The smell of salt is strong in the air, helped along by the soft wind. Sand crunches under Katsuki's feet as he walks to where Deku is sitting. It's a slightly humid night and there aren't any other people on the beach front.
"Kacchan," Deku greets him cheerfully.
"You're gonna get sand in your pants, idiot."
"Wouldn't be the first time! C'mon, sit, unless your pants are really that important."
Katsuki grimaces, but sits. The sand already feels gritty on his bare calves and he can’t wait to be showering for weeks until it’s gone, but the stupid nerd seems completely unaffected.
"Why the fuck did you want me to come out here?"
"Do you remember what this beach used to look like?"
Katsuki blinks at the non-sequitur. It's been a good few years since he saw Dagobah Beach, but he does vaguely remember.
"It was a dump, yeah? The city finally grow a pair and convince someone to clean the shit?"
"No," Deku says, a small secretive smile on his face, "I did."
"What? When the hell you'd have time for that?"
Deku trains and works just as much as he does, there's absolutely no way he's had time to do all this damn work.
The other hunches over, tightening the grip he has on his knees.
"When I first trained with All Might, before I got One For All."
Katsuki had known, intellectually, that Deku had done training for UA and for his quirk. What he had expected was probably more along the lines of a private gym and not...this...
"Didn't this place have appliances and shit? I'm pretty sure I remember a car."
"Yep! It did! I saved the heaviest stuff for the end, of course!"
The thought of tiny middle school Deku lifting refrigerators and hauling around cars should be laughable. Looking at him now, with what he's done since, it's obvious in hindsight that he would've absolutely done crazy shit like that.
"Damn. How much can you lift now?"
"More than you!"
"I sincerely fucking doubt it."
"Mmm, you can but you'd be wrong!"
The troubling thing is, that Katsuki isn't actually sure that he wouldn't win. Fucking Deku. Time to change the subject.
"Sounds like this shit was rough."
"Totally! It was ten months of absolute hell. But it was worth it."
"Got a stupid powerful quirk and a dad too."
" Kacchan! All Might does not act like my dad!"
The blond sends his companion a dubious look.
"You're so fucking dumb sometimes."
Deku shoves him, the menace, so he shoves him back.
"Kacchan," Deku shakes his head, a smile playing on his lips, "It's not just about being strong enough for my quirk, even though that was the purpose. People come here now. They have fun. It's a better place. It...feels good to have had a part in that."
Of course, Deku would be soft to that kind of sentimentality.
"It looks good," Katsuki says and Deku's smile grows twice as wide before faltering.
"Me and All Might...we still come here sometimes."
It's said softly and quiet, like a secret. And it is, Katsuki realizes, a secret held from everyone, including himself. Deku isn't looking at him, staring off into the lapping waves of the sea. Probably expecting Katsuki to be mad. And maybe he is, a thrill of it running through him at being left out like this for years. But it doesn't control him, not anymore. He understands the relationship between Deku and All Might will always be something just between them, just as his own relationship to the man won't include Deku all the time.
This was a show of trust, probably the last bit that Deku was withholding, deservedly. This show of said trust cements something within Katsuki, something he's been meaning to do for a while, but kept holding back for the stupidest fucking reasons. It's now or never, or something is going to fester.
"I'm glad you told me," he finally says to Deku, who startles and looks fully at Katsuki again.
"I guess I thought you'd be more upset?"
"I'm a little fucking furious but ignoring it. You're allowed to have some secrets, you know."
"Ah ," Deku says, barely more than a soft exhale.
"But. It reminded me that I have something to tell you too."
"I'm sorry. Sorry for all that shit in our childhood. I was fucking horrible to you and you needed better than me."
"Oh," says Deku, "I...uh...you didn't need to."
"Need to what? "
"Apologize. I can tell already from your actions, Kacchan. But thank you."
"I don't need to fucking do anything. It's about what you deserve. You deserved friends, people to support you. So you...don't have to forgive me. This is just me. Apologizing."
"Kacchan...I've always forgiven you. I've always known you were capable of great things. I've already told you this, but...you're my image of victory still, you know?" The smile Deku gives him is warm and the words leave him feeling off-kilter and vulnerable. Katsuki half wants to explode that soft stupid look and half wants to...
He wants to shut that feeling up, thanks.
"Still, I could've fucking just not been an ass. Might've helped."
"It's not like you would've helped anyway. Nobody wants to be friends with the kid that teachers hate. And being quirkless...it was enough for most."
"Including my stupid ass."
Because he hadn't realized it until now, but teachers had constantly singled Deku out during school. Even on the day that middle school asshole had listed out who was going to UA. There had been no reason to do that, no reason to get more of the class to mock Deku, because the teacher had to have known what had happened.
"You deserved better," is all Katsuki can say again, feeling helpless and frustrated and most of all angry at himself, at the dumb ass kids in his old middle school, at the teacher who should've fucking known better.
Deku just makes a low noise and it's impossible to determine whether it's agreement or disagreement.
"Haah!? You're so annoying! I'm just...ugh...trying to say...you're tough but you deserved more than having to be that way, okay?"
Deku giggles and it sounds a little off, but he at least leans further into Katsuki, rather than away.
"Kacchan has a weird way with compliments," the little shit says, bumping him with an elbow.
"Shut the fuck up."
