Katsuki is an All-Might fan.
Everyone knows that.
They see the way he doesn’t shrug off the withered man’s concern and praise the way he discards everyone else’s, the way his eyes take on a certain sheen when he sees videos of All Might in his hero days. And some of them are even lucky enough to see the secret shrine of merchandise he has stashed away carefully in his dorm room.
But something that everyone might not know?
There’s another hero he likes quite a lot. A hero who he’s followed from debut, watched with starry eyes and a pounding heart. A hero who never loses, never falters, fights to win. A hero who doesn’t care for others' thoughts, doesn’t need anything or anyone but themself.
Her name is Miruko.
He watches her videos raptly from the darkness of his bedroom when no one else is awake, and wonders if one day he could be that. He watches the power-crazed grin spread across her face, the hungry glint gleam in her eye as she goes in for the kill. He watches the destruction she leaves behind, the villains left mercilessly battered, the civilians untouched and beaming. And he wants. Katsuki has never dreamed of being anything but himself, but when he watches Miruko fight, watches her win, watches her save, he feels like for once, someone might understand. The footage of her fights is a warm blanket over his shoulders. Her grin, ugly and bloodthirsty and beautiful, feels like encouragement. Encouragement that maybe, just maybe, he can be a hero as Katsuki, can rise to the top without having to change all these shitty things about himself that he doesn’t want to change.
To Katsuki, All-Might represents strength. The unwavering ability to win, to be the best. He speaks of the power that Katsuki craves daily, a vision of what Katsuki lives and breathes for, what he bleeds for. But Miruko? She’s a little more special. Because while All-Might symbolises the goal that Katsuki dreams of, Miruko is the hope that maybe his goal isn’t as futile as it feels. When he sees her, he sees himself - he sees reassurance. His admiration- no, his fixation for Miruko, stems from a deeper part of him, an ugly, pathetic part that he keeps locked away and buried from others.
So he doesn’t tell anyone. He doesn't mention it. He keeps his smaller, more precious hoard of Miruko merchandise packed away. Saves the videos for the quiet of the night. And it stays buried. Up until now, that is.
Everything has been going normally. Before class, Aizawa tells them they’ll be visited by heroes for some routine hero meeting taking place at UA. He tells them to be on their best behaviour, but all it does is serve to send the entire class into an excited chatter. At the end of the school day when half the group have already packed their shit and left, the stupid grape shithead says some characteristically horny and sexist shit about getting a feel of some female pros up close and personal. Jirou sticks her ear jacks in his ribs, earning an offended squawk, but doing little to actually deter the fucker. He goes on and on about Mt. Lady and Uwabami and it takes all of Katsuki's self-control (and a warning glance from Kirishima) to stop himself from decking the fucker in the face.
“Ehh, what if Miruko visits?” the asshole wheedles. At this, Katsuki does his best not to look like he’s paying attention (while continuing to pay very close attention in case the dickhead wants to say something of substance about Miruko). “She’s super hot, have you seen her tits?”
Never mind. Katsuki swallows down irritation and scoffs, shoving the purple-haired boy off the table expressionlessly. “Shut up.” he says flatly.
The grape kid wags his finger in Katsuki’s face. “Oi, oi, Bakugou, don't lie! C'mon, even you wouldn’t complain about getting a faceful of those big b-” Katsuki slams his foot against the other’s face with a satisfying crunch, earning a pleased whistle from Jirou, and an exasperated sigh from Kirishima.
“She’s the fucking number five hero, dipshit. She’s too busy kicking ass to give a shit about your weird fantasies. If you’re gonna be fucking annoying the least you could do is respect her enough to not be a sexist piece of shit.”
Uraraka gives him a thumbs up from across the table, looking proud. From where she’s slumped in her seat lazily, Jirou mutters, “Listen, I’m not saying I’m straight but if Bakugou asked for my hand in marriage I can’t guarantee I’d say no.”
The stupid purple pissbaby is just opening his mouth to argue again when a loud, crude snort sounds from behind them.
They all whip around to see a very familiar tan, white-haired lady that’s plagued Katsuki’s youtube history for years.
“Well aren’t you a heroic guy?” she grins, giving Katsuki an appraising look. “Ain't many kids like you around lately!”
Katsuki’s brain short-circuits.
Miruko is at his school. In front of him. Looking at him.
She stands with her hands on her hips, clad in her hero costume and looking every bit of the badass she does on video despite her short stature.
This is fine.
“Say, you’re Bakugou Katsuki, right? I saw you fight in the Sports Festival!”
Katsuki… blinks. His head is somehow simultaneously completely empty and going off with about ten different alarms at the same time. His mouth refuses to move, and he stares at her blankly. Miruko’s grin doesn’t falter, but she tilts her head a little.
“You good, kid?”
She looks confused now. Fucking great, because so is Katsuki. Confused and very fucking stressed. His consciousness has left his body. Katsuki is pretty sure he's fucking ascended. He sucks in a deep breath, and holds it until his throat aches, before he lets it out in a sharp rushed breath of “Fuck.” that has Miruko chortling.
“Name’s Miruko.” she says, sticking a hand out expectantly.
“I know.” Katsuki says dumbly, staring at her hand with unseeing eyes and wondering if this is really happening to him right now.
“Ah, guess you do, huh. Say, kid, you feeling alright?”
Her hand shifts to rest on his shoulder, and he bites back a quiet squeak at the movement.
“Oh my god.” he says under his breath. “Oh my fucking god is this happening.”
