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Longing for Clarity

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Out of all the activities people would predict Bakugou Katsuki to be doing on a Saturday afternoon, grocery shopping would have been one of the last guesses on the list.  But there he was, deciding between brands of tofu, with an honestly thoughtful look on his face.

"Get that one."

Katsuki didn't even flinch when weight pressed against his shoulder.  He only acknowledged the presence of Midoriya Izuku leaning against him with a quick glance out of the corner of his eyes before focusing on the package he was pointing to.  It wasn't the one he was going for, but he was keener on Izuku's opinion than his own.

"That's the one mom uses," Izuku answered before Katsuki could even question him.

Katsuki just shrugged.  He set the one back and threw the other in the basket he was holding.  Izuku deposited a few more items as well, before taking the basket from him completely.  He looked over the contents, muttering to himself, as he was common to do, before regarding Katsuki again.

"That should be it," he said.  "Unless there was something else you wanted."  His smile was wide and genuine.

Katsuki couldn't help but respond, his normal gruff expression lifted to smile just lightly back.  "Just a couple coffees."  They were already on their way to the front, but Katsuki had navigated them to the drink coolers near the registers.

"For now, right?" Izuku asked, with a teasing tone.  "You were the one who was complaining about not getting sleep."

Katsuki grabbed two cans, also picking up something strawberry flavoured.  "You have some fault in that."

Izuku rolled his eyes.  He continued his walk to the cashier after Katsuki dropped the cans in the basket.  "You called me," he reminded him.  "I was ready to go to bed, but someone-"

"Yeah, yeah," Katsuki interjected, waving him off.  He leaned against the conveyer belt, not looking at Izuku or anything else in particular.  "At least I didn't fall asleep half-way through a sentence."

Izuku paused the dialogue long enough to go through the transaction, being polite with the cashier.  Katsuki handed him some money that he put together with his own to pay for it.  It wasn't until they had their bags and were walking through the door that he went back to the conversation.

"It was one.  I was tired." 

Katsuki shrugged.  "I wasn't," he said simply.

Izuku glanced at him from the corner of his eyes.  "You're not sleeping again."

It was a statement, not a question.  One that Katsuki didn't feel like acknowledging or even letting Izuku dwell on.  He didn't answer him, opting to stare ahead at their destination.

Katsuki could feel Izuku's eyes on him, and he knew the concern was there.  They had talked about it.  It was a topic that had been brought up more than once.  But it wasn't one he wanted to dwell on.  Not today.  It had already been a good day, and they still had more of the weekend ahead of them.

No need to muck it up with whatever was going on with him lately.

They were silent as they got to the bus stop.  Izuku sat down on the bench, checking his watch as he did.  Katsuki remained standing, shifting from one foot to the other.  Even after a cool winter day at the arcade, park, and just meandering through the streets, he was still full of energy.  Izuku looked like he could fall asleep where he sat.

He almost envied the fact that he could get tired.

"Katchan," Izuku finally said.  Katsuki turned to look at him, still fidgeting.  The smaller male was smiling at him, though his eyes betrayed the worry he was feeling.  "It's okay, you know.  But we should talk about it."

"Not now," Katsuki retorted.  He closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.  He meant well, Katsuki reminded himself.  He cared, and if there was anyone he could talk to about it, it was him.  And in a way, he wanted to discuss it.  Just not today. 

Izuku gave him a pointed look.  "Then when?"

"Some time after tomorrow night."

Izuku regarded him for a long moment.  He lifted his arm, extended his hand close to Katsuki's.  He lowered it, though, when someone walked up to the bus stop.  He still gave Katsuki a warm smile.  "I'm holding you to that."

Katsuki rolled his eyes, but the corner of his lip still curled upward.  He leaned against the glass wall of the stop's awning.  "Of course you would."

When the bus came, they loaded in to the back, as far away from everyone as they could get.  They sat next to each other, bags in between them, but still noticeably close compared to the space open on the other side of Izuku.  It was mostly full, but everyone was kept to themselves, ignoring the two seniors.  When someone tried to sit in the back with them, Katsuki gave them a glare that sent them standing near the front in favour of sitting anywhere near them.

Katsuki rested his elbow on the bottom of the window pane, placing his chin in his palm as he looked out at the road as it started to pass.  He could hear the rustling and feel the shuffling next to him, and he assumed Izuku was on his phone.  They didn't say anything, which was fine.  The day had been lively with conversation.  A pause to it was fine.

Behind the bags, hidden from sight, Katsuki's hand was atop Izuku's, lightly squeezing.

"Mom texted."

Katsuki looked at him, expression even.  He raised a brow a bit, urging him on.

"She texted you, too, of course."  Izuku's eyes were going between his phone and Katsuki.

"I left my phone at your place."

"No wonder you've been so twitchy," he teased. 

"Whatever."  He leaned over, trying to glance at the screen in Izuku's hand.  "What did she say?"

"Just saying that she's off, telling us to have fun," Izuku rattled off.  "That she loves us."

Katsuki scoffed.  "Yeah, yeah," he muttered, turning his attention back to the window.  He could feel the slight heat in his cheeks, but he shrugged it off.  He didn't know if he would ever get used to his mother's affections, no matter how her fondness had visibly grown for him the more and more he came to see her son.

"Not to leave any evidence..."

"She did not say that."

Izuku chortled.  "It was implied.  You just have to know how to read her messages."

"I'd think she should be more worried about what you're going to do to her kitchen."

"What we're going to do to it."  Izuku settled a little more in the seat.  He turned his hand over, curling his fingers around Katsuki's palm.  "You're helping."

"I didn't say I wasn't," Katsuki confirmed.

"With more than just the fire part."

Katsuki groaned.  "That's the only part I'm good at."

"C'mon, Katchan."  Izuku nudged him with his shoulder.  "We'll be out on our own soon, you know."

Katsuki regarded him, face back in his palm, still hunched mostly toward the window.  "I'll order out," he said simply.

Izuku's brow furrowed a little, and for a moment, he looked in thought.  There was a little light to his cheeks, and Katsuki wondered if he was embarrassed by something.  Why did he look a little flustered?  It didn't seem that unusual of a suggestion.

"You... you should still learn to cook, you know."  Izuku's grip tightened a little.  "I mean, you never know when you'll have company, or—"

He went on, but Katsuki had stopped really paying attention.  He was used to Izuku's ramblings by this point, and he knew that's all they were most of the time: ramblings.  He would catch bits and pieces and knew the keys to when he should focus back in.  But for the most part, it was just one of his things, and something Katsuki found enduring, but he couldn't always keep his full attention to him.  Especially not on days like this, where he could barely focus on anything to begin with other than how he really wished they weren't so far from Izuku's house, otherwise he'd have wanted to walk there.

Katsuki had turned to look at him, his intent on Izuku, focusing maybe too much on his mouth, seeing his words more than hearing them.  He gave clues in his expressions when he should be paying more attention, or when he was just muttering to get something out of his system.  He had moved from being able to cook to being more adult in general.  It was odd how he seemed so intent on talking about it.  His face was still red, and he was chewing on his thumb, while still holding onto his phone. 

He mentioned how they were graduating soon, but why bring that up?  He knew that.  He knew that their adult, pro-hero life was going to be starting in a few months.  Where was he going...?

Katsuki blinked.  His nose twitched as a smell hit him.  He gave the air a few sniffs, trying to discern where it was coming from.  It wasn't offensive or overbearing, it was just prevalent and impossible to ignore.  It was piercing though subtle, and even though it smelled like simple musk, it still gave him the reaction of pleasantness he got from cologne he liked.

"Do you smell that?"

Izuku stopped midsentence.  He stared at Katsuki for a long moment before he turned up his nose, sniffing around him.  He looked back at him, his brow raised.  "I don't smell anything."  He shrugged a little.  "Is it bad?"

"No, it's not..."  Katsuki's gaze was caught by someone two rows ahead of them, staring intently in their direction.  The woman was giving Izuku a rather interested look, one that Katsuki didn't like at all.  He glared at her.  "What are you looking at?"

The woman squeaked, turning around in her seat.

"Katchan."

Katsuki looked back at him.  He was surprised to see the intense look on his face.  After a moment, Izuku sighed, turning to look straight ahead.  "...nevermind."

"What?"

Izuku shook his head.  "Don't worry about it."

Katsuki gave him a slightly confused look.  He was just talking about cooking and moving out, wasn't he?  He looked... disappointed in the way the conversation had gone.

"Deku."  He squeezed his hand, his attention focused solely on him.  It should have been before, he knew.  But his short-comings as a boyfriend could be addressed later.

Izuku leaned back, his head rolling back against the seat.  His eyes were closed, but a smile still crossed his lips.  "Really, nevermind."  He opened his eyes, taking a quick look around the bus, before leaning over to give Katsuki a quick kiss on the cheek.

Katsuki responded quickly, giving him a peck on the lips despite how public it was.  Izuku's face was flushed, and he turned his gaze down.  Katsuki looked about the bus, making sure no one had seen them, and when satisfied of it, he tugged Izuku's hand toward him, pulling him in.  Izuku made a light noise, stopping himself from falling onto Katsuki's chest.

He wasn't thinking of where they were.  He almost forgot completely, his mind slowly flitting elsewhere.  He wanted to touch, to feel Izuku.  It was a strong sense that he had to be closer, to-

It was a hand on his chest, pushing away, and a nervous chuckle that brought him back to where they were.  "We should, ha... wait, you know?"

Katsuki blinked.  "Yeah, yeah."  He let go of Izuku completely, leaning against the window again.  "Sorry, just..."  He shrugged.  He really had no idea what had gotten into him, but it hadn't really left either.  He looked out the window again, ignoring the heat in his cheeks as his thoughts were still heading down an unsavoury path.  He forced himself to think of anything else other than his proximity to Izuku.

The rest of the bus ride was silent.  Izuku went back to his phone, and Katsuki spent it trying to think about anything but Izuku.  He could still smell whatever it was, and it was as distracting as his meandering thoughts.  At some point, their hands reconnected, but they kept their attentions separate until their stop.

The conversation picked up again when they were making the final stretch to Izuku's apartment.  They discussed the plan for dinner and what they would be doing the next day.  Izuku seemed more relaxed and Katsuki was able to think clearer.  The streets were clear, and Izuku snuck his hand into Katsuki's, their shoulders almost touching as they went. 

Within fifteen minutes, they were inside the Midoriya apartment and unpacking the groceries.  Izuku started with getting things ready as Katsuki went to get his phone.  The house was quiet as Katsuki paced in the living room for a moment, checking a few of his messages.  Izuku's mother was gone with some friends to have a 'girl's night,' whatever that meant, leaving the two alone. 

It was something that she did every few months, and she always made sure to give Izuku a few weeks' notice, giving them plenty of time to plan something during her absence.  Though she really did deserve the break, it was obvious she was also trying to give her son some time alone with his boyfriend.  Katsuki had always been curious which one of them had first come up with it, but he didn't ask, just happy to have the privacy.

Katsuki put away his phone as he joined Izuku in the kitchen.  Without missing a beat, he edged a cutting board with vegetables on it toward the edge of the counter.  Katsuki rolled his eyes, but still picked up the knife. 

He began chopping, though not as fast as Izuku.  He had helped his mother a few times with cooking, but for the most part, he never really prepared anything.  But looking at his boyfriend, he was clearly practiced.  It made him think of their conversation earlier, where Izuku had been trying to discuss their future.

Katsuki had to scoff at that.  At least one of them was thinking about it.

The preparation and meal went by pleasantly enough.  Despite Katsuki not being able to cut vegetables very well, he was able to keep the temperature of the shabu-shabu at a constant.  They relaxed and chatted as they cooked the meat and vegetables and in between bites. 

Most of the conversation was about the end of their school career and their impending pro-hero lives.  They discussed the upcoming Graduate Tour, the course for seniors that they were implementing for the first time that year.  Izuku expressed his eagerness for touring Japan and learning from the different heroes, while Katsuki shrugged it off.  He wasn't really looking forward to it, other than the experience it was supposed to give them as heroes.

When finished, they worked on the dishes.  The evening was still young, and there had been plans for movies for the rest of the night, and neither wanted to worry about cleaning.  Izuku took the spot of washing the plates and such, while Katsuki dried it and put things away.  He had been in that kitchen enough that he knew where everything went easily and he wasn't a big fan of dishwater, so it worked out well.

"This is nice," Izuku said after a long amount of silence.

Katsuki grunted his acknowledgement.  It had been nice, the whole day.  They had been dealing with so much between school and their internships and other friendships; it was refreshing to have so much time just to themselves.  He hadn't gotten too much time alone with Izuku recently, settling for long calls at night or playing online together.  He had missed him, despite seeing him every day at school.

He almost wished they were out to anyone other than their mothers.  But between the strict 'no fraternisation' rule at school and just Katsuki not wanting people to know his business, they had agreed to wait until after graduation.  It had been a rough two years keeping it quiet, especially from their closer friends, but Katsuki, in the end and with all things considered, had preferred it that way.

"We'll be able to do this kind of thing more often, you know."

Katsuki glanced at Izuku out of the corners of his eyes as he was passed another dish.  "When we're not doing the hero thing."

Izuku chuckled.  "Of course."  He gave Katsuki a light smile, his eyes shining contently.  "But without school... I mean, we'll get to see each other more."

Katsuki had to smile at that.  "That would be nice, yeah."

"You know what else would be nice?"

"Hmm?"

"Not having to wait for our parents to be out."

Katsuki had to laugh at that.  It was something he was looking forward to, being able to just hang out with Izuku whenever he wanted.  Not to mention the other things they could do without planning.

"It'll be great, you know, not living with them," Izuku went on.  "I love my mom, of course, but it'll be good just to have ou... just a place with different rules."

Izuku went on, talking about all the things that would be different when separated from their parents.  He kept hesitating on certain words, his sentences changing half way through.  He was rambling again, but this time Katsuki was trying to pay attention.  He had been talking about something similar on the bus, and it had seemed disappointed when he caught Katsuki not really listening, so he made an attempt not to zone out.

It was hard to concentrate, though.  He had stopped drying the plate in his hand mid-swipe as he was hit by the smell from before.  He furrowed his brow, slightly confused.  Was it the same from before?  It had to be, that musky scent that he found oddly pleasant.  But where was it coming from?  He had just assumed it was someone on the bus before, but now it was stronger and closer.

Katsuki put down the dish, turning to Izuku to get his input on it.  He hesitated as his eyes fell on the shorter male.  Izuku was staring intently into the water in the sink, washing the same glass over and over again.  He was still going on about being out on their own, but he was slow in his speech, as if he was measuring every word.  His face was slightly flushed, and he had an odd but sincere smile stretched across his lips.

Katsuki knew he should be listening, and he had been trying to focus on his ideas for apartments, but he couldn't help but watch Izuku's mouth as it moved.  The words were fuzzy as his thoughts started to drift toward memories of what those lips had done in the past.

He felt the pull to Izuku, same as what he had on the bus.  They had a decent amount of physicality in their relationship, but Katsuki hardly went after him without some provocation first.  But now his thoughts were easily straying, and he had little will to stop them now they were no longer in a public space.

Izuku stopped talking midsentence, taking in a sharp inhale as Katsuki put his arms around his waist, pushing himself against his back.  He nipped at the bit of his skin exposed by his hair and shirt, and he could feel the shudder go through his body.

"I... I was trying to talk to you about something," Izuku offered weakly.  The cup that he had still been cleaning slid from his hand, sloshing into the water of the sink.  He reached a hand behind him, threading his fingers into Katsuki's spikey trusses.

Katsuki hummed against his skin.  "I thought we were talking about what we can do when we're out of our parents' homes?"

Katsuki's lips were trailing over every part of Izuku's skin it could touch, from his neck to his jaw and ear.  Izuku tensed when a hand sneaked under his shirt to touch his abdomen, arching his back against him.  He made a low noise as Katsuki continued his exploration, pushing against him.

Izuku completely abandoned his chore to turn around.  He put his arms around Katsuki's neck, pressing their lips and chests together in earnest.  Katsuki pulled him slightly to the side before picking him up by his thighs, and Izuku followed the gesture by allowing himself to be placed on the free space of the counter.  All the while, their tongues skated across each other's, and Izuku tangled his fingers in Katsuki's hair. 

Katsuki gripped onto Izuku's thighs, pulling him just a bit off the lip of the counter, while he leaned into his torso.  The counter was just the right height that he could rock into Izuku, pressing his growing erection against him.  Izuku moaned into his mouth, a sound just too perfect.  All Katsuki could think of was having more of his noises, having more of him.  He ran a hand down his chest to his lap, palming Izuku, and he had to smirk at his body's responses to his advances.

"K-katchan," Izuku breathed into his ear.  "Not... not here."

Katsuki almost wanted to ignore him as his kisses moved to his neck again.  His mother wouldn't walk in on anything, and the clean-up wouldn't be the worst.  It was worth it if he could have him, could feel every part of him, could-

He heard his name again, this time with more force.  Izuku put his hands on his chest, pushing him away lightly.

Katsuki gave him another look, eyes half-lidded.  Izuku's face was completely flushed, and his erection was obvious through his pants.  He had to assume it was as uncomfortable as the one straining against his own zipper.  He pulled Izuku closer, wrapping his legs around his waist.

"Okay, not here, then."  He put his arms around him and lifting him up effortlessly off the counter.  Izuku adjusted within an instant, his arms around his neck, his thighs squeezing him.  He rolled his eyes, but kissed Katsuki.

"I know it's still early," Izuku informed.  "But if we do anything, I'll probably be out like a light after."

Katsuki couldn't help the light grunt of disappointment.  "I'm sure you'll be fine."

Katsuki had been walking toward Izuku's room, but he gave a slight struggle, and he let him down at the insistence.  Izuku kissed him again, smiling at him.  "It can wait just a little while."

"Can you wait a little while?" Katsuki asked, fondling Izuku's length through the cloth.  Izuku made a little squeak, his body moving into Katsuki as he leaned forward.  Katsuki maneuvered them slightly, pushing Izuku against the wall next to his doorframe.  He moved back in for another kiss, and he was met with an eager response.

Izuku's fingers gripped tight to his shirt, pulling him in.  Katsuki could feel his smile against his lips, and he cupped his face, their kiss turning intense once more.  He pushed himself forward, trapping Izuku's body tight between himself and the wall.

"Okay," Izuku said softly after pulling away for breath.  "Okay, maybe we can do... a little something."

"A little something, huh?" Katsuki repeated.  He slid a thigh in between Izuku's legs, eliciting a moan from his boyfriend.

"But not here," he reiterated his earlier statement.  "And nothing too... intense."

Katsuki groaned and rolled his eyes. 

Izuku gave him a punch to the shoulder.  "Hush.  I told you, I'm tired."  He kissed the underside of his chin.  "We get on that bed, I'm going to pass out."

"Then what's your suggestion?"

"Bath?" Izuku offered, smiling wide.  "We still need to wash off the day, anyway."

"As long as you don't fall asleep in there," Katsuki said through a chortle.

"You'll have to make sure I don't," Izuku replied, pulling at his shirt.  Katsuki grinned, letting himself be pulled as he led them to the bath.

Besides bathing, their activities included much more physical interaction, though not the level of intimacy Katsuki had originally intended.  The urge quelled easily enough with the much appreciated private time.  When they had cleaned up and gotten into their night clothes, they got on the couch, Izuku stretching out on top of Katsuki.

They only got fully through one of the movies they had decided on.  Katsuki wasn't sure when Izuku had fallen asleep, but it had to have been sometime during the first part of the second movie.  After turning everything off, he picked up his boyfriend, holding him close as he carried him to his bedroom.

Izuku had stirred a little when he put him in the bed and crawled under the covers next to him.  He turned around, nuzzling into Katsuki's chest.  Katsuki put his arms around him, kissing the top of his head.  Izuku made a small murmur.  He tilted his head, his lips gracing the bottom of Katsuki's chin.

Katsuki took Izuku's chin in his finger and thumb and pulled him in for a kiss.  Izuku's return was tired at best, but he still clung to Katsuki.  He pushed himself up against him, soft noises coming from him.  Katsuki's hands travelled down, taking hold of Izuku's backside.

Izuku pulled away, a smile on his lips.  "You're incorrigible," he said, his tone teasing.

Katsuki smirked.  "Can't blame me for trying."

Izuku turned around, his back flush against Katsuki's body.  He took his arm, wrapping it around his body and holding his hand.  "Mom's not going to be home until the afternoon."

Katsuki nuzzled against his neck, laying kisses against his skin.  "And?"

"And, we have all morning."  He turned his head to get a quick kiss from Katsuki before settling back against the pillow.  "So let me sleep."  He squeezed his hand.  "And you get some rest, too."

Katsuki grunted.  He honestly wasn't tired at all.  He was feeling the same restlessness that he had been feeling for several nights now.  He wanted to do something.  He had wanted something specific moments ago, but the urge faded with the soft breathing of his sleeping boyfriend.

His mind was going over the day's events, lists, and other things.  He thought about getting up, but Izuku was holding tight to his arm still.  He sighed, squeezing him lightly.  He placed kisses along his neck and shoulder occasionally, but otherwise left him alone.

However after about an hour went by, Katsuki could not stand the stillness any further.  He gave Izuku one last kiss to the top of his head before gently and slowly removing himself from around him and stood up from the bed.  He halted briefly when he heard rustling, looking down at Izuku as he turned over, muttered, and curled into the spot Katsuki had just left.

He couldn't help the little smile that crossed his lips at the sight.

Katsuki spent the next few hours in the living room, playing a video game.  He had texted Kirishima out of curiosity, and when he found he was still awake, he put on Izuku's headset to talk to him while they played.  He kept his voice and the television volume low, staving off the chance of waking up Izuku.  Maybe he couldn't sleep, but there was no reason to deprive his boyfriend of the sleep he kept asking for.

Katsuki became engrossed in his game.  Between talking to Kirishima in hushed tones and focusing on the map, he was lost to the world around him.  He gave a light jump when he felt weight next to him on the couch.  He looked over to find Izuku slumping over the back of the furniture, inching his way to Katsuki.  Izuku looked at him, his eyes barely open.  He had something to him, though, besides just having woken up.

Katsuki muted the microphone, knocking the headphones around his neck.  "Didn't wake you up, did I?"

Izuku came to rest his head on Katsuki's thigh, letting out a little sigh.  "No, I just kind of woke up..."  He nuzzled his leg.  "Had a dream, but you weren't there, and... hmmm..."

Katsuki glanced at the screen for a moment before running a hand through Izuku's tangled mess of hair.  "What was it about?"

Izuku shook his head.  "That... mm.  Doesn't matter."  He put a hand on Katsuki's other thigh, kneading him a little.

Katsuki ran a hand down the side of his body before returning to the controller.  "Do you want to go back to bed?"

He still wasn't tired.  He wasn't ready to go back to lying down, but if Izuku was so inclined, he would go with him.  He was supposed to be spending the weekend with him, after all, not with his games.

"It's okay," Izuku murmured.  He curled up some, tucking himself into Katsuki's side.  "I'll just... stay here, if that's cool."  He nuzzled into Katsuki's neck.

"Yeah, whatever."

Katsuki put his arm around Izuku, and they adjusted, so he was more on his chest, and he could still play while holding onto him.  It wasn't unlike things they had done before, but Izuku was being a little difficult with how tired he still clearly was and how he readjusted time and again.

They sat like that for a while.  Katsuki put the headphones back on, unmuting it as Izuku seemed to nod off again.  Kirishima had asked him where he'd gone, but he ignored it to get back into the game.  During the lobby wait times, he'd mute it once more, leaning down to kiss Izuku on the top of his head.  He would murmur in response, nudging into his chest, or kneading at his leg until he stopped reacting completely.

He thought that Izuku had gone back to sleep.  So when he felt a hand move to his inner thigh, he was a little thrown off.  He gave him a look, brow raised.  Izuku looked back up at him, a small smile on his lips, his eyes half-lidded.  He sat up some, burying his forehead in Katsuki's neck.  He took in a whiff of Izuku with him so close, and there was a remnant of the scent from before.  A shiver went through his body, and he had a brief debate of quitting the game over getting more of his boyfriend.

"Hey," Katsuki said, his eyes more on Izuku than his game.  He quickly muted the microphone once more.  "We just started a game; let me finish, then I'll give you attention."

Izuku hummed against his skin.  "Hurry up."

Katsuki had started to play, but he was finding it hard to concentrate with Izuku's interest in rubbing on him.  Kirishima was questioning some of his actions, but he kept the microphone on mute.  He grit his teeth some as Izuku ran a hand across his abdomen.

"Really, Deku?  Now?"

Izuku made a light chuckle as he shrugged.  "You know, I had a dream..."

"You said that."

Izuku scooted down, until he was just over his lap.  He ran a hand along his inner thigh before moving to just inside his hem.  Katsuki twitched as his fingertips made their way further into his waist band.  He couldn't help but idly think where this interest was earlier in the evening.

"What... was your dream about?"

Izuku pulled down his hem more, until he took out Katsuki's raising phallus.  He didn't answer him as he leaned in, his lips grazing the tip.  A shudder went through Katsuki as the warm mouth descended on him.

"Fuck..."  Katsuki ignored the kill-shot to his character as he leaned his head back over the couch.  He gripped at his locks, as Izuku moved further down him and started to bob along his length as it grew in his mouth.

Rustling caught Katsuki's attention, and he was able to catch Izuku removing his own pants.  Katsuki couldn't even get out a question before Izuku was moving to sit on his lap, straddling his hips as he kissed him roughly.  He could feel Izuku's erection pressed against his as he rocked into him.  He grabbed at his shoulders, their chests bumping as his body seemed to meld into Katsuki's.

Katsuki let out a shaky breath as Izuku moved to kiss along his jaw.  He subconsciously bucked up into him, one that was returned with a sensual gyration.  Izuku's hands moved along his shoulders and arms, rocking into him.

"Katchan..."

Katsuki shivered at the feel of his breath against his earlobe.  His tone was seductive, wanting.

What had gotten him going?  Where was this before?

"Deku, wait just a-"

Katsuki froze when he felt Izuku's tongue run up the shell of his ear.  "Katchan."  He leaned in, his lips just barely brushing against Katsuki's.  "Now."

Katsuki brought the headset to his mouth, just getting out a rushed, 'Gotta go,' to Kirishima before throwing them off completely.  He fumbled to turn off the console as Izuku kissed him hard on the mouth, gyrating into his lap.  The way their members rubbed together was delightful, and they both moaned into the kiss. 

With the controller out of his hands, Katsuki was able to focus solely on the demanding Izuku in his lap.  He pulled away from the kiss, wetting his middle and forefinger in his mouth before gripping onto Izuku's backside.  He spread out his cheek, before sliding one digit inside of him.  Izuku shuddered, wrapping his arms around his neck and burying his face into Katsuki's neck.  He let out a low sound as he sank into his willing body.

Katsuki moved his finger slightly, Izuku moving back against him.  He had his other arm wrapped around him, holding him close as he sunk the second finger into him.  Izuku moaned loudly, his breath tickling Katsuki's skin.  He kept gyrating back, as if he was trying to get more of him.  He moved a hand to Katsuki's length, stroking it lightly in time with their other movements.

"More," Izuku commanded in a breathy tone.  He removed his hand momentarily to give his hand a moist lick before returning it to Katsuki's phallus.  He nipped at his skin.  "Katchan, more."

"What has gotten into you?" Katsuki had to ask, still moving his fingers inside of him.

"You, if you'd hurry up," Izuku snipped back.

Katsuki couldn't help but chuckle at that.  "So out here is okay now?"

Izuku gave him a look, his brows furrowed.  He pulled at his hand, removing the fingers from him.  He gripped the base of his shaft as he moved just enough to have the head at his entrance.  Katsuki didn't stop him, instead putting his hands on his hips, ready to take the plunge.  He curled in his fingers, his eyes locking with Izuku's.

"What was your dream about?" he asked, voice low.

The smile Izuku gave him was wide, his eye lidded.  "Doesn't matter; this is better."

Izuku sat down fast and hard onto Katsuki's length.  He let out a struggled sound, and Katsuki could feel he wasn't exactly ready for the action.  He groaned with the tight heat around him, pressing in on his hips.  Izuku leaned into him, tightening his grip around him, burying his head in his chest as his whole body shuddered.

Katsuki whispered into his ear, "Deku, you okay?"

"Got, ah... got a little eager," he said through a small chortle.  "Yeah, just... one second."

Katsuki nodded.  He forced himself to still, Izuku's body tight around him.  He wanted to move, to thrust into, like he had been wanting to for the better part of the evening.  But there was no sense in rushing and possibly hurting him in favour of just waiting the few moments Izuku needed.  He kneaded into his skin, nuzzling the side of his head, inhaling his scent.

"Deku," he said in a heady tone.  "Let me move."

Izuku nodded.  "Yeah, yeah, move."  He lifted himself up some, until only half of Katsuki was inside of him.  He tilted his head to give Katsuki a hungry look.  "Fuck me, Katchan."  He kissed him lightly, staying close as he went on, "Fuck me hard."

Katsuki bristled at the words.  It wasn't often that Izuku was vulgar, and he damn well knew what it did to him when he was.  He took hold of his buttocks, and thrusted roughly into him.  Izuku cried out, his grip tightening.  He moved with him as Katsuki started to buck up into him, his pace quick and hard.  Izuku sat hard on him, in time with his thrusts.

Katsuki's concern for being anything gentle left him with Izuku's interest in his roughness.  He leaned in, biting hard on his collar, delighted in the sounds he was getting from him.  Izuku had one hand with a tight grip in his hair, the other raking across his back.  He had lifted his shirt, getting to his skin, leaving marks behind, he was sure.  But he hardly cared, knowing later he would enjoy seeing them in the mirror.

Izuku was breathing his name over and over with other little expletives.  He called out for him to keep going, and Katsuki was happy to oblige.  He loved the feeling of Izuku around him, not just being inside him, but the way he clung to him as he thrusted into him again and again.  But like all good things, he could feel it coming to an end.

He gripped onto Izuku's member, stroking him, hoping to hurry him along if needed.  Izuku's moans increased with each movement.  Though his mother wasn't home to hear them, he knew there were neighbours, and he silenced him with a passionate kiss.

After a long moment, Izuku pulled away.  "I'm close."

"Same here," Katsuki said through heavy breath.

"Katchan," Izuku went on, his tone heady.  "Come inside me."

Katsuki gave him an urgent nod.  It wasn't an uncommon thing for them, but hearing Izuku ask for it had to be one of the sensual things he'd heard in the whole evening.  He leaned back, pulling Izuku close to him as he bucked into him a few more times, before burying himself deep inside.  He muffled Izuku's nickname into his neck as his climax swept over him.

