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Happiness Begins with the Color Orange

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Izuku spent the last eleven hours of his life at his grueling job and was in dire need of some rest after dealing with asshole customers over the phone all day.

He walked into his bedroom and slumped into his desk chair at his pc, letting the tension of the day ebb away from his tired mind and body. He purged all thoughts of incompetent customers.

Being in IT was an absolute nightmare.

When Izuku first took the job, he didn’t expect to turn into such a cynical asshole. Outwardly, he came across as kind and pleasant which was the sort of person he was initially. Over time, however, his personality transformed into someone else entirely.

He stared at his computer screen, scrolling mindlessly through pages upon pages of different threads and photos. Nothing really caught his eye thanks to the depression which had been slowly sinking in and turning his mind to mush the longer he worked at his shitty job.

He just wanted a little color in his life. He wanted that spark he had when he first graduated college. But corporate sucked the joy right out of his soul and he felt so damn barren.

A blur of glowing orange jumped out at him and he stopped scrolling to look at a digital painting of an animal skull against a backdrop of solid black. But what intrigued him most was the oozing glowing orange lava pouring from the eyes in the skull which pooled around the front, flowing forward like two small streams converging together.

It was beautiful and ethereal in a sinister sort of way. It was the color Izuku yearned for and he spent the next hour scrolling through the artist’s account, liking and retweeting nearly every picture.

The artist had a unique, creepy vibe for each piece. Izuku didn’t understand why he was so intrigued by the style since he wasn’t too much into horror, but there was a depth to the art and it touched his soul.

Every piece had a smattering of orange. For instance, the painting of the dark forest with a sky glowing an ominous orange and the silhouette of a massive monster in the background. It wasn’t something Deku had seen before, but he also didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge about art.

Eventually, he reached the end of the posts. He stared at the screen for a long while and the emptiness slowly crept up on him again. At least he had some peace from the depression for a moment but he craved more.

He scrolled back up, clicked “follow” then clicked on the link for commission information pinned at the top. It took him to a Ko-fi page with the name GroundZero at the top next to an icon of an extremely attractive blond man glaring at the viewer.

The artist’s About read:

My name is Katsuki Bakugou. I am a part time freelance artist who specializes in traditional and digital abstract horror and illustration. I have an art degree from xxxxxx where I specialized in traditional painting. All of my digital art knowledge is self-taught.

Izuku eagerly pulled out his wallet from his pocket and clicked on the plus sign, upping the “coffee” numbers to 20 which was equivalent to $60. He attached the message “Thank you for lighting up my dark world with your really cool art!” to his donation.

Sure it was a little cheesy but Izuku was too excited about supporting such an amazing artist to feel ashamed. He went to bed that night feeling good. The depression was momentarily kept at bay and he was going to ride out the high as long as he could.

 


 

When Izuku dragged himself home from work the next day, all he wanted to do was collapse in bed and scroll through his phone mindlessly until he fell asleep. But he had to be a good adult and at least eat a decent meal.

As he sat at his kitchen table eating his meager salad he hardly put any effort into, he checked his emails. Most of it was spam, but he had an email from Ko-fi which he assumed was confirming his donation. When he opened it, though, he was surprised to see a personalized “thank you” message from GroundZero himself.

“Thanks. Check Twitter.”

Deku arched a brow. There was no way this dude knew about his Twitter account, but then he remembered liking and retweeting nearly every damn post on the guy’s account and his face went red.

Reluctantly, he opened up the Twitter app and there was an unread message from GroundZero waiting for him. He gulped down his nerves with a sip of his water and opened the message.

Pretty sure you’re the one who sent me that huge donation on Ko-fi? Screenshot your receipt and I’ll draw something for you as thanks. Not something I usually do, but I usually don’t get that much money for a donation either.

-GZ

Deku’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe the artist sent him a message. He was shocked to be offered art for his generous donation. That wasn’t even his intention! He just wanted to thank the guy for making him hate his life a little less for the briefest of moments.

Izuku typed a quick response: “Can I commission you instead?

Izuku nearly dropped his phone when the reply came less than a minute later.

GZ: If that’s what you want, then I’ll need half the money up front before I work on your piece.

