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the footwork of life

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It was an accident.

(Or so Deku thought.)

Truly, he has no choice but to believe whatever Bakugou says. If that’s what he claimed it was, then that must have been what it was. No doubt, no uncertainty. Things were easier this way.

Deku’s bent over his desk, grip so tight on the edges that his knuckles are white and his joints feel numb. It’s easy to hold on when it’s not just for himself—it’s for Bakugou, of course, everything was always for him—and as he feels that familiar stretch he can do nothing but squeeze his eyes shut as a soft whine slips out, unintentionally of course.

It burns, it hurts, but it’s good: it’s that feeling when his gums bleed and his lip splits open, it’s that satisfying ache that pulses from within his heart and soul because finally, for once, he’s full.

There’s a hand clamping over his mouth suddenly because he’s loud, as he usually is once Bakugou starts to move. But to Deku it doesn’t matter and with each thrust he feels so much happier than he ever has before. To be of use after so many years… it’s all he ever wanted.

Briefly he feels hot breath on his neck and eventually lips press against his ear, whispering, “and you said you didn’t want it.”

Did he? That must have been a long time ago, he thinks.

But when Bakugou finally finishes he feels that warmth vanish. No soft words or gentle praises, and when Deku stares off to the side, he catches his own faded reflection within the window. There’s no color to his own eyes, green shades desaturated and watered down like liquid paint.

It takes him years to realize accidents don’t happen more than once.

 


 

Sometimes he finds himself crying and he doesn’t know why.

It just happens: he’ll be studying, eating, walking home from school and suddenly there will be tears rolling down his cheeks, dripping down his chin for no reason.

(That’s right, no reason at all.)

There’s things he doesn’t remember and thoughts he has that are so jarring they scare him: sometimes he sees people around him and wants to hurt them, wrapping his frail hands around their throats and squeezing until he watches them die. Why this is, he’s not sure, but maybe it has something to do with how alone he feels. He craves some sort of closeness but violence is probably not the answer.

Every empty second that ticks by feels like torture when Bakugou isn’t with him. His touch is so comforting, far more than it should be, and every time his hands slide over bare skin it feels like Deku's worth is being reassessed, reaffirmed, and reassured. It calms his soul and his anxiety slips away into the abyss, only to crawl out during the dead of night when there’s nothing to ground him and hold him in place.

Bakugou has made a home under his skin, and that’s where he’ll always reside.

Maybe kindness is something else than what he thought.

 


 

Hearing himself moan feels foreign now: his voice doesn’t sound like his own and the sounds he makes are disorienting. The world is nothing but a blur of color and when the only person who fills his eyes is Bakugou, towering like God above him he can’t help but feel so small.

And he’s breathtaking, truly, but what hurts the most is that Deku’s not allowed to touch. Even when Bakugou’s hands are digging into his thighs, pushing his knees up to his ears and filling him to the point where he feels he can’t breathe, it’d be a sin to run his filthy hands over someone so beautiful, someone so perfect and chiseled with utmost care. Bakugou was born to be important and he exists as a living, walking piece of art. There’s nothing more amazing than him.

“Remember when you used to cry?” The words are toxic and they infect Deku’s lungs. “You’d beg me to stop and you couldn’t stop bitching about how much it hurts. But now you’re so compliant, what happened to you?”

(For some reason he’s scared all of a sudden: terrified to breathe wrong as he inhales and gulps those ideas down into his guts—)

“But it’s okay,” Bakugou sneers with that signature grin, and just like that Deku melts and his worries are whisked away. “I think I like you better like this.”

 


 

He doesn’t know when it started.

And by “it” he doesn’t mean the sex, he means the collection.

There’s eight pens on his desk, laid out neatly and equally spaced from each other. While he can’t remember where all of them came from, he knows that pen number three was tossed in the garbage by Bakugou after he finished an exam—it’s useless, inkless—but Deku fished for it anyways to bring home. Pen number six, on the other hand, was dropped under a table during lunch and he waited until everyone left the cafeteria to bring it with him.