Izuku only needed a few more strokes before he followed suit, his nails digging into Katsuki as he ejaculated between their bodies.  He fell heavily onto Katsuki, who held him close as they both caught their breaths.

"Deku," Katsuki whispered moments later.  "That was..." he trailed off. 

Izuku nuzzled into his chest.  "Yeah, it was."

Katsuki rested his chin on top of his head.  "...we'll have to clean this later."

"Not now," was the response he got.

"Well, yeah, that's what-"

Izuku pushed away from him, giving him a serious look, his gaze still full of heat.  "More."

Katsuki raised a brow.  "Really?  I thought you were tired?"

He gave him a soft kiss to his cheek, smiling.  "I'm awake now," he answered.  "And I want more."

Katsuki gave a light shrug.  "I guess if you're awake..."

Izuku chuckled as Katsuki stood up, still holding him.  His phallus fall out of him as they moved, and he could feel some of his seed leak out.  But he was far from concerned, knowing that it wouldn't be long before he'd be ready again.  Izuku held to him tight, kissing his neck and shoulders as Katsuki carried him to the bedroom, whispering things he wanted along the way.

And Katsuki was more than happy to give him what he wanted.  After all, they could sleep in later.

Chapter Text

Izuku fell back heavily against the wooden floor, his whole body flushed and covered in perspiration.  Katsuki sunk on top of him, burying his head in his neck as he was catching his breath.  He held tightly to his frame, cursing silently under his breath as Izuku hadn't yet retracted his nails from his back.  Izuku's legs were still on his shoulders, his pants around his ankles behind Katsuki's neck.  It wasn't the most comfortable position, now that they were done, but that was something to deal with momentarily.

He sighed with the last jolts of his orgasm, the sound muffled by the tie in his mouth, ignoring the feel of the evidence splayed over his stomach.  Izuku could feel Katsuki's own climax still inside of him as his member twitched deep in him, ensuring he was fully milked into him before even attempting to move.

Izuku turned his head so his cheek was resting on his floor.  He let the red piece of cloth drop from his mouth as he looked out over the desks and chairs of the abandoned classroom.  Halfway through their impromptu intimacy, Katsuki had shoved the tie past his lips to silence his increasing volume.  Izuku hadn't even blinked; at the time, all he had been thinking about was continuing what they were doing.  Now that he was settling back into something like clarity, he had been grateful for Katsuki's foresight.  It was unlikely that they would be caught -- the room they were in haven't been used in years in a wing of the school that was hardly used – but there was still a chance.  And with being caught, came consequences.

"Deku."

Izuku tilted his head to look up at Katsuki.  His eyes lidded some; he smiled at him, leaning up to give him a kiss.  Katsuki pushed back against him, flattening his body on top of his.  Izuku kneaded into the skin of his shoulder blades, sure that he had left scratches and gouges all along the expanse. 

"This is the third time this week," Katsuki said.  

Izuku hummed in response at first.  Katsuki was still inside of him, though he could feel him going flaccid.  He kind of liked it, he thought.  "I know."

He hadn't mentioned it was only Wednesday.  He also conveniently left out all the times from last week.

Katsuki leaned in, pressing his forehead against Izuku's.  He took in a deep breath before he started to remove himself.  Izuku let out a moan followed by a sigh as he felt him slide out.  Katsuki lifted his legs, untangling himself as he lightly pushed away from him.  He leaned against the wall, using his handkerchief to wipe himself off.  They were up against the main partition, just below the covered windows that looked out into the hall.

Taking a hint from Katsuki, Izuku went about cleaning himself up with his own tissue.  He could only get so much off his backside, but he would deal with it later.  He pulled up his pants, getting them zipped and buttoned up before turning his attention to the mess on his abdomen.  Thankfully, Katsuki had been eager to touch him everywhere, almost ripping his shirt off. 

Though he had to frown at the missing button he noticed while closing his shirt.

Izuku moved beside Katsuki, leaning into him and putting his head on his shoulder.  Katsuki put an arm around him, running a hand up and down his side.

"Not to sound like the voice of reason," Katsuki started.

"Because you're so good at it," Izuku teased.

He thought he could hear Katsuki rolling his eyes.  "We probably should, you know... stop."

Izuku made a thoughtful noise.  He had to agree.  Or he wanted to agree anyway.  He really didn't regret anything, and even now, his mind had started to wander off in ways he could get Katsuki invested in one more time before lunch was over. 

He nuzzled into Katsuki's shirt, trying to hide his blush.

"What's been with you?" Katsuki asked.

Izuku didn't know how to answer him.  He put a hand on Katsuki's thigh, trailing his fingers lightly along his pants.  "I don't know... I've just been..."  He trailed off as he started to bite at his thumbnail.

"Ridiculously horny?"

Izuku choked at the words.  "I've just been having... thoughts."  It was the best way to describe it.  The past two weeks, he had been quick to very... distracting daydreams.  He found himself thinking about lustful things almost comically easily, and when he did, he couldn't just ignore the sensation that came with it.  He would sneak texts to Katsuki while in class, and he thankfully seemed amiable to the suggestion.

They knew all the places to go for privacy, from the abandoned classroom, a cleaning closet right before homeroom, and others.  On a few attempts, Katsuki would try to dissuade him, but it didn't take long for him to succumb to Izuku's insistence.

It was strange.  He had his errant thoughts here and again, as most people his age would, and he definitely enjoyed the time alone with his boyfriend.  But they had only gotten the off chance to be this intimate when they found time between all their other activities. It had been maybe a handful of times a month, and he was fine with that.  And he was confident that Katsuki felt the same.

However, now all he could think of was how many times he could be with Katsuki.  And it wasn't a thought he only had at school.

"...it's not like you're arguing," Izuku weakly defended.

Katsuki scoffed.  He kissed the top of his head.  "That isn't the point."  It didn't get past Izuku that he took in a deep sniff, something he had been doing an odd amount of lately, but he didn't say anything.

"I know, I know..."  Izuku sighed.  "I don't get it either, but..."  His hand moved up his thigh, but Katsuki took his wrist and intertwined their fingers.

"As much as I would love to," Katsuki said, "I would like to use a lunch break for food."

Izuku chuckled at the comment.  "Good thinking."

They didn't move right away, though, favouring just holding onto each other.  Izuku was still dealing with his southern thoughts, but he would be content with this for now.

Izuku broke the silence.  "Hey, Katchan?"

"What, Deku?"

"Which is worse... getting caught or people finding out?"

"Getting caught, easy," Katsuki answered without hesitation.

Izuku had to smile at that.

"Just making sure."

"...it's just no one's business."

"Someday it will be," Izuku replied softly.

Izuku knew his boyfriend's repugnance to people knowing their personal lives.  He had always been to himself, keeping things inside, and his 'tough shell to crack' attitude notorious.  Though some of it was simply who he was, and it was either accept it or move on, there were parts of it that always struck a chord with Izuku.  He didn't necessarily feel that Katsuki was ashamed of their relationship, but it was hard to fight off that nagging feeling that it might be there.

Not to mention how much easier it would be if they at least told their friends.  But Katsuki was clear he wasn't ready to be out to anyone.  Izuku felt some of it was he was worried of possibly being judged by someone like Uraraka, but it was something to bring up later.  There were other things that needed more immediate attention.

Like Katsuki's inevitable downswing after weeks of mania.  He could tell it was coming by the way he had been listless lately, how he was even less interested in conversation than usual, and other factors, but getting Katsuki to admit to it was another matter.  He had finally gotten him to discuss it in depth the other week, holding him to his promise of talking about it for more than a few sentences, but all he did at the end was vaguely acknowledge he might agree with Izuku.

Izuku wasn't a professional, he knew, but he studied a lot, and knew how to find resources.  Everything about Katsuki's behaviour in the past year had been textbook surfacing of his illness, and he had been attempting to call attention to it since his first hostile upswing, the one that alerted him to Katsuki's possible change.

However, the other textbook part of it is not recognising something might be... well, not wrong, just off.  And Katsuki could be the king of denial when it came to his own emotions.

(He had been the first to say 'I love you,' but he was also quick to dismiss it as an accidental utterance, and tried to recant it no matter how Izuku assured him he was quite happy with his admission.)

Katsuki nudged him with his shoulder, and Izuku leaned away slightly.  "Someday," he muttered.  He stood up, reaching for his jacket that had been hastily discarded almost instantly on their arrival in the room.  "But not today."  He leaned down to give Izuku a quick kiss.  "The less people that know, the less likely we'll get caught."

Izuku also rose up, looking for his own jacket.  "You know, we have friends that are dating, and everyone knows."

Katsuki gave him an even expression, his brows slightly furrowed.  Izuku sighed.  He dropped the topic, knowing it a pointless argument at this point.

They engaged in a lengthy parting kiss before leaving the room.  Katsuki didn't exit immediately, hanging back in the classroom as he gave them distance apart.  After taking a quick pit stop in the bathroom to finish cleaning himself, Izuku found himself in the cafeteria, grabbing something small to eat and sitting with Uraraka and Iida.  His absence was noted quite loudly by his friends, but he was quick to make some excuse about his stomach and telling him he just wanted to eat.

After the initial interrogation, the rest of lunch went like usual.  He talked with his friends about the Graduate Tour coming the week after next, and they all shared their excitement for it.  At some point, Uraraka mentioned his cologne, a comment he'd been getting for the past couple of weeks even from Katsuki, but he had to shrug it off.  He hardly ever wore anything like that aside from his first couple of dates.

Izuku had noticed when Katsuki came in several minutes after he did.  He smiled and waved at him, to which he gave a stifled return before joining Kirishima.  He could see Kirishima eager to talk to him, probably asking where he'd been, but Izuku knew well enough that his answer was along the lines of none of his business before moving onto something else.  His brief exchange with him went unnoticed by his friends.  They had cleared the air back in the end of their first year and were known to spend time together as something like friends.

The idea was humorous to Izuku, but it did provide good excuses for the large amounts of time they spent together.

During the remaining time of the period, Izuku couldn't help the feeling of being watched.  He looked around, not sure where the sense was coming from, until his gaze fell on a table not too close but within sight.  At it, sat many of their classmates.  He didn't think much of it at first, until he noticed Ashido's eyes locked on him.  She had a very content look on her face, her chin in the palm of her hand, but her eyes seemed glazed over, like she was daydreaming.

She must have noticed his odd reaction, because she seemed to snap to.  She waved enthusiastically at him, her lips curving into a wide smile.  Izuku hesitantly waved back, sure a confused expression was barely hidden by a forced smile.  For a moment, Ashido looked like she was about to stand or maybe just shout something at him, but Asui, who was sitting next to her, caught her attention by grabbing her arm.  She spoke to her in a hushed tone, but her expression seemed serious.

Well, as serious as Asui could be.

"What's that about?" Uraraka asked.

Izuku shrugged, turning his attention back to his friends.  "No idea."

"Midoriya," Iida began, "where's your tie?"

Izuku raised a brow before feeling at his neck.  His tie was indeed missing, and after checking his pockets to make sure, he remembered the last place he'd seen it.  A blush came across his cheeks, something he tried to ignore (like the thoughts of what he was doing last with it) as he just waved it off with some vague excuse.

All too soon, lunch was over, and they were heading back to class.  When they got to the classroom, they were met with a group of them outside the door.  Tokoyami, Ojiro, Ashido, and Asui were talking among themselves, serious tones about.  Izuku and Uraraka exchanged a quizzical look but shrugged it off as they went around them.

Izuku was ignoring the side glances they were giving him as he went by.

"Shouldn't someone say anything?" he heard Ojiro ask.

"I think it's fine," Ashido almost purred.

"Of course you do," Tokoyami replied.

"I'm going to say something," Asui interjected.

He couldn't hear the rest as he went back to his seat.  Katsuki was already seated, looking over something on his phone.  Izuku smiled at him as he sat down, and he just gave him his usual gruff expression.

"They're staring at you," Katsuki muttered.  He was giving quick glances from the screen to glare at them before reverting his eyes back to the device.

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "Ashido was staring at me all through lunch," he said in a low voice.

Katsuki scoffed, his brows furrowing some.

"Maybe she has a crush on me."

Katsuki gave him a heated look.  Izuku smiled at him, punching him lightly in the shoulder.  "Don't be jealous," he said.  His voice was soft, sure that no one could overhear him.  "You know you're the only one for me."

He muttered something under his breath, what Izuku was certain was, 'Better be.'  He chuckled a little.  He knew Katsuki had a bit of possessiveness to their relationship, and there was a part of him that liked it.  Despite better thinking, sometimes he wanted to egg him on, poke at him until he did something.  He knew it wasn't advisable, and he would stop him if he went too far.  He surmised the idle fantasy was more from wanting to being open than anything else.

"Midoriya."

Both Izuku and Katsuki looked up at Asui, who was approaching his desk but stopped just short of the aisle.

He smiled at her.  "Hey, Tsu."

"I need to talk to you real quick, just outside."

Izuku raised a brow.  "Class is about to-"

"It's really important."  She had a weird sense of urgency in her voice.

"Oh, um, okay, then..."  He stood from his seat, flashing Katsuki a confused look before following Asui out of the classroom.  Katsuki's brow was furrowed, but he said nothing.

Asui only took him where the small group had been before, now vacant as the others went to their seats.  They had given him looks as they did, Ashido's gaze in particular still trained on him.

"What's up?" he asked when they were out of earshot.

"I know it's a weird thing to talk about," she started, "but your fermin has been really distracting.  You're making it hard for some of us to concentrate during class."

Izuku blinked.  "Fermin?"

Asui gave him a pointed look.  "Don't get embarrassed, Midoriya.  It's not like you're the only one who's gone through it.  Yours is just really annoying, and if you know you're having a bad day with it, you just shouldn't come to class."  She gave a light shrug.  "Just get an excuse from Recovery Girl, it's not that-"

"I'm not going through the fermin," Izuku interjected.  He was totally thrown off by the statement, and he was sure the confusion showed.

Asui tutted at him.  "Trust me, you are.  I can even smell it now, and it's obnoxious."

"Seriously, Tsu, I have no idea what you mean."

She blinked.  "You're serious."

"That's what I just said."

She groaned and shook her head.  "Wow.  I can't even imagine... You really should see the nurse, you know?"

"What?  Why?  I'm not sick."

"Well, I mean, not exactly, but—"

"What are you two up to, hmmm?"  Both students turned to face their teacher, Beak Nuke.  "Some quick canoodling?"

Both gave a perturbed look at the prospect.

"No, Asui just had to ask-"

"I think Midoriya should go see Recovery Girl," Asui interrupted.

Beak Nuke gave a long look at Izuku before looking back at her.  "Really?  Why?  He doesn't look sick or anything."

"I'm not, I-"

"It's a private matter, but I really think it would be best if he did."

The teacher cocked a brow.  "Do you need to see her, Midoriya?"

"No, I don't-"

"Yes, you do."  Asui gave him a determined look.  "Please."

Her look was something like pleading, but it held sincerity in it, too.  Izuku sighed.  "Yeah, I guess I'll go..."

Beak Nuke told him to wait for a second, as Asui went back to class.  He came back with a hall pass, and sent Izuku off with a wave.  He was still hesitant to go, but he was already holding the slip of paper, so he might as well go. 

Recovery Girl was slightly surprised to see him.  Though he was in her office enough over the years, it had finally gotten less and less closer to his graduation.  It was especially off putting when he wasn't even near the time of their hero exercises, which tended to be earlier in the day.

"What can I do for you, Midoriya?" she asked as he sat down in the chair near her desk.

Izuku scratched at the back of his head.  He had been thinking hard about what exactly to say as he walked his way through the halls, but he was still at a loss of words.  He didn't even understand why he should be asking for aide, when he had no idea what was supposedly wrong with him.

After all, there was no way he was being affected by the fermin.  Right?

"Well, ah, see..."  He trailed off, his words leaving him.  "It's kind of..."

"It's all right, dearie," she said, giving him a reassuring pat on the knee.  "Come out with it."

He was still a little hesitant.  Finally, he said, "One of the others in class mentioned I... I might be going through the fermin."

"Oh, my," was her instant response.  She tapped her chin.  "What made them bring it up?"

"She said that I'm distracting some of the others..."

"Distracting others," she repeated.  "How have you felt lately?"

Izuku didn't answer at first.  He hadn't been feeling that different lately; nothing that stood out as a sickness or anything, anyway.

Well, other than his personal life.  But that wasn't relevant.

"How much do you know about the fermin?"

Izuku shrugged.  "I just know it's something only some Quirk holders go through."  He chewed his lip, thinking of the best way to word his next comment.  "And most of those Quirk holders are more..."

"...non-humanoid, yes," Recovery Girl finished for him.  "However it can happen even in people like you."  She picked up a tablet from her desk, pressing on a few of the onscreen options.  She pulled up his records and looked over them, humming quietly to herself.

"Normally someone is given their fermin test in youth, after their Quirks show, sometimes as late as middle school," she said, scrutinising her screen.  "But with how you got your Quirk and all..."

"I never even thought of it," Izuku admitted.  "Shouldn't it have happened by now?"

"Just means you're a late bloomer," she replied through reassuring smile.  "Some don't have theirs until their twenties, and you can still be affected by it until you're twenty-five."

"Did you go through it?"

"Oh, no, but I had friends who did."  She stood from her chair, going to one of her cabinets.  "Not to mention all the students I've had to help with it over the years."

"So what exactly... is it?"

"A form of puberty," Recovery Girl said simply.  "People going through it have a different set of hormones that react differently than non-fermin.  There's also the fermin pheromone itself, that affects people around you."

Izuku could feel the heat in his face at the explanation.

"But what if that's not it?" Izuku stuttered out.  He was chewing his thumb, trying to think of what all this entailed.  He knew very little about the fermin, other than the puberty thing.  It was something that was skimmed over throughout school, just something that people seemed to keep to themselves.

"Well, how have you felt lately?" she asked again.

"I don't... I don't know how to answer that."

"Have you been having any strange urges?"

Izuku's face flushed at the question.  "Um, well..."

Recovery Girl came back, carrying different things that she set on the desk.  "I know it's embarrassing, dear, but I have to ask, if we're going to see what this is."  She gave him a sympathetic look.  "Part of the fermin is a sharp increase in libido."

Izuku didn't know what made him more flustered: the topic or how nonchalantly Recovery Girl said the word 'libido.'

"Oh, my god," was his only response as he buried his head in his hands.

"There's nothing to be ashamed of," she said.  "Young people are supposed to be having feelings like that.  It's just a lot more in the fermin, almost uncontrollable at times."

Izuku remembered all the times in the past couple of weeks he had demanded attention from Katsuki to satiate his meandering lust.  It had been odd, as called out by his boyfriend more than just earlier.  He knew how unusual it was, but he just chocked it up to being in some strange mood.

He chewed at his thumb.  How much was he supposed to tell her?

"I've been feeling... weird, lately.  I just thought..."

"Can I take that as a yes?"

He gulped.  He nodded after a moment of hesitation.  She tapped something on the screen.

"Have people been treating you differently?"

"Differently?"

"Giving you a lot of attention or anything."

How was he supposed to answer that?  He was somewhat popular.  He was on good terms with all his classmates and other students.  He got a lot of attention all around.  True, some of them had been staring more, or smiling at him a little longer than needed, but he hadn't thought much of it before now.  The only real attention he gave the most concern to was Katsuki's, and most of that was returning his own affections.

"I don't... maybe?"

Another tap.

"Do you get compliments about how you smell?"

Izuku blinked.  He remembered how often Ochako and Iida mentioned him wearing cologne lately, or the times he caught Katsuki sniffing him, or even Asui's comment when she was speaking to him earlier.  It had been rather weird, but he had been shrugging it off.

"Um, yeah, actually..."

Recovery Girl hummed.

"Well, let's just make sure, shall we?"  She motioned at him.  "Take off your jacket, roll up your sleeve, I need to get some blood."

Izuku nodded and followed her instructions.

Recovery Girl took a sample without any issue, and then sent Izuku back to class with a signed pass.  She had assured him she would get back to him by the next day, and he had just nodded in response.  He got back to class just in time for the last period change.  Attention was drawn to him, something he really didn't want at the time.  He quickly gave his pass to the teacher before taking his seat, ignoring the stares he got along the way.

Katsuki looked over his shoulder at him, deliberately neglecting the lesson to talk to Izuku in a hushed tone.  "Where the hell were you?"

"I'll tell you later," Izuku whispered back.  "Walk me home?"

Katsuki grumbled, but gave him a quick nod before turning back around.

The rest of the day seemed to drag on.  He couldn't really pay attention, his reverie tending to his discussion with Recovery Girl.  He thought about the fermin and what exactly that would mean for him.  The problem was, he wasn't sure what all was even involved with the fermin.  His knowledge wasn't anything more than what he mentioned to the school nurse, and the little bit she had talked to him about actually gave him just a little bit more than he started with.

Somewhere along his wandering thoughts, his eyes flitted to the back of Katsuki's neck.  He didn't even notice when his mind turned from worry to memories of just earlier in the day.  It happened almost too easily, and before he knew it, he was crossing his legs, and almost begging his mind to think of anything else.

He glanced around the room, trying to turn his attention to anything else.  He found Ashido and Tokoyami both giving him a look, the former with a large smile, the latter unreadable.  Izuku immediately turned around, burying his head in crossed arms on his desk to hide his blush.  He couldn't get Asui's accusation or Recovery Girl's information out of his head.

It was a hand pushing lightly on his head that brought him back to reality.  He looked up to Katsuki looking down on him, his brow raised. 

"Did you fall asleep?"

Izuku shook his head.  "No, not... that."

Katsuki barely hid the smirk that crossed his lips.  "Really, Deku?"

"Shut up."  He gazed around the room, watching as the students started to file out.  He quickly packed up his things, standing up and turning to his waiting boyfriend.

They gave quick goodbyes to their friends before leaving the school grounds.  It wasn't odd for the two rivals to walk home together, and it gave the two an extra moment together that they didn't always get through their hectic senior lives.

Katsuki was quiet for most of the trip from school.  Izuku noticed the slight lull to his step, but he wasn't sure if he should bring it up or not.  Izuku let him have his silence, just keeping himself close as they made the trek.

"Where were you?"

The question came when they were only a few minutes from Izuku's home.  Izuku hesitated before answering, though.  He should tell Katsuki, but he was embarrassed.  Not to mention he didn't even know what all it meant if it was true.

"I went to see Recovery Girl."

Katsuki stopped in his stride, Izuku taking another step to do the same before he turned back to him.  They had come to the backend of a cross street close to Izuku's apartment building, that rarely saw many pedestrians at this time of day.  Katsuki's look was hard, but he could tell the underlying concern.  Izuku smiled at him.

"I'm okay," he insisted.  Katsuki didn't look too convinced.  "It... it probably isn't a big deal, really."  He looked around, making sure the street was clear before he took Katsuki's hand.  "Don't worry."

Katsuki gave his hand a squeeze.  "What was it?"

Izuku bit his lip.  Recovery Girl wasn't able to tell him right away, and the whole thing might mean nothing.  Should he wait until he knows?  Then they could laugh it off together, as absurd as the whole idea was. 

"It's nothing, just a misunderstanding," he finally said.  "She said she wouldn't know until tomorrow."  He ran a thumb over his.  "I just don't want to think about it right now."

Katsuki gave him a cynical look.  "Tell me later, then."

Izuku nodded.  "Yeah, of course."  His smile was light and reassuring.  "Hey, did you want to come over?  We have that test next week we should study for, and..."  He trailed off.  They both knew what else would probably happen, despite Izuku's mother being home.  They'd have to be quiet, but it wouldn't be the first time.

"Not today," Katsuki answered. 

"Oh."  Izuku could feel his lips drop a little, but he didn't want to fault him for that.  Katsuki had his days where he wanted to be alone.

"I... sorry, just-"

"It's okay."  Izuku broadened his smile.  He kissed him on the jaw, saying, "There's always later."

Katsuki grunted some sort of acknowledgement.  Their hands fell apart as they returned course toward Izuku's apartment.  It was quiet again until their parting.

"Call me, right?  If you need anything," Izuku insisted.

Katsuki gave him a light shrug.

"Katchan."

"Yeah, right, I know."

"It's all right, you know, this normally only lasts a few days for you, so hopefully—"

"Deku."

Izuku quieted, but he gave his boyfriend a sincere look.  "I know you don't want to talk about it, but even then..."  He put his arms around him, pulling himself close as he hugged him tightly.  He could feel Katsuki tense, though he wasn't sure if he was having a moment of not wanting to be touched or just worried they would be seen.

Izuku didn't care.  Katsuki was his close friend as much as he was his boyfriend, and he still gave affection to all of his friends.  He didn't care at all what that looked like to others.

"I'm here, Katchan."  He embraced him just a little tighter.  "Don't forget that, okay?"

He could feel more than hear Katsuki's sigh.  He returned the gesture, putting his arms around Izuku's back and squeezing lightly.  "Stupid Deku."

Izuku chuckled at the name.  It had been so long since it held any edge to it.  Now it was just familiar more than anything.

Slowly, they drew apart.  Katsuki sneaked one last kiss before saying his goodbye and heading toward his own home.  Izuku watched him for a moment, smiling to himself.  He was a little disappointed, wanting to spend more time with him, but tomorrow he was sure he could get some attention out of him.  As he made his way to his apartment, he knew partly what kind of attention, but he would ignore it for now.

Just like he ignored the way Katsuki had sniffed his hair just moments ago.

Chapter Text

Katsuki didn't answer the knock on his door.  It was the second attempt to get his attention, but he didn't really care to get up.  He had heard the voices just outside coming closer to his room, but he just buried himself more into his nest of pillows.  When he heard the knob turning, he grunted loudly, as if it would drive away anyone that would want to invade his space.

However, it did nothing as the door opened and closed.  Footsteps padded closer to his bed, and the mattress sank as weight pressed on it.

He just curled more into his blankets.

"Katchan."

There was an arm around him.  It was cold.  Everything was cold to him.

"It's really dark in here."

"What do you want," he growled, more into his pillow than into the room.

Izuku just squeezed him in response.  "Do you want the excuse or the real reason?"

Katsuki grunted.  "Whatever."

"They gave us the final itinerary for the Graduate Tour," Izuku said.  "We're going to Osaka first."

"And then?"

"Kyoto is after that."

"I bet that makes you happy."

Izuku hummed.  "I mean, it would be nice.  I haven't seen All Might since he retired."  He nuzzled into Katsuki's back, though he could barely feel it through his covers.  "I should text him, see if he wants to meet us somewhere or-"

"Why are you here, Deku?"

"They gave us some papers about the trip; I just wanted to bring them."

"Kirishima could have done that."

There was a long pause.  "...you've missed two days."

Katsuki didn't respond.  He gripped the linen tighter.

He just wanted to disappear.

"Katchan..."

"Don't worry about it."

There was rustling as Izuku sat up, pulling on Katsuki's shoulder gently.  "You know I'm going to, and it's not fair for you to ask me not to." 

He felt lips grace his temple.  He almost told him not to really touch him.  He hadn't showered in three days.  He felt disgusting, and he didn't want Izuku to smell him, or feel his oily hair, or...

Izuku shouldn't have to deal with any of it.  He should just go home and let him deal with his own issues.  Maybe if he ignored him, he'd just go away...

"It's okay."

Katsuki groaned.  That was the last thing he wanted to hear.

"You should have called or texted, I would have-"

"Done what?"

Quiet.  Shuffling.  Izuku pressed his forehead to his shoulder blade.  "You don't have to be by yourself."

"Don't you have anything better to do."

"Being with my boyfriend when he's depressed matters more."

"You can't always be here," Katsuki retorted.  He thought of moving Izuku, of pushing him off.  But it was the first thing he had really felt all day.  He just kept still.  "...and don't call it that."

"That's what it is, Katchan," Izuku assured.  "And that's okay.  Just got to get through it, like your last one."

Katsuki sighed.  "I have nothing to be depressed about."

"You know that's not how it works."

He did know.  Because he had read every book and website Izuku had suggested to him.  He blew him off when he originally gave it to him, but he knew if Izuku had gone through the trouble of assembling it all, it was only because he was concerned.  He couldn't deny the truth he found, but he didn't always know what it meant for him.  He just knew what it felt like.

Katsuki turned around, moving for what must have been the first time in hours, as he flipped to face Izuku.  He only caught a glimpse of his smile, just barely visible in the dimly-lit room, before he buried his head in his side.  He didn't want to chance him seeing how red his eyes probably were, even if it was dark.  Izuku was quick to put a hand on Katsuki's head.

"What do you want me to do, Katchan?"

Katsuki thought again of telling him to leave.  But as Izuku ran his fingers through the tangled spikes, he found that initial urge fading.  He didn't want to say it out loud, but he was still grateful for his presence.

"...stay, I guess."

Izuku chuckled lightly.  "Your mom already offered, and I told my mom I was probably spending the night."

Katsuki grumbled into his chest.  "I won't be good company."

"How often are you?"

Izuku yelped when Katsuki bit him through his shirt.  He chortled, and he was just met with a rough ruffle of his hair.

"Can I join you?"  Izuku pulled lightly at the covers.

"If you want."

Izuku pulled back the blankets, quickly getting under and pulling himself closer to Katsuki.  He didn't pull away when he put his arms around him, but he didn't really respond either.

"It's really hot under here."

Katsuki gave a light shrug.  "Not to me."

"Of course not."

"If you don't like it, you can get out."

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "Nice try."  He kissed him on the noise.  "But you're stuck with me all night."

"Whatever."

They laid together, Izuku loosely around him and head on his chest, and Katsuki staring out at the wall.  He twitched a little, the scent of his linens too much.  He hadn't been moving around much, and the sweat was evident.  He would need to clean the sheets soon, but he couldn't muster up more than that thought.

That wasn't all he could smell.  Izuku being there, he could smell his sweet musk.  He took in a whiff of it as he nuzzled into his fluff of hair.  Izuku gripped his shirt a little, but said nothing.

"Did they already split up everyone?"

Izuku nodded.  "They told us yesterday."

"...are we in the same group?"

Izuku chuckled before giving him a kiss to the underside of his jaw.  "Yes, we are.  And if you'd read your texts, you'd know that."

Katsuki scoffed.  He couldn't even remember when he had last looked at his phone.

"A lot of the class is together, actually.  Thankfully."  He tucked himself back against Katsuki's body.  "And don't worry; Kirishima is going to be there, too."

He made a sound of acknowledgement.  He sounded indifferent, but he was grateful his boyfriend and friend would be on the Graduate Tour with him.  It was going to be four weeks of traveling around Japan, and he didn't really want to do the trek without either one of them.  The third years were juggled around some, as a way to force them near other heroes they were unfamiliar with.

"Hey, Katchan-"

Both stilled instantly at a knock on the door.  Katsuki pulled away from him almost instantly, and Izuku sat up.  Even though his mother knew, he would have still been mortifying to be caught. 

