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Izuku felt a familiar pang of bittersweet nostalgia the first time he returned to Aldera Elementary. It was where he witnessed his peers discover their quirks. It was where he realized he wasn’t like the other children; that he’d always be an outcast because of his quirklessness. It was where his friendship with Katsuki began to fracture…

 

But things were different now. Izuku was excited to be back in Japan after working abroad for several years. He was eager to meet the next generation, and help them in whatever way he could.

 

It was a typical part of professional hero work-- to interact with the public to educate the youth about safety, especially regarding quirk use. Many of his friends and co-workers were assigned to various schools across the country. This year, Izuku was assigned to a classroom full of precocious first graders.

 

They were in awe of him at first; though the ranking system was discontinued long ago, Deku was still obviously one of the most popular heroes alive. But soon the children warmed up to him as they realized that though he was an impressive icon, really he was just the sweet bumbling boy he’d always been. Once they were comfortable with him, they asked him all sorts of questions.

 

“Do you ever accidentally use your quirk in your sleep?”

 

“What’s your favorite food?”

 

“How come you’re not married?”

 

Izuku blushed slightly at that last question, but he smiled. “Not all adults want to get married,” he answered gently.

 

“He’s right,” a small boy with light brown hair chirped. “My daddy’s not married, either.”

 

Izuku continued visiting the class on a monthly basis. After a few more visits, he formed a natural bond with Nikko, the boy who mentioned that his father wasn’t married. 

 

That day, Izuku was assisting the teacher in a lesson about the origin of quirks. After the lecture, the two of them walked around the classroom as the students filled out their study guides. Izuku noticed Nikko was distracted. He was biting his lip and staring vacantly out the window.

 

“Nikko-chan,” Izuku said quietly so he wouldn’t be overheard. “Are you alright?”

 

Nikko blinked up at him with his big auburn eyes. “Midoriya-sensei,” he said, his voice wobbly. “Everyone in my grade has manifested a quirk, except me. What if… What if I’m quirkless?”

 

Izuku smiled at him and wiped a tear as it fell down his cheek. “Not everybody manifests their quirk at the same time. You might just be a late bloomer. But even if you’re quirkless, that’s normal, Nikko. I’ve told you all that I was born quirkless. Just because I inherited a quirk later on, doesn’t mean my life before One For All was less meaningful. The only reason All Might thought I would be worthy is because of who I was, and how I acted, when I was without a quirk.”

 

“But my daddy has a really awesome quirk,” Nikko sniffled. “I don’t want to make him sad…”

 

Izuku shrugged. “That doesn’t change anything, Nikko. I’m sure your daddy will love you no matter what. And if that’s not the case, just let me know.” He winked and squeezed Nikko’s nose, who giggled. “Try to focus on your schoolwork for now. If you have any questions, ask me or your sensei.”

 

Nikko nodded, his eyes no longer watery. “Thank you, Midoriya-sensei.”

 

In the next class visit, Izuku passed around his old notebooks he had started filling out when he was their age. He explained how he started analyzing people’s quirks and abilities, and how best they would be suited in hero work.

 

“Some people are naturally good at search-and-rescue, while others are better at combat or detaining villains,” Izuku explained. “Each part of hero work is crucial. And no matter what your weakness may be, you can work hard to get better and become the person you want to be.”

 

For the rest of the class, Izuku encouraged the students to draw their favorite heroes and write down what made them strong. He was pleased to see several of his friends amongst the drawings-- Red Riot, Uravity, Froppy…

 

A sudden flash of bright light immediately caught Izuku’s attention. He jumped to its source, and found himself crouching next to a familiar face.

 

“Nikko,” Izuku said, his voice calm and even. “I think your quirk is manifesting. How do you feel?”

 

The boy stared at him, his eyes wide with terror. “Wh-what’s happening?” His skin was glowing.

 

Izuku glanced at the overhead lights, which appeared to be turned off. His gaze flickered back to Nikko’s pale face. Izuku grinned. “It looks like you have an illumination type quirk-- seems as if you can absorb energy from light sources. Very cool.”

 

Izuku looked up at the class’s teacher. “I just need to talk to Nikko for a second, could you--?”

 

The teacher nodded, regaining his composure. “It’s almost time for recess, anyway. Follow me,” he said to the rest of the class, who were ogling Nikko.

 

When they were alone, Izuku mussed Nikko’s hair. The class’s teacher returned quickly, assuring them both that Nikko’s father would arrive momentarily to take Nikko to the doctor.

 

“Doctor?” Nikko repeated. His skin was not glowing as intensely as it had been at first, but he looked dangerously close to tears.

 

“Nothing to worry about,” Izuku said, holding his hand. “Everyone goes to the doctor when their quirk manifests. It’s just so you can figure out exactly what your powers might be. And you won’t be alone. Your daddy will be there the whole time.”

 

This seemed to relax Nikko. “Will you come too, Midoriya-sensei?”

 

“If you want me to. But we have to ask your daddy first, since this is a family matter.”

 

“Okay.” As Nikko calmed down, his skin’s glow began to dissipate. The lightbulbs in the classroom began to strengthen in brightness.

 

The door sprung open. Izuku whipped his head around.

 

“OI!” A loud voice boomed. “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO MY KID--”

 

Izuku gasped and tensed as he saw the familiar blonde in person for the first time in several years. “Kacchan?”

“Deku,” Katsuki grumbled in a confused greeting. “What’re you doing here?”

 

“I--” Izuku stuttered. He glanced down at Nikko, not wanting to add any stress to the situation. “I volunteer at this school occasionally. You know, to help with quirks and tell the children about hero work…”

 

“Oh,” Katsuki seemed to consider this for a moment before he remembered why he was there. He rushed over to Nikko. “Niks,” he said as he knelt next to his desk. “What happened.”

 

“My quirk manifested,” the boy said softly, half-proud and half-scared.

 

Katsuki grinned widely. “Amazing. You’ll have to tell me about it on the car ride. We just gotta go to the doctor to make sure what kinda quirk you got there, okay kiddo?”

 

Nikko nodded. “Midoriya-sensei told me that we would. Can he come with us?”

 

Izuku smiled weakly. 

 

Katsuki just rolled his eyes. “Whatever. Let’s just go.” He picked up Nikko and carried him in his arms as he made his way outside the classroom. Izuku followed after him, tripping on a chair along the way.

 

In the school parking lot, Katsuki fished for keys in his pocket and unlocked a modest black coupe. He helped buckle Nikko in the backseat and kissed him on the cheek. “There’s nothing to worry about, Niks. But Midoriya-sensei will ride in the back with you just in case, okay?”

 

Nikko nodded at his father, who shot a look at Izuku. “That okay?”

 

Izuku nodded firmly. “Of course.”

 

As they drove, Katsuki turned the volume down on some lo-fi music that was playing from his phone. He chatted normally, asking Nikko about his day and what he wanted for dinner. Izuku couldn't help but smile as Nikko relaxed and babbled on and on. Even when they pulled into the hospital parking garage, he only appeared slightly nervous.

 

The three of them checked in at reception and sat in the waiting area. Nikko sat on Katsuki’s lap while he played “I Spy” with Izuku. It was Nikko’s turn-- he chose the bright pink lipstick of an old woman sitting nearby --when the doctor called his name.

 

Not wanting to overstep any boundaries, Izuku waited in the lobby while Katsuki and Nikko followed the doctor down the hall. When they returned about forty-five minutes later, Nikko was smiling. An All Might sticker was stuck to his shirt and a thin metal bracelet was on his left wrist. He was distracted with a quirk informational pamphlet the doctor had given him.

 

Izuku stood up and smiled at Nikko before looking at Katsuki. “How’d it go?”

 

“Fine,” he grunted. “Niks has a light-based quirk. They gave him that bracelet which’ll suppress his quirk until he gets the hang of controlling it. The doctor said he can absorb it from lightbulbs for now but as he develops he’ll probably be able to absorb it from fire, or even the sun.”

 

Izuku nodded, his eyes wide with wonder. “Wow, that’s really impressive. Can’t say it’s surprising, considering who his father is, though.”

 

Katsuki raised an eyebrow. “I guess.”

 

As Izuku gazed at Katsuki, he was reminded of the last time they spoke. He felt his cheeks grow warm, and suddenly he felt very small and weak. “Well, I’m glad Nikko is okay. It was nice to see you again, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki just stared at him, his red eyes unblinking and his expression unreadable. “Yeah.”

 

Izuku swallowed. “Goodbye, Kacchan,” he breathed. He waved at the little boy. “Bye, Nikko! I’ll see you at school next month.”

 

“Bye Midoriya-sensei!” Nikko grinned toothily.

 

As Izuku left the hospital, he didn’t even realize he didn’t have a ride home. He just started walking, in no particular direction. It felt as if there was a weight sinking into his chest, and if he stopped moving, it would consume his heart.

 

Katsuki had a child. Izuku had no idea.

 

It was his own fault, Izuku reminded himself. He was the one who confessed to Katsuki all those years ago. If he had just kept his feelings to himself, they would have remained friends. It would have slowly killed Izuku, to see a stranger make Katsuki happy in the way he knew he never could, but at least he would have been a part of his life. 

