Chapter 1: Prologue
Ahh before I forget! The fic title is taken from the song "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes and the song does not belong to me! All rights go to Gym Class Heroes, Adam Levine, Decaydance, and Fueled by Ramen!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“GET OUT OF THE DAMN WAY, LOSER!”
Kyouka watches the tiny, cowering, curly-haired boy stammer an apology as a fuming Bakugou Katsuki abruptly shoulders past him. She turns to Mina with a low whistle. “Damn, Katsuki's spitting fire today. What on earth did you guys put in his cereal?”
“Oh, that?” Mina asks with a laugh. “Don't mind him, it's just Thursday.”
She cocks an eyebrow.
“Well, that and he fell asleep early last night,” her friend amends.
“Alright, listen,” Kyouka sighs. “No one else understands jack shit about Katsuki except you guys, okay.”
Mina giggles. “Bold of you to assume we understand anything about him either.”
Kyouka pauses and considers that, and—yeah, that's pretty fair. Whichever way, she's just glad that the one who encountered Katsuki in a bad mood first today was Mineta; she has no love for the little pervert, and he deserves to have a little fear put in him.
“Still,” she insists, going back to watching the volatile blond who is now viciously stabbing a straw into his drink. “He seems a little pissed just because it's a Thursday, don't you think? Not to mention I thought he was an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type.”
Mina leans in with a loud stage whisper. “Do you want to know a secret, Kyou-chan?”
Kyouka leans away, eyeing the other girl warily.
“Depends. Will this 'secret' potentially get me killed?”
Her response has Mina cackling. “Well, not really. I guess there's no need to tell you the why. All you really need to know is to watch out for him on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, honestly.”
Okay, now Kyouka is curious.
“... Although it's usually not this bad, either,” she adds after a long pause in which they both stare at the toppled over trashcan—and by topple, they mean Bakugou Katsuki threw an empty coffee cup at it so hard, it clanged against the wall strongly enough that their ears are still ringing kind of topple. The worst part is that the cup actually landed perfectly inside the trashcan.
“I sure hope not,” Kyouka squeaks. Mina nods solemnly.
“To be fair, I think it's just because he missed Deku's segment last night.”
“Deku? As in DJ Deku, from the radio station?”
“Yeah,” Mina says with a shrug, although a fond smile is playing on her lips. “It's kind of his thing, you know?”
Kyouka frowns in surprise. “Never took him for the music type, honestly.”
“Seriously? He can play, like, three instruments though?” As the daughter of a musician duo, Kyouka's a little surprised she hadn't known. Most people bragged about stuff like that, and Katsuki isn't exactly the humblest of human beings.
“But to be honest,” the bubbly girl continues without prompting, “I think it's less the music and more the DJ, y'know? If I didn't know better, I'd say our angry little chemistry boy has a crush.” Her smile tells Kyouka that Mina does know better and she still thinks that.
The communications major reckons it's safer for her not to know.
“So, what does that have to do with Thursdays?” she asks instead.
“Oh, do you not listen to the Heroes, Kyou-chan?”
Kyouka smiles sheepishly and shakes her head no. She does, but not regularly enough to know much about them. Mornings are her internships and the only reason she actually recognizes Deku's name is because she enjoys his song choices well enough the few times she managed to catch him on air. Mina shrugs at her response and explains about the shifts of the DJs each day.
“And so, since Ingenium does the morning shifts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Katsu tends to be a little crankier during them since he doesn't get his morning dose of his Deku fix.”
Hizashi-sensei comes in right about then, hollering for them to get into their seats so they can get this party started!
“And today is particularly bad because he missed Deku's segment last night too,” Kyouka concludes, filling in the gaps as they head to the middle aisle of the lecture hall. Her friend hums an affirmative.
Kyouka squints suspiciously at her. “... Mina, I'm pretty sure this information actually will get me killed.”
“Oho! Bakugou! I love the energy this early in the morning!”
Whatever denial that Mina meant to spew dies immediately on her tongue. Grimacing, she turns back to Kyouka with haunted eyes while chaos ensues in the background. “Well, Kyou-chan, at least feel at peace knowing I'll probably die first.”
Kyouka can't really argue with that.
Btw everyone uses first names because this is some weird, Asian-Western college voodoo fusion cos i don't know shit about how Japanese colleges work lmfao but anyway, carry on
Chapter 2: Lost In Stereo
chapter title taken from All Time Low's song of the same name. The song does not belong to me and all rights belong to All Time Low and Hopeless Records!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It starts, inevitably, with Eijirou. Because no matter that people think he's the sunshine and daisies of the group, no matter that literally everyone they meet assumes that the grin and childish enthusiasm are the telltale signs of the purest boy in the world, the reality of it all is this:
The squad’s one constant, unfailing truth is that every single bad idea they've ever had started with him.
Like that time they went to the park to blow up all of the letters Mina's ex had written her after a particularly nasty break up. (Katsuki took the brunt of the heat for that one because he provided the—completely childproof, thank you very much—explosives for the endeavor. Eijirou is still paying for it to this very day; Katsuki isn't the type to let things go easily, and the spices he used for their meals cost a pretty penny. Besides, the little shits end up eating what he cooks with it anyway, so he guesses that worked out fine.)
Getting the whole squad addicted to the Heroes is just another consequence of being friends with Kirishima Eijirou.
It begins with morning workouts. Eijirou is generally too fucking lazy to actually make his own playlists to run to, so he usually ends up flipping through radio stations to find something that fits his mood that day. He finds the Heroes' station after a cryptic remark of Tetsutetsu's that comprised entirely of a number and a quick, “It'll be good for you, man.”
It takes him three weeks to realize the numbers are a frequency.
And then of course he ends up deciding that the morning DJ (Ingenium?) is the manliest man alive because he wakes up even earlier than Eijirou himself to go running, and his picks are actually pretty hype and great for pacing. The other guy is pretty chill too, with even better song choices, and Eijirou practically chatters everyone's ears off every night since then to try it out.
Katsuki throws a ladle at him the first time he tries to switch his playlist out for the radio at dinnertime.
But of course, Mina, being the contrary little shit that she is, jumps on the bandwagon quick enough, if only to rile Katsuki up and mother Eijirou because she plays favorites like that. Katsuki wakes up one Sunday morning to find her doing yoga in the living room, winking in response to his slowly growing ire as she balances on one foot and lifts her hands to the sky.
“It's just because Tsu-chan recommended it,” she says.
“It's only for today, I don't even really like yoga that much,” she insists.
What a load of bullshit.
By the time the week is up, Mina's settled into a comfortable habit of doing chores in the afternoon (she and Hanta were the only ones Katsuki trusted even remotely to clean their things), dancing around while blasting the radio up to full and keeping the rest of them from enjoying movies or whatever in the living room.
She knows better than to try to change Katsuki's playlist at dinner and during study hours, though.
Denki, as usual, stumbles upon them entirely by accident. For all that he's usually such an idiot, he's surprisingly difficult to influence, nodding enthusiastically to suggestions but only really following through with shit he's actually into. It's just Katsuki's luck that the Heroes turn out to be something he's really, really into.
He fails an exam at one point that semester and comes home whining and crying. Katsuki is unsympathetic. Not only did he tutor them (subjects that have nothing to do with his own course to boot, goddamn it), he also managed to ace the fuck out of his own exams despite the shaved down time he now spends on his own studies. Denki has no room to be failing anything Katsuki's tutoring him in.
The dumb blond makes a run for it, choosing to hang out at the bar a little way from campus than risk dealing with Katsuki's wrath. Midnight, the place is called, and rumor has it one of the professors runs it as a little side business. Katsuki likes the place because it doubles as a bakery and coffeehouse in the mornings.
Denki comes home that night with tears long dry and stars in his eyes.
He's still whining, though, but at least it's not about failing his tests.
Katsuki takes it back. He'd rather have the exam-induced tears.
So now they've got mornings, afternoons, and late nights playing the same goddamn station and Katsuki's just about had it. If he could, he'd opt out of living with the dumbasses he calls friends, but well. The rent is cheaper this way and he at least knows how to deal with their eccentricities after years of practice; better this than some extra he didn't know that'll refuse to clean and steal his socks. At the very least, dinner and study hours remain untouched, and he had the foresight to pick the only room with soundproof walls so he can always retreat to solitude when the idiots got too annoying.
But then the inevitable happens—he's infected by their crazy soon enough.
He's cooking dinner for once, too keyed up from taking multiple final exams in the same day only to sit back down and study when he gets home. The smell of tempura fills the air as Katsuki rummages through the cupboards for what he'll need to make the sauce. Just as he's pulling the box of stock from the back, his phone chimes with an alert and he nearly drops the damn thing.
Setting the ingredients aside, Katsuki checks to find that his battery is almost all gone and a warning to charge flashing on the screen. With a curse, he turns the fire to low and heads off to charge the useless thing.
And see, here's something that Bakugou Katsuki doesn't tell people: he can't stand silence. He's always got to have music or noise or something to listen to, else he starts to feel like he's suffocating. He blames the noise of his childhood home for being as loud as Katsuki is himself. Conditioning or some shit.
Thankfully, his friends pick up on this habit quick enough—it's why they have Hanta's shitty old stereo in the living room and Mina's personal wireless speaker in the kitchen for Katsuki to use when the squad isn't around. He'll never tell them, but he's grateful.
But now his phone is dead, the others are at some party, and the quiet is already getting on his nerves.
With a sigh, he goes to turn the stereo on. He only hopes whatever's on isn't as obnoxious as what's usually playing on the radio. Turning to head back into the kitchen, he catches a low, pleasant voice say what's most likely the tail end of a sentence.
“—look guys, I'm sorry I'm so pissed right now, but honestly? That was such a bullshit move by that professor. My friend worked damn hard to get where she is, he doesn't get to invalidate that just because she rejected his advances!”
Katsuki snorts, wondering what dirty old man pulled some idiot move this time. He isn't too sure what it's like himself, having been born a guy and an asshole for good measure, but he knows it's hard. Him and the others work damn hard to make sure Mina knows she doesn't have to deal with pieces of trash like that.
“Ugh. I'm still so fucking seething. Alright, I need to vent some more so heads up that your ears might protest what's coming up next.”
The DJ pauses. Katsuki turns the heat back up as he fishes out the last batch and sets the next to frying.
“I mean, personally I like these bands a lot, but I also know it's not everyone's cup of tea. So I'm sorry in advance, I guess?”
Katsuki snorts, wondering what kinda DJ apologises for his song choices. Listeners ought to either enjoy it or fuck off, it ain't their station, after all. He's tasting what he's already started on the sauce when the voice on the radio filters into the kitchen again over the sound of sizzling shrimp.
“Again, this is DJ Deku of HBH! I'll see you when I've calmed myself down, yeah?”
Katsuki about chokes on the sauce as a bright laugh fills the air around him.
What follows is half an hour of good rock music (a lot of classics as well as newer bands Katsuki actually listens to himself), dizzying denial, and copious amounts of furious ginger grating. There are a few songs he's never heard before, too, but they're not bad either—he ignores the small part of his brain that insists he take note to look up the bands later.
His nerves are at an all-time high by the time the radio DJ comes back on air.
A nervous chuckle sounds once the music ends. “So... I'm really sorry about the rant earlier, I know you don't really want to hear about all that. Froppy's always getting on us about negative vibes and stuff too...”
He pauses and so does Katsuki.
Now that he's properly listening, he can tell pretty easily that this isn't the nerd. They haven't seen each other in over half a decade at this point but there's no way that sweet, dorky Deku could ever pull off something like a DJ gig. His anxiety and shyness put aside, Deku sounds like a hamster on steroids.
This guy sounds like sex on legs.
He shakes his head violently to clear it of the thought. Except the hot voice on air starts going off on a tangent about positivity and optimism in superhero movies, then gets distracted by a one-person debate on the aesthetic use of explosions in film, and then rattles off a list that he thinks consists of the most scientifically feasible technological advances portrayed in science fiction.
Katsuki realises with growing horror that the dumbass is a fucking nerd.