"What?" he griped at the door.

All he could hear was a muffled voice.  He grumbled, but Izuku put a hand on his shoulder.  "Be nice," he said as he stood up from the bed.  "I'll see what she wants."  He left him for the door, opening it, speaking for just a moment, before he left the room completely, and leaving the door ajar.

Katsuki sat up, only vaguely listening in to Izuku speak with his mother.  He scooted closer to the edge of his bed, reaching out to turn on the bedside light.  He winced at the brightness.  If he had to recall, his mother was the last one to turn it on last night when she tried speaking to him, but he had hastily switched off the moment she was gone. 

Katsuki sighed as he put his head in his hand.  He needed to move, he knew.  He hated being this inactive, but when he tried to get the motivation to move, he just... couldn't.  It was a weight in his mind and chest that kept him almost chained to his bed.  And the thoughts that swirled while he laid there...  It was better to just sleep it away, like he had been.  At least he wasn't having as many nightmares as last time.

He had had little episodes here and again since, but nothing that made him feel the need to stay home from school.  He just went through the motions, getting through the days, a little less to his fire.  He traded outbursts for harsh but quieted words.  But he was still there, and that was what mattered.

Last time had been months ago.  He was home for only a day, but it was enough for him to remember.  He spiralled into thoughts he thought he had gotten at bay, but it was like a dam bursting, and a flood of darkness had pushed him down further than he'd been.  It was quick and heavy, and for a long moment, he didn't know if he would get out of it.

And then Izuku was there.  He didn't know when, but he was there.  He spent an entire week with him, doing only nothing more than just staying by his side.  They did homework, helped his mother around the house (more Izuku pressured him into it), and otherwise hung out.  They never talked about it, whatever he was going through, but he felt better just having him there.

Just like he did now.  He should tell him that, too.  Let him know he appreciated him, and he was grateful.  He bit his lip, trying to think of how to phrase such a thing.

He huffed, shoving the thought aside for now.  He'd find a way to thank him later.  It could wait.

Katsuki picked up his phone, something he was sure he hadn't done in days.  He scrolled through his notifications, most of which were calls and texts from Izuku.  All the other messages were from Kirishima.  He wasn't interested in reading them, assuming they were all the same.  And mostly they were, just words of concern.  His eyes stilled on Izuku's last one.

I'm coming over today, Katchan.  I love you.

He should have answered.  He rubbed his forehead, sighing.  He was such a shitty boyfriend.

Katsuki looked up when he heard the door close.

"Is that my tie?"

He blinked.  He looked over at the lamp on his bedside table, where the strip of red was tied around.  He glanced back at Izuku, who was standing next to him.  He gave him a shrug.

"I've been looking for that," he mentioned.

"Take it back then."

Izuku looked between him and it for a brief moment before sighing.  "Your mom said it would still be a little bit before dinner."  He pulled away at the blankets, taking them completely from Katsuki.  "Plenty of time for you to get clean."

Katsuki grumbled as Izuku ushered him up and away from the bed.  He continued to pull up sheets while he watched on.  "What are you doing?"

Izuku turned a small, sincere smile to him.  "Figured I could get this started while you wash up." 

Katsuki's brow twitched.  He knew it wasn't the most pleasant of smells, but he didn't think it was that bad.  "You don't have to do that."

He closed the distance between them with two steps, leaning up to kiss him softly but quickly on the lips.  "I know I don't."  He left him to start stripping the pillow cases off all the pillows in his makeshift nest.  "Change your clothes, too."

"Deku."

He continued to stuff all the linens together, balling it up in the fitted sheet to make a satchel.  "And brush your teeth."

"What?"

"Yeah."  He turned to Katsuki.  "I'd like to kiss you a bit more, but your breath is kind of... bad."

Katsuki huffed.  "It isn't—"

"It is," Izuku interjected.  "You should listen to your boyfriend."

"Should I?" Katsuki mused. 

Izuku rolled his eyes, but still gave him a wide smile.  "Yes, you should.  Because I don't want to sleep on the floor."

Katsuki couldn't help the little smirk that came to his lips.  He wouldn't want him to, either.  Some part of him looked forward to the contact from the only person he could even begin to think of letting touch him.  Unfortunately, it only gave him the smallest amount of motivation to do the things asked of him, the things he should have already done by now.

He wanted to do more, especially now Izuku was there.  He wanted to be more of himself, to be active, to enjoy the time with his boyfriend.  But that's not what he felt.  He still felt tired, no matter how much he had already slept; he felt drained, even though he hadn't done much of anything for days. 

He looked down at the clothes Izuku was putting in his hands, and he wanted to feel the want to take care of himself more than the nagging voice in the back of his brain that confirmed it at least as a need.

Katsuki leaned forward, placing his forehead on Izuku's shoulder.  Izuku stumbled back a step at the unaccepted gesture, but quickly balanced himself.  He turned to nuzzle Katsuki's neck as he put his arms around him. 

"I don't... I don't want to," he said slowly.  It wasn't what he wanted to say, but the only other thing to say was he couldn't, and how weak did that sound.

"I know, Katchan," Izuku replied, his tone genuine.  "Just clean up."  He paused, humming before adding, "And eat dinner.  After talking to your mom, I'm worried about the last time you really ate.

"Then we'll do whatever you want."

"What if I want to lie down again?"

"After we change your sheets, sure.  We can get out your laptop, watch something, cuddle..."

Izuku trailed off.  He wasn't adding the last part, the thing he had been at levels of demanding out of him in the last two weeks.  He took in a deep breath, taking in his scent.  Normally he liked it, wanted more of it and him, but now it made him antsy when he still had no energy to work on it.

"I hope you're not expecting anything, Deku," he said.  "I'm really not in the mood."

Izuku's whole body tensed at the statement.  Had he read him wrong?  It was all he'd been about for a while now, so he thought it was a fair assumption if not something he could at least tease him about.

Izuku pulled away just enough to look him in the eyes.  "Hey, there's something... um, we need to talk about."

Katsuki stood up a little bit, his brow raised.  "What is it?"

"After you go talk a bath."

His brow furrowed.  "You can't just—"

"Gives you an incentive."  He pulled away, picking up the bundle of linens.

"Deku—"

"It's okay," he assured him.  "Everything's fine, just..."  He bit his lip.  He shook his head.  "After dinner."

Katsuki just shrugged him off, no energy to even try and get anything else out of him.  "Whatever."

They split up for the time, Izuku taking his blankets to the laundry area, and Katsuki to the bath.  His mother caught him on his attempt to slink into the washroom undetected.  She didn't want much more of him than a quick word about dinner and asking if Izuku was staying.  She also sneaked in a hug, much to his chagrin, but he let her have it.  She was concerned, he knew, and he didn't blame her for it.  He never knew how to tell her what was going on, but when he told her in the mornings that he just couldn't make it to school, she never questioned it.

After escaping her, he finally made it to the bath.  As he removed his clothes, he could understand Izuku's insistence on washing himself.  His shirt stuck to his back as he lifted it above his head, and he didn't even want to acknowledge his boxers.

Cleaning was an almost laborious and torturous task.  He couldn't pinpoint how long he was washing his hair, but it had to be forever by his guess.  He wondered if Izuku had known the length of time he would probably take just to bathe himself.

He almost wished Izuku was with him.  It was dumb, he could perfectly do this on his own, but he figured he'd be able to keep on task more if Izuku was there, offering to wash his back.  But it just wasn't something they did when parents were around.  Just because there was knowledge of their relationship, it didn't make it any less strange to have the linger possibility of being caught.

That didn't mean they hadn't done things, but it was always after they were sure they were asleep, and done quietly.  It was obnoxious, and he couldn't wait until he moved out and could actually have true moments alone with his boyfriend.

Katsuki stepped in the tub after rinsing off, wincing at the cool water.  It didn't take long into his soak before the liquid felt okay to him.  He could have warmed it if he really wanted to, but he just couldn't muster up the will.  He sighed as he let himself sink a little in the basin until his mouth was covered.

How long was he going to have to deal with this?

"Katchan?"  The voice came with a knock.

Katsuki glanced at the door, not moving at first from the water.  When there was another knock, though, he raised slightly.  "What?"

"Dinner's almost ready."

He grunted.  "Okay," he responded.

Katsuki didn't feel any urgency, though, and it was still several more minutes before he left the tub for his last rinse and began to dry off.  It was nothing to dry off, as he ran his hands over his body, small flames licking at the moisture and coming off as steam.  He ran a towel over the places he couldn't or didn't want to get as well as his hair.  After changing into his fresh clothes, he deposited everything soiled in the hamper before leaving the room.

As he was about to head to the dining room, he made a quick detour to the bathroom to brush his teeth, almost as an afterthought.  He looked at his eyes in the mirror, and a sigh of relief left him when he found his eyes weren't red aside from the irises.  Then he headed off to join his family and Izuku.

Or was Izuku part of that?  He was in a way, wasn't he?

When he came out, he found Izuku and his mother still in the kitchen, talking quietly to each other.  He only caught the tail end of what seemed to be a deep conversation.

The air smelled of something sweet alongside his mother's cooking.

"I think it's a great idea, dear," his mother said.  "And I whole-heartedly approve."

"I'm glad, Mrs. Bakugou," he replied.  "I've been trying to ask him, but things just keep coming up."

"Well, you know how it can be."

"How what can be?"

They looked back at him, Izuku startled a little.  His face was flushed, but he still smiled some.

His mother dismissed him easily, telling him to set the table.  He grumbled, but went ahead and did what he was told.  It was the least he could do, he surmised.  And moving around would probably be good for him.

Dinner wasn't... awful.  His father had come home by then, and he seemed happy to see his son out of his room.  He asked him if he was feeling any better, and Katsuki couldn't more than an 'I guess' out of himself.  But he didn't push the subject any further, and he was grateful for it.  His parents just turned their questions to the last of the written exams and the Graduate Tour coming up.  Izuku had to answer some of the inquiries for him, filling in with what they had told the class the day before.

They talked about the festivals they would be present for, and Izuku almost spoke too joyously about something in Akita.  He wasn't exactly paying attention as he was too busy trying to force himself to eat though he really had no appetite.

He really didn't see the appeal of snow, anyway.

After dinner, Izuku gave him a nudge, and kept him out of his room for just long enough to help his mother clean the dishes.  Izuku went to check on the dryer, and Katsuki was left alone with his mother once more.  He was grateful when her chatter was more of idle banter than anything too deep that he'd have to give more thought and effort to.

As they finished, though, she turned the conversation.  "I know it sucks, but you shouldn't miss any school next week."

"I know," Katsuki half-heartedly agreed.

"And the Graduate Tour... You'll be okay, won't you?"

Katsuki rubbed his forehead.  The question was valid.  How long would this one last?  His last ones had been only a few days with the worst of it, and he hoped that would be true again.  However he remembered all the pages he read about months long spirals, and he didn't know the real answer.

"Just have to last a month, right?"

His stomach panged at the look of worry she gave him.  "You can always call me, you know that?"

"I know that, mom."  Katsuki put away the last of the plates.

"And you've got Eijiro, don't forget him."

"We'll have time to hang out, trust me."

"And of course you have Izuku," she added.  "Just don't get caught."

Katsuki groaned.  "Mom."

She waved a hand at him.  "Just a month more, right?  Then you two can have all sorts of-"

"Mom."

She gave a hearty laugh.

"What's funny?"

Both looked over to Izuku as he entered the room, Katsuki's other set of linens in his hands.  His mother grinned.  "Just talking about when you two graduate."

Izuku's interest was piqued, his face lighting up somewhat.  "Oh?  What about it?"

"Nothing," Katsuki interjected.  "We're going to hang out in my room."

Her grin only widened, but he ignored her, walking away and grabbing Izuku's arm as he directed him back to his room.

"Don't be too loud," she called after them, a seemingly usual request to Izuku, but an annoying allusion to Katsuki.

"Katchan, your face is red."

"Forget it," he grumbled in response.

The discussion was quickly left behind as they worked in tandem to put the bed back in order.  They stretched out the sheet over it, each taking an end of the mattress.  Katsuki didn't say anything, but he couldn't help the thought of how Izuku always seemed to know how to get him to do things he didn't want to when he was in one of these moods.

Katsuki finished putting the pillow cases on as Izuku changed into pyjamas.  He had had plenty of random visits that he kept a set of his own clothes in one of Katsuki's drawers.  The same was true at Izuku's, as well as his mother always keeping some extra spicy condiments for him as neither one of them were particularly fond of it themselves.

"See?"  Izuku had moved behind him, wrapping his arms around Katsuki's waist.  "Much better when it's clean."

"It bothered you, not me," he lied.  He threw the last pillow in the corner before turning around to put his arms around Izuku. 

"It would have eventually gotten to you, too, you know."  Izuku was smiling lightly.  He leaned up, kissing him softly.  Katsuki pressed back, tightening his arms around him.  "That's better, too," he teased when they pulled apart.

Katsuki rolled his eyes, but moved back in for another kiss, one Izuku met eagerly.  Izuku pushed firmly against him, pressing him to sit down on the edge of the bed.  Izuku straddled his lap, his fingers coming to grip his hair lightly.  He opened his mouth, his tongue gracing against Katsuki's lips.  He let him in, but he only gave him half the intensity of normal.

He liked this part.  He was actually keen on it; a long make out session sounded great to help him start feeling again.  But he couldn't help wondering if Izuku would want more of him, and he just didn't know if he had the ability to perform in his current mind-set.  The last time they'd tried to have sex when he was this bad had been embarrassing, and he didn't really want to relive it.

"Deku," he breathed, pulling away.

Izuku's eyes were half-lidded, and he could already tell where his mind was headed.  He leaned back in, but Katsuki stopped him, putting a finger on his lips.  Izuku gave him a quizzical look.

"I was being serious," he said.  "I'm not up for it tonight."

Izuku's face took on a pink hue.  "Right, I'm sorry, I know..."  He looked down at Katsuki's chest.  He could hear him nibbling at his lip.  This wasn't a big deal, right?  There was always another time.   It didn't matter that much, now did it?

Izuku rolled off of him to lay on the bed, his feet swinging off the edge.  "Hey, so... that thing we needed to talk about..."

Right, there was that.  He laid back, mimicking Izuku's posture, though he found it uncomfortable to be bent like that.  "What is it?"

Izuku didn't answer at first.  Finally, he said, "Principal Nezu kept me after class yesterday."

Katsuki raised a brow.  "I'm gone for two days, and you get in trouble?"

"No, nothing like that...  I think he just figured it was better if he talked to me."

He turned from looking at the ceiling to stare at Izuku.  "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Yeah, so, ah..."  Izuku sat up and scooted more on the bed until he was against the pillows.  "You remember how I went to Recovery Girl the other day?"

"Yes..."  Katsuki sat up as well, staying on the edge of the bed as he faced him.  "So?  What was it?"

Izuku scratched the back of his head.  He was looking anywhere in the room but at Katsuki.  "I, ah... I'm going through the fermin."

"Fermin?" Katsuki repeated.  "How is that possible?"

Izuku shrugged.  "It's rare, but even humanoid Quirk holders can get it, apparently.  That's what Recovery Girl said, anyway."

"Okay, well, so what?"

"So what?"

"What does it mean?"  Katsuki was being honest with his question.  He had heard about it, but it wasn't something really talked about outside of those who went through it.

"It means... well, it just explains why I've been so... you know..."

Katsuki didn't fill in the blank, urging him to answer for himself.  Izuku sighed, a blush creeping up his cheeks.  "Why I've been so... horny lately."

He blinked, his reply coming slow.  "The fermin... makes you... horny?"

Izuku stared at the area of blanket in front of his feet.  "Among other things," he said softly.

"What does that mean?"

"There's two parts to it, from what I was told," Izuku answered.  "There's the horny part for me.  And I give off this... pheromone, too."

"Pheromone?"  Katsuki moved up the bed to sit next to Izuku.  He was still trying to get his head around what he was being told.  "Like... what animals do and shit?"

"Yeah, it's like a form of heat, basically."  Izuku's face was totally red at this point.

"So you essentially give off a, 'come fuck me' smell while you, at the same time, want to fuck," Katsuki summarised.

"Don't put it that way," Izuku huffed.  He tilted his body so his head rested on Katsuki's shoulder.  "I don't like it, you know.  And it's not like I want to give that off to anyone but you."

Katsuki snorted.  He took Izuku's hand, threading their fingers together.  "It's not that bad, is it?"

"What Principal Nezu says is that it normally affects other fermin more than anything," he said.  "But..."

"But?"

"What my blood tests showed was my fermin level is really high."  He fidgeted a little, bringing his thumb to his lips, and bit the nail gently.  "And that apparently means it can affect non-fermin, not as much, but still enough."

Katsuki paused to think about that.  When he gave it a long moment, he could remember the way Izuku smelled recently.  He just thought he had switched shampoos or something, or he had just never noticed it before.  Whatever it was, he had liked it, and always shrove to be closer to him when it was present.  He hadn't put much weight to it before, but with this new information, he could actually think of times when he was probably giving off that scent.  It was mostly when Izuku had pursued him into intimacy at school, but he had waved it off, thinking he was just giving in easily to his eager boyfriend.

But there were other times, too, when he could just smell it more than normal.  Most of their time had been just in school lately, and that was when he encountered, but again, he was still close to him from where they sat, and he just assumed it was their proximity and his lingering interest in everything about him.

Now that he was really thinking about it, did that mean other people smelt the fermin, too?  The other students in the class, would they react to him the same way?

"So... everyone can smell it?"

"Well, I guess.  Non-fermin would probably have to be closer, like you, or around when I'm giving it off more than usual."  He stroked Katsuki's thumb with his own.  "But fermin can smell it really well."

"What about the teachers?  That would be kind of... weird."

"You can smell it until your mid-twenties, from what I understand," he said.  "After that, you just can't anymore.  Which is for the best, I'd think.  That age is still kind of gross, but older would be worse."

Katsuki nodded.  "Yeah, that would be fucking gross."

"Tsu was the one who mentioned it," Izuku explained.  "She said I was bothering people..."

"What are you supposed to do about it?" Katsuki sniped.

"Get a nurse's note to go home," he answered.  "If I know my fermin is bad, I can leave.  Or if..."

"If...?"

"If I can't..."  He chewed his thumb again.  "I have days, you know?  Where it's just not all I can think about, it feels like I need it, right then and there."

"And that's with the 'fuck me now' texts?"

Izuku squeezed his hand.  He twisted his body, tucking himself into Katsuki's side.  "You have no idea what it feels like.  Sometimes I'm at home, and it just..."

"It cannot be that bad," Katsuki bemoaned.  He put an arm around him, making it a bit more comfortable for him to lean into him.  "Just rub one out, right?"

"That's not enough, Katchan," he griped.  "I want more than that.  I want you, and I want you more than once, and it hurts."

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  He was having a hard time believing him.  He had had plenty of times where it felt like he just needed to have sex right then and there, but he also knew that it would pass, and he just rode it out. 

It was good to know that Izuku was only thinking of him, though.  He didn't doubt it and wouldn't think him to want anyone else.  It was just nice to hear.

"How's it been the last two days?" Katsuki asked out of curiosity.

"Hard," Izuku replied.  Katsuki figured it wouldn't be a good time to mention the double entendre.  "There were so many times I wanted to text you, just skip school and come see you.  But I figured why you probably weren't there, and I just... thought it would be in bad taste."

"But doesn't mean you're not going to try, right?" Katsuki teased.  Normally it was him who was more eager for sex, so it was somewhat humorous to see the tables turned.

"I would like to, yes," Izuku admitted.  "But if you're not up to it, it's okay.  I can manage."

"Even if it 'hurts'?"

Izuku punched him lightly in the chest.  "Don't make fun of me.  This really sucks, you know."

"Yeah, yeah..."  He put his other arm behind his head, staring up at the ceiling.  "Bad timing, then..."

Izuku made a soft noise, something like a whine.  His body was pressed close to Katsuki, and he could smell him, but this time he was more aware of what it was.  Katsuki sighed.  He turned over, lying on his side to face Izuku.

"Do you want to try?" he asked.  He was still feeling tired and away from it all, but if what Izuku was saying was true (and he had no reason to lie, it added up, and it wasn't like they needed an excuse to be physical), shouldn't he try to give him relief?

"No, it's all right."  Izuku gave him a peck on the lips.  "Don't force yourself."  He tucked himself into Katsuki, putting his arm around him and his forehead on his chest.  "It's more important to take care of you, anyway.  This will go away."

Katsuki grunted, wanting to ignore the statement.  "When?"

"What?"

Katsuki put an arm around his waist, running a hand along his side.  "When will it go away?  How long does it last?"

Izuku murmured lightly at his ministrations, curling just a bit more into him.  "Anywhere from a month to a couple of years.  It's different for everyone, and you don't know until it's over."

"The Tour isn't going to be easy."

Izuku sighed.  "I know.  But I'll manage."

"...I won't always be able to do anything, you know that, right?"

He nodded against his chest.  "I know."

"You should bring those things with you."

Izuku looked up at him, brow quirked.  "Things?"

Katsuki smirked down at him.  "Those things you keep in your drawer that you don't think I know about."

Izuku buried his head in his chest again, but he was still able to catch his blush.  "How—"

"I needed a charger, figured that's where you would keep a spare," Katsuki mused.  "You kept something charged in there, all right."

"S-shut up!"  He tried to pull away, but Katsuki just held him tighter.

"I'm just teasing you, Deku, calm down."  He took his chin in his fingers, tilting his head to look up at him.  "I don't care you have that stuff.  I'm not always there, after all."

Izuku was still blushing.  "It's still weird that you know about it."

Katsuki shrugged.  He leaned in, kissing him.  "So, you're going to be trying to sneak me away throughout the Tour, huh?"

"P-probably," Izuku admitted.  He fisted the front of Katsuki's tank top.  "I know I shouldn't, I just... don't know how much I can help it."  He kissed his chin.  "And you're the only one I want to take care of it."

"Better be," Katsuki almost growled out.  He rolled over, stretching out on top of Izuku.  His eyes were wide, but his body was still relaxed when Katsuki took his jawline in his hands.  "I should be the only one fucking you."

Izuku's body shuddered at his tone.  Katsuki was positioned in between his legs, and it didn't get past him how he spread his thighs for him, his hands still in his shirt.  "Katchan..."

"I'll be better by then," Katsuki insisted.  "And even if I'm not, I still want you to try and come to me, okay?"  He pressed his forehead against Izuku's.  "Even if I can't fuck you, I'll still get you off."

"If you're not into it, you don't have to fake it.  I know this is rough for you, and we should focus on—"

"I'd rather be doing that than wallowing around," Katsuki asserted.

"It's not wallowing."

Katsuki growled before he kissed Izuku roughly.  Izuku's hands moved around to his back, his nails digging in through his shirt.  He slid his leg up, his thigh grazing Katsuki's groin.  He bit his lip, earning a small sound from Izuku.

"Stop that."

"Sorry, I just thought maybe—"

Katsuki sighed.  He lifted himself off him slightly, a frown across his lips.  It was his own fault, really; he was unintentionally leading him on.  He really did only want to make-out still.  Maybe he could get it up and just let Izuku ride him, but even now, he found he wasn't responding right to his actions.

"How about I suck you off and finger you?" Katsuki offered.

"But you—"

"I'm fine, Deku, really."  He moved a hand down his body until he palmed his groin, which was already growing.  He gave Izuku a bemused look, and he just turned his gaze away.  "I can do this much for you."

Izuku gave him an almost pleading look.  "Katchan..."

"God, you're easy, aren't you?"

Izuku's face lit up again as he pushed at his shoulder some.  "It's not my fault."

Katsuki kissed his forehead.  "I know."  Izuku shivered when he stroked him through his pants.  "Just got to get through it, right?"

Izuku chortled.  "That's what I'm supposed to say to you."

Katsuki shrugged.

Izuku pulled him in for a kiss.  "Together, right?"

Katsuki smiled lightly.  "Yeah.  Together."

Chapter Text

The week before the Graduate Tour had been rough on Izuku.  He hadn't thought things would get tough, but between the last major exam and his increasing issues with the fermin, the confined spaces of the school were doing him in.  He hadn't done as well as he'd liked (but still well enough compared to most of the class), and every day seemed like a battle against his urges.

He had thought that knowing about the fermin would make things easier.  Before he knew what was going on, he had just blamed his lust on his anxiety or the end of his school career, a need for stress relief.  While in a way it was still true, it was a fraction of what was really going on.  Even after he was assured of his rank in class (third, coming in just behind Katsuki), he still felt on edge and full of tension that only one thing could solve.

He hated how almost cliché it all was.  A teenager solving everything through sex had to be the worst trope he could find himself in, but there was an awful truth to it all.  Izuku would find himself in the middle of the most mundane tasks and suddenly feeling the need to find relief.  It was worst when he was in the middle of a conversation, and it striking him out of nowhere, and he would have to flee to the bathroom to take care of it.

He had started to make sure he always had a book or bag with him, to hide his shame.

Izuku found that his self-help wasn't always good enough, either.  There had already been too many instances at school where he holed up in a stall for a lengthy amount of time, once not being enough, and having to stroke himself raw.  He would go three times before he just couldn't anymore, but he still wasn't fulfilled.

What he found he wanted most was sex.  It was in most of his lewd thoughts, and the only thing that really seemed to get him anywhere near normal again.  For the first couple of weeks of his fermin (or when he had assumed it had started, anyway), when he wasn't at school or didn't have Katsuki available to him, he used his vibrator to alleviate his desire.  It worked for the most part, but he wanted the real thing the most.  However he still had to wait until he was home from school and when he was sure his mother wouldn't find him before he could even entertain the idea of helping himself.

Katsuki was who he wanted most.  He would find any excuse to get him alone, even spending more time after school with him than his other friends.  He felt bad about it, but there was little he could do about it.  Even if he tried hanging around anyone else, his thoughts would wonder to a point he couldn't focus on whatever they were doing. 

But the past several days had been hard on both of them.  Katsuki's depression had been worse this time around, and Izuku couldn't help the shame for his own selfish thoughts.  He wanted Katsuki better, of course, but there was a strong part of it that was just so they could have sex again.  When Katsuki had a low swing, his libido was all but gone.  Normally that meant nothing to Izuku, as they could enjoy each other's company in many different ways.  But though sexually was usually at the end of what they did together, now it was his first thought, and he wanted Katsuki to come back to himself so they could get back to it.

He knew it was terrible, but it was the only real relief he had available to him.  Everything else only did so much, but Katsuki made him relax and the fermin subside for even a while.  It wasn't like he could go to anyone else.  He didn't even want anyone else.  He had worried when the fermin was described to him by Principal Nezu that he would be so sex-hungry, his thoughts would lead him to something he would regret.  But he never felt that way.  He was grateful for it, and he just figured that the Principal's warning had been more of a general consensus than anything about him specifically, as he couldn't come out about his relationship.

Principal Nezu did acknowledge that he understood it was hard for fermin to control themselves, especially when others would be attracted to his scent as much as he would want it.  He told him there was some leniency for students going through the fermin if they were caught, but it was only for fermin.  Non-fermin would still be treated with the zero tolerance rule.  Izuku had found this unfair, but he wasn't really left with a way to argue it.

Katsuki had done what he could for him despite his inability to fully participate.  He would give him fellatio and finger him mostly, but he did other things, as well.  He would focus on touching and biting, and one time Izuku had been so wound up, he came from just these ministrations alone.  He even came over one night and experimented with Izuku's toys on him, which had been awkward as he had been hiding them from him, but he was almost eager to help him climax with the aide.

For all of Katsuki's effort, Izuku was grateful.  Though he appreciated everything he did, he knew Katsuki was still going through his own issues.  Izuku did what he could for him when Katsuki wasn't taking care of him, but there was really only so much he could do.  Whether he was swinging up or down, other than being there for him, it wasn't like he could change anything.  They just had to wait it out until things evened again.

Izuku had tried a few times to get a response out of Katsuki.  He was able to get him hard sometimes, but even after sucking him off, nothing happened.  It was like he floated away during it, and he couldn't feel it enough to finish.  He'd apologise, but Izuku would reassure him he wasn't to blame.  Then they would find something else to do to get their minds off the whole thing.

The week went by, and the Graduate Tour had come.  The night before, Izuku and his mother went out to dinner with the Bakugou family, a joint celebration for their sons' near graduation.  Afterward, Izuku had brought his baggage and stayed at Katsuki's so they could leave together in the morning, driven by Katsuki's father.  They had stayed up most of the night, talking fervently about how they were looking forward to the trip, and what they were expecting of it.

Well, Izuku had been excited anyway.  Katsuki was flat in how he spoke, but that numbness was comforting in an odd way.  Before he could feel any better, he had to feel nothing at all.  He did it after most of his major mood swings, and Izuku saw it as a good sign.  Indeed, in the morning, Katsuki had been something like affectionate, and they were almost late to the train station when he held him in bed, just wanting to cuddle.

When they got there, they found it was in plenty of time, as the train had a slight delay.  They both said a parting to Katsuki's father before dropping their luggage other than backpacks off and finding their friends.  Only so many of their class was there, along with a mix of 3-B, general classes, support, and management.  There was about fifty of them altogether, who would be taking the same journey that they were.

Izuku had gone to talk Uraraka and Iida after dropping off his luggage, excited that they were in the same group.  Katsuki had let him go without a word, and he assumed he was going to find Kirishima or Kaminari.  His conversation with his friends was boisterous, and they agreed to all sit together on the train.  He extended the offer to Todoroki when he saw him, and the quiet teen smiled and nodded.  He spent several moments speaking with him, finding his own eagerness for the trip, though he was as reserved as usual.

Before the train arrived, he excused himself to call his mother.  He had meant to earlier, but between Katsuki's attention when they woke up and his own wandering elation, it had slipped his mind.  He wandered off, phone to his ear as he spoke with her.  There was still about thirty minutes before the train would get there, and he used it to get as much out to his mother as he could.

On his way back to the others, he happened upon Katsuki, who was leaned against a wall near the bathrooms, far away from anyone else.  He had his hands in his pockets, his eyes closed, and if Izuku didn't know better, he would have thought he was trying to nod off.  He hadn't been tired before, so he figured it was something else.

He came to his side quietly, and when he didn't move, he announced himself: "Katchan?"

Katsuki sighed as he slowly opened his eyes.  He turned his head to look at Izuku, his lips in a straight line.  "Deku."

Izuku put a hand on his shoulder, his touch light.  Katsuki regarded it with mild interest, as if it was some alien presence.  "You okay?"

"Yeah," Katsuki answered.  He straightened himself up, standing a bit from the wall.  He took Izuku's hand in his, holding it for just a brief moment before removing it completely from his person.  "Just needed a second."

