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❆❆❆

The snow came early this year.

Izuku knew it by the birds. Kacchan called it seasonal paranoia, but when the clouds came right over the mountains, he was the first one to start shoveling. Izuku doesn’t say ‘I told you so’ because he values his life (ha), but also because Kacchan caught a deer for dinner that evening, so. Don’t bite the hand that feeds.

Izuku tightens the leather wrap around his gloves, then adjusts his grip on the axe. At the first swing, it scares off a nosy fox poking around the herd. A few rams bleat in annoyance. Izuku splits the wood on the second swing.

He senses the wolves before they come barreling over the hills; their big paws crush in the snow, and excited yipping echoes off the open hills. The youngest wolf darts right for the fox, chasing it into the trees. The pack leader tends to the rams, and Izuku splits another log.

Kacchan’s voice cuts through the cold. His tone is raspy and bitter – just like it’s always ever been. His coat is drawn up to his nose, and his gait is deathly silent in the snow. He’s even more of a predator than the wolves he commands, and Izuku’s always been smart enough to know that.

“You’re not supposed to be out here.”

Izuku wipes his forehead with the back of his sleeve. Sure he’s a little warm, but the cold feels nice.

“Aww come on, it’s not even below zero.”

Katsuki’s jaw ticks. He looks so big and intimidating in his fur coat, smelling of blood and pheromones, eyes slitted wild off a fresh kill. Izuku is too many years past actual intimidation (mostly, okay, mostly).

“You damn well know better. If I’m out hunting, you –”

“I’m not going to stay in the hut. You know better.”

Kacchan breathes out of his nose. It steams in the air, bubbling like a cloud, then evaporating against the white snow that piles around them. He speaks through his teeth as if he’s lost his patience.

“Can you even smell yourself? You fucking reek. Every dipshit alpha in the steppes is gonna’ come crawling into our front yard, and then I gotta’ deal with it.”

Izuku sniffs under his arm. Hm, smells fine to him. He rolls his eyes and leans over for a new log.

“So dramatic, honestly. They know better by now. You made that very clear last year.”

Katsuki digs into his inner coat pocket, and rips out a handful of black fabric with a scowl. Izuku pauses, and lowers the axe. He can smell it now; the blood of another alpha that wandered too far (so sour and awful). Katsuki isn’t so stupid as to use an alpha command (Izuku would never let him live that down), but he does use a tone that makes all his hair stand on end.

“Get in the house.”

Izuku slips the axe from his hand with attitude. Katsuki oversees him all the way inside, waiting impatiently until Izuku has made a grand show of sitting on his bedroll and waving his arms around as if to say happy now?

Never happy, Katsuki slams their (fragile! handmade!) door, and begins to whistle for the dogs.

“Jerk,” Izuku mutters.

Somewhere in the field there is an echo of;

“I heard that!”

Izuku grabs one of the pillows and groans into it. Subsequently, it is Kacchan’s, and it doesn’t help him any.

The scent calms him down like liquid medicine, and he almost hates that even more. To know that biologically, Kacchan is his cure to everything…what a joke.

His hearing isn’t that of an alpha, but Izuku has spent too many years fighting to stay alive out here not to develop a keen survival instinct. Izuku waits and listens. For footsteps in cushy wet snow. For the two-fingered whistle of Kacchan’s call. For howling wolves and bleating sheep as the dogs push them towards the windbreak.

Izuku lets out a breath. The hut is warm from the fire. It’s a spacious yurt built from their own hard work, with weapon racks, cedar chests and an assortment of pillows and fur. It’s home – but sometimes it’s not.

He brings a hand to the engagement collar around his neck to feel the cool, smooth surface of the proposal stone.

Kacchan is already edgy, and to be completely honest, Izuku doesn’t blame him. His heat is early. Like, an entire season early – and with the cover of snow, it will be that much harder to defend their home with one less functioning human around.

He’s been nauseous all day. He will be for another week or so. Izuku hates the useless feeling of forced bedrest, and it’s even worse to sit around and watch Kacchan cover his chores. There’s no easy solution for this (or, no solution Katsuki is willing to accept), so Izuku rides it out every year. Year after year. After year. After year.

Occasionally, when Kacchan isn’t looking, he slips his fingers under the collar and presses down into the smooth side of his neck. It makes his scent fill the hut; not so much to the distaste of his own nose, but to the horror of Kacchan’s.

You stink, he spits, like Izuku can control it at all.

Izuku sighs, lulling his head and rubbing the sore gland under his skin. It aches right where a bite would be, if they were truly married.

But they are not. And if there’s anything Katsuki hates more than snow, it’s an inconvenience. And Izuku is just chocked full of them.

Sometimes. Sometimes. In the pit of his heart, he does wish it was real. Just like the fairytales mom used to tell; on robinhood heroes in the trees, and great wizards off in the mountains. Magic is real, she would say. Wishing gets you nowhere in this life, but Izuku sure does a lot of it.

 

 ❆❆❆

 

Seventeen felt like a horrible age. Too young for respect, but too old to be coddled. It was as if he had no control over his life, and yet far too many decisions to make.

“I don’t want it,” Izuku admitted. Sat far apart on the hills, watching the sun set in an orangey color. Kacchan had looked at him through the crook of his arm and grunted with little patience,

“Be specific.”

“An alpha,” Izuku said. “I don’t want another alpha.”

Kacchan said nothing, but it’s not like he expected him to. Eventually he rose from his seat in the grass, and Izuku stayed to pick flowers until his fingers were stained yellow.

 

❆❆❆

 

It’s an unforgiving world they’re in.

You’re either born a somebody, or you’re not. And if you’re incredibly unlucky, you’ll be born something worse. Izuku always wanted to be a somebody. But you can guess what he got.

The omegan lifestyle never interested him. To exist as a trophy wife: good for cooking and sex and – and what, raising children? Thanks, but no thanks (Izuku can’t even cook).

They had a great chief in their home village. He was a robust warrior, with strength that could rival a buffalo, and kindness like that of a mother doe. Izuku wanted that life. The strength and respect and the ability to give, not just take.

But the fates were not so kind.

It felt like anything was possible before his nature presented. He and Kacchan would hide from the village elders to spar out in the hills. They climbed mountains and dug through sparkling caves, splashing in the river and waddling home wet and soaked in mud like boys, mother said.

But then Kacchan became an alpha, and Izuku did not. And suddenly, it was like Izuku was worth nothing. He never forgot the look Kacchan gave him. It was an expression of horror and disgust and betrayal, as if Izuku had any choice in what he was. And for many years, they could no longer be friends.

It’s strange to think about. Like another lifetime lived by someone else.

“Stay,” Katsuki points, grabbing his spear in hand. Izuku’s weapon rests right next to it, brandished in leather and tipped with stone. His body aches to follow. To follow him still to this day. “The chief is calling able warriors. I’ll be back soon.”

“Take the wolves with you,” Izuku says, without looking up from his loom.

“You fuckin’ crazy?”

“I’m going into heat, not dying,” Izuku says back, and Katsuki rummages around a little too loudly in response. He’s holding his breath already. Is it that bad?

“Whatever. If you walk out this door I’ll kill you myself.”

“Uh huh.”

Kacchan gives one last glare, then pulls up the hood of his coat. He whistles through his teeth, and the dogs come around the back of the land. Izuku looks at him now, and reflects back to five years ago, when he stood tall and proud at eighteen and declared I will marry him.

It was an early winter then, too. He and Kacchan had barely pieced their friendship back together, like a shattered pot with syrup slopped through the seams. All his teenage years Izuku spent trying over and over and over again to prove that he could be more – more than a bride or a trophy or a tool for sex.

But in their village, eighteen is when an omega fulfills their duty as a bride. It’s a thousand-year-old tradition to bond under the stars and begin your forever after. No matter how much he cried, how much he dreamed to run away and begin a new life, it wasn’t going to change. As an unbonded omega, he would barely make it a week by himself (Alphas and their damn noses) .

As the other omegas learned artisan crafts and sweetened their beauty, Izuku still played with swords. Others learned to sing. Izuku would sneak out to the forest and watch the alphas skin rabbits by the feet. The omegas became soft and beautiful and lovely, and Izuku…he had scars from falling down the mountain. And from the time he stumbled upon that bear. And that other time he had to fight off an alpha beyond the river. And then suddenly, he was all alone in the choosing ceremony. Unwanted and unlovely, and doomed to be sold to another tribe. Mother cried so much.

“I’ll marry him,” Katsuki said. As Izuku stood on the auction block, tired and alone and fully in shock, Kacchan stepped forwards and spoke through his teeth; “Give him to me.”

They married that same day. Then they left home, traveled through the mountain range, and began their life together.

Izuku waits until he can no longer hear the howl of the wolves. Then he waits longer. When it’s nothing but the sound of the wind, he grabs his leather satchel and sweeps his woven goods into the bag; washed wool, spun yarn and a few leather hides for bartering. He shoulders the bag and bundles up quickly, tying the straps around his shoes and compressing his gloves so they’re watertight.

He hunts through a wooden chest for a rolled-up hide of sheepskin. Inside are old leaves preserved in smelly tree sap that he collected during autumn. It’s an old trick mother taught him, and it has served him well. He slicks the leaves along the bump of his throat, and then bandages it with cloth to keep the perfume in place. The betrothal collar ties perfectly over the bandage.

There. No more stink.  

His lead ram bleats as he exits the hut. Izuku makes a shushing motion with his finger.

Then, he treks for the nearby village.

 

❆❆❆

 

The journey was so eerily silent. Winter was breaking, and Izuku’s shoes slopped in the mud with every step. Kacchan’s wolf was still yet a puppy, and it wandered the path before them, sniffing the ground for growing weeds and sticks to gnaw on. The world felt so heavy that day.

Izuku tugged on the collar around his throat and struggled to breathe. How did omegas wear such a thing?

“Quit fidgeting,” Kacchan snapped.

“You’ve ruined your life,” Izuku said, finally. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”

Kacchan didn’t even flinch. Eyes forward, a hand on the reigns of the mule, and jaw stiff with stubbornness, he said,

“I don’t give a fuck about tradition. All that bonding crap – it’s got nothing to do with me. I want to be strong. I want to prove myself as a man. That’s what you wanted too, isn’t it?”

It was such a shock to see that in some way, Kacchan had understood his heart. And somehow, he was willing to accept it.

“I want to be chief one day,” Izuku declared. Kacchan laughed at him.

“Yeah, well. Get in line.”

In some way or another, the marriage was a favor to both of them. It was a sign of freedom to leave this place and carve their own path outside of the world’s expectations of them. But in another way, it was a damnation. And they both knew it.

 

❆❆❆

 

Todoroki Enji is a ruthless chief, but not a cruel one. While weary of outsiders, his village is welcoming to those willing to trade in peace – and after a handful of years, Izuku has managed to befriend its inhabitants. As long as Katsuki is willing to serve at the chief’s call, they are welcome to raise livestock outside the marked territory. They’re more open-minded than their home village, and Izuku has begun to feel comfortable here.

He doesn’t frequently disobey his partner like this, but another storm is coming. If Izuku’s heat hits by the end of the week, they’ll burn through food at twice the rate. They need supplies, and Kacchan knows it. He’s just too darn stubborn –

“Izuku!”

He clutches his bag to his chest at the call of an alpha. Then, he relaxes when he recognizes the scent. It’s Eijirou; tall, long-haired and still shirtless in this cold. Beside him is the favored son of the chief. Both alphas, but both friends.

“Good afternoon!” Izuku greets.

Eijirou smiles back at him.

“Hey man. Bakugou said you weren’t going to be around for a few weeks. Is everything okay?”

Izuku flinches. Curse him.

“Uh, well, yes. It’s just, the storm –”

“Do you need aid?” Shouto interrupts. “I can talk to my father.”

The chief’s son is a tall and handsome man. While shy at first, he and his snowcat are strong assets to the village, no doubt through his father’s training. Izuku finds it baffling that he’s still unbonded.

“No! No no, I just came to trade before we got snowed in. We’re okay.”

The wind shifts to his disadvantage, and both Alpha’s freeze in place. The tents blow in the breeze, and a child chases a kite through the market.

Politely, Shouto pushes his scarf closer to his mouth.

“Oh Izuku…you’re…it’s winter. How is this possible?”

“You shouldn’t be out here man,” Eijirou finishes. Eyes wide, he glances around nervously. “If Bakugou catches us anywhere near you he’ll skin us both.”

Izuku rolls his eyes and tightens the bandage around his throat (which is doing very little, apparently).

“It’s fine. He’s off with the chief.”

Shouto’s jaw clenches, and Izuku starts to feel slightly bad as a sweat builds on them both. Still, their hands stay tucked under their armpits respectfully. They fear death by Kacchan more than hormones.

“I don’t get why he doesn’t just bite you and be done with this,” Shouto grumbles. “You’re legally married, for fucks sake.”

“Man’s got the self-control of a beast,” Eijirou adds, then stammers. “N-No offense!”

Izuku huffs, jutting up his chin to look them in the eye. He starts to stroll through the market again, and they walk with him.

“I’ve told you why. Kacchan doesn’t want me like that. And it’s more of a contract than a marriage.”

“Dude, you’re a male omega. The guy’s sitting on gold and spending none of it.” Eijirou pauses. “Yunno’, respectfully.”

Izuku waves him off.

“Oh stop it. He’s known me too long.”

“But you’re miserable,” Shouto states. It stops Izuku right in his path, his gloves squeaking as he squeezes a fist around his satchel. Shouto continues softer, “Sorry. But it clings to your scent.”  

