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Falling for Your Childhood Friend

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Everybody knows Midoriya Izuku.

No, seriously. If Midoriya were to walk the halls, there would be more than one hello directed to him. Because after two hard years of working, training, and the much too often near-death experiences that went on, Midoriya had made a name for himself. Now in the third year of the wonderful U.A. Highschool, the (secret) One for All successor had become one of the Big Three. It was no easy journey. Yet, there he was. Proud of every accomplishment. Ready to face the new threats that were sure to come. Everyone was aware of it. It was part of his reputation after all.

Class 3-A could easily give the curious underclassmen a scare on who the soon to be pro-hero was. The younger students would listen in amazement or horror at the lengths Midoriya used to go through. After all, anyone would cringe at hearing just how many times he had practically liquified his limbs during his time in high school. How the scars that were hidden from sight are nothing compared to the deep purple and black that signified power that Midoriya had yet to fully control. It was terrifying. It was inspiring. People had looked up to him for everything that he had endured.

Midoriya was getting closer to becoming an ideal hero. He had a way to make others feel as if they were in good hands with his smile. The smile that told the world that he was going to save them. That he was here.

Nobody could ever resist that. They trusted him to do as he had promised. To fulfill his duty as a hero. Because Midoriya Izuku would never let anyone down. He followed the embodiment of a pro. Well…with some mishaps here and there to the misfortune of all his teachers. Not that class 3-A was very good at following instructions to begin with in general. Which honestly made him fit right in with his classmates from their first year.

Midoriya was extremely easy to get along with. It was why he has so many friends, even outside his class. In fact, if someone was lucky enough to catch his eyes, he had already decided for them to be friends. There was no escaping that, as someone like Shinsou Hitoshi could tell you. Not that anyone would ever dislike his friendship. Midoriya just had an air to him that attracted others. All his friends could tell you just how wonderful a guy that he was. Especially his closest friends.

Uraraka has known him before the entrance exam. She often laughed about the first time they met. How she had to stop him from falling. She fondly remembered him as a boy who had not hit a single robot; only for him to use every bit of power to save her from being crushed. It was the start of a deep bond that lasted to this day. She would forever want to improve after seeing him working so hard. It was due to him that she was also a part of the Big Three. If you ask her, Midoriya Izuku was a caring man.

Iida has multiple opinions. A treasured friend, of course. A troublemaker. Someone to respect. He would say all those things. There was no secret, though, that Iida trusted Midoriya with his life. They had a friendly rivalry that was almost invisible unless someone looked hard enough. Iida trained with Midoriya to improve the now nearly flawless Shoot Style. Iida was protective of him. So much that he was often dragged into whatever insane plan Midoriya came up with just to make sure the other came back alive. If you asked Iida, Midoriya Izuku was an impulsive but over-all strong person.

Todoroki, ever a man of few words, was direct. Midoriya Izuku was already a hero in his eyes. Asking him why he thought this would result in another blunt answer. Midoriya just was a hero. Their friendship was solid. Some believe it had been since the sports festival. The class knew it had to do after the time the two, along with Iida, spent at the hospital. It seemed as if no one knew the whole story besides those three. Still, people knew Midoriya was Todoroki’s friend.

Outside of the school, many pro heroes could praise the soon to be a hero. Midoriya did not catch anyone’s attention at first. At least, not on the scale of his classmates. He had strength rivaling that of any pro in the field. However, with the little control he had over it, he was overlooked. His choice of a hero name did not exactly help that image. Most could not see the appeal of a name that meant useless. It was not until mid-way through his second year that more agencies wanted him as part of them. When he surpassed all expectations and then some. He was someone who others could not stop talking about.

Trustworthy, loyal, honest, compassionate, strong, calculating; the list went on and on about Midoriya. Things that everyone said. Because everybody knew Midoriya Izuku.

Except…they didn’t.