Izuku gave him a light smile.  "Do you want me to stay?"

"Do whatever you want," Katsuki said with a shrug.

"Were Eijirou and Denki getting too much?"

Katsuki huffed at the suggestion.  "They're just stupidly happy."  He rolled his eyes.  "Like it's a vacation or something."

"It kind of is," Izuku said.  "I mean, I know we'll be working most of it, but we'll still get plenty of time to visit places."

Katsuki gave him a pointed look.  "And how many places are you thinking of?"

Izuku gave him a little shrug.  "Osaka has some good food, and All Might's in Kyoto, not to mention all the festivals we'll be seeing."

"That we'll be working," Katsuki reiterated the point.

"Not every day, and not all the time."

Katsuki gave him an even look.

Izuku punched him lightly in the shoulder.  "Try to have some fun, Katchan."

He gave a small laugh.  "Is that the only fun you had in mind?"

"Now you're just being mean."

Katsuki smirked in response.

Izuku stepped closer, giving him a large smile.  "But wouldn't it be nice?"  He gave a glance around before focusing solely on Katsuki.  "All the different places—"

"You know, Deku, if you don't stop, you're going to hurt yourself."

Izuku pursed his lip out, giving him a pout.  "I can't help thinking about it, you know that."

"Yeah, I figured," he said.  "If your smell is any indication, anyway."

His eyes widened at the accusation.  "Is it that bad?"

Katsuki shrugged.  "I think it is," he answered.  "But maybe it's just on me from earlier.  Or since we're close..."

Izuku rubbed his arm self-consciously.  "I just hope it doesn't smell to anyone else."

"You know it does," he reminded.  His voice took a serious but soft tone as he said, "But I know you can handle it."

Izuku gave him a smile, but sure smile.  In that moment, he really wanted to kiss him, but he knew he couldn't.  They had talked before about the possible consequences of others around his fermin.  But despite the stares he had been getting, he didn't think anything more would come of it.  The ones in his class he was sure were affected by his fermin were his friends, people he was certain wouldn't do anything.  And for the students he didn't know on a familiar basis, there still wouldn't be anything: because even if approached, he would tell them no.

And Katsuki trusted him, that he knew.  It meant the world to him that he did.

"Katchan, do you think we could—"

The PA broke into his question, announcing the arrival of the train.  He sighed, but kept his smile on.  "It's time."

Katsuki shrugged, taking steps to the already forming lines at the platform.  "I guess it is."

Izuku gave him a long stare before something clicked.  "You're nervous."

The observation seemed simple and obvious, but it was the first time he had really thought about it.  Katsuki had been avoiding so many conversations about the Graduate Tour, only getting what he absolutely needed before either tuning out or changing subjects completely.  Izuku had thought it had to do with his mood, but now it stood out in the way he tensed at the mere accusation.

"No, I'm not," Katsuki defended.  His jaw was tight, and he didn't look at Izuku as they got closer to the platform.

"There's no reason to be," Izuku told him.  He graced his fingers over the back of his hand in a reassuring touch.  "You're going to be great."

"Whatever," Katsuki retorted.

They fell in line with everyone else filing onto the train.  They were relatively near the back of the line, with only a small group behind them.  Izuku could see Todoroki only a few people in front of him, and he waved when he happened to look back.  Todoroki gave him a nod before turning back around.  He glanced over at Katsuki, who was glaring in the direction of his friend.

"Hey, Deku," Katsuki said, his tone low.  He leaned in a little, as a smirk crossed his lips

"Yeah?"

Izuku jumped a little when he felt a hand on his rear, giving him a light squeeze.  He stilled himself, stopping a sound from leaving him as a blush crossed his cheeks.  Katsuki was being bold, he mused, but he couldn't help but like the attention.

"I was thinking, maybe later—"  Katsuki's words suddenly stopped.  His brows furrowed as he looked behind Izuku, and a growl passed his lips.  "What the hell are you doing?"

Izuku blinked, his brows rising with confusion.  "What—?"

"What are you doing?"

Izuku turned at the familiar, feminine voice.  He was met with a floating set of clothing.  Katsuki was staring down at the direction of their invisible classmate. 

"Hey!  Move!"

Katsuki turned at the demand, snarling.  The teen that had made the demand took a step back, closing their mouth tight.  He focused back on Hagakure, his eyes still narrowed on the hollow space that was her being.

"Katchan," Izuku interjected.  He took his wrist, pulling him forward with the line.  "We need to get going."

He was still glaring, his head turned over his shoulder as he was dragged into the train car. 

"What happened?" he asked in a hush tone as they stepped into the vehicle.

"Don't worry about it," Katsuki said.  He was looking around the car.  "I'm going to find Kirishima."

"Yeah, of course."  Izuku was still confused, but he could tell Katsuki wasn't going to answer him in the moment.  "Talk to you later."

Katsuki nodded before moving further down the car to his friends.  Izuku only had to browse for a moment before he saw his own group, Uraraka flagging him down to a set of seats across the row and down from Katsuki's rambunctious crew.  He smiled and found a spot with them next to Todoroki, Uraraka and Iida in the seats facing them.  He set down his backpack in front of him as he relaxed into the comfortable chair.

The four of them began conversation almost instantly.  It was mostly Uraraka and Izuku that spoke at first, but as the train started and their four hour trek to Osaka began, the other two males joined in.  They spoke of the Graduate Tour mainly, as it was on everyone's mind.  It wasn't just expectations they discussed, but rumours they had heard during their three years at UA.

"How much do you think they'll let us do on our own?" Uraraka asked.

"It's supposed to be a decent amount," Todoroki said.

"All Might said that the teachers are really just there as a formality," Izuku interjected.  "They just give us assignments and see how we do."

Iida frowned.  "I would hope there would be more structure than that."

"Well, I'm sure there would be," Izuku insisted.

"I think that's part of the point, though," Todoroki said.  "What better way to see how we do than just... throw us out there?"

Uraraka nodded.  "I kind of like that idea.  I mean, we got some experience before, but it'll be nice to get just a bit more action without chaperones."

The three of them continued to discuss what all would happen over the next four weeks.  Izuku tuned out a little as he took out his phone.  He already had a few messages from his mother, nothing that really needed an immediate response, just reminders of her pride and affections.  She had promised not to message too much over his month-long absence, but he knew that was never going to happen.  He didn't really mind it, though: he found nothing wrong with his mother's love.

His phone dinged just as he got done reading the messages from his mother.  Izuku gave a quick look across the aisle as the name popped up on his notifications.  Katsuki was in the seat next to the window, Kaminari, Kirishima, and Hanta talking loudly around him, but he had in earbuds in as he focused on a book in his lap.

Izuku opened the text, and he wasn't surprised at all when it was Katsuki complaining about the jovial behaviour of his friends.  He had to smile at the note.  He knew Katsuki better than the words he wrote or spoke.  He could read between the lines and understand he wasn't tired of hearing about it and he didn't want them silent.  Beyond just wanting to start a conversation, he wanted to feel that same ebullience that they did.

However, the only thing beyond his numbness was his anxiousness.  Despite his stoic vocal thoughts toward the Graduate Tour, though, Izuku was confident that once they got to Osaka, he would feel the eagerness the rest of the student body felt.

Izuku came back into the topic with his friends, his attention focused mostly on them when he wasn't texting Katsuki.  They talked just a bit more about the Graduate Tour before talking about what they would do after school was over.

The conversation petered out eventually, and they each quieted in the group discussion to talk to the person sitting next to them.  Uraraka leaned on Iida, who flushes a little, but didn't move his girlfriend as they softly spoke of their future.

Todoroki seemed lively, at least for him, as he went back to the topic of all the different cities they'd be visiting.  He brought out his phone at some point, and he mentioned how he'd been listening to some of the local bands out of curiosity.  He offered him an ear piece, and for a while they listened to music together.  Todoroki smiled, settling in his seat, having to lean closer to Izuku to share the wire.  It was nice to have such a quiet moment with his friend, even if he was sitting on his colder side, which only added to the cooler weather from outside.

Izuku looked around the train car as koto music wafted through his ear.  He glanced around at all the students, talking amongst themselves or relaxing with their phones or tablets.  As his eyes scanned over, he noticed a few people turning to look at him.  Not too many people could, being in the middle of the car as his group was, but some of them could, and gave him almost purposeful looks.

He recognised a couple of them from 3-B.  Tsunotori Pony caught his eyes before making a surprised noise, blushing, and turning back around.  Kamakiri Togaru was giving him a more deliberate look, and he thought he almost saw him smiling.

Izuku turned around, a bright blush on his cheeks.  He zipped up his jacket to the top, burying his face in the fabric and pretending he was cold to avoid anyone seeing his embarrassment.  He couldn't help but worry that they could maybe smell him, maybe his fermin was as bad as Katsuki had claimed earlier.  He had just assumed he was biased, that his proximity to him made it worse for him.

He silently hoped he was just being overly paranoid.

Izuku handed the earbud back to Todoroki as he excused himself.  It was about half-way through the trip as he made his way to the back of the car to use the restroom.  He was grateful for the expense the UA spent on its students, as the shinkansen they rode on was specialised for the students.  It was made specifically for the amount of teenagers and the few teachers with them, giving enough space that it wasn't claustrophobic.  This went for even the bathrooms, bigger than in most.

He spent maybe a few moments too long in the large space.  After he was done and had washed his hands, he leaned heavily on the sink.  He hands clung to the edges of the basin, and his forehead touched the mirror.  He breathed slowly, trying his best to calm his thoughts.

Izuku had been doing well that morning.  He had felt his fermin flaring more than once, but was able to distract himself with friends.  It wasn't like some of the days last week, where no matter what he did to turn his thoughts, they kept creeping back in.

But now they were coming back, and he was left debating if he should do something about it, or let himself suffer.  He rubbed his temples, contemplating his plight.

A knock on the door caught his attention.  It was soft, but certainly there.  "Occupied," he said just loud enough to be heard.  He stayed near the basin, his head still in contact with the cold surface of the mirror.

Another knock.  Izuku let out an exacerbated sigh before pushing away from the sink and approaching the door.  He opened it slowly and just enough to see who was disrupting his contemplation.  He was caught off guard when red eyes hidden by spikes of blond stared back at him.

"K-katchan?"

Katsuki took hold of the door, making a glance around him before he opened it wide enough to enter and closed it quickly, pushing Izuku back into the room.  Izuku went without a fight, taking steps back to allow Katsuki in without crowding him.  He locked the door before turning his gaze hotly on him.

Izuku felt his whole body flush at the look in Katsuki's eyes.  He didn't have to say anything for him to understand what he was thinking about.  The hunger he exuded was confirmed as Katsuki pulled him close by the lapel of his shirt, pressing their lips tightly together.  Their teeth clinked together, to be quickly corrected, as they opened their mouths.

Izuku put his arms around Katsuki's neck as he wrapped his arms around his waist.  He pulled him up, lifting him to his tiptoes so he made the centimetres difference in their height to level with him.  Their tongues ran against each other's, their chests pressed against each other.

It was a long moment before they had to pull apart to breathe.  Katsuki still held tight Izuku, his eyes lidded.  He said in a soft, but gravelly voice, "I can fucking smell you across the aisle."

Izuku shuddered at his tone.  "R-really?"  He closed his eyes as Katsuki started to ghost kisses across his neck.  "Is it that bad?"

Katsuki huffed an affirmative against his skin.  Izuku tilted his head, giving him all the access he was seeking.  Izuku sneaked a hand under his shirt, roaming over the taut chest softly, earning him a low noise from his boyfriend.

Katsuki pulled him in for another rough kiss.  Izuku threaded his fingers in blond tufts, pulling lightly as he was held tightly to Katsuki.

"I'm sorry," Katsuki mumbled when they pulled apart again.

Izuku raised a brow.  "Sorry?  For what?"

Katsuki sighed, his eyes not meeting his momentarily.  "For not... for not being able to help you this past week."

Izuku's look softened, and he took Katsuki's cheeks in his hands.  "You don't have to be, Katchan."  He pressed their foreheads together.  "I'm sorry if I've seemed needy.  I know this wasn't a good week for you, and I should've left it alone."

"It's not like you could have helped it, though," Katsuki said.

"You either," Izuku reminded him.

Katsuki grumbled at the remark.  "I should be better than this," he said.  "I should be better for you."

"Katchan," Izuku said softly.  "It's okay: you can't control it.  You have to remember that, you have to accept that."

Katsuki's brows screwed up at the statement.  His boyfriend was proud, too proud for his own good.  It was the biggest obstacle he faced when it came to his bipolar: accepting he had no real power over it.  He would only be able to deal with the moods as they came, but he wouldn't have control over when they happened or which way.

Izuku would never hold it against him.  He knew him better than that.  He had watched as the condition had taken hold of his friend, and he would rather stand by his side than fault him for it.

"I should—"

"It's okay," Izuku repeated.  He kissed Katsuki's cheek, smiling at him.  "I won't die if I don't get any, you know.  There's no reason to feel bad about it."

"You act like you're going to die sometimes."

Izuku was a little flustered by that.  He had made it sound a couple of times like he was going to parish without any relief.  It was disgraceful, he knew, but when those times happened, his body had control of his mind, or so it felt like.

"Yeah, well," he stumbled.  "I'm not really going to, now am I?"

Katsuki gave him a rather bemused look.

"I still should be able to help you," he said.  His hands had settled on his hips, his touch light.  "It's kind of my job, right?"

"I prefer it be you, yes."  Izuku leaned against him, tucking his head under his chin.  "Better than by myself."

"...or anyone else."

"That goes without saying."  He gave him a light squeeze.  Katsuki clicked his tongue, but held tighter to him, nuzzling the top of his head.

They were quiet for a long time.  Izuku wondered if anyone would notice their lengthy absence, but he found he didn't care.  Katsuki had been off and on affectionate the past week, but this was different.  During his depressions, he once explained, his spiralling sometimes made him feel unreal, as if he was apart from the world.  His attentions weren't exactly that of sentiment as much as a grounding back to reality.

Izuku didn't care.  Either way, he got to the closeness to his boyfriend he desired.  If it had the bonus of helping him, he would take it without question.

Izuku pulled away just enough to look Katsuki in the eyes.  He took his hands, placing them on his jawline.  He smiled lightly as he asked, "Katchan, can you feel this?"

Katsuki's lips curved up just a bit.  He ran his thumbs along Izuku's cheeks.  He kissed him on the forehead, whispering, "I can feel it, Deku."

They kissed again, Izuku's face still in Katsuki's hands.  Izuku ran his palms over his sides, feeling the natural body heat Katsuki always exuded.  Their kiss wasn't as intense as the ones earlier, but the sentiment made it more powerful.  Katsuki's tongue only graced his lips once, but they favoured simply an open-mouthed exchange for anything else.

But soon the softness gave way to bites.  Izuku kept his mouth open as Katsuki's tongue started to explore.  Katsuki held him in place as he almost literally took his breath away, but it wasn't like Izuku wanted to go anywhere.  His hands fell to his hips, hooking onto Katsuki's belt loops and pulling him in.

Katsuki's hands moved around to his back, his palms pushing up his shirt.  His lips moved, spreading kisses and bites down his neck once more.  "Fuck, Deku," he growled against his clavicle.  "You smell so fucking good."

Izuku chuckled a little.  "I think you're only getting my fermin."

Katsuki pushed on him until he thudded against the wall.  He put his hands under his thighs and pulled him up.  Izuku put his legs around his waist without thought, putting his arms around his neck.  Izuku had to hold back a sound when he bit him hard on the neck.

"I'm going to get you."

Izuku shivered.  They shouldn't be doing this, he thought.  There was too much of a chance of being found, of someone hearing them.  But it was the first time in over a week Katsuki had expressed this much interest in him, and he simply couldn't deny him.  He couldn't deny himself.  He had wanted it so badly, and he was not about to say no.

It took every part of him not to start chanting, 'Fuck me,' the same thought he'd had so many times recently.  But he didn't want to seem that desperate, even if it was obvious with how he was already gyrating against him.

Instead, his invitation came out as, "You're really hard, Katchan."  And he was.  He pressed heavily against him, and his thoughts were dangerously easy to go with what that hardness could do with him right now.

"Your fault," Katsuki chided.  "After all, you needed help, right?"

Izuku nodded almost too enthusiastically. 

Katsuki grinned before moving back into kiss him again.

Chapter Text

Katsuki settled on the mattress as he surveyed the foreign room.  It was set up simply: a bed, a desk and chair, a dresser and closet, and a shelf.  There was no need for anything more, of course.  The room would only be his for a month, not enough time to really want more out of it than a sleeping space.

The dormitory was specifically made for the Graduate Tour.  There was a building like it in all major cities that participated in the UA event.  There wasn't just the four their group would be going to, but a lot of cities in Japan hosted the seniors.

Each room was held in a defined space, one that was able to be moved between each dormitory in each host city.  It was meant to give the students a place of their own during their time away from home.  The rooms were moved by a set of Hero twins with a Quirk that allowed them to transport large objects between each other.  The process to move the whole set of cubicles could take a while, but they found it easier to keep the groups smaller, in different locations, and starting on different days to make it appear seamless to the students.

It was a feat that Katsuki had to admire.

When the seniors had arrived at the dormitory, they were given two hours to get settled in and explore the facilities.  They were all expected to be ready to go for the day's patrol by two and get on with a short day of work that would last only until six.  If they did go, that is.  One of the objectives of the Graduate Tour was to impersonate at least some of their adult life as heroes.  This left the option of not going to work if any of the young adults saw fit.

Katsuki had no plans to miss any days.  He had a point to prove to himself; that his mental state had no true control over his life.  Yes, he had missed a few days of school here and there, but he could afford that.  With work, it would be different.  Crime wouldn't stop just because he was feeling a little sad, and he definitely couldn't handle the idea of leaving a team without help just because his energy wouldn't let him focus on one thing.

He would have to make do with how he was.  He would do what he could to either ignore or just deal with his moods.  He had been putting off such coping, but now he had no more excuses.  He had to be normal in front of the other heroes, no matter what.

On the little bookshelf he had been provided were several books, all in makeshift paper book covers.  Each was one of the books Izuku had given him about his supposed condition.  He didn't need the parts about diagnosis or anything, but they had some good tips and advice for dealing with both depressive and manic episodes.

He had downloaded an application for the reason of tracking moods and such, but it was left untouched since the installation.  He had hovered his thumb over the icon more than once; however, he could never seem to tap the screen.  Even the night prior, before he had gone to dinner with Izuku and his mother, he had stared at it for a good ten minutes, willing himself to do it, to just acknowledge what was happening to him and try to handle it better.  The crack on the glass had been the result of his agitation getting the better of him as he threw the device across the room.

He should talk to Izuku about it.  Izuku would tell him he was being foolish.  Izuku would go through the application, tell him what parts were actually relevant to him (because the parts of appointments and medication sure weren't).  Izuku would ask him every day if he was keeping up with it.  Because Izuku loved him and wanted him to take care of himself.

He didn't deserve such a good person in his life.

Katsuki sighed.  He could feel his thoughts spiralling.  He gritted his teeth.  He had spent so long climbing out of that hole, and he was so near the top, but now he could feel the weight pushing him back in.  He rubbed at his temples.

He needed to think about something else.

Katsuki's thoughts swirled around his boyfriend still.  He aimed his reverie on something more cheerful than his melancholy week.  He laid back on the too-soft mattress as he thought of the train ride earlier.  That was a pleasant memory, no matter how new it was.  He smiled at the image of Izuku pushed against the sink as he thrusted into him.  It had felt good, no doubt about that, but he was also just glad that he was able to perform after being unable to for so long.

Katsuki knew he shouldn't have pursued him into the bathroom.  However he couldn't help himself when it came to Izuku's scent.  It hadn't been that bad in the morning other than hanging around on his clothing, but at some point during the ride, it was all he could smell, even when he wasn't that close to him.  He wasn't sure why it had suddenly gotten more evasive, but when he saw Izuku hurrying off to the back of the train, he couldn't even begin to make an argument with himself that he shouldn't follow.

Thankfully they didn't get caught.  Kirishima had attempted to tease him for being gone so long, but he just shrugged him off and went back to his music.  He just assumed Izuku made some excuse when he was asked for his delay.  When he was able to glance over at him, he was leaned back in his seat, smiling to himself, and he couldn't help the slight grin it had brought to his own lips. 

He did notice that after they were done, Izuku's scent seemed to mellow out.  That wasn't unusual, but it wasn't usual, either.  It had gotten him thinking about the different factors that were involved with the fermin.  He knew the two parts of it – Izuku's libido and his scent – both of which seemed independent of each other.  There had been days when Izuku's smell had driven him crazy, and even in his lack of sex drive, he had responded with the want to be closer to him; only to find that Izuku wasn't in much more of a mood than his pre-fermin days.  Then there were times Izuku was almost impossible to satiate, but Katsuki could barely get a whiff of the pheromone.

He had thought at first that there was some logic to the whole thing, but now it just seemed like everything about it was random.  The only reason this was any disappointment to him was it meant he couldn't help Izuku more than just finding a private place.

Katsuki sat up quickly when he heard a knock at the door.  "What?" he barked at the threshold.

"Ba-ku-gou!"

He groaned.  Begrudgingly, he stood from the bed and made his way to the door.  He opened it only enough to see Kirishima's too large of a smile.

"What?" he asked again.

"Have you looked around yet?" his friend asked.  "It's frickin' amazing here!"

He shrugged.  "Of course it is."

"No, seriously!  You should see the pool!  It's huge!"

"Yes, sure I'll have time for that."

Kirishima rolled his eyes, but still grinned.  "You should always make time for fun, you know.  All work and no play and all that."

Katsuki waved him off.  "I get it, I get it."

"C'mon, buddy, me and Denki were going to check upstairs.  They have a theatre!"

"They do not have a theatre," Katsuki stated his disbelief.  "And I was just going to—"

"Nope, nope," Kirishima interrupted.  He pushed open the door enough to grab onto Katsuki's arm and pull him out a little.  "You don't get to be mister loner all Tour!"

He stumbled some over the gap between the door frame and the room itself (meant to aid in its transportation).  He dug in his heels some, but didn't pull himself back into his room.

"Fine," he said begrudgingly.  "One second."  Kirishima let him go when he pulled, and he grabbed at the key on his desk before stepping out into the hall.  He quickly locked his door, pocketing his key, and followed his way too excited friend.

They picked up Kaminari on the way out of the men's dorms.  They had to go through the co-ed area to get to the stairs that led upstairs.  Many of the students were out and mingling, wandering around themselves. 

The building was split between three main sections: two wings that comprised of men's and women's dorms, and the middle that housed levels of varying uses.  They were provided a pool and gymnasium for keeping in shape as well as levels of entertainment and hanging out to give them something to do when not fulfilling their hero duties.  The middle was the only place everyone could interact, as each side was designated to only those who had rooms there.  There was some biological tracker or something, Katsuki hadn't exactly paid attention, that told them who didn't belong, and would put up a barricade for trespassers.  Supposedly it was meant to keep down any sort of fraternization.

Katsuki almost had to laugh at that.  If people really wanted to fool around, they'd find a way.  At least, it wouldn't affect his relationship.

All three parts had large kitchens with well-stocked pantries.  As it was meant as some sort of exercise for adulthood, they gave the students the option of making their own foods, or using their stipends to go out and eat.  But the only way to get those stipends was to work.

All to get them prepared for the real world, they said.

On their way back from very-much-real theatre on an upper floor, Katsuki happened to notice Izuku talking to Professor Beak Nuke.  He could only get a glance at him and the feathered teacher, but he did notice that while they were talking, his boyfriend's face was flushed.  He raised a brow, but left it alone for the moment, figuring he could just ask him later.

The trio made their way back into the co-ed area, to the middle of the gathering area, where a large digital board stood.  On the screen was a list of paired off names.  The first couple of weeks, their hero work in the new cities was going to be done in sets of two, and then the last two weeks would be patrolling by themselves.

"Nice, I got to go with that Pony chick," Kirishima said after a whistle.

Kaminari clicked his tongue. "Man, I just get to hang out with the wet blanket," he whined, glancing at Iida's name.

Katsuki tensed as the two leaned on him, putting their elbows on his shoulders as they stood either side of him.  His friends had commonly been physical with him despite his very obvious boundaries, but he willed himself not to follow his instinctual response to punch either one of them.  He still wasn't completely fond of being touched, but after so much time with them and Izuku, he could quell his distaste to a simmer, knowing full well there was no ill intention behind it.

"Aw, there's Bakugou's pick," Kaminari said.  "You get to hang out with Invisigirl."

"Great," Katsuki muttered.  He wasn't really looking forward to pairing up with anyone in particular, but he especially didn't want to spend any time with Hagakure.  He thought the incident from earlier would come up, and he wasn't sure how he would respond to whatever her motivation had been.

The two went on talking about their upcoming patrols enthusiastically.  Katsuki only mumbled a response there and again, not really interested in what they had to say.  The hairs on his neck stood as he felt someone walk up behind them.  He looked slightly over his shoulder at who had approached them, and he noted two students from the 3-B class.  He wasn't familiar with their names, only knowing them as Shade and Blades.

They, too, were looking over the board for who they would be paired with, and Katsuki turned back, settling down as he knew who was in his proximity.  He did catch one part of their conversation, though:

"Look at that," Blade said.  "How lucky."

"Don't be greedy."

"Ah, man, just once is all I'm after.  Your thing takes forever after all."

Shade chuckled.  "May take forever, but the results are better."

Something about the tone put Katsuki on edge.  He had no idea what they were talking about, and he couldn't remember their names well enough to search for them easily on the board.  It didn't help that his friends had started to pull him away, reminding him it was close to the patrol, and they should start getting ready.

Katsuki threw one last glance at the two males, glaring at their chortling visages before following his friends.

::*~~*::

Two hours into the patrol, and Katsuki was already longing for the short day to be over.  He knew from past experiences that the regular day of being pro-hero could be tedious if not downright boring.  Somehow he thought that being in a new city would make things somewhat interesting, but the only adventurous thing so far was getting lost in the unfamiliar territory.

His partner wasn't helping his mood either.  He had never really spent much time with the invisible female other than a few obligatory times in class over the past three years.  He had found nothing particularly interesting about her, so it wasn't like there was a reason for him to talk to her much.  Of course, that was true for most people, and the few friends he did have were the ones who put up with him more than anything else.

She prattled on while they walked the streets.  He groaned as she went on about... whatever, he wasn't paying attention.  It wasn't like with Izuku's ramblings, where there would be a part of him listening, making sure when he was supposed to participate.  But she had started with something that sounded like gossip, and he instantly tuned out.

They were given vague instructions of where to go during their route.  A few streets to maintain were named off, but other than that, their plans were made by themselves.  From what they were told, it was to demonstrate that they would, at times, be sent to new cities to help with varying situations, and their instincts for where to go and how to handle themselves would matter at the time.

Katsuki had only really spoken to Hagakure long enough to discuss where they would go and how to walk the streets.  They would spend most of the time along the main pathways of the city, as it wasn't horribly uncommon for heroes to walk about, and Osaka had been part of the Graduate Tour for a while, so people were used to it.  There would be some time in the back alleys and along the roofs for a different view.

Despite her chatty nature, Hagakure thankfully followed instructions.  She stayed to the roads given, even helping plan them out via the GPS on her phone.  She was good at making perimeters without even being asked, and he didn't have to ask her twice for any specific directive.

If he was honest, he was worried about the pairing at first.  Besides the possibility of not working well together, he was more concerned with the weather.  Hagakure's normal hero outfit was nothing more than gloves, and it was the end of January.  When they were on their way out, though, he had been glad to see her in something, even if he didn't think it was enough.  She wore a tight suit of muted colours as well as ear muffs.  Before he could even ask, she showed him the button on her belt, one that would retract the fabric into a satchel on her side.  He shrugged his indifference, but he was still glad to hear it.

Better than hearing her teeth chatter the whole patrol, he thought.

"Hey, Bakugou, let's get something to eat."

They had been street level for ten minutes by then, and Katsuki knew immediately what had drawn her attention.  With the weather, there wasn't too many stalls open outside, but they had come to a small park area where a few food vendors had set up shop.  The smell of fried and grilled foods wafted through the cold air, and even Katsuki couldn't deny the allure.  He hadn't really eaten since that morning, skipping the opportunity earlier when they were all exploring the dormitories.

"Yeah, sure, whatever, but we should be quick."

She made some sort of exclamation of a squeak before almost skipping to one of the stalls.  He followed her, flexing his left arm and stretching out his hand.  It was stiff and starting to ache, but he did his best to ignore it.

Katsuki got a few sticks of varying fried meats.  The two of them walked away with their meals, circling the park as they ate.  He remained vigilant, but he highly doubted anything eventful would really happen in the ten minutes it would take.

"So," Hagakure started in between bites, "do you have, like, a crush on Midoriya or something?"

Katsuki almost choked on the piece in his mouth.  He coughed, beating on his chest.  "W-what?" he asked after his throat was cleared.

"Well, I mean, earlier you were trying to grab his—"

"What about you?" he retorted.  "You already had your hand there."  He didn't look at her, his brows furrowed.  This was the exact conversation he had hoped to avoid, but here it was.

"A fact you only know because you were trying, too."

"You didn't answer the question," Katsuki insisted.  "Do you have a crush on him?"  He shouldn't ask that.  He didn't want to know the answer.  He knew there had to be so many in their class, in their school, anyone who spent any time with Izuku that would probably develop a crush on him, but he didn't want to know.

There was only one person he was completely sure of that had those feelings, and that already ate at him some days.

"Nah, I wouldn't call it that," she said.  He finally chanced a glance at her, only to see her still devouring some takoyaki.  It was strange to watch the food disappear behind her lips.  "Hesh cute t'ough, righ'?" she asked with a mouth full.

Katsuki's brow twitched.  "I wouldn't say that."  That was a lie: of course he thought Izuku was cute.  It was only one of a multitude of words he would use for him.

But that was no one's business.

Hagakure swallowed audibly.  "If you're blind, maybe."  She threw the stick in a trash bin as they passed one.  "I on the other hand, have eyes."

"And the ability to get away with groping people," Katsuki muttered.

"...you're right," she said.  "I shouldn't have, I know that.  I just felt really... hmm."

Katsuki had a sense of curiosity to that comment.  "Felt really...?"

"Compelled, I guess would be the word," she finished.

He tensed at the idea.  Had it been the fermin?  Or was she just... like that?

"I thought you were dating Monkey Boy?"

Hagakure froze at the statement.  She didn't respond instantly, and when she did, it was to push roughly on his shoulder.  She was stronger than he was expecting, and he was forced to side step by the nudge.

"Don't call him that," she said, her tone sharp.

Katsuki shrugged her off.  "Fine, fine."  He full well knew he would again, out of habit.

