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the bittersweet between my teeth

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Bakugou Katsuki is in a foul mood. Which is not an unusual or infrequent occurrence for him, and even the source of it is the bog standard usual – Midoriya Izuku, shitty nerd extraordinaire. But no, there is something different about his black mood today and it pissed him off once he figured out why. He stares moodily at the electronic blackboard while Ectoplasm drones on, and feels the press of Deku’s absence behind him.

It’s been four days since Deku failed to return from what was supposed to be a routine patrol as part of their internship, and doesn’t it just figure that even after two years the idiot can’t go a single day without falling headfirst into trouble. Even as the school’s new Big Three with him, Deku, and fucking Half’n’half, Deku’s still the one most likely to trip over his own shoelaces and eat dirt.

Aizawa had been blunt and unforthcoming with details, he simply told Round-face and Glasses that Deku was ‘recovering’ and not to be disturbed. Which is as fucking evasive as it comes and the dirty look Uraraka gave him had said as much.

Normally Katsuki wouldn’t give a fuck about Deku disappearing, but for every day of his mysterious absence the class was becoming uneasy and preoccupied and it’s beginning to affect team morale. Katsuki grit his teeth. Fucking amateurs, getting distracted over something like this. Then again, he’s not completely immune either, if only because he’s so used to Deku staring at him that the lack of it is actually more disconcerting, and he bitterly resents this grating point of friction in his awareness like a pebble in his shoe.

Aizawa appears at the door to their classroom and the whole class snaps to attention. He nods at Ectoplasm and then surprisingly, turns to Katsuki.

“Bakugou. With me,” Aizawa says, and Katsuki narrows his eyes. He begins to pack but Aizawa interrupts him, “Leave it, the others will collect it for you.”

Katsuki slouches over with hands shoved deep into his pockets, but the hairs on the back of his neck are standing up. There’s something, in the line of Aizawa’s brow or the slant of his spine, that’s making him feel like something is very, very wrong.

“Sorry to interrupt, Ectoplasm,” Aizawa says just as Katsuki pushes past him into the hallway, ignoring the wide-eyed stares of his classmates. Ectoplasm waves it off, his expression inscrutable under the mask as he calls their attention back.

Aizawa makes off down the hallway at what’s considered a fast clip for him and Katsuki keeps pace easily.

“What’s going –” Katsuki begins, but Aizawa shakes his head.

“Recovery Girl will brief you.”

“It’s shitty Deku isn’t it,” he mutters and Aizawa’s eyes flick down towards him, one eyebrow raised slightly. “Lucky guess,” Katsuki replies sarcastically to the unasked question. He knows he’s right but he can’t figure out what Aizawa wants him for.

Soon they arrive at the school hospital, outside a private room where the door is shut and through the window he can see a bed in the corner with curtains drawn around it. Katsuki eyes it warily, the uneasy feeling coming back. He’s barely turned around when he’s accosted by – Aunt Inko? She’s a mess with her hair in disarray and eyes swollen like mushy grapes, and her grip on his arm is bruising in the way only desperation can achieve.

“Please, Katsuki, please save Izuku, I’m just, I don’t know what to do, maybe you – only you –”

“Ms Midoriya!” One of the nurses appear and puts her arm around the sobbing woman, escorting her away with an apologetic glance behind her at a stunned Katsuki and grim Aizawa. Recovery Girl shows up then, the soft tapping of her cane oddly loud in the ensuing silence of Inko’s grief.

“Bakugou, let’s go to the office.”

 

Recovery Girl sets herself down on her seat with a deep sigh, and for a moment she looks every year of her age. Katsuki sits opposite her and he can feel his legs trying to shake with jitters.

“What’s wrong with Deku?” he blurts out, and then scowls when it comes out more concerned than he’d intended.

“Midoriya is in a compromised state.” Recovery Girl purses her lips. “While out on patrol he rescued a very young boy who, during the trauma of the event, manifested his Quirk. Midoriya was the victim of its uninhibited manifestation.”

“So what the hell’s wrong with him?”

“We… don’t entirely know,” Recovery Girl says slowly, and Katsuki can feel a leaden weight beginning to sink into his stomach. “You understand the Quirk Singularity theory? Good. Sixth generation Quirks like this are hard to predict and understand, given their complexity and likelihood of mutations. The boy’s father gets stronger from being close to loved ones, while his mother can manipulate life energy, something not dissimilar to mine. The boy is too young to really understand his own Quirk and we only managed to get as far as knowing that Midoriya needs to touch someone important to him.”

“His mother –”

“Didn’t work.”

“All Might?” Katsuki tries, something desperate colouring his tone because the shape of what they’re asking him is beginning to form and it’s not something good.

“Not him either. We were discussing allowing his friends to try before his mother suggested you.”

Fucking hell. He scrubs his face. Fucking. Hell.

“I’m not –” that important to him, he wants to say. Wants to be able to say, but he knows it for the lie it is before the next syllable even leaves his lips. Their fight at Ground Beta and the Nabu Island shitshow, even the last few months have proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. They’re not – they’re still not friends exactly, but Deku’s strategies are the only ones Katsuki can trust implicitly and Deku cares about him more than he deserves. And if Deku’s gaze lingers too long or his smiles are too wide, well, Katsuki’s an old hand at ignoring those.

“Bakugou.” Recovery Girl’s voice is quiet, thin. “By the time we figured out what he needed, Midoriya was in so much pain we had to sedate him. We brought him out long enough to ask who might be a candidate if not his mother or Toshinori. He claimed ignorance, and now it’s the fourth day. If we don’t find an answer soon, he’s going on life support.” Katsuki bites his lip to keep the nausea down, focusing on the pain. Deku’s dying. No wonder Aunt Inko had been as desperate as she was, enough to ask her son’s old tormentor to save his life.

“Where is he?” he finally says, and Recovery Girl leads him back through to the bed in the corner. When she draws open the curtains Katsuki has to hold back a grimace. Deku looks awful, almost wasted away. His skin is grey and his freckles mere flecks of ash on his gaunt cheeks, like the fire inside him has been extinguished and it’s only been four days.

“We’ll need to hook you up to monitors, to make sure the Quirk won’t affect you negatively.” Recovery Girl herds him to the side where a team of nurses appear and start to strap and stick all sorts of equipment to him. The other bed is pushed to align with Deku’s and soon enough Recovery Girl gives him the go ahead.

Katsuki’s heart thunders in his ears, a dull roaring tide that’s going to subsume him, that he’s never been able to outrun. He approaches Deku warily and then slowly grips his cold, limp hand in his own. The skin feels thin, almost papery, and the feeling of its dead weight in Katsuki’s own hand makes his flesh crawl.

There’s no dramatic difference – Deku doesn’t open his eyes or spring up out of bed like he’s all better. Instead, the horrible rattling of his breath has evened out ever so slightly, and Katsuki can see one of the nurses scribbling furiously on a tablet to catalogue the change. His face also slackens almost imperceptibly, as if he had been holding onto some kind of stress even through what Katsuki is sure are some very good drugs.

For thirty minutes there is only the muted beeping of the machines and the quiet murmurings of the medical personnel. Eventually, with no other visible improvement to Deku, Recovery Girl dismisses them and pats Katsuki’s leg, the only part she can reach.

“Don’t lose heart, boy. This is the first good thing we’ve had in days. Call me if you see any other changes.” And then she leaves too, and the door is closed behind her.

Katsuki is left staring at Deku’s thin face and the hands clasped between them, feeling out of his depth and unmoored.

 

=

 

The first thing Katsuki becomes aware of as he drifts into consciousness is someone squeezing his hand. He jerks up and turns to see Deku awake, his large green eyes liquid and soft and he looks so much better already, the colour having returned to his skin.

“Kacchan, you’re here,” Deku whispers, and it must be so painful to even speak through those cracked lips but he pulls a smile for him anyway. “You’re really here.”

“No thanks to your dumb ass,” Katsuki snaps back, more reflexive than anything else. He scowls at the twinge of guilt that pricks inside him and pulls his irritation back. Part of their hero training was on how to deal with traumatised people and despite Katsuki being – well, who he is – he’s not unaware of what to do. And the idiot really did just suffer (yet another) near-death experience.

“How are you feeling?” he bites out, “do you need something.”

Deku looks disturbed, and he peers at him in wary concern. “I’m fine...? Are you okay?” Figures he would be unnerved by Katsuki showing concern rather than his usual brusqueness.

“I’m fucking peachy, I’m not the one who almost died from stupidity. You should have told them –” told them what? That Katsuki’s his most important person and he needs to touch him or he would just literally die? It sounds like a fucking soap opera, like the ones Yaoyorozu refuses to admit she watches and Ashido gleefully does. Maybe Deku hadn’t even been sure that he would come, like he thought Katsuki would rather let him die than to give him something as stupid as this.

“Sorry, it was just… hard to think.” Deku shrugs one shoulder apologetically even as his face reddens in an embarrassed blush. His hospital gown shifts, revealing his jutting collarbone. Katsuki frowns.

“I can’t believe it’s only been four days. You look like shit.”

Deku laughs, and plucks at his thin arms. “I know. I don’t even dare to use One for All right now, I might snap in half.”

Katsuki shifts uncomfortably. “You should probably eat, you’re like a goddamn corpse.”

“Yeah, I’m actually… really… starving…” Deku trails off strangely.

Katsuki’s about to reach for the call bell when suddenly Deku’s eyes snap to him, and – are his eyes glowing? Before Katsuki can react, Deku slams him back into the bed and he’s straddling him with a pressing weight, something hungry and eerie in his gaze.

Katsuki gapes for all of two seconds before he begins to struggle, but he can’t move an inch and he realises with a start that it’s not One for All. Before he can consider if it’s a good idea to use his explosions in a hospital, Deku swoops down and clamps his teeth over his neck, biting down hard.

It’s agony at first, and then Katsuki’s pained grunt transforms into a breathless groan because fuck that feels good, like liquid gold and pleasure that sings in his veins and pools into even his fingertips. Warm and floaty, a humming of his skin and wherever Deku presses into him it ignites every nerve ending in a blaze of bliss.

Katsuki writhes and he – he can feel the pleasure and how good it is, but he can’t control anything, not even the sparks of his hands. He can’t – he can’t stop Deku. He’s beginning to feel weak, the buzzing of his fingertips growing cold and numb and he knows instinctively that something awful is happening to him right now. It should terrify him – and it does, the powerlessness ignites a rage and fear that he’s never felt before in his life, but. This is Deku. Something else roars through him like a freight train, and he gasps.

Deku’s hands have curled into the collar of his shirt, pulling him closer and no longer holding him down. Katsuki scrabbles at him but it’s like trying to shove a wall. Deku doesn’t seem to notice as he pants into his skin, a warm wet slide of his mouth and the tugging of his teeth – fangs? in his flesh are mere distant echoes that intellectually horrifies Katsuki but his body simply arches into it.

With great effort, Katsuki turns his face to the nurse call bell, exposing more of his neck and Deku keens low in his throat, something excited and predatory all at once. It makes Katsuki shiver against his will. He manages to hook the call bell within his nerveless grasp and presses the button, just as his vision grows dim and fuzzy at the edges and his arm drops down limply. There’s a noise like a whimper above him and it sounds like Deku but why does he sound like that?

“Kacchan? Oh my god, holy shit, no, what did I – nurse, NURSE! HELP!” There are hands gripping his face and through the blurring haze of his darkening vision he can see Deku, wide eyed and horrified and his mouth smeared with red.

 

=

 

“I think it’s for the best right now. Young Midoriya would agree. There’s simply too much we don’t know yet.” All Might’s voice, grave and low.

A woman’s trembling reply, still thick with tears. Aunt Inko.

Katsuki blinks awake to the dim white of the hospital ceiling, feeling surprisingly loose-limbed and relaxed. He looks around himself, and spots his mother asleep in her chair.

“Ma?” he chokes out, and the quiet conversation behind the curtain stops. All Might brushes through the curtains just as his mother jerks awake, and she blinks down at him.

“Oh you’re awake, brat,” she says, but there’s none of the usual bite. She looks tired and wrung out. Recovery Girl bustles in after All Might and begins to fuss over Katsuki and check his vitals.

“Young Bakugou, how are you feeling?” All Might has a faint, rueful downturn around his mouth and Katsuki stares at them.