He’s not sure why he craves to have Bakugou’s things but they fill him with a giddiness that he can’t contain.

Deku’s collection grows from there because soon enough he seeks to hoard more than he has already. After pens it’s pieces of gum that Bakugou had chewed and stuck to the bottom of his desk, so he has to carefully pry them off with a pencil. Then it’s wrappers tossed away from candy or snacks, clothes from a locker left slightly ajar, strands of hair and bitten fingernails.

This should disgust him, right? But it doesn’t because it’s Bakugou and everything about him is perfect, so he keeps these valuables in labeled bags and eventually containers once he saves up. To keep them preserved is his greatest priority.

 


 

Bakugou’s parents weren’t home this time so it was no surprise that Deku was already on his knees.

With his hands clasped behind his back, he whimpers softly as the head of Bakugou’s cock slides between his lips. To taste him is the greatest reward he could ever ask for, especially after doing the entire school project for them both, and he refuses to let his gag reflex ruin the moment for him.

“Good boy,” Bakugou growls as Deku’s tongue lays flat against the underside of his cock. “You were built for this, weren’t you?”

That’s a comforting thought, actually, and Deku lets it shift in his brain as he obediently bobs his head with each thrust Bakugou gives. To be built to please him, to exist for him? It would be wonderful, and to be honest it’d be everything he wanted.

Deku’s legs feel a bit shaky as his erection strains against his pants, achy and painful but he refuses to focus on anything but Bakugou. His cock tastes so good and if it were up to him he’d spend every hour of every day like this, mouth wrapped around it as he desperately tries to prove his worth. He’s addicted to it, there’s never been a time where he hasn’t felt like he can exist with himself and only himself. He needs Bakugou just like he always has.

There’s a long moan and Deku feels it: the hand in his hair tightens suddenly as warmth slides down his throat. This is seed, isn’t it? Otherwise known as cum, semen, and every other word in the world that exists to serve its purpose and said purpose is to define. But really, Deku doesn’t think he can define this so he’ll just call it relief because that’s what it feels like and that’s what he gives to Bakugou whenever he’s here with him.

Relief.

It’s hopefully mutual. Symbiotic, even. Deku gives him comfort and Bakugou gives him worth. That’s a beautiful relationship, isn’t it?

“This was boring,” Bakugou mutters as he tucks himself back in his pants. “You were a lot better last time.”

Last time?

This was the first time, Deku thought, but it’s gotten to the point where it feels like his reality is shaped not by memory but by Bakugou’s perceptions, his words, his thoughts. So maybe this is the second or third or fourth or tenth or fifteenth or twentieth time and he wouldn’t know anyways.

For some reason, it doesn’t bother him.

 


 

Some nights Deku does nothing but sit in front of his desk and stare.

The collection is expansive now, especially after he started to add drawings. Some of them are just full pages of doodles, others are reference pages for every part of Bakugou’s body. But many are explicit and Deku’s unsure why he’s so fixated on seeing him in a variety of lewd poses, but he can’t help what he imagines and he needs to get his thoughts out on paper before he bursts.

Bakugou is so handsome, so gorgeous, so godlike it’d be a sin to ignore it.

However, as time moves on there seems to be a growing trend in his artwork: a bit of red pen here, a bit there, and he realizes it’s blood. Blood on Bakugou’s hands, in his mouth, spilling from his eyes. It’s cathartic and Deku doesn’t know why, despite how disturbing it is.

Eventually his mother buys him a cell phone and tells him to only use it for emergencies, but he has the willpower to stick to that rule for a only few days until he can’t help but start to take photos of Bakugou.

He snaps so many that he has to make individual folders, starring his favorites and smiling as he organizes his new digital archive. There are even times when the teacher calls on Bakugou to answer a question in class and Deku records his voice, sorting those files as well and eventually uploading them to his computer. He plays them back over and over and over again and it’s so comforting he almost forgets how alone he feels in the world.