 

When he returned to Japan, he knew sooner or later he would run into Katsuki-- they were both top pro heroes, after all. But he assumed it would be work-related; maybe they would both be assigned to the same mission. 

 

This was so much worse. 

 

Katsuki was a wonderful and loving father. Nikko was a kind and smart son. Seeing the two of them together was bittersweet. Izuku cared about both of them. But it also reminded him of his never-ending heartbreak, of the life he’d dreamed about sharing with Katsuki since they were teenagers…

 

Izuku’s feet were aching by the time he realized he was walking in the opposite direction of his apartment. He shouldn’t use his quirk out in the open like this, but the thought of being in the enclosed space of a subway train or a taxi at this particular moment made his skin crawl. He wiped the tears from his eyes, attempted to even out his erratic breathing, and let the green electricity course through his veins as he made his way home.

 

Izuku hoped that seeing Katsuki was just a one-time occurrence, but apparently the universe had other plans. Somehow, everytime Izuku was scheduled to help out at the school, he ran into his old friend. Sometimes it was just when Katsuki was picking up or dropping off Nikko. Izuku and Katsuki were painfully polite with each other, just making small talk.

 

The encounters became more frequent, however, as Katsuki was very involved in his child’s life. It seemed like whenever there was a need for parents to volunteer for school activities, Katsuki was the first to sign up-- whether it was to help set up the book fair, work the cornhole booth at the harvest festival, or talk to the class on career day. Between their shared time at the school, and increasingly crossing paths as pro heroes, Izuku found he was spending more and more time with Katsuki until they were basically seeing each other at least a few times a week for long periods of time.

 

It was awkward at first. Izuku was horrible at small talk, and Katsuki simply hated pointless niceties. It was after a mission debrief at work that Katsuki pulled Izuku aside.

 

“Look, Deku. I know our past is weird as shit, but we’re still fuckin’ co-workers. And for whatever reason, Niks likes you. So are we gonna stop acting fuckin’ weird around each other and talk like normal fuckin’ people?”

 

Izuku couldn’t help but laugh. “I don’t think either of us have ever known how normal people talk.”

 

“I take that as a fuckin’ compliment--”

“But yes, I think you’re right Kacchan. I guess I just didn’t know how to act since… since we hadn’t seen each other in so long. And I think we should try to be friends again.” He chewed his lip and forced himself to make eye contact. “You want to get coffee after work before you pick up Nikko from soccer practice?”

 

Katsuki grunted, which Izuku translated as an affirmative answer.

 

When they were both done filling out paperwork and were changed into civilian clothes, they walked to a local cafe. It was owned by a man who admired heroes, one who wouldn’t leak anything he witnessed to the press, and also one who wouldn’t take any bullshit. He’s kicked out Katsuki a couple times already for yelling too much but he had a soft spot for Katsuki and didn’t have the heart to permanently ban him from the establishment.

 

Izuku and Katsuki greeted the baristas and the owner-- who smiled at Izuku and narrowed his eyes at Katsuki --and ordered two coffees before sitting at a table in the back of the cafe.

 

“You never said what your time abroad was like,” Katsuki said. “I was planning to take a few missions in Europe, but decided it was best to stay put for now so I’m not away from Niks.”

 

“It was really fascinating,” Izuku’s eyes sparkled as he thought about all the people he met and the intelligence he learned. “The hero system operates so differently in other countries, but it makes sense-- what works for one culture and geography, won’t work universally. I definitely want to take more missions abroad, but…” Izuku bit his lip. “I missed everyone so much. I love it here.” He gave Katsuki a small smile. “Maybe in a few years, maybe when Nikko’s an adult-- maybe we could go on a mission together?”

 

“Tch. If by ‘a few years’ you mean twelve, when Nikko turns eighteen?”

 

It’d be worth the wait, Izuku wanted to say. I’d wait a lifetime, if it meant we could be partners again .

 

Instead, Izuku looked into his coffee cup. “Nikko’s really special.”

 

“Damn right.”

 

Izuku chanced looking up to meet Katsuki’s eyes from across the table. “You don’t have to answer this if it’s too personal, but…” He trailed off, losing his nerve.

 

“Spit it out, nerd.”

 

“How… How did you become Nikko’s father?”

 

Katsuki smirked. “Did Auntie Inko never give you the talk ?”

 

Izuku reddened, but smiled in spite of himself. “You know what I mean, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki’s teasing stopped, and when he spoke again he did so in an almost robotic manner. “I was in a relationship with someone for a few years. She got pregnant. It wasn’t planned, but it was a happy surprise. Or at least, I thought so. I like kids,” he stopped, glaring at Izuku as if daring him to contradict him. When he didn't, Katsuki continued. “I didn’t realize that she didn’t feel the same way. She’s not a bad person, she just… she isn’t equipped to be a mother. A couple of months after she gave birth to Nikko, she ended things. She agreed to grant me full custody. Her parents are living in the U.S., so that’s where she went when she left. We don’t have any contact. I told Nikko about his mother, though I’m sure he won’t fully understand until he’s older.” He shrugged. “He’ll probably want to find her one day. But until then, I hope I’m enough for him.”

 

Izuku’s eyes were wide, but he willed himself not to cry. He didn’t want Katsuki to think he was pitying him; he’d hate that, and Izuku didn’t want to jeopardize their already fragile relationship. He took a deep sip of his coffee to ground himself before replying in a steady voice. “I’m really sorry, Kacchan. That must have been really hard.”

 

Katsuki shrugged again. “It was. But I had the hag and Dad, and some of the U.A. idiots, for help. And it wasn’t like I was alone. I had Nikko. It’s corny as fuck, but he lives up to the meaning of his name. Sunshine .”

 

Izuku smiled. “He does, doesn’t he? I’m glad I’ve gotten to know him. If you ever need a babysitter or anything, let me know.”

 

“Tch. Might take you up on that, nerd. He’s going through an All Might phase, and there’s only so many times I can watch those goddamn films.”

 

Izuku smirked. “Kacchan. Don’t pretend you weren’t obsessed with those movies since you were Nikko’s age.”

 

Katsuki blushed. “Shut up.”

 

Izuku expected that rebuilding his friendship with Katsuki would be difficult and frustrating. But perhaps their complicated past worked in their favor; they had already been through so many ridiculous situations, and their unchanged personalities still complemented each other in a way that felt balanced and comfortable.

 

On patrols, they worked together as well as they did in high school. Sometimes Izuku would look after Nikko if Katsuki had to work late, or if he simply wanted to blow off some steam with friends at the local pub. On days that both Katsuki and Izuku were volunteering at the school, they’d walk Nikko to the nearby park or drive to get some ice cream. When Nikko was having a playdate, or when he was at soccer practice, sometimes Katsuki and Izuku would hang out one-on-one. They’d get coffee at the cafe, or grab some lunch at Izuku’s favorite thai restaurant, or go see a corny hero movie. 

 

Izuku’s heart didn’t feel so heavy anymore. He and Katsuki had started out as friends, after all-- so it only made sense that the two of them could be friends again. He felt warm and smiley whenever he was able to spend time with Katsuki and Nikko.

 

They were walking back after going to a pizzeria for dinner. Katsuki took one of Nikko’s hands while Izuku grabbed the other. They were swinging him between each other; Nikko was giggling hysterically as he kicked his legs into the sky. Izuku matched his smile, remembering how his own mother used to do this with him when he was this age. He glanced at Katsuki.

 

It was as if Izuku’s heart froze the instant he made eye contact. Izuku tried to focus on Nikko’s tiny warm hand in his own, but it was difficult to breathe. As soon as they reached a crosswalk, Izuku let go of Nikko’s hand. 

 

He tried to smile down at him. “I’ve just remembered, I have some paperwork I need to get finished at the office. Sorry, Nikko. I’ll see you soon.”

 

Nikko pouted but allowed Izuku to kiss him on the forehead.

 

Katsuki was just glaring at him through narrowed eyes. “What paperwork?”

 

Izuku laughed, but even he heard how hollow it came out. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just forgot a few things I should get done by tomorrow.”

 

“What--”

 

“Goodnight Kacchan!” Izuku interrupted, his voice cracking. “And goodnight, Nikko. Don’t forget to do your homework.”

 

Izuku cursed himself internally for being so cringeworthy for his pathetic excuse to leave and his incredibly awkward goodbye. He ignored Katsuki’s protests and launched himself into the sky using his quirk, heading back in the direction of the office for a few blocks until he rerouted to his apartment instead.

 

Izuku had been fooling himself. There was no way he could be friends with Katsuki.

 

His heart was pounding as he unlocked his front door and took off his shoes. He stripped off his clothes and climbed into the shower, not bothering to wait for the water to heat up. He was shaking uncontrollably, half from being cold and half from being heartbroken.

 

Because as Izuku and Katsuki were swinging Nikko by the arms, Katsuki gave him that same look

 

Katsuki’s red eyes were warm and vulnerable. His face was relaxed, his lips not contorted in his usual scowl but instead upturned in a soft smile. 

