Izuku stared out the car window, still just as silent as he’d been when they were still at the hospital waiting for the discharge paperwork to go through so that he could go home. Well, not home, but to Katsuki’s apartment. He knew his fiance was just being protective, that’s why he hadn’t put up a fight when Katsuki insisted that he was better off with him than being alone with his thoughts. Izuku knew this was true as well. He’d been successfully staving off the black thoughts that kept threatening to overwhelm him all during the horrific rape kit testing and the embarrassing statement he had to give Detective Tsukauchi. He’d remained calm through recounting his tale of the events that had transpired, even though everyone was hovering around him like he was delicate china that was already cracked, just waiting for the inevitable break.
He knew he should’ve felt a sense of smugness at proving himself stronger than what those around him thought. Instead he just felt empty.
Not even empty, but a hollowness like someone had come and scooped out all that made him
, leaving nothing but a shell behind. The ghost of his former self was there, just as unattainable as it was unreachable. It was like looking through one way glass, watching a happy family living their life full of love and contentment. He could see himself as he was before, but he couldn’t touch it and no amount of screaming or pounding on the glass could bring it back. He knew that he was headed for a breakdown now that it was just him and Katsuki. He didn’t try to fight the feeling of wrongness that had settled over the silence in the car.
Katsuki kept stealing glances over at his fiancee as he drove the familiar route from the hospital to his apartment. The brief interaction they had while he was carrying Deku out of that bastard’s apartment building was the only words the two had spoken to each other since this whole mess started. They’d allowed him to stay during Izuku’s interview with the Detective, but he’d only hovered on the sidelines, unsure in a way that he wasn’t used to feeling whether Izuku wanted to be touched or comforted. Normally he could read the green haired hero like a book as Izuku was always one those people that wore their hearts on their sleeve. But this Izuku was completely closed off, green eyes shuttered and dark like an empty house. It threw Katsuki completely off kilter and he hated it. He needed to figure out a way to reach the man he loved before he lost him to his numbness completely.
Nevertheless, neither of them said a word the entire drive home. Katsuki pulled into his normal parking spot and turned his head to finally speak, only to see that the other man had already flung his door open and exited the vehicle. Katsuki’s brow furrowed and a grimace marred his face but he got out of the car and hurried to catch up with the lilted fast walk Izuku was hurrying away with.
Discomfort radiated through every part of Izuku as he limped his way into Katsuki’s building. He wasn’t tired, he was bone weary. The burns all over his body ached despite the burn cream that had been applied, his entire backside radiated with the pain of being taken without being prepared, and his hands still tingled from the frost that clung to them when he was trapped in the bathroom. He just wanted to get into Katsuki’s bed and pretend none of this ever happened. He knew it wasn’t going to be that simple, but for once he didn’t want to talk. He just wanted space to exist for a little bit.
Unfortunately, being with someone like Katsuki Bakugou meant that the chances of leaving well enough alone were slim to none.
Katsuki’s voice was hesitant, quieter than most people assumed he could ever speak, and did a poor job of covering the concern. He unlocked his front door and stood to the side so that Izuku could enter first. The green haired man didn’t even look at him as he passed by, and didn’t acknowledge that he’d spoken at all. Katsuki’s heart panged in his chest. Not for the first time he cursed Todoroki for being in Izuku’s life. For destroying the life in Izuku.
Katsuki followed as Izuku headed straight back to the bedroom without stopping. He growled softly as Izuku made no effort to answer him, sucking in a deep breath as he attempted to master his growing irritation at the still silent man. Izuku was hurting, and Katsuki needed to figure out a way to break through the walls he’d obviously erected against the pain of his ordeal. He didn’t need Katsuki flying off the handle and adding to his stress.
Too bad Katsuki had no idea how to do that.
Izuku stood next to the side of the bed he normally slept in and started removing his clothes. Katsuki watched on in confusion as Izuku stripped completely naked and slipped under the covers without a glance to where he was frozen in the doorway. He managed to stumble a few steps into the room, dropping to his knees on the floor in the same spot Izuku had just stood in.
Heart crawling up his throat and choking the breath from his lungs, he could only ask, “What do you need from me?”
It came out a choked whisper. Katsuki reached up to place his hand on the bed, hesitating at the last second. Would his touch be welcomed? Would Izuku rather him just leave him alone? There was no way he was going to do that, but it hurt on some level that Izuku wasn’t seeking comfort from the man he’d been in a relationship with for years . It was like Katsuki wasn’t even there, totally irrelevant to Izuku in these moments they were supposed to lean on each other. It hurt more than Katsuki ever thought it could.
“Get in bed with me. Like me.”
Izuku’s broken response was so quiet that Katsuki nearly missed it totally against the roar of emotions ringing through his head. His mind ran through his options. He could comply, strip down and get into the bed, but then what? Did Izuku want to just fall asleep together? Was he allowed to touch the other man? Or should he press him to talk before getting into the bed?
