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someone is wrong on the internet

Chapter Text

Izuku isn’t quite sure how it came to this. He sits on his bed, still half in his uniform, typing furiously on his laptop, scowling and muttering to himself about rookie fan idiots who clearly don’t understand physics.

It’s been a long day. A villain’s earthquake quirk brought down an office building just down the street from his hero agency, and Izuku had to work double time to try and capture him while getting everyone out safely. By all rights, he should be falling into bed, half dead. But instead of sleeping, he’s hunched over his laptop at 2 in the morning writing a dissertation about why exactly Ground Zero’s pecs are the best pecs to ever pec, and how dare anyone insinuate that he should lose some of that muscle because don’t you even understand what kind of physique a quirk like that requires? Amateurs.

Is it petty? Maybe. But Izuku has never been able to let go of his (probably childish) admiration for Kacchan just because they graduated from the same class and now fight crime across town from one another, and it’s not like he could just stand by and let people go around spreading lies about him. And so somehow it has come to this: Izuku, or rather @groundzerotophero420, anonymously fighting his—childhood friend’s? ex-classmate’s? rival’s?—haters on Twitter.

Despite trying to be circumspect and vague about his own identity, it wasn’t long before his dogged defense and excellent quirk analysis gained him some notoriety in the pro-hero fan community. Eventually, he found himself moderating the official Ground Zero fan club Discord after hours as the de-facto president.

God, Kacchan would just kill him if he knew that “shitty Deku” of all people spent his free time defending him, but Izuku has never been able to temper his enthusiasm for his former classmate, and it’s all anonymous, so what could possibly go wrong?

He’s finishing up digging through recent sightings of Kacchan that the community might find interesting (studiously ignoring some recently posted fanfic that might co-star himself, which he definitely isn’t going to bookmark for later perusal) when the direct message comes in.

Some days ago, across town, Katsuki stares down at his phone, aggravated. For the second time this month, #VillainGroundZero is trending on Twitter, and a bunch of fucking extras are all hand-wringing about his temperament and his supposed “fitness” to be a hero. Apparently, some footage from his last rescue mission had looked… less than flattering out of context. Katsuki can’t figure out why it even fucking matters when he successfully saved everyone, but how could he possibly understand how goddamn cowards think?

GZ is so awful! what kind of hero curses out people in trouble?? wtf #VillainGroundZero

only a matter of time before gz goes to the dark side, he’s always been a complete tool #VillainGroundZero

He’d been extensively and violently threatened by his PR manager not to engage lest he make things worse (which, he begrudgingly admitted with the belated self-awareness of his 20s, he probably would).

He shouldn’t have even checked—it’s not like he fucking cares what idiots on the internet have to say about him, he’s going to be the greatest hero there is—but somehow he finds himself sitting on his bed finishing up some idle bicep curls while scrolling through Twitter on his phone anyway.

i can’t believe these fucking rabid GZ stans, just admit he’s trash already #VillainGroundZero

Now that’s kind of interesting. He has rabid fans? Well, of course he does, he’s objectively the best, but he hasn’t really spent a lot of time with his fans, much to his agent’s chagrin.

Katsuki scrolls to the top of the tag again, then starts checking the replies to each stupid tweet. Something becomes apparent extremely quickly. It isn’t so much that he has a whole contingent of overzealous defenders as it is that he has one extremely over-invested nerd duking it out with his detractors all on his own.

GZ is so awful! what kind of hero curses out people in trouble?? wtf #VillainGroundZero

hey @redrioter i can’t hear u over the grateful tears of the 17 people gz saved

@redrioter also u know red riot would hate you talking shit abt his best friend right? some fan you are

That’s pretty satisfying, Katsuki has to admit. And he’s right, Kirishima is so relentlessly and obnoxiously vocal in his support of him it’s fucking embarrassing.

only a matter of time before gz goes to the dark side, he’s always been a complete tool #VillainGroundZero

@bas3d3raserh3ad i’m real sry to hear you have the long term memory of a gnat, but did u forget that gz was literally abducted by the league of villains

@bas3d3raserh3ad and even when everyone doubted him like you are, he never wavered from his intent to become a hero??

