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Katsuki is four years old when he meets Midoriya Inko.

Or at least, he thinks he is.

He realizes his fourth birthday is approaching when all of a sudden, there are a flurry of doctor visits, all of the all of the adults at the orphanage trying to figure out what his quirk will be before it arrives. They don’t say it out loud, but Katsuki knows that it is to find out whether or not he will become be a danger to other children at the orphanage.

Everything before his birthday is hazy in Katsuki’s brain. There are a lot of days, and the monotony of each one makes them hard to remember.

He does, however, remember the exact night his quirk forms. It is an accident that happens the day after his birthday. He wakes up abruptly in the middle of the night to the sound of childrens’ screaming.

It takes a minute for his groggy mind to register that the screams are because of him.

His hands are bleeding and sweating, his wrists hurt, and his entire body feels like it is burning up. Every few seconds a burst of energy erupts from his palms and he yelps out in pain.

The caretakers solve that particular issue by dragging him to the bathroom and forcing his hands into a bucket of ice water. It doesn’t help with the pain, but at least it stops the explosions.

The next day, the doctors come to visit him again and confirm that the explosions are indeed his quirk. The caretakers share looks with each other that Katsuki can’t read. Somehow, he understands what they’re thinking anyways. He knows they were hoping for a quirk that would be easier to deal with, something like eyes that change color or flexible limbs.

No one expected explosions.

No one liked them, either.

Katsuki’s hands hurts a lot these days, and so does his head on the occasions where there are too many loud noises happening all at once. He doesn’t interact with the other kids, and no one makes a move to interact with him. Katsuki is one of the oldest amongst the kids his age, and the first to get their quirk, so in a way, he understands their caution. All the better for him, really.

For all the noise his hands make, Katsuki has always preferred the silence.

The caretakers, at some point, try to bandage his hands up to keep them from exploding and scaring the other children. But that only makes Katsuki’s palm itch and sweat pool up and the explosions that result from it even louder. They give up a few days later.

A lot of days after that are spent in tears from the way his wrist aches when he inevitably gets into more accidents. Most of his energy is spent on trying to keep them from falling.

-

The months pass by quietly before Midoriya Inko.

On the day of her arrival, a caretaker tells him that he’s going to meet someone, so he can’t start scaring them off with his explosions.

Katsuki doesn’t ask questions when the woman tells him to put on a nice pair of clothing. He pretends not to be listening to her as she walks in front of him to the small office where a woman is waiting apparently for him.

The woman is small, smaller than the caretaker but still a good deal taller than him. Her dark green hair rests just below her shoulders, and her expression is kind. When she spots Katsuki, she smiles gently and gets up from her seat to crouch down. “Are you the Bakugou Katsuki I’ve been hearing so much about?”

Katsuki resists the urge to look up to the caretaker to answer for him. He’s four years old now. He has a quirk. He’s pretty much an adult already. He makes eye contact with the woman. “Who are you?”

The caretaker sighs loudly.

The woman doesn’t spare them a second glance. “How about you answer my questions if I answer yours?”

Katsuki mulls the offer over in his head. It seems fair enough. “Okay then. Yes. ”

The woman smiles wider. “Can I call you Katsuki?”

Katsuki nods.

“Okay, Katsuki-kun. I’m Midoriya Inko. You can call me whatever you like.”

“Inko,” Katsuki says.

Inko holds out his hand. Katsuki hesitates. The caretakers remind him regularly not to touch other people with his hands.

“Ah,” the caretaker cuts in. “You might not want to do that.”

Inko finally turns her head the woman. “And why not?”

“He got his quirk last April,” the caretaker explains. “It’s... volatile. You’re better off not touching his hands.”

Inko furrows her brows. “What is his quirk exactly?”

“Explosions, Midoriya-san. The sweat in his palms make them go off and he can’t control it yet. It’s not pleasant.”

Inko nods thoughtfully. “And what have you been doing about it to help him?”

Katsuki cranes his neck to look up at the caretaker. She looks a little frightened, if Katsuki has to guess. “For now we’ve told him to limit his contact with other people, just until he has a better handle on his quirk.”

Inko hums. “So what you’re trying to tell me you have barely touched him at all since April?” Her expression is all smiles, but something goes hard in her eyes.

