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Eijirou grunted with a final twist of the wrench, patting the body of the A7M as he stepped away. “I replaced the panel.”

“Fucking finally.” Katsuki rolled his eyes as he ground the polishing rag into a crevice on the exhaust pipes. “Now we just have to finish all the rest of this shit.”

“How long does all this normally take?” Eijirou moved to sit beside the blond, grabbing up a ramune from the ice chest, ruffling Aki’s neck.

“On average it takes about two months or 50,000 hours.” Katsuki didn’t look up when Eijirou gasped, wrench falling to the ground. “It’s a two person job, this is typical. The museum gave us to the end of summer. We’ll have it done way before then. I was stressing about it earlier but now with y-” Realizing what he was saying Katsuki stopped himself, head jerking up to see if Eijirou caught what he was saying but the man didn’t show any signs of catching on. “Anyway. Now that we’ve got the panel replaced and most of the interior is wired right we just need to worry about-”

“Nah.” Eijirou smacked his lips, grinning wide, lips hitched higher on one side. “You’re fine man. Don’t worry about anything. It’ll get done.” Thick arms reached over to grab the rag from Katsuki’s grasp. “Let’s go fishing.”

“Fishing.” Katsuki glared. “Did you not hear me earlier? Fifty. Thousand. Hours.”

Eijirou stood, stretched. “Ah, I heard. But I’m bored. Besides, we put in about three weeks?"

Katsuki snorted. "No, less if you count you getting here after 3:30. Plus your three day mini-vacation, me getting wasted and recovering the other day-"

Eijirou winced, covering Katsuki’s ticking fingers with a hand. "Ah… If fishing isn’t your thing how about swimming? Uh… we could go to the local bar but they really don’t have much going on aside from pool and darts. Denki is at a doctors appointment and he really makes the games fun-”

“Flying.” Katsuki stood slow.

“W-what?” Eijirou’s eyes went wide. “Flying?”

The blond slouched forward to meet Eijirou’s gaze, glaring up into hooded red eyes. “Are you scared?”

“Fuckin yes.” The big man stood, backing away as he looked anywhere but at Katsuki. “I’m terrified. I hate heights.”

“What?” Katsuki reared back, frown deepening. “Really? But you-”

“I only took the class for credits. I never planned to fly in a plane.”

“How did you travel over here? Back and forth to America? Denki said you guys have a ferris wheel-” He was standing now, encroaching on Eijirou, backing him closer to Ground Zero. "You said next week that we would-"

Eijirou rubbed a hand over his face as he stepped away; body jumping, hands moving over his face, hair, arms, tangling in his shirt. “I mean that’s like, a reasonable height.” Eyes roamed over the flat expanse of the airstrip wildly, his face began to glisten with sweat as he turned pink. “A plane is thousands of feet in the air. Completely different. It’s completely different!” Arms flailed up in exasperation. “How do you know-” His voice jumped up in pitch as his back pressed against the plane. A quick glance and his face blanched. “I-I-It’s like the difference between a-a single scoop ice cream cone and a large size milk shake.”

“You’re talking too fast.” Katsuki snorted, stopping a respectable distance away, legs planted solidly, arms crossed. “You’ll fly with me one day.”

“I will not!” Eijirou watched as Mina approached, whole body screaming ‘help me’! “You’re psychotic. I’ve heard the stories of your flying style.”

“I have a perfect flight record, you dick.” Katsuki bristled, offended. “I’ve got the best flight record out of my class, I broke every fucking record in my flight bracket.” Gazes clashed as he approached again, not in a taunting way this time. “There’s no fucking way a chicken dick, limp noodle piss ant like you is going to tell me that I’m not safe in the sky-”

“Alright boys.” Mina’s voice reverberated through the hangar, dogs leaping to their feet and yapping merrily as she tossed down the slices of jerky for them. “Pissing contest is over, back away from my cousin, Sunshine.”

Katsuki inhaled violently, withdrawing his finger from where it had been shoved into Eijirou’s chest backpedaling like he was in danger of being burned. When did I get that close?

Chest heaving he felt it again, that nauseating nervousness. Eye flickered up to Eijirous face and down to his chest and then to his neck where he could just make out the throb of his pulse if he focused on the edge of his throat… Katsuki’s stomach clenched, his head felt like it was reeling as his nerves raced under his skin. The breeze was making his skin hurt.

“Man.” Eijirou was still pink, but a more normal shade that only dusted his cheeks and ears now. “I’m sorry, Kat. I shouldn’t have freaked out like that-”

“Don’t fucking call me that!” Katsuki snapped, slapping the hand away that was stretched out to him. “You’re such a goddamn parasite you know that? What the fuck is wrong with you? Why do you cling to everyone that pretends to like you?”