“I feel fine. Good, actually,” he says and watches them exchange a quick look. He narrows his eyes. They don’t normally call parents in for any little old bump or bruise so it must’ve been bad.

“How much do you remember before you passed out?” Recovery Girl asks, and her beady eyes are intent. Katsuki screws his face up and it comes to him in flashes: the teeth, the agony, feeling himself grow weak, but mostly the pleasure and Deku on top of him.

“Deku. He – I don’t know, he was fine for like five minutes then he went batshit. He jumped me and ate my neck.” Katsuki rubs his hand over the bandage, but there’s no answering twinge of pain. He’s pretty sure the little fucker had a raging boner too. He doesn’t know what kind of face he makes but the three adults are exchanging another set of looks. Recovery Girl coughs politely while his mother rubs a hand over her face. All Might is staring determinedly at the wall.

“Yes, well. Turns out the Quirk that Midoriya was struck with had a… how do I put this? Secondary effect.” Katsuki raises an eyebrow. “To put it bluntly, it’s like vampirism.” Recovery Girl says it with a straight face, which is pretty impressive.

Katsuki snorts in laughter, even though it’s really not that funny at all. “What, is he gonna combust or glitter in the sun now? Turn into a bat at night?”

She purses her lips at him, but he’s unrepentant. Vampirism, what the ever-loving hell. This is definitely trashy soap opera territory.

“No. But he has thrown up all solid food we’ve given him. He can take a little water, but that’s it. Even as a last-ditch effort we gave him a blood bag to eat from but he was spectacularly sick from that as well. Our working theory so far is that he can only feed from you – not so much your blood, in the end you only lost about four tablespoons' worth - but rather your life energy contained in that blood.”

“You are fucking kidding me,” Katsuki says flatly, and Recovery Girl sighs deeply.

“I really wish that I was. Physically, there’s not much wrong with you now that I can tell besides exhaustion and some dehydration. Your life energy is also quite low, but that’ll bounce back in a day or two. You were very lucky that Midoriya managed to stop when he did – any further and the damage might have been much more costly.”

Katsuki’s mother makes a noise at that, but when he turns to look at her there’s nothing in her expression that gives her away.

“Where’s that fucking idiot now, granny?” Katsuki says, and doesn’t dodge the swipe from his mother.

“Respect, brat!” she snaps at him, but at least now she looks more or less like her old self.

“We’ve put Midoriya under observation. He’s… not quite himself just yet.” Recovery Girl sighs again.

“Lemme go see him,” Katsuki says and all three adults react negatively.

“Hell no,” his mother says and All Might and Recovery Girl are both shaking their heads.

“He’s freaking the fuck out isn’t he?” Katsuki grumps, because he just… he just knows. Recovery Girl has gone still.

Katsuki scoffs even as he hides his unease. It’s not as if he’s forgotten what it was like, pinned underneath Deku and unable to stop any of what had happened, but he’d rather die a thousand deaths than admit he’d been scared. Not scared of Deku per se, it’d be a cold day in hell before that happened, but more about this shift in their careful equilibrium. His most important person, and the first thing Deku did was to almost kill him. It's like a rock thrown through a window - an act of violence that is definite and irreversible.

But while Deku might have shit for brains, Katsuki’s not so much of an asshole anymore as to leave the idiot flagellating himself. Deku’s pale face above him, the shaking hands gripping his face, the hysterical crack in his voice screaming for the nurse. He scowls at the memory.

“He probably thinks I’m dead or something. I’ll go punch him and set him right.”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Recovery Girl says with a gimlet eye levelled at him, and then glances to All Might. He rubs his chin thoughtfully.

“Shouta should be there, and I think I can hold him if things turn bad. But get the tranquillisers ready just in case.”

“Be careful, Bakugou. He nearly broke one of my attendant’s arms when they pulled him off you.”

Katsuki well remembers that incredible strength, and he shivers a little. Undaunted, he gets out of bed and tests his weight. He’s mildly tired like he’d gone for a good workout at the gym. Nothing he can’t handle. Just in case, he also lights the sparks in his hands and is reassured at their usual snap and crackle.

“Brat, I hope you know what you’re doing,” his mother says to him with a frown, and her eyes are a little too perceptive but Katsuki just scoffs. Deku has always been the exception to Katsuki’s self-assured understanding of the world, but that doesn’t mean he’s ignorant of what Deku needs either. He cracks his knuckles and gets ready to punch Deku’s stupid face in.

 

Deku is more than just ‘freaking out’. He’s practically feral, he’s thrashing in the padded safe room with his hands cuffed together and he’s still banging on the walls and ripping through the padding with green lightning crackling over his skin. Guess he can still use One for All then.

Aunt Inko is there, and it looks like she’s cried herself out of tears as she stands at the window looking defeated and lost. The old hag goes to her and draws her away from the sight, murmuring low words of comfort while Aunt Inko blubbers apologies for her son.

“Is that a goddamn muzzle,” Katsuki says with incredulous disbelief. The thing on Deku’s face certainly looks like one, in fact it looks like what Hound Dog usually wears but modified to fit his smaller head. Recovery Girl looks a little guilty next to him. Aizawa’s shoulders are slumped more than usual and he watches Deku with his arms crossed.

“Erasure can negate One for All for now, but it doesn’t affect whatever he’s been inflicted with. Be careful, Bakugou.”

Recovery Girl frowns. “Remember, you just need to calm him down. Try to get skin-to-skin contact if possible, but don’t punch him.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Open the door.”

One of the nurses opens the door quickly and he steps inside just as Deku whirls around and lunges at him, teeth bared. Katsuki pulls back his fist and smashes it right into his jaw, sending him sprawling a few feet away. Deku slowly pushes himself to his elbows and knees, and coughs out a glob of blood.

“Kacchan?” he mumbles, looking up at him with recognition finally dawning. “You - are you okay? Oh my god, I was so scared!” He struggles to his feet and takes a few shaky steps towards Katsuki. He looks pale again, though his body no longer looks as thin as before.

“I’m fine,” Katsuki bites out, and it’s even mostly true. There’s nothing wrong with him that some sleep and food won’t mend. Deku on the other hand, his whole body is still trembling all over with his pupils blown wide, and his hands shake like a junkie looking for a fix. Katsuki can see the sweat beading on his skin, the strain that Deku is under standing near him but not touching him. Not yet, because he isn’t sure he can, because he’s afraid to hurt him again. Arrogantly self-sacrificial to the bitter fucking end, what a goddamn idiot. Katsuki grabs his hand and yanks him closer. Deku's eyes flutter shut and he goes still and quiet as he stops vibrating and lets out a deep, shaky sigh.

“You are a fucking pain in my ass, shitty Deku,” Katsuki snarls at him and Deku opens his wide green eyes, smiling sheepishly with a bruise forming on his jaw and his teeth still stained with his own blood.

“I know, Kacchan.”

 

=

 

They work out a rough idea of how the Quirk affects Deku after that. Whatever the Quirk does, its effects seem to either be peaking or getting worse than the first few days he’d been afflicted.

Right now Deku can only go about one hour without touching Katsuki before the ‘itch’ as he calls it starts under his skin, but not touching at all sets him on edge and ill. Two hours, before it turns to pain. By four he’ll start tearing through things to get to Katsuki, and that’s roughly how long he had been unconscious after the first attack. None of them suggest trying for five. His ‘hunger’ so to speak, seems to flare up around every four to five hours and not ‘feeding’ (ugh, gross) seems to flip the feral switch within the hour.

None of the feeding is as bad as the first time, and Katsuki remains more or less able to move. Unfortunately drawing blood from him doesn’t work either, as it seems the Quirk demands it fresh from the organic free-range source. But thankfully he doesn’t always have to sacrifice his neck or much of his blood for the purpose. Sucking on his arm like an overgrown green leech is enough to satisfy Deku and Katsuki is getting better at knowing the limit before he’ll stop him.

It’s still agony to begin with, like needles piercing his skin before the pleasure follows and Katsuki resents every moment of it because he has no control over this at all – pain or pleasure, he is not his own master. Deku is pitifully apologetic, scraping and bowing and it makes Katsuki itch to punch him again, because he can apologise all he fucking wants but he can’t hide how much he enjoys it.

He always holds Katsuki’s arm tenderly and with something like reverence, which Katsuki assumes is because he never touched Deku except to hurt him in some way. He hates it, hates being touched to begin with and especially by fucking Deku of all people, the way he presses open-mouthed to his skin, sinking his teeth in and closing his eyes like he’s savouring something delicious he hasn’t eaten in years. It’s sickening, and it always churns his stomach to watch. At least the bites heal almost immediately and don’t seem to scar, which is a relief because Katsuki is antisocial enough that he really can’t afford to walk around with bite marks like a pervert or something.

And as far as they are all aware, the feedings don’t really affect Katsuki beyond short term exhaustion, an increased appetite and a general sense of relaxation. In fact his heart rate barely speeds up and was part of the reason none of the machines in the hospital had tripped the alarm.

Going back to class is another hurdle altogether. Aizawa at least spares them the humiliation of being present while he tries to explain the Quirk’s effects in a PG-sanitised way to save their dignity, but they can still hear the whole classroom erupt in a cacophony of shock and incredulity as they stand outside.

“Sorry Kacchan,” Deku mumbles, hanging his head. Their hands are cupped together, which Katsuki thought would be disgusting and sweaty at first but irritatingly they fit nice and firm. The fact that he’s finally holding the hand he once refused lifetimes ago is not lost on either of them but they don’t talk about it. Although the first time Deku tried to interlock their fingers he got a blast for his trouble. Katsuki glares down at his stupid green mop of hair.

“You done something you need to apologise for?”

Deku looks up at him, startled. “I thought – I’m making trouble for you, so.”

“Not like you did it on purpose. Shit’s just what it is,” Katsuki says through gritted teeth, and resists the insane urge to squeeze his hand. They have no idea how long the Quirk is going to last for, or if there’s some kind of condition that will remove the effects. The Quirk Research Committee is looking into it but Katsuki’s not going to hold his breath. This is their new normal for now. They even had to move into the same room just so Katsuki could be near if the fucking little shit felt like snacking.

He keeps his head high and lip curled as he walks into the classroom, and more or less jerks Deku along behind him as the stupid nerd keeps his head bowed like he’s expecting to be stoned or something. There’s no use hiding their joined hands; the class are gonna get an eyeful in the coming days anyway and he ain’t got shit to hide from these fucking extras, they can gawk all they want. If Deku wants to out himself as pathetically in love with him through a perverted Quirk that’s his own fucking problem.

Everyone is staring, most of them with their jaws dropped. Uraraka looks apoplectic and he knows Kaminari is going to give him no end of shit for this later. Kirishima, in a fit of insanity, gives him two thumbs up and a wide grin. They sit down next to each other, having moved their desks so the touching can be mostly discreet.

“So -” Mineta, of course it’s fucking Mineta, opens his mouth and Katsuki cuts across him with a voice that promises pain and violence.

“One more word, and I will end you.” It’s directed at Mineta but the class takes the warning for what it is.

 

“So why is Bakugou the only person you need to touch?” Uraraka’s voice isn’t particularly subdued, and Katsuki grimaces from where he’s just around the door, coming back after going to the cafeteria for his food. No way he’s going to eat lunch while holding Deku’s hand in front of the entire school, their class is already bad enough.

“And why do you keep disappearing with him when your eyes glow?” Half’n’half, figures.

“Uh, that’s… er, just something the Quirk requires,” Deku mumbles.

“You know being all secretive is just fuelling our salacious imaginations, right?” Fuck Ashido, why is she there?

Sala- Mina! You’re not helping!”

“What? We all know Midoriya is – y’know – for ol’ Blasty, I think he should take advantage of it while he can.”

“What do you mean you all know –”

“And he’s not dead, that means Blasty cares for him!”

“Or maybe Kacchan is a decent human being!?” Deku’s voice is high and thready with indignation, but the breathlessness belies his lethal embarrassment.

“Hm. Yeaaah nah sorry bro.” Kaminari. He’s going on his ever-lengthening Hit List too. “Don’t get me wrong, your Kacchan is definitely a great guy but I’m not sure he’d have bothered with anyone else.”

“That – that’s completely contra-”

“He’d do it for me. We’re friends.”