The truth brings up too many feelings in Izuku’s heart that are buried deep, deep down beneath piles of insecurity and doubt. Snow falls to his lashes, and he blinks it away.

“I’m not. I mean, come on, don’t look at me like that – I promise it’s fine. Kacchan has given me…a lot. I owe him more than you know.”

“Everything except a knot,” Eijirou says, then slaps a hand over his mouth. “Sorry!!!”

Izuku flushes hot, and then smacks him with his bag. Eijirou apologizes profusely, jumping away by the heel. Shouto sighs, lifting a hand to block Eijirou from view. They’re both so tall, sharp-fanged and reeking of alpha. It’s not the worst scent, but it’s not as attractive as Kacchan’s (shh).

“Please be careful walking home. Endeavor is chasing off a pack of alphas that were spotted down by the lake.”

“He’ll be fine,” Eijirou says, offering damage control to Izuku’s dismissive look. “God knows he’s landed us on our ass enough times.”

Izuku nods.

“I’ll be careful.”

They escort him through the rest of the market, then wave goodbye at the edge of the archway. Izuku begins his walk back home with a bag full of preserved vegetables, incense sticks and an indulgent purchase of white rabbit fur. He can’t stop rubbing it on his face, as it soothes something primal in him.

Nest, he thinks, and then shakes his head of the thought. No, not yet. 

 

❆❆❆

 

“Here?” Izuku shielded his eyes from the low sun, and gazed across the miles of open hills, shadowed by the mountains behind them. The air is thin, and eagles circle the skies, looking for prey to pop out of their burrows. “But Kacchan, the elevation… we’ll be covered in snow by September. We can’t grow food.”

“As always, you’re thinking too small,” Katsuki huffed. He tossed a bedroll at him, and Izuku caught it in both hands. “Use your fucking brain. I know you convinced one of the elders to teach you to read.”

The grass was plentiful. A river was deep, and access to the forest made a good wind-break.

“Livestock,” Izuku realized.

“You’re good with animals,” Katsuki waved dismissively, as if he wasn’t a dog-lover himself. “You wanted the life of an alpha, I’ll give you the life of an alpha.”

In that moment, it felt like he had a future. He could look out on these empty hills and see himself becoming something more. A somebody.

“I can work,” Izuku said firmly. Kacchan tossed a coin-purse at him and said,

“Go buy a ram.”

And so he did.

 

❆❆❆

 

The sun sets early in winter, but Izuku knows the path by heart. The rising moon gives just enough light to lead his way through the snow, and he secretly prays to the gods that he will return home before Kacchan.

This part of the trail gets rocky. Izuku ducks under tree branches and watches his step on the decline. He spots an antelope track running north and resists the temptation to follow.

It’s chilly, but the oncoming heat keeps him warm. Ideally, he knows he shouldn’t be out in the cold, but it feels nice. It freezes along his eyelashes and burns at his cheeks. The snowfall has stopped, so every crunch beneath his feet echoes off the mountains.

No, his senses are not like an alpha’s. But Izuku knows when he is being followed.

He pulls the knife from his belt and spins on his heel – and in that instant, a figure leaps from behind the treeline and wrestles him for the knife.

Izuku bares his teeth and hisses. His back is slammed into a tree, and it shakes the snow off the leaves. A horrible odor filters to his senses – bitter and foul and alpha.

He is forced to drop the knife. The alpha is tall and foreboding, with a sharp smile and bloodshot eyes.

“Woah there, sweetheart. Just wanted to make sure you’re okay – poor little thing traveling all alone in this cold.”

Izuku clenches his jaw and gives a flat, straight look. He stands to his full height and tips his head to keep his neck out of reach.

“You are trespassing. If another alpha finds you here, they’ll kill you.”

“I think you should worry a little more about yourself,” says the alpha. His grin stretches, and he leans further in to catch his scent. “You’ve got my pack all worked up. Been tracking you for hours.”

Shit.

Alpha packs are dangerous. They take and they kill and they fuck anything they can get their grubby paws on.

Izuku tests the grip on his wrists, refusing to look the alpha in the eye and show any form of submission. He keeps his body language tight and uncomfortable.

“I’m married.”

The alpha dips his nose to his neck, fangs bared.

“Liar.”

Izuku wretches out of his grip and kicks at his knee, staggering the alpha enough to scurry out of his grasp and run. The alpha howls, and Izuku barely makes it over a fallen log before he’s tackled again.

He’s weakened like this. Izuku refuses to let it stop him. He bites into the alpha’s shoulder and draws blood, pulling out his claws to scratch at his throat and fight.

“Fuck!” The alpha grits. “Sharp lil fuckin’ – you’re coming with me whether you like it or not.”

A hand gets at his throat and pins him to the ground. It’s all instinct now. An alpha’s touch should soothe him; should make him hot and eager and happy – but this is not his alpha, and Izuku makes that perfectly clear.

He chirps out of his throat. Sharp, loud and in distress. First a bark, then a loud squeal of a whine. The alpha recoils instinctively, and that’s all the time he has. A force tackles the alpha off of Izuku and rolls them bodily down the hill, kicking the offender away and then pinning him back down with a snarl.

Undoubtedly, it is Kacchan. Izuku thumps his head back into the snow and groans through his nose.

Growling echoes through the forest. The alpha tries to establish dominance, but Katsuki is all natural reflex and trained strength. Limbs kick and wrestle through the snow, both taking on more primal forms; shaper claws, bigger teeth. Katsuki shows his gums in a snarl so mean, Izuku finds himself submitting his head out of instinct.

They’re having an entire conversation nonverbally. In the growls, the snarling and the flare of their scents.

“Fuck off or you’re dead,” Katsuki hisses. The alpha fights against him, and Kacchan pins him back to the ground with a loud whack.

“Didn’t know he was yours,” the alpha grits. “You’re a dumbass for letting your bitch walk around like that.”

Izuku huffs a defensive noise, and Kacchan does not look at him. He breaks the man’s arm, and his howl scares the squirrels out of the trees.

“He is mine,” Katsuki says, toneless as a dead bird. Then, he grips him by the hair, and Izuku knows what’s coming next. He doesn’t look away as Katsuki slams the offending alpha’s head into the icy rocks, and knocks him out cold. “Dumbass.”

The following silence is colder than the snow they’re sitting in. Kacchan’s chin holds blood, as does Izuku’s. He wipes his own against his shoulder and struggles to breathe.

Even through the adrenaline, the sight of Kacchan soothes him all at once. It’s primal, and illogically out of his control, but still very real. Heart beating, he watches as Kacchan crosses towards him with a stone face and red eyes full of fury. The tension is so thick, it weighs down the air.

“Kacchan, I…” Izuku starts, but stops as Katsuki shrugs off his coat and dumps it crudely over Izuku’s shoulders. His scent becomes everywhere; musky and deep up his nose, hefty and comforting like a cloak. It covers up his own scent, and keeps him warm.

Katsuki is furious. He’s still breathing heavy from the fight. Blood has stained his shirt, but it’s not his. He bends down, picks up Izuku’s knife, and shoves it in his sheath for him.

“Shut up. I don’t wanna’ fucking hear it.”

“But –”

“I said shut up.”

Katsuki tugs off his glove with his teeth, then puts his fingers against his lip to whistle two low tones. It’s the call of two wolves, and they come running around the bend at full speed. Kacchan grunts a command in their language, sending one off towards the village, and another to Izuku’s side. Izuku understands most of what he says. 

You, get the chief. You, with me.

Without any verbal instruction, Katsuki picks up Izuku by the waist and shoves him roughly onto the giant wolf. It’s the pack leader, Ayna; raised by Kacchan’s hand, wise in years and gray in color, she shifts her weight to prevent Izuku from falling off the other side. Chastised (and a little embarrassed), Izuku pets into her fur and says nothing as Katsuki leads them home. Behind them, the alpha lays prone in the cold, subject to the will of nature, and the village chief.

As Kacchan’s wide shadow ventures through the break in the trees, Izuku tucks his nose into the collar of his cloak and breathes in.

His mind says he is so going to kill you. But his omega purrs happily and thinks – protector, safe, mate. Of which, none is true.

 

❆❆❆

 

“Take this,” he said.

Izuku stared at the weapon in surprise. It was a hunting knife with a finely sculpted handle carved from the rack of a roe deer. The knife was smooth to the touch, finely sanded and sharp as a wit.

“Did you make this?”

Kacchan didn’t answer him, instead forcing the handle of the knife into his palm, and wrapping his gloved fingers around it. “Always carry one with you. Snow leopards are all over the goddamn place – or worse. We don’t know this land. Last thing I need is to run around savin’ your ass all day.”

“I know how to fight,” Izuku argued. “I don’t need your coddling.”

“Then show me,” Kacchan snapped, and then they were wrestling in the open field, the hunting knife carefully stuck into an old tree stump, forgotten.

 

❆❆❆

 

 

One foot in the hut, and Izuku lets out a breath and says, “Okay, let me have it.”

Katsuki doesn’t even hesitate.

“You are a goddamn idiot.”

“Uh huh.”

“How many fucking times are we going to do this?” Katsuki seals the entryway haphazardly, and some of the cold seeps in. “Sneaking out behind my back? Lying to my face? Seriously. How old are we?”

Izuku holds his ground, barking back.

“You know we needed supplies! If you would just trust me –”

“No,” Katsuki snaps, raising the hair on his arms in a single growl. “Don’t you dare lecture me on trust. I took on the chief’s hunt in exchange for food, you stupid Deku.”

Izuku opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. Wilting, he looks down to the ground and goes, “Oh.”

Kacchan rubs between his eyes and sighs deeply.

“Two weeks. I asked you to stay put for two weeks, and you can’t even do that.”

Izuku feels his eyes start to burn.

“This isn’t easy , Kacchan! –”

“You think this is fun for me?!” Katsuki takes a step forwards, and Izuku recoils back. “You think I’m out there fuckin’ picking flowers? Sorry to break it to you, but I don’t enjoy breathing in all your stupid little pheromones. I’m tryina’ keep my cool, and you have the nerve to act like I don’t know what I’m doing. Five fuckin’ years, Deku. This is hell, and you ain’t got a goddamn clue –”

Katsuki stops in his tracks when Izuku trips over himself, falls to his butt, and then looks up in a panic.

Kacchan yells all the time. Silly, stupid arguments; over breakfast and lunch and the ‘shitty fuckin’ weather’ – but many years have passed since it’s been like this. Izuku on the ground, Kacchan with his fist clenched tight, and his teeth barred in anger. Izuku shrinks submissively, and Katsuki stares in horror.

A shocked look reflects on Katsuki’s face, before it twists to internal disgust. Izuku feels himself cry, and to his own embarrassment, Kacchan turns away.

“Whatever. Go get eaten, see if I care.”

He leaves the hut without a coat, and Izuku crouches by the fire and silently wipes the tears from his eyes.

 

❆❆❆

 

“What are you doing?”

Izuku sighed, lifting his hand and then letting it flop back to his side in defeat.

“I don’t know. Hunting? I guess?”

Spring had come, and the birds were flying low in search of food. When he saw a flock of ducks passing through that morning, Kacchan’s bow was too much of a temptation. It’s not like he can throw a knife THAT far.

“You’re not even holding it right,” Katsuki huffed. “Who taught you to use a bow?”

“Nobody,” Izuku snapped back, and the annoyed look on Kacchan’s face turned neutral.

“Well fuck. You can start by lifting your elbow.”

He had only moved his hand barely above his shoulder, but Izuku still flinched as if burned. They stared at each other with twin expressions of surprise. Izuku in embarrassment, and Kacchan with that familiar annoyance again.

“Sorry…” Izuku started, but didn’t know what he was apologizing for. Katsuki rubbed a hand through the wild spikes of his hair and sighed.

“Look. I’m not gonna’ hurt you, okay? I said I’d take care of us. You think I’m a liar?”

Izuku pressed his lips together, and then said,

“No.”

“Good. Don’t fuckin’ smile at me – and raise your stupid elbow.”

With his next release of the arrow, he did not reach the duck. But his arrow soared higher than before, so it was a step in the right direction for both of them.

 

 

❆❆❆

 

Izuku spends the night tending to the fire and feeling sick to his stomach. He can’t sleep. His hands are too restless, and he fidgets with the betrothal collar to resist picking at his bottom lip.

They’re not like this. Not anymore. In all their years out here, they had clawed their way into the innerworkings of a partnership. They built this home on glass rocks, wobbly and unsteady, yet full of trust and hard work.

But Izuku’s heat ruins everything they’ve worked for and he hates it.  Izuku feels like they’re fourteen again, fighting in the fields, screaming words they don’t mean and walking home with bruises that ache beneath his skin.

Every year they suffer through the tension and the hormones and the voices that scream against the walls of his skull words so foul – just this overwhelming rage of how badly he wants Kacchan to have him. To kiss him and hold him and fuck him until his brain squeezes into mush through his ears.

Except, maybe…not just during his heat. Maybe in the spring, and the summer, and the winters too, when the days are short and the nights are cold and his bedroll has just enough room for someone else, maybe.

If he could drown his love in the sea, he would. Izuku’s heart feels like it’s splitting in two, but despite this, he knows what must be done.

Even in his explosive nature, Kacchan can be so kind. His gentle hand with the wolves, his aggressive affection to the village children, and the loud, boisterous way he brags about getting stronger (about how Izuku is stronger too, like he’s proud of him).

They are more than this. And it makes him think twice about drowning that love. Makes him pull it back to shore, and tuck it back into his heart.

When the wind starts to blow, Izuku catches the scent of a second fire. So after a long, good cry, Izuku gathers up his coat, slings an extra shawl over his shoulder and trudges back into the darkness. Disobedient to the end, he might as well see it through.