Izuku pondered over what to ask for. GroundZero was pretty good at using orange since it seemed to be his favorite color to use, so he definitely wanted to incorporate it into his commission, but what should he ask for?

The image of a tall, muscular man came to mind. He was a comic book hero Izuku loved as a kid and he wondered what the hero would look like in GroundZero’s style with orange electricity all around him. Izuku responded and waited to be told how much to send.

The quoted amount was a little more than Izuku had wanted to spend, but he was way too excited to see how the finished piece would look to care about the money.

With the money sent off, Izuku felt a sense of relief and calm again. The day was exhausting like every other day, but at least he had something cool to look forward to.

 


 

Izuku collapsed in bed not even bothering to eat dinner. It had been a week since he asked for his commission from GroundZero. He was sent a rough sketch of the piece and after giving his okay to go on with the project, he hadn’t heard anything since.

Izuku laid on his stomach clicking through various apps on his phone. He opened Twitter last and was pleasantly surprised to see a message from GroundZero.

GZ: Finished. Just send the rest of the money.

There was a small preview of the finished piece attached and just seeing that little bit was enough to make Izuku jump up from his bed. He paced the floor with a wide smile on his face as he sent over the rest of the money and a message to let GroundZero know before jumping around his room with a loud cheer.

He hadn’t been this excited over anything All Might related in years . Now he was going to get a personalized commission of his favorite hero. He was planning to hang the drawing in his room right over his bed the moment he received it in the mail.

Izuku glanced down at his phone again and there was a link to Google Drive in the message window.

GZ: Pleasure doing business with you. It’ll be sent along in a couple of days.

Izuku clicked the link so fast he nearly hit the home button. The image was a drawing of All Might in his signature pose-legs spaced apart and fists at his hips-with a toothy grin spread across his angular features. The costume was colored in various shades of grey, with accents of white highlights. The part which really grabbed Izuku’s attention was the flashy glowing orange lightning Izuku requested.

Izuku squealed in delight, crushing his phone to his chest as tears filled his eyes. When was the last time he felt so happy? How could one human being bring him so much joy just with their art alone? He crumpled to the floor in tears, releasing all his pent up emotions.

He cried until he couldn’t anymore with his eyes nearly swollen shut as he collapsed on the floor trembling.

Everything hit so hard. The facade he maintained for so long finally shattered and he could finally shed the building negative feelings which had consumed him for far too long.

He looked down at his phone with teary eyes and smiled at the grinning All Might. He felt truly rejuvenated and wanted nothing more than to hug GroundZero for saving him from the endless despair his monotonous life had brought him.

 


 

Izuku walked into the office feeling confident and energetic. He was at his new job he started working at nearly a month ago. He was now a software engineer and felt free for the first time.

As he settled down at his desk for the day, one of his coworkers, Urarka, came over to greet him. She was one of the first people he met when he was first hired and they had become fast friends.

“Morning, Uraraka. How are you?”

“Doing well. You seem chipper as always,” she said with a giggle.

Izuku laughed. “I suppose so!”

His new job wasn’t the best, but it was loads better than his last. He got to work at a much more leisurely pace because he wasn’t glued to the phone nonstop with angry customers on the other end. It was nice to work in a quieter environment too with people actually smiling instead of looking like they wanted to throw themselves off a building.

“Get anything new from the cute artist boy?” Uraraka asked with a smirk.

Izuku rolled his eyes. “He’s just an artist I happened to befriend! And not yet. I’m not sure what I want to commission from him now. Maybe a portrait of my other favorite hero, Endeavor?” He put a hand to his chin, musing aloud.

“I don’t even know who that is but live your best life!”

“I know,” Izuku sighed. “I’m always throwing weird comic book hero names at you and you always humor me.”

Uraraka nodded. “True but if it keeps you happy then I’m happy!”

Izuku laughed as she left to walk over to her desk. This job was definitely what Izuku needed and he couldn’t be happier.

The workday flew by and Izuku was back at home settled at his desk dm-ing GroundZero or GZ for short.

GZ: Fucking Endeavor? Seriously?

Izu: Yea! What’s wrong with Endeavor… i mean beside the obvious?

GZ: Do you need me to compile a fucking list for you?! Or better yet a complete fucking paper with sources along with screenshots of each shitty thing he did in the comics.