In a flash, Katsuki realises it's past midnight, alerted only by the DJ's time check before he signs off for the night. He never even noticed it'd been that long. Near three hours gone just like that, distracted by the DJ's playlists that Katsuki has to begrudgingly admit he actually enjoys, coupled with his surprisingly insightful takes on scientific studies and political goings-on. This Deku, much like the one Katsuki knew, doesn't seem capable of a linear line of thought either, jumping from one topic to another but clearly having a firm handle on his broad spectrum of introspections.
It really shouldn't be this attractive, Katsuki rages internally as he double checks that he's cleaned everything up in the kitchen before he heads to bed. But whatever, because it's not like he'll be listening to this mysterious stranger ever again.
But tomorrow is gym day with Eijirou and Hanta, and curse his fucking luck, because the same goddamn voice is blasting from the speakers at the gym they go to.
“Oh damn, is that the Heroes?” Eijirou asks gleefully as soon as they enter.
Katsuki's steps stutter a little when that gorgeous chuckle washes over him. He covers it up with a snorted, “Seriously? They call themselves the Heroes? Pretentious fucks.”
Hanta just shoots him a knowing smirk. “Yeah, man. Hear they've been getting some real traction in the local scene. Good on them, right?”
“Definitely,” Eijirou agrees emphatically, keying up immediately for the weights while Katsuki takes his place spotting him. “They deserve it, they're so good!”
Hanta answers distractedly, busy adjusting the settings on the treadmill nearest them. “Mmm and considering they're U.A. students with classes and all, too...”
Katsuki hastily snatches the barbell out of Eijirou's failing grip, the stupid redhead too busy gawking at Hanta to hold on to the damn thing properly. His growl of “Goddammit Shitty Hair, pay fucking attention!” goes unnoticed. He's almost tempted to let it fall on the idiot's face after all, just to prove a point.
“Are you for real,” Eijirou breathes, swinging his legs back over the bench so he can sit up.
Katsuki rolls his eyes and hefts the weight back onto its rack since it seems like it ain't going to be used anyway. He shoots Hanta a suspicious glance, though, and mutters, “You seem to know a lot about them for someone who never even mentioned listening to them, huh, Elbows?”
Hanta just shrugs, laughing obnoxiously and singing along to the pop song playing as he starts up the machine. He hops on and starts running, ignoring any further attempts at conversation.
That suits Katsuki fine. He goes back to spotting Eijirou, lets Deku's cool voice calm him as he takes his turn at the bench press (the nerd is explaining about the pros and cons of protein shakes versus energy drinks now, and damn, he's got fingers in all sorts of pies, doesn't he?). Hanta's loud, sidelong glances are ignored; he's the one who didn't want to talk, they're not going to fucking talk.
Katsuki can work with that.
What he apparently can't work with is how quickly he gets attached.
It's ten o'clock and he's tossed and turned into every position possible but still can't seem to get any sleep. With a frustrated snarl, Katsuki throws off his covers and rolls to his feet. If he's not gonna be resting, he might as well get some work done. For some reason, his mind flashes to that smooth voice on the radio. He growls at himself in irritation and gets to work, putting on his usual study playlist out of spite for his own thoughts.
An hour later and he has neither gotten anything done nor succeeded in convincing his body to let him sleep. Another half hour of this bullshit and he caves, setting up the portable radio attached to his alarm clock to the now-familiar frequency. He both finishes his report in record time and falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, Deku's soothing voice rambling about his day somehow the perfect lullaby.
After that it's just a messy, downward spiral into Hero Mania (as Eijirou insisted on calling it).
Katsuki's friends don't register the change until their weekly study session on Friday nights—the only day of the week Katsuki is even remotely alright with staying up on—rolls around and he doesn't even get up to switch the stereo from radio to USB mode, visibly relaxing upon hearing Deku's opening spiel.
Denki squeaks, Mina slaps a hand over his mouth, and Eijirou grins in triumph. None of them really comment on it—up until Hanta gets back from getting them snacks at the convenience store.
“Hey, so they're out of those ghost pepper chips Katsu likes—damn, is that HBH?”
The other three watch wide-eyed as Katsuki slowly lifts his head up to glare at Hanta like a dog about to start the hunt. The asshole smirks fearlessly back at him and the moron trio gasp audibly in unison.
“Well, glad we're using my shitty old stereo, then,” Hanta says and honestly, Katsuki doesn't know what he's on about. He watches the other warily.
The skinny asshole continues in evident glee. “You know, I always thought it was such a waste we had such a bad sound system for your FLAC music files, but I guess if we're just using it for some run off the mill radio station like the Heroes, that's good enough for them.”
All hell breaks loose. The three bystanders will deny it ever occurred, traumatised by the commotion of a livid Katsuki and a smug Hanta who is in no way opposed to using his own friends as shields. By the end of the week, there's a customisable surround sound stereo sitting in unassuming packaging on their doorstep, and they haven't used it for anything except tuning in to the Heroes or occasionally hooking it up for movie marathons since then.
The elbow fucker (and the moron trio) never say a negative word about the station ever again.
If anyone ever asks, Katsuki just snorts and insists it's gotten too much of a pain to change the frequency when it's all his friends listen to, anyway. And if that's a bald-faced lie, well, he's at least confident in the knowledge that no one will ever have the guts to call him out on it.
honestly, the most unrealistic thing about this whole fic is the fact that there are college kids (who aren't on some varsity scholarship) who actually go to the gym
Chapter 3: Sorry Not Sorry
chapter title comes from the song of Demi Lovato of the same title. All rights belong to Demi Lovato, Island Records, Republic Records, Hollywood Records, and Safehouse Records!
The lights are still bright and glaring at Metalhead's frat house, the background music some mind-numbing techno pop that has Katsuki's head pounding in disagreement. Crowds are already milling about in the living room, red cups in hand and excitement buzzing in their veins.
Katsuki doesn't give a shit about them.
He only really came because Eijirou invited the squad and insisted even Katsuki come for once. Well, that and maybe because rumor has it that the elusive Hot Blood Heroes are showing up to this one. Katsuki isn't going to pass up the chance to potentially meet the stupid nerd going by Deku of all things as his screen name.
Still, maybe they arrived too early because there is no way the radio stars are playing this kinda crap if they're the ones hosting. Katsuki catches sight of a flash of silver and red over by the beer pong tables and decides he might as well confirm either way so he can go home and sleep if it isn't true. His head's fucking killing him.
The man in question looks over at him just as he throws a ball and sends it missing by a mile. Eijirou crows in excitement.
“Wha-dude. Not cool.” Metalhead shakes his head at Katsuki with a pout.
Katsuki growls and swipes the closest ball, flicking a wrist and sending it into the farthest cup effortlessly. Eijirou squawks in betrayal. “Katsuki, no! You traitor!”
“Shut the hell up. Yo, Metalhead, is it true you've got the Heroes coming over for the night?” No point beating around the bush, Katsuki always says. Even if Eijirou's knowing smirk makes him want to throw something at his face.
“Well, I mean yeah,” Tetsu hums distractedly, trying (and failing) to recreate Katsuki's success. “I invited them and all, I'm thinking they're just finishing up the last segment.”
“WAIT, WHAT?!” Three voices converge on the beer pong table all at once, crowding Metalhead with loud questions and obnoxious smiles.
“Dude, no way!”
“You know them?! Like, know them know them?”
“Man, you've gotta confirm. Hypnotic is gay right? He's gotta be!”
“EVERYBODY SHUT UP!”
Katsuki growls as his friends all turn wounded eyes at him, pinches the bridge of his nose to stave off his growing migraine. “Oi, you. How do you know them?”
The idiot doesn't seem to know if he should be alarmed or not, but his hands are up in surrender as Denki shakes him to an inch of his life. “Uhh. We've been friends for years? I was in the class that birthed the station, man. It was... wait for it... legendary,” he yells with a double fist pump.
Mina and Denki look close to fainting and Eijirou's smile grows larger by the second. Hanta is already placing a hand on Tetsu's shoulder, smiling like a fool and trouble glinting in his eyes. Katsuki's not sure he wants to be a part of this.
“So,” Eijirou starts, clutching Metalhead's other shoulder.
“My man,” Denki continues grabbing both of Tetsu's hands in his.
Mina suddenly hops up on his back, legs clinging around his waist like some demented koala as she practically yowls in his ear, “Will you introduce us?”
Tetsu looks close to toppling over. “That's—” but whatever that was, is not to be. The lights dim all of a sudden and the music cuts off. Katsuki turns to watch the DJ station light up with black lights as the first notes of a Mexican guitar pierce the quiet.
The sound booth is barely visible from a sudden fog as a shadow emerges from... somewhere, hell if Katsuki knows. A familiar, raspy female voice fills the air as an easy beat begins to play.
“Hey, boys and girls, I hope you're all enjoying right now because tonight... is going to be lit.”
The crowd roars and surges towards the dance floor as one, Mina detaching from Tetsu with an unholy shriek, grabbing Eijirou's hand and tugging him towards where a dark-haired woman with a ponytail stands behind the turntable, a cocky smirk under her too-big heart sunglasses and equally large headphones.
“This is DJ Uravity coming at you live from Mu Epsilon Theta Fraternity House, Yuuei Chapter! Special thanks to our darling boy Tetsutetsu—” Tetsu grins big and yowls back for effect, “—for inviting the gang up here to come and play. You kids have fun now...”
Uravity flicks a hand and the bass drops, a pulsing beat underlining her words as people holler and begin moving to the sensual music.
Kastsuki's hopes soar. If Uravity’s here, then maybe DJ Deku is too? He keeps his gaze on the booth, eyes straining as he tries to make out a different form besides the afternoon DJ giggling and making adjustments to the song up there.
It takes a few minutes, but by the end of the song, another shape takes its place behind Uravity—a brutal beat overlaps the first song’s outro. The figure is tall, towering over Uravity with ease, one hand leaning against the turntable by her side as the other snakes around her waist and pulls her close enough to whisper in her ear.
“Forgetting something, sweetpea?”
Shrieks of appreciation fill the air, joining Uravity’s giggles as the light reveals a masked man in a bonnet and a crop top branded with the same mark of HBH as Uravity’s white sleeveless shirt. There's a high keening to Katsuki's left and he turned to find Denki practically fainting into Mina's arms, the girl herself babbling some nonsense about crops and clear skin.
Uravity spun around to place both hands on his chest, leaning up to croon, “How could I ever forget you, love?”
The other DJ confirms as much as he laughs and spins his partner around in a pseudo-dance move, leaning a hip against the turntable as he seems to smirk behind his mask and addresses the crowd. “That's right, my precious kittens, Hypnotic right here with you. You didn't really think we'd let Uravity have all the fun, did you now?”
People hoot in acknowledgment as the song amps up into a second chorus. “DJs Shouto and Ingenium will be switching out with us a little later, by the way, so me and this pretty little thing can have some fun with the rest of you. But for now...”
With that, he turns the music up to max and Denki really looks like he's about to start frothing at the mouth when Hypnotic pulls his arms up into a stretch, shirt riding up even more to show off some admittedly attractive V-lines.
Katsuki curses and hurriedly pulls his earphones out to plug them in, phone almost slipping from his hand in his haste. He turns the volume up to full and makes his way upstairs to a hopefully quieter spot in the building just in time to hear a velvety voice say, “—and yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, if you were wondering: my supposed friends have, in fact, abandoned me here alone to enjoy a fabulous night out with the MET boys. Without me. Like the amazing friends that they are.”
He almost sounds like he's pouting. Katsuki chuckles quietly to himself as he enters an unfamiliar bedroom on the top floor of the frat house, locking the door behind him where he's far from any distractions and the pounding bass on the first floor. He flops down on the bed immediately, eyes falling shut so he can better pretend Deku is talking to him—just him, and not an entire host of people who probably want to jump his bones as much as Katsuki does.
“And yes, okay, I know we're a bunch of broke college students and we don't say no to free alcohol, but that is totally besides the point! I want to have fun too, you know? We haven't done a gig in ages it seems and I do miss being in public with the gang.”
Damn, Katsuki wishes he'd stayed at home now. If Deku isn't coming, what even is the point being here?
