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Tough Love

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This is how it started.

Izuku had been training with the rest of his classmates at Ground Beta when he had fallen from one of the tallest structures and twisted his ankle. Izuku hadn’t wanted to lose the rest of the day with Recovery Girl and decided to ice it back at his room. So he had stifled his cry of pain and walked it off, doing his best to finish the exercise.

After, he had bluffed his way to the dorms, clenching his jaw hard enough to make his teeth hurt. At last, he was at the common room, his back covered in sweat. Everybody was splitting in groups to hang out before eating, but he had excused himself, the throbbing of his foot too much and smiled to brush off his friends’ worries.

As he limped to his room a big hand had grabbed him by the elbow. Izuku stiffened, knowing very well who was next to him. Kacchan was staring pointedly ahead with a scowl, however his grip wasn’t harsh or threatening. On the contrary, Izuku felt him taking off some of the weight from his wounded foot. Kacchan had noticed; nothing went past him.

Kacchan had marched with Izuku to the door of his room in stony silence, hiding the limp with the blond as a cane. He let go of him and Izuku debated whether he should thank him or if that would make him mad. Kacchan didn’t give him time to think.

“I’m not going inside Loserland, Deku.” He muttered and walked away with his hands in his pockets, leaving Izuku dumbfounded on the hall. He couldn’t remember the last time Kacchan had touched him without menace or a clear challenge.

They were in their second year and things were better than ever between them. Kacchan’ edges had softened and he didn’t respond to every interaction with screams. He trained with Izuku under All Might’s watchful eye and joined all their secret conversations, but outside of the private world that was One For All, each stuck to their own group of friends, separated by a bridge Izuku didn’t know how to cross or if Kacchan wanted him to.

It had been nice to be held, even for a few minutes.

He went into his room and if he grinned like an idiot as he picked up an ice pack later outside his door, it just between Kacchan and him.

Izuku had pushed the exchange to the back of his mind, until Aizawa-sensei organized two on two combats a couple of days later, pairing Kacchan and him together. He appreciated the never-ending attempts to make them fix their relationship, because it proved there was something there worth building back up, it wasn’t delusion on Izuku’s part. Kacchan scoffed as he read the spread sheet of the teams, although he hadn’t protested more and Izuku counted it as a win.

They were fighting Shoji and Todoroki. One of the biggest changes in their relationship was that Kacchan listened to his plans and gave his input. The strength of their team came from their tactical minds but more importantly, the ability to catch up with the other when he improvised, thinking in their own wavelength.

The plan was trying to get sufficiently close to neutralize the long range of Todoroki and take both of them down hand to hand. Kacchan had chosen to distract the ice and fire user while Izuku sneaked up on Shoji and engaged in combat.

Cold air enveloped them and his partner retreated in the face of the Heaven Piercing Wall of Ice. Izuku wasn’t as fast; he slipped on the ice covered floor, giving Shoji an opening for a punch to his side that connected with too much force. He went flying because of his precarious balance and his head struck the ice wall.

Izuku blinked the white spots from his vision and he tried to sit up. Kacchan landed by his side with a growl, gloved hand pushing Izuku to lay down on his back.

“Fucking Deku!” The blond yelled, removing his grenades and putting them aside. He cupped Izuku’s face and stared into his eyes. “Can you stand up, dumbass?” His other hand was probing the side of his head where he had connected with the wall.

“Ugh,” He warbled, pain forgotten in the mental effort of stopping the blush. Kacchan was so close and paying sole attention to him, not to mention the soft manner in which he was cradling his head. Izuku wasn’t sure he was actually breathing. “I think I’m going to throw up.” He mumbled, face-palming on the inside.

“No shit, Deku.” Kacchan replied, annoyed. “You hit your broccoli head pretty hard, asshole.” His tone was infuriated but his ruby eyes were worried.

The rest of the class flocked over and Izuku was mortified. Shoji was apologizing over and over again as Aizawa-sensei deemed him worthy of a visit to the infirmary.

“I’m fine, sensei.” He protested but his teacher ignored him.

