Actions

Work Header

Holding On To You

Work Text:

The first time Katsuki casually draped his arm around Izuku’s shoulders, Izuku flinched so hard, he must have sparked like a live wire, or like Kaminari in times of stress.

Izuku had been standing with Kirishima, Satou, and Ashido while they lamented about how much of a bitch English was turning out to be (Ashido’s words). They were barely a week into their third year, yet everyone already seemed like they wanted to mentally check out. Except in obviously hero-related studies, of course.

“Like, why is Present Mic speaking to us only in English during class? And he expects us to do the same?! I could barely understand anything about English when it was taught in Japanese!” Ashido cried.

“Right? I can’t even ask questions or I’ll sound like an idiot. Now, I’m just falling behind even more,” Satou grimaced, smacking his forehead with his palm.

Kirishima responded with a sage nod.

“I feel you, man. I keep thinking if I say stuff in English, I’ll make a mistake or won’t be understood.”

“Ah, but if you never ask questions, your mistakes will never be corrected,” Izuku pointed out.

“Hm, I guess.”

“We talkin' about English?” a new, gravelly voice materialized next to Izuku.

“Hey, Bakugou!” Ashido bobbed excitedly, “We were just trying to weasel some tips out of Midoriya here, since he’s the top English student in the class.”

Izuku smiled sheepishly. He kind of figured that was the case when they cornered him, but he was always happy to help his friends! He had a pretty unfair advantage when it came to English, since All Might sometimes slipped into the other language during their lunch conversations.

Katsuki let out a bark of laughter.

“Hah! Not for long he ain’t! C’mon, Deku, you don’t need to help these dumbasses. They’re a lost cause anyway,” he joked.

Oh, did Izuku mention? Katsuki joked now. Mostly at the expense of others, but everyone understood it was all in good fun. He also laughed freely, without any malice, and Izuku felt blessed every time he bore witness to the sound.

“Bakugouuuu!”

“Bro!”

“So heartless.”

Katsuki only cackled some more, and beside him, Izuku tried his best to hold his own laughter in. As if in slow motion, Izuku watched in his peripheral as Katsuki’s arm rose up somewhere behind him, only to be caught completely off-guard by the unmistakable feeling of skin on skin.

Electricity jolted through Izuku and his whole body immediately twisted away from the touch. The point of contact at the base of his neck burned. Why, why was the room so warm? Why did Kacchan do that?

Izuku vaguely felt Katsuki rip his arm away as he began to hyperventilate. Instinctively, his arms crossed protectively over his chest, shaky hands grasping at the upper sleeves of his jacket. Kirishima quickly stepped in to calm him down, bending slightly to meet his eye level.

“Oi, Midoriya! It’s okay. Look at me. You’re okay.”

Kirishima tore his gaze from Izuku’s to frown in Katsuki’s direction.

“Bakugou! Say something!”

“S-sorry.”

Fighting through the haze in his mind, Izuku peeked over his shoulder at Katsuki. The blonde looked...remorseful. Guilty. His normally clear, scarlet eyes looked lost. Or worse, haunted. By a time when Izuku’s only reaction to his touch was pure pain. When he didn’t trust Katsuki.

With that heartbreaking thought, Izuku managed to snap out of his meltdown. He would not let Katsuki regress, let his mind wander back to the past where he couldn’t change anything. The mental fog cleared, and Izuku forced his breathing to even out. He relaxed his grip, hands held at rest near his elbows, and mustered up the most heroic smile he could manage.

“It’s okay, Kacchan! I forgive you, remember? I’m alright, promise.”

That seemed to bring Katsuki back to the present. He startled, his eyes re-focusing on Izuku’s, and nodded curtly before returning back to the previous conversation almost seamlessly, his gruff voice a few decibels lower than before.

“I’m just fucking with you guys, don’t get your panties in a twist... Anyway, you’ll definitely be begging for my help when I beat Deku on the next midterms.”

Izuku laughed and the rest of the group followed with ease, more than happy to grasp onto something as familiar and enjoyable as the childhood friends’ rivalry rather than linger on...whatever just happened. Seeing the incident smoothed over, Izuku let out a small sigh of relief, but his mind had yet to stop spiralling.

What the hell was that?

+

The second time it happened, Izuku battled all of his instincts to keep his body from going completely buckwild again.

He was eating the usual cafeteria lunch side-by-side with Katsuki, both Iida and Uraraka seated across the table. Katsuki had just polished off his Plus Ultra Spicy Curry (a Lunch Rush Special) and promptly sunk further into his seat, hunger apparently satiated.

Izuku had been unwittingly mumbling to himself about the upcoming training session that afternoon, the two on the other side of the table wrapped up in their own conversation, when he felt Katsuki throw an arm around his neck like he had a week before.

Though the contact still made Izuku feel as if each individual skin cell on his body spontaneously combusted, he didn’t dare move, not wanting history to repeat itself.

Luckily, he found it much easier to calm himself this time around. In fact, now that he stopped to notice, the sensation felt...great. Amazing, even. The initial shock had worn off and left a pleasant tingling that danced across his body making his hair stand on end, every one of his nerves firing off at once.

If he were a cat, Izuku was sure he’d be purring. Instead, he let out a hum of content and unconsciously leaned into the arm wrapped around him, the movement shocking Katsuki out of his relaxed stupor and causing him to tense up.

“Is this okay?” Katsuki murmured.

Izuku hated hearing Katsuki sound so unsure of himself. He wanted to tell him that nothing had ever been more okay in his life, but that seemed a bit much. He glanced at the boy beside him and smiled softly.

“Yes. It’s okay.”

Katsuki seemed to believe him, as he didn’t remove his arm for the rest of the lunch period.

+

Over the following weeks, Izuku noticed Katsuki becoming more...physical with him. Things like Katsuki throwing an arm around his shoulder or pulling him into a one-armed hug by the taller boy’s side became commonplace. Actually, it reminded him a lot of how Kirishima acted around Katsuki when their friendship began.

Maybe this means Kacchan and I will become even closer!

Being best friends again with Katsuki was all Izuku wanted as a young boy. He absolutely longed for it. Only his dream of becoming a hero had that of their renewed friendship beat for being closest to his heart. And now, Katsuki’s actions gave him hope of his second-most dearest wish coming true!

As much as the idea thrilled him, something about Katsuki’s errant touches had also felt...off.

He thought back to his first reaction to the new sensation, or rather overreaction. He’d been completely blindsided by the weight of the touch, the heat of it. It wholly overwhelmed him.

Now, Katsuki’s touches were still burning hot but Izuku found that he loved it. He couldn’t get enough of the exhilarating pressure. Whenever Katsuki would start to pull his arm away, Izuku’s body would chase it, hoping that they would stay in contact just a second longer.

It felt like an addiction.

And Izuku suspected he knew why.