That was kind of, uh… was "sweet" the right word? There might be something to be said for this having fans thing, Katsuki begrudgingly admits.

i can’t believe these fucking rabid GZ stans, just admit he’s trash already #VillainGroundZero

well @herofan125 we can’t all be a brave as u attacking someone anonymously online

Katsuki snorts, despite himself. A weird streak of pride wells up; of course his fans would be just as savage as he is. Curious, Katsuki clicks on @groundzerotophero420’s profile.

#1 fan of #1 hero ground zero, pres of the official gz fan discord, come yell at me abt gz’s glorious abs

Before he can overthink it, he switches apps and dials his agency’s PR rep, Ayako. She picks up on the third ring, despite it being after business hours.

“Bakugou, I told you not to fuck around online, what shit did you pull n—” she starts.

He cuts her off, “You wanted me to do more fan bullshit, right?” A pause.

“What did you have in mind?” She sounds skeptical, but interested.

“I have someone I wanna meet, you can make it a whole PR stunt or whatever the fuck you want.”

Izuku is low-key freaking out.

Okay, that’s a lie. Izuku has never low-key freaked out in his life.

Izuku is high-key freaking out.

A “special fan meeting” with Ground Zero? And Ground Zero wanted to invite him specifically along with other “prominent” fans?

Izuku’s brain spins up to a fever pitch. How does Kacchan know about him? Does Kacchan know about the Discord? Does Kacchan know what gets posted on the Discord? Oh god, they contacted him via DM, Kacchan must know about the Twitter account. How many drunk thirst tweets has he posted over the lifetime of that account? A million? Five million? More?

Izuku knows he’s fucked up. He’s fucked up, because in the 5 seconds after he received the invitation from the actual Ground Zero’s actual PR agent, his brain was completely overtaken by fanboy and he immediately accepted, without stopping to think what Kacchan would do when faced with “useless Deku” as his fan club’s president.

But now, now he’s going to have to figure out how to go to a real-life meeting with his… his what, even?

It’s time to get real. Izuku can go on and on about how he “admires” his former classmate or how he’s just a “fan” of his fellow hero until he’s blue in the face—and both of those happen to be true!—but the reality is that he’s had a desperate, hopeless crush on Kacchan since he was practically a toddler.

All of those times Kacchan shoved him into a locker or up against walls had led to an… interesting gay awakening, that’s for sure.

But regardless, Izuku is now almost twice the age he was when he realized his special feelings for his childhood frenemy were, well, extra special, and he’s nowhere. Not that he’s particularly expecting to get anywhere, he’s completely given up hope of his feelings being reciprocated, but now this whole issue has popped up and isn’t this just going to make everything even worse between them?

Then again, could things get any worse than their non-relationship right now? They’ve seen each other a handful of times since graduation, always in a group, and while Kacchan has mellowed a lot over the years, he mostly ignores Izuku whenever they’re in the same room. Sometime’s Izuku catches him staring at him, some indecipherable look in his eyes, but it’s gone so fast he’s never sure he isn’t imagining it.

Should he just not go? No, that would be rude, he already committed to going and Inko didn’t raise a rude son. Should he try to find a disguise…? No, that’s stupid, there’s no way that would work and he’d just look like an even bigger idiot than he already does. Izuku digs his hands into his hair and pulls, trying to use the sting to get his scattered thoughts in order.

Fuck it, he thinks, he’ll just go. How much worse could it get? He’d take his chances with this Kacchan over the one from high school, anyway.

The meeting is set for two week’s time. Katsuki puts it out of his mind; he’s got a ranking to maintain after all, and that fucking nerd Deku is always chomping at his heels.

Still, there are quiet moments of curiosity where he finds himself scrolling through @groundzerotophero420’s timeline. He hasn’t really been posting since Katsuki’s agent set up the meeting, and something about the silence feels almost bashful, but there’s a maybe 25k tweet backlog for him to waste his time on regardless.

There are nights where Katsuki finds himself unable to sleep, whether because of a stressful day behind him or one ahead, and it’s in those moments where he unconsciously finds himself opening Twitter and taking a tour through the publicly blasted inner thoughts of his self-proclaimed biggest fan.

Sometimes they make him laugh, sometimes they make him blush, sometimes they make him want to explode his phone across the room and never look at it again. But it’s always compelling, surprisingly so.