He stuffs his trembling hands into his pocket in just about the most unsubtle manner possible, and shuts his eyes. His cheeks are turning red, he can feel them starting to burn.
“Fuck.” he breathes passionately. “I’m gonna kill myself.”
Kirishima and Uraraka are giving him concerned stares from the sidelines, and Mineta is drooling over Miruko’s thighs like the loser he is. Katsuki swallows thickly.
“Kid?” she repeats again, slightly bemused. “What’s wrong?”
“I- Yes.” Katsuki says eloquently. “Hm.”
Fuckin’ nailed it.
And then Deku walks in. He drinks in the scene with wide eyes, taking in Miruko’s confusion, Kirishima and Uraraka’s concern, and Katsuki’s steadily reddening cheeks. He blinks, before a small smile comes onto his face. And fuck, Deku is the only one who knows about Katsuki’s admiration for Miruko (the fucker had somehow recognised a keychain in his dorm room drawer one day when they were studying). The smile grows into a grin.
Miruko turns to him. “Hey, there, is there a sick bay I can take your classmate to?” she asks, slightly concerned, and Deku gives her a bright smile.
“He’s fine! He’s just… ah. I guess you could say he’s a pretty big fan.”
Miruko turns to blink at Katsuki. “A fan… of me?” she asks blankly. Deku nods happily, and Katsuki glares at the floor. Her hand is still on his shoulder. Miruko’s hand is on his shoulder. She's silent for a few moments, and then she chuckles quietly.
“Aw, gee, I’m flattered!” she says finally, sounding vaguely amused. Katsuki makes a noise in the back of his throat, cheeks burning furiously. His ears are starting to turn red, too, now, and his hands tremble against his thigh uncontrollably.
“Well, kid. Your fighting at the Sports Festival was pretty damn cool.” she announces, patting his shoulder. Katsuki finally finds the strength to meet her gaze, almost dropping it immediately. “Um,” he says hoarsely. “That. Yep.”
Miruko is smirking at this point, and Deku is full-on grinning like the motherfucker he is.
“You interested in an internship, Katsuki?” the rabbit hero asks innocuously. “I don’t have an agency but I’d love to work with you independently, maybe get to know you a little.”
At this, Katsuki actually does squeak, hands flying to cover his cheeks.
“This isn’t happening.” he says faintly into his palms, wanting to sink into the floor. “What the fuck.”
“That a no?” she asks, and his head snaps up.
“That’s a hell-fucking-yes, woman, are you insane? You want me as an intern?” he demands, slightly hysterically. She grins ferally, winking at him.
“I don’t see why not. Seems like we got a lot in common.”
Katsuki stares at her, starstruck.
“I would die for you,” he says fervently. “Like, you could literally shoot me in the face and I would thank you.”
She laughs loudly at this, leaning forward to rest her hands on her knees.
“You’re a fun kid.” she says between chuckles. Katsuki stares at her blankly, because did she think he was joking?
“Hey,” she says finally, leaning in to stage-whisper conspiratorially. “Between you and me, your straight-up willingness to kill your opponents? I like it. Badass as hell.”
And then she leans back ruffling his hair one more time.
“Nice meeting ya, Katsuki-kun. I’ll be contacting your teacher about that internship, yeah?”
And with a wink, she turns on her heel and marches out of the room, humming happily.
The second the door clicks shut behind her, Katsuki’s knees are buckling beneath him, sending him crumpling to the floor.
“Oh.” he breathes quietly. He slumps against the leg of the table, staring at the floor blankly.
Deku hunkers down to pat him on the shoulder placatingly, and Katsuki feels tears prick at the corners of his eyes. “Deku,” he says cautiously. Deku’s eyes snap to his face and his expression shifts to one of understanding, knowing exactly what's happening almost instantly. “Don’t cry, Kacchan.” he says gently, and Katsuki sucks in a shaky breath. “‘m gonna.” he replies hoarsely, aggressively attempting to blink it away. The green-haired boy sighs with a fond smile. “You’re fine, Kacchan. It's okay.”
“Fuck.” Katsuki says as a traitorous tear rolls down his cheek. “What the fuck.”
He sniffles, burying his face in his knees. Deku rubs his back soothingly.
“Is… is he okay?” Katsuki hears Kirishima ask alarmedly.
“He’s fine.” Deku replies easily. “He did the same thing the first time he met All Might.”
Katsuki tries to muffle a hiccup into the fabric of his steadily dampening pants before taking in a deep, shuddering breath.
He raises his head again, already knowing his eyes are swollen and his cheeks are fucking ruddy like they always are when he fucking cries.
“I’m fine.” he says hoarsely, voice cracking halfway through the word. “Don’t I look fine?”
Kirishima and Uraraka stare at him in mild alarm. “No.” Uraraka replies finally. “You look like you’re having a meltdown.”
Katsuki thinks about this for a moment, before sniffling again. “Huh.” he says simply. “I guess I am.”
Then he turns to Deku. “She said we had a lot in common.” he says weakly. Deku nods, smiling softly. “Yeah, I heard, Kacchan.”
A lump builds in Katsuki’s throat again.
“Fuck.” he mutters hollowly as another fresh wave of tears roll down his cheeks. “I fucking hate crying.”
When the offer of internship comes to Katsuki in the form of a letter a week later, Katsuki locks himself in his room for the entire day. And if he emerges afterwards with glassy eyes and red cheeks, his classmates don't say a word.