"And we... we broke up."

Katsuki hummed in acknowledgement.  Maybe he should have offered some sort of condolence, but he was always terrible at that sort of thing. 

He never really kept up with who was with whom and when they weren't: Izuku was better at that.  He had only vaguely remembered Izuku mentioning the relationship at some point in time. 

"It was a while ago," she went on.  There was a hitch in her voice, one that made Katsuki uncomfortable.  "He..."

"You don't have to talk about it," Katsuki was quick to interject.  He wasn't good at this, being empathetic.  He barely made it work with his boyfriend; there was no way he could do it for someone he hardly knew.

"I don't have to, but I need to," she said.  "At some point.  I haven't gotten to talk to anyone, because all of my friends wouldn't... get it."

He probably wouldn't either, was his first thought.  By this point, they were done eating and had come back to the main streets.  He was hoping that would be the end of the personal talk, but there was something needing in her voice that he just knew she would keep jabbering on.

"It wasn't his fault or anything, but I mean... he still did it..."

Katsuki held in a groan.  He got it.  She needed to talk.  Maybe if he just lent some words to the conversation, they could be done with it, and never bring it up again.  "What did he do."  It should've been a question, but he was just playing his role in what was really a one-sided dialogue.

"He cheated."

That caught Katsuki by surprise.  "He doesn't seem like the type."

She gave a bitter chuckle.  "He doesn't, does he?"  She sighed.  They rounded a corner, hiding toward a back alley to quickly vet.  "It wasn't really his fault, you know."

"If someone cheats, it's their fault," Katsuki said simply.

"You can't make that blanket of a statement," she insisted.  "It's not always that simple."

"What was his excuse, then?  He was lonely?"

"No, it was... she... he...  they were both..."  Katsuki saw her arm move closer to her face, and he thought the action looked vaguely like when Izuku would chew at his thumb when he was thinking too hard.  He could see her worrying the glove with what he guessed was her teeth.  "It was happening to them at the same time, they literally couldn't help it.  It's hard to control nature like that."

Katsuki gave her a quizzical look.  What was she talking about?  Couldn't help it?  Nature?  What...?

His eyes widened a little as something clicked in his mind.  "Do you mean the fermin?"

She nodded her head; at least he assumed by the way her glove moved.  She pulled her hand away, and the ear muffs turned toward him.  "Yeah, it was," she said.  "I'm surprised you thought of that."

Katsuki shrugged.  "I just... know a little bit about it."  He felt that was an accurate enough statement.  He knew about it from what Izuku was going through, but even then, it still felt like he didn't know enough.

"If you know about it, then you can understand it wasn't entirely his fault."

"I don't know if I..."  He hesitated.  Should he agree with that?  If he agreed with that, it meant...

"I forgave him already."  Her voice was heavy and distant.

"Then why break up?" he asked.  "Worried it would happen again?"  His question was serious.  He didn't want it to mistaken for sarcasm.

"No, no, his regret was genuine," she explained.  "I knew it wouldn't happen again.  His fermin didn't even last that much longer after it, even."

They were back on the streets, near one of the roads they had already patrolled.  They only had so many blocks to monitor, and they would be sweeping the same areas more than a few times.  He focused on taking a different route than last time, keeping things mixed up.  He was also doing his best not to think about the implications of the subject at hand.

"There's...  I don't think he would..."

She trailed off.  Katsuki didn't feel like redirecting her back to the conversation.  He didn't even want to think of the conversation anymore.

"So, do you have a crush on Midoriya or not?"

Katsuki looked at her, his brow raised again.  "Really?"

"Is that a yes?"

"Don't assume things," he grumbled, turning away again.

"You're not saying no."

Katsuki let out a loud groan.  He picked up his pace, trying to leave her steps behind.

"Aw!  How cute!"

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  He was done participating.

"Rivals to friends to maybe lovers," she went on.  Her voice had taken a complete turn from disheartened to elated.  "Wouldn't that be such a wonderful story!"

"We were friends first, you know," he said.

"Then you were a bully," she reminded him.  "Don't think none of us remember that."

Katsuki huffed.  "Yeah, I was, I get it."  He didn't need the reminder.  He knew he was terrible before, how unfair he had been, especially to Izuku.  He remembered the obstacle it was to overcome for them just to be friends, and even when they started dating, there were still some hills to climb before they could come fully to peace with it.

"I bet all that time Aizawa and All Might made you two spend together helped."

Katsuki ran a hand through his hair.  "I bet it did."  How could he forget all that time in first year that their teachers purposely grouped them together?  He had always known it was to get the two to reconcile their differences, and in a lot of ways it worked.  They had certainly become accustomed to each other, and had shown they could work well with just the two of them.

Though, he was sure they never expected how close they would really get.

"You ever going to tell him?"

"...that I have a crush on him?"

The ear muffs moved up and down enthusiastically.

"No, I won't be telling him that," he answered in an even tone.  He was being honest, of course.  He wouldn't be telling Izuku something like that.

There was no need to, after all.

"Aww, that's no fun," Hagakure whined.  "I bet you can woo him if you try!"

"'Woo' him?" Katsuki repeated.  He shook his head.  He almost had to laugh at the thought.  "No, I don't think so."

She tutted him.  "You're not even going to try?"

Katsuki completely turned from her, heading down a different street.

"Wait, Bakugou!" she went on.  "I have ideas you could try!"

As they walked on, they fell back into the earlier routine of Hagakure prattling on while Katsuki ignored her.

::*~~*::

It was late when Katsuki had gotten back to the dormitories.  His first priority was to change out of his hero outfit into something far more comfortable.  His second was dinner.  His stomach growled as he made his way from the locker rooms to the stairs and beyond to the men's kitchen area.

The gathering areas in the co-ed and men's side were on eerily empty.  He guessed everyone was getting ready for bed or bathing or something.  It didn't matter; all that mattered was eating.

Katsuki pulled his phone out after it vibrated in his pocket.  He was quick to his notifications, guessing who it was.

You're so late! was Izuku's message.  He responded with a hurried acknowledgement, telling him he was just eager to get food.

Where are you anyway? he sent separately.

He had first texted him shortly after changing.  He had meant to text him more during the day, but found almost no time to on his route.  He felt weird trying to sneak it around Hagakure, and after their first real conversation, he had actually found it easier to talk to her, and eventually it slipped his mind.

Katsuki started going through the cabinets, seeing what he could quickly make before passing out.  The patrol hadn't been that exhausting, but he'd been up for what felt like forever, and been social for almost all of it.  He was just drained and wanted to be done with the day.

His phone buzzed again.  Wait, don't eat yet!  I'll be down in a second!

Katsuki blinked.  He really didn't feel up to waiting.  He was hungry and couldn't think beyond satiating himself.  He sighed, taking a moment to stretch out his arm and rubbing it.  It was still stiff from the cold, but it was already feeling a little better in the warm building and outside of his grenades.

It was a few minutes later that Izuku showed up in his pyjamas, all smiles and good nature.  He smelled faintly of his fermin, but it was nothing like earlier in the day.

He wasn't fond of how simply he had started to keep track of it.

"Evening, Katchan," Izuku said as he entered the kitchen.  He was already close before Katsuki could react, and for a moment, he thought he was going to kiss him.  It wasn't something he would have normally minded, but there was still a chance of being seen.

"You look happy," Katsuki made the off-handed remark.

Izuku just grinned at him.  He brushed by him to the refrigerator, opening the door and shuffling things around as he looked for something.  "We caught someone trying to break into someone's house."  He made a small exclamation of 'aha' before pulling out a container.  "Just excited we were able to help someone.

"What about you?  Why were you so late?"

"Was helping someone," he answered simply.  He watched as Izuku opened it up and put it in the microwave.  "What is that?"

"Iida and Kirishima made a big dinner earlier," he said.  "I saved you some."

Katsuki didn't hide the smile that came.  He wasn't sure why he was surprised by the kindness, it was well within Izuku's being, but it threw him off.  He found himself wanting to kiss him or something, but he settled for just running a hand down his back quickly.  Izuku shuddered a little, turning to smile at him over his shoulder.

"Where is everyone, anyway?"

"Most of them are upstairs watching a movie; some have already called a night, just everywhere."

Katsuki hummed.  It was deserted in the kitchen and dining area, so he had to take Izuku's word for it.

"What all was 'helping someone'?" he asked.  He fully turned to face him, leaning back against the cabinet.

Katsuki shrugged.  "Some girl who was being stalked by a pervert."

"Wow, really?"

He nodded.  "Nothing I would have expected, but... I think we handled it okay."  The microwave chimed.  "Little Miss See Through was really useful, though.  She followed him around, got pictures, it all helped with the police report."

"That's good, right?"  He handed the bowl to Katsuki who took it graciously.  "Hopefully she can get some peace."

Katsuki sipped the broth, enjoying the warmth fill his being.  He muttered some sort of agreement through his slurp.  "They sounded like they were going to arrest him."

"And what did you do while she was following you?"

"The girl followed me around, and I just pretended to be interested in her, get his blood pressure up."  He searched the drawers for a second to find a pair of chopsticks.

"Pretended, huh?" Izuku teased.

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  Sarcastically, he quipped, "No, Deku, I'm just so into the ladies, their... hair, and—"

"You can't even think of anything, can you?"

Katsuki shrugged.  He dug into the bowl greedily, not really wanting to hold back on filling his stomach any longer.  It's not like Izuku didn't know the answer, anyway: Katsuki couldn't think of a time he didn't know his sexuality, and he had always been honest when it came up.  He found nothing to be ashamed of, and he didn't see the need to hide it.

"It probably isn't as good heated up, but—"

"It's great," Katsuki said between bites.  "Thanks."

Izuku smiled wide at him.  "They probably won't cook like that again.  It was a special thing," he said.  "We need to get used to fending for ourselves."

"As you've said before."

"Seriously, Katchan."  He moved to lean against the cabinets on the same side as Katsuki, his shoulder almost touching his.  "Soon, it'll be just us out in the world...  And you're terrible at taking care of yourself.  Just thinking about it, man, you probably won't make it a month."

He finished the last of the soup off with a loud gulp and exhale.  "With you around, I think I'll make it."

Izuku chuckled.  When he glanced at him, he saw a flush on his face.  He leaned a little on him, and Katsuki tensed, but didn't stop him.  A moment should be okay.  His nostrils twitched at his increased scent.

"If you don't get sick of me," he said softly.

"I don't think you'd care if I did," Katsuki said nonchalantly.  "I'd say one day I didn't remember to eat, you'd hang around for a week."

"If I wasn't already there."

Katsuki hummed pleasantly.  That didn't sound too bad.

Izuku coughed and moved away suddenly.  Katsuki frowned, disappointed at the sudden lack of contact, but he didn't say anything.

"Oh, by the way..."  He reached into his pocket to pull something out.  He extended it to Katsuki, and he raised his brow at the proffered key.

"What's this?"

"To my room," he explained.  "I told Present Mic I lost mine during the scuffle earlier, so he made me a new one."

Katsuki snickered at the deviousness of it.  He had definitely rubbed off on him as much as Izuku had on him.

"And he believed you?"

Izuku smirked.  "He believed me over anyone believing you."

"True enough."  He quirked a brow at a thought.  "Is this just so you can get me whenever you 'need' me?"

"That's not the reason!" Izuku defended.  "...it's just an added bonus."

Katsuki laughed at his honesty.  He took the key, looping it quickly on his own keyring.  He smiled at the two beside each other.  They had been told they would get only one key for the month, but Izuku had gone out of his way to get the extra.  He knew there was a part of it meant just to aide him in his fermin, but even that showed commitment on Izuku's part.

He wanted Katsuki available to him because that's who he wanted above all else.  He knew it.  And he felt ashamed there had been a moment he thought otherwise.  He had let Hagakure's story get the better of him and his worry about what the fermin had meant for their relationship.

But Izuku was not Ojiro.  Izuku was... it was his Deku.  He wouldn't, he couldn't, it wasn't within his person or ability to do as such.

And he was ashamed he had even entertained the notion.

"Hey, let's make sure it works, right?"

"I already—"

Katsuki gave him a smirk, brow raised.  Izuku quietened, his blush returning.

"Right, that sounds... great, let's do that."

Chapter Text

Izuku grasped tightly to Katsuki's shoulders, pressing their foreheads together as his breaths came ragged.  Katsuki held him around the waist, keeping their bodies connected even after the glow of their climaxes was fading.  Both were naked, Izuku in Katsuki's lap, and he was leaned against the bed, neither having made it onto the mattress before passion overtook them.

It was actually the second time during that morning that Izuku couldn't wait.  When Katsuki had first come into his room at the insistence of a text message, they had ended up on the floor just a few feet from the door.  They had laid there for several moments, and the minute Izuku thought he was ready for it, he encouraged him into another round.

Katsuki had been more amiable to the request than most mornings.  It was already their sixth day into the Graduate Tour, and they had been plenty intimate when they could be.  Most of that was during the evening, though, long after they had returned from work.  (There had been a few times right after work, but it was quick and hidden from wandering eyes.)  Izuku was a little less convincing in the mornings, when Katsuki would be more eager to get started on the day than the distraction he was leading him to.

He figured that his scent had something to do it this particular morning, as even when they were recovering from their second round of love-making, he could both hear and feel Katsuki sniffing his skin.

"We have to go."

Izuku could not help the whine that left him.  He squeezed his legs around his back, almost desperate to keep Katsuki inside of him.  "Just one more time..."

Katsuki furrowed his brow some.  "Really, Deku?" he asked.  "And what about after that?"

Izuku looked away a little, his cheeks flushed from more than their physical exertion.  He was right: he would probably ask again.

Katsuki sighed, and his expression softened.  "Are you okay?"

He wasn't.  He had been hurting for more since earlier that morning. 

Katsuki would stay sometime after they were done each night, falling asleep curled up into each other before he would leave at some point in the middle of the night.  His excuse was to not get caught when the teachers were making the rounds in the morning, but Izuku had accused him of being overly cautious.

When he had left that morning -- around three-ish if Izuku remembered right – it had woken him up, and almost immediately he had wanted him back.  He had drifted in and out of sleep, full of dreams and thoughts of Katsuki in almost ridiculously fantastic scenarios.  He couldn't help any of it, and he had even pleasured himself more than a couple of times before Katsuki had stopped by.

Izuku bit his lip.  "I just... I really need it right now, Katchan."

Katsuki pulled him in, nuzzling his neck as he hugged him tightly.  "We have work," he said lightly.

Izuku gripped onto him, enjoying the feel of skin on skin much more than was appropriate for the time.  "I know we do."  He kissed as much of his neck as he could.  "But I..."  He trailed off.  He could already feel his body reacting to Katsuki again.

"It hurts, Katchan," he finally whispered.

Katsuki moved, picking him up and moving him to sit on the bed.  He removed himself completely from inside Izuku, much to his displeasure.  He walked away from him as he went about picking up his clothes.  "Are you going to be okay today?"  His voice held the concern he was trying to hide by not looking at him.

"I don't..."  Izuku chewed on his thumb.  "I don't know."

He had a day similar to this a while ago, before he knew about the fermin.  He had spent almost the whole day being uncomfortably hard, his thoughts swirling around what he would much rather be doing.  It was painful and distracting, and he had just barely made it through the day with his sanity.

It felt even worse than that, and he couldn't even get through enough of his haze to answer Katsuki properly.  All he thought about was him taking off his pants again, Katsuki holding him down, and—

"You can't go out there like this," Katsuki's voice cut through his encroaching daydream.

Izuku looked away from him, his control waning more when he looked at him in just jeans and a tight shirt.

Katsuki was right.  He would be useless in his duties, especially when his thoughts were so single-minded.

"How bad is the smell?" he had to ask.

Katsuki came back to him, depositing his clothes onto his lap.  "It's bad," he said in a definitive tone.  "Maybe it's because we're in an enclosed space...  But I still could smell it the moment I came in."

He gave a little huff.  He started to put his clothes back on, his actions slow.  "You wouldn't want to be around me today, would you?"

"Can't say I wouldn't be trying to find places to fuck you, no."

Izuku rolled his eyes, though he did appreciate the honestly.  He still had a theory that the reason Katsuki could smell it so well for being a non-fermin was because he probably subconsciously released it around him, his body knowing who he'd want to aide him in his 'time of need.'  He knew other people could smell it by the looks he got every now and then.  Mostly it was from who he assumed was a fermin; and other times by others that weren't but he surmised were affected if Katsuki was also responding to him.

What did he smell like to a fermin, anyway?

"Didn't Beak Nuke tell you that you still had a medical excuse?"

Izuku nodded.  Their first day of the Tour, the professor had taken him aside to explain that he had been told about his fermin.  The other teachers knew, too, apparently, but it was only a formality in case something came up.  He told him that he was still entitled to take a day if he needed it, but to not abuse it.

"Do you think I should stay?"

Katsuki stood in front of him, taking his face in his heads.  Izuku scooted to the edge of the bed, putting his arms loosely around his waist, looking up at him.  "What do you think?"

"Honestly?"

Katsuki nodded.

"...that I want to take off your—"

"I think you should stay."

Izuku buried his head in his abdomen and groaned.  Katsuki stroked his hair but said nothing else.  He took Izuku's hands in his in an almost casual motion when his fingers started to dip beneath his waistband.

"If you stay today," he started, "I'll grab some food on the way back and then stay with you all night."  His finger caught on a knot in his hair.  "We're off tomorrow, so we can make excuses to avoid people if needed."

Izuku chuckled into his shirt.  "And you'd be my sex slave?"

He could almost hear Katsuki's eyes rolling.  "Something like that."

Izuku looked up at him again, smiling.  "Okay, I'll stay."

"Good."  He leaned down, kissing him on the top of his head.  "Better than whomever you were partnered with getting a sniff of you."

"Worried?"

"That I'll have to kick someone's ass, yes."  He backed away a bit, giving Izuku room to stand.

"People would find out then, though," he said.

Katsuki's brow narrowed.  He clearly didn't like the idea, as conveyed by his scoff.

"...you know, you wouldn't have to worry about anyone hitting on me if we just... told people."

Somehow, his scowl deepened.

Izuku sighed.  He had brought it up more than once over the past week.  He had never been fond of it before, but now especially he just wanted to be out.  His first day of the Tour, he had been paired with Kamakiri Togaru, and the bladed student had not even hidden his attraction to his fermin.  He had asked almost within the first hour if he needed 'help,' something Izuku had turned down instantly.  He had seemed unconvinced by his declination, though, as if he couldn't believe a fermin would turn down such an offer, and he asked a couple more times in their patrol.

He had told Katsuki about it the next day, followed by keeping him from going after Kamakiri.  He wasn't surprised when he didn't much appreciate his boyfriend being proposition, but to raise a commotion meant admission.  And in reality, nothing had really happened, so Katsuki had no real reason to go after him.

There was a part of Izuku that had slightly enjoyed the reaction.  He just felt a little ashamed for it.

"Katchan."  He gave him a quick kiss.  "Can we—"

"We can talk about it later," Katsuki was quick to dismiss.  "I need to get changed, and you need to talk to one of the teachers so they can trade off your partner."

Izuku sighed.  "Right, right..."  He watched as Katsuki made his way to the door. 

"And take a shower," he went on.  "Hopefully that'll get some of it off you.  And spray something in here."

"Yeah, I will," he agreed.  He smirked when a thought came to him.  "Hey, Katchan?"

He looked at him, hand on the doorknob.  "What?"

"When you come back, you should, ah... keep on your hero outfit."

A wide grin crossed his lips.  "I should, huh?"

Izuku gave him an enthusiastic nod.  Katsuki snickered as he left with some vague affirmative.

::*~~*::

Getting the day off hadn't been that hard, thankfully.  The initial search for a teacher was about the toughest part of the whole thing: he ran into Present Mic and Thirteen first, neither of them who he wanted to speak to.  He knew that they were aware of his situation, but Beak Nuke was the only one he really felt comfortable with the subject.  Maybe some of the others professors had gone through it, too, but Beak Nuke was the only one that had come out and told him he had experienced the fermin when he was younger.

Beak Nuke had let him stay without any questions.  It was a benefit, he commented, actually.  "You're not the only one staying today," the professor said.  "So it evens out the numbers well."

Izuku was grateful for how easy-going the bird-like hero was.  The situation was embarrassing enough, and having someone that was relatively effortless was an almost godsend.  "Is there anything I should do, any work or...?"

He shook his head.  "When you're an adult, if you stay home, it should be to get better."  He hummed, and smiled.  "If you're staying because you're sick, of course."  He winked at the innuendo.

Izuku gave him a wiry smile.  He knew it was meant well, that the professor was trying to bond as he did with many of his students.  He gave an uneasy laugh, his fingers digging into his shirt some.  He was still uncomfortable for other reasons, and he really just wanted to be by himself for the time being.

Beak Nuke kept him for a moment longer, though.  "May I make a suggestion?"

"Yes?"

"Take a run," he said.  "Do some work outs.  If you have a hobby, do that."  He gave him a pat on the shoulder.  "Keep busy.  Eventually it'll fade."

"Is that... is there really nothing else you can do?"

"Besides the obvious?"

Izuku felt his cheeks heat up at the advice.  He turned his face down, nodding more into his chest than anything else.  "Y-yeah."

He frowned, a light shrug to his shoulders.  "Unfortunately, not much else," he informed.  "They've tried to make medicine for it, but it's hard when medicine doesn't work right during the fermin.  And most people don't like their kids being experimented on, so it's just... difficult."

Izuku looked back up, brow raised at the information.  "What did you mean about the medicine?"

"Hmm?  Medicine?"  Izuku nodded.  "Ah, someone should have told you about that.  You should be really careful taking anything: something about the hormonal chemistry messes with that chemistry.  And since everyone is different, most medicine doesn't even act the same way during fermin aside from a few here and there."

Izuku blinked, eyes wide.  "That's... wow."  He said, "I wouldn't have even thought of that."

"That's why they do the fermin tests young, to get that information burned into your head."  He tilted his head a little as he said, "Guess yours didn't read right."

"Yeah, uh... something like that."

"Well, I'm going to leave you to it," he said, patting him on the shoulder again, this time harder.  "We're going to be out with the others all day, so if you need anything, speak now or forever hold your peace."

Izuku forced a smile at the friendly tone.  "No, I'll be fine.  Thank you."

Beak Nuke nodded and headed off, probably to find the other professors before heading out, to be available to the young heroes if something were to come up during their patrols.  Izuku only hung around for a moment longer, watching as other students were heading the same way, already late to get to their posts.  He tucked himself away into the men's area, not really wanting anyone to notice he wasn't going with them.

At the insistence of his stomach, he made breakfast.  He hadn't even thought about food until then, his focus solely on Katsuki and relief.  Even as he ate his eggs, he could already feel his mind drifting off again.  He ate quickly, only so he could head off to the gymnasium.

The majority of his day was spent exercise.  He hadn't pushed his body so unnecessarily since he was first training to take on the One for All.  But the way it helped him came in waves.  When he started a run along the large track, he was concentrating on his breathing, his steps, and the way his arms moved.  He thought only of his body and making it work, not how it worked and how it could betray him.

His mind was blank.  For the first time that day, he had a long stretch of time where he wasn't uncomfortable and near in pain.

But when he started into his second loop, his body took on its auto-pilot naturally and without his consciousness of it, leaving his mind to linger.  And linger it did, on more than his typical thoughts, but on the fermin in general, especially the previous week.

It hadn't been as rough as the week before in a lot of ways.  He wasn't stuffed in a small room with other people, trying to hide what was wrong.  But work kept him distracted, though not completely; he was still sneaking messages to Katsuki during lulls in his routes.  Not to mention he had access to his boyfriend, who was much more receptive to him now that his mood was on the up and up.

There was a downside to it all, however.  School gave him a confined space with only so many people and easier ways to avoid them if he needed it.  But here, he felt out in the open, exposed, almost.  He may have snuck away with Katsuki whenever he could, but he still had to spend time with others.  He still wanted to spend time with his friends, too, much like Katsuki did.

The set up they were given in the dormitories allowed him time with people he rarely got to spend time with.  It wasn't just Uraraka and Iida he hung out with, but Todoroki found reasons to join him, mostly to just have someone to talk about his day with.  His good nature attracted others as well, and he was spending time with almost everyone from his class and others. 

Pony and Ashido would come to talk to Uraraka, but they both had wandering eyes to Izuku, and he found himself putting Iida between them or someone else.  Kamakiri had even tried to start a few conversations, but he was quick to shut him down if the fermin or anything like it was brought up.

He didn't tell Katsuki about all of these.  Only if he felt he needed to know did he bring it up.  He wasn't really worried at his reaction: Katsuki wouldn't act out inappropriately, reserving his anger for something much more deserved. 

It was more of his own fear of misinterpretation.  He wasn't sure if the stares he was getting was his fermin or if he was just on high alert at the thought of it all.  He already got a lot of attention before, and who knows what people he had inadvertently ignored in the past, that he just hadn't noticed like he was now.

Izuku was never good at noticing when he was being flirted with.  There had been a few times Katsuki had to point out to him when someone was making a move on him.  Now he had people coming up to spend time with him, and the only reason he assumed it might be flirting was because of their timing more than maybe they just had gotten a chance.

Two days prior, he had been assigned Kuroiro Shihai as a partner.  He had started to get to know him, and he found he wasn't too bad to hang around.  Kuroiro had asked him for coffee after their patrol, to which Izuku turned down only because he was more in the mood to see Katsuki that day than anything else.  It wasn't until later that he thought back on it, and questioned his intention, but ultimately figured he was reading into it.

Izuku had to stop when his legs couldn't go any further.  He sat down heavily in the middle of the track, breathing heavily.  He stayed there, cross-legged and his hands in his lap, catching his breath, for a great length of time.  He eventually fell back, closing his eyes to keep out the bright lights.  He concentrated on his lungs, in and out, in and out.  Panting, like this morning, when he and—

He groaned.  All of that effort, and he was back at square one within an instant.

After he finally got his breath back, he went to the little sauna in the men's locker area.  He was hoping that the steam would relax him.  He removed all his gym clothes, noting to himself that he would have to do laundry tomorrow.  All part of being the adult life, he mused.

The steam room was empty.  He wasn't surprised by this, of course: it was still hours before anyone should be returning from their shifts, and from what he understood, there was only one other student staying behind.  It would be strange if he wasn't alone.  It was still unfamiliar to him, though, as the times he had used the room, it had at least a few other occupants in it.

Except one time...

The sauna was U-shaped, the entrance settled in the middle, giving two seating areas just out of sight of the little window in the door.  Izuku sat in one of these offsets, hidden away from sight and able to react if someone did happen to come in.  Tucked away, he was able to let his mind wander.

Katsuki and he had done something similar the second night of the Tour.  They were lucky to be alone, and encouraged by the solitude, Izuku had taken advantage of it.  He had sat on the step below him, sucking him off while Katsuki pulled at his hair and desperately tried keeping quiet.  They weren't able to do much else, though: the door opened just after he had finished, forcing them to separate as a small group came in loudly chatting.

They were quick to get to his room afterward, to finish what they had started.

It wasn't what Izuku had wanted at the time.  Alone in the heat and moisture of the small space, he let his mind venture off into what could have been.  As his thoughts went, his hand moved of its volition.  He imagined himself riding on Katsuki, his legs bent and on his toes, as he faced away and bounced up and down.  And Katsuki would hold onto his hips, pounding into him hard.  He could be loud, and he was in this daydream, all but screaming his name as they continued.

Outside of the reverie, though, he covered his mouth, chewing on the skin between his index and thumb.  He was running his palm along himself, in time with the scenario in his mind.  His whole body was warm, and it was more than just the moist air causing it.

The bath he took afterward was a long one.

When Izuku got back to the kitchens, there were still hours to go before Katsuki would be back, if he got there on time at all.  Despite having relieved himself once, he could already feel his need rising again.  His lunch was complex, tempura and curry, and he spent his time focusing on it.

But the cooking and eating could only take up so much time, and soon enough he was left to himself again.

During his meal, he checked his phone to direct his attention elsewhere.  Uraraka had sent him a few messages, asking if he was okay.  From what he could tell in the texts was that she was his partner for the day until the last minute change giving her Asui.  He wasn't sure how to answer at first, until he hurriedly sent a long message back saying he hadn't felt well, and he wanted to get back on his feet before they travelled to Kyoto.

He hadn't told her about what was going on with him.  He couldn't even bring himself to think of that conversation.  The whole thing was embarrassing enough as it was, and he didn't want any more discussed on the topic than he already had.  He had thought about bringing it up more than once with her, but he just couldn't find the energy to go over such a mortifying thing.

He had a few more messages from varying friends.  He answered the ones from Todoroki and Kirishima, but left the others for later.  The ones he was most eager to address were the three from Katsuki left at different times, starting from that morning after he had left for work.

Take it easy today.  Tell me if you need anything.

Izuku had to smile at that.  He wasn't the best at answering his texts during the day, but he knew he would try.

It's boring today.  I almost want something to happen.  Augh.

He laughed.  Katsuki could be almost childish sometimes, and he always found it endearing.

What do you want for dinner?  I'll pick something up.  Just want to be back now.

Izuku thought.  He really wasn't in the mood for anything particular, especially while he was already eating.  He appreciated the thoughtfulness of it, how quickly he just wanted to be back to him, to even speed up every factor in between.  He was really looking forward to having him back, for more than just the fermin.

He sent him something noncommittal, telling Katsuki to decide.  He paused for a long moment before following the text with, Thinking about you.

It wasn't even a few moments before he got the response: Of course you are.

There was no ill will in the text.  He read it with Katsuki's gruff sarcasm, and it brought a small smile to his lips.  Of course he was thinking of Katsuki.  He'd been thinking of him almost all day.  But it wasn't just the way he was insinuating.  Though, that was a good amount of it...

He started to wonder if maybe he should have gone to work, if he should have let the day take away his thoughts.  There wasn't a guarantee that it would have worked, of course: he would probably still be distracted at any lull in the day.

Then there was Katsuki's concern.  To him, the scent was too bad, and would be a distraction to whatever partner he'd have.  Would that have been true?  Or could he have gone through the day uncomfortable, but his companion none-the-wiser?

How long was this going to go on?

Izuku was running out of things to do.  He thought about Beak Nuke's advice, to keep busy or do a hobby, but his go to of writing and research would be hindered by his inability to concentrate.  He thought about maybe playing some games, but the same issue came up.  He was consumed with the need to do something that required no real attention.

His conclusion came to the theatre.  Movies were the only thing he could think of to fit his limited criteria.

Izuku made his way to the large room at the top of the building.  He entered the dark and quiet room, contemplating what kind of film he would watch.  He hadn't visited it yet, so he had no idea what kind of movies were available.