For the first fifteen years of his life, his primary and pretty much only source of human contact had been none other than Midoriya Inko. Being a single parent, she’d showered her son with as much affection as possible, including physical, so he would know without a doubt that he was loved.

The students of UA had been living in the dorms for over a year, and Izuku didn’t get to see his mother as often as he’d like. Sure, they’d share late night phone calls every week, but nothing could compare to his mom’s warm hugs after a trying school day. He’d taken them for granted every day of his life until they were suddenly ripped away.

As much as he loved his best friends, they just weren’t the type to greet each other with casual hugs or touches. He and Todoroki were too socially awkward, Iida was too formal, and Uraraka...well, she seemed like she would be okay with it, but Izuku would most certainly not be. He just got comfortable talking to girls. Hugging them...Oh boy, Izuku’s brain felt like it was going to fry just thinking about it.

Perhaps that’s why Katsuki’s touch felt so intoxicating. Izuku thought if Katsuki didn’t offer it up himself, he’d probably have jumped one of his friends sooner or later. Maybe even All Might, since they had shared hugs in particularly emotional moments in the past, but he didn’t want to make the appearance of favoritism any worse than it already was. (Izuku thinks Todoroki still doesn’t quite believe him on the whole “illegitimate child” front.)

Well, if Katsuki felt like cultivating skinship with Izuku, he would bask in the contact for as long as he could.

+

A few weeks had past of Katsuki curling himself around Izuku like a python every so often when someone finally decided to comment on it.

One day, Todoroki cornered Izuku after class. As soon as Aizawa-sensei dismissed them, Todoroki had pulled him by the arm out the door and to a relatively secluded hallway. Never one for small talk, Todoroki got straight to the point.

“Are you and Bakugou dating?”

Completely thrown by the accusation, Izuku could do nothing but choke in silence for a few seconds.

“I have been observing you both over the past couple weeks and it seems you have become much more...comfortable around one another. I offer you my sincere congratulations.”

“Todo-todoroki-k-kun...That’s not...You have the wrong-”

Suddenly, a large, muscled arm snaked around Izuku’s waist, and he felt a sharp chin nestle itself into his shoulder.

“Oi, IcyHot. What’re you doin’ to the poor nerd to make him stutter like a Shoujo protag, hah? Oh, ho! You don’t like him, do you, Deku?” Katsuki leered.

Taking a deep breath, Izuku forced himself to speak clearly and evenly, lest he be misunderstood.

“Kacchan, I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.”

“Tch. You’re no fun.”

Todoroki directed a half-hearted glare at Katsuki.

“I would appreciate if you would use my real name when addressing me from now on, Bakugou.”

Katsuki hummed in thought, and Izuku felt a shiver run through him as the sound project straight to his eardrum.

“Todoroki-teme.”

Izuku strained his neck to throw a pointed look at his crude friend.

“Kacchan, please.”

Katsuki’s devilish grin only grew.

“Shou-chan.”

Kacchan!”

Todoroki closed his eyes and sighed.

“Todoroki, if you please.”

“Hm. You’re no fun, either. C’mon, Deku, we’re sparring today.”

Izuku just let himself be dragged away, glad to be out of the hot seat and simply content to marvel at the warm arm still wrapped around his waist.

+

For a while, Izuku wasn’t sure if Todoroki was the only who suspected there was something more going on between the two childhood friends or if the rest of Class 3-A thought so as well.

On movie night, Izuku gained some clarity.

Every weekend, the students of Class 3-A held a movie night in the commonspace of the dorms. They’d move the coffee table out of the way and lay out blankets and pillows on the carpet so everyone could fit comfortably on the floor or on the couches.

Izuku and Katsuki laid on their stomachs in front of the TV, shoulder to shoulder, chins pillowed on their forearms as they watched the mind-numbing action movie Kaminari had picked. On the couch behind him, Izuku could hear Uraraka munching happily on popcorn while she cuddled up to Asui. His other classmates hogged the remaining couches on either side.

To his left, Kaminari excitedly recited all the “badass lines” word-for-word in time with the characters on-screen and spewed random fun facts about the movie to Kirishima while the redhead listened, completely unbothered by the distraction, with a mixture of amusement and adoration on his face.

To Izuku’s right, Hagakure sat on the floor between Ashido’s bent knees, painting her friend’s toes while the pink girl seated above on the couch carefully brushed through invisible hair in return.

No one paid any attention to how close Katsuki and Izuku pressed together, and honestly, Izuku didn’t expect them to. Their peers were well aware that the rivals had finally settled their differences within the last year. Katsuki had mellowed out while Izuku became more comfortable with his quirk and in his own skin, and so it wasn’t unusual for the two to be civil with one another, even sometimes acting like actual friends.

Then Katsuki went on and decided fuck ‘the usual’ and whatever constituted as ‘normal childhood friend behavior’ by placing his warm palm on the small of Izuku’s back, just above the waistline of his basketball shorts where his shirt and jacket had ridden up, directly on his bare skin.

That sure got their classmates’ attention.

Both the crunching of the popcorn behind Izuku and the constant low murmurs to his left had ceased. When he turned to his right to look anxiously at Katsuki, the blonde’s eyes hadn’t even left the blaring screen. He looked completely unaware of, or maybe just unbothered by, the many eyes Izuku could innately feel trained upon them. Behind Katsuki, he caught sight of Ashido and Hagakure stopping their activities to shove their faces in the couch cushions to muffle their shrill laughter. (They were only partially successful.)

Katsuki must have felt Izuku go rigid with apprehension because he slowly moved his calloused hand under the shirt and up Izuku’s spine, massaging the tight back muscles as he went. Izuku could practically hear Katsuki admonishing him in his mind.

Relax, idiot. The hell are you getting nervous for? Those extras don’t know know shit, and we ain’t about to say shit. Plus, you like it when I touch you like this, don’cha? Feels good, yeah?

Oh, Izuku liked it, alright. Liked the warmth, the surprising gentleness. Liked that Katsuki felt comfortable enough around him to do this, be like this with him, not giving a fuck who was watching. Liked that Katsuki thought of him, cared about him, and made him feel like he belonged by his side.

Izuku let go of all the tension that had built up and allowed Katsuki to knead him right to the edge of consciousness.

As he laid on his cheek, giving in to sleep, he thought he heard voices, though maybe he dreamt it.

“So manly.

“Fuck off, Kirishima.”

The vision he had of Katsuki carrying him bridal-style to his dorm room had to have been a dream...

+

“So...still not dating?”

Izuku slammed his textbook down on his friend group’s designated study table in the common area, making Iida jump, glasses going askew, and Uraraka float her chair in surprise.

“Todoroki-kun, I’ll say this one more time. We’re just friends. Please, let it go.”

Todoroki stared at him a bit longer, trying to detect a non-existent lie. He gave a slow nod.