A cough. “Uh, Todoroki…”

“You’ve moved into the same room right? You’re roommates now.” Ashido somehow manages to manifest eyebrow waggling into her voice, “If you – I don’t know, invite him to look at your All Might merch and then one thing leads to another…”

“I don’t think this line of inquiry is appropriate for school.” Iida sounds strained. Katsuki can practically hear the hand-chops.

“So you agree, prez? Something naughty is happening?” Splutters from Iida, and Uraraka shushes them.

“He’s not hurting you though is he?”

“No! No, I’m… I’m the one in the wrong. Sort of. Kacchan’s been very nice to me.” The silence from the others speaks of their profound scepticism. “I mean it! I’m asking a lot from him, and he’s only threatened me like, five – no, six times?”

“That is pretty subdued for Bakugou.” Murmurs of pleasantly surprised agreement to Todoroki's reply. Well fuck you all very much then, Katsuki thinks, but his lips curl into a smirk.

He rounds the corner before Deku can shove his foot any further into his mouth, and the group turns at his entrance. Uraraka is still squinting suspiciously at him and he directs an extra wide baring of teeth at her just to rile her up. She snorts, but pulls back as he dumps his lunch on his desk.

“What did you get?” Deku peers into the bag but Katsuki shoves his face away.

“None of ya freaking beeswax, nerd.”

“Are those hotdog buns? That’s so mean! You know they’re my favourite! And I can’t even eat right now!”

Katsuki grins with satisfaction as he tears into the bread and chews.

 

=

 

“If you dare try to cuddle me…” Katsuki trails off ominously, and Deku just laughs at him while bouncing a little on his side of their pushed-together beds, looking around the room with the feverish excitement of a stalker being handed a dossier on their favourite prey. They’re in Katsuki’s room because like hell was he gonna sleep in Deku’s incredibly creepy All Might shrine.

“I promise I won’t! Though I tend to kick around a little in my sleep now, so sorry in advance?”

Katsuki presses his lips together. They’d spent a total of two days in the hospital adjusting to the Quirk while being monitored, even slept next to each other after Deku stopped hyperventilating and Katsuki was soundly threatened. But that had felt clinical, removed from reality. Sleeping in his own bed with Deku barely an arm’s length away feels much more intimate, and it brings up memories of sleepovers and camp that he really doesn’t want to think about right now. There’s a reason he knows Deku’s a shameless sleep-cuddler, after all.

“This is just like our old sleepovers!” Deku declares like he’s reading Katsuki’s mind, and visibly thinks about a blanket fort.

“Hell no.” Deku pouts at him and then he hesitates, like he’s just thought of another spectacularly bad idea.

“Do you… wanna look at my All Might mer-” Katsuki shoves him off the bed and Deku tumbles over with a yelp.

“Kacchan you’re so mean.” Deku rubs his back and scowls at him, but he doesn’t sound particularly put off about it.

“Get in bed, Deku,” Katsuki growls at him, and Deku flushes pink from his hair all the way down his neck and he starts to stammer. Katsuki groans and prays for patience.

 

Katsuki stares sightlessly at the ceiling and Deku’s steady breaths are quiet next to him, curled on his side and facing in. It’s the middle of the night and neither of them are sleeping.

“I know this isn’t easy for you,” Deku whispers, and Katsuki slowly closes his eyes. “I’m really sorry I hurt you that day. You're probably sick of hearing it, but I just wanted to say I’m grateful you’re here helping me.”

He makes it sound like this is completely voluntary. Putting aside Deku’s certain death if he doesn’t comply, Katsuki’s not sure he wants to risk the collateral damage of a literally bloodthirsty, not-quite-sane Deku wielding the entirety of One for All’s power coming after him.

He can feel Deku’s gaze pressing into his skin, so familiar after a lifetime of being admired from a distance. He doesn’t move when the bed starts to dip, and keeps his eyes closed even as Deku takes one of his hands. It’s probably been too long since their last contact, he can feel him tremble slightly as he presses their palms together, and doesn’t say anything when Deku slips his fingers between his own and gently squeezes in a mockery of intimacy.

There’s a light, soft warmth, like the barest brush of a butterfly’s wingtip over his knuckles. It could be a question, or maybe an invitation. It could be a kiss, but only if Katsuki wanted it to be (you’re such a coward) and he has every chance to rip his hand away and turn around. He doesn’t, but he doesn’t do anything else either.

He’s been resisting this for as long as he can remember, before either of them realised what it even was, what it would become. Katsuki is determined to live his life fiercely independent, the purity of his conviction dedicated solely to being a hero; he doesn’t have time for messy personal relationships. But the unspoken thing between them is like a foregone conclusion, a collar – or a noose – that’s just waiting for him to stop running. Their complicated history pulled the rope tight around his neck, and Deku will always be the chair that Katsuki kicks away. It was always going to be like this, whether in class or hero rankings or whatever else, they’re doomed to orbit each other for the rest of their lives

The worst thing is that Katsuki, in the deep dark repressed depths of his soul, kind of wants him. Just a little. He’s too proud to ever submit to anyone, but with Deku it feels like something much more nebulous and undefined. Because Deku might have enough power to level a city block and destroy skyscrapers, but Katsuki will always have a hold over his heart. Deku would kneel for him if he ever asked. If only he would ask.

It’s... a heady feeling, having power over someone powerful and who can fight back with enough violence to make his blood sing. But Katsuki doesn’t know if he’s willing to sacrifice his independence for this. It’s like standing in front of an abyss – he knows there’s no turning back.

“Kacchan…” Deku says softly, and Katsuki opens his eyes to see him half propped up and leaning over him, far too close and still miles away.

“Why didn’t you tell them it was me,” Katsuki says, and Deku freezes. “You could have saved your mother two days of grief if you’d just told them.”

There’s a long silence.

“This,” Deku says with a squeeze of their hands, “has been between us every day of our lives. You know how I feel, but you never... I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

Katsuki can feel the question scratching at his throat, And what is it you feel huh? Why won’t you ever say it to my face. But asking would be too much like asking, like Katsuki needs something from him. He swallows the words and they go down like knives.

Deku continues softly, “Even now, when I’m happy beyond words that you’re here with me, I know it’s not really by choice.”

Katsuki turns his head away, face twisting into a sneer. “You’re a fucking idiot. Nothing between us has ever been about choice.”

Because if Katsuki could, he would rip Midoriya Izuku from his life and forget he ever existed. His freckles, his curls, the shape of his lips and those big green eyes, the relentless gravity of his gaze. He would choose to give it all up so he wouldn’t have to live with the possibility dogging his heels for the rest of his life. But he can't cut out what’s become part of him. For everything he’s ever done to Deku and had been done to him in return, they... It’s not forgiveness exactly, because some things are out of the realm of apologies or amends.

It had been a weakness on his own part. And Katsuki will never admit that, so he won’t apologise. Katsuki could have ignored him and distanced himself in so many other ways, but he chose the one thing that allowed him to keep his eyes on Deku, that allowed him to drag him close even if it was to hurt him.

And the idiot himself could have turned away and left him alone, decided no I’ve had enough at any point and given them both the emotional emancipation they needed from each other. But every time he got back to his feet after being shoved, every time he dried his tears after Katsuki hurled abuse at him, the look on his face said I’m staying, Kacchan. You can’t escape me, I’ll never let you go, I’ll admire you forever.

Katsuki gave them both an out and Deku refused, that’s all. He is both relieved and resentful that he made the choice for them. Deku’s stubbornness is probably the only thing that can beat Katsuki’s anger, and yet. Even now with a Quirk that’s powerful beyond imagining, he still refuses to cross that final step, still determined to wait for him and pretend it’s a kindness. Katsuki doesn’t want him to be kind about this, because he certainly won’t be.

But Deku’s not stupid, he knows. He’d like to think so, yells it as often as he can in the hope no one will ever realise the truth is that Deku knows him better than anyone. That the only reason he presses so close and takes these liberties is because Katsuki will let him.

“Kacchan…”

“Go to sleep, shitty nerd.” Katsuki disentangles their hands and rolls over, firmly ignoring him. Deku quietly tucks himself behind him, still unwilling to push forward or let go.

 

=

 

It starts two weeks later during his early morning jogs. Katsuki enjoys running when dawn is just kissing the horizon, the clear crisp air bringing a sense of calm he normally doesn’t feel during the day. He’s on his third lap around the field, feeling the satisfying burn in his lungs and his muscles when his right leg buckles beneath him.

Katsuki catches himself on the ground, scraping his palms. He stands up and tests his weight again. Nothing, his leg is fine. He clenches his jaw and leaves the field with three laps still to go.

His left hand next, the following week. His grip suddenly loses strength and his water bottle clanks noisily to the ground. Tokoyami and Jirou look over to him, a question in their raised eyebrows.

“Slipped,” Katsuki says to them, and they shrug and dismiss it.

 

“Any more complications from Midoriya’s feedings?” Recovery Girl asks him, and Katsuki will never not want to curl his lip at the awful term. He’s stopped running in the mornings and he tests his grip carefully before picking things up now.

“No. Just the usual,” he says, and looks out the window.

 

=

 

Katsuki wakes up to a tug on his wrist and blinks his eyes open to find Deku half-sprawled on top of him, his eyes hazy but still glowing gently like eerie corpse lights. He looks sleepy and soft and Katsuki’s instinctive reaction at the cuteness is to scowl at him.

“Kacchan…” Deku breathes and leans closer to nuzzle into him.

“You are such a freak,” Katsuki says with a tired sigh, and pushes his face away before sitting up and lifting his arm for Deku to bite at. It still makes his flesh crawl, but some kind of Pavlovian conditioning must be at work because now there’s also a low tugging deep in his belly even before Deku closes his eyes and seals his lips over his skin.

They’ve done this most nights over the past few weeks and it’s beginning to take a toll on Katsuki. He doesn’t do well on little sleep and all the interruptions are making him crankier than usual. Meanwhile after his feeding Deku will sneak off to the bathroom, probably to jack off or something (they don’t talk about it) before falling asleep right after.

“Alright shitty nerd, you can stop now.” Katsuki tries to yank away but Deku… growls? He bites a little harder and Katsuki hisses. “Deku, don’t make me blow your head off.”

No response, Deku just continues to suck as drool and blood trickles out of the side of his mouth, which is just disgusting. Katsuki’s eyebrows click together.

“Deku.” He tugs again, and Deku’s eyes open but they’re still unfocused. Something swoops low in his gut. “You fucker. What did you do,” Katsuki growls as he fists one hand in the asshole’s shirt to haul him up. Deku doesn’t reply obviously, but he hums a little faintly as he stares up at him all gooey-eyed.

Katsuki shoves him, with enough force that Deku falls back with a grunt. He reaches for Katsuki again and his grasp is strong but without intent, and it feels so wrong to him for some reason. Deku doesn’t say anything, just continues to hold him while he pants for breath and he’s obviously hard, his hips bucking as he searches unconsciously for friction.

Katsuki looks at him properly. Deku had probably taken something, sleeping pills maybe? Maybe the idiot thought if he’s knocked out he won’t want to feed in the night and disturb Katsuki anymore than his mere existence does. Katsuki wants to hit him again; is the shitty nerd looking down on him or something? Does he think Katsuki is so weak he can’t even lose a little sleep?

Deku moans quietly and he tugs Katsuki’s hand towards his groin and presses down, babbling incoherently about need and please and Kacchan like a horny village idiot. He tries to wrench his hand away but Deku whines and pulls him closer, refusing to let go no matter what, his crushing grip now desperate and clingy in a way that he would never dare if he’s actually conscious. Disgusting, Katsuki thinks again. But interesting.

Katsuki moves until he’s straddling Deku, pinning him down and staring into his half-lidded eyes, the scattering of freckles and the tiny crust of blood at the corner of his mouth. He has full control here, he knows. Deku’s too out of it to resist anything he wants to do, and even then he knows the shitty nerd would happily take whatever he did anyway. Here is the idiot begging for it at his complete mercy and there’s still a sour taste in his mouth. What’s the point of taking, of winning, if it’s all willingly surrendered without a fight?

He’s sitting right over Deku’s hard cock as it strains against his sleeping shorts, and while the low heat in his belly is back Katsuki remains soft. He rocks a little experimentally and Deku convulses like he’d been stabbed, finally releasing his wrist so he can clutch at his thighs to roll his hips against him.

