Katsuki wakes up to a flash of blinding pain and the sound of screams. He opens his eyes slowly, carefully sitting up so as not to aggravate his fresh wounds.
It’s dark, beyond the bars of his prison, but he can make out the scent of blood in the air, fresh and putrid.
His chains rattle as he strains his arms against them, tugging with futility. The suppressors they have on him never have a chance to fade — the bastards have been careful to make sure of that. Moreover, having his blood constantly drained has left him constantly lightheaded — makes even simple things like staying awake a chore.
Tamping down the dizziness, he peers out into the darkness. He knows better than to shout by now. If it’d been help coming for him, he wouldn’t have woken up in an empty cell — he’d have woken up to see Deku’s shitty face looking down at him in worry, mouth twisted in one of those horrible, pitying frowns he seems to have reserved just for Katsuki.
Fuck. Just thinking about Deku makes his blood boil. But he thinks, seeing him here right now would come as a relief. He’s been prisoner for so long now that it must be screwing with his head. He can get out of here on his own. He doesn’t need Deku’s pity or help.
But he’s never had a chance to escape — too weak, too heavily guarded.
That is, until now.
He watches as the guards fall like flies without so much as a sound escaping their lips, blood spattering across the ground, inches from Katsuki’s feet, as a shadow flits by. Then he sees pinpoints of red and blue gleams growing closer, mismatched eyes blinking — footfalls quiet as whispers.
Katsuki backs away warily from the bars.
The creature becomes visible as the dim lighting of Katsuki’s cell falls upon it.
Another vampire, Katsuki notes with despair. The fangs are a clear giveaway, and this close, and with a quick scent of the air, Katsuki can ascertain that it’s not a wolf like he is.
Just fucking great. He knows in his state he doesn’t stand a chance against this thing, when it’d apparently taken down the whole vampire den on its own, if the silence surrounding them is anything to go by. His limbs are trembling just keeping him upright. But damn if Katsuki will be going down without getting a couple of bites and scratches in.
He snarls low in his throat, a bluff more than a warning. The vampire continues regarding him coolly, those mismatched eyes assessing and unreadable.
Katsuki tenses, preparing himself to attack once the cage is opened. The vampire had done most of the work already, clearing out the den of all the guys Katsuki’s been planning to murder — he’ll find time to feel properly pissed about that later — and even if his chances of outrunning this guy and escaping is slim, they’re definitely higher than before.
He grins. Bring it, half-and-half bloodsucking freak.
But instead of opening the cage, the thing blinks at him and asks, in a tone that implies it doesn’t care one way or another, “Do you know where the coven leader is?”
Automatically, he answers, “The fuck? How the hell would I know?”
But then the guy turns around and walks away, and Katsuki’s mental tirade of insults screeches briefly to a halt.
“Hey!” Katsuki shouts, wobbling to his feet, wariness forgotten for the moment. “Where the hell are you going, goddammit?”
Katsuki tamps down the unwanted surge of relief he feels when the guy actually stops and turns, staring at him intensely. “I’m going to find Chisaki Kai,” it says, matter-of-fact. “According to my sources, he should be here today. If he hasn’t fled already, he’s probably hiding. So, I’m going to find him and kill him.”
It sounds perfectly reasonable when it’s put like that. So fucking perfectly reasonable that Katsuki wants to scream. And possibly throttle the damn thing. “Wh — What about me?” Aren’t you here to kill me? Or capture me?
The vampire tilts its head to the side. “What about you?”
Katsuki grits his teeth as black spots flood his vision, another wave of vertigo forcing his eyes shut. Fuck. Not now — not when he’s so fucking close. He’ll get out of here even if it kills him— even if it means relying on a vampire. Opening his eyes, he rattles at the chains, leaning forward as much as the lengths will permit. “At least let me out first, you bastard.”
“Why should I?” it asks, infuriatingly calm. “You’ll just get in my way.”
“Listen you — ” Katsuki forcibly swallows back the insults, sucking in a calming breath. “I can help you. Let me out, and I’ll take you to that Chisaki bastard.”
“You said you didn’t know.” But interest has sparked its eyes and Katsuki latches onto it with fervor.
“I lied, stupid. Had to make sure you wanted the fucker dead.”
With the full force of those piercing eyes locked on his face, Katsuki feels his knees tremble, both with growing frustration and anxiety. He hates this feeling — of being so weak that he has to rely on someone else to make it out of here. He knows if he lets this guy walk away, he’ll fall unconscious again before he can figure something else out — get his strength back — and someone else will surely find him here in this sorry state.
He’d rather go out fighting, and he’ll squeeze out every last minuscule bit of his strength if he has to.
“I’ll help you kill him.”
This, for some godforsaken reason, makes the vampire’s lips twitch. If Katsuki hadn’t known any better, he’d think the thing is amused. “I don’t need your help.”
Despite its words, it turns back to the cells, stopping so close that Katsuki is granted a front row seat to the tiny quirk of its lips. It rests its hands on the bars, knuckles going white and tense. “W-What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
It doesn’t bother answering, simply pulling the bars apart without a twitch of a muscle on its apathetic face. Katsuki flinches at the jarring, creaking sound of straining metal. Katsuki is sure he could only have imagined the smile earlier.
Vampires aren’t capable of feelings, after all.
It steps into the prison, figure looming over him, before Katsuki has time to even consider an escape route. Feeling threatened — cornered — he lengthens his claws and lashes out, jerking against the chains, instinct sending his body lunging forward with a burst of energy he hadn’t known he still possessed.
The vampire catches his wrist easily, halting his attack. It eyes the chain dangling from the manacle, shackling him to the wall, before it’s shattered with a careless flick of its finger. It snaps in half, and for a moment, all Katsuki can do is stare at the broken length, in wonderment and hating that the prison he’d been fighting for all this time could be broken so easily.
Then his legs give way, adrenaline fading and leaving behind nothing but exhaustion and — pain, as the old bite wounds re-open and blood seeps down his arm. The vampire catches him by the waist before he can fall, eyes still endlessly, aggravatingly intense, betraying nothing even in the face of Katsuki’s enraged seething.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” he spits, struggling vainly to escape its grip. All he can see are the fangs, and it makes his heart pick up, loud and echoing in the quiet of the dark basement. He’d lasted this long — longer than all the others. He can’t die here. But even the desperation fades as he feels himself going limp, exhaustion draining the last recesses of his strength. “Let me go.”
“I have,” it says plainly, and — there it is again — that tiniest flicker of amusement in its eyes. Katsuki is sure the blood loss has finally gotten to his head. With another flick, the chain attached to his collar is broken too, the shattered end clattering against the wall.
Pensively, it eyes the crisscrosses of open wounds, the bleeding bite marks littering Katsuki’s skin.
“No,” Katsuki says, struggles growing desperate even as his vision recedes. “Don’t even think about it — ”
Heedless to the warnings, the vampire meets his gaze as he leans in close, expression suddenly utterly business-like in its seriousness. And the last thing he remembers is the feeling of a tongue touching the bleeding wound at the juncture of his throat, the feeling of inexplicable anger, the fleeting thought of — this guy is so fucking dead — and then, nothing.
Katsuki wakes up to sunlight.
It streams in from the windows, long arching planes of glass bright and gleaming with warmth.
He sits up, letting himself bask in it for just a moment — allows himself one more moment of weakness. It’s been too long since he’d seen the sun.
Then, he tenses to take in his surroundings, though there’s no feeling of any immediate threat of a beating, nor does there seem to be any leering vampires in his vicinity.
For a moment, Katsuki wonders if he’s dreaming. The bed beneath him is soft, big enough to fit ten of him, and there are bandages wrapped around his arms, winding around his torso and up to his throat. The once constant pain is now nothing but a lingering whisper of a memory, and it’s strangely hollowing.
He pulls the blanket aside. His legs are similarly bandaged, midway up his thighs. The bastard had at least the decency to stop there, but not before.
Brow ticking, he forces away the thought of the smarmy bastard having his hands all over him while he’d been unconscious. In a brief scan of the room, he comes to the startling realization that the unfamiliar room is fucking huge.
Huge, like medieval castle chambers-huge. Had he really gone and escaped a vampire den only to be captured by some rich hotshot Count?
Anxiety claws at his chest and he scrambles out from beneath the covers, almost falling to the ground as his legs still shake like a newborn fawn when he tries to stand, and he has to grab onto the mattress for balance. Shit. Vaguely, he’d been hoping the bloodsucker would be kind enough — or at the very least stupid enough — to drop him off at the nearest hospital. Of course he wouldn’t be so lucky.
He doesn’t know how long he’d been sleeping but it hadn’t been long enough. Had been too fucking long.
He doesn’t know what the red and white fucker wants with him but like hell Katsuki is buying this sick illusion of hospitality and sticking around to find out.
Vampires only want one thing. The way it had lapped at Katsuki’s bleeding wound like the leech that it is had been obvious enough. It wants Katsuki’s blood, just like all the others, and honestly? Fuck that shit.
Katsuki has had enough of having shitty bloodsuckers draining him dry and using him again and again, like some goddamn refillable juice box.
He quickly dresses, grudgingly pulling on the trousers and t-shirt the half-and-half asshole had left for him before creeping to the window, wincing when the broken chain still dangling from his collar jangles with each step.
He unlocks the latch and pushes experimentally at the window, blinking when it opens without a fight.
If the bloodsucker had wanted to keep him here, putting him in a room with so many windows had been a dumbass decision. That, or, he’d grossly underestimated Katsuki’s healing factor and combined tenacity.
Grinning, he leans out the window, intent on jumping down. But the grin freezes on his face and falls as quickly as it had come.
Because staring up at him, from the balcony a floor below, is the red and white, half-and-half motherfucker Katsuki had been secretly hoping to avoid, as he’s still in no condition to put up any sort of fight.
But of course, the asshole isn’t about to let him go that easily.
“You’re awake,” it states. Unlike the night he’d taken down the den, the vampire is dressed down in a simple tee and jeans, un-styled hair falling into his eyes and just generally looking so fucking unthreatening and more importantly, un-vampire-like, that Katsuki’s teeth grind in annoyance. This was the fucker who’d taken down a whole vampire den on its own without even a hair out of place?
“I’m leaving,” Katsuki informs it, just to test the waters.
It turns away; goes back to leaning against the balcony rails and staring out at fucking nothing. “Okay.”
“I said — ” He pauses in confusion. Then the rage returns. “What the hell do you mean, ‘okay’?”
The vampire looks up at him disdainfully, as if Katsuki had been the one who’d said something vaguely offensive. “It means, okay. Leave. If you want. …Whatever.” With that, it turns away again in dismissal.
What the fuck.
For reasons he can’t explain, this makes Katsuki angrier than he thinks he would’ve ever been if the vampire had said he couldn’t leave. He slams his fists down on the window sill. “You’re just gonna let me leave? Don’t you know who I am?”
He’s met with stone cold silence, and, absolutely blinded by fury at this point, Katsuki launches himself out the window, relishing in the feeling of wind whipping by his face and through his hair before he lands on the balcony on all fours.
It pleases him, for those same inexplicable reasons, when the vampire is forced to face him — even more so, at the genuine surprise he’s met with. It definitely beats the shitty brick wall expression the thing dons most of the time.
“Don’t fucking ignore me, asshat,” he growls. He straightens and subtly grabs the rails as his vision swims. Okay, so maybe that hadn’t been the smartest idea. But Katsuki lives by the ideal that sometimes you just have to say fuck it and throw caution to the wind, and he’s sure this is one of those times.
Besides, he still has to pay this guy back for stealing a taste of his blood.
It blinks — one, twice — then sighs, as if Katsuki’s actions were that of a bothersome child, and it absolutely grates on Katsuki’s already frayed nerves. “I know who you are.” Then, almost teasingly, it says, “The guy who makes false claims and faints before he can make good on promises.”
Katsuki’s blood pressure rises through the roof. It’s unfathomable, the thought of a vampire making a joke, even at the expense of one of its victims — which for the record, Katsuki is not. A victim of this infuriating vampire, that is.
“It’s Bakugou Katsuki,” he snarls, because it’s the principle of the matter. “You’d better remember it, because that’s the name of the guy who’s gonna murder you.”
Then, in the impatient and irritable manner of one speaking to someone particularly dense, it replies, “Todoroki Shouto. You should probably remember it, as it’s the name of the one who saved your life.”
“As if I care what your name is, bloodsucker.” He clasps a hand to his collar around his throat, a feral grin splitting his lips. “What, did you think I’d forget? You drank my blood, shithead, and that’s why you’re gonna die.”
Instead of answering, said bloodsucker — Todoroki, or whatever — Katsuki thinks he’ll forget the name in minutes — just eyes Katsuki’s other hand where it’s still gripped tight around the railing. “… You should’ve stayed in bed a little longer. I’m surprised you can even stand, with wounds like those — ”
He goes quiet when Katsuki abruptly lurches forward, wildly, to seize him by the lapels.
There’s a dangerous glint in his mismatched eyes, and this close, Katsuki for the first time, notices the scar marring the vampire’s face. Ignoring his instincts screaming at him to let go and get the fuck away from him, Katsuki just yanks him closer. “Don’t you dare look at me like that. That fucking look in your eyes...” Katsuki is loathe to admit, it reminds him of Deku so much that it sends a pang of an unidentifiable something deep in his chest. Just thinking about the bothersome fool and his watery gazes makes his blood pressure rise. “I don’t need your goddamn pity. A filthy bloodsucking leech like you, looking down on me like that… I could barf.”
Todoroki just gazes back steadily; unflinchingly. “Is it my pity that you hate? Because I don’t pity you. I… am not capable of feeling something like that.”
Then, instead of backing away, throwing Katsuki’s arm off the way he’d so easily broken his chains that night — instead of anything Katsuki could have expected, Todoroki leans closer, bringing their noses a hairsbreadth from brushing. His gaze feels ice cold as it flickers down, to Katsuki’s neck, to the bandages covering his slowly healing bite marks. It sends a chill down his spine; a hitch to the next breath he takes. “Or is it the fact that I killed the ones who hurt you — the ones you’d sworn to kill yourself?”
Katsuki releases him, taking a small step back. It stings, makes his teeth grit, being read so easily. The unpredictable, off-kilter responses has him back on the defensive. The remembrance of fangs and teeth meeting skin, again and again, memories he’d rather never revisit resurfacing like a tidal wave.
Todoroki stalks forward, until Katsuki’s back hits the wall and his breathing turns shaky.
“S-Stay away from me, you — ”
Todoroki trails his finger along Katsuki’s collar and his voice dies away with his next breath. With his eyes trained intensely on Katsuki’s face, he works at the clasp, until the leather falls to the ground at their feet, the metal chain following clanging loudly in his ears. He can’t make a sound, the shouts of indignant fury boiling in his blood but never reaching his tongue. It feels like lead, and Katsuki wonders if he’d always been this weak all along.
He can’t help think that maybe if he’d been stronger, maybe —
A hand curls around his throat, warm — warmer than Katsuki had ever thought possible for a cold-blooded vampire — and his eyes squeeze shut involuntarily.
If he fights it, it’ll hurt more. He’s learnt that much from the den. It won’t stop it from hurting anyway.
“Your wounds haven’t closed,” Todoroki comments, either completely oblivious or just willfully ignoring Katsuki’s evident turmoil. He’s willing to bet the latter.