“Alright. I’ll believe you.”

Iida fixed his glasses with one hand while gesturing wildly with the other.

“I must say, Midoriya-kun, I don’t blame Todoroki-kun for being suspicious. Anyone can see how much closer Bakugou-kun prefers to be with you than in previous years.”

Uraraka released her quirk, landing back on the ground with a soft click, and put a finger to her chin in thought.

“Really? I mean, it was strange to see at first, but I never thought it went as far as dating.

Iida quickly snapped his full attention to her.

“Very interesting. You didn’t suspect them at all?”

Uraraka shook her head once, bobbed hair twirling with the motion.

“Nope! I mean, sure, Bakugou-kun is all over him, but it’s not like Deku-kun ever reciprocates.”

Izuku could only blink at her in shock, his mind spinning.

That can’t be right. Do I seriously never…

He furiously wracked his brain to remember all of Katsuki’s new behavior within the last month and his response to that behavior...or rather, what he came to realize as, his lack of response.

Crap! Uraraka-san’s right! I don’t do anything, I just let it happen! Does that make me a bad friend? Does Kacchan think I don’t appreciate it? What if he stops and-

“Oi, Midoriya. Pull yourself together.”

Snapping out of his mental spiral, Izuku gazed at Todoroki, grateful for the other boy’s ever-blunt personality in that moment.

“Sorry, everyone! You guys continue studying. I’ll catch you later.”

Izuku gathered his things and headed in the direction of his room. He needed to be alone for at least the rest of the day to settle the feelings of embarrassment and shame gnawing at his heart.

+

The first time he responded to Katsuki’s casual affection, Izuku was a nervous wreck.

The students of UA had finally, finally been allowed a day off to visit their families. Being lifelong neighbors and, more recently, friends, Katsuki and Izuku made their way down UA’s hill and to their shared neighborhood together.

After discussing the upcoming Sports Festival for a bit, the two fell into a comfortable silence. When Katsuki threw his arm around Izuku’s neck like usual, the smaller boy hesitated.

He thought about Katsuki’s growth as a friend, and not just as his own. He remembered how it became a normal occurrence whenever Kirishima swung an arm around his best bro’s shoulders for Katsuki to respond in kind.

The two were basically brothers, and Izuku wanted that too, goddamnit!

Fists clenched, heart full of equal parts anxiety and determination, he slowly wrapped his arm around Katsuki’s back, letting his curled hand rest near the taller teen’s hip. He peeked up through his lashes, gauging his friend’s reaction.

Katsuki only looked at him with a smirk, raising the hand by Izuku’s shoulder to softly ruffle his curls.

Izuku enjoyed their shared warmth the rest of the way home.

+

When Izuku initiated the intimate contact for the first time, he hadn’t been thinking. He just did.

All of Class 3-A had made it to the final round of the Sports Festival, which would be tournament style as usual, but with a slight twist, Present Mic explained, wailing into the microphone.

“This year, instead of individual battles, we will be holding a special 2-v-2 Tournament! But be warned! The team who comes out on top will have to face their partner in the finals! We’ll give you little heroes ten minutes to choose your partners and figure out a strategy! ALL RIIIIIIGHT!”

Izuku wanted to laugh.

Really, what was there to even think about?

“KACCHAN!” he screamed into the crowd of contestants, arm outstretched and waving.

Katsuki exploded over to him immediately, cackling like a maniac.

“You fucking know it, Deku!”

He grasped Izuku’s hand in his, like a promise to fight, to win, and the resounding clap echoed throughout the stadium.

“Ugh. OP as fuck,” Mineta whined, rolling his eyes at the display.

Naturally, the duo blazed their way through their initial matches, barely gaining a scratch, until they faced off against Todoroki and Kirishima in the semis.

They’re strategy was simple: get in close and double-team Todoroki so he couldn’t use his more powerful long-range attacks. This way, Kirishima wouldn’t be able to charge in with his Unbreakable Form lest he hurt his teammate, and they only needed to immobilize or knock one of them out of bounds to win.

The battle raged for at least 20 minutes, both teams rushing out immediately at the start to try to gain the advantage. It took several minutes and more than a few close calls before Katsuki and Izuku could enact their plan. After that, it was only a matter of time.

“BAKUGOU AND MIDORIYA WIN!!!”

Izuku felt a wobbly smile stretch his face as he met Katsuki’s proud gaze, the blonde’s laughter booming in his ears.

Everything else fell away. Present Mic’s commentary, the roaring of the crowds, the entire stadium became a blur. He only saw Katsuki.

His image of victory.

He launched himself at his childhood friend, arms going around the taller boy’s neck, and felt strong arms wrap tightly around his back. He sobbed hard into Katsuki’s unforgiving chest as the other boy shook with quiet laughter.

“You alright down there, Deku?” he whispered into Izuku’s hair, and the smaller teen swore he felt a smile press into his scalp.

Too overcome to speak, Izuku could only nod in affirmation. Katsuki chuckled low and soft.

“Damn crybaby.”

Izuku never wanted to let go.

+

The final match lasted longer than any in the tournament. They traded blow after blow, Izuku a green blur while Katsuki maneuvered only a fraction slower with his explosions. They predicted each other’s movements, knew when the other would block, when they would strike, Izuku’s strategy equal to Katsuki’s instinct on every level.

Their epic battle came to its grand conclusion with a slightly singed Izuku on all fours looming above a badly bruised Katsuki, his back to the ground. Izuku sat his weight back on his heels, keeping Katsuki’s thighs pinned under his shins, and used his upper body strength to keep Katsuki’s explosive hands forced into fists and pinned beside the blonde’s head, preventing him from using his quirk without hurting himself.

A strange pounding seemed to be coming from all around Izuku, and he distantly wondered if someone with a gigantification quirk was stomping around somewhere. It took a few moments for him to recognize his own deafening heartbeat.

“MIDORIYA WINS! OH YEAAAAAAH!!!”

Mic’s voice rang throughout the stadium and the crowds cheered wildly in response, but neither sound managed to breach the private bubble the finalists seemed to be stuck in.

“I-I win,” Izuku managed to croak out between gasps, more than a little awe in his voice.

Katsuki chuckled, grunting when he coughed up blood.

“Don’t sound so surprised, shit nerd. You’re damn strong, y’know.”

Izuku felt like he’d slipped into a dream when he saw the amused glint in those crimson eyes, saw that stupid, inspiring, proud smirk aimed at him, only this time, it was for him.

He didn’t know who started crying first (hindsight told Izuku it was probably himself), but at some point, Katsuki began to blink rapidly to hold off the tears that threatened to spill at the corners of his eyes while Izuku made no such effort, snot rolling down his upper lip and drops of salt water landing on Katsuki’s grimy cheeks, though the older boy didn’t complain.

