They called him The Angel – hair golden and fine, plush to the touch. Decked out in a pristine white jumpsuit to match his Mech, boots up to his knees, ass taut and perfect beneath that industrial strength polyester, shoulders firm and gilded with silver.
Izuku, of course, thought that this was all honest bullshit – Katsuki Bakugou was no angel. No – Katsuki Bakugou, in his mind, was no less than god himself. All fire and vengeance, eyes of fresh blood. Katsuki had been built to do absolutely anything. To change the fates of entire worlds with bared teeth and no need for an introduction.
He was the source of every fresh-outta-boot-camp pilot’s dreams, so it was nothing special to say that he romped around Izuku’s thoughts too. It wasn’t anything special to say that he’d had half-awake fantasies of that gleaming boot pressing down into his chest, canines flashing; nothing special that he’d wondered too many times what a god looks like naked, on his knees, begging –
No. Izuku was just as much of a sucker as anybody else.
“You know, if you didn’t look so much like a wanted ad for a lost puppy, I’d remind you that you have terrible, terrible taste. And, apparently, always have.”
Izuku jumped as Shinsou’s lunch tray smacked down onto the table, apple rolling off in a swift arc. Meanwhile, the perpetrator in question set his lunch tray down on the table and eased his long legs over the bench, settling down with a grunt.
Izuku made a face, shifting in his seat to face him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Untrue, and they both knew it – he’d been caught ogling the giant poster that the staff had plastered up against the cafeteria wall in honor of Katsuki leading the upcoming expedition to the planet Balvar, featuring the Angel with his back to the camera (whole and perfect ass on display), glaring over his shoulder as if you’d tried to sneak up on him and failed. He’d become the slightly unwilling poster boy for the mission, despite his satisfaction at having been dubbed captain — and now his glorious, super-model, pretty boy face was plastered on every previously vacant wall in the academy.
It was goddamn inescapable.
“You’re moping again.” Shinsou managed to hide any ounce of concern behind an almost clinical tone of voice, spiced with a hint of judgement. He didn’t even look at Izuku – having retrieved his apple and placed it down between them, he was now cutting away at his chicken parmesan, teeth scraping against the fork as he took a large bite.
“I am not moping!” Izuku protested in a low whine.
Shinsou chewed around his words. “You’re staring at his poster like you wanna crawl inside of his ass.”
Izuku covered his face, trying to hide an exasperated flush. “I have never in my life wanted to crawl inside someone’s ass , and that includes Kacchan’s.”
Before the words could leave his tongue all the way, there was a deep throat clearing from behind him, and Izuku jumped out of his skin for the second time that afternoon – turning to find a sharp gaze brushing up against his own.
“Todoroki–” Under the glaring attention of the current junior officer, Izuku was reduced to quite the puddle. “I–I...”
Shoto looked on with an expression that was part amusement, part confusion, watered down by a layer of his trademark stoicism. “It’s fine. I just wanted to ask how you were doing after Aizawa’s course this morning.”
Izuku grimaced, scratching at the nape of his neck as he was snapped back to that morning’s unholy sequence of events. It had been an off morning for him, to say the least – they’d barely hit seven a.m. before he’d fallen flat on his face from the top of the twenty-foot high obstacle course, managed to get bruised all the way down his torso during his spar with Inasa, and when Ochaco had asked him what the hell was going on with him, he’d choked on his wholly underserved frappe and spilled it down the front of his jumpsuit.
So, yeah. Maybe he was having a hard time.
“Uh – yeah. I’m fine, I just, uh–”
“He’s mourning the imminent loss of our beloved Ground Zero – hasn’t been the same since he heard the news.”
Izuku made a strangled noise as he turned to glare at Shinsou, but Todoroki beat him to it, voice remaining as unruffled as ever.
“You’re concerned about Bakugou? Don’t be – Toshinori chose him to lead the expedition for a reason.”
“I keep tellin’ him that. And yet, here he sits, staring at his poster like he’s waiting for his husband to return from war.”
“I resent that,” Izuku said, with his face now pressed into the lunch table, trying to focus on all the other sounds in the cafeteria that weren’t Shinsou’s smug comments, and Todoroki’s unknowing observations. The truth of it was, Izuku wasn’t worried in the slightest. Katsuki was a goddamn beast, and anyone who spent more than five seconds in the same training room as him knew it. And he would be in his element – leading the most important UA off-system expedition they’d had in thirty years. Izuku knew he’d leave an idol and come back a hero. If anything, Izuku was more concerned for any foe they encountered that had to face Katsuki’s wrath. He’d gotten better with it, over the years – better at channeling his fire. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to relish in it while tearing every last one of his enemies to shreds.