“… Of course they fucking haven’t,” he rasps, turning his face away. It’ll hurt less, if he doesn’t look. He’d been the one to provoke the vampire in the first place, and he knows it’ll be over quick. It wouldn’t take much more for him to pass out, and if Todoroki had wanted him dead, he’d have killed him already. “Vampire bites don’t heal properly for werewolves, dumbass.” It’s why he has so many goddamn scars.
Countless, on every goddamn inch of his body.
A traitorous voice in his head asks, What’s one more?
“Strange,” Todoroki muses. You’re the one that’s fucking strange, Katsuki wants to scream. But Todoroki is bending down again, breath ghosting at his pulse point, and his voice chokes away to nothing, heart jackhammering against his ribcage so loudly he’s sure the vampire can hear it.
He forces himself to relax, letting his head fall back against the stone wall.
It’s just a bite, he berates himself. You’re used to them, so what’s the huge deal about this one?
He forces away that same traitorous voice again, the one that says, because it’s Todoroki, because he’s seen the merciless way Todoroki can kill and spill blood and the strength beneath his careless touches.
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, he thinks, fighting the instinctive urge to lash out, as Todoroki takes his wrists, forcing them beside his head, keeping him still.
It doesn’t matter —
There’s a warm sensation on his skin as Todoroki’s lips touch his throat, and he braces himself for the sharp prick of pain, but it never comes. Then, the warmth becomes a strangely familiar sensation of a tongue dragging along the old bite wound, but this time, Katsuki is very much lucid and consequently hyperaware of it — hyperaware of the fact that Todoroki is currently lapping at his throat —
What the actual fuck?
Heat rushes to his face until he’s positively burning. “Uh…?”
“Stay still,” Todoroki orders, and Katsuki finds himself freezing up unconsciously, only just realizing he’d been squirming in discomfort.
Shock has him obedient, keeping still and letting the vampire lap at his throat like a fucking mother cat cleaning its kitten’s fur, and the whole situation is so fucking bizarre that he frantically goes through his most recent memories — him, jumping through the window; him, idiotically grabbing Todoroki by the collar and yanking him close — in an attempt to pinpoint the exact moment that had led him to this.
Whatever the fuck this is.
“What the hell?” he finally manages out when Todoroki eventually leans back to examine his work. His face feels hot, burning with shame and something unnamable.
“Huh,” the vampire says, staring at Katsuki’s neck with an intensity that makes him squirm with discomfort once again. He almost prefers the licking. This feeling increases as Todoroki releases his wrists in favour of thumbing at his wound. “It’s healing.”
Katsuki smacks his hand away; brings a hand to his own neck, feeling at the familiar bumps and indents of bite marks incredulously. He can’t tell if the crazy bastard is lying. “Of course it’s healing,” he snaps instead. “I just meant that it heals slower. And that it’ll scar.”
“Well, it’s healing faster now.”
“What, from you lapping at it like some sort of freaky cat?”
Todoroki’s eye sort of twitches, but that’s about all the expression he lets betray his annoyance. “A vampire’s saliva has regenerative properties.”
Bullshit, Katsuki almost blurts out. Then why the hell didn’t they heal me? Not even once? Out loud, he spits, “Well ain’t that fucking peachy. Convenient for you assholes, isn’t it? You can seal up your dinner for the next time, whenever you’re hungry for another bite.”
This time, Todoroki genuinely looks irritated, brows furrowed and everything. “Can’t you just say thank you?”
“Thank you? Don’t make me laugh,” Katsuki sneers, finally finding it in himself to shove Todoroki away. “You just wanted a taste of blood again. That’s all you bloodsuckers think about anyway.”
“You don’t have a fucking clue what I want. Don’t make assumptions — ”
“Piss off!” Katsuki yells. “Don’t have a fucking clue? You must be joking, right? Where do you think you found me?”
“Don’t make assumptions,” Todoroki snarls icily, voice growing in volume. “I’m not one of those putrid beasts.”
“I’m not making any goddamn assumptions. All of you bloodsuckers are the goddamn same, the same pot and kettle fucking shit, if you think killing a few of the shittier ones puts you on some kind of pedestal — ”
“Enough!” Todoroki shouts, slamming his hands on the wall, caging Katsuki in, eyes wild. “You don’t know anything.”
“I know you’re a piece of crap half-and-half vampire,” Katsuki snarls, unwilling to back down despite the frightened skip in his heartbeat. “And that’s all you'll ever be — ”
His voice breaks off into a laugh when Todoroki grabs him by the throat, but his traitorous brain highlights the contrast of his tight grip to the soft caress of his tongue just moments before.
“You don’t know anything, Bakugou Katsuki,” Todoroki says, as Katsuki’s vision swims before him, until Todoroki is nothing but a swirl of red and white and ice blue. “Never call me that again.” Katsuki just barely refrains from spitting in his face. Taking his silence for acquiescence, Todoroki tightens his grip once for good measure before letting go.
Once released, Katsuki slides to the floor, coughing. “That’s more like it, asshole. That…” he swallows tightly, heaving for breath. “That shitty ass blank mask you always wear… was pissin’ me off.”
It only takes one more moment before realization dawns on Torodoki, and it hits him hard, surprise scrawled all over the fucker’s face before it morphs into horror — that Katsuki had riled him up on purpose. That Katsuki had managed to get Todoroki mad, and that even if he’s the one on the ground, he had been the winner of that round.
It’s been a while since he’d felt the feeling — of winning.
It doesn’t feel a good as he remembers.
“You…” Todoroki starts, the anger slipping from his voice like water. But black spots are dancing in Katsuki’s vision, threatening to encase him entirely. Todoroki crouches down, peering at him closely and Katsuki tries blindly to swat at him. “You idiot,” he says, catching Katsuki’s hand before it can hit his cheek. “You should’ve stayed in bed.”
“I told you I didn’t need your… your fucking pity.”
“And I told you that you didn’t need to worry. I can’t feel that sort of thing,” Todoroki says, and it sounds like something out of a shitty textbook, the way he recites it.
Katsuki feels his eyelids slipping shut. His whole body feels hot, and he can’t help but lean into the touch of a palm, cool against his cheek.
“Could’ve fooled me,” he mutters.
“… You idiot.”
The black spots win over, and Katsuki slumps over, into its cold embrace.
“This is the third time I’ve woken up to your ugly mug,” Katsuki says with an over-emphasized grimace, when he opens his eyes to see Todoroki looming over his bedside, holding a tray containing a steaming bowl.
“Let’s hope your luck runs out tomorrow,” Todoroki responds, straight-faced as always. Katsuki almost finds himself laughing before catching himself with disgust because — this is a fucking bloodsucking vampire in front of him, no matter how much he might try to conceal his true nature with those stupid little smiles and dry humour.
“How long was I… asleep?”
“Two days,” Todoroki answers, setting the tray down on the bed. “Dinner.”
Katsuki peers into the bowl. His stomach churns with hunger — he can’t remember the last time he’d eaten a proper meal — but he also remembers the food that had been forced down his throat. The way eating had only made him grow weaker and weaker. “Don’t want it.”
“It’s not poisoned.”
“That’s what someone who poisoned it would say, shithead.”
“Must you be difficult about everything?” Katsuki looks up to see Todoroki frowning down at him deeply. He looks down at the porridge. It doesn’t smell particularly bad.
Katsuki briefly wonders if Todoroki had bothered to make the food himself that he’d look so offended by Katsuki’s refusal. He pictures the vampire studying a cookbook just to make rice porridge for his werewolf prisoner, and the image is so absurd that it falls away almost immediately.
“If I wanted to kill you, I could’ve already.”
“It’s not you killing me that I’m worried about,” Katsuki says unthinkingly. Todoroki is staring at him, wide-eyed at the admission. Shit. Ducking his head, he hurries to amend, “It’s eating the cooking of some fucking bloodsucker who’s probably never stepped in a kitchen his whole life.”
Todoroki, mercifully, does not comment on the slip up. Katsuki is not scared of him — he’s Bakugou fucking Katsuki for god’s sake. It’s just that, at the moment, he’s kind of at the guy’s mercy, and he’d rather die than admit it, but he’s kind of nervous about vampires in general at the moment — it’s normal, he’s just been held in captivity by them for months. He’ll get over it.
After an unnaturally long, pensive pause, Todoroki says, “I know how to cook.”
“I’ve been cooking for myself my entire life,” he deadpans.
“And I call bullshit,” Katsuki scoffs. He grabs the spoon, swirling it around in the bowl. Absently, he notes that the bandages on his arms have been changed, and scowls. “Vampires don’t eat.”
“I’m not a vampire.”
Katsuki gives him a look that he hopes expresses yeah right, dipshit clearer than any words can. The look Todoroki returns can only mean why would I care what you think.
Katsuki’s scowl deepens. Throw caution to the wind, he reminds himself. He’ll eat the stupid porridge, if only to tell Todoroki how much it sucks.
He takes a sip, hoping to hell Todoroki doesn’t notice the way his hand trembles pathetically around the spoon.
It’s not bad. Not great — Katsuki can make better, obviously — but it’s not bad, for a porridge made by something that can’t, theoretically, taste-test it properly.
“It sucks,” he says.
“Then don’t eat it,” Todoroki retorts, even as Katsuki takes the bowl in his hands to eat it without the spoon. This way, he reasons, his hands won’t shake as much.
It’s definitely not because he’s fucking starving and this shitty little bowl of rice porridge is the best thing he’s tasted in weeks.
When he puts the bowl down, there’s a little smile playing at Todoroki’s lips and Katsuki has no idea what the hell what to make of that.
“What’re you smiling about, you strawberry parfait looking bloodsucker?”
“… How creative.” But the smile dims as quickly as it had appeared, and Katsuki is left mystified.
Even more, by the accompanying twinge of disappointment he feels.
Todoroki takes the tray. “You should get some more rest.”
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Katsuki says quickly, even though his eyelids are getting heavy already. He fights at the drowsiness, unwilling to let Todoroki out of his sight, just in case he tries anything funny.
“I will be out of the house for the rest of the day.” It’s only just then that Katsuki notices that Todoroki’s hair is styled back again, like it had been that day at the vampire den. It makes him look more imposing. Katsuki finds his lip curling at the sight.
“Do I look like I care?”
Todoroki continues as if he hadn’t spoken. “So if you get hungry again, you’ll just have to bear it.”
Katsuki bristles. “I can feed myself, you condescending fuckwad.”
“Though, I’ll probably be back by the time you wake up next, with how much you’ve been sleeping.” He means to retort, werewolves need sleep, unlike you undead leeches, but Todoroki goes on. “Also, if you wish to leave, then please do so without breaking anything, such as windows or doors, and other such delicate objects.”
Katsuki’s blood boils, sending him bolting straight upright, the cloud of fatigue falling away with the first spark of animosity in the air. “Weird. I just got the sudden urge to break a delicate object.”
Todoroki lets out a little huff of a breath, but ultimately ignores Katsuki yet again. He’s obvious underestimating Katsuki yet again, the pompous fucker, and Katsuki vows to make him regret it. “I treated the wounds on your arms while you were sleeping, but I didn’t have the time to change your other bandages. So, I’d also advise against strenuous animalistic behaviour, such as leaping out of windows. The front door is unlocked.”
Fuck it, fuck it, seriously, I’m gonna kill him, I’m gonna —
With that, Todoroki turns to leave, oblivious to Katsuki’s mounting rage. His body moves on its own, he swears it does, when he lunges for Todoroki’s throat, out for fucking blood.
And for the third time, Todoroki stops him with infuriating ease, manhandling him until his arms are twisted behind his back, leaving Katsuki snarling at air.
“You’re going to open your wounds again,” he says calmly. Katsuki just growls, struggling against his hold. He manages to pull an arm free, sends an elbow into Todoroki’s gut and the vampire lets out a grunt, clutching at his abdomen. Katsuki uses the opportunity to twist out of his hold, kicking one leg out, intent on sending Todoroki to his back, but the vampire stays stock still, immovable as a rock.
He blocks the next punch Katsuki throws, before grabbing his wrist and twisting his arm back, forcing Katsuki down to his knees. “Why are you upset?”
“I’ll fucking kill you, you bastard — ”
“Stop,” Todoroki commands. “Your wounds — ”
“I’ll let go if you calm down — ”
“Stop pretending you care!” Katsuki snarls, leaning his cheek into the floor so he can glare at Todoroki over his shoulder. The vampire regards him coolly, with that quiet superiority of his that makes Katsuki want to tear him down, rip him to pieces so that he can never look down at him ever again.
“Calm down,” Todoroki says, and his fangs have slipped out sometime amidst the fight. Katsuki, beyond himself, just snarls and thrashes in his hold, trying to buck Todoroki’s weight off of him. “I said calm down.”
He reaches out with his free hand, the one not clasped around Katsuki’s arm, and Katsuki means to bite him, do something — anything rather than being held down so humiliatingly — but Todoroki’s hand brushes against his ear on accident and Katsuki jerks and goes still.
Todoroki’s eyes widen at the response. To Katsuki’s utter horror, he puts the two and two together, and does it again, cautiously brushing the tips of his finger against the soft fur of the wolf ears atop his head.
It sends tingles down his spine. It feels too intimate. Katsuki shudders.
He feels his heart rate slowing, breathing growing sluggish, as Todoroki continues his ministrations for what feels like forever. Katsuki wonders, idly, when the last time had been, that someone had touched him like this without the intent to hurt or to take.
He wonders why he can’t seem to remember anything at the moment but the gentle, awed widening of Todoroki’s eyes and the small, surprised ‘o’ of his lips.
But the moment is broken, as they all are eventually, and Todoroki lets him go just as Katsuki’s arm is starting to go numb. He gets off him without a word or an explanation, just straightens up jerkily, and as Katsuki clumsily pushes himself off the floor, he catches the shell-shocked expression shadowed on the bloodsucker’s face. It has his own face heating up.
He’s fairly sure that, for the first time, he and Todoroki happen to be thinking the same damn thing.
Reality seems to crash upon Todoroki like a tidal wave and he stammers out what might have been fragments of an apology and disappears out the door, leaving Katsuki sitting there on the ground, bewildered, nothing but an endless stream of question marks and expletives streaming through his mind.
After what could’ve been minutes later, Katsuki staggers to his feet over to the bed and collapses onto it. He pulls the covers around himself, staring at the closed door like it could offer any answers as to what the fucking hell just happened.
Despite the bone-aching tiredness he feels, it’s only hours later that sleep comes fitfully but dreamlessly.
When Katsuki next awakens, it’s to an empty room and a growling stomach.
He pulls the covers away, sluggishly swinging his legs off the bed. A quick inventory check tells him his bandages have been changed again, and an unnerving thought dawns on him. If Todoroki had ever chosen to take a bite while Katsuki had been out cold, he would be none the wiser. He has too many marks to be able tell if any new ones had been left in his sleep.
Scowling, he makes to storm out and find the red and white bloodsucker and demand that he leave the bandages be and to stay away from him while he’s sleeping. Using the walls for support as his legs are still unsteady, Katsuki opens the door to find that it really is unlocked.
It clicks open, and with it, an onrush of memories come flooding back. Todoroki tauntingly telling him that he can leave; holding him to the ground, petting his ears with wide-eyed wonder, Todoroki fleeing from the room, cheeks dusted pink, leaving Katsuki slumped there on the ground, dumbfounded —
Katsuki covers his face with his hands, mortified.