Completely spent, physically and emotionally, Izuku’s elbows buckled below him and he landed with a soft thump, sprawled across Katsuki’s chest.

Newly freed, Katsuki’s arms wound around the smaller body, a hand on Izuku’s lower back and the other curled in his mop of hair, holding him in place as Izuku’s mind drifted and the world went dark.

“It’s okay, Deku. You can go ahead. I got you.”

+

Todoroki received bronze, having battled Kirishima while the finalists were healing. (Izuku heard later that Katsuki passed out almost immediately after he did. Both boys had woken up at Recovery Girl’s well after the third-place match had been decided.) Katsuki received silver, a bit disgruntled from losing, but not totally ungracious. Izuku received the gold medal from All Might, this time in his true form, who practically radiated pride for his successor.

“You have proven yourself once again, Young Midoriya. Thank you for everything you have done for me. Now go out, and do the same for the world!”

Tears starting anew, Izuku promised to do so.

+

The longest Izuku had gone without Katsuki’s touch since it all started was two weeks. And he hated every minute of it.

After the Sports Festival, they both accepted internship offers from the same agency, yet when said agency had been called to run a high-priority Black Ops mission, only Katsuki had been invited to be a part of the squadron. When Izuku inquired about their decision, the agency stated their reasons as a) they could only afford to take one intern along and b) out of the two of them, Katsuki, being not only loud-mouthed but also possessing a deafening and eye-catching quirk, needed stealth training the most.

Though Izuku couldn’t fault their logic, that didn’t mean he had to like it.

“Jeez, calm your tits, Deku,” Katsuki deadpanned after Izuku had finished unpacking all his frustrations onto him. “You know I gotta gain as much experience as I can so I can rise above you and All Might. This just means you better have worked hard and learned something new, too, by the time I get back.”

Outwardly, Izuku pouted, but Katsuki’s words succeeded in making him feel marginally better.

“Hmph. You’re the one with actual tits here, Kacchan.”

Izuku absolutely lived for the way Katsuki’s ears and cheeks exploded with pink.

“Y-you... Fuck off, pervert Deku!”

In Izuku’s opinion, the incessant, 12-hour-long headache he acquired from Katsuki’s backhand was totally worth it.

+

The realization that Katsuki would actually be leaving the class for an undetermined period of time only hit Izuku as he caught Katsuki attempting to leave the dorm undetected one afternoon, rucksack full of (what Izuku presumed was) his gear thrown over his shoulder.

Oh no, you don’t, thought Izuku as he charged the blonde, catching his free arm in an unyielding grip.

“Deku, report time’s in an hour. I gotta get going.”

“Seriously, Kacchan? Without even saying goodbye?”

Katsuki rolled his eyes and gave a condescending wave.

“Bye. Happy now?”

Izuku shook his head emphatically.

“Of course not!”

Groaning in frustration, Katsuki dropped his rucksack to the floor, hands going to his hips as he stared Izuku down.

“The hell do you want from me, damn nerd?!”

Izuku felt his lower lip start to wobble.

“Just… Um...” Izuku struggled, voice beginning to tremble.

Before he knew it, he had thrown himself at the taller boy, similar to what he had done at the Sports Festival, only this time, the hot tears he felt behind his eyes were not of happiness.

Without hesitation, Katsuki lifted his arms to wrap around the smaller teen and squeezed.

“You really don’t know when you’ll be back?”

Katsuki heaved a sigh.

“No.”

He expected as much, but that didn’t stop the wave of disappointment flooding Izuku’s fearful heart. When would he see Katsuki again? When would he touch him? Be in his arms? What if the matter wasn’t when he’d be back, but if

Don’t think like that, Izuku. Never think like that.

“Stop worrying so much. I can practically feel your brain going into overdrive.”

Izuku huffed a short, humourless laugh.

“You know I can’t do that, Kacchan.”

Katsuki squeezed him tighter.

“Idiot.”

Slowly, Izuku’s thoughts dwindled down to a single want, a need, that stayed with him even when they gradually pulled away and Katsuki was forced to depart.

Just hold me.

+

The next day, Izuku walked into homeroom only to be halted at the doorway by the Katsuki’s main squad, currently consisting of (but not limited to) Kirishima, Kaminari, Ashido, and Sero.

Hey, Midoriya!” Ashido drawled in that saccharine tone that everyone knew meant she wanted something. “You got a sec?”

From Ashido’s too tight smile, Kirishima’s and Sero’s worried expressions, and Kaminari’s twitching and occasional sparking, Izuku could easily discern what they wanted to ask him.

“Um, I think I know what you’re going to say, Ashido-san, and I wanted to address the entire class if that’s alright.”

The rest of Class 3-A, having all been observing the confrontation at the door since the beginning, watched expectantly as Izuku made his way to the front of the room.

“Good morning, everyone,” Izuku started solemnly, frowning when he noticed a bit of sadness creeping into his voice already, “As some of you may have noticed, Kacchan isn’t here today. He’s currently on a long-term mission with our agency, and the date of completion is unknown. The details of the mission are strictly need-to-know, so I know just as much about it as you. I’m sure some of you are frustrated that Kacchan didn’t say anything about it or at least say goodbye before he left. Trust me, I understand. So, please…”

Izuku bent at the hip in a perfect 90º bow.

“...On Kacchan’s behalf, I apologize! Please forgive him!”

The entire class sat in silent shock for a minute before Kirishima stepped in.

“Whoa, whoa Midoriya! There is absolutely no need for you to be apologizing for him. We get it, that’s just how Bakugou is. I mean, yeah, it sucks-”

“Damn, right, it sucks!” cried Ashido. “The idiot doesn’t know when he’ll be back and still doesn’t tell anyone. I’m pissed!”

“Pretty impressed he even got a sweet gig like that,” Jirou muttered in Yaoyorozu’s direction.

Yaoyorozu nodded knowingly. “Yes, considering Midoriya-san is more tolerable by far.”

“Wow, Yaomomo! I didn’t know you had it in you!” Uraraka squealed in delight before dissolving into giggles.

Iida stood abruptly from his seat and began swinging his arms in his signature chopping motion.

“I think we should all be proud of Bakugou-kun’s accomplishment, despite our personal feelings, and support our friend and fellow classmate!”

“Sorry, Class President, but I’m with Ashido on this one,” Kaminari scowled. “That asshole couldn’t even give us a heads up? Making us worry like that, stupid jerk.”

As Kaminari voiced his feelings, Izuku found himself agreeing with every word.

+

A week passed and still no sign of Katsuki.

Izuku tried to keep his promise to Katsuki and improve himself, but focusing in class proved difficult when the empty desk in front of him consumed his vision every time he looked up from his notes.

Thoughts of Katsuki and his possible state of well-being plagued Izuku, but, with considerable strain, he forced them to the back of his mind at every opportunity while in class or training.