“Kacchan, please…” Deku slurs again with another breathless moan and Katsuki glares at him.

“Shut the fuck up and die.” He leans over Deku, grabbing at his face and turning it this way and that, cataloguing the features of his face and trying to see if Deku needs medical attention. Why he is attracted to this dumbass, Katsuki will never know. Deku tries to grind up into him again but his movements are awkward, and it’s easy for Katsuki to deny him just by sitting back on his thighs.

He looks down at Deku’s cock and palms him through the fabric, kneading slightly. Deku whines high in his throat and Katsuki slaps a hand over his mouth. Serves the shitty nerd right, he’ll have all his perverted fantasies come true and not remember a lick of it. He continues to rub his callused hand over Deku’s cock, watching his reactions as he alternates the pace and pressure, where Deku’s eyes roll into his head when his finger rubs over the tip.

Deku pants into his hand and it goes gross and slimy, until Deku starts to lick at his palm like a dog. The bittersweet nitroglycerin-like substance is toxic if too much is ingested by anyone other than himself, but Katsuki lets him continue for a little while before he removes his hand and shoves two fingers into Deku’s mouth. He sucks at them greedily and grabs at his arm, but there’s not enough force and it feels like being clasped by dead fish.

The shorts are damp now and Katsuki grimaces before he presses his thumb in hard at the base, drawing a firm line through all the way to the cockhead that has Deku coming in his shorts, his hips juddering through the release as he moans around the fingers.

Katsuki pulls away and wipes his sticky hands on Deku’s blanket. The idiot looks even more stupid than before, dazed and slack-mouthed and completely boneless. It’s easy to slip out of his grip and go to the bathroom to wash his hands, and by the time he returns Deku’s fast asleep in the bed. Katsuki stares at his sleeping face and snorts under his breath.

In the morning Katsuki gets out of bed early as usual and Deku mumbles sleepily as he’s jostled. Katsuki ignores him and starts to pull on his workout clothes. He doesn’t run in the mornings anymore but that doesn’t mean he can just slack off either. He’s in the middle of brushing his teeth in the tiny bathroom when an incredibly loud yelp comes from the pushed-together beds.

“Kacchan!” Deku half-screeches, and Katsuki leans his body against the doorway.

“What?” he says nonchalantly, and Deku is sitting up with his blankets pushed down against his lap, his mouth moving soundlessly. Katsuki smirks inwardly at the look of mortification on his beet red face. It clashes horribly with his hair.

“D-did I… Er, that is…”

“Spit it out, nerd.”

“Did I feed last night?” Deku’s voice squeaks like an unoiled hinge and Katsuki raises an eyebrow.

“You don’t remember?”

“I – uh, no…?”

“Not even the courtesy of remembering when you gnaw on me, huh?” Katsuki says, and turns to spit into the sink. Deku makes a pained noise.

“So I did?”

“Yeah. So what?”

“Nothing. Um, nothing,” Deku says miserably, and that’ll put a stop to the idiot medicating himself so Katsuki is satisfied. His hand trembles slightly as he puts his toothbrush away.

 

=

 

Katsuki curses himself, and curses the League of Villains’ ancestors to the ninth degree. He’d gotten captured, again. It wasn’t so much that he’d gotten careless, but a teleporting Quirk was just all-fucking levels of cheating. He’d gone to the city to get away from Deku for a while because he was sick of being attached at the hip, and they’d nabbed him right when he’d walked past an alleyway. In retrospect he probably shouldn’t have snuck out, he’d been given strict orders to not leave Deku’s side. But fuck if he wasn’t getting tired of the stupid nerd’s stupid face mooning at him.

The teleporting fog had dumped him in the ass-backwoods of nowhere, right before the knifey bitch showed up and stuck him like a pig.

“Ah, what a waste of precious blood!” Toga frowned when Katsuki shattered the syringes and leapt away. Fucking no shit, Katsuki’s lost enough over the last few weeks that he thinks he oughta start charging for it. They’re in a forest of some kind, nothing that Katsuki can recognise and there are no landmarks anywhere nearby.

“Toga, this means we’re even, got it? I don’t want Shigaraki to hear about this,” the walking pollution says, and Toga trills an agreement as he fades into another black cloud. Well fuck, now he’s stuck here with another lunatic with a taste for blood.

“Hey, you’re Izuku-baby’s childhood friend, right?” Toga says sweetly as she pulls out a dagger, “And you’re close to him. If I become you, do you think I’ll be close to him too?”

Katsuki stares for a second before he laughs in her face, because of-fucking-course, and her sickening smile quickly turns into a sulk.

“What the hell’s so damn funny, jerk?” she snarls, and flashes forward. Katsuki grits his teeth – he doesn’t have his gear and he’s only wearing a tank top, which means he’s more vulnerable than usual. And he’s not in his best form either from the feeding, with sudden bouts of weakness and a persistent tiredness. Whatever, he just needs to put her down quickly. He ducks low, using the recoil of his explosions to manoeuvre. She’s fast though, almost inhumanly so, and it takes every ounce of concentration he has to fend her off.

He grazes her with his explosions but she always just manages to dodge them before swinging in close, like she doesn’t fear for her life at all. Katsuki can feel cold sweat prickling over his skin. This isn’t good, his knee had given out ever so slightly when he’d landed just now.

Fuck, fuck it all to hell and back. He doesn’t have time to fuck around with her like this, Deku doesn’t have the time. He doesn’t wear a watch but his gut tells him he’s already past the one-hour limit and god knows when he’ll be able to get out of here. He blinds her for a moment with a bright stun, before activating the emergency beacon button on his phone. Damn if it doesn’t feel like capitulating in some way, but there’s bigger shit to worry about.

Suddenly, his vision swims and there’s nausea in the pit of his stomach. For a split second he thinks he’s finally hit his limit but then he remembers the syringes. He grabs at a tree with his left hand to hold himself steady.

“Are we not playing anymore?” Toga asks coyly as she skips to him, and he spits on the ground in front of her.

“You’re a fuckin’ nutcase,” he growls and stays standing through sheer strength of will alone.

“I have no idea why Izuku-baby is so fixated on you,” she complains with a whine, “you’re so rude and aggravating. He’ll be much happier with me. And I’ll be much happier as him.”

“Yeah well you’re fuckin' welcome to try,” Katsuki grins at her, full of teeth, “but lemme tell ya, you ain’t mean enough for him.”

She stares at him for a beat before flushing pink across her cheeks. “So it’s like that, huh,” Toga mutters under her breath, looking almost embarrassed for a second. Katsuki is panting now, his vision blackening at the edges and he’s been storing his power in his free hand, ready for a final blast that can hopefully take her out for good. Toga pulls out two more of her nasty-looking syringes and grins at him.

“I can be mean! Just watch!” She crouches and Katsuki tenses –

A thunderous crash in the distance rips through the forest like a runaway bullet train, and all the birds take flight screeching in fear. Katsuki’s hand on the tree tightens.

“Wha-” Toga doesn’t even finish the word before Deku flies through the trees at blinding speed and punches her in the jaw with a sickening crack. She crashes through three trees before landing in a crumpled heap. Deku’s eyes are glowing again and he bares his teeth at her in a wordless snarl, his entire body shrouded in green lightning and ominous black tendrils. He’s wearing one of his usual stupid shirts and Katsuki can see his fingertips are bloody and the knuckles split, as if he’d clawed and punched his way through something to get here.

“Deku,” Katsuki grits out, and Deku whirls to face him with a face so full of feral rage that Katsuki almost flinches. Before he can say anything else, another warp gate forms and the teleporter and the lizard come through.

“Toga, what’s taking you so –” Kurogiri says, and freezes when he sees her broken body. Spinner draws his sword and charges at Deku with a scream, and Deku blurs into action. Blackwhip explodes out of him and grabs Kurogiri before he can react, slamming him repeatedly into the ground and then throwing him through half the fucking forest as Deku pivots around Spinner’s attack – Katsuki’s own move, he recognises, and kicks the lizard right in the spine. Spinner goes flying but not before Deku’s on him, punching his face again and again with increasingly wetter and awful thuds.

Fuck, he’s going to kill him at this rate.

“Deku, stop!” Katsuki shouts but Deku doesn’t seem to hear him. Katsuki draws in a breath and aims his hand at them both, letting loose an enormous blast that sends their bodies flying.

Through the smoke he can see dark purple clouds that warp and vanish out of sight and finally he collapses to his knees, retching hard while his smoking hand smarts like hell. Something – Deku – barrels into him, and Katsuki ends up flat on his back with Deku staring down with wild eyes and a ravenous look on his pale, ash-streaked face. Fear shoots down his spine. This isn’t something he can be punched out of.

Katsuki swings a fist anyway, catching him clear across the mouth and splitting his lip but then Deku grabs his wrist and Katsuki bites back a scream when something cracks. He's barely processing the agony when Deku turns his awful blank gaze from his face to his captured hand, before he – shoves his hand into his mouth. It should be startling how stupid he looks with three fingers stuffed in his cheeks as he sucks greedily, chewing at Katsuki’s fingers like they’re meat on the bone.

“You motherfuckin’ weirdo I’ll kill you!” Katsuki howls, and even though it’ll hurt like a son of a bitch with his mangled wrist, he lets off a spark in Deku's mouth. He yelps and pulls away, saliva and blood trailing between them like threads. Katsuki is still swearing at him as the world tilts alarmingly and it’ll serve him right if he throws up on him.

Deku stares at him again, and before Katsuki can do anything else he swoops down and sinks his teeth into his neck. Katsuki stiffens at the pain, writhing underneath him uselessly.

Fuck, is all Katsuki can think before he blacks out.

 

Katsuki comes to slowly, and everything aches. From the crown of his head to the tips of his toes, his body feels like one giant bruise with glass shards for joints. Deku’s slumped on top of him and it takes all of his strength to shove him off. The front of Deku’s shirt is dappled with blood and for a second his heart leaps into his throat, only to realise it’s his own.

Katsuki tries to push himself up and hisses when his left wrist collapses under him. It’s swollen and an ugly ring of black bruising surrounds the pale skin. He frowns. Deku had broken his bones like a twig with his terrifying strength, and god knows what the idiot will do when he wakes up and finds out. He runs his good hand over Deku’s body to make sure there are no serious injuries, that he hadn’t passed out from anything worse than his berserk fight.

He looks down at himself. His top had been ripped off and he’s covered in bruises shaped like handprints and bloody bite marks that are still oozing sluggishly. There’s the disgusting bitter taste of iron on his tongue. He swipes his hand across his face and it comes away smeared with red. There are no cuts in his mouth, which only leads to one conclusion.

He’s going to murder Deku.

“You fucking half-baked shitty vampire! Die!” Katsuki kicks Deku who rolls over limply like an insensate log. Katsuki flops onto his back to stare at the sky; this is probably karmic payback for the night Deku sedated himself, so it’s tit for fucking tat. Katsuki will consider them even now and he won’t take his pound of flesh from him for this.

Now that the initial ache has passed, Katsuki realises he feels better than he has since this whole stupid Quirk thing had started. There’s no underlying fatigue or malaise even though he should be fucked up from the fight and Deku’s rampage. He frowns some more and swipes a finger over one of the bites before licking his blood off. Nothing, just tastes like blood. He turns and spits it out.

“Bakugou!” Aizawa looks more dishevelled than usual as he emerges from the trees, followed by a gaggle of teachers and pro-heroes alike. They fan out to secure the perimeter immediately, leaving Midnight and Aizawa.

Midnight comes to Katsuki and props him up. “This is some hardcore play, kid.” she says with a weak smile even as her hands quickly check him for further injuries. “Anything broken? Sharp pain?”

“My left wrist, but nevermind that. Just check on the shitty nerd, make sure he’s fine before I kill him.”

Midnight snorts. “Will do.”

“What happened?” Aizawa crosses his arms and Katsuki scowls.

“League of Villains and their one-trick pony. The knifey lunatic got me with a tranquiliser of some kind. The lizard and the teleporter were here too, but Deku took care of them.” Spinner will definitely need to be hospitalised, while Toga will probably end up eating through a straw for at least a month, serves her fucking right.

“Why would they try to capture you again?” Aizawa murmurs, his brows scrunched together in a frown. “Did they make the same offer as before?”