The theatre was more than he expected: it was really just a miniature version of the real thing.  The screen was a decent size at the front of descending seats.  The entrance was from the middle of the seating, and he had to go up the stairs to the little projector area.  The lighting was dimmed over the whole area, and he could just make out the steps to get to it.

This was probably why he couldn't see that he wasn't alone.

"Midoriya?"

Izuku started at the voice.  He froze for a second, like he had been caught, before forcing himself to settle down.  Why be on edge?  He wasn't in trouble for staying behind.

"Tokoyami?" he addressed as he stepped up to the projection area.  His fellow student was near the back wall, his fingers gracing over the different discs in a large shelving unit.  He stepped up to him, glancing at what he was looking at.  "You stay behind, too?"

He nodded.  "I sprained my ankle yesterday.  Giving it a rest," he answered.  "What about you?"

Izuku was glad for the low lighting that hid his slight flush.  "Just, uh... not feeling well."

Tokoyami just hummed his acknowledgement before returning in his search.  "It's time we get used to not have Recovery Girl, is what they professors would say."

"Have to agree with them, though," he replied.  "So, crime dramas are your thing, huh?"

Tokoyami gave him a light smile.  "Nothing wrong with those."

"No, they're great," he said.  He looked over some in another section, mostly romantic films.  There wasn't much he didn't like in movies.  He had a preference for comedy action, but he could still watch almost anything.

"I was expecting more horror for you, though," Izuku admitted in good nature.

Tokoyami gave a light chuckle.  "I do like horror," he said.  "But there isn't much of it here.  I brought some of my Miike Takashi films, just in case."

"Oh, gosh, those are rough," Izuku said.

Tokoyami raised a brow.  "Didn't see you as watching them."

Izuku waved his hand dismissively.  "Not willingly.  Katchan is really into them, though."

He wasn't going to bring up how Katsuki knew he didn't particularly like gore movies.  He had just used it as a flimsy excuse to get Izuku to bury his head into his chest while he held to him, and they inevitably would end up making out.  It was cliché, but he couldn't deny he liked it.

"Let me guess his favourite—"

"Ichi the Killer," Izuku finished.

"Of course."

They shared a laugh at that.  When the quiet came back, Tokoyami turned back to the selection, looking over it again.  "Anything you were looking for?"

"I was thinking of something action," he said.  "But maybe foreign?"  His original idea was a foreign drama, something that would force him to think and focus while still letting him be out of the moment.  He couldn't really share that information with his friend, though.  So he went with a more general genre.

Tokoyami hummed.  He moved a little to a different section before pulling something out.  He held up something Korean and handled him the box.  He read the back which had a taped on note in sloppy kana, and the synopsis was something cheesy.

He looked up and smiled at Tokoyami.  "Perfect."

There were a few moments of getting the projector working.  It was relatively easy, thankfully, and the little bit they needed to know for the screen part was on instructions on the projector box.  They situated themselves in the middle of the theatre seats, a seat in between them, as the opening credits started. 

The emptiness and darkness of the room was nice.  They could talk throughout the film, making jabs at the awful acting and ridiculous fight scenes.  It was a nice change of pace and exactly what he needed.  Izuku felt truly at ease for the first time that day.  For a few moments, his mind was finally at rest.

Sometime during the movie, Izuku noticed that Tokoyami's shadow on his other side.  Well, not really the shadow at first, more like his white eyes.  It took a moment more of adjusting to the darkness in the room, to fully see the outline.  The shape was hovering in the seat next to him, looking forward at the screen (as far as he could tell).  He wasn't too surprised to see it, knowing that it had more of a mind of its own the less of light there was.  It was just a presence he took note of, and it just made him more aware of his surroundings, sandwiched between two people.

Izuku started to get a little bothered by the proximity.  He had been doing well for almost an hour now, but the closeness of another person (or two people, safe to say) was putting him on edge.  There was no real thoughts involved, just a feeling inside that was growing.  He kept his eyes on the screen, scrutinising every word in the subtitles or watching every action, to ignore his body. 

He just wanted to spend time with a friend without his fermin getting in the way.

As the credits rolled for the first movie, Tokoyami tilted his head to look at him over his beak.  "Want to watch another one?"

Izuku gave him a light smile.  "That sounds great."

"More action?" he asked as he stood up and made his way to the back.

Izuku watched him and how his shadow remained out as he went.  "I'm okay if you want to put in one of those crime ones."

Tokoyami nodded back at him before looking through the selection of movies.  He heard a few hushed words, and he assumed he was just talking to his shadow.  He sat forward again, waiting for the movie to start.

Tokoyami came back, this time sitting next to him.  He didn't think much of it.  It had been kind of odd that he sat away in the first place.  He settled in again, his gaze once more intent on the screen.  He ignored the feel of Tokoyami's presence, so close that he could slightly feel his heat.  He just figured his heightened awareness of him was from his fermin.  He leaned his body somewhat away from him and closer to his shadow, who had shown up on his other side again.

Through this movie, the remained relatively quiet, following along in the story.  He was able to forget Tokoyami and his shadow for a long time due to the depth of the film.

He gave a small jolt when he felt something glance over his forearm.  He glanced over, and Tokoyami's shadow was even closer than before, his wing just lightly touching Izuku.  He blinked but didn't move initially.  He wasn't sure how aware the shadow was after all: maybe he doesn't know his closeness or that he was touching him.

Izuku looked back at the screen, ignoring the feel of the cold feathers on his skin.  He figured soon enough he would realise his closeness and move.  Besides, it didn't feel that bad.  It actually felt kind of... nice.  The only other person he knew cool to the touch was Todoroki, at least on the one side, but there wasn't anything unpleasant about it.  Most everyone he knew was at least warm, especially Katsuki, who was always almost hot.

There was movement after a while.  The wing shifted its position, gracing along his leg.  He tensed up at the action.  That couldn't have been intentional, could it?

A small sound left him when another touch came to his shoulder.  He turned his head to Tokoyami, who had a soft but intense look on him through half-lidded eyes.  His fingers kneaded softly into him through his shirt, moving down his arm.  On his other side, the shadow leaned in, its beak nuzzling into his neck.  It was a unique feeling, not just cool to the touch, but almost like thin yarn moving around.

"T-tokoyami...?"

"Is this all right?" he asked.  He moved in closer, the tip of his beak coming within a hair's breadth of his nose.

"Is... is what all right?"

The wing glided along his thigh, squeezing a little.

"Do you--?"

Izuku didn't realise he had moved until he was almost running into one of the seats at the end of the row.  He was backing up away from Tokoyami while keeping his eyes set on him. 

"Listen, ah, I don't, um."

Tokoyami stood, his shadow at his side, eyes trained on Izuku.  "I'm sorry, I thought...  Just your—"

"Fermin, I know," he interjected, still stepping away.  "It's... it's okay, really"

"I just thought... You know, if you need help, it's not like we all don't—"

Izuku didn't think before saying, "I already have someone to help."

"Oh."  Tokoyami stopped, his expression surprised.  "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

Izuku waved his hands in front of his face.  "It's fine, really.  I know you didn't... God, sorry, I didn't mean to..."  Lead him on?  Had he?  Or was it just his fermin?  Did he take that as an invite?

"If I could just explain—"

"Later, later," Izuku said.  He was already at the exit of the theatre.  "We can talk later, just... in a brighter room?"

The shadow laughed at the comment.

"Yes, of course."  Tokoyami nodded.  "Again, I'm sorry."

"No, it's okay, I mean, you didn't..."  Izuku shook his head.  "I'm just going to... go."

He didn't wait for any response before rushing out of the room.  He didn't even bother with the elevator, opting for the stairs as he went with a quickened pace back to the men's dormitories.  When he was closer to his room, he pulled at his phone.  There were a few messages waiting for him, but he ignored them to send hurried texts.

Katchan.

I can't wait until you get back.

Please don't be late. 

I really, really need you.

I love you.

It sounded desperate, but he sent them all without thinking.

Izuku fell hard on his bed after closing and locking his door.  He had just barely remembered to kick off his shoes before he curled in on himself above the covers.  He sighed into the linen, his eyes tightly shut.

He was trying to think about what happened.  Nothing had even really happened, he reminded himself.  He didn't do anything and Tokoyami hadn't really done anything either.  He just touched him.  He and his shadow had touched him.  And yes, it was soft and felt nice, and hadn't been bad...

"Stupid fermin," he hissed into the mattress.  When he thought about it, he wasn't even thinking of Tokoyami so much as just being touched.  He had wanted it so bad all day; his body was willing to get it from anywhere.  Even now, his mind was putting Katsuki in his place, which led to some strange day dream with Katsuki and a shadow of himself and –

Izuku groaned loudly.  He was already painfully hard.  He had been doing strides against his libido for most of the day, but now...  Just being touched was enough to send him over the edge.

What would have work been like if he had gone?

He wanted to touch himself.  He wanted more than that.  He had the way; he had taken Katsuki's advice, bringing his toys with him.  But he couldn't.

He knew it wouldn't get him anywhere.  Even if he played with himself and his vibrator, he knew it would do only so good for so long.  He would be wanting the real thing all too soon. 

But there wasn't just that.  Izuku didn't want to do anything until he saw Katsuki.  He felt horrible for even the moment he enjoyed with someone else.  It didn't matter if nothing happened: he still wanted Katsuki to be the only one that truly solved his longing.

The next couple of hours were horrible.  Izuku tried to keep his mind off of his aching lower half.  He hid in the blankets on his bed, his phone his only companion, playing game after game or reading forums or anything.  He would sometimes find his hand wandering or that he had been rutting against the bed a little, but he stopped himself.  He stilled his whole body, his attention deliberately on something else.

He was determined to wait.

Izuku was up and off his bed at the first sound of the lock turning.  He barely had time to make absolutely sure it was Katsuki before he was pulling him in to the room and pushing him against the door to close it.

"What the hell, Deku?"

Izuku answered with a harsh kiss, pulling at the straps on his outfit to bring him closer.  It was a moment before Katsuki responded, wrapping an arm around the small of his back and kissing back.  Izuku pushed his body against Katsuki's, and he was sure he would be able to feel his still present need.

"Okay, okay," Katsuki said as he pulled away.  "Fuck, I know you're having a bad day—"

"Did you get my texts?"

"Yeah, I did."  He stepped away from him, locking the door as he went further into the room.  "I just figured you were getting bored."

Izuku shook his head.  "No, well, I mean..."

He noticed that he was holding a plastic bag, probably with the dinner he had offered to get before.  He only stayed on that for a split second, though, as he was more intent on Katsuki himself.  He had done as Izuku asked, still wearing his hero outfit, sans the hardware of his grenades, neck apparatus, and mask.

He really wanted to appreciate the look.  He always found Katsuki's outfit appealing, and he had a few fantasies of making love while he was in it.  But right now, it was lost on him.  Katsuki in anything would be a turn on for him.  His standing there was a turn on.

Izuku really didn't want to wait any longer.

The bag fell from Katsuki's hand as Izuku almost literally jumped into his arms for another kiss.  He stuttered a few steps back as he was suddenly holding his smaller boyfriend.  Izuku's hands were in his hair and on his face, and his lips were hungry as he kissed him.

Katsuki kissed back, though, and that was what Izuku wanted most: a response.  He needed him to just go with it, to be near him, to be with him.  It was what he wanted all day, and the past few hours especially.

"Katchan," he breathed against his lips, "I need you."

"I got that," Katsuki replied.  He had hit the bed at this point, and he sat down on the mattress, still holding tight to Izuku.  "You've been saying that all day."

Izuku couldn't help the small mewl that left him.  That wasn't it, that wasn't all...  "No, Katchan, it... it had to be you."  He grinded against him, emphasizing his hardness.

Katsuki raised a brow, though his body moved against him still.  "Who else would it be?"

Izuku buried his head in his neck, kissing the flesh there.  "No one but Katchan."

"You're being weird," Katsuki muttered.

Izuku pushed on him, and he fell back on the covers.  He put his hands on his hips, his eyes intent on him as Izuku reached down to his fly.  He didn't aide him or hinder him, just letting him go as his expression took on something like concern.  He didn't want to acknowledge it, he wanted to get to business, and he wanted to feel the relief he had needed all day.

"Deku," he said.  He sat up some, scooting back more onto the bed while still holding onto Izuku.  "Are you okay?"

"I told you, I—"

He held down on his hips when he tried grinding into him again.  "—need it, yeah, I got that."  His look became something serious as his hands moved to his shoulders, pushing him back so they could look at each other fully.  "What's wrong?"

Izuku shook his head.  He needed to tell him.  There was no reason not to.  But it was far from his mind – from his needs – and all he wanted was Katsuki to fuck him.

"Later," he finally said.  He leaned in to kiss him again, one that Katsuki almost reluctantly returned.  "I'll tell you later."

"Why not tell me now?"

"Because you'll be angry," he said simply.  "And you can be angry later.  I need you to fuck me now."

"Deku—"

Izuku put his arms around his back, resting his head on his chest.  "Please, Katchan.  Please."

Katsuki was quiet for a long moment.  At last, he fell back again, his expression softening.  Izuku made a light sound as his hands moved down his sides to rest on his thighs.

"Fine," he said.  "Do you want me to take off—?"

"Don't you dare," Izuku interrupted.  He smirked.  "I wanted King Explosion Murder, and I expect to have him."

That got Katsuki to grin wide.  He grabbed onto the front of Izuku's shirt and pulled him in for a rough kiss.

Chapter Text

"Dude, Bakugou, you're going to break it."

Katsuki gave the punching bag another hard hit, completely ignoring Kirishima.

He had been in the gymnasium for at least two hours, doing various work-out routines and exercises.  At some point, Kaminari and Kirishima showed up and joined him.  They were eager at first, but as Katsuki was getting more intense in his regime, they were having trouble keeping up.  He had beaten them in a sprint and casual sparring, and now he was pummelling a punching bag -- which they had done janken for who would hold it for him – in the offshoot weight room.

It was still the middle of the morning, and he hadn't been to sleep yet.  Most of the night before was spent with Izuku, tending to his needs and just spending time with him in general.  There had been a discussion after their love-making, and Katsuki had been unable to rest since.  Even after Izuku had fallen asleep, cuddled into his side, he was left staring at the ceiling, thoughts swirling in his head.

Eventually he had snuck away, much like every other night, but this time it wasn't to go to sleep back in his own room.  He hadn't even entertained the idea of trying to sleep, instead just going ahead and doing the laundry he needed to do.

He was avoiding people.  He wanted to be alone, to stew in his own thoughts and daydreams.  He knew he shouldn't have, he should be okay with others, but he was sure he wouldn't be the greatest of company at the time.

He had to wonder how easy it may be to trigger a mania.

Katsuki hadn't spoken much to his friends.  They had offered their company and suggested different things to do, but he just went with it without complaint.  It wasn't bad, though: it was actually effective in getting his mind off things.  Even the banter between them gave him something to focus on other than his own mind.

But, inevitably, his distraction had to end.

Kaminari was looking somewhere behind Katsuki when he called, "Oh, hey, Tokoyami."

Katsuki could hear the chain wail with his next punch.  Maybe he would break it.

Katsuki didn't pause in his assault on the punching bag as his friends addressed their fellow student in casual greetings and chatter.  The bag gave way a little when Kirishima moved away from it, but he just switched to a few kicks in response.

"I needed to talk to Bakugou, actually," he heard Tokoyami say.

This got him to look back at him.  His eyes were on him, his expression even and almost muted.  He looked between Kaminari and Kirishima, who just shrugged it off.

"Talk away," Kirishima said, gesturing a little.

"Well, ah, preferably just the two of us."

The two gave a baffled expression between them both.  Kaminari, looking at Tokoyami's stern face and his furrowed brow, was clearly uncomfortable by the tension.  "Um--?"

"It's fine," Katsuki said.  "Give us a moment."

Kirishima gave him a look, brow raised, but just shrugged.  "Whatever, man."  He nudged Kaminari, who was still confused, but went with his pushes.  "Just text me or find me if you want to hang out later."

Katsuki nodded.  He didn't mention that he didn't have his phone, but it wasn't really that important.  He had left it in Izuku's room when he left in the middle of the night, but he hadn't gone back for it yet.  If he needed to, he'd just track him down if he still hadn't gotten it back.

They waved at the two of them before jogging off across the weight room toward the locker rooms.

Katsuki only barely gave an acknowledgement to Tokoyami before focusing on the dangling sack of sand.  He gave it a punch as he asked, "What do you want?"

Tokoyami didn't answer right away.  He didn't know if he was gathering his thoughts or just didn't know what to say, and he didn't care.  He could feel his eyes on him, though, something that agitated him more than it should.

"I spoke to Midoriya earlier," he finally said.

"Better have been in a lighted room," Katsuki quipped.

Tokoyami made a hesitant noise at the statement.  "He did speak to you then?"

Katsuki stilled the bag with a tight grip before he looked back at him again.  "What about it?"

"Well, I..."  He trailed off.  Tokoyami had his hands crossed over his chest.  He stood out in the room, wearing a hoodie and jeans where the only other few people in the weight room had on gym clothes. 

The emptiness wasn't that unexpected: it was the rest day before they moved to their next destination on the tour.  They would be in Kyoto within twenty-four hours, but most of the students were trying to get a jump on rescheduling their sleep cycle for the late-night week ahead.

"What?" Katsuki urged him -- almost dared him -- to finish.

"I just thought I should talk to you," he said.  "But foremost, I thought I should apologise.  I really didn't mean anything by it."

Katsuki narrowed his brow.  "Other than to get your dick wet?"

"That wasn't..."  Tokoyami sighed.  He closed his eyes, pinching the area just above his beak.  "If I had known about you two, I wouldn't have tried to impose anything on him.  It was a simple misunderstanding."

Katsuki just barely noticed his fingers were digging into the bag. 

"From where I am, the only misunderstanding was that he was single," Katsuki said.  "You were still trying."

"You're misunderstanding my intentions," Tokoyami corrected.

Katsuki gave him a sceptical look.

"I was hoping to just clear the air here," he went on.  "I already explained it to Midoriya, and that's really all I needed to do."

"And yet, here you are."

"You need to understand something: if it wasn't me, it would have been someone else."

Katsuki had to make a conscious effort to remove his hands from the bag.  There were ten, small burn holes left behind.

They did not go unnoticed by Tokoyami.

Katsuki growled lowly.  "Don't you think I know that?  I know how people fucking look at him."

Tokoyami stammered a little with his next comment, thrown some by the reaction.  "That's... that's true, but not exactly what I was talking about."

"Then what?"

"Do you know what the fermin is like?"

"Of course I don't."

"Well, we do," he replied.

"You speak for the rest of the class?"

"In this context, yes."

"And?"

"And we all... helped each other, when we all went through ours."

"So you've slept with all the other fermin in class?"

Tokoyami clicked his tongue, clearly unhappy with the tone of voice Katsuki had taken at the accusation.  "Listen, that's how fermin are raised," he defended.  "It's not really discussed outside of us, and that leaves us with how to handle it."

Katsuki paused, keeping himself from any biting remark.  He thought of how Izuku was, desperate for attention at some of the worst of times if not all the time.  Not to mention the day before, where the pain he was feeling came across.  Izuku had made it clear that wasn't even the first time it had been like that; just that it was the worst instance so far.

And who knew how long it would go on.

He had to reflect on what he knew about the fermin just from his boyfriend.  If he took Izuku seriously at every word, it seemed absolutely awful.

"Fine, yeah, I can understand that, I guess."  He nudged at the bag, just to have something to fidget with.  "...so you were just going to 'help' Deku?"

Tokoyami nodded.  "And I'm not the only who would've extended the offer."  He pulled a little at the string on his hoodie.  "I just had a situation where it came up, and he just, well..."

"His scent was heavy yesterday," Katsuki said simply.

"Yes.  That."

He turned fully toward the bird-headed student, his brow still furrowed.  "And you just thought, well, in a dark room, might as well go for it?"

If he thought he could blush through his feathers, Katsuki was sure his cheeks were heated by the look in his eyes.  "My... my shadow kind of talked me into it."

"Because you needed more convincing."

Tokoyami's eyes hardened a little.  "You're clearly close to him; you know what the smell is like.  Even as non-fermin, it's so strong, I doubt you aren't affected by it."

Katsuki huffed, but he couldn't deny the truth in the statement.

"You have to understand, Bakugou, it's worse for us."

He had to bite his tongue with his disbelief.  There was still a part of him that thought it could not be nearly as bad as they made it out to be, but he wasn't about to say anything against it.

"I really am sorry about what happened," Tokoyami repeated his earlier sentiment.  "I just..."

Katsuki growled, glaring at him.  "Don't say you couldn't help yourself," he spat.  "Because that's bullshit."

Tokoyami held up a hand, as if to ward off the heat of his stare.  "I think you're misunderstanding still," he said.  "It's not that simple.  Scent for us is ten times what it is for non-fermin, and worse in proximity."

He went on, "I've only ever been around someone once even close to what Midoriya gives off."

"And?"

"And it makes it hard not to think about it."

"So, what you're saying," Katsuki started through gritted teeth, "is everyone who comes within wafting range is thinking about fucking him?"

"Ah, Bakugou, the bag—"

Katsuki followed his eyes to his hand, back on the punching bag.  It was smoking under his palm, and he had to pull it out before it could sink in.  He watched with a blank stare as some of the sand spilled out.  He brought his hand within sight of his eyes, blinking at it, quiet as he observed the flecks of canvas on his skin.

He didn't look at Tokoyami as he said, "I knew people were looking at him.  I just didn't think... Can't it be controlled?"

"Unfortunately, no.  It just can't be helped.  The fermin... it's just strong."

"It must suck for you all," he said, his tone flat.

"I can't say it's any easier for you," Tokoyami retorted.

Katsuki scoffed.

"You know, we're actually told growing up to avoid too close of relationships during this time of our lives," he said.  "That it muddles things, and it's just better to wait for the fermin to pass before trying anything serious."

"Your parents advocate having sex at your age?"

"Why not?  Fermin don't start any true reproductive cycles until after it's passed."

That caught his attention.  "Are you serious?"

Tokoyami nodded.

"...why the hell don't they teach us this stuff?"

He sighed.  He tucked both of his hands in the front pocket of his hoodie.  "I don't know.  There's always been an excuse from non-fermin that it isn't 'appropriate.'  But I really wish they did.  It would make life easier for us."

"Yeah, would've really helped Deku, too."

Tokoyami hummed his agreement.

There was a pause where the two didn't look at each, Tokoyami at his feet and Katsuki at the hole he had burned in the punching bag.  He should take responsibility for it, he thought.  But he would just leave it for now.  If someone asked, he'd be honest, but no real reason to bring it up himself.

"May I make a suggestion?"

Katsuki only gave him a pointed look.

"You shouldn't hide your relationship."

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  It wasn't something he wanted to hear or even discuss with anyone but Izuku.  He knew it would help things, but he still had misgivings about people knowing their personal lives.  It was a topic of contention for him and his boyfriend, but he still didn't feel the need to cave.

It was no one's business.  They were the ones he needed to keep it in their pants.

"I'll talk to Deku about that."

"He was more than amiable to the idea."

Katsuki didn't acknowledge the response.  Tokoyami didn't press the issue.

"I'll also tell the others that he's, ah—"

"Off limits," said Katsuki definitively.

"I was going to say not interested, in respect to your privacy."

"Yeah, fine, whatever."

They were quiet again.  Katsuki toed at the sand that had collected on the floor.  "Are we done here?"

He felt drained.  He didn't know if it was the lack of sleep or the conversation itself, but he suddenly just wanted to lie down.

"Yes, I suppose so."

"Good."  He turned and stepped toward the locker room, ready for a quick shower.

"Bakugou," Tokoyami called, not having moving from his spot.

"What?" he asked, looking back at him.

"If it means anything," he said, "it was all on me.  Midoriya never... he turned me away immediately."

"Of course he did," Katsuki said quickly.  "He wouldn't."

"He may, though."

Katsuki could smell the smoke coming from his palms.

Tokoyami flinched, but still continued, "What I mean is, the fermin is a beast of its own.  He may not mean it, but something's are out of our control."  His expression was sincere.  "You have to consider the possibility of what might happen.  No matter how faithful he is, there is always a chance..."

"Deku's not that kind of person."

"Maybe so, but it wouldn't be the first story I've heard of 'not that kind of person' getting bested by their fermin."

Katsuki thought of Hagakure's story of Ojiro.

"He won't."

"I hope not."

Katsuki turned for a brief moment to resume his trek to the locker room, but he stopped short.  He looked back at Tokoyami, his eyes boring into him.  "One more thing."

Tokoyami had started to turn away as well, but halted when Katsuki called him.  "Yes?"

"If you ever touch him again," he said, voice even, "I will rip off your dick and stuff it down your beak."

Tokoyami's expression didn't change at the threat, though his body tensed at the words.  "I was expecting you to start with that, if I were being honest."

Katsuki didn't respond.  His steps were purposeful as he walked away from Tokoyami, dropping the conversation as he desperately tried dropping for his mind.

::*~~*::

Katsuki spent most of the day in a foul mood that he dared not impart on anyone.  After he cleaned up from his excursion in the gymnasium, he quickly bathed and changed and left the dormitories.  He just wanted to be alone for a long while still, and he took that feeling with him as he wandered the streets around the building.

He was wallowing in his own thoughts, and he knew he should be trying to assuage it than giving in, but he found he couldn't help himself.  There was something in him that wanted to just run with his ideas, go over them again and again, and he couldn't help but give in to the urge.

He still needed to move, anyway.  The idea of sitting still or relaxing was almost abhorrent.  So he let his feet take him, and he ended up meandering around Osaka.  He only had a mind to monitor where his steps where leading, lest he become lost.  His phone was still with Izuku, and he didn't really feel like looking foolish by asking someone random on the street.

So he just walked around the block, going out a little each time.  He only stopped to get something to eat, but otherwise, he just kept his eyes forward and kept going.

His mind kept swirling back to the conversation he had with Izuku and Tokoyami. 

It was already late in the evening when Izuku had finally brought it up.  They had been intimate for hours by then and had finally lain down to go to bed.  He had known there was something he wanted to talk about from the initial conversation they had when he got back from work, but he figured it would be forgotten in the post-coital haze.

But Izuku was almost eager to bring it up once he had found some relief from his over-taxing libido.  It took no coaxing at all from Katsuki to talk about it, though as he spoke, he could tell why he hadn't wanted to bring it up when he first came back.

Katsuki was angry.  But what he was angry about was almost beyond him. 

He wasn't angry that someone had made a move on Izuku: that was inevitable with the current situation.  He wasn't angry with Izuku, because he hadn't left himself in the scene long enough for anything to happen, not like he wanted anything to at all.  He especially knew that was the case after what Tokoyami had said.

He wasn't even really that angry with Tokoyami.  Yes, he wanted to beat his face in, but that was more of an instinctual response.  He was grateful for the time he had to himself in the morning to overthink the whole thing.  Because of it, he was able to consider the information and calm down, and his reactionary feeling of violence had stewed into just above annoyance.

Tokoyami was not to blame.  He was simply responding to Izuku's scent, much like Katsuki had many times before.  It was only the day before that he had been hit with it when he went into Izuku's room, and he had instantly been upon him without any second thoughts.

Tokoyami wasn't the first one to remind him that fermin could smell the pheromone better than anyone else.  Izuku had been saying it since he learned of his condition; and even Hagakure had mentioned it in off-handed comment.  His own ignorance and denial of the extremes was what had kept him from thinking of these statements to the extent he really needed to.

No one was at fault.  It was just something that happened, and in reality, nothing did happen.  Izuku had left, and Tokoyami hadn't pressed him.  Their stories matched up.  And when he had come back, Izuku was all over him, which he had assumed would happen anyway.  Later Izuku confessed he had felt so bad about what had transpired, he hadn't done anything to himself, only wanting to come with Katsuki's aide.

Izuku had been up front and honest, his only delay for his own need of relief.  Even without Tokoyami's verification, Katsuki hadn't questioned him.  Izuku hardly ever lied, and even less to him.  He still held firm in his strong belief that no matter what the circumstance, Izuku was beyond and completely unable to cheat.

Katsuki had no reason to be angry.  But yet, that's all he had felt all day: angry and agitated.

It wasn't until further into his journey around this part of Osaka that he recognised his need to move was more his need to calm down before talking to anyone.  He almost wished he had gotten to do so before Tokoyami's insistence to discuss the matter with him.

Maybe he wouldn't have had to worry about that punching bag.

It was early afternoon when his feet led him back to the dormitories.  He wasn't exactly sure how long he'd been out, but he knew he'd walked several kilometres just meandering around the city.  He was starting to feel a little fatigued, but he didn't know which to blame: the walk or the lack of sleep.  He almost humoured the idea of lying down for a while, but a part of him knew it would do him any good.

The building was relatively empty of students.  He figured most were out, enjoying their day off, or were doing various activities elsewhere among the floors of the large structure.  He vaguely made out Kirishima and Kaminari in the common area with more of the class and others, just chatting it up.  He entertained the idea of going over briefly, but ultimately decided he wasn't in the best of moods to be around still.

Besides, he felt a much larger desire to be around his boyfriend at the time.

"Katsuki-kun!"

He grunted loudly as he was pulled back, an arm looping through his elbow and holding him still.  He didn't even have to turn to know who it was invading his personal space.

With a sigh he said, "Hagakure."

Looking at her was useless, but he still imagined she was smiling.  She greeted him with the bubbliness in her voice: "Afternooooon.  What have you been up to on your day off?"

He shrugged but didn't pull her off.  "Just... been walking around."  They continued into the communal kitchen, empty as it was.  Katsuki was feeling hungry after his wandering around, and he wanting to find a snack.

The past week she had gone out of her way to greet him anytime she saw him, and she was always sure to start conversation anytime he gave her the chance.  It wasn't exactly... unpleasant.  She wasn't the worst of company, as he had found the first day or patrol.

He also felt she needed someone to talk to who was outside of her friend group.  Someone if she admitted too much or spoke out of context, it wouldn't be taken the wrong way or lead back to anyone else.

She detached from him as he started to look around the cupboards.  "That sounds boring."

"Probably," he said half-heartedly.  He pulled out an unopened bag of crisps from a random cabinet.  "But necessary."  The bag was noisy as he opened it.  "Was it more interesting here?"

Hagakure jumped up on one of the cabinets, kicking her legs childishly.  "All of us went to lunch earlier!" she answered excitedly.  "Even 3-B and all the other classes.  It was really nice."

"Don't get used to that."

She shrugged.  "I guess not, but still."  By the way her arm moved, he assumed she was putting her chin in her hand.  "Alsooooo."

Her voice was too sing-song for his liking.  She didn't continue immediately.  He rolled his eyes, sighing, as he got the hint: "What happened?"

"Midoriya was asking about you."

