The text came in at 12:14 a.m. Bakugo knew the exact minute because the first thing he did when he heard that god-awful tone from his phone was check the time. He didn’t check who it was from, however, because that he already knew. Only one person lacked even the most fundamental means of self-preservation and would be willing to text Katsuki after 10 pm.
A message from Deku could only mean one thing.
Without a sound or complaint, Katsuki slipped out of bed and onto leaden legs. The phone clutched in his hand gave off just enough light to illuminate a path, but Bakugo didn’t need it. There was nothing on the floor of his immaculate one bedroom apartment to trip on in the darkness. Nevertheless, he kept it lit until he flipped the switch of his bathroom lights.
Pain shot to Katsuki’s head as the sudden light overwhelmed his senses and he shut his eyes as quickly as possible. Eventually he opened one eye, but only wide enough to see where the toothbrush and toothpaste were. He grabbed them and began brushing his teeth with his eyes still closed. As he did, the light became less intense.
His senses had always been overly sensitive. “Good Alpha traits! You get those from me.” His mom had teased when he complained about them as a child. As soon as he’d presented at the age of 14, Katsuki had to deal with the headaches that were pheromones and ruts. And for what? Being an Alpha did nothing for him. Well, nearly nothing. He had to admit that the keen reflexes and enhanced ability to put on muscle mass were some useful perks for a Pro-Hero like himself.
Gonna come in handy when he beat Izuku’s ass tonight.
At that thought, Katsuki spit out his mouthful of toothpaste, replacing it with water before spitting that out too. He turned to leave, pressing on his phone as he flipped out the lights again. This time he clicked on the message alert.
Katsuki didn’t bother responding. Once Deku saw the “read” alert, he’d know that Bakugo was on his way.
Ever since that night during their first year when Katsuki had challenged Deku to a fight on Ground Beta, these “training sessions” had become their thing. They weren’t often, certainly not regular, but consistent enough that they had a system in place. No matter who called who, no matter what time of the day; if they were in the same town and not on duty, the other showed up.
After pulling on a pair of sweats, grabbing his wallet and keys, and slipping on his shoes, Katsuki walked out of his apartment and started a steady jog toward the agency.
Who would have fucking believed that he and Deku, of all people, would end up working at the same agency? Of course Katsuki would be employed by the biggest and most popular Hero Agency run by none-other but the current number one, Hawks. But Deku? He supposed it was easier to believe nowadays. The nerd was his fucking rival, after all, so he better be good enough to get into the best agency if he was meant to compete with Katsuki. But it still pissed Bakugo off that Pro-Hero Deku currently ranked higher than Ground fucking Zero.
Two spots kept Katsuki from his ultimate goal of number one and that crybaby was one of the people in his way. Hawks would retire soon enough—the old man never stopped complaining about how he wanted a day without crime so he could sit around and do nothing—and when he did, Bakugo would sweep in and take the top spot. As long as Deku stayed out of his way. …Better keep an eye on that fucking Todoroki, too, since he occasionally beat them both out for number two.
That’s why these training sessions were so important to them both. They’d made a promise back on Ground Beta. They were going to surpass each other, no matter what. That meant they had to know where the other stood...and that they needed to keep their heads clear.
Never would Katsuki admit this aloud, but these training sessions weren’t only to prove their physical strength. Being a Pro-Hero took a lot out of a person. He and Deku weren’t fucking friends; they had other people to talk with about the bullshit of life. ...But sometimes talking didn’t work. Sometimes there was shit in Katsuki’s head that couldn’t be put into words, at least not words he could tell someone else. Sometimes he just needed to focus on pushing himself to his limits, and then beyond, in an all out fight.
Deku must feel the same way because he texted just as often.
Katsuki arrived at the agency already sweating slightly. His muscles twitched in anticipation for the upcoming fight; the run over serving as a great warm-up. He knocked his wallet against the keypad, the card inside turning the pad green so that Bakugo could then press his thumb to it. That triggered the doors to sound as the locking mechanism opened and Katsuki walked in.
Hawk’s Agency, which the asshole called “The Nest,” consisted of a massive 20 story building on the edge of the city. Hard to believe that the Agency had grown so much since that other Bird Brain had interned with the number one hero. But hey, that’s what the number one spot could do.
The training facilities were located in the basement of the building. Each room was surrounded in thick concrete walls with layers of steel embedded on both the outside and inside. Perfect for going all out without having to worry about the integrity of the building or their surroundings.
Entering room One, Katsuki saw that Deku was already there.
Izuku-fucking-Midoriya had changed a lot since Katsuki had first met him. Made sense considering the nerd’s starting point. He never quite bulked up like Bakugo; his strength came in the form of lean muscles that grew whenever One-For-All pulsed through his veins and he was surrounded by his signature green energy. Only his legs beat Katsuki in terms of bulk; thighs thick and toned enough to stretch the fabric of his supposed-to-be baggy basketball shorts. Side effect of his famed Shoot-style, no doubt. The pipsqueak had gained some inches in terms of height, too, despite never reaching Katsuki on that front, either. The height plus the new hairstyle— hair cut short on both sides and on the back but wily curls left untouched on the top— finally made the dork look more his age, save for the dumbass freckles and chubby cheeks. Couldn’t fight the Omega genetics there.