“I’m not asking you, Midoriya,” Aizawa-sensei said and told the next match to prepare themselves. “Can someone carry him to…?” His teacher hadn’t finished his question by the time Kacchan slid an arm under his back and hooked his knees on the other, hoisting him up and giving Izuku a stroke in the process.

“If you throw up on me, I’m fucking dropping you, you hear me?” Kacchan threatened him. The silence that fell around them didn’t get a reaction from the explosive blond. He walked out of the training grounds with his chin high and let everyone picking up their jaws from the floor.

“Kacchan!” Izuku found his voice, face beet red. “Put me down!” This had to be a hallucination from a concussion, his childhood friend wasn’t carrying him bridal style!

“Fucking zip it, nerd.” Kacchan wasn’t deterred, stomping to Recovery Girl with a embarrassed Izuku in his arms. “Useless Deku, I have to do everything myself.”

In case it ended up being a product of his imagination, Izuku decided to make the best of it. He rested his aching head on Kacchan’s shoulder and, aside from a small falter in his steps, the blond remained unfazed. Izuku closed his eyes, praying the blond chucked it to the nausea and not because he was getting lightheaded with his proximity.

Kacchan arrived as usual, by kicking the door open. At least this time he had the excuse of having his hands occupied with Izuku. Recovery Girl hopped down from her seat and went to them. The blond placed him carefully on one of the beds and fade to the background, not that Izuku wasn’t hyperaware of where he was all the time. Kacchan leaned against the wall, crossing his arms and frowning at the floor. Recovery Girl checked Izuku’s pupils and probed the bump that was forming.

“Ow!” Izuku hissed and recoiled.

Kacchan was next to him in a beat, hand heavy on his forearm.

“Stay still, Deku, for fuck’s sake.” He reproached him. Izuku pouted but obeyed. Lucky for him, his childhood friend lingered by his side and rubbed his palm up his arm and back down to relax him.

“I’m almost done, honey.” Recovery Girl said and she went back to treating him. As soon as her lips connected with his cheek, Izuku scooted a little and leaned on Kacchan. The blond didn’t shove him off, just squeezed his arm. He was amazed by how calming the small gestures were.

Kacchan came across as rude and unsympathetic, yet his hands were gentle and he had a spirit so fierce that comforted with his mere presence. People felt safer with him around and Izuku wasn’t the exception.

His childhood friend left without a word once Izuku was treated and resting on the bed. Uraraka, Todoroki and Iida came to see him but Kacchan didn’t return.

What convinced him he wasn’t reading into things was one night in the kitchen. It was late and everyone had gone to bed hours ago and still he was wrapping hot bandages on his scarred arm, shallow breaths escaping his nose. The days he trained harder than normal, his arm acted out. All the fractures he had inflicted on it made his muscles cramp and his bones ache, making sleep impossible.

“The fuck are you doing, Deku?”

“Wahcchan!” Izuku shrieked, falling from his stool. “You scared me!”

“Tch! Fucking rabbit.” Kacchan was squinting at him on the harsh kitchen light. “I asked you a question, Deku.” He was in his pajamas and his spiky hair was flattened on one side, the imprint of the sheets on his cheek. “Well, nerd?”

Kacchan looks so soft, he thought.

“I couldn’t sleep.” Izuku replied and lifted his arm, sitting back on the stool. Kacchan studied the limb and his eyes widened slightly as he understood. “And you?” He removed on his seat as the blond passed behind him and opened the fridge.

“Thirsty.” He said, drinking half of a water bottle in two gulps. “Does it happen often?” He asked as he cleaned the stray drops from his chin with his tank top.

Izuku scratched the back of his head and nodded. Kacchan let out a hum and finished his water, throwing the bottle in a perfect arc into the trash bin. He claimed the seat next to Izuku, startling him.


“Give me your fucked up arm, Deku.” He extended his hand, callous palm up. Izuku hesitated. “Does it look like I have the whole night, dumbass?” Kacchan spat.

“Oh! Sorry!” Izuku thrusted his arm out and Kacchan circled his wrist. The blond rearranged his body to face Izuku better and supported his arm with both hands. He frowned and shook his head as he considered the forearm.