“No. Personal vendetta I think, she tried to take my blood. Shitty nerd here has a fucking admirer.” He kicks at Deku again, before Midnight frowns and slaps his foot away and moves Deku from his kicking range.

Aizawa stares at him, then says very slowly like it physically pains him, “You were kidnapped. By a group of supervillains. For a teenage love triangle.”

“Piss off, leave me out of it.”

“Language, Bakugou.” Aizawa rubs a hand over his face, muttering something that sounds suspiciously like they don’t pay me enough for this, and oh my god, eyebleach before he turns to one of the Pro-Heroes and asks her to transport Katsuki and Deku to the ambulance and Recovery Girl.

 

“I will take into account the extenuating circumstances and the obvious strain this situation has put on you, but you should not have left the schoolgrounds. It was reckless of you, and unimaginably stupid.” Aizawa stares hard at him, and Katsuki shifts a little. He actually really respects his teacher and it does make something like shame twist his insides to be told off.

They’re in the school hospital again, and honestly at this point he may as well just pay rent here. Deku is still unconscious next to him and Katsuki has one pinkie touched to his hand so he’d stop groping for him in his sleep. Aizawa stares at their hands, and sighs.

“Thankfully the property damage was relatively minimal and Cementoss has already fixed it. Midoriya suffered mostly superficial injuries and he’ll recover soon. Your punishment will be decided once this Quirk wears off.”

“What if it doesn’t,” Katsuki blurts suddenly, and he hates the tremor in his voice.

“It will. Quirks like this rarely last longer than a couple of months, if that.”

Katsuki scrubs his face. “I will lose my shit if this lasts any longer.”

“Is that why you ran away?” Katsuki bristles at that, because his teacher knows exactly what those words do to him.

“I was just sick of looking at his stupid face! It was either leave or punch his fucking lights out.” He turns to pinch and shake Deku’s cheek. “And the fucker won’t even give me a decent fight. Couldn’t beat me half the time, even with One for All.”

“Do you want him to beat you?” Aizawa asks evenly, and Katsuki rolls his eyes.

“As if he can. But the nerd should at least put his back into it!”

“...For someone who’s so unapologetically blunt, you do have a surprising obliqueness.” Katsuki freezes. Aizawa’s eyes flick away to Deku’s face. “I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, the way you go about things; it’s not my place. And Midoriya seems to understand you better than most, but it’s hard for him too. He’s reaching out to you the only way he knows how.”

“I don’t need his help,” Katsuki snaps reflexively, before realising that makes no sense. He expects Aizawa to sigh or roll his eyes, to admonish him to play nice like everyone else. But Aizawa just looks at him steadily and Katsuki finds he can’t keep his gaze.

“Someone reaching out… isn’t always just offering help one-sidedly. Sometimes it’s about wanting connection, reciprocity.”

“He doesn’t know what the hell he wants. Just sits and stares like a dumbass.”

“I’m not so sure about that, but I suppose you are uniquely qualified to make that call.” Aizawa’s voice is wry. “Perhaps it would do you both good if you show him what you really want.” Katsuki can feel himself flush and he squints at Aizawa, trying to figure out his angle.

“What kinda teacher are you anyway?” Katsuki grumps. Aizawa gives him a sardonic look before heaving to his feet with a heavy sigh.

“Recovery Girl has given you a clean bill of health and asks you to keep up with your supplements. You should be ready to go back to class in a day, so please stop giving me grey hairs.”

“No promises,” Katsuki mutters, and Aizawa’s lips quirk a little against his will.

After he leaves Katsuki is left staring at the blank sterile walls of the hospital, rattled by the conversation and itching for something to do. Kirishima had come by to drop off his schoolwork and some entertainment, but none of it looks interesting.

Deku’s breaths are slow and steady next to him and Katsuki watches his face. It’s still a little round with stubborn baby fat, with freckles scattered across his cheeks like a jumbled constellation. They’d cleaned up most of the blood but there’s still a smear of it near the lobe of his ear. Something in his chest pricks at that, and he reaches forward to scratch it off.

He hates to admit that Deku finished the fight. Even if he’d beaten Toga he’d have been up shit creek when the other two arrived. He owes Deku, again. Just like after the sludge villain attack, the first time he’d ever seen what Deku was capable of and what he might become to surpass Katsuki. There’s an anger in his belly that sits sick and roiling at their whole fucked-up situation, but this time it’s not Deku’s fault; just his own thoughtlessness putting them both at risk.

Deku's scarred fingers twitch but he remains in his listless sleep. He’d broken through the restraints and the room they’d kept him in for his own safety, clawed his way out through blood and steel to reach Katsuki. But his hands are free of those wounds now, all that remained were the scars from him breaking his body to reach another kind of dream. Katsuki traces a finger over the cruel-looking scar tissue and another pang lances into him. He’s reaching out to you the only way he knows how.

“Why can’t you let go huh?” he asks the sleeping boy next to him. “You’re a fucking coward.” In the silence of the room, it’s like he’s talking to himself.

There’s a hand forever hovering in the air and waiting for him, each finger curled like a bear trap ready to spring shut at any time. Katsuki had never known how to reach back for it, and so he broke its fingers with his silence. He thought he’d be fine with that, until Deku started breaking his own fingers for real.

Frustration. That’s the emotion he feels whenever he looks at Deku, ever since they were kids. Stupid, clumsy, Quirkless Deku, who wanted to be a hero but couldn’t walk twenty paces without tripping over his own feet. He never heeds his own limitations, and Katsuki both hates it and admires it in equal, dizzying measure. Deku was supposed to be beneath him but this one blinding conviction of his always makes Katsuki feel like he’s above him instead. It still pisses him off, but now the strength of Deku’s will to fight for what he wants is one of the things he can finally acknowledge that he respects about him.

Watching him strive for number one from the bottom-most place in their Quirk obsessed society and his desire to save people with a smile… Yeah, Katsuki admires that now, and even his stubborn desire to win. But not at the cost of his life, and if Katsuki is the inspiration Deku’s trying to learn from the shitty nerd needs to pay better attention. Even now (maybe especially now) he doesn’t put enough value on his own life in the complicated mental arithmetic of his head. Why is he so willing to sacrifice his body for others, without realising the weight that sacrifice would put on those he saved? He wants to drag Deku close and force him to confront the cost of his dreams, the price that everyone who loves him has to pay.

Katsuki wants him to – wants to be the only reckless abandon Deku can’t ignore, wants to reach into his chest and grasp that beating heart to know it won’t do any more stupid shit.

And he can’t understand why Deku would chase him with the same religious zeal only to stop right before the finish line and dither. It’s not as if he's ever respected Katsuki’s boundaries and heeded his demands to fuck off; it feels like a weird power play to corner him against that cliff edge and then expect him to jump of his own free will.

Deku mumbles a little, stirring awake as he shifts uneasily. When his eyes open they’re a dull green. Katsuki’s hand jerks, and Deku turns to stare at him blankly.

“Kacchan?” Katsuki presses his lips together at the hoarseness in his voice.

“Took you long enough to wake up.”

“Are you okay?” Yet again, he’s the one who got all busted up and he’s still worrying over someone else.

“I’m fine,” Katsuki snaps, and shit he’s getting really tired of that broken record too.

“I’m glad,” Deku whispers and his fingers creak over Katsuki’s hand to give it a weak squeeze. “I saw your note, but then you disappeared and I was so scared.”

Katsuki rolls his eyes as Deku slowly heaves himself up to sit at an incline, trying to ignore the guilt that’s returned threefold. The others had told him about the aftermath of his first kidnapping, the way Deku had shattered into pieces. But it scratches at his throat until finally, “Whatever, I shouldn’t have left.” Deku gapes a little, understanding the shitty apology for what it is.

“Oh. Um, you probably had your reasons,” Deku mumbles, picking at his blanket. “What happened?”

“League of Shitstains, that’s what. Teleporter got me, then your lunatic girlfriend showed up to skin my face and wear it like a mask to seduce you.”

Deku turns green enough to match his hair. He actually retches a little. “Kacchan, please. Please never give me that mental image ever again.”

“Tch.”

“I’m sorry you got involved,” Deku continues with a weary sigh, “Though I bet you wiped the floor with them huh? Kacchan’s amazing like that.” The smile on his face is full of unforgivable sincerity. It gives Katsuki heartburn.

Katsuki squints at him peevishly. “You’re the one that smashed Spinner’s face till he looked like a blind carpenter’s thumb.”

“Huh!?”

“Yeah, you. You went apeshit, tore up half the forest.”

“I – wait - did I hurt you again?” Deku’s voice cracks a little in sudden desperation, and he reaches forward. Katsuki smacks him away and ignores the twinge in his just-healed left wrist.

“You motherfucker, you think you’re capable?”

“That’s not an answer, Kacchan!”

“Don’t backtalk me shitty nerd. Are you blind or what? I’m fine.”

“Just because Recovery Girl healed you does not mean I didn’t hurt you as well!”

Katsuki groans. He knew Deku was gonna get all squirrelly about this. “So? So what? We beat each other up all the time, what’s the fucking difference?”

Deku seems struck speechless, but less about the question than Katsuki’s own attitude. “It’s about intent! When we spar it’s for improving ourselves, but if I’m under the Quirk’s influence I have no control and that’s dangerous. I could hurt you for real!”

“Like I said, you think you -”

“Kacchan.” Deku grabs his collar and leans in alarmingly close. His expression is so serious it sends a shiver down Katsuki’s spine. “I could kill you.”

Katsuki smiles, and it crinkles his eyes slightly. He’s been begrudgingly told by people that he’s very handsome when he smiles, so he very rarely does; prefers his smirks and snarls to anything that would make people take him less seriously. Deku’s hands fall away, and his face slackens in stupefied surprise. An inappropriate blush creeps over his ears and cheeks.

Katsuki leans right back into him until their lips nearly brush, and murmurs with poisonous promise, “Not if I kill you first.”

Deku inhales sharply, and for a moment none of them dare to make a sound. Then Deku breaks first, with little snorts that devolve into giggles, then laughter, and he wipes at his eyes when his breath catches on something like a sob. Katsuki grins nastily, which is just his way of being amused. Finally, Deku quiets down and his lips are still pulled in a half-wobbly smile when he catches the edge of Katsuki’s cuffs, tugging slightly. His eyes are wet, and glowing softly like sunlight through tumbled sea glass. Katsuki watches those luminous eyes watching him, and keeps his peace for once.

“Kacchan, stay where I can see you, okay?”

Katsuki knows he’s not asking for the sake of the Quirk's demands. He screws his knuckles on Deku’s head, making him squawk and bat him away.

“How about you stay where I can kill you, huh?”

Deku laughs bright and clear this time, his eyes squeezed into crescents with his nose crinkling like a bunny's. “I mean it!”

“Don’t tell me what to do! And what are you, five?” Katsuki snorts. And where would he even go? But it’s interesting he asked at all. Because if Katsuki really did leave UA or the city or the country, Deku wouldn’t follow. He’d stay to finish his dream and his commitments first, wouldn’t have asked if he’d just planned on following him anyway. Katsuki is not the most important thing in his life, and so he finds himself rather fond of Deku in this moment.

“Here,” Katsuki says, and holds his arm up to Deku’s mouth.

“O–oh, are you sure?”

Katsuki just gives him a Look, and Deku takes his arm and obediently opens his mouth to bite down and suck. He breathes through the initial pain and Deku looks up at him as if he’s greedy for what’s next, and Katsuki locks eyes with him. Show him what you really want.

When the pleasure part hits, his lips part and his breathing goes ever so slightly ragged. Deku’s eyes are round, pupils dilated so wide it swallows the green. Katsuki has never before allowed himself to betray any arousal from the feedings, even if Deku always read it in his face clear as day. They haven’t talked about it.

Then Deku does something he’s never done before either. As he detaches his fangs he licks over the wound, a hot wet stripe that drags over his skin and stings around the puncture marks. Electric currents sing through Katsuki’s veins, hotter than the induced pleasure as it crackles in his belly. He almost jerks his arm away instinctively, but Deku yanks him back until he's half sprawled on him.

Deku’s breathing hard, low harsh pants that shudder half in anxiety and half in arousal and he looks shocked stupid at what he’s just done. But there’s no hiding the fact that he’s obviously hard when his eyes are glazed like that.

