before Kirishima. “Please do me first!”
Izuku couldn’t help but choke back tears at their innocent comments. His UA idols were actually interested in indulging his ideas. Who were this people, and why were they so different from the rest?
This, this is good.
All of this, he reminded himself, was for the sake of keeping Shouto-kun safe for as long as possible.
Almost too good to be true. Frightening.
“I can’t thank you enough for this, Midoriya-san.” Yaoyorozu told him with a low voice as she handed him pillows and a blanket for the couch. “It can’t have been easy, doing all of that with everyone else tonight. I’m glad you’re staying over.”
Izuku shook his head, “I’m more worried about what happens when Shouto wakes up. Setting everyone else aside, this can’t be fair for him either.”
Yaoyorozu paused and gave an inscrutable look in the distance, “We can worry about that when it happens.” But Izuku could tell that she was thinking about it. “In the meanwhile, I’ll be here to help and make sure you can pull this off and keep him safe in the meanwhile. We’ll try to keep his condition away from the media as well, which can help protect your identity.” She gave him a wan smile, “It won’t always be comfortable, but I’ll try to make it as easy for you as I can.”
She opened her palm to him, revealing an understated but obviously expensive silver band, a tasteful snowflake-shaped set of diamonds nestled into the metal.
“You’ve had this ring, but kept it private all this time, because you were trying to keep things quiet.”
Izuku couldn’t find it in him to answer. Could only stare at the ring as it glinted in the darkness. Yaoyorozu gave him a soft look.
“Midoriya Izuku, would you do me the honor of pretending to marry my friend Todoroki Shouto?” She raised her brow as she lifted the ring to his finger.
Izuku finally exhaled and gave her a watery smile, “I think it’s better if you call me ‘Izuku’ going forward. It’s only polite, if we’re going to be conspirators and all.”
She flashed him a beautiful smile of relief.
“Then you better call me Momo.”
Of course, whatever bravado he had summoned the night before out of some sense of poetic justice went flying out of the window as soon as he heard a heartstoppingly familiar voice at the doorway in the early hours of dawn.
“Just completed a hell of a mission. Sorry I missed your birthday, Round Cheeks.”
Izuku froze as he lay on the couch.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Better safe at 5 am than never.” He heard Uraraka respond. “Welcome back, Bakugou.”
Shit, shit, shit. Katsuki Bakugou.
How could he have forgotten – it was class 3-A after all.
“How’s Todoroki doing?”
How could it have slipped his mind that Shouto could be friends with his childhood idol and tormentor?
“He’s stable, and we were able to keep Endeavor away, thanks to All Might, Momo, and his fiancé.”
Of course, Shouto would know the other best-known Pro Hero from their UA class. The problematic one that Izuku had spent years keeping away from.
“What the fuck – did you just say Todoroki had a fiancé?”
“Shush, stop being so loud – he’s agreed to stay the night and he’s in the living room right now. You really should meet Midoriya-kun! He’s great, we all like him.”
He felt eyes burning into his back as the heroes looked in at him from the doorway.
Please let him not make the connection. Please make him forget that I was anything other than a pebble in his shoe.
“Midoriya? – as in Midoriya Izuku? Deku? Todoroki’s fiancé? Impossible.”
This was not supposed to happen.
“Yes! How did you know?” Despite Uraraka’s delighted tone, Izuku didn’t need to turn around to feel the incredulous narrowing of Bakugou’s red eyes.
Dammit. They had been so close to getting away with it.
As much as he would love to have more of the Good Days, Bakugou Katsuki was painfully aware of that Bad Days and Strange Days were just as likely.
His hadn’t been promising from the very start. Coming back from a very difficult extraction mission to hear that his classmate and rival Todoroki had met an accident and was in a coma was Bad enough. He had rushed back to the 3-A house to ensure so that he could show his support as soon as possible.
Learning about the involvement of a Miraculous Fiancé that had somehow been hidden by said Ice Cold Hero under their noses this whole time had taken the day into Strange.
Hearing about who Half-and-Half’s alleged fiancé was led to a day that defied categorization. There was just no way to accept this without seeing it for himself.
Armed with coffee that could wake the dead, he sat on his perch on the stairs and watched the figure silently making his way to the door. He glanced at his watch – 6am – and drawled,
Todoroki’s fiancé jumped with a small squeak and whirled to turn to him.
When thought finally came back to him, all Katsuki could think about was that he was glad he was sitting down, and that his coffee mug was now half empty.
Midoriya Izuku. He had heard the name and had thought he knew what to expect. Setting aside the personal issues that still needed unpacking from his younger years, he had more than enough memories to associate with the kid from his past. It was unlikely he would ever forget.
But the man before him was far from the boy in his mind.
This was a grown man, tall and solid, as if his body had finally caught up and filled out in the best way possible to apologize for its previous failings. The trousers didn’t need to stretch much to show toned, muscular limbs; the red plaid button up shirt had its sleeves rolled up across well-built forearms; and above that was a face framed in close-cut dark green curls, a smattering of freckles underneath still impossibly large green eyes.
The eyes at least, Katsuki couldn’t help thinking with relief, were still the same.
“…Ah, you scared me.” Those eyes blinked at him as a blush spread underneath the freckles. “Good morning—” after a pause, “Kacchan.”
Kacchan. Dammit, this was Deku.
He hadn’t actually expected a fucking blast from the past, this early in the morning.
“Well this is a surprise,” he was amazed at how he managed to force the words out. “I don’t remember IcyHot mentioning you before, Deku.”
Maybe it was the mention of the name that snapped time into place for them.
Deku suddenly straightened. If he had looked caught out at Katsuki’s words, it disappeared too quickly as his eyes narrowed and he lifted a shoulder in a shrug.
“That’s probably because he didn’t.”
Katsuki saw the silver glint of a ring on his finger as he placed a hand behind his head and offered a seemingly cheerful smile.
“Don’t worry; he didn’t mention you to me either.”
Katsuki’s mouth dropped, and he raised a brow.
This one has teeth.
For some reason, he felt like baring his own fangs in response.
Before he could reply however, the phone in the other man’s hand came to life, and the bold look on his face gave way to panic. “Car.” He blinked and motioned outside. “I have to go. I am really late, and I’ll just…er, go.” Another pause. “It was, uh, something, to see you again, Kacchan.”
Katsuki stood up as he moved towards the doorway. “Deku.”
The damn nerd all but whirled on his feet as he turned back and started muttering, “Okay, look, I know that this is—"
“I heard that you jumped in front of a train to save IcyHot,” Katsuki interrupted him. “I’m sure my idiot classmates have said it already, but thank you.”
“Oh.” The unexpected acknowledgement, more than anything, seemed to disarm the man. He gave him a wary look as he shrugged his peacoat onto his wide shoulders. “Then… you’re welcome.”
He escaped through the door, only to ruin the effect by peeking back in, as if he had just recalled himself. “Bye.”
Katsuki walked towards the window, brows furrowing incredulously when he saw the nerd mumble rapidly to his phone and jump into what was obviously an expensive executive car.
He belatedly realized that he did not know what the Deku was doing now, and where the car was taking him, and how the hell he got caught up with Todoroki in the first place.
“Damn.” What the hell just happened?
The annoying thing was that that was just the beginning.
Running on even less sleep, he stared at Todoroki’s prone form and kept trying to twig onto his unease by asking his friends.
“Don’t you think there’s something really suspicious about Half-and-Half’s ‘engagement’?”
“Yeah, how did he manage to find such an amazing guy when we weren’t looking? What the hell, Todoroki?” Kirishima asked the unconscious man as he bit onto his sandwich.
Katsuki sighed. “Listen, I’ve known that guy since we were kids, and—
“Whoa, you knew Midoriya?” Ashido sounded excited, “What was he like, growing up?”
“He’s—” Katsuki paused. He took a deep breath. “We were kids back then, and things were different. All I know is that it’s damn strange, how he suddenly showed up as Todoroki’s fiancé.”
“It’s not ideal, but it figures that it would take an accident for such a big thing to come out.” Iida weighed in over his cup of coffee.
Uraraka gave a small laugh. “And what a ‘thing’! I don’t know what I expected—or even if I should have expected at all! I guess it makes sense that Todoroki-kun would go for a super smart looker with nerves of steel, but Izuku-kun is also…"
“—So adorable? He looks so cute when he starts mumbling and gets all shy. And didn’t you also see that perfect butt when he was bending down to—"
“Then why the hell did he sneak off this morning?” Katsuki interrupted testily, putting a hand on Ashido’s face to stop that train of thought. “Why is he not here with us in the hospital, right now?”
“The guy has a job, dude – he’s coming by later. Did you know that he works for the Intelligence Agency? That’s how he and Todoroki met. How manly is that?”
It was Yaoyorozu who put an end to any further debate as she raised a hand, “We all know that Todoroki-san hasn’t been as… connected—since he moved out months ago, especially with this latest mission. Whatever his thoughts were, this must have been quite a large decision for him, and it seems to have happened quite quickly too. I wouldn’t be surprised that he kept these things to himself.” She looked away as if it pained her.
“Shouldn’t we just be happy that our friend chose well?”
The truth was Todoroki had been more distant than usual over the past few months, so none of them really knew.
Katsuki had always had a complicated relationship with his strongest rival. Having Todoroki to compete against made him push to improve himself in ways he couldn’t have ever fathomed. Years of frustration with the somber posterchild of quirk superiority eventually gave way to a unique sense of camaraderie, as their common passion for their goal started uniting them more. Katsuki had pushed him as much as he grew with him. Whatever their history was, they knew that they had earned each other’s respect and could rely on each other without fail.
They might have not been friends in the traditional sense of the word, but he thought that Todoroki at least trusted him.
When Todoroki moved to his own place, he had given a copy of his keys to Yaoyorozu and Katsuki only. While he tended to go off on his own, he always came back when he was needed, or when he was ready. The last few months of silence had more than just his closest friends worrying, however. Whatever his recent mission was, it was difficult when he simply stopped reaching out to them.
The day Katsuki found out about the accident was the first time Todoroki had actually reached out to him in months.
Do you think it’s not too late for me to learn to use my Fire?
It had been a shock. Katsuki knew what it must have taken for Todoroki to ask about using the other half of his quirk, long repressed for intensely personal reasons.
But the timestamp had been from the morning before. Underneath, there were several missed calls and panicked messages from their other friends.
Todoroki had been in an accident. In a coma, then, later, stable. They will visit again, and he’s free to join as soon as he could.
Later still, Todoroki’s been engaged this whole time; Todoroki had a fiancé.
Which was even harder on Katsuki, as he thought he knew him better. At least to know what it was that had him reconsidering his quirk... and considering marriage of all things.
He then knew, somehow, that he had to do better; to make more of an effort with the people around him going forward, so that none of them would be so caught off guard when a shock like this happened.
But Deku – Deku was even harder to understand. Having his name come up in the middle of it all was beyond comprehension.
There was a lot of complicated history for Katsuki, as far as Deku was concerned. He was far from the only person Katsuki had picked on, growing up. As a child, he had a god complex, impatient ambition, an explosive temper and a crippling inability to tolerate weakness – in himself and others; and his road to growth had been littered with many mistakes. He had treated many people as extras not worth his time, or obstacles to prove his superiority. Age, experience and the presence of the not-so-shitty people from UA had humbled him to the point of self-awareness.
With Deku however, his experience was infinitely more difficult and just as hard to explain.
(I knocked him down)
(He just kept coming back)
(As if he was looking down on me)
(Making me fear that I was never good enough)
Before meeting All Might, Todoroki, and the numerous heroes that were leagues better than Katsuki, he had feared that quirkless loser first and foremost; the one who kept looking back at him, even as tears tumbled from his eyes, who wouldn’t back down even as his body trembled in fear.
And instead of looking in, Katsuki had instead focused on crushing him as best he could.
It was one of those important regrets that he had never let himself forget, now that years have passed and he's earned a better sense of self; unfinished business that he knew had to fix. Some of the things he had said and done were too difficult to even contemplate – even forgive, which he could freely admit in his darkest moments.
However, with everything else speeding on in his life at the moment, he figured he would somehow get to it when he’d figured his shit out, or when the ‘right’ moment came.
Apparently, that moment’s just come and smacked him in the ass.
The quirkless kid had come back all grown up, no longer teary-eyed and far from the damaged mess Katsuki had feared he could have pushed him into becoming.
And in a mere handful of weeks, the man had somehow done enough to turn Todoroki’s head far enough to want to marry him.
(Was it those wide eyes and that stretchy smile, that transformed into narrowed glints and a saucy smirk in mere seconds? Or those idiotic freckles that went everywhere – the cheeks, his nose and even those damn exposed forearms?)
Fuck, he hadn’t just grown up. Apparently, he also threw himself on train tracks to save emotionally-repressed Pro Heroes and ran his mouth against powerful assholes like Endeavor.
The annoying thing was that it wasn’t just Todoroki: his closest friends were just as delighted by Deku. As if Todoroki – and consequently all of them – were lucky that the man had said yes. As if he was the best Todoroki could have ever chosen – this quirkless nerd.
Deku was his problem. How had he gone from being Katsuki’s psychological fuck up to fix, to their friends’ most exciting discovery? To Todoroki’s future husband?
That this had all been hiding under his nose and that he had just somehow not seen it was too improbable to be true. It just didn’t make sense.
There was something more to this – he just knew it. If only to understand for Todoroki’s sake, at least.
That’s why he had to know more.
Starting with Deku, Midoriya Izuku.
Next chapter: In Which Bakugou Katsuki Refuses to Believe
In which Bakugou throws the first punch, and Deku decides to fight back.
Comments are lovely and will feed my crops!
Chapter 2: In Which Bakugou Katsuki Refuses to Believe
In which Bakugou throws the first punch, and Deku fights back and is an awkward little shit
Update - This story now comes with art from the wonderful jellynely! See some works below on the previous chapter
Shouto-kun speaking to Izuku
Hospital scene where Izuku is mistaken for Shouto's fiance
Thanks so much again jellynely! (rolling on the floor happily)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
PART II. IN WHICH BAKUGOU KATSUKI REFUSES TO BELIEVE
Doing an unexpected stakeout was not how Bakugou Katsuki expected to spend his precious free time.
But then again, he hadn’t expected to come out from a mission to find his famously reserved Half-n-Half rival in a coma and a secret relationship with Deku.
He had parked his bike across the address that Uraraka had shared with him. The glass-covered high-rise building was in a busy but tastefully modest part of the city center. He wondered if this was what the Intelligence Agency would spring for, when it comes to their agents, a handful of train stops away from their main office.
He perked up when he saw a black executive car stop before the entrance. Deku was not hard to spot when he stepped out – the bastard looked like he stepped out of a spy film, wearing an obviously tailored suit complete with a fitted waistcoat and honest-to-god black gloves. He had removed his jacket however, and his tie looked too short to have been done properly. He had also rolled up his damn sleeves again. What the hell does the agency get him to do, wash dishes? Interrogate Mafia gang members?
The effect was ruined however when he dragged his feet to the side in what looked like abject misery.
From behind him, an equally-suited second figure came out from the car, familiar purple hair sparking a flash of recognition—
Shinso Hitoshi, the UA General Studies student whom Aizawa personally trained for transfer into the hero course. He had joined class B in their second year, and had become an underground hero, last that he remembered. It looked like he worked for the Agency as well, and—what the hell!
The man, whose face Katsuki remembered had always been in a perpetual sneer, started chuckling as he put an arm around Deku.
Although Deku didn’t look too amused at the man’s antics, he let himself be shuffled further along into the building. He covered his face as he spoke back, actually shrinking further into the man’s side. Katsuki could almost hear the “What do I do now?” from across the busy street.
Shinso finally removed his arm, only to put his hands on each side of Deku’s face to lean in.
“Listen closely,” he spoke softly and slowly, as if to make sure Deku heard every single word. When there was no response, he then the stepped back and let Deku go, only to move back and give him a solid slap on his butt.
“—the hell, Shinso-kun! Seriously, now is the time you choose to do that?” he heard Deku protest.
“Get moving, kid!” Shinso drawled as he went through the doors first. “And I expect wine with dinner this time. Trust me we’ll need it.”
He could see Deku shaking his head in exasperation as he followed inside.
If that hadn’t been surreal enough, Katsuki could see some girls giggling at the sight from the other side of the road.
What the hell had he just seen?
Katsuki had been caught between contemplating the bizarre possibility that Deku was seeing not just one but two of his UA colleagues and rushing up to explodo-kill Shinso over wine and early dinner, because what the hell, who would grab someone else’s fiancé’s ass while they’re in a coma, you asshole! when Deku emerged from the building a second time.
The distinct difference of the second sighting had caused such surprise that he temporarily forgot his dilemma.
The man was wearing a shirt that literally said “T-Shirt”, knee-length cargo shorts and—seriously, he still had those red high tops? Damn nerd. Katsuki pursed his lips despite himself.
Deku was shrugging into a hoodie while he held a small bag and his phone on the other hand. He seemed to deliberate for a moment before setting off into a run in the opposite direction.
He jumped onto the bike and followed in hot pursuit – over four blocks into a familiar building that Katsuki had also intended to visit afterwards.
He’s going to Todoroki’s place?
Thinking “After he promised wine and dinner to the purple-haired brainwasher?” was a bit too surreal so he decided to park that headache for now.
Whatever Katsuki’s suspicions were about Deku’s relationship with Todoroki, the nerd clearly had a key to IcyHot’s apartment.
He decided to kill two birds with one stone and let himself in as well.
--Only to hear a crooned “Here, kitty kitty…” from somewhere in the apartment.
“Come out, wherever you are, kitten! You must be very hungry,” a shuffling noise, “and Daddy’s got a treat for you, right here.”
I better not just have walked into some bizarre twisted roleplay.
“Come and get it, baby!”
He found himself stalking towards the kitchen, just as the door was opened, checking him in the fucking nose, of all places.
“Rarrgaahack – the hell!”
Deku was yelling just as loudly behind the door. “Kacchan? Kacchan! Shit, your nose!” At Katsuki’s murderous glare, he jumped back towards the fridge to scramble for some ice. “Here. Do you want me to have a look?”
Whatever Katsuki had to say died as on his tongue as Deku placed a hand on his cheek and gently guided him to look upwards. “I am so, so sorry. You surprised me, I wasn’t expecting anybody.”
I bet you weren’t, some unbelievably mortified part of himself wanted to snark back as Deku declared his nose safe. “What are you doing here anyway?”
“Oh.” Deku paused. He shifted on his feet. “I wanted to make sure the cat was okay.”
“IcyHot doesn’t have a cat.”
There was a pregnant pause as Deku fell still.
Katsuki smirked, “Didn’t you know? He—”
“—Thinks all animals have something against him. I know.” Deku completed for him slowly, he huffed a small sound, “Um.”
But they were both interrupted by a loud and timely “Meow” from the living room.
“Ah!” Deku all but squealed, sweeping into the other room.
“There you are…”
What the actual fuck, Katsuki couldn’t help but wonder again, as he eyed the ginger tabby suddenly in Deku’s embrace, a silver tag dangling from the collar on its neck.
“…Scratch! Let’s go Scratch – you must be starving, you furry baby.” Deku cooed as he carried the cat to the dining room table. “I have food from daddy Shouto, honey. I’m so sorry about this…”
“Scratch.” Katsuki repeated blankly. “He finally gets a pet and he names it—”
“Her.” Deku confirms with a muffled voice from beside the cat.
“He names her Scratch.”
Deku had a fond smile on his face as he rubbed down the cat’s back. “Well, you can see that he’s gone ahead and done it. Look, doesn’t her coloring remind you of him?” He started cooing at the cat.
“I’m gonna take care of you while Daddy’s away – how’d you like that? I’m sure Small Might Junior will love you, he’s a lovable blond Maine Coon and he’d love to have someone to play with…”
Deku froze, mid-mumble.
“You have a cat called Small Might… Junior?”
A furious flush spread under his freckles.
Katsuki slowly bared his teeth, “It’s not enough that you called him Small Might?” he wheezed, “You had to add ‘Junior’ in the end?”
Deku winced, “Please, please don’t tell All Might.”
Katsuki couldn’t help grinning widely. “Deku, you are a damned nerd. I won’t be surprised if All Might already knows.”
The nerd gave him a desperate look. “I’ll do anything.”
How about you stop saying “baby” and “daddy” with that tone voice? rose unbidden within Katsuki. He scowled.
Thankfully, the landline phone chose to ring at that moment. Deku stiffened again and Katsuki eyed him narrowly.
“Aren’t you going to get that?”
Deku shrugged, a bit too casually, “I’ll let it go to voicemail.”
Katsuki gave him a deliberate look as he ambled towards the machine and picked up on the next ring.
It was for Deku. He frowned. He’s here often enough to get calls?
Deku gave an uncertain smile as he took the phone and had a quick conversation.
“That was the hospital. They said it’s customary for friends and family to donate blood if they could. So,” he started edging away, “I guess I’ll just head over now and come back for Scratch later. I was going to visit Shouto-kun anyway.”
No way was Katsuki letting the nerd get away with another awkward exit. “I’ll go with you.”
Deku gave him a wide-eyed look. “Really? Are you done with –whatever it is you came here for?”
Katsuki smirked. “Yaoyorozu had sent me to check on the place, to make sure it hadn’t burnt down or anything. We’re still standing, aren’t we?”
Deku had the grace to blush, “Oh, yes. Momo asked me about that earlier too, but I wasn’t sure when I could get out of work. I better text her now, just in case.”
Oh, ‘Momo’ called him too? And since when was he on first name basis with her? And he called Todoroki ‘Shouto-kun’, which, even though it was his hero name, no one amongst his friends did. What had he done to these people?
“Shall we take IcyHot’s car?”
There was a quick flash of uncertainty on Deku’s face. “Let’s… not.”
“What, hasn’t he ever let you ride that damn thing?”
Izuku gave him a sharp look. “I just prefer public transport.”
“Really. Like that fancy car from this morning?
There was another brilliant burst of red on Deku’s face. “T-that was a company perk! I don’t use them as much as my colleagues do, and only when I’m late or if there’s an emergency…”
So, I was an emergency? Katsuki chose not to ask, smirking.
They had reached the parking lot at this point. “Well? You do know where his car is parked, right?”
Deku chose that moment to produce a set of keys, which he clicked to identify the location of Todoroki’s car.
Deku froze again as they approached the car. “I can’t do this.”
“What is it this time?” Katsuki whirled towards him, is the nerd finally going to come clean about something?
“I can’t drive that car. That’s a Vestige 2.1 – it’s pretty much the Batmobile as far as I am concerned, and no one in their sane mind would let me near a car like that.”
Katsuki started. “Eh?”
Deku exhaled, and his eyes sparkled with barely contained excitement. “I—tend to go overboard, when it comes to gear. I swear, if I get into that car without Shouto, I won’t be able to hold back from trying out all the tech and pressing all the buttons for myself. I’d want to see if I can make the engine hum or purr; I’d be checking how far the enhancements go, I’d want to launch all of its secret weapons at least once.” He groaned. “Shouto-kun would destroy me if I did that when he’s not around.”
Katsuki gasped. Are you kidding me? Katsuki himself had once asked to test all of those enhancements on Todoroki’s stupid supercar before – and got a firm “No”.
Any echoing thoughts about Deku being ‘destroyed’ by Todoroki were shut down, firmly.
“We’ll take my bike then.”
Deku, predictably, went crazy over Katsuki’s own baby. “Noo… is that the third generation Eclipse Umbra?” The impossibly large eyes went even wider. “D-did you test all the tech? The light refraction invisibility feature? The jet booster engine? The back-wheel thruster?”
The more Katsuki nodded, the brighter the green eyes gleamed. “She doesn’t just purr, I can tell you that.”
Deku looked like he was dying. “I bet it growls.”
Katsuki swallowed. He almost offered to let him try it out one time before he caught himself.
Get a hold of yourself, what the hell.
“Tch. Let’s just get to the hospital, shall we?”
(Art credit to Jellynely)
16 Unread Messages
Izuku [16:04]: Momo, would you know if Shouto-kun has a cat?
Izuku [16:06]: Found a can of cat food, wound cream and keys among his stuff
Izuku [16:20]: Maybe I should check Shouto’s place, just in case?
Izuku [16:25]: Also, I wonder about the wound cream. He was walking strangely the other day…
Izuku [16:40]: Wow, hospital just called me at Shouto’s - they probably just assumed I lived here. Am coming over to donate blood when I visit
Izuku [16:40]: BTW Kacchan’s here at Shouto’s too. Well!
Izuku [16:41]: I know I mentioned this on our call earlier, but Bakugou Katsuki hates me
Izuku [16:43]: You say that he’s just protective and he’s like that with everyone, but he *really* has it in for me
Izuku [16:44]: BTW also I almost broke his nose just now. I didn’t mean to though!
Izuku [16:45]: He knows something’s up. He’s been coming at me with textbook interrogation techniques. Help, Momo
Izuku [16:47]: Did you know that Shouto-kun had a super penis car? It looks awesome!
Izuku [16:47]: Kacchan’s tried to get me to drive the penis car to the hospital. He’s testing me
Izuku [16:48]: I just realized what I texted – I didn’t mean it, about the penis car. Let’s call it a quarter-life crisis/extra super hero car. I think it’s better for everyone if I keep the car out of this
Izuku [17:12]: We just made it to the hospital on Kacchan’s extra super hero bike. The interrogation continues!
Izuku [17:13]: Oh, BTW, Shouto-kun does have a cat! She’s called Scratch and she’s adorable. I’ll show you photos later if I manage to survive the bloodletting with Kacchan
Izuku [17:14]: I meant the blood donation
The thing about sitting down for a blood donation is that nobody can get away from questions while blood is being drawn from one’s veins.
“When exactly did you meet?”
Deku didn’t even bother to hide his annoyance at this point, “September 16 this year. We started working together on November 4th. He proposed a week ago,” he recited, tapping a finger. “Do you also want to know when we first held hands?”
Katsuki ignored the last part. “Three months, that’s unbelievably sudden for Half-n-Half.”
“You have no idea.” Deku muttered under his breath.
“You don’t even have photos yet at his place.”
Deku gave a tight-lipped smile, “I’ve given up on being photogenic a long time ago...”
I highly doubt that, Katsuki thought despite himself, thoroughly annoyed. What did Uraraka call the damn nerd now? A looker?
“…And Shouto-kun doesn’t seem to like selfies that much. I didn’t see any photos of anyone with him at his flat either.”
Katsuki was actually surprised at how Deku was no longer holding back at snarking at him. He no longer looked scared at every question, and even started visibly rolling his eyes at some of them. The nerd didn’t even so much as flinch when the needles came off and he jumped off the chair to find the lift.
Oi. I’m not done with you yet.
“What is Todoroki’s favorite dish?”
Deku glowered at him. “Zaru soba!”
“Ha!” Katsuki said in mock triumph as they entered Todoroki’s room. “But everyone knows that.”
Deku crossed his arms and glared at him, “Why don’t you give me harder questions then, if you’re so intent on testing me? Did you know he had a cat?”
“What in the world is going on?” Yaoyorozu asked from Todoroki’s bedside. “What’s with all these questions, Bakugou-san?”
Katsuki and Deku turned to find Yaoyorozu together with Kirishima and Ashido in the room.
From the doorway, Uraraka had just come in with Jirou Kyouka and Kaminari Denki, who was eyeing them curiously.
“Um, are we not doing introductions first? I’m betting this is the fiancé we’ve heard so much about?”
Katsuki scoffed. “I don’t know, why don’t we ask him. Or better yet, why don’t we ask his boyfriend?”
Kirishima gasped horrifically and stared at Todoroki’s unconscious form. “Dude! That isn’t funny!”
“No, Shitty Hair, not that boyfriend.” Katsuki scowled. “Shinso Hitoshi.”
“Just to make things clear, did you say Shinso-kun?”
Denki blinked, “Man, he knows Shinso too? Interesting, good-looking guy, bit hard to read though—” Jirou shushed him with an elbow to his ribs.
“Shinso-kun?” Deku repeated. “Are you serious?”
Katsuki scoffed, “I saw you earlier, while I was—” he coughed, “on my way to Todoroki’s apartment. You looked,” he tried for the right word, “intimate.”
“Intimate? What does that mean?” Ashido’s voice pitched high. “Bakugou, you ho, tell it to me straight.”
“There was some embracing, some mention of wine, and then the Brainwasher grabbed his ass in public.”
Ashido and Kirishima’s gasps were the right level of theatric. But Deku’s was an even higher level of indignation.
“Were you spying on me?” Katsuki didn’t even bother to reply when Deku already knew the answer.
“Shinso-kun is one of my best friends at work and my neighbor! He’s a great guy, but he’s also a lazy ass who can’t be bothered to eat unless I bring him dinner. He’s also a petty drama queen who has to get back at me for beating him at Dance Combat last week by hitting me in the ass! And yes, I’m bringing wine when we have dinner – at this rate I’ll need it more than he does!”
While a large part of that sentence did not make sense to Katsuki, it clearly did to some people as Ashido suddenly whooped in excitement. “You do Dance Combat? Is this at The Floor bar? I can’t believe this, no one else here wants to try it with me!”
“Well, y-yes,” Deku was distracted into stuttering at the unexpected burst of enthusiasm, “the office encourages us to try multi-disciplinary approaches to fitness, a-and—”
“Can we get to the point!” Katsuki said testily, ignoring the glares sent his way.
“What else do you want me to say? I refuse to apologize for my friendship with Shinso, and you’ll believe whatever you want to anyway.” Deku snapped back. “Or would you rather go through another senseless round of 20 questions?”
“Oh please, everyone knows you’re the ultimate nerd fanboy. You can answer 20 questions on anyone in this room – hundreds if it’s All Might. That doesn’t make you their lover.”
Deku gasped, betrayed, before giving a surreptitious look around to check if his number 1 Hero had heard that. From somewhere in the room, someone gave a pitifully awkward cough.
The mortified look on Deku’s face gave way to red rage.
“Seriously, Kacchan, are we five years old again? What the hell is your problem with me?”
(Kacchan, did you get hurt? Do you need any help?)
“I,” found it hard to swallow against a sudden lump in his throat. “I don’t have a problem with you.” He tried not to look away.
“I just don’t believe that you’re engaged to Todoroki.”
Deku flinched at that, as if it made things worse.
Whatever Katsuki suddenly wanted to say, he was interrupted when Uraraka cut him off with a hand on his arm. She shook her head at him before turning to Deku.
“I’m sorry about this Izuku-kun, you don’t have to say anything. Arguing like this isn’t helpful to any one of, least of all Todoroki-kun. I think,” she paused, “that some of us are just so shocked by the fact that Todoroki-kun got engaged of all things, and so suddenly too, that we don’t quite know what to expect, and we’re still getting used to the idea.” She gave Bakugou a telling look, “That’s our problem, not yours.”
Deku looked stricken. Katsuki, for once, was at a loss for words.
Uraraka sighed, “Why don’t we just—” but Deku stopped her by putting a hand on her arm.
“No, it’s okay, Uraraka-kun. I understand.”
Deku looked like he was steeling himself; his gaze moved across everyone in the room, then back to Katsuki. “Kacchan’s just watching out for his friend. He wants to see proof of how—” he coughed over the word, “intimately I know Shouto-kun. Something that only a, well, a fiancé would know.”
Katsuki flinched. Well—
Deku lifted a hand to cut him off, glaring as he opened and closed his mouth a couple of times.
“Shouto—” he struggled to get out. He took a deep breath.
“Shouto-kun has scratch marks,” he exhaled as if it pained him, “on his left butt cheek.”
Katsuki’s mouth dropped.
He was not expecting that.
“What the hell, Deku?”
Uraraka’s tongue got caught in her throat. Her face looked ashen.
“N-no way!” Kirishima wheezed out after a few seconds.
Izuku covered his face in what was indisputably the worst mumble-storm in history, “Y-yes way … He’s probably still getting used to Scratch—that’s the name of his cat; and his ice side usually helps resolve any inflammation faster, but he was walking funny the other day…”
“Okay, we get the picture…” Jirou placed a hand on her face. “That was more than I wanted to know. Nice to meet you, but no.”
Kaminari whooped in delight. “I’m not saying I’m glad I left work in time for this today, but,” he wiggled his eyebrows. “are you saying it was the cat that did it?”
Jirou groaned. Elsewhere, someone snapped “For crying out loud,” – it could have been Yaoyorozu.
Ashido was cackling maniacally somewhere, “Who’s gonna check?”
Kirishima paled, “We’re not seriously doing this, are we?”
They all filed into the lift quietly, both guilty and weirdly traumatized by what they had just witnessed.
“Are you happy now?” Uraraka moaned at Bakugou, who could only just stare back at her with a haunted expression, “You bastard?”
“Yes, ‘Kacchan’,” Kaminari whined, “I didn’t know you two had history, but what the hell was that?”
“Are we seriously buying that it was the cat that left those marks?” Ashido dared to ask, weakly.
“Please, just, stop.” Jirou covered her ears.
Kirishima was still shaking his head, “The things we can’t un-see…”
Yaoyorozu glared at them with as much quiet dignity as she could muster given the situation.
“I was the one who had to look at it first.”
…which, as it turned out, was precious little.
“Can we agree to just end all questions and never talk about this, ever, again?”
There was silence for all of a second.
“Well,” Kaminari grinned. “At least now we know the answer to whether Todoroki is a tits or ass kind of guy.”
There were simultaneous groans of, “Shut up, Denki!” before the lift doors closed again.
“You’re shitting me. That seriously happened?”
From his position with his face mashed onto the table, Izuku muttered, “Which part? The fake engagement to Shouto-kun? The cat? The butt cheek inspection? Or the part where they thought I was a lying, two-timing shit because you slapped my ass in public? I can tell you now, it’s all of the above.”
Shinso hardly ever cackled, but when he did, it was unbearable.
“That last part, you totally deserved. I told you, you have an amazing tendency to get into situations like this. I meant the scratched-Ice Prince-butt part – how the hell did you get that right?”
Izuku resisted the urge to smash his head against the table. “Crazy lucky guess based on the contents of his bag from the hospital. Are you sure really you want to know?”
“I’ll take your word for it.” Shinso gave a low whistle and shook his head. “Remind me to never get on your bad side. The things you can figure out when you’re focused on someone—” his grin widened, “that’s almost on par with my quirk, as far as the fear factor goes. I’m proud of you, kid.”
Izuku couldn’t help it, he banged his head onto the table. “Don’t say that. You make me sound like a psycho stalker. I’ll have so much to apologize for when Shouto-kun wakes up.”
“I’d say, less stalker and more… scary green Sherlock.” Shinso rubbed a hand on his chin, “If I were a lesser man, I would tell you to use it on Bakugou, but it sounds like you already soundly thrashed him in Round One of Deku versus Kacchan.”
Izuku suddenly raised his head, “Oh my god, Kacchan. What do I do about Kacchan?”
“It’s Bakugou,” Shinso shrugged, as if that explained everything. He stared down at Izuku as he poured more wine for him.
“How do you feel about that, by the way?”
Katsuki Bakugou. Kacchan.
There was too much to unpack in that one person.
Because before there was Shouto-kun, All Might or any of Deku’s childhood and adult heroes, there had been Kacchan.
Brilliant super-quirked prodigy, awesome butterfly catcher and skip-stone thrower, clever learner and early reader, head of Bakugou Hero Team, middle-school alpha male and arrogant, first-class jerk – that was Kacchan.
As a kid, he was the first ever asshole who told Izuku to get lost and stop hanging his hope on stupid dreams; the first one to call him a useless loser and to tell him to jump off a roof.
“He’s still such a bastard.”
The funny thing was that, looking back, his frankly juvenile tactics had been nothing compared to the more devastating ways his heart had been broken afterwards. Kacchan was the first person to set him back and he wasn’t the last, but he was certainly not the worst. Izuku wouldn’t be destroyed by him; in fact, it probably made him stronger when it came to enduring larger foes.
In his mind, he recalled the blurry sight of a burnt notebook as a frail superhero stepped away from sight.
Only people who had your heart can do that.
Izuku shook his head at the sudden dark turn of his thoughts. He had grown up enough to realize that he was so much stronger for all of it now.
He had chosen “Deku” as his agent name for a good reason.
The annoying thing was that, for all of Kacchan’s faults, he also, for some reason, grew up into a Hero – and a damn good one at that. In terms of lives saved and missions accomplished, Ground Zero was even neck-to-neck with Shouto in the top 10 heroes. Anyone who had seen his performance as a proud first year at the UA Sportsfest could attest to how amazing his dedication to victory was. As a Pro, he had grown in fortitude, mental strength and sheer fighting prowess.
Ground Zero never minced his words and was well known for his still-crappy demeanor, but he nevertheless had grown up enough to do something Good – enough to capture a nation’s support and admiration at least.
And no matter how justifiable his doubts on Kacchan were, Izuku was not that self-righteous that he would take that away from him.
He was also Izuku’s first lesson on the fact that heroes were not as one-dimensional or invincible as they seemed. He thought back to All Might, his classmates at Ketsubutsu Academy, the famous UA Pro Hero class, Hatsume and of course, Shinso. Even Todoroki Shouto. He probably wouldn’t be able to hold his ground among them, if he hadn’t met Kacchan first.
Katsuki Bakugou would never be one of Izuku’s personal heroes, but he was certainly a real one to him.
“…But he really is an amazing hero.”
And he was just watching out for Shouto-kun, which Izuku could never fault him for.
Shinso gave a small close-lipped smile. “Having shared the same school as the guy, I can admit that he is, on certain occasions, actually not that bad.”
“Still an asshole though.”
Shinso snickered as he swished his wine glass, “Not disagreeing with you there.”
The good news was that Izuku had the advantage on Kacchan this time. While the man had no way of anticipating him, Izuku’s exposure to hero work made him aware of what to anticipate upon seeing his childhood bully again.
Regardless, nothing could quite prepare him for the sight of Kacchan outside of a TV screen – the intense crimson eyes, the resting smirk on his lips, the imposing way he stood, the rough, husky voice, the solid built, and the frankly astounding biceps – it’s like that black tank top was made for the sole purpose of displaying them for maximum effect.
Honestly, Izuku’s heart stopped beating for all of a few seconds.
It was his mention of that childhood nickname, “Deku”, that was his salvation, as it swiftly brought him back to the reality of the horrible personality under the gorgeous looks. It certainly made it easier to deal with him afterwards (awkwardly amazing motorbike ride aside).
And that, Izuku was surprised to realize, was the other strange thing – how easy it was to fight back when it came to Kacchan this time.
“But you know what I think?”
Funnily enough, there was something strangely satisfying about pissing Kacchan off and getting away with it, however awkward or clumsy or quirkless Izuku was. Knowing that Kacchan had it in for him, and that Izuku was somehow evading capture made it more fun for some reason.
“I think I can handle him this time.”
Shinso tsk’d at him from over his wine glass, as if this had been obvious this whole time, “You know you didn’t really need to use the cat thing to get Todoroki Friends & Co off your back, right?” He grinned.
“You just wanted to shut Bakugou up and roast him over the coals like he deserved.”
Izuku’s eyes bugged out as he took a sudden gulp from his glass. “W-what! I just wanted to get it over and done with, as clearly as possible. That is so not…”
Evidence that I am insane.
Shinso’s grin grew, “It’s those big green eyes of yours – makes you look so innocent and awkwardly ‘adorkable’, all the while hiding the frankly savage demon kid within.”
Izuku put his head back on the table. “Why are we friends again? Why do I bother feeding you?”
Shinso’s mocking laughter wafted over him. “Because you think I’m amazing? Because you love my quirk? Because you feel less guilty about using Agency cars when I’m the one who orders them? Because I’m the only one who sees you for the quirkless wonder that you are? Because you had no choice?”
Izuku paused despite himself. “If I say all of the above, would you make fun of me for being such a sap?”
“Yep.” The ‘p’ was popped mockingly without apology.
“Then no, none of the above. We’re not friends.”
“Right on you, kid.” Shinso pushed his glass. “Drink up.”
Izuku beamed. It was refreshing, interacting with someone this remarkable so honestly, beyond the veneer of hero worship.
It was probably why he was enjoying battling it out with Kacchan as well, intrusive questions and spying aside.
He choked on his drink as another thought occurred to him. “Wait – what if Kacchan brings out the big guns? He’s a hero. What if he uses spy drones?” His eyes darted towards the window.
Shinso paused to roll his eyes and clock him on the head. “That should be easy for you to handle. You work in Intelligence, dumbass.” He held that thought for a second, “–Did I just use those words in that actual sentence?”