“Such a Deku.” Kacchan started kneading the muscles and Izuku squeaked in pain. The blond scowled. “Fucking baby.” He muttered, and yet his fingers weren’t so rough on Izuku when he went back to the massage.

Little by little, the pain reduced until it was a small nuisance, not the constant spikes of agony. Izuku breathed out a sigh of relief.

“Better?” One side of his mouth quirked in a cocky smile.

“Yes, thank you, Kacchan.” Izuku answered, beaming at him. “You are very good.”

“Tch! I’m fucking great, nerd.” Kacchan bolstered. “Watch me, you need to learn this shit.” Izuku knew he was right, but he didn’t want to miss any expression on Kacchan’s face.

“When did you learn?”

“My quirk takes too much strain on my arms, Deku.” The blond started. “I have to massage my arms at the end of the day or I’m going to end up like certain idiot in the middle of the night, crying over my boo-boo.” Kacchan said, applying more pressure and Izuku suppressed a groan. “Are you looking at what I’m doing, Deku? There are more knots in your shitty arm than in a fucking net.”

“I am, Kacchan.” Izuku lied, pretending to study the confident movements of his hands.

Kacchan didn’t pay attention to him as he worked, and that gave Izuku the best opportunity to look his fill. He counted the ashen eyelashes that fawned over the brightest eyes he had seen and he wondered if his pale hair was as soft as it looked. Kacchan was frowning in concentration; a small wrinkle between his eyebrows that Izuku resisted the need to smooth it over with his thumb.

“If the pain goes up your shoulder, apply more force here,” Kacchan instructed him, like Izuku had any awareness of where his arm was aside from the exhilaration of Kacchan’s touch. The blond looked up at the lack of answer, finding green eyes intent on him.

They stared at each other in the small kitchen and the moment stretched, neither of them breaking the eye contact.

“Kacchan.” Izuku whispered without thinking and that woke up the blond from the trance. He let go of his arm like it burned him and got up.

“I’m going to my damn bed and you better go to sleep too, asshole!” He shouted, stomping from the kitchen with hunched shoulders. Maybe it was the light but the tips of his ears seemed pink.

Izuku stayed a little longer, flexing his elbow and fingers, the pain gone. He grinned in the privacy of the kitchen and then went to sleep.

Next day, Izuku pondered his revelation. He had watched Kirishima hugging Kacchan without being blown up into the sun, Kaminari clinging to his arms at any chance and Sero knocking their shoulders together as they walked, even Mina jumped on his back and demanded piggyback rides. Izuku didn’t try to convince himself that the ugly feeling in his chest was anything other than jealousy. He wished so hard that things were different between Kacchan and him. Izuku wanted that with Kacchan; the easy comfort of touching someone especial to you.

Izuku had wanted to be close to him their entire lives and it dawned on him that he could get some sort of intimacy with his childhood friend, because Kacchan reached out to a hurting Izuku.

And thus, he formed a plan. Izuku wasn’t going to do anything extreme, he just had to exaggerate some mild discomfort to elicit a response from the blond from time to time.

Izuku got to work.

During one of the classes Aizawa-sensei organized to increase their movements while in the air, Izuku stood next to Kacchan, who was listening to Kaminari and grunting or rolling his eyes, depending of what the redhead said. He tested his theory by faking to slip from the edge of the platform and flopping his arms to attract his attention.

“Fuckin Hell, Deku!” Kacchan roared, pulling Izuku to his chest with an arm around his waist. He wasn’t the best actor but Kacchan hadn’t been focused on him.

“I’m sorry!” He masked his triumph in the curve of his neck. Kacchan was hugging him!

“You want to fall and break you neck so damn much, I’ll kick you down myself.” His words were harsh but his grip was tight and he sounded upset. Izuku patted his shoulder in thanks and went back to his friends. Uraraka arched an eyebrow and he shook his head, grinning.

Next, Izuku waited on the couch for Kacchan to return from a sparring session with Kirishima. He was talking to Iida and Uraraka and the moment the blond entered the room, a towel over his shoulders and Kirishima in toll, Izuku got up midsentence and followed them to the kitchen.

“Midoriya!” Kirishima greeted him, fetching bottles of water for the two of them. Kacchan kicked Izuku as he passed in front of him on his way to the cupboards. It was more of a light tap, almost a playful touch and Izuku contained his smile.