That wasn’t to say that everything that was said about him was a lie. No. It just wasn’t the entirety of his personality. No one really could tell you everything about him. At least, not to Bakugo Katsuki. Bakugo was the only person, to his own knowledge, who knew Midoriya in such depth that it could almost be concerning. Almost.

So, everyone knew Midoriya.

Nobody knew Deku.

The person, not the hero in training.

Because to Bakugo, Midoriya would never be anything other than Deku. Which, for many, was in no way a good thing. Bakugo didn’t have the best track record when it came to Deku. People loved to bring up the past; as if he didn’t know what he did or who he was. Still, it was because of that person he used to be that made way for who he is now. What he and Deku were now. A pair of rivals. Actual rivals. Not some half-assed friendly competition.

Bakugo could never have pictured it happening. Not when most of his life had Deku held with little acknowledgment to the younger boy even being a person. That image though was long gone. For the most part. After all, there were still some things from that time that stuck around. They always would.

Like how sensitive Deku could be. Growing up, Bakugo saw him as a crybaby. It wouldn’t take much for Deku to burst out into tears. Bakugo recalled him scrapping his knee during recess in pre-school which resulted in an unnecessary trip to the nurse. Or the day he accidentally lost his umbrella in elementary and thought his mother would be angry. Bakugo had to (unwillingly) search with him.

Deku continued a similar pattern to this day. Of course, not as extreme anymore. People knew Deku cried, they had seen it. Mainly during the sports festival when Uraraka partnered up with him, moving him to tears at her kindness. And while now Deku had learned to reign in the waterworks, Bakugo knew better than most. He could see how the corner of Deku’s mouth would tighten as the boy stopped himself from making a sound. How his cheeks would become just slightly tinted when overwhelmed with emotion. Any tears? No. Those were rare these days.

Unless it was absolutely impossible to suppress, did Deku cry. Bakugo had been there for those occasions. Once, Deku’s mother had managed to find him a limited edition All Might poster from the pro’s debut years. A birthday present that was sent to the dorms. Deku began shaking when he opened it. Bakugo smirked as the other began crying in joy. He called him a shitty nerd for getting so tearful over merch. To which Deku retaliated by saying Bakugo was just jealous for not having any special merch. Bakugo punched him after that, which made Deku stop crying before anyone else joined them.

 Of course, not all moments were pleasant. Much like the time Deku witnessed a near casualty right in front of his eyes. An event that placed three classmates in intensive care. Bakugo stood behind him. He hadn’t been expecting it. Their first year alone had been filled with violence. League of Villains attacks, Nomus, the fall of All Might. He thought that Deku, along with anyone in their class, had become unfazed by it. Apparently, he was wrong. He watched Deku scream in absolute agony with tears pouring down his cheeks. The unconscious, beaten bodies just a few steps away. Bakugo had managed to just barely pry him away from the scene as others arrived. He didn’t think Deku would want others to watch him break. They were going to be heroes. They would be in these types of situations countless times. People couldn’t see them affected by this.

He had stayed with Deku even after the tears stopped. Until they had a sure notice that the others would live. Bakugo had to knock sense into Deku later due to the idiot blaming himself for not saving them. It took some time because Deku was stubborn.

In fact, Deku was the most hard-headed person Bakugo knew next to himself. It wasn’t as if striving to be a hero when quirk-less was enough. No, Deku continued to have a thick skull. There was nothing anyone could do once he set his mind to something. Yes, some saw that. Teachers who had to continuously make sure Deku didn’t break any more bones, friends who always got roped into his schemes.