 

It was the same look that Izuku foolishly mistook for something more than it was, and that reminded Izuku his feelings for Katsuki had never gone away, not even a little bit. It was the same look that gave Izuku the false confidence and courage to finally approach Katsuki to confess his love for him all those years ago.

 

Izuku was shaking harder, shivering despite the fact the shower was now scalding hot. He didn’t want to move but felt guilty for wasting water. He turned off the tap and wrapped a towel around his body, his face puffy and warm from crying. As he slumped down onto his bed, his body and mind ached with exhaustion. As he fell into an uneasy sleep, he took small comfort in the fact that he had at least come to a decision about his miserable situation.

 

He couldn’t be around Katsuki anymore. 

 

He texted Ochako, asking if she was available to grab a drink sometime soon. She responded immediately, saying that she was free the following night, and Izuku wondered if his distress was just as obvious over text as it was on his ever-expressive face.

 

They met at a dive bar, one they’d started going to right after graduation before Izuku left to work abroad. The bartender was just as rude yet charming as Izuku remembered, still taking pride in his work while scaring off any patrons who foolishly believed the customer was always right. 

 

“Fuck off,” the bartender would often say if someone complained. “If you don’t like it here, then leave.”

 

Ochako was already seated at the bar with two beers and two shots when Izuku arrived. As she spotted him, she gave him a pitying smile and offered him one of the shot glasses.

 

Izuku sighed, but accepted the drink. “Am I really that obvious?”

 

“No,” she shrugged. “I just had a feeling…”

 

They clinked glasses and downed the shot in one swallow. Ochako looked at Izuku, waiting for him to talk.

 

“So I’m still in love with Kacchan. And I met his son,” Izuku sighed again. “I thought I could be friends with Kacchan, since I’ve known he hasn’t felt the same way about me for all these years--”

“You don’t know that,” Ochako interrupted, frowning. “He rejected you, sure. But he never said he didn’t feel the same way. And like you said, that was years ago. Things have changed.”

 

“No,” Izuku shook his head, taking a long sip of his beer. “He might have a child now, but everything else is the same. It’s almost like no time has passed at all. Except, it’s worse this time. Because Nikko is important to me, too.”

 

“You need to tell Katsuki this,” Ochako said firmly.

 

“I’m not going to repeat the same mistake twice,” Izuku answered, looking her in the eye.

 

“The first time wasn’t a mistake,” she said. “Your timing was off, sure. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have told him how you felt. And I won’t guarantee that you’ll get the response you want once you tell him this time-- but he deserves to know. You can’t hide something like this from him. He’s not an idiot, Izuku.”

 

He bit his lip, blinking as his eyes welled up with tears.

 

“Oi,” the bartender passed them another round of shots. “It’s on the house, but if you start fuckin’ crying, I’m kicking you out.”

 

Izuku and Ochako laughed, thanking the man before taking the shots in one fluid movement. Izuku’s throat burned, and it was a welcome distraction.

 

“Well, I can’t force you to do anything,” Ochako eventually said. “And you’re right-- it’s complicated since you don’t want to confuse Nikko. But I still think you should give it a chance.”

 

“I don’t know…” Izuku frowned.

 

“What’s your plan, then, if you won’t talk to Katsuki directly about it?”

 

Izuku gave her a sheepish smile. “Try to avoid him as much as I can?”

 

She rolled her eyes. “Considering all the amazing things you’ve accomplished, Deku, you act like such a dumbass sometimes.”



***

 

Izuku was running out of excuses. Following through with his--  in Ochako’s words --dumbass plan, he avoided Katsuki as much as possible, only talking to him when necessary, making sure they weren’t ever alone together, and switching his work schedule so their shifts no longer overlapped. He briefly considered trying to get another hero to cover for him for his school volunteer days, but abandoning the children who now considered him a mentor would be cruel. He had to be reliable, he told himself. That’s what made a good hero.

 

But he knew he was just being selfish. He already lost Katsuki-- not that he really ever had him. He didn’t want to lose Nikko, too.

 

“I’m sorry, I already told Shinsou I’d help him with some paperwork!” Izuku would tell Katsuki when he cornered him and demanded they go get coffee.

 

“I’m helping Aizawa administer mid-finals that week!” was Izuku’s explanation when Katsuki wanted to know if he could join him for dinner with Auntie Mitsuki.

 

“I’m coming down with a cold, I don’t want you or Nikko to get sick!” Izuku said whenever Katsuki asked if he could babysit. 

 

Izuku cared about Nikko, but he didn’t want him to get too attached to him by thinking of him as anything besides his teacher.

 

Izuku pretended not to notice that whenever he was in the same room as Katsuki, the blonde was staring daggers at him and his lip was curled up in a nasty snarl; as if he’d never seen anyone as disgusting as Izuku. It did nothing to diminish the love he felt for Katsuki, but at least he had the constant reminder that his feelings weren’t reciprocated.

 

Over time, Katsuki stopped bothering to text or call or interact with Izuku in any way outside the occasional work or school obligation. Izuku just had to wait until the school year was over, and things would go back to normal. Even if “normal” really just meant life without Katsuki or Nikko. Izuku tried not to think about it.

 

Izuku had just returned to the locker room after an exhausting but productive day at work. He captured two villains, one of which was a serial offender who assaulted several victims. He also managed to convince a couple of particularly sadistic cops to lay off a scared teenage boy for simply shoplifting a can of soda. 

 

Izuku washed off the grime and sweat from his body in the locker room shower. Once dried and dressed, he was only just gathering his duffel bag to leave when a strong pair of hands shoved him into a locker.

 

Izuku scowled, spinning around to face his attacker, but stumbled when he saw Katsuki glaring at him.

 

“What the fuck , Deku?” he seethed.

 

“K-Kacchan,” Izuku stuttered. “What’s wrong?”

 

“What’s wrong is that you’ve been fuckin’ ghosting me for months, and I’m fuckin’ sick of it.”

 

Izuku straightened, regaining his composure and glaring right back at Katsuki. “I’m not ghosting you, Kacchan. Just because I’m not at your beck and call--”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Katsuki interrupted. “I thought you wanted space or some shit. But I waited and you’re still avoiding me like a fucking coward.”

 

“I’m just busy, that’s all.”

 

Just busy ,” Katsuki mocked with a sneer. “With what, exactly?”

 

“What else, Kacchan?” Izuku asked with an exasperated sigh. “Hero work.”

 

“Bullshit. You seemed to have plenty of time earlier this year, and then out of the fuckin’ blue you just stopped.”

 

“I’m sorry if I haven’t been a good friend, Kacchan. I really am just busy.”

 

Katsuki continued to glare at him, silently seething for a few long moments before finally rolling his eyes and shaking his head. “Fine.” He stalked away.

 

Izuku breathed out shakily, quickly leaving the locker room as soon as Katsuki was out of sight. It wasn’t until he was on the subway train that he realized he’d started crying. He almost laughed; he cried so often lately that he’d stopped noticing when his face was randomly wet. Luckily when he wasn’t working he almost always went outside wearing a mask and sunglasses, as he was now. The public didn’t need to see how pathetic the hero Deku really was.

 

Izuku threw himself into his work, picking as many missions and patrols as possible. It was a productive distraction, and technically it would prove to Katsuki that he really was busy. Not that Katsuki was paying attention; ever since their confrontation, the blonde completely ignored Izuku. 

 

This was what he wanted, Izuku tried to remind himself.

 

When Izuku wasn’t working or fulfilling his duties as the hero mentor for Nikko’s class, he was at the gym or was quickly scarfing down bland meals or sleeping for a few restless hours at his increasingly untidy apartment. He was exhausted, but in some sort of masochistic kind of way it was a familiar and welcome sensation.

 

It wasn’t until he woke up in a hospital bed that he realized why. 

 

As he opened his sensitive and bloodshot eyes, the fluorescent lights blared down on him. For a moment he could have sworn he was in high school, back in Recovery Girl’s office after a brutal sports festival or after the time his classmates dragged him back to U.A. when he started fighting villains all by himself.

 

Deku was back to his self-sacrificing, reckless self.

 

He groaned as he sat up in bed. He tried moving his arms, but they were so sore he could barely lift them.

 

“Water?” a gruff voice asked. 

 

Izuku blinked, slowly turning his head. Katsuki was seated in one of the bedside chairs; Nikko was fast asleep in the one next to him. The blonde stood up, grabbed a cup of ice chips and brought it toward Izuku’s mouth. Izuku clumsily swallowed some, the cold instantly soothing his throat.

 

“Ka-Kacchan,” Izuku said finally. His voice was raspy and weak.

 

“Fuckin’ overworking yourself again,” Katsuki shook his head. “Thought you grew out of that phase, Deku?”

 

“Old habits,” Izuku said lamely. “What happened?”

 

“Some weak ass villain got your ass. You were working triple overtime, Deku. What the fuck?”

 

Before Izuku could answer, Nikko stirred in his sleep. He yawned, his eyelashes fluttering as he woke up.

 

“Midoriya-sensei is finally awake, Niks,” Katsuki said to his son. “Go tell him to be more careful.”