A soft sigh. “But when all is said and done, I'm glad the others get to go out and have fun. And so long as I'm holding down the fort, I get to talk to you, don't I? So I guess it isn't all bad.”
What's bad is Deku's habit of talking like it's a specific person on the other side he's directing his words to, not some general audience. Makes a guy want to dream.
“So yeah, if you aren't already there and are interested in going, party at MET House in U.A.! Go catch Uravity, Shouto, Hypnotic, and Ingenium over there for a little bit. I might catch up myself after my segment, but I'll be too tapped out to DJ either way, so maybe I'll go as just a guest?”
Well, that's too bad...
Wait, what?! Katsuki shoots to his feet, adrenaline flooding back with the realization he might still be able to catch Deku here. He falls back to sit on the edge of the bed, considering, as Deku continues.
“Meanwhile, if anyone's sticking around with me, I'm guessing you don't really want to be at a party right now, huh?” Deep breath. An intro to a song Katsuki doesn't know yet plays behind his voice. “Cheers to another night alone, yeah? And to all our future nights together, just you and me.”
His deep, velvety chuckle washes over Katsuki like a wave of cool water. The song takes over completely, DJ Deku's promise lingering even without his presence. There isn't anything to do but wait, and hope, so Katsuki just lets himself flop face down into the bed and close his eyes to enjoy what he can on a Friday night.
It's nearing an hour past midnight by the time DJ Deku signs off on his late night segment, a cheerful, “And this has been DJ Deku for the night, signing off at last. And hey, maybe we'll see each other at the party, yeah? I mean, provided I even manage to catch anything...” filtering through Katsuki's headphones.
He sighs to himself and gets off the bed, pulling his earphones out to tuck them in a pocket as he checks the time before following suit with his phone.
Downstairs, the party is in full swing. Uravity and Hypnotic are nowhere to be seen, only who Katsuki assumes to be Shouto and Ingenium manning the turntable. The loud dream pop threatens to bring Katsuki's headache back in full, but still, he grabs a cup of some sort of punch before settling up against a wall that has the front door in full view.
Maybe he can figure out which of the latecomers DJ Deku is.
It's because he's checking the clock on his phone for the umpteenth time that he almost misses him. Almost.
But the piercing cry of, “IZUKU, YOU MADE IT!” sends his gaze snapping up, zeroing in on a stocky figure catching some chick who jumps at him in excitement, spinning her around with ease.
Katsuki almost doesn't believe it. But really, even with an undercut and piercings, dark green varsity jacket and those dumb red sneakers, even with an annoyingly attractive smirk playing on his lips—there's really no mistaking his childhood best friend.
The damn nerd... doesn't look like a fucking nerd anymore. He stands easily in the middle of the crowd, Metalhead almost instantly appearing by his side once he put the girl down to grab him into a bro-hug. Deku pulls back and grips the frat man's hand in some complex secret handshake, laughing when Metalhead pulls him in for another hug. Their voices aren't audible to Katsuki, but Deku's laugh—well, that's a noise Katsuki doesn't need to hear to know all too well.
“What the fuck,” he mutters.
His first response is denial. The second, as usual, is anger.
“What the fuck?!”
He's of half a mind to march straight out of the party and back to his bed at this point, because nothing, abso-fucking-lutely nothing (not even a possible meeting with his not-crush), is worth the awkward encounter that'll occur if he runs into his childhood friend and erstwhile best friend. At least, they'd been friends up until they weren't.
Now, they're pretty much nothing.
But that was before a fucker with eyebags even Katsuki can see from here sidles up behind Deku and wraps his arms possessively around the smaller man's waist. He's not sure why it irks him, but the mere fact that Deku even leans back into the touch when the purple shithead hooks his chin over the nerd's shoulder and nuzzles into his cheek makes Katsuki's blood boil.
He tips the glass of whatever down his throat in one go before sauntering over, snagging an unopened bottle of beer left on a table on the way. Katsuki generally doesn't enjoy drinking (it leaves his mind too muddled the next day for him to like it much), but he figures he needs it; Deku's a pain to deal with on a regular basis, he can hardly imagine what it's going to be like dealing with this new, stranger Deku.
Katsuki pulls the bottle cap off with his teeth just as he gets close enough to hear what they're saying.
“So, how was work, Izukkun?” the brunette teases, batting her eyelashes playfully at Deku.
“Yeah, yeah, I hear the squad just ditched you to have fun over here themselves!”
Deku squawks in protest, pouting like the idiot he is as he bats the arms still around him away with a laugh. “Aww guys, don't be mean! I can't believe you'd just leave me like that, now I'm late to all the fun things!”
“That's because you're a workaholic, Izu,” the purple bastard snarks back, hands up in mock surrender.
And yeah, that sounds about right. It's strange, really, because maybe if things were a little bit different, Katsuki might have been the one right there teasing him for it.
As it is though, Katsuki feels rooted to the ground, mind running a mile a minute as he considers the fucking chances of a complete and total coincidence that Midoriya fucking Izuku had gotten here at the exact same time that someone calling themself Deku had said he'd arrive. Damn, Katsuki's regretting that drink already because his mind is getting hazy, but really—
No. There's no fucking way. Deku? That annoying, high-pitched crybaby? Yeah right. And okay, so the music is too loud right now for Katsuki to actually place if the nerd's voice has changed at all but last time they'd spoken, it was—
Katsuki really ought to walk away right now.
Except Deku's already seen him, and for a split second when their eyes meet, time slows down.
Then it speeds back up again and Deku's annoying squeaking is just proof backing up his conclusion that the two are most definitely not the same people. Not that he even has the time to think about that, because now he has bigger problems.
All eyes swing to Katsuki and he knows exactly which variation of angry is flashing across his face right now.
“Deku,” he growls in warning.
A beat of silence before Metalhead lets out what sounds like a gurgled version of Katsuki's childhood nickname.
Frog Face frowns. “What did you just call Bakugou-chan, Mido-chan?”
The eyebag fucker finally stops examining Katsuki like he's a specimen on the dissection table in order to tug Deku into what Katsuki supposes is meant to be a comforting embrace.
Katsuki grits his teeth when the bastard shoots him a smirk.
“Kacchan... if I heard correctly.”
There's a challenge in those sharp, violet eyes and Katsuki bristles, ready to tear this son of a bitch a new one... only for an ear shattering scream to interrupt him.
“KATSUKI THERE YOU ARE DID YOU SEE FRICKING HYPNOTIC EARLIER DUDE DUDE—”
Denki is going to wake up tomorrow with so many life regrets.
The stupid blond idiot practically crashes into the eyebag bastard in his enthusiastic, drunk stumbling trying to reach Katsuki. Denki teeters, saved from face planting only by the taller man's quick reflexes, instantly releasing Deku to steady the dumbass by the shoulders.
“You alright there, love?” Eyebag fucker asks, voice amused and head cocked in concern.
Meanwhile, on the other side, Mina has somehow teleported to the brunette's side, eyes shining and gripping the other's hands beseechingly.
“Miss, if you'll excuse my saying so, you are absolutely gorgeous and I'd love to feature you on my fashion blog,” Mina simpers, dimples flashing as she smiles. The other girl flushes and stammers out a response.
All this that's only really background noise to Katsuki, because it's like being trapped in a transparent, soundless bubble, having Deku's eyes on him again.
“Nerd,” Katsuki grunts in acknowledgement, hating the way his throat closes up.
“Hey, Kacchan,” he says quietly, shifts, shoves his hands into his jacket pockets. He flashes a weak smile back at Katsuki.
“So you ended up in U.A. after all, huh.”
“... Yeah,” Deku mumbles, laughing softly and suddenly completely fascinated by his own shoes. “Always knew you'd get in, though.”
Katsuki snorts, “Damn straight. Like hell I'd settle for anything less than the fucking best.” He does his best to ignore how the nerd avoids looking at him again.
But then Deku cracks a grin, peeking up at him through dark green curls with those shining eyes. It's like a punch to the gut, how familiar that smile is, butterflies exploding into existence.
Kacchan, you're amazing!
“Of course, Kacchan,” Deku says agreeably.
“Oi, fucker, you looking down on me?” Katsuki snaps back.
“Ehh no way! I'd never look down on you,” Deku protests, but there's a smile tugging on the edge of his lips. Katsuki doesn't hold back his own grin, sharing an amused glance with the nerd at the reminder of how their conversations generally went when they were younger.
Deku looks over his shoulder when someone calls to him and Katsuki is distracted by the shimmer of the piercings along his left helix.
Fuck, why is he so hot?!
Katsuki shakes his head to get the thought out of his head, refusing to acknowledge it.
But then motherfucking Deku laughs loudly and Katsuki catches a glimpse of something metal sitting pretty on Deku's tongue. A tongue piercing, too?! Fucker!
“Hey, Kacchan,” a voice that's not Deku's interrupts his thoughts, thankfully, but Katsuki is instantly pissed at realizing it's both the eyebag fucker and he's using that embarrassing nickname the nerd never grew out of.
“What,” he snarls back.
The purple fuck looks amused at something, and pointedly tips his head down to direct Katsuki's gaze to his arms where a lethargic Denki is flopped bonelessly. His eyes are shut and Katsuki swears, knowing the idiot is already drunk beyond redemption.
“Oi, Pinky!” he barks commandingly to where he can see Mina still trying to seduce the tiny brunette. She whines but obediently follows him when he pulls his idiotic housemate into a messy piggy back ride.
He grumbles loudly while Mina tries to arrange Denki into a somewhat more dignified setup. Katsuki's shirt rides up when she starts to tug Denki's shirt down and he doesn't miss Deku's gaze slipping down to the exposed skin almost instantly. Katsuki makes a note to cook Mina her favorite for hangover breakfasts tomorrow.
Good. I better not be the only one fucking affected.
Their eyes meet again, but there's too much to say and too little time. So he just nods at the nerd and turns to walk away.
“Hey, Kacchan?” Deku calls behind him as he curses at his stupid friends and their stupid habits. He pauses to show he's listening but doesn't turn back, tugging Denki more firmly up on his back.
There's a pregnant pause where the noise of the party and all their years apart seems to fill the space between them, threatening to choke them both with its weight. Katsuki hears him take a sharp breath.
“Don't be a stranger, okay?”
And Katsuki, he doesn't know what to say to that.
So he doesn't say anything at all. He keeps walking without a word, heading off to find Eijirou and Hanta and drag their asses back to their place. Mina shoots him a concerned look, but Katsuki ignores it.
At the very last second, right before they disappear into the crowd and against his better judgment, he raises his free hand in a wave anyway. Katsuki swears he can feel the nerd's beaming smile burning into his back.
Now to get home with these fuckers and hope he can put Deku out of his head for a while.
(A pointless endeavor, he finds, as he bodily puts Dumbasses 1 and 2 to bed while a less-than-helpful Mina sits in a corner and sings random bits of love songs and a semi-helpful Hanta sets out water and aspirin for the idiots to drink in the morning.
Deku's laugh rings in his ears and even his dreams are filled with green, green eyes.)
Chapter 4: It's A Small World After All
lmfao I had no clue who to credit for this one haha I googled this one so uhh yeah!
Chapter title from the song of the same name written by the Sherman Brothers. The song does not belong to me and all rights belong to the Sherman brothers and Walt Disney Productions!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It isn't until the third week of classes—and over a week since the frat party fiasco—that Katsuki realises he had missed a very, very important detail in his life.
It takes the blaring ringtone in his otherwise silent argumentative writing class and the stuttering apology of a dark haired figure sitting in the back as they ducked out of the lecture hall, fumbling with their phone all the while, for him to finally put the pieces together. He might have considered being mistaken about Deku being his classmate, but the tune was as familiar as his own mother's voice: the iconic soundtrack from the first All Might film that played whenever something epic would happen.
Katsuki forces himself not to scowl, turning back towards their sleep deprived professor along with the rest of the class, unseeing eyes fixed on the projector in front. He taps his pen impatiently against his book in time with the ticking of the clock.
Five minutes later, the nerd still isn't back yet and Katsuki is starting to get pissed.