“Hey, how was the sparring?” He asked, digging into the cabinet where they kept the medicines.

“Great! I managed to make our dear Bakubro break a sweat!” Kirishima said, triumphant.

“You make me break a sweat, you die, idiot.” Kacchan scoffed, but he was in a good mood. “What are you looking for, Deku?”

“Something for my head, it hurts.” Izuku lied, hiding his face on the cupboard. “I might be catching a cold.”

Izuku sensed the presence behind him before he spun on his heels. Kacchan raised his hand and put the back of it across his forehead. Izuku stayed still, a deer caught in the headlights.

“Don’t be a fucking wuss, you are not warm.” The blond said, and slid the palm over his cheek. Izuku wasn’t prepare for the gesture. It was practically a caress. “Wait, you feel hotter.” Kacchan frowned but Izuku was already ducking under him and escaping from the kitchen.

“Ha! You are right, what was I thinking?” Izuku babbled and bumped his shoulder on the door frame as he fled back to the couch.

Iida and Uraraka were still waiting for him and were puzzled by his flaming face.

Izuku was still reliving the touch on his cheek when a box of pills fell on his lap.

“Take one and give me the box, crybaby.” Kacchan handed him the rest of his water. “Come on, move it, it’s from my own stash, Deku.” Izuku took the bottle and fumbled with the box. He felt guilty of wasting one of Kacchan’s painkillers but not enough to confess. He placed the pill on his tongue and pushed it down with a sip.

“I thought you said I was being a wuss.” Izuku teased him and Kacchan glowered, though there was a shine in his eyes that he only had around his friends.

“I fucking stand by it, Deku.” Kacchan picked up the box, ripping the bottle from his hands, and started to go.

“You are so nice, Kacchan.” Izuku said, kneeling on the couch and planting his hands on the back of it.

The blond paused and pointed the bottle at him.

“Fucking quit it, nerd.” Kacchan said, and Izuku grinned. “And stop looking at me like that.”

“Like what?” He asked, short of bouncing on the couch.

“As if you don’t fucking know, Deku.” His childhood friend rolled his eyes and Izuku smiled wider. “I mean it, nerd, or else.” Kacchan was playing with the tap on the bottle.

“Or else what?” He dared.

Big mistake in retrospective.

Izuku didn’t see the water directed to his face until he was too late. He spluttered and wiped the cold liquid from his eyes as Kacchan cackled, covering his mouth to muffle it.

Izuku hadn’t heard him laugh in years.

Now he definitely was looking at Kacchan like that.

“I told you to quit looking at me like that.” He said between wheezes.

“And I told you I was getting sick.” It was a fat lie, but Izuku was going to die on that hill. “You dumped cold water on me, Kacchan!”

Kacchan surprised him by punching his shoulder, a copy of Kirishima. Friendly and familiar.

“You are being a fucking baby, Deku.” With that he turned, throwing a wave over his shoulder and returning to the kitchen.

“That was almost civil.” Iida said behind him.

“Huh…” Uraraka appraised, a meaningful look on her eyes.

Izuku sat back, facing his friends. He kept smiling, excited despite the water soaking his t-shirt.

From then on, Izuku didn’t force his hand; he had to be subtle or Kacchan was going to catch on. He wasn’t going to fail the exercises or throw his matches. Nonetheless, Izuku was quick to grasp Kacchan’s hand when he offered to haul him up after a vicious kick left him clutching his shin. He didn’t hesitate to throw his arm on Kacchan’s shoulders with a tired expression at the end of a brutal late night training with All Might.

Some nights, Izuku stayed down on his back once they finished their sparring, complaining about his back. It was logical that he needed a hand with the kinks on his muscle from all the maneuvers he did to fight Kacchan’s impressive mobility, since it was kind of his fault in the first place. It was so worth it, even as the blond poked his side hard if he saw him smiling.

Step by step, Izuku grew accustomed with Kacchan’s touch. His cheeks knew the feeling of a callous palm, his hip recognized the firm grip of his hands and his arms remembered the shape of his shoulders or waist well after he had let go.