 

Nikko approached the bed shyly. “Are you okay, Midoriya-sensei?”

 

Izuku smiled widely, though his head was pounding. “I am. Sometimes hero work can be risky.”

 

“Sometimes Deku can be stubborn and forget about his own well-being,” Katsuki grumbled.

 

“I promise I’ll be more careful, okay Nikko?” Izuku said gently. “Please don’t worry.”

 

Nikko gave him a small smile. “Okay.”

 

They spent the rest of the afternoon with him, eating questionable cafeteria food a tearful Inko had ordered downstairs while Izuku was still asleep. As they ate, the nurse checked his health. When visiting hours were over Inko, Katsuki, and Nikko each kissed him on the cheek as they said goodbye. Izuku was too overcome with emotion to properly respond before they left the room.

 

Physically, Izuku felt much better when he awoke the next morning; the doctor confirmed that he could leave that day but he’d have to take at least the rest of the week off from work. Izuku frowned at that, but he knew his coworkers would never let him get away with ignoring doctor’s orders. Luckily, he was endlessly exhausted and slept most of the time he was on leave.

 

When he finally went back to work, he was surprised Katsuki was no longer avoiding him. He pestered Izuku with questions about his health, about how Auntie Inko was doing, about whether he was free the upcoming weekend so he could cook both him and Nikko dinner before watching the latest All Might movie.

 

Izuku just smiled and shrugged, acting as generically polite as he had been before he landed himself in the hospital. He appreciated that Katsuki and Nikko were the first faces he saw when he woke up in the hospital. But he didn’t fool himself into thinking anything had changed, and continued making excuses as to why he couldn’t see Katsuki outside of work. The blonde rolled his eyes every time Izuku weaseled his way out of plans, but otherwise didn’t push the matter further.

 

Izuku had had a rather light day at work when he exited the subway station nearest his home. He froze, however, when he spotted Katsuki waiting outside his apartment building.

 

“Kacchan?” Izuku asked as he approached. “Don’t you have work?”

 

“Told Shitty Hair to cover for me,” he grunted out. “We gotta talk.”

 

Izuku raised an eyebrow. “About?”

 

Katsuki scowled. “You fuckin’ know what about. I need you to tell me why you fuckin’ hate me.”

 

“What?” Izuku’s eyes widened. “What makes you think that?”

 

“You’re still avoidin’ me. And don’t give me any of that I’m busy shit.”

 

“I-- I really am busy, Kacchan, I told you--”

 

“And why is that?” Katsuki seethed. “Why are you working yourself so hard, Deku? Hard enough that you land in the fuckin’ hospital? Am I really that shitty to be around?”

 

“No,” Izuku breathed.

 

“Then what the fuck is it?” Katsuki pressed on. “Is it Nikko--?”

No ,” Izuku insisted, almost angry. “I love Nikko.”

 

Katsuki huffed. “Funny way of showing it. You get to know my kid, then you fuckin’ disappear--”

 

“I CAN’T DO THIS, KACCHAN!” Izuku’s shout was practically a strangled, high-pitched scream.

 

Katsuki gasped, his eyes widening. 

 

Izuku breathed heavily, his nostrils flaring. His hands were balled into shaking fists at his side. “I can’t do this, Kacchan,” he repeated, this time much quieter and weaker. “I can’t pretend that I don’t have feelings for you, and I can’t be strong enough to just be your friend. I can’t play family with you and Nikko. It’s not fair for any of us. And I can’t handle another rejection from you. So please. Please . I’m begging you. Just leave me alone.”

 

Izuku glared at Katsuki, daring him to speak again. When he didn’t, Izuku pushed past him and into his apartment building without looking back.

 

Izuku opened the door to his apartment and immediately knew he was not alone.

 

He remained still and silent, using danger sense to figure out where the intruder was hiding. Izuku narrowed his eyes in concentration when black whip shot out of his fingertips and captured someone in the kitchen. Izuku could feel them struggling against his quirk to no avail, and as he walked slowly to where he had them pressed against the ceiling, he heard a flurry of cuss words.

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku frowned. “I thought I told you to leave me alone.”

 

“Since when do I listen to you?” the blonde sneered. “Now let me the fuck down!” 

 

Black whip retreated suddenly; Katsuki barely had time to react, but his reflexes were good so he landed on his feet. He glared at Izuku, who just crossed his arms. “How did you get in here?”

 

“Your balcony door was open, dipshit.”

 

Izuku raised an eyebrow.

 

“Fuckin’ fine. I picked the lock.”

 

“Why? We just talked, Kacchan. I have nothing more to say, and I don’t take back anything I said.”

 

“Tch. You fuckin’ talked. Don’t I get to?”

 

Izuku huffed. “Fine. Get it over with.”

 

“I fucked up,” Katsuki said. He didn’t elaborate, at least not right away. Izuku waited for him to continue; he had no clue where he was going with this. “I… When you told me how you felt,” Katsuki grunted out his words slowly. It was as if he was fighting against himself to express what he was feeling. “When you told me,” he repeated, “I was so surprised. I knew we sorta fixed our fucked-up friendship, but I never thought you would think of me as more than a coworker. I always thought a part of you would always hate me.”

 

Izuku bit his tongue, resisting the urge to correct him.

 

“So I guess that’s part of why I rejected you. I couldn’t let myself believe that you were telling me the truth. And I didn’t think I deserved you, even if you were…” Katsuki huffed out a sigh. “And I had been dating my ex-girlfriend for about a year at that point. I just learned she was pregnant with Nikko.”

 

Izuku raised his eyebrows, his big green eyes widening. “Oh,” he breathed.

 

“Yeah, well,” Katsuki said. “It was a complicated situation. But I shouldn’t have just rejected you like that. I just panicked.” 

 

Izuku nodded. “I wish I would’ve known--”

 

“I’m not fucking done,” Katsuki seethed. “This isn’t just on me, Deku. You didn’t know about Nikko at the time, but you knew I was dating someone. Why did you wait until I was in a relationship to tell me? You said you had been in love with me for a long time, so why the fuck did you wait so long?”

 

Izuku just stared at him, his heart pounding, unsure if he was supposed to answer. If he was, he had no idea what to say.

 

“The worst part,” Katsuki spat out. His voice was rough, and his red eyes were glistening with tears. “The worst part is, you just disappeared. We had one fuckin’ conversation and you fuckin’ moved abroad. You didn’t even try , Deku. You didn’t care about me enough to fight for me, or even wait long enough for me to tell you about Nikko. You just left, like our friendship meant nothing…” He aggressively rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands. “I know I fucked up, Izuku. And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. But you fucked up, too.”

 

Izuku’s breathing hitched. A sort of dizziness overwhelmed him, and his eyelashes fluttered as fat tears rolled down his cheeks.

 

“I’m not gonna let you make the same mistake twice, Deku. Even if it fucks everything up for good this time. I need you to know that I do love you. I loved you then, and I love you now. I loved Nikko’s mother, too. But I’ve never loved someone the way I love you.”

 

Izuku just stood there, struggling to breathe as he choked on sobs. “I’m sorry, Kacchan. You’re right.”

 

Katsuki nodded, staring at him and remaining silent as if he was waiting for Izuku to say more. When he didn’t, Katsuki just exhaled an exasperated sigh and ran a rough hand through his hair. “You told me to leave you alone, so I will. I just needed you to hear what I had to say.” He walked past him toward the front door. He paused before he opened it. “I don’t expect anything,” Katsuki said softly. “But if you want to be together, I’ll wait for you. I don’t care how long it takes. I’ll wait for you.” 

 

With that, Katsuki finally wrenched open the door. Izuku watched him go. The door slammed shut, and he was gone.

 

I’ll wait for you. I don’t care how long it takes. I’ll wait for you.

 

His words echoed inside Izuku’s mind constantly over the next couple months. Izuku hated himself. How could he have overlooked Katsuki’s point of view when he first confessed and then accepted hero work out of the country? Of course Katsuki would feel shocked, confused, conflicted, hurt…

 

And why was Izuku hesitating now? I’ve never loved someone the way I love you . Just thinking about Katsuki’s declaration made Izuku’s body break out into a sweat and his heart palpitate. 

 

So why was he hesitating? Why was he so scared? Had he learned nothing?

Katsuki, for his part, was acting like his old self. Teasing and yelling and challenging Izuku while they worked together. He no longer asked Izuku to babysit or hang out, but when they ran into each other at Nikko’s school, he’d pull him into a casual hug and even tease him when he caught another teacher checking him out. 

 

As Nikko’s last day of first grade approached-- as well as his seventh birthday --Katsuki was bold enough to invite Izuku to his party. “All our dumbass friends will be there, too,” he said hurriedly. “It’ll be a bunch of loudmouth pro heroes, some boring-ass teachers, and a bunch of brats Nikko’s friends with.”

 

Izuku smiled. “I’ll be there.”

 

When Izuku arrived at Katsuki’s modest one-story house, the blonde barely had time to greet him. He briefly hugged him before he jerked his chin to the backyard. “Everyone’s outside. I gotta finish the fuckin’ food.” He hesitated, eyeing the gift bag Izuku was carrying. He raised an eyebrow. “What did you get him?”

