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Inko found her son sitting on their front stoop with the Bakugo boy, playing cards. The afternoon sun touched the ends of his black locks and gave them a subtle green shine, coupled with his naturally pale skin, he looked like a little angel. The two of them could not be more different, the Bakugo child was as bombastic as his mother - but after years of experience, she knew it only hid a heart of gold.

Her angel, in comparison, was much quieter, watched and listened more to his surroundings than any other child she'd come across. It was cute, to see his calm inquisitive eyes take in the world with such wonder. Inko smiled at the scene, it looked like Katsuki or 'Kacchan' as her Izuku had taken to calling him, was winning their game of Go Fish . But unlike a normal child, Izuku took the losses graciously without so much as a peep.

The smile froze on her face however, when a bony hand ran through her son's hair almost affectionately from behind, pulling the glossy strands back from his forehead. Katsuki didn't seem to notice its presence, nobody else ever did. The cowl of a black hood pressed next to her son's ear, seemingly watching the game too. It never spoke, the ….thing that had taken to hanging around Izuku since he turned four. Though it wasn't like the thing wasn't with him long before then.

He was only a few days old when she finally noticed something was wrong. She started seeing the shadows that would linger in the corners of his nursery, even during the daylight hours, slithering up the cream walls like a spiderweb of cracks in glass--or under his cot just watching her change his nappy or tuck him into bed for the night.

Now that he was older, that he'd passed the age for quirks to manifest, that thing appeared, had been given form; the top half of a skeleton clothed in a shimmering black robe with the hood always up. It had never hurt anyone, least of all Izuku - but it had always unnerved her. Her bright little boy being followed by such darkness was...wrong, somehow. Every instinct told her it was wrong, that it shouldn't be here and she felt terrible for it, for being so afraid.

Her first thought, in the beginning, was that it was a curse, a premonition of terrible things to come. That Izuku was destined to die before her and she waited for it, sick to her stomach, for a random illness that she didn't see the signs of until it was too late. For a car to come screaming down their little residential roads out of nowhere when she was taking him to loll about in a pen while she caught up with Mitsuki.

For some other accident (as she couldn't fathom someone going after her baby intentionally ) but then one year turned into four and all the other kids his age started getting their quirks. If anything, the thing just became stronger , was able to touch and be heard instead of just watching silently beside him.

Inko wasn't totally sure Izuku knew the being was even there or what it was(she wasn't entirely sure herself), though he would visibly calm when it manifested and did as it was now; touch him. He was five now and Inko was more than sure the thing was his quirk, but what kind of quirk manifested during birth? - or even before that honestly, she'd always seen shadows out the corner of her eyes when she was pregnant with him, just like in the nursery.

Just how strong was such a quirk? The first generations of quirks had all reportedly manifested shortly after birth, not like now how the age for that was four. What did it even do? That question had always scared her more than anything else in her relatively short and uneventful life, because it looked too much like the Shinigami himself to be anything good.

As if sensing her thoughts, both Izuku and the thing turned to look up at her and for the first time her son's eyes were glowing an unnatural green, the colour of antifreeze.

"That cat over there's gonna die." Her bright baby boy whispered emotionlessly, pointing a finger at a rail thin ginger stray playing with a couple crickets in the middle of the road. Katsuki dropped his cards in favour of first looking to Inko, Izuku and then the cat, frowning in confusion. It would have been an absolutely adorable cheek-pinching moment if Inko couldn't feel her blood run cold and become sluggish in her veins.

"Izu, why would you--" he was cut off by the screeching brakes of a car and the earsplitting yowl of a cat. Inko felt her face pale as the thing turned from the panicking driver to look up at her, twin pinpricks of acidic light spearing into her own plain brown with an intensity that sent a chill down her spine and made her hands shake.

All she could think - though she wished desperately that she didn't - was that her son was a monster . There was no other explanation, how could someone so bright and innocent have such a horribly dark quirk? He had to have been sent down from the heavens to punish them, a little Lucifer in the making. Unease curled in her stomach as her son--her Izuku cocked his head to the side curiously with his little nose scrunched, as if the visible distress the situation had caused was confusing to him . She wanted to wretch, right there on the porch.

'He hadn't even twitched at the blood splatter--' She took a deep breath and made her way over to Katsuki on shaky legs, trying to ignore the roaring in her ears. To Katsuki, who was now crying hysterically because that's what any normal five year old does when faced with such a traumatic experience--those devilish eyes following her every move, skeletal fingers wrapped around her son's throat possessively.