Is this it? Is the reckoning they’ve been dancing around for years now finally happening? A vicious, fierce joy punches through Katsuki and keeps going and going. He’s never had a good hold on his emotions, he feels too much and always all at once, erupting out of him in violence and anger and everything sharp with teeth. He doesn’t know what to do with his hands except hurt something with them and maybe one day he’ll learn but it’s not today, and he’s not sure Deku expects him to.

So he reaches forward to clasp his hand around Deku’s throat, squeezing just enough to feel the bob of his Adam’s apple when he swallows hard. His teeth are still stained with blood and he looks unhinged, intoxicated. Deku’s grip tightens unconsciously and Katsuki’s pale, quickly-bruising skin gives under the pressure.

“You get off on this,” Katsuki’s voice is pitched low, and Deku’s eyes widen in panic. Oh yeah, they’re talking about it now. “You enjoy sucking on me, keeping me on a tight leash? Bet you wanna hold me down, get payback for all those years you were a useless wimp.”

“Kacchan, no – I would never –” Deku’s beet red as he shifts his hips, and Katsuki would wager every dollar he has that he's just gotten harder. Katsuki growls and swings himself to straddle him, grinding the erection under him. Deku gasps like he’s been scalded and his hips jerk involuntarily. Katsuki leans down until they’re so close they’re sharing breath, still bearing down on his neck until the air rattles in his throat. There’s a slight metallic tang in the air and his eyes are so glassy they’re like green marbles.

“You want me to stay? Make me. You’ve got the strength, take some goddamn responsibility for it, Deku.”

Deku’s other hand comes up, fingernails digging in and his eyes flash with something hungry, desperate, savage –

Katsuki gets riled up like an engine revving to go, ready to beat Deku down and claim victory, claim first blood in the fight he’s been spoiling for all his life. The thrumming in his body is so intense he can feel his hands shake and his lips pull back in something that might be a snarl or a grin. Yeah I’m on that fucking cliff, I’m right in front of that abyss. You motherfucker wanna try push me in? I’ll fight you every fucking step of the way but I’ll let you have the first swing.

Then Deku’s hands go limp, and he stares up at Katsuki with red-rimmed eyes. “I – I can’t. This isn’t about payback, Kacchan.” Katsuki feels himself go stone cold inside. Deku reaches for his face and for a wild moment he wants to bite those fingers off. Instead, he swats them away and pulls back. He doesn’t know what’s in his expression but Deku’s face crumples and he starts to babble.

“You know it’s never been about that for me. I don’t want to hurt you and you know how I – how I feel. And you always - but then I thought – but you still want to fight me all the time and it’s confusing and I don’t know what you really want. I’m not trying to ignore your feelings but -”

Every word twists in Katsuki’s gut, rage and crippling disappointment both.

“But it doesn’t feel right,” Deku trails off lamely. Katsuki looks down on him, and feels a sneer curl his lip.

“You’re a fucking idiot.” He swings himself off the bed and he hears the wet hitch of Deku’s breath, the way his fingers just brush his arm as if to pull him back, but then they fall away and Katsuki leaves without looking back.

 

He ignores Deku after that, only holding his hand with the most perfunctory of touches and looking away when he feeds. Even the arousal from the biting is nothing but background noise, tempered by the dull rage seething in his belly. Deku tries a million and one ways to get him to react, even going so far as to push his buttons a few times out of suicidal desperation.

And Katsuki, who usually can’t control his emotions even when his life had literally depended on it, doesn’t rise to the bait. He’s tired, so tired, in ways he can’t articulate even if he had the words for it. There’s a strange ache in his chest that feels hollow, and every time he looks at Deku something howls inside him.

Sure, it’s a little bit out of wanting to punish him, but Katsuki thinks maybe he’s doing what he should have done a long time ago. Fuck Deku, fuck his chickenshit indecision, fuck his own unreasonable feelings that he’s never going to bring out to the light of day anyway. Fuck wanting – wanting – something he was never supposed to want. He’s the idiot who thought Deku understood him, the only person he thought who could give him what he wanted.

He should have just distanced himself and cut off this problem at the source, before its roots had the time to grow into his veins and bones and strangle him from the inside out.

 

“Bakugou!” Kirishima slings an arm around Katsuki and grins at him with his sharp teeth, “Me and the boys are gonna go play some basketball, think you can spare the time? Where’s Midoriya? We should ask him.”

“Deku’s not my fucking keeper,” Katsuki growls and Kirishima shakes his head.

“Not what I meant bro. It’d be cool if he can join us, is all.”

Katsuki’s shoulders drop from where they’ve been inching towards his ears. For all of Shitty-hair’s dumb optimism and inexplicable cheer, his company is so easy and affable that even Katsuki finds it hard to keep up his mile-high barbed wire walls. The fact that he’s also physically incapable of beating around the bush also helps; his straightforwardness is something Katsuki can always rely on.

“You’ve been looking more pissed off lately, let’s go play and blow off some steam, eh?”

“I don’t need you nannying me!”

Kirishima shrugs. “Sure, but it’s more fun with you there. And if you come Sero can’t cheat as much, we need aerial support!”

“I heard that!” Sero tries to smack Kirishima but he ducks out of the way, dragging Katsuki along and laughing. “Get ready for the taste of cellophane!” Sero cackles as he runs off with Kaminari and Sato in tow.

“You hear that Bakugou? You gonna let Sero get away with that?”

“Alright fine, Shitty-hair!” Katsuki yells, but there’s a smirk on his face as Kirishima hoots in victory.

“Kacchan?”

They both turn to see Deku standing awkwardly in the hallway behind them. He looks pale again, a little ill as his hands clench at the straps of his bag. His gaze slides from Kirishima, who still has one arm slung around Katsuki to Katsuki himself. His eyes darken as his lips press together and Katsuki sneers at him.

Kirishima glances between them quickly and removes his arm. “Midoriya, there you are! Wanna come play basketball with us?”

“Basketball?” Deku echoes, his eyes still swinging between them slowly. Katsuki snorts.

“Leave it Kirishima, he doesn’t have the coordination for this kind of shit.”

Deku frowns at him and Kirishima steps in, ever the peacemaker. “Hey no one’s perfect when they start you know? And Midoriya’s a quick learner, I’m sure you’ll pick it up.” The last part is directed at Deku, whose answering smile is all wrong on his face, crimped like his face hurts.

“It might not be a good idea for Kacchan to play.”

“What. The fuck. Did you say?” Katsuki stares at Deku, who looks back at him almost defiantly, though he’s starting to sweat. Katsuki had been careful. He’d been so goddamn careful but Deku always sees everything except for the one fucking thing -

“Ah, the Quirk right? The touchy thing?” Kirishima takes a step away from Katsuki, keeping his eyes on Deku with his hands waving placatingly. “I’m sure it’s fine if you just come with –”

“There’s still two hours,” Katsuki says and deliberately grabs Kirishima to drag him away, refusing to look at Deku. “Get the fuck out of my sight until then,” he tosses back over his shoulder.

 

But the weeks of nightly feedings and the fatigue brought on by them finally catches up with him in class one day, and Katsuki finds himself being shaken awake by Deku. He blinks to find the whole class staring at him, but there’s no mockery in sight. It’s even worse. They look worried, and it raises his hackles and every hair on his head besides.

“The hell you’re all looking at?!” Midnight throws one of her ball gags at his head and it bounces off with a thunk.

“Bakugou! Is my class not stimulating enough? Go to the nurse’s office!” she barks at him, and though she’s scowling and brandishing her whip at him, he knows she’s seen the dark circles under his eyes. “Don’t roll your eyes at me, I’ll punish you if you don’t obey.”

Katsuki grumbles loudly and with as much aggravation as he can get away with, but just as he stands up his knee buckles and he slams a hand down on his desk to catch himself. He stares at his hand, mortification blistering through him until he thinks he could die of shame. Before anyone can speak he grits his teeth and turns, and - Deku’s there trying to support him. A single, sharp, blinding spike of fury lances through Katsuki and he smacks his hand away so hard the sound rings in the classroom. The class looks pale, and even Midnight has fallen silent.

He glares at Deku, who looks back at him with no fear, only determined concern. Bile crawls to the back of his throat and he has to bite his tongue hard enough to taste blood so he doesn’t get himself expelled. He slings his bag over his shoulder and forces himself to slouch out of the classroom, even though every joint in his body is stiff and creaking with anger. Deku follows along behind him quietly, his eyes boring into the back of Katsuki’s skull.

 

=

 

It all comes to a head a week later.

“Midoriya. Bakugou. You’re paired up for the next fight.” Aizawa’s voice is carefully bored and his eyes are trained on the list in his hand. The class winces.

“Uh, teach. That… I mean, should Midoriya fight Bakugou? I don’t think it’s a good idea, considering…” Kirishima looks over uneasily at them, and Katsuki rolls his eyes. Aizawa flicks his gaze to Katsuki, before turning back to address Deku.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to experience a fight where you’re not starting out in top form or uncompromised in some way.” Katsuki narrows his eyes. Word about his stumble in class must have gotten around, and it makes his teeth ache in anger.

“I’ll do it.”

Everyone turns to look at Deku, who’s holding his head up high and not looking at Katsuki. He feels the low-simmering in his belly start to boil, and he knows his smile is sadistic.

“Fuckin’ bring it, shitty nerd.”

 

They’re standing on nearly opposite sides of an arena that’s already in various states of collapse and crumbling infrastructure. The aim is to immobilise the other party while minimising collateral damage, which is both of their weaknesses.

Deku’s stance is wary, right foot in the back ready to either leap aside or rush forward. The lack of contact must be uncomfortable, Katsuki can see the way he grits his teeth and the way he holds himself too carefully. He’d last fed an hour ago and Katsuki had wrenched his arm away from him with not a single word when he was done. Deku’s hands had clenched into fists but he pretended he hadn’t seen. Selfish asshole, always taking and taking and still asking for more, and never for the right things.

Now, green lightning crawls over Deku’s skin like he’s a Faraday cage and his eyes have darkened to a deep forest green. He looks angry, and Katsuki drinks in his expression with relish. Fuck you, see how it feels for once.

Katsuki doesn’t give himself time to read any more into his expression and blasts himself forward with a deafening roar. He can see Deku’s eyes narrow, and he just knows the stupid nerd is analysing again – right hook, or a feint? Deku knows his fighting style, has practically memorised every one of his moves. But that’s the problem with this shitty nerd – Katsuki was born to defy expectations, and Deku doesn’t know fucking shit about him.

He sees Deku shift his weight, and just as he throws a punch Katsuki swings his lower body while turning his wrists – and flips his entire body backwards, his heavy boots slamming into Deku’s jaw with a wince-inducing crack and making him stumble back. Before Deku can recover, he aims his hands behind him and blasts again, covering the scant distance with one leg stuck out ready to kick him right in the chest.

Deku recovers quicker than he estimated and his eyes flash, turning his body and reaching for his leg, but Katsuki snaps it back at the last second and Deku ends up grabbing thin air. Katsuki’s armoured knees crash right into him and sends him flying.

Katsuki lands and wills his legs to hold him up. Deku coughs, and pulls himself to his feet. Of course Katsuki should have immobilised him as soon as he could, but no, he’s gonna make this last, and he’s gonna make it hurt. Nothing like a school-sanctioned beatdown for some stress relief. He forces himself to ignore the trembling in his hands.

“Kacchan, you… ha,” Deku wheezes out a laugh and wipes away the blood on his chin. “You know you slow down when you stop blasting yourself forward, when you have to use your hands to attack or punch. So you decided to use your legs instead, and your overwhelming speed and reflexes took care of the rest.”

Katsuki spits to the side. Fucking asshole, his squirrelly brain still going full tilt even when it’s getting knocked to pudding. Deku gets into stance again and this time his eyes are clear and still sharp with anger, but his lips curl into a wide smile that lights up his whole face.

“You’ve been watching me too.”

Katsuki freezes, and it feels like if he had fur it all just got brushed the wrong way. Fuckin’…. FUCKIN’…! Katsuki hadn’t even realised the similarity to Shoot Style, he’d just wanted to kill with his knees goddamnit it!

“Shut up, shitty nerd!” Katsuki knows he’s losing his cool but he can’t stop it, could never stop it when it came to this idiot once everything boiled down to the wire and he shoots forward with a snarl.

