After multiple scoldings, Katsuki resigned himself to squirm in place in attempt to quell his excited energy. After tiring himself of examining all the trains’ passengers, he moved to openly gawk at his mother. Her usually overbearing reign seemed tempered as she gazed out at the passing landscape. He drank the image in before shifting position yet again to examine his worn shoes. He tapped the toes together and wondered exactly where Izuku was at this moment. Stark white walls encapsulated him in Katsuki’s mind. With Izuku ensnared in a trap, Katsuki looked up triumphantly. Midoriya-san used their day off to bring Izuku for a check-up. Mitsuki had instead asked Katsuki if there was anywhere special he would like to go. In his usual spontaneity, Katsuki had proudly declared that he wanted to go to the farthest reaches. He would chart the foreign territory and bring back tales of the unknown. With images of pirates on the mind, he had jumped around the room swinging his sword. Mitsuki griped at him to be careful while searching the shelves for some age-old guide book. Once located, she flipped through the pages as Katsuki waged war on nameless thieves. With her own treasure secured, she ushered the little buccaneer over and he quickly approved of the gleaming location photos.
“Just one more stop.” Mistuki announced suddenly. Katsuki looked up at her from his toe tapping with a fierce gleam. “Keep your butt in that seat until then, mister!” She quickly added just as he had started to teeter on the edge. He pouted and glared back at his shoes, cursing them for not touching the ground more quickly.
Mistuki was able to keep her son close on the short walk over to the park, but as soon as the sprawling grass and distant playground equipment came into view he was off in a flash of blond hair. “Katsuki, you better stay within sight!!” She shouted out after him in a fruitless attempt. With a hearty sigh, she kept him in her periphery as she scanned the perimeter for local snacks and benches.
Katsuki made a full tilt run through the grass before intentionally throwing himself into a summersault. He stopped in a perfect sitting position, before falling back to watch the few clouds drift overhead. One particularly spiky cloud brought with it an image of his green-haired friend. He huffed, sitting up against the lonesome thoughts and scanning the area for a more suitable and present partner. There were several children out and about. Most seemed paired off with friends or siblings, running through dozens of different games of imagined scenarios. He clutched at his shirt in annoyance against the further desolate feelings. He didn’t understand the sensation, but he swallowed it the best he could.
With renewed determination he looked up, spinning himself around in a better attempt to get his bearings. It was then he noticed a lone brunette to his left. He tilted his head at her, squinting in the process. Her face was screwed up tight in intense concentration as she held her hands out in front of her. He shuffled to his feet, ignoring the grass that clung to him as he tried to work out what she was doing. Her hands seemed to just be clapped together, but she was completely still. A small tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth in concentration, the pink of which accentuated her rounded cheeks. His own brow furrowed in confusion as he made his way over to her. When he was just a few feet away, he finally caught the bit of brown sticking out above her hands. He almost laughed when he saw it, but he kept his lips in a tight line as his brain confirmed that he must have found a suitable Izuku replacement.
“It’s not gonna fly if you just stand there!” Katsuki declared, puffing his chest out.
“I know that!” She snapped back, tongue disappearing for a moment only to appear in the opposite corner of her mouth. “I’m tryin’ to do it right…”
Katsuki made a mental note that she was already more fiery than his usual companion. “Do you even know how?”
“Yes!” She quickly responded. A light breeze ran between the moments, punctuating the perfect weather.
Those few seconds were an eternity for Katsuki, so he folded his arms in annoyance. “I can show you.” The distance sounds of children shouting passed before the girl finally lowered her hands.
“Really…?” She murmured, eyeing him suspiciously.
Katsuki huffed against the accusation and threw out his hand, waiting for the object. “I’m a dragonflier pro!”
“You won’t just take it…?” She wondered, clutching the toy to her chest.
“There’s no villains…” He started, puffing his chest out and putting his hands on his hips, “...Because I am here!”
The soft crying of a distant child sounded as the girl stared at him incredulously. She brought the toy up to her cheek in confusion while Katsuki stayed in the pose, his pride unwavering. “All… Might?” She speculated after several moments had passed.
