“You should smile and have fun, for once,” Katsuki Bakugou mimics his vampire friend, Shouto Todoroki, in mock, baring his short but sharp teeth, making a face as he stomps through the woods, “Jerk. Parties are boring,” Twigs snap under his foot and his fluffy, pointed ears twitch, “Hunting is wayyyy more fun.” His fuzzy tail wags at the idea.
The young werewolf is alone inside a vast forest. Katsuki can easily get lost, but he’s a clever wolf; he’s leaving a trail of breadcrumbs from the cupcake in his palm as he walks. It was ugly and it tastes horrible anyways.
“Half-n’-Half has shitty tastes,” He mumbles as he continues to nip-pick the small cake, image of Shouto’s mismatches eyes and pale features in his mind, “That’s why his da’ kicked him out.”
Only lame Deku was eating them, but Katsuki knows it’s only out of pity.
“And shitty Deku is too mushy and sappy,” He adds, lips curling at the thought of that ghost and his big, glowing green eyes and the shower of freckles on his cheeks, “That’s why nobody likes him. He’s useless too, to boot.”
Katsuki almost collides against a tree, lost in his thoughts and musings.
“I hate them. I dunno why they follow me around all the frickin’ time,” He pouts and grumbles, “Don’t they get I dun’ wanna hang with lame losers like them?”
He asks them everyday, really, but he gets the same response all the time.
“‘C─cuz Kacchan, you’re so cool!” Deku stutters and his ghostly voice echoes, “You’re amazing at everything you do!” Then his glowing eyes flicker, arms falling loosely at his side, “I wish I could do all the stuff you do…”
Todoroki shrugs, “I’m just following Izuku.”
Then they get into a fight because Katsuki thinks the vampire is insulting him, a fight which Izuku fails to stop until he starts crying.
Katsuki wonders if Izuku is crying right now because of his absence. He wonders if Shouto is dejected because he left. He wonders if they’re both worried about him and are looking for him.
Not that they have anything to worry about, in the first place. Katsuki is a strong werewolf, after all. He can take care of himself.
“Meh, whatever,” Katsuki shrugs, “I’m gunna hunt. I don’t care about ‘em.”
He keeps walking. Eventually, the cupcake shrinks out until there’s a mash of frosting on his palm. The wolf licks it clean and hums. Sweet.
“Huh. That wasn’t so bad.”
Briefly, he thinks about going back for more but a soft click drifts his mind away from the idea. In the distance, a bunny tugs the leaves of a carrot, clucking angrily as it struggles. Katsuki’s stomach grumbles and it scares the critter, prompting it to go into a speedy run, but Katsuki is faster. He crouches on all four and sprints. The chain around his neck, a surly reminder of his past captivity, clinks, announcing his approach. The bunny screeches and kicks in more speed, but it’s too late. Katsuki lunges forward with a snarl, claws and teeth bared to trap and bite hard around his prey’s neck and tackle it to the muddy ground.
Clay filters into his mouth. Katsuki unfurls his tongue and wipes it off before biting into his victim’s fresh meat.
The bunny was the first in a long line of victims. Thoroughly fed and full, Katsuki leans against a tree to rest. His head sways and his eyelids flutter before shutting off completely, pulled into a pleasant dream and lured into sleep by the cool breeze and the singing birds.
When he wakes up, aroused by the hoots of owls, the eerie whistling of the wind, and snapping twigs, Katsuki is met with an enveloping darkness, daunting and seamless, and a profound gasp tears from his throat.
“I… ‘m not scared,” He stammers and stands on wobbly legs, “I’m not scared of anything.”
He walks, head hung as his eyes search for the trail, repeating the same words in his head over and over, but he couldn’t find it.
The trail is gone.
“It’s nothing,” He tells himself above the growing beating of his heart, “I can find my way back.”
Katsuki pushes his chest out and straightens up, puffing through his nose, but a distant snap breaks his composure. He hunches, teeth biting his trembling lips as he holds his shaking hands against his pounding chest.
“Who… who’s there?” He stutters, teeth clattering, “I… ‘m not afraid of you!”