What… What the fuck…
“He's so fucking dead,” Katsuki declares. He resumes his venture outside with renewed vigour.
But after stumbling around like a fool for several minutes, he comes to a halt as two aggravating conclusions hit him at once: one, that Todoroki’s shitty mansion is really fucking big and he has no idea where he is, let alone where Todoroki is, and two: that the half-and-half vampire had mentioned being away for the day, so he’s probably not around for Katsuki to find.
Letting out a frustrated breath, Katsuki slumps against the wall to catch his breath. He clenches his fist, staring at the alien, unfamiliar tremble of his fingers. He hates feeling this weak. Vulnerable. Pathetic.
He’d do anything to get his strength back, and fast. Hanging around here isn’t going to do the trick, especially if he has no way of knowing if Todoroki has periodically been drinking his blood while he’s asleep — he ignores the doubtful twinge in his gut at the prospect.
The door is unlocked. He can leave, finally be as far away from bloodsuckers as he can — he can be free to do as he wants. Todoroki has made that expressly clear now, despite his roundabout ways of showing it.
But — then what?
Run back, to the hunters association, tail between his legs? To face Deku, who’s probably waiting, anxious frown on his face as he asks Katsuki — what happened, are you hurt, who did this to you — and even worse, the tears, that Katsuki would have no idea what to do with except make worse in the only way he can?
Go home, where he’ll have to face his parents, tell them that he’d been too fucking weak to get out of there on his own — that he’d had to wait there, let them do as they pleased with him until someone came to his rescue?
The answer is a resounding no.
He shuts his eyes, knocks his head back against the wall. It’s useless. He can’t go back. Not like this — he can’t let them see him like this.
Not when he’s covered with scars and too weak to walk a straight line.
He’d rather die, than let them see him like this.
Katsuki opens his eyes. That’s what that half-and-half bastard had said.
‘A vampire’s saliva has regenerative properties.’
Vampire bites don’t heal for werewolves, they leave behind nothing but ugly, raised scars, but… what if they could, given the right stimulation?
It’s absurd — laughable even — that he’s even considering it. That he’d steep so low as to ask a vampire for favours… The him of two months ago would’ve probably spat in his face for even suggesting it.
It had been the vampires that had done this to him. It had been ironic enough, that a vampire had been the one, of all people, to go and rescue him.
“You’re up,” a voice says.
Katsuki straightens from his slouch, folding his arms across his chest. Todoroki strides towards him, his coat folded neatly over one arm and hair windswept. He must be close to the entrance, if Todoroki had just returned home.
“You’re back,” Katsuki mutters, awkwardly. As usual, the sight of Todoroki’s impassive face ticks him off, for one reason or another.
“And you’re still here.”
“Are we just gonna stand around and state the obvious for the rest of the day?”
“Would you like some porridge?” Todoroki asks, completely compartmentalizing Katsuki’s anger in that infuriating way of his.
“I don’t want your shitty porridge,” Katsuki says, even though his stomach growls. Cheeks reddening, he demands, “I want you to lick me.”
In an instant, Todoroki’s mismatched eyes are wide as saucers.
Katsuki is sure his own expression is one of mirrored shock, because — wait. Wait. That hadn’t come out right at all —
Todoroki takes several long strides closer, closing their distance. Leaning in close, intensely, he asks, “Do you have a fever?”
Katsuki smacks a hand out wildly, keeping him at bay. “I don’t have a fever, dumbass, I just — I meant — ”
“That you want me to lick you.”
Katsuki’s face is in flames. “No. Yes. I mean — No, you fucking shithead! Listen!”
Todoroki thwarts one of Katsuki’s flailing limbs. “I’m listening.”
“I need you to lick me, but listen, okay? Shut up.”
“I didn’t say anything — ”
“Shut up.” Todoroki looks irritated, but he presses his lips shut, mercifully. “I just meant — ” He lets out a frustrated breath, unable to meet the vampire’s gaze when he blurts out, “You said that your shitty vampire saliva has regenerative abilities, or or — whatever, and I need to get rid of all these stupid bite marks, and you seem to like my blood, 'cause whatever, any kind of blood will do for you guys, right? And since werewolf blood makes you guys stronger, I figured it’d be a good deal on your end too, so, yeah.” He’s panting by the end of it.
And Todoroki is just staring at him, like he’d grown a second head.
“Don’t look at me like that, you bastard, s… say something!”
“… I don’t know what to say. You want me to bite you?”
“No!” Katsuki shouts. “Did you not listen to that at all? I want you to lick me!” Fuck. He cannot believe this conversation right now.
Apparently, Todoroki can’t either. “It’s been a long day. I’m tired... I must be lucid dreaming. I’ll speak to you tomorrow morning. Goodnight,” he mutters, walking off brusquely.
“Wh… Hey! Wait, you — Fuck,” Katsuki curses, unable to keep up on his shaky legs. “It’s not a fucking dream, you asshole! I’m saying you can drink my blood, okay? Fuck.”
“I’ll make you deal, alright? You can drink my blood, but you have to — I need these marks gone. And you’re gonna help me.”
Slowly, Todoroki turns on his heels to face him. The look on his face is dark, an edge tightening his jaw. It makes his stomach churn uneasily. That kind of expression, he’s known all too well. In Katsuki’s experience, it always tends to mean that a vampire is hungry.
Todoroki takes a step closer, even as he says, “You don’t know what you’re offering.”
“Of course I do. I’m not an idiot.”
“You’re a fool, and you don’t,” Todoroki hisses, eyes blazing.
Katsuki forces himself upright, marches over to the asshole, grabbing him by the collar of his stupid, pressed white dress shirt. “Need me to repeat myself? I’m saying I’ll let you bite me. You’re the fool if you say no.”
For a moment, he thinks Todoroki is really going to do it. That he’s going to shove Katsuki against the nearest surface, tear the bandages he’d so carefully wrapped away, and drink from him right then and there. For a moment, Todoroki had looked like he wanted nothing more than to do so.
But it fades, replaced with a look of utter agony. Face twisted, he shoves Katsuki away, backing up like Katsuki had demanded he be the one bitten.
And even that is shuttered away in the next, leaving behind nothing but a mask of apathy.
“No,” he says.
Then he’s hurrying, sweeping down the halls and disappearing through one of its infinite many doors.
Confused — lost, angry, despairing, frustrated, desperate — Katsuki is left standing there in the silence of a house that’s too damn big.
Vampires don’t have feelings.
They don’t care about anything but getting their next fix.
That’s what they’d taught him.
So what the hell was that?
Like hell he’s just going to let Todoroki get the last word like that. Staggering after him, Katsuki chases the vampire, nothing but fury fuelling his movements, forcing his body to just move.
He runs, down the hall Todoroki had disappeared into, up the winding flight of stairs; bursts into the room he’d heard open and close, followed by the sounds of shattering glass.
“So you’re just gonna run away like a — …” Katsuki’s mouth clicks shut. Of all the sights he’d expected to see, it had not even been close to this.
To see a vase shattered on the ground, glass shards reflecting his own shocked face. To see Todoroki doubled over at his desk, fangs elongated, face twisted into a snarl, left eye glowing bright, vicious red when he looks up.
His fingers, digging deep, jagged grooves into wood.
“Get out,” he snaps, and his voice is garbled — animalistic.
Katsuki, never one to follow orders, just shuts the door behind him. “This was what you were so scared about?”
“I said, get out!”
He dodges the stapler Todoroki throws at him, just barely. “So you want to drink my blood. And? Why fight it? I said it’s fine, didn’t I?”
Todoroki just snarls wordlessly, sweeping past him to the door.
Katsuki means to grab him by the arm but he misses, limbs still infuriatingly, uncharacteristically clumsy, but he manages to snag Todoroki’s sleeve. The look Todoroki sends him over his shoulder as he stops, takes a shuddering breath, sends his heart into a frenzy, wild and panicked against his ear — danger, danger, danger.
“It doesn’t stop at just your blood. You could lose your life, too.”
“I’m not exactly surprised,” Katsuki says with forced nonchalance, even though his stomach churns and his throat feels tight. “You’re a vampire, and you drink blood. Sometimes you can’t stop. So what?”
“’So what?’” he echoes. “You of all people should know exactly what.”
“I don’t. I don’t know what your fucking deal is, getting all freaked out about nothing. A vampire wanting to drink blood, big fucking surprise. It’s in your nature, so what’s there to get all worked up about?”
“My nature.” Todoroki spins to face him fully. “My nature — ”
“Yeah, your nature, asshole,” Katsuki snaps. “As a creature of the undead, to drink blood to stay alive. It’s what you are, so it’s a pain in the ass to see that miserable look on your face. Hating yourself for being yourself must be goddamn exhausting. Do us both a favour and cut it out.”
Fury and blood thirst fades from Todoroki’s face as he takes in the words. His one red eye dims to a calm, stormy blue. He looks down at Katsuki’s hand, where it’s still gripped to his sleeve, and Katsuki hastily pulls away.
“… You are strangely understanding of the ones you despise,” he observes. “Even when I’ve yet to understand them myself.”
“… That’s because you haven’t tried, half-and-half.” He feels abruptly drained — from the abrupt chase — the arguing. The constant need to one-up Todoroki in some unspoken battle.
“Why would you want to? After all they’ve done to you?”
Katsuki doesn’t know what urges him to answer, but he does, albeit irritably. “It’s not about me, or what they’ve done — I’ll kill them all myself if I have to. But it’s about the way shit is, the way we’re born or made. They were made to drink blood, and I was weak enough to let myself be captured by them. … That’s all there was to it.” The look on Todoroki’s face unsettles him, it’s borderline awed and fuck if that doesn’t weird Katsuki out enough for him to hastily add, “It probably takes a whole genius to understand, so don’t worry yourself about it.”
At this, Todoroki laughs, a small airy sound that has Katsuki’s head spinning. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Whatever. There’s… There’s one more thing.”
Todoroki opens his mouth, but Katsuki speaks over him.
“Just as a heads up, I’m about to pass out. And since it’s your fault, because you ran away like a fucking coward and I had to chase you, take responsibility.”
Alarmed, Todoroki reaches to take hold of his arm. “Bakugou, try to stay awake.”
I would if I could, he wants to snap, but his lips won’t obey him.
The last thing he thinks as Todoroki shouts worriedly, through his rapidly fading awareness, is that this is getting real fucking old already.
“You need to eat more. You’re passing out a lot because you’re malnourished. Do vampires not feed their captives in the den?” Todoroki asks as soon as Katsuki cracks an eyelid open.
“The shit they feed you is drugged to hell,” Katsuki grumbles, voice scratchy from disuse. He sits up, and Todoroki hands him a glass of water. Eyeing it suspiciously for only a moment, Katsuki opts to drink it. When he hands it back, Todoroki’s gaze is unusually… dark. Like he’s angry. Katsuki tries not to dwell on it, as it dredges up some strange feeling in his gut that might be similar to interest.
“So you didn’t eat,” Todoroki concludes.
“When I had the choice, I didn’t,” he agrees. He narrows his eyes, because it almost seems as if Todoroki doesn’t know much about the workings of vampire dens. Being one himself, it should come as elementary.
“When you… had the choice.” Todoroki busies himself arranging the tray at Katsuki’s bedside, gaze shadowed by his bangs. “I made porridge again. I know you don’t like it, but it’s the only thing I really know how to make.” His brows are furrowed when he finally looks up. “But I added more ingredients, and it should help you get your energy back.”
Katsuki fights back the initial spike of suspicion at the words ingredients. “… Why?”
“What do you care, if I get my energy back or not? Wouldn’t it be better for you if I didn’t?”
Understanding dawns on the vampire’s face, written in the angry set of his lips. “I don’t want your blood, Bakugou.”
“Yeah, sorry, but I don’t believe that,” Katsuki deadpans.
“Believe what you want. It doesn’t matter to me,” Todoroki says mildly. “But I meant it, when I said you could leave. The doors are unlocked. It would simply be… better for you if you got your strength back first. There are vampire dens around this area I haven’t dealt with yet.”
Katsuki takes the bowl into his lap; lets the heat seep into his palms. “I can handle myself.”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
Katsuki bristles at the tone. “I can. I’m a fucking hunter. I don’t need your — ”
“Pity. So I’ve heard.”
“ — Protection,” Katsuki finishes with a sneer. “That’s what this is, isn’t it? I’m a fucking charity case, because you were too late to save the rest of them — ”
“Eat,” Todoroki cuts in sharply. “Rest. Then leave, if that’s what you want.”
“And if it’s not what I want?” When Todoroki shoots him an incredulous look, Katsuki rolls his eyes. “You’re just gonna pretend yesterday didn’t happen, then. Typical evasive bullshit.”
“We’re not discussing that, because it’s not an option. Once you get your strength back, you can be on your way,” Todoroki tells him tersely.
“I’m not going anywhere, asshole. Not until you get these bite marks off me.”
Todoroki gets to his feet, the chair he’d placed by the bed sliding harshly against the floor. “It’s not that simple. I… I can’t help you with that. Ask someone else — ”
“There is no one else!” Katsuki shouts, clenching his hands tight around the steaming bowl. “There’s nowhere for me to go now, not when my body is a mess like this! I can’t go home! And you keep saying that it doesn’t matter, that you don’t care — but you do. Don’t you? Even if it’s all charity to you, you really fucking care.”
“… You aren’t a charity case, Bakugou,” Todoroki says tiredly.
“It doesn’t matter what I am to you. All that matters is that I know you can help me. And I can help you too.”
There’s a little smile playing on his lips again, the one that always shakes Katsuki to the core. “There you go again, with those empty promises.”
“I can,” Katsuki insists mulishly. “Werewolf, remember? How much easier would it be to take down the rest of those vampire dens using my blood? And I’m saying you can use it.”
“… Haven’t you had enough of vampires drinking from you?”
“It's different, since it’ll be on my terms. And either way, you will be the last.”
Todoroki shakes his head, even though he can’t seem to tear his gaze away from Katsuki’s throat. But before Katsuki can press his point, Todoroki holds up a hand. “If this is going to happen, it needs to be on my terms.”
“… Why?” Katsuki demands, unnerved.
“Because if you take me by surprise, there could be… complications.”
“What, like you could kill me? Just try it — ”
“Bakugou,” Todoroki snaps, and there’s something about the way he says his name that always seems to turn him from raging to quiet. “Accept, or there’s no deal.”
Katsuki glares. “You expect me to let you drink from me whenever you want, wherever you want? I don’t fucking think so, asshole. Try again.”
“That’s not — ” Todoroki lets out a breath, running a tired hand over his face. His eyes look worn and aged, and Katsuki is left wondering just how old this guy is — how much power he’s constantly hiding beneath his calm exterior. “I’m going to lay down some rules.”
“Like…” Todoroki’s face twists in displeasure as he recalls, “Attacking me from behind. Getting too close when it isn’t necessary.”
“That sort of thing freaks you out, huh?”
“That’s one way to put it,” he grits out, as if agreeing pisses him off. “And barging into my office without warning. All of these things would be off-limits.”
“It’s a deal. We do this on your ‘terms’ or whatever. I won’t trip you up or step on your toes. I’ll stay out of your space. But I have one rule myself.”
Todoroki nods at him to continue.
“When I tell you to stop, you have to. No matter what. Or I’ll… I’ll fucking make you.”