She shuddered, holding a distraught Katsuki to her breast as she wondered if now that she had finally reached her limit, that her days were numbered. Those eyes didn't necessarily tell her otherwise, even if Izuku was now watching her comfort his best friend with innocent fascination. She wouldn't put it past the demon clinging to her son to smother her in her sleep.

~~~~

10 years later

"Ah." Izuku deadpanned as the hulking figures of his classmates surrounded him. He was shoved roughly, his head snapping back against the brick of the main school building with a heavy thud. He saw stars shoot behind his eyes, Tomoe's fleshless fingers clicking together in indignation next to his ear. She never liked it when people hurt him, when they gave him scathing looks for being 'quirkless'. It didn't matter that he wasn't, they couldn't see Tomoe, so they thought she wasn't there at all.

Idiots.

Izuku barely paid any attention to them as they punched and kicked and shoved him around, his body flowing with the familiar motions. This wasn't the first time the sheep had tried to hurt the wolf before they could be eaten. It didn't matter that the wolf wasn't interested in them, that they were little more than insects buzzing around his head. Annoying. Izuku was lifted off the ground, the front of his nice new shirt twisted into a meaty fist. He sighed, he just got this uniform dry cleaned and now it was all torn and dirty. Inko was going to be so disappointed.

"Oi! You even listenin' ta us?!" Was shouted in his face and he grimaced slightly at the scent of rotting meat. He looked up through his long lashes at the fat bastard impassively, already bored. The pain in his back, head and stomach was nothing to him, they were nothing to him. He let his head loll back onto his shoulders, too lazy to hold it up at this angle any more as the fat bastard continued to scream in his face, his friends egging him on from the sidelines. Apparently his lack of any sort of response was infuriating.

He was honestly beginning to think they were obsessed with him, considering how much energy they were expending just to try and get his attention. He was shaken, literally, from his thoughts and slapped. His face stung and he spat blood off to the side, more of it filling his mouth as he ran his tongue over the cut on his cheek.

"You think you're so much better 'an us?! I'll show you--" There was an enraged roar of 'what the FUCK do you think you're doing?!' before Izuku fell to the ground, his breath leaving him as he landed on his side.

'Ah, finally' He thought, rolling onto his back to see a shock of blond hair and crimson eyes filled with fury thoroughly decimate his attackers and send them packing with bloody noses and shiners on their ugly faces. Tomoe sighed in what sounded like relief and retreated back into his body now that Kacchan was here, lips pressing a cold kiss to his forehead as bony fingers raked through his hair.

He gazed lazily up at his best friend as he approached and crouched by his head, looking him over for any serious injuries. Izuku hissed quietly in pain, his eyes glowing when Katsuki pushed against his ribs. The other boy just pursed his lips, nostrils flared as his anger obviously had yet to leave him. He scrubbed a calloused hand over his face, tired gaze fixed on the tears in his uniform as if he could reverse the damage if he just stared hard enough. Izuku huffed in amusement and turned his head to look up at the darkening afternoon sky.

They would need to go soon, Aunty Mitsuki had made it clear that she would be expecting them straight after school. He felt a tiny flower of warmth unfurl in his chest when he thought of the woman that was so like her son, it was always fun to see them go at each other's throats like it was as natural as breathing. It wasn't like when Inko would yell at him, or throw things at him to get him to 'just fucking react!' .

He liked the Bakugos, they were nice and didn't mind that he wasn't 'normal', that he never flinched at their raised voices or stumbled over his words (when he could be bothered to say them) and they never, ever threw things at him.

"The fuck were you thinking? Going off on your own? You should have waited for me." The words were spoken without any heat though, only a vaguely chiding tone to them that had Izuku staring into crimson eyes. There was concern there, a soft little thing that filled the hollows of his bones with warmth. He always loved seeing the other boy's fuzzy underbelly, absurdly proud of the fact that Izuku was the only one that got to see it. After a moment he hummed and closed his eyes, though he could still feel that gaze burning his skin.

"Probably,"

~~~~

Aunty Mitsuki took in his dishevelled appearance with a tsk before ushering him inside, careful not to touch. He might love them, but he would only let Kacchan touch him freely. Insects thinking they could do whatever they wanted to him because they found his demeanor unnatural - didn't count. Bullies were so far beneath his radar that a beating from them barely registered. Pain, he could handle.

But those light, warm touches? Whether they were just to check over his injuries or to make sure he was still listening, if he got them from more than just Katsuki, he was sure to spontaneously combust. The icy tundra of his soul wouldn't be able to handle it. There was a tug on his tie and he looked up to see Kacchan watching him with an odd expression and he realised he was still standing in the entrance way.

He licked the blood he could feel crusting at the corner of his lips and toed his shoes off, managing to get the socks too without having to bend his aching back. He sighed when his bare feet met cold tile, he always felt too warm in this house - it was a kind of pain/pleasure that he loved to torture himself with if it meant he could stave off going back home.

"Come on, mum said to get you cleaned up." Izuku followed Kacchan through the house silently, dropping their stuff off in his room - he noticed the futon was already laid out for him and he felt the ghost of a smile cross his face. He stepped into the ensuite Kacchan had attached to his bedroom and began stripping out of his clothes. He was down to his boxers when he heard someone's breath hitch and he looked over his shoulder to find he hadn't closed the door, with all the warmth swimming in his veins he'd forgotten.

Katsuki wasn't looking at him though, instead his eyes were fixed on the purplish bruises lining the small of his back and sides, the thick trail of blood drying on the back of his neck and leading up into his hairline. He twisted a little to look at himself in the mirror, his shirt dropping to the floor. Kacchan would pick his clothes up once he was done showering, he was a neat freak like that. Izuku took serious advantage of that fact, far too lazy to do it himself.

"It's not that bad," he offered, hating himself for loving the anguished look on his best friend's face. The words seemed to snap the blond out of the trance he'd fallen into and he surged forward, turning Izuku around to slam him into the back wall of the bathroom. Izuku bared his teeth at the boy in a soundless snarl but didn't struggle in the almost bruising grip on his arms.

"Not that bad? Not that BAD?! Why didn't you fight back?! Why do you let them push you around like that?!" Kacchan finally shouted, his body shaking in his anger. He didn't realise how tight he was holding Izuku until the boy whimpered and he let go as if he'd been burned. Izuku rubbed at his arms, sending a disgruntled look at a still fuming Katsuki.