Katsuki immediately pivoted to squat down with excitement, his hands clenched in front of him. “Exactly! He’s the coolest hero by far!”
“What’s that got to do with using a dragonfly?” She asked, tilting her head further.
Katsuki groaned, drowning under her sea of annoying questions. “It means I’m not gonna steal your toy, so hand it over!”
She lowered the toy in hand, studying it and the blond closely. She made an affirmative head nod before slowly holding out the toy for him to take. Katsuki frowned at her hesitation, but made the exchange slowly to hopefully quell her concerns. “So, you were almost right…” He started, placing the toy between his palms. He hunched over slightly, shoving his arms out their full length and rolling the toy backward between his hands. Her fists clenched in increasing excitement as he steadied his breath. “You just go…” He shifted the toy back just a bit farther before pushing all his force into his right hand, darting it outward. “Woosh!”
“Oh!” The girl exclaimed, watching the small wooden toy take instant flight before careening back to the ground just a few feet away. “You did it!”
“Of course I did!” Katsuki barked back, watching the girl run over to retrieve the toy.
“Do it again!” She stated as she returned to his side.
“Eh?” He blinked, accepting the toy as it was thrust back into his hands. “But…”
“You gotta show me again, again! So I can do it!” She announced, her eyes lighting up with a ferocity that Katsuki couldn’t place.
“Y-Yeah…” He muttered, placing the toy between his palms again. She was so excited he was starting to wonder if he should second guess his playmate choice.
“What’s your name?” She said suddenly, her eyes planted firmly on the toy in his hands.
“Katsuki…” He responded tentatively, rolling the stem between his palms so the propeller would spin without releasing it. Her eyes seemed to light up at the act, never leaving the toy.
“Hello, Katsuki. I’m Ochako, nice ta meet ya,” she punctuated her greeting with a quick bob of her head that he supposed was meant to be a bow.
Amusement bloomed in his chest as her eyes followed wherever he moved the toy. “Ochako…” He tested out the name on his lips. “How old are you?” He finally wondered aloud, turning his body out to a wider length of the park. She followed quickly, by his side.
“Almost four!” Ochako announced, her determination never wavering.
“Well I am four!” Katsuki snapped back, rolling the toy backward before releasing it. “Woosh!!” He leaned back before belting after the toy. She stood still for a moment before a huge smile spread across her face and she darted off after him. She let Katsuki release the dragonfly once more before she finally took her turn.
As she had seen him do, she rolled the bamboo between her palms. She tested the movement several times before finally whipping her hand quickly away. She waited for a second, her eyes screwed shut against the sudden movement, before popping an eye open and noting Katsuki’s stunned expression. His face fell as her eye line did and she noticed the toy had not taken flight and instead lay directly at her feet. “It didn’t work…”
“You givin’ up?” Katsuki asked, reaching down to snatch the toy up for her. He held it out to her with waning patience.
“I’ll be the dragonflier pro!” She announced, snatching the toy from him.
“Pfft, yeah right!” He smirked and after several more tries, he watched happily as she was finally able to make the toy take off in a similar fashion. The two ran back and forth, setting the bamboo into swaying flight. As they inched closer to the playground equipment, Katsuki launched the toy again, noticing too late as the dragonfly drifted from grass to the dirt surrounding the equipment. He watched in horror as Ochako ran closely underneath it, keeping her eyes glued upward. He was barely able to get out the first syllable of warning before she slammed directly into a jungle-gym pole. Her small body rocked against the impact and pushed her straight off her feet. She landed resoundingly on her back, staring with a confused expression up at the sky that once held her bamboo treasure. Ochako squinted against the radiating pain in her forehead, a slow blink revealing Katsuki suddenly standing over her.
“Are you ok!?” He shouted a little too loudly, his eyes wild with concerned fear. She didn’t immediately respond and he watched as she screwed her eyes shut again as she pushed herself back up into a sitting position. She let out a small groan before finally pushing up onto her feet, reaching up tentatively to touch the tender lump forming right between her eyes.
“Is it ok?” She asked, wincing as she tested the injury.