However, at night, Izuku’s thoughts had free reign.

They kept him up late into the night, wondering about Katsuki, his whereabouts, his safety. It never got as bad as nightmares, but the insomnia was almost as bad. If it wasn’t the gruesome scenarios that his imagination marathoned in his mind keeping him awake, it was the phantom touches on his chilled skin, cursing him with their false warmth just as he was about to fall asleep, causing him to bolt up in bed expecting to find Katsuki resting beside him.

Of course, he never was.

Sometimes, when slumber alluded Izuku completely, he found himself wandering about the dorms in the middle of the night, which was how he found Kirishima in the common room for the first time.

“Yo,” the redhead called softly from the couch as Izuku exited the elevator.

“What are you doing up?” questioned Izuku.

Kirishima only shrugged.

“Same as you, I expect.”

Izuku nodded in understanding. Of course, Kirishima would be the most concerned out of everyone, save maybe Izuku.

Katsuki is Kirishima’s best friend too, after all.

“It’s not like I could’ve made him stay, I guess,” Kirishima smiled sadly. “Sometimes, it feels like no matter what, I can never do anything, because I’m never there!”

Kirishima let out a hollow, deprecating laugh and sank further into the couch while Izuku only shook his head.

“Trust me, it’s better than being there, and still not being able to do anything.”

“Yeah...Maybe.”

Izuku was positive they were both remembering the same thing, one of their lowest moments, the complete failure of their summer during first year.

“So, does that mean were you there this time, too?

Izuku pursed his lips.

“Yeah, I was…”

His breathing became uneven and his voice shook, but Izuku had to continue on. He had to get the words out, he had to.

“...I don’t know why, but the dorm was completely deserted, and I just...happened to catch him sneaking out...I should have made him wait for everyone, but...he said he had to go and...I should have just held on longer!”

By the time he’d finished, Kirishima held one of Izuku’s hands firmly in both of his own while Izuku used the other to cover his tearful eyes, though the evidence spilled past his fingers anyway. They sat together well into the night while Izuku muttered and cried.

“...just a little longer…”

+

And so began Izuku and Kirishima’s nightly meetings, where they would take turns comforting each other through their bouts of depression.

But even with the makeshift support group, by the end of the week, Izuku’s anxiety had skyrocketed.

He needed to speak with Aizawa. Urgently.

Forgoing all formalities, Izuku barged into the teachers’ shared office space the moment classes ended, found his homeroom teacher’s cubicle, pulled up the nearest chair, and sat in wait.

Aizawa, whose eyes had yet to leave his dual computer monitors, heaved a sigh and spun his own chair to face Izuku.

“I’m guessing this is concerning the other problem child.”

“Yessir.”

“Hm. Well, get on with it so I can go back to working.”

“Well, Kacchan’s been gone one week now… Doesn’t that seem a bit long? For a mission, I mean.”

The teacher shrugged.

“Depends on the mission. Though...”

Aizawa’s expression darkened, and Izuku felt fear creep closer to his heart.

“...If your agency deemed the mission suitable for even an intern to complete, then yes. I’d say a week is unusually long.”

Izuku’s heart sank hard and fast, like a stone in the cold depths of the ocean.

“I won’t lie to you and say I’m not worried, Midoriya. However, we’ll both just have to wait and see.”

Feeling miserable at the prospect of more agonizing inaction, Izuku suddenly couldn’t wait to run to his room and cry into a pillow or something.

Seeing Izuku’s face fall, Aizawa raised his hand to rest it on his student’s shoulder.

“Listen, kid. He wouldn’t want to see you like this, moping around, standing still while everyone else is moving forward. Got that?”

Izuku bit his lip and nodded. When Katsuki returned, if Izuku hadn’t improved at all, the blonde would surely chew him out over it. His mood rising a little with the thought, he resolved not to give Katsuki the satisfaction.

“Yes, Aizawa-sensei.”

+

A second week rolled along with Katsuki gone and Izuku throwing himself into any and every distraction that presented itself.

His friends were an amazing help, allowing Izuku to spar with any of them at any time outside of class, no questions asked.

“No worries, Deku-kun! We can all see that you only need to get your focus back, and if you think this is the best way to do it, we’re behind you!” Uraraka had told him once after some one-on-one training.

Izuku couldn’t put into words how much he appreciated having such understanding and supportive people in his life.

In addition to the extra workouts, he requested longer patrol shifts at the agency knowing his focus would be on helping others and nothing else.

His moonlit meetings with Kirishima became increasingly lighthearted throughout the week as they both made an effort to casually shift the conversation away from Katsuki’s absence and towards each other’s successes in hero training.

Some days, Izuku worked himself so hard during the day, he’d wake up in the morning still in the common area with a blanket thrown over him, having fallen asleep on Kirishima mid-discussion.
He always apologized profusely in the morning, but Kirishima would just wave him off and kindly urge him to cut back on his workload if he was so tired all the time.

At this request, Izuku would fall silent, unwillingly to explain that the overwork helped keep him sane.

+

On the two-week anniversary of Katsuki’s disappearance, Izuku woke up over an hour later than he planned.

Feeling slightly upset with himself for sleeping through his alarm, but also begrudgingly understanding that his body was sending him a clear message that he needed more rest, Izuku made his way downstairs, determined to cram as much training as possible into the remainder of his weekend.

As he exited the stairwell on the ground floor, he was greeted by a flurry of voices coming from the dorm building entrance. Making his way down the hallway towards the sound, he began to pick up the actual words being spoken.

“...do you get off, leaving like that, huh?!”

“...was worried sick! Do you have any idea...”

“...really glad you’re back, man…”

“...so happy you’re safe…”

Izuku stopped in his tracks.

No way. Could it really be...

Heart pounding, he rounded the final corner to the front of the building and found what he’d been missing for the past 14 days.

There stood Bakugou Katsuki, looking a little worse for wear with severe bags under his eyes and stray bits of dirt and ash on his face and in his hair, surrounded by the majority of Class 3-A, eyes squeezed shut in frustration and the vein in his forehead pulsing in annoyance from all the scolding.

“Yeah, yeah. Calm your asses down already! Damn extras, flipping your shit over nothin’.”

The indignant shouting from the crowd started back up, and the scene was so familiar, it filled Izuku with emotion the likes of which he’d never known, one hand shooting out to grasp at the wall to stabilize himself as his knees began to shake, the other clutching at his heart as it ached with nostalgia and profound relief.

He watched as finally Kirishima pushed through the other students to stand in front of Katsuki and turned to face the others.

“Okay, guys, I think that’s enough. Quiet down so my bro can apologize properly.”

With that, Kirishima stepped to the side, clapping Bakugou on the back hard enough to leave him sputtering.