Izuku sighed out loud but couldn’t help the smile on his lips. GZ was very opinionated and wasn’t afraid to be vocal about said opinions. It was sort of funny to Izuku to see GZ’s true self compared to a few months back when he found GZ’s profile initially. The guy seemed so professional, but in a private setting, he was a loose cannon.

Izu: Okay, so how much?

GZ: Fuck off I’m doing this one for free

Izu: !!! D:<

GZ: You’ve donated more damn money than i’ve got from all my patrons combined. Like let me fucking do this for you without damn argument!

Izu: THE POINT OF ME DONATING IS TO SUPPORT YOU

GZ: AND YOU HAVE NOW STFU OR I’LL BLOCK YOUR ASS SO YOU CAN’T SEE MY ART ANYMORE

Izu: That’s so mean!! T_T

GZ: I gotta run. Got other shit to do. And work in the morning. Ttyl

Izu: Night!!!!

Izuku leaned back in his chair with a laugh. When he first started commissioning GZ, he never expected them to become friends, especially not as close as they had gotten. It was such a subtle change in their relationship. Izuku would commission GZ to draw a hero and they would end up in long discussions about said hero.

Eventually, it became the norm for them to have long discussions about comic books or anything related to GZ’s current art projects. Izuku was a proud supporter and loved hearing the ideas GZ came up with for Patreon rewards. He even got to suggest a few ideas for polls. It was fun being GZ’s friend, but he never wanted to take advantage.

Despite GZ’s prickly, overly opinionated, arrogant personality, he was a pretty chill guy. Izuku was so used to being screamed at by customers for the last two years of his life, GZ seemed so tame in comparison. While others probably found him off-putting, Izuku found his honesty and bluntness refreshing.

 


 

Izuku scanned the crowded Dealer’s room from the entranceway despite knowing he wouldn’t see GZ’s table since he was supposed to be tucked away in the far back of the massive room. With a determined glint to his eye, Izuku marched through the sea of people in the direction he believed GZ was stationed.

He was jostled around, bumping into fellow nerds as he squeezed past. When he reached the back of the room, he scanned the rows of tables for GZ until he spotted a shock of blond, spiky hair. As Izuku got closer to GZ’s table, his heart fluttered in his chest.

There were a few people idling about at GZ’s table, so he waited for them to clear out to finally approach GZ.

“Hey,” Izuku mumbled, not daring to look GZ in the eye. His body trembled as his heart pounded relentlessly in his chest.

“Oi! It’s you, Freckle face!” GZ said with a raucous laugh.

Izuku looked up, face scrunched up in defiance. “You know my name, GroundZero!”

“Tch. Well you’re one to talk. You know my name too.” GZ rolled his eyes.

“Yea, Katsuki Bakugou,” Izuku said with a blush, choosing that moment to be very interested in one of the prints hanging up furthest to the right.

“By the way, you better not be here to buy shit from me or I’ll personally have you escorted off the premises for harassment.” Katsuki leaned back in his chair, arms firmly folded against his chest with a smirk playing on his lips.

“I’ll have you know I’m just here to say hello!” Izuku huffed.

“Good. I’m tired of feeling like you’re single-handedly paying my damn bills.”

“That’s not true and you know it!”

Katsuki leaned forward, brow arched. “Oh really? I bet you put $100 aside every time you get paid, giving me a total of $200 each month between donations, Patreon, and/or commissions.”

Izuku’s eyes went wide and his face burned. “W-what?!” he sputtered.

Izuku wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand, shaking his head. Didn’t the AC work in this place?! “That’s...wrong?” His words didn’t sound convincing, not even to him.

Katsuki’s toothy grin widened. “You’re such a fucking dork. Anyways, whatcha up to later?”

“Um… nothing honestly. I was planning to go to a few panels.” Izuku pulled out his phone to scroll through the schedule he made for the convention. “Probably the rave much later, but just to check it out.” Izuku shrugged, placing the phone back in his pocket.

“Well, you’ll be happy to know I’m gracing you with my presence for dinner tonight,” Katsuki said.

Izuku rolled his eyes and laughed. “Alright, Katsuki, I will be absolutely honored to have dinner with you.”

“Tch. You better be, freckles, or I’ll make you regret it.”