The caretaker rubs her hands together. “He’s had... a lot of accidents. It scares the other children.”

Katsuki feels like he’s listening in on something he doesn’t want to hear.

“While that may be the case,” Inko says. “He is a child. No four year old child has full control of their quirks.”

“Child or not, he has one of the more dangerous quirks. It’s for the safety of everyone. You understand where we are coming from though, yes? ”

Inko shakes her head. “No, I really don’t. But I would like to talk about this more when the child in question is not standing right in front of us.” She turns back to Katsuki. “I’m sorry you had to hear all that, Katsuki-kun.”

Katsuki is unsure of what exactly he should do right now. Luckily for him, Inko continues talking.

“In any case, the reason I’m here is because I would like to get to know you a little bit better. Does that sound okay with you?”

Inko holds out her hands again.

This time, Katsuki reaches out for the outstretched arm. His palms are more than a little sweaty when they meet hers, but if she notices it, her expression doesn’t reveal anything. His tiny hands are engulfed in her larger, softer ones. It feels nice, Katsuki thinks.

He hasn’t held anyone’s hand in a long time.

“It’s okay with me,” Katsuki answers.

Inko smiles. “Then I think the two of us will be seeing each other quite often.”

-

She doesn’t lie. Inko is back less than a week later, this time with a child. The boy, Katsuki is told, is her son. “This is Izuku,” Inko tells him. She pushes the boy attached to her side forward just a little bit. “He’s your age, but a few months younger. Izuku, introduce yourself please.”

Izuku steps forward a bit more. He is a little shorter than Katsuki and a spitting image of Inko, from the green hair to the soft eyes, all except for the freckles that litter his face. Katsuki isn’t exactly sure what “spitting image” means, but he thinks he’s using it right.

Izuku fidgets with his hands, but the expression on his face is one of determination. “I’m Midoriya Izuku. Nice to meet you!” He bows deeply.

Katsuki doesn’t imitate the gesture. “Bakugou Katsuki.”

“Katsuki-kun?” Izuku brings a thumb to his chin. “Katsu... Kat... Kacchan...” Izuku breaks out into a beaming smile. “Kacchan? Can I call you that?”

Katsuki grimaces. “No.”

Izuku’s expression falls. “But I like it! It’s easier than Katsuki-kun.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is!”

“It’s not.”

“Boys,” Inko cuts in. “I think Kacchan is a fine nickname. But if you really dislike it,” she says to Katsuki, “Izuku doesn’t mind calling you something else.” She sends a pointed look at her own son.

Izuku stares down at the linoleum floor guiltily. “Katsuki-kun is easy too, I guess. Sorry.”

Katsuki looks at Izuku for a moment, and sighs. “You can call me Kacchan, but then I have to get you a nickname too!”

The uneasy look on Izuku’s face dissipates, replaced with a shining smile. “Deal!”

Katsuki makes Inko writes down Izuku’s name on a piece of paper for him before the two of them leave for the day. He folds it up and puts it in his pocket as he watches them walk away through the windows.

-

It takes him a week to think of Deku, but when he tells this to Inko excitedly, she tells him that ‘Deku’ isn’t a nice name.

He tosses the paper away.

-

There are many meetings after that, some with Izuku and some without. Some days they spend in the office room with papers and colored pencils, drawing away and making small conversations. Other times, they venture out to places nearby the orphanage.

He doesn’t tell Inko, but his favorite times are when he goes on walks with her and Izuku. They don’t go to see anything particular, just to a park that has lots of flowers growing this time of year. He doesn’t tell her this either, but he especially likes it when he’s in the middle and holding both their hands.

Izuku talks a lot on these walks, mainly about whatever exciting thing he did in elementary school that day. For once, Katsuki doesn’t mind the noise.

If anything, Katsuki is a little jealous. The caretakers do their best to teach the kids reading and writing skills and basic arithmetic, but since the kids were all of varying ages and thus should be at different levels of intelligence, the plan is harder to execute. Katsuki knows hiragana well enough, he’d like to think, but kanji is lost on him. Izuku doesn’t need to know that though.

They do other things too. There is one instance he particularly enjoys, of Inko taking him outside to go to a small restaurant while Izuku is at school.

She helps him get on a chair before sitting across from him on her own. A waiter comes by and sets two menus down in front of them. “You can order anything you want, Katsuki-kun,” she tells him, opening up the menu.