What the- Are you seriously- Fine, fine. Whatever.”

Eyes trained on the floor, Katsuki spoke, his voice low and surprisingly gentle.

“I’m sorry for leaving without saying anything. Thought it would make things easier or some shit. It won’t happen again.”

He bent slightly at the hips and bowed his head.

“Please forgive me.”

After a minute of stunned silence, Ashido stepped out from the crowd to glomp the unsuspecting blonde.

“We forgive you, idiot. But you’re on thin fucking ice.”

Izuku snorted at that, and the rest of class dissolved into laughter with him. Those brave enough (i.e. the rest of the Bakusquad) pounced Katsuki as well while everyone else looked on in happiness. At the center of the group hug, Katsuki remained still and silent, but in his eyes, Izuku could see content shining through.

Just as Izuku decided to come forward out of the shadows, Kirishima brought Katsuki into a tight hug that the blonde fully returned, making the freckled boy hesitate.

The best friends stayed in that position for the better part of a minute before releasing each other, at which point Kirishima leaned in close to whisper something in Katsuki’s ear.

Not wanting to intrude, Izuku carefully backed up further into the hallway, leaning more of his weight into the wall with every step.

Once the others were out of sight, he let the tears that threatened to spill the moment he laid eyes on Katsuki finally fall. Sobbing quietly into his hands, he found he couldn’t really pinpoint why he was crying.

Mostly, he felt overwhelmed, but he also felt...sad? What in the world was there to be sad about?

Without warning, Izuku felt warm, rough hands encircle his wrists and gasped, the contact startling him. Ever so slowly, Izuku’s hands were guided away from his face, revealing blood-red eyes piercing him with their gaze.

“The hell’s wrong, Deku?”

Though it barely registered as a mutter, Izuku could hear the obvious concern behind the words, which only made him cry harder out of frustration with himself.

He didn’t know what was wrong! By all accounts, everything should be fine. More than fine, even, considering Katsuki was finally back and safe, and though he could probably use a good 24-hour-long nap, he appeared relatively healthy. So why

“I’m sorry.”

What even…

Izuku must have misheard.

“W-what?”

Katsuki huffed slightly at having to repeat himself.

“I’m said I’m sorry. For making you worry. Kirishima told me...I should find you and apologize-”

No!”

Shaking his head vehemently, Izuku forced his voice to work through the stray sniffles and hiccups.

“I’m the last person you need to apologize to, Kacchan! At least in my case, I knew you were leaving. And I know you it wasn’t your fault no one could reach you or that you couldn’t reach out to us, so…”

Carefully, Izuku threaded the fingers of both his hands with Katsuki’s and closed his eyes.

Please don’t be sorry.”

Feeling a bit winded from his outburst, Izuku focused on simply steadying his breathing for a few seconds. The silence broke with Katsuki’s quiet, rumbly laughter, and Izuku suddenly felt the weight of the other boy’s forehead rest against his own.

“Okay, nerd. I won’t apologize, but only if you stop being a stupid crybaby for no reason.”

This time, Izuku’s own laughter permeated the space between them. He sighed, the inexplicable sadness he felt earlier all but vanished.

“Yeah. Okay, Kacchan.”

+

At some point, the pair made their way to Katsuki’s room where, after Katsuki had thrown his rucksack haphazardly to the floor, they sprawled out on the bed in pure exhaustion.

Izuku lay at the foot of the bed, gazing listlessly at the blank, white ceiling. He imagined Katsuki doing much the same where he lay, his signature tuft of blonde hair tickling Izuku’s ear while Katsuki’s body stretched in the opposite direction of his.

As his mind wandered, he imagined that from above, they probably looked something like yin and yang, equal and opposite, but finally whole again. At least, that’s how he felt.

“Are you allowed to talk about it, or…”

In his peripheral, Izuku saw Katsuki shrug, the comforter underneath them shifting with the movement.

“Most of it’s still classified, but I can probably tell you some shit if you really wanna know.”

Izuku hummed in thought.

“Are you okay talking about it?”

Katsuki only grumbled, which Izuku translated as a reluctant “yes.”

“What took you so long?”

He didn’t mean for the words to come out so bitter, but there it was, Izuku’s pent up anger and frustration finally finding release.

“Deku,” Katsuki warned.

“I know, Kacchan! I know. You can’t tell me details, but even Aizawa-sensei was doubting. Our teacher! A pro-hero! Had no idea if you were gonna make it back. A week was long enough, but two?! I have half a mind to quit the agency right now and take you with me-”

A calloused hand covered Izuku’s mouth, effectively silencing him, while another pressed down on his chest. He didn’t even notice when Katsuki rolled over and sat up on his knees above him during his rant. Crimson eyes loomed over him, demanding his undivided attention.

“Let’s get one thing straight, Deku. You don’t get to decide what I do or who I work for. You don’t own me, so get that through your thick brain, first of all.”

As Katsuki stared him down, Izuku’s heart rate embarrassingly began to pick up speed. He really hoped Katsuki wouldn’t notice, but he figured with the heavy hand still on his chest, that was a losing battle.

“Second of all, I know you’re not actually mad at the agency. Frankly, they have nothing to do with this, and you know it. So here’s what’s gonna happen: I’m gonna move my hand, and you’re gonna tell me what’s really wrong.”

In an instant, his sadness and helplessness, everything he ever divulged to Kirishima and everything he didn’t, his worst feelings that he had absolutely no intention of sharing with Katsuki (but Izuku couldn’t lie straight to his face when he asked so directly, could he?) rushed to the forefront of his mind, causing a wrecked sob to escape his throat the moment Katsuki uncovered his mouth.

“I-I’m so useless, Kacchan! I just wanna prot-t-ect y-you, and I can n-never seem to… I never... I c-can’t-”

A firm shake to his shoulder halted Izuku’s mental decline.

Listen to me, you fucking nerd. I don’t know where you get off blaming yourself for all this, but you better cut that shit out. None of this is your fault, hear me?!”

The interjection snapped Izuku out of his own guilt for the moment, and he focused back in on the boy sitting above him. Katsuki’s stern expression had crumpled into one of sorrow, his right hand clinging tightly to the dark fabric above his heart.

“I need an answer on this one, Deku.”

With the negative feelings somewhat purged (Izuku didn’t think they could ever truly go away), a wave of fatigue washed over his mind and filled in the cracks.

“Yes...Kacchan.”

Katsuki’s jaw muscles twitched as he grit his teeth, preparing to speak.

“I know I don’t got any right to be saying any of this. I’m...I’m the main reason you think that crap about yourself, ain’t I? I just...need you to know that none of that is true, none of it… And I’m so, so sorry I ever even gave you the idea that it was. I don’t got the right...I don’t deserve to be anywhere near you after-”

Izuku didn’t even let Katsuki finish before his fist connected with the other’s face. He couldn’t recall getting up into a seated position, but there he was, both fists gripped onto Katsuki’s shirt collar as he watched the blonde’s pale cheek begin to color.