“But what if he uses hero tech? What if he’s spying on us right here, right now?” Izuku gaped at Shinso. “Should we bring Mei in? I haven’t gotten the chance to tell her yet.”
Shinso smirked at the mention of the last member of their unlikely trio, “I’d give her a video call at the workshop now, if you’re sure we’re not being bugged.” He hummed with a thin scary voice, “Think of all the embarrassing shit Bakugou can dig up from your past, like those videos…”
“Shut up!” Izuku gasped at him, betrayed. “You laugh now, but have you seen my luck—”
They were interrupted by a loud knock on the door.
They most certainly reacted in a dignified way; Izuku did not shriek like a mindless idiot and Shinso did not jump and yell “Holy sh--!”
They looked at each other in shock. “All Might?”
It was All Might.
In his muscle form, standing in Izuku’s living room, with Shinso standing with his arms crossed in front of the dining table as if it would hide the mess of their takeout dinner and the glasses of wine, while Small Might Junior, Shinso’s grey shorthair cat Merlin and Scratch the now-infamous tabby cat stared balefully at him from the cat tower behind the sofa.
We have too many cats in this room.
Uh. “This is a pleasant surprise.”
Are you here to accuse me of having dinner with my ass-slapping neighbor? Detroit Smash me for the cat incident? Tell me off for not fully following your advice about staying away from all things Hero?
“Would you like a drink?”
What could you possibly offer him as a drink, he’s All Might, he probably drinks hero essence, and Kacchan will accuse you of trying to wine and dine Japan’s most precious hero--
Shinso cleared his throat, a sound that screamed to Izuku, “I can hear your mind mumbling. Now is not the time for a meltdown, you loser nerd idiot.”
All Might coughed, “No, that’s fine. Thank you Midoriya shounen, and I apologize for showing up unannounced.”
He looked at both of them, “There was something I wanted to talk to you about personally, regarding Todoroki shounen and my former students at class 3-A.”
Izuku swallowed, bracing himself. Shinso did not offer to leave. All Might seemed to take his cue from that, as he spoke.
“I know the truth.”
Deku’s mind froze, he felt his stomach drop.
“…I am so sorry, All Might.” He heard himself saying a few seconds later. “I know how it must look to you, and really there is an explanation for this. I swear I’m not a delusional stalker who sticks my nose where it doesn’t belong, I really thought I was being helpful to Shouto-kun.” He ran out of breath without realizing, and he wheezed. “Yaoyorozu-san spoke to me—"
“That was my idea.”
“—And we decided that it was best if we kept up the story—” Izuku stopped so suddenly that he actually staggered forward. What?
All Might placed a steadying hand on his arm. “May I?” he gestured vaguely to the side.
When Izuku nodded dumbly, he stepped back and transformed before them, sudden wisps of smoke drifting away to reveal a thin, frail man with haggard eyes. Izuku gawked, only half-sure that people like Shinso were meant to know this particular secret. Judging from the lack of surprise on Shinso’s gaze, he figured that certain UA hero course alumni were probably in on it.
All Might made his way to sit on his couch, “I also am personally invested in making sure my students remain safe. I came back to the hospital with Yaoyorozu shoujo in the first night of Todoroki’s confinement. We were both by the door when we heard you confess the truth to him.”
Izuku felt faint. “You heard…” he tried desperately to recall if he had confessed anything incriminating, “…all of it?”
He was caught between apologizing again or dying with mortification when All Might offered a smile.
“Yes, and I was the one who suggested that Yaoyorozu speak with you so that we could work together to keep young Todoroki safe from his father. Do you know why I did that?”
He stood up, “Eight years ago, you and I had encountered each other in the streets of Musutafu. You asked me an important question, which I had answered, rightly or wrongly, the best way I thought at the time. In exchange, I had asked you to keep this state of mine a secret.”
So he does remember. Izuku nodded slowly, feeling his throat dry up.
“You might be surprised that I remember, my boy. But I do wonder about what ever came to of that boy with his notebook, who all this time kept his word to me. It was indeed to my great surprise to see you years later, doing your best to help someone else, even though it is often easier or better to walk away – against Endeavor no less.”
Izuku stood stock still as All Might continued.
“You didn’t even pause to hesitate when it came to young Todoroki. Those courageous actions of yours tell me, more than anything else, of the quality of your character.”
All Might looked at him intently, “It made me realize that I never should have worried. I’ve realized more about the effect of my words over the years, and I am glad that you turned out well despite my harsh words years ago. More than that, I realized that we can trust you to keep young Todoroki safe.”
Izuku felt his knees weaken; despite himself, he could feel a sob clogging up his throat, “All Might.”
“You’re going to make him cry.” Shinso observed wryly from behind him. “Don’t worry; it’s not you, it’s him.”
“S-Shinso-kun!” Izuku lamented.
All Might turned to Shinso with a sheepish look. “I would like to thank you as well, young Shinso. I hope this whole affair hasn’t been harmful to your—” he paused, considering, “relationship with each other. We hadn’t thought to confirm with Midoriya before…”
Shinso’s eyes widened comically as he realized what All Might was trying to be sensitive about. “Alright, let me stop you right there, All Might. For the record, I am not dating your green-haired wonder kid over there.” He shrugged. “While he’s not that bad to look at, he’s seriously behind on his karaoke and cooking game.” He spared Izuku a glance and said flippantly, “Sorry, kid. It’s not me, it’s you.”
All Might looked like he didn’t know how to respond to that statement, so Izuku spared him and confirmed with a weak laugh: “Don’t worry, I am not in the market for another fake relationship.”
All Might slowly nodded, placing a hand on the back of his head, “I understand that Bakugou shounen might have been too hasty in his, er, background checks. Ashido and Uraraka are planning to make it up to you, and I believe that he will be more considerate going forward.”
“Background checks is one way to put it,” Izuku said slowly, appreciating his attempt at reassuring him all the same; Shinsou snorted from behind him.
All Might stood, “I know that this whole situation seems—unconventional. But you’ve done no mean thing. Their class—it’s been different for them ever since you came.” He paused to rebutton his coat.
“I think it’s because they feel like since you’ve been there, they finally have their friend and colleague back, coma or no.”
All Might inhaled and transformed back into his muscle form, before moving to offer his hand, “I wanted to thank you again, and to let you know that you will have my support should you need it. You are not alone in this.”
Izuku felt tears crowding his eyes again. “I… thank you, All Might.”
All Might nodded and turned to go, but not before spotting the cats again, “By the way, I heard about the cat story, and I wanted to ask how…”
At Izuku’s beleaguered expression and Shinso’s manic grin, All Might just shook his head.
“You know what? Never mind. I don’t want to know.”
“Ashido-kun? Weren’t we meant to meet at the club?”
Katsuki scowled. The nerd had the nerve to look surprised to find them waiting in their black SUV outside his apartment building.
“We thought it was better to pick you up instead!” Ashido beamed, turning to Katsuki and elbowing him when he didn’t respond. “Right?” voices at the back rang out in the affirmative instead.
“Oh wow. Hi Kaminari-kun, Kacchan.” Deku sounded mildly panicked, “I thought it was just going to be you and Uraraka-kun joining us tonight! But, er, the more, the merrier!”
You’d like it if I wasn’t here, would you?
Deku was nudged to the side by Shinso, “Well, well, class 3-A kids, what a surprise. Hello Ashido, Uraraka, Kaminari… and Bakugou is driving as well. What brings you to our humble abode?”
Katsuki resisted the urge to sock the purple-haired abomination. Uraraka was there to run interference however.
“Bakugou’s here because he needs to make it up to us, especially Izuku-kun, after what happened this week. Kaminari’s here because he doesn’t want to miss out on this.”
What the—Katsuki glared daggers at the cheerful round-cheeked traitor.
He could see Deku shaking his hands placatingly. “Well, that’s. um. Nice. But there’s really no need to drive us, we might not fit anyway…”
“No,” Shinso drawled, “This should be interesting. I can cancel the car I ordered – I think this is much, much better.”
Katsuki wasn’t imagining the despairing glare that Deku shot Shinso, “We’re meant to pick up the others.”
“I’m sure Ground Zero can handle one or two side trips,” Purple Hair challenged with a deliberately bored tone as he climbed in.
Katsuki growled, “Get in, you damn nerd!”
The truth was that Katsuki had indeed been coerced into joining this damn night out, an attempt by Ashido and Uraraka to smooth over any awkwardness from Katsuki’s (justified) suspicions this week. Even All Might had insisted that he take part.
“Wow, nice rags, gents.” Kaminari whistled when Deku joined Shinso inside the car. “Mina, you didn’t tell us that the dress code meant suits.”
Katsuki didn’t have to look long to predict the 3-piece ensemble, together with the gloves the discarded jacket and, yep, Deku’s damn rolled-up sleeves.
“Ah, don’t worry, it’s more like an informal ‘wear your work clothes’ theme tonight. That’s what Mei wanted, and because it’s Mei Day tonight…”
“Hang on,” Kaminari interrupted, “Seriously, that’s what you guys wear to work?”
Deku’s blush came back like clockwork, “Well, the Agency has, um, a specific code for—”
Uraraka gave him an encouraging smile, “Do you want me to help you with your tie?”
Katsuki smirked. That damn badly-knotted necktie.
“Don’t bother,” The Pale Mindfucker chided. “He murders his knots so much that his bad ties have become an institution in the office anyway.”
Deku shot him a look, “It’s not the only thing that would get murdered if you don’t stop,” he murmured as an aside, and Katsuki found himself grinning again.
From beside him at the front, Ashido turned to them, “I’m not sure I heard what you said earlier… did you say it was May Day?”
“Mei Day,” Shinso corrected. “As in Hatsume Mei – speaking of which, King Explodo Murder, would you mind taking the next right? We need to pick her up.”
Katsuki pointedly refused to respond, and Round Cheeks asked what they were all wondering about, “Mei… is it because it’s her birthday, and the club is letting her celebrate?”
“Nope, although I can see why you’d think that.” Deku nodded, “It’s more like, ‘Mei Calls in All Favors’ day. Trust her to come up with something like this, but basically, whatever Mei wants tonight, Mei gets.”
“Seriously, even the club owners owe her? Why would they dedicate a whole event to her? Is it for gear or support items? What kind of items?” Wow, Ashido went through that train of thought so quickly.
“One does not ask what is owed to Mei.” Deku quoted with a shit eating grin, “Trust me, we’re better off not knowing. Ah,” he turned to the window, “there she is!”
A few seconds later, the lady herself showed up next to the door that Deku opened for her. “Hi boys, this is a new ride.” She glanced at everyone inside. “Ah, class 3-A, short time no see!”
“Bakugou is driving.” Shinso intoned, as if that explained everything.
“Gotcha.” Mei winked, “Hello Ground Zero, be nice to our Izu-chan this time, okay? I generally need him in one piece.” And she swept in before Katsuki could find the nerve to be offended, all gold and metallic in her outfit.
Deku came back in to clamber to the back with Kaminari, effectively missing Mei’s last words. “Wow, Mei, you look like a steampunk diva. Does that come with gear?”
“That’s the idea,” Mei agreed, before knocking Shinso on his head for murmuring, “More like the Queen of the Night.”
Clearly the work outfit thing didn’t apply to her.
Kaminari, that little flirty shit, couldn’t help himself. “Looking good, Ms. Support Genius.”
“Thank you, Kamihara,” Mei winked at him, gleefully ignoring his choked-out wheeze at the misnomer, before turning to Deku. “Izu, come here, give me your face!”
“Uhhh, what are you planning this time – whoa!” Katsuki only saw a green-haired blur as Mei grabbed the nerd’s cheeks in hand and whipped out a pencil.
“I am putting eyeliner on these gorgeous big eyes of yours. I need you to bring out your A-Game with these pretty peepers tonight, and you’re not getting out of this, secret engagement or not.”
Right, they were all meant to keep the ridiculous engagement a secret among themselves to ‘respect Shouto’s need for privacy.’ Deku still wore the ring when they were together however.
“Now, did you get those trousers one size smaller like I asked? All the better to show off those perfect glutes—”
“M-mei!” Deku moaned like he was being tortured, “Can we avoid any and all mention of all nether regions for the rest of the night? I haven’t recovered from this week yet.”
Uraraka clamped her lips on a giggle. Katsuki refused to look at the sudden delighted gleam on Ashido’s face.
“Fine, have it your way. Wear this on your ear at least… Now, where’s the other one!” She whipped around to Shinso, who suddenly didn’t look as bored.
“You better do a damn good job, Grease Monkey.”
“Don’t worry, a little silver eyeshadow will glam-rock you up, Purple Rain. Now did you wear the tighter shirt like I asked?”
She poked at him when he didn’t bother to reply. “How am I supposed to pull off Mei Day tonight if you two don’t do your bit? I want to be the envy of all men and women alike with my boys.”
“You make us sound like pets. Or bodyguard slaves. Whatever you’re planning, I don’t intend to tear off my clothes.”
“Is she like this all the time?” Kaminari asked in stage whisper. The girls just stared in dumb fascination as Mei made quick work of Shinso’s face.
“Yep.” Deku admitted sheepishly as Shinso grumbled under Mei’s hands. “Unfortunately, any sense of shame just… bleeds away over the years.”
Years? How long has Deku known these two anyway? Doesn’t he have his own friends from Ketsubutsu or wherever the hell it is he came from?
“How did you guys meet each other, by the way?” Thank you, Ashido, for asking all the right questions.
“Interschool program focused on cultivating non-offensive quirks and talents.” Mei replied automatically. Talent in Deku’s case then, quirkless as he was. “In our third year? We ended up working together a lot through the Agency anyway.”
The damn nerd really has been under our noses this whole time?
They had one more surprise stop, to Katsuki’s increasing annoyance, although Shinso declared that they shouldn’t worry about making more space as the last joiners could sit in the back like children.
It did not help when Katsuki soon realized who he was talking about.
The annoyingly high-pitched mocking voice broke through the windows. “Shinso? This would be a nice 3-B reunion if you didn’t bring that green-haired menace with you… oh, ho, hello Class A-gumi, we meet again!”
That fucking troll copycat, Monoma Neito.
“I hope this is the last fucking stop!” Katsuki threatened over a chorus of groans.
“I’m really, really sorry guys,” Deku sounded genuinely apologetic, not bothering to lower his voice for Monoma’s benefit. “Shinso-kun invited Kendou-san but she couldn’t make it; we have Monoma instead.”
Monoma shut the door from behind him, “Agent Deku, I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, and we can bury the hatchet if you join forces with us in an Intelligence Agency Officers and Contractors vs Class A showdown!”
Agent Deku? Katsuki raised a brow in the rearview mirror. He actually chose that name?
But Deku refused to meet his gaze over the mirror, simply craning his head back at Monoma, “Now, now, why don’t we all just try to get along?”
He then quickly turned to Mei, “Do you have lipbalm? You should use it on him. The shinier, the better.”
The rest of the car looked at him in surprise, but Katsuki suddenly let out his first laugh of the night, getting it immediately. Shinso smirked.
“We need to make that mouth look good before people realize the shit that comes out of it.”
“So how does this work again? You hit targets with balls like we did in the provisional license exam, except you’re not allowed to use quirks?” Uraraka asked dubiously.
Ashido nodded, her tongue peeking out from the side as she handled the disc-shaped targets, “You’re judged on your combat skills and your dancing.”
“Dancing… how the hell does that make sense?”
Ashido winked at Katsuki. “You have to suit and time your motions to the rhythm; also, there are certain periods set aside specifically for dancing only, so we get the chance to show off our moves...”
Katsuki snorted dismissively and he looked away.
A few meters from them, the so-called Queen-of-the-Night Hatsume chatted animatedly with the host.
Beside her stood Shinso with his silver-marked lids and cheekbones, and Deku, his green eyes all smoky, a glassy black stud on his ear. Shinso was also rolling his sleeves up while Deku explained the game mechanics to Kaminari with gusto.
Behind them, a group blatantly stared, brows raised as they whispered amongst themselves; there were others, in fact, who were also staring at the suited and booted group.
Katsuki bit back a frown. He had to admit that Hatsume knew what she was doing when she styled the hell out of her friends. He just wished it wasn’t quite as effective.
He was good at ignoring onlookers when it came to himself, but it looks like he can’t quit switch off when it comes to his troublesome childhood rival and Todoroki’s fiancé.
The speculative whispers increased when Deku attached his targets: one on his left breast, another on the lower right side of his abdomen, and the last one… on his right butt cheek. There it goes, someone gushed from elsewhere to their right.
Shinso eyes actually twitched at the sight. “You’re just asking for it, aren’t you, kid?”
Deku looked up at him through his lashes, a cheeky grin on his face, “Still bitter about failing to hit this one last time?”
Katsuki suddenly found his throat dry.
Denki’s eyes widened in comical delight, “So that’s what that was?” Suddenly Shinso’s actions regarding said butt from a few days ago made sense.
“Ha!” Monoma suddenly turned back from posing before the crowd to leer with his usual panache. “This time, I’m going to hit that ass.”
Someone coughed loudly from behind Katsuki. He gave a sneer of disgust when he realized it was Uraraka.
“Sorry everyone, but I’m calling in another personal favor with the organizers,” Mei announced as she appeared with a ball, “Just collecting this before anyone else can!” she said cheerfully before hitting the disc on Deku’s bottom, which instantly glowed a light red.
A chorus of gasps and hoots echoed across the room. On the stage, the game host mouthed “Mei Day” and shrugged as if to say, ‘what can you do?’.
Deku gawked. “Wow, Mei. The game hasn’t even started yet. Should I be insulted or flattered?”
Mei placed her hands on her hips and started cackling gleefully. “Be flattered. I’ve actually pulled strings to make sure that infamous target on your ass is mine tonight.”
Shinso only cracked his knuckles. “Nice play, Grease Monkey.” He sneered at Deku, “But I’m still coming for the rest of you...”
He gave a sideways look at the Tuxedo-suited menace posing before the audience, “After I take Monoma out.”
In the end, Mei, Shinso, Deku, Monoma and Ashido joined the competition, while the rest of them opted to watch and learn first.
The twenty or so odd contestants gathered onto the recessed stage at the middle of the club, the eponymous ‘Floor’ that the venue was named after. They were surrounded by a semi-solid transparent wire wall, which would only be in solid state while the battle rules are in place.
“Welcome to Dance Combat! You know the rules – no quirk use at any time. When the green light is on, hit as many targets as you can in time with the beat, and when the red light is on, stop battling and just dance! Three hits and you’re out. Contestants are scored based on the targets they hit on the rhythm. Plus points for great dance moves!” Cheers broke out over the last part.
“Any hits done during the dance sections and any damage that breaks skin on your fellow contestants will lead to deductions or disqualification.”
The lights flashed to that effect, and the host continued. “Lastly, as you all know, it’s Mei Day.” The spotlights all went to Mei, who gleamed black and gold in the milky light as she bowed. “She’s called in some favors and she has chosen the playlist for tonight’s round.”
“In that case, let the games begin. We’re starting the countdown–don’t forget to have fun! – in 5, 4, 3, 2…”
A clapping sound emerged from the speakers, and “Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood” by Santa Esmeralda was displayed on the marquee. Damn, Izuku thought, of course Mei had to choose music from a cult classic action film. That’s good.
From the audience, people yelled as a brutal but impressive rhythm started to emerge. Some of his fellow contestants started shook their heads in wonder at the beat. Deku normally didn’t mind the intensity of Latin music – it lent itself well to various dance and attack styles.
Normally. He looked up at the audience, seeing Kacchan together with Uraraka and Kaminari in the crowd. Having Shouto’s friends here made him anxious with the need to not embarrass himself, but oddly enough having his childhood enemy present made him more excited with the need to wipe that judgy smirk off his face.
Mei appeared next to him as he stretched his neck. “Now Izu, ready to make me look good?”
They both moved instantly towards center stage, stomping their feet forward with decisive snaps, matching the beat perfectly.
Shinso joined them, shooting him a mocking look before they simultaneously took a half step to the side. “You call that dancing?”
Izuku beamed. Shinso might not be as invested in dance, but he was a perfectionist showoff himself, and very competitive to boot. Their need to compete made them both a bad, if entertaining combination. It was the origin of all evil for many questionable pastimes, from blindfolded mini-golf to who can threaten Mei’s exes best. It was because of him that Izuku’s target on his butt, which had been a good-natured challenge at the beginning, had morphed into the Holy Grail of the competition.
Shinso also had an annoying smugface, which was all the motivation Izuku needed sometimes.
When Shinso improvised by grabbing Mei into a spin, Deku only laughed before rounding up with a little kick and spinning in the opposite direction, landing and tapping on a toe just as Mei swung back into place.
“Ooh, a little Paso?” Ashido showed up next to him, repeating the routine seamlessly, “Show me your moves!”
Izuku’s mouth dropped open, uncaring that his inner fanboy was showing for one the heroes best known for her physicality. Pro Hero Pinky wants to dance with me! “You bet!”
Shinso rolled his eyes.
“Stop showing off, losers!” Monoma groused as he swung closer. “I’m coming for all of you as soon as that light turns green!”
Shinso grinned; Izuku smirked.
The light turned green.
Izuku immediately launched himself backwards, staying away from the sudden melee as people started targeting each other. He grinned as he saw Shinso hit one of the targets on Monoma’s leg (really what did the guy expect with those coattails?). Ashido jumped into the center while Mei launched herself to the sides.
Let’s not miss out. This was where Izuku’s experience as the most eager (desperate) student across the various martial arts classes offered by the Interschool Program ought to help him the most.
With a deep breath, he lunged towards the periphery, calmly ducking under arms and jumping over limbs as he made his way across the group. The advantage of going low and high within the din made for easy pickings: he could easily spot exposed targets and launch balls with each dive or jump.
From above him, he saw Ashido deploy a ball from a high jump, hitting somebody meters away – and all during her first foray. Sugoi.
Shinso suddenly appeared before him, ball at the ready. “Forgot about me?”
“Argh!” Izuku jolted into a back flip, missing the ball by a hair’s breadth. It zoomed past him to glance at someone else’s target, at the back of their calf.
“Hey, that didn’t count!” The man protested furiously, just as Izuku landed behind him.
“Well, let’s make sure it does, shall we?” Izuku announced glibly as he hit the same target, taking advantage of the man’s shock to toss a ball back to Shinso, who instantly used it to hit the second target on the man’s head, just as Izuku hit the third one of the man’s shoulder.
“Out!” someone called before the man could even gasp.
“You just had to take two, didn’t you?” Shinso griped, stepping back as someone tried to make a grab for him.
“Yep!” Izuku replied as he grabbed the attacker’s arm and pushed her smoothly onto the floor, revealing two targets on her back – but the rhythm was off.
Shinso shrugged, and they tossed their balls at each other, only to catch them and hit the targets in time with the next beat.
“Besides,” Deku continued with deliberate cheer, “I can’t make it too easy for you, can I?”
Shinso sneered as he tried to swipe at him. “You little piece of—"
The light turned red.
“Oops,” Izuku dashed off to find Ashido, “Don’t take too long to catch up to me, Shinso-kuuuun!”
It was a joy to match with Ashido, who was easily one of the most talented dancers he had met. Just like Tatami-chan, he thought, sparing a quick thought of thanks to his Ketsubutsu senpai who had dragged him into all the body-contorting arts she could find.
Ashido had a sense for matching her fellow performer’s actions, at the same time making it easy to catch up with her. She also had an incredible sense of rhythm. It made it easy to lose himself in dancing with her, transitioning from to freestyle moves to paired ballroom steps. Between battles, they did dips, lifts, break-dancing, krumping, kneeling runs, and an exaggerated four-way tango with Mei and Monoma. They even had a go at the pole in the corner of the room.
It gave even more of an adrenaline high whenever the lights turned green. It was strangely easy to transition from the last position in a chassez cape, to lunging at someone’s knees to grapple them down.
Before any of them knew it, they emerged from an extended battle run with four of them remaining: Shinso, Monoma, Ashido and Izuku – Mei had bowed out in the previous round, and the fifth was brought down in the last seconds before the light turned red.
“Well look who we have left.” Monoma leered – seriously his trash talk needed more work, “Ready to go down?”
And that was when the music suddenly stopped.
Izuku heard Mei’s triumphant laugh somewhere. He met Shinso’s narrowed eyes.
Oh no. What the hell is she planning this time?
“Sorry, finalists, but on the request of tonight’s Queen,” the host emphasized, “we are changing the pace a bit, for a very special finale.”
There were, Katsuki was painfully beginning to realize, some advantages to watching this ridiculous tournament
“I kind of understand what Todoroki-kun sees in him now.” Kaminari declared.
“Uh huh,” Uraraka slowly agreed, sucking on the straw of her cocktail.
While the competition was quite straightforward, there was something unexpectedly compelling about watching someone time their actions to rhythm, whether it was as simple as stepping next to someone or bashing some balls onto a target.
Well, he grumbled, a specific someone at least.
He didn’t quite understand his own reaction to watching Deku transform so dramatically, from smoothly curving his body to match Ashido, to aggressively grabbing someone’s shoulders to bring them down. He was almost viciously efficient at both, especially when it came to challenging Monoma or Shinso; it was easy to spot that competitive streak from a mile off.
Katsuki also recognized some of his techniques. He used the floor a lot, grappling people to take them down, and rolling safely whenever he fell himself. He also liberally used higher vantage points – launching himself up walls (and in one heart-stopping, eardrum-destroying screaming moment, a pole) to avoid attacks, or to spot targets.
His dance-off with Ashido, however, was another matter entirely, especially when they held nothing back, from coordinated jumps, to hip-swaying salsa and back-bending hip hop, to again that stupid pole.
The crowd ate it all up, of course.
Damn nerd, he swallowed, frustrated. Todoroki’s fiancé, of all things.
“We are changing the pace a bit, for a very special finale.” The announcer began. “Can our top four contestants move to the side of the stage please?”
Ashido momentarily came back to them, holding two discs. “We’re being given additional targets for the finals.”
Deku also jogged up next to her with his new discs. Katsuki could see the rise and fall of his chest as he heaved from their exertions; there were beads of sweat dotting the tips of his curls, and his cheeks were flushed pink. The messy tie and the gloves remained untouched. Katsuki swallowed. Dammit.
“It’s like they want to extend the game further.” Deku pursed his lips thoughtfully, eyeing their existing targets; he had only one left safe and Ashido had two. “I wonder what Mei is planning…”
Speaking of, the pink-haired mechanic appeared next to them. “Izu, drink up,” she handed a shot glass each to the nerd and Ashido. “Trust me you’ll need it.”
Katsuki almost missed the panicked look Deku shot him before he turned to her. “Mei, what are you planning, and will I survive it?”
Mei ‘hmm’d’ as she grabbed Deku’s targets, slapping one onto his arm, and the other one on… his other butt cheek.
There it goes, Katsuki’s mind unhelpfully repeated from earlier. He scowled.
Mei grinned as Deku raised a brow, “I told Shinso I’d give him a proper chance to finally get back at you this round.” She gestured at the other, who showed a rude gesture from across the stage. “Go battle it out, boys!”
“I’m going to enjoy this, aren’t I?” Uraraka muttered under her breath, and Ashido snickered as she attached her targets.
Kaminari looked like he wanted to say something but Katsuki shut him up with a glare.
The announcer called for the contestants again, “Now for the finals, a sudden death round with additional targets…”
A distinct percussive beat started playing as the players made it back to the stage. Deku paled instantly and shot Mei a look.
“…we are playing a classic pop hit chosen by our guest of honor, commemorating her ‘epic awesomeness’, genius, and creative contributions to the modern world…”
The marquee showed “Run the World (Girls)”.
Kaminari gaped. Uraraka (along with a significant portion of the audience) yelled, “Yaaaas Beyoncé!”
“Mei!” Deku whined from the stage; Shinso had placed a hand across his mouth, shaking his head. “See if we ever do drinks over classic videos at yours again…”
“…This song is ridiculous. I refuse to compete to this!” Monoma complained. “I’d like to veto!”
“Hey man, those are your points. You snooze, you lose!” Someone called out from the audience.
“And you can’t refuse the Queen!” Uraraka added, very passionately – there were yells of approval from all over. “Preach!”
Ashido started bouncing excitedly.
From the stage, Shinso seemed to have come to a moment of decision when he shrugged and ambled towards the center of the stage. He marched to the beat of the music in what looked like the laziest way possible, then raised his right, then left arms, forming wings in an audacious pastiche of authority.
Shinso yelled over his shoulder at Deku, Monoma and Ashido. “Screw it, I’m going for it. Eat my dust, fellas.”
He then lowered each wing to point his hands at his hips.
The audience yelled their approval, very loudly.
“Show us those v-lines!” Mei cheered. Kaminari’s jaw dropped again.
Ashido was cracking her knuckles, “Let me show you how it’s done, Mind Boy!”
And she leapt into action, sidelining Shinso as she first started snapping her shoulders, then smoothly bending her legs in and out in an impressive squat before jumping back into place.
The crowd went wild. “Show them how it’s done!”
From the side stage, Deku was still looking very betrayed. He pointed a finger at Mei. “If you take any videos, you burn.”
Mei cackled, “Don’t let me down, Izu!”
And after a resigned look, he turned onto his back next to Ashido –
Then snapped forward to do the same moves, in near perfect synchrony.
There were delighted gasps of surprise in the crowd.
–Keeping up with her when the moves segued into complex-looking footwork, kicking and shifting their right legs in tight corkscrew movements–
“No way!” somebody yelled.
Before they squatted down and up again and started rolling their hips, first to the front, and then sideways, in a slow, undulating rhythm—
“Give me Fierce!”
—Deku turned to Ashido, and with sudden exaggerated camp, they whipped their heads left and right, lifting hands before twisting those hips again, to the excited yells of the crowd. Ashido gave a loud whoop and a thumbs up to her partner.
“…So you memorized a music video, is that it?” Monoma tried to heckle with a choked voice.
Deku’s head snapped towards him, his eyes glittering, a grin of mischief growing on his face.
“I still want that move, Izu!” Mei yelled, almost hysterically. “Seal the deal!”
And those must have been the right magic words.
Deku rolled his back, his spine arching to the twist of his hips, and began to shake his ass.
Katsuki’s thoughts short-circuited.
And this time, the crowd went insane.
Boom. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how it’s done.
“My crops are growing; my skin is clear…” Some random guy was babbling.
“Never let this end, please!”
Even Ashido had to pause to take in the sight, and was doing a slow clap from the side.
“… That’s my boy!” Mei looked like she was weeping openly as the cacophony rose to frenzied levels.
“…You’re still taking a video, aren’t you?” Uraraka pointed out after a second.
“Damn right, I am.”
When the light turned green, there was almost a collective moan of disappointment.
That was before Deku swung around just as Monoma charged at him, changing the momentum to slam him onto the wall, just in time with the beat.
What is this even? someone said in disbelief in the crowd.
Yes, Katsuki swallowed. There was a grown man in a fitted suit and gloves on the stage, thrashing the copycat troll Monoma, after he had bounced his target-marked butt like he was the ascended rock star of twerking.
“Arghrarmm!” He heard Deku yell.
“Suddenly embarrassed?” Shinso snarked as he avoided a kick from Ashido.
“You have no idea!” Deku moaned as he swung a ball at one of Monoma’s targets.
Ashido laughed out loud next to them, but was suddenly downed as her targets were hit by a throw from Shinso and one from Monoma, which Deku had only narrowly avoided. It didn’t take long for Shinso to take advantage of her last target.
“Ha!” Monoma barked triumphantly from the ground.
Deku and Shinso looked at each other, shrugged, and pummeled Monoma’s targets with relish over the next two beats.
“Been wanting to do that—” Shinso slapped his hands, almost fond.
“Since the very beginning, I know.” Deku agreed.
They both paused and stared at each other.
“GO BOYS!” Mei cheered.
And then the most vicious part of the tournament continued.
The next few minutes were frenzied, as if the boys had finally stopped holding back. They grappled with each other; threw each other down the floor and even at one point across the stage. Their moves were less controlled, and even some of Deku’s usually-precise throws needed to be repeated before they hit their target.
The crowd took it all in with gasps and cheers.
“I can’t believe you threw me on that table.” Deku wheezed as he recovered.
“Eh, you almost bashed my head on the pole.” Shinso came at him.
This next few seconds were a quick blur as something black hit Shinso in the face, blocking his eyes and knocking his head back as Deku hit a target on his chest.
“You used your fucking gloves?” Shinso shouted in a first sign of loss of composure.
“Todoroki’s fiancé,” Kaminari whispered, sounding awed, “is a beast.”
Deku smirked as he charged towards the last target on Shinso’s back, wide open for an attack—
“Marry me now, green boy!” someone screamed from the audience.
—and promptly tripped on the ground.
Despite his win, Shinso did not look very happy.
“If I had known that all it would take to hit that target on your ass is a random proposal, I would have brought the Ice Prince into the picture a long time ago.”
Mei gave an awkward pat on his shoulder, trying not to grin. “You won this time. Don’t mind?”
Shinso quickly downed one of the victory shots handed to him by Kaminari, “Of course I mind! I demand a rematch next time. You know as well as I do that he would have had me with those stupid gloves if he hadn’t been totally incapable of dealing with a simple catcall.”
Ashido laughed, “Yes, Midoriya. It's like you've never been proposed to before. You just kind of… laid down there and refused to get up afterwards.”
Deku, who had his head tipped back with a napkin under his nose to staunch his nosebleed, heaved out a groan. “Please tell me you didn’t catch any of that on video.”
“Of course, I did.” Mei didn’t even bother to deny it. “I had a signal jammer set on a standard frequency though, so I don’t think anyone else will have a clear enough video. Your shame is safe in my hands!”
Deku gave a pitiful whine under the wad of tissues. Uraraka looked stricken, and Mei winked at her and said in a low whisper, “I can give you a copy for Todoroki if you think he’d like one though—”
“No!” Deku cried it out in horror, the same time that Uraraka squealed, “Yes!”
“Hey Green Boy!” a random person called out as they passed their table. “Nice job!”
“Yeah, nice going with that throwdown! Was the floor that nice, afterwards?”
Deku looked like he was going to spontaneously combust.
“Seriously though,” Kaminari commented when the callers left, “That was impressive. I think that you could actually pass the provisional hero license exam if you wanted to. If heroes with more subtle quirks can manage, then it might be doable for you.”
From beside his friends, Katsuki fell still at that statement. He kept his eyes on the table, waiting for Deku’s response.
(You’re totally quirkless. And you think you can rub shoulders with me? Don’t you dare get into U.A., nerd!)
“…Well, you wouldn’t be the first person who said that.” Mei was the one who spoke up for the strangely quiet nerd. She nudged him with her elbow, “Right, Izu?”
“Of course, he’d do well in that exam.” Shinso scoffed, an inscrutable note in his voice.
Another random stranger passed by their table before he could respond, “Hey Green Boy, how’s the nose? Still taking marriage proposals?”
For fuck’s sake. Katsuki downed one of the shots; he needed another drink. They can get someone like Iida or Kirishima to pick them up for the night.
The bars nearer to their table were quite busy. After trying to hold his patience for a while, one of the bouncers who probably recognized him directed him to the VIP area bar.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t the first one there.
“I’ll have your order ready, but seriously, can you not accept these drinks these people wanted to send to your table? We’d love the extra income!”
Deku, now napkin-less and blood-free, removed his hand from his temple. “Okay, Tachi. Who are they for? If they’re for the Pro Heroes, then I guess it’s okay? If it’s for Mei, yes, but I need to call Shinso and we need to give them A Very Important Talk—although I think that Monoma’s finally gearing up to ask her out, in which case they have a bigger, more annoying problem. If it’s for Shinso, I’ve seen his trail of destruction, so I’d feel like I need to warn them for their sake, but it’s none of my business I suppose…”
The bartender, Tachi, laughed and snapped a bar towel at Deku mid-mumble. “And what if it’s for you, Mr. Runner Up in the Competition, but Number One in People’s Hearts and Loins—”
“Please no. No, no – please, no drinks from others. I can buy some myself, if that helps.” Deku flailed his hands. “Besides,” he coughed, “I’m ‘taken’ now… I think.”
Katsuki paused on his way to the bar.
“Oho?” Tachi raised a brow, “But I heard that you’ve… well, now that I think about it, I think I might have heard some rumors about this one. Tall Pro Hero? Devastating when he smiles? Bit of an asshole?”
Katsuki smirked despite himself.
“T-tachi.” He heard Deku say faintly. “That’s not…”
“Don’t know about the smile, but ‘bit of an asshole’ sounds about right. You can add stick in the mud, too.” Katsuki interrupted as he took the stool next to Deku, who startled slightly.
Tachi gave them both a meaningful look, which Katsuki ignored as he gave orders for his drink, as well as Kaminari’s, Uraraka’s and Ashido’s.
When he turned back to Deku, he was also giving him a pointed stare. “Bit of an asshole, huh?”
Katsuki ignored the pointed comment with a shrug. “So, you’ve taken IcyHot here before?”
Deku started, “Uh, not really.” He crinkled his nose in thought. “I did recommend it to him once or twice. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too long before he tries it once he’s awake.” His face broke into a fond smile. “He did get a cat in the end, after all.”
Katsuki still couldn’t fathom why the novelty of that dangerous ass-scratching feline was so significant for Deku, especially if he’d supposedly known about it for a while, but he didn’t press.
“So, where did you learn to fight like that?”
Deku straightened at that, as if he was surprised that Katsuki would ask. “Well, you know that interschool program that Mei mentioned? They offered quirk and physical skills improvement training. That’s how I met Shinso in the first place – his capture weapon’s a pain, I can tell you that.” He then hummed under his breath, “And I also did a lot of extracurricular classes with my senpais when I was at Ketsubutsu – they had a lot of useful physical programs like martial arts and dance.”
“Tch, you were probably the first to arrive at every class, you damn nerd.”
Deku flushed, indignant, “So? There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Didn’t say there was. Have you ever tried to do the same Dance Combat thing, but with other people with quirks?”
“Yes, actually,” Deku quirked that saucy smile at him again, and this time it was as if he was confiding a secret. “It’s fun too, less challenging though, in a different way.”
“Hah? What do you mean by that?”
Tachi suddenly returned however, interrupting them. “I’m still working on your drinks, but I wanted to give you guys a heads up. There’s some new people in the VIP area over there, and I think they’re coming over for a dance with Green Boy and Ground Zero.”
Deku’s jaw dropped, “Nooo…” and he seemed to be on the verge of thumping his head on the bar, before he thought better of it. “No, please.”
“Your fault, for that one-of-a-kind show.” Tachi winked. “I’ll let you know as soon as your drinks are ready, but I thought I’d give you the chance to run…”
Deku took a peek behind them, and jolted up just as Katsuki stood, accidentally falling into an impromptu embrace. “Oof.”
Tachi barked a laugh of approval. “Oho– better than what I would have thought of, very effective! Dance away, and I’ll call you over.”
Katsuki cursed under his breath. Deku instantly straightened and took a step back. “Uh.”
For some reason, that made Katsuki bristle, and he ended up stepping closer. “What, you got a problem? You think you’re the only one who can dance?”
He scowled when realized that he had just unwittingly given the nerd a compliment. Deku’s eyes widened at that, but he only shook his head.
“Uh, I wouldn’t know but I’m sure you can. Dance that is.” Deku cleared his throat, “But you do realize that Tachi might now think that you’re my—” he paused, looking at his ring finger under is gloved hand, “Well, my boyfriend. Don’t you?”
“Eh, so what?” Katsuki surprised himself by how quickly he replied. “If it keeps idiot extras away from IcyHot’s fiancé. He had to pick a really troublesome one, didn’t he?” he asked as he made a show of pulling the damn nerd closer.
“Besides,” he couldn’t help digging in, “you could do a lot worse. IcyHot owes me big for this.”
Deku’s smoky-lined glare met his. “Excuse me? Are you telling me that you are my best option right now?”
“Well, I could leave you now to your new fans,” he paused for effect, “Green Boy.”
“…Shut up, Kacchan.” Deku said after a second, sounding strangled. His hold tightened on Katsuki’s arms.
Katsuki smirked, victorious. “Besides, you’ve yet to tell me why you think that the version of the competition with quirks allowed is easier.”
“Oh,” Deku forgot himself long enough to sway with him. “Of course, well. People behave in really predictable ways once you’ve figured out what their quirk is – that part’s actually easier. Plus,” his eyes glittered with excitement, almost manic, “think of all the options with the gear!”