Todoroki is stricken. “I would’ve done that regardless.”
“You haven’t so far,” Katsuki points out, turning pointedly back to the bowl in his lap, hating the way his voice shakes. The look on the vampire’s face can be described as nothing but… hurt.
Strangely, it makes Katsuki feel guilty for putting it there, even if Todoroki had drank from him twice now, to his knowledge, without Katsuki’s express consent.
After a while, Todoroki says, quietly, “I’m sorry.”
Katsuki looks up, startled.
“I am. I thought… I just wanted to help.”
“Help,” Katsuki echoes dubiously. By licking at my wounds?
“I didn’t know how else — ” Frustration has Todoroki’s fangs lengthening. They poke out as he speaks, and Katsuki can’t look away. “You were bleeding, and I wanted it to stop. I wasn’t thinking, and I apologize.”
Uncomfortable at the honesty in his voice, he turns back to his food to poke at it mindlessly. “It doesn’t matter now. It was a good thing in the end, that you… did that. So, it’s fine.”
“If you ask me to stop next time, I will make sure to.”
“I got it, okay? It’s fine. Let’s… stop talking about this now. God.” It’s fucking kill him — the awkward, tense atmosphere that has arisen. He’d do anything to get rid of it.
He desperately hopes Todoroki will fuck off on his own, but even after several tense minutes, he hovers around. He looks like he wants to say something, opening and closing his mouth several times, but seemingly giving up each time.
Irritably, Katsuki says, “Don’t you have somewhere to be?” the same moment Todoroki finally musters up the balls to say, “I could treat some of your wounds now, if you want.”
They freeze and stare at each other. If it’d been awkward before, Katsuki could probably strangle himself with the tension now. Briefly the thought of taking a running start and jump out the window, injuries be damned, flits by, and he tamps it down by sheer force of will.
“Never mind,” Todoroki says quickly.
“Whatever,” Katsuki blurts out, before physically combusting into an embarrassed, flushed mess. “I mean. What?”
His only reprieve is that Todoroki is similarly red in the face, though fainter, and his mismatched eyes are wide. Katsuki hadn’t even known vampires could blush. “… Was that a yes?”
“That was a whatever, dumbass!”
“Don’t get mad.” Todoroki takes Katsuki’s empty bowl from his hands and placing it aside. “To answer your question, I do have somewhere to be today. Which is why we should get this done now, beforehand.”
“Get this done,” Katsuki echoes blankly.
“… Would you prefer if I did it while you were asleep?”
“No!” Katsuki shouts. Then, quieter: “No… Don’t you fucking dare. Only when I’m…”
But Todoroki doesn’t move, and Katsuki just stares up at him, breaths quick. He’d asked for this, so he doesn’t know what this stupid panicky feeling in his chest is all about — when it’s just Todoroki and his witty cutting remarks and dumb red and white hair.
He doesn’t know why his palms are sweating, his whole body shaking beneath the blankets. Todoroki pulls them away, exposing Katsuki’s weakness to the world. When he places a knee on the bed to unravel the bindings around Katsuki’s forearm, Katsuki squeezes his eyes shut.
He’s not scared.
So fucking weak.
He remembers. He remembers all the hands, reaching for him, holding him down. The cool breaths fanning against his skin, sending goosebumps down his arms. There is no warning, before they bite down, harsh slashes of fangs straight through his flesh. The screams ricocheting off the walls, not all of them his. He remembers that the clearest. Of the others, the weaker ones, the humans, crying and begging for mercy before — nothing. He’d been the last, but he didn’t cry even then. Not once.
Just lay there, in a puddle of his own blood; numb. Not wanting to give them that little victory.
He knows he could do it again.
“Tell me you don't want this,” Todoroki says, voice drawing him back to the present. He’s holding onto Katsuki’s arm, lightly — carefully — and his expression is expectant. What Katsuki interprets as pity. He grinds his teeth.
Not that shit again.
“I want this."
Todoroki considers this, and takes the conviction in Katsuki’s voice for what it is. He bends down, lips ghosting over the scar. “This one has closed. I’ll have to open it again, for this to work. If you don’t want a scar,” he warns.
Katsuki turns his head away. “Do it. No scars.” That’s the whole point. “Just do it.”
But moments later, and Todoroki still hasn’t bitten him.
“What the hell are you waiting for, asshole?”
“It won’t hurt,” Todoroki tells him. “I promise.”
“Don’t fucking lie. I can take it,” Katsuki hisses. Don’t fucking bullshit me when every single one of those bites hurt like a bitch.
But still — still — Todoroki doesn’t make to bite him. “They hurt, at the vampire den. All of these…” He traces a thumb over the raised scar on Katsuki’s wrist. “Hurt?”
Katsuki wants to punch him. “Of course they did, you — ”
“They hurt you, on purpose,” Todoroki tells him, and Katsuki is so momentarily blinded by rage that he almost misses his next words. “The bites don’t have to hurt, but they did. … I should’ve killed them more slowly.”
Despite himself, Katsuki shudders. The air around them has grown colder with the intensity of Todoroki’s fury. Instead of commenting, that he wishes he’d been the one to kill those bastards himself, he shoves Todoroki’s head back down to his wrist. “Great. They’re dickwads. Fact fucking checked. We already knew that so just bite me already.”
Todoroki resists the pressure just long enough to say, “It won’t hurt. But tell me to stop, if you don’t like it.”
“I won’t like it regardless — ”
Todoroki bites down. Katsuki has to hold back a moan as he throws his head back against the headboard. It doesn’t hurt. There’s only an initial sting, that doesn’t hurt nearly as much as Katsuki had braced himself for, and the feeling after that is nothing short of euphoria.
Nothing, Katsuki thinks, has ever felt anything quite as close to this. Nothing ever will. He understands now, how someone could get hooked on the bites. He’s never understood before, and certainly not after the den.
Fuck. His head lolls, and for a moment there’s nothing but the odd sensation of Todoroki’s drawing his fangs out of his skin, and the slow drag of his tongue against the wound.
It’s an eternity later when Todoroki pulls away, lifts his head to gauge Katsuki’s expression, and he has to hold back the protest — the strangest urge to push his head back down and tell him, ‘I want this. Keep going. Don’t stop.’
All he manages out is a stifled whine.
Todoroki stares at him hungrily, left eye still a faint glowing red, and Katsuki imagines he’s echoing that sentiment.
“Are you okay?” he manages out, tongue flicking out to lick his lips free of blood.
“Fucking great,” Katsuki grouses, instantly uncomfortable. He sinks back into the pillows as the euphoria trickles away. “I think I’m gonna sleep for a whole damn week now.”
“Please don’t,” Todoroki frowns. “You’ve been sleeping so deeply I almost thought you’d died. You need to get food and water in your system, so try not to sleep so much.”
Katsuki rolls his eyes. “You clearly don’t know how sleep works.” Todoroki tries to help him under the covers, but a single glare has him retracting. Once he’s fully buried under the blanket, he’s out in seconds.
It’s by the twentieth time Katsuki’s woken up in Todoroki’s huge ass empty mansion that Katsuki finally realizes that he’s fallen into some sort of rut.
A rut, that consists of him waking up, in this huge ass mansion, hunting down Todoroki who’s usually somewhere in said mansion, waiting to welcome Katsuki with his particular brand of dry humour and sass, which usually ends in Todoroki licking at his wounds like some weird, bloodthirsty heterochromic cat and somehow even more strangely, Katsuki not ending up leaving the fucking mansion.
When Todoroki isn’t around, he always shows up within a few hours, hair disheveled by the wind but not a speck of blood on his clothing, despite the bloody business Katsuki knows he’s up to. Those days are the strangest — Todoroki is quieter, and he doesn’t put up a fight, when Katsuki demands he drink from him like he usually does.
Sometimes, if Katsuki has the energy and is feeling particularly generous, he’ll cook up something in Todoroki’s miserably stocked kitchen. Despite his earlier misgivings, Todoroki can eat. It’s hard to wrap his head around it — how Todoroki can be so inhuman yet human all at once — sat at the dinner table, staring at the chopsticks in his grasp with that blank look on his face until Katsuki had snapped, incredulous, “What, do you not know how to use those either?”
He doesn’t know how they’d gotten to this point at all. Just a week ago, Todoroki had asked him if he’d like to go shopping for groceries. Katsuki had sniffed at him and walked away — mostly because he’d almost said yes — a little more because the truth is, the next time he steps out of the mansion, he thinks he’ll probably never come back. Whatever this weird rut they're caught in means — the rules of their bizarre little deal probably only hold within these walls.
For the life of him, he doesn’t know why that fact burns so deep in his gut that it has become a problem. A problem that Katsuki has adamantly been avoiding thinking about.
Because somehow, somewhere along the way, between Todoroki's bites, that seem to bury the old ones to the recesses of his memories and leave him with nothing but the feeling of Todoroki’s mouth on his skin, and just Todoroki himself — his presence, that drives Katsuki up the wall but at the same time, makes him feel at ease — he’s probably — just maybe — grown to tolerate the vampire.
Tolerate would be an overstatement. This is troubling, to say the least. Katsuki does not simply tolerate vampires.
So, he should probably be worried, that the most unsettling thing to him out of everything else at the moment is Todoroki’s absence. It’s been over 13 hours since Katsuki has seen his face and — no, he hasn’t been counting — it’s probably been the longest time Katsuki has managed to stay awake in almost three months.
But it's not that he's worried. It’s just that the food is getting cold, and Todoroki is wasting his precious time — time that he could be using to heal his wounds instead of sitting around idly, wasting away in this too-big mansion.
He doesn’t know how Todoroki had managed to stay in this place on his own. It’s eerie, even for a vampire lair.
He spends about five more minutes pacing, anxiety clawing through his chest. Another five, angrily having to take a seat and catch his breath. All his life, he’s been the epitome of fitness and vitality — this, is fucking constricting. He can hardly breathe. Todoroki may have broken his shackles, but they’re still on him, weighing him down, trapping him in his own weakened body.
It’s easier to just not-think about any of it when Todoroki is here. He doesn’t dwell on why exactly that is.
The vampire is a good distraction — an annoyance. That’s it.
He doesn’t care about him.
The doorbell rings.
Katsuki bolts to his feet, heading towards it on auto-pilot before he pauses, eyes narrowing at his own haste. Firstly, because he's acting like goddamn house pet, overly eager to welcome its owner home. It's absurd. But probably more pressingly, in all his time here, Todoroki has never invited any guests. Katsuki doubts he even has any friends, with the amount of time he spends cooped up in his office doing fuck knows what.
Surely if he’d invited someone over, he’d have at least mentioned it to Katsuki, who tends to be a “bite the head off first and ask questions later” kind of guy. Well, it's his own fault if it's a friend and Katsuki ends up ripping them a new one, since he should’ve been here to open the door himself.
With that thought in mind, Katsuki huffs and stomps to the front door, not even bothering to check the peephole before yanking it open. This had been, in hindsight, his first mistake.
Because standing at the door, wide-eyed and horrified, is Deku.
What the fuck.
“Kacch — ”
Katsuki slams the door shut and locks it, heart hammering in his chest. There’s the pounding of Deku’s fist, each knock making Katsuki’s gut swoop and — is that Kirishima’s voice?
As if things could get any damn worse.
He stumbles blindly to the closet, knowing he can’t avoid them now that they know that he’s here and not knocked out somewhere in a vampire’s basement, getting his life sucked out of him. He doesn’t know how they found him, but really, it had only been a matter of time.
There’s nowhere in the world he could go to escape that Deku’s reach, after all.
He grabs the first coat he finds and shoves it on, blindly. He can’t let them see the bandages, or they’d ask questions. They will, nonetheless, but this way at least the questions will come later.
The knocking persists, a second set joining the first. Seething, Katsuki pulls the door open again. Second mistake.
“What the hell are you doing here, you shitheads?”
“Kacchan!” Deku cries, babbles spilling out quicker than even his tears. The idiot has grown in nothing but height and tenacity over the years. “Where have you been? We’ve been looking everywhere for you, it’s been months, we’ve looked everywhere — ”
“Yeah, man, what the hell?” Kirishima pipes in, and shit, there are tears on that end too. Katsuki has no idea what to do — just stands there, blankly; uncomfortably. “We thought you were dead.”
Shit. There’s nothing Katsuki can do in the face of that — that pathetic kicked-puppy expression, except step back and let them in.
As soon as he does, Kirishima tackles him into an embrace, one that hits all his sore spots in the worst possible ways, but Katsuki doesn’t fight it. In the background, Deku wipes at his tears, staring at him like he can’t believe his eyes.
Katsuki can relate.
“It’s really you, right?” Kirishima asks, voice thick and muffled from where his face is buried in Katsuki’s shoulder.
He sighs, pulling away. “…Yeah.”
“What the hell, Katsuki?!”
“I don’t understand,” Deku sniffles. “Why are you — How are you here right now?”
“I should be asking you two the same thing. How did you find me?”
Kirishima blinks. “What? We didn’t. We were looking for Todoroki.”
“I mean, we have been looking for you, I swear, we haven’t stopped! But we came here for Todoroki. He’s a vampire, but he’s been working with us to take down the dens — ”
“Kacchan,” Deku cuts in, face darkening as he zeroes in on the bandages around Katsuki’s throat. “What are you doing here, really? Where have you been?”
There it is — the fucking questions. Angrily, Katsuki zips up his coat the rest of the way. He’d known there would be no way he could hide anything from Deku for long. “None of your damn business.”
“I think I — we deserve to know. We’ve been worried sick — ”
“Well you can stop worrying, because I’m fine. I’m alive, clearly.”
And there’s that fucking look again. The one that Katsuki abhors the most. “Kacchan — ”
“Just drop it, Deku — ”
“Guys! Cool it,” Kirishima cuts in. “We’ve just been reunited in, what, three months? And all you can do is fight?”
“Is it too much to ask that Kacchan explain himself for once?” Deku says hotly. “I don’t think I’m the unreasonable one here.”
“Yeah, well, why don’t you explain why you’re working with a vampire — ”
“We were desperate! We wanted to save you! We could use all the help we could get — ”
“I don’t need you to save me, Deku!” Katsuki shouts, heat rising to his face, frustration and guilt mixing horribly in his chest. He can’t breathe. He’s so weak, so fucking weak, and Deku sees right through him, as always. He hates it. He hates it so damn much.
Sometimes, he wishes Deku didn’t care as much. That he could just leave Katsuki be, even if it means letting him go for good.
“I know you don’t need it,” Deku says, quieter. “But I want to, because I care about you.”
“Then stop — stop caring,” Katsuki says, and he hates the broken quality of his voice. It’s been three months, not three years. But looking at them makes his eyes feel hot and wet. It makes no sense. None of what he’s feeling makes any sense right now.
Kirishima lays a hand on his shoulder, his grip firm and familiar. “You know we can’t do that, man.” Katsuki just glares at the floor. “You don’t have to tell us what happened, but, just — you’re okay, right? You can tell us that much. Right?”
“I’m standing here, aren’t I?”
Kirishima rolls his eyes. “Doesn’t mean you’re okay.”
“… I’m fine, shitty hair,” Katsuki grumbles eventually. He is. Or, he will be, one day anyway. He’s getting there. At the twin looks of dubious doubt, he hastily changes the subject. “What’d you mean you’re working with Todoroki?”
“How do you know him?” Deku asks sharply.