He isn't even sure what he wants to do yet, aside from potentially make a scene by confronting his childhood friend for not saying a word about them being classmates this semester (in front of their whole damn class, no less) but he knows he needs to do something. Professor Shouta sighs as Katsuki shifts in his seat again only for his bag to clatter awkwardly with the motion. The older man looks him in the eye for a second; lucky for him, the guy's never been one for public humiliation, only jerking his chin in a subtle motion towards the door.
Katsuki bolts to his feet and nearly runs for the door, feet instinctively carrying him to the nearby copse of trees in the courtyard. If he knows Deku at all, that's exactly where he'll head to answer what is most likely an urgent and private phone call.
“—well, no that's not it, but shouldn't you—”
The voice sounds a little muffled, like it's farther than Katsuki expected it to be. He slows, frowning to himself. With a little jolt, he realises what just happened; Deku's probably over by the benches lining the pathway to the library at the very edge of the trees. Katsuki grins and spins around immediately, knowing that that particular path turns a sharp corner with the English Building they were just in.
He hurries to take the longer way around, only stopping once he knows he's close enough to be heard. Shifting to a softer gait—because Bakugou Mitsuki sleeps like a fucking cat, and if Katsuki wanted to get anywhere when he was younger without the old hag finding out, he'd needed to develop some strange survival instincts—he sneaks as close to the edge as he dares to avoid Deku noticing him.
Katsuki isn't going to think about why he's skulking around the nerd like a goddamn criminal instead of just outright confronting him, nope, no he is not.
Besides, the call might be important, right? Katsuki can confront him after the possibility of an emergency is gone. Yeah, that sounds right.
“Yes, of course I care about you, we've talked about this! And that's not the point here!”
Katsuki snaps out of his reverie quick at the unfamiliar voice. Is that Deku's voice? He doesn't think he's heard Deku yell like that too often, if at all. The damn nerd is usually so soft-spoken and polite, even Katsuki's nastiest barbs when they'd fought as kids barely getting a rise out of him.
There's an exasperated sigh around the corner, followed by, “I know. I know, okay. Yes, I'll go. You know I'll go if you ask me to.”
Katsuki can practically hear him pinching his nose in frustration, except—
For once he isn't actually sure he's listening in on his nerd, and not some random freak having an obviously private conversation in a public space. Still, the voice sounds familiar...
“Sure, why not. Send me the details?”
Katsuki freezes, cursing himself for not realising sooner. He ought to know that goddamn velvety voice like the back of his hand now for how often he listens to the elusive bastard's radio show. He takes a step forward without thinking, intent on finally finding out just who he'd been listening to for the past year—
A soft chuckle halts him a second time. Now that, he recognises. If there is one thing he will never mistake, it's the sound of the dumbass laughing; Lord knows it was basically the soundtrack of his entire childhood.
Katsuki's head is spinning now, stuck between disbelief and confusion. There is no way, absolutely no way Deku and the DJ are the same person. Deku's voice has barely moved out of puberty, for fuck's sake! He'd proven as much after that cursed encounter at the party!
“Only for you, boo. Yeah. Yeah, I love you too. Bye.”
This time, it's the words themselves rather than the voice that snaps Katsuki back to reality. Is the idiot actually dating someone? What the fuck, how is this the first Katsuki is hearing of this? He backtracks through the hall quickly, mind still whirring but ultimately just wanting some fucking answers—preferably without actually asking any questions.
He approaches the corner again, this time letting his legs take their usual stompy stride—Eijirou's words, not his—and making sure whoever was on the other side hears him.
“Oi, you shitty fucking nerd, where the fuck are you?!”
A familiar squeak sounds just as Katsuki turns the corner, what is definitely Deku yelping a “K-Kacchan!” that's extremely helpful in identifying him.
Katsuki eyes the nerd with distaste, still a little annoyed at how different the idiot looks now.
“Umm. Hi, Kacchan? Did you, uhh, did you follow me out here?” Yep, his voice sounds exactly the same as middle school. Well, maybe a little less cracking since they're both way past puberty, but the point still stands.
So then what the hell was that earlier?
“Don't flatter yourself, nerd,” Katsuki snaps almost on instinct, not even quite sure what Deku just said. “Why the hell didn't you tell me we were in the same class?”
Deku flinches, gaze flitting away and to the left. “I... I didn't know we were in the same class either?” he tries, much to Katsuki’s annoyance.
“You're a shit liar Deku,” he snorts, watching the other carefully. “That really hasn't changed. If you don't want to fucking talk to me, just say so and we can be done here.”
The nerd's eyes widen, snapping back to Katsuki immediately as he flails around in denial. “What? No?! That's not what I meant, Kacchan, why would I ever—”
Deku's spluttering is interrupted when his phone rings again, his mouth immediately clicking shut and a crease forming along his brow before he even looks at the screen.
“Sorry, Kacchan,” he says quickly, mouth turning up in an apologetic smile. “I've really gotta take this. I'll see you in class, okay?”
Katsuki isn't sure why he just lets the nerd walk away, but his feet remain rooted to the ground as Deku wanders back into the building, not even really speaking into his phone until he's out of earshot.
He's long gone by the time Katsuki realises he had neither gotten to ask anything, nor had he gotten any answers.
Grumbling to himself, he stomps back to class and glowers at everything that moves. Then Aizawa takes one look at Katsuki and dismisses them all early, citing only his need for coffee or a nap as an explanation. It really doesn't make him feel any better.
Deku never does come back either.
“Hey, Kacchan,” and a shy smile are what greet Katsuki as soon as he opens the front door to the soft knocking.
He can feel a tick forming at his temple in annoyance; he was expecting the pizza his dumb friends ordered out of some mistaken sense of celebration of passing their midterms. (They only very narrowly missed actually failing, barely a point or two past the passing mark—he isn't sure what's there to fucking celebrate.)
“What the fuck are you doing here, nerd,” he growls.
Scratch that, how does he even fucking know where Katsuki lives?
Deku's smile morphs into a nervous grimace, fingers tapping repeatedly against the straps of his blinding yellow backpack. “Umm. Well, Eijirou said that—”
“Yo, is that Izuku?!”
Speak of the devil. Dumbass Friend #1's voice echoes loudly from the bathroom and into the entryway.
Katsuki sighs in long suffering annoyance, pinching the bridge of his nose and counting to ten before stepping to the side to let the nerd in. “It fucking is, idiot, so get your ass over here so he can leave!” he hollers back.
He leads the way to the living room, watching Deku look around in open curiosity from the corner of his eye. Katsuki gestures carelessly to a couch, going to the kitchen himself for a drink, because he needs one if he's going to deal with the nerd tonight. He ignores the voice in his head telling him he'll regret this in the morning.
Back to the living room he goes, only to find Deku's gone ahead and turned up the volume of the stereo set they have tuned to the HBH station all the time now, Mina being the last person to use it listening to Uravity's segment instead of letting the rest of them watch movies in the living room like any decent housemate would. The nerd sways slightly in place, soundlessly mouthing the lyrics of some bass heavy song as he looks at the collection of photos on the mantle.
Katsuki resists the urge to swipe the pictures that have him in them away from the sight of the shitty nerd, settling in a corner quietly and sipping on his drink.
The music segues smoothly into the familiar voice of Uravity.
“And we're back, my sweethearts. We're coming up on the end of our little talk tonight, as the time is officially 8:46 in the evening! Now, up next is usually our sweet Deku's turn at the table, but since he's been... commissioned by another friend of ours, he's going to be absent tonight.”
Deku wanders back to the stereo with a chuckle, leaning up to adjust the knob a little to get rid of the mild static.
“Instead, DJ Shouto will be taking over for him, along with a very special guest!”
Katsuki can only barely hear his murmur of, “Oh, Ochaco's busy so I guess she's not covering? I wonder who Shou-kun pulled in, maybe Tsu...”
“You know the Heroes, nerd?”
Deku jumps like a startled cat, whirling around and stumbling back into one of the cabinets lining the far wall. “K-Kacchan?! How-how long have you been there?”
“Since the last damn song, idiot,” Katsuki snorts, taking a deeper draft of the bourbon to keep himself from getting annoyed at Deku. God, he needs to be drunk if Deku's going to act like the jumpy dork he was in middle school. Katsuki's gaze narrows as the other fiddles with the hem of his shirt. “What, you not gonna answer?”
“A-ah! Right!” Katsuki holds back a sigh at the potential headache he's about to get if Deku's already high voice keeps increasing in pitch. “They, uhh... I mean, yeah! Yeah, I do! I wor—I'm just. I'm friends. With a few of them. Yeah, that.”
He raises an eyebrow, a little impressed. “You have friends? Seriously?”
“Kacchan!” Deku squawks, apparently forgetting his nervousness and drawing himself up in offense. “Rude! I'll have you know, I know lots of people!”
Katsuki hums in amusement, eyeing the nerd's puffed up cheeks and marveling that his freckles somehow survived puberty.
“Sure you do, nerd. So where'd you meet them?”
“Uhh,” is the intelligent reply. The nerd mumbles a response, mostly just nervous laughter and a fluttery gesture with vague assurances of “you know, class” and “around campus and stuff” and “same way you meet anyone, really”, and holy mother of god Deku never learned how to lie to save his life in the time they weren't together, did he.
He finally gets fed up and growls a warning to put a stop to the mumbling. Right on cue, two bounding figures make their way into the living room; Dumbass Friends #2 and #3 immediately glomp onto Deku in painful looking affection.
“Izukkun!” Mina yells in tandem with Denki's enthusiastic “Izu!”
Katsuki goes back to nursing his drink. If what the nerd said is true, then he's of half a mind to grill Deku about the Heroes and his relation to them and also possibly ask for an explanation regarding the mysterious host who shared the dumb childhood nickname he gave the other, but he abandons that thought quick; it seems like an awkward conversation Katsuki would rather not have.
No, he is absolutely not fucking curious.
The nerd squeaks under their cuddle pile and Katsuki shakes his head at the newly arrived Hanta who just grins back at him cheekily. “'Sup, Izuku?” the prick says to their visitor, reaching over to make the same complicated looking handshake the nerd had managed with Tetsu near a month ago.
“Hey, Hanta!” Deku says, still muffled under the other two.
Katsuki feels his ire rising at the slowly creeping realisation that his so-called squad had been friends with his estranged childhood friend right under his goddamn nose. And not a single one of them told him.
Eijirou is the final straw. He comes in, fresh from the bathroom and hair sopping wet, before instantly yowling like an alleycat and hopping straight into the group and sending them all toppling to the ground.
“So,” Katsuki snarls, feeling his hackles raise as his friends only turn to look at him with blank gazes. “You all knew the nerd this whole fucking time?”
Hanta seems about the only one who recognises Katsuki's close to blowing his top (aside from Deku, of course, but then Deku always knows shit like that anyway, the damn stalker) but even he just shoots Katsuki his best shit-eating grin before moving to plop down on the couch and turning down the music a bit.
Three varying affirmatives choruses around Katsuki, plus one cheeky peace sign from the couch. He feels the urge to blow shit up grow ever stronger.
He downs the rest of his drink and slams the glass down on the nearest table. Fuck them all, honestly. Katsuki marches out of the room, fully intent on turning in for the night and leaving the fucking traitors to their celebrations, when Hanta's voice follows him into hallway.
“Oh, you're leaving? Guess that's fine, I'm sure Izuku wouldn't like any of your mixes anyway. He seems like the type you wouldn't know what to make for. Have a good night, man!”
Katsuki marches right back into the living room and swipes the nerd away from his shitty ass friends, grabbing him by the wrist and hauling him straight to the kitchen.
“I'll show you fucking wouldn't know what to make, you goddamn skinny elbow fucker,” Katsuki snarls at Dumbass Friend #4 on the way out, ignoring the knowing smirks on all of their faces.
And, well, if Deku's smile is a little too pleased for someone being bodily dragged along to be force fed alcohol, Katsuki's going to ignore that too.
Katsuki's in the kitchen Sunday morning when Mina comes barreling into his side by the stove, babbling incoherently about something or other.