There's a quiet moment. The sound of water and birds all that is present.
"You're too nice," Katsuki finally says, "There's one more thing I need to apologize for."
"I shouldn't have told you to fucking kill yourself, shouldn't have done all that shit to our notebook, and definitely shouldn't have burnt you."
Deku tenses beside him, coiled like a prey animal, ready to spring up and flee. It looks like he had been trying to ignore that part.
"You don't have to forgive me for that shit. Wouldn't blame you if you told me to fuck off for it. You can even hit me if you want."
There is a pause and Deku shifts slightly.
Suddenly, a fist crashes into the side of Katsuki's face. He lands hard, sand getting into his mouth.
"The fuck?" He mumbles, spitting out the sand.
Deku just gives him a smug smile.
"You said I could hit you."
"That's fair but...damn. Coulda waited until we were out of this nasty shit."
Katsuki sits up, rubbing his cheek. Deku is stupid strong without his quirk (which considering the cars he's apparently hauling, duh), so the punch had some sting to it.
"I did say I forgive you Kacchan, but that doesn't mean that you didn't seriously test my patience. You know how much those notebooks mean to me!"
There's no mention of the other things, which could be good or bad. Katsuki doesn't want to press too hard on any old wounds.
"I'll buy you a new one," he eventually grunts out.
Deku looks at him in disbelief.
"Kacchan it has been literal years ."
"Still. I'll get you a new one, IOU and all." He'll buy Deku twenty of the fucking things if he needs them.
Deku is still looking at him like he's never seen him before. Eventually he rolls his eyes and returns to his previous sitting position.
"You know...I thought of sending you a box of spiders once," Deku says out of fucking nowhere.
"You really pissed me off sometimes. So I'd think of dumb stuff like that to get you back. I guess I thought it would be a funny way to pay you back."
"I probably deserved it."
"Probably!" Deku instantly agrees, laughing, the fucker.
It's then that Katsuki realizes the other has drawn closer. There's a barrier that neither had realized between them that's falling. Deku's arm is touching Katsuki's. It's a warm, firm presence and he has to fight the urge to lean into it further.
"Don't get me wrong. I'm very glad Kacchan is here with me," Deku murmurs, looking at him with lidded, soft eyes, "I'm glad we're working together to become stronger, I'm glad we're friends. I never thought we could be this close and I'm so glad."
It's over-emotional, like Deku always fucking is. But the atmosphere is different than it usually is and Deku is so close. All this leads to words slipping out before Katsuki can clamp his mouth closed.
"I can't imagine doing it without you."
Deku's eyes immediately become watery.
"Shut up Deku," Katsuki growls out, embarrassed.
Deku manages to mostly reign it in, letting out only a small sniffle. But he ends up leaning even closer into Katsuki. He's warm and makes Katsuki feel warm and he hesitates to push Deku off.
There's another quiet moment, but the tension is gone. It's comfortable.
So of course Deku breaks it again.
"Let's invite the rest of the class here."
"Hell no, this shit is ours now. Those losers will constantly be here."
"So not even for graduation?"
"Graduation, sure, whatever," Katsuki grumbles. At least then everyone will be too busy, unlike now when everyone will desperately try to slip out of class to go to the beach.
Izuku laughs, soft and sweet. The moonlight hits so his skin glows, hair dark save for a few green shimmers where the light hits. Out here there are a few more stars than can be seen in the city and under them Deku looks stupidly beautiful. He's closer than Katsuki first believed, chin almost touching his shoulder, big bright eyes focused entirely on Katsuki.
So he ends up doing an incredibly stupid thing without thinking, he leans forward and presses his on the other's lips. Katsuki leans into it before abruptly realizing what he's doing and jerking away.
Deku just looks stunned, lips parting and a hand going up to touch them.
"Fuck, sorry, I shouldn't have- not after- ugh," he roughly slides a hand through his hair, sand falling out and getting on his face.
A soft, breathy laugh comes from Deku.
"Kacchan, you're being stupid."
He smiles at Katsuki.
"I've loved Kacchan since forever, so this is okay."
Katsuki feels like the world has just shifted sideways and out from under him. He'd thought he'd understood Deku now, but clearly something huge had been lost in translation.
"I've always loved Kacchan so it's what makes you so easy to forgive," Deku blushes, "And if Kacchan wanted to kiss me...I'd be okay with that."
Horrifyingly, Katsuki might be blushing himself. But this. This works out. There may still be things unsaid between them that may come up, but this is a start. And it's a start he needs to grab hold of before it slips away.
"Then we're doing this fucking right, nerd."
"Two days from now. After holidays and when we're back at the dorms. I'm taking you on a date. Wear your nice shit, I know you have some."
Deku actually fucking squeals and almost chokes him out with an impromptu hug, sand going absolutely everywhere.
"Are we dating!?"
"Of course we're fucking dating, what did you think I just asked?"
Deku almost crushes him again before he feels pressure on his lips. Deku's kissing him quick and hard, almost bruising, before darting away while blushing.
"I'll see you tomorrow at the train station, Kacchan!" His smile is half manic and he darts down the street so quick it's almost like he's using his quirk.
Katsuki stands, and of course. Of fucking course. Sand is sticking everywhere. Fucking absolutely everywhere.
But even the gross sand can't dampen Katsuki's own answering manic smirk.