When Izuku set forth into the countryside to see the outer lands of the kingdom for himself, and hopefully find a living to help support his mother, he’d expected his future to contain a bit of monster fighting as extermination for a handful of cash or perhaps character building though hard labor working for some proud warrior.
Incredibly attractive, nearly feral, shirtless men who rode dragons hadn’t been on the list of people Izuku expected to meet.
Izuku considered that an oversight on his part.
Because now that he’d met one, he considered that an absolute must on his life’s journey.
The blond warrior’s red cape waved in the wind behind him and the furry collar tickled his cheeks (or so Izuku imagined). Arm bands stretched over the muscles of his arms and his boots kept him secure on the head of the giant, bright red dragon under him. Izuku spent too much time staring at the man’s perfect chest and only saw the curved sword in the man’s hand out of the corner of his eyes.
“That sword on your waist for show or are you going to use it?” The warrior brought his sword into Izuku’s view as he whipped it to the front to point at him. “Or are you too scared to face me?”
“I think that there has been a misunderstanding,” Izuku said. He kept both hands raised in a defensive position. “I was looking for the path to town, not a dragon or treasure or…trouble.”
Izuku should have said “you” instead of trouble.
It would have made a better impact.
His mother had been right: Izuku needed more practice flirting.
Because the man before him missed the interest that had to be written all over Izuku’s face.
The blond jumped off the head of the dragon and hit the dirt. Izuku tilted his head back as the man straightened and swallowed.
He wasn’t that much taller than Izuku.
But just enough to make the man even more attractive.
The handsome blond tilted his head to the side and looked Izuku over from head to toe with sharp red eyes and a frustrated sneer. “You aren’t the prince, are ya?”
“Prince?” Izuku asked. “You thought I was the prince?”
“Don’t give me that look!” the blond yelled, showing off his sharp teeth. He pointed his sword at Izuku’s face once more and waved it. “The prince is supposed to come through this part of the woods today and I’m going to challenge him!”
“Don’t you know what he looks like?” Izuku lowered his hands and tilted his head. “The prince has red and white hair and has a horse.”
The dragon behind the blond snorted with a burst of fire. With a poof it disappeared into a cloud of smoke. When the wind carried away the fumes, it revealed a redheaded man falling onto the ground in laughter.
“Shut it, Kirishima! It’s not funny!”
“I can’t help it!” the redhead shouted, still laughing. “You told me you knew for sure what the prince looked like! ‘I’ll know him on sight!’ you said!”
The blond bristled and turned on his heel, his large cape smacking Izuku in the face as he turned. “How hard should it be to spot a prince!”
“Apparently pretty hard since this is the fifth guy you’ve stopped,” Kirishima said. The dragon wiped his eyes and scooted back to avoid the sword swinging in his direction. “Okay, okay! I’m done teasing!”
The blond made another dive with his sword and Izuku spoke up to stop the man from hurting the dragon—or trying to at least. Kirishima appeared at ease with the flustered blond. Izuku blurted “Why do you want to challenge the prince?”
The man stopped and turned back to face Izuku. He lifted his brow with a distinct look that read “Are you an idiot?” across his face. The taller man strode toward Izuku and asked, “What’s it to you?”
“I was curious?” Izuku asked. He fiddled with his fingers and averted his eyes. If he kept looking in those red eyes too long he might forget that he was supposed to be going to town. “There aren’t many people who want to challenge the prince to fights.”
“And that’s why!” the man shouted. He poked Izuku in the chest and snarled. “The prince has this big scary reputation that scares bandits, but how many people have actually fought him? I’m going to see if he’s worth even a fraction of the hype.”
“Okay,” Izuku said. He looked back up into the blond’s face and hated himself even as he asked, “But why?”
“To prove I’m the stronger one,” he said. The man lowered his sword and huffed like a wild boar (and with all the same intensity). “Why else?”
“I’m sorry I’m not the prince, but my name is Izuku,” he said, avoiding the answer to that question. He had his own ideas of why a person needed to prove that they were strong—Izuku had left home for much the same reason. “What’s your name?”