A fire has been pitched not too far from the hut. It’s their second fire pit that they built up to be dry and warm for the night watch.

He knows Kacchan can hear him approaching. If anything, he can definitely smell him.

Katsuki’s shoulders are silhouetted by the fire, broad and hunched over as he whittles a piece of wood in his hands. One of the wolves is sleeping by the fire, and her ear twitches as Izuku approaches. He slowly circles around Katsuki’s peripheral and sits on the dry log furthest from the smoke trail.

Kacchan looks to him, but says nothing. Izuku wrings the extra shawl in his fingers, and looks up through his lashes. The wind howls ominously through the mountain trees.

“I’m sorry, Kacchan.”

Their gaze meets. Katsuki studies him with a blank expression, and then looks back to his knife as he scrapes the wood into a new shape.

“Hm.”

Izuku sighs. He stretches his feet closer to the fire, and feels the heat through the sole of his boots. Stars drop all the way to the horizon, and it makes the open hills feel endless.

“I trust you. You know. More than anyone in the world.”

Another scrape of the wood. Kacchan leans over his knees, and gravity hangs his hair in his eyes.

“Got a funny way of showing it.”

“I…” Izuku debates honesty. A star flies across the horizon as a sign of good luck. Izuku takes his chances. “I hate this. I hate sitting around and being miserable while you have to work twice as hard to take care of us. Sleeping out in the snow and hunting for food and all th-this, b-because of me.” Izuku curses his stammer, but his eyes start to burn. He tugs at the ends of his hair, stretching the curls. “I can’t be useless. If I’m not an alpha, then I have to be something – I have to prove myself…I have to…”

Kacchan sets aside his pocket knife and pats his own thigh. And with a single sentence, a surge of warmth curls all the way down his spine.

“Come here.”

Izuku scrambles over. The slab beneath his feet is dry, so Izuku comes to sit between his knees for warmth. A hand immediately cups around his forehead to push aside his bangs, and the skin-to-skin makes the world stop spinning. Izuku closes his eyes and leans into it immediately.

“You are such an idiot,” Katsuki sighs. Izuku goes mmm, and leans his head against his knee. “I damn well know what you are. I’m not gonna’ kick you out ‘cause you’re down for a few weeks. We’ve done this enough fucking times – god, you must really think I’m an asshole.”

Izuku pinches his fingers as if to say a little bit, and the hand in his hair squeezes tight.

“Kidding,” Izuku smiles. His expression drops, and he gets lost in the heat of the fire. “I just feel bad. I know this is awful for you.”

Kacchan clears his throat. He pets back through the back of his skull and scrubs with his nails, and Izuku finds himself purring subconsciously. When he speaks again, Kacchan’s voice sounds raspy.

“I know you can’t control it. I shouldn’t have yelled.”

Apologies are rare and few inbetween with Kacchan. Izuku can’t resist teasing.

“But you yell all the time.”

“Fuck off, you know what I mean.”

Izuku gets the feeling that what they’re doing is not sustainable. This can’t continue forever, but Izuku refuses to think about it. Tingles run all the way down his back, and his chest compresses as his diaphragm purrs.

“Thank you,” whispers Izuku. “For earlier.”

Katsuki scrubs along his scalp. He pets behind his ears, and barely touches the edge of the collar. Izuku’s heart jerks.

“You still find new ways to scare the shit out of me,” Kacchan grumbles. He hesitates when Izuku’s purring gets loud. They should probably stop, but it’s the most relaxed Izuku has been in weeks. “You good?”

“Sorry,” he mutters. He’s still purring from his chest because it won’t stop.

“Does this help?”

“Yeah.”

“Then it’s fine.”

Izuku chews on the corner of his mouth, and watches the fire sway in the wind.

“Even if I stink?”

Katsuki twirls one of his curls around his finger, and then lets it spring back into place. The casual intimacy of it has Izuku losing his goddamn mind.

“Not like that’s anything new,” Kacchan mutters, and Izuku has to clench his jaw tight. His heart aches like no other pain he’s ever had.

I love him, he thinks, in perfect sync with the primal side of his brain. Even if he doesn’t love me.

Not mine. He has to remind himself over and over, until it’s carved into his skin with blood. Not mine.

“If you want to go outside…tell me. I might consider it. Maybe, okay? Big fuckin’ maybe.”

Izuku nods, “Okay.”

“And don’t recoil from me ever again,” Kacchan snaps, but his tone feels somewhat unsteady. His next words sound like an afterthought. Like they weren’t meant to be said. “I won’t hurt you.”

Izuku pretends not to hear it. Instead he nods, and gives Katsuki the shawl to wrap around them both.

The wind stops.

 

❆❆❆

 

It gets worse as the days go on. His agitation feeds itself into the compulsive desire to reorganize everything in the hut; every storage chest, every pillow, every shirt sock and shoe. Kacchan moves one of his blankets in an attempt to find an old glove, and Izuku hisses at him so hard, he thinks he might have actually scared him.

“Sorry,” Izuku blurts, standing back up with an embarrassing amount of clarity. “Sorry, that’s –”

“Nope,” Katsuki cuts off, setting the blanket carefully back where it was. “I got it.”

And even if it’s a small gesture, it makes his omega so happy he could cry.

The irrational side of his brain sobs, I’m making it for you. Please like it, please like it. For us. For us.

Kacchan leaves to climb down into their food cellar and prepare a dinner, and Izuku tears apart the nest and begins again. This one will be perfect. This one for sure.

 

❆❆❆

 

The wolves aren’t technically allowed in the hut, but when Kacchan leaves to do the chores, Izuku sneaks the youngest inside and uses her as a substitute pillow. The wolves wear handmade armor woven from teeth, string and leather plates, much like what Kacchan wears under his coat. Izuku misses sitting with his sheep to weave the armor, but he knows he will really get in trouble if he sneaks a giant ram into the hut, so a wolf will do.

She’s a good girl. Still massive in size, but playful and sweet. When Kacchan returns, Izuku is rubbing his face into her side and wiggling his way into the bulk of her fluff. Katsuki pauses full stop in the doorway, one hand up against the wood post, the other on his axe. With a flat expression and an exasperated tone, he says,

“Deku. You can’t nest the wolf.”

“I can try,” he whines, and the wolf sighs a sharp breath that is most likely a laugh.

Kacchan clicks his tongue, and the wolf obediently crawls out of the hut. Izuku gives him a look as if he murdered his first born, and Katsuki rolls his eyes, shucking off his coat and tossing it in his direction.

“Here.”

Izuku presses his nose to it and inhales. He doesn’t see the way Katsuki’s ears go pink, or how his attention fixates on the fireplace.

“You become such a freak when you’re in heat.”

Izuku’s rational mind glares angrily, but his omegan side leaves him clutching to the coat and rubbing it all over his cheek so the scent will catch.

“But you said I’m always a freak.”

“You are. Your freakiness just multiplies like fuckin’ rabbits.”

Izuku tucks the coat back into his nest. He runs his fingers against the fur grain, and hums.

“I guess that would be the point of all this.”

“Ugh,” Katsuki groans. He goes to crawl into his bedroll on the other side of the hut, but it’s so far away, the distance feels painful. “No more dogs in the house,” he points, and then turns his back. Izuku feels sad for too many reasons. The scent of the jacket does little to soothe it.

His omega cries, why not good enough?

Izuku squeezes the jacket to the crook of his neck and thinks back, I don’t know.

He falls asleep to the steady, methodical rhythm of Kacchan’s breathing.

 

❆❆❆

 

In their first year of homesteading, Izuku’s heat came in the spring like it usually did. Katsuki spent the entire week outside of the hut, and Izuku couldn’t understand why his heart hurt so badly.

But when the week was over, and Izuku was well enough to eat, he noticed that Kacchan had cooked for him. His blankets were cleaned, and (most of) his skin was washed of the sweat that made him so miserable. And as Izuku watched him poke to the fire, he saw that his arms were covered in bite marks. Scratches, bruises, and swipes of a sword. He looked battle worn and exhausted. But he had defended their home with his life, and won.

Izuku was heartbroken.

“Kacchan,” he whispered. The pity was an insult, and Katsuki made that known through the snarl of his teeth.

“Sit the fuck down and eat.”

Unbonded heats were a task that required the protection of the entire village. Usually revolving shifts by betas, and bonded warriors that patrolled the territory. Izuku hadn’t thought much of it at the time – but he realized then what had been done. Kacchan had performed the work of many. Just himself, and the yearling wolf at his side.

Anya had lost the tip of her ear. Izuku cooed and praised her, but the words were not exclusive to just her. The pride in his alpha was overwhelming. And when he looked up, that feeling might not have been entirely exclusive, either.

 

❆❆❆

 

“Please?”

“I said fuckin’ maybe, not yes.”

“Just for a little while?”

Katsuki stews over the tea in his hands, and frowns. He tips his head slightly, and when a long pause follows, Izuku realizes he’s listening for something.

Izuku woke up with a pre-existing anxiety that turned his stomach. The hut is too warm, and his clothes feel itchy against his skin. He struggled to keep down breakfast, and all the sitting is making him feel weak and tired. So Izuku planted his heels, looked up from under his lashes, and pulled the ultimate move; a sharp whine from deep in his throat.

“Now that’s not playing fair,” Kacchan snaps. Unfortunately for him, it goes against instinct to ignore an omega in distress. Izuku puppy whines again.

Please? I don’t feel well.”

He knew he’d win if he waited long enough. Katsuki stands, pulling off the scarf from his neck and forcing it around Izuku.

“Fuck, stop. Just – wear this. And my coat.”

“But you –”

“Alpha, high body temperature, don’t worry about it. Come on, I gotta’ chore.”

Izuku knows Kacchan hates the wet snow more than the cold, but he is happy to revel in his scent, so he agrees. When they step outside, the sun is reflecting off the packed snow. Izuku shields his eyes as Katsuki starts to whistle for the wolves. They have food chilled down in the cellar, so Izuku gets the easy task of handing out veal while Katsuki works to shovel out the fresh snow from around their hut stilts.

“Roll over,” Izuku calls. “Shake. Lay down. Good boy!” He tosses the steak, and the wolf’s jaw snaps tight with a loud click of teeth.

“Stop teaching my dogs weird shit,” Kacchan calls. “They’re workers, not pets.”

A tail fwaps against the snow, and Izuku pets between two fluffy ears, each the size of his palm. These wolves protect their home night and day, quite similarly to a man he knows very well. Izuku whispers under his breath.

“Still a good boy.”

A fox goes running across the field, and the wolves become distracted. Izuku sits on a stump and watches the pack race along the fence line. He feels a little dizzy, but blames the sun.

Kacchan chores for a while. He’s wearing a simple wool shirt, with loose black trousers tucked into his snow boots, and even from afar he’s indisputably alpha. He works to perfection; chopping every splinter, filling every trough, sweeping every corner of their land for signs of any unwelcome visitor, and while it might seem like overkill to most, Izuku finds it endearing. He’s loud, he’s vulgar, he’s mean. But as he steps around the rabbit burrow snuggled with kits, Izuku wishes he could marry Kacchan all over again. Oh to be his.

The lead ram is throwing a fit at the edge of the fence. Despite his dizziness, he wanders over (under Kacchan’s careful supervision) to lean up against the fence and pet his ram around the horns. The other sheep aren’t so taken with humans, but his suffolk ram craves attention more than it craves food, which is honestly relatable.

The ram is twice his size. Izuku has to stand on the low post just to reach him. He’s always so careful of his horns, and so gentle with the lady sheep in his herd.

“You’re a good boy too,” Izuku says.

He can feel Kacchan watching him. As the sun rises higher, he feels hotter. There’s sweat down his back, and his fingers slip on the frosty wood post.

Izuku sways. His ram goes from silent contentment to complete alarm. He bleats loudly, and Izuku tries to calm him.

“Woah, shh. It’s okay…”

Oh god, it’s really hot. It’s supposed to be winter, isn’t it?

His ram starts to buck. He throws his head around, catching the tip of his horns on the fence. Izuku jumps back, but loses all sense of balance.

“You’re done,” Katsuki grunts, catching him by the arm. How did he get here so quickly? “Hey, stop wiggling – what are you doing?”

“It’s hot,” Izuku grumbles. Katsuki catches his arms and forces his coat back on. Then he spins him around and yanks off his own glove with his teeth. A cool hand presses across his forehead, and Izuku closes his eyes to the feeling of broken calluses and long fingers.

“Fuck, you’re warm. But you’re not in full heat…”

Izuku squirms, still trying to shed his jacket.

“And how would you know? M-Mister, I know – I know everything.

“I’d smell it, dipshit. Put your arms up.”

“No.”

“Fine.” Katsuki grabs him by the waist and slings him over his shoulder, and Izuku groans at the new wave of dizziness. His ram begins to butt against the fence, and Kacchan barks at him. “Knock it off! I got him, damn – if you break that fence I’ll break your face.”

“Empty threat.”

“Shut up.”

His ram huffs unhappily. Izuku waves to him from over Katsuki’s shoulder, then slumps again. The world feels gray around the edges. His eyes start to roll shut, and he passes out before he ever sees his nest.

 

 

❆❆❆

 

 

“Stop,” Izuku groans, batting his hands around his face. “That’s cold.”

“First you’re hot, then you’re cold,” Katsuki grumbles, rewrapping the ice. “Story of my fucking life.”

“Your bedside manners are terrible.”

“Idiots with fevers don’t get an opinion. Lay back down.”

Izuku closes his eyes and suffers. He’s never gotten sick before his heat. I mean, sure there’s the nausea and the discomfort and the agitation, but his body feels like hell. His omega is writhing with unease, and he knows that it unsettles Kacchan in return. He smells upset, and it permeates the air.