" Because they aren't worth the effort. " He hissed harshly, eyes glowing as the cowl of Tomoe's hood came into his line of sight. She had been roused from her sleep with the commotion and was hissing wordlessly at Kacchan, angered that the one she had entrusted to look after him had instead hurt him. By the widening of the other boy's eyes, clearly he could see her too. What people didn't get was that Tomoe could show herself to whoever she wanted, anytime she wanted. She just didn't because most people weren't worth the effort.

She was picky like that. In fact this would be Kacchan's first time actually seeing her for all that he had known she existed for years. He'd sometimes caught her running her fingers through Izuku's hair - though to him it would have just been his hair pushing back from his forehead on its own. He idly wondered what the boy thought about her, was he scared like Inko? Would he start hating him too? But then he saw the awed look in his eyes and the worry deflated from his stomach, shrivelling into nothing.

He had been stupid, of course Kacchan wouldn't betray him like that.

"Is that--?" Katsuki whispered, voice caught in his throat as long fleshless fingers rose out of nowhere to caress the side of Izuku's face, over the abused flesh of his cheek. He sighed at the cold that seeped into his heated skin, the raised flesh smoothing out into his usual flawless complexion. She did the same to his back, the tips of her fingers skittering along his spine until the bruises looked like they'd been there for weeks instead of a handful of hours. His eyes never left the other boy's face as he said softly;

"Tomoe, you can go back now. He won't hurt me." Tomoe stared long and hard at Kacchan, giving him a warning hiss before she leaned down to press a chilly kiss to Izuku's forehead. He smiled at the easy affection, visibly startling his friend with the rare show of emotion.

When she was gone, Katsuki let out a breath before cautiously approaching him again. Izuku watched him passively, unafraid. He knew Kacchan would never intentionally hurt him, he was just so full of emotion sometimes that it was hard to control.

The complete opposite to him in every way, like the moon comparing itself to the sun.

"I'm sorry, Izu." Was whispered when Katsuki was close enough that they were sharing the same air, his familiar musk filling Izuku's nose and making him relax further without his permission. Katsuki rubbed his thumbs lightly over the bruises already forming on his upper arms, a moue of misery between his alabaster brows as he stared at the damage he had so easily inflicted.

Displeased by the unpleasant twisting in his chest at the sight of such an expression, Izuku reached up, too quick for the other to react and pressed a cool kiss to Katsuki's bent forehead. He thought about how he felt when Tomoe would do it to him, how soothing it was. He thought that maybe Kacchan would go back to normal and he could stop feeling like a supernova was about to be born in his chest. The boy jerked like he'd been slapped and made like he was going to pull away before Izuku stopped him, cold hands on either side of his face.

"What are you…" but his breath hitched half way through when Izuku scratched lightly at his scalp, pushing the hair back from his face. He stared down at him with wide eyes, lips parted in surprise. Izuku frowned, tugging on the ash blond strands a little to see if that would get the boy to stop scrunching his eyebrows like that. It made him feel sick and constricted his chest painfully. He needed it to stop.

"I don't like the way you're looking at me. It hurts." He answered, almost growling when those stubborn brows only scrunched further together. Eventually he huffed and just slammed his palm into the crease just above the bridge of Katsuki's nose and pushed, the blond stumbling back a few steps before he caught himself.

"It hurts. Stop it." Izuku demanded, hands twitching by his side like he itched to push him again. He was seriously debating it when Katsuki snorted. His gaze travelled from the boy's chest to glare into crimson eyes but his expression had smoothed out into something more relaxed and Izuku felt his lips curl smugly. The tightness in his chest receded immediately at the mirth he could see in those eyes, eyes that he felt he'd spent an eternity gazing into over the years. They were such a pretty colour.

With that taken care of, Izuku turned on the shower, setting it as cold as the tap would go before pulling down his boxers. There was a startled yelp and then the door banging shut, Izuku looking at it in confusion. Katsuki shouted at him from behind the wooden construct about propriety and 'have you no fucking shame?!' but that didn't clear things up. Of course he didn't have any shame, it took too much energy - energy that he didn't have. And why would Kacchan be bothered by it anyway? It's not like he had anything the other boy didn't.

He tried to explain as much, to open the door so he didn't have to raise his voice over the running water but he only got a flash of panicked red eyes before the door was closed again, this time Kacchan leaning all his weight on it. Izuku didn't bother after that, instead stepping under the deliciously icy spray to wash himself.

