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softened pride

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"H-hey, Kacchan..."

Katsuki had to do a double-take, unbelieving of the scene in front of him. He wouldn't have seen this coming...well, ever.

Because there stood Midoriya Izuku, his childhood...rival? Downtrodden and soaked in the pouring rain, a hand cupping his own cheek. Katsuki couldn't see much, but he was sure a mark was beginning to bruise over. Lightning crackled overhead behind him, the other boys gaze lowered and not making eye contact.

The blond had been sleeping upstairs when furious but quiet knocks had sounded from the front downstairs - even over the rumble of the thunderstorm, he had awoken from his slumber and answered the door before his parents woke. He figured it would've been Kirishima - who he would've told to piss off.

But no. Here stood Midoriya, Deku, at close to midnight. In front of his house.


"Deku?" Katsuki couldn't stop the disbelief that crept into his voice, and all of a sudden, the greenette looked up startled, in shock. He took two shaky steps back, and tensed his shoulders.

"A-ah I shouldn't have come, were just the closest-I can a-always just go to Iida-kun's-"

His classmate had begun to step back more, and before Katsuki knew what he was doing, he had strode forward and gripped the front of his classmates shirt - which he noted was slightly singed. Just what had happened-

"It-it's fine, nerd." Katsuki forces a more stern tone as he scowls at the other boy before all but shoving him inside. "You're soaking wet, doubt Auntie Inko would be happy if you got sick because of it. My own damn hag would be breathing down my neck."

That wasn't the only reason why. Something wasn't right.


Katsuki didn't allow him to make any excuses, closing the front door behind them before fixing the smaller teen with a glare. "The hag and old man are asleep, don't go waking them up or I'll cop it," he all but snaps, relaxing his grip on Izuku's shirt.

"I-" the other was cut off once more as Katsuki turned and made for the stairs, and upon realizing that Deku wasn't following, glared over his shoulder.

"Well fuck, come on already. I'm not carrying your ass up."

Deku had no choice. Katsuki makes his way up - and some little part of him was glad to hear footsteps echoing his own.



It was utter bullshit that UA made them go home for a small 'end of year' break, Katsuki figures. It was only a week - seven days - yet Deku had managed to get himself hurt.

He scoffs, allowing his red eyes to glare at the door that led to his bathroom, waiting for when it would open and reveal the other. Izuku, who he had all but shoved in there with a shirt and sweatpants. He didn't even know if they would fit.

"You nearly done in there?" Katsuki calls, clicking his tongue as Deku seems to take his time replying. He almost considers breaking in there just to make sure the nerd didn't try climbing out the window.

"Y-yeah, just give me a minute..."

His voice was quiet and shaky and Katsuki knew something was underneath it all - he always knew, he had grown up with the crybaby after all, he knew him as well as he knew his damn quirk.

But he didn't know. Then again, did he really have the right to know? Sure, they'd grown up together...but Katsuki wasn't the nicest kid, he knew he was an asshole. Especially to Deku.

They'd be patching things up...slowly. After everything that had been going on with One For All...Deku and All Might had confined in the blond about the mishaps with the quirk. They were making progress.

But he knew nothing could make up for the ten - hell, eleven - odd years that he had bullied, abused the other boy. He couldn't just give back those years. Even if Deku seemed like he had left it all was fucked up, what he did.

Katsuki's thoughts are cut short as the bathroom door opens, and he sneers at the figure stepping out, "took your damn time," he quips. But then he sees them.

He sees them.

Deku's arms are littered in bruises - most light and scattered across his freckled skin, the same with his legs, too. The bruise on his face stood out more, now that Deku was dry, and he swore he could see dark marks around his neck, too dark for his liking.

But fucking Deku had a smile on his face...forced, it didn't reach his green eyes, eyes that shone just a little duller than usual. "Thanks Kacchan! You didn't have to, I would've walked to Iida-kun's or Todoroki-kun's-"

"What, and walk in the fucking storm for who knows how long?" Katsuki cuts him off, causing Deku to stutter to a halt and scuff his feet, not making a remark. Katsuki waits for a moment, to see if he would get an explanation.

He doesn't.

"Alright, nerd," that catches Deku's attention, who's looking at him again. "You're taking the couch, I'll tell my parents in the morning - write them a note or some shit. I'll grab some spare stuff," and the explosive teen doesn't leave room for argument, lest that Deku wants to be pushed down the stairs.