“Couldn’t be the food…” Izuku mumbles. “Wore my jacket. Feet didn’t get wet. Maybe I caught something in the village…”

He coughs. Kacchan presses his fingers back to his forehead, and the confliction of feelings makes his skull throb. Satisfaction, disappointment. Hope and heartbreak. Izuku makes a pained sound, and Kacchan’s hand slips to his cheek in concern (his hands are so big).

“What? What is it?”

“Sorry. Hurts.”

The light of the fire is making his eyes ache. Izuku shuts them, and tries to focus on breathing. He’s been sick before, but it’s as if all the energy in his body has bled from him. Izuku must’ve slipped another subconscious sound, because Kacchan reacts to it. A low, low rumble is given in response, and Izuku’s eyes fly open when he realizes Kacchan is crooning.

He’s never heard it before. He’s never even heard him purr. But as Izuku radiates anguish at an alarming rate, Kacchan’s alpha responds by nature, vibrating to keep him calm. It works like magic. Peace tingles all the way to his toes. For one short moment, his body is relieved of all pain.

Izuku gasps wetly, and Kacchan freezes. Eyes wide, the crooning stops as fast as it began, and his hand jerks away. Katsuki clears his throat.

“Fuck. I’m gonna’ – there’s gotta’ be something else I can give you.”

Katsuki stands, and the fever rushes back. Izuku groans, rolling his face into a pillow and biting it.

“We tried the flu medicine already. I don’t, I don’t know…” Izuku flushes. He looks away as he says it. “This might be heat related.”

Kacchan pauses across the hut, one hand in the medicine chest, the other gripped along the edge. He whips his head around and barks,

“But you’ve never – ”

“I know. We might need a healer.”

Katsuki starts to growl. It vibrates low, and Izuku has to shake his head from the shiver of nerves.

“No. No alpha comes here.”

Annoyed, Izuku starts to grumble why does it MATTER – but common sense reminds him that Kacchan is not entirely in control of his alpha right now. This is his home. He will protect it with his last breath.

Izuku forces himself to think. He squeezes his fingers into his temples and tries to summon back that tingly feeling through sheer will. Alas, nothing. Kacchan is across the room.

“Ochaco might be able to help.”

“She lives too far. It would be days in this snow.”

Right. The storm is blowing in. Izuku pushes the ice against his forehead and winces.

“Maybe Hawks? He’s an omega. Bonded.”

Katsuki sputters.

“The shapeshifter?”

“He’s a right hand to the chief,” Izuku snaps back. “And a healer.”

Kacchan chews through the idea. He rubs at the stubble on his cheek with a scowl, and perches on the edge of the open trunk. Izuku squirms through the discomfort of the fever, and that’s what breaks him. Kacchan grumps.

“Fine. I’ll send a wolf. But I’m not leaving.”

 

❆❆❆

 

When Hawks unfurls himself into a man, shakes off the snow from his wings and steps into their hut, the first thing he says is, “You. Leave.”

Katsuki sputters, pausing mid-pace from his side of the hut.

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah you. No alphas allowed.” Hawks tugs down his hood and gives a soft, open smile to Izuku’s prone form. “Hi sweetheart. Don’t you just look awful.”

Izuku gives a weak wave in greeting.

“Hi Hawks.”

Katsuki scowls to show his teeth. He digs in his heels and stands between Hawks and Izuku protectively. He is ironically reminiscent of a cat with its hair raised.

“I don’t care who you think you are, I’m not –”

Hawks dumps a bag to the floor and shakes out his wings again. It distorts the fire and blows the hat off Kacchan’s head. He catches it with an angry yank.

“Yeah yeah, the tough guy act is real cute. Go do alpha shit, like I dunno’, piss on a tree or something, I don’t care.” 

Katsuki starts to growl, and Izuku sits up painfully, coughing to catch his breath.

“Kacchan, please just listen to him.”

He does not look happy about this. Katsuki shoves his hat back on and turns it the right way around – which means, Izuku has won.

“I don’t like you.”

“Me and everyone else. Bye bye.”

Kacchan stomps his way out the door, and Izuku watches him until the flap slides shut. A whistle echoes for the wolves. Hawks opens his bag and kneels next to him, tucking his wings in tight.

“Hey baby. I got your hubby’s letter – terrible handwriting by the way.”

“I know.”

“Wanna’ tell me what’s going on?”

Izuku explains his symptoms the best he can. Hawks listens intently as he nods along. The scent of a bonded omega is relaxing and sweet, and it helps to calm his nerves. Izuku had never met such a wild and outspoken omega before Hawks, and he took to him easily on the day he flew into the village and seized up residence in a tree somewhere. He’s a handsome man – more alpha looking in bone structure, but omegan in scent. His red wings never disappear, and sometimes, Izuku is jealous of them.

Hawks strokes against his fuzzy chin and nods.

“Hmm, I see. Mind if I touch you?”

“Y-yeah, it’s fine.”

Hawks begins his assessment. He presses his fingers to Izuku’s forehead, then his jaw, and the curve of his throat. He unclips his collar to feel against his scent gland, and then nods to himself, fumbling for something in his bag.

“Can you drink?”

“Mhmm. Is it a flu?”

“Nope. You are quite the special peanut.”

“Thanks?” Izuku tips his head, then coughs again. “It’s my heat, isn’t it.”

“Yep. Your omega is not a happy camper.”

“Yeah…I know.”

Hawks begins to brew something in the fire. He pours two different substances in a cup, then adds an herb from a vial and lets it boil.

“It’s not good to ignore this kinda’ stuff. Have you heat-fevered before?”

Izuku shifts uncomfortably.

“Um…no. Not like this. But it…it feels like every year, the weeks leading up to my heat get worse.”

“Well, no duh,” Hawks deadpans.

Izuku blinks owlishly and squeaks, “Excuse me?”

Hawks turns to him with a flat look. He has slitted bird eyes, and they are filled with judgment.

“Seriously. Little dude, look around you. You’re surrounded by the scent of an alpha you’re married to, but not bonded with – which, still baffles my fucking mind – but you are wearing his clothes, literally eating out of the palm of his hand, and you think you can just ride out your heat A-Okay? You are successfully torturing yourself.”

Izuku’s mouth falls open. He snaps his jaw shut, and rakes his hand into the root of his sweaty hair.

“I…you mean…this is because we’re not bonded?”

Hawks stirs a stick around in his broth and replies,

“Yes. I honestly have no idea how either of you made it this far.”

“But…but we’re not like that. Kacchan doesn’t want a mate. He…doesn’t want any of this.”

“But you do,” Hawks says. Izuku presses his lips together, and Hawks rolls his eyes. “That’s why you’re in this mess. You need to let him go.”

Izuku claws his hands into the blankets and squeezes. Jaw set, he looks Hawks in the eye with all the determination in his sick, overheated body.

“I can’t do that.”

“Then you will die.” Hawks turns away, and Izuku feels his heart fall to his feet. “I’m sorry. There’s not a nicer way to say it. This situation you’re in isn’t normal, I can’t promise you’ll survive the next fever.”

Mortified, Izuku sits in silence. He doesn’t know what Kacchan would do with this information.

No. He does know.

 

He would leave.

 

The idea of a life without Kacchan makes him panic. His breathing quickens, and his heart races through his ears.

“You can’t tell him,” Izuku blurts. Hawks raises a bushy eyebrow, and pulls the cup off the fire.

“He has a right to know.”

“I…I just need time. Please, please don’t tell him.”

Hawks sighs. He pours the broth into a bowl, and uses a cloth to hand it to him.

“Alright, alright. Drink this – it should break your fever by tonight. But be careful, it’ll kickstart your heat almost immediately. Your chakras are all outta’ whack.”

“Okay. Thank you.” Izuku tries to swallow, but there’s a lump in his throat. He wipes at his eyes before drinking the rest, and Hawks watches with a sad expression.

“I was like you guys, once. I wanted to be free. To fly wherever I wanted without the need for anyone else.” He sets a friendly hand at the top of his head, and Izuku closes his eyes to it. “But nature didn’t make us that way. The fact that he tried to give you that freedom…it’s worth something.”

“Don’t,” Izuku says softly. “I can’t hope anymore.”

Hawks tips his head, seeking permission, and Izuku nods. Hawks scents the side of his cheek against his own, and Izuku rubs back. It’s sweetly platonic, and it reminds Izuku of the way his mom would do it (and that chokes him up more).

“You’re a smart kid. You’ll be okay.”

“I’m twenty-three. And you’re not that much older than me.”

Hawks pats the top of his head and stands.

“At least I’m old enough to avoid fever-induced sexual repression.”

“Please don’t say it like that.”

 

❆❆❆

 

When Kacchan returns, Izuku is feeling better already. He’s sitting up and re-fluffing the nest, now changed out of his clothes and feeling warm again.

Katsuki looks between them both, lost and out of place. Snow is still sticking to his hat, and his cheeks are red, like he’s been running laps.

“Did you fix him?”

Hawks rolls his eyes and tucks his bag under his arm.

“I administered medicine that will break the fever. Keep an eye on him. That storm is coming, so try to keep the cold out.” Hawks turns and gives Izuku a wink, which does little to stave off the oncoming panic attack. “You’ve got a strong one. I’d bite him if I were you.”

“Hawks!”

“Get out,” Katsuki points. Hawks waves happily, then unfurls his wings and takes off into the sky with one large flap. It blows snow into the hut, and Katsuki kicks it back out grumpily. “Fuckin’ birds. Stunk up the whole place, ugly bastard.”

Izuku can’t look him in the eye. Thankfully, Kacchan doesn’t try.

“Feel better?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Don’t pull that shit again.”

Izuku watches him fuss over the fire, and thinks with a heavy heart – I will try.

 

❆❆❆

 

While it was recurrent for alphas to come wandering through the steppes hunting for a mate, it wasn’t uncommon that omegas made their attempts either. They weren’t so bold to come snooping around their home, but when Izuku and Katsuki rode for the village, it was obvious that Kacchan was still somewhat of a commodity, even as a married man.

Betas are more taken to the written marriage on parchment. But to omegas, scent is everything. Kacchan would walk through the village with an ugly scowl on his face, smelling like manure and stomping through the path without an ounce of manners, and Izuku would still have to bare his teeth at the passing omegas that had become too brave for their britches. Always behind Kacchan’s back. Always silent as a mouse.

Izuku never forgot his collar. Sometimes, he wished he could put Kacchan in one too.

Maybe wishes aren’t meant to come true.

 

❆❆❆

 

 

The storm rages that night.

It shakes the walls of their hut, and adds a chilly frost to the air that seeps inside the cracks. Kacchan wakes periodically to tend to the fire, and Izuku stirs each time, peeking open an eye just to watch him hunch over and poke at the ashes with a stick. The light makes his face look sharper. His red eyes appear almost orange, and the open side of his throat glows so smooth and soft. Izuku closes his eyes before Kacchan sees him. But in his mind, he can still picture his face perfectly.

Izuku gets a few good hours of sleep before he’s awoken by his heat. It must’ve woken Kacchan first, because he’s already bundling up and wrapping his nose in a scarf.

This is the worst part. His body is sticky and warm, pulsing with a thick rush of want that manifests itself in the form of his longtime friend. And here he is, walking away.

“Kacchan?” He whispers. He can never bring himself to beg.

“I gotta’ go,” grunts Katsuki. His pupils are so tiny, Izuku can only see red. His movements are forced and calculated, like every lace requires effort. “I’ll be outside.”

He doesn’t add if you need me because the offer is simply not on the table. Izuku nods sadly, and rubs his face into the side of his pillow, already overwhelmed by how sensitive his skin is.

Wind whips around the hut. Izuku waits for Kacchan to step out before digging his knuckles into his eyes, and rolling onto his back. He’s hard, but too heartbroken to even touch himself. It’s always like this. His omega wretches and thrashes and throws a tantrum until enough time passes to where it meets reluctant acceptance; he will be doing this alone.

The full heat won’t come without a knot – so it’s another year of lying in misery. Izuku accepted it long ago, but it feels like every year gets more intense. He can feel every thread on his body, all the ingrown hairs, and the lone stray pebble that found its way into his sock. He kicks those off first, then tosses his shirt and burros further into his nest, praying that the worst of it will pass quickly.

 

❆❆❆

 

It does not pass quickly.

 

In fact, time passes so slowly, Izuku finds himself clawing into his own palms just to stay sane. The arousal feels like poison, so potent and easy to the point of pain. Izuku ruts into his bedroll for the first few times just to take the edge off; but it always comes back worse. There’s no relief in an orgasm by himself. It’s an endless wheel, and it’s miserable.

He is horribly conscious. Izuku almost wishes he would lose his mind. Then maybe each hour wouldn’t be so slow. Then maybe, he could have Kacchan.

Thinking about him makes him hotter. Izuku bites into a pillow and squirms, stupid enough to wiggle a hand between his legs and grab his cock in a tight fist. It doesn’t help, but the sensitivity makes him cry out anyways.

It’s not normal. He knows his omega is unhappy, but this is the best he can do.

 

You have to let him go.

 

No. He won’t. He can’t.

 

As much as he tries not to, he still fantasies of big hands, sharp teeth and those shoulders hovering over him. Izuku shouldn’t, but he does.

He cries out in frustration when his cock won’t come. Izuku kicks off his pants and sticks his fingers in his mouth – but when he reaches back against his hole, he’s wet anyways. It won’t help, but he’s desperate.