Katsuki means to snap, None of your business again but Kirishima gives him a pointed look and shuts it down immediately. “I ran into him. Well, he… ran into me,” he grudgingly says. It’s not entirely a lie.
“He ran into you, for three months,” Deku echoes, and it sounds that much more ridiculous, coming out of his mouth worded like that.
Katsuki clenches his fists. “Yeah. Got a problem?”
“You’re lying, and I don’t understand why! What happened, Kacchan? Why are you lying about how you met him?”
“How did you meet him, then, asshole?”
Deku glares at the obvious evade-tactic, but deigns to answer, “We caught wind that a vampire den was taken out. It was in our jurisdiction, but none of our guys were responsible. He came to us and tipped us off on the next den location, and offered to work with us.”
“And you just trusted him? A vampire?”
Deku bristles. “Obviously not. We trailed him for a while. We watched him take out a den on his own first before accepting.”
“The enemy of your enemy is your friend, you know?” Kirishima quotes with a shrug. “We figured whatever his motives are, he’s helping. And with you… missing, we couldn’t exactly say no to the help.”
You’re fools to trust a vampire. He can’t even voice out such a hypocritical criticism. Because as much as he can deny it, he has been trusting Todoroki, to drink from him — to stop when he tells him to — to... to not hurt him.
There’s nothing he can even say in his own defense.
“… I see.”
Kirishima squints at him. “’I see’? … That’s it?”
Katsuki bristles. “What the hell’d you expect?”
“No punching or screaming? No, what the hell were you idiots thinking do you wanna die — ”
“If you wanted me to punch you so bad — ”
“We told you how we met Todoroki,” Deku interjects, eyes steely. “Now it’s your turn.”
“I don’t have to tell you a damn thing,” Katsuki replies.
“Kacchan — ”
There’s a thump at the door, something too loud to be accidental. They freeze up instinctively, but Katsuki snaps out of it first.
“It’s probably just that half-and-half bastard,” Katsuki mutters, stalking back to the entrance, even though a sinking feeling in his stomach tells him that Todoroki wouldn’t knock. Deku shoots him a look that says this isn’t over, and Katsuki just gives him the finger.
Another thud, this time softer, and Katsuki only hesitates for a second before opening the door.
He barely registers the sight of Todoroki, the gaping hole in his chest, the blood dripping to the floor and the alarmed shouts behind him, before the vampire is falling forwards.
Katsuki fumbles to catch him, staggering a little under his weight before righting himself.
Todoroki’s breaths are warm against his throat.
“Oi… half-and-half. Wh — What the hell?”
“Is that a hole in his chest?” Kirishima exclaims the same time Deku is clamouring around uselessly, muttering lowly, “Is he dead? He’s already dead, though, so it should be okay, right? What is going on? Kacchan — ”
“Shut up and help me move him to the couch,” Katsuki snaps. Deku quickly slings Todoroki’s arm over his shoulder and together, they drag his limp carcass over to the living room. When he glances behind him, there’s a trail of blood on the floor, so thick he thinks for a moment that Todoroki really is dead. And not in the vampire way but — for good.
His throat tightens at the thought and he forces it away. Laid out on the couch, he can make out Todoroki’s chest is rising, slowly and faintly. He’s still breathing.
“Oh, what the hell,” Kirishima breathes. “That must’ve hurt like a bitch…”
“He’ll heal on his own, I think…” Deku peers over Todoroki’s body intently, as if he’s trying to will his cells to regenerate. “What can we do? Maybe bandage him up?”
“That’s not going to do shit,” Katsuki spits. Todoroki’s pained expression is getting to him — grinding on his nerves. He wonders if this is how Todoroki had felt, watching Katsuki hurt himself again and again, helpless.
“I don’t know anything about vampire first-aid,” Kirishima admits, brows pinched. “They only ever taught us how to kill them…”
“The wound doesn’t look like it’s closing by itself. Shouldn’t it be doing that?” Deku frets.
Katsuki thinks about how Todoroki had apologized — had told him he’d seen Katsuki bleeding and only wanted to make it stop.
How he’d tried to help, in the only way he’d known how.
“There’s a first-aid kit in the bathroom, just up the stairs. Just in case,” he tells Kirishima. Taking in the look on his face, without question, the redhead nods and sets off.
Katsuki heads out of the room but stops around the corner, ignoring Deku’s calls of confusion. He forces himself not to think, when he grabs onto the wall, steadying himself. Staring at the plaster, his claws slowly elongating, his mind goes blank. He shrugs off Todoroki’s jacket, letting it fall to the floor. He knows what a terrible decision it would be to go through with this, when he'd just started getting better. Getting over the feeling of teeth sinking into his skin.
But it's Todoroki, and it's his stupid voice is in his head — calling Katsuki an idiot, and telling him he doesn’t have to. That he’ll heal on his own.
He knows that. But he doesn’t know that for sure.
There’s no time to hesitate.
He heads back to the living room, nudges Deku aside. Deku, eying his claws, starts to protest. “He’s unstable, Kacchan, you know how vampires get, it’s not safe — ”
“Shut up.” He begins to unravel the bandages around his forearm. Todoroki hadn’t gotten to this one yet — the old raised bite marks still stark and ugly against his skin. He hears Deku suck in a loud breath behind him at the sight, and then closes himself off entirely, focusing on Todoroki’s uneven, panting breaths.
The bleeding doesn’t seem to be slowing.
He needs to hurry.
Gritting his teeth, Katsuki slashes his forearm with a quick swipe of a claw, watching the red bloom on his skin. Before the drops can fall to waste, he brings it to Todoroki’s lips. Even like this, the vampire tries to resist, blinking awake, eyes heavy-lidded, trying to turn away from the steady blood flow.
He presses his arm closer. “Just drink, dumbass.”
Katsuki isn’t sure Todoroki is even conscious. Nonetheless, the vampire jerks forward, fight abandoned as he laps up the blood before sinking his teeth into his skin.
“Kacchan — ”
“It’s fine, Deku, stay back.” Todoroki is drinking in greedy gulps, his hands coming up to Katsuki’s arm, keeping him in place. Even now, just like he’d promised, the bite doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t feel good, like it would if Todoroki were really lucid, but there’s no pain. Katsuki had half-expected it to hurt. The fact that it doesn’t is jarring.
He should’ve known. Todoroki is nothing if not unpredictable.
“He’s healing,” he hears Kirishima’s awed voice in the background.
But it seems far away. He feels himself falling forward, head spinning as Todoroki releases his arm in turn for yanking him down until he hits the couch bodily. Looking up into Todoroki’s bright red and blue eyes, blood dripping down to his chin as he hovers over him, Katsuki knows that he’s really, truly lost it now.
Strangely, he can’t bring himself to care.
Not even when Todoroki tears the bandages away from his throat and buries his face at the juncture of his neck. His fangs come down, piercing his skin, and Katsuki only jerks once before going still.
“We have to stop him — ”
“Don’t,” Katsuki says, holding up a hand. “It’s fine, I can take it.”
“You’re losing too much blood! He’s not going to stop — ”
“He’ll stop,” Katsuki slurs, blinking the black spots from his vision. Todoroki’s weight over him is warm and heavy. “He’ll stop when I tell him to.”
“… Kacchan.” Just the one word, spells out all the disbelief in Deku’s face. Katsuki doesn’t have to look to know. He just doesn’t feel like explaining himself.
He doesn’t feel the need to.
He closes his eyes, one hand fisted in Todoroki’s hair, to hold him close or pull him away — he can’t be sure. He just knows that he has to stop him — soon — or he’ll be the one losing consciousness.
“Todoroki,” he says.
The vampire doesn’t respond, just continues drinking, desperately, making a mess of Katsuki’s shirt. The couch is already stained beyond repair.
“Todoroki, stop.” He twists his wrist out from where it had been trapped between their bodies to press at Todoroki’s shoulder. The gaping hole in his chest is closing, slowly but surely. “Shouto.”
For a single terrifying moment, Katsuki thinks Todoroki can’t hear him – that he’s too far gone, and that Katsuki had been a fool to so blindly trust a vampire that’s been thrust into its feral nature. But eventually, the fangs retract, leaving behind the familiar sensation of Todoroki’s tongue dragging across his throat, sealing the wound.
He pulls back, and when their eyes meet, recognition alighting in Todoroki’s eyes, Katsuki’s suspicions are confirmed. Todoroki all but shoves away from him, guilt and terror evident on his face.
He hadn’t been conscious at all, but he’d still stopped.
Todoroki takes in the sight of Katsuki’s bloody neck, then the sight of Deku and Kirishima who are still standing there, shell-shocked. Then, looking vaguely sickened, he bolts.
He doesn’t make it far — managing to clutch onto the doorframe to catch his balance, one hand fumbling at the wound on his chest before collapsing to a heap on the ground.
Staring at the vampire’s prone form, Katsuki feels a headache building.
Deku opens his mouth, but Katsuki speaks up first. “No questions. Okay? Just… help me get him to bed.”
Kirishima snaps out of his stupor first. “Y-Yeah.” With help from Deku, they manage to get Todoroki up the flight of stairs, Katsuki trailing behind, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.
Kirishima lets Todoroki off his back once they get to the bedroom, and Todoroki hits the mattress none too gently. “Guess we won’t be needing that first-aid kit after all,” he comments.
Katsuki nods absently; catalogues the rise and fall of Todoroki’s chest. “Any idea what… or who did this to him?”
Deku shakes his head. “We didn’t even know he’d… He usually works alone.”
“So you guys were looking for him today, for what? Information?”
“We were going to give him information,” Deku corrects, lips pursed in thought. “We received a tip-off, about the location of a coven leader. Todoroki said he’d taken down his den a few weeks ago, but the leader had escaped.”
Katsuki looks up sharply. “… He let the cover leader escape.”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean to,” Kirishima offers.
Katsuki turns his impressive glare back to Todoroki’s unconscious form, wishing the bastard were awake to feel its full force. He must have let the thing go because of Katsuki. Because Katsuki had been too fucking weak and a deadweight. “And? Where’s the asshole now?”
“Word is, he joined a new den in Shinjuku. Apparently, he’s a hotshot there too now, ‘cause he brought along a valuable… blood slave.” Kirishima shifts with discomfort at the term. Katsuki’s heard it all too many times for it to affect him in the same way now.
“What blood slave?” Katsuki demands. It can’t be… right?
“I saw her, while I was on another recon mission,” Deku says, anger seeping into his voice. “She was all bandaged up all over, just like — ” Realization dawns on him, eyes widening as he looks at Katsuki, a broken sort of pain etched across the shock on his face.
Katsuki has to break the eye contact first, feeling exposed under the scrutiny. He wishes he’d put the jacket back on. “Was it Eri?”
“… Who?” Deku whispers distractedly. Katsuki wants to shake that heartbroken expression right off. This was exactly why he hadn’t wanted Deku to find out.
“The girl,” he barks.
“I-I don’t know her name. I just saw her, from afar. She was just a kid, about this tall.” Deku makes a vague gesture around his waist. “Long silver-blonde hair.”
Katsuki curses. Apparently, it can.
The little fucker survived, then.
Relief and exhaustion crashes upon him at once. She’d survived, but she hadn’t escaped. His nails dig into his palms.
Not unless he has anything to do about it.
“… Kacchan, we still have to talk about — ”
The fucker still won’t take a damn hint. “Drop it, Deku,” Katsuki hisses, subtly darting his gaze to Kirishima, who’s staring down at Todoroki’s unconscious form, brows furrowed.
Deku’s jaw clicks shut, but Katsuki knows he’s only hearing the end of it for now. He turns his back in dismissal. Luckily, Deku gets the message, shooting him one last meaningful look before grabbing Kirishima and muttering to him under his breath. “We should go.”
“Oh, huh? Okay. But we’ll come back tomorrow, okay, Katsuki? You’d better be here!” Kirishima calls.
“Like hell! Don’t invite yourself, shitty hair!” Katsuki shouts. Kirishima just laughs good-naturedly.
Kacchan, call me, Deku enunciates with exaggerated mouth movements as he drags Kirishima out the door.
Like. Hell, Katsuki mouths back, baring his teeth. It’s a testament to how accustomed Deku has gotten to Katsuki’s foul temper these days that he doesn’t even flinch. Just smiles, a little sadly and unsurely, and waves goodbye.
Katsuki stares at his back until it disappears, and he doesn’t move, until their voices fade and the door slams shut.
He lets out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding. He wonders vaguely just when Deku had gotten so good at walking away from him, and when the hell the sight of the asshole’s back had become so familiar.
Irritated by thoughts of Deku threatening to overtake his mind, Katsuki directs his annoyance back at Todoroki, who continues to lie there, oblivious. This is all his fault. If he hadn’t… If he hadn’t gone and involved himself…
It’s all his fault.
Brow ticking, Katsuki grabs the sheet and tosses it over Todoroki’s body. It ends up covering his face. After a moment of indecision, he peels it off. Once Todoroki’s slack, sleeping face is revealed, he almost wishes he could just leave it covered.
The sight of his scarred, perfect face does things to Katsuki’s chest — unpleasant things, that had been awakened somewhere between the first time Todoroki had bitten him, and the way he’d — for the first time, and against all odds — stopped at Katsuki’s word.
Stupid confusing vampire. Bringing a hand to his neck, he feels his face reddening, recalling the all-too intimate feeling of Todoroki’s breaths ghosting across his skin; the way his body had felt pressed into his.
It’s all too confusing.
Too mind-numbingly exhausted, and too tired to make the trek back to the guest room, he throws himself onto the mattress, leaving a wide berth between their bodies.
He squeezes his eyes shut, wanting desperately for his brain to just shut down already. It’s still pounding and muddled, from all the blood he’s lost, and the stress of having Deku and Kirishima see him while he’s — like this…
It’s sickening. He wants to stop thinking.
He glances at Todoroki out of the corner of his eye, envious of the way he sleeps on. It’s weird, seeing him unconscious like this. Even after all this time spent in Todoroki’s own home, he’d never once caught the vampire asleep. He’d begun to think that he couldn’t sleep at all.
There’s still a lot he doesn’t know about vampires, he realizes. A lot he doesn’t know about Todoroki.
A lot he wants to know.
‘I’m not a vampire,’ Todoroki had said. Katsuki still can’t figure it out, what he really meant by that.
The fact that Todoroki seems unsure about the answer himself is only a minor consolation.
Shouto wakes up, but tries to pretend that he hasn’t, keeping his breaths steady, his eyes tightly shut.
Memories flood to the surface with the first tendrils of consciousness, and he swallows past the bile in his throat, the guilt threatening to eat him alive.
He’d hurt Bakugou.
He’d pinned him down, ripped into his skin like a savage animal and held him there. He’d taken and taken, from someone he’d started to care about, just like his father had said he would.
It makes rage burn in his gut, to think that his father had been right about him. Right about anything.
Maybe there really isn’t enough human — enough of his mother — in him to ever win over. He’s nothing but a vampire, true to its nature, who only knows how to hurt and kill.
Just like his father.
Todoroki jerks up, giving up the guise of sleep and bringing a hand to his chest. The tear in his shirt is the only sign that he’d been hurt at all, the skin beneath his palm soft and new.
Bakugou had saved him. He’d let Shouto maul him without a fight, let Shouto drink from him despite how terrified he must’ve been. And he’d done it — for what? For some peace of mind? To settle some non-existent debt between the two of them that he’d imagined since the day he arrived?