 

Izuku grinned. “You’ll have to wait and see!”

 

Outside, Hanta handed Izuku a beer while he joined a circle of his old friends. Denki, his eyes wide with passion, was bragging to everyone about how wonderful his interns were this year while Hitoshi smirked down at him, a lanky arm resting over his shoulder.

Soon, Kyouka emerged from inside and announced that dinner was ready. Once everyone ate, Rikidou presented a delighted Nikko with a huge chocolate cake. After singing happy birthday, everyone eagerly accepted a slice, complimenting Rikidou on his flawless baking abilities as usual. 

 

After dessert, Nikko was getting sleepy; and even when he was at his normal energy level he was too shy to open presents in front of everyone, so Katsuki promised him he could open them once they were alone and once Nikko took a nap. Izuku and some of the other adult guests stuck around to help clean up. Katsuki, who looked ready for a nap himself, hugged everyone on the way out.

 

Later, while Izuku was unlocking the door to his apartment, he felt his pocket buzz as he received a text.

 

Kacchan: you bastard.



Izuku froze, his heart beating wildly, until the text came through.



Katsuki: you really gave niks a limited edition all might action figure from the silver age?

 

Katsuki: all i got him were tickets to the fuckin aquarium

 

Katsuki: making me look like a shitty father, damn deku



Izuku grinned as he typed his response.



Izuku: i told you in high school i was gonna be the best, kacchan

 

Izuku: and i didn’t just mean that as a hero ;)

 

Katsuki: i hate you

 

Izuku: :)

 

Izuku: thanks for inviting me. i had a really good time, and i hope nikko did too.

 

Katsuki: he did. thanks for everything, nerd

 

Katsuki: dont be a stranger. or whatever fuckin normal people say

 

Izuku: hahahaha

 

Katsuki: dont laugh at me asshole

 

Izuku: i wont

 

Izuku: be a stranger, that is

 

Izuku: no promises about not laughing at you though

 

Katsuki: fuck off

 

Izuku: goodnight, kacchan

 

Katsuki: night

 

Life went on. Katsuki and Izuku didn’t see each other much over the next few months. They texted each other every so often. Izuku texted Katsuki to congratulate him on a successful mission and when he saw a t-shirt he knew Nikko would like. Katsuki texted Izuku when he knew he had a particularly rough patrol, or when to let him know he put his leftovers in the office fridge for Izuku to eat for lunch.

 

They didn’t talk to each other properly until the winter holidays. Eijirou and Shouto were hosting their annual Christmas party, and this year was the first one Izuku could attend since coming back to Japan. The text thread said no gifts, but-- well, Izuku couldn’t resist. He saw too many items that would be perfect for each of his friends, and he wanted to make up for all the time he was away.

 

Which is how he found himself carrying two huge cardboard boxes up the stairs of a cozy townhouse, trying to figure out how to ring the doorbell without dropping everything to the snowy ground.

 

“Oi, nerd. What the fuck.”

Because of the bulkiness of his presents, Izuku failed to turn around to face Katsuki. He felt one of the boxes lift from his grasp, and finally saw Katsuki peering at him and rolling his eyes. He leaned over Izuku and opened the door. “They always leave it unlocked during parties,” He shrugged. “It’s stupid, but. Whoever would try to break in to their house while it’s filled with pro heroes is more stupid, I guess. Come on, let’s get inside. I’m freezing my fucking balls off.”

 

Izuku smiled and shuffled through the doorway, Katsuki following close behind.

 

Eijirou roared in delight when he saw them arrive, tossing the two boxes of presents into the spare bedroom before pulling each of them into an overwhelmingly pleasant hug. Shouto emerged into the foyer, giving a subtle smile and softer hug to each of his friends. He beckoned them to the kitchen, where he and some others were getting drinks. Eijirou kissed Shouto on the corner of his mouth and headed back into the living room where it looked like Mina and Tsuyu were decorating a Christmas tree.

 

Upon arrival in the kitchen, Katsuki and Izuku were coerced by Toru into taking shots of vodka before they were handed two large cups of eggnog, which by the taste was mostly just more alcohol. Izuku grinned as he greeted the rest of his friends. They all saw each other at work-related events, but it was very rare that they were all together like this. Everyone from their grade at U.A. was there as well as some other mutual friends. 

 

Throughout the night, Izuku noticed that Katsuki was never very far from him. He didn’t cling by his side or anything like that, but his eyes always lingered a little longer than what would be considered normal. Izuku blushed whenever he caught his eye, but that was probably just the eggnog.

 

The night escalated as everyone got a little bit drunk. Izuku stopped drinking after he got a nice buzz; he didn’t want to go too far and make a fool of himself at his first real party in so long. After Testutestu started the next round of beer pong, he slipped into the kitchen to grab some water.

 

When he returned, he noticed Katsuki was standing a bit away from the crowd, laughing as he watched his silly friends grow more and more competitive over the game. 

 

Izuku, his presence unnoticed, watched Katsuki for a moment. He looked relaxed-- he was still slightly smirking, but his cheeks were flushed from laughter and from the warm cider he was drinking. His pale blonde hair and his lush green sweater both looked unbelievably soft. His bright red eyes glowed in the low lighting of the room.

 

Izuku glanced up to the ceiling and smiled before focusing his gaze on Katsuki. “Kacchan,” he whispered.

 

Izuku’s voice was barely audible above all the noise, but Katsuki heard him. He whipped his head around, furrowing his brow. “Deku.”

 

Izuku bit his lip, but he couldn’t fight back his smile. Again his eyes flicked up to what was hanging on the ceiling, and he watched as Katsuki’s eyes did the same.

 

Mistletoe.

 

Katsuki raised an eyebrow, though his cheeks reddened considerably.

 

Izuku just stood there, smiling like a lunatic. When it was apparent Katsuki was frozen in place, Izuku took another step forward so that their faces were mere inches apart. “Can I kiss you, Kacchan?” Izuku whispered.

 

Katsuki just stared at him for a few agonizingly long moments, deaf to the roar of his friends who were celebrating Itsuka’s victory. Finally, Katsuki closed his eyes and leaned in, pressing his lips against Izuku’s.

 

Izuku sighed, leaning his weight into Katsuki. His arms wrapped around his shoulders and Katsuki’s large warm hands found their way to Izuku’s waist. They both felt their hearts beating rapidly; their breath was shallow and desperate.

 

Izuku pulled away first. “Merry Christmas, Kacchan,” he whispered.

 

Katsuki just stared at him again before pecking him on the forehead.

 

“I know I’ve made you wait a long time already,” Izuku said, biting his lip. “Can you wait just a little longer?”

 

Katsuki pulled him into a hug. “I fuckin’ told you,” he murmured into his neck. “I’ll wait as long as you need.”

 

It was February by the time Izuku finally asked him out. They were alone in the office elevator, heading home after a long patrol.

 

“K-Kacchan,” Izuku’s voice was soft. “I was wondering… Can I take you out? Like on a date?”

 

Katsuki couldn’t fight back his smile. “Course, nerd. What did you have in mind?”

 

Izuku grinned, though he still fidgeted. “I was thinking we could go to that Thai restaurant? And then after we could get a drink at the cafe next door. They have live music on the weekends.”

 

Katsuki nodded. “When do you wanna go?”

 

“Does this Saturday evening work? I can make reservations.”

 

As the elevator reached the lobby, the two lingered outside the building.

 

Katsuki furrowed his brow. “ This Saturday?” he asked.

 

Izuku blinked at him. “Yes? Or is that too soon? Oh god, am I rushing things? Should we hang out in a group setting before we go on a solo date--”

 

Katsuki placed his hand on his shoulder and squeezed, rolling his eyes. “Calm down, Deku. This Saturday is fine. Just tell me what time and I’ll pick you up at your place. ‘Kay?”

 

Izuku nodded, giving him a sheepish smile. “Okay, Kacchan. I’ll see you then.”

 

Katsuki kissed him on the forehead and smirked at him. “Goodnight, nerd.” There was a glint in his red eyes that Izuku couldn’t figure out. But he seemed genuinely excited for their date, and that was all that mattered.

 

That Saturday at exactly 6:45, there was a knock on Izuku’s front door. Taking one more panicked look at himself in the mirror, he went to greet his date. “Kacchan,” he breathed, feeling out of breath from rushing to get ready and from how hot Katsuki was. He was wearing a henley with the sleeves pushed up partially. It wasn’t a tight-fitting shirt but it certainly did nothing to conceal his large biceps and lean torso. Izuku could smell his body wash-- a combination of a musky spice and sweet floral scent.

 

Katsuki cleared his throat as he took in Izuku’s appearance: his dark curls were soft and fluffy from having just showered and his maroon cashmere sweater made his big bright green eyes pop. After a few seconds, the blonde composed himself and smirked, kissing Izuku on the cheek in greeting. “Hey, nerd. You ready for our first date?” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

 

Izuku laughed, but couldn’t help his blush from spreading over his cheeks. “You’re making me so nervous!”

 

Katsuki raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t even do anything.”

 

“Exactly!” Izuku lamented.