“Don’t you dare, Kacchan… Don’t you dare say you don’t deserve that when I worked my whole life to stand next to you!”

Katsuki’s blank stare morphed into a look of pure agony, not from physical pain (Katsuki could handle a helluva lot more than that), but rather the emotional torment savaging his heart and mind.

The older boy’s face fell into his hands, and he quickly twisted his body away from Izuku in an attempt to hide his weakness, but Izuku wasn’t having any of it.

He lunged across the bed, engulfing Katsuki in a bear hug before dragging both of them backwards so Izuku was seated with Katsuki between his legs, the blonde’s back and head flush with his stomach and chest.

One of Katsuki’s hands fell from his face to grip harshly onto one of the scarred arms that unyieldingly encircled his chest. Izuku continued to hold and rock him gently as he wept, quiet sobbing interrupted by a constant stream of “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Using his free hand to stroke through wild, blonde spikes, Izuku made sure to whisper back his forgiveness every time.

+

The digital clock above Katsuki’s bed read 3:12 when Izuku awoke.

He remembered comforting Katsuki late into the night until the older boy passed out, the emotional release completely draining him, and Izuku, worn simply by the lateness of the hour, let himself immediately follow suit.

Katsuki remained asleep, laid out on top of Izuku, though he somehow managed to flip himself in his sleep so he lay on his stomach with Izuku continuing to hold him, his head buried in Izuku’s chest.

Carefully, Izuku rolled them both so Katsuki could simply slide out of his arms and onto the bed. When he pulled away, Izuku stole a few moments in the quiet of the night to observe the sleeping face of the boy underneath him.

In the light of the moon, Izuku saw that his usually pale complexion had turned blotchy with a pronounced bit of color high on his cheekbone. The skin around his eyes appeared red and swollen, but his expression remained soft and calm, his brow relaxed as air flowed evenly through his parted lips.

Satisfied that his friend would be okay, Izuku made his exit, throwing a spare comforter over the teen’s sleeping form before tip-toeing to the entryway.

He opened the door just enough for his body to slip past, the light from the hallway invading immediately, and stepped through the threshold.

“Where you goin’?”

Izuku mentally winced as his head whipped back toward the sleepy voice.

Though the hallway light didn’t completely reach the bed, the residual glow illuminated its contents enough for Izuku to see.

Beneath the blanket, Katsuki hadn’t sat up fully, but instead remained lying down, craning his head up awkwardly to stare back at Izuku.

Reluctantly, Izuku stepped back inside the room, but left the crack in the doorway.

“Go back to sleep, Kacchan. I’m sorry I woke you. I’m just going back to my room. You don’t need me to stay with you, right?”

Katsuki’s lips flattened slightly, as if he wanted to say something.

For a while, Izuku stayed stuck in a strange limbo. Time seemed to stretch and elongate in the silence as he waited for words that would never come.

Finally, he turned away to leave, closing the door behind him.

+

When he walked into class the next morning, Izuku was greeted by the strange sight of Kaminari lounging on Katsuki’s desk.

Already seated himself, Katsuki looked mildly irritated with the situation, but didn’t do anything to change it.

As Izuku approached, he reached a point within earshot of their conversation.

“Trouble in paradise?”

The allegation nearly had Katsuki falling out of his chair. Nearby, Kirishima fell into a mysterious coughing fit while Sero soothingly patted his back, a sly grin affixed to his face.

“Dunce Face, I will literally murder you in cold blood and dump your lifeless body in a ditch.”

Unfazed, Kaminari merely shook his head in mock disappointment.

“Jeez, your meaningless death threats are getting pretty dark, bro.”

A growl emitted from Katsuki’s throat as Kaminari hopped off and sauntered away.

“Don’t test me, bitch.”

Izuku hadn’t made it past the second aisle before he was yanked backward by the elbow and led by a brown bob to the back corner of the class.

Pushing Izuku into her seat, Uraraka shoved both their heads down close to the desk, leaning in conspiratorially.

“So, did you really fight again?” she asked lowly.

Izuku flinched a little at the negative implications, wanting to amend them immediately.

“I-I wouldn’t call it a fight, really… Though, I suppose there was one part… Ah, it’s hard to say? A-also, how did you…?”

The rosy-cheeked girl shrugged.

“You weren’t here for this, but before Kaminari-kun, Kirishima-kun was questioning Bakugou-kun about why he saw you exiting their floor earlier this morning. Plus, the bruise is a dead giveaway.”

The freckled teen groaned into his hands, wary of the rumour mill no doubt brewing up a storm in their class.

“Uraraka-san, I swear nothing bad...o-or weird...is happening. However, it is extremely private, so I’d really appreciate it if we left it at that.”

Humming to herself, Uraraka put her pointer finger to her lip in thought.

“Okay, Deku-kun. I believe you.”

Izuku sighed, whispering his thanks before pushing away from the desk and heading toward his assigned seat.

He slid into his chair behind Katsuki, the blonde giving no indication he noticed or cared.

“Sorry about the bruise,” Izuku lamented softly, so only Katsuki would be able to hear.

The green-haired boy dropped his head, anxiously worrying at the hem of his uniform slacks.

“‘S fine. I had it coming.”

Izuku gave no sign of hearing the quiet reply other than the corners of his mouth, which he couldn’t stop from twitching upwards.

“You did. Sorry people are giving you crap about it, though.”

Emerald eyes flitted up to see Katsuki’s broad shoulders shaking with silent laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothin’. Your swearing just catches me off guard sometimes, y’know?”

A scarred hand reached up to touch chapped lips absentmindedly.

“Oh, sorry.”

The blonde head in front of him gave the most miniscule of shakes.

“Don’t be. Probably means I’m rubbing off on you.”

Izuku could practically hear the dangerous, intoxicating smile that came with that cocky tone. His own hidden smile morphed into a full-blown grin.

Oh, he had figured that one out a long time ago.

+

The rest of their third and final year of UA passed in a blur, and suddenly, Izuku found himself walking across the stage in the school gymnasium to receive his graduation certificate from Principal Nezu.

His classmates howled and cheered him on, highly inappropriate behavior considering the occasion, but no one seemed to care enough to reprimand them, not even the teachers.

Izuku returned to his assigned place next to Katsuki, who welcomed him back with a smile of such pure and open happiness, it made Izuku want to melt into the floor.

The students, or rather graduates, of classes 3-A, 3-B, 3-C, 3-D, and 3-E sang their school song for the last time together, and even Katsuki and Todoroki, two of the most anti-social of the class, screamed the lyrics loud enough to make their voices go raspy.