“They allow those?”
“Oh, loads.” Deku whispered, almost breathless. Katsuki leaned closer despite himself. “The same way that Heroes normally use them. But almost anything is up for grabs. Fire augmentation, breath support, impact suspension – I’ve tried so many from Mei’s lab and used them in matches, Kacchan, you won’t believe—”
Won’t I? Katsuki found himself smirking. Damn if he didn’t love messing around with gear, himself.
“Oh!” Deku suddenly seemed to recall himself. “I remember that she’d also written up some specs for your gear. Have you spoken to her about your costume recently?”
Katsuki paused, “I actually have. I’d meant to visit after I came back from my latest mission, but I haven’t had the chance.”
“Well then you should join us!” Deku’s face went red with excitement. “At the workshop, I mean. I’m often around to test and consult on Monday and Friday afternoons, and Kirishima-kun and the others are also dropping by this Friday. Mei would love to do stuff with your gear, and there’s so much tech to play with!”
Katsuki had to pause at Deku’s flushed enthusiasm. “Let me think about it.”
“You could also join Open-Quirk Dance Combat!” Deku sneakily suggested.
This time his reaction was instant, “Like hell, I would.”
“Why not?” Deku’s lip quirked upwards playfully as he raised himself on tiptoes and pushed closer to his face, “You know that I join even though I’m quirkless. Scared that I might actually beat you?”
Katsuki was surprised to realize that he had been holding his breath. “In your dreams, loser,” he scoffed, but it sounded unnatural to him. “What could you do against my quirk, anyway?”
Deku raised a brow, and that damn saucy smirk was back.
“Oh, I could think of a few ideas. I do specialize in quirk analysis, you know.”
Katsuki suddenly stepped into his space and pulled him closer. His voice was husky when he spoke, “Well then I guess I’ll just have to overwhelm you before you can even think.”
Deku kept his gaze. He held his breath.
Neither of them moved.
“Um, not to interrupt or anything, but your drinks are done.” Tachi announced, his voice betraying some cheekiness. “And your dancing partners-in-waiting have gone.”
Deku suddenly gasped as he stepped back from Katsuki. “Ah! Cool. Great. Thanks, Tachi.” He turned to grab his wallet, trying to hide his flustered face. “Cool.”
“Cool.” Katsuki repeated gruffly, breathing out.
“Cool.” Tachi drawled.
It actually felt hot all of a sudden.
It was then when the music changed, turning into a slower, more intimate beat. Deku froze as he took out his card – it was as if the air around him had changed all of a sudden.
“You alright, Deku?” Tachi asked, and Katsuki had to pause at the fact that there were others who called him that name too. “You’re suddenly looking a bit… peaky.”
“Oh.” Deku suddenly shook his head. “No, I'm okay. Here, let me pay for the drinks…”
“Izu!” Mei’s voice suddenly pierced through the crowd, and she was suddenly next to them together with Shinso.
“Really sorry about the crappy tune choice, sweetheart. I swear, I didn’t sign off on this part of the night.” Mei cooed, placing an arm around Deku’s waist. “But I figured since it’s playing anyway, we can just say ‘to hell with it’ and go with the flow?”
Deku stared at them both and blinked. “What?”
Shinso was giving Katsuki an unreadable look, before he turned back to reply. “That means she’s willing to show off her outrageous dance skills with you and me for the next three minutes. And you know – whatever Mei wants tonight, Mei gets.”
He turned back to Tachi. “We’ll come back for the drinks.”
And before Katsuki’s bewildered gaze, Deku allowed himself to be led back onto the dance floor. He watched as Mei grabbed one of his hands and spun herself into an awkward twirl. Shinso caught her with an exaggerated eye-roll, before grabbing Deku’s other hand to try to twirl them together. Deku closed his eyes, seemingly content to be pushed and pulled to and fro in the world’s most uncoordinated slow dance, a far cry from their flashy moves earlier that night.
Shinso knocked him on the forehead, “Eyes forward, demon kid.”
Deku opened his eyes with a laugh, shaking his head. “Right. Of course.”
He twirled Mei back into his arms and gave her a loud kiss on the forehead, and she winked at him. He then placed an arm around Shinso’s waist.
“Look at this, how lucky am I to dance with you both? My BFF boos.”
Deku received a slap on both cheeks for his efforts, and there was a burst of groans. “I swear, it keeps sounding more uncool each time you use it…”
Katsuki saw the little tableau and felt a strange sense of disconnectedness, thinking about everything he’d seen and felt regarding Deku that night; since he showed up again as Todoroki’s rescuer and secret fiancé; when they were younger. He’d never been more unsure about a person.
Dammit Todoroki. He thought to himself, abstracted. You just had to choose this one, didn’t you?
Of all people, it had to be Deku.
Next Chapter: In Which Bakugou Katsuki Gets Into Trouble
(Or: Little does Bakugou know that this is only just the beginning)
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Chapter 3: In Which Bakugou Katsuki Gets in Trouble
Katsuki didn’t know when the change had happened: how he had gone from asking why Todoroki chose Deku of all people, to wondering why it was Todoroki that Deku chose.
How Katsuki kept bumping into Deku over the following days, which of course could only lead to Trouble.
Update - this story now comes with art from the wonderful jellynely! From the previous chapter:
Bakugou and his superbike - "She doesn't just purr, I can tell you that."
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
PART III. IN WHICH BAKUGOU KATSUKI GETS INTO TROUBLE
Despite himself, Katsuki would see Deku time and again over the following days.
The frustrating thing was that it wasn’t just about Todoroki anymore – it had now spread to most of their friends.
“You’re finally joining us. Trying to make it up to Midoriya? That’s so manly.”
Katsuki snorted. “I was always going to visit Hatsume anyway, and he asked me to drop by.”
When they both showed up at Mei’s workshop at the Agency’s design studio, he was surprised to find Uraraka and Iida already there. They had just finished testing some modifications to their hero costumes and had sat down for tea in one of the break rooms. Hatsume was in her usual work overalls next to them, furiously typing on her tablet. Deku chatted with them, clad in a similar tank top and overall combination, but with a red bandana tied over his neck.
“Kacchan!” He greeted, his face brightening. “Kirishima-kun actually managed to get you here!”
“I did say I was going to drop by, didn’t I?” He grumbled, trying not to read too much into the enthusiastic reception.
“This is great, there’s so much that we can test with your costume!” he cheered, shaking his fists. “We can actually combine it with testing your shock absorbers, Kirishima-kun.” His head whips sideward. “What do you think, Mei?”
Mei crossed her arms, “I don’t see why not. Those babies should be able to withstand different kinds of impact.”
The theory was that Kirishima should be able to keep his Unbreakable form for longer by 1) limiting the impact it received from attacks by using shock absorbers and 2) controlling its strength to extend its duration. If he could activate its strength at 50% vs. 100%, then in theory he could extend the duration of transformation as well. Mei had accounted for this by producing wrist guards that helped spread the impact of shock across his body, as well as to measure the level of strength through pressure sensors on the inside cuff.
They had been testing this, Deku cheerfully informed Katsuki, by “Hitting Kirishima-kun with big explosions, a lot,” and recording how long he could keep unbreakable form for. They had recorded up to 70% improvement on Kirishima’s normal hard form, but the had also managed to extend Unbreakable from 1 minute at 100% strength to 4 minutes at 50%.
Today, they were going to test it at 10% strength, and had planned to use a combination of hand cannons and flamethrowers, to name a few.
“Guess who we modelled those weapons after?” Mei and Deku gave him twin grins of glee.
And that was how he found himself on one side of a test room with a set of next-generation beta models of his gauntlets. Deku stood next to him, handing out a flamethrower to Uraraka. Iida had chosen to remain in the observation booth with Mei.
“This modifies some parameters that were supposed to be controlled, but I suppose we could call it a field test.” Deku hummed as he snapped his goggles on.
“You look too happy about this,” Katsuki remarked he handled the first test model of his gauntlets. He had asked for modifications that could increase the options for the range and strength of his explosions, as well potential improvements on the design.
“Well,” Deku straightened as he put on safety gloves, “You, of all people, should know.”
Deku winked, “How fun it is to make things explode.”
Katsuki refused to acknowledge the answering tightness in his gut.
When Kirishima appeared with his new wrist guards, Deku went in first with the cannon, and before Katsuki knew it, they were charging at him in a real-life explosion challenge, which he took with good humor.
And as much as he wanted to deny it, it was fun trying to outdo Deku (and a surprisingly competitive Uraraka) in the duration, strength and accuracy of their attacks, with Iida and Mei updating them on their performance.
It was also increasingly difficult to deny how easy it was to turn his face to Deku to see the unabashed joy in those big eyes with each attempt, or to feel the adrenaline rush as he cheered each attack from Katsuki.
Halfway through, he turned back to Katsuki with an arched eyebrow, “Want to do this another way?”
He later reappeared next to Kirishima, clad in a dark green custom jumpsuit with white wristbands. “Let’s see how much damage you can do to this suit!”
And if Katsuki had been caught off guard by how much he hadn’t minded the exercise earlier, it was even more surprising, how it felt to go against Deku directly this time.
The asshole kept the evading his attacks through a combination of blocks that seemed to be activated by the device on his wrists, or through quick jumps and dives.
“Kacchan, how are you going to defeat me at Dance Combat if you can’t even get a proper hit?”
“Shut up, damn nerd!”
He had felt threatened by the nerd plenty of times in their youth, for smaller things such as asking if he, Bakugou Katsuki, needed help. This time however, the direct verbal sparring felt different, firing him up, making him enjoy rising to the challenge.
His grin grew when he predicted the idiot’s next move and managed to catch him with a blast.
Though Deku was knocked backwards, his laugh grew louder as he recovered. “Is that all you’ve got?”
He smirked, feeling a sudden double-beat in his chest. Is this what it felt like when Shinso and those other idiots came face to face with Deku’s asshole side? Is this how he got people to take him seriously enough to battle with him? Regardless of how adorable people said he was, he really was a vicious little shit and a clever challenger; and Katsuki felt a certain kind of pleasure trying to take him down.
—So much so that before he knew it, he had unwittingly agreed to come back the following week for a one-on-one rematch.
It didn’t make things easier when he bumped into the damn nerd again over the weekend.
“What are you doing here?”
Deku looked equally surprised to find him before Ashido’s door; he was carrying a large backpack, a shopping bag and… was that a pet carrier?
“I was in the hospital with Shouto-kun when Uraraka-kun asked if I could come.”
“Yeah, Ashido gave me a call too,” and Katsuki was trying to make more of an effort with his friends, especially given what happened to Todoroki recently.
“…but I didn’t realize she wanted you to move in.” He eyed Deku’s bags pointedly.
The idiot blushed, but the door opened before he could reply.
“Boys, you’re here!” Ashido wailed dramatically, before drawing them both in.
“What is it this time—"
“He only told me he was leaving for America a week ago, even though he’d been thinking about it for a while.” Ashido lamented, “But he said nothing about how this could affect our relationship, and when I asked him about it, he took twenty-four hours to respond, by text, to say that he thought we might break up when he was in the States, but it was good of me to be brave enough to want to break up now. What kind of response is that? Tell me!”
Katsuki blinked. “You finally broke up with that asshole?”
Uraraka appeared from the kitchen, followed by Hagakure and Asui. Deku looked like he would have a fanboy nerd breakdown. “Shush, it’s a very fresh break-up.”
“I heard.” Deku suddenly closed his palms and gave a very serious nod. “I came prepared.”
And with that, he put his bags down. Everyone blinked as a small “meow” issued from the pet carrier.
“I brought the Breakup Recovery Kit.”
Uraraka had to quickly call Iida to come over (for her best friend’s future reference, allegedly), before they could unearth the contents of the nerd’s bags. It was more than enough time for the idiot to gush over their other Hero classmates (great, new potential nerd-loving victims).
Before his rapt and slightly bewildered audience, Deku laid out the items on the coffee table. “Okay, so this is based on, uh, a procedure I established with Mei and Shinso, whenever we have breakups. So.”
He took out two tubs of ice cream – one plain vanilla, the next a more daring mix of peanut butter and cookie dough. “Comfort food, cold. Mei varies between both depending on how bad it gets, so I got one of each.”
Then he laid out a giant bag of nachos and two dips, “Chips, with spicy and extra ghost pepper hot dips. Hot and super-hot-you-can’t-even-think-hot. This is what Shinso likes but I wasn’t sure what you’d prefer, so, again – options.
What the ever loving— but Katsuki grabbed the second dip, almost impressed.
Before them, more options emerged – Matcha sweets, Pocky sticks, a box of mini cakes, and, inexplicably, a jar of Kimchi. What was even more surprising was how the items disappeared almost as soon as they were revealed.
Katsuki cast a judgmental eye on Iida with the peanut butter cookie dough ice cream, Asui with the Matcha sweets and Hagakure with the sticks. He grabbed the Kimchi before anyone else could nix it.
Deku kept on unearthing his bag. “Wine for sharing, some gin for mixing if you want something stronger. I decided against bringing anything stronger this time, but we can easily run down to the konbini again if we need to…”
“Face masks – Shinso lives for these. Nail polish – these are Mei’s emergency colors. Body paint and hair makeup – don’t ask…”
Uraraka took hold of a greenish shade, “Tequila Teal?” she read out loud with a grin.
Deku hid a sheepish grin behind his arms as he took out a box, “Movies and playlists – sad films, comedies, angry breakup songs, dance –everything’s here. And! A portable video game console, I have some games here if you want to thrash someone.”
Katsuki watched Ashido’s eye light up; his hands itched towards the console himself.
Dammit, he’s good.
“And finally,” Deku scooped up a giant ball of blonde fluff from his cat carrier, “…if you want something furry and lovable for company…”
Uraraka and Ashido’s eyes bugged open, and they held their arms out for the cat, before suddenly pausing, “Is this the infamous Scratch?”
Deku shook his head, before blushing a bit. “No, this is, uh, SmallMightJunior,” he mumbled the name quickly, glowering at Katsuki. “He’s very playful and he likes being the center of attention! He’s not as, er, scratchy, and he likes having his back rubbed! He does have quite a bit of hair though, so I have some lint remover here…”
“Aww!” Ashido and Uraraka petted the cat together, who bore it with humor, its ears twitching as they rubbed the back of his head. “What’s his name again?”
“Small Might… Junior.” Katsuki enunciated clearly, ignoring Deku’s flailing arms.
There were blinks and a laugh-disguised-as-a-cough in the room. Even Asui couldn’t help covering her mouth at that.
“Does All Might know?” Uraraka dared to ask.
“The damn nerd will murder us in our sleep if we tell him.” Katsuki sneered.
“Kacchan!” Deku gasped. “For that, you’re banned from playing with my pu—my cat!”
Katsuki choked and Ashido howled with delight, “That could have sounded a lot worse!”
“There’s more stuff in your bag though?” Hagakure asked after Deku stopped combusting, lifting the back pack.
“Uh! Just ignore those – they’re for emergency cases!” Deku cried out, a few seconds too late, as Hagakure produced a set of pliers before he managed to grab the bag back.
“Deku-kun! Don’t tell me…?” Uraraka gasped, and Katsuki didn’t miss the change in nickname.
“Is that for breaking into... your ex’s place?”
Deku gave an only slightly guilty look as he was caught out, and he shrugged as he took out the rest of the contents of the bag. “Only for the times when it is absolutely needed.”
“Midoriya-kun!” Iida exclaimed, aghast. “Breaking and entering?”
“Damn,” Ashido whispered. “Just how bad were your breakups?”
“We always have to agree as a group before we do it… and only for a justifiable purpose!”
“Is that a signal jammer?” Asui lifted a handheld device.
Katsuki resisted the urge to smile with approval, “Why not just break the guy’s face directly?”
Deku started to speak, but seemed to think better of it. Katsuki then knew that it was something they had actually considered, if not outright done, before. “This is only for special cases, okay?”
“Shinso had an ex who wouldn’t give back Merlin—that’s short for Merlin’s Beard, his gray British shorthair cat. That was kidnap—well, catnapping and emotional blackmail. We needed to break Merlin out, and we left everything else untouched!”
“Midoriya-kun!” Iida exclaimed even as Uraraka agreed, handing Iida the cat as if it could help him see their point of view better.
“That is so badass.” Hagakure approved. “I can think of a few exes who have pulled the same stunt.”
“Mei also had an ex who wouldn’t give back her personal laptop, where she kept all her mad genius ideas! It’s all backed up, yes, but it was the principle of the thing! We went in, took the laptop, and logged him out of Takemon-Go – he was using her account on his phone, and Mei had found all those Takemons anyway—and then we got out!”
This time Ashido gasped. “He wouldn’t log out of a phone game that was in her name anyway? He was taking all of her high level Takemons for himself? How dare he!”
“…Is a game really worth getting that upset about?” Iida asked what any sane person would.
“YES!” came the response from the broken-hearted Ashido, Uraraka, Deku and, surprisingly the loudest, Katsuki.
“For that,” Uraraka sniffed as she took Small Might Junior back from Iida’s arms. “You don’t get to play with Deku-kun’s pussy.”
“Kacchan, you know you’re both getting off lightly, all things considered. Stop looking so growly.”
Katsuki tried to glare at Deku. Tried, because it was hard to maintain any sane expression while the nerd holding his arm sported small braids on his crown and glittery gold lipstick.
“What did you just say!”
From her throne on the couch, Ashido issued further instructions with her ice-cream filled spoon scepter. “Midoriya, I want it to look like a chain of orange triangles, with dots in the middle. Tribal.” On her lap, Small Might Junior gave a mrrrw of approval.
“Gotcha,” Deku’s tongue peeked out of his mouth in concentration as he painted the lines on Katsuki’s arm. “You’re lucky you only got body paint on your arm, Kacchan. You too, Iida-kun – that hair color washes out easily.”
Next to them, Iida clenched his fists as Uraraka gleefully applied more pink spray on his fringe. “I still don’t understand this part of the process.”
Asui, who thankfully sat largely separate from it all with her nail polish, took pity on him. “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you don’t question somebody broken up with on the first night of the breakup, kero.”
“… save for when it comes to anything harmful, of course.” Deku winked at Iida. “Then you get a council of friends to intervene.”
Uraraka nodded as well, “I wish I had something like this when I had my first breakup. Remember how Keishin felt ‘threatened’ by my place in the hero rankings? He tried to make me guilty for how hard I worked for every penny for my parents!”
Deku reached out to pat her on her arm, “I hate to admit this but when I heard about that from the news, I was actually relieved. I had such a big crush on Uravity in high school, and actually, one of my first heartbreaks was when you dated Magnet Man. He was never good for you!”
Katsuki snorted at that. Really? Uravity? Which hero did this nerd not worship? And who were those other heartbreaks then?
But Uravity only smiled, appeased and flattered. “Aw Deku-kun. Well, it’s good you have Todoroki-kun now at least! I don’t think he’s ever been in a real relationship before you, actually.”
“And stop scoffing, Bakugou!” Ashido scolded him with the swat of a towel. “It’s not like you ever had any real breakup or heartache either, Mr.-Maybe-I’ll-Date-But-I’m-Too-Focused-on-Being-the-Best-to-Return-Calls-from-These-Extras.”
“Hey!” It was true, but really, did she have to say it that way?
Like with many things, he had often focused on being a better hero (the best) before finding a partner. And while his increasing fame had helped when it came to meeting people, he had never really found anyone to seriously catch his interest. He hadn’t been the only one with that approach - in fact he thought Todoroki, who was also famously aloof, was the same, if not even worse than Katsuki in that area.
He took a quick glance at the nerd. For Deku, at least, it seemed that Todoroki had made an exception.
“--Just grin and bear it for us, Explodo Boy!”
“Besides,” Hagakure announced from underneath her face mask, “that body paint actually makes your arm look good, Bakugou. Right, Midoriya-kun?”
Whatever protest Katsuki prepared died on his tongue when he saw Deku’s face turn a vivid red. “Er. Yes. You actually have very, um, nice, arms for this, Kacchan.”
Bakugou paused. It was not helpful to think: So, you like my arms too, don’t you? Just like the way you like Half-and-Half, and before that, Round Cheeks?
“Yup, he has the best biceps from controlling those explosions, doesn’t he? And my design makes them look even better. You should just trust that I know what I’m doing, Baku!” Ashido proclaimed.
“Do we have orange hair color?” Uraraka asked, and Iida looked like a deer caught in the headlights when Hagakure tossed it their way.
“Don’t worry Iida-kun, I’m just bringing out a more vibrant side to you.”
“Trust me,” Deku coughed, recovering, “this is nothing. Whatever horrible makeover experiment you can think of, Mei has probably done to me or Shinso. She’s the reason I have an ear piercing, and that was by accident. She also nearly burnt my hair once – I had to change my haircut entirely. And all the makeup! I’ve stopped being self-conscious about being plain. I’m so glad I’ve talked her down to just an eyeliner these days.”
This time, it was Katsuki who tried to ignore the warmth in his cheeks as he remembered how the nerd looked with those large, smoky eyes a few nights ago; how his face transformed when he smiled. Deku might have been considered relatively plain once, but the damn nerd seemed to have more than outgrown that.
Uraraka winked at him, “She told me she loved your freckles, so she’s left them alone for the most part.”
Katsuki stopped himself from looking at said freckles again. Dammit.
Iida looked awkwardly interested in learning more. “Is that how Hatsume really is?”
Deku’s fingers danced on Katsuki’s arm as he kept painting, and Katsuki resisted the urge to shiver. “Yup. You know how she is – she needs to experiment on everything and try different versions before she finally decides what to do. And often, after all the disaster, the results are freaking amazing. I mean, you’ve seen her workshop. That’s why I love coming over when she needs a favor.”
Uraraka laughed, “If Hatsume gets Mei Day and free experiments when you owe her a favor, and you get Dance Combat, what does Shinso-kun ask for when you owe him instead?”
There had been no way to anticipate the sudden change over Deku at that seemingly innocuous question. He literally turned fucking pale.
“Uh. Trust me, you don’t want to know.”
“Aha!” Hagakure was good at homing in on shameful secrets. “We wouldn’t want to know, or you don’t want us to know?”
“Why would you do this?” Deku whined after a few seconds.
“You know, you might as well say it, kero. Whatever it is, Mina-chan and Toru-chan will find it eventually.”
“No!” Deku grasped onto Katsuki’s arm all of a sudden, clutching his lower arm to his chest. “You’ll never find it! I am taking that secret to my grave!”
It took no less than 15 minutes for Ashido to find the video.
Katsuki crossed his (now orange-braced) arms and Iida flipped his (now pink-orange-red) hair and joined the rest of the girls on the couch as Ashido casted a video onto her TV.
Deku was rolling on the floor. “Why, what did I ever do to you guys?”
It was a video off a social media page, mysteriously untagged but very much recognizable from the thumbnail.
It was titled: “Purple Rain – Epic First Rockaoke Performance”
There was a short introductory text about how the bar liked to publish great performances on their website, and how this was a memorable one from two years ago.
“It’s not memorable for the right reasons.” Deku whined from the floor, hiding behind Small Might Junior’s fluffy tail.
A familiar purple-haired figure emerged on the stage, his face hidden by enormous shades. He was, against all reason, wearing only an open vest above his low-slung leather trousers. There was wild applause from audience.
Hagakure whistled. Ashido clutched at the bag of crisps. “Is that Shinso-kun?”
“Ah,” Uraraka hummed, “so those are the infamous v-lines that Hatsume was talking about.”
To his left, a very keen-looking Hatsume emerged, clad in copper-themed steampunk, her goggles on. She waved her mic at the crowd.
And finally, to the right, a green masked figure (were those bunny ears on the mask?) slunk in, looking entirely too slow and mortified. It was easy to spot Shinso’s look of glee as he pushed a mic into his hands and dragged him closer to the front.
“Nooo… Deku-kun!” Uraraka glanced at Deku on the floor.
A beat started, and Mei and Shinso started humming a tune, which the green-masked Deku only joined in after a loud slap from the back by Shinso.
‘Do I attract you? Do I repulse you with my queasy smile? Am I too dirty? Am I too flirty? Do I like what you like?’ Deku recited in the most dispirited and awkward way, earning some laughs and ironic “Suuuuure’s” from the audience. It was so bad that even Ashido winced in second-hand embarrassment.
“END ME NOW!” Deku yelled from the ground, to the delighted shrieks of the group, matched by the raucous laughter on the video.
From the video, the masked Deku sounded like he wanted the ground to swallow him up, but Mei stepped in to join help him with the singing. ‘I could be wholesome, I could be loathsome, I guess I'm a little bit shy. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me, without making me try?’
Shinso ended his apparent suffering by pushing before him and singing, first in a compelling husky voice, ‘I try to be like Grace Kelly, but all her looks were too sad. So, I try a little Freddie, I've gone identity mad!’
And then he broke out in the most astounding falsetto: ‘I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like!’
“Man, Shinso can sing!” Hagakure cheered, and clearly the audience in the video was just as impressed as all the jeering stopped.
In the video, the crowd started clapping as Shinso continued to rock out on the mic, ‘Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you walk out the door!’
“It makes sense if you think about it, kero, given the importance of his voice for his quirk.”
“But it’s like he’s made for glam rock!”
In the background, Mei had removed what looked like a mouth-guard from Deku’s suit and handed him a shot, which he gratefully downed, before turning to the stage again, this time with more gusto.
‘How can I help it? How can I help it? How can I help what you think?’
‘Go get it this time, fit awkward bunny!’ somebody yelled in the video.
‘Hello, my baby, hello, my baby, putting my life on the brink.' Mei crooned in a pseudo-duet.
Deku went again.'Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you like yourself?’
Katsuki cringed at the words, scowling to himself.
Mei answered, ‘Should I bend over? Should I look older just to be put on your shelf?’
And then it was Shinso again, ‘I try to be like Grace Kelly, but all her looks were too sad…’
In the background, Mei got Deku to move along with the music with another drink, emboldening him enough to dance awkwardly with her behind Shinso – who, for some reason, looked all the better for it.
“Shinso just…looks. So. Good.” Hagakure whispered in awe.
“I should send this to Kaminari…” Ashido mumbled, to Deku’s increasing cries on the floor.
‘Say what you want to satisfy yourself, but you only want what everybody else says you should want!’
The crowd went increasingly charged as Shinso rocked out.
‘I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like! Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you walk out the door!’
When the song ended to loud clamor, Mei grabbed the mic to thank the crowd and introduce themselves.
‘Once more, please raise your hands for our lead singer… Purple Rain! I am… Queen Inventoria!’
The nerds actually came up with stage names.
‘To my left…’ she gestured at Deku, ‘we have Small Might!’
“Nooo! Deku-kun! That's the name you chose?" Uraraka stuttered out a laugh. “Is that why—” she wheezed.
Katsuki grinned with growing relish, “So, Small Might... is that why your cat's called Small Might Junior?”
Deku collapsed again onto the floor, as if his strings had been cut.
Katsuki couldn’t resist adding in, “Come to think of it, that costume you were wearing looks familiar.”
“It looks like the suit you tested at Hatsume’s lab…” Iida agreed. “Is that meant to be… like a hero costume?”
“This green… bunny… onesie?” Hagakure hacked out, unable to stop giggling.
Asui shook her head. “It’s a two-piece at least, kero. And I think the… bunny ears are meant to look like... All Might’s hair?”
From the ground, Deku made a whimper and buried his face in the fur of his Junior sidekick cat.
Fucking nerd, Katsuki thought, resisting a smile.
(Art credit to ESCL at bernardmarie.tumblr.com)
Purple Rain – Epic First Rockaoke Performance (Grace Kelly by Mika)
18,533 views, 463 thumbs up, 11 thumbs down
Cosmolove2secs – 2 years ago
This was a night to remember!
AwesomeAngelus – 2 years ago
Who are these people, Purple Rain is haaawwwt
AyayaAre – 2 years ago
Have my babies, Purple Rain
CrazyChip – 2 years ago
I love Queen Inventoria – CALL ME MOTHA!
GoshikitheGosh – 2 years ago
But what about Fit Awkward Bunny? You gotta love how bad he is.
DiegsYou – 2 years ago
Way to butcher a song, Small Might
hitomi-nova – 2 years ago
He’s so cringeworthy but I can’t. not. watch.
Featherwing – 1 year ago
I think he’ll get better with more experience… or with more liquid courage! MWahaha
RexBrute – 1 year ago
HE DOES GET BETTER – have you seen Purple Rain’s Good Feeling Second Rockaoke with the ex-Ketsubutsu Pro Hero flash mob? Quake, Foldagirl and Shikkui Solid were even on it!
TragicPanda – 1 year ago
Fit Awkward Bunny looks like he won’t be a Small Might under that suit!
Silversprout – 6 months ago
Take off the mask, Small Might!
KeiStar11 – 6 months ago
I came for Purple Rain’s v-lines, I stayed for Fit Awkward Bunny’s beautifully bad solo.
MarceliTop – 5 months ago
Let me take him home!
See 45 other comments
It turned out that Deku’s ability to transform his embarrassment into vicious competitiveness was consistent enough to be predictable.
He summarily defeated everyone at the racing video game (normally a 3-way tie between Katsuki, Ashido and Kaminari, whenever he was around). When that wasn’t enough to purge his shame, he coached Iida (who was infamously hopeless at video games) into an unbeatable streak after a few rounds.
The last part was especially—interesting, to Katsuki, if not distracting. Deku sat by Iida and observed his game play for two rounds, after which he started giving instructions, little nudges about what to pay attention to, and what to ignore; hints about when to press certain buttons, and when to let certain losses go – all with a soothing, almost hypnotic voice.
Iida cleared his throat. “Midoriya-kun, I must say that while you are reckless, you are also no doubt tenacious.”
He wondered if that was how Deku and Todoroki met at work; how he spoke to Todoroki in their time together; how he got the Icy Stick-in-the-Mud to fall into his first relationship, and to swan-dive straight into getting engaged.
Deku, with his wide eyes, messy curls, unabashed affection and unbelievable need to fight back when it came to defending others, with his willingness to break into a friend’s ex’s house to log off a game or break out a cat - marrying Todoroki.
“Wow, even Bakugou has stopped trying with this game. It’s 2am. Think we should give it a rest?” Hagakure suggested.
“But I was winning!” Iida protested with too much spirit.
“Only because Deku-kun was helping you.” Uraraka comforted as she ran a finger through his rainbow hair.
She turned to the nerd and to Ashido, “Have you both played it out of your system, Mina, Fit Awkward Bunny-kun?”
Ashido gave a small smile, “This has been really helpful everyone. I really appreciate it. I’m sure I’ll still be bummed out when I think about it when I’m all alone… but I’ll be okay.”
There were a few seconds of commiserative silence, before Deku spoke up.
“Wanna blow things up?”
(Art credit to Jellynely)
Dawn on Sunday found them at the workshop testing room, using various models of Katsuki’s gauntlets to hit targets, round-robin style. Iida led the first team with Uraraka, Asui and Deku, while Katsuki led the second with Ashido and Hagakure.
It was a surprisingly refreshing exercise, after all the junk food they had consumed, and his friends remained upbeat despite the amount of paint, makeup and creams on their skin and hair. Mei was surprisingly happy to be roused earlier to provide them with the models for field testing, and she was busy taking notes on the booth.
At the end of it all, when they were all nursing their coffees, tea and bruises (and promises for Deku and Uraraka to take Iida to an arcade to prolong his newfound sense of gaming superiority), Asui sat next to Katsuki with a thoughtful look on her face.
“Midoriya-chan is not what I expected from Todoroki’s fiancé, kero. He’s so different from Todoroki that I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking…”
That’s what’s I’ve been saying. Finally, someone else who could see that there was something missing from the picture. “I can’t piece together how IcyHot ended up with someone like him.”
“If this is what Midoriya-chan is like, then whatever Todoroki was thinking…” Asui paused, “…it was probably a good thing. He’s the last thing Endeavor expected, and the best thing for everyone else.”
Katsuki had no words for that, and so Asui continued.
“He couldn’t have chosen better, if you think about it.”
No sooner had Katsuki wondered about Deku – Agent Deku, that is, as an officer of the Public Security Intelligence Agency, when he had his first experience working directly with him, and it was nothing like he expected. In short, there was no way to prepare for actually having the damn nerd as a voice in his ear.
“Hello Ground Zero, how are we doing today?” his warm, low voice greeted from the earpiece.
For a moment, Katsuki actually had to pause. He had been doing his daily rounds when he heard a radio signal asking for assistance from Pro Heroes in the immediate area to help with a hostage situation in a bank. Of all three heroes who had showed up at the same time, he was the one that the armed agents chose to help with the operation.
“Deku? Awkward Green Bunny Deku?”
“…So glad it’s you on the line Kacchan. Can we not mention the, uh, unmentionable stuff?” was the slighted response, and Katsuki couldn’t help but smirk.
“Welcome to Operation Midas.”
It was an operation set up by the police with the Intelligence Agency to capture The Invisibler, a villain who had successfully managed a run of bank and jewelry store heists while evading capture. His quirk allowed him to turn things he touched invisible for as long as 5 minutes, and his tactics involved everything from smuggling his loot in plain sight, to using invisible hostages to hide and protect himself, making it hard to identify or even ‘erase’ his quirk.
They were in the middle of his latest burglary attempt, and had managed to surround him, quell his allies, and release 3 of the 4 hostages he had used as invisible shields, through the help of Snipe, and underground hero Mind Maker (“Shinso’s involved too?”). They were in the process of trying to free the last hostage but Deku didn’t want to take any chances, so he took the opportunity to find a pro with long-range capabilities to try to act as a backup against Invisibler from behind the building.
“He wears an invisibled mask and bulletproof clothes, so, I really hope your Armor Piercing Shot is not rusty.”
“You know all of my moves, eh?” Katsuki was surprised, given their history.
“Of course, Ka—Ground Zero,” was the soft response, “You’re one of the best heroes of our generation. How can I not?”
Katsuki felt an unwelcome thump in his chest.
The headset came with a camera so that Deku also had Katsuki’s visibility. He asked a few baseline questions, making Katsuki jump and gauging his sense of orientation, before he was finally allowed to enter the building from the back.
“So how likely is it that I’ll have to do something about this operation?” he prodded as Deku led him through the back offices.
“In theory, not high, as Mind Maker and Snipe are currently doing an excellent job, but I have a policy of wanting to seal the deal in no uncertain terms, so anything can happen.”
Seal the deal. Those words again. The daring in Agent Deku’s voice revealed that he was something of a hungry perfectionist as well, which strongly resonated within Katsuki.
“Has to be done perfectly then. I warn you now, I won’t bark just because you ask me to.”
“You sound just like Shouto did,” an ironic laugh, but he didn’t go on to say, ‘and now he’s marrying me’. His voice turned steely.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to use you in the best way possible, Ground Zero.”
Use me in the best way possible? If these conversations were being recorded, some sick fuck was having a field day somewhere.
“You sound like you’re controlling me in a video game,” he grumbled, recalling Iida.
“Trust me, Ground Zero, you’re nothing like a game.” Katsuki grinned despite himself.
“Take the next door to your right. Walk as quietly as you can. This should bring you to a door with good visibility onto the main floor. The Invisibler should be about 80 degrees from the door.”
He looked through the glass panel on the door and saw… nothing. “The fuck.”
“He’s made his hostage invisible, as well as himself. He also has some gadgets that scatter heat, so thermal sensors have limited accuracy. There are certain hints that should make it easier for you to spot them though.”
It sounded like Deku was trying to look for the right words, before he breathed out. “Remember how it was when we were catching butterflies when we were kids?”
What? “What the hell, Deku?”
“Remember what the light looked like when it caught on a butterfly’s wing? Kind of like a very quick flicker? Like, say, glass winking at you from the air? That’s the Invisibler’s tell when he’s trying to move.”
And Katsuki completely understood what he was saying, like the glimpse of a warm memory. His eyes narrowed when he saw the precise flicker from the imagery Deku painted in his head. “I think I can see him. How long ‘til he has to restart invisibility?”
“Two minutes. He’s moving a bit erratically right now; he’s panicking because Mind Maker was able to control him long enough to release most of his hostages. The risk is significantly higher with this last one – it doesn’t help that it’s the security guard, all 6 feet 3 inches of him.”
Katsuki nodded, starting to aim his fingers, but Deku spoke, “Hold, for now.”
He scowled, hesitating.
“We’ll see him when he’s about to reset his invisibility – then we’ll have a shot. I want you to move only when we have better visibility. In fact, can you launch an explosion to detonate where I tell you to, without necessarily hitting any of the more important furniture? I might want both that and your AP shot, if you can do them both in quick succession.”
The next two minutes unfolded in tense frenzy, with shots occasionally being exchanged between Snipe and the villain… herding him, Katsuki realized, closer to me.
Even better, the pause allowed him more time to acclimate with the villain’s flickering tells.
“You’re up next, Ground Zero,” Deku’s voice came back. “When I say so, I want you to fire at a spot approximately 3 meters away from the last flicker, maybe 3 meters high too? From where you’re standing, I’m thinking that spot above that standee on the right.”
Katsuki nodded, “Then…”
“There’s a good chance the distraction will buy us more time. If you can hit his armor, that would help, but Snipe is around for that too. You would want to separate him from the hostage and make it hard for him to move his hands to touch anything for invisibility, without necessarily maiming him. We’ll take care of the rest.”
And just as Deku predicted, everything unfolded with startling ease. The flicker close to Katsuki, the convenience of the standee as a reference point, the sudden visibility of the villain, dressed in white. Katsuki aimed.
“Wait, Ground Zero!”
“Dammit, Deku, I have a clear shot.”
“I need to get other people into place to make the most out of this. We have a window before he can use his quirk again. Hold it just a few more seconds…”
Fuck. He’s moving. I have to—
Katsuki attacked as instructed, causing the Invisibler to stumble. Katsuki’s AP shot immediately to his right knocked him down as expected, while and Snipe’s cross-shot hit the other side.
Familiar white bands instantly stretched through the air, one capturing the hostage, the other the villain. Katsuki was shocked to see Aizawa-sensei amongst the agents suddenly flooding the room.
He paused, disoriented. It had felt like forever; it had only been two minutes and 4 seconds. It was almost– too easy.
“Congratulations Ground Zero,” Deku’s smooth voice greeted him. “You just took down one of the most wanted criminals in the country.”
His voice suddenly sounded soft, “Make sure to go celebrate your victory, Kacchan.”
Then before Katsuki could say anything, the line went dead.
(Art credit to Jellynely)
By the time he had emerged from speaking with Detective Inspector Tsukauchi, the media gathered outside had already been informed of Snipe and Ground Zero’s work in taking out the Invisibler. As underground heroes, Aizawa-sensei and Shinso’s contributions were made known, but their appearances not shown.
“Did you know,” Katsuki had to ask his ex-teacher after all the greetings, “about Deku?”
“Agent Deku?” Aizawa blinked down at him. “He’s one of the best Intelligence Agency officers for Special Ops. He came out of the Interschool Development Program we pioneered; I’ve personally trained and worked with him before.” There was a barely discernible glint in his eyes. “He was a problem child back then.”
Katsuki frowned. “Then how come I never got to work with him before today?”
“Chances are that you actually have without realizing it, especially for sensitive cases like this where it’s easy to get things wrong or harm civilian hostages instead. Most of the recent successful hero operations has his stamp on it, and he only works with the best in the industry.”
Aizawa had to excuse himself as Tsukauchi called him over and parted with the promise to visit Todoroki again soon. “You did well, Ground Zero.”
“Well,” said Shinso when Katsuki asked him, “that’s how it is when you work directly with Deku. He gets into your head, almost like he knows what you are thinking, and then makes you better while making it look too easy, then disappears before credit is given. It’s not like he has public rankings to work towards, since he’s not a Pro Hero himself.”
Shinso gave an ironic smile, “He makes the most out of a Hero, and then he vanishes, making it look like he was never there at all – the perfect backup, really.”
Katsuki found himself clenching his fist. All this and he had never known? Deku had been behind the success of top Heroes and their missions, yet aside from the Agency, it seemed like no one else in the world really knew that it was him.
Except for one person.
“Was it the illegal quirk marriages?”
When Shinso gave him a questioning look, he continued. “Was that the successful mission he worked on with Todoroki?”
Shinso paused, “Yes; I think that’s the one.”
“Then Deku didn’t vanish on Todoroki afterwards, did he?”
Shinso gave him an abstracted look.
“No,” and for once there was no mockery on his face, “I suppose he didn’t.”
“So, are you too good to come out and take credit for your work now?”