 

Katsuki’s feet hang off the edge of the chair. He starts to swing them. “Anything?”

“Anything,” Inko confirms. After a moment, she looks down at the menus, and then back up at him. “Do you want me to read the options for you?” she asks kindly. “The kanji might be too hard for you.”

Katsuki frowns. “I can read it.”

Her smile shifts into something else, as if she knows Katsuki is lying through his teeth. “Ah, of course. Please let me know when you’ve made a decision.”

Katsuki pretends to read the menu, holding it up close to his face. When he peers over the top of it, Inko is staring at him with an amused expression. He doesn’t like it.

“This one!” he says, slamming the menu down and pointing at a random spot on the menu.

She looks down at what he’s pointing at. She tries to hide a smile behind her palm, but Katsuki sees it anyways. “Oh, that one? Are you sure?”

“... Yes.”

She hums thoughtfully. “I see... What did you say your favorite food was again?”

Katsuki thinks for a moment. He’s not sure if there is a particular food he enjoys more than the other. He’s never had the option to pick. “Spicy food,” he says finally.

“Hmm... well then it’s a good thing you chose the spiciest food on the menu! One spicy omurice for you!” She giggles.

Katsuki grins.

Inko smiles fondly. “I’m sorry for doubting you.”

(He learns, years later, that what he was actually pointing too wasn’t a meal option at all; it was an alcoholic beverage.)

-

Katsuki loses track of the amount of times he’s been visited by the Midoriya family after Visit Number 7. They go on for months, the seasons shifting from one to another.

On colder months, Inko and Izuku bring hot chocolate in a thermos for the three of them to drink while Izuku and Katsuki draw pictures and Inko does work on her laptop. They gift him a pale blue scarf for Christmas, and he doesn’t take it off for weeks, even when it makes his neck itch and his face sweat.

When it is much closer to his fifth birthday than his fourth, Inko comes carrying an empty duffle bag. Katsuki eyes it suspiciously, even more so when she hands it to him.

“I figure you don’t have one of these yet,” she says. “But you’re going to need one today!”

“Why?”

Inko’s mouth falls open in surprise. “Has no one told you?”

Katsuki shakes his head.

“I guess they wanted me to be the one to tell you first,” Inko says with a smile. “I want you to spend the night with Izuku and me at our house, if that’s okay with you.”

When Katsuki doesn’t respond immediately, Inko continues. “If you don’t want to, that’s also fine,” she adds on kindly. “It’s completely up to you, Katsuki-kun. If you aren’t ready today, we can do it another time. Izuku and I are perfectly fine with visiting you here, too.”

Katsuki gets over his shock quickly. Spending the day with the Midoriyas or spending the day with kids he hardly knew. The decision is not a hard one to make. He looks up at her resolutely. “When are we leaving?”

She smiles and pats his head. “The second you’re ready to go.”

He doesn’t run, but he’d like to think he speedwalks to the bedroom he shares with some of the other children. His bed is the one pushed to the far end of the room. He doesn’t have much, but he has a comfy pair of pajamas and an All Might action figure he found underneath the pillow of one of the older kids that left a long time ago. It’s missing an arm and most of the colors are dulled and scratched up, but that’s okay. Katsuki likes All Might. He stuffs the clothes into the duffel Inko gives him, carefully putting the All Might figure on top and zipping it up. He rushes over to the bathroom to grab the toothbrush with his name written on the sides.

In minutes, he’s back in the small office where Inko is waiting for him, the bag slung over his shoulder. She reaches for his hand which he eagerly gives her. “That was some quick packing. Were you in a hurry?” she teases.

“Where’s Izuku?” Katsuki asks instead of giving a response. She starts to leading out the door.

“He’s at our neighbor’s house right now. Once we’re there, we can go pick him up and then the two of you can have lots of fun in our house!,” she says. “And there are lots of snacks and candy.”

The caretakers don’t let any of the children eat candy often because no one wants to deal with hyperactive kids. The bigger kids always took the best candies, leaving the bitter and hard ones for the younger kids.

Katsuki has always wanted to know what chocolate tastes like. He tries to mask his excitement at the prospect of eating some when he asks, “Which kinds?”

“All kinds! Izuku picked them out for the two of you to share.”

“Okay,” Katsuki says.