Katsuki swallowed hard and rose. He pulled his shirt off and dropped it onto the pile of Izuku’s clothes. Izuku didn’t move, only his wild green curls poking out of the comforter he’d pulled all the way up to his nose. He walked over to his side of the bed and slipped his pants and boxers off, impossibly self conscious in the face of this unknown Izuku and frankly uncomfortable with the level of intimacy being completely naked with someone required. But, Izuku had requested this of him, his first spoken words to his lover since the incident, and Katsuki would’ve done damn near anything he asked just to get him talking. He slipped under the covers but remained along the edge of the bed, unsure of how close Izuku wanted him to be.
“What now?” Katsuki cringed at the hesitation in his actions, in his very being . Never in his Pro career had he imagined a scenario playing out like this. He didn’t know if anyone could be prepared for this sort of thing. He doubted it.
Izuku didn’t answer him verbally, just turned around and scooted towards him, holding out his hands like he was asking to be embraced. His face was crumpling, tears swimming in his eyes as he finally, finally reached out for help.
Katsuki had never moved so fast in his life. Once he caught sight of Izuku’s devastated expression his body was moving before his mind caught up. He pulled Izuku to him in the middle of the bed and wrapped his arms around the smaller man’s slightly shaking shoulders. He breathed Izuku’s natural musk in deeply. It was tinged with the tangy smell of the hospital sterilization but it helped to ground Katsuki more than anything else had so far.
Izuku seemed to be of the same opinion, his face buried into Katsuki’s chest as he tangled their legs together and began to weep. Racking sobs tore through his small frame, causing his arms around Katsuki to tremble violently and his breaths to become shorter and shorter. He felt Katsuki’s arms tighten around him, providing the strength that Izuku needed to continue living in this moment.
“H-h-he… He…” Izuku babbled, trying to get the poisonous words out of his mouth before they suffocated him, but something was blocking them from escaping. His mind was warring with him, wanting to keep in the scars internal and locked away so that no one would know his shame. But a bigger part of him wanted to unleash it, to lance the poison from his body by sharing the burden of knowledge with someone who could be strong enough for both of them. It wasn’t fair, but it was what Izuku needed in order to get past this. Yes, he was afraid that if he fell apart, there wouldn’t be any chance of being put back together, but if anyone had the ability to, it would be Katsuki.
In halting sentences the story slowly came out, horror relived all over again, but this time there was a voice whispering into his hair that he was safe, he was protected, he was loved . Katsuki didn’t dare try to tell him that it would be okay, or that everything was fine now. That would be doing his trauma a disservice by diminishing it. Instead, he let Izuku get it all out of his system at his pace, never removing his arms from where they were wrapped around him.
Once Izuku was finished purging the black words from his system, they spent a time in just silence, neither of them doing anything other than just being. Izuku’s sobs eventually turned into just sniffles, his heaving breaths calming through the heat of his lover’s skin burning comfortingly against his grimy skin.
“I just… I feel scarred. I’ve been used to the physical scars that come with being a Pro Hero for so long that I didn’t think I could ever feel this damaged . But this scarring feels deeper somehow, like my biological makeup has been completely altered beyond repair and my spirit is some twisted, charred pile of ashes.” Izuku’s voice was quiet but steadier than it had been when he was speaking before. The raw pain of loss was a razor edge to his words, cutting life as they had known it into shreds around them as the future tipped further and further out of their reach. He didn’t know how he was going to get through this to get married, to live a normal life.
“Fuck that.” Katsuki finally moved, unwrapping his arms to lift his hands to cup Izuku’s tearstained face in his palms. His crimson eyes burned with conviction, piercing through the sadness of the green orbs watching him with so much love that it stole Izuku’s breath. “He… That bastard doesn’t get to take away your life. Not your future as a Pro Hero, not your friendships with your shitty friends, not our relationship. You’re one of the most resilient people I’ve ever met. Yeah, this is going to take awhile to bounce back from. Yeah, it isn’t going to get better in a day or even a year, but it will get better . I’ll be right by your side. However and whenever you need me, I’ll be right there. You don’t have to do this alone.”
Izuku’s eyes spilled over with tears once again, but this time the tears were from a deep gratitude. He wasn’t sure what he did to deserve the powerhouse of a man in front of him, but he treasured it more in that moment than he had his entire life. Katsuki Bakugou might of been a lot of things in Izuku’s life, but this version of him made it easy to see how Izuku had fallen so hopelessly in love with him. His mouth curved into a smile, and then suddenly he was leaning up to press his lips against Katsuki’s without thinking. The soft curve of Katsuki’s cupids bow was nothing like the harsh smashing of lips he’d endured earlier, and he relished the thought of replacing that memory with a new one.
“I love you…” Katsuki’s lips brushed Izuku’s as he whispered out a phrase that had been said a hundred times in many different contexts and scenarios between the two of them.
Izuku couldn’t help but think that this utterance was the most potent of all.