Deku drops low, almost flattening himself, before Blackwhip snakes over the ground and yanks him towards Katsuki with blinding speed. Katsuki aims down and goes higher to get out of range, but Air Force still slices his cheek with a stinging trail of pain. Blackwhip surges close to bind but Katsuki blows the tendrils away. In the split moment when he had to use both hands for that, Deku’s jumped up high enough to reach him and the punch sends him hurtling to the ground.

He slams down with a grunt, grits his teeth against the agony and just propels himself up again before he can barely get the breath back in his body. Ever since Deku manifested Blackwhip he’s gained even more manoeuvrability and Katsuki lost some of his aerial advantage. It fucks him off to no end about it, but that’s just another thing he has to win against.

He manages to destroy one of Deku’s gloves but loses his left bracer when Deku literally punches it into shrapnel. Katsuki slugs him in the face for that alone, and Deku kicks his shins. It’s… rapidly devolving to a knock-down, drag-out dogfight, with more bloodlust than finesse. The buildings aren’t faring all that much better either and they’ve probably comprehensively failed this test already.

For a moment nausea ripples through Katsuki and it lets Deku get in a punch that by all rights he should have been able to deflect. Goddamnit. He’s been careful, but in the heat of battle if you’re not giving your all then it’s just asking to lose. And Katsuki does not lose.

He blasts himself as high as he can go, and Deku follows him with faint pink lines creeping over his face. He doesn’t know what percentage Deku is at, but from experience any hits landed now would be almost debilitating.

He grins, the sweet thrilling taste of challenge in his teeth as he flips in the air and aims his palms out, and Deku is obviously expecting a normal blast to dodge but then - Katsuki releases the stored up sweat in his remaining bracer without pulling the pin. Deku’s shocked face is the last thing he sees before the searing heat and light sends Deku flying into one of the buildings, clouds of smoke and debris exploding with a low rumble. Serves the idiot right for thinking one of his strongest moves has a tell as obvious as that. Not like that little love-tap would be enough to really keep him down, but at least this way Katsuki can catch his breath. He’s rapidly approaching his limit, far quicker than usual and it pisses him off.

Suddenly his arms spasm and pain splits through them like a blade carving the flesh from his bones. Katsuki barely muffles the scream before his palms extinguish and he starts to fall. He can hear through the rushing wind the cries of his classmates. Fuck fuck fuck! He twists his body mid-air, pushing his palms down to generate enough blasting power to break his fall.

Nothing. Then his hands sputter and crackle weakly, nowhere near enough and fear douses him like ice water; his Quirk isn’t working. Fucking hell he’s going to hit the ground at this rate, and his classmates are so used to him being capable and victorious they would never imagine he’d fail, never imagine they’d have to catch him.

Fuck he hopes he won’t break too many important –

“Kacchan!”

Something solid slams into him, arms wrapped around the back of his knees and a hand supporting his neck, protecting him from whiplash.

Goddamn fucking Midoriya Izuku.

They land and Katsuki immediately shoves him away. And although Deku stumbles back wide-eyed and shocked, he's the one who goes sprawling when both his legs refuse to hold him.

“What’s wrong?” Deku cries and grabs his shoulder, the grip much stronger than he intends. Katsuki hisses through his teeth at the pain.

“Fuck off, Deku,” he growls, but Deku shakes his head furiously.

“No! I’m not leaving until you tell me what the fuck just happened!” Katsuki blinks a little at Deku cussing before his face contorts in a snarl.

“None of your fuckin’ business, shit happens in battle all the time.” He makes it onto his feet and had all of five seconds to feel victorious before his vision swims, going dark, and his legs give out again.

 

When Katsuki comes to he’s in the hospital, blinking blearily up at a ceiling that he really fucking hates. He hates a lot of things, but hating a ceiling is probably a new low for him. The memories come back to him. Fuck everything to hell and back. Cat’s outta the bag now.

Deku’s next to him, asleep with his hands curled tight in the blankets and looking like when he first got afflicted with the Quirk, pale and haunted. He’s still in his combat gear, singed and beat-up to hell because he hadn’t even taken the time to change. It’s like they take turns in this accursed bed.

“Bakugou.” Recovery Girl comes up to them and her face is grave and displeased. Deku starts to stir, lifting his head enough to stare at Katsuki. He has pillow creases on his face, set deep like he’d been there a long time.

“Kacchan! You’re awake!”

“Midoriya, I need to speak with Bakugou alone.” Recovery Girl sounds as serious as she ever has, and Katsuki narrows his eyes. Deku looks between them and to their surprise, refuses.

“I’m not leaving,” he says with a wobbly voice but looking set about it.

“Midoriya, that was not a request. Bakugou is in serious danger and you are not helping,” Recovery Girl barks, and Katsuki wants to curse at her – that was the absolute wrong thing to say.

“Leave, shitty nerd,” Katsuki growls but Deku looks stricken and he just shakes his head again, and the hand still clutching the blanket is beginning to tremble. Katsuki’s not sure how long he’d been out but it seems Deku had refused to touch him even in his own sleep.

“No, I need to know, I need to - Kacchan’s getting hurt because of me, right? Something about the feeding, it’s hurting him and he – he can’t even use his Quirk right now and it’s my fault isn’t it?”

“How about I put my hand on your stupid face and test it out, huh?” Katsuki snarls at him, but Deku doesn’t seem to have heard him.

“Your hands, your Quirk – and you’ve been behaving so weirdly and the bites are taking longer to heal but that’s it, isn’t it? Whatever the feeding is doing to you, your life force – Kacchan, am I hurting you? Am I killing you?” Deku is going into full panic mode, heaving for breath and close to crying; Katsuki sees no choice but to grab his hand. Deku tries to jerk away, his tearful eyes going wide like he’s scared to touch him. But he doesn’t let go and Deku’s grip swings back and forth from too tight to lifeless.

“Get your shit together, I’m fucking fine!” Katsuki yells at him, but Deku still looks terrified, and then – his eyes glow, and Deku claps a hand over his mouth.

“You need to feed,” Katsuki breathes out and yes, there is a not-insignificant part of him that doesn’t want to go through it. Everything, everything but his Quirk he’d been willing to put up with until they sorted this shit out. But he also knows better than anyone what the consequences of not feeding are as well.

Deku shakes his head furiously and shoots to his feet, his chair screeching harshly over the floor.

“You have to sedate me,” he insists to Recovery Girl, who has a furrow between her brows.

“Settle yourself, Midoriya. That is an option but we can’t be too hasty. Last time we had to give you enough sedatives to knock out a horse before you’d stay down. That carries huge risk. We still have some time.” Recovery Girl is trying to be reassuring but Deku is already agitated, and he keeps darting glances at Katsuki like he’s expecting him to drop dead or something.

However, just like before they are no closer to finding any other solution. Recovery Girl’s face was grim when she smacked Katsuki with a whiskery kiss, and she told him that his life energy had suddenly depleted to a degree that gave her serious concerns. If this kept up, even she wouldn’t be able to heal him anymore. Deku’s been locked away in that newly-reinforced safe room again, nervously pacing the length and width while muttering under his breath and trembling all over.

“We’re running out of time and options,” Katsuki says to Recovery Girl, and she purses her lips. “I’m not waiting around for Deku to go fucking feral and destroy this place.”

“That may be, Bakugou. But we’re still just delaying the inevitable of this hurting one of you irreparably.”

Katsuki shrugs belligerently. Better him than Deku wiping this place off the fucking map and then hunting him down regardless. “I can take it. It’ll give us a few more hours to figure this shit out at least.”

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier that this was hurting you?” Recovery Girl just looks sad, and Katsuki feels a twinge of guilt.

“No point. Nothing you could have done, and Deku would just freak himself out like now.”

When he goes into that room, Deku takes one look at him and sprints to the other end.

“Kacchan, you can’t be here!” Deku yells at him with his wide eyes bloodshot and red rimmed from crying.

“Get the fuck over yourself and come here, you need to do the thing!” Katsuki yells right back, yanking his sleeves up impatiently. For fuck’s sake, Deku sticks to him like a goddamn barnacle for more than a decade and now when Katsuki actually wants him close he’s running like his ass is on fire.

“No, I won’t! This is hurting you and I’m not doing it!” Deku suddenly gasps, doubling over himself as he collapses to the floor. His shirt is soaked through with sweat and he bites his lip so hard there’s a trickle of blood.

“Fucking hell,” Katsuki mutters under his breath and strides over, intent on forcing him. Sensing his plan, Deku pushes himself to his feet and bats away Katsuki’s arm, hard enough that it hurts. Deku’s in no fit state of mind to regulate his strength right now.

“Motherfucking –” Katsuki growls and sweeps his leg out, tripping Deku but he turns the tumble into a roll, snapping back onto his feet and still trying to scramble away from him.

“Why are you doing this!” Deku shouts as he parries another blow from Katsuki, but his hunger takes over just enough to grasp his arm in a bruising grip before Deku hisses and drops it like it burns.

“Because if you don’t it’s just gonna get worse! For you and for me, dumbass!” And Katsuki might not have his Quirk but he’s still better at hand-to-hand combat than Deku, who’s currently shaking to pieces. His foot sweeps up and Deku crosses his arms to take the blow, but he didn’t expect Katsuki to twist with the momentum and kick him in the head with his other foot. As he reels, Katsuki lands with both hands and pivots himself back up to grab him.

Katsuki swings Deku around by the arm he’s caught, slamming him face first into the padded ground of the safe room and twisting it back at an incredibly painful angle behind him. For a split second he wants to break that arm because fucking hell he hates Deku right now. Hates his self-sacrificial bullshit, his condescending insistence on treating Katsuki like something he needs to protect, his refusal to commit to what he wants from him.

Instead he flips Deku around and pins his lower body with his legs, his left hand gripping Deku’s throat tight. Deku scrabbles at that hand, short fingernails raking through skin and flesh. His eyes are wild and panicked, and it’s obvious he’s desperate to escape but he can’t be sure he won’t seriously hurt Katsuki in the attempt. Blood seeps out from his lips and he grits his teeth together, refusing to open his mouth.

Katsuki punches him in the stomach and as Deku’s mouth opens to cry out, he forces the side of his forearm in. Deku bites down reflexively and the fangs instantly pierce skin and blood gushes out, dribbling through his lips and smearing onto his cheeks.

Suddenly Deku’s hunger takes over, and he sucks greedily at Katsuki’s arm even as his eyes squeeze shut like this hurts him too. Katsuki grunts at the stab of pain, and even with the pleasure that follows his body feels too weak for it to be good. He closes his eyes to breathe through the nausea. When he opens them again Deku’s staring at him, his wide green eyes swimming with tears that trickle into his hair.

Katsuki doesn’t pull away so much as he falls away, his arm and torso no longer supporting his weight. Deku catches him, clutching him close. There’s the sound of a door opening, footsteps hurrying closer.

“I’m fine, just. Let me lie down,” Katsuki says with a breathless wheeze, and Deku’s hand cradles his cheek. His expression is so devastated it hurts to look at.

“Why did you do that?” Deku pleads, his voice thick with tears. His lips are smeared with gore, their blood mixing together like lurid paint on his pale skin.

“You’re so fucking stupid,” Katsuki hisses out, clutching back at him and refusing to elaborate. There are hands supporting him, trying to tug him away, but for some reason Katsuki is unwilling to let go and Deku shoves them all the way across the room in a fit of rage.

“If… if you’re supposed to be my most important person, how can I keep hurting you?” Deku sounds wretched as he curls over him and Katsuki’s lips are pressed to the blood at the corner of his split lip.

Faint humming sings through Katsuki’s bones.

And Katsuki lets out such a huge sigh that he half expects his soul to go out along with it. Fucking hell. He should have seen this coming. There’s something to be said about denial, huh? The aftermath of that fight in the forest comes back to him, the half-formed inkling he’d had then, and he curses his short-sightedness.

He pulls Deku closer by the collar of his shirt, latches his mouth onto his neck and bites down, hard.

Deku yelps in pain, but as the iron tang of blood floods Katsuki’s mouth he can hear it tapering into whimpers of pleasure instead. As for him, holy hell no wonder Deku got hard, it’s like being run over by a freight train of arousal. It tightens low and vicious in his belly even as something effervescent fills his veins with liquid gold. His stomach roils with the heat of desire, uncomfortable and begging for release. Katsuki bites harder out of spite and Deku hisses.