When they hit the final note, off-key and shaky, the crowd of family members and underclassmen erupted into cheers and applause. However, when the principal stepped up to the podium, everyone knew to quiet down.

“Today, we celebrate the most publicly recognized class in UA history. These young heroes have been tested, time and again, with the entire world as their witness and their critic. And every time, they endured, they persevered, until eventually, they prevailed. You have all proven yourselves worthy and ready to take your next leaps forward into the world of Professional Heroism. As your teachers, though it has been an honor, our time is over. And your time is now!”

The gym shook as if hit by an earthquake, graduates throwing caution to the wind as they let loose their quirks, eager to begin the post-graduation celebrations.

Katsuki, wise enough not to activate his Explosion in such a congested area, simply cackled over the roaring crowds.

“Fuck yeah, it is!”

Izuku’s initial delight turned predictably to silent crying as the weight of the moment settled upon him. Once again, he grew Katsuki tunnel vision, and in a moment of brave stupidity, he grabbed Katsuki’s hand, gently lacing their fingers together.

With this small action, Izuku hoped to convey his profound appreciation for being here, in this moment, with Katsuki. Not trailing after him or looking down at him from above, but beside him.

And of course, Katsuki had to go all Plus Ultra on him.

Like a whirlwind, the blonde spun toward Izuku with a sharp grin, cupped his damp cheeks in both hands, and pulled him into a firm kiss.

There was nothing romantic about it, and Izuku didn’t think Katsuki meant it to be anything of the sort, just an adrenaline-fueled mash of lips, but it was solid and warm and impossibly real.

It barely lasted a second before Katsuki pulled away to wrap his arms around Izuku’s thighs and hoist him into the air, his laughter ringing in Izuku’s ears.

Izuku’s mind stuttered, trapped in a constant state of buffering, as he tried to make sense of the last five seconds, all the while being spun in circles above the mass of students. Like a frozen screen, his memory had stopped recording at the instant Katsuki kissed him, and he couldn’t help the errant thoughts telling him he wanted more, again, but for longer this time.

The epiphany hit him harder than Red Riot Unbreakable.

I want him.

At some point, Izuku had been dropped back to Earth, and Kaminari had dragged Kirishima over to Katsuki to wrangle his two best bros into a group hug with him, though, with Katsuki being in a superb mood, the wrangling didn’t require much effort at all.

Touched by the display of friendship and definitely still high off the kiss, the moment the trio broke apart, Izuku took Katsuki’s arm and tugged him aside.

“Kacchan, go out with me!”

He had inadvertently shouted the pseudo-confession so he would be heard over the crowd’s roar and received a distant yet still piercing squeal in response. Ashido or Uraraka, if he had to guess. However, nothing could deter Izuku as he awaited his love’s answer (because of course he was in love with Katsuki, how could these intense feelings deserve to be called anything less? How could he feel anything for his childhood friend, who amazes him with his every action and drives him forward like no one else, whose simple touches brand his skin even to this day, besides love?). Hands still on the other’s arm, the beaming smile refused to leave his face in spite of his tingling nerves.

Katsuki chuckled low, looking slightly flustered.

“Wait, seriously?”

“Seriously,” Izuku replied, nodding once for emphasis.

He watched as the amused look on Katsuki’s face fell, became more melancholy.

“Are you sure? You know I don’t deserve-”

“Kacchan, if you say one more thing about ‘deserve,’ I will Detroit Smash you in the face with 100% of my quirk, you know I will,” Izuku interjected, taking both of Katsuki’s hands in a fierce grip.

Katsuki laughed loud and without constraint this time, and Izuku basked in the liberating sound.

“Yeah, I know you would,” Katsuki replied fondly, his expression turned soft.

Now, Izuku didn’t think this was a rejection, but he had to be sure.

“So… Can I kiss you?”

Almost instantly, Katsuki’s face painted itself Izuku’s favorite shade of pink.

“W-whatever. Do what you want, nerd.”

Satisfied with Katsuki’s answer, Izuku took his love’s flawless, flushed cheeks in his crooked hands and brought those plush, rouge lips down to meet his own.

Their second kiss was everything Izuku never knew he wanted in a first intentional kiss: instead of being hard and fast, it was gentle, took its time, and felt almost sickeningly sweet, leaving his insides feeling sticky with warmth.

Even when Izuku pulled away for air, Katsuki chased him down and sealed their lips once more, stealing the breath from his lungs and setting sparklers alight in its place.

With a daring lick to the seam of Izuku’s mouth, Katsuki finally withdrew leaving Izuku gasping, forest-green eyes cracking open slightly just in time to catch Katsuki’s close-eyed expression, his skin sporting a deep blush that reached the tips of his ears, his heavy panting soft and delicious.

When Katsuki’s eyes opened, glazed over and wanting, Izuku felt his gut catch aflame, coiling and writhing within the blaze.

“Get a goddamn room, you two!”

Izuku felt his face burst with heat at the callout, only now noticing the various wolf whistles being directed their way, and he unsuccessfully tried to hide himself by burrowing into the front of Katsuki’s uniform.

“Shut the fuck up, Shoyu Face!” Katsuki screamed, arms going around Izuku protectively.

“About time, don’tcha think?” Ashido snickered.

Meanwhile, Todoroki stared at the ground, a contemplative look on his face.

“So they really weren’t together before…”

Beside him, Uraraka’s head snapped to look at Todoroki in utter astonishment.

“Didn’t we establish that a while ago?”

“Proud of you, Midoriya! Confessing your feelings is one of the manliest things ever!” hollered Kirishima, pumping his fist.

Hesitantly, Izuku turned around in Katsuki’s hold to face Kirishima, but instead found almost all of Class 3-A, and even some people from 3-B, watching him with shit-eating grins.

“T-thanks, Kirishima-kun,” Izuku answered, wobbly smile in place.

“Hey, we’re proud of you too, Kacchan!” Kaminari happily added, “Pretty relieved you said yes to Midoriya, instead of being an idiot about it.”

“WHO YOU CALLIN’ AN IDIOT, HAH? YOU’RE THE REAL IDIOT HERE, LET’S NOT FUCKING FORGET, DUMBASS!”

Katsuki sighed in exasperation and Izuku felt his boyfriend’s warm face bury itself into the crook of his neck and shoulder.

“Besides, how could I say no when saying yes would be my greatest victory yet?”

At the feel of those loving words being pressed to his skin, his tears long since dried sprung to Izuku’s eyes once again, and he quickly turned around to bring Katsuki into a bruising hug.

The blonde retaliated in the best way, one hand gripping at the back of Izuku’s suit jacket, the other curling and tugging slightly at the curls at his nape.

“I’m not letting you go, nerd.”

Izuku thought back over the past year, recalling every beautiful moment of physical closeness they shared, and pulled back just enough to flash Katsuki a sunny grin.

“Did I ever say I wanted you to?”