-

It’s a slow going process, walking towards the Midoriya household when Katsuki has to stop every few steps because his duffel is slipping off his shoulder.

“Katsuki-kun, would you like me to carry you?” Inko asks.

Katsuki shakes his head. “I can walk fine.”

“In that case, how about I take your duffel for you? You could walk better if I was the one carrying it.”

Katsuki frowns and adjusts the bag one more time over his shoulder. “I can do it.”

Inko laughs. “Whatever you say, sweetheart.”

Katsuki bristles at the endearment, but it doesn’t stop his chest from feeling strangely warm.

The duffel bag, for some reason, feels lighter than it did just a moment ago.

-

The neighborhood Inko lives in is nice, Katsuki thinks. It’s a longer walk than Katsuki’s used to, and much farther than any of the places Inko has ever taken him to, but they walk at a slow enough pace that he doesn’t tire out too quickly.

They pass by a park on their way, and it’s a real park, with swings and slides. The one near the orphanage only had lots of grass and flowers, and a walkway that led from on part of the park to the other. There were never any other children in that park, only elderly people taking an afternoon stroll. This one seems like the complete opposite.

Katsuki wants to play in it, he thinks, but Inko continues to lead him forward, past the park, and towards a string of houses a block away. They walk up to the first one and INko and knocks on the door.

The neighbor that opens it is a tall blonde man with thick framed glasses and long hair. Even longer than Inko’s. Katsuki thinks that he has similar hair to the man, but while the man’s is the color of bananas, Katsuki’s is much lighter. Despite the still relatively early hour in the day, the man seems more energetic and lively than ever. “Helllooo, Midoriya-san! Looking beautiful as always!”

“Oh, stop it,” Inko giggles, waving her hand. “You don’t have to humor me every time I come over, Yamada-kun.”

“It’s not humoring you if it’s true! Come in, please!”

Inko giggles again. “Not today, unfortunately. I’m just here to pick up Izuku. How is your husband doing?”

The blonde man rolls his eyes. “Overworking himself as usual. He never listens to me when I tell him he doesn’t have to work so hard! And on top of that he’s looking into jobs at UA right now.”

“That does sound like quite the predicament. I hope it works out for the both of you.”

The man huffs. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll just have to get a job at UA with him.” He finally looks down and makes eye contact with Katsuki. “And who might this be?”

He squats down to be at Katsuki’s eye level.

(Katsuki notes, somewhere in the back of his mind, that Inko always did this. And Yamada did. But the caretakers at the orphanage never bothered.)

“This is Bakugou Katsuki-kun,” Inko introduces. “He’s going to be spending the night with us tonight!”

Katsuki wouldn’t necessarily describe himself as shy, per se. But he feels himself shrink under the eccentric man’s gaze. He waves his hand.

“Hello to you too!” Yamada says. He doesn’t get to say anymore before a yell comes from inside the house.

“Mommy!” Izuku toddles over with another boy in tow. The other boy is a little taller with purple hair that sticks up in weird directions.

Izuku runs to Inko to hug her legs. Izuku turns his head to Katsuki. “Hi Kacchan! You came!”

The purple-haired boy ignores Inko and Katsuki completely. He pulls at Yamada’s hands instead. “Can Izuku stay here longer?”

Yamada laughs. It’s a little too loud and makes Katsuki’s ears ring. “Not this time, little listener.” He leans down and scoops up the boy, resting him against his hip. “Izuku is going to spend time with Katsuki-kun over here tonight!”

Yamada gestures at the boy hanging off of him. “Katsuki, this is Shinsou Hitoshi, my son! Shinsou, this is Bakugou Katsuki.”

Hitoshi looks down to where Katsuki is, and leans into whisper something in his ear. It makes Yamada laugh again. “No, his hair won’t hurt to touch. It only looks spiky, honey.”

That makes Inko laugh, too. Katsuki doesn’t get it. “In any case,” Inko says, “the three of us need to get going if we want to have lots of time to play before bedtime!”

Izuku nods vigorously, to the point Katsuki is worried his neck might start to hurt. “Bye, Hitoshi-chan!”

Hitoshi waves goodbye silently.

-

The Midoriya house is two doors over. Just like Yamada’s house was, it is small, with two steps leading up to the front door.

