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Katsuki first met Deku when they were four. It was during a villain attack. 

(Well, not quite, but he’d figure that out later.)

Before the villain attack—and the meeting that happened during it—Katsuki had been playing heroes and villains in the park with a few other kids. His dad was somewhere nearby, though out of sight at the time. Not that little Katsuki cared; he’d always been a smart, independent child, and his parents had always been content to allow him to be.

Deku was probably somewhere nearby too, looking back on it, since he’d also been visiting the park that day with his moms. He’d probably been looking at the flowers or something equally Deku-ish like that instead of playing with the other kids. Not that Deku had been shy as a kid or anything, probably the opposite, but he’d always had a habit of getting distracted by things like that.

And then, right when Katsuki and his small band of heroes were preparing to deal the final blow to the evil villains, the real villain appeared. 

No, not a villain, he remembered thinking, as the thing tore through the playground, a monster. It in no way resembled a human form, or anything Katsuki could identify as quirk-related. If anything, it looked sort of like a really big, really angry mutated centipede. 

Everyone scattered, Katsuki included. “Dad!” He shouted as he ran, “DAD!” A lot of good that did. His voice was drowned in the shrill collective of screaming. Behind him, the monster let out an ear-splitting shriek and scurried after the fleeing people. Toxic green globs of acid—it had to be acid, nothing could eat through pavement and metal monkey bars like that—were flung about with wild abandon, and on a chancy glance back Katsuki realized it was coming from the creature’s mouth. 

He had to get away. He had to find his dad. He had to find a hero so they could beat the monster up and save everyone. He had to—

He collided bodily with a very solid, person-shaped form, falling back on his butt with a startled wheeze. The person he’d run into—a big lady with weird colored skin and rainbow hair—blinked down at him and said, “Oh, whoops. Sorry kid.”

Unlike literally everyone else around them, the lady didn’t seem panicked at all. In fact, she seemed very casual, as if this was just another regular old day at the park. Katsuki gaped at her, bewildered.

“What’re you doing?” He found himself saying. “We gotta run! And get a hero!”

Not that Katsuki was afraid or anything. No way! But he wasn’t dumb either and knew that if there was a monster wreaking havoc nearby, he should probably get away from it. At least until he was big and strong like All Might and could fight monsters on his own. Yeah.

The lady grinned down at him, completely unconcerned. “Nah, don’t sweat it kid. My friends and I are taking care of it. See?” She helped Katsuki up and pointed back towards the monster. 

Katsuki turned back uneasily, ready to start running again, only for his expression to lighten with awe. Three other ladies were fighting the monster, just like the rainbow haired lady had said. Katsuki didn’t recognize any of them as any heroes he knew, but they definitely fought like heroes. One yanked the monster back with a whip, while another punched the monster in the face before it could hurl anymore acid. A third leapt gracefully into the air, delivering blows to the monster’s back with a fancy looking spear. 

“Whoa…” He said. This was the closest he’d ever been to any sort of villain fight. They were definitely cooler in person.

“Aren’t they awesome?” A young voice chimed in, snapping Katsuki out of his staring. He glanced back and found a previously unnoticed green-haired boy peering around the rainbow lady’s legs. He looked about Katsuki’s age, and was dressed in shorts, bright red sneakers and a too-big shirt. Just like the rainbow-haired lady, he seemed completely unbothered by the monster and their somewhat close proximity to it, though in less of a casual way and more of a fascinated way. 

“Yeah,” Katsuki agreed, because they were. “Who are they?”

“My moms.”

Katsuki nodded. And then re-processed that statement. “All three of them?” He wondered. Could someone have three moms?

The boy pouted. “Four.” He said, tugging on the rainbow lady’s hand. “Bismuth’s my mom too.”

Bismuth grinned and affectionally ruffled the boy’s hair. The boy beamed.

“Oh.” Katsuki decided to accept that at face value and move on. There were much more interesting things to wonder about, after all. “Why aren’t you fighting too?” He asked, looking skeptically up at Bismuth.