He wants Kacchan to pin him down by the throat, like he did to that alpha in the woods. He wants his thumb at his pulse. His teeth against his shoulder, claws in his hair wrenching his head back to make him submit – to make him, even if Izuku would give it easily. He wants the backs of his thighs to bruise. He wants to be so irrevocably and indescribably his, that anyone could look at him and know. Not just by a collar, or a fancy title, or by word of mouth. But by the sheer scent of him.

Izuku comes dry. He’s still convulsing when he cries, but when the orgasm ends, he’s already wiped his face clean.

 

❆❆❆

 

The storm gets worse. Izuku can’t tell if it’s day or night, and that unnerves him. Every so often he hears a howl from the wolves, but that’s all the solace he gets.

When the wind snaps a tree out in the forest, Izuku starts to get nervous. He’s done the best he can to wipe clean and fix the nest, but he’s still sticky and overheated. The wind howls, and Izuku feels crushed by the guilt.

He manages to stumble his way to the entry. He peeks through the door to see if he can spot anything in the dark, but all he can see is the far away, hazy glow of a campfire. Kacchan has pitched a tent near the windbreak, but it’s nothing that could withstand this storm.

This is ridiculous.

Izuku makes up his mind. He grabs a coat, slips it over his naked body and yanks on his snow boots.

It’s cold, but Izuku is numb to it. He fights his way through the blizzard, willing his body to tread onwards one step at a time. The distant glow of the campfire becomes a beacon. He reaches the edge of Kacchan’s camp and finds that the tent has already blown over. It’s piling with snow, becoming wet and soggy. Izuku panics.

“Kacchan?” He shudders through a wave of heat first, and then the bite of the cold. “Kacchan!”

He uses his hands to dig through the snow. Disoriented, Izuku calls for the dogs – but the wind is too loud. Growing desperate, Izuku yips a panicked sound, raw and animalistic in tone. At the third chirp, a hand grabs his shoulder.

“Deku!”

He spins quickly, gasping.

“Kacchan!”

He’s covered in snow, but alive. Izuku grabs for his pink cheeks, but Katsuki flinches backwards. He looks down and up, eyes going big as he sees Izuku naked under his coat.

“What in fucks name are you doing?!”

“You need to come inside!” He shouts over the wind, trying once more to reach for him. Kacchan allows it this time, but at a distance. “Y-you’re going to freeze to death out here!”

Kacchan grabs him by the shoulders and squeezes tight. His expression is deathly serious, and borderline hysteric.

“Do you have any idea what you smell like?!”

“I don’t care!” Izuku grits his teeth and snarls, “Get in the house now.

Katsuki growls back. Izuku refuses to back down, even in the dead of his heat. Kacchan’s eyes flick down and up again, and loses. He quickly grabs the front of his coat and closes it for him.

“Go. I’m behind you.”

It’s a strenuous walk back to the hut. Izuku keeps looking over his shoulder to make sure Kacchan is still there. He is; all six feet of him, scowling like he’s marching to his deathbed. When they make it inside, Izuku takes in a deep breath of warm, humid air. In contrast, Kacchan coughs like he can’t breathe.

“God, Deku. You have lost your fucking mind.”

Izuku flings off the boots, already overstimulated again. He keeps on the coat for modesty’s sake, though it’s a moot concept at this point.

“You’re the one that would rather freeze your dick off than sit around and be horny for a few hours.”

Kacchan lifts up a hand and squats stiffly, leaning close to the fire to defrost.

“Shut up, literally shut up. Don’t breathe, don’t even think in my direction right now.”

Annoyed, Izuku crawls back into his nest.

“Sorry I disgust you so badly.”

“Deku, I’m not fuckin’ playing with you.”

Izuku rolls over. The extreme cold had kept him soft, but now with Kacchan breathing the same air, he’s back at full mast. He won’t touch himself with him here, but it does take all his focus to keep his hands clutched in the blankets.

Alpha, his brain purrs. Izuku pushes into his eyeballs and forcibly thinks no, no alpha.

The silence is loud. Izuku lays there and throbs. When enough time passes, he risks a glance over his shoulder, and sees Kacchan still by the fire, but now with his head in his hands. Izuku’s heart wretches. Silently, he presses a hand to his throat to try and contain the scent; but it’s not worth much. Not when he’s jacked off so many times, the whole hut smells like him.

You are successfully torturing yourself.

Izuku wants him so bad he could cry ( has cried, will cry, whatever). But it’s not worth a damn if Kacchan doesn’t want him too.

He tries to sleep knowing he can’t. Kacchan props himself up against the farthest hut wall, and closes his eyes. Izuku is unsure if he can sleep either, but at least he’s not freezing to death.

Time passes. Every second smells more and more like Kacchan. Izuku tries to keep his hands off, but the thick of his heat is making him shake. His cock is leaking, but he keeps it pinned between his stomach and the bedroll.

His breathing sounds wet and loud. He tries to muffle it. Undoubtedly, Kacchan can hear every sound he makes. Each rustle, inhale and shudder.

“Just do it.”

Izuku jerks. He looks across the hut and sees Kacchan with one knee bent, staring pointedly away.

“What?”

“You can’t ignore it all night.” Kacchan rubs across his mouth like the words are hard to say. “You’ll hurt yourself.”

Izuku sighs. He flops onto his back and pulls one of the fur blankets between his legs. It makes him tremble, and Katsuki’s eyes snap to him like a predator.

“I can’t. That’s not fair to you.”

Katsuki scrubs a hand through his hair. Sweat is now sliding down his throat, and in that moment, Izuku sees how much self-control he’s exhibiting.

“This sucks.”

Izuku stares at the rounded ceiling of their home. Wood beams, tight waterproof tarping, and a small amount of insulation. Smoke filters through the tiny chute at the top.

Maybe Izuku is simply past the point of exhaustion, but it becomes hard to hold his tongue. The air is already so tense, the best he can do is make it worse.

“Do you really hate the idea of bonding?” Izuku asks. “Or just bonding with me.

Silence. Katsuki’s voice comes out low.

“We’ve been over this.”

“No, we haven’t. If you’re unhappy –”

“Oh my god. Can you stop with that bullshit. When have I ever done something I didn’t want to do?”

Izuku considers this. He thumps his head back, and inhales to catch his breath.

“I don’t know. Sometimes I just…don’t understand you.”

“Good. Keep it that way.”

“Why did you choose me?” Izuku asks. He’s never asked before, and it rips a knife right through the tension. Kacchan looks at him with wide eyes, then narrows his gaze in anger.

“That’s a stupid fuckin’ question.”

“So be it, then.”

“You damn well know why. They were gonna’ sell you.”

“But you hated me.”

“You were my best friend,” Kacchan says back, then freezes in place, equally as shocked. Izuku’s mouth hangs open, and Kacchan whips his head away, clenching his jaw with regret. “Shit. You…you shoulda’ known. That’s why… fuck. I ain’t gonna’ touch you.”

Izuku can hear his own heart pounding. His mouth runs ahead of his brain.

“It would fix all this, wouldn’t it? If you bit me. No more trespassing alphas, no more sleeping in the cold –”

“You said you didn’t want an alpha!” Kacchan becomes hysterical in his fury, gripping onto his own arms so he’ll stay put. The way he’s wiggling his leg says everything Izuku needs to know. “ You fucking said. I swear to god if you lied to me I will kill you myself – that’s why we busted our asses out here, so we didn’t have to bond to some fuck we didn’t want.”

“I said I didn’t want any other alpha,” Izuku agrees.

“Then why are we even talking about this?!”  

“Because…I… I was already in love with one.”

A growl rips out of Kacchan’s throat before he can turn his head around. His nails dig into the wood beneath him, and his eyes narrow to a point. His tone is so hoarse and gritty, it feels like rough sand in the air.

“Who?”

“You.”

Everything stops. Izuku digs the heels of his hands into his eyes, and curses the way his body still throbs in a moment as tense as this. Kacchan’s tone is now void of all emotion.

“What?”

Izuku tries to ride out the next wave before speaking, so his voice doesn’t crack. He can hear Kacchan’s leg wiggling against the floor. He never fidgets. Everything he does is so precise and purposeful; it feels like they’re splitting at the seams.

“I always looked up to you,” Izuku admits. “First I wished I could be strong like you. Then I just…wanted to be at your side.” The words come out slow, but full of truth. “I wanted to be yours. I’m sorry.”

Kacchan’s claws scrape against the floor. Izuku shudders from it, and they both make a noise.

“You’re out of your mind.”

“Do not start with that, you know I’m here.” Izuku squirms uncomfortably, sucking in air through his mouth as the hut fills more and more with Kacchan’s scent. It’s arousal his brain supplies, very unhelpfully. “I didn’t want to, ah, to ruin what we had. But I g-guess we’re past that.”

His body is getting close despite lack of stimulation. Even here, rolling in mortification, it’s not enough to stop it. He squeezes his thighs shut, but he can still see himself throbbing through the blanket. He hopes Kacchan isn’t looking too closely, but he’s not that lucky. When he turns his head, Kacchan is staring right at him. Thighs spread, rock hard, and clawing for control.

“You are mine.”

Izuku wobbles up to an elbow. It’s difficult not to crawl over there and seat himself right in his lap.

“Wh-what?”

Kacchan breathes in and out. His fangs look sharp, and they dig into his bottom lip, turning it red.

“That’s why I chose you,” Kacchan huffs. “Why I – married you. Cause you belong with me. And I wasn’t, I wasn’t gonna’ let fuckin’ nobody else have you.”

Izuku could cry. Blood rushes past his ears, and he pulls himself up halfway just to see him better. Wetly, he laughs.

“But I’m a horrible omega.”

“Mine,” he corrects, and Izuku’s head hangs immediately, his body shuddering into submission. Kacchan’s skull goes thunk against one of the posts, and he growls a noise so deep, it pools into the basin of Izuku’s stomach like honey. “I’m not comin’ over there unless you tell me to.”

“Come here,” Izuku sobs, and then the distance is crossed instantly. He opens his arms and Kacchan tackles into him, pinning his hips with his knees and pressing his nose to the side of his throat like he needs it to breathe. Izuku’s chest shudders like he’s about to cry, and Kacchan croons a low sound that makes his toes curl.

“Shh, it’s okay, it’s okay. I’m gonna’ make it better. Fuck, I have you.”

It’s hard not to peel open his heart and bleed out all his feelings at once. Izuku has wanted this so damn badly for so damn long, he’s overwhelmed just by the scent of him. Izuku claws up into the sweaty nape of his hair and pulls him close, hiccupping as a mouth sucks against the swollen side of his throat, where his scent glands are inflamed and unhappy. It’s an instant relief.

Katsuki scents him desperately, rubbing his cheek along his jaw and pressing his mouth under his chin. Izuku can feel how big his teeth are, and it’s equally thrilling and arousing. Katsuki digs his thumb into his throat again and licks across the swollen bump, and Izuku clenches his teeth and groans. He tugs on thick hair, but he doesn’t move.

“Kacchan please, I already smell like you.”

“Not enough,” he grumbles, but follows Izuku’s grip to sit up and kiss him on the mouth.

All the air pushes right out of his lungs. His grip goes slack in shock, then clenches back into his shoulders like he’s drowning. There is a mutual feeling of finally.

They kiss over and over and over. Kacchan is really good at it. He’s not sure how many people he’s kissed, but Izuku isn’t surprised at his natural affinity for literally everything. His body feels gooey and soft, then keyed up and even more excited than before.

Their teeth click, and they both make a pleased sound. Alpha teeth are large and jagged; an evolutionary weapon made for winning fights and biting throats. Izukus are shorter, but sharper, and it’s Kacchan’s lip that bleeds first. His growl vibrates into his mouth, and Izuku breaks the kiss to turn his head and present the side of his throat again. When he risks a look, Kacchan’s expression is entirely unreadable. Red eyes, pale hair, and sweat still sticking to his forehead.

“Deku, it’s permanent,” Katsuki warns.

Izuku swallows. His cock is leaking a sticky line down his stomach, and he’s pretty sure Kacchan is aware of that. The coat is still wadded around him, the ties half-done and hiding nothing. They’re both clutching onto the last dregs of their self-control, and it’s making the tension insufferable.

“I know.”

This time, Katsuki leans in to kiss him sweeter. It’s probably the last one they’ll have for a while, so Izuku appreciates it while he can. His mouth is chapped from the cold, but wet and soft and demanding, and even in all the messy headrush of his heat, Izuku still gets butterflies. He can already feel Kacchan’s shoulders shaking with restraint, heavy breathing and responsive shivers whenever Izuku moans. Their lips pop, and Kacchan kisses him one more time over his freckles. Izuku grinds up into his clothed hip, and then all bets are off.

Katsuki rumbles in his chest again – not quite a purr, but a happy growl.

“God, you have no idea what you do to me. You smell so fucking good I can’t even think straight.”

Izuku is frantically trying to wiggle his fingers under the back of his shirt collar, seeking the warm skin hiding under there. He wants to feel muscle. He wants skin and bone and Kacchan, just Kacchan.

“Thought you s-said I smelled bad.”

Kacchan draws out his vowels low and precise, like every word has meaning.

“I was lying.”

A hand runs from his collarbone, down his sternum, and over his belly. He pushes aside the coat to see him fully, and Izuku whines, wiggling so he can pull Kacchan further into the pillows. Thumbs rub along his ribcage, caressing over old scars and freckles, and Izuku feels horribly exposed, squirming around and full of brainfog.

“Kacchan I’m sorry, I’m sorry I’m – I’m really close, it’s, it’s cause I…”

“I know.” Katsuki pulls his entire cock into the palm of his fist and tugs once, and Izuku’s entire body spams. “I’ll take care of you. I always said I’d take care of you and – fuck look at this fuckin’ nest you made, such a good boy. Every year you build it so meticulously I just wanna’ fuck you in it. Drives me crazy.”