“Huh?” Katsuki wondered, his eyes trained on her.
“The dragonfly,” she noted, suddenly looking around her.
Katsuki released a breath he didn’t realize he was withholding and slumped. “Are you crazy!?”
“My gram’pa got it for me!” She retorted, eyes searching the ground. Katsuki watched her stunned as she continued to search as if she hadn’t just knocked herself right off her own feet. He sighed, giving into her resilience as he moved to help her look.
Katsuki ran. After an hour or so of play, he snatched Ochako’s hand suddenly and took off with her in tow. With learned precision, he targeted out his mother’s identically wild hair as a beacon amidst a sea of other mothers. He used a whip maneuver to place a bewildered Ochako right beside him as he began to ramble off awash of excited words, “Hey mom, this is Ochako! Ochako, this is my mom! Mom! Did you see?! Ochako has this dragonfly thingie and we kept making it woosh! It went so high and she hit her head and now we’re here ‘cause I’m thirsty! Juice!”
Mistuki stared down at her son as she waited for his barrage to finish. As he rattled off she also took a moment to study the small brunette that he had towed with him. “Katsuki, what do we say?”
“….” Katsuki thought for a long moment, looking at Ochako for help. Her wide eyes blinked back at him offering no help. He pouted before the light bulb went off and he gazed back at his mother. “Please!”
Mistuki sighed, deciding that was the best she would get. She moved to gather her purse, before eyeing Ochako once more. “Ochako, was it?” The brunette’s eyes seemed to swirl for a moment before she regained her bearings and nodded a bit too ferociously. “Where is your mother, dear?” Katsuki pouted impatiently, as Ochako’s eyes lit up in understanding. He waited as the girl scanned the area before making eye contact with her own mother who was surveying the situation from another bench nearby.
“There!” Ochako pointed to her mother. Mistuki watched as the woman was already making a move to stand.
“Let’s all introduce ourselves first!” Mistuki noted, leading the two children to meet Ochako’s mother in the middle of the seating area. “Hello, you must be Ochako’s mother? My name is Mitsuki Bakugou, and my son Katsuki here seems to have had quite a bit of fun running around with your daughter!” Mistuki took the time to run a hand over the top of Katsuki’s hair, much to his chagrin. Ochako darted around Katsuki’s side and immediately clung to her mother’s long skirt.
“Katsuki seemed quite sweet showing Ochako how to use her propeller toy! It’s nice to meet you, my name is Haruna Uraraka.” As the two mothers exchanged pleasantries, Katsuki turned his attention back to Ochako. He dropped his jaw and feigned panting to accentuate how dry his throat was. She released her mother’s skirt and held up a hand to hide her giggles. She nodded fervently and Katsuki beamed back to her, stepping between the two women.
“Mom! Juice!” Katsuki announced, looking between the two of them before zeroing in on his mother’s disapproving expression. “…Please…” Ochako hid her erupting giggles again and Katsuki shot her an annoyed glance. In returned she feigned innocence as her mother shifted her gaze down to her daughter.
“Oh dear, Ochako! What happened?” Haruna fussed, bending down to examine the bump on Ochako’s forehead.
“Ochako slammed into a pole like boom!” Katsuki mimed an explosion erupting from his palms.
“Wasn’t that bad…” Ochako pouted, leaning away from her mother’s touch and glancing nervously at Katsuki. Haruna folded her arms, studying her daughter’s expression before smiling brightly.
“Do you want juice also?” Haruna asked, changing the subject and watching as Ochako’s eyes suddenly lit up.
“I want hot cocoa!” Ochako announced, stunning all three party members.
“It’s a bit too hot for that, my little tea leaf…” Haruna sighed, moving to stand up straight again. Mitsuki fished several yen out of a coin purse and gave them to Katsuki. The boy palmed the money with an intensely serious look on his face. The other three stopped to watch him, waiting to see what had given him such pause.
When the light bulb finally went off, he beamed his scrutiny right at Ochako. “Ochakokoa!!!” He proclaimed thunderously, alarming several mothers and causing a sleeping baby to cry. Ochako burst out laughing at the sight, causing Katsuki to shrink back with embarrassed nervousness against her amusement and Mistuki’s sudden irritation.