Fortunately, Deku gets the message, wordlessly nodded and leaving Katsuki's room. He allows himself a moment to reflect.

Deku might be a dumbass, but there's no way he'd let some stupid D-list villain push him around...the villains haven't made a move in a few months, doubt it was Shigaraki and his gang...maybe it was Auntie-

Katsuki has to swallow back a lump in his throat, cursing himself for thinking that - no, no. Inko loved her son too, too much. She'd never hurt him - any blind man and his mother could see it. It wasn't like the relationship he had with his own mother - aggressive. Inko and Deku were like a proper mother and son duo. All sappy and shit.

She'd never hurt him.

But...who did?

Katsuki stomps out of his room and further down the hallway, opening a cupboard which he knew stored a few spare blankets and towels. Nearly wrenching the door off its hinges he grabs the biggest blanket before shuffling with it down the hallway, down the stairs, and back into the living room.

Deku sits tersely on the couch, having flicked the light on - he doesn't look up as Katsuki approaches, his shoulders set, so the other teen all but throws the blanket over Deku's head, nearly getting a yelp from the other as he flails for a few moments. "Kacchan!!"

Katsuki speaks while ignoring Deku as he gets out from under the blanket, "I'm going back upstairs and going the fuck to sleep. You should do the same, nerd."

He turns without sparing another glance, hurrying back up the stairs.


Despite having left the other boy rather soundly...why did his gut feel so heavy?


And heavy his gut remained. Katsuki tossed and turned in his bed...but it didn't feel right. He just couldn't sleep.

The nerd was safe. What was his problem?

He would be fine, he was just downstairs, so why was it so difficult for Katsuki to fall asleep? Fuck. He didn't have a reason to be worried, he shouldn't be worried. Deku wouldn't want that, and he didn't want to care. Not about the nerd, not about anyway.

So why did he care?

The blond reached over where he was sprawled across his bed, snatching his phone off the bedside table and allowing the light to temporarily blind him as he checked the time.

3:45 am

A growl escapes his throat, and he sits up, throwing his legs around the side of the bed so he could climb out and stand up. Pocketing his phone, the blond snatches his pillow and the blanket as well, grumbling under his breath before he goes to stomp out of his room. He'd been tossing and turning for about three hours...fuck this shit.

Damn nerd making me worry-fuck no! I don't care! I don't!

Ambling down the staircase, Katsuki wasn't at all surprised to see the light from the living room still on - Deku was still up. He didn't notice the others loud approach, curled up on one side of the couch as he tried to sleep. Much like Katsuki himself had been...

He not-so-elegantly dumps his blanket and pillow onto the couch, causing Deku to startle and look at his childhood friend with wide eyes. "Wha-"

"Scoot over nerd," Katsuki all but sneers, plopping himself down onto the unoccupied half of the couch. Deku watches him like he'd just torn his prized limited-edition All Might poster. But he can't do much as the other rearranges his blanket and pillows.


"Tell anyone and I'll kill you," the blond snaps, not looking at him as he settles down once and for all, not offering any explanation.



Izuku wasn't sure how long the two of them sat there, silent in each others company - if you had asked them about this months ago, there would have been an uproar. Kacchan and he...they were working things out. Of course, the teen knew that things could never go back to how they were, before Katsuki got his quirk and Izuku was left far, far behind. It would never make up for everything that had transpired, for every bruise, burn or scratch. For the blood and tears shed, insults hurled - none of that could be taken away. Bu they had come far. Katsuki was working on his anger issues - he saw Izuku as an equal somewhat. He pushed the other boy. Izuku was working hard, too. To improve, to become a hero All Might would be proud of.

He'd been getting better.

"Oi, Deku," Katsuki had been watching the greenette, scowling, "I can hear you thinking from here, jeez."

"Ah...sorry Kacchan..." Izuku forces his slightly shaking hands to fiddle with the edge of the slightly frayed blanket he had been given, allowing tension to sink into the air once more. He inhaled and exhaled; once, twice. A shaky shudder passed through him.

" showed up."


Now Katsuki was surprised by this. Racking his memories, the blond could bring forth fleeting, distant times where the Midoriya family had been three big - the missing member being a tall, lanky man with Deku's hair in black and glowing eyes full of what he assumed at the time to be love for his son.