And sometimes his hand finds its way to his cock and he starts stroking lazily, thumb pressing against the tip every now and then as he releases a soft moan. His eyes flutter closed as he sinks into the sweetness of Bakugou’s voice, his tone, the deepness to it that makes his knees weak.

Bakugou is such an assertive person that Deku can only watch in awe as he lives with complete certainty. He knows exactly what he wants at all times and it’s the type of confidence Deku could only dream of having. There’s so much about him that’s irreplaceable, it feels as if his entire world revolves around such a beautiful person.

It makes his life worth living.

 


 

But some nights, certain memories flood back.

Sometimes they disappear as soon as they appear, other times they stay, but usually he willingly forces them back to where they used to be because the pain is so excruciating that he can’t think about them for too long.

The worst ones leave him sobbing, gulping air as his chest tightens until he can’t breathe: there’s vivid images burned into his mind where he’s held down by both wrists as something slams inside him, audibly tearing him open as a blood curdling scream fills his ears. He can’t tell if it’s his own or not but either way it makes him so sick he could vomit.

Another awful memory is being held down by the back of his neck, the hand heating up to the point where it smells like burning flesh. The only person he knows with a quirk like that is Bakugou but just thinking that he was responsible for something like that feels like betrayal.

Maybe he’s finally going insane as he hallucinates and imagines situations and memories that never existed in the first place, so he pushes it all away until all he can think about is how much he loves Bakugou. Deku allows that love to consume him until it hurts, even as his mind falls apart and his thoughts become nothing but broken fragments of what they used to be. With every fiber of his being wrapped around Bakugou, holding him close to his heart, he takes those memories and crushes them with his fists until nothing is left but dust.

But they rise from the ashes whenever someone reaches for his neck or if Bakugou’s grip on his hair is a little too rough: those images flash before his eyes and his body reacts so suddenly, every muscle in his body tightening at once with terror. When it happens Deku can feel that disgust pulsing through him and it hurts so badly, it feels like he’s dying.

It’s a vicious cycle and at this point he feels so aimless, so directionless, so confused. There’s no way to tell what’s real or not because he can’t trust his own eyes, his own mind.

And when that feeling overtakes him, all he can do is cry.

 


 

A week after Bakugou is accepted into UA, Deku has his first suicide attempt.

It felt like he was going through withdrawals without him and no amount of photos or recordings was going to reverse that. Deku must have called and texted him a few dozen times before his number was blocked. Right when it happened he downed a handful of pills—he had no idea which kind, he just grabbed the nearest bottle in the medicine cabinet—and went into shock soon after.

It was written off as academic stress, at least until he overdosed a second and third time. That's when his doctor did a full body check-up and it became obvious he was self harming, since he had the scars to prove it: there were countless of them lining his wrists, his inner arms, his shoulders, and his thighs. His mother cried for hours, asking him why this was happening and what she was doing wrong. All Deku could say is that it’s all his fault and he couldn’t help himself, which just made her far more upset than before.

Then the therapy started.

He had no choice or else he’d be institutionalized, but to be honest he truly thought that Bakugou was the only person that could help him at a time like this. Even so, he figured that attending the sessions would help his mother calm down a bit because he didn’t want to worry her more than he already has. It was only a matter of time until he’d get his hands on a knife and find a more permanent solution to his current self loathing.

But it never came.

After several months, he started to redirect himself to more positive coping mechanisms. His therapist said he had depression and anxiety alongside a plethora of severe dissociative symptoms, but it was nothing that could exactly be diagnosed as a set disorder. The most difficult part was weaning himself off of the self harm but after several dozen consecutive sessions he manages to get clean.

However, the one thing he never told anyone was his collection. Sometimes he still looks through its contents despite being hidden away where his mother would never find it. Everything is still confusing and he doesn’t want to accept it but… he thinks Bakugou might have been hurting him.

It took him a year to even think that, and it seems so surreal as a concept.