There’s a lot of blind encouragement mixed in with the uncomfortably direct references to his attractiveness and, well, all the memes. That was unexpected; his heart does this awkward little flip from the earnestness of it all, and he wonders if maybe he’s been working himself too hard recently. At least once a week there’s some weirdly specific entreaty to do his best or whatever, and usually Katsuki’s account gets tagged directly.

It’s not surprising that he hasn’t noticed, though. He doubts he’s looked at his mentions more than a handful of times since his agent forced him to make the stupid thing. Still, it’s weird to think that he could have noticed before now, if he had been more engaged.

Well, it doesn’t really matter. He sure is paying attention now.

Izuku bites at his own knuckles, reminding himself that self-restraint is a thing he definitely has, and should exercise.

Today, he and Kacchan coincidentally had villain battles around the same time just a handful of blocks apart from each other. They didn’t actually interact at all, so Izuku only found out about it later. He found out because, in the two hours since, a Twitter war has broken out, and the Ground Zero Discord is going insane.

Now there are hundreds of tweets comparing their performance, and a lot of speculation as to which of them handed it “better.” Honestly, that’s putting it politely; there are a few people here or there trying to do actual strategy analysis and then a lot of knee-jerk bashing by fans on both sides, plus the requisite number of “step on me, daddy”-esque thirst tweets that always follow their more notable battles.

@groundzerotophero420, normally the most vocal of Ground Zero’s supporters, has been conspicuously silent. He’s been tagged into the fray several times, but Izuku has been laying low since he found out that Kacchan knows about the account, and so he’s trying desperately to restrain himself.

But some of the “analysis,” god, it’s so bad. Ridiculous assumptions about the limits of his and Kacchan’s quirks, completely backwards understanding of the individual villains involved, and worst of all, a lot of tweets insisting pro-hero Deku looks hotter in his uniform than Ground Zero. With detailed receipts.

There are a lot of things Izuku is prepared to tolerate—he’s an adult, a public figure, one of the top-ranked heroes in Japan. But there are some things thatas a private citizen, as a rabid Ground Zero stan, as a person with eyes—he can’t allow to stand uncontested.

Self-restraint is overrated, he decides, and Kacchan is going to find out about Izuku’s doomed crush in a matter of days anyway. He might as well go beyond, plus ultra!

Finally the day of the meeting arrives. Katsuki wouldn’t say he’s been looking forward to it, but that would be a lie and he didn’t get this far by lying to himself. He’s mature enough to admit to being curious what kind of person @groundzerotophero420 is in real life, especially after that fracas last week where he so valiantly defended the honor of “his ass in those jeans.”

Katsuki opens the door to the small meeting room, his agent close behind him hissing a final, low warning to “be nice.” He enters the room in full uniform, public relations smirk firmly in place.

There are maybe a dozen or so people milling about in the room, and at his entrance they immediately race toward him, cheering. There are two long, thin tables set up between him and them, but they all noisily press as close as possible anyway.

Kasuki’s not the biggest fan of people screaming in his face, but it’s not like he’s a stranger to it either, so he grits his teeth and bears it, waiting for Ayako to successfully corral them into some semblance of a line.

One by one, he shakes hands with a bunch of sweaty weirdos who for some reason are obsessed with him. That’s not charitable, he knows. They’re probably good people, and they like him despite his, well, “temperament issues.” But they sure can holler and by the fourth oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening, I’m your biggest fan! he’s regretting every life decision he’s made thus far.

Each one has a story they’re desperate to tell him: “I’ve got the most popular Ground Zero instagram!” (the fuck does that even mean) “watching you fight changed my life” ( “I’m the number one Ground Zero cosplayer!” (Jesus Christ). None of them, though, are @groundzerotophero420.

It’s so loud and his attention so scattered that he doesn’t initially realize he’s almost reached the end of the line. By rote, he sticks his hand out and looks to the left to receive the next fan. The shifty-looking guy with the beady eyes ignores the outstretched hand, placing his own on his hips and looking down his nose at Katsuki.

“How nice to see the great hero Ground Zero lower himself to be among the little people,” sneers this little punk-ass bitch. “I’m shocked you haven’t blown anyone up yet, knowing your temper.”