Katsuki’s empty threats were one of the things Izuku liked most about him. “Sure, sure.”

Izuku turned on his heel, waving as he started walking away when Katsuki shouted after him. “OI! IDIOT I NEED YOUR PHONE NUMBER!”

Izuku paused, face going red.

“Uh, right,” he muttered as he shuffled forward and pulled out his phone. They exchanged numbers quickly as a small crowd gathered around Katsuki’s table.

Long after Izuku had left the Dealer’s room and settled in a seat for another panel, he still couldn’t stop the blush permanently staining his cheeks red. He could hardly concentrate on what was being said by the speaker because he was too excited to hang with Katsuki later.

 


 

Dinner was uneventful but Izuku enjoyed himself despite Katsuki looking bored the entire time. Or mad. Izuku wasn’t quite sure which. The bill was already paid for-by Katsuku who insisted or Izuku would face uncertain death-but they were still waiting for Izuku to finish up his dessert.

As Izuku ate the last bite of his ice cream, he watched Katsuki scroll through his phone. Katsuki’s eyes narrowed, tapping his thumbs furiously on the screen. Izuku wasn’t sure if he should be amused or concerned.

“Well, dinner was good,” Izuku commented.

Katsuki looked up from his phone, steely gaze boring into Izuku. “Tch. Not really. The salmon was dry. Not even sure how someone can fuck that up when I’m paying nearly thirty fucking dollars a plate.”

Izuku was speechless. He stared helplessly at Katsuki who looked about ready to murder anyone who dared to cross his path.

“Um, Katsuki, is everything alright? I mean I know you get sorta frustrated with stuff pretty easily, but you seem really on edge right now.”

Katsuki placed his phone on the table and folded his hands as a pensive look came over him. “Some ass hat was selling merchandise clearly ripping off mine. It was traced art. Just with a different fucking color scheme and face. I’m pissed so I sent an email to the bastards in charge of this fucking convention.”

Izuku’s jaw dropped. “Oh my god.”

Oh my god is right. That asshole is lucky I didn’t want to get kicked out or arrested because I was so fucking close to destroying his entire display. God only knows how many more fucking artists he’s ripping off of!”

Izuku frowned and reached over to touch Katsuki’s hand. “I’m really sorry this happened to you. I think you should file a complaint with the police if the convention staff don’t properly address the issue.”

Katsuki looked like a puffed up angry cat but slowly deflated as his face relaxed. “Yea. I’ll do that.” He stared at Izuku’s hand which was still on his. Silence spanned for a beat and Izuku went red as realization dawned on him when Katsuki kept staring.

Izuku tore his hand away like he had been burned. He put it in his lap and fiddled awkwardly, not daring to look up at Katsuki who was still staring at him.

“Um. Do you want to head out now? I’m sure you’re tired and stuff,” Izuku said.

“I thought you wanted to go to the rave?”

Izuku’s head shot up. “What?!”

“Well, are you or aren’t you?”

Izuku nodded. “Yea, I’m still planning on going.”

“Alright, then let’s go,” Katsuki said, getting up from the table.

“Wait! You’re going too?!” Izuku asked, flailing his arms around.

“Yea, I need a fucking distraction from this bullshit. So get up and let’s go!”

Izuku nodded, grabbed his jacket and rushed after Katsuki who was already walking away.

 


 

They heard the bass outside before they even entered the building. There was a line of people in cosplay or decked out in rave gear. It moved quickly enough and they walked into a glowing neon sea of people.

Katsuki grabbed Deku’s wrist, pushing through the crowd with the bass vibrating the floor beneath them. Deku bumped into dancing people, nearly losing his balance a couple of times. When they finally emerged from the crowd, they were at the far back of the room where there were only a few people.

Katsuki released his hold on Deku and stepped back, eyes scanning the room. Izuku looked around too, finally taking in the entire scene. There were so many bodies, but only those decked out from head to toe in neon and flashy accessories really stood out.

Izuku felt overwhelmed as he watched the bodies move like a wave to the music. He was completely out of his element and he suddenly felt the urge to run away. He stood looking like a deer in the headlights, but Katsuki stepped into view, blocking out the crowd.

“OI! MOVE!” Katsuki shouted as he tapped his foot in time with the beat, swaying lazily side to side.