Bakugou doesn’t owe him a thing. It’s really Shouto who should be thanking him, for granting him some reprieve to his self-imposed loneliness. Bakugou is as blindingly vibrant and merciless as the sun. Everything has been warmer — brighter — since he’d arrived.
Shouto thinks he’d be alright with night never coming again, even if it meant being burnt alive by him.
It’s only then that he notices the familiar heartbeat thudding so close to his ear, steady and slow. He turns in alarm, to see Bakugou lying there, next to him on top of the covers a mere arm’s length away, face uncharacteristically peaceful and gentle in his slumber.
It’s not an unfamiliar expression. But it’s the first time Shouto has seen it from this perspective. He can’t seem to look away — not from his face, nor from the blood marring his throat, the bright red stains on his shirt that have Shouto swallowing with guilt.
Why hadn’t Bakugou fought him?
The expression on Bakugou’s face as he’d looked at Shouto, almost trusting in its vulnerability, eats away at him. He’d taken advantage of that — whether or not he’d been aware of it, he had.
Shouto slips out of bed, as quietly as he can. He washes the blood from his face, unwilling to look in the mirror for long, and returns with a damp cloth, settling back in closer than before. He knows how deeply Bakugou sleeps, so he dabs at the blood stains gently but without reserve. Bakugou doesn’t even stir.
The blonde is an enigma — one that Shouto can’t seem to figure out no matter how hard he tries. He’d snap and get angry at the most mundane things, reactions almost cute if Shouto were to admit it to himself, albeit unpredictable, but the next moment, he’d be cooking Shouto dinner, demanding that he eat it before it gets cold and why don't you know how to take care of yourself?
All Shouto knows for certain is that he’d gotten used to Bakugou’s loud presence in the manor far too quickly, and that he’ll be sad to see him go.
The admission is frightening to say the least. Shouto isn’t supposed to be capable of feeling sadness, let alone this — whatever this is that’s curling deep in his stomach.
Once he deems Bakugou clean enough, he sets the cloth aside in favour of lying down stiffly on his back, leaving that fair little bit of space between them.
There’s the echo of pain where his wound had been, and a dull, aching hunger burning at his throat that he desperate tries not to think about. Bakugou is warm, and closer than ever. Not close enough.
Tentatively, Todoroki reaches out, taking Bakugou’s hand into his own. He wonders if the chill of his skin will wake him.
It doesn’t. Bakugou sleeps on, fingers clutched tight in his own.
Unconsciously, his lips pull into a small smile. Bakugou will leave, eventually, but for now… This should be okay.
He falls asleep, just like that. Next to the sun.
He hadn’t thought the moment Bakugou would leave would come this soon.
When Shouto wakes up, heart hammering from some forgotten nightmare, the spot beside him is empty. He’s been gone for a while, he realizes, the sheets beneath his palm cool to the touch.
“Bakugou?” he calls.
He sits up, and a note flutters from his forehead, falling to his lap. Shouto takes it in his hands, numbly.
Hey, reckless idiot, it reads. Unbelievably, some of the ice melts from around his heart already. Following it are multiple lines that have been crossed out.
What the hell were you thinking
What kind of shitty vampire goes and gets themselves hole-punched
I have to go now. It’s business. It has nothing to do with
yesterday you, so don’t get worked up over nothing, got it?
If I catch you following me, I’ll properly kick your ass!!!
… See ya, half-and-half.
There are several underlines beneath the words properly, and despite himself, Shouto smiles, unbelievably fond.
He ends up reading the note five times over, before folding it and placing it carefully onto his bedside table.
There’s a piece of plaster on his chest, just over where his wound had been. When he peels it away, the skin beneath it is whole. Breathing should come easily now, but somehow, it doesn’t.
He picks up the phone to make a call.
“… Todoroki? You’re okay!”
“Yes. But Bakugou’s disappeared.”
“What?! W-What do you mean? Is he — ”
“He’s gone. Do you know where he could've went?”
There’s a pause, before Midoriya, uncharacteristically, curses under his breath. “I have an idea. I meant to tell you yesterday, about where Chisaki Kai is holed up these days. Kacchan seemed interested when we brought it up. But Todoroki-kun — ”
“Well, well,” the vampire comments, as Katsuki steps into the room. “Never thought you’d come to me. Makes my job a bit easier.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll join her soon enough,” Chisaki leers, wide grin splitting his face.
“Like hell, fuck face.” Katsuki cracks his knuckles. “If you’re not gonna tell me, I’ll just have to rip you apart and find her myself.”
Chisaki cocks his head. His goons growl with anger, but he stops them with a careless gesture. “How do you plan on doing that, all alone, with your body the way it is?”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Katsuki snarls, claws lengthening with his canines. “I can still tear your throat out just fine.”
“I doubt it.” The vampire leans forward to hiss, eyes flashing; grin wicked, “Filthy dogs like you are meant to be tied up and put in their place. You crave it, don’t you? You can’t kill me. See, you’ve even kept the collar.”
Katsuki fingers the red leather at his throat, scowling. Todoroki had left it in his room, probably because he’d been worried the thing held some sentimental value. Maybe because he’d thought Katsuki would want to throw it out himself.
No matter the reason, he’d put it back on before he’d left, unthinkingly. It might have been because the broken length of chain reminded him of what he’d escaped, but — perhaps if he were to admit, more foolishly, it might have been because it reminded him of Todoroki.
“Come without a fight, and I’ll give you what you want.”
“The only thing I want is your head on a stake.”
Infuriatingly, Chisaki just brushes off the threat. “How did you manage to escape from that… other vampire?”
“It’s none of your fucking business, but I killed him,” Katsuki lies.
“How unfortunate,” the coven leader hums. “I would’ve wanted to speak with him.”
“You should be grateful, ‘cause that guy would’ve just slaughtered you like pigs, just like he did to your last shitty coven — ”
“Quiet,” Chisaki snarls, before evening out his expression. “I always forget what filthy mouths you mongrels have. It’s disgusting.”
“Don’t worry. You won’t get a chance to forget again, you bloodsucking freak.” He launches himself forward, growl ripping from his throat, claws out. He manages to get a few swipes in before the sheer number of the asshole’s goons pin him to the ground, a heavy booted foot landing on his back.
“You can’t win like this,” Chisaki tells him, hopping off the crates he’d been perched on, landing lightly on the balls of his feet. He crouches before Katsuki’s struggling form to meet him in the eye. “Why struggle, when subjugation suits your kind so much better?”
Katsuki spits in his face.
Something ugly passes over the vampire’s expression. He wipes at his cheek, furiously, spastically, before seizing Katsuki roughly by the chain dangling from his collar. “You wanted to see Eri again so badly, so I’ll take you to her.”
He yanks Katsuki to his feet, and Katsuki chokes for breath as the other vampires hold his limbs behind his back. One of the goons stalks over, a syringe in hand, and Katsuki panics. He hadn’t intended to shift — not now, when his wounds had just started to close. By shifting, he’ll erase all the progress Todoroki had made in healing him, tearing the old bite marks that had just started closing — the fading scars leaving their mark forever.
But he can’t think about that now. He has no choice — not when these fuckers have Eri and not after all they’ve done and are willing to do again.
Gritting his teeth, Katsuki gives himself over to the liberating feeling of his wolf taking over, his bones snapping and reshaping, spine curving with almost-pain, the snarl ripping from his throat increasingly animalistic.
Then, he stops thinking.
“It should be right around here,” Midoriya says breathlessly. As soon as he speaks, a howl rips through the night. Their steps falter. Somehow, the sound is so foreign yet undeniably Bakugou, that Shouto just grits his teeth and pushes himself to run faster.
“This is it,” Iida says, adjusting his glasses. “This warehouse — ”
“That idiot really came alone even when I told him not to,” Kirishima says with exasperation, hearing the scuffle that’s broken out inside; the screams and shouts — the unmistakable thudding sounds of bodies hitting the floor.
Fear mounting, Shouto doesn’t wait a moment longer. He throws his body against the door, the wood bursting beneath the force. He looks around widely, at the bodies strewn around. No sign of Bakugou, but there are unmistakable claw marks in the ground, and Shouto can smell his blood, even though he can’t yet pick it out from all the other stains.
He keeps running, heading for the stairs underground.
“Ah — Todoroki-kun, wait up!” Midoriya calls, falling into step behind him.
“Dude, that Katsuki must’ve been pissed,” Kaminari comments through wheezes as he steps over another pile of ash, struggling to keep up. The wooden planks of the stairs creek beneath their footfalls. “What’d these guys do to step on his tail?”
“We’re getting close,” Shouto mutters instead of answering. The underground is dusty and dark, poorly lit by a few low-hanging lightbulbs. He takes in the sight of the cages lining the walls in the corridor, most of them empty. He quickens his pace.
“Wait. Look,” Iida chokes out.
They pause by one of the cages that Shouto had assumed was vacant. Huddled in the corner is a little girl — likely the one Midoriya had seen with the coven leader the other day, taken, because Shouto had grit his teeth and let Chisaki get away. It was a decision he ultimately did not regret, as he’d prioritized getting Bakugou out of there safely, but he finds it difficult not to in the face of this child.
She’s trembling, bandaged from neck to toe, much like Bakugou is, wide-eyes watery with tears.
“Hey… Eri, right?” Midoriya coaxes, stepping close to the bars. “We’re hunters from UA. Don’t worry, everything’s going to be okay now. We’re going to get you out of here. Stand back, okay?”
She nods, and Midoriya wastes no more time in kicking the lock off the cage, and taking the door with it. It crashes to the ground, making the little girl jump. Shouto frowns in sympathy.
Midoriya reaches out a hand to her that she reaches out to take, but hesitates half way. She clutches her hand back to her chest.
“Please help him first. Please help nii-san,” she whispers fiercely.
Shouto stills, before motioning Midoriya aside so he can crouch down and speak to her. “Who?”
The name is enough to send a pang through his chest — of worry, and admiration.
Shouto stares, at the unwavering set of her lips, the bright gleam of her eyes even through the weakness of her limbs with the drugs undoubtedly pumping through her system. He reaches out unsurely, wondering what Bakugou would do in this situation, faced with a crying child. He lays the hand to her hair. “B… Katsuki is strong. You don’t have to worry about him.”
“He came back for me,” she sniffles, the façade breaking and crumbling to reveal heavy weariness. “He shouldn’t have… Now they’re going to take him again.”
“They won’t,” Shouto promises. “And they’ll never take you again either. We’re going to make sure of it.”
The tears spill out earnestly now, and Shouto draws his hand back, a weight settling in his chest. He feels responsible for her, somehow. He’d let the coven leader get away — chosen to save Bakugou and unknowingly chosen him over this child. He hadn’t known, but it still weighs on his heart all wrongly.
But there’s no use dwelling on it now. He’d made his decision.
“Get her out of here first,” he tells Midoriya.
“But — ” One look at his face, and Midoriya presses his lips together. “You’ll get Kacchan out without hurting him.”
Midoriya nods, bends to take Eri into his arms. The girl doesn’t struggle, probably too weak to even sob like she looks like she wants to. Shouto is painfully reminded of the state he’d found Katsuki in.
“He was hurt already, he was bleeding,” she cries, facing Shouto plaintively. “You have to hurry. He’s outnumbered.”
Shouto gives her a firm nod.
“Are there any other… captives?” Kirishima asks.
“Only me,” Eri says, voice growing fainter. “The humans… They die quickly. I’m the last. Because I’m a monster.”
“… I’m going to get her to the hospital,” Midoriya says, a hard set to his brows. He’s no doubt thinking of the implications — what they’re all thinking. “Hang on tight, Eri.” Then he’s taking off, faster than most vampires can even follow.
“Let’s keep moving,” Iida mutters tersely, eyes suspiciously moist.
They pick up the pace wordlessly, until they reach a room, heavily guarded by vampires. He can hear the sounds of struggle nearby, the scent of Katsuki’s blood close enough that it has his own singing in response.
They pause just around the corner.
“What now? There’s a whole bunch of ‘em just hanging around in there,” Kaminari whispers.
“We’ll handle it,” Kirishima says, punching his fist into his palm. “Todoroki, go.”
Shouto opens his mouth to protest, but Kirishima shakes his head.
“You know where he is, don’t you? We’ll hold these guys back, so go.”
“We’ll leave Bakugou to you,” Iida states in agreement, already adjusting the gloves on his hands.
Kaminari sighs, pulling out his pistols out of their holsters. “Guess we’ve got no choice, anyway. Bring him back alive, will ya?”
“And bring yourself back alive, too,” Kirishima adds meaningfully.
Too preoccupied to feel properly surprised, Shouto simply gives them one final nod; watches as Kirishima calls out to the vampires, getting their attention. Then he runs, letting his blood lead him to where Katsuki is.
He finds him three rooms away, the fight already having died down as Katsuki had been painfully outnumbered. There's a trail of blood on the floor, leading to a golden-furred wolf lying limp, the coven leader holding it down in its grasp. There’s a long blade embedded in the wolf’s shoulder, keeping him from shifting back.
“You’d think after running away last time, you’d be smart enough to hide away for the rest of your miserable life,” Shouto says, stepping out from the shadows of the hall.
The other vampires stiffen and sniff the air curiously, evidently unsure of his status as a threat, since they make no move to attack just yet. The coven leader has no such qualms, when he looks up and meets Shouto’s icy gaze, eyes widening with shock and recognition.
Surprise morphs to fury, and it stomps down on the blade in Katsuki’s shoulder, digging the blade in deeper and wrenching out a cry of pain that has Shouto brimming with rage. “You fucking piece of trash! You lied! You said he was dead!”
The wolf makes a wheezing noise that sounds suspiciously like a laugh.
“I’m gonna kill you, you — ”
“Should you really take your eyes off of me?”
It gives Katsuki one final kick before deigning to turn its attention to Shouto. That’s his second mistake. “You can wait your turn right there, filth — ”
In the next instant, his head hits the floor, separated from its body. It rolls to a stop several feet away, before one of his vampire cronies, who yelps with surprise and horror. There’s a stagnant moment where no one dares to move, and Shouto simply wipes the blood from his hand with disgust.
The first mistake, had been laying a hand on Bakugou Katsuki.
Then, as the ensuing fight begins, for the first time his life, he holds nothing back, letting his wrath fully consume him.
The last body falls to the ground as Shouto drives a hand straight through its heart. It has no time to bleed, let alone scream, before it crumbles to ashes at his feet.
Then, he makes his way over back to where Katsuki is lying, worryingly still, and forces himself out of the haze of bloodlust. Forces his fangs to retract, and the heat in his throat to abide.
He bends to one knee, reaching out to examine the blade, but Katsuki snaps at him before he can touch it, his teeth missing Shouto’s hand by a hairsbreadth.
Shouto pauses, trying to understand. “Don’t be difficult. I have to get it out. You can’t shift like this, right?”
Katsuki makes a huffing sound, and even like this, his red eyes are so expressive. He stares at Shouto intently; wordlessly. Shouto imagines if he’d been in human form, he’d be swearing up a storm.
“I know you said not to follow you, and I didn’t. I planned on coming anyway, and you happened to be here too.”
Katsuki wheezes out a little disbelieving huff. Glares and shakes his head.
“… That’s not it?” Shouto reaches for the blade again, and is met with a growl. “What?”