His back twinged unpleasantly.

~~~~

Dinner was loud, the two blonds shouting at each other like it was a game of who could construct the better insult. It was fun to watch Kacchan come to life like that, a certain fire in his eyes that was always absent when he looked at Izuku - well, except for when he did something stupid like he had today. He kind of wished he could play along too, but his thoughts didn't move fast enough and he didn't like hurting the people he cared about - even for a game. There were so few he trusted that he didn't want to risk pushing them away.

"So how are your studies going, Izuku?" Uncle Masato asked, the table suddenly falling quiet like it always did when Izuku was addressed. It was like his words were spun with gold and they didn't want to miss even a syllable. It both annoyed him and sent a pleasant heat curling around his usually numb fingers. Like he was holding Katsuki's hand or placing them in front of the heater on the rare occasion he was locked out for the night and had to walk in the rain the couple blocks to the Bakugos.

"Somebody keeps taking my notes, I always find them ripped up in the koi pond." He replied honestly with a small shrug. He couldn't study without his notes so he was falling behind a bit, but he couldn't just borrow Kacchan's as this year they were in a different class and Katsuki was learning more advanced material than he was so it wouldn't make any sense to him anyway.

"The fish think it's food and try to nibble on the pieces. It's cute." He continued, eyes crinkling in amusement at the thought of the stupid little things smacking their big lips across the surface of the water. They usually swam away when he approached, sensing his….otherness. It was the kind of self preservation that humans had too, but they had twisted it into anger, twisted their natural flight response into fight. Which, while sometimes admirable, was mostly just annoying.

Izuku scooped up a chunk of spicy noodles in his chopsticks and shoved them in his mouth, he didn't much care for spicy food (there was enough heat in his life from just sitting next to Kacchan) but he didn't hate it either. It was a point of pride for the Bakugos to have an 'outsider' able to match them in heat tolerance. He just didn't really see the point of freaking out about his burnt tastebuds when they would just grow back - it's not like he was doing permanent damage(though Tomoe would never let any injury be permanent, even if it was only something as trivial as his sense of taste).

"Who does?" Aunty Mitsuki asked, her tone trying for light and conversational, but Izuku could hear the current of anger pulsing beneath it. Izuku pursed his lips in thought, he can't remember the name or what they really look like - they weren't worth the brain space. He hummed, chewing on the end of his chopstick for a moment before his eyes widened.

"Oh. It was a Praying Mantis." He nodded, proud of himself for managing even that much. Katsuki choked on his noodles before he started outright laughing and Izuku smiled down at him from where he was rolling on the floor clutching his stomach. It was always nice to see him be so happy.

"I like your laugh, do it more often."

Katsuki sputtered in surprise, his laughter dying in his throat as he stared up at him incredulously. Aunty Mitsuki snorted at the command, Uncle Masato watching the soft expression on Izuku's face with fascination as Kacchan returned to his seat, face beet red and his earlier humour erased.

" Kami , Izu! Don't just say shit like that!" He groaned as he covered his burning face with his hands, feeling his mother's amused gaze lingering on him. She would torture him about this later, he was sure.

Izuku frowned but let it go. He didn't understand a lot of the things that Kacchan did or said, but he'd learned over the years to not push for answers when the other boy was so agitated. If it was important, Kacchan would tell him outright.

"Anyway, I think I know who he's talking about. I'll take care of it." he told his parents, picking up his discarded chopsticks to continue eating. Aunty Mitsuki nodded, a sharp shallow jerk of her head as she speared a circle of beef with her chopstick.

"You fuckin' better or I'll come down there myself - I don't care if they're minors, I will destroy them!" Izuku felt his chest warm and he massaged a hand over the dull ache, already feeling the organ there straining to keep up.

' Yes, I would definitely combust, ' he thought.

~~~~

That night, Izuku startled from sleep with a quiet gasp, the details of his nightmare fading away like sand through his fingers the longer he stared hazily up at the ceiling. There was light and he turned his head to see Katsuki playing on his phone. Oh--he must not have been asleep for long, then. Izuku watched him for a moment, fascinated by the utterly bored expression on his face. He rarely saw him like this, where Kacchan's attention wasn't, at least in some capacity, focused on him. Still, he didn't like the roiling feeling of his stomach and the sweat sticking his hair to his forehead and neck.

Shaking with the effort, Izuku got up from the futon and slid under the covers next to him, positioning himself so he was practically on top of the other boy. Katsuki froze before seeming to relax, one body part at a time as if he had to consciously do it. Izuku whimpered, idly wondering if he would be rejected. He didn't think he could handle that, not right now.

"Izu…?" Katsuki asked worriedly, phone forgotten on the nightstand in favour of trying to catch his gaze. Izuku sighed into his bare chest as he wrapped his arms tightly around his best friend's middle, purposefully avoiding looking up at him. He was already reaching his limit just being this close, he couldn't see the sweet concern in those eyes without breaking.

"M'cold." He whispered, the lie filing his mouth with ash and burning his tongue. Still, Kacchan seemed to get it - he always seemed to get it - and put his phone to sleep, plunging the small room into darkness. Moonlight filtered wanly through the blinds above them, giving Katsuki's tanned skin an ethereal shine as his eyes seemed to glow in the limited light.

"Okay, just don't kick me in your sleep." Katsuki grumbled, settling one hand on the curve of Izuku's back(ever mindful of the bruises there) while the other went behind his head. Izuku murmured an agreement only semi coherently, already feeling drunk on both Kacchan's undiluted scent and the furnace-like warmth that was almost burning to the touch.

The faint echo of breaking glass and blood and screaming made a ball form in the back of his throat as ice chipped in his chest and he pulled the blanket up over his head, pressing his forehead into the sternum under him.

As always, Katsuki never called him out on it when the other boy was in one of his moods , just accepted his place as Izuku's pillow and personal space heater and closed his eyes. He didn't comment on the hot tears he could feel splash against his chest or the way Izuku trembled with half-forgotten fear.

Though it didn't stop him from laying there, quietly devastated and feeling helpless, useless as too thin arms tightened reflexively around him when he shifted the slightest bit. As if Izuku was afraid he might push him away at any moment, say he was crossing a line , say it was too much .

It would never be too much.

In fact, in some ways, it wasn't nearly enough.