“Ready?” Katsuki grunted, pulling out his phone, wallet, and keys to toss them in the box for valuables near the reinforced door.
“I didn’t ask you here to train.”
Bakugo tensed at that but continued to put away his items as if unconcerned.
“Then why the fuck did you text me?”
“I need you to Claim me, Kacchan.”
Katsuki’s head shot up, his eyes locking on Deku’s. There was no way he’d heard what he thought he’d heard. ...But Izuku’s green eyes were hard, serious...certain.
“What the fuck?”
“I said, I need you to Claim me.”
Claiming wasn’t a thing. Not anymore. Back before quirks, Secondary Genders mattered—they mattered a lot. Before society got its shit together, they’d thought Alphas were the strongest of the Secondary Genders, meant to have large litters with Omegas, the more docile, weaker class designed for mothering no matter what their Primary Gender. Betas, otherwise unaffected by their Secondary Gender, were meant to maintain the peace and keep society going.
All that bullshit went out the window once quirks appeared. Everything people once believed about what “Nature intended” didn’t seem as clear when a mutation resulted in a wide-range of abilities. Especially when those abilities didn’t match the roles society had attributed to Secondary Genders. After all, when an Omega inherited a quirk that could level a building and an Alpha inherited a quirk that made their skin turn into soft, cuddly fur...it was hard to believe the stereotypes.
After an adjustment period, Secondary Genders got pushed aside, similar to the way Primary Genders stopped limiting what men or women could or could not do before that. As a result, most of the special rituals related to Secondary Genders stopped being popular. Some people still got mated—a process where both partners Claimed each other by biting on each other’s scent glands—but a legal marriage was much more common. And less permanent.
“I’m not asking to Claim you back,” Izuku responded quickly, as if reading Katsuki’s mind. “I’m just asking that you Claim me.”
Katsuki uncoiled his back from where he’d remained bent over his belongings. He stared at his rival, eyes narrowed in suspicion.
The Omega straightened his shoulders, puffing out his chest and keeping his head held high. “If I want to be the Symbol of Peace, I can’t let anything hold me back. That includes Orders.”
Orders, like Claims, still existed, even if rare. They’d become illegal over 100 years ago; hard to believe that they weren’t before that. The thought that an Alpha could force an Omega to do whatever they wanted with a mix of inflection and pheromones pissed Katsuki off. Supposedly they existed as a way for Alphas to calm down their mates and technically it was still legal to use an Order on your mate under specific circumstances. But the world was a fucked up place and every power has the potential for abuse.
Villains used Orders now and again, usually on civilians and not Pro-Heroes. Small fries tended not to, seeing as the possible jail time tied to giving an Order was usually worse than whatever crime they were committing. But...every once in a while...it happened.
Still, Bakugo scoffed.
“Like those mean shit to you.”
All Omegas who got Pro-Hero training learned how to fight Orders. It was a crucial and useful tool on the battlefield. At the very least, a Pro-Hero Omega could fight an Order long enough to get out of harm’s way, but Katsuki knew for a fact that Deku could do more than that. The man didn’t so much as blink at an Order; Bakugo had seen that first hand.
“But they could,” Izuku whispered, his voice barely carrying across the training field.
Ground Zero didn’t know why, but the way Deku said the phrase sent white hot fury through his veins. He didn’t know what happened, but something had. Katsuki did his best to hide his anger, but he must have done a shit job of it because Izuku let out a frustrated sigh as he ran a hand through his curls.
“Please Kacchan, I—I know this is a lot to ask of you. I get how crazy this all sounds. But you know... you get how important it is for me to live up to…”
Deku cut off, but Katsuki finished his sentence in his head. Ever since All Might’s unexpected death two years ago, Izuku had become even more obsessed with his duties as a Pro-Hero. It was the reason he’d come back to Japan after training abroad like his mentor. It was the reason he was ranked number two.
It was also probably the reason why they’d been having more training sessions lately.
“Why me?” Katsuki responded after a moment’s pause. He stuck his hands in his pockets to hide how he clenched them into fists as he walked closer to Izuku. “A Claim doesn’t just go away. You can override it with a new one, but the bite stays.”
“That doesn’t bother me.”
“It bothers some people. What if it bothers your future partner?”
“Then that’s not the person I should be with.”
Katsuki wanted to smirk at that statement, but now he was only a few feet away from Izuku. He stopped suddenly, tilting his chin upward while maintaining eye contact.
“Answer the question then, why me?”
The room fell quiet. Izuku didn’t look away from Katsuki’s eyes, but he also didn’t answer. Once upon a time, the nerd would have withered under Bakugo’s intensity, given him more information than the Alpha had asked for, but that was a long time ago. Now, it was Katsuki who folded first.