 

Katsuki laughed. “Damn, get a grip, Deku. Let’s just go before you go completely catatonic on me.”

 

“Shut up,” Izuku muttered. But he put on his shoes and followed Katsuki out the door, overwhelmed and excited when Katsuki reached his hand and wove their fingers together.

 

Katsuki asked Izuku about his day while they walked to the restaurant, and Izuku smiled as he answered, still amazed at how easy it was simply to be with Katsuki. As they approached the restaurant, however, the smile dropped from Izuku’s face.

 

“No,” he whispered.

 

“Yes,” Katsuki said, chuckling quietly.

 

Izuku whimpered, his red face almost contorting in pain. “It’s Valentine’s Day ?”

 

The restaurant was decorated with pink and red banners and cartoonish hearts. All the patrons were lovey dovey couples, and a live jazz band was playing sultry music. 

 

Horrified, Izuku looked at Katsuki. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

Katsuki shrugged. “I thought about it, but you seemed so excited to go on a date.”

 

“We could have chosen another night!” Izuku squeaked.

 

“Yeah, but,” Katsuki smirked. “The look on your face is worth it.”

 

Izuku groaned, and hid his face in his hands. “This is so embarrassing…”

 

“Hey.”

 

Izuku felt gentle hands pull his own away from his face.

 

Katsuki let him go. “It’s really not a big deal, Izuku. We’re just getting dinner. And if it’s weird, we can leave and do something else.”

 

Izuku nodded slowly. “Okay. If you’re sure you’re not uncomfortable.”

 

“‘Course not,” Katsuki grunted. “I’m fuckin’ starving. Shall we?”

 

Izuku smiled, and the two of them went inside.

 

Katsuki was right-- it wasn’t a big deal. It was funny, seeing all the other couples make googly eyes at each other. (Not that they were any exception, really.) Katsuki even told the waiter it was their anniversary so they could get a free dessert.

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku hissed. “You shouldn’t lie!”

 

Katsuki just shrugged and shoved a forkful of chocolate cake into his mouth. “Technically not a lie. This year marks twenty-five years we’ve known each other.”

 

Izuku raised his eyebrows. “Really?”


“Yeah. Now take a bite before I eat this whole damn thing myself.”

 

After fighting over who would pay the bill-- eventually it was revealed that Izuku had already provided his payment information when he made the initial reservation --they walked next door to the cafe Izuku mentioned. It was much more low-key; there were no Valentine’s Day decorations and the crowd was a mix of friend groups and couples. The patio had several picnic tables; Izuku found some open seats while Katsuki got some drinks.

 

By the time he returned with two whiskey sours, the band started playing a soothing alternative R&B song. Some people got up to dance with each other while Katsuki sat down next to Izuku on a bench. They clinked glasses and took a sip. Katsuki rested his arm over Izuku’s shoulder. Izuku scooted closer, and they both just sat there listening to the music and sipping their drinks.

 

When they were both getting sleepy they decided to call it a night. Katsuki started to walk Izuku back to his apartment building. Halfway home, Katsuki pulled at Izuku’s arm and spun him into his chest. He stroked Izuku’s face for a few moments, red eyes staring into green eyes, before they both leaned in and kissed each other. Izuku wrapped his arms around Katsuki’s broad back, pressing them ever closer together. They angled their jaws and opened their mouths, tongues lazily licking at each other. Katsuki ran his fingers through Izuku’s soft hair, and swallowed all his little breathless moans. 

 

Slowly, they made their way to the apartment building, pausing several times to keep making out. Finally, they shared one last kiss outside the front doors. Izuku pulled away and pecked him on the cheek.

 

“I had a really good time, Kacchan,” he breathed, his eyelids fluttering a little. “I hope I was worth the wait.”

 

“Shut up,” Katsuki said, biting his nose, causing Izuku to squeal and giggle. “Of course you were.”

 

“I want to see you again,” Izuku said seriously.

 

Katsuki raised an eyebrow. “When?”

 

“Whenever you’re next available,” Izuku said immediately.

 

Katsuki scoffed. “Alright. I’ll text you.”

 

Izuku smiled. “Thanks. Please tell Nikko I say hi.”

 

“Will do.”

 

Izuku kissed him again, lingering for a moment, but finally he reluctantly let him go. “Goodnight, Kacchan.”

 

“Night, nerd,” Katsuki smirked again. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

 

“Shut up!”

 

It was a few weeks before they could go on their next official date, though they saw each other almost every day anyway at work. Izuku also babysat a few times, and survived his first Nikko meltdown.

 

When Katsuki came home late from work one night, he found Izuku fast asleep on the couch, a book on his chest. Quietly, Katsuki took off his shoes and crept over to Izuku, kneeling by his side and brushing gentle fingers through his dark green hair. 

 

Izuku stirred, his eyes blinking open. He smiled. “Hi Kacchan. How was work?”

 

“Shitty, but not too horrible. How was Niks?”

 

Izuku laughed quietly. “He’s asleep now, but he was being a little difficult earlier.”

 

Katsuki furrowed his brow. “How?”

 

“Nothing to worry about,” Izuku said, shifting to sit upright. He used a thumb to remove a smudge of dirt on Katsuki’s cheek. “He tried to convince me that you let him have cake for dinner sometimes. And then he refused to brush his teeth and go to bed.”

 

“Shit,” Katsuki grimaced. “I’m sorry, he’s usually well-behaved…” He sighed, not looking Izuku in the eyes.

 

“Hey,” Izuku titled his chin up with a scarred and freckled hand. “He was bound to act out eventually-- especially since he’s not used to me being around yet. And it’s not like I don’t know how to act around kids. I just told him he would lose his bedtime story privileges if he didn’t act like the good boy he usually did for his daddy.”

 

“And it worked?” Katsuki raised his eyebrows.

 

Izuku laughed again. “Not really. But he tired himself out eventually, and when I tucked him into bed he said he was sorry. He’s a really good kid, Kacchan. So please don’t worry. I just want to be someone both of you can rely on.” For a moment Izuku thought Katsuki was glaring at him, but then he realized he was straining not to cry. Izuku gave him a small smile and pulled him into a hug. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.”

 

“Not upset,” Katsuki grunted out, his voice muffled by Izuku’s shoulder. “Just wondering what I did to deserve you.”

 

Izuku just squeezed him tighter. 

 

Eventually they had a couple of days off, and this time it was Katsuki’s turn to plan the date. He told Izuku to be ready by six in the morning and wear workout clothes. 

 

Six ?” Izuku repeated. “Why so early?”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “So lazy, nerd.”

 

“Are we going hiking or something?”

 

“Maybe,” Katsuki smirked. “Just be ready by then. I’ll come by yours to pick you up.”

 

Izuku set his alarm for five-thirty and after pressing snooze a couple of times, barely had time to dress and brush his teeth when there was a knock on the door. He opened the door and mumbled a grumpy “Good morning” to Katsuki, who looked unfairly good-- and wide awake. Izuku hissed and swatted away Katsuki’s hand when he pinched his cheek.

 

Katsuki scoffed. “Morning, brat.”

 

Izuku pouted. “I’m used to sleeping in on my days off.”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes. “Come on, let’s get going. I don’t want to miss the sunrise.”

 

“Fine,” Izuku huffed.

 

He followed Katsuki downstairs and got into the passenger side of his car, greeted by the smell of fresh coffee. Katsuki, in the driver’s seat, handed him a thermos. Izuku took a sip. “Thanks Kacchan.”

 

“Tch. Just don’t spill in my car, Deku.”

 

It was about a thirty minute drive, and the sky was still mostly a dark navy blue, though it was slowly beginning to lighten. Izuku shivered a little when they parked and ventured outside, and was grateful when Katsuki threw him an extra sweatshirt from the back of the car. It was a little big on him, but it was very warm and smelled  just like Kacchan.

 

“Freak,” Katsuki smirked at him when he caught him sniffing the hoodie. 

 

Izuku smiled back, unapologetic. “You smell good.”

 

“Whatever.” Katsuki was blushing. “Hurry up before we miss the sunrise.”

 

They followed a trail that winded up a small mountain. They mostly walked in silence, pausing occasionally to take in the view around them and drink some water. It wasn’t a very strenuous hike, but then again they were both in extremely good shape. When the trail marker indicated they were merely a kilometer away from the peak of the mountain, they challenged each other to a race. At the last second, Izuku used his quirk to beat Katsuki.

 

“Fuckin’ cheater,” Katsuki panted.

 

Izuku grinned at him. “You never said quirks weren’t allowed-- Hey!” He tried to shove Katsuki away when he grabbed him and put him in a headlock. They struggled, laughing and pulling at each other. When Izuku finally broke free, he looked at the view spread out before them. “Wow,” he gasped. 

 

The landscape was mostly shades of green and yellow grass, with bright patches of orange poppies that were just beginning to bloom. Beyond that, they could see the outskirts of the city, the building and street lights twinkling at them in the distance.

 

“It’s so beautiful,” Izuku whispered.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah,” Izuku smiled and looked at Katsuki, who was staring at him. “Thanks for taking me here, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki just shrugged and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sunrise is in a few minutes.”