Deku, back in his overalls and red bandana in Hatsume’s workshop, gave him a confused look, as if they hadn’t just shared a mission together just that morning.
“Uh, hi to you, too?” He seemed mystified by Katsuki’s anger. “And congratulations on the Invisibler.”
“Don’t give me that. That operation was yours, and you ‘sealed the deal’ on it, like many others apparently, but no one knows. I've worked hard to get to where I am now, and I can acknowledge when another person has done a good job too." He exhaled.
"What I don't like," Katsuki continued, "is that person fucking disappearing like nothing, and letting me take all the credit when I didn't ask for it. Is it because you think you’re so much better than the rest of us? What, do you think being acknowledged for your good work is beneath you?”
Deku’s eyes narrowed, and his voice went steely. “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, Kacchan. Are you angry at me, or for me, because I don’t get to show up in the news like heroes do? Do you have a problem with that?”
There was no way to simplify what Katsuki was feeling, how it was a 'yes' to all that and so much more. “I am saying it’s bullshit, and it’s such a waste!”
“Really, you, of all people, are telling me that.” Deku gave a mirthless laugh, “Go ahead then, tell me, what do you think should I do instead?”
“I want you--!” Katsuki suddenly exhaled.
“…to fight me.”
Deku’s eyes widened.
“You are such an asshole.”
Katsuki snorted at Deku’s outcry as he avoided his lunge. The damn nerd had indeed come to the table, going as far as to don the latest version of his green protective suit with all its gear, although the hood had come off in a few seconds.
He let his own rage loose as he blasted at the idiot, who as predicted, easily avoided him.
“What about you, acting all high and mighty even when we were kids? Offering to help me, of all people, like I couldn’t handle myself, when I was the one with an amazing quirk and you were this quirkless loser!” He jumped as Deku swiped at him sideways. “What, you thought you were better than me?”
(Was I not good enough for you?)
“That’s what you took away from that?” Green eyes glowered at him. “You really are such a self-centered prick. How can you feel threatened because I wanted to help? Like you said, I’m quirkless!”
Katsuki grit his teeth together. “And yet, you’ve made a career out of doing the same fucking thing as an adult. What was it? You can’t help yourself, so you get lowly heroes to do the work instead, when you're clearly itching to get out there yourself? Are you just a smug bastard or a coward?”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Deku yelled as he tried to catch him with a punch.
He snarled. “You know all our quirks, you’re good at fighting, and you’re even working on that shitty hero costume – fuck, you always act like you know better than us, why don’t you just go ahead and get that hero license and show us what you’re made of!”
That last made Deku pause, as if he had been exposed; he whirled at him, nearly voiceless in his fury. “Shut up! You’re not the one who’s quirkless. You don’t know anything.”
“Bullshit. I don’t care that you’re quirkless. You called yourself ‘Deku’ and decided that it wouldn’t hold you back, didn’t you?" Katsuki growled as Deku avoided another blast. “It’s either you’re good enough, or you’re too good for us. Just fucking choose to go in all the way, you coward, instead of being fucking undecided! It's an insult!”
This time, Deku’s face lit up, incandescent. “Fuck you. I do what I do because it’s my dream to help like heroes do, and that’s never changed. You don’t know what it took for me to get here, so fuck off on telling me how to live my life.”
He launched himself at Katsuki, shocking him enough to knock him to the ground. “And how dare you tell me off, like you know what it’s like?"
Despite Deku's words, Katsuki felt a knot in his chest loosen at the open fury on his face.
“I’ve always looked up to you because more than All Might or anyone else, you were the only heroic person I knew and I wanted to be like you," he grated out, his green eyes flashing.
Deku lifted Katsuki to slam him down one more time. "But you are also such a frickin’ asshole that you make me want to destroy you! How can you be so amazing, and yet be such a fucking insecure, bullying, arrogant douchebag?”
Katsuki felt himself grin, even as he silently acknowledged those harsh truths. There was something freeing in knowing how Deku rightfully felt, and not denying it; how he exposed Katsuki for all his worst faults.
Finally, you’re no longer holding back.
“Destroy me, eh? I’d like to see you try.”
He rolled himself back into place. Deku sneered at him, his face still transformed by his fury.
Finally, show me who you really are.
“I won’t be your punching bag this time, Kacchan.”
“Give me all you’ve got, Deku.”
The next moments happened in a blur. Katsuki did not hold black on using his quirk, and Deku started fighting back in full, his suit helping him where a quirk couldn’t.
At one point, the idiot actually grabbed the gauntlet on his right arm to throw him over his shoulder.
What the everlasting fuck?
Deku smirked. “You always attack with your right first, and the size of that gauntlet makes it an easy target.”
Dammit, the nerd is good, quirkless and all. Not many people could manage to even get close enough for contact.
Katsuki raged, hurtling at him. “Is that all that you’ve got?”
He didn’t let up on his attacks this time, using an explosion to launch himself up afterwards, and then using the next to set him back towards Deku. He saw the look of surprise on the nerd’s face, before he dodged, managing to avoid the blast.
I can think of a few ideas, Deku had said, days ago, when Katsuki had asked him what he could do against his superior quirk.
I have to make sure he doesn’t have time to think.
He then tried the same move, and the nerd jumped away early enough this time to avoid it. This time, Katsuki launched his arm in a quick surge, aiming to hit the nerd before he could even land. Deku managed to kick at his arm and land a punch in his face, but the move was weak due to his momentum.
Katsuki clasped at his face, propelling himself upwards with another blast before smashing him into the ground with an explosion to his chest.
Deku grabbed at his arm and tried to buck upwards, before collapsing back onto the ground, coughing.
“I win.” Katsuki announced, trying to catch his breath.
Fuck. He felt the state of his body at once, all its pains and twinges. For the nerd to have managed to wear him down this much before Katsuki got him, without a quirk…
He understood at that moment, more than ever, that it was not the quirk that made a person, but the way the person used what they had. It had taken his years at U.A. for Katsuki to acknowledge this, but somehow, all it took was for him to face Deku for that truth to seize him again.
Perhaps, that had even always been the case.
“You could have actually had a shot at winning that, with just a bit more field experience. Or if you had the advantage of an offensive quirk. Fuck.”
“Well, you’re lucky I don’t have one then.” Deku husked underneath him, bitterness seeping into his voice.
Katsuki rolled his eyes and thumped him on the chest before that train of thought could go further this time. “Bullshit. You could easily add some offensive features to that suit of yours, and you'd give anyone a serious run for their money. You’re just unlucky that I’ve been doing this for longer, and that I’m damn great at what I do.”
Deku’s eyes widened at that, and Katsuki saw his lips tremble.
“Did you just acknowledge me, or is this a concussion?”
Katsuki ran a hand through his face and swallowed, trying to come to terms with his feelings. “You weren’t just a punching bag.”
And I never should have made you one, just because you were better than you seemed.
Katsuki took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Your hits today weren't so bad, and not just for a quirkless bastard.”
Finally, like they were equals.
There was a nudge to his side. Deku was now smiling, as if he understood anyway. “That last move of yours was absolutely impressive... but it also felt good, fighting the living shit out of you for being such an asshole this time.”
“So you’ll try to beat me next time? Like hell, I’ll make it easy for you though.”
There was something liberating about fighting it out in the open, about getting Deku to unleash himself on him. It seemed that it wasn’t just Katsuki who had words to say. Anger to release. Feelings to sort out.
He took a deep breath.
From the ground, Deku turned his head to look back to him.
“What was it about Todoroki, then? What made you acknowledge him first?”
Something came over Deku’s face then, and his eyes widened.
Katsuki froze despite himself. He wasn’t sure what made him ask that question.
Was I not good enough for you? the next question rose within him immediately afterwards, unbidden and irrational. Katsuki’s throat went dry. What the hell?
Deku's eyes narrowed weakly. “Kacchan…that’s not… it was never about—”
“WHAT IN THE WORLD?” Mei’s incredulous shriek pierced through the test area. Next to her, Monoma gawked as he held the door open.
“I step out for coffee, and this is what I come back to?”
Katsuki made sure to ask for narrower, more-streamlined gauntlets afterwards. Easy target, my ass.
That night he dreamt about the end of that battle again. However, Mei and Monoma never arrived, and instead of letting Deku walk away, Katsuki had pushed him back onto the floor, his hand on his chest.
It felt like time slowing down as he kept his gaze on Deku’s wide eyes, how they went hazy with desire as Katsuki slowly pulled the zip of his bodysuit down his chest, revealing that thin white tank top. He saw the nerd’s chest hitch as he placed his hands underneath, touching skin.
“Kacchan,” he gasped, hands coming up to Katsuki’s shoulders.
And Deku pulled him back onto the floor, reversing their positions so he could straddle him.
“Kacchan, please.” He breathed again onto his ear as Katsuki’s hands came up to hold him from behind, his fingers dancing lightly over his backside. “Let me take care of you. Let me use you in the best way.”
“Let me destroy you.” Then in the same moment, he got up and started rolling those damn hips against his, and Katsuki moaned as grasped his ass more firmly. Fucking finally.
While Katsuki could admit in his deepest subconscious that he should have seen this fantasy coming, he was totally unprepared for how, just as he was about to reach his peak, Deku suddenly grabbed his hand and looked him in the eyes.
“Kacchan… I would have chosen you… if I had known it would be this way.”
His lips brushed an intimate caress on his wrist as he rose and fell with him.
“ I see who you really are. I know the worst and the best of you. And I would have chosen you.”
Then he bent down to press a suddenly-tender kiss to his lips.
And damn if that hadn’t pushed him over the edge in the dream – simultaneously waking him into confusion and making him feel caught out.
He ran a hand down his face. This was Deku, of all people. Deku, who was getting married to Todoroki. Your rival, you colleague, your classmate, your friend. Fuck, if this wasn't messed up.
Three months, and they were getting married; Katsuki had only just met the nerd again a little over a week ago. How could he have known in any case?
Katsuki didn’t know when the change had happened: how he had gone from asking why Todoroki chose Deku of all people, to wondering why it was Todoroki that Deku chose.
Katsuki knew, then, that he was in trouble.
It was then that he also decided it was better to keep his distance from the damn nerd, and the dangerous mess of emotions that came along with him.
Next Chapter: In Which There is a Misunderstanding
Katsuki actually manages to avoid Deku for all of four days, before a blast from Deku's past turns it all to shit.
Your comments, laughs and recommendations have been so supportive, and they have kept my juices running despite the fact that I was jumping between different time zones - especially as this is my first bakudeku (and bnha) fic. The support for the tododeku angle has also given me joy. Please feed my crops more!
Some headcanons that I didn't have room in the story to include explicitly are now included in my loser junkyard blog:
- In the hero rankings, Kacchan has edged Shouto out as No.5 3 times out of the past 5 years, but Todoroki is currently leading
- Monoma is a contractor for the Agency together with Mei. His copying quirk is very useful for testing Hero gear, especially when the required quirks for testing are not available. Mei has found a way for Monoma to activate the copy later than needed, albeit still only for 5 minute periods. This is how he’s become aware of Deku sooner than class 3-A.
- Deku, Iida, Mei and Uraraka do end up going to an arcade to let Iida have his gaming superiority moment...
More can be found at belkacaramelka.tumblr.com
Chapter 4: In Which There is a Misunderstanding
Katsuki had actually managed to avoid Deku for almost four days, before it all turned into shit.
Katsuki realizes that Deku has issues too. His timing is Not Great.
Update - this story now comes with art! From the previous chapter:
Breakup Recovery Kit: "Wanna blow things up?"
Operation Midas: "Hello Ground Zero. How are we doing today?"
Purple Rain Rockaoke with Purple Rain, Queen Inventoria and Small Might!
They've done such an amazing job!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
PART IV. IN WHICH THERE IS A MISUNDERSTANDING
Katsuki had actually managed to avoid Deku for almost four days, before it all turned into shit.
It had actually felt strange, having his old life back without going out of his way to find Deku. Especially when he never had to look for an excuse to see the nerd before. The sense of absence was even more noticeable for how unexpected it was.
He had even considered going out, just to get it out of his system. It was never too hard for him to find someone anyway; much easier than inadvertently lusting after a troublesome nerd, who was too much, not his, and undeniably off limits to begin with.
Of course, that all changed when he dropped by the 3-A safehouse to pick up a few things, and Ashido happened to be around to squeal at him with her latest round of gossip.
“Bakugou, you’ll never believe what I found.”
Katsuki had been busy trying to gather some clothes to bring back to his apartment. He answered with his usual non-committal grunt.
“I think I know who Midoriya was dating before he met Todoroki!”
Katsuki nearly dropped his rucksack.
Deku has an ex?
It seemed just as inconceivable as the notion of the nerd with Todoroki. Why had none of this ever been mentioned before?
Ashido, bless her gossip-seeking, anecdote-sharing soul, actually started from the beginning, when all Katsuki wanted was a name.
“Well, it all started yesterday. Kaminari was in the mall when he spotted Midoriya and Shinso at one of those al fresco coffee shops – you’ll never guess what they were doing, by the way! They had these earpieces on, and they were ‘monitoring’ Hatsume and Monoma. Apparently, they were that worried that he was finally going to ask Hatsume out, that they needed to be prepared. So you know that Kaminari’s been lowkey crushing on Shinso, so he asked to join them and listen in—”
Katsuki’s brows furrowed at the revelation. Is there any one of us not obsessed with Deku or his friends?
“…and it turns out that Monoma wasn’t interested in Hatsume, but he wanted her advice on asking someone out. Guess who it was? Uraraka! I know right, I think they danced one time at The Floor last week, and Monoma joined Midoriya, Hatsume, Iida and Uraraka at the arcade a few days ago, but who would have thought? My theory is that he’s kind of been interested in her as early as our first year Sports Fest, but of course he hates A-gumi. In any case Midoriya and Shinso were shocked that Monoma won’t be their problem anymore; I suppose he’s Iida’s problem now, if Uraraka is crazy enough to give him a shot…”
“Ashido.” He let out a breath for patience. “Get on with it.”
“Oh—right. So they decided to call off the surveillance and just enjoy their coffee. But then, guess who came up to say hi? Remember that Ketsubutsu girl from our provisional licensing exam? Foldagirl, the one whose limbs can pop in and out like a turtle? Anyway, she and Midoriya were in school together, and she’s just moved into Musutafu, and apparently, she’s throwing a house-warming party tonight.”
Katsuki frowned, vaguely recalling the blonde girl with fin-like hair. Well, he had wondered if Deku had any friends from his own school…
“And? Was she the ex?”
“No! What part of the story so far made you think that?”
Katsuki felt a twitch in his forehead.
“Okay, okay,” Ashido lifted her hands, “So it looks like Midoriya and Shinso are both invited to this party. Then Foldagirl goes on to say that she hopes Midoriya doesn’t mind that this other guy Shindo was coming with his new girlfriend, and how it’s a shame they don’t hang out together anymore. Do you remember Shindo, that pretty boy, Quake, from Ketsubutsu? The one you didn’t like?”
Katsuki scowled at the memory. Shindo Yo.
Pro Hero Quake. Ketsubutsu’s most powerful student in the year above them, who came up to them at the licensing exam with a saccharine smile before systematically targeting their class. As much as he had been a scheming little shit, he had also been clever, and he was now also making waves as a Pro Hero, not that Katsuki ever needed to interact with him directly—
(Deku blinked at the mention of a boyfriend, as if he needed to make sure he heard the name correctly. “Just to make things clear, did you say Shinso-kun?”)
Katsuki started at the memory.
Shindo and Shinso, their damn names were similar enough to be confusing.
(“I think I might have heard some rumors about this one. Tall Pro Hero? Devastating when he smiles? Bit of an asshole?” Tachi asked when Deku mentioned that he was taken.
“T-tachi.” Deku said faintly. “That’s not…”
‘Bit of an asshole’ sounded about right, but Katsuki had not really seen Todoroki smile that much.
It never occurred to Katsuki that Tachi might have been talking about someone else entirely.)
And suddenly, the pieces fell into place, even before Ashido could complete her tale.
“… so Kaminari did his bit and re-introduced himself, then he told Foldagirl that Midoriya is seeing his friend now, although of course he didn't mention Todoroki specifically. Apparently she had this sad look on her face, and when she left, Shinso asked Midoriya if he was sure he wanted to go to a party with his ex? So there’s the first clue! But of course, this could all be circumstantial, so I had to check…”
Her voice faded in and out as Katsuki stared at his fist.
He turned the name over in his head, as if it would help knit together the enigma of Deku clouding his mind. In a way, it shouldn’t matter, if it was all in the past. And now, Todoroki.
For all the jokes and stories about Hatsume and Shinso’s dating habits and breakups, Deku had actually been tightlipped about the history of his relationships before Todoroki. What was the story there?
“Anyway, I did some digging on the internet and social media, but there was nothing official from either of them, so they probably kept it private. But I didn’t need to look far, because it looks like Pro Hero Quake had enough fans and followers over the years to do their own investigating into his dating life, and I found this goldmine of a blog, which I think pretty much confirms the theory. It looks like they dated for at least four years, can you believe?”
Ashido nodded, “Yes—I mean this blog found stuff from their third year in high school—well, our second year, I suppose—to just last year. They even found this old video of this incredible dance project between Foldagirl and Midoriya as students—I think she’s the reason he’s a great dancer by the way—and if you watch that part between him and this Shindo guy, it’s clear as day that there was something there, even back then.”
“Let me see that.” Katsuki grabbed Ashido’s laptop.
He scanned the article on the page, as well as the video Ashido had on pause.
A familiar melody, with a slow and intimate beat, floated from the screen. Foldagirl had just been lifted from a dip by a blue-skinned boy, and they exited to the left just as Deku entered, followed by Shindo.
Deku looked much younger in the video, smaller in built, his green locks wilder and less controlled. Shindo looked the same as he ever was, that so-called devastating (annoying) smile in place. Shindo kept his eyes on the boy next to him as they moved together, doing spins and twists in perfect synchrony, before they started dancing with each other, circling each other and assisting in lifts and falls.
‘I could fall, or I could fly, here in your aeroplane. And I could live, I could die, hanging on the words you say.'
Deku had that soft look on his face as he caught Shindo in his arms at a dip. When he lifted him back and made to turn away, Shindo caught him from behind, his arms encasing him.
‘So don’t call me baby, unless you mean it. Don’t tell me you need me, if you don’t believe it.’
With their eyes closed, they moved backwards, their feet swinging together, before Shindo caught the other’s leg and raised him into a lift.
‘So let me know the truth,'
In the air, Deku twisted into a release, falling back into Shindo’s arms. There was an an almost secretive look of fondness in Shindo’s gaze as Deku looked back up at him, his lips quirked in a half-smile.
'Before I dive right into you.’
It was almost too intimate for others to see.
It was also the first time Katsuki had seen Deku like that with anyone; he never got the chance to actually see him with Todoroki.
“Yep, even I could see that this guy was a goner for our boy back then.” Ashido waved at the screen.
And Katsuki suddenly remembered where he heard that song before.
That night at The Floor. Deku had gone still at the song, before Mei and Shinso had come in to pull him into the world’s most uncoordinated three-way slow dance.
(“Really sorry about the crappy tune, sweetheart. I swear, I didn’t sign off on this part of the night.” Mei had apologized, which Katsuki had thought was too much for a mere song, back then.
Deku closed his eyes, seemingly content to be pushed and pulled to and fro as the music played on.
Shinso knocked him on the forehead, “Eyes forward, demon kid.”
Deku opened his eyes, shaking his head. “Right. Of course.”)
“…are you listening to me?”
Katsuki snapped back from his thoughts. “What?”
“I was saying, it’s good Todoroki-kun came into the picture, right? It looks like they broke up a year ago, and Quake has come out with a new partner, like, a month ago. If you think about it, that’s about the same time that Todoroki and Midoriya started seeing each other before they got engaged, so I guess all’s well that ends well…”
“What did you just say?”
Ashido was startled by the sudden vehemence in his words. “What? Don’t you agree? Aren’t you glad that Midoriya ended up with Todoroki? Now, he gets to hang out with us instead, and he even managed to keep Todoroki safe from Endeavor’s crummy schemes. Besides, Todoroki’s way better than this Shindo guy and Midoriya actually got him to propose! It’s perfect, really!”
Katsuki bit his lip and ran a hand through his hair.
(“Midoriya-chan is the last thing Endeavor expected, and the best thing for everyone else.” Asui had said, “He couldn’t have chosen better, if you think about it.”)
Katsuki’s fingers started shaking.
It was perfect. Too perfect, actually.
Maybe that was all the explanation he ever needed.
“Mina, did you know when that party was, and if Deku’s still going?”
Ashido blinked. “Huh? Well, this all happened yesterday, so I think it’s meant to be tonight? And from what Kaminari said, Deku was still going to go, so…”
Katsuki grabbed his bag and was out of the door before she finished.
Pro Hero Quake Hasn’t Been Single All These Years, And Here’s Why
World-shaking hero has been dating mysterious Ketsubutsu underclassman in secret
By Kao Mojo, PopSweet correspondent
Popular Pro Hero Quake (Shindo Yo) has fascinated fans and detractors alike for how notoriously private he is, given how approachable he is in public. Over the years, many of us have wondered what lay beneath that world-shaking smile, and we have received many enquiries about his dating life. It didn’t help that our favorite earth-shattering hero has never confirmed anything in public.
Fortunately, though, our sharp-eyed research team has been on the case, and we can now say that we support the theory that Quake has been dating one of his kouhai from his alma mater Ketsubutsu [Name Redacted], let’s call him Green Eyes, and we’ll be sharing our evidence and timeline below.
[Editor’s note: Unfortunately, we have been asked to take down the name of person mentioned above for security purposes, and we have redacted this for the rest of this article]
The dance class video uploaded by Ketsubutsu classmate and fellow Pro Hero Foldagirl – Year 0
The video is directly from Foldagirl’s social media account, and it appears to be a final exam submission for a Contemporary Dance Class. While the only ones who were actually part of the class were Foldagirl and Green Eyes (see their amazing routine together at the beginning!), it looks like they had roped the rest of the hero class 3-2 into the last part of their performance.
This is one of the earliest we’ve been able to find, and it’s so good – if not for the cameos of beloved pro Heroes Shikkui, Boomerang and Masque from their student days, then for the smoking gun that was the dance between Quake and Green Eyes towards the end [4:09 – 5:00]. Huzzah!
Keep an eye out for the way they kept looking at each other, and tell us there’s nothing there, we dare you. That chemistry/sexual tension was sizzling! And there was that amazing lift, when he caught Green Eyes in his arms, and how he carried him on his back after the applause at the end. We’ve scoured all of Quake’s media appearances and photo shoots, and we’ve never seen him look that way at someone. It’s so hot and tender that we can’t even.
[LINK: Final Contemporary Routine: Tatami and [Name Redacted], featuring Dive (Cover) by Luke Combs]
Shikkui Solid’s instapost of Green Eyes defeating Quake – Year 1
This was a post during their first year as Pro Heroes. Pro Hero Shikkui Solid tagged it as “Pro Hero Quake defeated by Quirkless Wonder” and it shows Shikkui, Foldagirl and Green Eyes making fun of Quake (we do wonder at that ‘coo coo’ comment – inside joke?), before our beloved vibrating hero had enough and decided to throw down with a Tremoring Earth attack!
The amazing thing was how Green Eyes somehow managed to throw himself against that tree, before tackling Quake onto the ground. Quirkless or not, that kid is astonishing! We literally went to heaven over how they both rolled around in the dirt, until Green Eyes came out on top with that angel laugh! See if you can spot how high Quake ran his hands up that man’s thighs at the end, like he’s still trying to be angry but couldn’t help himself, until he gave that devastating smile. Yes Quake, we’d like to take that adorable green-eyed cutie home, ourselves, thicc thighs and all!
[LINK: Instapost by Shikkuioff1 – Pro Hero Quake defeated by Quirkless Wonder]
[GIF of Quake looking up as Green Eyes straddled him, laughing]
Quake’s ‘Mini-Me with Green Eyes’ post – Year 2
Quake has numerous selfies with his friends, but suspiciously little with Green Eyes only, given how often they feature as cameos on their other friends’ posts. However, we actually found one post buried in Quake’s account featuring a very couple-like selfie with Green Eyes. Note how Quake captioned the post: “When you’re together so much that you start looking like each other. Who wore it better, Me or Mini-Me with green eyes?”
We like how Quake revealed that they’re ‘together’ so often that they start looking alike - and they actually do – look at the hair! And of course, they both look adorable and absolutely loved-up in their matching All Might jackets!
[LINK: Instapost by Shindō Yō – “When you’re together” with (untagged)]
Quake’s numerous appearances in Musutafu over the years – Years 3 - 4
This is the least compelling of our evidence, but we thought it was still worth mentioning. Quake is based in Hosu, which is a good 2 hours away from Musutafu. So why has there been many sightings of him in this city over the years? There were even rumors that he had his own place in the city.
We have some (admittedly circumstantial) evidence from Foldagirl’s posts that Green Eyes works in Musutafu, and what else can compel somebody to keep travelling that distance through all those days off and weekends if not for a committed long-distance relationship?
[PICTURE: Collage of Quake's appearances in Musutafu, each time in civilian clothing]
Boomerang’s 'Four Years and I’m Still Fifth-Wheeling' post and other pictures from last year’s Hosu Hero Gala event – Year 4
Boomerang’s incriminating post saying “four years and I’m still fifth-wheeling” with Foldagirl seems innocuous enough, but if we combine that with one of Foldagirl’s posts from the same event, we could see the complete group picture, which includes Boomerang, Foldagirl and Shikkui (who we know started dating each other 3 years ago), and yes, Quake and Green Eyes! They all look dashing in their eveningwear.
Now you might think this is a bit of a stretch, but Boomerang did say fifth wheel and not third, which is what you’d normally expect if there was no other couple in the crowd. What we find especially incriminating is how he mentioned 4 years specifically, when Foldagirl and Shikkui only became official 3 years ago… yes, you’ve got it, we think that’s when Quake and Green Eyes started seeing each other, especially combined with all other evidence!
We also have a bonus find from Shikkui’s account – see how Green Eyes is talking to the purple-haired guy in the back, while Quake had his hand on the back of his chair? Our researchers are super convinced that’s a possessive, coupley-gesture!
[LINKS: Frontbook post by Tōteki Itejirō – “Four years and I'm still fifth-wheeling” with Foldagirl
Frontbook post by Nakagame Tatami – “Hero gala group pic: still together after all these years!” with Shikkui Solid, Boomerang, Quake and (untagged)
Frontbook post by Makabe Shikkui – “Hero gala selfie with my girl” with Foldagirl in the foreground and Quake, (untagged) and (untagged) in the background]
Even though they have kept this relationship private, we can see through the years that Quake cares for this mystery boy. Our sense is that he’s been trying to protect his lover from the public eye, and that he probably takes his well-being very seriously. Will this pair ever go public?
For this reason, Green Eyes will always capture our imagination.
The final proof: Foldagirl’s “I was rooting for you both” post – Year 4 + 1
This was added after this article initially came out, but we thought it was worth sharing. Unfortunately, this is not happy proof. It’s a sad, sentimental selfie posted by Foldagirl together with Green Eyes in Musutafu from earlier this year: “Missed this Little One – you were always my favorite, and I was rooting for you both. Hope we can stay friends despite everything.”
Yes, we believe that Quake and Green Eyes have actually split up. Quake himself has not been seen in Musutafu recently, and he had been photographed earlier this year looking less than his lovely Charming Self.
In a way, the end of this long-term love affair is the strongest evidence that it existed.
[LINK: Instapost by Nakagame Tatami – “Missed this one” with (untagged)]
Quake has now come out last month with his new girlfriend, Pro Hero Nail. See our coverage on this here. We would like to wish him all the best in his new and first public relationship. We hope that Green Eyes is happy, wherever he is.
Tags: Quake, Shindo Yo, Entertainment, Hero, News
Izuku almost dropped the phone when the doorbell rang.
“That might be Shinso-kun at the door, Mom. Give me a sec.” He ran a hand through his face and told himself to stop being so shaky, it’s just a party dammit.
He opened the door and was surprised at the person on the other side. “Kacchan?”
“Kacchan? Is that Katsuki, Mitsuki’s boy? What’s—”
“Okay Mom, I need to go. I’ll call you again later okay?” He eyed Kacchan through the doorway. He was wearing his usual black colors, but with that dress shirt and those dark trousers that weren’t baggy for once, he actually looked—so good; shut up—dressed up for once.
“Promise to make it up to you.” He told his mom over the phone, before ending the call.
“This is a surprise. What’s up?”
And it was a surprise. After having to fight him off almost every day ever since they bumped heads over Shouto, and literally fighting with him earlier this week, the man seemed to have vanished from sight afterwards.
Izuku wouldn’t admit to worrying about it, but he did, especially with the way things ended when they last saw each other. It was quite a mind-blowing, earth-shattering experience to finally hear Kacchan’s feelings – how he actually acknowledged Izuku and recognized his strengths, even admitted to being threatened by them. Of course, being Bakugou Katsuki, he had to do it with as much explosions, yelling and physical brawling possible… and there were as many uncomfortable truths in that fight as there were positive revelations.
Kacchan had been brutally honest with him, but for some reason, Izuku had never felt freer, more uplifted, and more connected with him. In fact, there was something mesmerizing and almost electric about the way Kacchan looked back at him afterwards. It somehow felt that, despite all their bickering and bantering over the past week, they had come to some sort of nameless culmination.
(“What was it about Todoroki, then? What made you acknowledge him first?”)
Izuku had to pause at the many implications of that statement; the many ways it, and Izuku’s answer, could be interpreted the wrong way.
He had agonized over it for hours afterwards.
Of course, there had been no point, since Kacchan never reached out after that. He even stopped showing up with Momo, Kirishima, Iida, Uraraka, and Kaminari over the various times they met each other at the hospital and elsewhere that week.
If that wasn't bad enough, when Kirishima later shared the sudden possibility of Bakugou 'maybe' being open to dating again, of all things (and the apparently predictable deluge of men and women interested in chasing after Ground Zero each time), Izuku felt inexplicably crushed for some reason.
“This sudden obsession with Kacchan is interesting… maybe even slightly disturbing.” Shinso had even observed. And when Izuku protested, he went on, “...especially after a week which included you embarrassing him and him embarrassing you, you two dancing with each other, working together at an Op, and having multiple fights, which, for all we know, is flirting in Lord Explosion speak. Are you sure that it isn't you two who are meant to be engaged?”
You’re absolutely wrong, Shinso-kun, Izuku thought as Kacchan just glowered at him from doorway.
“Deku,” was all he said.
“Uh, yes? Was there anything you needed from me?”
Kacchan just crossed his arms, “You look—dressed.”
Izuku suddenly felt self-conscious about the black and white houndstooth shirt, skinny jeans and black stud earring that Mei insisted he wore, and he placed a hand at the back of his head. “It’s not too much is it?”
Kacchan didn’t reply and just pushed his way into Izuku’s flat at that. Huh. “Going somewhere special?”
Izuku shrugged as he decided to let the man in since he looked determined to make himself at home. He eyed his living room – aside from the pile of letters at his counter and the pack of Pocky Sticks he had been stress-snacking on, it was thankfully neat. “Just a party. Wanna say hi to Small Might Junior and Scratch?” He greeted them at their cat tower, “Hi babies, remember Kacchan?”
Kacchan actually look flustered at that, and he actually put a hand out to pet Small Might Junior, who of course loved the attention. Scratch, he only dared touch for all of a second. Izuku smiled despite himself.
“What kind of party?”
Ugh, don’t remind me, Izuku groaned to himself. “House-warming party; one of my Ketsubutsu senpai. Remember you once asked if I had any friends of my own? Anyway,” he looked at his watch, “I really need to go soon.”
“Great,” Kacchan was eyeing him with this inscrutable look on his face. “I can go with you.”
Eh? Deku squinted at him. “You mean, walk me there? You don’t even know where it is.”
“Where is it?”
“One of those new penthouses by the mall. It’s like, two stops away by train, so it’s not so far but—”
“Great.” Kacchan repeated. “I can take you on my bike.”
Deku gawked, “You brought your super bike?” then he shook his head. “But more importantly, why? Actually, why are you even here in the first place? Was there anything you wanted?”
Kacchan just shrugged. “I can just tell you on the way. Are you ready?”
“B-but Kacchan.” He raised his hands, “You really don’t need to. I’d prefer to walk anyway, and I think Shinso-kun should be here soon as well—”
His phone vibrated just as he said that, and he frowned as he looked at the message, “…Or not. I’m meeting him there instead, apparently. He’s taking Kaminari-kun with him as his date! Whoa… did you see this coming, Kacchan? Rrr, I know what Shinso is like with his partners and I feel like I should give Kaminari-kun a disclaimer for his own sake…”
He heard Kacchan shrug as he typed out a reply, “Denki’s a prolific flirt and serial dater, and it sounds like he’s been holding a flame for the Purple One since our high school days.”
“—He sounds perfect then,” Deku beamed as he pocketed his phone. He nipped back to his room to check the eyeliner and to put a final spray of cologne.
“Don’t you find it weird, how our friends are coming together? The less you hear about Monoma-kun, the better, but now I feel like there’s something up with Iida-kun and Mei as well, but maybe it’s just my imagination?”
He now grabbed his peacoat and his housewarming gift of a bottle of wine.
“Anyway, so, bye for now?”
Kacchan just shook his head at him. “Nice try, nerd. If you don’t want to use the bike, then I can walk you.”
He stared herding Izuku to the door, and Izuku frowned, “Okay, fine, but you’re acting weird, Kacchan.”
And weird was one word for it. Izuku had already spent the entire morning agonizing over this party tonight. His current concerns about his fake unconscious fiancé notwithstanding, it’s not every day that you get the opportunity to meet your ex-boyfriend of four years. And whether or not Izuku wanted to admit it, there was a lot of unresolved history with Shindo that he needed to fix – or at the very least, explain.
It didn’t help that Shindo-kun was the first—well—the first actual love of his life. As much as Izuku had avoided thinking about it over the past year, Shindo was the first person he’d been with, the first hero he actually got to know, more than Kacchan, Shouto-kun and even Shinso-kun and Mei.
He and Tatami-senpai and the rest of Hero class 2 made Izuku’s high school life amazing – they were the first people that accepted him unconditionally into their group, regardless of his quirklessness.
Shindo had been the sort of person who respected the strength of people’s dreams, regardless of where they came from, and for that reason, he took people seriously, strong or not. As a natural leader and clever strategist, his strengths also encouraged Izuku’s. His strategies also partly inspired Izuku’s highly analysed, beautifully-orchestrated plans.
He and Tatami were the ones who had encouraged Izuku to join in all their extracurricular classes, and finally, to apply for the Interschool Development Program; there was no question that they ought to continue working together once they all graduated.
He had been that amazing, handsome, larger than life person who also looked back at Izuku.
He was also, unquestionably, Izuku’s biggest heartbreak.
(Only people who had your heart can do that.)
And it wasn’t even entirely his fault.
Izuku groaned out loud, now if only he had managed to handle their relationship in a better way, when it had to end.
“What are you moaning about, nerd?”
Izuku blinked as Kacchan scowled, recalling himself. They were walking down the avenue towards the party. Right, Kacchan was acting weird, and he was walking him to the party - after nearly a week of ignoring Izuku.
Izuku had to pause to quantify his earlier thought: if only he had managed to handle the end of their relationship in a better way, preferably before Izuku got caught up in the world’s biggest juggling act of a sham-relationship with Todoroki Shouto and class 3-A.
“Nothing… just remembered something. Seriously though, what are you doing here, Kacchan?”
Kacchan’s eyes were narrowed at him, almost as if he was trying to read more into Izuku’s words. He resisted the urge to step back.
“Why,” Kacchan finally asked, “are you not wearing your engagement ring?”
“Oh.” Izuku started, inexplicably feeling like he should be guiltier than he actually was at the omission. “I—I hadn’t really discussed this properly with Shouto-kun, how comfortable he is with announcing, well, this engagement.” He flinched at how remote that suddenly sounded, as if it wasn’t his. “And, um, I’d rather avoid questions at this point.”
He also figured it wasn’t good form, or fair, to properly face Shindo-kun armed with an engagement ring, fake or not.
“Hm,” Kacchan all but grunted, sounding unconvinced. Of what, Izuku wasn’t sure. “Aren’t you supposed to know these people well?”
Izuku swallowed. “You’re right. Unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with some of them over the years, and…” he looked away. “I can’t say that I know them, at least not the way that I used to.”
In that moment, that truth hit him harder than he cared to explain.
“Huh.” Kacchan mused. “But you’re more open about this to Todoroki’s friends, whom you’ve never met before?”
Izuku went still at that. What could he say about it in any case? That he had no choice because he had guilt-tripped himself into playing along for Shouto-kun’s case? “I trust Shouto-kun’s choice in friends.”
Kacchan placed his hands in his pocket. “I bet you probably didn’t know that I was the only other person aside from Yaoyorozu that IcyHot entrusted with the keys to his flat.”
“I didn’t.” Izuku tried to bite back a sudden grin. “But now that I do, it makes sense.”
“What do you mean by that?” Kacchan actually bristled, and Izuku resisted the urge to laugh, despite the apparent strangeness of their conversation.
“Well, I haven’t spent that much time with you guys yet, but even I can see how protective you are of your friends and loved ones. You always want what's best for them.” Izuku’s voice went softer. “Shouto-kun must be so happy to have Kacchan as a friend.”
Silence greeted his statement. He looked up and saw Kacchan staring at him, his eyes narrowed almost weakly, his lips pressed together.
“A-are you okay, Kacchan?”
Kacchan jolted, suddenly gathering himself. He looked away, and they continued walking in silence.
“What about your mother?”
Huh? “You remember her?” The questions were getting stranger.
Kacchan shrugged, “You were talking to her just now, and I think our parents still keep in touch. Does Auntie Inko know?”
His brow furrowed. “About what?”
“About your engagement with IcyHot, idiot. Keep up with the conversation.”
Yes, this very bizarre conversation. But Izuku frowned. Tell his mother about this fake engagement? No, no—no. He wasn’t sure her heart could cope. Could he lie about this though? But it was easy enough for Kacchan’s parents to get in touch with her. Dammit.
Nothing else for it, then: “No, she doesn’t know yet either.”
Kacchan’s eyes suddenly blazed. “Why ever the hell not?”
Because she’d think I’d gone mad, agreeing to marriage to a comatose hero, and work herself into another panic attack on my behalf?
“Because… I’d rather wait ‘til Shouto-kun wakes up before we tell her.” He held on to the thought. “Together.”
That is, if Shouto doesn’t ice Izuku for their audacious deception first.
“Why do you have to wait for Half-and-Half to wake up, if you’re sure?”
Izuku sighed. “Let me see, maybe because his father’s reaction was to get pissed at the idea that his son had gotten mixed up with a quirkless degenerate like me? Because no one else can quite believe it, either?” he rolled his eyes.
“What’s with all these questions, anyway? What are you trying to get at? Are we back to proving my relationship with Shouto-kun? Have you found another problem with me?”
He couldn’t help but allow the hurt he was feeling seep into his words.
Kacchan himself seemed to flinch.
“Tell me who you’re meeting at this party.” He said instead as he opened the doors to the lobby of the building.
Izuku blinked at the sudden deflection, but it coincided with the approach of the concierge. “Yes, Nakagame Tatami please.” He turned back to Kacchan as the concierge led them through to the elevators.
“Uh, yes, that’s Tatami-senpai. She’s the one I did all those dance classes with, because her quirk was all about extensions and inward body movement. She was one of my best friends, actually, and it’s her housewarming. I think her boyfriend Shikkui will also be there. He’s blue-skinned, and his quirk is like Kirishima-kun’s only it’s not his body, but those that he touches that gets hard. So you can imagine all the jokes. He was also the playboy of their year.” He smiled wistfully. “There’s also Itejiro-san and he has this amazing boomerang quirk, which… hang on.”
Izuku furrowed his brow as the elevator ascended. “Didn’t you get your licenses the same time they did? You might have actually met them already then.”
Kacchan scowled, “Small world then. Who else are you meeting? I might know them.”
“Yes, but seriously what’s with the sudden interrogation? What’s going on?”
Before Kacchan could reply, the lift doors opened—straight into the penthouse apartment and the loud party, with Tatami waiting for him. Wait…
“Izuku-chan!” she greeted him loudly, and Izuku gave a weak smile as she smothered him into a hug.