Now, Sundays are a special day. It's the only day of the week that Katsuki actually makes an effort to consistently cook for his idiotic housemates and make them decent food because he's amazing like that. It also happens to be the first day of the week. Which means no one's thought to actually go grocery shopping yet, which means there's technically nothing to make breakfast with, which means Katsuki inevitably ends up having to be the one to go out to replenish their stocks. All of which amounts to Katsuki already being sufficiently pissed for the day, even before Mina came in only to blab his ear off with grating, half-screech half-sob noises.
Katsuki regrets everything he's ever done that led him to this point. But it's not like he can get out of making them food, they'll just whine at him until they give him a migraine or until he gives in. Usually the latter.
Except, Mina's already whining at him while he lists down what he needs to buy at the store. He can physically feel the nerves at the nape of his neck twisting themselves into painful knots.
“What,” he growls at Mina when she latches onto his leg in protest of his attempt to ignore her.
She mumbles something unintelligible into his pant leg as she waves her phone around in the air.
Katsuki snorts and swipes the phone from her hand, scrolling through the pictures quickly before dropping it on top of his friend.
“I'm gay, dipshit. What the fuck do you want me to do with your sweaty ass girl crush?”
Mina finally detaches from his leg with an offended gasp, moving to crouch by his feet instead.
“You're a heathen, Katsu,” she hisses up at him. “Beauty is admirable no matter what gender they are and no matter what sexuality you are.”
With a scoff, Katsuki aims a kick at her which she instantly dodges, getting to her feet and shoving her phone at him again. Only instead of a picture of Uravity in her workout clothes with a towel slung across her face to hide it, it's open to the woman's official DJ Twitter account.
Katsuki cocks an eyebrow in annoyance at Mina.
She waggles her own brows in response.
“Scroll up,” she says cryptically.
He sighs and decides to get this over with so he can go and buy the damn coffee. God knows he needs it. Taking the phone for the second time, he scrolls up the feed to find a picture that the caption tells him is the rest of the HBH crew in various states of dishevelment as they all work out in what looks like a private gym room. Katsuki makes a noise of approval at how well-equipped the room is.
He examines the people next, wondering which one is which. Sadly, whatever is visible of their faces is covered with a well-placed tongue sticker.
Katsuki glances back up at Mina to find her still watching him expectantly. Figuring this isn't what she wants him to see, he keeps scrolling—
Only to start coughing violently when his tongue gets lodged in his own throat at the sight of a perfectly cut torso packed with muscle in every inch, freckled skin glistening with sweat as a shirt is pulled off over his head and flexing absolutely gorgeous biceps. There's a tease of curly hair visible by his jaw that managed to escape the mask the shirt made of the rest of his face.
Special pic of @DJDeku in the locker room because he volunteered to get us breakfast and missed the first picture!
12 minutes ago
Mina instantly shoves a conveniently full glass of cold water into Katsuki's hand as she takes her phone back.
Katsuki hastily gulps the drink as fast as he can go.
“Not. A fucking. Word,” he growls as he wipes the excess water off his chin with the back of a hand.
Mina just smirks back and saunters away with a cheeky little wave, hips swinging in triumph. Katsuki spitefully decides to make her omelette as spicy as humanly possible.
“Hey, isn't that Izuku?” Denki tugs relentlessly at Katsuki's sleeve, unheeding of any past (or present) iterations of the words I don't want to fucking see Deku ever again as he waves excitedly at something in a direction Katsuki refuses to look in. “Come on, Katsu, let's go say hi. Heeeey! Izuku!”
A beat of silence. No response.
Katsuki cracks a grin, wondering if the shitty nerd's chosen now of all moments to grow a spine but—
Nope. He's being dragged by the back of his shirt by a pouting blond to the tables by the edge of the campus flower garden, all his curses and protests falling on deaf ears the whole way through. He should've known the silent treatment is hardly going to work on Denki (he is, after all, Katsuki's friend somehow or other).
In a flash they're standing next to Deku. The table he's working on is barely visible underneath all the books and papers and notebooks scattered haphazardly on top of it, the miniscule size of the print of some of the shit he could see making Katsuki’s head spin a little. A laptop lays in arm's reach of his childhood friend, a stack of... CDs? in a pile next to it. In the midst of the organised chaos—and it is organized, if Katsuki knows the nerd at all—is Deku, almost frantically highlighting what looks like every single line in a module thicker than three of Katsuki's books combined.
“Helloooo? Izuuuu?” Because Denki obviously has zero tact. Well, not that Katsuki's about to stop him. He just rolls his eyes at him and lets him carry on.
It isn't until Denki starts waving a hand in front of Deku's eyes that he startles enough to look up at them, one hand coming up to slip off what looks like noise cancelling headphones to dangle from his neck. He instantly lights up with a grin upon spotting them, a weak, “Oh hey, Denki. Kacchan. How may I help you?” falling from his lips like clockwork.
“Umm yo. Bad time?” The dumb blond titters nervously, like he's just now noticing the disgusting workload flooding the idiot's surroundings.
Deku gives a nervous laugh as he runs a hand through his hair.
“Not... really? This is,” he pauses, like he doesn't know how to finish that sentence. Eyes glazing over, he looks over his mess with a shudder and goes with, “Uhh. Normal. Yeah, this is pretty normal.”
Katsuki snorts. “For who, dipshit? When's the last time you fucking slept?”
Because the nerd looks like hell warmed over, eyebags for days, practically drowning in his black All Might hoodie, and at least seven large cups of coffee laying empty and discarded on the side of the bench that doesn't have his bag on it. It's barely noon for fuck's sake.
The nerd cocks his head like he's seriously considering the question. His next words makes Katsuki wish he hadn't asked.
“Uhh. Tuesday, I think—”
“Tuesday?! Jesus Christ, Izu, it's Friday!”
“—and law students. I'm pretty sure this is normal for law students.”
Katsuki eyes him with a little more pissed off than is slightly necessary. “Uh-huh. And you're out here why, exactly?”
Deku winces like he doesn't need to be reminded of that. “Well... I mean, it's Ochaco's finals coming up too, and she's kind of... loud. And angry. When she's stressed, you know, and Shin-kun is a little busy with practicals, so I can't...”
Ahh. Katsuki almost forgot. Deku is bad with loud noises when he's studying (hence the headphones), and even worse with interruptions because then he loses his train of thought and wastes hours trying to get it back, then spirals into a manic anxiety attack over losing so much time, and then trying to cram everything and getting distracted by his own panicking and inefficient study methods. Rinse and repeat.
Katsuki's so busy trying to swallow his guilt over interrupting the nerd after all (and wrestling with what he wants to do with that information) that he almost misses Denki's awestruck whisper of,
“Izu. You're taking law? At U.A.?!”
Deku flinches a little at Denki's wide eyes and Katsuki knows he's thinking he doesn't deserve any praise for what he does.
“Uhh. Yeah, kinda? S'not a big deal, though, I just...”
“What do you mean 'not a big deal', Izu?! It's totally a big deal, U.A.'s the best law program in the country!” Denki protests.
Judging by what Katsuki can see of Deku's schoolwork—and the sheer amount of it—he probably more than deserved the praise; Denki's right, U.A. law is a big deal, and Katsuki knows for a fact that the nerd pulls his weight with the best of them. He can give him that much.
And loathe as he is to admit it, it looks like the nerd's course is even harder than Katsuki's own. Not that he's going to tell him that.
“You just what, nerd?” Katsuki finally huffs.
Deku looks up at him with that familiar fire in his eyes, one that Katsuki didn’t know he'd missed.
“I just want to be able to help, that's all.”
A million and one conversations pass through Katsuki's head, of winning and saving and helping and I don't need to change the world, Kacchan, and, even a little bit is okay, just a little bit at a time.
Katsuki hides his grin by directing their attention towards something else with a wave of his hands and a scoff. “And that?”
Deku's eyes light up with a different kind of warmth now, the kind Katsuki usually saw during all-night movie marathons and whispered conversations hidden under a blanket fort.
“Oh! See, the Heroes' studio came with a music storage area when Shou-kun bought it and—”
“Wait, hold up, Shouto bought it?”
“—and well, there's actually an amazing selection of music even me or Shin-kun have never heard before so I tend to pick up some tracks every now and again to make a new... to see what works for me, I mean.” There's a pained look on Deku's face that Katsuki can't place and he doesn't quite get why that bugs him.
“.... uh-huh. Sure. And the walkman?”
Deku flushes like he was hoping no one would notice that. As fucking if. “Yeah, well. My laptop can't really handle having all my files open and play music at the same time, so.” He flashes a grin at Katsuki that reeks of a lifetime of shared jokes and untold secrets. “Also, it makes me feel like the man when I walk, you know?”
No, he doesn't know. Because whoever that lifetime belongs to, it certainly isn't his. And shitty ass jokes aside, Katsuki kind of wishes it is.
He watches his childhood friend smiling goofily for another half second (furiously ignoring Denki beside him who's howling in laughter over the bad joke) before giving in. With a sigh, he settles onto the bench across from Deku, packing up papers and books, careful to keep the ones he can vaguely tell are related to each other in some semblance of order.
“Come on,” Katsuki says without looking up from his chore. “I know a cafe a little past campus where you can pick this up. You need food.”
“It'll be quiet there.” Katsuki's tone brooks no arguments.
Deku watches him helplessly and tries again. “I'm broke.”
Katsuki raises an eyebrow at the empty coffee cups. The nerd flushes and gives a little shrug. “Shou-kun,” he says, like that explains everything.
Katsuki hums a little in annoyance. “It's my fucking treat, damn nerd.”
“Oh, Kacchan no, I couldn't possibly—”
“Deku,” Katsuki growls with finality. Deku immediately hushes, and Katsuki reaches over to unplug the walkman and fold the laptop up to tuck it into the nearby case.
But the dumbass still looks torn, so Katsuki pulls his iPod out of his pocket, plugs in Deku's headphones, and leans over to shove the gadget into the nerd's waiting hands. It's already open to a playlist of Katsuki's favorite songs to study to. Katsuki gets to his feet and grabs whatever he can carry as he cocks an eyebrow at Deku again.
His idiotic childhood friend slowly shakes his head as he gives in with a helpless laugh, pulling the headphones on and hitting play as he cleans up whatever mess survived Katsuki's impromptu cleaning spree. Katsuki never really noticed Denki's disappearance, too caught up in the nostalgia of marching in front towards another new adventure, Deku always half a step behind him.
It's almost like old times.
Then the nerd brushes his shoulder against Katsuki’s in silent thanks and he isn't too sure himself why he isn't surprised at all to find Deku walking right next to him, like he's always belonged there. And yeah, maybe this isn't like old times; maybe it's a little better.
That night, one of the songs from Katsuki's playlist makes it to DJ Deku's song selections.
(or the chapter in which I project all my college suffering onto both Katsuki and Izuku)
Oh if anyone was wondering, the song Ochako was playing during Izuku's visit to the Bakusquad household was Muse by OCAD and it's such a Badass Ladies™ song y'all should give it a try!!!
Chapter 5: Somewhere Only We Know
chapter title from Keane's song of the same name. The song does not belong to me and all rights belong to Keane and Heliocentric Studios!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That single word is enough to send Katsuki jolting into awareness, sitting bolt upright at his study desk in his room. He checks the time on the radio sitting on his bedside table. 2:44 AM. “Fuck,” Katsuki mutters, rubbing his eyes and checking the time on his phone as well. Yeah, no, same thing.
What the fuck is Deku doing on the radio at nearly three in the morning? Katsuki doesn't generally sleep past DJ Deku's night shift on the radio these days, but he ended up pushing his own studying to a later time after having to tutor the moron trio with their own severely lacking homework assignments. And, well, Hypnotic isn't so bad, as far as the other DJs go. He has good taste at least.
“I know you're probably wondering why I'm on right now, since this is Hypnotic's usual schedule, but uhh… ” Deku's voice as he speaks is soft, hushed, like sharing a secret over a cup of coffee. “He fell asleep during the last playlist and I don't want to wake him up. God knows he needs sleep the most of all of us.”
Fucking really, Deku? Katsuki's thoughts flash to his Deku's eyebags and the shitty schedule of segments ending at one and then picking up again at six.