“The fuck did you say to me—?” Katsuki rears back, palms sparking. This fucker wants to go? Katsuki’s ready, fire in his eyes and gravel in his voice, before the smell of ozone hits his nose and a strong back suddenly fills his frame of view. A hush falls over the room

The first thing he sees is green, and it takes only a split second for the confusion to set in. “Deku? The fuck are you—” he starts before the obvious sinks in. The only person left to meet would be @groundzerotophero420. Reflexively, his blood boils.

It’s Deku. The desperate fanboy nerd he’s been so fascinated with over the past few weeks, it’s fucking Deku. He flushes to the tips of his ears, whether from rage or some strange kind of embarrassment he declines to explore for the moment.

“How dare you,” Deku growls, in a tone of voice Katsuki should probably find less enthralling. “I don’t know how you weaseled your way into this meeting, but you don’t know the first thing about Ground Zero.”

“What more is there to know?” The man says casually, “The man’s a brute—”

Deku cuts him off immediately, arms crossed defiantly, “That’s not true! Ground Zero is the Symbol of Victory!”

The man scoffs, “So his fans are brutes too, I can’t say I’m surprised. Who even are you?”

Deku stands up straight, absolute steel in his spine, and says with perfect seriousness, “I’m the president of his fan club. Who the fuck are you?”

“That’s enough.” Ayako doesn’t have to yell to be heard, the room is dead silent with tension. She looks at the fake fan disdainfully. “This meeting is over, and security will see you out.”

Katsuki can’t say it isn’t satisfying watching the man squawk as he’s bodily removed from the room, though he wishes Ayako would have let him do the honors. Her hand has been on his shoulder since the confrontation began though, and not lightly. Once the door slams shut behind the two guards, he turns his attention instead to the remaining headache in the room: his fucking fan club president.

Deku, for his part, looks half-hopeful and half-terrified in his jeans and flannel shirt, shoulders hunched in and smile all wobbly and pathetic at the corners. It’s a far cry from how he looked staring down Katsuki’s anti-fan, but he’s always been weak to Katsuki.

“H-hey, Kacchan.” He offers a sad little excuse for a wave, looking like he’s ready to vibrate out of his own skin. Distantly, past the roaring in his ears, Katsuki thinks it’s patently unfair for those eyes to look like that, so verdant, so earnest, right after making the nerd declaration of the century.

Katsuki runs his hand down his face, closing his eyes and counting silently to 10 like his therapist is always harping on him to do. Thinking about it rationally, of course @groundzerotophero420 is fucking Deku. Who else has ever been that obsessed with him?

He takes one of those huge, theoretically calming breaths, letting it out slowly through his nose. As usual, it doesn’t fucking help.

“The fuck are you doing here, Deku?” He bites out, barely reining in his temper. The way the color drains from Deku’s face says he understands that Katsuki means more than just why he’s in the room. Behind him, he can hear Ayako start cheerfully and forcefully thanking the other fans for coming and ushering them from the room as quickly as possible. She really deserves to be paid more.

“I-I can explain, Kacchan—it’s just, when your manager invited me, w-well, invited your fanclub president—that is to say that I somehow f-found myself in that position—not that I’m not grateful to be the p-president—” Deku starts up with that incessant, barely audible rambling. How fucking typical. Talking a lot, saying fucking nothing.

Katsuki cuts him off, somehow even more incensed than before, “So, what is it? You think I need you to save my image or some shit?” Deku shrinks into himself in the face of Katsuki’s ire. “You think I can’t handle what those fucking extras have to say? Like I give two shits that some fucking nobodies think I’m not ‘nice’ enough?”

Katsuki’s eyes narrow dangerously. “I don’t need your fucking pity,” he spits.

Something comes over Deku and suddenly he’s in Katsuki’s space, those green eyes intense and brimming with emotion.

“Of course I don’t pity you, Kacchan. Who could ever?” Deku’s words are quiet, measured. Katsuki matches his stare, refusing to back down, despite the desperate urge to look away from such naked sincerity.

Suddenly he remembers all of those less-than-polite tweets he’d found on Deku’s account, fucking odes to his thighs and shit about how Deku would like to lick the dips between his abs or whatever, and he blushes furiously.

“You making fun of me, then? All that shit you wrote—that shit you wrote about—” Katsuki, humiliatingly, can’t continue. Deku, as always, understands anyway. The brilliant bloom of red spreading across Deku’s cheeks speaks for itself. Still, he meets Katsuki’s eyes.