“And who is this?” Tatami-senpai asked with wide eyes as she turned to Kacchan. “Is this the new boyfriend we keep hearing about?”
“Wh-what? No!” Izuku stuttered, flustered. “In fact, he’s leaving, exactly now, right Kac…chan?”
For some strange reason, neither Tatami or Kacchan seemed to have heard Izuku over the din of the party, as Kacchan stepped up to shake hands with her and introduce himself and decidedly stepped in to join the party.
“Wait! Wh-what?” Izuku exclaimed as Tatami helped him with his coat and the wine. Kacchan took off his leather jacket, casual as you please.
“Izuku-chan!” Tatami squealed as her face blocked his vision. “You didn’t tell me that you snagged Ground Zero, of all people. I was always worried you’d end up with Shinso… but my, this is something else, and what a looker!”
Yes, he is, and an absolute jerk who’s being so weird right now, and no he’s not staying because there’s no way I’ll go into another room with another fake mistaken relationship—
“...And you even have matching clothes! This might drive Shindo-kun mad, but oh well, he started it by bringing that ugh new girlfriend of his…”
“Tatami-senpai!” Izuku choked, scandalized, as Kacchan’s head snapped towards them. “Don’t say t-that! Anyway, I have to—”
Tatami-san just laughed, her new fish earrings dangling, “Of course, never mind that. Let me take you and your new boyfriend around. Some of us will be so happy to see you!”
“Oh no! There’s really no need… and he’s not my—Kacchan?”
“Oh yes,” Kacchan, that absolute bastard, had walked ahead, rubbing his hands together with barely-concealed satisfaction. “Let’s.”
“Great housewarming party. Having fun, Deku?”
Katsuki smirked as he shadowed the nerd while he stalked towards… the drinks table. Well.
“Yes, loads of fun so far, especially with people asking me left and right how we know each other, with the way you kept hovering behind me like a mad bodyguard… or some sort of snarly chaperone… and how you were so not helpful when they all thought you were some sort of boyfriend…”
Katsuki couldn’t help smirking at that. It had been funny, how Deku kept trying to correct that assumption. It wasn’t Katsuki’s fault that no one believed him.
Deku had poured himself a full glass of some alcohol and mixer (was that gin or vodka?) and carried on, “…and Shinso and Kaminari-kun were just useless, laughing like this was somehow my fault, honestly…”
Katsuki put a hand on Deku’s arm as the idiot tried to down his drink in one go, “Hey, take it easy, nerd. That drink looks strong.”
“Thank God for that!” Deku rolled his eyes as he stepped closer, as if to make sure that Katsuki watched while he stubbornly drank more. “Honestly, Kacchan, what are you—”
Deku suddenly whipped his head away from Katsuki. He exhaled. “Yo-kun.”
Katsuki crossed his arms. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t seen the curly-haired bastard circling them from the very beginning, watching Deku from where Shindo held court at the other side of the room. Not that the nerd ever noticed – Katsuki made sure of that, if only by making sure he was too pissed off with him to notice anyone else.
It looked like Shindo had decided he was done waiting anyway. “Hi… I wanted to say hi.”
If Deku had noticed that totally not smooth line, he gave no indication. He seemed frozen on the spot, a prepared-looking smile on his face. “Hi.”
There was a harrumphing noise beside them, and Shindo suddenly moved back to introduce his red-haired companion. “I also wanted to introduce you to Riku, but you may know her better by her Hero name—”
“Nail, right?” Deku seemed to have broken from whatever idiot trance he was in, shaking the other’s hand and making himself look more like an idiot. “I’ve heard about your nail-extending quirk, and I am such a huge fan!”
Nail blinked, as if she hadn’t expected that. “Oh, well… I’m glad you think so?”
“Are you kidding? I think it’s amazing, how it acts as a powerful extension of your—”
“I’m Bakugou Katsuki, by the way.” Katsuki interrupted, stepping forward to stop the strange, potentially-awkward shitshow.
Shindo gave one of those too-bright smiles. “Oh, I think we all know who you are, Ground Zero. Congratulations on the Invisibler, by the way!” He turned back to Izuku, eyes too-cheerful. “So, is this the new boyfriend, Little One?”
Katsuki didn’t say anything, save for a twitch in his brow at the stupid pet name. He knew Deku would do the rest anyway.
Cue the sputtering. “No, no. That’s not true at all. Yes, Kacchan is a boy and a friend, but not—that.”
Katsuki rolled his eyes; that statement did not get more effective with repetition. Fucking nerd.
“Ah, so this is Kacchan.” Shindo’s brow rose. “You didn’t say so.”
Katsuki crossed his arms, “Sounds like you’ve heard of me.”
“Trust me, I’ve heard a lot of things,” Shindo smirked back. “Not all of them good unfortunately.”
But before Katsuki could growl an answer back, Shindo turned back to Deku, the look on his face suddenly… different, a bit hesitant.
“I was hoping I’d get to talk to you in private at some point tonight, Izuku, if just for a bit.” He placed a hand at the back of his head. “Do you think we can—”
“No.” Katsuki decided. Not on this pretty-boy’s quake-causing life. “Just, no.”
“Kacchan!” Deku exclaimed, aghast.
He didn’t budge. “If you’re going, I’m going too.”
Deku looked like he was ready to commit murder. He turned back to his ex. “Excuse us a second? We’ll be right back.”
He grabbed Katsuki’s wrist and pulled him a few yards away, his face transformed in his fury. “What the hell are you on, Kacchan?”
Katsuki scoffed. “Nice try nerd, but I’m not letting you go anywhere with that guy.”
Deku raised his hands, incredulous. “But why? And how is this even any of your business?” his hands flailed, “And for the last time, why are you here?”
Katsuki took a measured breath for patience as he muttered. “I’m doing this for IcyHot.”
Deku shook his head as the ambient party music rose, “What? I didn’t catch that.”
Katsuki snarled, “I’m here to make sure...” his voice rose, and the rest of the music seemed to die as his annoyance found strength.
“...That you don’t get any ideas with your ex, Mr. Teenage Dream over there, while your fiancé lies unconscious in the hospital!”
It was only when he finished yelling that he realized that the music had ended.
Just in time for a lot of people to hear all of Katsuki’s last tirade.
Somewhere to their right, Kaminari slowly lowered his drink. Next to him, Shinso placed a hand to cover his face. To their right, Shindo looked like he had been struck.
And Deku slowly turned back from the crowd, his face pale.
“Slow down, you damn nerd. I’m trying to explain--!”
Deku kept stalking ahead of him.
“Yes, in retrospect, I might not have gone about that the best way…” At Deku’s sudden glare, “My timing was shit, and it wasn’t right of me to get into it in a party with your friends. It just… made sense at the time, I guess.”
Deku turned back to walk, still not saying a word.
Katsuki raised his hands. “Look… it was just a fucking surprise to me, okay? I didn’t even know you’d dated someone else before Todoroki until yesterday, when I—happened to find this thing about Quake and you on the internet. And somehow, one thing led to another, and I thought he might try to pull something off of tonight.”
Deku stopped walking. “Even if that were true, and setting aside that it’s none of your business in the first place,” Katsuki winced, “I still don’t understand why you thought that I would somehow—what, go back to my ex and elope? While Shouto-kun is in a coma. Why would I do that?”
Katsuki rubbed the nape of his neck. “That…clearly I was wrong, okay? It’s just that at the time, it somehow made sense to me.”
Deku’s eyes grew wide, “How?”
“—Look, you’re not exactly the sort of person anyone thought Todoroki would get engaged to, but for some reason it just works, in fact it works too perfectly.” Katsuki finally blurted out what had been bothering him. “His father hates you because you’re quirkless, yet you get to keep him safe from the bastard; you also get along so well with his friends. And today, I found out that you came out of a long-term relationship, and that your ex started dating someone new around the same time you got engaged. Somehow, it all seemed too good to be true.”
Deku stopped walking. “Are… are you implying that Shouto and I somehow chose to get engaged —because it was convenient? To piss these people off in our lives?”
Katsuki tried not flinch at how his words sounded.
“—And that I would somehow drop everything and back out the moment Shindo looked my way again?” Deku started walking again, now entering his building.
“I can’t believe you! What kind of person do you think I am?”
“Yes, I was wrong!" Katsuki exclaimed, "But what the hell was I supposed to think? You just don’t make sense to me sometimes. You say you’re engaged to Todoroki, and you’d fight Endeavor to the death to keep him safe, yet you’ve kept it a secret from the public, your friends, and even your own mother.”
Deku whirled back to him as he jammed his floor number onto the elevator. “I told you it’s because we wanted to keep it private—”
“But it’s not just that, is it?" Katsuki narrowed his eyes at him. "You’re always like this… it’s like how you’ve proven that you’re good enough to be a hero, but you still haven’t taken that damn licensing exam to start; or how you’re behind all these successful hero ops where you’ve never taken credit for your work. You are just so undecided, and I just can’t tell what you’re thinking!”
“And now, this ex-lover of yours has come out of nowhere, and he looks like he wants to take you back. What the hell am I supposed to think?”
The lift door opened.
Deku did not move.
Katsuki turned and was surprised to find him with his eyes closed.
“Right. And of course, why would Shouto want to stay with me either, right?” he asked lightly, but there was a catch in his voice. “Well. Thanks for finally telling me what you really think of me.”
Deku started walking forward again, not looking at him.
Katsuki swallowed; he felt sweat breaking out at the back of his neck. “Dammit, Deku. That’s not—I didn’t mean—"
“Had it ever occurred to you—” Deku suddenly asked in a still voice, “that I was the one who left Shindo, and not the other way around?
“That maybe, I wanted to come to the party to make sure he was okay, after all this time?”
Deku put the key through his door and let himself in.
Katsuki followed him to the dining area, where Deku grabbed the pile of envelopes on the counter and handed it to him.
He raised a brow at the unexpected offering, then noticed the return address, “The Hero Licensing Board?” He took out one of the previously-opened letters, and his eyes widened at the contents.
Deku sat down and buried his own face in his hands, as if he was surprised to even be talking about this.
“I passed the provisional hero license exam a year ago.”
Katsuki nodded at the invitation to try for the full hero license in his hand. There was strong encouragement for him to apply fully from the licensing authorities, given how high his marks were in the provisional exam. Especially considering the fact that he was quirkless.
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?”
Deku took a deep breath. He closed his eyes.
“I… I was with Shindo-kun back then, and he had been seriously against it.”
I was with Shindo-kun back then, and he had been seriously against it. He thought that it was too dangerous, that I was better off staying where I was; that even if I could pass the provisional exam, the rest would be too tough; that I might end up being disappointed, or worse, hurt.
The thing was, I think he honestly meant well. We’d been together for four years, and he’d been supportive from the start, even though he was this talented Hero, and I was nothing more than his quirkless junior. I had always looked up to him, and he had always been amazing to me.
It’s just that… over the years, when we started growing into the people we wanted to become, that slowly changed. Suddenly, he thought that I wasn’t strong enough, or too ambitious, or too naïve. I kept taking unnecessary risks. I kept trying to go to places I shouldn’t.
Sometimes, it felt like he wanted to hide me from the world. And somewhere along the way, I started feeling invisible too.
(Katsuki felt himself swallow heavily as Deku continued)
But you see, Kacchan, I just needed to know for myself. That had always been my problem. I just couldn’t make myself walk away.
So first, it was small steps, like signing up, or confirming the exam date, or just pushing myself that bit harder at sparring and those combat games… or even just showing up at the exam center that morning with the suit that Mei prepared for me.
But before I knew it, there I was, standing outside with my provisional Hero license. Quirkless me, almost a Hero.
And I’d never been happier.
I remember taking a picture of my license. I was going to send it to Shindo-kun, like I normally did, but then I realized that I couldn’t send it to him. He’d be upset; he’d be disappointed I went against his advice; he’d think I lied to him, and even if we got through all that…
I just knew, somehow, at that moment, that he would never understand.
And the funny thing was that over the years, I’d heard the same warnings from other people telling me not to – you warned me not to go to U.A., All Might told me, years ago, that I shouldn’t try to be a Hero without a quirk, that I was better off working behind the scenes – and I’d made it through all those.
But I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I would one day be standing with a provisional Hero permit, and yet be totally unable to share it with the person I go home to.
Because he had told me not to, himself.
“So I went home that night and… I didn’t. Didn’t show it to him. Shindo went to bed, and I got up, and I walked out of our apartment, and I… kept walking. I had nothing with me other than the clothes on my back and my provisional license card.”
Katsuki felt unable to breathe as he stared at Deku, how he kept his eyes on the table as he spoke, even as tears started gathering under his eyes.
“And I kept walking and walking. It didn’t matter where or how. I just—knew, back then, that I was going to have to leave everything behind." He took a deep breath. "That I could never go back. ”
A tear fell down his cheek, and he quickly wiped it with his arm. “And before I knew it, I was here, in this building. Shinso said he saw me outside, and I had looked...” He shook his head, drifting off.
“I don’t recall much else about that night… but thank God for Shinso and Mei. They took care of everything else. I was in no state to talk to Shindo-kun after that, and it hurt." His voice trembled, "He had no idea afterwards, and I wasn’t ready to face him, no matter how hard he tried. I didn’t even know I had this in me. And I…” he exhaled, “I never went back.”
“Deku.” Katsuki rasped, feeling a sudden weight on his chest.
“So that thing that you saw, tonight?” Deku buried his face in his hands, “That wasn’t me planning to get my ex back. That was me planning to speak to him properly, for the first time since that day, now that we’ve both landed back on our feet. I wanted to check on him, and maybe to give him an explanation, finally, for why I did it.”
Katsuki suddenly felt the overwhelming weight of Deku’s words. “I… I didn’t realize, Deku."
“I wasn’t sure I could do it either.” Deku shook his head as he looked away. “The truth was, I always thought I’d finally have the strength to explain everything to him once I got my full Hero license. By then, I would have sealed the deal, right?”
Despite himself, Katsuki found himself giving the nerd a fond but bittersweet smile over those words. He looked back at the note on his hands, “But you haven't yet?”
Deku raised his shoulders in a shrug. “Somehow, after all was said and done, I couldn’t take that last step forward. I couldn’t make myself reply to those letters and sign up.” he gestured at the pile underneath Katsuki’s hands.
Finally, Deku opened his eyes and looked directly at him, a stretched, wobbly smile on his face. “Because, then what if everyone else was right, and I fail? What if I’d been wrong this whole time? What if I just wasted all this heartbreak, all this hope to keep going, chasing a dream I really was never meant for?”
More tears fell openly from his eyes, and his voice shook.
“And I’m not ready for that, Kacchan. I’m not ready for all of this to end yet.”
Katsuki suddenly stood up, placing his hands on his shoulders, “Idiot, that’s not going to happen—”
“And why not?” Deku cried back. “You,” he huffed, “you just told me how I don’t make sense. You know how people see me. I'm unrealistic and delusional; I never stay where I should, I cross too many lines, and I keep trying to be something I’m not. It's like the whole world is waiting for me to fail.”
Katsuki’s head swam, unused to the feeling of panic and regret. “That’s not what I meant at all, you damn nerd!" He was trying to get him to make a choice—
“Of course, it was,” Deku said simply. “You said it yourself – especially when it came to Shouto-kun, I’m the last person anyone would expect him to end up with. That's why you're here in the first place, right?” His lips quivered in a smile.
“And you know what?" His voice broke, "You’re right.”
Katsuki felt a sudden tightness in his heart. "Deku—" he rasped out.
“Here’s the truth, Kacchan.” Deku looked him straight in the eye, and somehow, Katsuki knew that this one was true. “I’d be surprised if Shouto-kun chose me, too.” He shook his head. “This engagement is the most unbelievable thing I ever got into in my life, and I know that it will end as soon as he wakes up.”
Katsuki stared at him. “Don’t,” he choked. “Don’t fucking say that.”
Deku only continued staring at him as tears continued to tumble from his eyes. “I know this will not last. I feel like an imposter in my own skin. I can't tell anyone else, not even my own mother." He swallowed.
"I’m just waiting for Shouto-kun, you see? I’m waiting for him to wake up, so he can finally end this, so you can have your lives back, and I can finally go back to where I belong.”
Inexplicably, Katsuki felt something in him break. No. That is not what I meant at all.
He was still struggling for words when Deku stood up.
“See? So there’s no reason to worry about Shouto-kun and myself. As soon as he wakes up, this will all be over. We can stop pretending, and everything will go back to normal. I’ll make sure of it.”
Katsuku shook his head fiercely, suddenly unable to believe what was happening. "Deku, you're fucking wrong—"
But Deku only looked away.
“It will all go back to the way it's meant to be; the way it should be." His hands shook as he trembled. "Like I was never there at all.”
The phone chose to ring that moment, just as Katsuki stood up to grab Deku’s arm, “Dammit, Deku, that’s not what I wa—” and the chair he had been sitting on clattered onto the floor.
Because at the very moment, Todoroki Shouto began to wake up from his coma.
Next Chapter: In Which Todoroki Shouto Wakes Up
Shouto finally meets Izuku; Katsuki realizes what he has to do, and Izuku has to make a decision.
Yes, the angst has arrived. As always, your great comments have helped me get these out sooner, and this chapter holds a particular place in my heart. Please let me know what you think!
For this chapter, I know that Izuku glossed over the issues he had encountered as a quirkless person, but I hoped to capture some of the struggles he had been through. He's done an amazing job, accomplishing as much as he did to be as close to his dream as possible despite his quirklessness, but the road to that place was littered with hurt. Being told time and again that his dream was not achievable (even if they sometimes came from well-meaning intentions) was bound to affect his sense of self, for good or for worse -- and as much as he has been his own cheerleader all those years, he also sometimes becomes his own worst detractor.
Chapter Count: As some of may have noticed, I tend to write Long Chapters (believe it or not, this story was initially intended as a one-shot). Given that there is so much I'd packed into the coming chapter that it might affect the pacing of the story, there is a chance that I might split it in half so that the total chapter count will now be 6 - please accept my apologies in advance for the change!
Tags: Note that I have updated the tags to reflect the latest chapter. I hadn't explicitly placed Shindo's name there before because I didn't want to spoil anything initially, and I didn't want it to take away from the story so far until it had to - which is now.
Songs: For Deku's flashback scene on what happened with Shindo, the song that inspired me was 'Water' by Ra Ra Riot. You can find this, as well as all the other pop songs gratuitously used for this fic, in the following Spotify playlist.
Tumblr: Let's chat at belkacaramelka.tumblr.com!
Chapter 5: In Which Todoroki Shouto Wakes Up
Shouto emerges from a coma, but he's not the only one that wakes up.
Note the change in chapter count for the story.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
PART V. IN WHICH TODOROKI SHOUTO WAKES UP
Two weeks after Todoroki Shouto fell into a coma, he woke up for the first time.
His waking took time and he drifted in and out of consciousness. Each time, different faces swam before his vision.
On the third day, he finally managed to be awake long enough to accept a group of visitors. He was pleasantly surprised to find Yaoyorozu, Jirou, Iida, Uraraka, Asui, Bakugou, Kirishima and Ashido before him. All Might was even present. It was more than gratifying as he felt like it had been a long time since he last saw them.
There was a green-haired boy that he couldn’t recognize among the sea of faces. He’d seen him time and again with every waking, but didn’t know who he was. Finally, now that he could find his voice again, he asked.
“Who are you?”
The green-haired man’s smile froze, and he went pale.
It was Bakugou, of all people, who spoke next. His eyes were narrowed and his voice was tight. "That's Midoriya Izuku. You should know him."
Shouto could only look blankly at the foreign face. He felt vaguely familiar, but nothing more. He looked for an explanation from the rest of his classmates, who looked a combination of frozen, horrified or aghast.
"My god." Iida let out. "You really don't know him, do you?"
That caused the green-haired man to flinch and shrink back into himself. Next to him, Yaoyorozu stepped to support his arm, while All Might himself placed a steadying hand on his other shoulder.
Across them, there was an unreadable expression on Bakugou's face as he stared at him, his fingers twitching as if he was holding himself back.
Beside him, Kirishima gasped, his eyes wider than he’d ever seen.
“My god, Todoroki's got amnesia.”
“You must be kidding.” Shinso repeated on the phone.
“What part of that story made you think I was making it up?” Izuku moaned back as he locked the single bathroom door behind him. “They think he has amnesia, but of course he wouldn’t know me because we’ve never actually met face to face, and I am freaking the hell out.”
“Didn’t Yaoyorozu say that she was going to take care of everything when the Ice Prince wakes up? It’s been three days.”
Izuku sighed as he looked at the dark circles under his eyes in the mirror. “I spoke to her, and the plan was to try to tell Shouto-kun everything once we get him alone. At this point, he’s still drifting in and out, and we’re not sure if we could spring something so big on him yet. She wants to give it a day or two. We didn’t expect Shouto to call me out so soon though.”
“Hah, what did she think about the amnesia nonsense? What did the doctors say?”
Izuku sighed, “Selective amnesia apparently happens often enough in traumatic brain injuries to be plausible. Shouto is still fuzzy on his latest weeks anyway, and the timeline for our supposed love story fits that. Can you believe it? This ridiculous fake engagement actually stands up to it.”
“So, the laws of biology and physics will actually let you get away with your story if you wanted to. You and Yaoyorozu couldn’t have planned a better fake engagement if you wanted to. Nice.”
Izuku sighed as he laid his back on the wall. “Not really.” He placed a hand on his face. “Shinso-kun, I was so ready for it to end. I was so sure that everyone would figure it out, and I’d be turned away as soon as they did.” He resisted the urge to cry. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.”
“Hey, now is not the time for self-pity, kid. They should be thanking you, more than anything. You’ve done more than enough to keep the Ice Prince safe, and a fake engagement should be the least of his concerns. Besides, didn’t Yaoyorozu and All Might say that they will help take care of things? You are not alone in this.”
Izuku nodded to himself and took a long, drawn out breath.
“How are you otherwise, kid? How are things with Bakugou?”
Izuku actually felt sudden tears stinging his eyes at the mention of the name, and he shook his head. “I don’t really know anymore… I thought we were actually getting somewhere…” He let out a wet laugh, thinking about his meltdown before the man that night, “But I was wrong, and I just made things worse.”
He didn’t know why Kacchan’s words had hurt that much more this time. He was only watching out for Shouto, and he hadn’t been wrong when he thought that their engagement was too good to be true. Izuku had even come clean to him about the worst of his suspicions.
So why did Izuku’s heart feel like breaking?
“I think,” he said softly, “that I lost Round Two of Deku versus Kacchan.”
There was silence down the line. “Well then he’s a bigger idiot than I realized. I was pretty sure he was onto something as well. Kaminari said he’d never seen him act like that before.”
Izuku shook his head with a small laugh despite himself, willing himself to be distracted. “What’s that supposed to mean? Oh, and how did the rest of your surprise date go?”
“As well as it could,” Shinso drawled, which to Izuku translated to ‘I took him home, Merlin liked him, so he got to stay the whole night’ and he nodded, “…if you include having to make up an explanation for why you dragged Bakugou out of the party.”
Nggh. Izuku groaned.
“I’m scared to ask how that went.”
“Well I wanted to have a little fun, so I told everyone that it was ‘just a misunderstanding’. Of course, that morphed on its own to everything you can think of, from some unresolved sexual tension, to weird roleplay, to a staggering love hexagon. They’re all slightly more plausible than the truth anyway.”
Izuku resisted the urge to hit his head on the wall. “…How was Yo-kun?”
“Shindo will live another day to finally have closure with you – don’t worry about it. Focus on getting things sorted out there first; the rest can wait.”
Izuku stared at the bathroom door, dreading having to return. “Everyone’s just so tense. I can’t help feeling they’d all be happier and better off if I hadn’t been in the picture.” His voice went small. “I don’t even know what to do about Shouto-kun.”
There was a hum down the line, “Well, in your own way, you did know Todoroki before all of this happened, right?”
“Then why don’t you just talk to him like you did before?”
Shouto was awake again, and Iida, Kirishima and Ashido and Hagakure were doing their best to keep him entertained. From the doorway, Izuku took a deep breath.
“Hi guys. Um, do you mind if I talk to Shouto-kun alone for a bit? It won’t be for too long.”
The others were kind enough to give them the space that they needed. Iida had also placed a reassuring hand on Shouto’s arm before stepping out.
“Um, sorry for kicking everyone out for a bit.” Izuku smiled apologetically as he slowly approached the bed. “I just wanted to say hi… Shouto-kun.”
Shouto stared at him, before bowing politely and saying. “Hello… Midoriya Izuku, is that right?”
Izuku nodded, seeing the hesitation in the other’s gaze. “Look, I know you don’t really…remember me." Or know me, really. "But I was hoping you wouldn’t mind doing something for me?”
Shouto watched him for a few seconds before nodding slowly.
“Would you mind closing your eyes?”
Izuku grabbed a seat next to his bed, making sure to let Shouto see how close he was before the other closed his eyes.
And then, he began again, near him, just like he used to do.
“Hi Shouto-kun, how are we doing today?”
Hi Shouto-kun. Welcome back to the Operation. It’s Agent Deku here.
"Welcome back... It's me."
From the bed, Shouto jolted at his voice, then slowly relaxed. Izuku bit his lip as he waited for his next words.
Izuku closed his eyes and held still.
“I…I think I know you. I remember this.”
Izuku let out a deep breath, the immense relief filling his eyes with tears. “Of course, you do.”
Of course, you do. I tend to ramble, I’m pushy, and I can’t mind my own business, remember? But I have never let you down, and you’re glad I’m somewhere out there, existing.
"It's me, Shouto-kun."
It’s me. I am here; I exist.
"Agent Deku," Todoroki breathed out wondrously, and Izuku felt himself tremble at the name, this small part of being remembered.
He dared to touch Shouto’s hand, and the other surprisingly let him.
I wanted to let you know, ever since that day. “You were kind to me, and you’re so much more than you realize too. You are not alone. I’ll always be here if you need me.”
Shouto took a deep breath, calming, his eyes still closed.
“Don’t worry.” Izuku pushed on with a watery smile. “We’ll explain everything. You’re okay now, and I’ll do all that I can to keep you safe.” He promised.
“I’m really, really sorry about everything that’s happened, and I promise that you’ll have your life back soon enough.”
Through the doorway, Katsuki saw them both as they spoke softly amongst themselves, their eyes closed.
He swallowed as he saw the reflection of Deku’s face from the mirror: the broken smile on his face, the tears waiting to fall under his lashes.
It was a look that had haunted Katsuki since Todoroki woke up; now unleashed in full in the supposed privacy of their conversation, in the wake of the latter’s unbelievable memory loss.
He’s waiting for all this to end.
And Katsuki couldn’t bear it.
He’d never had this feeling before; it’s a new emotion in his chest, screaming to be heard… this inconsolate feeling of frustration on behalf of someone else. This heavy guilt; this wanting someone else to be happy instead; this devastation that wasn’t his.
Because at that moment Katsuki finally knew what he was feeling. He could no longer deny this anymore, even though he realized too late.
He had set out upon this journey, trying to do right by these people in his life in the first place. He wanted to make sure Todoroki was safe and that he knew what he was doing. He also wanted to get to the bottom of his own issues with Deku as well, if it came to it. (If it came to it, he thought to himself, finding the irony laughable)
And now, he had found some answers, but at what cost?
(“And I’m not ready for that, Kacchan. I’m not ready for all of this to end yet.”)
When it ends, Deku had said, they could all go back to their lives, and he could go back where he belonged.
Out of sight, save for an absent whisper in the ear.
Like he was never there at all.
He saw the quiver in Deku’s lips as he tried to smile, silently wiping his tears with his free hand, as if to make sure that Todoroki wouldn’t see before he opened his eyes.
He stared at them from the doorway, feeling the pain in his chest; unable to deny the burning behind his eyes.
Katsuki knew what he had to do; he only wished that he could survive this newfound feeling in his heart.
The next time Izuku had the chance to speak with Shouto, he was more prepared.
It was days later. Momo had taken it upon herself to explain the situation to him: how Izuku had rescued him, how he was mistaken as Shouto’s fiancé; how they kept the ruse because it helped to keep his father’s influence on his medical decisions at bay.
It made it easier for Izuku to give his side of the story, and to present his way of fixing things.
“We can say we’ve broken up, because it was better that way with your 'amnesia' and the accident – but that might make things a bit harder for you, from your friends. No one likes the idea of giving up just like that.” Izuku offered on the one hand; he lifted his other hand.
“Or we can just say the truth: that I had pretended to be your fiancé to keep your safe. That will take the pressure away from you, because it was me who chose to go along with the deception in the first place. It’s probably easier that way; I’m the extra here and it’s easier for me to be out of the picture afterwards.”
Shouto, who had remained silent the whole time, just gave him a careful look with those piercing bicolored eyes. “It sounds like you’ve thought about this a lot.”
Izuku gave him a strained smile as he shrugged.
I wanted to make things easier for you.
“I’m curious,” Shouto continued, “about why you assumed that we had to end our engagement. You’ve not considered the other alternative?”
Izuku’s mouth dropped. Did he mean to go ahead with it? Where did that come from?
“B-because it’s not fair to you. You don’t really know me, Shouto-kun.” Izuku started, before giving him a melancholy smile. “You know more than anyone how hard it is to be forced into something you didn’t choose.”
Shouto paused. “But you do know me… or at least, enough to do all this for me. And I did know you, or at least parts of you, when we worked together last time,” there was almost an open look on his face as he looked back at him.
“And this time, I would like to know you more.”
Izuku almost smiled at that; this kindness from Shouto.
“Yes,” he said, and here, he gave an honest, self-deprecating smile, “but do you truly think that’s the same as wanting to marry me?”
His candidness seemed to startle Shouto, who just gave him an even look. A small smile began to break out as he shook his head.
“My friends would like me to marry you though. I feel like they would marry you themselves if given the chance.”
Izuku laughed at that despite himself, “That’s— that’s something… but I don’t think that ‘my friends love you; I might as well love you’ is how things are supposed to work, do you?”
He shook his head at the irony.
“To be honest, Shouto-kun, I think our ideal chance might have been taken away by your coma,” he joked.
Shouto gave him a curious look, and Izuku took a deep breath, “It made me fall in love with the idea of being with you first, and it made your friends fall in love with the idea of us together, before you even had the chance to decide for yourself. The idea got too far ahead of us. And you and I both know how hard it is to live up to one.”
Shouto stared back at him.
“Now I know what he was talking about.”
Izuku jolted. Eh? “Who?”
“Bakugou came in here this morning to talk to me about you.”
Kacchan. Izuku flinched.
He looked away, waiting for the final blow. “What did he say?”
“He said that you..." Shouto began, "that you are one of a kind, and that I would be monumentally stupid to let you go. That you are just as much, or even more, of a hero than anyone he knows. That I could only be so lucky to deserve you. In his words, even our dumbest friends could see it.”
Kacchan said that?
“He also said that even if I don't remember you, if I could see even a small part of what everyone else took only seconds to see in you, then I should marry you now, regardless of everything else.” He gave Izuku a meaningful look.
“High praise from someone as hard to please as Bakugou.”
Izuku was shocked to feel sudden tears falling from his eyes as he shook his head. He instantly covered his face. He did that for me?
“I—I had no idea.”
Shouto seemed to have made a decision then, and he lifted a hand to Izuku’s; he moved the other to wipe the errant tears from his face.
“Midoriya, I know that you’re trying to do the right thing. But maybe it doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’? Maybe we can go back? To before I fell on the tracks and any of this happened?”
Maybe we can start again.
Izuku wiped the rest of his tears.
I would like that.
He sighed, breath released, when he looked back at Shouto again.
“My name is Midoriya Izuku, 24 years old. I am quirkless. I have a cat called Small Might Junior, a best friend who can’t feed himself, and another who’s a genius. I have some embarrassing videos that I hope you never find online. I love studying quirks and playing with technology. I work in Intelligence as Agent Deku. I once got you to use your fire side in a mission, and I think you didn’t like that very much.” He offered a smile. “You can call me Izuku or Deku.”
Shouto furrowed his brows, probably staggered by the information in that statement, but then his face transformed with a small, beautiful smile.
“It’s great to finally meet you again, Izuku-kun.” He shook the hand already held in his. “Tell me about your cat.”
That night, Katsuki found himself before Deku's door once more, holding onto a real but barely-tangible resolution, and a letter.
He held his breath as he waited.
When Deku opened his door with those wide eyes and an uncertain look on his face, he couldn’t blame him.
“We need to talk. Can I come in?”
Once they were inside, Katsuki handed him the envelope that he had been carrying around the whole day. “Here.”
Deku looked confused. “What is it?”
Katsuki tried to quirk a grin. “Consider that my wedding gift, before the others come rushing in.”
Deku stumbled over that, “But… that’s not… Really, there’s no need to—”
But Katsuki just shook his head. “Just. Open it… please. It's for you.”
Deku gave him a look before doing so. Katsuki watched his eyes widen as he drew out the paper inside and read its contents.
“This… This is a confirmation letter for the final Professional Hero Licensing Exam—”
“With your name on it, yes. There’s a date in there for a month from now. You can change it if you want, but you’re registered now. Don’t back out, or it would be a waste of my money. Better yet, make sure to ace it like you did the last one.”
The nerd slowly looked up at him. “Kacchan.”
Katsuki took a deep breath at the whispered name, the first time he heard it since their argument. “Deku.”
“It doesn’t have to end. You damn idiot.”
At the sharp inhale from the nerd, Katsuki found his nerve, and he continued before Deku could retreat. “I’m only going to say this once, so listen up.” He looked him in the eye.
“You don’t have to be scared of failing, or thinking that this dream of yours is not something you deserve, not after you’ve fought so fucking hard for it. You…” he inhaled.
“You should know,” he exhaled, “That anyone who has ever told you that you shouldn’t do something, or go somewhere, or be who you want to be, is fucking wrong. Including me. Especially me.”
Deku jolted at his words, and Katsuki smiled ruefully.
“I started questioning you because I was watching out for Todoroki, but I realize now that I’ve been doing everything the wrong way.” He gave a self-deprecating grin. “That maybe, all this time, I’d been using your engagement as an excuse to try to catch you out, so that I could make sense of you for myself.”
He gave a husky laugh. “Of course, the more I got to know you, the harder it was, because despite the fact that you were the one who was quirkless, who was weaker and supposed to be beneath me, the truth was that there had never been anything wrong with you from the start.”
He closed his eyes as the truth came out of him, “In fact, you were better than anything I ever expected.” He let out a deep, low breath. “Each time, Deku.”
“Kacchan,” Deku whispered softly, his voice catching.
Katsuki knew he had to say this now, “If anything, I was the one who held you back, because seeing you try so hard made me feel like I wasn’t good enough; like I had a lot more to prove each damn time... and I never should have taken it out on you.”
He took a deep breath and opened his eyes.
“And I am sorry.”
I am sorry I ever made you feel that you didn’t deserve more.
Deku looked like he had been struck by those simple words, and Katsuki shook his head at the thought.
“Seeing you these past few weeks, I’ve seen just a glimpse of how much more you are capable of, and it pisses me off that you need to keep hiding that from the world.” He rasps the last out harshly, “But it tears me up inside even more, knowing that I was one of the reasons you felt that way – that no one else was willing to see you... and I’m fucking sorry.”
He clenched his fist. “And it’s such a waste, because you’re missing out, Deku—the world is missing out on you. You’re not meant to be hidden behind other heroes, you idiot, not for a single second longer.”
He shook his head as he saw the wideness of Deku’s misty eyes, and he choked back against the growing knot at the back of his throat.
“And I am sorry I made you feel that way.”
I am sorry I ever made you feel that you should be anything other than yourself.
It had been the hardest thing, getting to the point where he could apologize to Deku, but once he had started, he couldn’t fucking stop.
He knew it might still not be enough.
“You’ve said that you felt invisible; well, I’d never seen anyone so fucking bright, that it hurts.” He began gruffly. “I’m still trying, and I still have a lot to prove… but you,” his breath hitched.
“You already are the Hero that you want to be.” He swallowed as he watched Deku's mouth quiver. “And that’s not just with how you’ve saved Todoroki – it’s in everything you do without question for everyone around you. It hardly ever matters that you’re quirkless.”
He saw Deku desperately blinking back tears, and he exhaled, knowing there was one more thing he had to say – should have said, from the very beginning.
“The truth is that you’re fucking extraordinary, Deku, and Todoroki… he is the luckiest bastard in the world, because he has you.”
He has you. He exhaled at those words, recognizing the heaviness in his heart and the unfamiliar sting in his eyes, but not caring in the least, if that’s what it took to remove that broken, defeated look that he had put on Deku’s face.
“Kacchan,” Deku whispered, his voice cracking. “I… I don’t know what to say.”
Tell me this makes you happy.
“I hope he makes you happy.” It was suddenly hard to breathe.
He'd said what he needed to say. Katsuki knew that he had to stop and walk away now, but Deku halted him with a hand on his arm.
“What?” Katsuki tried to look the damn nerd in the eyes, trying to hold in the rest of what he still felt.
Deku’s words died when their eyes met. Instead, he swallowed. “What would you do?” He asked, voice suddenly small, “What would you do if you were in my place?”
Don’t fucking ask me this now.
Katsuki clenched his jaw. “I’d ace the damn test.” He looked away. “And I… I’d marry Todoroki.”
Much better than someone else who took decades to get his act together and see you for all that you are.
Deku fell still against him, “Is that all?” He asked softly.
There was so much left unsaid with that question, and Katsuki felt that new and unfamiliar roaring of his heart against his chest, traitorous and overwhelming.
He closed his eyes. “You know, I owe Todoroki so much. Wasn’t a big fan of him at school, but he was a big part of what made me a better hero… a better person, really. IcyHot, along with those other 3-A idiots you met… they taught me the importance of being honest with myself, of humility and respect. They taught me that other things mattered aside from being the best. And I’m still trying.”
He then opened his eyes, feeling something in him unfold. “If I’m being honest though. I hate him, too.”
Deku gave him a startled look, and Katsuki offered a self-deprecating grin. “It’s only natural that I’d envy the bastard every now and then. He has fucking fire and ice, and he never used half of that quirk, which is a damn waste. But more than that, he was good at seeing the most important things...”
I had all of my life before that to make it up to you, and yet he ended up seeing you first.
“He met you and in no time at all, he decided he’d marry you. And now he’ll get to spend the rest of his life with you and those damn cats." He forced a laugh. "Actually, no, I don’t envy that at all. I won’t envy the fact that you’ll probably destroy his precious supercar, or that you’ll drag him to those stupid gear tests and frankly embarrassing dance fights. I’m also not jealous of the fact that he has to live with that damn mumbling of yours every day for the rest of his life.”
I wasn’t sure how to make it up to you, so I waited for the right time to come to me instead. You were under our noses this whole time. How fucking stupid was I?
“He’ll be stuck with you and your ridiculously awkward lack of shame, your annoying need to try everything at least once, and your stupid bleeding heart.”
He has you. Fucking ridiculous nerd.
He tried to mask the burning in his eyes with a laugh, “All of that, and the damn bastard doesn’t even remember proposing to you? He probably would have you let you walk away, if I hadn’t knocked some sense into him. What a fucking joke.”
How the hell did I ever convince myself—convince you—that I didn’t want you? That nobody would want you?
Deku shook his head, tears openly falling from his eyes this time, “Kacchan, that really was you, wasn’t it?”
Even though Katsuki had taken a gamble by speaking to Todoroki about Deku that morning, he still hadn’t been sure about the outcome of his words, until he saw the two of them speaking in Todoroki’s hospital room later, their heads close, a stupid smile between them.
This, Katsuki had forced himself to accept, this should be more than enough for them both. For me.
Katsuki looked away from Deku’s open face, the tracks on his skin, and chose not to answer.
“None of that matters, at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what I think, or how others will react, or even that he doesn't remember. Because you…” he inhaled, feeling the burn in his lungs, this quiet devastation threatening to explode.
“You love Todoroki, right? This was the guy you chose to marry. Not a bad choice too; much as I’d hate to admit it, he really is one of the best people I know, and you…” he rubbed a hand onto his face, “…you deserve the best. And I,” he took a deep breath.
If I was Todoroki, I would marry you again and again. I’d never let you feel that no one was on your side again.
He started at the look on Deku's face, even as his own vision turned blurry. He didn’t understand why it was the damn nerd who was crying.
How does one say: I love you, you are loved? Katsuki did not know.
“I’m not going to be the one who stands in the way of your happiness this time.”