A whimper, this time.
“Don’t touch it?”
Katsuki nods, looking relieved.
“Is it silver?” Shouto asks. Katsuki nods, lip curling.
“I have to pull it out, Katsuki. I can’t leave it in, or the poison…” Shouto stops abruptly. “It’s already spread, hasn’t it?”
Katsuki turns his head away, tail hitting the floor once with frustration. It’s why he hadn’t been moving — if he moves, the faster the poison spreads; the faster it reaches his heart. And if the blade is extricated, Katsuki will just bleed out, as the silver poisoning counteracts a werewolf’s healing factor.
He can only think of one course of action, one he knows will not be well received. But there’s no time to waste on thinking of an alternative.
“I’m going to take it out. When it’s — ” When Katsuki snarls viciously in protest, Shouto curls a hand over his jaw to quiet him, uncaring of the snapping teeth. “Listen to me. I’m going to pull it out, and then I want you to shift immediately. Understand?”
Katsuki can do nothing but glare, the words lost on his wolf tongue. Shouto wraps his hands around the handle and meets Katsuki’s gaze squarely.
Then he pulls. The blade slides free with little resistance, as Katsuki hadn’t been healing around it anyway, but the sound of anguish he makes sends a pang in Shouto’s chest. He drops the blade aside.
“Katsuki, shift,” Shouto commands, when the werewolf makes no move to do so. He projects as much power as he can into his voice. He’d never wanted to use his vampire compulsion on another person before — he'd vowed never to, in the face of his father’s abuse — but he’d do it again, if it meant saving Katsuki. Even if it meant he ended up hating him for it. “I can’t help you like this.”
Katsuki is forced to obey, pained breaths growing louder as he collapses into his human form. It looks to be an excruciating process, yet through it all, he keeps his betrayed glare locked on Shouto’s face.
Shivering, panting, and utterly vulnerable, he curls up on his side, the red, bleeding wound stark against his human skin.
“Don’t you ever fucking do that to me again,” Katsuki snarls, voice breaking halfway.
“I’m sorry, but I had to. I can’t heal you unless you shift.” He brings his hand to Katsuki’s feverishly warm skin, and the blonde shudders beneath his touch. He bends down, brings his mouth close to the wound, before Katsuki shoves at him weakly, pushing his face away.
“What are you doing?”
“It won’t make a difference if you close the wound, dumbass,” Katsuki utters with resignation, sluggishly drawing himself up into a sitting position. “It’s too late for that.”
Shouto ignores him. He brings his mouth to the wound at his shoulder blade, dragging his tongue over the opening until the opening mends on his own. Then he works on the other side of Katsuki’s shoulder, as the blade had pierced right through. The taste of Katsuki’s blood, normally so potent that it drives him crazy, now tastes acrid of silver, and only serves to spike his mounting fury.
At the coven leader — at vampire kind in general.
At himself, for being one of them.
By the time he finishes up, spit the blood aside, disgusted by the taste, Katsuki’s eyelids have grown heavy. He slumps forward into Shouto’s chest, boneless, and Shouto catches him with one arm.
He arranges Katsuki more comfortably between his legs; tilts Katsuki’s head back to expose his throat. It’s only now that he notices that Katsuki is wearing the collar again, and Shouto scowls in annoyance, meaning to tear it off.
“Don’t. Leave it,” Katsuki says, surprising him.
“… Alright,” Shouto acquiesces. “This can be the last time, if you want it to be, but I’m going to have to drink from you now. I'm sorry.”
“What? No,” Katsuki rasps, eyes fluttering open again. “Are you crazy?”
“Katsuki — ”
“Are you so fucking thirsty that you’d — even now — ”
“I have to.”
“You don’t, you stupid half-and-half. You don’t have to do anything — ”
“I’m going to get as much of the silver out of you as I can. I’m sorry. I won’t stop, even if you’re asking me this time. You can hate me for it later.” As long as you’ll be alive to hate me for it later.
“I’m saying no this time, asshole!” Katsuki shouts, beginning to struggle in his grip. “Why can’t you just fuck off for once, and — ”
“I’m sorry,” Shouto says again. He wishes he wouldn’t have to. He wishes it didn’t always have to end up like this, for the two of them.
“No, don’t you dare, don’t fucking apologize because I’ll never forgive you anyway, you’re gonna wish you were dead because I’m gonna kill you if you — ”
He breaks off, as Todoroki nudges the collar aside and sinks his teeth in. He shoves at Shouto’s forehead, pushes at his shoulder, a strangled cry in his throat that Shouto pretends not to hear.
It shouldn’t hurt — he makes sure that it wouldn’t. He swallows past the metallic, vile taste of silver, taking in mouthfuls of Katsuki’s blood, forcing back the initial gag reflex. He needs to be careful to take just enough that his body will be able to rid itself of the rest of the poison on its own — not more and not less.
He’s thankful for the horrid taste, as it’s unpleasant enough that Shouto is sure he won’t lose himself to bloodlust.
It’s only when Katsuki grows limp, struggles finally ceasing, that Shouto draws his fangs back, sealing the wound before wiping the blood from his lips with the back of his hand. When he looks up, Katsuki is staring at him, teeth clenched as he clutches the front of Shouto’s shirt in his trembling grasp.
Katsuki is crying.
The tears spill out, unbidden over red cheeks, gathering at his chin.
Shouto reaches out, brushes a stray drop away in wonder, and even though he expects it, the way Katsuki smacks his hand away stings.
“It’s okay, if you hate me,” Shouto tells him.
“I hate you. So fucking much,” Katsuki says.
But then, to Shouto’s utter shock, Katsuki leans his head in, presses his forehead to his and just stays there, stray droplets from his tears hitting Shouto’s cheeks. Shouto holds stock still, heart pounding against his ribcage.
“I hate you. I told you not to follow me.”
“I didn’t follow you.”
“You said you’d stop when I told you to. You said it wouldn’t hurt.”
Quietly, Shouto says, “Forgive me.”
“… I’ll think about it. Okay? If you don’t die, I’ll think about it.”
It takes a moment to sink in, but when it does, the burst of happiness Shouto feels can be nothing but real. “I’m not going to die, Katsuki. That is, unless you really decide to kill me.”
To Shouto’s disappointment, Katsuki draws back to look him in the eye. He scrubs at the tears with a fist, a little angrily, a little disbelieving. “I really should. You just went and gave yourself silver poisoning like a dumbass.”
“I’m not a vampire. Silver will weaken me a little, but it won’t kill me.”
Katsuki scowls. “Don’t lie.”
“I’m not lying. I’m half human.” Shouto pauses, takes in Katsuki’s stricken expression and adjusting his next words carefully. “I thought you knew, with the way you always called me half-and-half…”
“Well I didn’t!” Katsuki shakes him by the shirt collar, embarrassment having turned his face a brilliant shade of red. “I called you that ‘cause of your stupid hair!”
“Yeah, ‘oh’. I thought you were killing yourself by drinking from me, you asshole.”
“I’m sorry… I’m not actually dying.”
“Yeah, I got that now.” Katsuki looks like he’s moments from spontaneously combusting in a mortified explosion. Shouto is not far from it himself, with how he’s increasingly becoming aware of how close they are, Katsuki’s naked body huddled between his legs.
“Are you… feeling okay?” he asks, in desperate need for a distraction.
“… I’m getting pins and needles in my legs, ‘cause you drank so much,” Katsuki complains. Then, grudgingly, “Other than that, I’m… better.”
“Once they go away, you’d better start running, ‘cause you’re fucking dead, you hear me? I told you I’d kill you if you followed me here, and…” Shouto tunes out the threats; just smiles at the way Katsuki periodically shakes him, as if he’s trying to keep Shouto awake, even though Shouto been telling the truth. Silver isn’t enough to kill him — it’s not even enough to incapacitate him. But the fact that Katsuki seems worried is… nice.
It’s been a while, since anyone had worried about him. Even if the way Katsuki shows it is volatile and sometimes hard to understand.
“What are you smiling about now, you weirdo?”
And that’s how the others find them, huddled together in the middle of a vampire den, Katsuki in the midst of another angry tirade and Shouto just basking in it, like a cat curling up under a patch of sunlight.
It’s only when Kirishima and Kaminari come barreling over, Iida following with his own stream of worried scolding that Katsuki looks away, effectively releasing Shouto from his gaze.
“What the hell?” He whips around to glare at Shouto in accusation. “There’s more of ‘em?”
“Don’t get mad at Todoroki you idiot,” Kirishima cries, dropping to his knees to draw Katsuki into a hug. “Like hell we’d just willingly sit around while you were in danger!”
“Yeah!” Kaminari shouts, scrubbing at his eyes with his sleeve. With a huff, he throws himself into the impromptu embrace, and Shouto somehow finds himself in the midst of a werewolf reunion, unable to extract himself without drawing attention. “How could you let us think you were dead, Katsuki? Seriously not cool.”
Iida meets his gaze over the top of their heads in commiseration. Shouto slants his eyes meaningfully over to the blade still lying within reach, its length stained with Katsuki’s blood.
Understanding almost immediately, Iida’s eyes are wide as he clears his throat. “Kaminari, Kirishima, we should get Bakugou to the hospital first. The explanations can come later.” His glasses flash when he fixes Katsuki with a reprimanding glare. “And they will come. What were you thinking, Bakugou, coming here on your own?”
“Fuck off, four-eyed dickhead,” Katsuki snaps as he’s released from the group hug. But the annoyance melts away to anxiety as he’s given clear visual of the bodies present.
“What’s wrong?” Shouto asks.
“She’s safe,” Kirishima assures. “Izuku’s got her, don’t worry.”
Brow ticking, Katsuki turns his glare on Shouto once again. “You brought the whole damn cavalry, huh?”
“I didn’t bring them.”
“I'm guessing they just took a ride in your back pocket then, and jumped out by surprise?”
"As if this — " He gestures vaguely around him, positively seething. "Wasn't bad enough, you had to go and bring Deku."
"I didn't bring anyone."
“Anyway,” Kaminari says before they can get into it for good, rubbing at his arms and shivering. “As entertaining as this is, can we get out of here? This place is giving me the creeps.”
Kirishima frowns. “I think we should hang back and double-check once we get Katsuki out. There might have been prisoners that Eri didn’t know about. You in, Iida?” he asks, and Iida nods in affirmation.
“You don’t have to get me out, shitty hair.” In spite of his words, Katsuki, strangely, does not move a muscle.
Shouto leans in close. “What’s wrong?”
Under his breath, Katsuki hisses, “Nothing. Just… My clothes.” Ah. It seems he’s only just noticed his state of undress. The bandages wrapped around his arms and legs evident for all eyes to see, so reminiscent of Eri that there will surely be questions.
Chances are, Katsuki will only get angry and defensive, but Shouto sheds his jacket and hands it over.
But meeting his gaze, oddly subdued, Katsuki snatches it from him, pulling it on with hands shaky under the scrutiny. He sends a half-hearted glare across the room. “Not. A word.
Kaminari mimes zipping his lips.
“We’ve already seen it all, man, no need to be shy!” Kirishima crows, perceptive enough to divert the issue.
“What’d I say about ‘not a word’?” Katsuki grumbles.
“Can you walk?” Shouto asks him.
“I could drop-kick you if I wanted.” As if to prove his point, Katsuki pulls himself up to his feet as he speaks. Shouto follows suit, darting forward when he sways, but Kirishima and Kaminari are quick to support him. Shouto hangs back, as they make their way out of the den.
Left to follow at their backs, Shouto wonders if this will be it, night having come once again.
Shouto watches Katsuki’s reunion with Eri from the hallway. The blonde is sitting in his wheelchair at the child’s bedside, head hung low as she cries into her arms.
“You did good, Eri,” Shouto hears him say, tone gentler than Shouto’s ever heard it. “You toughed out those fuckers like a champ.”
“I couldn’t do anything,” she sobs. “Everyone — everyone died. And I’m the reason you — ”
“The reason I was taken was because I wasn’t strong enough. It has nothing to do with you.”
“You wouldn’t have been taken, if I wasn’t there — ”
“That’s bullshit, and you know it. You heard them. They were ready for me. They would’ve taken me regardless.” It looks like it pains him to admit it, and Shouto knows he’s saying it solely for her sake. Whether or not he believes it is another matter entirely.
Eri shakes her head furiously. “You’re strong. You would’ve beaten them. I… I wouldn’t have made it, if you weren’t there.”
“You made it just fine on your own. You’re here now, and that’s hard fucking proof.”
“But I was so scared.” Her voice breaks around the word.
“… So was I.” Shouto clenches his fists at the admission; forces himself to look away. His feet feel like they’re locked in place. “But it’s over now. Those bloodsucking fuckers won’t ever touch you again, I promise.”
And it’s only when Eri breaks down into tears completely, burying her face into Katsuki’s chest as he lays an awkward hand to her hair, that Shouto forces himself to move. He shouldn’t have listened in.
His aimless wandering brings him near the break room. Through the glass windows, he sees Midoriya sitting there on the couch, chin in his hands as he stares out vacantly.
Shouto hesitates before entering.
Midoriya is turning a can of soda over and over in his hands. “How are they?”
“There were a lot of… tears.”
At this, Midoriya finally looks up. “Kacchan was — ”
“No. The girl, Eri.”
The hunter slumps his shoulders a little, evidently relieved, though his posture remains troubled. “She’s been through a lot.”
“Yes. But she’s strong.” Shouto pauses, then takes a seat across from him. “If you have questions for me, you can ask.”
“Um… Have you ever thought about joining the hunters’ association?”
“If you have any real questions for me, you can ask.”
He grumbles beneath his breath something that sounds suspiciously like that was a real question, Midoriya soon cracks, like an egg under pressure. “How… did you meet Kacchan?”
“I found him, at the den.”
“Was he… Did they hurt him? Like they did to Eri?”
He sounds so desperate to know for certain, that Shouto chooses his next words carefully. It wouldn’t do for Midoriya to seek a path of vengeance, especially one without an outlet. “He’s mending. There’s nothing more anyone can do.”
“… They did then. Why didn’t you tell me, that you found him?”
“It seemed like he didn’t want anyone to know. It wasn’t my right.”
Midoriya’s smile is watery. “Kacchan has always been like that. Brave to a fault. Never wanting help even when he needs it. At least, not from me.” His gaze is knowing, when it falls on Shouto. “You’ve been helping him, haven’t you?”
“As much as I can.”
“So those bite marks… They weren’t from you.”
Shouto, briefly floored and a little hurt, frowns. “You thought I’d…”
Midoriya is quick to wave a hand in denial. “It’s not that I didn’t trust you. I do! I just… didn’t understand what your relationship is with him. And the fact that we’d found him with you after he’d been missing for so long... I’m sorry, Todoroki-kun.”
“It’s fine. I would’ve had similar suspicions in your shoes.” Besides, to be fair, some of them had been from him.
Midoriya smiles, a little wistfully. “But I think I get it now. You… care about Kacchan, don’t you? I won’t ask anymore questions, so don’t worry.”
Shouto’s eyes widen. He opens his mouth — to refute, or confess, he doesn’t know for sure, and maybe never will — because at that moment, Katsuki appears at the door, pushing himself in on his wheelchair with great dramatic flair. The door slams against the wall with a loud bang that has the can of soda in Midoriya’s hands virtually exploding under the force of his grip, sticky liquid dripping all over his hands and his lap.