Katsuki doesn’t get the chance to inspect the room before Izuku drags him down the hall.

Katsuki notices the posters first. It’s impossible not to see them. They lined every corner of the wall, big and bright, All Might standing in the center doing various poses.

“I was at Hitoshi’s house just now,” Izuku rambles as they settle in. All Might comforters. Katsuki wants some. “He’s the boy you met at Yamada’s house, I mean. He’s my neighbor. He has the coolest quirk ever! He can control people’s minds! He thinks it’s a scary quirk, but I think it’s so cool! Don’t you think?”

Katsuki furrows his brows. “His quirk is inside?”

“Mhm! Everything happens in his head! Your quirk is explosions, right Kacchan?”

Katsuki nods. “What about yours?”

“Mine isn’t that cool,” Izuku says dismissively.

Katsuki senses he should start talking about something else. Izuku’s eyes have gone suspiciously glossy. “What about the loud man?”

“Oh! Yamada-san? He’s Hitoshi’s dad. Did you know he’s also a pro-hero too! He has a really loud voice and stops villains all the time! And his other dad is also a hero and he can erase other quirks and everybody is just so cool! I’m going to be a hero when I grow up and-”

“I’m going to be a hero, too,” Katsuki says, interrupting the boy mid-speech.

Izuku takes it in stride. “We’ll both be heroes one day, then. I love heroes! My favorite one is All Might.” Izuku raises an eyebrow. “Do you know who All Might is?”

Katsuki rolls his eyes. “Of course I know who All Might is.” He unzips his duffel and pulls out his battered All Might doll and shows it to Izuku.

Izuku’s eyes shine. “Wait right here!” He runs over to his half open drawers. “I have the same one!” he says, pulling out his own. His is the exact same, shining new as if it had just been taken out of the box.

It makes Katsuki’s look like it should go into the trash.

Izuku must have come to the same conclusion, because before Katsuki can make sense of it, Izuku is already pushing his toy towards him. “You can have mine.”

“What?”

Izuku shrugs. “You can take mine back with you. I have a lot,” he says gesturing to the room around them, “so you can have this one.”

Katsuki takes it and puts his own down. “All Might is my favorite hero.” he offers in lieu of a thanks.

Izuku looks like he has stars in his eyes. “Mine too!”

“I’m going to be number one hero,” Katsuki adds. “Even better than All Might.”

“Mhm! Me too!” Suddenly, Izuku looks thoughtful. “But how will that work? Since All Might is already number one.”

Katsuki shrugs. “We just have to be better than him,” he says simply.

At that, Izuku grins. “Yeah! We need lots of practice first. We should play heroes!.”

The corners of Katsuki’s mouth quirk up. It’s a strange feeling. Katsuki doesn’t really remember the last time he’s smiled. “How do you play?”

-

The concept of the game, Katsuki learns, is simple. Izuku has only one All Might costume, which poses a slight dilemma when Katsuki also wants to be All Might.

“How about the two of you take turns?” Inko suggests. “Someone can be the hero, someone can be a civilian, and someone the villain?”

“But I don’t want to be the villain!” Izuku complains.

“I’m not a villain!” Katsuki adds on.

“Then should I be the villain?”

“No!” Katsuki shakes his head at the same time as Izuku. Neither of them like the idea of Inko being the villain.

Inko sighs. “Then how about we do this?”

-

They end up playing a different version of heroes than how Izuku first described it, where Izuku and Katsuki both play as All Might’s sidekicks, both named All Might Jr., while Inko goes to another room and covers herself in a blanket to pretend to be “captured” by villains.

It’s better than any of the games he’s ever been forced to participate in the orphanage. Katsuki doesn’t want to stop playing.

-

They tire out by the time the sun starts to set.

Katsuki feel the pull of his eyes as Inko ushers him into one of the dining room chairs. She sets a bowl of katsudon in front of him. “It’s not spicy,” Inko says apologetically, “But hopefully it tastes alright anyways.”

It does. It tastes more than alright, much better than the small servings of bread and noodles he is used to eating. He finds himself scarfing down the food.

“Do you want seconds, Katsuki-kun?” Inko asks him, once she notices his cleared plate.

Katsuki shakes his head.

“Then if both of you are done, go brush your teeth and then go to bed okay? I’ll stop by in a minute to turn off the lights.”