Deku hands fell on Katsuki's arms, and Katsuki couldn't help pulling him close despite himself, a bittersweet imitation of that other night, when he held him in a dance in the dark.
In the depths of his chest, something soared, new and tender yet hurt and mourning at the same time. He forced himself to speak and answer Deku's question, even as he tried to wipe the evidence from his eyes. “What would I do if I were in your place? It’s simple, you nerd."
"You should do what makes you happy, and be with the person you love.”
Even if it’s not me.
“Really, Bakugou did all that?”
Izuku rubbed his eyes and nodded wordlessly at Mei on his phone screen before burying himself under the blankets on his couch. Next to him, Small Might Junior meowed and butted his head on his hip. Scratch was buried with him under the blanket.
On the other side of the couch, Shinso looked at the Professional Hero Licensing Exam form on the coffee table with interest. “It looks like he did.”
On the screen, Mei seemed to be getting ready to leave her workshop. “But that’s a good thing, right? Especially after what he said at the party last week.”
Izuku sighed as he nodded, and Shinso raised a brow at him.
“Right, and things are going well with Todoroki-kun, right?”
Izuku gave a hesitant nod. Considering everything else, it went better than expected. “He really is an amazing person.”
It probably also helped that Kacchan apparently spoke to Shouto on his behalf.
“Exactly, and even though you were so convinced that he would break things off that you even planned your exit scenarios, you two actually have that date at the hospital tomorrow, right?”
Izuku groaned. “Don’t call it a date… please.”
“Right, the ‘it’s a date if you want it to be’ lunch thing, because you don’t want to pressure him… but it seems like you’re the one who’s hesitating here. Am I wrong?” She shuffled into an elevator. “Hang on, I’m coming down.”
There were a few seconds of static as they lost the connection.
“She’s right, you know.” Shinso drawled as he helped himself to some wine, “And I think I know where this is headed.”
Izuku stuttered just as the connection with Mei resumed with her dashing towards the waiting car outside. “Okay, I’m on my way to yours, and I am bringing ice cream and more wine. Where were we?”
“You were talking about his non-date with Todoroki.”
“Right, so here’s what I think Izu… I think things are going well, all things considered. You couldn’t have planned things better if this was one of your ops: Todoroki knows the truth and wants to start over with you. Bakugou has come around and he’s now fully supportive of you both.”
“So why do you look so miserable?”
Izuku looked at them both, his eyes stinging again. As if he hadn’t cried enough in the past 24 hours.
“I really don’t know.”
Shinso sighed and knocked him on the head. “Of course, you do.”
He looked a Mei through the camera and lifted Kacchan’s present.
The exam confirmation paper with Izuku’s name in Kacchan’s firm, bold handwriting was hard to look away from.
“Oh.” Mei’s eyes widened through the screen. “Oh, Izuku. So it’s really happened, then.”
Izuku looked at both of them, “What? What is it?”
“So it wasn’t just my imagination, how you and Bakugou seem to just—forget everything else when you’re in the same room? It’s even worse when it’s you two with gear.”
“I told you, that’s battle-flirting for them.”
Izuku’s “What?” came out as a horrified shriek.
“You didn’t see him at The Floor. Bakugou was frowning the whole time, but his eyes were glued to you… and when you did your epic ass shake move, he looked incoherent, like he even forgot his own name!”
Izuku dropped the blankets around him. “What.”
Shinso swirled his wine glass, “You were no help either, kid. Don’t think I didn’t see you two slow dancing by that bar. You may not have realized it, but you were deploying those big eyes of yours on him. I told you, you should use those in moderation.”
From the screen, Mei shook her finger at him, “You really can’t be this clueless, Izu. I wasn’t at Tatami-san’s party last week, but even I have heard of your infamous underlying sexual tension with your ‘boy and friend’ Ground Zero.”
“People are saying that?”
Shinso gave him a careful look over the rim of his glass. “But you aren’t that oblivious though, are you? When you chose him out of other perfectly good candidates to help with the Invisibler, even I could tell that there was something different, judging from the look on his face the moment you ended it.”
Mei hummed under her breath from the screen, “And even with his questions last week… it’s almost as if Bakugou wasn’t just trying to find out the story behind your engagement with Todoroki-kun… in a strange roundabout way, it’s like he was looking for any excuse for you to not be with Todoroki instead. Does that make sense?”
(Hey nerd. What was it about Todoroki, then? What made you acknowledge him first?)
Shinso tapped his cheek. “At some point, this vendetta you had against your Kacchan turned into something else, didn’t it?”
(The truth is that you’re fucking extraordinary, and Todoroki is the luckiest bastard in the world, because he has you.)
Izuku looked back at them and suddenly found his throat dry.
Shinso suddenly turned to Mei on the screen, “Are you near?”
Mei looked worried. “Two minutes away, coming up soon.”
By the time Mei burst through the door, Izuku was already in tears.
“How?” Izuku found himself unable to hold back from yelling, “How could I get fake-engaged to the man of my dreams, and then fall in love with this nightmare of a jerk? They have doctors for this sort of thing!”
Shinso let Mei take the other side of the blanket-and-cat fort, and they exchanged looks.
Mei began, her tone practical and non-judgmental as always, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with Todoroki-kun, but maybe it’s because what you liked about him was mostly from afar, but you actually got to spend all that time with Bakugou in real life?”
Shinso shrugged, less diplomatic, “You were probably idealizing things with the Ice Prince, but it didn't have the chance to go anywhere. It was the reverse with Lord Explosion Murder – each time, you were expecting the worst. And each time...” He again eyed the license exam paper.
“I must admit, Bakugou continues to defy expectations.”
Izuku nodded, shocked to realize that what they were saying was nothing new to him. He should know this already – he felt it, each time he was with Kacchan. He knew each pang of fondness and each wave of admiration because those were not new; despite everything, he’d always admired Kacchan since they were kids.
But the mock offense at being teased, the tension each time he parried back; the electricity when they sometimes looked at each other; the unfolding in his heart when Kacchan acknowledged him; and this unbearable pain in his chest when the other looked anything less than himself? All those, despite seeing not just the best, but the worst in each other? Those—those were new; and they were real.
“But…” he scrabbled at his other doubts, his thoughts scattering, “he bullied me when we were kids, and he kept coming after me, even now… I can’t be that much of a masochist! I already had one relationship that failed like that.”
I can’t be in love with him.
Shinso snorted, ready to play Devil’s Advocate. “Are you really, though? Yes, he was a brat, but you’re much tougher than that, and you gave as good as you got. I know what a merciless little shit you can be as well, and you handed his ass back to him well.” He smirked as he shook his head.
“If there’s anything I’ve noticed from the way you two keep butting heads, it’s that he knows you’re his equal. I’ve seen how Bakugo behaves with other people, and trust me, it may not look it, but you have his respect.”
Mei nudged him with her leg. “Also, not to be a merciless little shit, myself, but thinking about Shindo… well, he was amazing to you at the start, and not-so-amazing in the end, right?” She shrugged.
“Bakugou… he was horrible at the start, yes, but this?" She gestured at Izuku and the exam confirmation form. "I get the sense that with this guy, it’s the actions that count more than the words. He’s pushy and he says things in the worst way sometimes, but it looks to me like he’s really trying make up for everything, Izu. That this time, he wants you to be happy.”
Izuku placed a hand on his face. Kacchan’s apology.
“You didn’t see the look on his face when he spoke to me… I can’t…” he struggled to breathe.
(He exhaled, "There had never been anything wrong with you from the start. In fact, you were better than anything I ever expected. Each time, Deku.")
His eyes fell onto the exam confirmation form on the table.
(His red eyes on him, unyielding, as if there were no tears forming in the corners of his eyes. "I’m still trying, and I still have a lot to prove…but you already are the Hero that you want to be.")
“Oh my god. I love him.”
I love Kacchan.
He loved every single explosive, arrogant, awkward and rude bone in Kacchan’s body. He loved his perfectionist streak, his boneheaded obsession with winning, how ridiculously pissed off he looked whenever Izuku shut him down and how he was almost physically incapable of dealing with compliments. He loved how he was rude, but never untruthful in everything he said. How he always watched out for his loved ones — how he insulted Izuku into believing in himself. He loved how Kacchan demanded the best from others, but delivered more when it came to himself. He loved how the idiot never stopped trying to be a better person, even though it meant that he was a clumsy asshole at times.
Izuku had already been on his way after just two weeks in his presence, but his actions over the last twenty-four hours had made him helpless to any resistance.
Kacchan had known him, had feared him and hurt him, and had overcome his own weaknesses to acknowledge Izuku and apologize to him; now he’d even made sure to pave the way for Izuku so that he could be happy – as a Hero, and with Todoroki-kun, because he thought Izuku loved Shouto.
(“I’m not going to be the one who stands in the way of your happiness this time.” Kacchan held him so tightly after that, before letting go.)
He’d done all of that for Izuku.
How can I not love him?
And it wasn't a hero-worshiping love, or a love that was grateful because someone that he never thought would see him gave him their attention. It was a love that made even the smallest things about himself feel special, that exposed the worst of him but made him fearless at the same time, that made him feel real and not an imposter, scarred but strong at the same time. It was a love that made him forgive, not just Kacchan, but himself too.
It was a love that made him happy to be proven wrong this whole time, and look forward to beginning again.
I am in love with Kacchan. The revelation had him gasping out loud.
What do I do now?
When he emerged from his thoughts, his friends were there for him. Mei was rubbing his shoulder and Shinso had a hand on the back of his head.
“Back with us now? Happy to get that out of your system?” Mei gave him a patient smile.
“Are you sure you’re not about to walk off and go through a river or whatever it was you did last time?” Shinso seemed confident enough to joke this time.
I am in love with Kacchan.
“What do I do now?” Izuku shook his head. “This is such a mess, and it can’t ever work.”
At their questioning looks, he went further, “Because Kacchan still doesn’t know the truth about Todoroki-kun. He still thinks that we were actually engaged.” He heaved a deep breath. “And if he finds out that I lied to him…” he felt the familiar thump of panic in his heart.
“Will he understand,” Shinso completed for him, “or will he be angry you lied?”
Izuku nodded at the irony. He had always intended to come clean with the truth for Shouto’s sake, yet...
“There’s no way out of this without anyone being hurt.”
“No." Mei agreed after a moment. "But then you deal with it like you always do: one step at a time.”
Shinso nodded, “The most important question remains though, because this is where it has to start, and there's no coming back from it.”
“What is it that you want?”
The next day, Izuku met Shouto-kun, armed with flowers, pictures of Scratch and a newfound resolution.
One step at a time.
He only wished he’d be strong enough to go through with it until the end.
Katsuki couldn’t say that he was too surprised when Todoroki and Deku had called for dinner with their whole class (or at least those who could make it or who weren’t on active duty). He just hadn’t expected it to happen so soon.
They are probably going to officially announce their engagement.
And while it might well be too soon in theory, it really wasn’t, given the speed at which Todoroki hitched everything onto Deku the first time.
Katsuki wondered if he would be able to bear seeing them together, now that Todoroki was awake, and seemingly back on track with his fiancé.
Deku himself had not communicated much, not that it was entirely his fault. His one message of “Thank you Kacchan, you’ve made me happier than you realize” had been left un-responded to in Katsuki’s inbox.
He sat himself next to Ashido and Kirishima on the long cafeteria table. Across them, Kaminari gave him a thumbs up. “Hey Bakugou, I haven’t seen you since that interesting housewarming party. How are you doing?”
Katsuki wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. Thankfully, he didn’t have to, as the hospital cafeteria doors opened and more of their former classmates came through. Iida, Uraraka, Asui, Hagakure and Jirou joined them, followed finally by Yaoyorozu All Might, Todoroki and Deku.
Katsuki swallowed and looked away.
Even the way they entered felt like a damn wedding march.
They were all invited to grab their food before Todoroki stood, and Katsuki had to steel himself.
“Thanks again for coming today. We asked you to come because you’ve all been here with me throughout this whole ordeal. I…” he looked down briefly, “I know I haven’t always been around, or as forthcoming as I should be. And there are no words for me to say how much I appreciate your support.”
He bowed before them. “I will try my best not to let you down from now on.”
Katsuki nodded. Damn right, you shouldn’t. He would try his best to make sure that they were never again left in the position where they knew too little about each other to help.
“Todoroki-kun,” Iida placed a hand on his chest, moved by the rare public display from their normally-reserved friend. “We will always be here for you.”
There were various rounds of support offered through the table before Todoroki continued. “We also wanted to talk to you specifically today about an announcement that Izuku and I wanted to share.” He nodded at the sudden hush among the table, “And I’ll let him start as promised.”
Here it comes.
Katsuki closed his eyes and looked away.
“Thanks again, everyone, for coming today.” Deku’s voice wafted over him. “We wanted to speak to you because we think you deserve the truth about the relationship between me and Shouto-kun, especially now that he’s awake. And we’d like to start with this…”
Katsuki took a deep breath, waiting for the hammer to fall.
“Shouto-kun and I are not really engaged.”
Katsuki’s eyes shot open.
Next Chapter: In Which The Truth Comes Out
The truth has come out. Now, the fallout.
So, in the end, I did decide to split the final chapters. Bakugou, Izuku and Shouto have come to their own realizations in this part; what they do next will come in the last part. I apologise for extending the conclusion by one more week! It was a monster to get through the emotions in this part, and I think it's better to separate it from the rest.
Please let me know what you think!
To everyone who left kudos and commented last week (and for each chapter - you know who you guys are!) thank you so, so much - they meant the world to me.
I am glad that you have laughed and cried with me over the past few weeks. I have loved the theories, the commentary on Kacchan, Deku and Shouto's bum, and your support for the craziness that was Dance Combat, the Breakup Recovery Kit, the Cats, and even Shindou. To Sonday in particular, it has been wonderful chatting with you!
I am also grateful for those who lived for the angst (some of you in the comments may already know that there are specific parts which I was also emotional about while writing. Guess which part it was in this chapter?).
As some of you may already know, this is my first time writing in years - and first for this fandom. And you readers have made my day, each time. (Part of me is like Deku, who's waiting for it to end next week, but not quite ready for it.) Thanks for making it a great journey so far!
See you next week for the last chapter!
Chapter 6: In Which The Truth Comes Out
In which the truth comes out, and everyone deals with the consequences in their own way.
Subtitle in end notes
PART VI. IN WHICH THE TRUTH COMES OUT
Of all the times Izuku had to speak in public, this had to be one of the most nerve-wracking. He saw Kacchan at the end of the table, his eyes closed, and his heart thumped anxiously against his chest.
Then again, sometimes the truth just wasn’t that easy.
From beside him, Shouto gave him a nod of support, and he breathed in.
“Shouto-kun and I are not really engaged.”
There was a stunned silence across the table; at the end, Kacchan’s eyes flew open. Izuku gave All Might and Yaoyorozu a panicked look.
“Did you mean that you and Todoroki had broken up?” Uraraka tried, bless her.
Izuku tried to give her a smile, “No… “ he swallowed. “It means that we were never engaged to begin with.”
And that’s when the volume of voices suddenly rose across the table. At the end, Izuku could see Kacchan clenching his fists, his eyes not meeting theirs. Izuku felt dread rise upon him like a wave.
“What does that even mean?” someone asked. “Were you two even dating?”
“I knew Todoroki couldn’t have been that smooth."
“Was the whole thing fake?”
Izuku forced himself to pay attention, and he shook his head, “No. Not all of it was. I did know Shouto-kun from when we worked together that month.” He turned to Shouto, who nodded in confirmation to his classmates. “But I’d never had the chance to meet him in person until that night on the train, when he had his accident and I just… jumped in after him.”
“So… that part was true?” Kirishima asked, still looking confused. “Then how did the rest of it happen?”
Izuku took a deep breath, “Well, I’d gone to check on Shouto-kun in the hospital afterwards, but they wouldn’t let me visit him because I wasn’t family. But then, this well-meaning nurse misinterpreted something I said and thought that I was engaged to Shouto-kun… so when she gave me the chance to visit him, I went without question.”
Izuku shook his head at the memory, “I was just as shocked as everyone when the nurse announced that I was Shouto-kun’s fiancé. I was still trying to understand what was going on, but then Endeavor arrived, and he wanted to take Shouto away and that just—changed everything. I knew, based what Shouto had told me before, that I had to do something.”
He gave a small laugh, “I guess that was the one good thing that came out of that mistake. For a second, everyone else believed it enough to prevent Endeavor from taking over."
He looked up at them again, “I swear though, that I planned to tell the truth as soon as possible. I’d planned to tell you all on the night of Uraraka-san’s birthday party." He looked at Momo, who gave him an encouraging smile.
"But then Momo convinced me to try to keep the ruse up longer so that we could continue to keep Shouto-kun safe from his father’s interference—at least until he wakes up. And somehow, it just made sense. It wasn't even a question.”
He smiled back at Momo. Next to her, All Might gave him a thumbs up of support.
“So I agreed, and we decided to keep the truth to as few people possible to avoid implicating anyone else in case the worst happens. Only she and All Might knew the truth, and I thought it seemed straightforward at the time.”
That’s when he gave everyone in the table an apologetic look. Kacchan still refused to look at him, and Izuku took a deep breath, “Of course, it soon became clear that it wasn’t so straightforward.”
“Why not?” Ashido kept her fingers close to her mouth, considering.
Because I fell in love. Izuku was still reeling from that revelation; still raw to its power on him.
“What?” someone—Kaminari exclaimed, and Izuku snapped out of his daze. Had he mumbled that out loud?
“I meant that, well… I met all of you, and then it wasn’t so straightforward anymore. I thought I could get away with just showing up at the hospital and nothing more. I'm used to doing that - to recognizing my limits, and stepping back at the right time.” He bit his lip.
“But I…I loved being with you guys so much that it became just as easy to keep coming back.”
“I’ve already told Shouto-kun this, but he really has such amazing friends, and he is so lucky.” He offered Shouto a smile, before looking back to everyone.
“I loved spending time with you, and it became harder to step back and separate myself,” Izuku let out a deep breath, because this he had to explain. “Even though I knew at the back of my head that it was all based on a lie.”
“But—you knew so much.” Kirishima rationalized.
“So… much.” Jirou muttered, placing her face in her hands.
“And it seemed so real sometimes,” Uraraka added, mystified.
Izuku gave them a sheepish grin. The less said about Shouto’s situation with his butt at the time, the better.
“Well, I did know Shouto-kun based on our time working together, and I am an Intelligence Analyst. I didn’t even need to lie for the most part, because all of the things that I did know happened to be true... or close enough to it at least. And maybe it was sheer dumb luck that Shouto-kun actually listened to me back then, half of the time…like when he got his cat.”
Shouto returned his fond look with a small smile.
“But the truth is, I was never engaged to Shouto-kun. In fact, I only just met Shouto-kun for the first time, face-to-face, when he woke up from his coma.” His voice caught at those last words.
“And now that Shouto-kun is awake, we thought it was only fair to tell all of you the truth.” Izuku clasped his fingers nervously. “I also wanted all of you to have Shouto-kun to yourselves, without the problem of his so-called amnesia or a fake forgotten fiancé hanging over your heads.”
Izuku lowered his head. “Most of all, I wanted to stop lying to all of you."
He placed his arms around himself. "I know it’s probably because you thought I was Shouto-kun’s fiancé, but you were really kind to me, even though you didn’t really need to.”
He looked up at them, “You danced with me,” he looked at Ashido, “we ate junk food and colored each other’s faces,” his eyes went to Uraraka, Hagakure and Asui, “and you went into battle with me.” Here he nodded at Kirishima and Iida. “You made me feel like I could be better than what I thought I was.”
I felt loved by you.
From the end of the table, Kacchan still refused to look back at him, and Izuku felt his throat go dry.
I was meant to be in love with Shouto. I fell in love with you instead.
“And I wanted to thank you.” He continued, his voice catching. “And apologize, for keeping this from you until now. You… you really have been wonderful to me this whole time, and I loved getting to know you.”
He was shocked to find a hand over his; Shouto’s. He didn’t realize that he’d started shaking.
“Oh Deku-kun!” Uraraka stood up, actually running over to give him a hug. “We were lucky to meet you too.”
Deku felt tears clogging up his throat when Iida stood up as well to go to him. “Midoriya-kun – you’ve truly been brave and selfless.”
“And you’re a badass!”
And yet, as the others approached, Izuku kept an eye out for the one he needed to talk to the most.
Later, he would wonder at what he expected: perhaps, for Kacchan to be as explosive as he ever was, as confrontational as he had been when he first started questioning Izuku – to be justifiably self-righteous for being correct this whole time, or to even demand to fight to get it out of their systems.
Now, he could only watch, helpless, as Kacchan stood without a word, his fists clenched tight, and walked away. He didn’t look back.
Izuku felt his heart drop.
That was how Kacchan walked out of his life: silently, quickly, without a fuss or a bang. It took all of a second, and he was gone.
Later, when Izuku’s tears were masked by his joy at the open acceptance and forgiveness from all of Shouto-kun’s other friends, Asui asked, “What are you both going to do now then, now that you’re no longer engaged?”
Despite the growing numbness from the realization that his own heart was breaking, Izuku rose above himself to look back at Shouto-kun.
“The only thing that anyone can do in situations like these.” Shouto answered, watching him carefully.
Izuku nodded through his tears, and tried to smile.
“We start over.”
Outside, Katsuki placed a palm against his eyes as he tried to take deep breaths.
“Damn it.” He rasped out, choking on his own voice.
It was all a lie.
He was all at sea after everything he’d seen and done and felt, so much that he couldn’t even breathe. The feeling in his chest, still newfound and tender, now felt raw with an ache that racked his whole being. Somewhere beyond the roaring in his ears, he realized that couldn’t even comprehend what was happening. He didn’t even know where to begin.
What was the truth then? He found himself wanting to scream the question, like a stupid child; demanding an answer he wasn’t sure that he was ready for.
Part of him felt like running for the hills and never looking back.
Was this what falling apart felt like?
“Fucking hell.” He swore as tears fell behind his palms.
“How did it go?”
“It’s done. I did it. I’ve said the truth, and I should be happy with that.” Izuku felt his lips tremble as he leaned back on the door, and ignored the fresh fall of tears down his face.
“I did it, and he wouldn’t even look at me. He won’t pick up my calls and it’s over. I’ve said the truth and I should be happy, because now I know.”
He hates me now.
Shinso and Mei broke out the Breakup Recovery Kit the following night.
They ended up coloring Shinso’s hair Aizawa-black, and Mei ended up with a belly-button piercing, which should have given Izuku some vindication because he was the only one who went through with it last time.
Izuku ended up finishing all the ice cream and the ghost pepper dip, even though that reminded him of Kacchan and made him cry more.
Sat, 19 Jan, 16:59
I tried to call again today, and you’re still not picking up
There is so much more that I wish I can say to you
I’m really that sorry I lied to you
Shinso broke out his karaoke mic the next evening despite Deku’s reluctance, and they ended up belting the worst breakup songs.
“Turn around, bright eyes…” Mei crooned.
Izuku’s tears actually helped him sing better for once. “Every now and then I fall apart!”
The two of them started belting out together, “And I need you now tonight, and I need you more than ever! And if you only hold me tight, we’ll be holding on forever! And we'll only be making it right, cause we'll never be wrong…”
From behind them, Kaminari could do nothing but gape as they started yelling to the rising beat of the drum and the clash of cymbals.
Shinso shook his head at him, even as his fingers rubbed circles at the back of Kaminari’s neck. “Not a word.”
Kaminari smiled weakly and patted Shinso reassuringly. The latter quirked a grin at him, before letting go and standing to join the scream-fest with his friends
“I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark, we're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks… I really need you tonight! Forever's gonna start tonight… forever’s gonna start tonight.”
Shinso and Mei let Deku husk out the last line.
“Once upon a time I was falling in love, but now I'm only falling apart…”
And there's nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart.
After the music died down, Kaminari went for it and clapped.
“Can I suggest…” he tried hesitantly, a bit shocked to find two pairs of narrowed eyes and a wide weepy one suddenly focused on him, “…that we try this song from that old film, Pretty Woman?"
Despite the continuing silence, he went on, "It goes like this,” he hums awkwardly, “It must have been love, but it’s over now.”
At Shinso’s raised brow, he finally admitted, “…Someone played it to me once after a breakup, and the song destroyed me.”
There was another beat of silence before Izuku groaned, still pitiful. “I actually know that one...”
Mei perked up instantly and slapped Izuku’s slumped form at the back, “Then let’s do it! Will that help, Izu?”
Shinso’s judgmental look turned into an approving smirk, and he handed the mic to Kaminari.
”Come on then, Pretty Woman. Show us what you’ve got.”
Unfortunately, there was nothing to break into Kacchan’s flat for (and no, his superbike didn’t count, Shinso-kun). He hadn’t been back in Izuku’s life long enough to actually have anything of Izuku's mixed with his.
It was almost like Kacchan hadn’t been there at all, save for the exam form that Kacchan had given him and the deep pervading ache in Izuku’s chest.
Mon, 21 Jan, 22:17
I had reasons for why I did it. I didn't mean to hurt you
And I know I can’t force you to talk to me or forgive me
But part of me wishes that you’d just get angry, yell at me, or anything
Anything but this silence
At least then I would know
Izuku went to visit Shindo in Hosu as soon as he got the chance. If what he’d felt after their breakup was anything like this, then Izuku couldn’t bear to let things go unanswered for a single second longer.
It no longer mattered that he didn’t feel ready. They both deserved to have that closure.
“I wish you had told me,” Shindo said after a long moment of silence. “If not for the sake of our relationship, then at least because you were so unhappy, and I never realized.”
Izuku shook his head, “I… It’s not that I knew I was unhappy, Yo-kun. In fact, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t want more than this... that I was lucky enough with what we had.” He clasped his hands together. “Like you said before, it was better for me to be safe and content… to not ask for more when I was quirkless, and things were hard enough.”
Shindo gave him a pained look, “Until you got your provisional license on your own.”
Izuku slowly nodded, feeling familiar tears burn behind his eyes. “I didn’t know that I could be happy in that way – I never let myself believe it. That yes, I am quirkless, but maybe… just maybe, I also could be a little bit more.” He closed his eyes.
“And suddenly everything was—changed, because I knew that there was just no going back from that. And it was devastating, Yo-kun, because it meant that nothing else from before was ever going to be enough, including us."
He looked at his hands. "It meant that maybe... maybe I’d been hurting this entire time but pretending that it didn't matter, just so that I wouldn't be wrong for you… that maybe I was angry at myself, and you too, rightly or wrongly... and I didn’t know how deal with all that and face you at the same time.” He shook his head again.
“And I am really sorry, Yo-kun. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you myself - that it had to be my friends that told you it was over,” his breath hitched, “I’m sorry that I ended up leaving, without giving you an explanation. I felt like you deserved an answer that made sense, but I was in no state to give you one... and I wish I hadn't hurt you and made you wait because of that.”
Shindo placed a hand over his eyes and took a deep breath. When he looked back up at him, it was to quirk a melancholy smile.
“We both know that I should also be apologizing here.” He tried again, “I never meant to make you feel that way, Izuku. It was never my intention to make you believe that you weren’t enough - for myself or for the world out there.”
Izuku opened his eyes and stopped pretending that they both weren't crying.
“It wasn’t just your fault, Yo-kun. If there's anything I've learnt over the past few weeks, it's that, more than waiting for validation from other people, I should have been the one who was more honest and accepting of myself. That's something that I'm still trying to fix. And I hope that you can forgive me too for not being brave enough, back then.”
Shindo stood up and faced the window, quiet and contemplating. And it took a while, but there was a smile on his face when he finally turned around to wink at him. “Well then, I won’t be satisfied until I hear that you’ve become a Pro Hero. Tell me you’re planning to do something about that final exam then. Do you need any help with the test? Have you shaken any trees? Heard anything useful?”
The answering smile that Izuku gave him was small but genuine, the first one they shared in a long time.
"Yeah." He nodded as he wiped his tears. "Yes, I actually have."
Wed, 23 Jan, 15:02
I’ve decided I'm going to wait for you, no matter how long it takes
And I'm going to say it everyday
Blind Item – Has Dual Hero Found Other Half?
This Enigmatic and Popular Dual Hero is supposed to be recovering from a recent injury, but he has been found spending time at a well-known Support Engineer’s workshop.
It is rumored that he is finally trying out the other half of his famous two-sided quirk, which has not been seen since his school days. Don’t be too shocked to find a modification to this Hero’s costume in the future.
This Hero is normally good at laying low from the public eye, but he was spotted stepping out of the workshop to offer a drink to a mysterious green-haired companion. Said companion was looking quite melancholy, standing outside and staring off like a leading man in a period drama, before Mr Enigmatic came outside and drew a smile out of him.
Could this famous Hero have found his other half, both literally and figuratively?
Thu, 24 Jan, 18:02
I was testing some gear with Shouto-kun today
He’s a lot more civilized than us
He doesn’t yell or do that growly laugh like you do when we get things to explode
I can’t help wishing that you were here too
I know I said that I'm going to wait for you, however long you need
but I do miss you
Izuku had just arrived back from a second day of testing with Shouto when there was a knock on his door.
His heart stopped.
It had been a week, and aside from Shouto-kun, who he spoke to everyday, he didn’t get to communicate as much with the others: he’d seen Kaminari with Shinso, exchanged some texts with Kirishima and Iida, and had a phone call each with Uraraka and Momo. There was still no word from Kacchan.
Izuku tried not to be hopeful.
He opened the door and his eyes widened at the twin broad smiles that greeted him.
“All Might? And is that…” he choked as his fanboy nerves reactivated, “Pro Hero Lemillion?”
Izuku tried not to hyperventilate. He had tried to get in touch with All Might recently via email and had left a few voice messages, but he hadn’t disclosed a lot of detail, and he certainly hadn’t expected him to actually show up on his doorstep. "What are you doing here?"
Against all reason, All Might’s grin seemed to gleam even brighter.
“You mentioned that you needed help with the Professional Hero Licensing Exam?”
Fri, 25 Jan, 21:05
All Might and Lemillion came by today. We're going to I-island for the next few weeks
I've been trying to ask All Might for some advice for the Licensing Exam next month, but for some reason he decided to actually come and help train me up instead!
The first person I wanted to tell was you
I’m going to do it, Kacchan. It’s finally happening. I won’t back out this time
I'd say sorry everyday, if it means I could thank you for this, too
Sat 26 Jan, 02:04
I'm leaving today, and I won't get the chance to message you over the coming days
But I just wanted to get this out now before anything else:
You kept telling me that you're still trying to be a better hero and a better person, and I could see why
I have always looked up to you, but you weren’t very good to me at first
You kept questioning me. You insulted me and embarrassed me. You also criticized me, and you made me feel like I always had to prove myself
But then you also welcomed me and laughed with me. You didn’t let up on me, but you also treated me like an equal
You also made me feel strong despite my weaknesses
You make me feel proud when people kept telling me to hide
You made me realize for myself that I was good enough
I’ve only just seen a glimpse of what you can do over those weeks, but I already consider myself the luckiest person in the world
Because although you may think that you still need to be better - you’ve already been a better person to me than you realize
To me, you've been a Hero
I know that you might not be ready to forgive me yet, and that you might think that it was all a lie, but please believe me when I say that this is true:
I’m not scared of failing, when I think of you, Kacchan
When I remember you, I feel brave enough to be myself
Whatever happens now, all I have to do is think of you - and I know: I am happy
You mean a lot more to me than you realize, Kacchan
And I hope that you’ll forgive me one day
“So this is where you’ve been hiding off to.”
Katsuki stilled at the sudden presence behind him. It was strange to hear Todoroki’s voice after everything that had happened.
“Our friends only thought to check your place, but I knew I’d find you at your garage space.”
Katsuki only shrugged as he continued to clean his bike. “Should never have given you a copy of all my keys that time.”
Todoroki walked into his sight, and it was still jarring to see him like this: in casual wear, a navy button up and white jeans, almost as if he had never been in an accident. The loss of weight was still noticeable, however – and so was the cup of bubble tea in his hand. Seriously?
Katsuki recalled how Deku always bought those from that stall outside of Hatsume’s workshop and inhaled them like they were nothing – it was an unexpected shock to see such a telling reminder of him on Todoroki’s person now.
“It’s not really an abuse of power when everyone’s been worried about you, and I’ve volunteered to check up on you. How have you been? I haven’t seen you much since I woke up.”
Katsuki scowled and refused to look at the Half-and-Half hypocrite. “Yeah? Well I’ve been busy. Besides, a few weeks is nothing compared to the disappearing acts you used to pull on us.”
There were a few seconds of silence from Todoroki, before he shook his head, “I really am sorry about that. Izuku says I should try to be better about that.”
Katsuki tried to swallow around the lump in his throat at the name. Again, him. “I know.”
There was another beat of silence as Todoroki stepped closer.
“He’s gone to America and I-Island for the next three weeks with All Might and Mirio. Did you know that?”
Katsuki only clenched his jaw as he moved and switched sides on the motorbike. Of course I do; I was the one who spoke to All Might about it a few weeks ago after all. He’d felt like the old man needed to do his part to make it up to Deku as well.
“He’ll be out of reach over the coming days, but I spoke to him when he landed. We’ve been talking every day.”
Good for you. Katsuki thought savagely as he grabbed another piece of cloth, silencing the part of his mind that remembered Deku’s unanswered texts.
“You know he only did it to keep me safe. If you’re going to be mad, you might as well be angry with me as well.”
That finally got Katsuki pissed off enough to finally face the bastard, “What makes you think I’m not angry with you either? You only get a free pass because you just came out of a fucking coma.”
“What is it that you’re mad about, exactly?” Todoroki’s tone was no-nonsense as usual. “If I try to put myself in your position, I can’t imagine being this angry with someone who lied to protect you.”
Katsuki bristled despite himself, as if the IcyHot idiot knew what he was talking about. “Idiot, it’s not the same. It’s not just that he lied, it’s because it’s him—”
It was Deku.
“Fuck,” he muttered under his breath as he tossed the rag he was using in exchange for another one.
Todoroki, the bastard, didn’t let it pass. “What is it about him then?”
You have no idea.
“…Because if it’s about him lying to you, I’d be surprised. Given that you actually knew him the longest out of all of us, I’d have thought that it was you that he could be himself the most with. Unless you thought that was all a lie too?”
Katsuki closed his eyes, thinking back to the glee on Deku’s face as he grabbed the models for Katsuki’s gauntlets, or how he cooed like an idiot before those cats; the way he tripped at a random stranger’s proposal and sang badly, or how he designed his horrendous hero suit with what looked like bunny ears.
It was hard to explain the mix of fond annoyance and pained resignation within him.
“As if it’s possible to lie about loser things like that.”
The truth was that, regardless of all pretenses, he knew, deep inside, that Deku had been as true to himself as he could be. How could he be otherwise, really? Especially after being told most of his life that he wasn’t good enough. He was rebelliously stubborn that way.
That itself was the problem.
Todoroki’s bicolored eyes were intent. “Then, what is it that he did wrong then?”
Katsuki had enough time to think about it as well. It wasn’t that the lie itself was wrong; although it was what had first gotten Katsuki on Deku’s back to begin with; and that was where the trouble started.
Where he started seeing the nerd as something more.
“He was such a troublesome little shit. He gave me hell for questioning why you’d marry him, and he made me think that I was irrational…”
…For first not being able to believe that Todoroki would marry him. Then somehow turning things on their head so that Katsuki ended up questioning why Deku would want to marry Todoroki instead.
“…and he made me do stupid things...”
Like pushing through with an investigation of IcyHot’s butt cheek, having his arms colored orange, exploding things at dawn on a weekend and making an epic ass of himself at someone’s housewarming party.
Like turning Katsuki’s head so hard, it made his head hurt and his heart ache.
Like making him see things differently, making him want more and nothing else at the same time.
Like fucking falling in love, himself, and after just two fucking weeks no less.
“…and he made me question myself.”
Katsuki was not one for inconvenient emotions, but now he knew: once he felt things, he felt them strongly, and he apparently went all the fucking way.
And he had followed Deku down that rabbit hole, and look where he’d ended up: deceived, angry, and ready to play the martyr for some idiotic lie.
But even more difficult to comprehend was the truth.
That Deku had never met Todoroki face to face until that night, but decided to save him anyway, even going so far as to commit to a fake engagement if it meant keeping him safe.
That even if the engagement was fake, there was never any hope for Katsuki anyway, not because Deku chose Todoroki first, but because now that the truth had come out, he would still choose Todoroki, at the last.
That Todoroki’s awakening was the first time they both looked at each other; and now they were both taking that chance that Katsuki never had: to start anew and see where it takes them.
And fuck, while he knew objectively that they both deserved it; he didn’t know if he could bear to see it.
And then there was Deku and his stupid messages – how he said things in a way that stupidly made Katsuki want to hope, when everything else pointed towards Todoroki in a happy ending that would leave no one but Katsuki fucked.
Deku could text and apologize all he wanted, but ultimately, it changed nothing if things turned out as Katsuki thought they would. Todoroki might as well have actually proposed to Deku, for all the good it did for him.
“I’d given more thought to that as I started remembering more, these past few weeks.” Todoroki said in a stilted voice. “I think I actually did tell him, once, that I’d rather marry him than anyone else my father could think of.”
Katsuki started. “Hah?”
“We were working on that Illegal Quirk Marriages operation, and there was something about the way Izuku spoke to me… that made me try to see things differently. He even got me to use my Fire on that operation.”
That was Deku? Katsuki knew he should no longer surprised by that; of course it was the stupidly brilliant nerd.
“And before I knew it, I was saying those words. And even though it’s not the same thing at all and it was figure of speech, I did say it for some reason.” He gave a small huff.
“In a way, that part where I had proposed to him hadn’t even been a lie.”
Katsuki snapped, suddenly furious. “Then why didn’t you marry him, then?” he felt tempted to push Todoroki out and slam the door in his face, very loudly. “And why do you need to keep shoving this down my throat?”
Todoroki’s eyes flashed and he raised a brow. “Do you really mean that? Are you seriously going to pretend that you’ve had no interest in Izuku to begin with, after everything you’ve done?”
What the ever loving—Katsuki stood up, his fingers twitching. “Fuck are you talking about? Like you have the right to speak! Have you actually come all the way here to bring this up, when I’ve practically laid the path for you and the nerd?”
Todoroki crossed his arms, undeterred, and braced his legs apart. “What path? As if I ever had a chance, with the way you came in and exploded your way into his life before I woke up?” He shook his head. “And now you’ve left him in limbo, and I’m this close to coming in and taking care of things, myself—”
Katsuki gaped. “Are you fucking kidding me? I’m the one who never had a chance!” He roared as he grabbed Todoroki’s shirt. “The idiot’s so obviously in love with you that he did everything just to keep you safe. You're the one he chose.”
Katsuki pressed a palm to his eyes, now wet. “And so what if I care? What if, fuck, I love him, and I still don’t know if I deserve him? It doesn’t matter what I do, or how I feel, because you are all that he needs to be happy. You’re the one that he wanted to do all of this for.”
His grip went loose on Todoroki as he exhaled, suddenly tired.
“So what the hell are you waiting for?”
In front of him, Todoroki stilled. His piercing eyes stared back at him.
“Bakugou, do you still not know?”
Katsuki started, unsure what the question was, and if he could bear the answer.
Todoroki’s voice went soft. “Did you know that I asked Izuku if he wanted me to marry him, but he chose to end the engagement anyway, because he wanted to be fair to me?”
Katsuki shook his head at that, laughing wetly. “Of course he would! Knowing the idiot, he probably thought that you weren’t ready to do the deed just yet, but he’d probably say yes in a fucking heartbeat—"
“No.” But Todoroki just shook his head at him to cut him off. “Because it isn’t me."
At Katsuki’s still gaze, Todoroki stepped back and looked him in the eye. “Izuku knows what he wants this time, and he told me that what he wanted was this: to do what made him happy, and to be with the person he loved.”
Katsuki’s heart stopped at those words. His answer, to Deku’s questions. What would you do, Kacchan? What would you do if you were in my place?
“Can’t you see?”
(“Whatever happens now, all I have to do is think of you – and I know: I am happy.” The damn nerd’s messages that Katsuki couldn’t make himself delete)
He felt a roaring in his ears; warmth flooding his chest. He was at all sea after everything he’d seen and done and felt, so much that he couldn’t even breathe. He could scarcely make himself hope, knowing everything that had happened between them. Could this actually be the truth?
“Dammit.” Katsuki croaked as tears start forming at the corners of his eyes.