Maybe he’s still a little addicted, a bit obsessed. Of course he practices the techniques his therapist told him to try—journaling, playing games, drawing—but somehow it all leads back to Bakugou in the end. Each sketch turns into a chiseled jaw or a pair of glowing red eyes as each entry in his notebook somehow steers into talking about that love and care he felt so strongly that it hurt them both. Even in his dreams he returns to a time when he was nothing but a slab of meat dripping with blood, ready to be torn apart by the one he loved the most.

To be honest, it’s because Deku still feels Bakugou inside him.

It’s strange how that sort of thing changes people. Literally, he can’t help but struggle to breathe at times because it feels like his body was molded and shaped like clay to serve as a dumping ground for every last emotion Bakugou has ever felt.

He supposes it’s only natural, though. Now he carries that within him and it won’t go away no matter how many days pass, yearning to be the most fuckable compost in comparison to every other pretty girl Bakugou could have. But nothing he touches will grow, even if he’s used and used time and time again, and he thinks that’s what’s most frustrating about his fate.

 


 

Getting through school was difficult but alongside therapy and keeping to himself, recovery continued to be a work in progress. Especially with his mother by his side, who ended up being the best friend he could possibly ask for. They would laugh together, cry together, but despite it all Deku loved her so much and owed her his life.

A bit later he graduated and started attending a university to major in hero technology all while still attending therapy. Unfortunately he had to resort to medication because his emotions were a bit of a rollercoaster and he needed the stability, but in the end it helped him balance his studies with his mental health. Growing into his skin was a long process and it was difficult yet the payoff was enormous.

After his second year of college, he gets a boyfriend. They had gone for a few dates beforehand and Deku finally found the nerve to ask him out. It’s the first relationship they both had and somehow, despite Deku’s multitude of issues, it lasts even after graduation. His difficulty with processing intimacy has been a persistent obstacle but his boyfriend is supportive enough to hold his trust.

(Sex is still something Deku is adverse to, but his boyfriend had never brought it up as something he wanted to do so it remained unspoken.)

However, despite how hopeful everything seems to be, there are many times when Ground Zero graces billboards and magazine covers, commercials and posters. Deku’s knee jerk reaction is arousal and it hurts because he doesn’t want to feel that way, but even so it feels like an inevitability. Like a curse it follows him and haunts him, even long after he locked his entire collection away under his bed. He feels that involuntarily attraction despite every fiber of his body rebelling against it, and he hates that feeling. It’s terrible and guilt-inducing.

Seeing Bakugou’s face again and again works like torture, tempting him over and over until he feels absolutely awful. Fantasizing about him leads to nothing but grief: after the momentary orgasmic high, Deku’s emotions come crashing down and it’s the worst he’s ever felt before. Sometimes he dissociates as well and while it numbs the pain for a bit, nothing can truly kill the guilt. If anything it makes him feel worse than before. 

But then, everything changes one winter day.

The yard is packed with snow but there’s a wild blizzard that makes it far too dangerous to shovel anything away just yet. As his boyfriend naps on the couch after a long day of work, Deku stirs fresh soup he just cooked on the stove: it’s chicken noodle soup, gentle on the stomach and perfect for the weather outside. Right as he’s about to serve himself, the doorbell rings.

It seems like his boyfriend is fast asleep so Deku will have to answer. Maybe it’s his mother coming to check in on him or possibly one of the neighbors with a concern.

But when he opens the door, he immediately pales.

It’s Bakugou propped up against the doorframe, leaning against it with his arm. He grew so much in six years and although Deku has seen him before in the media and on interviews, in person he’s so much bigger. Deku is probably at least four or five inches shorter than him and that hits him like a train. 

His eyes are that same gorgeous red he remembers from middle school but the way the way they burn makes his heart ache. He's also wearing a leather jacket that hugs his arms in every obvious way, as well as a casual black shirt underneath. There’s scattered snowflakes in his hair, caught in a ring like a halo. Bakugou did always remind him of an angel. 