He paused in his snacking.  "What?"

"Mhm."  Her kicking slowed.  "I overheard him talking to Kirishima, asking where you were.  He sounded kind of concerned."

Katsuki huffed.  "He probably just needed me for something stupid."  He took another bite.  He had let her continue thinking he had a crush on Izuku.  Maybe he should have told her the truth, but he still couldn't bring himself to do it. 

Though, it was nice to have someone to talk to even in the slightest capacity about it.

"I didn't have my phone today."

"Oh, I just thought you didn't want to text me back."

He shrugged.  He wouldn't have ignored her even if he had it: she was pretty good about not messaging him too often, so he answered her whenever he could and was appropriate.

Hagakure started to ramble on about the lunch and who all was there.  There was a bit of gossip in her comments, things Katsuki didn't have much interest in.  She was just used to that flow of the conversation, and he let her have it.

Her chattering just gave him time to finish his snack.

"And Tokoyami, he's just been weird all day: we kept trying to get him to come with us, and he—"

The mention brought a question to his mind.

"Hey, Hagakure," he said with no regard to what she was saying, "I want to ask you something."

Hagakure almost didn't notice the interruption, probably happy that he wanted to participate in the conversation.  "Yes?"

Katsuki hesitated.  He stuttered on the idea of bringing it up, but he had been curious.  "When you broke up with Ojiro... why?  I thought you forgave him?"

At the moment, he couldn't tell if he was grateful he couldn't see her face or regretted not being able to read her features.

"Forget it, you don't have to—"

"I thought he wouldn't want me," she said, her voice soft.

Katsuki raised a brow.  "What the hell does that mean?"  He rolled up the part of the bag he hadn't finished and tucked it into the pocket of his cargo pants.  "I thought it was accident, that he apologised or whatever."

They had talked about the issue a couple of times, but only the initial event, never what came after.  When she talked about it, he understood why she forgave him, especially with how she spoke of his fermin.  But the actual reason she broke up with him was still unclear to him.

Hagakure's earrings moved around as he thought she was looking around, as if she were checking if they were alone.  Finally the metal stopped, facing him once more.  "I thought he... he wouldn't want me after being with a real woman."

"But you're--?"

"Not... exactly."

There was a long silence between them.  Hagakure's hands were in her lap, her legs completely still.  Meanwhile, the gears in Katsuki's head were going, clicking together to decode what she could possibly—

"Oh."

"Yeah."

"Huh.  Okay."

"Okay?"

Katsuki shrugged.  "You say you're a girl, you're a girl.  Parts don't matter."

"You say that so simply," she retorted.  "What if Midoriya was like that?"

He shrugged again.  "Long as he's a he to him, I'm good."  He was being sincere.  Just because he happened to know the truth of what Izuku had beneath his clothes didn't make the statement any different to him.

Hagakure tutted at him in disbelief.

"And that's why you broke up with him?  Instead of just telling him?"

"I didn't know how.  We'd been together for a year, and I just never...  Haven't you ever had trouble telling people something?"

He ignored the obvious answer.  "He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who would care," he observed.  "It's not like he's Grape Boy or anything."

"Oh, god, I know."  She groaned.  "He is the worst."

"Yeah, I've punched him a few times for shit he's said."  There were more times than he could count that Mineta had said something hateful, even if he didn't really realise it.  Katsuki just never let him get away with some of the more disgusting things he said, smacking him upside the head with a heated palm and correcting statement.

"...do you think I should have told him?"

Katsuki sighed.  He rubbed at his temple.  "I mean... I'm not really good at this kind of thing.  I don't even tell people things I should."

If Izuku was there, he'd mention how that was the understatement of the century.

"But... even if it's not Ojiro, you have to get used to telling your partner, right?  It's no one else's business, but it is for the person you're with, especially if you're ever going to... you know."

"You're right, I know...  I'm just worried about what he'll say..."

"I still don't think he'll care."  He followed, "And if he does, tell me.  I'll bury his face in the ground."

Hagakure laughed.  She jumped down from the cabinet and approached him.  He tensed when he felt her lips in a quick peck on his cheek.  "You're a lot better a guy than you let on."

"Yeah, whatever."  He took a step away from her.

She giggled.  "Aww, a kiss too much for Mister Loner?" she teased.

"Told you, I'm not into girls."

He groaned when she gave him a hug around the shoulders.  "You're really sweet, you know that?"

He pushed her away by her arms.  "Don't spread lies about me."

"Yes, yes, tough guy and all."

Katsuki huffed in response.

"A bunch of us are going to the movies tonight," she said.  "Want to come with?"

"Nah, maybe some other time," he answered.  "I'm going to go see what Deku wanted."

"Uh-huh."  She stepped away completely, her arms behind her back.  "I'm sure that's all you'll be doing."

"Don't you have anyone else to bother?"

Hagakure laughed.  "Bye, Katsuki-kun!  Have fun!"

He waved her off, disregarding her implied tone.

Katsuki only spent a few more moments in the kitchen to quench his thirst before he headed off to the men's dormitories.  He was planning on his room first to change his shirt from the smell of walking around all day, then see if Izuku was in his room.

Izuku wasn't, though, as he met him in the hallway.  When he saw him, he smiled wide and picked up his step to meet him.

"Katchan," he called when he was within a few steps.  "I've been looking for you."

Katsuki gave him a light smile.  For all of his anger and ill-temper during the day, he found he was actually somewhat excited to see his boyfriend.  He had reminders all day of what could happen, but he knew what would happen, and how could he not be happy in that knowledge?

"Sorry, I was, ah..."  He looked him over.  "Are you going somewhere?"

Izuku's smile grew as he pulled the coat tighter around him.  "If you had your phone, you'd know."

As he spoke, he handed Katsuki the mentioned device.  Katsuki took it, unlocking the screen for only a moment to see how dead it was.  Glossing over the amount of messages he had, he noted it was at full life.  He wasn't exactly surprised knowing how thoughtful Izuku was, but it was nice to see.

"Check your messages," Izuku said, his tone light.  "I'll be outside."

He had to turn so his eyes could follow as Izuku walked past him.  "What--?  Why?"

Izuku turned around, walking a step backward.  "Check your phone," he reminded before turning back around and heading toward the dormitories' exit.

Katsuki's brow was raised as he watched him go.  Finally he opened his messages, ignoring anyone else's to go to Izuku's thread and to the most recent text.

Let's go on a date tonight.

Katsuki smirked at the screen.  He made a quick step to his room to change and grab his jacket.

::*~~*::

Two mugs slammed on the table, empty of everything but a few drops and some foam.  Katsuki messily wiped away the remnants of alcohol from his lips with the back of his hand, while Izuku covered his mouth as he belched due to the carbonation.  They both laughed at the antic, the two young men noticing the almost foolishness of the eager behaviour.

Katsuki ordered another round of drinks as Izuku started to dig into their meal.  The chef had only just left after preparing their okonomiyaki in front of them.  Their portions were large to fill the appetites of their still growing bodies.

"Your face is red," Katsuki mentioned as he started in on his own meal.

"So is yours," Izuku quipped back, smiling.

Katsuki shrugged.  Izuku just chuckled, turning his attention to his food.  He watched him for a moment, and he couldn't help but think how cute he was with the flush across his cheeks.

Two more mugs were placed near them, and the empty ones were taken away.  Katsuki took a sip of the sour liquid, no urge to chug this one like their first one.  Izuku did the same, but he was more apt to take his time.

"Probably shouldn't overdue it," he said in an off-handed tone.

Katsuki waved him off.  "Part of being an adult is enjoying your day off."

Izuku gave him a look.  He said in a low voice, "You know we can get in trouble for drinking, right?"

"Yeah, I feel like they should've carded at least you.  You look like you're twelve."

"What does that say about you?"

Katsuki waved him off, pointedly taking a long drink of his mug.  "Don't care, I know how old you are, and that's what matters."

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "Whatever you say, Katchan."

They went about eating their dinner, quiet aside from the sides of chopsticks and chewing.  Katsuki hadn't realised how hungry he was until they had gotten closer to a street full of restaurants and the smell of food over-powered him.  He had to wait until they got to the specific place, though, as Izuku had already had a place in mind.

All of this was after sneaking away unnoticed from the dormitories.  Izuku had been outside, tucked away in a corner of the building, all smiles and attentiveness.  Katsuki had kept them for a moment, wanting to shower Izuku in kisses and affections before they left for the streets further into Osaka.

Izuku had already planned out much of what he wanted to do with the evening.  He had a list of activities he still wanted to accomplish, but Katsuki thought nothing of it.  They were supposed to stay up all night, after all, and the more they had to do the better.  Not to mention that they were going to be switching their dorms to the new location during the night, so they were actually forced out of their rooms for the evening.

He just wondered how long before Izuku's itinerary took a more intimate turn.

"Did Tokoyami find you?"

Izuku's question had brought a sourness to the bite in his mouth.  The octopus was suddenly extremely tough as he took more bites than needed to hold off on answering.

He swallowed before saying in a flat tone, "We talked this morning."

Izuku's smile was thin, more forced with a hint of worry than sincere.  "He said he was going to explain some things to you."

"You explained them.  That's enough for me."

Izuku's expression took on a bit more relief at the comment.  "Thank you, Katchan."  He reached across the table, his fingers gliding over his free hand.  "But that's not what I meant.  He wanted to tell you a bit more about the fermin."

Katsuki took his hand, lacing their fingers together.  "Did he tell you more about?"

Izuku nodded.  "It was nice to actually talk to someone my age about it," he said.  "I have a bit more of an idea about certain things, but there's still really no... tricks or anything."

"So nothing really useful?"

"Well... the only thing that really stood out was something he said about emotions."

Katsuki raised a brow.  "Emotions?"

Izuku pulled away his hand after a light squeeze.  He took a drink from his mug before saying, "Something about sometimes, there's a trigger emotion.  Like, if you feel a certain way, it makes your pheromone worse while you feel that way."  He shrugged.  "But the pheromone can still be random, too."

"Okay, so, what's the emotion?"

"What?"

"What's the feeling or whatever that makes it worse?"

Izuku sighed.  He put his elbow on the table and put his cheek in his hand.  "That's the problem," he said.  "It's different for each person."

"Well, how were you feeling yesterday?  Because your scent was... fuck, it was awful."  He continued eating where Izuku seemed to be too concentrated on the topic to finish.

"I really just..."  His face took on a deeper shade of red as he looked at the grill in the middle of the table.

"Just...?"

"I just missed you all day, really," he admitted.  He took another drink.  "Nothing happier or anything, just really... really wanted to be around you."

"There's a difference between missing me and missing my dick," he teased.

Izuku glanced up at him, and he stuck out his tongue briefly.  "It's not my fault."  He talked more into the mug as he said, "And it can be both, jerk."

Katsuki nudged his foot under the table.  "I know, Deku."  He took the last piece of the savoury pancake.  "But you must be feeling different today.  Your scent isn't nearly as unbearable and you aren't trying to jump me, so points there."

"I've thought about it a few times today, but you've been gone."

"Sorry," he said honestly.  "I was just... I was angry, and I didn't want to take it out on you."

Izuku gave him a soft but sincere smile.  "It's okay, Katchan.  I get why you were mad."  He finally turned his attention back to the remainder of his food.  "I was just worried when Tokoyami went to see you."

"I wanted to hit him," he said simply.  "But it's not his fault, and he didn't really do anything."

Izuku gave him a long look, chewing on his lip before he finally said, "I'm glad it's you, Katchan."

Katsuki quirked a brow.  "What do you mean?"

"I'm glad that I'm with you through this," he answered.  "Tokoyami said it's better for fermin to be single, but I don't agree.  I like only having one person, and I'm glad it's you."

"Even if I end up beating someone up?"

"You're not who you were back in middle school," Izuku said.  "You don't... you don't respond to things like that anymore, even if you think you would.  I know Katchan; I know how much he's changed."  He took a long drink, finishing the alcohol in the glass.  "You wouldn't hurt someone unless they had it coming."

Katsuki just looked at him, his expression even.  Izuku was smiling, his eyes lidded and his expression soft.  He didn't know if he was right.  He knew how he felt that morning, he knew how badly he had originally wanted to punch Tokoyami for laying a hand on his Deku, he knew the anger he had felt all day.

But he didn't.  He didn't give in.  The problem was, he didn't know if it was because he knew it was the wrong thing to do, or if it was because he knew Izuku would be unhappy about it.

Did it really matter?

"I love you, Katchan."

Katsuki could feel the heat in his cheeks.  The way he said it was so soft and meaningful, that he was almost floored at the thought that it was a statement toward him.  He didn't deserve him.  But he had him.  And he would make it worth everything for the time he was willing to stay with him.

"Yeah, me, too, Deku."

Izuku's expression made his heart skip.  He felt an urge to hold him close, to make him feel his affections rather than have to say them.  He settled for taking his hand again, and kissing his knuckles.  That was more than enough for him.

They were quiet, staring into each other's eyes.  Eventually, Katsuki put his hand down in order to finish his own drink.

"So, where to after this?"

Izuku hummed.  "I was thinking the Tenpozan."

"We have ferris wheels at home."

"But not this one," he replied.  "It's bigger and takes more time to go around."

Katsuki smirked.  "Any reason it matters how long it takes?"

Izuku's smile widened.  "Well, we can't go back to our dorms for the evening, so I thought..."

"You're a real pervert, you know that, Deku?"

"Is that a 'no'?"

Katsuki shook his head.  "Not what I said."

Izuku grinned.  He turned around in the seat, holding up his hand and asked for the check.

Chapter Text

"Here you go."

Izuku looked up to see the cup of tea being handed to him.  He smiled lightly at Toshinari, taking the beverage with a soft thank you.  His former teacher sat down next to him on the veranda, a drink in his own hand.  He relaxed, leaning back on one arm and staring out into his garden.  Izuku joined him, looking out into the dead hedges that somehow still looked beautiful in the dying light of the day.

It was cold and quiet.  The only thing that made much noise was the shishi-odoshi, but it was sluggish with bits of ice in the water.  It would seem almost bleak if it weren't for all the lights Toshinari had put up all around in varying shapes and hanging from different trees and bushes.

Bringing light to an area that would otherwise be cold; it could only happen in the home of All Might.

It was odd seeing Toshinari.  He hadn't seen him since he'd retired at the end of second year, only keeping in contact through texting and calls.  He was still frail – which was only made more obvious by his much too big kimono and hanten – but he seemed brighter in a way.  His smile was sincere as it always had been, but it was weightless and easy.

All Might was always on edge, waiting for the next villain to fight.  Yagi Toshinari was carefree, just waiting for his tea to cool down.  Izuku was happy to see his mentor so content with life, even without heroing.

"So," he started, "in your second week of the Tour."

Izuku nodded.  "I meant to come by when we first got to Kyoto, but I was just so tired..."  He stifled a yawn.  "Getting adjusted to this nighttime schedule is harsh."

Toshinari gave a chortle.  "Yes, but it's only a week, and then it's over!"  He took a long gulp from his cup.  "Some students may actually be better for it, and what better way to see than to do?"

"Oh, I understand."  He looked at his cup, his eyes drooping a little.  "But I don't think it's for me."

"But otherwise it's been okay?"

This made Izuku's smile grow.  His eyes went alight with memories of the more exciting parts of the past week and I have.  "It's been somewhat boring, but I have gotten to take on some villains."

"And you still think hero work is for you?"  His tone was sincere.  Izuku knew he was just ensuring that his original belief in him had come from some sort of truth.

"Of course!" Izuku exclaimed.  "I would take a hundred easy days if it means I can help at least one person!"

"That's my boy!"  Toshinari laughed and gave him a hard pat on the back.  Izuku had to admire the strength in the action as he was pitched forward slightly.

Izuku gave his own small laugh.  "What about you?  What have you been doing?"

Toshinari gave a brief groan, but still smiled.  "Being bored out of my mind.  I constantly have to find something to do."  He sat up, stretching as he did.  "I do odd jobs for a lot of the older folks around here, but they give me food in return, so it works great for me."

"That doesn't sound too bad."

"Better than trying to write," he said through a sigh.

"What are you trying to write?"

Toshinari gave a shrug.  "Thought I'd try my hand at memoirs," he answered.  "It's what you're supposed to do when you're retired, right?"

"Would you really want to publish that?" Izuku asked.  "I figure you'd want your privacy for a little more time."

"It would be posthumous, of course.  But need to have it for it to get released."

Izuku's eyes widened at the comment.  "You don't think—"

"No, no, not anytime soon," he interjected, waving him off.  "Just thought I'd get started on it."

Toshinari sat up a bit, looking wistfully out into his dead garden.  "No, I've been taking it easy.  Need to stay around a bit longer, after all."

Izuku could only nod in response.  He didn't know how to articulate what the idea of losing his mentor would have on him.  He had thought about it more than once since he had come under his tutelage, but was always able to push it to the back of his mind.  This conversation brought it to the forefront and, even though death was inevitable to anyone, he still wanted to pretend it didn't for as long as he could.

He stared into his almost empty cup, saying nothing.

"Besides, got to be around for your graduation, right?"

Izuku smiled lightly at that.  "Yeah, I would like it if you were there."

"Just got to make it through the month," he commented through a chuckle.  "Can't be that hard, right?"

"You'd think..." he muttered.

"At least you get a fun trip during it all."

Izuku hummed at the idea.  It had been fun, really.  It was nice to spend time with his friends and learn the new cities, all without having to worry about school and homework.  Even work had been great, and he almost couldn't wait to start his career.

But he was still having trouble with other aspects of his personal life.  He could tell on his partner patrols that they were distracted by him.  He had been with Pony the other day, and he caught her more than once with her eyes set to him, ignoring all of their surroundings.  He even addressed it, telling her that he understood, but it was getting absurd (especially when she tripped over an obvious crack in the payment).  They actually separated at one point because she couldn't handle herself around him.

There was also everything with Katsuki.  It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the frequency of his needs.  Katsuki did everything he could, he was really trying his best to keep up with Izuku's libido, but they both had other priorities.  They had work, friends, and the set up for adulthood.  They both needed a break.  Not from each other, but from the strong urge of intimacy.

But they both knew that wasn't exactly an obtainable state at the moment.

Izuku had come to see Toshinari because he wanted to see his mentor and role model.  But he also wanted to come to finally be around someone that couldn't pick up on his scent.  Katsuki was always quick to tell him when it was bad at the beginning of the day, but he hadn't seen him when he went off that afternoon, so he had no idea.  And he was glad he didn't have to think about it, at least not for now.

"Can I ask you something?" Izuku asked in a light voice, the question hesitant.

"Of course," Toshinari was quick to answer.  He was still smiling, but his expression softened, probably at Izuku's sudden shift in tone.

"Did..."  He sighed.  He didn't really want to ask, but he knew he should.  "Did you go through the fermin?"

"The fermin?" Toshinari repeated.  "No, I didn't.  I 'helped' some friends during theirs, though."  He raised a brow.  "Why do you ask?"

Izuku rubbed at his arm.  He said softly, "I am."

"Huh."  That was his only response for a good moment.  "That's... odd."

Izuku finished the last of his tea.  "I thought so, too," he said as he sat down his cup.  "Since I didn't have a Quirk before..."

Toshinari tapped his chin as he gave a small hum.  "Well, maybe it was inherited.  You are the ninth holder of the One for All.  One of the others probably had the fermin."

"I didn't think that kind of thing could follow..."

"You took in DNA that took in DNA that took in DNA.  Honestly, who's to say what that could do on less obvious scales?"

Izuku had to give him that.  "That's a thought..."

"You know, I read once, someone that thought the fermin was something everyone, fermin, Quirk or non-Quirk, had, something part of the genetic code that started with the first person born with a Quirk.  That something about certain Quirk holders that brought it out, and that's why it affects the more animalistic than others."

"Where did you read that?" Izuku had to ask. 

"Some book back in school," he answered.  "One of my friends was heavily affected by the fermin.  She just wanted someone to talk to about it."

"Do you remember the name?"

He shook his head.  "No, been too long...  She didn't get it from there, either, it looked old.  I think she said it was her father's or something."

Izuku frowned.  It would have been nice to find something to give him even a little more understanding of his condition.

"I've been trying to find so much information on the fermin, but the internet seems almost devoid of information.  I went on a few forums, but they get weird."

"Weird?"

Izuku shuddered at the memory.  "Yeah, it's mostly people trying to hook up with fermin.  Most of them are older.  It gets really gross on there.  There's almost no place to talk to anyone without it devolving into requests for..."  He gave a disgusted groan.

"I'm sure there are students you could talk to," he mentioned.  "You're not the only one who's gone through it, I can tell you that for certain."

"It feels strange to ask them," he said.  "They've grown up knowing they'll go through it, even if they weren't non-humanoid.  They had the tests, so they had the heads up.  And here I am, showing up, and saying, hey, any hints?"

He picked at the fraying end of one of his sleeves.  "Besides, when I did finally get to talk to someone, all he could tell me was just a few things I didn't already know.  Other than that, it was the same, you just have to live with it and find the best relief you can."

Toshinari gave a chuckle at that.  "That shouldn't be hard for you, Midoriya.  I'm sure there are plenty of students that wouldn't mind helping you out."

He knew that Toshinari meant that as a compliment.  He meant it like a father congratulating a son on being able to bed whoever he wanted.  But that didn't comfort Izuku.  It actually made him a little ill to think of.  That wasn't who he was.

"I... I only want one person helping me with it," he said softly.

This piqued Toshinari's interest.  "Oh?"  He grinned.  "Do you have a crush on someone?  You know, all you have to do is—"

"I'm seeing someone already," he interrupted.  He stared at his lap, still fidgeting. 

"And who would that be?"

It didn't matter if Toshinari knew, right?  He wasn't a teacher anymore, and he was like a secondary parent.  If his mother knew, shouldn't he know, too?  It was on the same lines, in his mind.

His cheeks flushed as he mulled over his answer.  Katsuki wouldn't be happy if he told, but who cared?  Tokoyami knew now, and he was still certain that telling others about their relationship was the best route to go.  He'd have to force Katsuki's hand a little, but he was sure it wasn't something they couldn't walk back from, no matter how upset his boyfriend might get about it.

"Is it Uraraka?  She was always sweet on you."

"W-what?"  He looked over at him, eyebrows raised.  "No, never, she's more like a sister to me.  Besides, she's dating Iida, and I would never want to come in between those two."

"Ah, well, then, who..."  Toshinari hummed and scratched at his neck.  "What about Todoroki?  I can see him being a good partner."

Izuku groaned a little at the accusation.  It wasn't the first time he had heard it.  Uraraka, upon figuring out he was queer, had made the same suggestion.  But he never felt anything like that for his friend, and he couldn't see that opinion changing, Katsuki or not.

"No, not him."

Toshinari seemed thrown for a loop.  "Then who...?"

He was glad his boyfriend wasn't there.  He would have been quite contempt with not even being an option, nonetheless not the initial one.

He turned to Toshinari, his expression even.  "Katchan," Izuku finally offered.  "It's Katchan."

Toshinari laughed at the idea.  "Bakugou?  Ah!  What that would be like!"

"It's good," Izuku insisted.  "We had some rough patches at first, but we made it work."

"And how are things now?"

Izuku hesitated to answer at first.  "...difficult," he said.  "He's been... he's been understanding of the fermin and all, and helping where he can, but..."  He looked back out into the garden.  "We have to make sure not to get caught, you know?  It's okay if they find me, but it doesn't extend to non-fermin...  It's so stupid..."

"That rule was made for the fermin's safety," Toshinari defended.  "There was a lot of instance of non-fermin taking advantage of fermin, and it was too hard to sort out who was doing it for selfish reasons and who was just in a relationship.  It isn't the best solution, but it was just a simpler one for the teachers and everyone else."

"Non-fermin like you?"

Toshinari shrugged.  "Now that I'm older, I can look back and see some of those situations differently.  I thought I was helping, and mostly I was, but mostly I was misreading advances."  He frowned, and a look of regret came to his face.  "I agree with the rule, actually.  It's just better this way."

"Yeah, well, not really for us."  He knew his face was red.  He made a deliberate attempt not to look at his mentor.  But part of being an adult was being able to talk to other adults about adult things.  "The sneaking around is getting to me.  It would be different if..."

Toshinari gave him the pause, but when he didn't say anything, he coaxed him on:  "If...?"

"Katchan... we've been keeping it a secret from everyone," he said.  "Not even our friends know."  He sighed.  "I keep thinking it would just be... easier if they did know, then I could just say I was spending time with him, and no one would think of anything.

"But I have to worry about, if I go off with him so much and so obviously, won't that seem weird?  They'll figure it out, and they'll know."  He bit his thumb.  "And I don't care, but Katchan does.  I don't know all of his reasoning, but when it comes to it, he just always says—"

"It's no one else's business?"

Izuku turned at the familiar phrase.  "Yeah, that."

Toshinari gave him a sympathetic smile.  "I know a couple; one of them is like that.  They've been together forever, but you wouldn't know.  And you can tell where it wears on the other one."

"But they're still happy?"

"They are, yeah," he answered.  "But that's them.  If it's not for you, you should get that through his thick head."

Izuku gave a light snicker at that.  "He does have a thick head," he agreed.  "At least with these things."

So much of the beginning of their relationship had been plagued with Katsuki's social issues.  Not just social ineptitude, but his huge faults with intimacy.  But they had gotten through it.  They had talked to an understanding, and they were better for it.

Aside from this one area.

"Honesty is the key to relationships, you know," Toshinari interrupted his thoughts.  "Just remember that."

Izuku nodded. 

They were quiet a moment, both staring into the garden.  He was glad he could talk to someone more openly.  Yes, he had spoken to Tokoyami after his discovery, but it was more in concern to his fermin than his relationship.  He didn't really feel that comfortable opening up about anything on the more intimate side with Katsuki, and Tokoyami didn't act like he wanted to press the subject.

"When you... when you were in school, when you were 'helping' people..."  He coughed around the term.  He hesitated, trying to think how he wanted to word the next thing, what he was trying to ask.  "I'm worried.  Sometimes my body seems against me, make me think things..."

Toshinari was quiet, his eyes and expression soft as he focused on Izuku, letting him take his time.

"I only want one person," he reasserted.  "Katchan...  I'm happy with him, despite what any opinion anyone could have."  He was staring at his lap again.  "I want to go beyond school with him, I want..."

He stopped.  He breathed.  "I think a few thoughts that are without him.  I imagine things, and he's not always part of it.  I have bad days, and if I'm close to someone else, if I can sense they are remotely interested, my eyes wander.

"I hate it.  I hate it, and I want it to stop."  He chewed his thumb.  "I wasn't... That's not who I am.  I've never been like that.  I hate the idea of being controlled by biology.  It makes me feel as weak as I did before I got the One for All."

He paused.  Then he said, "But I can't help it."

"You can't help the way you think, sure," Toshinari agreed.  "We've all had those thoughts.  Even Bakugou couldn't tell you he hasn't had the wild hair, because it's nature."

Toshinari patted him on the shoulder.  "But you can help what you do.  Keep taking yourself out of the situations, keep bringing your thoughts back around.  That's all you can do."  He said, "And don't hide that from him.  He'll probably already be wondering it, so just tell him.

"Be honest," he restated.  "Because it doesn't matter what you're thinking.  You're still coming back to him before anyone else.  And that's what matters."

"You think?"

Toshinari nodded.  "I may not have gone through it, but everyone I've ever known with it says it's beyond what they could control.  All they could do was take themselves from situations.  And the ones that didn't, they knew what they were doing."

Izuku had to agree.  He could have stayed in the theatre with Tokoyami, but he didn't.  That's what mattered when all was said and done.  Even Katsuki had agreed.

"Enough of that," Toshinari said.  He watched him as he stood and stretched.  "That's enough seriousness for a bit.  Let's get some food in you before your patrol."

Izuku blinked but nodded.  He grabbed his cup and stood up.  "That sounds wonderful."  He followed him back into the house, and he closed the screen door behind them.

"Hey..."

"Hmm?"

"Thank you... I really needed to talk to someone."

Toshinari smiled.  He ruffled his hair.  "Everything will be fine, Midoriya.  You're a great hero," he said.  "And there's more than one way to be a hero."

Izuku smiled and nodded.  Toshinari dropped his hand and led him away.  Izuku couldn't help but feel a little lighter as they went.

::*~~*::

When Izuku had gotten back to the dormitories, he only had about thirty minutes to get ready for his patrol.  He rushed through the halls and stairs to get to the locker area to get changed.  He didn't need to necessarily hurry at this point: it wouldn't take that long to get his hero outfit on and find out who he was going to patrol with (he'd forgotten to look when he left that afternoon).  He was sure the people he was passing by on the stairwell giving him looks were thinking the same way.

He was really just hoping to get a few extra minutes afterward to find Katsuki.

The rest of his visit with Toshinari had been rather enjoyable.  They went out to eat at a pleasant restaurant and continued talking.  The conversations had varied between life, the last year of school for Izuku, and the Graduate Tour.  They didn't really talk much more about his relationship, other than when it would naturally come up in the topic.  He had found it nice to not have to watch his words and try not to give himself away.

When he was on his way back, he had started to think more about it.  He really did want to come out.  Especially with what happened with Tokoyami last week, he had been thinking of it more and more.  It possibly wouldn't have happened if he had known ahead of time.  But when he brought that up with Katsuki, he just changed the subject.

Izuku was determined to bring the subject up and actually finish a conversation about it.  He didn't want to force it on him.  It wouldn't help anything, and he didn't want Katsuki to resent him.  No, he just wanted to talk about why it bothered him so much to begin with.  It had to be more than privacy.  And maybe if they could just sit and talk about it, they could work it out, and even compromise on just telling a few people.  Even if it was just their closest friends, that was good enough.

Despite his growing determination to have a conversation that would probably leave them both frustrated, he still just wanted to be around Katsuki for the sake of being around Katsuki.  Being able to bring him up casually in conversation or even talk reminisce out loud about times his boyfriend had done something memorable was more the pleasant.  He could feel his smile in every mention of him.

He wanted to see him.  He wanted to touch him.  And for the first time in a while, there was no underlying sexuality to it.  Not that it was the only thing he had wanted from him.  He had just been plagued by wanting one and needing another.

Izuku changed quickly into his hero outfit.  He still needed to check the board for his partner, but it was the farthest thing from his mind.  Iida had seen him in the locker room and started a conversation, but Izuku had been short.  Friendly, but short.  He excused himself quickly and started to head out.

He checked his phone for what must have been the hundredth time since he'd gotten back.  He had texted Katsuki when he was on his way back, expressing his desire to see him.  He worried his lip a little when he found no response.

Izuku thankfully didn't have much more searching to do.  On his way out, he found Katsuki, already in his hero outfit, talking to Kirishima.  He tried to control the large smile that threatened to come, making his expression neutral as he approached them.