 

Izuku nodded and found a soft patch of grass to sit in. He patted the space next to him, and Katsuki joined him by his side. They each wrapped an arm around the other and watched as the orange sun slowly rose into the purple-tinted sky. 

 

Izuku sighed and rested his head on Katsuki’s shoulder. Katsuki relaxed in their embrace and rested his own head on top of Izuku’s. When the sun was glowing high above them, they decided to head back down the mountain. 

 

They reached the car just as it was beginning to rain. “Good timing,” Izuku chirped as he slid into his seat.

 

Katsuki frowned. “Was gonna take you on a picnic or some shit,” he grumbled.

 

“You mean the date isn't over yet?” Izuku beamed.

 

“Tch. You gotta eat, don’t you?” Katsuki said as he backed out of the parking lot. “Guess I can cook us something at home.”

 

“Sounds good,” Izuku nodded as his stomach rumbled. 

 

Back at the house he insisted Izuku take a shower, lending him a pair of sweats and a tank top, while Katsuki cooked. By the time he was dressed, Katsuki was just serving up two plates of omurice.

 

Izuku breathed in deeply. “Smells delicious.”

 

Katsuki handed him a plate. “Eat up, nerd.”

 

They sat next to each other at the kitchen island as they ate.

 

“Where’s Nikko?” Izuku asked in between bites. 

 

“At his grandparents’.”

 

Izuku nodded. “We gonna pick him up after we finish eating?”

 

Katsuki shook his head. “He’s spending the night again tonight. Won’t pick him up until tomorrow afternoon.”

 

“Oh,” Izuku said, not reading in between the lines right away. He smiled as took another bite. “Is our date going to last that long?”

 

Katsuki stared at him. “If you want.” His voice was low.

 

Izuku choked, grabbing his water to wash down his food. “Oh,” he gasped.

 

“We don’t have to--” Katsuki started.

 

But Izuku kissed him on the cheek. “I want to,” he whispered, his big green eyes staring into his face. “I really want to.”

 

A palpable tension lingered in the air as they finished eating and washed the dishes together. When they were finished, Katsuki stiffly pecked Izuku on the forehead. “Gonna take a shower,” he grunted. “Feel free to watch TV or whatever.”

 

“‘Kay,” Izuku breathed. 

 

While Katsuki retreated to the bathroom, Izuku sighed and sat on the couch. He listlessly flipped through the channels and streaming options before turning the television off entirely. He stood up and wandered down the hallways, stripping off his clothes as he entered Katsuki’s bedroom.

 

Katsuki stopped in his tracks as soon as he exited the bathroom. He stared at Izuku, who was naked on his bed and palming his erection as he stared back at Katsuki with half-lidded eyes.

 

As if stalking his prey, Katsuki walked over to the bed and tore the towel from where it was wrapped around his hips, freeing his already half-hard cock. He climbed on top of Izuku, pulling him into a rough kiss while his large hands grabbed at his waist. Izuku’s fingers wound their way into his damp blonde hair, moaning as Katsuki’s tongue dominated his mouth.

 

They grinded their hips into each other, groaning as both their cocks rubbed together. Izuku arched off the bed, straining for more friction.

 

Katsuki growled and flipped them over, so Izuku was on top of him. Katsuki used his tight grip on his waist to pull him to sit on his face, licking at Izuku’s balls and hole. Izuku squirmed but the blonde held him firmly in place.

 

“Oh,” Izuku gasped as he felt Katsuki’s tongue enter him. He grinded down on his face, earning a breathless moan from Katsuki. Izuku shivered as Katsuki’s hands palmed his ass cheeks and his tongue found a rhythm as it thrusted into him over and over. Izuku leaned over, grabbing onto Katsuki’s meaty thighs for support.

 

Izuku leaned closer, licking at Katsuki’s length. Encouraged by Katsuki’s whimper, Izuku lowered his mouth onto his entire cock as best he could considering the awkward angle and the fact he was shaking from the sensation of Katsuki’s tongue in his ass. 

 

As Izuku hollowed his cheeks, Katsuki moaned loudly. The vibrations sent a new wave of shivers from Izuku’s ass and up his spine, causing him to then moan around Katsuki’s cock.

 

Katsuki lifted Izuku off of his face, gasping for breath. “Fuck.”

 

Izuku whimpered as he removed his wet mouth from Katsuki’s length. “I need you inside me,” he whined.

 

“Fuck,” was all Katsuki said again. He lifted Izuku higher and maneuvered them so that Izuku was straddling his waist, his face hovering above Katsuki’s. While Katsuki leaned over to retrieve a bottle of lube from the bedside table, Izuku sucked at Katsuki’s nipples. Katsuki keened, shakily opening the bottle and squirting the liquid onto his hand.

 

The first finger slipped in easily. Izuku sighed in relief, arching his back again and already starting to fuck himself back onto Katsuki’s hand. “More, Kacchan,” he gasped out.

 

Slowly, Katsuki inserted a second finger, scissoring him open. He quickly added a third finger, the both of them desperate.

 

“Kacchan,” Izuku whined again.

 

Katsuki slapped his ass with his free hand. “Impatient,” he scolded, though he sounded just as needy. 

 

Izuku whimpered as Katsuki removed his fingers but groaned as he felt Katsuki’s cock line up with his hole instead. Katsuki tried going slow, not wanting to hurt him, but Izuku was still impatient. He sat down on his cock, taking the entire length in one go. The two of them moaned in unison.

 

They started moving right away, crying out unintelligibly as they quickly found a rhythm to roll their hips into each other. Katsuki thrusted up harshly and Izuku bounced, his nails digging into Katsuki’s shoulders.

 

They weren’t going to last long. 

 

Katsuki flipped them again, pushing Izuku onto his hands and knees as he fully sheathed him from behind. He thrust into him relentlessly, the sound of their skin slapping together dominating the room. Izuku cried out, starting to tense as he started to reach orgasm. 

 

Katsuki leaned over him, his chest flush against Izuku's back. Still thrusting wildly, Katsuki reached underneath them to stroke Izuku’s cock in time with his own. Izuku shivered, and after a few strokes his body clenched as he came. Katsuki grinded into him, gasping at how tight Izuku’s wet warmth was around his cock. 

 

Izuku moaned as Katsuki rode him through his orgasm, his face smushed against the pillows and his ass high in the air. Katsuki grunted as he reached his own orgasm, calling out Izuku’s name as he pumped him full of come, cock pulsing until they both fully collapsed on the bed.

 

Still panting and reeling from his orgasm, Katsuki carefully pulled out and rolled off of Izuku. With shaking hands he grabbed some tissues from the bedside table and wiped them both down. Once he deemed they were clean enough, he grabbed onto Izuku and held him tightly to his chest.

 

Katsuki froze when he felt Izuku’s body convulse with sobs.

 

He pulled back and held Izuku’s face with his hands. “Izuku,” he whispered. “Baby, what’s wrong? Did I hurt you? I’m so sorry, tell me how to make it better, please--”

 

Izuku laughed shakily. “S-sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out. I just felt like I was waiting such a long time for that to happen, and I sorta still can’t believe it actually did happen...” He gave Katsuki a wet kiss. “It was good. So good...”

 

“You sure?” Katsuki used his fingers to wipe away Izuku’s tears, peppering his cheeks with gentle kisses

 

Izuku snuggled closer. “Yes,” he breathed before kissing him deeply and wrapping his arms around him.

 

Their kiss felt endless. When they both felt themselves get hard again, Izuku rolled onto his back and pulled Katsuki on top of him. Izuku was still loose from before, full of lube and come; but still Katsuki was gentle as he pressed into him once more.

 

They weren’t as rushed or desperate this time; their initial pent-up lust and sexual frustration had been satiated. They took their time grabbing and groping at each other, figuring out what each of them liked and enjoying the intimacy. They talked to each other more, praising each other and laughing with each other. 

 

Eventually Katsuki was holding Izuku upright in his lap as Izuku grinded down on his cock. They exchanged lazy kisses.

 

Izuku sighed as Katsuki’s lips latched onto his neck. “Mmm. What will our coworkers say when they see the hickies you’re giving me?”

 

“That you’re being fucked good,” Katsuki grumbled against his skin.

 

Izuku laughed. “You’re lucky that the scratches I left will be covered by your hero costume.”

 

“Mmm,” Katsuki hummed and licked at Izuku’s collarbone. “Maybe I should ask Hatsume for modifications. Would be a shame to hide these marks…”

 

Back and forth, they teased each other until their movements quickened. They panted and moaned into each other’s mouths as they reached orgasm again, almost in unison. Katsuki came first, gripping onto Izuku tightly as he filled him once more. Izuku hopped up and down on Katsuki’s cock, feeling his own erection rub in between their stomachs as he orgasmed. 

 

“Fuck, Katsuki! ” he shouted as he came. He slumped as Katsuki’s arms held him upright and stable. They clung to each other for a long while, tired and blissed out. Eventually, Katsuki playfully bit at Izuku’s shoulder. 

 

“Bathtime,” he announced, picking him up and walking toward the bathroom. Izuku wrapped his legs around Katsuki’s waist, burying his face in his shoulder.