Izuku craved more and more. He dreamt about gestures that friends shouldn’t want and he reigned back his wishes.

Kacchan had no idea what Izuku was doing and it had to stay that way.

Deku thought he was being sly, that little shit. He was as transparent as the invisible chick.

The same jackass that had broken each bone in his body at any opportunity, shook it off and came back fighting harder and screaming louder suddenly was feeling bad or getting hurt but only with Katsuki close to lend a hand? Fat fucking chance.

Deku was up to something and Katsuki had figured it out because he wasn’t a moron and the nerd was ridiculously obvious. He had considered momentarily that Deku was trying to lower his level in pity and he studied the situation from different angles but the one thing that had changed was the fact that Katsuki had begun touching him. It hadn’t taken long for Katsuki to grasp what was happening with the nerd once he shone light on that particular aspect.

To be honest, Katsuki found himself increasingly worried about Deku breaking his damn head one of those days and One For All being lost forever. Through their time together at UA, and more than enough evidence, Katsuki had to admit that he cared about Deku’s wellbeing. He wanted Deku to associate him with something good and safe. The nerd was such a reckless jackass that his wounds made for an incredible excuse for Katsuki to put his resolution in motion. It was a desperate attempt at atoning for his pasts actions.

Katsuki wasn’t good with words; he had good intentions most of the time but it didn’t come out quite like he intended, thanks to the asshole filter he had in his mouth. Katsuki didn’t want Deku to hate him. Given that against all odds, they had grown closer, he was trying to rebuild their relationship to the best of his abilities, but Katsuki was willing to respect the nerd’s right to loathe him. Except Deku was too fucking good to be true and had given Katsuki another shot at fixing everything between them. He had taking it, how could he not?

Katsuki was working within the limits of what his pride allowed him and of course it had backfired. Deku’s brain was three steps ahead while in battle and simultaneously, he could be dumb as a brick. Somehow the nerd had made the connection between injuries and touches like they went hand in hand.

Katsuki still helped him every time, no matter how much his bad acting made him roll his eyes internally. It was in his hands, literally, to fix the pavlovian response. He wasn’t going to be responsible for causing any harm to the idiot because of his stupid stunts.

That’s why he was sneaking up on Deku as he talked with IcyHot in the common room. Katsuki clenched his jaw and ruffled the nerd’s curls, shocking him.

“Kacchan?” No, that damn nickname didn’t send warm cursing through his veins. Shut up.

“What are you losers doing?” Katsuki asked, pretending it wasn’t a big deal that he was messing with his hair. Deku didn’t reply, too busy looking at him like he had hung up the moon. Katsuki needed to punch something; he didn’t deserve that look.

“We are watching a movie, you are free to join.” IcyHot said with the same enthusiasm of someone calling to make an appointment with the dentist. Katsuki pushed down his sneer; that was how Todoroki talked, the bastard’s personality was hidden under the surface.

“Fucking fine, move your pathetic ass, Deku.” Katsuki accepted the invitation, surprising Deku and IcyHot. He jumped over the couch and sat between them.

The movie was a fucking nightmare, it was from the list of must-watch that the rest of the morons had compile for Todoroki. To make matters worse, he was next to the fire side and that combined with the higher temperature of his body, had Katsuki melting into the couch. The good part was that Deku and he were touching shoulder to thigh. Katsuki saw Deku’s tiny smile and congratulated his brilliant move.

Katsuki was a man on a mission; toss enough casual touches to cut through Deku’s thick skull.

Some days later, they had quirk training programmed, which meant Deku was going to do something absurd, and Katsuki wasn’t going to let him slack off. What kind of shitty successor did that? Before they started, Katsuki walked up to Deku and knocked their shoulders together.

“You better do your best, Deku.” Katsuki said and added fuel to the fire he knew it burned inside the shortstack. “It won’t help you beat me but it’ll be less pathetic.”

It worked like a champ. Deku got that determined, half crazy look on his face.

“I’ll do better than you, Kacchan.” He proclaimed and Katsuki smirked. “You better keep up.”

Perfect opening.