Chapter Text

"I want you to do your best to win, okay? You have to pass, otherwise you won't be able to come with me."

Kacchan had his warm hands on either side of Izuku's face, staring at him intently. They were in a little alcove just outside the amphitheater, the rest of the applicants for U.A walking past them towards the busses that would take them to the arenas for the practical side of their test.

He wasn't particularly interested in becoming a Hero, there was too much posturing and flashing cameras and smiles.

Izuku couldn't do any of that, in fact he hated attention in general, positive or not. But it was Kacchan's dream to be the best Hero there ever was and he would need to catch up if he wanted to stay by the other boy's side.

Kacchan with his tender touches and his warm smiles and his voice and his smell--was the only thing that could soothe his jagged edges, that could pull him back to reality when everything became too much, too loud .

Kacchan was…everything. Kacchan was his sanity, so why not do everything he can to protect him, to be by his side?

Izuku stared at him, feeling the howling winds of winter echo through his ears and his eyes started to glow. He pushed the hands off his face, crimson eyes widening in surprise as he clenched his shaking fists.

The answer was he would, he could, he will , do everything he can to make sure he never lost sight of the sun, never let it sputter and die. If he had to, he would gladly sink into the darkness if it meant Kacchan would be safe, would be happy.

Too much of his moon-like self was reflected light, anyway.

" I'll crush them. " He said forcefully with a snarl, Tomoe cackling madly over his shoulder.

 

~~~~

He was alone. Katsuki got sent to a different arena because they had similar seat numbers, because they came from the same middle school. They didn't want Izuku to cheat.

He hated the loud canary for separating him from Kacchan, even if logically he could understand. He also didn't like the way the canary's voice pierced directly into his eardrums without remorse with every syllable.

Izuku already had above average hearing so it was an absolute nightmare to sit through his speech in the amphitheater, let alone the man screaming at the top of his lungs from the top of a water tower like some dramatic anime character.

"ALRIGHT! Now GO!"

Izuku didn't hesitate like the others of his group, instead pulling out the switchblade he'd stolen from his teacher's desk on the last day of school as he made his way to the center of the chaos.

He dragged it down his left forearm, splitting the flesh there with ease. Pain, he could handle. Kacchan being taken away from him--he would kill anyone that tried.

Well, he wanted to, but that wasn't what Heroes did and he had to become a Hero to stay with Kacchan. The stupid canary was lucky he was trying to become a Hero instead of a Villain.

He focused on the wound and watched as his blood rose up and up, writhing and moulding itself into a weapon. It hardened until it looked like red steel and he plucked the scythe out of the air, Tomoe's cold caress closing the wound on his arm without any trace. It was time to begin. He couldn't fail.

Izuku hacked and sliced and tore his way through the robots with terrifying efficiency and ease, leaping around the battlefield, agile as a panther. When it was all over, his group no longer underestimated or belittled his right to be there.

In fact, much like in middle school and before that preschool, he was given a wide berth. He was grateful. He hated bumping into strangers and feeling their heat anyway.

Later, when they were allowed to go home, Katsuki walked with him the extra couple blocks to his house. There was a grim twist to his lips and his nostrils were flared, a small snarl curling his lips when the small townhouse came into view and they saw the gaunt figure of his mother waiting on the porch.

Izuku felt his veins chill on instinct, ice cracking in his chest as it spread throughout the rest of his body.

He could feel Katsuki's gaze on his face as what little life he had in him fled along with the warmth the other boy always gave him. He hissed in pain at the burning hand on his cheek, his eyes glowing.

Kacchan wasn't deterred though and pulled him into a hug, cradling his head against his chest like he was the most precious thing in the universe.

Izuku's breath hitched, the telltale pinprick of tears in his eyes as he listened to the steady thump thump thump of his best friend's heart under his ear.

"She does anything, anything at all and you come straight to me. I don't care if she has legal custody of you, I'll protect you." Katsuki whispered before pulling back once he felt the boy nod.

He watched, concerned, as Izuku hid behind that cold exterior that had gotten him the title of 'Ice Prince' in school. Not that Izuku paid enough attention to anyone but him to know that, to hear the pathetic and spiteful whispering of their once classmates.

He prayed to whatever deity was out there, that U.A would be different.

"See you tomorrow, Katsuki." Izuku said, voice devoid of emotion as he turned to walk the rest of the way to his house and Katsuki had to stop himself from flinching.

'Kami, cutting himself off like this has got to be bad for his psyche.' Katsuki thought, frowning at the back of Izuku's head. He couldn't help but notice that the other boy's footsteps were now completely silent and he moved with even more grace than before.

'Survival instinct' whispered through his mind then and he grimaced, reminded of the fact that he'd probably learnt to be silent because of Aunty Inko.

Tomoe waved at him from where she was sticking out of Izuku's back, hidden from sight. The fact that she had to hide at all concerned him.

Sure Izuku's quirk was kind of dark and the boy himself would be a bit unnerving to most people with the way he acted - but Katsuki couldn't understand Aunty Inko's justification for alienating her son like this, for hurting him.

He just hoped that, despite Izuku's reluctance, Tomoe would protect him against the monster that called herself his mother.

Inko was smart enough not to do anything too obvious out on the porch where he and anyone else watching, could see, but it didn't stop her from tripping Izuku at the last moment as he passed her into the house.

It made his chest burn and his teeth grind as mini explosions popped between his clenched fists. It was times like this that he wondered if becoming a Hero was worth it, whether it was morally sound to rescue shitty people like Midoriya Inko. Whether it was more righteous to deal with such scum himself, civilian or not.

Katsuki pushed out a long breath, gripping the strap of his bag as he turned on his heel to walk back home.

Either way, he couldn't protect Izuku from behind bars so he reluctantly let go of his anger - or tried to. He wondered if his mum would be up for a spar this afternoon, he could really use the exercise.

 