“Okay!” Izuku says and grabs Katsuki’s hand. There are two stools so that they can get up and see their faces in the mirror. They brush their teeth in relative silence.

“We can sleep on the bed together,” Izuku says as they walk back into his room. “Mommy says she’s working extra hard so that she can buy another bed just for you!”

“For me? Why?”

Izuku shrugs. “That’s just what she said.”

Katsuki and Izuku get on the bed and lie next to each other, their arms barely touching.

Inko, as promised, comes into the room and wishes them a goodnight. She turns the lights off before retiring to her own room for the night.

“I had fun today, Kacchan!” Izuku whispers to him once she’s gone.

Katsuki doesn’t respond, instead closing his eyes and turning away so his back is to Izuku.

-

Katsuki jerks up to the sound of a child’s scream. This time, however, instead of a cacophony of them, it’s just one. When he opens his eyes, it’s dark, and even when he can make out his surroundings, he doesn’t recognize them. His hands throb. Immediately, Katsuki knows what must have happened.

Sitting up on the bed next to him is Izuku with a worried expression. “That surprised me!” he whispers loudly. “I was trying to wake you up and your hands exploded! Are you okay?”

Katsuki nods.

Izuku frowns. “You don’t look okay. Was that your quirk?”

Nod.

Inko runs in before Izuku can continue his interrogation session. The lights turn on and the brightness makes Katsuki’s eyes hurt. “What happened?” she asks frantically.

“Katsuki had a nightmare,” Izuku explains. “And his hands went boom! But it’s okay now.”

Inko holds a hand to her heart and sighs. “Oh, thank goodness. I was worried one of you would have gotten hurt.”

She kneels down in front of the bed. Her eyes are tired, and her hair is sticking up every which way, but most of all, she looks sympathetic. “Are you alright, sweetheart?”

Katsuki wants to nod. He should nod. The caretakers would expect him to nod.

He shakes his head.

Inko hums. “Did you have a bad dream?”

Katsuki nods, and tries to make himself smaller, bringing his knees up his chest. He shoves his head between them so he can’t see her anymore.

“Katsuki, is it okay if I touch you?” Inko asks him.

He looks up at her. Nods.

A hand comes to run through his hair. It pushes back at his bangs and her blunt nails lightly scratch at his scalp. It almost feels nicer than holding hands with her. “Do you want to try and go back to sleep?”

Katsuki shakes his head.

“Can we watch All Might then?” Izuku cuts in eagerly. Then, after a moment: “Are you tired, mommy?”

Inko shakes her head. She looks tired. “No, not really.”

“Then do you want to watch with us?”

Inko sighs good naturedly. “I didn’t even say yes yet. But of course, baby. Go set the television up in the living room and we’ll join you in a minute,” she says to him and shoos him off. She looks back at Katsuki.

“Before we go, do you want to talk about your dream, sweetheart?”

Katsuki plays with his fingers. “No.” His throat is scratchy.

“You know, when I have nightmares, I like to talk about them with other people. It makes me feel better.”

“Why?”

Inko tilts her head in thought. “Hmm... I think once I say it out loud, it reminds me that it is just a dream and can’t happen in real life.”

That makes some sense to Katsuki. “So if I say it out loud, there is a zero chance of it happening in real life?”

Inko hums. “Something like that.”

Katsuki plays with the arm of the All Might figure, spinning it around several times before he starts talking. He refuses to look up from it. “I dreamed I hurt people with my explosions,” Katsuki says quietly.

“Ah... Did you hurt them on purpose?”

Katsuki bites his lip. “No. I got scared, and then my hands started to hurt a lot and then it happened on it’s own. I don’t like it.”

Inko frowns. “Don’t like what? Your quirk?”

Katsuki nods again. “I want to be a hero like All Might. You can’t be a hero if you hurt people.”

Inko looks angry. “Well, if you understand that, then I think you can definitely be a hero like All Might!”

Katsuki ponders it for a moment. “I guess so.”

“I know so.” Inko brings her fingers together gently. “If you’re feeling a little better, do you want to go join Izuku now? He might watch the entire episode without us.”

Katsuki raises his two hands up to her, a silent question.

She smiles softly, and lifts Katsuki up into her arms. She carries him easily off the bed and down the hallway. In the living room, Izuku is already sitting on one end of the couch holding the remote. For someone who awoken abruptly from sleep, he’s practically vibrating with excitement to watch the television.