Something whizzes from bush to bush in front of him and the young werewolf reels, stumbling over a protruding root and plummeting on his rear. A wolf howls and growls and golden eyes glare at him from the cloud of shadows surrounding him. Katsuki screams and runs as fast and far as his short legs can take him. He searches in stricken panic for the trail, but there isn’t a single piece of bread on the ground.
He runs for long minutes until his legs and lungs give, until he falls over breathlessly and scurries against a tree to hug his quaking body. His eyes close, his ear droop. He doesn’t want to see or hear the encroaching menace, the darkness that swallows him nor the erratic beating of his heart, thudding sharply against his chest. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t move. There’s nothing he could do.
He whimpers, thinking about his two friends that were always by his side and how he misses them greatly at that moment.
Just when he thinks he will breathe his last, a familiar chill protects him.
“Ka…,” A familiar echo. Katsuki lifts one ear, “Kacchan!”
“Katsuki!” A second familiar voice, smooth and cold, “Where are you?”
The werewolf parts his quivering lips to gasp dryly, “H.... here…”
“I hear him. Follow me.”
“Kacchan, we’re coming!”
Katsuki waits, stout joints unknotting at intensifying cold.
“We found you, Kacchan!” Izuku weeps, small fists rubbing at his eyes, “We were so worried!”
“Katsuki, open your eyes. It’s safe.”
Shouto’s smooth voice and Izuku’s sniffing soothe Katsuki, shaking dwindling to nothing but a buzz. He blinks, lids heavy with unshed tears. The sight of his friends, of Izuku’s ghostly glow and Shouto’s gracefulness, gives him the strength to stand up.
“What happened, Kacchan?” Izuku sniffs, “Why are you crying?”
“‘M not,” Katsuki pouts, running an arm over his face, “‘Cuz ‘m not like you.”
“You got lost.” Shouto deadpans.
“I─ I didn’t…!”
“It’s okay now, Kacchan!” Izuku beams and floats in triumph, “‘Cuz we’re here!”
“Lame.” Katsuki snorts.
“Let’s go back. I know the way. Follow me.”
Katsuki shoulders past the vampire with a huff, “I know the way too. Follow me , nerds.”
“If you did, we wouldn’t even be here.”
Katsuki sputters, heat spreading to his ears in chagrin.
“It’s okay, Kacchan. I get lost all the time!”
“That’s because you’re stupid.” Katsuki mumbles, but the ghost manages to bring a short smile to his lips. Deku always cheers him up.
They march to return back to the party, but faced with the swarming gloom before them, the deadly silence and depth, Katsuki’s legs halt. The shaking begins again and he couldn’t control it.
“Katsuki, what’s wrong?” Shouto asks, looking over his shoulder at the pale face of the wolf and his red eyes stretched, staring in fright at nothing in particular. A boy so feral and steadfast with the blood of the wolves running through his veins, vulnerable against the mouth of the wolf. Something so mundane like the dark, home of vampires and werewolves alike. It makes Shouto curious if he has a weakness too.
“Kacchan,” Izuku floats into Katsuki’s periphery, veering his attention from the darkness to his pretty eyes and the stars on his cheeks. Katsuki finds comfort in counting and connecting the dots, “Are you… scared of the dark?”
Katsuki bites his lips, shuts his brimful eyes, and shakes his head in denial.
“Kacchan,” The werewolf feels a thrilling cold seeping through his fingers, coercing him to open his eyes again. He looks down and sees Izuku’s ethereal fingers coiled between his sharp digits, “I’m afraid of the dark too, but with you and Shou… I can do anything.”
Katsuki takes a deep breath, filling his lungs with strength and resolve. Shouto offers his pale palm.
“Take my hand,” He says with a smile, “Let’s get out of here. Together.”
Katsuki swallows and nods, taking Shouto’s hand. They squeeze each other before marching, facing the dense darkness ahead of them. With Shouto’s vampiric eyes able to see in the dark, with Izuku’s glow lighting up their path, and Katsuki’s enhanced smelling and hearing for threats, the three young boys return to the light; their foster home.