“Do you still really not know?” Todoroki asked him again; and finally, Katsuki understood.
“I’m not the one he’s in love with, Bakugou.”
I think the real question here is: What the hell are you waiting for?
“Congratulations, Midoriya shounen. You are now officially a professional hero.”
Never in Midoriya Izuku’s life did he believe that he would actually hear those words – from All Might of all people.
He blinked back his tears as he up from his new Hero License, complete with his horrible photo. “I can’t believe this has actually happened.”
He felt a knock against his forehead as Shinso snarked, “You better believe it, kid – you’re the first quirkless Hero of our generation: Pro Hero Deku.”
Mirio gave him an encouraging grin, “And this is only just the beginning. Don’t forget, you’re starting with our agency next month.”
This time Izuku gave up on stopping the tears. “I really am thankful. I couldn’t have done this without any of you. All Might and Lemillion-san, thank you for spending so much time and effort to train me at I-Island.”
All Might smiled broadly, “Did you know that most of the top heroes showed signs of greatness before they reached their full potential? They claimed that their bodies simply moved before they could think.” He placed a hand on Izuku’s head. “I have great faith in you, my boy.”
Izuku sniffled, his fingers trembled on his license. “I’ll try not to let you down, All Might…”
From his side, Mei gave him a whoop, “It looks like the new suit did wonders too. It was amazing to collaborate with the Shield team on those gloves that pack more punch. We’ll make sure to keep improving it as you go along.”
Izuku also turned to give her a hug, enveloping Shinso at the same time. Shinso, a kindred spirit who also knew what it was like to not be able to help what your heart longed for; and Mei, whose logic-defying feats gave Izuku the courage to try to be a Hero against all reason. He didn't know where he would be without them.
“I’m so grateful to you both. You’ve helped me so much along the way, and I’ve cause you so much trouble…”
He closed his eyes, trying not to think of Kacchan.
“…Thank you so much, my BFF boos—”
Shinso yanked at his hair this time, “If you want to thank us, help us figure out how to get the restaurant as soon as possible. Todoroki and Yaoyorozu are waiting with your mother, and I ordered a car, but we can only fit four people in…”
Izuku beamed at him despite his grumbling, “That’s not a problem, I can take the train. I know the area well, and I feel like I still have a lot of excess exam nerves to walk off anyway.”
With a plan in place, Izuku ducked into the closest station. He couldn’t help but feel that sense of nostalgia as he came up to the platform.
It had started off simply enough – when he rescued Todoroki Shouto from the train tracks two months ago.
And now, there he was, Midoriya Izuku, a Pro Hero.
He closed his eyes; if only this success didn’t feel so bittersweet.
He wondered what Kacchan would say if Izuku sent him a picture of his license; or if he actually just showed up to share it with him directly. He’d only just arrived from America and hadn’t gotten the chance to reach out before the exam – surely Kacchan could stand his presence for a few seconds, if only for Izuku to thank him.
(You’re not meant to be hidden behind other heroes, Deku, not for a single second longer.)
I have to. Izuku thought, sending the picture to Kacchan anyway.
This was all thanks to you, Kacchan.
He was wiping the resurgent tears in his eyes when he was interrupted by the voices raised in alarm down the platform.
He ran over as the commotion grew.
“Someone fell! There’s a man on the tracks!”
Izuku’s eyes widened. Are you kidding me?
He heard the distant roar of the train, and if it wasn’t even a question for him before, it wasn’t going to be one now: he launched himself through to the platform, rushing to lift the victim, who had been lying face down on the tracks, onto the platform.
Calm down. This isn’t your first train accident, he thought, and the statement struck him as so hysterical that he had to ignore that part of his brain that wondered if this was some sort of cosmic trick.
If this was anything like what he encountered with Shouto, he had to put the guy into the recovery position and check for head injuries. He angled the man’s spiky blonde hair and—
Wait a minute.
He wasn’t proud of how high his voice went that second.
Furious red eyes glared back at him, “Seriously nerd, couldn’t you be gentler with the lifting? It’s a wonder IcyHot wasn’t worse off with his coma, if that’s the way you carried him. And to think you’re supposed to be a Pro Hero now!”
Izuku seriously had no idea what was going on. He didn’t even have words to speak. All he could do was reach out with shaky fingers to touch his face – after not getting to see him for so long…
Then Kacchan’s words hit him.
He ended up pinching the face under his hands, “Excuse me? I’m meant to be saving you from a collision and checking you for injuries, not lifting you up from the tracks on a feather mattress and laying you down for a massage! And what were you doing anyway, falling down on the tracks, in the first place? What, did you want to see what it was like for yourself, like an asshole?"
He didn’t realize that he was still crying as he was yelling back, or that Kacchan had placed his hands on his, rubbing softly with his thumbs.
Izuku couldn’t stop crying, “For a top hero, how can you be such a raving idiot?”
He was interrupted by security, as a policeman finally arrived at the scene. “Sir can I ask you to step back, unless you know this person?”
Izuku looked up, suddenly unable to speak, and even more unwilling to let go.
“Of course, he knows me,” Kacchan groused from below him, also not letting go. “He’s my fiancé.”
“Yep, that’s the guy,” a familiar voice called out and Izuku turned to see Ashido on the platform, a shit-eating grin on her face. “Green hair, crazy cute freckles, ass for the gods. That’s the fiancé alright.”
On the opposite platform, Uraraka suddenly called out, “Fit awkward bunny who can’t sing to save his life? That’s Bakugou's guy over there.”
Iida appeared next to the policeman, enacting the worst stage whisper. “There are videos.”
“He’s a beast at saving people though. And he can dance. So he’s not too bad, as far as fiancés go.” He heard Kaminari's voice somewhere.
Izuku’s eyes darted all across the platforms, where he spotted Kirishima, Hagakure, Asui… and was that Taping Hero Cellophane? By the stairs, All Might, Mirio, Shinso, Kaminari and Mei had come back and were watching, the last with her trusty video recorder of shame. Even Shouto, Momo and his mother were there.
“Make sure you do it properly, Lord Explosion,” Shinso called out lazily. “So that you won’t just be a boy and a friend this time around.”
Izuku’s gaze whirled back to Kacchan, who was smirking at him, clearly not injured at all, or well enough at least, to snark:
“So apparently, this is the most surefire way to get you to agree to marry someone.”
Izuku’s mouth started trembling, and his vision blurred again with tears. He sniffed horribly.
“Are you going to say yes, Izu? Mitsuki wants to know on the phone, because Katsuki banned them from coming.” His mother called out. What is this even.
“You better get down on one knee, Bakugou.” Shouto suggested with his usual blank expression, his actual thoughts betrayed only by a small smirk.
“Yeah dude, it’s plain lazy to be lying on the ground for this – great fall though.” Kirishima cheered.
“Awesome job with the pushing, Kirishima! If I’d have known we were pushing Bakugou, I would have gotten in line.” Kaminari called out from next to Shinso.
"Not before me, you would have!" Cellophane jeered back. “But those train sound effects were amazing, Jirou!”
“For crying out loud!” The policeman cried out. “Get on with it, A-gumi. I can only manage this shapeshifting quirk for 5 minutes, and we really need to give back access to the train station soon.”
Izuku gave a wet laugh. Was that… Monoma?
He felt a hand turn his face. “Hey, nerd.”
He turned his head to face Katsuki Bakugou, brilliant super-quirked prodigy, awesome butterfly catcher and skip-stone thrower, first-class jerk, boneheaded competitor, stupidly amazing top 10 hero, and the first asshole to tell Izuku that his dreams didn’t have to end, because he was already everything he wanted to be, and more.
“I know this is ridiculous, but I was told to pull all the stops when it came to you, and too many people were fucking invested in making this work.” Kacchan said, his voice low “And while the train, the stunt and Monoma might be fake.” He ignored the yelled-out complaint from the side as he got up on one knee. “I’m here to ask you a question, and just to be fucking clear, this one’s for real.”
Izuku tried to nod quietly, but he couldn’t help himself. Because saying it by text wouldn't have done it justice, and he should have said it to his face as soon as he knew: “I’m in love with you, Kacchan!”
Kacchan’s face slowly broke into a stupid grin, his red eyes widening as he drew closer, “Yeah? Well we're both in luck this time, because I love you too,” he whispered, his rough voice catching at the end, almost wondrous.
“Now, seal the deal with me, won’t you? This time, for the rest of our lives.”
Izuku held his breath as Kacchan lifted a ring.
“Marry me, Deku.”
(Art commission credit to Xairylle)
“Should have known I’d find you here." Katsuki murmured as he stepped onto the near-abandoned VIP area at The Floor Bar, where he was finally able to find Deku hours later - and on his own for once.
"People were starting to wonder where my fiancé had gone off to, during his own engagement and official hero party.”
Deku stepped closer to him, now that they finally had each other to themselves.
“Say it again, Kacchan.”
Katsuki raised a brow. “Say what?”
There was a gleam in Deku’s eyes as he raised his hands to land on Katsuki’s chest, holding onto his shirt. “What you called me,” he whispered, “say it again, please?”
Katsuki’s throat went dry despite himself. “Fiancé?”
Deku closed his eyes and hummed, his arms boldly climbing Katsuki’s neck, “Your fiancé.”
Katsuki swallowed, even as he smirked. “You damn ridiculous nerd.” His hands went around Deku’s waist, and all of a sudden, it was just the two of them again, dancing in the dark like before.
“What were you doing here, anyway?” Katsuki began softly.
Deku’s eyes flew open. “I… just needed a moment to myself, while everyone else was celebrating.”
Katsuki had to pause at his tone of voice. “Hey, nerd,” he asked, placing a hand on the other's cheek. "Is everything okay?"
Deku shook his head, “I just… needed to tell myself that this is real. I can’t quite believe that Kacchan’s here.” He peered up at him through his lashes. “You are the one person that I’ve been waiting for, and all I wanted was for you to give me another chance... and now you’re here." He looked down at the ring that Katsuki had given him, breathless at what it meant. "And I am so happy that I can't quite believe it."
Katsuki had to bite his lip before he did something unspeakable, like cry in public like an idiot. “Well you better believe it.”
“Kacchan, I'm sorry again for everything... and I really hope that you can forgive me, and we can start again.”
Katsuki only shook his head, giving Deku a teasing smirk; he knew that it took forgiveness on both their parts to get here. “You better make it up to me.” He huffed a small laugh, "I won't always get it right either, Deku. A lot of this is just as new to me."
Deku’s smile grew, and he nodded. “Well, we have the rest of our lives... and we are getting married.”
“Damn right we are,” Katsuki whispered, determined. Fuck, he was going to marry him.
This was it.
“And you love me back.” Deku’s eyes held his, his voice suddenly soft, almost in awe.
Katsuki swallowed at the sentiment, feeling that familiar thump in his chest, now understood and welcomed. “Yes,” he said, his voice rough. “Yeah, I really do.”
“And you look amazing.”
Katsuki started at the sudden tangent, but gave a smug grin the instant he saw Deku’s red cheeks; that saucy smile in place. “Yeah? What the hell is on that mind of yours, Deku?”
“Well, see, that’s also why I needed a moment. Because I’m here, with my unbelievable and unbelievably gorgeous, real, not-fake fiancé, and all I keep thinking about is how I really want to finally kiss him, but I just couldn’t get the chance with everyone around us—”
Katsuki, who had placed his hand on the nerd’s face as he was mumbling, shook his head with a husky “Shut up, you damn nerd,” before leaning in to capture his lips.
And Deku—Deku melted into him, until he could find his bearings enough to run his hands through Katsuki’s hair, mewling back a soft “Kacchan” that undid him, before responding in full, opening his lips to him and quietly ruining him.
“Damn it.” Katsuki swore to himself moments later, awed. “I just knew that kissing you would be fucking amazing.”
“Well… I could think of a few more ideas.” Deku continued to press tantalizing kisses on his neck, his breath tickling his jaw, fingers dancing up his arms to squeeze at his biceps, “Kacchan. You’re here. I get to marry you." His voice dipped low. "My fiancé.”
Katsuki’s thoughts short-circuited.
The snap of a bar towel interrupted the sudden southward flow of his blood, and both he and Deku jumped apart to find Tachi in the bar, his arms crossed. “Right boys, this is still a public place, and still my bar.”
He smirked. “Go leave now, before we all regret it, and I’ll make sure to cover for you.”
Deku went into full awkward nerd mode and bowed with a mortified “Eep!” and multiple mumbled apologies, before Katsuki had enough and dragged him away.
Katsuki hid his grin and blinked back any almost-tears as he held Deku’s hand, instead rolling his eyes at him.
Damn nerd. His fiancé.
They’ve Tied the Knot! Ground Zero Marries Up-and-Coming Pro Hero Deku
Popular explosion hero marries childhood neighbor and inspiring quirkless pro hero Deku in surprise ceremony
By Kao Mojo, PopSweet correspondent
Yes, you’ve heard it from us first. Popular Pro Hero Ground Zero (Bakugou Katsuki) has surprised fans by suddenly tying the knot with up-and-coming quirkless Pro Hero Deku in an open ceremony yesterday, and we've been invited to provide exclusive blog and media coverage!
Ground Zero has always held the country’s imagination, given his admirable dedication to victory and his famously explosive nature (see our coverage on him here), and we’re quite sure that hearts are breaking all across the nation now that he’s gotten hitched.
However, the less-known Deku is now the name on everyone’s lips. He is not an unfamiliar face to this blog, however (see articles tagged under Green Eyes), and our sharp-eyed research team has discovered more information on the groom.
His name is Midoriya Izuku and he and Ground Zero were childhood neighbors. He was a General Studies student at Ketsubutsu Academy, where, even though he was quirkless, he started working with the school’s best-known pro heroes.
He used to work as a quirk analysis officer at the Public Security Intelligence Agency, where he has been involved in an undisclosed number of successful operations.
He has also had a provisional hero license for the past year, and our team found out that he has actually been involved in no less than 11 rescue incidents ever since, one of which involving Pro Hero Shouto’s accident earlier this year.
He obtained his professional hero license last month, becoming the first quirkless Pro Hero in this generation, and he now works for All Might Agency together with Pro Hero Lemillion.
What we find even juicier is their mysterious love story, which we tried to unwrap below through interviews among their star-studded guests:
It was a very short engagement, but a very long story
Apparently Ground Zero had only met Deku again for less than a month before he decided to propose, which he did last month on a train platform in Musutafu.
“It doesn’t take a genius to see,” famous engineer, tech genius and Deku’s Best Woman Hatsume Mei commented, “that there was something special between them when they met each other again. Ground Zero just really couldn’t stay away from our Izu.”
Deku’s Man of Honor Shinso Hitoshi only laughed when we asked him, “They were flirting. All. The. Time. And they didn’t even realize it. Honestly, I’m surprised that [Deku] didn’t realize his obsession with Kacchan (Deku’s nickname for Ground Zero – which we find absolutely adorable!) sooner.”
When we asked Ground Zero’s co-Best Man Red Riot (Kirishima Eijirou) about this, he agreed: “Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bakugou react that strongly to anyone else before."
Love-rat hero Chargebolt (Kaminari Denki) also said, “He didn’t have very good game though. It’s like he wanted to piss Midoriya off into marrying him instead.”
Instead? We wanted to find more about this, but Chargebolt was evasive. “It’s might not seem like it, but it’s a long story.”
Their friends and family approve
None of their friends seemed to think that it was too soon for them to get married.
“Deku-kun is an absolutely amazing person.” Pro Hero Uravity (Uraraka Ochako) said, “He’s so selfless, but he’s tenacious at the same time. Bakugou couldn’t have found a better guy, really! You should have seen how delighted his parents were!”
Even her date, Phantom Thief (Monoma Neito) agreed, after some prodding. “He’s not the worst person I suppose. They both deserve each other.”
“We’re just glad that Bakugou didn’t mess up his proposal.” Pro Hero Pinky (Ashido Mina) commented. “Or else we would have had to do it for him. Imagine if any other Green Boy fans got there first."
“Trust me, this is where they’d end up anyway,” wedding drinks officer and The Floor bartender Sen Tachikawa said, “They already had crazy chemistry before, but you didn’t see them at their surprise engagement party at the club. It was like they were discovering everything for the first time.” He winked.
"They both left super early that night, if you know what I mean.”
Ground Zero is proud of his new husband – and Deku’s the same!
While many well-known hero couples tend to marry in secret (for understandable reasons), Ground Zero seems to have had no qualms about proclaiming their new status, even going as far as to actively invite us to their wedding.
“He seems keen to let the whole world know, this time around.” Pro Hero and Deku’s former flame Quake (Shindo Yo) approved. “There’s no hiding for these two, and you have to admire that.”
We managed to grab the busy groom Deku himself for a few quick words, and he said: “I’ve achieved my dream, and I married the man I love. I can’t be happier!”
Ground Zero seemed to be just as proud of this. “Damn right, you did. Hear that, IcyHot!” he called out across the room to his co-Best Man (and now officially the country’s No. 1 Bachelor) Pro Hero Shouto. “I’ve married him! No [censored] takesies backsies this time!”
He then turned back to his new husband, who only patted his arm with a smile, “I’m glad you chose me too, Kacchan."
They fell in love “while Shouto was sleeping”
“I was surprised when I realized that they knew each other as kids. It was so different when they met each other again.” Pro hero Creati (Yaoyorozu Momo) smiled when we asked her what she thought about their relationship. “It was almost like love at second sight.”
When we asked Shouto what he thought, the handsome Pro Hero, who had just come out of a harrowing two-week coma just months ago, only shrugged, “I asked them once to tell me how it all happened, and they said, ‘It was while you were sleeping’.”
"Both of them matter to me, and the only thing I can do is to make sure that they can be happy together."
For all that this wedding has rocked the Hero world with its suddenness, we get the sense that there is as lot more to this story than meets the eye, and we will make sure to update this page as we learn more.
In the meanwhile, we wish the couple all the best in their new marriage, and we hope that that the joy in their ceremony will follow their union in all the years to come.
(Art credit to ESCL at bernardmarie.tumblr.com)
Ground Zero and Deku: a heroic wedding in pictures
The star-studded guest list: the crème de la crème of UA and Ketsubutsu alumni
“Seal the deal!”: How both grooms couldn’t help the tears – and the good-natured jokes from their guests – during the ceremony
Inside the reception: How All Might poked fun at Ground Zero with a cat joke and the best wedding moments
Most stylish: See who among the hero guests were best dressed
Spotlight on Hatsume Mei: Genius engineer and the ‘Best Woman’ at the wedding
Couple watch: see the surprising match ups at the wedding, Uravity and Phantom Thief, Ingenium and Hatsume Mei, Quake and Nail, and Chargebolt's mysterious date!
Tags: Ground Zero, Bakugou Katsuki, Deku, Midoriya Izuku, Green Eyes, Entertainment, Wedding, Celebrity, Hero, News
... or: In Which Katsuki Gets His Man, And Does Marry Him
(Thanks to Janedoe for the inspired chapter name)
It's done, guys!
Regarding One for All: I have debated this a lot while writing this story. For all intents and purposes, All Might still has One for All in the story, and has been training Mirio to receive it. The way I perceived it, he hasn't officially passed the mantle yet and will only do so when it becomes absolutely necessary, given that the League of Villains has not risen as prominently yet in this universe, and because the quirk is a heavy burden in its own right.
Is there still a chance that Deku inherits it? On the one hand, I wanted to emphasize Deku's strength as a quirkless person, and it was important for me that he got his Pro status as a quirkless Hero - and I think him receiving One for All can take away from that. On the other hand, I can't help but fall to the original concept that One for All was meant to be Deku's destiny at the end of the day - especially since All Might himself was once quirkless, and he became all the stronger for it. I have deliberately left this decision open-ended in the story, and it can go either way.
Regarding the wedding article: Some of you may have already spotted this, but there's a reason why Kacchan chose to publicize the wedding that way. It was his own way of 'sealing the deal' after Deku has been anonymised and left ‘invisible’ for so long.
I'll add more on these and other headcanons on the wedding and Chapters 5 and 6 over the coming days in my blog.
Update: I might write short one-shot sequels to this story. Will keep you posted on my blog!
While You Were Sleeping: This really was a great film, and even though this story was only loosely based on it, I would encourage people to watch it anyway for the comedy and the warm and fuzzy feels. I also have the movie to thank for some amazing beats in the story - and I pay homage to it through some of Deku's, Kacchan's and Kirishima's lines, which some of you may recognize.
Thanks so much for your comments! Your comments have really given me joy, especially to those who have been there every step of the way (callouts to IAmStoryTeller, Ani_Chan, Anon and Sonday in particular) as well as to those of you who have binge-read and taken the time to comment. I took a pause from the real world and wrote this story, and I am happy that you've all made it amazing in the short time I've had to be here. If I get the chance to write more, I would.
Blog: Headcanons and other ideas can be found at belkacaramelka.tumblr.com.
Thanks again everybody!
Chapter 7: After Sleeping
As promised, a bonus chapter for those who wanted more: a series of drabbles following the events of While You Were Sleeping: in which Todoroki contemplates marriage, Mei is surprised, Shinso gets what he deserves, Kirishima grows up, Small Might Junior fights for his daddy, and Bakugou dreams.
Can be read as a separate part of the series, but in the end added here instead - more in the end notes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
If Todoroki Shouto was asked to explain what happened while he was sleeping and how it led to this wedding, he honestly wouldn’t know where to start.
Shouto looked through the merrymaking that surrounded him, seeing his friends in happy celebration, clinking glasses and dancing with varying levels of skill as colorful lights shifted in the dark. Somewhere in the room, there was a photographer and members of the press.
A wedding. Marriage. Between Bakugou and Agent Deku – Izuku. And here Shouto stood, in the middle of it all.
Who would have thought?
The truth was that of the many things that Shouto struggled with in his life, Marriage was the most troublesome. His own issues aside, he couldn’t help but reflect on it was marriage that had trapped his own mother into the orbit of his oppressive father –another issue that he wasn’t even ready to get into.
Perhaps that was why he had chosen to join the Illegal Quirk Marriages mission months ago. Shouto just didn’t understand how anyone would leave themselves open in such a vulnerable position like that, when he’d seen how badly it could go wrong; couldn’t fathom trusting or letting somebody in that much.
Of course, that had all begun to change when he met Agent Deku during the operation.
He had been nothing more than a voice at first, a warm and steady presence in his ear. He was both reassuring and compelling, enabling him to face the mission, but never backing down when he believed Shouto could do better. Deku’s voice had shown Shouto how to understand quirks and discover secret passages; it kept him company during stakeouts with stories about the antics of his cat; it gave him no bullshit when it came to his quirk, both ice and fire.
And Deku’s voice had braced him and kept him standing when he finally saw the people that their operation saved: victims of forced marriages, all brokered for the sake of their quirks.
Yes, Deku had been nothing more than a voice at first, but he had become the most human interaction that Shouto had, the only one who was there when Shouto was left raw, open and uncertain. And that was before he had even met the man.
So it was a particular shock for Shouto to wake up to the unbelievable news that not only had he been in an accident and a coma, but that he was also engaged to be married to Deku.
It was enough of a surprise to put a face to Deku’s voice – to be introduced to this wide-eyed green-haired boy with a bright smile that you couldn’t look away from; whose voice still told him, ‘You’re okay now. You are not alone’ as he touched Shouto’s hand.
But to find out that he had only agreed to an inexplicable engagement in order to protect Shouto this whole time?
(Why would anyone do that? And why me?)
It had been Bakugou, of all people, who surprisingly gave Shouto the answer that he should have known from the very start.
His most inscrutable classmate, both his rival and his equal – accomplished, talented and ambitious, explosive yet impassive. He gave his all for the things he cared about, but in some ways, he was just as removed from his deepest emotions as Shouto was. And yet, when it came to Deku—
“Say what you want about Deku, but he is just as much, if not even more of a hero than anyone else I know.” Bakugou had said when Shouto was trying to come to terms with the engagement. “Anyone can see it. And even if you don't remember him, if you could see even a small part of what even our dumbest friends took only seconds to see in him, then you should marry him now, regardless of everything else.”
“Even I,” and here, Bakugou seemed to choke on his own words, “even I can see it.”
“I see him.”
Shouto remembered the look on Bakugou’s eyes as he said those words. Remembered thinking, Bakugou, of all people, even he had become changed by this.
Remembered thinking, he at least had to try with this man who had done so much for him, even though he didn’t understand his own heart – knew at least, that it was far from ready.
Yet somehow, it all finally fell into place when Deku spoke to him – when it was him who offered to not marry Shouto despite what everyone else was saying, because he understood, more than anyone else, what Shouto felt.
“You and I both know how hard it is to live up to an idea.”
And that was an enormous relief: that deepened breath that Shouto had not even known that he was holding until he could surface for air, like a new lease at life. The kindness from this man, who knew Shouto’s heart even better than he did, who instinctively put others first before himself.
And Shouto remembered understanding what it was that Bakugou was talking about, when he said that this man was a hero.
He remembered vaguely making the connection, Bakugou would marry this man himself if he had the chance – then dismissing it, not realizing how close to the truth he actually was.
“My name is Midoriya Izuku,” Agent Deku had said, at the last. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
The irony of it all was that it was in that moment that Shouto fully realized how truly special Midoriya Izuku was – this voice, this person, who had been kind to him, who understood him from the start. It was through him that he began to realize that there were people whom you could trust, who you could afford to open yourself up to, because they wanted nothing more than what’s best for you.
It was through Izuku choosing to not oblige Shouto into marrying him, that he understood why he could want to marry him.
Maybe it was linked to that other inexplicable thing that Shouto was also only beginning to understand: love.
And for all that Shouto had yet to learn about love, it wasn’t hard to recognize it, once he had his first inklings of it – not just in the friendship that Izuku, Yaoyorozu and his classmates had shown him throughout this whole episode, but in how Bakugou had denied his own heart to Shouto for the sake of Izuku’s happiness, how Izuku in turn wanted to tell Bakugou the truth even though it hurt; in how Izuku kept waiting for Bakugou to come back when the man walked away from him.
I need to do it this time, Shouto-kun. To do what makes me happy; and to be with the person I love.
And what else could Shouto do when he realized that Izuku was also in love with Bakugou, but return the favor and put their happiness first?
His thoughts were interrupted by applause. At the wedding, people were turning towards the side as the men of the hour came up to the dance floor: Bakugou Katsuki, looking as happy as Shouto had ever seen him, smirked as he allowed a giggling Midoriya Izuku to pull him into a slow dance.
Shouto was unable to help a smile himself when, after all of the fanfare, the awkward dance moves and the teasing, Bakugou enfolded his new husband into his arms and tucked his head under his chin, a rare tender look on his face as he closed his eyes and whispered softly to Izuku.
Here, Shouto remembered what happened months ago, when he had staged an intervention and finally got Bakugou to finally recognize the truth about Izuku’s feelings for him. Kirishima, who had been waiting outside the whole time, then eagerly joined them and asked.
“So, are you finally going to ask Midoriya out?”
“Ask him out?” Bakugou had given him an incredulous look. “I’d known him ever since we were kids. I’d met his cat, seen his embarrassing videos and watched his fanboy antics. I'd hurt him and seen him stand back up again. I've seen him cry, and I've seen him fight back.”
His voice suddenly fell soft, “And now, I have the opportunity to fix the things I messed up, when I thought I'd fucked up my chances forever. Now, I know that despite everything, I might actually have a shot at being with him, because that idiot hero of nerd is stubborn enough to actually love me back.”
“Of course, I’m not asking Deku out.” He spat out the last word, shaking his head as a determined gleam began to light up his eyes.
And for once, Shouto understood.
“I’m asking him to marry me.”
3 MONTHS AFTER SLEEPING
Being surprised was something Mei should already be familiar with.
She made a good living out of discovering things, and frequent epiphanies were kind of Her Thing. However, there were moments in her life when she would suddenly pause and realize that something she never would have predicted was actually happening before her very eyes.
Like here, now. Standing in her lounge, surrounded by more guests than she’d ever welcomed to her place before – playing host to her friends in a long-anticipated ‘Showdown of the Ages’ to show who had ‘true gaming superiority’ between Monoma and Uraraka tag-teaming on the one side, and Iida on the other, with Izuku as support.
On a taiko drum video game.
“Prepare to meet your Master, A-gumi class Rep!”
“So… we’re at the mandatory bad trash talking part.” Mei sighed with mock seriousness as Monoma waxed on. “How exciting. I should make myself comfortable with some popcorn
“I still can’t believe we’ve never chilled out here before!” Kaminari confided next to her as he stared at Mei’s multimedia setup. “Your place is amazing, Hatsume.”
“Yeah, I’m still amazed that you have three-floor loft.” Ashido gushed, awed. “I guess that’s what being a genius inventor gets you!”
“I told you,” Shinso drawled as he came to them, handing them glasses of raspberry cooler. “Her place is a cave of wonders. You haven’t even seen her mini-workshop upstairs yet. This is why Midoriya and I always prefer to hang out here instead.”
“Huh.” Mei had to pause at that too. Making friends hadn’t always been easy for her, and it hadn’t even occurred to her when she began to let her two closest friends into her private sanctuary – they were just there before she knew it; Shinso and Izu singing and dancing along to videos on her TV (which she then upgraded into a custom-built entertainment and gaming system, because she was just kickass that way), making a mess of her kitchen (Izuku was the least disastrous cook of them all, but she mixed the meanest cocktails) and testing her pet projects in her home workshop.
It was therefore surprising, how natural it was to then extend her world to the growing number of people in their lives, now that they were getting to know them more.
“Well, who else do you think could have set us up for this Epic Battle, if not for me?” She grinned.
She then turned to give Iida a word of support, and was surprised to see him already smiling at her, his lips quirked in a determined grin.
“We’ll make sure to give you a battle to remember then.” His brow rose rakishly as he gave her a blink-and-you’ll miss it wink, and he turned back to his competitors with a glint in his eye.
She was surprised to find herself breathless all of sudden. Oh.
“Show me what you’ve got, Monoma-kun, Uraraka-kun.”
“Let’s go!” Uraraka yelled as the song in the game started, and a quick rhythm started playing.
Mei found herself watching as Iida’s steely gaze went to the screen, the muscles in his arms straining as he confidently hit each note. She watched the sharp angle of his chin as he bounced to the beat in minute movements, his dark hair swaying in a subtle dance. She swallowed.
Mei had met all sorts of boys before, and was hardly surprised anymore by what she found attractive. Her approach to dating was the same as her nature: daring and experimental. From enigmatic pretty boys and egocentric geniuses to wild adventurers, she’d pretty much had a handle on how to deal with them (or to deploy her boys as backup if needed).
Iida Tenya, though, was in many ways the most surprising person she had ever met.
He had a reputation for being upright and highly principled to the point of stubbornness. But Mei could never forget how it was him who let her get away with taking advantage of their First Year Sportsfest match to advertise her then-unknown Babies. She also knew that he was one of the UA students who were unofficially involved in taking down the Hero Killer Stain, before he even had his provisional hero license. As Re-Ingenium, he had become one of the youngest (and most beloved) Agency heads, leading Team Idaten as soon as he graduated, yet here he was Living His Best Life while playing a simple arcade game. He was also one of the first people in class 3-A to accept and forgive Izu after the deception of his engagement to Todoroki was revealed. He was a walking contradiction.
This was a man who was amazing and remarkable, but was strong enough to take on any challenge and break all the rules when needed.
That was partially why Mei had said ‘yes’ when he asked to be her date at Izu’s wedding.
She had been surprised that he’d even asked, given the way he used to complain about her infamous single-mindedness during their school days. Nevertheless, he seemed genuinely interested in getting to know her more, and he had been nothing but gentlemanly during the wedding, where he was a class act in how he effortlessly stepped in to support her whenever she was distracted by her Best Woman Mission to Deliver the Best Wedding Ever. And at the end of the night, when she’d been dead on her feet, he had even managed to coax a dance or two out of her. (“Hatsume-san, even Todoroki is dancing right now with Yaoyorozu-san. It’s your turn to enjoy. Now, shall we dance?”)
(She may or may not have tried to kiss him that night, after a glass or two of champagne. Part of her wondered if it all had all just been her imagination.)
“How’s it going, Monoma-kun?” Iida let out in a deceptively casual voice as the song began to escalate in its rhythm. “Suddenly finding it hard to keep up with the Class Rep?”
…and for some reason, he looked really good while hitting the drum with those sticks.
Yes, Iida Tenya was also physically attractive. Objectively speaking. Even out of his hero costume, Mei had seen others pausing to get an eyeful of Iida’s tall, broad shoulders, that chiseled body… and she wouldn’t even know where to begin with those thighs.
Her sudden thirst surprised even herself.
Have I really only been on one date with this guy?
“Like hell!” Monoma gritted out in response. “I’m not letting you win!”
“This is my videogame protégé you’re talking about!” Izu bragged next to Iida.
“Please tell me,” a dry voice suddenly interrupted Mei’s thoughts, “that that idiot jumping around like a mad bunny isn’t the man I just married.”
Mei whirled around to see Bakugou Katsuki, who, clad in his usual tank top and jeans, looked like he had just come straight out of his latest patrol at work, followed by a grinning Kirishima Eijirou. He was frowning at Izuku, who just waved cheerfully at him. “Kacchan!”
“Ah,” Mei grinned as she welcomed her best friend’s new husband with a hug. “You know how proud Izu is of Iida-kun. I think he’s there to provide moral support versus Team Trash Talk on the right.”
“Iida-kun will defend my honor!” Bakugou rolled his eyes at Izuku’s passionate declaration.
“Screw that, we're gonna wipe the floor with your 'honor'!” Uraraka responded with a frighteningly bright smile. Wow. She really could take heckling to the next level when she wanted to. Next to her, Monoma looked like he had died and gone to heaven – he had so lucked out when she agreed to go out with him. “You go, babe!”
That caused Monoma to stumble and miss the beat, his cheeks going red. Mei blinked. Huh.
Iida and Izu hadn’t missed out on that either – they exchanged glances, and a grin slowly grew on Izuku’s face as he mouthed, ‘Green Boy Effect.’
Mei started. Huh. The last time she heard those words were in the Floor Bar months ago, when they were all competing at Dance Combat, and Izuku lost because of a random cat-caller's proposal.
Iida just nodded however, before clearing his throat. “Uraraka-kun, it looks like things are going really well with ‘Babe.’ You must really like him.”
Monoma paused at the word, almost losing his beat, and Uraraka choked. “What?”
“I don’t blame you.” Izuku said lightly. “I mean, Monoma-kun is attractive.”
At that, Monoma literally stumbled in his performance, even as Bakugou muttered an offended, “Oi!”
Mei’s eyes grew wide, remembering how Izuku reacted the same way when someone gave him an unexpected compliment. Was this what they meant by the Green Boy Effect?
Iida’s eyes gleamed as he continued, “Let’s be honest, how many people here found Monoma-kun attractive…” and when silence met his question, he cleared his throat, “…before he opened his mouth?”
Mei laughed when Ashido, Kaminari, Shinso and Izuku raised their hands the same time she did. Uraraka’s blush was telling enough.
“Seriously?” Kirishima choked out.
“Well, he is quite pretty,” Ashido agreed, “Right Ochako-chan?” causing Monoma to miss another beat on the game.
And this was Monoma, who antagonized people like it was second nature, and most likely never received any praise himself - at least, this side of their classes.
Green Boy Effect indeed. Genius.
Then Izuku shrugged, as if it was obvious. “I even found him attractive after he first opened his mouth.”
“What.” Bakugou did not sound pleased by this revelation. Monoma looked dazed.
“That’s right, you did!” Mei crowed, struggling not to laugh as she remembered. “Until—until—”
“Until we realized that it was only because he reminded you of your ex.” Shinso chuckled over his drink victoriously. “And that turned you off immediately. Remember how horrified you were when we found out they even had the same birthday?”
“What?” More than one voice raised in alarm, although Bakugou’s was the loudest.
Mei wiped the tears crowding her eyes at the memory. “Come on guys, even you must all know how Shindo-kun was a class act in scheming and trolling behind that famous charming smile.”
“He was good at being an asshole.” Shinso agreed. “Where else do you think the kid learnt it from?”
As if on cue, Izu’s shit eating grin grew, “And no offense, Monoma-kun, but you’ve got nothing on Shindo-kun. He’d have you for breakfast. Either way, I wasn’t going to be dating anyone like my ex ever… so unfortunately, you lost me then too.”
“Take me away from here. Now.” Bakugou demanded with a hand to his face, looking both disturbed and traumatized.
Mei tried to hold back a laugh as Monoma gawked at them, still taken aback as he tried to resume his rhythm. “Where is this all coming from?” he asked desperately.
“Well, Uraraka’s agreed to date you many times even after all that,” Izuku concluded with a gesture at Monoma, “so she must really like you, then.”
“Deku-kun!” Uraraka shrieked, blushing furiously.
“Of course, and it looks like it’s getting serious,” Iida smirked as he emphasized the word, and his eyes glinted mischievously as he added.
This time, the whole room froze.
“What. Was that?” Monoma choked out with a strangled voice, even as Ashido squealed.
Izuku looked like he was trying not to laugh. “That’s your ship name – am I the only one who keeps an eye on online hero fan forums? You have fans, guys!”
“Team UraviThief.” Iida added solemnly, smirking, even as he kept his perfect pace on the drums. “We will always support you.”
And here, he added his what Mei would eventually come to recognize as his ‘class rep’ smile.
“Just remember... to always be responsible and use protection!”
Mei froze, and Ashido choked on her drink.
"WHAT." Monoma looked like he was about to faint.
“Take me away from here. Now.” Bakugou repeated, and Kaminari howled with delight.
Ladies and gentlemen: Iida Tenya as a savage beast.
Monoma dropped the sticks completely, flushed; Uraraka covered her face, and it was no competition as Iida finished the set.
“Yeees Team Iideku!” Izu jumped around and high-fived Iida.
“Go, Class Rep!”
Mei felt like doing a slow clap herself. She wasn’t even sure what the contest was about anymore – all she could see was the secret, satisfied look on Iida’s face at destroying the competition.
Mei suddenly found throat dry.
They were all interrupted however, when Bakugou suddenly snorted. “All right.” He stepped towards the stage, pointing at Iida. “Me versus you, now.”
Bakugou looked at them. “I’ll show you losers how to win, without all that heckling, trolling, scheming bullshit.” And Mei frowned, was this because of their comments about Shindo?
Izu looked like he was about to protest, when Iida just smirked, all sexy.
“Bring it on, Bakugou.”
Forget the popcorn, Mei needed water, dammit.
Round Two of the competition started between Bakugou and Iida.
Izu’s eyes literally bugged out when his beloved Kacchan chose the highest level of difficulty, without ever having tried the game before.
“What?” Bakugou sneered, “I have other talents too, you know.” And he suddenly slammed into the beat when the song started, like it was as easy as child’s play.
Hatsume whistled, impressed. “How the hell?” Monoma demanded, and Uraraka shook her head, “So your performance in the class rock band wasn’t a fluke then!”
“What performance? What band?” Mei heard Deku’s faint but frantic voice before the sound was drowned out by the bombastic rhythm of the song, but her attention was elsewhere.
On Iida, who look unruffled by his opponent’s impressive playing, looking just as hungry as he bit his lips red while competing.
Mei smiled, unable to help herself. “You rock, Tenya-kun!”
And his hand missed its rhythm.
“Mei!” Izu gasped, horrified. “Why, why would you do that to my precious student?”
“Ha!” Monoma cried out, “How do you like it, having a taste of your own medicine?”
Oh. The Green Boy Effect.
“I—” Iida gave Mei a quick look as he resumed his efforts on the drum. “I know we’ve been busy, but I was going to ask you today, Hatsume-kun. After all this.” He cleared his throat. “If I could take you out for dinner.”
Mei was surprised to find her cheeks hot.
She had met all sorts of boys before, and was hardly surprised anymore by what she found attractive, but for the first time in a very long time, she found herself –shy, and unaccountably charmed.
“Sure.” She cleared her throat, and her smile went wider than usual. “I’m surprised you didn’t just ask me sooner.” She paused for effect. “Tenya-kun.”
Iida adorably missed his beat again as he coughed. “I will.” He tried to recover. “Next time.”
“Really, Iida-kun? Your name?” Uraraka covered up a laugh. “And I thought we were bad.”
Izuku shushed them, even as he kept his gaze on Bakugou, who was now scowling. “Don’t worry, Iida-kun.” He whispered. “I’ve got your back.”