“Well someone’s gotta watch the beansprout here.” Bismuth said. The green-haired boy pouted, but didn’t object. “And, uh, you too now I guess. What’s your name, kid?”

Katsuki puffed up at the question. “Bakugou Katsuki!” He told her. “And I don’t need to be watched. I’m gonna be a hero someday!”

Bismuth raised an eyebrow, looking somewhat amused. “Is that so?”

Meanwhile, the green-haired boy’s face lit up. “Oh! That’s so cool! I wanna be a hero too!” He offered Katsuki a hand and a blinding grin. “I’m Izuku!” When Katsuki didn’t shake it right away, too busy considering the boy and if he was really gonna be a hero—a lot of kids just said stuff like that without meaning it like Katsuki did—Izuku added, a little doubtfully. “You’re supposed to shake it.” Izuku glanced up at Bismuth. “Right?”

Which was weird. It was like he wasn’t completely sure himself. Katsuki decided to take pity on him and shook his hand. “Right.” He said. “Whose your favorite hero?”

The unfiltered joy was back. “All Might! He’s the coolest!”

Now that Katsuki could get on board with. He’d soon completely forgotten about the monster, unintentionally becoming one of the few “crazy” people standing a little too close to a rampaging monster with seemingly zero concern. Looking back on it, even then it wasn’t hard to feel safe around one of Deku’s moms. They were a lot like professional heroes that way, radiating a sort of calm, protective aura.

Before anyone knew it, the fight had ended. Katsuki glanced back at the sudden lack of screeching, and was confused to find that the monster had vanished. But how could that be? It’d been huge!

Izuku’s moms were unconcerned though. So one of them probably took care of it somehow, or at least knew where it went? (It would only be later, after a full immersion into “gem stuff,” that he’d realize the “monster” in question that day had been poofed, bubbled and sent back to the temple.)

“Pearl! Amethyst! Garnet!” Izuku cheered as the three other ladies approached their little group. He jumped at the tallest one—Garnet, Katsuki was pretty sure—and she caught him with a small smile. “You guys were awesome!”

The purple one—Amethyst—preened. “Yeah, I know.”

“I’m sorry, Izuku, but we’re going to have to cut this trip short.” The last one, Pearl, apologized, placing a hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “That corruption probably attracted a little too much attention.”

“Aw, but I made a friend!” And at that, Izuku squirmed out of Garnet’s hold and hurried back to Katsuki, pulling him forward and showing him off to his moms like some kind of newly acquired pet. “This is Kacchan!”

“Katsuki.” Katsuki corrected, tugging his arm out of Izuku’s grip. And because his own mom had been bugging him about having better manners lately, he added a grudging, “Nice to meet you.”

Pearl considered him, unsure. “You… too?”

“Sup, little dude.” Amethyst acknowledged.

“Nice to meet you too.” Even with the visor in the way, Katsuki got a strong sense that Garnet’s gaze was unusually piercing. As if she was looking at him and seeing more than what was right there in front of her. It was a little disconcerting. “Sorry to interrupt your fun. Izuku seems to like you.”

Katsuki shrugged, unbothered. He had just met Izuku, so it wasn’t like he was invested in any sort of friendship or anything, even if the boy and his family were admittedly interesting. Now that he thought about it, he really should go and find his dad anyway, he was probably worried…

Except, unlike him, Izuku was bothered—thankfully for their future friendship. The green-haired boy seemed to think frantically for a moment, before his face lit up with realization. He tugged imploringly at Katsuki’s hand and said, “We come to the park on… on…” He glanced up at Pearl.

“Wednesdays and Fridays.” Pearl filled in.

“Yeah!” Izuku agreed, eyes hopeful as he turned back to Katsuki. “Will you come again then so we can play?”

Katsuki mulled it over. It wasn’t like there was any reason not to, so, “Yeah. I guess.”