A breathy, quiet chuckle. “So yeah, I guess I'm joining you tonight instead.”
The sound of rustling paper floods the frequency and Katsuki strains to hear something else to clue him in on what the fuck was going on.
“Oh. Oh wow. Yeah, I don't have anything prepared tonight, guys, so I was planning to just do whatever it was Hypnotic was planning and I have here a... list? Of questions you wanted him to answer?” A pause and more rustling. “Guys, seriously? 'Have you ever been in love? Play a song that reminds you of someone you've loved and lost.' Alright, folks, you do know Hypnotic would never answer this shit, right?”
His laugh is a little breathless from trying not to be loud, a little incredulous in disbelief, and wholly adorable. Katsuki breaths out a sigh he didn't realised he's been holding. Deku hums like he's seriously contemplating the questions.
“For the record, and since I can't speak for Hypnotic, I myself have been in love before. A couple times, actually.” Katsuki wishes he could see him when he says this, wants to know if it's really a past tense thing or if he's hiding something else. “Oh, another love question: 'What was it like the first time you fell in love? Play a song that you associate with that person.' Ahh. Is this a question and then a song request thing? Well, I can do that.”
Deku clicks his tongue as he... probably goes over the other questions? “Look, there's actually quite a lot of these, so let me answer those two first and play the two songs and I'll wrap up making a playlist for the other questions while you listen, okay? It'll be quick, I promise.”
A tinkling melody begins to play in the background as Deku quietly takes a breath and lets it back out slowly. Katsuki shuts his eyes and leans back in his chair, letting the image of his Deku take over his imagination.
“As for the other question, well... the first guy I fell in love with was my oldest friend. It was kind of insane actually, my everything was so wrapped up in him that I could barely see past how brightly he shone in my eyes. But... we kinda didn't get along all that well, god knows why, and before we could really talk and fix whatever was up with us, I had to move away for high school.” Katsuki can see him running a hand through his hair, embarrassed smile directed at no one in particular.
“The separation was awful, to say the least; I'd never known a life without him and I was admittedly a little unsure of my footing.”
Is that Katsuki’s heartbeat pounding in his ears? What a strange sensation.
Deku's voice takes on a fascinatingly fond tone as he says, “That's where me and Hypnotic met, and I'll admit that to this day there's always going to be a part of me that's a little bit in love with him—” Katsuki forces himself to ignore the ugly thing rising in his chest, “—oh but that's a story for another day, yes? For now, I hope that answered your questions even though I know you were hoping for someone else's answers. The next song is the one that reminds me of someone I've lost, although he was never mine to begin with, because I think it sums up our separation pretty well. And the one after that is one of my favorite songs”
The DJ pauses before adding sheepishly, “Mostly because I used to daydream that this is the kinda song I'd play as our love song, y'know? Yes, yes I'm embarrassing, I know okay!”
A gentle beat thrums through the tinny speakers and Katsuki curses unhappily as he sits up to throw his pencil at the pile of unfinished plates. He isn't getting any more work done tonight. Or getting any sleep, apparently.
“Enjoy guys, and I'll pick up where I stopped once the songs end.”
The song plays in earnest, leaving Katsuki feeling a little lost. He gets up to flop onto his bed and stare up at the ceiling.
I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
He already hates this song and he's heard all of two lines. What the fuck is up with that story? Childhood friends who didn't get along, one enamored with the other, DJ Deku moving away for high school just like Katsuki’s Deku had. What the actual fuck?
Katsuki isn't stupid, of course he's thought about the possibility of the DJ and his childhood friend being the same person. There are far too many coincidences for it to prove otherwise; not that Katsuki believes in coincidences in the first place. But... thinking about it from a distant, 'it's never going to matter' way isn't the same thing as this. DJ Deku is supposed to just be a hot voice Katsuki's never supposed to meet, so what if he's also Midoriya Izuku? He just enjoys listening to the guy, it wasn't going to change anything.
But this... this was practically a confession on the nerd's part, for fuck's sake.
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?
It isn't like he doesn't know Katsuki listens to his segments, right? Where the fuck does he get off pulling this kind of shit on a radio station when Katsuki can hear every goddamn word. (He firmly shuts the door on the voice in his head screaming about how this isn't even Deku's usual shift and that all evidence points to Katsuki being asleep at a time like this, he has no right to blame Deku. No right his ass, he can damn well blame the idiot if he wants to.)
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired, and I need somewhere to begin
Shit. And that was his first mistake, wasn't it? Nothing is ever really simple when it comes to Deku.
Katsuki lets his eyes fall shut and tries to shut down his brain that's screaming over needing to figure out what he's going to do about this.
It doesn't work. He keeps replaying moments from the past few months, moments from their childhood, those last awful weeks of middle school when Deku had told him their family would be moving. 'Didn't get along well' is an understatement. Katsuki had been downright nasty, didn't think he'd see Deku ever again.
And yeah, it's kind of shitty, but Katsuki can't really blame his younger self. He didn't want to lose his best friend and faced with the scenario, he'd lashed out. Ugh, this song is so awfully them—and fuck Deku, honestly.
Ahh, it's ending soon, isn't it? Good. Maybe Katsuki should just sleep...
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go
Somewhere only we know
His eyes fly open, unwilling to let it end like this. He sits bolt upright for the second time in less than half an hour. He needs to call Deku—
The opening strums of the new song leaves Katsuki feeling like he's slammed into a solid brick wall. He grabs a pillow and screams into it as viciously as possible.
He knows the damn song. Of fucking course he does. It's one of those songs Ei or Mina play constantly, Eijirou because he thinks the guy in the song is super manly or whatever, and Mina because it's a sappy Taylor Swift love song that she's fucking shameless about rocking to.
What's it called again? Fucking Ours, that's what.
Ignoring the heat flooding his face as best he can, he grabs his phone, fully intent on giving Deku a piece of his mind... except he hasn't the slightest idea what to say.
Pick a fight? Confront him about his 'confession'? Tell the truth? What the fuck even is the truth, at this point? Katsuki sure as hell doesn't know.
“Hey, guys, how are you all doing?”
Shit. Too little too fucking late. He didn't notice he's been thinking too long, and now Deku is back on. With a sigh, Katsuki settles back in to listen instead.
“Just a heads up that I think this all will be done by around five o'clock, which leaves us with an hour of nothing to do together. And since I pretty much have one brain cell left and it's with Ingenium, I'll just be taking calls by then, yeah?”
Audience calls, huh? That... that could work. Katsuki grumbles to himself, wondering what on earth he's even doing with his life. He checks the time again and sees a bright, cheery 2:52 AM flashing at him from the radio. He takes a long moment to stifle the urge to break the damn thing into a million pieces.
Thankfully, time flies as Deku answers questions. There are a lot of dumb ones— “Wha-yeah, of course I brush my teeth! So does Hypnotic, for that matter! No songs for this one, how am I even supposed to...” —and a lot of completely inappropriate ones— “Favorite sex position? Hmm, well, I like anything intimate, but being handcuffed to the headboard and fucked into the mattress is always fun!” —and Deku doesn't back down from even a single fucking question.
It gets to the point that Katsuki isn't even sure if he loves or hates how goddamn honest the nerd is. The comment about the handcuffs turns him into a spluttering mess, but he'd be lying if he says he didn't tuck the knowledge away for possible future use.
By four o'clock, Deku has a little army of songs to play in tandem to the questions, and he leaves off with another reminder he'll be taking calls after the last song plays. Honestly, Katsuki's just a little impressed with how quickly the shithead compiled the playlist during that barely-ten-minute time span of the first two songs. Over an hour and a couple dozen songs later, the last few notes of an upbeat pop song finally fade out and Deku's voice comes back on the line.
“Alright, so that is that! Next up, if you need help with something or just want to chat or whatever, call the number and I'll see what I can do.”
Deku rattles off a string of numbers that's already been sitting on Katsuki's dial screen for the past hour and a half. He takes a deep breath and clicks the call button. It rings (and rings) and Katsuki starts having second thoughts about this possibly disastrous life decision. Now that he thinks about it, won't Deku recognize his voice—
The line picks up. And although Katsuki can't hear anything on the other end—Deku's voice answers with a hello on the radio instead—he still keeps the phone pressed to his ear as his traitorous mouth spills the first thought in his head when he'd been woken up by Deku's voice that night instead of one of the rehearsed conversation starters he'd been planning.
“Why the fuck are you awake?”
An almost hesitant pause, before, “Well, caller, insomnia's kind of a bitch and nostalgia is her new best friend.”
A soft laugh. “I can't sleep. I miss someone.”
Katsuki forces himself to swallow in his suddenly dry mouth.
“Yeah? That the guy you were talking about earlier?”
“Hah?! What the hell even is maybe supposed to mean—”
Deku bursts out into brilliant peals of laughter, sending all the words hopping neatly out of Katsuki’s mind. But he manages to growl a garbled, “Stop fucking laughing at me!” somehow, so he counts that as a win.
“Sorry, sorry, caller. You're right, I do miss my old friend.”
There's something Katsuki means to say and damn if he wouldn't say it. “Oh yeah? Well, the guy seems like an asshole. Maybe you shouldn't.”
Deku hums in that way he does when he disagrees with you but isn't going to say it to your face.
“A bit. But he can be really sweet, actually. Sometimes.”
“Sounds like a real charmer.”
“Oh God, no. He's a total prick! But, well. He's really amazing, too, and it's been... nice seeing him again. I didn't really think I would.”
Katsuki hesitates, not sure how far he should push this. Then he goes ahead and bites the bullet with a mental shrug of Oh what the hell. “What do you even like about this guy?”
“Ooh, loaded question there, caller.” Katsuki can picture him leaning back in his seat, biting his lip in consideration. “First of all, bold of you to assume I even still like the guy! I never said that, only that I missed him. And second, there's a lot there to unpack so I hope you don't mind if I just pick my favorite thing about him?”
Deku's voice lilts into a question at the end of the sentence, and Katsuki shrugs to himself before grunting an affirmative.
“Hmm... If I had to pick—and note that there is a LOT to choose from, he's pretty damn amazing—but if I absolutely had to pick...”
Katsuki's honestly expecting it to be something dumb, like his determination or drive or natural talent, shit that Deku's already admitted to liking about him when they were younger along with copious amounts of Kacchan is amazing! that Katsuki had always taken for granted.
“I love his smile.”
Katsuki chokes on his own inhale.
“Oh shut up, caller, I can feel you judging me for being sappy. But I'm serious! He has the most beautiful smile, when it's for real—he just doesn't smile a whole lot, but when we were younger I was one of the few people he'd let himself be vulnerable around.”
Katsuki's still busy trying to get his breath back, so Deku keeps on rambling. “Not his smirks or cocky grins, although those are pretty too, but when he's honest to goodness happy or content, it just... Wow. I miss those the most, actually.”
“You're right,” he finally manages to gasp, hoping to keep Deku from going on. “The guy is a total prick. What kind of idiot wouldn't smile at you every chance they got?”
There's an amused chuckle from Deku's side and Katsuki steels himself with a bracing breath. “And you know what else, Deku? 'Sometimes' ain't good enough for you. You deserve more.”
The DJ laughs louder this time, big and bold, the kind where his Deku would have teeth flashing and eyes crinkled in mirth. “Be that as it may, I can't really change how I feel, yes? I just miss y-him. It's really that simple.”
Katsuki... isn't sure what to do with that. His throat has dried out, his heart is in his ears, and he's pretty sure he's close to spontaneous combustion with how hot his face has gotten. So, of course, his sleep deprived mind goes ahead and decides to make even more bad decisions tonight.
“So why'd you answer the questions with just one person?” his mouth blurts out without his permission. “Thought you said you'd been in love more than once already.”
“Ahh, I was hoping no one would catch that,” Deku says, not even bothering to pretend not to understand, “but, well, I was already thinking about him when I came up to find Hypnotic asleep. Besides, I haven't actually lost the others yet, so I couldn't really use them as an example? Sure, we didn't end up together in the end, but they're still important figures in my life till now—friends, work partners, stuff like that.”
“... and your childhood friend?”