~~~~

Tomorrow came early for Izuku, who found himself on the hardwood floor of the hallway near the entrance. The right side of his face was coated in blood and he felt a numb sort of haze dampening his senses, a dull throbbing behind his eyes.

Ah, he had a headache. He felt along his hairline, by now knowing what he was looking for after years of experience. Finding a small but deep cut just inside his hair, he sighed quietly, relieved. It was easily hideable, at least.

He must have hit the corner of the hall table when Inko tripped him. He wasn't surprised she had just left him there all night, caring for his well being just wasn't in her repertoire.

It was a familiar enough occurrence though, so he wasn't worried as he simply picked himself up off the floor and went to his room. He couldn't meet Kacchan for 'training' if he was covered in blood already, he was likely to blow a gasket.

Chapter Text

U.A - 1A classroom

 

Izuku snatched his elbow back from the grasp the stranger(Ochako or something) held it in, hissing because it burned --it burned so much! And he hated it, hated her --he could feel his vision narrowing and his breathing speed up--he was having a panic attack, he hadn't had one of those in a long time--then someone else was touching him and they were cold , so, so cold .

Izuku purred, latching onto that cold and rubbing his too warm forehead against the cold one's neck. He started rambling, only half coherent in his near delirious state.

"Oh you're so cold, it's too warm here, it burns-- toowarmtoowarmtoowarm --I need more, where is it? Where is it?" He sighed when the back of an icy hand was pressed to his cheek and he held it in a vice-like grip, eyes closed.

He curled into that cold, the buzzing of voices all around him inconsequential now that he had that delicious cold. Tomoe whined in distress, not liking the heat either as she presses her ample breasts against his back, hugging him from behind.

From the sudden quiet in the room, Izuku peripherally realised that Tomoe has shown herself and he feels the body in front of him jerk in surprise before becoming still once again. Izuku smiled.

"Sometimes I like it--the warmth--Kacchan's always so warm , it's nice, it fills the hollows of my bones--but it can be too much!-- toomuchtoomuch! --but sometimes the cold aches and I need that warmth like when Inko locks me out and I have to walk to Kacchan's and he gives me this smile---oh it's always so warm!"

Suddenly Tomoe retreats and he feels a familiar calloused hand grip the back of his neck. He whines at the heat--it's too much!--but feels himself start to calm down and can finally hear a voice talking to him in slow measured words.

He blinks his eyes open to see that he's smooshed his face into someone's very hard chest and he pulls back because it's not Kacchan and--

"Oh. You're here." He says as he looks into pretty red eyes filled with concern, feeling his mind submerge itself back into the calm icy waters in the depths of his soul.

He doesn't let go of the cold hand though, instead shifting his grip to lace his fingers through theirs and pressing the back of their hand to his neck, over his now steady pulse point.

"I'm keeping this." Izuku states, grip tightening on the hand he has held captive, looking up and up into heterochromatic eyes and daring him to disobey.

All he can see in them is bewildered amusement and it confuses him a little, shouldn't he be angry? Kacchan always says the stuff he does makes most people angry, but not Kacchan though because Kacchan is Kacchan and--

Katsuki groans from behind him, scrubbing a hand down his tired face.

"Sorry, he's a little--"

"No, it's fine. It looks like it's a byproduct of his quirk, that he's unable to regulate his own temperature." A deep voice replies and Izuku reaches up his other hand to tug on the seam between icy white hair and firey red curiously.

He lets a little moue develop between his brows at the obvious temperature differences in just a handful of strands. He pokes the cheek on the hot side and feels his finger warm, but not burn like the others. His frown smoothes out when the boy smiles down at him, frost coating his cheek.

"Oh." Izuku mutters in sudden understanding as he touches his fingers to the frost side almost delicately. That was why this stranger was so cold, he was literally ice on one side.

Izuku hums low in his throat, picking off a piece of ice to stick onto his tongue. It tastes like sweat, which makes him cock his head to the side and raise his eyebrows. It was like sucking on normal ice though, so Izuku didn't mind it.

Heat spreads over the boy's cheeks, making them go red and the ice to melt. Izuku is kind of disappointed. From the corner of his eye, he can see Kacchan shaking his head, his own cheeks sporting a light shade of pink.

Did he do something wrong? Kacchan mutters something he can't quite catch but it makes the heterochromic guy snort.

"You mean like a snake?" A grating female voice asks and Izuku whips round and growls at her, his eyes glowing. The bouncy bubble girl stumbles back a few paces, round face pale at the sheer venom in his gaze.

The rest of their classmates are all watching him too and their stares feel like bugs under his skin. It's putting him on edge and he doesn't like it and it's all her fault.

"I'm not a snake! Fuck off! I don't like you, you burn! It hurts!" Katsuki squeezes the back of his neck again before he can work himself up into a frenzy. It's like a switch and he feels himself deflate, whining and pulling the cold boy's forearm over his eyes to try and block out the rest of them .