With the way Izuku lit up, you’d have thought Katsuki had offered to give him free ice cream for a year or something. Before the boy could even attempt to express his sheer happiness though, Pearl was ushering him and the others along. “Yes, yes, wonderful, we’ll see you then, time to go!”

“O-oh, okay. Bye Kacchan!” Izuku waved as they left.

Katsuki nodded and waved back. As Garnet passed him, she pointed and said, “Keep walking that way and you’ll run into your dad. See you later.”

And then they were gone.

The police and a couple pro heroes showed up shortly after. Instead of going straight to them like he usually might have, he decided to take Garnet’s advice—she seemed to know what she was talking about—and head in the direction she’d advised. It only took a few minutes for his dad to stumble upon him, and Katsuki decided then and there that Garnet’s quirk was probably something like mind reading or seeing the future. It made sense.

(To be fair, he’d been sort of right: Deku’s square mom could see the future. It just didn’t have anything to do with a quirk.)

Katsuki did end up meeting up with Izuku—soon to be re-dubbed Deku, because it was only fair, since Deku insisted on calling him Kacchan—again about a week or two later, when the playground was reopened. 

Compared to their original meeting, this interaction was considerably more normal. They talked about All Might, and played hide and seek and tag with some other kids, and other typical four year old stuff like that. Garnet lounged on one of the benches nearby, always wearing that same knowing look whenever their gazes happened to meet. (Yeah, she definitely had some kind of future vision, Katsuki was sure of it.) Deku’s other moms were elsewhere that day. 

The next park meet-up was the following Friday, with Pearl, who Katsuki quickly learned had a tendency to hover. Then another meet-up with Amethyst and Pearl. (He and Amethyst and Izuku all raced to see who could climb a tree the fastest and Pearl about nearly had a heart attack when Deku almost fell.) And then another couple after that supervised by Bismuth. He’d decided Bismuth was his favorite. She didn’t treat him like a baby and told him awesome fight stories and sometimes brought really cool weapons with her.

And so the days passed. He and Deku grew pretty close pretty fast, despite only ever seeing each other during Deku’s park visits. He wished Deku went to the same school as him, so they could hang out more. He was so much smarter and more interesting than the usual extras that clung to him. He told Deku as much, and Deku got all wistful and said he wished he could go to school too.

“Do you go at all?” Katsuki asked, puzzled by how the answer implied otherwise.

Deku shook his head. “The Gems teach me lots of stuff though! Pearl says I’m…” Deku took a moment searching for the word. “Homeschooled.”

Katsuki scrunched up his nose. “That sounds dumb.”

Deku pouted. “No it’s not.”

“But you just said you wanna go to school.” 

“Well, yeah…” Deku said, his frown deepening. “Just so I can make friends. I don’t really have any, ‘cept for the Gems.” 

Katsuki took great offense to that. He scowled irritably at Deku and gave him a rough shove. A hurt expression flashed across Deku’s face, at least until Katsuki said, “Stupid! I’m your friend, you dumb Deku! Your best friend! Got it?”

Deku stared at him, and then his eyes started getting all watery, and before Katsuki knew it he was caught in a hug. He rolled his eyes, grumbling irritably about Deku getting his sad all over his new All Might t-shirt, but didn’t push Deku off for a good minute despite his complaints. 

“Best friends.” Deku agreed with a sniff. 

A few more park meet-ups later, and one of Deku’s moms and Katsuki’s parents met properly for the first time. Katsuki couldn’t remember which of Deku’s moms it’d been, since he and Deku had been too busy hunting for bugs to notice the interaction. What he did know was that his mom brought Deku up on the car-ride home.

“So you finally made a friend, brat?” She said, with a knowing smile. 

Katsuki huffed and didn’t respond.

His mom’s smile widened. “You should invite him over sometime! We can have a movie night or something, yeah?” 

Katsuki shrugged. “Yeah, whatever I guess.” He grumbled.

Garnet and Pearl dropped Deku off at Katsuki’s house for a sleepover the next week.