Eyes widened as he pulled his hand to his side, fist clenched. “P-pretends-?”

Katsuki didn’t miss the way Eijirou looked up at Mina, or the way she just shook her head. Just barely.

“I saw that you fucking freak.” He snapped, turning on her. “That fuck is-”

“No.” Eijirou moved swiftly, faster than Katsuki thought possible. “No, you can talk to me like that. Not to her. Not to anyone else.”

“E-Ei.” Purple tipped neon blue nails clung to his bicep. “Ei, it’s fine, he's just… like this sometimes.”

“It’s not fine.” His voice rumbled like thunder; Katsuki felt it through his legs and God it made him… feel something. Feel something worse, stronger. He wanted to puke. Maybe it was just the lingering effects from the alcohol the other day. He wanted to scream. Fire ignited in his blood and he needed to… to put it out, extinguish it.

What is this?! Wild eyes moved back to Eijirou, but didn’t see him, couldn’t see him.

“I get you’ve got your shit man.” Arms crossed, flexed.

Fuck. Fists clenched tight, Katsuki focused on the pain of his nails digging into his palms. Tighter. Tighter.

“But you don’t get to just abuse people-”

Katsuki’s head snapped up at that word. “I do not-”

“Yeah.” Eijirou chuckled, but it was obvious there was nothing funny in the situation. “You do. What do you think this is? Verbally cutting people down, lashing out physically? That’s… I mean, it’s abuse.” A hand untangled and pressed against the chest Katsuki had been poking into with bruising force just a minute ago. “I’d know, Kat.”

Again their gazes met, again the nausea welled. The depth of what was admitted, of what was accused. Dread crashed in on Katsuki with a force he’d only ever felt in his dreams. A terror he thought he’d left behind once he graduated high school.

Ground Zero. Ground Zero. Chanted in cruel, cold child voices. The sound of the train horn crashed on him as goosebumps flooded his skin painfully making his clothes ache where they clung. Katsuki couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t see. The world was underwater and he was spinning; weightless. Too heavy. He couldn’t move.

‘Join me.’

No. His chest rose faster as spots flooded his vision, hands moved to his hair. Not here, not where they can see. No, no. No.

His chest heaved, bile burned the back of his throat. “Oh fuck.” His eyes burned, his nose too. “Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.” He gasped, crouched. “No.”

Ground Zero, Ground Zero, Ground Zero.

“Hey.” Warmth grabbed him as his legs gave out, as his vision went black and his body fell to meet the ground. Strong hands caught him, lowered him to the cement of the hangar. “Hey, you’re okay. Mina, could you-?”

"Yeah." The voice drifted, moved away. "Yeah, of course, sure."

"Dude, just breathe." Hands moved in soft circles along his arms, pulling Katsuki closer.

Katsuki’s stomach rioted, lunch poured out half digested, curry and rice in clumps pattering embarrassingly on the asphalt.

“F-fuck.” Katsuki wiped at his mouth, his eyes, his nose. Hand wiped on shirt, a different set helped peel the soiled garment off; tossing it as far away as possible.

“You’re alright, you’re okay.” A massive hand rubbed at his back, skin over skin, Eijirou’s voice stayed low and steady.

Ground Zero, Ground Zero, Ground Zero.

Stop. Katsuki’s arms shook as he pushed himself up to his feet, fell back down to his knees painfully. Eijirou grabbed him and pulled him in. The heat was smothering, comforting. He was falling into it before he realized what he was doing.

“Stop.” Katsuki snapped, pulling away as awareness dawned. “Get away from me. It’s your fucking fault! Don’t look at me.” He curled into himself, yanking out of Eijirou’s grasp, forehead to knees, feet tucked tight against his ass, back craned so hard it ached, but God he didn’t want to be seen. He couldn’t be seen.

“Don’t look at me.” It was stuck in his head now. His mantra. “Don’t look at me, don’t look at me don’t look at me-”

He could feel hesitant, large hands pressed onto his shoulders. It hurt, fuck it hurt.

“Don’t FUCKING TOUCH ME!” He screamed.

Immediately the sensation left and he felt ripped apart, he was ripping apart. And then the sobbing started because fuck why was he so broken? Why did he have to be a plate? Why couldn’t he just be a human?

“I’m going to hug you.” Eijirou’s voice was deep, rumbling soft.

“No!” Katsuki moaned, the words breaking out of his mouth muffled by his jeans. “Don’t-” Sobbing, sobbing, crying. “Don’t touch me, don’t touch me. Fucking don’t fucking touch me-”

Warmth surrounded him and it hurt, but it helped. He struggled, he had to struggle. Katsuki didn’t know why he had to fight, but fuck he had to.