“What did you say, shitty nerd?” Katsuki put him in a headlock and Deku whined, yelling his protests. Out of nowhere the nerd let out a bubbly laugh and Katsuki released him. Did he remember the last time he had made Deku laugh? He didn’t think so. “We’ll see who is better, Deku.” He left him with Glasses and IcyHot, his head was woozy for some reason. Kirishima wiggled his eyebrows at him and Katsuki punched him hard on the arm.

For the next couple of days, Katsuki was the one chasing after Deku.

He saw his broccoli head peeking over the couch, and Katsuki ruffled the curls in passing. When Deku stood in his path, Katsuki moved him aside with hands on his hips or lower back. Aizawa-sensei gave him papers to pass to Deku, and Katsuki let their fingers touch. During those meetings with All Might, Katsuki sat closer and Deku met him halfway. He clapped him on the back as a hello in the mornings or punched his shoulder in congratulation for a good performance or a new move.

With the peppering of touches here and there, the nerd went back to being his infuriated self, the one who got back up with purpose every time he was knocked down.

In a weird turn of events, one random day Katsuki touched the ground wrong and tripped on a piece of debris, falling backwards. His back connected with Deku’s chest.

“Are you okay, Kacchan?” He was holding him up easily.

Katsuki didn’t shrug him off, like he had done for years. Instead, he allowed the nerd to help him find his footing.

“You have my back, don’t you, Deku?” Katsuki asked, the drill momentarily forgotten.

“Always, Kacchan.” He replied. His unique mix of sincerity and fierceness was something Katsuki was learning to appreciate.

“Good.” He mumbled, flustered. “Thanks, nerd.”

It was all the permission Deku needed to return Katsuki’s touches.

The nerd interlocked their arms together in the dark of the late hours as they walked back to the dorms. He threw his legs over Katsuki’s on the couch as he read his book and the nerd scrolled on his phone. Deku brushed the blond bangs from his forehead when Katsuki had problems fastening his mask. He hip-checked him as a greeting in the kitchen as Katsuki cooked. Whenever he got into a screaming match, Deku didn’t hesitate to pick him up by the waist and carried him as Katsuki kicked the air and spat curses.

It wasn’t lost to the rest of the class the new dynamic of their relationship. Their groups clicked together without much fuss. They morphed into a bigger one, with Deku and Katsuki as twin pillars. Mina had Round Face and Frog Girl to rest from the guys. Sero and Kaminari were good for Glasses and IcyHot and vice versa; the idiots made the goody two-shoes let go of the sticks up their asses and at the same time, they inspired the idiots to be more serious and responsible. Kirishima and Deku had the same sunshine personality, which left Katsuki reaping the goods.

Ignoring the somersaults of his heart or blaming the heat for the blushes, Katsuki kept the touches strictly platonic. He wasn’t going to dump complicated feelings on Deku, not now that they were so good. They were talking and hanging out with others, but more importantly, which each other. So he had leashed the other part of him that wanted to be closer. The one that fantasized about walking hand in hand or kissing chapped lips. Deku and he were better off as friends.

The resolution didn’t last.

Katsuki blamed Deku’s stupid drawing. He had come to class one morning, and Deku was already seated, scribbling on his nerdbook, blind to the world. As he approached him, Katsuki glimpsed a design for a chest plate. It was easy for him to come up behind the nerd and caged him between his arms, resting his chin on top of the green curls.

“Do you need protection? I thought you were made of rubber.” He commented, smelling his fruity shampoo.

“It’s for directing Black Whip better.” Deku flicked one of his hands, then rested his close so their pinkies touched. Katsuki didn’t move.

“That won’t work, Deku.” He said, pointing out the parts he didn’t like. “The material needs to be sturdy to handle the impacts but light so it doesn’t slow you down. Aren’t you supposed to be smart, nerd?”

Deku didn’t question his input. He deleted part of the structure and drafted notes on the sides.

“How about this?” He sat back to let him see and Katsuki leaned over his shoulder, evaluating the new layout.

“Hah, it doesn’t suck.” Katsuki replied, tracing the lines of the drawing. “It has to be more like a shoulders bracer.” He said, turning a little. That’s how he realized how close their faces were. His cheek was on Deku’s temple and with a tilt of his head his lips would touch his brow.