Nobody knew that bulk of it like Bakugo. What was once entirely annoying became partly invigorating. Over time, Deku grew hot on Baku go’s heels. Deku still wanted to surpass him, which Bakugo would never let him do. Neither of them ever let up. Both had hours clocked in the school’s gym. Steadily the two became the most physically capable of the entire class. Pit against each other, things could get carried away. Bakugo pinned that to them wanting to win. Because there was a thrill to it. A thrill of watching Deku come right for him, green sparks surrounding the boy in an attempt to make a hit. Nowadays, there were more hits being landed. Each one fueled the fire. It was always joyful to have Deku pinned; seeing the defiant look in his eyes as Bakugo took a win was a pleasure. On the other end, if Deku had won, anger and a strange gnawing at his chest filled Bakugo. Especially when Deku had that oh so proud smirk on his face. It didn’t matter if he spent years forcing Deku in place. It didn’t matter that they were running themselves ragged at times. Deku was going to keep at the incessant improvement. It was incredibly irritating. It was just what he needed to grow more himself.

If that wasn’t enough, Deku took poor care of himself in terms of scholarly efforts. Unlike Bakugo, who was naturally gifted in academics; Deku had to work hard in order to keep his place. No one ever thought about it too much. They were all too wrapped up trying to keep themselves afloat in their harsh classes. It was days where Bakugo tutored the small group of people he lovingly called morons that he saw Deku studying. The green haired student would be hunched over a pile of books at the far corner of the library. Pencil furiously scribbling anything he couldn’t absorb during class. Bakugo would notice how Deku would puff out his cheek when he got stuck. He noticed how Deku played with his hair as he read through a textbook.

There were multiple accounts when Bakugo caught him dozing off at the table. The idiot must have been pulling all-nighters at the time. While the blond never did anything about it at first, he began to sit with Deku as their relationship began to mend. He never went out of his way to help Deku out. He knew the other wasn’t an idiot and could understand a lesson eventually. He simply did small things like bring a can of coffee from the vending machines. Deku would take the drink with a forced smile. He hated bitter things. Bakugo knew that but it wasn’t like they sold energy drinks on campus. He told Deku to either drink it or fall asleep and drool on library books again. Deku always ended up finishing the can.

As with their competitiveness, the two also grew in co-operation. Knowing Deku helped that to a new extreme. Their first time paired together for training was nothing compared to where they were like now. Bakugo could tell just what Deku had planned, and it was as if Deku could read his mind. They moved in unison. Explosions and green lightning surrounding enemies. They could capture those against them with little to no scratches. They set new records that impressed teachers and students alike. Being paired with others for a different exercise never left the same results.

These were all just the basics. Bakugo only learned more as the semesters passed. Before he even realized it, he had begun to actually spend time with Deku. He couldn’t tell you where it all started. Maybe from the first day at U.A. Maybe from that huge fight they had. But at some point, Deku’s presence became tolerable. His reflex of shouting at Deku to go away had dulled. Their individual friend groups had a few outings together. That was when he really got into noticing things.

Deku couldn’t be out in the sun for more than a few hours or else more freckles would start to show up. Faint ones that could just barely be caught with the naked eye. Still, Bakugo spotted them all. He saw how they would start popping up just on Deku’s nose before forming down his neck.

Deku didn’t own a hair brush because he literally couldn’t brush his hair. The curls that laid upon his head were untamable. Much like Bakugo’s own spiked locks. Bakugo had been in Deku’s room once when Deku was attempting to tie it up to get his bangs out of the way. The holder snapped before he could even secure it in place. Not only that, but brushing it only made the curls puff out further.

Deku preferred savory foods. Bakugo could have figured that since Deku’s favorite meal was pork cutlet bowls. It wasn’t until he paid attention to Deku’s diet though, that he really learned this. He usually stayed away from things that were too sweet. Despite his appearance, he didn’t like things that were too sugary.

Deku was horrible at saying no. Often time he would stretch himself thin. On top of school, training, and studying, Deku was out there doing whatever he was asked to do. Bakugo had seen him say yes to every outing, every favor, every small chore that someone else didn’t want to do. It must have had something to do with that hero complex of his. Bakugo could tell it was wearing him out. He saw the slight paling of skin and formation of dark circles under Deku’s eyes from the lack of energy. Bakugo had to pull him aside. He had to tell him that doing everything for everyone was draining him. To which Deku denied repeatedly. Made up excuses even. He wasn’t exhausted. He was more than happy to spend time with people.  Bakugo practically barked at him to stop being stupid and place health first. Deku didn’t listen until Bakugo taunted him.