Izuku swallowed and bobbed his head in time with the relentless tempo, trying to get into the music and push away the anxiety. At first, he felt awkward standing so far from the crowd with only Katsuki for company but after a few songs, he was dancing like a madman.

Katsuki laughed when Izuku did some odd footwork, trying his best to look cool but failing epically. Katsuki, of course, looked amazing as he swayed his hips side to side, accentuated by his form-fitting v-neck t-shirt. Sweat dripped down Katsuki’s neck and his low cut shirt was getting more and more distracting by the minute.

They danced, twisting and jumping with each changing song, but Izuku didn’t dare to step any closer. He was drenched in sweat and in awe of how good Katsuki looked under the flashy lights, turning his hair vibrant shades of blue and pink.

The next song was the heaviest beat yet and Deku’s heart slammed against his chest as the saturated tones filled his ears. He closed his eyes, lifted his arms in the air and moved his hips from side to side.

He was lost in the sound but was jolted out of his revelry when an arm snaked around his torso and pulled him forward. He stumbled into Katsuki’s chest, now face to face with him and his devilish smirk.

They swayed in time with the pounding tempo, not taking their eyes off each other. Izuku’s heart rate was to the roof and he thought he might pass out with Katsuki’s body pressed against his, searing hot and solid.

Izuku had no clue how to dance with another person, but Katsuki guided him with arms firmly wrapped around his waist. When Katsuki rolled his hips forward, Izuku gasped. It was so sensual and he stumbled.

Katsuki laughed low as he steadied Izuku. He rolled his hips again in time with the tempo and Izuku stopped breathing. The flashy lights blurred into each other as his brain stopped working.

“Oi! Move!” Katsuki shouted and it was enough to knock Izuku out of his stupor.

He was moving side to side again, but Katsuki kept rolling his hips every few beats. It was making Izuku’s head spin. There was no way his uncoordinated, nonsexy ass could keep up with this, let alone keep his mind pure with Katsuki grinding against him like that.

AND OH MY GOD WAS KATSUKI FUCKING SMIRKING?!

This asshole knew exactly what he was doing to Izuku’s composure. He was flushed from dancing, desperately trying to hide his blatant attraction to Katsuki. But it was so hard when Katsuki gave him such a hungry look. He didn’t stand a damn chance.

The song transitioned into something slower. Izuku thought Katsuki would let him go, but he didn’t loosen his grip. They swayed side to side with far less amped up energy. Thankfully, Katsuki wasn’t rolling his hips anymore, but they were still so close he could feel Katsuki’s hot breath on his face.

Katsuki leaned forward and Izuku squeezed his eyes shut with a gasp. Lips brushed against his ear as Katsuki said in a low rumble, “Nice to finally see you in person, Izuku Midoriya.”

Izuku’s knees went weak and he felt like he was melting into the floor as Katsuki pulled back with that stupid smirk of his. He let go of Izuku who stumbled back but was yanked forward when Katsuki grabbed his wrist.

Izuku was dragged through the crowd back the way they had come from earlier that night. A shock of cool air hit them as they emerged from the building. Izuku wiped the sweat from his face with Katsuki still latched onto his wrist.

Katsuki slowed his pace and Izku fell in step beside him. Katsuki loosened his grip and slid his finger down, wrapping them around Izuku’s hand. Izuku glanced over at Katsuki who looked like he had sucked on a lemon.

Izuku never anticipated hanging out with Katsuki let alone dancing with him and holding hands, but it was turning out to be an amazing weekend.

“We’re going back to my hotel room, nerd,” Katsuki said quietly.

“WHAT?!” Izuku sputtered.

“Oi! Keep your damn voice down!” Katsuki shouted back.

“But-”

“Shut up. You can say no, idiot. I can just drop you off at your hotel instead if that’s what you want.”

Izuku pulled his bottom lip between his teeth. Was it okay to go back with him because if he went back to Katsuki’s hotel, their friendship would never be the same.

Ever since the day he came across Katsuki’s Twitter account, though, he had been taking risks. So why should tonight be any different?

With a resolute nod, he said,” We can go to yours, Katsuki.”

“Tch. That’s what I thought. Let’s go!”

And they were running down the street hand-in-hand, headlong into the next chapter of their life.