But had soon turned into distaste.

Midoriya Hisashi hadn't been around a lot from what Katsuki recalled - even growing up, contact had all but vanished soon after the other teen turned five years of age, soon after he had been declared quirkless. No better than how Katsuki had treated him - Why was he back now?

" told him about me getting into UA and getting a quirk. He apparently knew since sometime after the Sports Festival, but didn't do anything until a week ago when he got a break," Deku starts, allowing his eyes to trail the patterns on the blanket. "He, uh...he wasn't too happy."

Katsuki pieces it together, and for a moment he swears rage passes through him, "So he's the one who fucked you up?"

Deku's hands tighten on the blanket as he furrows his brow, frustration leaking onto his face. "He'd been fine for the first two days, but he doesn't want me to be a hero or go to UA," he scowls down at the blanket like it had wronged him. "Says he wants me to 'take over the company'...completely disregarded what I wanted and even better yet, said I'd be better off without a quirk..."

Tears begin to fill the greenette's eyes, but Katsuki could see he was trying to hold it in. The blond can only watch as the male brings up a scarred hand to rub at his eyes, willing the tears to not fall. "I-I just got so...angry at him for saying that, y'know? I couldn't help that I was quirkless and the reason he left. He made it even worse by saying that I'd be left behind by everyone no matter my progress! All he's seen is the Sports Festival footage! He can't just waltz back in and-and expect me to listen to him!"

Fuck. Deku was a twerp but he'd made more leaps and strides with his quirk than any of those other fucking extras.

"And then he gets angry at me for saying no! He-he threw the first punch and I..." Deku's anger simmers, and he slumps. "Mom still loves him...I didn't want to hurt I didn't do anything, didn't even defend got him off, but he kicked me out and told me not to go back."

Katsuki's eyes narrow, and in the light he eyes the bruising around Deku's neck. Damn asshole of a dad. He didn't have the right-

"What about Auntie?"

"She...he wont hurt her, he stopped when she pulled him back...besides, mom isn't a pushover," Deku sniffles, frustrated tears beginning to drip down his face, and Katsuki internally sighs.

"I didn't want to call anyone...y-you were the closest so I just-"

Katsuki puts his rage away for another day - preferably to unleash it on one Midoriya Hisashi - and silences the nerd with a look. "Look, tomorrow I'll have the old man look you over. We'll give you breakfast, than the two of us are gonna go back there and grab your stuff. If you can't stay there, Auntie would feel better knowing you were here."


"Either you take it or my old hag locks you up inside for the rest of the break," Katsuki sneers, "so we'll go, and if Hisashit is there, I'll knock the lights out of him - would be doing Auntie a favour, I think."

"...what about-"

"We'll let Aizawa and All Might know too - everyone knows All Might would drop anything for you," Katsuki snarks. Deku looks at him with a wobbly expression, more tears impossibly filling his eyes.

"I-" he was speechless, his voice an impossible whisper, "why?" and honestly, Katsuki could see where the nerd was coming from. Why was Katsuki of all people helping.

Katsuki rolls his eyes, lashing out a foot to kick the other in what could be seen as a somewhat playful manner as the other yelps. "Because your dad's an asshole. Besides, its not like I hate you outright. I have a lot of shit I need to make up for - might as well start somewhere, eh nerd?"

A watery laugh escapes the other, and for a moment Katsuki feels content. At ease - at four in the morning with someone he would've tried to harm months, years ago.

Katsuki then snatches his own pillow, sending it flying into Deku's face and causing the other boy to squawk in retaliation. "Now lets fucking sleep already. I'm tired and no doubt we'll be woken up in a few hours anyway with a screaming match."

Knowing Mitsuki - it was bound to happen.

Deku however agrees to the suggestion, settling down and tossing the pillow back as Katsuki moves to turn the light off, not making an effort to go back to his room - no matter if the weight in his gut was gone.

After everything had been said and done, and the two resting among one another on the couch, both fell easily into slumber.


That was how the morning greeted them, two enemies-made-friends, going back to how they had been as children.

And if Deku had somehow managed to sprawl himself across Katsuki's lap during the night, snoring softly away and the blond waking beforehand, he didn't mention it.

Not until the blasted nerd woke up with his mother loudly announcing her arrival.