 

“My ass is sore,” Izuku grumbled.

 

“My cock is sore,” Katsuki shot back. “Quit complaining, and let me get us cleaned up, fucker.”

 

After bathing, the two took a catnap on the sofa as a soap opera played softly on the television. When they awoke, they found that they were starving, and even though it was still early for dinner, Katsuki made them katsudon.

 

“My favorite,” Izuku grinned.

 

“Yeah, I remembered,” Katsuki grumbled to himself, though Izuku heard him and smiled wider.

 

When they finished eating, Izuku washed the dishes while Katsuki found a movie to stream. They snuggled up on the couch while some silly action movie started to play. They made it halfway through before they started making love again, not stopping until they tired each other out and fell asleep.

 

The next day Katsuki dropped off Izuku at his apartment before going to pick up Nikko from Katsuki’s parents’ house.

 

Izuku couldn’t stop smiling. He leaned over the passenger’s side to give Katsuki a goodbye kiss. “Best date ever. Thanks Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes but was blushing profusely. “Yeah. I’ll text you.”

 

“Okay! I’ll see you at work,” Izuku said as he slid out of the car. “Maybe next time we can do something with Nikko? If that’s okay?”

 

“Yeah,” Katsuki nodded. “Niks would like that.”

 

After they said their goodbyes, Katsuki waited until he saw Izuku get into his building. But still he didn’t drive off right away, instead grabbing his phone to send a text.



Katsuki: wanna see you again.

 

Izuku: kacchan! we JUST saw each other 😆

 

Izuku: but i want to see you again too :)

 

Katsuki: don’t bring lunch to work tomorrow i’ll make us both a bento

 

Izuku: 🥺

 

Izuku: thanks kacchan 💚💚💚

 

Katsuki: it’s just lunch nerd

 

Izuku: but it’s lunch from kacchan 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

 

Katsuki: 🙄

 

Katsuki: 🧡



The next time they saw each other outside work, they took Nikko to see the new All Might movie. It was difficult to determine who was the biggest fanboy out of the three of them. 

 

Nikko was getting used to his old teacher’s presence, and even started calling him by his first name rather than Midoriya-sensei. He liked when Izuku read him his bedtime stories, because according to Nikko, Izuku did all the voices just right. Although somewhat offended, Katsuki just grumbled and accepted that maybe he wasn’t the greatest at reading kids’ books.

 

He would sometimes pause in the middle of a story to ridicule its logic. “Why the hell is this teenager solving mysteries? Shouldn’t she be in school? Where are the cops?”

 

“Daddy, weren’t you fighting crime when you were a teenager?” Nikko pouted. 

 

Katsuki barked out a laugh. “Okay, fair.”

 

Izuku stayed over at their house more often than not; it was easier for commuting to work together and for childcare. Eventually Katsuki sat Nikko down and told him about his relationship with Izuku.

 

“What do you think about Izuku?” he asked, keeping his tone light as he made them each a cup of hot chocolate.

 

“Izuku’s the coolest!” Nikko chirped. 

 

Katsuki gave him a small smile. “I think so, too. I’ve known him for a long time, but we got a lot closer this year.” He poured a healthy dollop of whipped cream in Nikko’s mug before sliding over to him where he sat at the kitchen counter. Nikko took a long sip. When he lowered his mug, his nose and upper lip was covered in whipped cream. Katsuki snickered and used a napkin to wipe his face.

 

Nikko grimaced and wrenched his face away, but the whipped cream had already been wiped off anyway. He took another sip of the hot chocolate and swung his feet. “You mean like Uncle Denki and Uncle Hitoshi?”

 

Katsuki nodded. “Yeah, exactly. So what do you think about that?”

 

“What do you mean?” Nikko asked.

 

“I mean…” Katsuki searched for what to say. “Are you okay with that? With me and Izuku being boyfriends?”

 

“Boyfriends?” Nikko repeated, confused.

 

Katsuki furrowed his brow. “Yes…”

 

“Oh,” Nikko shrugged. “I thought you guys were married. Like Uncle Denki and Uncle Hitoshi.”

 

Katsuki’s face reddened. “Oh, uh. Right…” He scratched the back of his neck. “No, we’re not. Not yet.”

 

“Oh,” Nikko said, nonplussed. “Well then can I be the ring bearer at your wedding when you do get married?”

 

Katsuki choked, then laughed. “Of course, Niks. You can be my best man, too.”

 

Nikko frowned. “I don’t know, daddy. I think Uncle Eijirou would be pretty sad if you didn’t ask him…”

 

Katsuki just laughed again.

 

At a certain point, Izuku was spending damn near every day at their house so when his lease was up, they both agreed it just made sense for him to move in. It wasn’t a surprise, but Izuku cried anyway when they came to the decision. 

 

Izuku cried a lot, as it turned out. Not surprising, really; he’d been like that ever since Katsuki knew him when they were both four-year-olds. The next time he cried was when he gave Nikko some carrots and hummus as an after-school snack. 

 

“Thanks, Papa.”

 

Izuku froze. Internally he was freaking out, but he didn’t want to alarm Nikko. He tried to make his voice as calm as possible when he spoke. “You’re welcome, Niks. I’m curious,” he said carefully. “When did you decide to start calling me Papa?”

 

Nikko shrugged, shoving another carrot in his mouth. “I dunno. You call me Niks now, just like Daddy. And my friend at school, she has a Daddy and a Papa. Am I not supposed to call you that?”

 

“No!” Izuku said quickly. “You can call me that! It just surprised me, that’s all. But I like it.” He swallowed. “You have any homework today?” 

 

“Nope!” Nikko said, proud. “I finished my test early, so I did my homework while I was still in class!”

 

“Good job!” Izuku grinned. “I think you’ve earned some TV or manga time, don’t you? Finish your snack first, though.”

 

When it was time for bed-- after Izuku read him a few chapters of their latest story --Izuku kissed his forehead. “Daddy will be home soon. He’ll make you breakfast tomorrow morning like usual, okay?”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Goodnight, Niks. I love you.”

 

“‘Night, Papa. I love you too.”

 

Izuku kissed his forehead again, turned out the light, and rushed from the room. He fumbled in his pocket for his phone, tempted to call Katsuki, but he didn’t want to worry him. Instead, he paced in the hallway like a lunatic until he heard the door unlock.

 

As soon as Katsuki opened the door, Izuku launched himself into his arms, sobbing into his neck.

 

Katsuki froze. “Izuku? Baby? What’s wrong? Is Nikko okay?”

 

Izuku choked and nodded. He pulled back, his face puffy and tear-streaked. “H-he called me Papa today,” he said, sniffling. “And he said he loved me.”

 

Katsuki's eyes softened. He pulled Izuku into a hug, rubbing his hands up and down his back. “Of course he did,” Katsuki said quietly, though it sounded like he was close to tears himself. “You’re his dad.”

 

“I’m scared,” Izuku admitted. “I don’t want to mess things up…”

 

Katsuki snorted. “Welcome to parenting.”

 

Izuku laughed wetly. He pulled back to kiss Katsuki. “Sorry to attack you as soon as you walk through the door. Welcome home, Kacchan.”

 

Katsuki smirked and kissed him back. “I’m home, nerd.”

 

Izuku smiled and hugged him again. “Hungry?” he murmured into his shoulder.

 

“Nah, I ate at the office. Could use a nightcap, though.”

 

Izuku hummed. “Can I join you?”

 

“You fucking better.”

 

It was still quite warm out, so after Izuku poured them each a glass of wine they sat outside in the backyard together, holding hands. They told each other about their day and then were silent for a while as they sipped their drinks.

 

“Nikko’s name means sunshine,” Katsuki said suddenly.

 

Izuku squeezed his hand. “I remember. You told me that when we got coffee that one time, a while ago.”

 

“His mother and I-- neither of us could find a name we liked, and we didn’t like using family names or anything traditional like that. But when he was born, when we saw his little face… It was like looking into the sun. So she suggested Nikko, and it just seemed perfect.”

 

“It is,” Izuku agreed.

“There’s only been one other person that when I looked at them, felt like staring into the sun.”

 

Izuku looked at him. “Yeah?”

 

Katsuki nodded, staring at the sprinkle of stars that were only just visible through all the light pollution. “Yeah.” He sighed, and finally turned to look back at him. “You, Izuku. It’s fucking corny as shit, but… Yeah, you and Nikko are the bright lights in my life. You’re my sunshine. Both of you.”

 

Izuku couldn’t control himself as his lower lip wobbled and fresh tears leaked from his eyes.

 

Katsuki rolled his eyes, but he set his wine glass down and opened his arms. Izuku accepted the silent offer, sitting on Katsuki’s lap as they wrapped their arms around each other. “Tch. Always crying.”

 

“Shut up,” Izuku choked out a laugh.

 

“There’s a drought, you know,” Katsuki teased. “I should report you for wasting so much water.”

 

“You’re so mean!”

 

“Gotta be mean. To counteract all the sappy shit I just said.”

 

“I love you, Kacchan.”

 

“Love you too, Izuku.”