“I-I said what I said. You can h-hate me for it if you want, but I’m no liar, Kacchan.” Deku, despite his seriousness, resembles a particularly determined strawberry. It’s a bad look on him, but Katsuki can’t tear his eyes away.

“I know you don’t need me. You’ve never needed me. You’re so strong, Kacchan.” He takes a breath. “I just couldn‘t—I couldn’t—”

Deku finally breaks eye contact, looking frustrated with himself. He runs a hand through his messy curls. Katsuki watches them bounce back into their typical disarray.

“I couldn’t stand him talking about you like that. I can’t stand any of them talking about like that.” He says, finally. He meets Katsuki’s eyes again, red-faced and deathly serious.

“Because you know, right? That Kacchan will always be my number one hero.”

Katsuki recoils as if hit. Some of the fight drains out of him, enough to stop him from seeing red. His ears are distractingly hot, and he’s not sure where to look. Something about the declaration is so strangely intimate, so awkwardly sincere. Disarming. Katsuki sighs and looks to the side, scratching the back of his neck. If pressed, he’d have to admit (to himself, at least) that It was just a little bit hot listening to Deku take that guy down a peg. He even swore.

“Fucking nerd,” he mutters with no real bite. Deku’s looking at him with those eyes again, which really isn’t fucking fair. Just this once, Katsuki gives in.

“I’m not going to have you going around thinking I owe you or some shit, you understand? Let’s go, shitty Deku.” Without waiting for a response, Katsuki turns toward the door in a huff.

“G-go? Go where? Wait—Kacchan!” Katsuki can hear Deku stumble over his own feet in his haste to keep up. They make their way down the hallway, Deku trailing ever so slightly behind with his eyes burning holes in Katsuki’s back, just like they have their entire lives.

“I guess if you have the good taste to be my fan,” Katsuki grits out, alarmed to realize he’s started blushing again, “the least I can do is buy you dinner.” He deliberately doesn’t turn to look at Deku as he says it, but he can almost hear the nerd’s answering smile regardless.


Chapter Text

Izuku bites at his nails. It’s sometime past three in the morning, and his tired eyes are squinting in the cool, blue light coming from his phone. There had been a minor internet catastrophe late that night when pictures had surfaced of Ground Zero seemingly on a date.

The hero’s paramour was blurry and indistinct in the leaked photos, but sources said the couple were looking pretty cozy, holding hands and chatting comfortably over dinner—Ground Zero even (reportedly) kissed him on the cheek!

Izuku had been working overtime trying to moderate the Discord server and keep track of what was trending on Twitter, thumbs flying as he argued with detractors about Ground Zero’s right to privacy, his right to be a normal human being, to date whoever he wanted.

He refreshes #groundzeroshotdate, poised to go to battle once again in his official capacity as Ground Zero’s number one fan. But then there’s a grunt behind him, a rustle of sheets. A muscled arm tightens around his waist.

“Oi, Deku,” Kacchan’s voice is low, gravely with sleep, rumbling right into the back of Izuku’s neck. “If you’re on Twitter right now, I swear to god—”

“K-Kacchan, I was just checking on things b-before going to sleep, I promise,” Izuku stutters, immediately flipping his phone face down on the sheets.

“Uh huh, ‘s that right?” Kacchan drawls, easily slipping the phone from Izuku’s grasp and looking at it over his shoulder.

Without preamble, he flicks his wrist and tosses the phone across the room. There’s a loud bang when it strikes the wall, a muted whump when it falls unceremoniously into the hamper.

Izuku makes a wounded noise. “Kacchan,” he whines. He hopes the screen didn’t shatter.

Kacchan buries his face into the juncture between Izuku’s neck and shoulder, kissing it softly. Shivers run down Izuku’s spine. He unconsciously shifts back against Kacchan’s chest, solid and warm against his back.

“We’ve had a long day. Go the fuck back to sleep, shitty Deku,” Kacchan says, his lips brushing teasingly along the column of Izuku’s neck. Izuku melts into it, lets his eyes slip shut.

“But they were spying on us,” he protests weakly, already starting to drift. He threads his fingers into Kacchan’s, bringing their joined hands to rest over the slow, content beating of his heart.

“So?” Kacchan retorts quietly, nuzzling into the short hairs on the back of his neck. “Let them talk.”