“Get the fuck off me!” Hands pushed at thick biceps that tightened and molded to immovable rock in response.

Eijirou nuzzled down tighter, arms squeezing harder, “No.”

“Get…” Katsuki’s hand landed on an arm, rested there. “Get off me you fucker.”

“There you go. You don't have to fight me. I know.” Eijirou’s hand moved up and down his spine slow. “I know, I know.” Hands caressed up and down bare skin as Katsuki struggled, cried. “There you go. I’m sorry man. I didn’t mean to… I didn’t mean to set you off, Katsuki.” His other hand moved to the back of his head, holding Katsuki's forehead to his shoulder as he rocked slow. “I’m sorry.”

Katsuki breathed erratic, head hot, eyes swollen, face tender. Body encompassed as they moved together, leeching the comfort, the support. The chanting in his head died away. The knots untied. The burning under his skin faded.

“I’m abusive.” He admitted, tears pricking at his eyes. “I’m-” leaking out hot, just a tear or two. “I don’t want to be.”

“I know.” Eijirou pressed his lips to a temple, hot and wet. “I know, Kat, I know.” He spoke between lips still pressed against the other man's skin, touching as much of Katsuki as possible.

“I don’t want to.” Katsuki buried his face, sweaty and too warm further into the cloth and wet and skin of Eijirou, breathing shaky. Fingers and arms untangled from the womb of Eijirou’s embrace to wrap around his friend, tangling in his shirt, clinging. “It’s just you.” Katsuki struggled to get the words out, to be honest, to confess something about the complication that burned at his chest and exploded in his blood. “You make me uneasy. I’m so broken. I’m so-” A sob wrenched out of him, hands clinging as he buried himself in Eijirou.

Eijirou laughed weakly, sniffled, the rumble of it vibrating in Katsuki’s body. “No, Kat. No you’re not.” Another kiss. Another. “You’ve never been broken.” Words dripped out of lips that pressed against him. “You’re so strong.” Chaste, sweet pecks moved near an eye and Katsuki shifted his face to accommodate. “You’re the most resilient man I’ve ever met.” All safe.

As passionless as the ones with Mina were, but desperately apologetic. Katsuki lay against Eijirou, hands relaxing their grip till they fell against his back, tangling in his waistband. Slowly he realized he wished Eijirou’s kisses were more.

He wanted more. Tears burned in his sinuses because fuck.

Fuck. Who would want him. And the thought was so much more painful than the ones before, because he could just lean back a little, turn his head a little, and those sweet, safe, comforting kisses could be so much more… And Eijirou would hate me for it.

Katsuki closed his eyes, turning away from Eijirou’s lips, from worried, tearful eyes, tear streaked cheeks that matched his own. From temptation he hadn’t had to face before, that he didn’t understand. That he could explain away later.

A deep, shuddering breath.

"Ei… I'm-I’m tired." The words were spoken with hesitancy.

"I know." Eijirou nodded, cradling Katsuki. Hands fisting along his back, fingers tracing slow, lazy circles that made the blond ache. "Being vulnerable is exhausting.” A hand left the blondes back to wipe at his own cheeks, hand tangling in ashy hair, smoothing down, playing in the soft fine hair at the back of his ears and nape of his neck. “I bet you're never vulnerable."

A dry laugh. "I try not to be." Katsuki swallowed a yawn.

"Do you need to go home?" Eijirou stopped rocking, hands just as firm despite being still.

"I-" don't want you to stop holding me. The blond frowned, blinking. His eyes felt grainy and swollen. Anxiously Katsuki pressed his thumbnail into the bloated pads of his fingers in a pattern, looking at the effect over Eijirou’s shoulder, pressing his own lips against the exposed skin there in a hidden kiss. "My head hurts."

"I bet it does.” The idiot snorted. “C’mon, I'll drive you." Eijirou stood with Katsuki still in his arms, making the smaller man yelp and cling to him. “Oh, did I scare you?”

"Tell anyone," Katsuki threatened, ignoring the way Eijirou’s breath skirting over the spot between his neck and shoulder gave him goosebumps, "and I'll kill you."

"I wouldn't do that." Eijirou promised as they approached Katsuki's truck, carefully opening the door and setting him in like he was a fragile package. "I'll clean up the mess from work and take you home, okay?"

"The fuck." Katsuki shrugged, fingers slowly falling from where they were still tangled in Eijirou’s shorts.

Watching him walk away through heavy eyes. The ache at his absence, too tired to follow. Watching Eijirou picking up the tools, move the parts around. Mina walk up, glance towards the car. Katsuki blinked slowly. Observing Eijirou talk with Mina as he worked, arms jerking, mouth moving quickly. He blinked again.

Ten minutes later, when Eijirou climbed into the drivers side, Katsuki was asleep.