Izuku covers his face with an arm and spills right in his hand. The hut smells more and more like them, and it makes his aftershocks feel like forever. He’s so wet his thighs are sticking together, and the hungry expression on Kacchan’s face is so flattering, Izuku can’t even look at him. Kacchan licks his wet palm, and Izuku sucks in a deep breath. Kacchan smells wild and dangerous.

“You’re going to rut.”

“Yeah,” Kacchan rasps. “But I’ll stop this. If you want me to.”

It looks like it would kill him. But Izuku knows he would try anyways.

He reaches out his palms, and Katsuki takes his hands. First squeezing his fingers, then running up the circumference of his wrists and pressing into the small glands there. He’s not very gentle, but Izuku likes that about him. He wants him at his full strength. He wants to prove that he is the only suitable mate. He’s strong. And Kacchan is his.

Izuku is dully aware that he is losing control of the driver’s seat, but he’s not upset about it. Kacchan is all sex appeal; strength from hard work, beauty in good genes and his eyes – they say everything he won’t.

Izuku purrs when Katsuki pets across his throat again, and it earns him another rumbly sound.

They are both vulnerable here. Maybe that’s the thrill of it all.

Kacchan kisses him roughly, and Izuku’s brain effectively turns off. He whispers alpha please, it hurts and then it snowballs from there.

Kacchan rips off his shirt, his socks and his pants, and Izuku’s hands magnetize to his skin, warm and dense and twitching under his hands. Everything about him sets his mind at ease and lights it on fire at all once. Bracelets are woven tight around his wide wrists. A lone beaded necklace lays around his neck, and Izuku tugs on it to get him closer again. He wants his fuzzy thighs under his own, and those big hands back on his body. Kacchan runs his mouth up the line of his stomach again, biting three times in a row before he looks up and speaks from the deep dark depths of his throat.

“Show yourself to me.”

His omega trembles happily. He rolls over in the nest, stretching out to gather the blankets beneath himself, then pressing his face into the pillows. He’s shivering, but he’s not cold. The nerves are churning his stomach, and he’s already hard again; hypersensitive, but not sensitive enough. He gets his knees under himself and rolls his head to the side, and the sharp inhale from Kacchan is all the assurance he needs. Izuku presents himself, and Katsuki accepts it.

Fingers pet around his rim. Izuku doesn’t know what he expects, but it’s definitely not the tongue at his tailbone.

“Oh! What – what are you –”

“Stay still,” he growls.

Desperate to please, Izuku squeezes a pillow in his arms and holds his breath as the slick is licked from his thighs. He spreads him apart and licks circles against his hole, then laps again when it makes him wetter. Katsuki has a possessive hand at his belly, and as the other digs fingerprints into his outer thigh, Izuku uses all his concentration to follow his command. It’s torture. He’s so so wet for him, and can’t even spare the embarrassment for it.

He’s lost all common sense. His true nature is in control, and he cries and chirps and begs for Katsuki to stick something inside him. Anything, literally anything. It’s like he’s a bowl without water. Empty and useless and –

Izuku gasps as a hard cock bobs against his inner thigh. He squirms to stay in his position, but makes his want known by the hand he throws back behind him. Kacchan finds his fingers and squeezes them. It feels like he’s squeezing his heart, too.

“Sorry,” Kacchan rasps. He slicks his cock against his hole, and Izuku’s eyes squeeze shut. “Won’t last long. I’m literally gonna’ pop just listening to you.”

Words are becoming too difficult. Izuku manages a garbled mess of now and inside, but it works, because Katsuki pushes into him and it’s like all the noise in his head shuts off at once. Izuku goes slack. Kacchan secures a hand at the side of his throat, and it lights him up in fire.

“Fuuck Deku,” Kacchan drawls. His voice is beginning to sound far away. “I’m gonna’ slip. Last call.”

“Alpha please,” Izuku rasps, and then hears the exact moment Kacchan’s alpha takes over. His voice sounds like the lowest string on a cello.

“Head down.”

Izuku obeys. Kacchan pushes so far in, it scratches every itch he’s been suffering from for the last twenty for hours (or longer. Way, way longer). The pain is washed from him, and Izuku could cry from reprieve.  

They fit perfectly. Izuku’s body stretches to the size of his cock like he was made for it. Katsuki pulls out and pushes back in, and Izuku hiccups another dry sob. His body wants one thing and one thing only, and the faster he gets it, the better (which is good, because Kacchan has an eternal well of strength, and Izuku is still that effing bowl).

No, he’s never had sex – but he instinctually squeezes down around his cock and makes every sound in the omega book, unashamed and utterly determined to get what he wants. Kacchan’s hand flexes around his throat. He fucks him hard and quick and frantic. A hand braces in the nest and Izuku snuggles down further into it. Everything that felt so oversensitive and awful now feels amazing. The fur on his skin is a comfort to the heat. Kacchan’s thighs slap against his own, and the scrape of his beaded necklace skimming his shoulders is a tease. While he is incapable of having children, his body still exists to be bred, and he’s damn well going to get it.

Izuku has heard of all the horrible, unspeakable things alphas are capable of – but Kacchan holds him so securely – fucks him so deep and rumbles so protectively – Izuku falls in love with him even more.

Their rhythm is raw and needy. The slick sounds are wet and obscene. His dark hair is gripped tight by the root, and it forces him further into the pillows. Katsuki pounds into him and chases that edge, and Izuku takes it. In tears, sweaty, with slick running down his leg and his eyelashes stuck in clumps, Katsuki presses his forehead to his shoulder and hoarsely praises him in a language that isn’t quite human.

He comes over and over. Kacchan pushes his face down into the nest and Izuku lets his tears pool there. He now bites at his shoulder, and it’s so close yet so far from where he wants it.

Neither of them are capable of speech anymore. And yet, Izuku understands him perfectly. In his quick rhythm, the low noises and those pleased, short little huffs of breath, Izuku pushes his hips back on his lap and answers in his own language. Kacchan’s scent bleeds possessiveness and pride, but also, so does Izuku’s. It’s mixing together like soup, soon to become indistinguishable from the other. Izuku cries out, and Katsuki soothes him with a nose behind his ear.

Izuku reaches out into the blankets and grips for anything to hold onto. Long fingers thread over his own and squeeze, and Izuku feels a small sliver of Kacchan fighting through the haze. Still in there, and reaching for him.

His rhythm is getting short. Izuku’s cock aches from spilling so many times. They’re there, and it feels like the world is ending.

But Kacchan hesitates. Izuku risks a look over his shoulder, and sees a bewildered look on his face. It’s as if he can’t believe this is happening. Izuku feels his heart break.

Numbly, he squeezes his fingers as hard as he can. Kacchan nuzzles close, and Izuku purrs back.

“Do it,” he whispers. Or at least, tries to. Kacchan nods anyways.

Two, three – four final thrusts, and Izuku feels him get bigger. Harder, tighter, swelling and stretching Izuku to the edge. Then he’s groaning against his ear, seizing tight and pulling Izuku so impossibly deep on his cock, that the knot slips clean in. It hurts. Izuku is burning. A snowstorm is blowing beyond their hut, and yet his skin is going to boil clean off. He can’t breathe, he can’t think –

The knot locks tight, and Izuku gasps as Katsuki bites down on the side of his throat.

Everything stops. It becomes nothing but silence. The wind, the snow, the crackle of the fire, and perfect mind-numbing clarity. Izuku submits entirely to him, and Kacchan bites deep and bloody. It burns, but it’s beautiful. He feels him twitch deep inside; there’s so much come he worries it won’t stay in – but the knot holds, and Izuku feels blood drip down his collarbone. It’s done.

All the fire in his body snuffs out at once. Izuku goes slack, thoroughly bred and sated, and Kacchan rolls them both to their sides with a hard sigh.

“Okay?”

Izuku fingers numbly over his lower stomach. There’s a slight bump. Kacchan shivers, and Izuku flushes when he realizes that he’s coming again.

“Yeah. Feels good.” Izuku wiggles closer, and Katsuki makes a clipped ngh sound. “Ah. Feels really good.”

Kacchan sweeps the hair away from his neck, and then leans close enough to lick off some of the blood. The bite is oozing blood slowly, and while it aches, it also tingles pleasantly. Katsuki’s rough cat-tongue makes him shiver. As the sweat cools on his body, Katsuki pulls up a blanket to cover them partly. Izuku tries to breathe through the impaled feeling, and relishes in this short moment of clarity.

“We’ve done it now,” Izuku mutters, eyes closed. “It will be days of this.”

Kacchan still doesn’t sound entirely coherent. He shudders again through another orgasm, and inhales deep into his hair.

“Mmm. Mhm.”

Izuku smiles sleepily.

“Are you okay?”

Kacchan slips a hand around to his inner thigh. Izuku’s soft cock gives a painful throb.

“I can feel it.”

“Feel what?”

“The bond.”

Izuku’s heart jumps. He blinks quickly, and pauses to see if he can feel it too. It’s not very loud, but there’s a low thrum of energy that buzzes under his skin. It’s like their souls are stitching together one breath at a time.

This is permanent.

Izuku shifts on his cock and clips a pained sound. Kacchan locks him in place with a large arm, and croons for him. By the time the knot goes down, Izuku is at full mast again, edgy and leaking and slick. When Kacchan pulls out, it spills a mess across his thighs. He wiggles back a hand into Kacchan’s hair and grips tight, saying, again.

When he looks over his shoulder, Kacchan’s pupils are narrow with arousal. Izuku looks into the eye of the storm and falls right in.

 

❆❆❆

 

Izuku fell into the ice lake once.

Fourteen, freshly presented and with everything to prove, he ignored the warnings of his mother and skated out onto the ice to catch fish for the village. It was a dry year, and stockpiles were low, and Izuku thought maybe….maybe if he outhunted the alphas, Kacchan would respect him again.

He caught a catfish and an old leather boot before the ice cracked.

It was nothing but the cold shock of icewater, and the weight of his soaking clothes. He swallowed water through his open mouth and blacked out under the ice hole.

When he awoke, he was being scolded by his mother; teeth chattering, wrapped in a blanket, and with no recollection of how he got there.

He never found out who dumped him on the front step of his mother’s hut. And he never saw the person that fished him out of the water. For a long time, Izuku wondered if he was supposed to die that day.

Kacchan laughed and called him an idiot. There was a slice across his palm, and he said it was from fighting a bobcat during their alpha hunt. But it always did look too clean.

The next day they both came down with a cold. It’s so curious the way coincidences work.

Izuku continued to fall. Off rocky cliffs, over tree stumps, into rivers and in love.

 

❆❆❆

 

It’s a long night. Kacchan’s rut hits in full swing by the second knot, and then Izuku is officially along for the ride. He passes out and wakes in shifts when the need edges into pain. He stirs to Kacchan’s hands already on him; a mouth sucking bruises into his skin, three fingers fucking him clean so he can slick up and go again. Big fat teeth become too brave as he bites at his nipples and sucks at his dick.

Izuku chirps and pushes him off, and Kacchan listens. He’s fucked on his back this time, and Izuku scrapes his nails deep into the skin of his shoulders as he’s bred over and over. His sense of time becomes hazy. He thinks he sees light peeking through the cracks of their hut, but it might be the stars behind his eyes. Katsuki throws his legs over his shoulders and pushes so deep that his balls end up sticking against his thigh, and Izuku comes half-upside down, all over his chest and loud as hell. Um, he thinks. He can’t really hear himself anymore.

Kacchan’s alpha is like a beast. Izuku’s omega preens from it, gratified and very content with its choice of a mate.

The thought makes his ears burn. Izuku curls his toes against Kacchan’s cat-scratched shoulders and passes out again.

He wakes to a tongue licking him clean. Over his stomach, under his thighs and between his fingers. The empty feeling makes his stomach feel hollow and sick, so he’s the one that fumbles around blindly and pats between his legs, leading Kacchan back inside him like it’s something simple. Like they’re even capable of such a thing as simplicity. Izuku doesn’t care if he’s not fully hard yet, he just wants him inside. 

It puts them both over the edge. Everything gets fuzzy again after that. They manage to sleep long enough for the storm to settle, and Izuku wakes feeling a little more self-aware of his surroundings. He’s sluggish and sore, which means he’s on the mend. He couldn’t feel anything other than arousal for hours (days? He doesn’t know). Izuku still doesn’t desire food, but he drinks from the flask that was mindfully placed at the base of their nest.

Kacchan is actually asleep. He’s naked, flat on his back and half-curled in a wool blanket. Izuku feels such an overwhelming wave of affection, that his body reminds him that this is definitely not over yet, thanks.

Izuku crawls over him. At some point, Kacchan wiped them both clean the best he could. The sticky blankets have been pushed to the side, and clean ones are wadded around the nest. Izuku sits over his thighs and presses his hands to his stomach. The muscles jerk, and Katsuki’s breath stutters in and out as he stirs. Izuku spent so many years watching him from afar, it feels reverent to touch him so casually.

“Kacchan,” Izuku whispers. He drops his nose to his sternum. The bones here are strong. He mouths over his ribcage, then breathes in under his arm where he smells the strongest. It’s so good, it’s like a drug to his brain. “Kacchan, the dogs.”

A heavy hand comes to grab him by the hip. Katsuki peeks open an eye, and while sleepy, he’s still easily affected by the hot mess of pheromones sitting in his lap. Izuku watches his dick harden in real time.

“They’ll hunt something to eat,” Katsuki mutters. He fingers along a bite mark on Izuku’s outer thigh, staring shamelessly. “Did you drink water?”