Mei knew Izu’s Thirsty Look well enough at this point, and they all watched with interest as Izuku sidled up to Bakugou.
“Kacchan…” he let out in a soft husky voice that even Mei had never heard before. “You didn’t tell me you could actually play the drums.”
And Bakugou grew prickly, very quickly.
“SHUT UP, NERD!” His hands didn’t waver on the taiko though.
“But Kacchan,” Izuku continued when he refused to take the bait. “I love seeing you so… capable, and have you seen your arms? I mean, online fan groups exist to worship those biceps. And now, you add music to the equation…”
“Hah.” Bakugou scoffed, undeterred. “You’re too easily impressed any way. Seriously, Monoma? And because of that smug smiling ex of yours? Was there ever any hero that you didn’t hero worship?”
But Izuku then lowered his voice, and Mei was again reminded why Izuku was good at this. “Sure, I’m a fanboy nerd, and I will always freak out over heroes. But I’d never marry any of them.” He heaved a breathy sigh. “You’re the only one that I’d call Husband.”
Mei paused at the way he said the word. Uraraka’s eyes grew wide. Ashido slurped loudly on her cocktail straw. Monoma groaned.
Bakugou suddenly threw his drum sticks aside. Mei swore she heard an explosion somewhere.
“Fuck this game. You win, Four Eyes.” Bakugou swore at Iida as he grabbed his husband, who only looked too happy to be manhandled. “I’m taking this one home.”
“Go get some action, Kacchan!” Kaminari cheered under Shinso’s arm.
“Husband, eh?” Mei chuckled. She supposed they all had their own kryptonite, Green Boy Effect or otherwise.
“You’re welcome,” Izu mouthed as Bakugou dragged him away. “Enjoy your second date,” he winked, “Team IidaMei!”
That shut Mei up, and she was surprised to find cheeks warm.
She looked up to see Tenya smiling down at her, victorious, a hand behind his head. From behind them, the rest of their new friends began to whistle with exaggerated cheer.
Uraraka took a look at them and grabbed both of their hands, linking them together.
“And whatever happens,” she grinned vindictively, “remember to always use protection.”
6 MONTHS AFTER SLEEPING
Shinso Hitoshi deserved this.
He was never one to back down from supporting anything or anyone, if he believed they deserved it. He wouldn’t be the hero he was today if he didn’t believe he deserved to be one.
Of course over the years, he also thought that many questionable activities, such as blindfolded mini-golf or that one time they did an escape room challenge drunk with three overly-analytical friends (Mei, Midoriya and surprisingly Kendou) and two hecklers (himself and Shindo) also deserved to be done, but that’s neither here nor there.
The fact was that Bakugou Katsuki owed him one, and he deserved this.
“Eh?” Lord Explosion Murder scoffed the first time Hitoshi asked. “Why should I be the one to convince Deku to go along with this? He’s still so embarrassed by your other Purple Rain karaoke videos that he needs to blow up a few things each time he sees them.”
Mei first tried the diplomatic approach. “Because we want to have a good show, and it’s not Purple Rain without Queen Inventoria and Fit Awkward Bunny, and the only way we could ever get Izu to join us on stage again is if he really owes Shinso. The last time he really messed up was when he accidentally let Shinso’s ex in and the guy ended up kidnapping Merlin, and that was ages ago…”
Hitoshi’s brow still twitched over that.
“…And really, the only way we could get Izu to do things these days is through: one, guilt-tripping him when he owes us; two, using his adorable need-to-try-everything-once thing against him—”
“That’s Mei.” Hitoshi had to point out. “That’s how she tricked him into getting a piercing, so it doesn’t really work anymore.”
Mei beamed, not even guilty, “Three, using a smugface and telling him ‘Bet you can’t do it’—”
“That’s me.” He smirked, “Works only 50% of the time though.”
“—And finally,” Mei pointed at Bakugou with a sweeping flourish, “Through you.”
Bakugou scoffed. “What?”
“Come on, because Husband? We all know that you’re his red button… or some kind of love kryptonite and arc reactor at the same time.” Mei nodded for emphasis, “You’ve even overtaken All Might as his favorite topic. Just say ‘Kacchan’ and he’d drop everything and come running – including his pants!”
Hitoshi rolled his eyes as Bakugou’s eyebrows rose progressively through Mei’s enthusiastic monologue. “Did… you just call me… a love kryptonite?”
Hitoshi put his hand down on the table before they got carried away. “Look, you’re gonna have to do this. Why? Because you owe me. Yes.” He cut Bakugou off before he could retort.
“I was one of the first ones to say ‘aye’ and support your mad plan to propose to your Deku because I believed that he was crazy enough to say ‘yes’, way before everyone else did. I was the one who got Mama Midoriya to meet with you again so that you could apologize and get her blessing.”
Bakugou shut his mouth at that, no protest left on his lips.
Hitoshi wasn’t done however, “And I was the one who had to watch over Small Might Junior all those weeks before the wedding, just so you two could bang out all that sexual tension on what I assume is every conceivable surface in your apartment. And I had just started seeing Denki at the time – so you know what that took.” He smirked as Bakugou coughed unexpectedly. “So yes—"
“You owe me.” His steepled his fingers under his head as he finished. “And I deserve this.”
Bakugou could only gawk at him after that. So of course, Shinso decided to use his trump card:
“Also, I was the one who had to walk in on you two getting it on while he was wearing that skirt, and I have pictures.”
“Wow.” Mei whistled, impressed, as Bakugou went various shades of red, white, and then purple, all in the space of a few seconds. “Is that why Izu took his spare key back from you?
At Hitoshi’s proud nod, Mei laughed. “Have you forgotten that Izu’s a competent hacker? He could just delete those photos permanently when he finds out.”
“Midoriya would delete them immediately.” Hitoshi smirked, before pointing a thumb at Bakugou.
“Kacchan would want to see them before he does.”
Taking Bakugou’s strangled choke as confirmation, Mei’s eyes widened in delight, and Hitoshi crossed his arms, satisfied at his victory.
“Midoriya was wearing a Sailor Pluto cosplay, and that skirt? Absolutely worth it.”
And so now here they were, backstage, Hitoshi settling into his shades and leather trousers like coming home. This time, he was wearing a cut-off crop top instead of his vest, which Mei had approved of (“Still shows off those V-lines, so no complaints here!”). Mei had continued their homage to glam rock by combining steampunk-style black goggles and trousers with a military jacket, complete with brass buttons and striped epaulettes.
“I still don’t get my costume.”
They both turned to Midoriya, who was wearing a black bowler hat with rabbit ears, a black leather eye mask, a Mei-approved white muscle top with a loose burgundy bowtie dangling from the neck, and tight dark leather jeans.
“I feel like a cross between a male playboy bunny and a waiter. Aren’t we supposed to go for full glam rock this time?”
Mei lifted a hand airily, “Well, it’s not my fault that you somehow chose to interpret All Might’s hair as bunny ears the first time we did this, and that it’s become your signature look. Or that you can’t wear your old green suit because it’s too close to your current hero costume and people might make that connection. That, my friend, is all on you.”
Midoriya put a hand on his head as he groaned. “Ugh. Why, why did I do that? Brain, where were you when I needed you two years ago?”
Hitoshi smirked he gave an awkward pat on his bunny-ear clad head. “There, there. At least we’ve had practice with this song before. You can even use that speak-singing thing you do to pull this off.”
Midoriya choked, and he immediately grabbed the shot of tequila that Mei handed him.
“Don’t forget to use that ‘voice of a dancer’ and give us those moves.” Me added gleefully. “That’s like, 90% of the reason that Fit Awkward Bunny has fans.”
“Take a bottle, shake it up; break the bubble, break it up.” Hitoshi quoted with a shit-eating grin.
Midoriya’s horrified look morphed into one of defeated resignation. “You two. I can’t believe we’re here again, doing this.” He downed his shot with a flourish.
“And I’m still wondering how you actually got Kacchan to convince me.” Midoriya continued as they grabbed their mics and took their positions at the center of the stage behind the curtain.
“He said, I quote, ‘I’m no longer surprised that you’re such a vicious little shit, now that I’ve gotten to know your friends better.’ I feel strangely proud but also scared. What did you guys do?”
At that, Hitoshi decided not to mention that he and Mei deliberately chose the elements of Midoriya’s costume as a homage to Sailor Pluto, just to bring the point home to Bakugou – from the white muscle shirt to the bowtie that looked like a ribbon; or how Midoriya was actually lucky that he Mei had stopped short of getting him a skirt.
He shrugged artfully as he spread his feet and took his starting pose for the song.
“We just used our powers of persuasion.”
“And,” Mei made sure to add, winking. “Shinso deserves this.”
The curtains parted, and the sight of the audience no matter what size, always took his breath away – this small act of exposing themselves, in a world where it was best for him to keep his identity secret.
This time however, before the stage lights glared before their eyes, Hitoshi caught a glimpse of the table near the front. Bakugou was there, his eyes comically wide at Midoriya’s appearance; Iida immediately stood up to whistle his support at Mei; Shouto waved as he held a video recorder, and Ashido, Kirishima and Uraraka all held up a ‘We heart Purple Rain’ sign. These people who, for once, knew them, behind the masks.
And at the very front of the group was Kaminari Denki, who had begged to see Hitoshi in a live Purple Rain performance for ages, who even now had an idiotic but weirdly endearing lovestruck look on his face as he yelled: “Go, gorgeous! I love you, Purple Rain!”
It was him who deserved this show from Hitoshi.
He took a deep breath as he lifted the mic:
Walk this way,
you and me, babe.
8 MONTHS AFTER SLEEPING
There were days when Kirishima Eijirou realized just how far they had come from their high school days.
Objectively, there was no way to forget that fact: they were now professional heroes in their own right. Most of them had joined groups and agencies (or even led them in their class rep Iida’s case), holding responsibilities that sometimes put their own lives at risk. They also had their public track records and reputations to cultivate. And among all those, there was ‘adulting’ in their personal lives to pursue as well.
He supposed that participating in this Hero Convention was a good compromise between all of them. After all, it wasn’t every day that they got time out of work to reflect on their hero careers and to share their insights with their fans.
It was also a great opportunity to check on his friends’ panels.
Eijirou grinned as he jammed his head under a dark ballcap and snuck through the back to join the tail end of a panel discussion on Hero Image and Brand Management. He kept his eye out for an All Might Hoodie, and was pleased to see Midoriya waving back at him near the back.
“Hey man, thanks for saving me a seat. It looks packed in here.”
Midoriya beamed at him. “It’s a great topic. Hawks, Edgeshot and Kacchan have many fans.”
Kirishima whistled as he surveyed the crowd. He knew that this panel was a popular one. Bakugou was on it, perhaps due to the fact that he remained stubbornly popular despite his explosive interactions with the media. It really was a rare opportunity to see his friend in action.
Midoriya quickly launched into a keen analysis when he sat down.
“I saw your panel earlier, Kirishima-kun and it was amazing! I’ve always admired your work, but it was great to see how well you have integrated with civil agencies. Even when I was in Intelligence, your team with Fatgum always had a great reputation for being perfect to work with!”
Eijirou fought a blush. “I’m glad you enjoyed it!”
Fatgum had sent him out to join a panel earlier on how hero agencies compliment the work of other organizations, and it always gave him joy when people like Midoriya showed the same passion for their proud work, regardless of how Bakugou had put it down to his ‘rabid hero fanboyism’.
His thoughts were interrupted by applause as the panel ended, and people stood up to show their appreciation for the panelists. Eijirou sighed as he watched Hawks, Best Jeanist and Bakugou exit to the side of the stage.
“Damn, my mind wandered there for a moment and I missed the rest of their panel.” He placed a hand at the back of his head. “Never mind, you can catch me up!”
Midoriya nodded eagerly, “Well, Kacchan’s pretty much explained that his public image has always come second to how he sees himself – all he can do is try to improve, so how the public sees him after that is up to them, but I personally think that he naturally attracts attention…”
They continued to talk about the panel as they joined the crowd of people lining up to exit, closely following others who were also discussing themselves.
“I can’t believe we got to see Ground Zero in person!” the guy in front of all but squealed. “He just has that presence, doesn’t he? He has no need to manage his public image when he’s just naturally electric.”
Eijirou gave Midoriya a look and snickered at all the overt hero worship. Midoriya placed a hand on his mouth to cover his smile.
The girl next to the guy sighed. “But he’s married now, isn’t he?”
This was another unique development in their lives, Kirishima suddenly realized – the fact Midoriya was Bakugou’s husband, which meant a level of commitment from his friend that many of them were not ready for yet. Shocking enough to acknowledge that it was ambition-driven Bakugou, of all people, who got married first.
Although Midoriya had come into their lives first as a savior and a fiancé to Todoroki (which was another bizarre story in itself), Bakugou had later confided how he also saw Midoriya as his unforgotten mistake from his childhood that he needed to fix. And then later still, the one person that Bakugou was certain that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
He wants it all, where he is concerned.
The third person in their group placed a hand under his chin. “Yeah, I heard about that, to that new quirkless hero, can you believe? He could get anyone he wanted, yet he went for a guy who is nowhere near as flashy or as powerful as him.”
Eijirou watched as Midoriya stilled at that.
“He’s never been seen with anyone before, and it’s strange how’s suddenly settled for someone so far from his level. Let’s face it: quirkless people never have it that easy.”
“Sounds like a publicity stunt! He deserves better, surely.”
“Hey,” Eijirou said out loud when he saw Midoriya wince. “I don’t think it’s fair to judge people based on their quirks.”
At his words, all three suddenly turned to him, their gazes irate at his unplanned interruption. “Excuse me, don’t you know that it’s rude to join other people’s conversations? We weren’t talking to…” and here their eyes widened as they saw Eijirou’s distinct hair, “…you.”
“Don’t worry about it, Kirishima-kun.” They all gasped as Midoriya turned to address him with a strange, stretchy smile.
“I’ve heard comments like these all my life, and I wouldn’t be where I was today if I let them get in the way.”
(Shit, he heard the trio whispering among themselves. It’s Red Riot, and I think that’s Ground Zero’s husband, Deku)
Still, Kirishima couldn’t let it go. He himself had gone through a period where he had issues with his own quirk, just because he wrongly thought that it would define how he was perceived as a hero. It had taken him a long time to realize the truth.
“Not all quirks are made equal, yes, but we both know that the ability to be a good hero is not down to how flashy or exciting the quirk is, but to how it’s used.”
Midoriya started at that, and he turned back to him a small but genuine smile. “Yes.”
Eijirou could hear a rustle of dissent from their unwitting audience, and he could tell that they were about to argue back, when they were interrupted by an irate voice behind them.
“What the hell,” Bakugou’s trademark husky voice cut through them, “are you two still doing here?”
Ground Zero! someone meeped.
“Didn’t we agree to meet outside? What’s taking you so damn long? Was the damn nerd fanboying too much again?”
Eijirou’s eyes narrowed as he remembered their conversation, and he suddenly couldn’t help himself. “Oh. I rudely interrupted your fans’ conversation about how there’s no way that you could be would be with Midoriya cause he’s quirkless and far from your level,” he quoted, ignoring the nervous glances from the others, “Apparently it’s all a publicity stunt.”
“Kirishima-kun,” Midoriya warned.
“Wait.” Bakugou’s eyes narrowed. He turned to the three speakers. “Is this true?”
The group began to back away, and Eijirou could understand why. There was no way to tell how Bakugou would react sometimes. They’d all seen the fireworks and explosions.
But Bakugou gave them a careful look, and instead of raising his voice, he just took a deep breath. “Listen, I’ve been there before, I know how you think. It’s easy to fall into the thinking that only large and powerful quirks matter, and the rest is extra. I was young and stupid once too.”
He then pointed at Eijirou. “This guy is one of the strongest people I know. He’s so fucking outstanding, dedicated and determined as a hero that even the police and law enforcement prefer to work with him. I trust him with my life.” Eijirou almost stepped back at the sudden proclamation.
“And yet he had to rebuild his identity and color his hair when he was a teenager to stand out, just because for some idiotic reason, he was like you and believed that he would only be worth looking at if he stood out, if he was somehow flashier… when that had nothing to do with how strong his will actually was.” He shook his head. “I wouldn’t have known what true power was, if I hadn’t met him.”
Eijirou started at that. That was all true, but he had never expected Bakugou to have paid that much attention to his experiences and doubts over the years. He was surprised to realize their friendship had produced that much of an impact on Bakugou’s sense of others all this time.
“Bakugou.” He choked out.
But then Bakugou moved his finger to point at Midoriya next. “And this one. He’s a ridiculous nerd who’s become a damn amazing hero even though he was quirkless. He brings out the best in other heroes, always puts others first, and he never gives up. He fights like he's dancing and he never stops coming up with ideas. He’s better than anything I ever expected. I didn’t see him at first either,” his voice went soft, “but once I did, my life was never the same. That’s why I married him.”
“Kacchan…” Midoriya looked like he was about to cry and swoon at the same time. Eijirou genuinely wouldn't be surprised if he managed both.
But then Midoriya turned to one of their three original speakers. “I also wanted to say this: it’s okay to be quirkless too. I know we end up being our worst enemies sometimes, because we think it hurts less that way… but that doesn’t automatically mean that the world is against us, or that any good thing that happens to us must be fake. We deserve it just as much.”
Eijirou started at that, because he hadn’t realized. One of their naysayers was quirkless too.
Bakugou nodded before continuing. “So no, I’m not lying, and no, I know better now than to consider these heroes ‘far’ from my level.” He exhaled. “The truth is that I’d just grown up enough to get my head out of my ass to see that it's not the quirk that makes a person - or a hero.” He gave them a considering look.
“Don’t make the same mistake that I did.”
Silence followed his statement. Eijirou looked around to see the shocked, rueful looks on the fans’ faces. Around them, other people were also listening with various looks of awe and amazement on their faces. He hadn’t realized how big their audience had grown.
There were times when he was surprised by just how much they’d grown as individuals. This, here where they stood among a public audience, speaking about their mistakes and how they had changed their lives – this was one of them.
Midoriya looked like he was about to cry; Eijirou was halfway there already.
Before anyone else could speak however, Midoriya just shook his head and quirked a bright smile at them.
“And that’s why I married him.”
“Starboy” Fan Video of All Might Agency Heroes Goes Viral
Hero Watch Weekly
A video compilation of All Might Agency (AMA) heroes Deku, LeMillion, and Bubble Girl's successful takedown of a motorcycle gang set to the music “Starboy” by The Weeknd has been making the rounds in social media, already getting over 2 million views within a few days
When vidtube user dekuFanboy23 posted a fan music video of Quirkless Wonder Deku apprehending a motorcycle gang last week, it initially had no more than a few thousand hits. They were mostly from existing followers and Team AMA fans, who praised the song choice because it matched the heroes' movements from the footage really well.
However, people realized there was more to this song choice when another fan unearthed a clip from the day of the heist with LeMillion pointing to their shared earpiece with a raised brow, asking, “Really, Starboy?” and Deku apologising “I can’t help it, I fight better with good music. You liked it too!”
Now the internet is collectively losing its mind over the fact that today's most popular agency actually fights to music, delighting fans everywhere. This is also aided by the fact that new hero and social media darling Deku is known to have a background in dance.
Deku himself has taken the social media world by storm ever since his hero debut, not just because he is the first quirkless hero in a generation (and married to popular Top 10 hero Ground Zero on top of that), but because of his refreshingly humble and honest personality as well.
dekuFanboy23 wasn't the first fan to create videos of him based on amateur and professional footage, and they certainly won't be the last.
All Might Agency heroes Deku, LeMillion and Bubble Girl taking down motorcycle gang set to Starboy
You asked for evidence that Team AMA listens to music during fights, and I am delivering: have a compilation of footage from when they took down the motorgang last week, set to Starboy by the Weeknd
Edit: I didn’t realize that this video would go viral, or that the Hero News Network and Ground Zero would post links. Seriously! Have a look at my other Deku videos here!
crawlerHero Super prodigy LeMillion + quirkless wonder Deku + orb of justice Bubble Girl…Team AMA FTW
UravityFloatsMyBoat AHH the clip of Deku-san rolling his shoulders before jumping down towards the street at the beginning asgdjfjsljsgljlfe
maleficiantgirl Thank you for blessing us with the sight of LeMillion grooving. Bby just won my heart all over again
HawksHead2022 Pro Hero Deku knows how to bounce them hips, while smash stepping on those gang members from above!
ZerosNo1Fan That aerial move was so Ground Zero's style and I am living for it. GO hero husbands! #somarried
CreatiReactive That moment you realize that BubbleGirl and LeMillion pushed those thieves on the ground in time with the beat
Chanchan Not only are they good, they do it with style
1MilLover this is epic! The music matches their moves perfectly!
Chargeboltboi That's because they really do fight to background music, if it wasn't obvious yet
dekusCat I bet OP took his inspiration from that cutaway clip where LeMillion asked Deku “Really, Starboy?” after they took down the gang last week.
ShhhootouBaby Bet it was Deku who started streaming that song on their comms line
DekuStan00001 Team AMA only brought in those fancy earpieces when Deku joined. They had no idea what was coming
KickerBoxer Deku #living every hero geek's dream action scene
xHeroSongTwistrx wanna see em fight to Power by Kanye!
nerdidolchan Inb4 someone brings up how Ground Zero said ‘he fights like he's dancing’ from the Hero Panel footage
artiFishalSwimmer I knew there was a reason why Team AMA always moved like just they stepped out of a music video. It’s all fake and choreographed!
GreenEyedFollower If it looks good, it’s just because they are heroes who KNOW HOW TO coordinate, ffs
AllMightGoMight Please, those who really follow Deku know that he trained with Dance Combat, jujitsu and other martial arts. It only makes sense that he fights that way too.
ZeroisOne The quirkless hero of our time!
10 MONTHS AFTER SLEEPING
Small Might Junior’s Adventures Vol 5.doc
Small Might Junior loved his human
Daddy fed him, cuddled him, brushed his hair twice a week, cleaned his toilet, and always rubbed his fur down to that spot at the base of his spine. Daddy let him jump up his high bed to sleep next to him, and even let him climb up onto his shoulders whenever he wanted, no matter how big he got.
(And Small Might Junior loved Daddy’s shoulders)
Daddy also introduced Small Might Junior to Friends, such as their neighbors Merlin, who was his Best Cat Friend; ‘God Daddy’ Shinso, who always watched after Small Might Junior when Daddy was away; and Godmother Mei, who always made them nice toys and puzzles to chase around.
Daddy also introduced Small Might Junior to many new Friends recently, and that’s how he met his new Cat Friend, Scratch, who was a bit shy at first, but liked rubbing her fur against those she liked once she got to know them.
(And Small Might Junior liked Scratch. A lot)
And then there were all his new Uncle and Aunties, such as Scratch’s human Uncle Shouto, who he adored because he loved playing with him and Scratch. He also met Auntie Uraraka and Auntie Mina, who loved spoiling him with hugs, and Auntie Hagakure, who always looked surprised when Small Might Junior found her immediately. Small Might Junior also loved Uncle Kiri and Uncle Kami because they always fed him scraps of chicken under the table.
Merlin always complained that Small Might Junior was more like a Dog than a Cat because he was too hyperactive and liked too many Uncles and Aunties, but Merlin was just Lazy, and Small Might Junior really did enjoy meeting new Friends. Daddy was always laughing whenever he was with them.
But then he met Uncle Kacchan.
Small Might Junior liked Uncle Kacchan at first, because Daddy always smelled different whenever he was around, like he was getting his own new squeaky toy to play with. Uncle Kacchan also made sure to say hi to both him and Scratch whenever they were in the same room. Not many people said ‘hi’ to Scratch at first, and Scratch loved Uncle Kacchan
The problem was that Uncle Kacchan was always around.
Daddy always paid more attention to Uncle Kacchan whenever he visited, and he visited them Almost. Every. Day. And in Small Might Junior’s mind, Uncles and Aunts were only supposed to be around once a week, more if it’s Uncle Shouto or God Daddy Shinso. Little did he realize that this was only the beginning of his woes.
Because then Uncle Kacchan took Daddy away.
For some reason, Daddy had to spend every day with Uncle Kacchan for a long time, and they had to send Small Might Junior away to live with God Daddy Shinso.
Small Might Junior adored God Daddy Shinso, but he wanted his own Daddy to come back for him, and he waited every day.
Merlin wasn’t very helpful.
“Maybe your Daddy got stolen.” He chirped. “Did you know I got kidnapped once?”
Merlin liked talking about the time that he was abducted from home. It was an adventurous tale that involved Daddy, God Daddy and Godmother Mei, and they needed to rescue him. It was very daring indeed: they had to go through the windows.
(Small Might Junior may or may not be sick of the story, but this reminder was the worst)
“No!” Small Might Junior meowed loudly. “That can’t happen! Nobody could steal my Daddy!”
“Oomph,” Uncle Kami came running when Small Might Junior started crying, making sure to lift him onto his chest. “I think he misses Midoriya.”
“Well, he’s never had to share him before,” God Daddy scratched him on his favorite spot behind his ears, then rolled his eyes as Merlin sniffed and padded away in jealousy. “He’s always been the Number One Boy in his life.” He gave Uncle Kami a look, and they exchanged grins.
“They’re gonna have to learn to share.”
He started calling evil Uncle Kacchan ‘Daddy Stealer’ from then onwards.
It didn’t help that when Daddy finally returned to pick him up, Daddy Stealer was right there next to him. They both smelled of satisfaction, like they had catnip all to themselves to play with, and they both had shiny new toys on their fingers. Small Might Junior felt like he had been left behind.
“No!” He yowled when Daddy picked him up, “I am not happy about this! He was supposed to give you back!”
But Daddy just buried his nose into Small Might Junior’s side (which he may or may not have a weakness for) and just said, “Oh I missed you so much too, Baby!”
Daddy Stealer’s eyebrows twitched at that. “Am I the only one who finds the nerd’s whole cat ‘Baby’ thing weird?”
Uncle Kami only sputtered a laugh at that. “You’re just jealous that you’re not Midoriya’s baby.”
“I was first!” Small Might Junior meowed, although as most humans tended to, nobody really understood him.
“Small Might Junior was just saying that he was here first.” God Daddy translated, easy as you please. “He’s Number One.”
This was why Small Might Junior loved God Daddy. He was going to reward him with kitten licks and mice offerings next time.
Daddy Stealer looked very Insulted by all of this, and Small Might Junior was Pleased, especially when Daddy just kept nuzzling into Small Might Junior’s fur. “Of course, you are. You’ll always be my Baby and my Sidekick.”
But then Daddy Stealer only gave a nasty smirk. “Fine, he might have been first, but his ‘Daddy’ married me. So, take that!”
And for the first time in his life, Small Might Junior, who had always been so Good and so Happy that his own Best Cat Friend said that he was more like a Dog, looked at Daddy Stealer.
Daddy Stealer wasn’t going away.
It was the greatest trial of Small Might Junior’s almost two year-old life.
They had to move to a new home, and while it was bigger, with more rooms for Small Might Junior to explore, the rooms didn’t smell familiar, like their old home. Daddy Stealer also tried to replace his old play tower with a new taller one, which he didn’t like very much. There was also a kitchen which had many new scents, spicy, fascinating and sometimes disgusting, yet Daddy Stealer didn’t like it when Small Might Junior came to investigate the food or the food-making process.
But worst of all was how Daddy Stealer kept trying to steal Daddy’s attention! He gave Daddy strange kinds of kisses, and he was always grooming with Daddy, licking into each other’s faces and mouths. He was always scenting Daddy as well, putting his horrible nose on Daddy’s neck – sometimes even biting Daddy, but Daddy never complained!
Whenever Small Might Junior watched them and yowled about the injustice of it all, they always went red and ran off to the bedroom – and Small Might Junior wasn’t allowed to join them for hours, no matter how loudly he meowed or scratched on the door. Daddy always opened the door later, but Small Might Junior hated having to wait, and the room always smelled funny afterwards! They even did the same thing with the kitchen and the living room a number of times!
But Daddy Stealer’s biggest crime was how he always blocked Small Might Junior from climbing on Daddy’s shoulders
That had always been his favorite spot in the world!
He would always try to pull Small Might Junior off whenever he wanted to groom Daddy’s neck. He also complained that it was hard to kiss Daddy with Small Might Junior staring up at him and ready to pounce.
So Small Might Junior also slept by Daddy’s head in the mornings, just so he could stare angrily at Daddy Stealer when he woke up. This was also when Small Might Junior decided to attack Daddy Stealer’s clothes in the laundry basket - it was easy enough to get to.
He wasn’t giving his Daddy up without a fight!
“‘He wasn’t giving his Daddy up without a fight?’” Kacchan repeated. “Okay, this ridiculous story has gone on for long enough!”
Izuku paused from reading the story on his tablet. “But Kacchan, I haven’t even gotten to the part where Small Might Junior tore up your tank top yet.” He then eyed the holes on Kacchan’s shirt. On his shoulders, Small Might Junior looked smug about his proud work.
“Deku. Did you seriously write a story from Small Might Junior’s point of view?”
“Well…yes?” Izuku pouted at the incredulous look on Kacchan’s face. Surely, he wasn’t the only one writing stories to about their pets’ adventures?
“It wasn’t just me though! Shinso-kun helped a lot!”
“Oh, so is that why there was such a lot of ‘God Daddy’ love in that tale, while I was called ‘Daddy Stealer’? I bet he must have come up with that name!” Kacchan scoffed. “And I can’t believe you included that part about us ‘grooming’ each other’s faces, and how we have to move things to the bedroom because your cat keeps watching us all the time…”
“Actually…” Izuku hedged, “Shinso-kun added that part.”
Kacchan went stock still. “How the hell? Was he spying on us?”
Izuku’s brow rose. “Of course not!” And at the tick on Kacchan’s forehead, he relented. “All right. While it wouldn’t be outside the realms of possibility, I would have known if he was!”
Kacchan glared at him. “So what, are you telling him that Small Might Junior communicated to Shinso about our sex life? In what, meows and growls?”
Izuku nodded fervently. “Shinso-kun is really good at reading cats. He’s always right about them, and he comes up with interesting stories. I swear it’s a talent. I even tried to test it once!”
Kacchan gave him a blank look. “Has anyone ever told you both how weird your friendship is?”
Izuku knew there was no point in being offended. “Well… you wouldn’t be the first one to say it.” He said slowly, deciding that now was probably not the time to disclose that they had also written 4 other volumes on their cats, including that time Merlin was kidnapped. (Or that Shouto was their third contributor on the volume on Scratch. He even wanted to commission a manga version of the story.)
He grinned cheerily. “But you married into our friendship... so tough.”
Kacchan snorted. “I wanted to look for a solution for your cat’s behavioral problems; not a crazy fantasy novel!”
“But Kacchan,” Izuku argued back. “This story is good advice! Can’t you see? Small Might Junior thinks you’re trying to take me away!” He rubbed at his baby’s rich fur, and the cat purred, happy about his pride of place on his shoulders versus Daddy Stealer.
“We just need to make Small Might Junior feel like he’s not losing his human.”
Kacchan gave him a dubious look, and he continued. “In fact, what we should do is to let him know that he’ll have one more Daddy!”
“Wait. What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well,” Izuku’s smile grew, and he brought Small Might Junior down from his shoulders. The cat yowled loudly.
“He’s saying: ‘What are you doing, Daddy, where are you taking me?’” He interpreted with a chibi voice.
“What.” Kacchan said in a flat voice.
—And then and placed him solidly on Kacchan’s shoulders.
Kacchan blinked. Small Might Junior also froze, before he automatically had to balance himself around the man’s shoulders.
“He’s surprised,” Izuku translated. “Because your shoulders are quite nice and sturdy, and he's never been up there before.”
He watched as Small Might Junior began to comfortably settle around his husband’s neck. “Also because Daddy Stealer is warm.”
He watched as Kacchan’s mouth opened into an “Oh,” as the cat snuggled around him and started sniffing his neck.
“He can probably smell your nitroglycerine scent better from up there.” Izuku hummed. “I think he likes it too.”
Kacchan tentatively lifted a hand to curl between Small Might Junior’s ears, and Izuku watched as his cat sniffed at the warm, caramel-smelling hand before letting out happy chirp, butting his head against the hand.
“No. Fucking. Way.” Kacchan breathed out, untensing his shoulders as he raised another hand to rub through Small Might Junior’s fur, and before they knew it, his baby was purring in satisfaction.
Izuku definitely did not feel tears crowding his eyes. His boys.
“See, you’re a natural at this.”
He took his phone out to take a picture. He wouldn’t give this up for the world.
“Small Might Junior, Kacchan is your new Daddy. He’s in our lives now for good. Be nice to him, okay? And he’ll let you climb his shoulders, give you treats and love you just as much as I do.”
Kacchan gave him an exasperated look, but continued to rub at the feline. Small Might Junior meowed in response.
“Small Might Junior says ‘Okay, deal, but only because you asked so nicely, Daddy.’” Izuku was convinced. “And he’s decided to call you ‘Sugar Daddy’ in his head from now on, because of how you smell.”
He grinned as Kacchan’s eyes went round with annoyance. “Deku. You’re not even funny anymore.”
Izuku smiled, leaning up to kiss Kacchan, who begrudgingly accepted one. “Sugar Daddy.” He repeated with a smile, placing another kiss between Small Might Junior's ears.
“Shinso’s going to love that one for the story.”
Small Might Junior liked that he had a new Sugar Daddy. He let Small Might Junior climb on his shoulders each time now. He liked it especially when Sugar Daddy was making food: he would let Small Might Junior smell every ingredient before chopping them.
Daddy liked it too – he would make sure to kiss both Sugar Daddy and Small Might Junior whenever he saw them together. He said they were his “Family”.
Sugar Daddy also made sure to open the bedroom door for Small Might Junior now. He also preferred to sleep on Sugar Daddy’s side now, just because it was warmer.
Daddy had become a bit jealous about that, and he tried to bribe Small Might Junior back with toys and an All Might cat onesie. Small Might Junior was sorely tempted: even though he didn’t like it, Daddy and Uncle Shouto also got one for Scratch, and he liked pairing with Scratch.
But when Daddy and Uncle Shouto weren’t looking, Sugar Daddy slipped him a new catnip toy: a small blond figure in a dark and orange costume. It looked like Sugar Daddy!
“You’re not going to let your Daddy and IcyHot bribe you back to his side of the bed, aren’t you?” He rubbed behind Small Might Junior’s ear, “Not when I suffered so much just to win you over.”
Small Might Junior chirped happily, and Sugar Daddy looked left and right before lifting him up on to his shoulder.
“Damn right, you terrible little demon cat, cause you’re my baby too.”
12 MONTHS AFTER SLEEPING
Katsuki snapped out of his sleep with a jolt, gasping for air as his heartbeat continued to pound loudly in his ears.
“Kacchan,” a faint voice rumbled in his ear. “Are you okay?”
He turned to look. Deku was still there in bed next to him, his arms and legs tangled up in his as usual. To his right, Small Might Junior was still snoozing on the length of his side, his head mashed onto his waist while a paw extended onto his stomach.
Katsuki let out a deep breath. It’s been 12 months since Todoroki awoke from that life-changing coma; all had settled, and he was home with his husband.
“Are you alright?” Deku mumbled blearily.
Katsuki shook his head. What the hell was that? “Just a bad dream.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Katsuki closed his eyes and recalled his dream. “It was fucking horrible.”
“Huh?” Deku’s lids lifted to reveal sleepy green eyes.
He felt a shiver down his spine as he continued, “Everything was the wrong way around. Todoroki somehow chose to go after you in America instead, so I never got my act together, and you two eventually got married. I had to be there for your wedding.” He went cold at the thought.
He swallowed and looked at the feline next to him. “We didn’t live here anymore. It was IcyHot who was next to you whenever you got up to trouble with Shinso and Hatsume. Even Small Might Junior was happy because you were moving in with Todoroki and Scratch.”
Everything was gone. He placed a hand on his face. Fuck.
He was surprised to feel Deku’s hand on his. He looked up as Deku pulled his hand towards his lips. “Kacchan… it was just a dream. None of that happened.”
Katsuki turned his gaze onto the ceiling. On the one hand, that was true, but, “What if that’s the point?”
Todoroki could have just as easily chosen to do things differently; Deku might have decided that marrying his childhood bully after hardly a month of meeting him again was just inconceivable. Katsuki could have just as easily missed the signs and messed things up.
All of this could have just as easily not happened either.
He heard a shuffling noise and watched as Deku got up on his back. “A world where there’s no ‘us’… who’s to say whether or not that could have happened?” He sighed at the thought.
“Honestly, I think we’ll both be fine. We would have both carried on living our lives and trying our best. It’s just how we are.”
Katsuki took a deep breath at that, taking comfort in that truth, even as something in him ached inexplicably at the fact.
“It does make me sad though, thinking that we might have missed out on this.”
Katsuki started at that, struck by the simple truth of it.
Things weren’t perfect: there were many times when he had to question if this really was his life now, and there were days when their shenanigans drove each other insane; when people questioned if they had gone into this too quickly.
But he wouldn’t give this up for anything in the world.
“So,” Deku turned to look at him, “Instead of thinking about what might have been, I’d rather just be happy about what is.” He laid back down next to him.
“I love that we got to meet each other again, even though it was only because you couldn’t believe that Shouto-kun would marry me. I love that you ate your own words and proposed to me, and that I was insane enough to say yes.” Katsuki snorted at that, even as he began to draw Deku back into his arms.
Deku sighed contentedly as he snuggled next to him. “I love that you let me drag you to the arcade, the workshop, and Dance Combat; I love how you turn into a caveman whenever I call you ‘Husband’. I love that you let Mei get her way every now and then, even when she’s being high-handed.”
Katsuki rolled his eyes, and Deku nuzzled his neck with a smile.
“And I love that secretly adore Small Might Junior, even when he gave you such a hard time. Don’t even deny it.” He nudged as Katsuki tried to protest. “You’ve bribed our baby to take your side.”
Katsuki shook his head with a sly grin as he ran a hand down the sleeping cat’s back.
“And I love that we’ve made our home here. I love that Shouto and Kirishima can drop by whenever they want, and that Shinso is here so often that I’ve had to take away his spare key.” Katsuki huffed at that. “And,” here he gave Katsuki a serious look. “I love that we’ve corrupted your superbike.”
Katsuki groaned at those words, suddenly remembering how Deku wanted to try certain things on Katsuki’s bike; things that Katsuki would never have agreed to, if he was thinking rationally, but that they ended up doing anyway, rather enthusiastically; that still occasionally gave Katsuki a hard-on whenever the engine rumbled between his legs.
“Most of all,” and here Deku placed a hand on Katsuki’s face to tilt it towards him. “I’m so very lucky, that in this world – in this life of ours – that I have you.”
And at that, Katsuki lifted his gaze to his.
I have you.
“I’ve gone all-in with you, haven’t I?” He murmured as he lifted himself to roll over the nerd, wincing only minutely when Small Might Junior gave a meow of protest and hopped off to leave the bed.
Deku wrapped his arms around his neck, and Katsuki looked down at him – this nerd who mumbled all the time and indulged his friends ideas, no matter how ridiculous; this idiot who sang badly in the shower, who thought that he could win Small Might Junior over to his side again with an All Might pet onesie; this hero who fought like he danced – beautifully and passionately, and ruthlessly.
“Looks like you did.” Deku beamed as he pulled him closer. “Any complaints so far?”
Katsuki looked down at him. This amazing loser nerd idiot. His husband.
“No,” Katsuki whispered against his lips with a hidden smile. “None at all.”
Yes, I actually know someone who had an illustrated storybook done on their pet's adventures. And yes, Bakugou struck gold with Deku's hero nerdiness when he realized that he could dare him to cosplay anything - even magical heroes with short skirts.
And there you have it, a small (if not short), self-indulgent follow up to this labour of love, now that I've come back to the World of Work. Many thanks to you readers for continuing to inspire me, especially you who have commented. Particular shout-outs to Sonday and erza_mikazuki for this one.
Spotify list: As with the other stories, new songs added to the Spotify playlist here.
Quirkless AUs and While You Were Sleeping:
Will I write more? I love this universe so much, that I might eventually add more AUs to it, where Deku is quirkless and has studied in Ketsubutsu, but ends up crossing paths with Bakugou in many different ways (which I may have alluded to in the last part of this story).
That's not to say that it's the end for While You Were Sleeping - the Shindo in my head really wants to be written, and his and Deku's story is just a headcanon waiting to be shared. I only hope that I'll have the time to write even more.
Thanks again everybody!