"Look, if you're okay with it, we have to get out of this room otherwise he's just going to keep riling himself up." Kacchan tells the heterochromatic stranger as Izuku pulls at the long sleeve of the boy's shirt to gain access to more of that delicious cold.

It's a testament to how much Kacchan knows him that he doesn't try to dislodge Izuku from the only thing keeping him from combusting, from the supernova in his chest from being born. He appreciates it.

"Sure."

They leave then, their classmates whispering and muttering to each other. Izuku and the icyhot stranger get some odd looks in the halls that both resolutely ignore as Izuku wraps the strangers cold arm around his shoulders and snuggles into his side.

When they reach the roof and there's nobody else around Izuku sighs and reluctantly lets go of icyhot, sinking, boneless onto the concrete.

"Is he okay?" Icyhot asks, making Kacchan snort as he sits next to Izuku and brings his head to rest in his lap. Izuku curls up on his side, letting Kacchan run his fingers through his hair. The warmth isn't so bad now, with the wind biting playfully against his nose and cheeks.

Tomoe slithers out of his chest to lay in front of him, using her bony hands as a pillow as she watches him.

"Yeah, you can get back to lunch if you want. The wind out here should be enough for now." he feels the vibrations of Kacchan's voice reverberate through his back and he hums in tune with it, gaze flicking up to find heterochrome already watching him with an odd look on his face - it's one Kacchan sometimes gets when he does something unexpected, like smile.

"No. He stays. He's mine, just like Kacchan." Izuku states resolutely and Tomoe echoes the sentiment with a pleased hum, fingers clicking against the concrete.

Katsuki spares her a glance before pinching the bridge of his nose with his free hand, the other still sifting through his dark locks that turn green at the tips in the midday sunlight.

"Izu! You can't just order people around like that. We don't know this guy, he might not like it when you just decide stuff like that." Katsuki chastises and Izuku buries his face into his thigh with a huff.

The hands in his hair still, hesitating a few moments before resuming. Kacchan just didn't get it, for once he didn't get it and Izuku didn't know how to feel about that. He would just have to make him understand.

"No. Icyhot's mine, I feel it Kacchan, like when that cat--" He let out a muffled growl when his mouth was covered and wiggled out of his best friend's lap but the hand on his mouth followed and Tomoe let out a hissing laugh that sounded like someone had terrible asthma.

Izuku told her to shut up(though it came out as a garbled mess) and shoved her with his foot but that only made her laugh harder, rolling from side to side with her arms wrapped around her disembodied stomach.

Everything from the waist down on Tomoe was formless smoke that trailed back into the center of Izuku's chest, even if she could make the rest of her solid and real.

With a huff, Izuku dropped, sliding against Kacchan's chest with his arms folded. Fingers carded through his hair and then his mouth was free. He licked his lips, tasting smoke and earth and Kacchan. He relaxed and just let the other's voice wash over him. Kacchan had a nice voice.

"Look, we don't talk about that, remember--and I know you don't understand why I found what happened to be traumatic, but I asked you not to talk about it and you told me you wouldn't." Izuku hummed in reluctant agreement and closed his eyes against Kacchan's neck.

He decided to let the whole conversation go, Icyhot could choose whether he would stay or not. He could always stake his claim when Kacchan wasn't around to tell him he was being weird and selfish.

"M'tired." he mumbled eventually, crawling fully into the other boy's lap as he grabbed Kacchan's arms and wrapped them around him like a blanket. He could feel Katsuki's arms tighten and a chin in his hair and he sighed at the warmth filling the hollows of his aching bones.

"You can't sleep for too long, we still have Hero lessons in the afternoon." Icyhot told him from somewhere next to him and Izuku reached out blindly, finding a hand even colder than his own.

He pulled it to his chest and curled over it in the protective circle of Kacchan's arms, placing the palm against his cheek.

"M'not...Hero. Kacchan is."

Katsuki felt his face heat at that before burying it into silky black/green locks that smelled of something sweet he couldn't quite place. He groaned.

"Why do you always say such embarrassing things?" he grumbled, knowing Izuku was already asleep.

The shinigami-looking thing that Izuku had called 'Tomoe' watched him with knowing eyes before putting a hand in front of her face like she was covering up a yawn, disappearing in a puff of smoke that was dragged back into Izuku's chest.

"So, not what I expected of my first day at U.A, but I'm Todoroki Shouto." Half-and-half offered into the quiet. Katsuki eyed him, the way Izuku still held his hand even in sleep and glared.

Despite whatever messed up instincts were telling Izu this guy was okay, Katsuki didn't like him. But, try as he might, he couldn't deny the stupid brat literally anything . Hadn't since he was old enough to understand why his chest ached when Izu wasn't around or when he got hurt.

"Bakugo Katsuki, this is Midoriya Izuku. You hurt him and I'll kill you. " He growled, eyes flashing dangerously at the amused glint in the other's.

"Wasn't planning on it."

Chapter Text

"Wow! You're huuuuge!" Izuku giggled as he leapt onto All Might's back, feeling wide awake and full of energy after his impromptu nap. He always did when he slept with Kacchan, his heart full to bursting that he just wanted to grin until his lips fell off.

He could hear Aizawa-sensei sigh and zip up his sleeping bag to cover his face, done with this conversation altogether.

It made him think of a caterpillar, a big yellow caterpillar that hated everybody for simply breathing too loud and he laughed into All Might's soft hair from his place on his big shoulders. He smelt like sunflower seeds and jelly, it was a weird combination that he oddly liked.