In an attempt to stave himself off from further embarrassment or scorn, Katsuki snatched Ochako’s hand up once more and dragged her towards a grouping of vending machines.
“Oh…” Haruna began, watching the two small children closely. “Can they…?” She tried again, her nerves worn by the Katsuki’s abrupt outbursts.
“Nope, he can’t reach worth a damn!” Mistuki clicked her tongue. With learned movements, she shifted her weight onto one hip, planting a hand firmly there while her other waved the two children off. “He’s a persistent one though, that’s for sure.”
“I see…” Haruna mused, letting a hand gently cup her cheek in tilted understanding. “Is it bad that I’m suddenly glad I had a girl?”
“I wish I had one everyday…” Mitsuki looked off far into the distance as if she could ascertain this unknown future.
“Orange juice! There!” Katsuki announced, pointing up at the dauntingly large machine.
“Um…” Ochako stared up at the machine with apprehension. “We can’t reach…”
“No!” Katsuki shouted, turning to a stunned Ochako with the same set determination. “I can’t reach and you can’t reach.” He noted, pointing between them.
“That’s what I said…” Ochako responded, tilting her head. She wondered if she would ever get a grasp on the enigmatic blond that had suddenly burst into her life.
“No, you said we!” Katsuki whined, smacking the machines base for extra emphasis.
“Katsuki…” Ochako started, her face giving away her puzzlement. The blond made a statement of rolling his eyes and moved in close. Ochako sputtered, her confusion furthering as Katsuki dipped down to the ground. Moving at a speed she was unable to follow, he rounded her like a dog. She tried to turn, tracking his movements, but just before she could Katsuki threaded his head between her legs. She yelped as she rose up into the air; a move that she had done countless times with her father, but not reaching anywhere near the same altitude. Even so, the sudden aerial movement caused her stomach to leap and her palms fisted tufts of blond hair.
“Hey! Quit it!!” Katsuki griped, fingers holding thighs the best he could against her shuddering form. He had done the move with Izuku multiple times, so he wasn’t surprised when Ochako was just as difficult. He clicked his tongue in aggravation and wondered if he would ever find a playmate that would understand his genius. “Look!!!”
Ochako blinked her eyes open, hunching close to Katsuki’s head. Starting with a small peek, she straightened as she came face to face with a row of drinks. She blinked at their colors and reached out to press her fingers against the glass. “W-We can reach!” She parroted back when she realized she had been silent.
“Duh! The money goes in the slot then push the button!” He grumbled back. Ochako jolted as she felt his palm loosen on her left leg. She was just about to cry out again when she felt the coins press into her leg instead. She blinked wide, moving to grab Katsuki’s hair again, much to his distress, and made the exchange so the coins were in her possession. “I got you, but hurry up, would ya!” He whined, as he tried to adjust her weight.
She nodded back dumbly, letting her fingers glide across the glass as Katsuki wobbled their tower over to the coin slot. She inserted the coins in quick succession and whimpered as Katsuki shifted their stack back to the screen. She could hear the telltale signs of stress in his breathing so she quickly jammed her finger into the button under the bottle marked with brightly colored oranges. She heard the machine whirl to life and dispense. She tried to quell her enthusiasm as she jammed her finger into a button again; this time marked under a bottle covered with apples. The machine buzzed again, dispensing the second drink and she waited. When Katsuki made no move to drop her, she tapped delicately on his head. “So…”
“So, we never did figure this part out!” Katsuki shouted joyously, suddenly rushing towards the grass. Ochako screamed out in terror as he reached it just in time, tipping their stack over into the barely relenting surface. She watched as her eye line plummeted until she was met with a faceful of grass. Ochako scrambled to her feet, only to notice her partner gone. Her eyes darted back to the machine where the blond stood, retrieving their drinks with grass dotting his person. She puffed out her cheeks in irritation, folding her arms and trying her best to glower at his figure. He returned with a sheepish smile, offering her apple juice in exchange for a truce.