A beat, before Katsuki releases him and spits out the blood because, gross. Who knows what kind of idiot disease the shitty nerd has? He feels better than he has in weeks, which is fucking annoying and he kind of wants to punch something for it.

Deku is staring at him with his eyes as wide as saucers, until finally they’re pulled apart by people shouting at them.

 

=

 

“So you’re saying –”

“I’m not saying shit.”

“That you need to feed off Midoriya in return so your life force isn’t depleted.” Recovery Girl ignored his outburst.

“It’s fucking unscientific. Two batteries charging each other doesn’t give you infinite energy.” Katsuki is genuinely mad about the illogic of it.

“I would say the existence of Quirks rather negates any rigorous scientific argument.”

“Tch.”

“You will both need to stay for further observation, I was too hasty releasing you before and I’m not going to make the same mistake.”

Katsuki groans long and loud. “At least give us schoolwork. If I have to entertain that idiot I’m throwing him out the window.”

“I’m right here, Kacchan!” Deku says aggrievedly, and tries to snatch his hand. Katsuki slaps him away.

“Lunch will be served in an hour for you, Bakugou. We’ll settle you in after,” Recovery Girl says with a roll of her eyes, before walking away and muttering darkly under her breath.

“Kacchan, you know you’re going to have to look at me sooner or later.”

“I choose later. Maybe never.”

“Why are you such a grouch about this?”

“Turn your face away and I’ll tell you.”

Deku immediately turns his head but after two beats realises how suspicious that is, and turns back in time to see Katsuki already climbing off the bed.

“Hey!” Deku yells as he drags him back with little effort. Katsuki wants to curse his current weakness. He feels loads better but he’s still nowhere near a hundred percent and Deku can manhandle him all he likes.

“Did you know?” Deku demands, and shakes him. The fucking audacity. Katsuki aims a jab at his ribs and he dodges out of the way, but at least he lets him go.

“You think I’m out here martyring myself for your sake?”

“I think you’d do it out of your stupid pride!”

Which is fair, and pretty much true. Katsuki turns away again, but before he can draw breath Deku’s slammed him back into the bed, looming over him while pinning his hands up by his head. Deku looks angrier than he’s ever seen him, so angry he’s luminous with it. Katsuki blinks up at him, at the insidious thrum of something that pulses through his spine.

“Why are you such an asshole?” Deku snarls at him, “Why do you always make things so difficult?”

I make things difficult? That’s freaking rich coming from you, I just did what needs to be done because you’re too much of a shitwank to do it!”

“I don't want to hurt you!” Deku says that, but his grip on his wrists is tightening alarmingly, “I never want to hurt you. You know how I feel about you damnit –”

“Do I?” Katsuki snarls right back, and Deku gapes at him. “Do I fucking really? You expect me to answer something you haven’t even asked?”

“I didn’t want to pressure you! But this Quirk –”

“Have I ever in my entire fucking life been pressured into anything?” Katsuki’s gaze is hot and fierce, willing Deku to understand this here and now, the core tenet of everything Katsuki is and is offering. “You don’t want to hurt me, you don’t want to pressure me – everything is just what you want huh?”

“I was trying to be considerate, you jerk!”

“Considerate? Or just your condescension? Like you ever gave a damn -”

“Why didn’t you bite me before?” Deku interrupts, and Katsuki growls.

“Why the fuck should I? You refuse to confront me and even with this Quirk, so what? You still can’t fucking commit! You just skulk around, taunting me like I’m not even worth the fight, fuck you!”

“Why is it always a fight with you!” Deku's frustration explodes out of him and Katsuki bares his teeth.

“Why the fuck not? Nothing’s worth having without a fight, and your pathetic ass couldn’t beat me even with One for All and that pervert Quirk.”

“I was worried to death, I thought I’d killed you!”

“In your dreams,” Katsuki smiles nastily at him, “what, you think a little bloodsucking is gonna kill me? As if you didn’t enjoy every fucking moment of it, you weirdo. Were you crying about it while jerking off by yourself in some pathetic corner?”

Deku’s breath hitches, and he glares down at him with his face flushed to the collarbones. “Stop it,” he says, voice low and tight but his eyes are bright and burning and Katsuki revels in it.

Katsuki laughs at him. “You’re such a fucking loser. I bet you’re getting all sorts of ideas about what me biting you back means right? That I’m in love with you?” He laughs again, cruel and derisive.

Deku’s eyes dilate, and he's gone very, very still. If Katsuki had any sense he’d stop kicking the hornet's nest. But Katsuki was built to hurtle into danger, it’s all he’s known and all he wants.

“I barely tolerate you and your fucking pussyfooting bullshit. You’re happy to pant at my heels and follow me around like a bitch in heat but you don’t have the balls to follow through. Never did. Now get your filthy hands off me before I fucking blow them off.” His hands spark dangerously and Katsuki grins at the response of his Quirk to his command again, and he contemplates actually doing some damage to Deku for all his annoyingness.

Deku stares at him for a beat, before slamming Katsuki’s palms together and yanking them so far above his head he thinks his shoulders are going to dislocate. Deku crashes their lips together, all teeth and hunger and no finesse at all, it’s like being chewed on by a particularly slobbery dog.

Katsuki twists his hands to try and get an explosion off, but Deku growls and tightens his hold and his fingers instantly go numb. He lifts a leg to kick him but a hand clamps down on his thigh with enough force to rattle through his bones.

This is what it’s like, to be forced to accept Deku’s feelings for him. It should be horrible, it should be like the first time Deku bit him where he’s not in control, but oh, Katsuki knows he is. Has realised now that he’s always been in control, Deku is his and he’ll take Katsuki apart. It’s like a firework exploding inside him, an electrifying thrill that tightens his skin and he can feel himself beginning to harden.

Katsuki smiles into the – well, calling it a kiss would be far too generous – and bites down on Deku’s tongue hard enough to draw blood. Deku grunts in pain, but before he can draw back Katsuki sucks on it and gets walloped by another tidal wave of arousal, can feel the energy coursing through him fit to burst.

Deku probably doesn’t even realise he’s shoved Katsuki’s legs apart and he’s dry humping him, making sick little mewling sounds as he tries to find the right sort of friction. Katsuki rolls his hips, grinding fully into that hard length and Deku groans like he’s being tortured. Their tongues tangle and Deku releases his leg and his hands to wrench his head up, trying to kiss him like he’s eating him alive. Katsuki bites at Deku’s bottom lip, splitting it again and tonguing roughly at the wound as he sucks it into his mouth. Deku presses bruises into his jaw and his nails dig into his scalp, eight sharp points of delicious pain as he yanks him back into a kiss, smearing the blood between them.

Katsuki wraps his legs around him and rolls into him again, and fuck that feels better than it has any goddamn right to, rutting like animals like this. He squeezes Deku’s ass just for the hell of it and he literally squeaks into his mouth. Katsuki claws him closer, running up the solidness of his back before he cradles Deku’s face in his palms, tilting it until it’s less teeth and nose and into something much deeper and all-consuming.

“Kacchan you – taste so good, oh my god I love you so much you’re so hot -” Deku moans and Katsuki’s having none of that muttering nonsense so he stuffs his thumb into Deku’s mouth, forcing the tip of it against a fang until it bleeds. Deku whimpers and sucks hard, sharp teeth scraping over his knuckle and catching on his callus. Katsuki presses forward on his tongue until Deku gags and red drool slicks down his chin. Disgusting, Katsuki smirks and leans up to lick it back into his mouth.

Then just to keep the nerd on his toes he slams his hands into Deku’s chest, but before he can get an explosion off Blackwhip strikes out and pins him back into the bed again.

Katsuki barks out a laugh; who knew the shitty nerd had it in him to use One for All like this? Fucking pervert, and Katsuki loves it. Deku’s fumbling hands have crept under his shirt, trailing hot sparks over his skin as he gropes his way around like a total virgin. Katsuki lets him cop a feel for all of five seconds before he lifts his knee and rams it into Deku’s ribs hard enough to topple him off the bed with a strangled yelp.

Katsuki sits up and wipes the slobber off, spits out the blood to the side for good measure. Deku’s staring up at him from the floor, gaping with blood smeared on his face like he’s some animal rooting around a fresh kill.

“Kacch-”

“Kneel,” Katsuki says, and Deku’s pupils blow wide. He sits up until he’s resting on his calves, hands on his knees and shaking like a leaf. Katsuki drinks some water because blood tastes gross no matter what his body says about it.

Later, the nurse comes around the corner to their private room to find Deku still on the ground and Katsuki browsing on his phone, both of them with rumpled clothes and tousled hair and bloody faces.

“Uh…” he says, looking between the two of them with a tray of food in his hands.

“If he comes up I’m blowing his head off,” Katsuki says casually, and Deku shifts.

“I’d like to remain here please,” Deku says politely and the nurse’s expression cracks slightly.

“I’ll just. Leave this here.” He sets the tray on the side table and then literally runs out of the room.

“You are so mean, Kacchan,” Deku says with a tired sigh.

“Shut your stupid face, you like it,” Katsuki says, and hauls the tray closer.

 

=

 

So, Katsuki has his kink. Or really, the only way he could ever allow himself to want Deku in return without sacrificing something of himself. Deku had been so shocked stupid by what they’d done that he spent almost two hours catatonic before he realised the Quirk affecting him had disappeared.

Just as well, as the boy with the Quirk had managed to inflict some other poor bastard with it, and his most important person had been his brother. By that time the Quirk Research Committee declared that the Quirk forces a resolution of the most pressing misunderstanding or conflict that exists in a pair, and for the brothers it had been about some stupid family drama in the past. The brothers reported that the only emotions they felt from the biting was pain and a strong sense of reconciliation, and they had been sorted out pretty quickly with some therapy.

Katsuki had been relieved as hell since he got to have his room back and some goddamn peace and quiet at last, but Deku acted all cagey and weird until he forced the truth out of him. And of course, Deku finally admitted that he had enjoyed biting him and getting to touch him almost 24/7. Katsuki had blown up his All Might pencil case for that one.

Except then they both realised that the Quirk had conditioned them to the arousal that came with biting, so maybe all’s well that ends well. After a month of Katsuki goading Deku into fucking his brains out, it became pretty clear that it was here to stay.

 

Deku collapses onto Katsuki all sweaty and breathless and Katsuki shoves him off, grimacing when he feels the flood of liquid leaking out of him. Disgusting.

“Kacchan,” Deku wheezes as he flops onto his back, “we are incredibly dysfunctional people.”

“Speak for yourself, I’m goddamn peachy as I am,” Katsuki sneers, but the effect is rather undercut by the post-coital indulgent tone. Deku starts to laugh, pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes as he twitches like an idiot fish out of water.

“What’s so damn funny?”

“I just – I should have known Kacchan can’t be held to the standards of ordinary people.” Deku turns to him with a smile, so soft with affection and adoration that Katsuki scowls. “All this time, I was waiting for you but I should have just been honest about what I wanted. Though you really don’t make it easy, Kacchan.”

“Fuck you, I’m never easy,” Katsuki growls and kicks him. “Get me a towel.”

Exhausted as he is, Deku creaks to his feet and dutifully goes to the bathroom, and Katsuki smirks at his retreating back. Deku returns with a warm, damp towel that Katsuki snatches out of his hands and cleans himself up with before throwing it back into Deku’s face. He squawks, and then with a half-hearted glower he chucks the towel into the hamper. He crawls into bed next to Katsuki, who has already pulled some clothes on and closed his eyes to sleep sans blanket, for all the world like the shitty nerd is just another piece of furniture to ignore.

“Kacchan.”

Katsuki rolls onto his side away from him.

Kacchan.

Katsuki continues to blithely pretend he doesn’t exist, until he’s forcefully pulled onto his back and Deku cuddles into him aggressively. Katsuki’s hands spark threateningly.

“Don’t fucking push it, nerd.”

“Kacchan is being unreasonable,” Deku states with a hint of childish resentment, like that would hold up in a court of law or something, and he briefly contemplates ordering him to sleep on the floor again. But then Deku wraps his arm around him hard enough to squeeze the air out of his lungs, and Katsuki smiles and lets it be.