“Bakugou,” the man answered. He nodded behind him. “That’s Kirishima. Ignore him.”
“Hi, Izuku!” the dragon-man waved. “Don’t mind him. He’s grumpy because he can beat a dragon in a fight but can’t find a measly human prince.”
“That’s it!” Bakugou yelled. He whipped around on his heel and ran toward the redhead. “I’m going to kill you! Turn back into a dragon so I can skin your hide and sell it!”
The human grinned and did a back flip, transforming into the giant monster as he went. Bakugou’s pace did not falter as he ran toward the dragon yelling and swinging. Izuku whistled at the fearless state—until he remembered that they were clearly friends. He snorted at the fight between the two commenced: Bakugou swinging and the dragon dodging.
The action under the summer afternoon sun drew a sheen of sweat over Bakugou’s muscles. They flexed and moved as fluidly as the dragon he mock-fought.
Izuku leaned against a tree and watched the two. He reached up to bite his thumb and couldn’t help analyzing Bakugou’s movements: He had no noticeable fighting style that Izuku was familiar with after spending his afternoons watching the knights and fighters in his village train and spar with each other. But there was sense to his movements and no motion was wasted.
The efficiency behind every explosive hit sent a shiver through Izuku’s body.
Bakugou’s movements were fast and loose, somehow managing to keep the cape out of his way in a manner that had to be magic.
Or good luck.
Izuku snorted into both of his hands when the dragon snatched the end of the cape in his mouth and tugged, flipping the man on his back—almost.
Bakugou’s mouth twisted into a wicked smile. He unclasped his cape and dropped it off in the same fluid motion that he did a flip using his hand as balance and landed back on his feet.
“Nice try, lizard!” Bakugou yelled. “But your scales are mine!”
The man ran back toward the monster and Izuku took a seat next to the tree to finish watching the fight and memorize every flex and bend of Bakugou’s muscles and his gorgeous facial expressions.
After the fight completed—with both participants out of breath and no clear winner—Izuku clapped from his spot by the tree.
“You guys are amazing!” Izuku shouted. He scrambled up to his feet and ran over to the two with a bright smile. The dragon turned back into a man and grinned as he looked back and forth between the very still Bakugou (who clearly had forgotten Izuku was there with the way he jumped) and Izuku. The dragon could answer questions later—Izuku wanted to know about Bakugou. “Where did you learn to fight? Did you teach yourself? Do you have a style or is it all improvised?”
Bakugou took a step back as Izuku grew closer. Between the moments he’d admired Bakugou’s physique, Izuku had come up with a thousand questions about the man and his life. Izuku wanted answers for all of them!
“Why do you want to know?” Bakugou asked.
“Because you’re incredible” Izuku grinned bright and tilted his head to the side with a tiny lick lip that caught the attention of red eyes. “Why wouldn’t I want to know?”
Bakugou cleared his throat and turned away with a frown betrayed by the pink on his cheeks. “I thought you were going to town. What happened to that?”
“Watching you seemed more important,” Izuku said. He clapped his hands in front of himself and put his shoulders up in a shrug. “Besides, if I leave now I won’t see you fight the prince when he shows up in a week.”
“A week,” Bakugou said. The dragon’s jaw dropped and his eyes lit up in a new amusement. “What do you mean by that?”
“Prince Shouto is supposed to visit the town I was headed to at the end of the week,” Izuku said. “It was announced just before I left the castle grounds.”
“A week!” Kirishima burst out laughing once more. “Bakugou! My man! You have got to get a better information source!”
“Shut up!” Bakugou yelled. He turned back to Izuku and grabbed the front of his outfit. He yanked Izuku off his feet and held him close. “Do you know what the prince looks like?”
“Yes,” Izuku said. “I’ve seen him around the grounds once or twice while studying the knights.”
“Good, then you’re sticking with us so you can point him out,” Bakugou said, bringing his face closer. “Do you have a problem with that?”
“No,” Izuku said, his eyes darting to Bakugou’s lips. “Not one bit.”