“Yeah.”

Izuku can feel his stomach cramping. His body already wants Katsuki back inside him. Izuku tries to hold out a little longer, and stretches up to bump his forehead against Kacchan’s. He breathes in, and Katsuki breathes in with him. Hands come around to hold him by the ass, and Izuku purrs for him; mellow, soft little murrr, murrr sounds that earn him a gentle bite on the cheek.

“You’re too much,” Katsuki sighs.

“What does that mean?”

“What it means, asshole. You know you’re fucking sexy.”

Izuku pauses. He sobers quickly, flushing hot as he suddenly becomes hyper-aware of himself. He’s sitting across Kacchan’s belly, cock hard and body bitten, bruised, and clawed from head to toe. There’s even a bite mark on the sole of his foot (and yet the big scar on his arm has been carefully left alone).

Izuku chews on the side of his cheek, then sits up to dip his fingers into Kacchan’s collar bone. So smooth and pale, it never sees the sun. The beaded necklace is gone. It probably broke.

“I uh, did not know that, but thanks. You’re going to be so embarrassed about this later.”

“Nah.” Kacchan hooks his thumbs into the meat of his hips. He looks enamored by the flesh there. “Always thinkin’ it.”

Izuku sits up on his knees and reaches behind him. He gets a fist around the base of his cock, but his fingers barely meet. It’s kind of astounding to think he fit this inside himself so many times – but at a few gentle nudges, Kacchan slips right in. Izuku sits to the base and moans, and Kacchan pushes up into him, breath short and eyes wide.

“Ngh, fuck. You good up there?”

“Yeah, I can do this.”

Kacchan doesn’t fight him. It’s not natural for an alpha to be on his back, but Izuku appreciates that he lays there for him. Izuku bounces experimentally, and makes happy sounds as he finds his prostate (kinda’ swollen, kinda’ abused, kinda’ great). His body buzzes through the bond, and Kacchan purrs for him. Purrs. Not just a slow rumble, but a deep vibration that makes his skin feel ticklish.

It’s against his own nature to have his back exposed like this. Izuku can feel a nervous desire to tuck his head and hunker back down in the sheets, but he wants this. Kacchan is visibly fighting his alpha, and while it’s not usually this obvious, Izuku sees it all. His hands squeeze and release, and his legs twitch as he resists the urge to buck up into him and take over. Pieces of themselves are shining through, and that means something. 

The epiphany is short and daunting. Not everything has to change. 

Izuku rides him with a newfound determination. Katsuki doesn’t look away for one second. Sweat drips off his forehead and down his nose, and Kacchan pets gently over his arousal, knowing full well how sensitive he is right now. Izuku squeezes down hard, clenching his teeth and groaning, and Katsuki gives another full-body twitch, really fighting hard for that control.  

On an insane, completely incomprehensible whim, Kacchan tips his head to the side and demands –

“Bite me back.” 

Izuku’s hand flies to his own bite mark on instinct (almost protectively, as if it could be stolen). He sits fully back on his lap, impaled and short of breath. 

“Wh-what?” 

“Just do it,” Kacchan growls. Izuku shivers from the goosebumps, then registers what he’s actually saying. 

“But… you’re not…that’s not how this works. We’re bonded already.” 

“Yeah, so? When have we ever been normal?”

“I-I don’t even know if it would scar.”

“If you do it hard enough, who cares?” 

Izuku sucks on his bottom lip. The idea of Kacchan wearing a mark, of being branded by him in return – it feels like an equal exchange. 

If you give yourself to me, I’ll give myself to you. 

Izuku doesn’t know how to feel. His omega is equally panicked and excited. Kacchan starts to rock him back and forth on his cock, and Izuku makes up his mind. 

“Mine?” He asks, not really sounding like himself. 

Katsuki nods. He forces his head to the side, and keeps his eyes dead on the wall so he won’t flinch. He’s trying so hard for him, and the emotions are overwhelming. 

“Yeah. I want it in fuckin’ blood.” 

We’re already married, Izuku wants to say, but he narrows in on the side of his throat and leans up to kiss him there. They both have stubble from not shaving for so long, Kacchan moreso than himself. The friction feels like cold water.

Katsuki digs his claws into his hip, and stays still as Izuku bites him hard. He curses – and Izuku startles as blood fills his mouth. It’s actually Kacchan that comes first this time, completely shocked and spasming under him without a knot, like his body wasn’t expecting it. Izuku’s stomach curls in circles, totally mesmerized by the tiny pin-pricks now tattooed into his throat. It looks obscene to see such a thing on an alpha.

“Ah hell,” Katsuki grits. He leans his head back, and blood drips to the pillow. “God. You’re so — I gotta’ flip you, I can’t do this.” 

Izuku nods, and then he’s on his back with his legs in the air, cooing happily as he’s fucked again within an inch of his life. Kacchan lets him continue to mouth across the fresh bite on his throat – and whenever he starts to feel fuzzy, he traces it with his fingers and reminds himself of where he is. This is the alpha that has tried all he can to give him everything, and Izuku would fucking kill for him. 

He purrs into the warm crook of his neck and thinks:

We match. 

 

❆❆❆

 

Izuku rubs his fingers into his eye-sockets and groans for a very long time.

Light is filtering through the cracks of the hut, and he is alone. There is an uneasy stillness in the air. The storm has stopped, and the wind is gone. A cast-iron pot is sitting over the fire, and it smells like food. Izuku is so sore, he’s not even sure if he can stand to take some.

The sobriety comes with embarrassment. Everything filters back one memory at a time, and as Izuku sits there and stares at his hands, panic festers like an open wound.

Kacchan isn’t here. He left. He’s probably halfway across the steppes by now, and Izuku’s mother is going to have to bury her son because he will literally die of heartbreak –

The door slams open. Izuku jolts upright. His hand pauses at his throat, where he was rubbing incessantly at his mark. Kacchan is in the doorway looking frazzled, a shovel still in one hand, and his hat in the other. Izuku sees a big bandage covering his neck, and starts to cry.

“Deku!” Katsuki panics, dropping everything in his hands. He looks around as if someone else is here. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Shit, is someone–”

Izuku catches his tears in his hands and cries, “You’re going to leave me!” And Katsuki freezes still.

A look of disbelief crosses his face. Then, an expression of pure fury.

“Of all the…are you fucking kidding me? I thought you were dying! Don’t ever do that again!” Katsuki’s yelling makes Izuku cry more. He curses heavily under his breath. Katsuki shuts the door behind him and tosses his gloves, saying, “Fuck, okay – shhh. Stop crying, I didn’t mean to…agh. Look at me, I’m not going anywhere.”

“Sorry, it’s the…” Izuku hiccups, his body sobbing again. He takes a few forceful breaths, and wipes his eyes. “Oh my god. The hormones. Sorry.”

Kacchan looks like he wants to reach for him, but hesitates. He perches on a cedar chest and sits on his hands forcefully.

“I had to shovel a path out. We got two feet of snow.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“I know.”

Izuku tries to ground himself. The fear of the unknown feels like acid in his stomach. He risks a glance back at Kacchan, and sees him watching very carefully, like Izuku might cry again.

“Do you…” The words are hard to say. “Do you regret it?”

“No.”

The answer is simple, but it doesn’t soothe him much. Izuku wipes at his cheek and feels a bruise there too; another little lovebite from where Kacchan nipped him.

“Me neither,” Izuku says softly. “I…I don’t want you to leave.”

Katsuki sighs. He pinches the bridge of his nose, and the annoyance rolling off him sets Izuku more on edge.

“So fucking stupid…can’t believe we did all this outta’ order.”

“What?”

Katsuki stands up. He turns right around and flips open the chest he was sitting on. He rummages around in the bottom, and pulls out an old knitted sock. Izuku watches numbly as he flips the sock upside down, and shakes out a small fabric pouch. He squeezes it once, then tosses it at him. Izuku catches it in one hand. Before he can even ask, Kacchan goes,

“Open it.”

Izuku squeezes the pouch. Something clatters inside. He carefully unties the string, and opens up to a pile of jewelry. There’s a variety of necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Each is woven by hand, with little carved stones and whittled shapes from wood. They look like nothing he’s ever seen in the village market. Izuku lifts one to the light, and the instinctive urge to hoard strikes him swiftly.

“Where did you get these?”

It’s Katsuki’s turn to look nervous. He turns his head and scrubs at the back of his hair.

“Ugh. I kept makin’ them for you. Every year when I wasn’t fighting off alphas, I’d finish a set and pussy out before I ever gave it to ya. I didn’t want you to…leave. I guess.”

Izuku’s eyes start to burn, and Katsuki smells the salt and goes dammit, not again – but stops when Izuku starts to wobble to his feet and reach for him. Kacchan is there. When Izuku reaches for him, he’s always there. Now lowering him back down, and sitting to his level.

He gets his hands on his cheeks and pulls so their noses bump, and Katsuki’s eyes close like it’s a relief. 

“Kacchan?” 

“Mmm?” 

“You know how…in Endeavor’s village, it’s the omegas that choose their mate?” 

Katsuki’s eyes open. For a moment there, he looks worried. 

“Uh…yeah.” 

Izuku traces under his left eye. There’s a faded scar here, from a fight he got into many many years ago. It’s so light you almost can’t see it, but Izuku never forgot about it. Not even once (because he gave it to him). 

“I kind of… like that.” 

Understanding dawns in Katsuki’s expression. He tips his head ever so slightly, inviting Izuku to make a move. 

“Me too.”

Izuku kisses him. It’s simple and comforting, and that’s all there is to say. 

I would choose you. And if i had to do it all over again, I’d still choose you. 

Izuku sweeps his fingers all over his cheeks, memorizing his jaw, his pointy ears and the sweep of his forehead. Kacchan lets him, and that means more than he can say. Izuku breathes in against his skin, and blinks his eyes open when Kacchan pulls away from the kiss to check on his healing bond mark. He licks flat against it, and while Izuku couldn’t get hard even if he wanted to (he’s at least a few days out on that) he does feel his stomach flip in circles.

“You smell different,” blurts Izuku.

Katsuki gives another fat lick, like cleaning a pup. When he’s satisfied, he rubs his cheek against it to leave behind as much of his scent as he can. Kacchan never scented him before, but when Izuku thinks back to all the borrowed coats, the pats on the head and the hands at his neck, he thinks maybe, he might have been doing it all along.

“Yours too,” mumbles Kacchan. “Less sweet. Kinda’ bitter.”

“Like you?”

“Har-har.”

Izuku nudges him back by the shoulder, and Kacchan listens to him. He blinks to focus his eyes, and it’s so unbelievably cute for an alpha his size, Izuku feels fondness radiate off himself like a perfume. Kacchan scowls at him, but then slackens when Izuku rubs his wrist along his neck in return, careful on his unbandaged side. The scent mixes perfectly, like it was meant to be.

Izuku mutters, “There. All done.” He picks at the edge of the gauze with his thumbnail. “Was it infected?”

“Kinda’ swollen, no big deal.”

Realization dawns on him. Izuku’s mind runs ahead of his mouth.

“Oh…oh shit. I don’t have the healing saliva that alphas do, which puts you at a higher risk for infection and god I’m such an idiot I can’t believe I did that w-we need to get you medicine m-maybe stitches if it’s too deep omega bites can be debilitating or, or fatal at the worst, oh good god, oh sweet heaven and hell –”

Katsuki grabs him by the shoulders and shakes him. Izuku ragdolls.

“Deku! Shut! Up! I asked you to do it, okay. It’s fine, I put shit on it this morning. Breathe for fucks sake.”

Izuku inhales. His stomach chooses that moment to growl very loudly, cutting through the tension like a knife in butter.

“Oh.”

Katsuki is looking at him with an expression of exasperation and equal fondness. For a moment, it looks like he’s smiling. It’s gone quickly as he gets a knee under himself and reaches out his arms.

“I got food cooking. Sun’s kinda’ out, so we can eat outside. This place needs to air out, badly.”

Izuku wraps his arms around his neck, and is lifted off the ground effortlessly. He doesn’t make the argument to walk because he knows he can’t (and knowing him, Kacchan is proud of that).

“Because I stink?” He teases.

“Cause the whole place smells like sex, ding-dong.”

“Hmmm.”

Kacchan manhandles him into a coat and boots, and Izuku tries to help, but ends up standing there uselessly while he does it for him because ‘you’re in the way, fucking stay still’ – and Izuku has the sudden, no-duh epiphany that Kacchan is a service alpha. A bitchy service alpha, but still one all the same.

When he’s back in his arms, Katsuki kicks open their front door and carries him out to the second fire pit. Izuku nuzzles happily into his neck, and watches the way his ears turn pink under his fluffy coat collar.

He vehemently thinks I love you at him with the mental force of a thousand suns, and by the look Kacchan gives him, he’s pretty sure he understands.

 

❆❆❆

 

The wolves are furiously barking at something in the tree-line. Izuku perks up in alarm, his third bowl of soup halfway to his mouth.

“Who’s there?”

Kacchan kicks a log on the fire with the toe of his boot, and ashes release into the air. The logs re-settle, and he sits next to him with a grunt.

“Snow leopard.”

“You can hear it all the way from here?”

“Yeah. And the dogs are shouting it from the top of their fuckin’ lungs.” He mocks them with a deadpan wave of his hands. “Cat! Cat!”

Izuku laughs.

“Well, the storm ended. It’s probably looking for food.”

“Won’t find any here, that’s for sure.”

“Don’t let them kill it. It might be Shouto’s cat.”

“If it was Shouto’s cat they’d be pissin’ themselves. I’m not worried.”