“We're—civil, I guess. But we're not like we used to be, and that's really what I miss most, so yeah I still count that as having lost him. When you used to spend almost every second of the day with someone and then change to barely exchanging pleasantries on the street, that's loss, isn't it?”
Katsuki doesn't miss that DJ Deku doesn't deny that he was talking about his childhood friend although he hasn't used that term yet.
“But you've forgiven him?” God, Katsuki's mouth needs to learn fucking restraint. Even if he's been awake all night, this is getting ridiculous.
“Hmm. Yeah, you could say that,” the DJ answers easily, like it's not a lifelong regret of Katsuki's he's answering. “Never really thought he had to be forgiven, honestly. I cared about him too much to really be mad about how things went down.”
His next words are a quiet confession, secrets under stars in the night that only Katsuki will ever get the chance to hear. “I still do, actually. I figure I always will.”
Katsuki's chest feels tight.
“So, have you seen the new All Might film yet?” he asks instead of responding, changing tactics since he isn't sure he can handle much more of potentially discussing himself in third person with his crush who is also potentially his childhood best friend.
The sudden topic change is a risky gamble, sure, but...
“Oh! I haven't yet! I was planning on it, but I've been pretty backed up with assignments and finals and I had like, three exams on the day so I missed the first screening, but I really fucking want to! Especially since this is a new venture with a different director, and even though Yagi-san isn't playing the lead anymore because it's a new gen thing, I heard he's been guiding the main actress personally since casting, and—”
Katsuki smirks to himself, back in familiar territory at last. Sudden love confessions and shitty emotions? Yeah, nope. But the nerd geeking out about their childhood superhero? Easy.
“Deku,” he finally sighs, interrupting the dweeb's lengthy monologue about the film and All Might and the franchise and superheroes in general. It's never going to end and they both know it.
“... whoops. Sorry about that, caller. You were saying?”
He clears his throat and hopes he sounds nonchalant when he says, “Yeah, well. If you're that desperate, I have a couple tickets—”
The door slams open and Katsuki jerks to attention, fingers fumbling with his phone as someone throws themselves at him in a flurry of movement.
“KATSUKI OH MY FUCKING GOD IS THAT YOU ON THE RADIO IS IT FINALLY HAPPENING ARE YOU ASKING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE OUT YET—”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP, SHITTY HAIR!” Katsuki roars over him as he scrambles for the phone he dropped in his panic.
“But Katsukiiiiiiii,” Eijirou whines, still splayed out over Katsuki's lap.
Katsuki curses morning people and life and Eijirou all in one breath. “I said shut up, you dumb muscle head.”
His best friend opens his mouth to—God who even fucking knows, probably to whine at him some more. So Katsuki slaps a hand over his mouth to shush him, looking around the bed desperately before the words from the radio registers in his ears.
“—ello? Caller? Hello-oooooooo? Huh. Guess they hung up.”
Katsuki finally spots his phone underneath Eijirou's arm while the Grade A idiot gives him his best puppy dog look of apology. He fucking hates that look (mostly because he can't resist it any more than anyone else in this godforsaken world can, but there's no way in hell he's ever going to admit that) so he directs his glare at his traitorous phone instead.
“Well, that was... fun? But sadly, that's all the time we have for today, guys. Boo, I know, but it is what it is. I'll leave you with one last playlist to start the day off—or end the night with, whichever—and leave you to Ingenium's capable hands for the rest of the morning!”
Eijirou makes an aborted whining noise when Katsuki finally turns his murderous glare on him.
“This has been DJ Deku, signing out. I'll catch you next time, yeah?”
Katsuki lets himself fall back on his bed with a groan.
[bass boosted] here's the gay
Chapter 6: Radio Silence
chapter title taken from Styx's song of the same name. The song does not belong to me and all rights belong to Styx and UMG Recordings Inc.!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The day is already over and Katsuki's pissed.
Sleep deprived and cranky are the terms Eijirou's been using to explain why his assholery has somehow reached a whole other level, and yeah, that's about right too. As far as he's concerned, after that disastrous conversation last night (this morning?) with Deku, he has every fucking right to be snappy until he and the nerd have straightened things out between them. But about halfway through the day, that's not even the main reason anymore.
Mostly, he's been pissed because of Deku.
More specifically, because there's been no hide nor hair to be seen of Deku fucking anywhere. And Katsuki knows this for a fact since he made sure to check with all his shitty friends if they saw the law student at all today, not to mention going out of his way to check all of Deku's hidey-holes and still turning up nothing.
That fucking nerd.
For someone who kept showing up in Katsuki's life at the most unexpected moments, Deku sure picked a hell of a time to suddenly go missing.
So now Katsuki's in his room alone, fuming silently at his radio while watching the clock tick down to Deku's usual time slot. At 9:01, the outro to some pop song on Uravity's playlist finally fades into the background.
“Hello my kittens, Hypnotic here.”
Katsuki startles to hear someone who isn't Deku on at this time.
“I know, I know, you were probably looking forward to your nightly fix of our sex kitty DJ Deku right about now, but I've got a bit of bad news and good news regarding that,” Hypnotic sighs mournfully. “I'm afraid that DJ Deku is out of town for the week or so and won't be able to do his daily segments. Luckily, our very own Froppy has promised to take care of his morning shifts, and as a special surprise for all you lovely listeners, we'll be bringing in a new guest for every night that he's gone!”
A vein is about to pop on Katsuki's temple, he can tell, and before he can ask himself what he's doing, he's already whipped his phone out and opened it to Deku's messages.
“Why is he gone, you ask?” Hypnotic intones gleefully, making Katsuki's fingers pause as they hover over his keyboard. “All I can tell you is that he's out to spend some time with the only woman he's ever loved.”
The DJ whimpers in a somewhat convincing rendition of regret as he adds, “Well, the only woman we've ever loved. But see where I am now? She only wants Deku back, while poor old me lays here, writhing in the agony of my heartbreak—”
Katsuki tunes out the rest of what the melodramatic fuck is saying, practically seething as he finds himself totally wrong-footed.
He's not sure if his anger right now is because the nerd didn't even bother telling him he's fucking leaving, or because of Deku's goddamn gall to go out on some shitty ass honeymoon while the rest of them suffer here in hell. The fucking nerve.
Not that he's much in the habit of thinking of why he's angry in the first place. Katsuki's always been more of the how do I get rid of the problem type. He hits call on Deku's contact, not really thinking it through.
When the nerd doesn't pick up, Katsuki mutters threats under his breath and shoots him a text instead.
oi you fucking nerd what the hell
Katsuki flops facedown onto the bed, suddenly exhausted, and drifts off to sleep waiting for Deku's reply.
“Oi, Katsuki. You alright?”
The blond in question snorts, well aware that he looks like shit. “Does it fucking look like I am, Punk Rock?”
Kyouka frowns at him, obviously unsure what to do with him when he's not being the total dick that he usually is. It rouses him enough to manage a sneer, flipping her off with something close enough to his usual venom, along with a biting, “How about you don't ask stupid questions and mind your own fucking business, huh?”
She walks away looking relieved. Katsuki curses and checks his phone for the hundredth time in the past five minutes alone. The thirty unanswered calls yet empty notification bar is a goddamn insult.
oi you fucking nerd what the hell
are you shitting me
I swear to god I'm going to kill you when you get back.
Three days and still no response.
By the fourth day of the same radio silence, Katsuki's just about had it.
It doesn't help that he wakes up to the smell of burning; his housemates, apparently out of consideration of his increasingly worsening mood, decided to try and make breakfast instead of leaving it to him like they usually do.
So now Katsuki's stuck in the kitchen scrubbing the utensils viciously with a steel brush while letting the pots soak in baking soda, the others waiting for the takeout to arrive (no one wanted to risk suggesting they actually cook again for the rest of the day). They try to be casual about not having the Heroes on for the morning, too, until Katsuki snaps at them to get it together and stop acting like fucking weirdos. Mina reluctantly turns the stereo on, cranking the volume up loud enough to be audible in the kitchen.
Like hell will Katsuki let a chance to get updates on the nerd slip—he better fucking know about it as soon as Deku gets back because he's just about ready to drag the nerd out to talk by the scruff of his neck, kicking and screaming if he has to.
But the morning segment yields no results either. Froppy gets through her morning feel-good session without a hitch, turning lunch hour over to a catatonic Shouto. Still no news. Afternoon finds Katsuki utterly destroying the other dumbasses in Mario Kart, blowing off steam as the Heroes (sans Deku) have a chaotic round of Truth or Dare in the background. The bad news is that his friends aren't very good at this game, so it's not a big enough challenge to really distract him; the good news is that Mina is positively shameless about cheating, elbowing and talking trash if it gets her a win.
He's still pissed, but it's simmering down, at least.
... That is, until something Hypnotic says catches his attention.
Frowning, he pauses the game immediately, to the cries of outrage of the squad. He shoots them all a glare and motions vaguely to the stereo, hoping he won't have to explain himself. Everyone quiets down at once, making the last part of the statement clear.
“—is that right? Well, if you listeners miss our darling Deku so much, how about we get him on the line for you?”
The telltale sound of a phone ringing on the other line fills the room with a sudden, sticky tension. Denki even gives a little gasp.
On the third ring, someone picks up.
What the fuck.
“Deku-kun!” Uravity and Ingenium cry in glee, Shouto following suit with a quieter, but no less pleased response.
Deku chuckles. “Hi guys. Is something wrong? Why the sudden call?”
“We-ell,” Hypnotic says with a hum of amusement. “We just missed you, really. How're things over there?”
“Oh? I miss you all too, though. It's been... busy, I guess.”
“But not too busy, I hope!” Uravity teases. “You'll still have time for me, right?”
The DJ on the other line clicks his tongue in mock-annoyance. “How could you doubt me like this, Uravity-chan? Of course I'll always have time for you!”
The rest of the Heroes laugh in response, before Deku follows up with, “But seriously, is that all you called me for? If there's a problem at home you know I'll come back immediately.”
He fucking answered? Seriously?
Katsuki misses the rest of the exchange because there's a ringing in his ears while something ugly claws its way through his gut and climbs its way up his throat. He misses the deafening silence of his friends, too, all of them frozen in their seats and watching him like they're watching a train crash.
Finally, after a long, long moment, Katsuki manages to speak.
“Oi, Denki. I need a favor.”
Katsuki lurks outside the DJs studio doubling as a living quarters as soon as his last class goes out. Denki told him that the purple fucker is in class around this time, and he'll take anyone except him, to be honest.
Little shit is too goddamn protective of Deku to be of any use. (Not that Katsuki's complaining too much—the nerd deserves friends like that.)
He's only been out there for a few minutes when a distinct head of red-and-white appears in his peripheral. Katsuki turns to face the Half bastard fully, and the other man slowly comes to a stop, blinking slowly, but constant poker face otherwise unreadable.
“Katsuki Bakugou,” he says through the cigarette dangling from his lips. He reaches up slowly to pull it from his mouth and frowns at him. “Izuku's not here.”
“You think I don't fucking know that?” Katsuki snaps back immediately.
Damn it, why'd it have to be this one—he pisses Katsuki off almost as much as the other one does. Still, it might work.
He takes a deep breath before asking. “When the fuck is he getting back? I need to talk to him.”
Halfie hums, rolling the stick around his fingers absently. “I wouldn't know. He never actually said.”
Katsuki bristles, sure that the bastard is making fun of him. “Am I supposed to fucking buy that, huh, spoiled brat?”
The other blinks at him again and shrugs. “Believe what you want, it won't change that we don't know when Izuku's getting back.”
Katsuki growls in frustration. But then—
“I can tell him you were looking for him once he does get back, though,” Halfie offers, and Katsuki stiffens, about to rage because he doesn't need fucking pity from the likes of this asshole.
Deku's bright smile flashes in his mind.
“Fucking fine,” he says instead. “And you better tell him or I'll know if you don't.”
Katsuki whirls around to leave and misses the wry smile Shouto shoots him.
Katsuki gets a reply the same night.
Kacchan. Meet me at Jiyuu Park?
You know, the one near the cafe.