If Deku collapsed due to exhaustion, he would be forced to take time off. During that time, Bakugo would use it to become stronger. Deku would lag behind again. It became a challenge. One that Bakugo knew would get the gears turning in Deku’s head. And it did. The next thing he knew, Deku’s eyes met his. There was no way Deku was going to let himself fall behind. To prove it, Deku challenged him in a spar.

That was the way they usually settled things. Bakugo had always been told he didn’t know how to handle emotions. Which, okay, was true. He didn’t need others to constantly tell him that he should open up and talk about things. But if he was bad at talking things through, Deku was on a much lower level.

Even now, Deku had little regard of himself. That may have been a result of all the shit Bakugo put him through in their childhood. He didn’t know since, again, neither of them really knew how to talk about things. At least Bakugo shouted his anger all the time, he could just never fully process why he was so angry. Deku on the other hand was completely silent when it came to negativity. Never once had he told his mom about what Bakugo had done in the past. Deku never admitted that he was in way over his head. He never complained about broken bones. He never knew how to say that something was bothering him. He never stopped smiling.

It was bullshit and Bakugo knew it. No person with a stable mentality ever stayed quiet about their own problems. So, Bakugo had to pull those feelings out some way. If that meant having to fight Deku every time, so be it.

Perhaps it was the adrenalin. The pent-up frustration. The exhaustion that followed a fight. But there would always be yelling of things that weren’t supposed to be said. Confessions that were now out in the open. They were now just for Bakugo’s ears. It was in these fights that a different Deku was in front of him. That he learned what no other person could.

Deku was All Might’s successor, and that came with too much to handle. Deku was expected to be better than average. He had to be the hero that always smiled. He had to help everyone. He didn’t have time to focus on himself. It was his dream to be a hero but he had high stakes. It was both wonderful and suffocating. And he couldn’t tell anybody because only two people in the world knew about his secret. Bakugo, who had learned it from their fight in their first year, and All Might himself.

Bakugo almost asked why Deku didn’t just talk to him about it. Then stopped himself. Of course Deku couldn’t say anything. The boy didn’t want to tell All Might in case the pro thought Deku wasn’t able to deal with the pressure; and Bakugo wasn’t the kind of person one would go to for emotional advice. But now the truth had been said, and Bakugo was the one who Deku opened up to in the end.

The blond wasn’t heartless. Despite what many wanted to believe. Besides, at this point, he wasn’t going to leave Deku in the dust. So, with what little way he could, Bakugo helped Deku have some sort of balance. Or at least a way for Deku to not strain himself to do everything for everyone. Deku still had trouble saying no things but if Bakugo was around, the blond would make some excuse up for Deku not to have so many things piled up at once. The lies usually involving Deku already having plans with Bakugo. To make the lie believable, they’d be in each other’s rooms on the days off. No speaking necessary just Deku relaxing on his own while Bakugo brought something to keep him busy. It became a bit of routine. The silence was comforting in a sense. Deku seemed to enjoy it as well if the small smiles sent Bakugo’s way meant anything.

So, yes, Bakugo considered himself to be an expert on Deku. Whether that was a good thing or not, he didn’t care. It must have been because of all his knowledge that Kirishima began to ask him about the nerd.

What was Deku’s favorite color?

Red.

What was Deku’s favorite video game?

He didn’t play any.

What kind of music did Deku listen to?

J-rock.

The questions grew in number and variation. Bakugo was becoming irritated by them all. But it was the last one that gave him a shock.

Was Deku single?

Bakugo raised a brow at his friend, “The hell are you asking me that for, shitty hair?”

Kirishima rubbed the back of his head. His eyes darted away as he spoke, “I was thinking of asking Midoriya out.”