“Would that help with Black Whip?” Deku wondered, bending his head back and Katsuki froze as the tips of their noses touched.

Deku wasn’t moving and neither was Katsuki. The nerd blinked and looked at his lips.

Katsuki’s breath caught on his throat.

Ojiro banged his tail on his desk and the screech of the chair made them jump apart. Katsuki marched to his seat without looking at Deku, fighting to get his heartbeat under control. The nerd’s stare bore holes on his back as Aizawa-sensei began the class.

Finally, he gazed over his shoulder in the middle of the lesson and he wasn’t a tad surprise that green eyes met his ruby ones.

Deku had been watching him for years, and Katsuki had been watching him back for months.

He figured there was only so much he could blame on wishful thinking before Katsuki was forced to acknowledge that his feelings weren’t one-sided.

That was the incident that changed the nature of the touches.

Katsuki stood somewhere chatting with any of his classmates and Deku ducked under his arm. He never broke the hug or acknowledged Deku’s hand on his waist, he just kept talking.

He started to scold Deku and his fucking recklessness by pinching his cheeks, which he then soothed with a stroke of his thumb, causing the nerd to smile every time.

The nerd and Todoroki sat on the couch, playing cards on the coffee table. Katsuki was on the floor between Deku’s legs, arguing with Kirishima. He grabbed his ankle and squeezed, immediately Deku’s free hand went to his hair, petting the blond strands.

Deku pulled him by the wrist to train with Katsuki apart from the others, where nobody whistled or whispered anything if they laid on their backs when they were done sparring, green curls tickling his neck and shoulder numb from Deku resting on top of it.

In class A movie night with the lights off, Deku and he sat on the couch. In the dark, Katsuki traced the scars that overlapped on his skin. He mapped out each one of them until he reached the ones on his fingers. Their fingertips touched but his hand retreated, not giving in yet.

Their touches became reassurances.

A language they couldn’t speak aloud but they understood perfectly.

I trust you, trust me.

I’m letting you in, don’t push me away.

I’m still here, even after everything.

I’m not leaving again, I promise.

They reached their breaking point by the end of second year.

Aizawa-sensei created a circuit to test their proficiency in rescue along with their fighting skill. It was as challenging as their teacher always was.

Katsuki watched Deku go toe to toe with UA teachers, all former pro heroes, and he was amazed by the sheer force of nature that he had become. There was not insecurity or bitterness inside him, only pride and the need to raise to his level or higher.

Deku broke the UA time record. Aizawa announced the achievement to the nerd the minute he came back to the group and his face split in a blinding smile. His head turned left and right until he spotted Katsuki at the starting line. He smirked, nodding his approval, and Deku’s eyes went shiny.

“Kacchan!” He called out, running to him.

Katsuki barely had time to prepare his stand as all those pounds of muscle launched at his arms and he twirled them to lessen the impulse and avoid falling.

“You are so fucking heavy, nerd!” Katsuki complained, as Deku embraced him. He cleared his throat and took a leap of faith. “I’m proud of you, Deku. For real” He whispered, voice filled with all he felt for the person in his arms.

Deku leaned back and, in the biggest display of bravery anyone had seen, cupped his face and kissed him softly, shortcutting his brain.

His heart soared and Katsuki was about to return the kiss when Deku appeared to come back to himself and wriggled in his hold. He lost his grip and dropped Deku on his ass.

“Shit, Deku!”

The nerd didn’t notice or care about how hard he fell.

“Oh my God! Kacchan, I can’t believe I did that! And without your permission! I’m so sorry, I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable!” He was blabbering apologies non-stop. Thank God the rest of the class was far away or he would have exploded them out of here.

Katsuki massaged his temples and crouched down in front of him.

“Deku, shut up.” He said firmly, covering his mouth. His beautiful green eyes were panicked and ashamed. Katsuki moved his hand back and gripped his chin, forcing him to meet his eyes. “I’m up next, how about another kiss for good luck?” He smirked, watching the nerd process his words, and cackled as Deku tackled him again. His laugh was cut short by chapped lips descending on his again and again.

Katsuki didn’t know how he could get any luckier than this, but he was willing to find out.