No, it was less that Izuku was concerned for Katsuki, and more so that he was concerned for himself – what the hell was he gonna do if Katsuki wasn’t here to yell at him from across the training room and call him a nerd?
If all went according to plan, it would be a six month expedition, maybe a week or two extra. It wasn’t really that much time, only half a year –
Half a year without Katsuki filling up every room with his presence whenever he walked in. Half a year without hearing roaring demands over the intercoms during simulations. Half a year without the man he’d hoped – hoped – would end up being his partner at the end of all this.
It had taken years for them to get to where they were – a rocky friendship, built over shared workout days and late study evenings, running into each other in the kitchens, getting forced to collaborate again and again and again, until it wasn’t forced anymore –
Until it was, “Deku and I know how to do this, just let us take care of it–”
Until it was, “Izuku and Katsuki? Put them together, they move like clockwork –”
And now, one sudden promotion and Izuku would be left here without him.
Maybe that was a good thing. He wouldn’t have to deal with wide-eyed freshman sidling up to him in the Archives to ask thinly veiled questions about the Angel and whether or not he was single. He wouldn’t have to deal with randomly finding out about some other guy in a different department that Katsuki had hooked up with. All would be quiet on the home front, and Izuku could focus on stepping up his training. And maybe, as Shinsou put it, he’d “finally pull his head out of his ass and spend extended periods of time thinking about things that don’t involve Katsuki.”
“Oi, Deku!” Izuku sprung up, turning this way and that to find the source of that voice.
A current ran through the cafeteria as Katsuki made his presence known – dressed in a black tank top and low hanging sweatpants, sweat glistening over his muscles –
Izuku’s mouth ran dry as he fumbled to his feet, meeting that lion’s gaze.
“Speak of the devil,” Shinsou muttered behind him, just in time for Katsuki to saunter over, standing shoulder to shoulder with Shoto.
“Heard you fell off the damn obstacle course this morning,” Katsuki said, looking Izuku up and down with a look of absolute underwhelm. He scanned the table sharply, before reaching out and snatching up Shinsou’s apple, taking a large, juicy bite out of it, sticky liquid rolling down his chin.
Beside him, Shoto rolled his eyes and lifted his cup from the table, taking a swig. “Good afternoon to you too, Bakugou.”
“Half and half,” Katsuki said with a full mouth, before giving Shinsou a nod. “Scary eyes.”
Shinsou grimaced, but, much to Izuku’s relief, kept his mouth shut.
“I, uh –. It really wasn’t that dramatic, it was fine.”
Of course, Shinsou couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself for very long. “He had to beg Aizawa not to send him to the infirmary to check for a concussion.”
“It was fine .” Izuku shot Shinsou a look, receiving an innocuous shrug in return.
“Goddamn,” Katsuki said, brows furrowing. “Do I really have to tell you to have your shit together? They want you in the labs.”
Izuku blinked as he stared at Katsuki. “Wait, why me?”
“For testing, dumbass. But don’t come crying to me if you fucking fail, since you’re running on a concussion and empty fucking carbs,” Katsuki said with a disgruntled expression, turning away to head out of the caf.
“Wait–” Izuku took off after him, foot getting caught between the benches before he stumbled free. “What kind of testing?”
It wasn’t until they had crossed the cafeteria – clusters of underclassmen whispering to each other over their tuna sandwiches and stealing scandalous glances at Katsuki – and slipped out into the more quiet hallway that Katsuki stopped and turned to him, one hand in his pocket, the other clutched around his apple that was already half gone.
Izuku scratched at the nape of his neck. “Is this about that stomach virus going around? Cause I swear I don’t have it, they don’t need to–”
Katsuki scoffed and started walking again. “Just, forget it.”
“ Kacchan ?”
Katsuki reared on him again, shoulders taut, the wrath of the warrior reemerging. “Do you know how many asses I had to kiss to get them to even think about testing you for this mission? And now, just when I need to you to be at the top of your game, you’re slacking the hell off?”
Izuku shook his head. “I don’t...I don’t understand–”
“There’s only supposed to be five people max on any given mission, asshole. Well I put in my request for six, and finally, finally , it got approved, and now I turn around to find you falling off monkey bars and shit. I thought you wanted this.”
Izuku, admittedly running on sugar and caffeine, was a little slow on the uptake – but when it hit him, it hit him like a flash of sunlight – and with it came the doped up grin of a little kid on Christmas morning. “Kacchan, you–?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, save the sappy shit for after you make it on the damn team. If you make it on the damn team. Now come on.”