“You coulda told me before!” She grumbled, snatching her drink out of his hand with excessive force.
“You coulda took less time pickin’ drinks!” He shot back, plopping down beside her. “Or were you hoping for cocoa?” He teased with a smirk, uncapping his juice.
“Tha’s got nothing to do with this!” She whined, turning her apple juice over as if she could read the complicated listings on the back.
“Ok, ok. At least I practiced enough that I didn’t drop ya?” Katsuki offered instead, leaning over to look at her container to see if he could read it.
“You done that before?” She wondered back, shifting her bottle away from prying eyes to uncap.
“A few times…” Katsuki murmured, his lips around his bottle.
“You drop them too?” She asked, squeezing one eye shut to peer down the bottle’s neck to the golden liquid inside.
“Much harder!” Katsuki announced, his chest puffed out in pride again. Ochako stared at him dully, before finally taking a sip of the sweetened drink. “No complainin’, Kokoacchan!” She sputtered and choked on the apple juice, gasping to regain her breath.
“C-Cocoa what!?” Ochako cried out as soon as she could breathe again.
“Oh-cha-ko!” Katsuki annunciated her name, letting his mouth give extra emphasis to each syllable. “Ko for Kokoacchan! And… I guess hot cocoa since you love it so much?” He grinned brightly, holding up his juice as if he were a spokesman
“Weirdo…” She murmured, clutching her juice close as if it were a shield.
Katsuki’s face fell and he bared his teeth against her. “What’dyou say!?”
As the sun teetered in the sky, Ochako led the charge back to their parents this time. They had spent the rest of their afternoon careening around the playground and subsequent grassy area, proclaiming it as their own. It was her stomach that instinctually knew the time and signaled her to pull the reluctant blond back to the benches. Their two mothers were perched together on one bench, engaging in lazy conversation. Haruna spotted the pair first, moving her hands out of her lap as they approached.
“Welcome back, looks like you two had fun!” Haruna mused as Ochako immediately climbed up into her mother’s lap.
“Was fun…” Ochako murmured, leaning into her mother. The day of play was suddenly setting into her bones. She was ready to sleep the train ride home and wake up refreshed to a wonderful smelling meal.
“Yeah!” Katsuki shouted weakly as he fought vehemently against his exhaustion and forced himself to stand beside his mother’s folded legs.
“Tuckered out, just the way I like it!” Mistuki teased, running a hand over Katsuki’s hair. He opted to pout instead of his usual shoving protest.
“You two exchange numbers!” He grumbled, leaning against his mother’s touch.
“Katsuki Bakugou!” Mistuki scolded, shifting her open palm to give the back of his head a light tap. “I am so sorry about his rudeness…” Mistuki looked up at Haruna meekly.
“No, not at all!” Haruna started, gently setting an arm around Ochako. “My little tea leaf, would you want to play with Katsuki again?”
“Play again.” Ochako’s lids bobbed against their own weight as she nodded sleepily.
“Why’s she get to decide?” Katsuki grumbled, leaning farther into his mother as he forced a yawn down. He hiccupped on it when his mother’s hand rapped against the back of his head again. “Hey!!”
“I suppose if she’ll have my idiot son…” Mistuki sighed, pulling her phone out. “Besides, you promised you’d give me that miso curry recipe…” She added at the last moment with a sly look on her face.
Haruna sighed as if put out and winked, fishing for her own phone, “Looks like you caught me!” In the time it took for Katsuki to smack at his own cheeks in an attempt to wake himself up, the mothers exchanged numbers. The four moved toward the train station together, with Haruna carrying Ochako’s dozing form.
As they bid their goodbyes to separate platforms, Katsuki glared up at Ochako’s figure. “Bye Kokoacchan, I guess!” He ground out, annoyed. The emotion fell off his face as her head dipped slightly and she gave him a half-lidded smile.
“Seez ya later…Ka…” She began, her words slurring. His irritation returned as he waited for her to finish her response with her lids quickly drooping again. “…Ki-kun…” He bristled at the sound.
“Kikkun!?” He hissed, Mistuki wrangling him away from the scene while waving to Haruna.