Inko sits down next to Izuku and put Katsuki down on her other side.

“Are you okay now, Katsuki-kun?” Inko asks him.

He nods and leans his entire weight against her. One of her arms come to wrap around her. The other around Izuku. Izuku presses play, and the three of them begin to watch.

Katsuki falls asleep not ten minute later.

-

The next morning, Katsuki wakes up back in his shared bed with Izuku. The blanket is tucked in around the two of them, and his brand new All Might toy on the tabletop next to the bed. He hears footsteps coming towards the bedroom, and not a moment later Inko walks in.

“Wake up, boys! We have to drop Katsuki back off,” she says cheerily.

Breakfast goes off without a hitch, minus the mini eating contest Katsuki and Izuku get into trying to see who can eat the most chocolate pancakes in one sitting. (Katsuki wins, but only because Izuku almost chokes on a bite and has to stop.)

The walk back to the orphanage feels quicker than the walk to Izuku’s house. Katsuki doesn’t understand why that is.

Katsuki wishes it was longer.

“You bought everything back, right?” Inko asks.

“Yes.”

Inko gives him a fond look. “We’re going to get going then.”

“Bye, Kacchan!” Izuku says with a quick wave.

“We’ll be back soon, sweetheart,” Inko adds, kissing his forehead one more time. “Hopefully it will be for the last time.”

Katsuki freezes at that. He doesn’t get to ask her what she means by that because by the time he finally has enough sense to turn around and gathers the words, the two of them are already gone.

-

It’s one month of radio silence. Katsuki knows this for a fact. He counted the days. Thirty of them, without another visit from Inko or Izuku. He spends the days retreating in himself, thinking about the last things he heard Inko say to him.

It’s one month later that he finally hears the words he’s been waiting for.

“Ah, the Midoriyas are here.”

Katsuki is running towards the office room before the caretaker even finishes her sentence.

“Is it true?” Katsuki starts the moment he spots the shock of green hair. “Is it true that you’re not coming back?” Katsuki asks. His voice betrays the hurt he’s trying to mask. “Are you here to say goodbye?”

Inko shakes her head. She opens her mouth to speak, but the sound of Katsuki’s palms setting off mini explosions drowns it out.

“You... why are you leaving?” Katsuki’s hands tickle with the explosions but he doesn’t know how to make them stop. “Did I do something wrong?” Katsuki has never liked talking too much, but his mouth doesn’t seem to want to stop. Izuku’s influence, he thinks offhandedly. “I thought... I don’t know. Why are you leaving?” He asks again.

Izuku looks confused at Katsuki’s reaction. He stares up at Inko. “Does Kacchan... not want to go home with us?”

Inko smiles softly and ruffles Izuku’s hair. She crouches down to Katsuki. “I think there’s been a small misunderstanding. Katsuki, why do you think we’re leaving?”

Katsuki’s head hurts. “You said... this was the going to be the last time you were coming.”

“When did I say that?”

“When you dropped me off after we had a sleepover. You said you hoped the next time would be your last time coming here.”

Something clicks for Inko, and she laughs. “I did say that. What I meant was, it will be your last time coming here too?”

Katsuki frowns. “How?”

“You’re going to be living with us from now on. We had you called here so we could tell you officially, and so you could go pack up your things.”

Katsuki blinks. “I’m going home with you?”

Inko nods quickly.

“And I don’t have to come back here again?”

Inko has tears in her eyes when she shakes her head no. Katsuki would assume she’s sad, but the smile on her face is one of happiness. “Never again, sweetheart. We’re family now.”

The words make Katsuki freeze on the spot. He didn’t even realize how much he wanted it until it was finally within his grasp. If Katsuki reaches out just a bit more, he will be able to touch it. The forbidden thing taken from him when he was too young to remember the details. The thing graciously being given to him now.

“Family?”

Inko nods, and rubs at her eyes.

Izuku tugs at Inko’s skirt. “Mommy? Do I have to start calling Kacchan my big brother now?”

Inko breaks out into laughter, louder and more boisterous than before.

Katsuki doesn’t get what’s funny, but he finds himself struggling to keep the corners of his lips from growing up.

The sparks from his hands are quiet.