“Surprise,” he says with that signature grin. “You miss me?”

Deku’s mind is barely processing a single thought, a whirlwind of words sending his mind into a spiral. He opens his mouth to say something, leaning forward only slightly before he snaps his jaws shut in fear of saying the wrong thing.

(Then, he realizes he’s breathing the same air as Ground Zero, which somehow feels ridiculously invasive and actually a bit terrifying.)

“I…” Deku finally starts after a few moments, eyes so wide that he feels like he must look terrified out of his skin. “I… I just—”

“Can I come in?”

The question is so sudden and it feels like a sucker punch to the gut. Before he can react Bakugou is trying to step inside and Deku blocks the entrance quickly with his arm.

“No, you can’t. I have company.”

“So later?”

Oh god, he can’t process this. It feels like his brain is fried and he can hardly breathe. His chest is getting tighter by the second and he’s so nervous, his hands are sweating and shaking a bit as he pulls back.

“I… I don’t think so, Kacchan.”

Bakugou blinks a few times. “Why not?”

“I just can’t.” This is impossible to handle. He feels like he’s going to be sick. “There’s a lot going on in my life, I don’t think I’m ready to talk to you right now and I got settled in with a job and a place to live and I just—”

“You’re really turned on right now, aren’t you?”

His eyes widen. “I… what?”

The energy shifts and suddenly Bakugou seems less curious and far more hungry. “I know you well enough, Deku. I can smell it on you.”

That horrible feeling is back: guilt and self loathing as he realizes how weak his knees feel just from being in Bakugou’s presence. But it’s not his fault and he hates it more than anyone, so he takes a step back and shakes his head.

“Leave me alone.”

“You don’t want me to.”

“You don’t know what I want!” Deku snaps and that seems to surprise Bakugou a bit, as he looks genuinely taken aback. “You have no idea what my life has been like after you left. You never contacted me for six years and now you show up at my doorstep completely unannounced, and for what? Are you even going to say sorry?”

“Sorry for what?”

“For the things you did in middle school.”

“That was an accident,” Bakugou says with an eye roll. “I never really meant all that. We were just kids. Kids do crazy shit sometimes but we’re a lot older now.”

“You hurt me, Kacchan.” The words feel foreign the second they leave Deku’s lips because he always hated blaming him for anything. “You hurt me over and over and over again, on purpose to make yourself feel good. I am still hurt because of what you did to me. I am still not okay.”

“Then get therapy.”

“I have therapy, I’ve been going for years.”

“And yet you still want me. That doesn’t seem like a lot of progress to me.”

Deku’s hands tighten into fists in hopes to keep himself from breaking. He feels a hitch of a frustrated sob starting to build within his chest but he pushes it back. 

“Kacchan, please leave.”

Bakugou’s eyes narrow but he shrugs, crossing his arms across his chest.

“Alright, I will.”

He genuinely relaxes at that but only moments later Bakugou is fishing around inside his jacket, pulling out a business card to slide into Deku’s front pocket.

“For safekeeping, in case you need me.” Bakugou lets his hand rest on Deku’s shoulder as he draws close, lips pressed against his ear. “I know you like it rough, so if your boyfriend can’t do it for you then I’m happy to be a placeholder.”

Nausea catches in Deku’s throat but he swallows it down as Bakugou pulls away. There’s that disgustingly sweet smile on his face and soon enough he’s backing off with a wave, walking back the way he came towards a black Mercedes parked out front.

Even after closing the door Deku watches him, peering outside through the blinds to make sure he drives off instead of sticking around. But even if that happened, what would he do? Call the police? Would they even believe the word of a quirkless civilian over a pro hero already on the hero boards, someone with such high ratings that his morality would be unquestionable?

Squeezing his eyes shut, he presses his forehead against his knees. Second after second, minute after minute, even hour after hour he sits in silence as snow falls outside and his soup grows cold. It’s so quiet he can hear himself breathe.

And for a moment, he wishes he wasn’t.