Deku shows up to the park near the cafe Katsuki brought him to before right on time, a breathless apology on his lips as he rides up. On a motorbike. A motherfucking motorbike. Katsuki has to strangle down all the distracting thoughts the information brings because it threatens to stifle his anger.
The nerd in a black leather jacket, silver piercings shining in the dark, and skin tight ripped jeans does not help at all.
Katsuki crosses his arms. Deku blinks sheepishly back at him.
“Why the fuck didn't you answer any of my calls,” he deadpans, because there's really no time like the present. Besides, they're both out here in the middle of the goddamn night and Katsuki has an exam in the morning.
Deku winces. “Yes, well, about that...” He stops. Hesitates. And really, Katsuki's patience has been worn thin for the past week already and he can only take so much of this kind of rejection.
“Just say you don't want to fucking talk to me and we can both leave, Deku,” he sneers, falling back into old habits for old sins.
But then Deku's pretty green eyes widen in surprise. “What?! Kacchan, no!” He flails around a bit, stuttering incomprehensible words. The whole thing is surprisingly reminiscent of the day Deku started showing up regularly again in Katsuki's life, that day that he heard the nerd on the phone—
The phone call.
And just like that, everything makes sense.
“—it's just, I actually wanted to apologize first, maybe, because I was out on business and I only realized I left my phone at home by the time I was on the train and I had a schedule to keep, you know, but I swear I didn't mean to ignore you or anything,” Deku mumbles in one breath.
Katsuki laughs as spitefully as he knows how. “Did you fucking say you left your phone? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you're a shit liar, Deku. Try fucking harder.”
“But I’m not lying!”
“Don't, Deku,” he growls. “If you can't even be bothered to reply to fucking texts, you don't have to make excuses—”
“I didn't even have my phone!” Deku protests.
Katsuki scoffs. “Right, because you didn't fucking pick up for that purple fucker as soon as look at you—”
“Kacchan, listen, I have two phones,” the other yells over him, pulling both out of his pocket and waving them around. “And don't call Shin-kun that, he's my best friend—”
“Oh sure, because that means something to you, huh, nerd?!”
“That's not fucking fair—”
“AND WHY NOT—”
“IT'S NOT THE SAME THING AND YOU KNOW IT—”
“RIGHT, BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THEM, RIGHT?!”
“I CARE ABOUT YOU TOO, ASSHOLE!”
Deku's last sentence is practically a shriek, volume overpowering the rest of their screaming match and leaving silence in its wake.
Deku stares right back.
Scoffing, Katsuki looks away first, still unwilling to admit defeat. “Why do you even have two phones, you damned nerd.”
“Because I won't use my private number for business, Kacchan,” Deku huffs indignantly, a little out of breath. He tucks the phones back into his jacket, cheeks red and hair rumpled like he's just run a marathon.
It's a good look on him, Katsuki thinks idly, unsure now what he actually wants to do. Not that he doesn't look good in anything, but you know. Whatever.
Deku runs a hand through his messy undercut with a sigh, making it flop in the other direction.
“What do you want, Kacchan?” He sounds so fucking tired. Katsuki wonders when he last slept. “And don't give me that bullshit about not contacting you, we both know that's not what this is about.”
Katsuki hesitates, for just a moment, but he knows what a life without Deku is like now and he doesn't think he can live with himself if he lets the nerd walk away a second time. He plops himself down heavily on the grass under one of the trees that gives him the added security of shadows washing over his expression.
The nerd quirks a brow at him and Katsuki makes an impatient gesture for the other to join him. Deku looks like he's about to protest—but at the last moment, simply shrugs and follows suit. The heat of Deku's body along his flank makes goosebumps rise on his skin.
For a while they're quiet. Katsuki still searching for the words, Deku patiently waiting to hear him out. He takes a deep breath.
“Did you actually ditch school just to see your girlfriend?”
Whatever Deku’s expecting him to say, that is clearly not it. He looks completely taken off guard, mouth a perfect ‘o’ of surprise. Then his eyebrows knit together in sudden confusion.
“Wait, what? Why would you think that?”
Katsuki doesn't like the hope about to take flight in his stomach.
He shrugs. “S’what they told people for why you were gone.”
Deku looks horrified, like he's about to beg the ground to swallow him up. “Excuse me?!”
Then he gets up and starts pacing, mumbling a mile a minute—Katsuki lets him, more than willing to take the chance to calm his frayed nerves. Deku spins around to face him, brows still wrinkled in worry.
“Kacchan,” he says slowly, like talking to a rabid dog. “What exactly did they say? Do you remember?”
Now, see that—that pisses him off.
“Of course I do, fucking nerd,” Katsuki snaps back. “Something about you and Hypnotic loving the same chick, hell if I know.”
Deku groans unhappily, crumpling in his spot and softly thumping his head repeatedly against the tree trunk.
“Oi, Deku what the hell,” Katsuki calls, worried despite himself.
“I'm fine,” he whimpers unconvincingly.
Sighing, Katsuki slips his hand between Deku's face and the wood, shoving him none too gently away before taking the opening to flick his already red forehead.
“Kacchan! Ouch!” Deku whines. But he sits up properly so Katsuki’s satisfied.
They sit in silence for a bit, Deku rubbing his forehead in protest, Katsuki leaning back against the tree and settling himself more comfortably. The quiet isn't awful, or awkward, to Katsuki's surprise; they used to hang out, just like this, before they'd fallen out in middle school. He lets his eyes slip shut and imagines lazy afternoons with his feet in Deku's lap, alternating playlists as they snacked on Auntie’s cookies, the last of the day's sunlight painting their skin between the shadows.
Deku breaks it with a hesitant, “Kacchan?”
He grunts to show he's listening.
“I'm not dating anyone.”
He slowly opens his eyes, cursing silently at the foliage glimmering in the lamplight that looks like it's been dyed in rosy pastel hues.
“Yeah?” Katsuki manages after swallowing past the sudden lump in his throat.
“Yeah,” Deku breathes back, shy and endearing all at once.
Well then. “You up to changing that anytime soon, nerd?”
Deku cracks a little smile at that and wow, Katsuki is so, so far gone, isn't he?
Okay so I know there's a lot of unexplained stuff but I'll explain it all at some point in the future haha since I'm not supposed to put any real angst in this one and the BkDk backstory here veers dangerously close to that territory skhsksbxhdmsksjks so yeah most everything in this fic is the love story—everything else goes into the sequel. Hope y'all don't mind!
Chapter 7: Epilogue
(who let me write near 20k words for this, honestly? ugh)
Their first kiss isn't planned.
Katsuki ends up taking the nerd to the movies after all, showing up unwarned to the Heroes' studio two nights after their fight. Deku looks resigned rather than surprised. With a wry grin turning at his lips, the law student asks Katsuki to give him a second to find his coat and to make sure he gets home before nine—he’s got a schedule to follow, after all. And Katsuki, true to form, has him back at 8:45 sharp, leaving with a tingle on his own lips and a flushed, giggling Deku behind him.
It doesn't end there, though, because Katsuki isn't about to let this shit go. He drags Deku to coffeeshops, the arcade, parks in the spring, ice skating rinks when summer hits, choosing breakfast dates at his place over eating out because the nerd is absolute shit at taking care of himself; at least this way Katsuki can feed him while he crams and make him get some sleep before he eventually dies of fatigue. Midnight visits became a thing, too, Deku showing up at his door smiling weakly with a movie and takeout in hand to soften his scowl at being woken up.
But they also have a lot of work to do in between all the good shit. There’s a lot to untangle between them, misunderstandings and missed cues, things they said and things they didn’t that need to be figured out and hammered free before it’s smooth sailing again for them.
Katsuki isn’t worried. If it’s him and Deku, everything will work out just fine.
He makes sure to take care of his nerd in all the other ways that matter, too—Katsuki didn’t think he'd be using the soundproof walls of his room for anything other than blocking out the noise of the idiots he shared a house with, but Deku turns out to be more vocal than he expected. Not that he minds; Deku's begging, broken moans and inability to keep himself quiet are a balm to his ego that keeps him coming back for more.
He’s glad he remembered to take note of that handcuff joke and put it to use.
The nerd never really brings up the thing with the DJ gig and Katsuki never asks. He reckons it doesn’t really matter at this point.
So of course, of-fucking-course, Deku would go out and pull the most embarrassing bullshit ever to end the silence.
“And we're back! Shouto-kun has finally managed to calm our Ingenium down, and he's put away his credit card—” voices began booing in the background “—so I guess it's time for Sunday Funday Q and A!”
Katsuki snorts as he fills in another equation for his higher chem subject. Trust the nerd and his friends to come up with the dumbest sounding names for shit he's ever heard. He ignores the whirlwind of banter that follows, too, finishing up three of his take home exercises while surrounded by the sounds of bad flirting (Half n' Half), poorly hidden innuendos (Round Face), explicit sex jokes (Eyebag Fucker), and stern scoldings paired with a healthy abuse of the censor button (Shitty Glasses). In the middle of it all is Deku's bright laugh, gently cajoling his friends into actually answering the questions or moving on.
Katsuki's just about to start ragging on Mina for flopping face down into the table and moaning relentlessly about being unable to understand microbiology when Round Face's words catch his attention.
“Alright, now for some questions for our absolutely adorable Deku-kun!”
Katsuki shifts focus, leaving Mina be to her suffering for a little while longer.
“... I won't lie, I'm slightly terrified, Uravity-san, but I don't think I get a choice in this?”
“Damn straight you don't,” Round Face answers cheerfully. “So! First question, from Kira-chan on Twitter: Who is that blond bombshell you're always with in pictures and can I get in on some of that mancake action?”
Katsuki stiffens while Eijirou chokes on his own spit.
Deku laughs, not even having the decency to sound embarrassed. “Oh, that? He's an old friend, I guess. And, well... I suppose you'll have to take it up with him if you really want to.”
There's a tease and a challenge in that statement all in one, and Katsuki smirks, more than ready to play. Deku's friends seem to catch on as well, a few stifled laughs making their way to the mic.
“Ooohh! Interesting way of putting it, Deku-kun. Okay, how about this one: Are you single and if yes would you ever date a fan (or just fuck, I'm not picky lol)?”
“I'm actually taken,” Deku says mildly, like he's not breaking the hearts of thousands of listeners in one fell swoop. “And since my boyfriend turned out to be a really big fan of mine—that's really cute by the way, even if he'll never admit it—I guess that means the answer is technically yes?”
Suddenly, police sirens flood out of the stereo, probably someone accidentally hitting one of their sfx buttons. But judging by Round Face's fluctuating screeches and who is probably Four Eyes spluttering in the background (not to mention the annoying cackling of who is most definitely the purple fuck), it's not by accident at all.
Police sirens are about right, Katsuki thinks murderously. I'm gonna fucking kill him.
A ten-second rendition of the HBH jingle cuts the chaos short while Eijirou and Denki have to physically restrain Katsuki from marching over to the studio to give the nerd a piece of his mind.
They haven't even talked about this yet, for fuck's sake!
“And we're back! So sorry for the mess, folks, it's just that our dearest Deku seems to have developed a bad habit of not thinking before he speaks these days.” Deku squeaks in what is probably protest over Eyebag Fucker's words. “But anyway, we're getting one last question in and then we'll have to ask you to buckle up for an hour of good music before we move on to the last activity of the night: Drink or Dare, Russian Roulette.”
Katsuki settles down with a grumble once Denki starts swooning all over him upon hearing Hypnotic's voice.
“Oh, here's a great question. Thanks to the anon over on our website for sending it in! What's something you've always wanted to tell someone but have never managed to do so, for whatever reason?”
A chorus of ooh's resound before someone clears their throat.
“Always, my lovely pet.”
Deku laughs and his voice gets a little clearer. He coughs once, twice, before taking a deep enough inhale to be heard on air.
“Kacchan? I love you.”
He barely processes the cheers coming from both the radio and his own shitty friends, ears suddenly ringing with the words Deku just said on infinite loop. Half his blood has rushed to his head with the other half heading south and he's strangely dizzy but he gets up anyway only to scream furiously at the stereo.
“Y-you... SHITTY FUCKING NERD!!!”