Izuku nods, and swings back the rest of his soup.

“Ugh, this is so good. I’d never seen an alpha cook before I met you.”

“My mom was the alpha and she cooked all the time,” Katsuki grumbles. He serves Izuku another bowl knowingly. “But you went three days without food, so your standards are low.”

Izuku balks, “It was three days?” Kacchan goes mhmm, and Izuku shifts sorely. “Jeez. No wonder I feel like hell.” He rubs along his chin, which is still stubbly and in need of a shave. “My heats take a week by myself, but I guess I’d eat here and then. Why aren’t you still hungry?”

“I was,” Katsuki shrugs. “But it doesn’t affect my body the same. I’ve gone longer without food.”

Izuku takes the warm bowl offered, and keeps it between his hands. It steams in the chilly air. Izuku’s ears burn.

“I’d never seen you rut.”

“Uh, yeah I guess. Did a few times when I presented, but that was it. Shut up and drink that before it gets cold.”

Izuku takes a sip. He notices that Kacchan is waiting for him to be full before taking another portion. It irks him at first, but it’s probably more instinctive than insulting. Meeting partway, Izuku offers his bowl to him. Katsuki looks at him blankly, but takes a sip at his continued prodding.

Still curious, Izuku asks, “What does it feel like?”

Kacchan breathes out, and it steams in the air like a dragon.

“Like you wanna’ fuck anything that walks.”

“Oh.”

“It’s obsessive,” Kacchan clarifies. He doesn’t look excited to be talking about this, but he humors him anyway. “Both times, all I could think about was you.”

“Good,” Izuku says. Kacchan’s eyes flash with surprised amusement, and Izuku finishes off the bowl. “Payback for the fact that you totally lied to me. If you can hear that snowcat, then you could hear me jerking off in there.”

“To be fair, you’re not very quiet.”

“Oh that’s rich coming from you.”

Izuku’s ram bleats a warbly sound that’s eerily similar to a laugh, and Kacchan lifts a middle finger from across the field, like the ram has any idea what that means.

Izuku smiles, and plops his head tiredly against Kacchan’s shoulder. His head feels heavy like the rest of his body.

“I’ll help you chore.” Yawn. “After a nap.”

“Uh, yeah no. Your ass ain’t moving for a few days.”

“Hmm, agree to disagree. We should go to the village and tell Hawks I’m not going to die after all.”

An icy cold silence blows through, and Izuku jerks upright when he feels the menacing energy of death approaching. He blurts ohh crap, it’s too late. Katsuki is looking at him with a face so expressionless, it might as well be made of ice.

“Care to explain that one?”

Izuku presses his lips together. He looks around and debates how far he could get before Kacchan caught him. Maybe three feet, or four if he jumped.

“Um…no. I would not.”

Kacchan starts to growl, and Izuku makes it a solid two and a half before he’s grabbed by the ankle and yanked into the snow. Record breaking.

 

❆❆❆

 

Izuku tries every trick in the book to convince Kacchan to let him halter his ram and ride to the village, but the answer is still a very firm and definite no. They take the wolves, and Izuku is spitting out hair by the time they arrive at the village arc.

“Oh fuck,” Eijirou laughs, crawling out of whatever hut he’d decided to be a menace in. “That’s a fresh bond if I’ve ever smelt one, boys.” 

“Is this the hill you want to die on?” Katsuki asks as he points to the ground beneath his feet – and Eijirou bobs his head in a bow that’s alpha language for my bad, my bad. 

Shouto doesn’t even bother to get up from his spot by the village bonfire. Both of his arms are thrown over the back of his snowcat like a couch as he says, “Wow, I never thought I’d see the day. Congrats.”

“You be careful,” Izuku laughs. “Your dad is going to start scouting princesses from other villages if you don’t bond soon.” 

“Please take those words out of your mouth.” 

Izuku dismounts from the wolf, and Katsuki gives them the go command. The wolves scamper off with more energy than Kacchan would normally allow, but he lets it slide. 

“We came to trade for some medicine.” 

“I’m sure you did.” 

“Would you shut up, it’s entirely unrelated.” 

It takes both alphas approximately thirty seconds to figure out what’s happened, before they start laughing. 

“Oh my god you bit him back! That is fucking amazing.” 

“You’re dead,” Katsuki states, and Izuku hauls him back by the bicep. 

“Woah, hold on –”

“I actually think it’s kind of sweet,” Shouto says. 

“No, no, for sure! That’s like, kinda’ hot. My cousin got bit by an omega once and they had to chop his dick off.” 

“Dude…” 

“By accident! It was his wife – I probably should’ve started with that.” 

“Keep digging…” Izuku warns, and Eijirou mimes sliding his lips shut. Katsuki gives a final jerk in his direction, and Eijirou flinches. 

A party of village warriors are riding into town, hauling spoils fresh from a hunt. Some are on horses, others on big cats, oversized elk and – a bird of prey. Izuku waves up at the sky, and Hawks circles the edge of the village. He swoops low and shapeshifts back into a man, stepping to the ground smooth as silk. He approaches excitedly, grinning ear to ear.

“Izuku baby! I didn’t expect to see you up and around this early.”

Kacchan squints, and Izuku continues to hold him back by a firm hand.

“Hi Hawks. I wanted to thank you in person for all your help. When summer comes I’ll give you first pick of the lamb’s wool.” 

Hawks laughs, pushing up his goggles into his hair and shaking out some of the snow. 

“Hey, you don’t owe me nothing, I’m just happy you two worked it out. Yay for not dying!” 

“Not what?” Eijirou and Shouto say together. Izuku sighs deeply as Kacchan goes tense all over again. 

“You fuckin’ knew –”

Izuku interjects before it gets worse.

“Let’s uhh, finish this conversation later. It’s still kind of…” 

Hawks grins, totally non-threatened by Kacchan whatsoever. He knows he outranks him on village soil, and flaunts that obsessively.

“Touchy subject, I get it. You look great by the way, the glow really suits you. I bet you feel way better, huh?” 

“I do,” Izuku laughs. “Thank you.”

Hawks takes him by the hands and squeezes, and Katsuki looks like he doesn’t know who to kill first. 

A chilly tension blows in when the chief begins to walk through the village. Hawks steps away respectfully, and a tone of reverence comes with the clop of horse hooves. 

Endeavor walks in on foot with a very large tiger sauntering at his heel. Katsuki’s body language goes from arms crossed, teeth gritted and steaming in anger — to a straight back and a chin up, and no teeth in sight. The other alphas stand a little taller. Shouto hops to his feet, and Hawks leans up against a totem pole and smiles. 

“Hey chief.” 

Endeavor looks between them. He nods a greeting, and folds his arms as a sign to relax. He’s dressed in a hunting coat, but still bears all the fine gold jewelry that shows chief status. 

“Bakugou. I’ve meant to speak with you.” 

“Sir.” 

If that was a hint for the other alphas to get lost, they don’t take it. Nosy and brave, true to their nature through and through. 

“I received your letter,” Endeavor says. His tiger circles around his legs and flicks its tail. It sports a matching scar across the eye, just like his master. “The offending alpha and his pack have been disposed of. They have paid for their crimes against you both.” 

Izuku bows his thanks, as Katsuki nods respectfully. 

“That’s good news.” 

“Yes. But an old ally of mine informed me of a nomadic tribe traveling through the steppes. They are confirmed to be hostile, but I’m waiting for further evidence before we make a move.” Endeavor looks between them, and raises an eyebrow. “No doubt I can call on you both.” 

Izuku feels a swell of pride. To be seen as a warrior, and not just a liability; it feels good. 

Kacchan sees the excited look on his face, and lets Izuku speak for himself. 

“Yes sir. If you need us, we’ll be there.” 

Endeavor looks pleased with this. Hawks is grinning like he knows something, but he’s too smart for his own good anyways. Endeavor lifts an arm, and Hawks shakes out his wings and flaps into a bird form, cawing once and landing across his bicep. 

“Good.” He pauses only a step, before continuing forwards towards the chief’s quarters. “And congratulations.” 

Izuku rubs across the heat in his cheeks, and Kacchan stands proud where he is. When the chief’s company passes through, Shouto speaks up once more.

“So weird. He kind of likes you guys.”

“Yeah, ‘cause we actually do shit around here.”

"Rude."

Eijirou also appears.

“Hey, so uh — what was that thing about dying again?” 

“Why, you interested?”

“Umm, nope, nevermind.”

 

❆❆❆

 

 

The snow melts by spring. When the first flower sprouts outside their hut, Izuku plucks it into the coat of a ram, for Kacchan to find later as they shear the sheep.

Some of the fencing needs replacing. Izuku helps him chop trees and haul logs down the mountain. Kacchan cooks while he works on the loom. Then Izuku lays by the fire as he shapes jewelry by hand, one colored bead at a time, his hands already so work-worn from the day, but meticulous in every string. Kacchan is all business and no play – and that’s exactly why Izuku crawls into his lap every night. He lives for that moment where Kacchan breathes in deeply, as if he slackens the burdens he carries. He plops his forehead to Izuku’s shoulder like his skull is heavy too, and Izuku never wavers.

Izuku likes the spring because he doesn’t have to hide his bite scars under coat collars and wool scarves. It’s easy access, and Kacchan rubs against it even when he’s trying really hard not to.

Kacchan’s throat healed differently. The scars are bumpy and raised, and more tactile than the smooth ones Izuku wears. It’s like a mark of battle, and Izuku doesn’t know how to feel about it.

 “You’re thinking,” Katsuki says bitterly, and Izuku smiles where he can’t see.

“Mmm. Just happy.”

Kacchan might not reply with words, but his chest vibrates with a pleased sound. Izuku works his nails through the base of his scalp where the hairs have been shaved fluffy and short, and the jelly-like reaction from Kacchan makes him feel so powerful. This man would fight god if he could, and even outside of his heat, Izuku still wears pride to have an alpha like him under his wing.

“It’s been quiet lately,” Izuku mumbles. “Spring is peaking. Normally rut alphas stumble through looking for a fight.”

“Yeah. Cause that idiot tried to eat your sheep n’ you bit ‘em so hard he ran for the fuckin’ hills. No one’s coming around here for a while.”

“The life of a beta must be so nice and boring.”

“Nah, they’re the ones that gotta’ deal with our bullshit.”

Izuku laughs. He likes that Kacchan feels comfortable enough to stay here and hold him. No heat, no ruts, no outside peer pressure. It’s just them. And that’s why Izuku is oozing content from every pore. Dressed in jewelry, little matching earrings and warm in socks that Izuku knitted by hand. They’re surrounded by a hut that smells just like them, and it’s home.

 

❆❆❆

 

No alphas pass through for the rest of the season. They move too frequently so the herd can graze. But a lone pre-heat omega does wander too far out on a bad day, and when Izuku smells her in the trees, he makes it real, real clear on where he stands on that. Hair raised, teeth snarling, and loud enough that even the wolves get nervous. Tail between her legs, the omega turns around and runs for the village, and Izuku spits in the grass.

“Was that really necessary?” Katsuki asks in a deadpan. He leans on the edge of his training sword and says, “She knows we’re bonded.”

“She’s too young to care. You’re still learning the social ladder at that age. And I’m sure your scent is more of a temptation than a threat.” Izuku pauses. “Also, you’re mine. If she didn’t know that before, she’ll know now.”

Kacchan takes one long look at him, then dumps the training sword on the grass. Izuku goes huh as he’s swooped up by the waist and placed up on the fence, hands scrambling to hold on as Katsuki squeezes up between his knees and yanks his head down for a kiss by the back of his hair.

Izuku gasps, “Not in front of the sheep!” But his trousers are already hanging off one leg, and Kacchan is throwing a foot over his shoulder so he can dip down and suck him into his mouth, only half-mindful of his teeth. Izuku wobbles on the fence post and splinters the wood with his nails, blinking through wet eyelashes as Kacchan looks up at him and says,

“You wanna’ scare ‘em off, we’ll scare ‘em off.”

Their hut, their yard, their fence. Izuku gets fucked under the sunny shade of a leafy green tree, and unsurprisingly, it’s quite effective.

It’s a nameless day of spring when Kacchan looks at him and says, “I love you.”

Izuku said it a thousand times first, but never needed it back – and maybe that’s why it means so much.

It’s a wholehearted devotion that takes your entire soul, and there’s no other heart he’d rather be stitched to than Kacchan’s. Their old vows said ‘till death do us part’, but the new ones feel like forever. 

 

❆❆❆

 

Katsuki never liked the fuckin’ rain. It left the world all mushy and wet, and it soaked his socks and made his gloves stick to everything. Pain in the ass, that damn weather.

But Deku never gave a fuck about any of that. Even in the mud, he sat in the grass and watched the sun set like it was something fuckin’ new, and Katsuki being a seventeen-year-old idiot, sat down with him.

“I don’t want it,” Deku admitted.

Katsuki hated when he did this shit; acting all vague like he had any damn clue what he meant. The whole world smelled like rain and flowers, but Deku always smelled like fucking rain and fucking flowers, so he breathed into the sleeve of his shirt and grunted.

“Be specific.”

“An alpha,” Deku said. “I don’t want another alpha.”

For one reason or another, the words hurt. It was rage, then jealousy, then rage again. But when Katsuki looked at him, he saw scars and tanlines and hands that knew how to work. A fist that could sucker punch you in the face and make it hurt. A bigass nerd with a bigass mouth.

But a good person. One that didn’t deserve a thick-headed alpha that put their dick first and the rest second.

Katsuki never responded to him that day, and for a long time he regretted it.

But when he saw him at the auction block, he never regretted raising his hand. Not even once.

And you can take his word for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

❆ END ❆