“K-Kacchan!” he exclaims, seeming not to notice the mess at all.
“What’re you gossiping about, Deku?”
Shouto gathers some napkins and passes them over.
“You’d better not have told him anything, Shouto you bastard,” Katsuki growls, jabbing a finger in his direction.
Shouto widens his eyes in what he hopes is an innocent expression, instead of put-upon. “Like what? Like how you sleep-talk in battle cries while reenacting entire fight scenes?”
“Wh — Y-You — ”
“I already knew that,” Midoriya says mildly.
“You bastard — ”
“Or how your tail wags whenever you’re talking about your friends, that sort of thing?”
“That, I did not know,” Midoriya supplies cheerfully.
Speechless at the betrayal and wordlessly fuming for several moments, Katsuki turns and begins wheeling out of the room. At the pointedly furious look sent over his shoulder, Shouto gets up to follow, hurrying to grab onto the handles of the wheelchair and slowing his escape. Midoriya watches them go with a smile, before turning forlornly down to his ruined jeans.
They walk in silence for a while — or, Shouto walks, pushing Katsuki in the direction of his room. The blonde just sits there, arms crossed over his chest, brooding. Shouto thinks any attempt at conversation will likely get him his head chewed off, but anything would beat getting the cold shoulder.
Even so, he sticks to the safest topic he can think of. “How is Eri?”
“Shut up. You think I didn’t see you hanging around eavesdropping like some kind of creep?”
Shouto sighs. “Katsuki — ”
“Shut up.” Reluctantly, Shouto goes quiet. “What did you tell that nerd in there?”
“Nothing he didn’t already know.”
“I don’t have to see your shitty face to know you’re lying.”
“I’m not,” Shouto says, frowning. “He already knew. I just… confirmed his suspicions.”
“Why? What fucking right did you have to do that?”
Shouto can’t tell him that he’d simply wanted someone to know, who can keep a proper eye on Katsuki when he’s gone. The person who suited the job best just happened to be Midoriya, the one person Katsuki least wanted to find out.
“He deserved to know.”
“You don’t get to decide something like that, you half-and-half — ” At the nickname, Katsuki falters abruptly. “You know what? It doesn’t matter.”
“It doesn’t matter. Just take me back to my room. I’m tired.”
Shouto frowns, mystified, but obeys. He stops before Katsuki’s hospital room, and lets Katsuki wheel himself inside. He stays there, by the entrance, staring at Katsuki’s profile as he eases himself out of the chair and onto the bed.
Feeling Shouto’s eyes on him, he looks up, red eyes breathtakingly sharp. Shouto wonders what had come over him — why he’d let that fight go, just like that.
“You just gonna stand there?”
Stomach falling, Shouto turns away. He’d known this moment would come. He just wishes he’d had more time. “Right,” he murmurs. “Get some rest, Katsuki.”
“… You’re leaving?” Katsuki asks, an odd note to his voice that Shouto can’t quite place, not when he knows the blonde can hardly hide his distaste for him now.
“Yes. I’ve already made sure… Since the deal is over now.” Shouto swallows the words.
"Right. It's over. Since we've left the mansion."
Shouto has no idea what he means by that, but nods nonetheless, albeit regretfully. “This is goodbye, then.”
“'Goodbye',” Katsuki echoes. The baffled look on his face shatters, as fury takes over. “You’re so full of shit, Shouto.” He throws the sheets over himself; turns his back aggressively in dismissal. “Fine. Go to hell. See if I care, asshole.”
He doesn’t get a reply. Not having expected one, Shouto turns on his heel. Night has never fallen as quickly and bitterly as it has for him that night.
More than a month passes before Katsuki lets himself think seek out Shouto again. Really, they’ve spent more time apart now than they have together, so Katsuki doesn’t understand why Shouto just leaving him like that still lingers like a fresh wound.
The deal is over now, the half-and-half bastard had said.
Like hell — did he really think Katsuki would just let him get the last word like that?
But if he really thinks about it, what had really driven him over the edge and gotten him to quit moping around like a pathetic slug, as Jirou had eloquently put it, was probably the way Deku had told him, in the accusatory tone of someone who knows so much better: he cares about you, Kacchan. If he did, then why’d he just leave? He probably left because he thought you didn’t need him anymore.
If that were true, Katsuki wouldn’t be pounding at the asshole’s door in the middle of the goddamn night, unable to withhold his frustration any longer.
Katsuki doesn’t need help. He just — he simply, as pathetic as it sounds even in his own head, wants to see him. He doesn’t linger on why exactly that is. He’ll probably figure it out, when he sees Shouto’s face again.
Just as he’s getting impatient enough to contemplate busting the door down, it opens. Shouto stands there, eyes wide with bewilderment and wonder, hair swept over his scarred blue eye, and Katsuki thinks that there probably isn’t a reason. There’s probably a million of them.
“Please don’t break my door,” Shouto says.
Katsuki wants to punch him. With his mouth. It has something to do with his voice and ultimately, nothing at all to do with anything. The realization comes with great burden, and with it, an accompanying thought that Katsuki has no goddamn idea what he’s doing here.
“Then open it faster, shithead.”
“… I’ll keep that in mind.”
After that, a long unnatural pause.
“You look… well,” Shouto says eventually, the same moment Katsuki hurries to demand, “Let’s make a deal.”
The offer is met with no little amount of blinking on Shouto’s part, and angry blushing on Katsuki’s.
“Obviously, since it’s been over a month,” Katsuki snaps, unable to suppress the bitterness from his voice.
Shouto hums in consideration. “It felt like much longer.”
Left floundering and slack jawed, Katsuki can do nothing but glare and blush some more — what the hell.
"You don't get to say shit like that, you jackass."
In a clear effort to steer the conversation back on track, Shouto just says, “You mentioned a deal.”
The fond smile on his face is absolutely unfair. More so because Katsuki has no idea how it got there or what it’s directed at. It had to be breaking at least ten rules. “Yeah. I would’ve asked you about it earlier, if you hadn’t run away and made me chase you again. By the way, you look like shit.”
“How is that relevant?” Shouto’s smile turns mildly irritable. “I’ve been busy.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard.” Shouto’s made quite a name for himself in the underground, as the grim reaper would deal with any blood-slave ring swiftly and efficiently. The rate of vampire dens appearing in the city have all but dwindled to nothing. “Are you gonna let me in or not?”
Shouto blinks again. Katsuki recognises that look. He wouldn’t be surprised if Shouto thinks he’s dreaming, or some stupid shit like that.
Shouto moves aside, and Katsuki shoves past him, peering around the mansion before turning to the living room. The old couch has been removed, but the idiot hasn’t bothered getting a replacement, leaving the room with just a single armchair.
“I’ve been busy.”
Katsuki moves to the kitchen, which, as predicted, is in a similarly miserable state. Katsuki stares blankly at the fridge. Utterly empty, as expected.
“You’re hopeless,” he states.
“Busy,” Shouto corrects, reaching over him to slam the fridge door shut. “Didn’t you need something? Or did you just come over to laugh at the state of my house?”
“Does it look like I'm laughing? What kind of adult doesn’t even have eggs in their fridge?”
Disdainfully, Shouto answers, “This one.”
“What the hell are you, five?”
Katsuki squints at him and Shouto raises an affronted brow. “Huh. Thought you’d be older. With the white hair and all.”
“… Sometimes, I feel older.” Shouto shoves his hands in the pockets of his slacks, the picture of nonchalance. “When I’m with you, especially, I feel at least twenty-two.”
“… Dick.” He grins, hopping up to sit on the counter. It’s spotless from disuse, and Katsuki hopes the way he’s kicking at the cupboards pisses Shouto off. This is the Shouto he'd been waiting for.
The kicking seems aggravate him at least a little, if the tiny frown is anything to go by. For some reason or another, the sight of it makes him stop.
“How are the scars healing up?” Shouto asks neutrally.
“They’re not.” Katsuki pulls up his sleeve, unraveling the bandages around his left arm to show him. The scars that had torn when he’d been forced to shift lying red and raised, stark against his skin. At the sight of them, Shouto’s frown deepens. Eyes raising to meet Katsuki’s in brief permission, he reaches out, traces his fingers over the one just above his pulse point.
“This one should’ve healed.”
Because he’d treated that one. Katsuki takes his arm back, wrapping it back up with practised ease. “It would’ve, if I didn’t fuck things up by shifting.”
Shouto’s lips part with alarm. “So, they never will now?”
Katsuki shrugs, discomfited by the way Shouto genuinely seems upset by the fact. “Sucks, but it was my fault anyway. But that’s why I came here.”
“If they can’t heal anymore, there’s nothing I can do.”
“Actually, there’s… there’s still something.”
Shouto looks at him questioningly.
“You could bite me.”
Shouto continues looking at him.
“O-Oi, did you not hear me or what?”
“I heard you. Wrongly, I’m sure. What was that?”
“I said I want you to bite me, you stupid half-and-half,” Katsuki sputters, and it’s like two months ago all over again, mortification having his cheeks flaring and palms sweating.
Shouto appears too stunned to speak.
“It’s not a dream. Okay? I’m here, and I’m asking you — You don’t fucking have to, obviously, but I’m asking.”
And it’s a good question. One that Katsuki had expected, but ultimately wished he wouldn’t have to answer. He wouldn’t be so lucky.
“Because if I’m gonna be stuck with these shitty marks for the rest of my life, if — if there’s one person I want to think about when I see them, I just thought… If it was you, that they reminded me of instead of — I wouldn’t mind as much, if it was you. … Wh-Why’re you looking at me like that, asshole?” he sputters, as Shouto crowds into his space.
“D-Don’t get any funny ideas, smartass, it’s just that — that…”
“Katsuki.” Shouto brings a hand to the back of Katsuki’s neck, and he shudders beneath the touch. Normally he’d hate the feeling of someone’s hands on him in such a sensitive place, especially one so chilly, but this one, for reasons unfathomable, has him instantly docile. “Do you like me?”
Katsuki’s brain short circuits, leaving behind nothing but an empty string of expletives.
Shouto is just looking at him, expectant and so fucking pretty, it's unfair.
“... If I tell you, you’ll just run.”
“I won’t,” he promises.
“Your promises mean jack shit these days,” Katsuki mutters; looks away to the floor. “But yeah. I like you. I don’t know why, ‘cause you piss me off half the time but… yeah.”
Shouto is quiet for a moment, but to his credit, he doesn’t run. Then, under his breath: “Cute.”
“D-Did you just call me — I’m gonna throttle you, you — ”
“I like you too, Katsuki.”
The complaints dwindle off into incoherent noises. Katsuki can’t tell if he’s angry or pleased at the admission. Angry, because the confession had been far more eloquent than his, and pleased because — well.
That part goes without saying.
“Okay. Well… G-Good.”
"You don't mind?"
"That I'm... Like this. A vampire."
"You're asking me that now?"
His brows are furrowed. As if uttering a death sentence, he murmurs, "I'm half human, but half of me is still..."
"Yeah, you're both. But that also makes you neither. You're just... a hunter. So no, I don't fucking care, dumbass." Katsuki cringes as Shouto just gazes at him with that awed, dumbstruck look on his face, as if Katsuki had just said something monumentally profound, when all he'd done was spout the first thing that came to his mind.
He kind of wants to just grab his cheek and pinch the look away, but Shouto soon snaps out of it, fangs out as he leans eagerly into Katsuki’s face, as eager as a face that impassive can get.
With grave and absolute seriousness, he questions, “So, where do you want me to start?” and Katsuki gives into the urge to pull at his cheek with indignation.
“What’s up with that shitty transition?!”
Shouto catches his wrist, and it’s really, so much like that first day yet nothing like it at all that it has Katsuki briefly, mentally flailing gracelessly.
“I just thought you’d want to get started right away.”
“Don’t treat this like homework, you shit for brains — ”
Shouto makes a face. “I’m not. I wouldn’t want to do homework.”
“You — ” Katsuki is flabbergasted. “Have you been thinking about this, you fucking pervert?”
Shouto’s brows furrow with irritation. “Of course not. I hadn’t even considered you’d come and find me. I’d hoped, but…”
This brings Katsuki to the most pressing issue. “What the hell. If you liked me, then why’d you…” He punches Shouto on the shoulder, and the action comes out even lighter than he’d meant it to be. “Why the hell’d you leave like that?”
“You didn’t need my help anymore. I thought it’d be better to give you the choice, to come back if you wanted. To… stay away, if you didn’t.”
“Holy fuck. You’re always so… fucking considerate that it comes all the way back around and ends up being inconsiderate.”
Shouto purses his lips in confusion. “Excuse me?”
“You just left. You made that decision for me, thinking you were letting me decide for myself — fuck. You piss me off so fucking much. I thought you were just waiting for the chance to get rid of me.”
Shouto’s eyes are wide. “Oh. I hadn’t thought… I’m sorry. I never wanted you to leave. I just didn’t want you to think you had to stay.”
Katsuki laughs into his hand, incredulous.
“I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t. Don’t apologize.”
Shouto pulls his hand away from his face, slotting himself between his dangling legs. “Katsuki – ”
“Don’t. Just… Hold still, okay? I wanna try something.”
Katsuki, carefully, slowly, takes his face between his hands. Shouto doesn’t move a muscle; just blinks up at him with those mismatched eyes, waiting patiently for Katsuki to gather his nerves, chin tilted up.
“I’m gonna — I’m gonna kiss you, so, if you’re gonna run, do it now, and — ”
“I won’t run.”
“Good. ‘Cause I won’t fucking chase you again.”
“You won’t have to,” Shouto tells him, staring at him with all the intensity of a vampire craving for blood, and all the desperation of a human lusting for touch.
Swallowing tightly, stomach curling under the attention, Katsuki wills himself not to back down, not from this kind of fight.
Then he brings their lips together.
There are sparks, lighting up the embers beneath his skin. Shouto’s hands on his waist are hot and cold, and his lips are soft, scalding against his. There's nothing, but the lightest touch of their lips, the feeling of Shouto's face in his hold, his nose skimming Katsuki's. Then it’s over just as quickly, and the soft smacking sound he hears when they draw apart makes the blood rush up to his ears.
He brings the back of his hand to his mouth, embarrassed.
Something about it had seemed so… innocent. There had been nothing special about the kiss at all, except for the fact that there had been nothing to it. Just a press of their lips together, sparking up a gentle warmth in his belly, and then ending just as quickly.
It shouldn't be embarassing, but it is.
And Shouto is leaning up for another one.
Katsuki shoves his face away for the second time. “I think that’s enough.”
“One more. I want to check something.”
“No,” Katsuki emphasizes, clapping a hand over Shouto’s mouth.
The frustrated why not comes out muffled.
“B-Because. Just because.”
Shouto peels his hand away, eyes alight with determination. “I want to make a deal.”
“Wh — Enough with the deals already!”
In the end, they do end up making another deal. The rules this time, are fairly simple. Rule one, had been quickly established:
“Don’t fucking stop,” Katsuki mutters as he's laid out on the bed, bringing Shouto’s mouth back down, body arching up as fangs pierced the sensitive skin of his throat.
And later, as they’re lying there, coming down from the high, with Katsuki curled up next to him, closer than ever but still not close enough, Shouto drapes an arm over Katsuki’s waist, closing the distance. The quiet “Stay?” he murmurs into Katsuki's shoulder might have happened to be rule two.