"Young Midoriya! Good afternoon! It is good to see you with still so much energy, you're going to need it! Do you know why, class?" He asked, seemingly not bothered by the invasion of space and Aizawa-sensei groaned, muttering about 'fools' or something like that. Izuku couldn't quite catch it because it was muffled by the sleeping bag.

"Hero lessons! That's what Shocchan said!" Izuku called, trying to reach the very tip of the man's hair to see if he could bend them. They were always standing straight up in pictures and videos.

Shocchan sputtered and his face seemed to grow hot when the others looked at him, amused.

"Shocchan, huh?" That Momo girl purred from next to him and Izuku could see that IcyHot was getting uncomfortable, a frown on his face.

"Hey Momocchi, stop picking on Shocchan!" he pouted when she only laughed, but she did turn back to the front with a smile.

Izuku nodded, pleased with himself as he went back to combing his fingers backwards through All Might's hair, making it stand up in all directions. Auntie Mitsuki said that he should defend his friends from bullies and now he had! She would be so proud!

"Ne ne, what sort of hairspray do you use to get these to stay up all the time? Or are they secretly horns and you're like a sunny devil and no one knows because you're so smiley all the time so people call you the Symbol of Peace because you look so happy all the time and--"

Izuku squealed in delight when big warm hands took him under the armpits and lifted him high in the air. He pouted though, when he realised All Might was just putting him down and wasn't going to throw him. It would scare Kacchan but Tomoe would catch him and he thought it might be fun!

"I think that's enough playing, young Midoriya. We have a bus to catch! We're going to be doing Heroes vs Villains!" The class whooped and got to their feet, Kacchan quickly coming over to squeeze the back of his neck and apologise to All Might, who was busy trying to smooth his hair back down. He looked like a ruffled duck.

"It is quite alright, young Bakugo! Young Midoriya is just a little special, that's all! There's nothing wrong with that!" All Might laughed, ruffling both their hair before turning to follow his students out of the room. They had to go get changed into their uniforms first, then they would meet out at the bus rink to go to one of the arenas.

"Did I do something wrong?" Izuku asked quietly, earlier cheer gone. He didn't like it when Kacchan took away his emotions like that, Kacchan was the one that gave them to him so why was he always taking them away? He didn't get it.

"No--no, you didn't, not really." katsuki sighed, feeling like he'd just kicked someone's puppy in the face of Izu's sad expression.

"It's just you shouldn't interrupt a teacher like that when they're talking and some people will have a problem with you invading their space like that. People like Aizawa-sensei, you don't do that to him do you?" Katsuki asked, feeling his chest constrict as Izuku flinched away from him to go get his Hero uniform from the rack.

"No, he doesn't have big shoulders like All Might. It's fun to poke him when he's in caterpillar mode though! And he let me braid his hair when I went to the teacher's rooms to give him a pretty flower I found outside--"

"Is everyone wrapped around you little finger, or is it just me?" Katsuki asked incredulously.

Izuku giggled, glad that Kacchan wasn't mad at him. "Silly! What are you talking about? They couldn't all fit on my fingers! Especially All Might! He's huge!"

 

~~~~

Aforementioned hair braiding incident

Aizawa startled when arms wrapped around his neck from behind, his vision filled with bright blue. He relaxed some when he saw a familiar mop of green/black hair and a wide smile, even if the fact that he was caught off guard at all was a little concerning.

This particular student was only hazardous during fights, Aizawa had been keeping a close eye on him and this seemed to be one of his 'cuter' moods.

"Ta da! It's a Bellflower!" Izuku came around to perch on the arm of the couch in the staffroom, presenting his gift to a bewildered looking Aizawa-sensei. Well, at least he was out of that grumpy frown brood he was doing when he came in so Izuku counted it as a win.

"Go on! It's for you! Momocchi said it means 'humility, constancy and gratitude' when I asked her and I thought I should give it to you to say thank you!" Izuku grinned when pale fingers wrapped around the stem and Aizawa-sensei brought it up to his face to inspect it, brows raised.

"For what?"

Izuku hummed and tucked himself into the older man's side, crinkling and then watching as the mummy ribbon that was always around his neck righted itself again. It was really thick and strong!

"You're not like my old teachers, you don't yell at me for not being able to focus or for talking too much. You don't let the other kids hurt me because you find me annoying and you don't push me away when I want to touch you." Izuku admitted quietly, tracing the veins that ran along the top of Aizawa-sensei's hand, poking at a particularly big one that made soft ridges in the skin.

"Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind" Aizawa said just as quietly, twirling the flower in front of him by the stem as he watched Izuku weave his arms through the folds of his capture ribbon. The boy paused to look at him for a moment before giving him a bright smile.

"I like that! Ne--can I braid your hair?"

Aizawa nodded, resigning himself to being the sole target of Midoriya's mood. It seemed like his usual handler(Bakugo) was taking a much needed break or something. Well, fine.

He could handle it, Aizawa took this job for a reason - even if this was a little more 'hands-on' than he was expecting. Midoriya's fingers were quick but gentle in his hair as the boy expertly twisted chunks of it together, weaving the flower into the design at some point.

When lunch was over and he had to leave the staffroom, Aizawa glared at anybody that dared to laugh at his new hairdo. The fact that it kept his hair out of his eyes was only a plus.