“Hah? You’re not going to answer me? Why the fuck should I Claim you if you won’t tell me why.”
“I need someone I can trust.”
“Then go ask fucking Half-and-Half or that creepy purple bastard you hang out with.”
Izuku shook his head vigorously. “Shinso has been undercover for a while now, I can’t ask him to do it. ...And I can’t ask Shouto.”
“Why the fuck not? Didn’t you two fucking date?”
“This isn’t about being in a relationship.”
“Then ask Mina.”
“She’s with Kirishima.”
“Thought this wasn’t about being in a relationship.”
“Then what’s the fucking issue?”
“Kacchan, please!” Izuku threw his hands out by his sides. “Do you think I haven’t thought this through? Do you think I haven’t considered the other options? I’m here, I’m asking you. ”
“And I don’t get why. ” Katsuki brought one foot forward, eyes twitching downward as the Omega took a step further away. “So you either fucking explain properly or I ain’t doing shit.”
Deku’s mouth slammed shut and a chill ran through Katsuki. What the fuck wasn’t the nerd telling him? But rather than allow that thought take hold, another thought came to him. He brought his legs back together, putting distance between them once again and crossed his arms.
Izuku started; his eyes widening in shock. “What?”
“I said fine. I’ll Claim you.”
“Depending on this fight.”
“What?” Izuku asked with furrowed eyebrows.
“If I win, then I’ll go ahead and Claim you. But if you win, you drop this bullshit and never bring it up again.”
Izuku’s mouth fell open making Katsuki smirk. “Kacchan, that makes no sense. Why wouldn’t either of us throw the fight then?”
Katsuki unfolded his arms, letting them fall to his sides with his palms facing Izuku as he fell into an offensive stance. “Like that would ever fucking happen.”
After a moment of tense silence, electricity started to crackle through the still air. The second Izuku’s green eyes glowed from the added light, Katsuki’s smile grew. He hardly waited for the other man to nod to their arrangement before Bakugo took off.
Explosions propelled Katsuki forward preventing Izuku from taking the offensive first. The two danced around one another; each side-stepping explosions and super-powered hits with ease. Both of them had gotten faster and stronger since they’d first fought, but the years of training together made their moves easier to read. Each twitch of a muscle or tilt of a head warned of the person’s next move and the rival responded perfectly. Left kick. Right hook. Explosions from above. Dodge the tackle from the back wall.
New combinations but no new moves. They knew each other too well. So Bakugo knew Izuku would not expect this.
His rival tilted his head in Katsuki’s direction as he slid underneath the blonde’s kick.
Bakugo had never given an Order and he was a little surprised how naturally it came out. There was no question he’d done it right though; the words felt different in his mouth.
But Izuku didn’t so much as flinch.
Instead, he bent backwards into a flip to bring his flickering foot down toward Katsuki’s head in a potentially devastating blow. Bakugo pulled his body out of the way just in time, grabbing Izuku’s foot to toss him. Unfortunately, the Omega twisted himself out of the hold while also sending another punch Katsuki’s way.
The Alpha smirked. “I thought I told you to STOP.”
The second Order worked as well as the first. Izuku continued to come at Katsuki with kicks and punches, and so Katsuki continued to send out Orders.
“What was that bullshit about Orders, Deku? Didn’t you say you have to follow my Orders? Shouldn’t you stop? Or maybe you still want to throw the fight?”
Even after the 6th Order in a row, Izuku didn’t falter. However, with so much of his focus geared toward sending out Orders correctly, Katsuki got distracted.
With one lucky sweep at Katsuki’s leg, Ground Zero went down. Hard. Instantly, Izuku was on top of him, holding Bakugo palms facing each other with one hand, his other hand wrapped in Katsuki’s tanktop while Izuku’s One-For-All powered knees dug into Katsuki’s thighs. The Omega’s face was only inches away from Katsuki’s own as he leaned forward to keep Bakugo’s hands above his head. And maybe that’s why Katsuki said it.
“What are you doing nerd, you gonna kiss me?”
Suddenly, Izuku’s lips were on his own. Bakugo’s eyes widened impossibly large but he didn’t miss the opportunity this afforded him. In one swift motion, Katsuki flipped them both, knocking Deku’s head into the hard concrete and pulling their lips apart in the process. Izuku gave out a gasp of pain that turned strangled when Katsuki wrapped a palm around his throat.
Both men held their positions, panting harshly. They stared at each other, their eyes locked but neither saying a word. As if Izuku just realized what had happened, his eyes widened and he quickly began to struggle under Katsuki’s grip. Battle over, Bakugo removed his hand and allowed Deku to push him off without having to use One-For-All. The Omega quickly stood up and was headed to the door with long, fast strides.
“Oi! Where the fuck are you going?”
Izuku didn’t respond and the door slammed shut behind him. Katsuki stared at the door before he fell backwards onto his butt, resting his arms on his raised knees. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back as he tried to steady his breathing.
What the fuck happened tonight?