"Hey, guys," he said when he reached them.

Kirishima gave him a friendly wave and smile.  "Hey, Midoriya."

Katsuki looked over at him, and he was a little taken aback by how his brows were knitted.  His scowl was tighter than normal, and he exuded a bit of a stand offish air.  "Deku."

"Um," Izuku said, now hesitant.  "Can I... Can I steal Katchan for a second?"

"What is it?" Katsuki asked.

"Go ahead and take him," Kirishima said, gesturing them off.  "He's been more of a grump than normal today, anyway.  I need a break."

Katsuki glared at him but said nothing.

"Katchan?"

"Yeah, yeah."

Kirishima waved them off as they walked away.  They didn't go too far, though: the stairs had an empty space beneath them, a perfect spot from wandering eyes.  They had found it the second day in the new building, but for a much different use.

When they were surely out of sight, Katsuki turned to him, his gaze still too serious for Izuku's liking.

"What is—?"

Izuku put his arms around his neck and leaned in, silencing him with a kiss.  He didn't respond initially, his body tense, but he pressed back.  He put an arm around Izuku's waist, the other at the base of his neck.  Izuku could feel the notches in his grenades against his back.  He tightened his fingers in his hair, and vocalised his disappointment in a small pout when he pulled his head back.

"Deku," he said, his tone soft but stern, "we don't have time for this."

Izuku smiled at him.  He took his face in his hands, stroking his cheek.  He wanted to be closer, but Katsuki's neck brace made it difficult.  He would take what he could get for now.

"I don't want that," he replied.  "I just... I just really wanted to be close to you."

Katsuki raised a brow, sceptical of the answer, but he didn't let go of him.  "Are you okay?"

"Are you?" Izuku redirected the question.  "You seemed... angrier than usual."

Katsuki didn't answer, his expression intense.  He sighed and pressed his forehead against Izuku's.  "It doesn't matter.  Just..."

"Just?"

"...swinging up."

Izuku's expression was gentle.  He kissed the bridge of his nose.  He was proud of him for being able to say it instead of burying it in misdirects that Izuku would later have to figure out.  He had already thought he was by the fact he hadn't slept since they had gotten to Kyoto.  He assumed it had started from the end of their stay in Osaka, but he had hoped it would have settled by now.

Maybe it just triggered one?  He was doing so well for the beginning of the Tour...

"You going to be okay on your patrol?" he asked.

Katsuki nodded.  "It's just Ashido.  She'll be annoying, but I can deal."  His face fell and he could feel his jaw lock.  "You need to change partners tonight."

"What?  Why?"

Katsuki growled.  He pulled away Izuku's hands and stepped away from him.  "What do you mean why?" he asked, his tone harsh.  "It should be obvious." 

"Katchan, I don't know what you mean."

He looked back into the locker area, looking over all the students heading toward the stairs.  He took a deep breath. He turned back to Izuku.  "Please.  Just anyone else but him."

Izuku blinked.  "Uh... okay."  He reached out to him, but he was stepping away again.  "Katchan, I don't—"

"Later," Katsuki interrupted.  "I'll stay tomorrow, okay?  As long as you want, just..."  He shook his head.  "I have to go find Ashido.  Be safe tonight."

Izuku barely got a wave and a parting in before Katsuki had turned and rounded to bound up the stairs.  He watched him go, his brows raised in confusion.  What had that been about?  What was the big deal?

Izuku shook his head, shaking off the feeling of unease the conversation had given him.  He came out from the hideaway toward the stairs.  He still needed to see who his partner was after all.  He hoped that if he knew who it was, Katsuki's anxiousness would make since to him.

"Midoriya."

Izuku stopped short and turned to see who called his name.  Coming out of the locker area and toward him was Kuroiro, already in his hero outfit.  "Oh, hi," he said, giving a small wave.  "What's up?"

Kuroiro smiled and said, "Ready to go?"

Izuku blinked.  Were they paired up tonight?  He didn't think they would be, as he thought there wouldn't be any similar partners in the first two weeks, but he guessed it could happen.  "Uh, yeah, sure."

He headed toward the staircase.  He glanced over his shoulder when he didn't hear Izuku's footsteps immediately.  "Let's get going."

Izuku nodded.  "Y-yeah, coming."

He thought he heard him mutter something under his breath followed by a light chuckle, but he shrugged it off as he followed him up the stairs.

::*~~*::

Izuku had been wandering the darkened fourth floor of the Aeon Mall for what felt like forever.  It had been an hour, really, but the night had been dragging on and on.  He didn't particularly like this kind of patrol, where only one building was monitored for the entire time.  The excuse the professors gave was that every now and again, private companies would ask for a pro-hero agency to help with security, usually if there was some rise in crime or threat.

From what Kuroiro had said when they first came in, there had been a batch of robberies in the mall in the past month.  They had all been at night; ruling out that it would be employees during the day.  The owners of the malls had taken advantage of the Graduate Tour for cheap labour to help.  There had been a patrol every night since they had gotten there, but no one had been caught yet.

It was boring, to say the least.  The first hour, they had walked the first floor, exploring every store and restroom, chatting all the while.  They even went through the storerooms and employee parking areas to be sure no one had hidden away.

They did this for the second floor as well, but slowed down with their exploration of the shops.  The first one had gone by so fast, and they didn't want the evening to drag on.  It took two hours then, but the night was still young.  They decided to break apart for the third and fourth floors, and would switch when they were done, just for a change up to their patrol.  They would check the theatre on the fifth floor last, and then break for lunch that was left for them in one of the restaurants on the fourth floor.  Afterward, they'd do it all again.

It was an easy enough plan, but it would be a slow one.  Izuku had figured that whoever was stealing from the mall had caught wind of the Graduate Tour coming and were intelligent enough not to do anything with pro-heroes around.  He paid extra attention to doors and hideaways, though, writing notes as he went of places that might be security risks.  He would spend the next day compiling the notes and hand them over to the mall's security guards to help after the students had left.

The late night shift was the worst, at least for Izuku.  It seemed to go on forever, and he had trouble getting used to sleeping during the day.  He would wake up several times, but thankfully it wasn't that bad to go back to sleep.  It was just annoying more than anything.

Izuku decided it was time to take a break after he had explored one too many refrigerators.  He sat in a seat in the middle of the food court.  He had taken a candy bar from one of the little cafes, leaving behind a little too much yen, but he'd rather overpay than underpay.  He was quiet for a long moment, other than his own chewing.  He stared out into the open areas of the mall, not really seeing anything.  The vast expanse was dark aside from some security lights littered over the place, like everywhere else in the mall.

He took out his phone at some point to look at his messages.  He had a few from varying friends, but he was looking for one name specifically.  He frowned when Katsuki's thread sat several down on the list.  He sighed, putting his elbow on the table and his chin in his hand.

He had texted shortly after they got into the mall, while they were in one of the bathroom explorations.  He ducked away, and composed his messages quickly, but with a certain topic in mind.

What were you upset about before?

I'll be fine.  Kuroiro isn't that bad.  He's not Kamakiri.

He checked it again after they were done checking the first floor.  When he didn't get anything, he texted again:

Katchan?

Katchan.

Izuku ignored his phone for the entire time they were on the second floor, but his mind never really left it.  He knew Katsuki didn't always check his phone during work, and he was normally fine with that.  However, after the way he had acted earlier, he needed him to answer him, at least have a small conversation about what he was upset about.

Katsuki wasn't normally vague with anything besides emotions.  He was thinking that maybe Katsuki had just assumed they were on the same page about the pairs for the evening, but even then, he had no reason to be mad about his partner.  No, he had no right.

He understood Katsuki's concern, especially with everything going on with his fermin, but he thought they were finally on something of a similar thought when it came to trust.  Izuku had no intent for anything, for anyone, but Katsuki.  He had made it clear more than once.  He had errant thoughts, sure, and he was going to start being more honest about them like Toshinari had suggested, but he wasn't going to go through with them.  They were fleeting at best and easily dismissed.  Katsuki had to understand that.

And if Katsuki was getting jealous or possessive, he needed to be honest about it.  They could deal with it, but they had to be open with it.  He didn't mind some of it.  To Izuku, it was just one of Katsuki's ways of showing how he felt, since he was so inept at actually saying the words.  He had always expressed some amount of protectiveness over his boyfriend, but he never did anything with it.  His response was normally directed to Izuku, taking him somewhere nice or doing something special, to remind him (though he didn't really need to) of his true affections.

Izuku didn't mind that.  He liked it.  Even some of his reactions lately hadn't been too bad; if anyone gave Izuku a look he didn't like, he'd drag him off somewhere.  All of that was fine.  It was okay if he told him to stay behind on his worse days, because he knew he was being honest about his concern more for his performance than anyone actually after him.

He would draw the line at Katsuki telling him what to do and who to be with, especially when there was no explanation.  If he was going to insist he change partners, there had better be a reason for it.

Izuku grimaced a little at his phone, and the last messages he had sent.

I know you don't normally check your phone, but please, I need you to.

We need to talk.

I just want to ask about before.

Bakugou Katsuki.

Please text me back.

Izuku hope that the use of his full name would get across his urgency.  Katsuki hated it when he called him by that name.  He had done it once or twice during their first more intimate moments, and he had reacted badly.  Since then, Izuku had always made sure to use his nickname.

"I know it's boring, but it's not that bad."

Izuku almost dropped his phone as he jumped.  He looked up, and it was only until he moved forward that Izuku was able to focus on Kuroiro coming out from behind a pillar that casted a long shadow.  He was almost as hard to spot as Tokoyami.

"Chill," Kuroiro said, holding up his arm.  He leaned against the back of the seat across the table from Izuku.  "I got done early, figured I'd just join you, if that's cool."

"Yeah, that's fine," Izuku said with a nod.  "I'm almost finished, just needed to, ah, take a break."

"You can just say you're checking your phone," Kuroiro replied, smirking.  "I'm not going to lecture you."

Izuku smiled a little.  "Iida would have," he said through a chuckle.

"The guy with the legs?"

Izuku nodded.

"Ah, we were partners the other day," he said.  "Man, is he booooring.  And really naggy, too."

Izuku laughed.  "That's Iida," he remarked, fondness in his voice.  He turned his screen off and flipped it over, turning his full attention to Kuroiro.  "He comes off like that, but he's a really good guy."

Kuroiro shrugged.  He pulled out the chair and sat in it.  "I'm sure he is," was his retort, but there was no really malice to it.  He put his legs up, crossing them and hanging his feet off the corner.  He leaned back in the chair some.  He gave Izuku a glance up and down before asking, "Where did you get that candy bar?"

"One of the places over there," he answered, vaguely gesturing.  "I paid for it."

Kuroiro snickered and waved him off.  "Didn't need to tell me that," he said.  "I figured as much.  You're too much on the up and up and all."

"Yeah, well, just the right thing."

Kuroiro nodded.  "I just thought I'd grab one, that's all."

"Well, I left some extra; that should be enough to cover it."

"Yeah?  You sure?"

Izuku nodded.  "Yeah, no big deal." 

"How about I get you a coffee in return?"

Kuroiro had offered something similar before.  He remembered wondering his intentions, but nothing he had said was overt.  He just wanted to hang out more, was what it seemed like.  Nothing wrong with wanting to get to know new friends, was there?  The fermin made everything questionable, and he hated it.  He just wanted to treat things no differently than before.

Izuku gave him a genuine smile.  "That sounds fair," he answered.

"Good deal."  He hopped up from his seat and jogged off to the area Izuku had pointed at.  "Which one was it?"

"It was that one, the—"

"I got it," Kuroiro called.  "Your change is still here, ha."

Izuku checked his phone once more, but no new messages met him.  He sighed.

Kuroiro had come back quickly enough, munching on the candy he had found.  Izuku unwrapped his and took a bite, too.  For a long moment, they just nibbled at the sweets.

A thought crossed Izuku, and he left him to muse: "It's strange we're partners again, isn't it?"

Kuroiro shrugged.  "I mean, not really.  I guess I was just the first one he asked to switch with."

Izuku blinked, his brows raised.  "Switch?  What do you mean?"

"Eh?  I wasn't your partner tonight," he said.  "You knew that, right?"

He shook his head.  "No, I had to run this afternoon; I had no idea until you came to get me."

"Huh."  Kuroiro sat down again.  "Just figured you knew.  I mean, you didn't ask or anything."

"Should I have a reason to think you lied about being my partner?"

Kuroiro chortled.  "Nah, just saying."

He thought of his conversation earlier with Katsuki.  He had been so concerned with him switching, and that had apparently happened.  But why?

"Who did you switch with?"

"Ah, fuck, forgot the guy's name... He's from your class, though, the one with the shadow thing?"

Oh.

"Tokoyami?"

"Yeah, that guy."

Izuku's brows furrowed a little.  It made sense why Katsuki was a little insistent.  Though Tokoyami would've done anything, he could certainly understand why he wouldn't want him alone in the dark with him.  It didn't matter what had happened before, that his knowledge of their relationship and that Izuku wasn't interested at all, and it would still be uncomfortable.

Izuku actually thought it was a fair thing to request.  He shouldn't have demanded it, of course, but he probably thought Izuku was on the same page as him.  He felt a little guilty for his early thoughts criticising Katsuki, especially with the context now in front of him.

"Do you guys not like each or something?"

"Uh, no, it's nothing like that.  Just... there's a reason, but don't worry about it."

Kuroiro hummed and shrugged but didn't ask anything else.  "Whatever you say."  He stood up, finishing the last of the candy bar.  "Ready to check the rest of the floor?"

Izuku hummed.  "Go ahead and get started," he suggested.  "I need to do one thing real fast."

"Cool.  I'll just be at the Namco."

Izuku nodded and waved once as Kuroiro headed off.  When he was sure he was far enough and not paying attention, he focused on his phone again.  He spent a long moment typing, his brows knitted as he concentrated on his words.  When he was done, he stood and followed where Kuroiro had gone. 

He was even more anxious for the night to end now.

Chapter Text

Katsuki hadn't slept in days.  It wasn't the first time he'd gone a long while without getting rest, but it felt the most irritating duration in a long while.  At first he had blamed it on the shift change, going from early morning work to overnights.  It had only been a couple of days since they had started, but he had hoped that staying up the first day would be enough to reset his clock.

It hadn't been.  He was still awake.

He hadn't even been able to nap or really rest.  He had been with Izuku the past few days, and when they were down and ready to fall asleep, he was nowhere as quick to slumber as his boyfriend.  Izuku would be buried into his side, happily dozing off in the haze of their intimacy, while Katsuki would be staring up at the ceiling, his mind unable to turn off.  At first it wasn't so bad; he'd go over lists or previous days of hero work, thinking of better ways to do his job. 

But then those thoughts would devolve, circling around to the worst of things.  He would recall what happened with Tokoyami and Izuku just a few days prior, and the scenario that came was if Izuku hadn't left.  He knew it was a horrible thing to think of, not just because he didn't want to visualise it, but because it was an insult to Izuku to even consider it happening.

He would do what he could to push it aside, to think of anything else.  That would only send him to think of everyone he'd seen flirting with Izuku or who he had mentioned had shown vague interest.  Izuku hadn't told him those things to make him mad, he'd told him because he was sharing his day with him.  Because that's what friends did, and they were friends before anything else.

Katsuki didn't even try sleeping like this.  He knew his thoughts would keep him up, no matter how much he tried to shove them aside and attempt to bring something else up.  Even knowing he shouldn't be entertaining the ideas, that none of them would actually happen, he couldn't help the programs playing out in his head.

He just needed a distraction until his mind settled down again.  It had happened before, over many things from awkward situations at school that he wished had gone different to conversations he wanted to have with his mother.  It would happen again.  His mind would take something and run with it, and he just had to wait until it was exhausted.

So once he was sure Izuku was beyond waking, he would head to the gymnasium for some training.  He couldn't keep his mind quiet, maybe, but he could interrupt its speech.  And thankfully everyone else had seemed easy to rest, because he was left alone to mull around in his own thoughts.

Except this one time.

Katsuki hadn't been surprised that someone was there.  There was bound to be at least one person sometime during the week that had the same troubles sleeping.  He just hadn't expected Todoroki Shouto to be one of those people.

He attempted to avoid him at first, as if he hadn't seen him and went about with his routine.  Eventually they crossed paths when jogging, and despite Todoroki's usual aloofness, he attempted at conversation.  It was awkward, as neither one of them was really good at impromptu topics, but he still tried.  He knew he had been trying to be more social and friendly over the time since their first year, but Katsuki hadn't cared to see his progress on it.  He had no particular eagerness to be friends with him, mostly due to their differences and lack of common ground.

There were other reasons, too, ones that he'd rather not think of at the moment.

Katsuki vaguely caught Todoroki's reasoning for being awake.  It was something to do with not adjusting well to the schedule, but he wasn't really paying attention.  That went for most of whatever he said.  Katsuki just nodded and grunted where he felt fit without contributing much else to the conversation.

After a while, their forced dialogue turned into a small challenge which led to a 'friendly' sparring session.  They went at each other with ferocity, but nothing like their fight back in the first year's sports festival.  It lasted for almost an hour, and when it was over, there was no clear victor.

It shouldn't really matter, if there was a winner or not.  But it still mattered to Katsuki.  Ah, well.  At least he won where it was really concerned.

They had taken their showers far apart and dried off almost completely in silence.  Katsuki was hurrying to get dressed, his urge to distance himself growing.  It was still early in the day and plenty of time before anyone would start waking up.  He thought about going back to Izuku's room for a little bit, with no real goal in mind other than to be close to his boyfriend.

He would only get a little while with him.  Izuku wanted to get up early to go see All Might, and he wouldn't want to distract from that.  Well, distract him then.  He could distract him now and he'd probably enjoy it.

"Can you believe it's almost over?"

Katsuki grunted in response.  He was towelling his hair dry.

"Three years..."

Katsuki didn't respond.  He was thinking if he should get a snack before he went back to Izuku's room.

"It'll be odd not to have everyone around anymore."

"Speak for yourself," he finally chimed in.  "I can't wait to get away from you losers."  The words felt like habit more than meaningful.  They came out naturally, though he knew it was far from what he meant anymore.

Todoroki made a noise, and Katsuki could have sworn it was a chuckle.  It sounded odd from him, but he supposed it wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

There was a small pause before he thoughtfully asked, "Even Midoriya?"

That caught Katsuki's attention.  He had just lifted up his arms to put on his shirt, and he turned to look at him, hands awkwardly above his head before he quickly righted the cloth to its proper place.  "What about him?"

"Just thought even you would share in everyone's sentimentality: it'll be disappointing when he's no longer around."  His voice was wistful.  He was putting on his shoes, his eyes focused on the laces.

Katsuki fixed his lips in a straight line.  He said, "It's not like I'd miss the nerd."

He was lying.  Of course he would if they were too far apart.  But that wasn't any of his business.

"I think I might."

He had to look away from the half-and-half hero, lest his glare be too obvious.  "I'm sure everyone thinks that."  He tried to keep the seething out of his voice. 

"Yeah, maybe..."  He knew that tone.  "But..."

"Our agencies are close," Katsuki said without thinking.  It was a truth.  They were going to be close even after school.  He didn't need to mention it, but he felt a need to.  He needed to show off his closeness to Izuku.

Todoroki made a thoughtful noise.  "How lucky," he said, his tone unsure.  "You can still see him, if you wanted to."

Of course he would want to.  The choice of agencies had been deliberate.  He had even given up his first choice just to be closer to Izuku.  He hadn't told his boyfriend as such, but only because he knew he would be upset and tell him to accept it instead.

Katsuki grunted again.  He quickly put on his socks.  He was tired of the conversation and just wanted to be as far away as possible.

"Bakugou."

Katsuki shot a heated look at him.  He was staring straight ahead at the lockers.

"What."

"You're... close to Midoriya, right?"

He didn't answer.  He was too busy concentrating on the flush that had crossed his cheeks.

"I was just thinking..." he started.  He was still looking in front.  "It's so close to the end, and there won't be much more time to--"

Katsuki didn't let him finish.  He hadn't put his shoes on, but he didn't care.  He carried them as he stood and left the locker room.

Katsuki was quick to Izuku's room, foregoing the idea of food completely.  He was quiet when he came into the room and quiet as he undressed and slid back into the bed.  Izuku was cuddling the pillow he had been using just hours before, but it wasn't hard for him to replace himself with the down.  Izuku wrapped his arms around him almost instantly, burying his face in his neck.

Katsuki kissed him softly, just to see if he would respond.  He did, though tiredly, and it was all the incentive he needed to press forward.  He rolled him over on his back to lay kisses along his jaw and neck.  Izuku made a sleepy sound, but turned his head as if to encourage him.

He adjusted, sliding his knee between his legs as Izuku spread them.

"Katchan...?"

Katsuki kissed him roughly.  This got more of a response, as Izuku put his arms around him.  He pushed into him, craving more of his body.  No, more of him.  More of his Izuku, his Deku.

And no one else could have him.

::*~~*::

Hours later, Katsuki found himself heading back to the dormitories with Kirishima, Kaminari, and Hagakure.  His two friends had offered they all go to 'breakfast' (or what should count as it with their current schedule), and he extended the invitation to Hagakure on the way out. 

They stayed at the restaurant longer than necessarily needed, but it was refreshing for him.  He needed the distraction or else he might read too far into his conversation with Todoroki earlier.  He had wanted to talk to Izuku about it, just to ease some of his worry, but his boyfriend had been late getting up and rushed away.

He guessed he was to blame for that.

When they had finished eating, they roamed around the streets for a bit, finding a rather nice arcade to waste even more time in.  Hagakure didn't seem as familiar with the surroundings as the young men were, but Kaminari took her under his wing to show her the best games to start with.  By the time they left, she was playing more advanced games with all of them and keeping up with them pretty well.

Katsuki wasn't the best company for the day.  He was still in a rut, exasperated by his mania.  He was feeling hostile, and almost everything his friends said would get a glower or growl.  This didn't deter them from keeping him involved, making sure he got a turn at consoles and including him in conversations, despite his lack of input.  They left him alone when he started to flare up too much, but didn't leave him behind.

He didn't deserve it.  They should have just left him behind.  The fact that they didn't mattered, but he had no true way of expressing that.  His lack of being able to say something as simple as a word of gratitude should have excluded him from the friendship completely, but here they were.

Kirishima had tried to talk to him more than once while they were there.  He would get to a two player with just him, and then he would start to talk about general things.  Then he would lead into how Katsuki was, and there would be an attempt to get him to open up.  The words weren't blunt, but he knew the question was about his attitude and his personal being.  He didn't answer him fully, other than maybe hints that he was all right.

He should have been more honest.  Kirishima was his friend, after all.  He just didn't know how to open up without admission to either his relationship to Izuku or his staggering condition.

Maybe it was time to be honest.  Maybe he should just say it.  But the words didn't come out, and he didn't feel like coaxing them.

Before they left the arcade, Katsuki spent time at the claw machines.  He had always been oddly good at them, but he thought it more luck than anything else.  He just moved the joystick and pressed the button and would get something.  He had a go at it until his goal was achieved.

As they left, he threw his spoils at his three friends.  They laughed and teased him, but they didn't push his buttons much further than that.

It was the least he could do.

By the time they got back, it was close to the start of their shifts.  They all made their way to the electric boards with their names, checking their partners before getting into their hero outfits.

Katsuki wasn't too thrilled with his partner for the evening.  He wasn't really fond of many of his choices, really, but Ashido was probably at the lower end of his list.  She was just too... bubbly for his tastes.  Then again, that was what he had thought of Hagakure.  Maybe it would just be mildly annoying instead of obscenely obnoxious.

He glowered when he noticed the name next to Izuku's. 

He reached into his pocket for his phone to text him, only to come up missing.  He sighed.  It had been at least the tenth time that day that he had forgotten he left his phone in his room.  He had put it on the charger before seeing Izuku in the morning, but had just no mind to pick it up between then and now.

He had thought of it earlier, when he and his friends had first gone out.  He was going to write a quick note in the application he was using to keep tabs on his mental status.  He still needed to do it.  He had tried to be good about it since Izuku had set it up for him the last time he'd left his phone in his room.  The update wouldn't be much different than it had been for the past few days, but his spike in energy brought on by his earlier encounter felt note-worthy.

He owed it to Izuku to keep up with it.

He turned intent on getting it, when he was called back by Denki.  He hesitated at first, but shrugged, thinking he would just get it when he was done getting dressed.  There was still time.

Katsuki had already gotten dressed by the time Izuku found him.  He was on his way out when Kirishima stopped him, talking about something inane.  His boyfriend had come up, all smiles and just a good air about him, and stole him away.  He went with him easily enough, finding this just as good as texting him.  It should have been a simple discussion, after all; he didn't see why Izuku would have any trouble seeing why he should change partners.

Izuku led him away to hidden area beneath the large stair case.  It wasn't an obvious place; you'd have to be looking for it to find it.  They were familiar with it, as they had used it just the day before for intimacy and not been caught.

Katsuki had barely gotten out his question for what he wanted when Izuku was on him, arms around him and kissing him.  It had caught him off guard, but quick enough he was pushing back into the kiss.  He put his arms around him, holding him as well as he could with his grenades in the way.  He let himself go for a moment, responding to him.

He smelled wonderful.  Katsuki knew it was the fermin, but it was strong, and it was pleasant.  Just because he knew what it would do to him didn't mean he didn't want it around him.  He liked it.  He liked that scent, and he liked the attraction it brought to him, sometimes at least.  He didn't need it, and he wouldn't really miss it when it was gone, but he would enjoy the smell by itself nonetheless.

When he felt Izuku's tongue against his lips, he had only one assumption what he wanted.  It had to be similar to where his mind was started to wander.  For a moment, he thought about giving in.  He could make it quick; he had been frustrated all day, even after spending so much time already with Izuku earlier.  All of his concerns were still festering under the surface, and he needed a way to relieve them.  What better way than with the person he was most concerned about?

He could shove him into the floor where the ceiling inclined.  It would be annoying, his unitard was awful to deal (it wasn't the first time they'd tried to fool around in their hero suits), but it was completely possible.  He didn't have any of his packets on him, though, since he was running low on his box.  He needed to get more of those soon.

Izuku's fingers were in his hair, tugging just lightly.  He wasn't being too insistent, but he knew soon enough he would be.  They had to stop before it got too hard, in more ways than one.

Izuku whined when he pulled him away.  He rolled his eyes.  "Deku, we don't have time for this."

Izuku smiled as he took Katsuki's face in his hands.  His expression was soft, and Katsuki couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking right then. 

"I don't want that," he said.  "I just... I just really wanted to be close to you."

Katsuki gave him a disbelieving look.  "Are you okay?"

"Are you?  You seemed... angrier than usual."

He didn't answer at first.  He knew he couldn't hide so easily from him.  He would always see through him simply.  He had been a simmering bit of ill-content for days, and Izuku had understood that.  Today had just been worse by his earlier conversation with Todoroki, as insignificant as it was, and his swirling thoughts around it and similar topics.

He was sure he was projecting his discontent with all of it.  But he didn't want Izuku to know that.  He wanted to ignore it and not to worry him.  It was all stupid, anyway.  He knew better.  And he knew Izuku would feel something like guilt if he expressed his worry, no matter how foolish it all was.  He didn't want that.  He would swallow it, bite it back, if it meant keeping Izuku content.

He sighed and pressed his forehead against Izuku's.  "It doesn't matter.  Just..."

"Just?"

"...swinging up."

It wasn't a lie.

Izuku visibly softened.  He kissed the bridge of his nose.  He could guess what he was thinking, that it was a miracle for Katsuki to admit to it.  It was distracting from the issue, that's what mattered.

"You going to be okay on your patrol?" Izuku asked.

Katsuki nodded.  "It's just Ashido.  She'll be annoying, but I can deal."  His partner would be simple enough to deal with.  But what about Izuku's?  Had he thought to switch?  He frowned, his jaw clenching as he thought about it.  "You need to change partners tonight."

He didn't mean to say it like that.  He meant to ask if he had.  His words had poured out his insecurities without giving any room for Izuku to clear his anxiety.  Of course he would have already switched, there's no reason not—

"What?  Why?"

A low sound left him as he pulled and moved away from Izuku.  "What do you mean why?"  His tone was low and said through gritted teeth.  How could he even ask that?  How could he not understand why he didn't want him around Tokoyami?

"It should be obvious."

Izuku's brows rose.  "Katchan, I don't know what you mean."

Katsuki looked away from him for just a moment, back to the locker room area.  He saw people moving out, and he could hear them heading upstairs, ready for their patrols.  He needed to go, too, they both did.  He took a breath and closed his eyes tight.  He forced himself to calm down.

Izuku probably just thought he could handle being around Tokoyami.  And he probably could, in all honesty.  But they would be alone in a dark building all night, and even if they were separated, what if...  Izuku could handle himself.  Izuku wouldn't do anything.  Tokoyami probably wouldn't do anything.

But Katsuki could feel the heat in his veins at the very thought of the bird hero around his Izuku in the night, completely alone.

He looked back at Izuku, who was giving him a quizzical look.  "Please.  Just anyone else but him."

It sounded so needy to him.  But he needed Izuku to understand.  It didn't matter how sure he was that Izuku wouldn't let his guard down.  It didn't matter how irrational it was to even entertain the thought.  He just couldn't stand the image that came to his head.

He didn't have the strength to think about it all night.

Izuku reached out to him, but Katsuki stepped back.  He didn't particularly feel like being touched suddenly.  "Katchan, I don't—"

"Later," he interrupted.  He needed to get away.  He wanted to run.  He just needed a moment to breathe.  "I'll stay tomorrow, okay?  As long as you want, just..."  That was a good exchange, wasn't it?  Izuku was always whining about how the left long before he woke up.  He'd risk getting caught if it just meant to him agreeing with his plea.

"I have to go find Ashido," he said, now a good distance away from him.  "Be safe tonight."

He only saw Izuku raise his hand before he was rushing up the stairs and away from him and everyone else.

::*~~*::

Katsuki hated the cold.

It wasn't that it affected him too badly.  He naturally ran hot, and it had to be a severe drop in temperature before he would start shivering.  And if he did get too cold, he could rub over the area and warm himself up with controlled explosions.  It only worked for his skin, though, and if the chill went too deep, he'd have to rely on traditional means to bring his system back to normal.

He'd been able to go out without any extra clothing for the Tour so far.  His hero outfit covered most of his body already, only leaving his shoulders vulnerable, so he didn't find himself needing anything more.

He regretted his earlier rush to get away from the dormitories, a vain attempt to leave his invasive thoughts behind with the building.  Even when he stood outside waiting for Ashido, he knew he should go back in and get the thermal shirt he had specifically for such cold evenings.  He hadn't thought about when he came back from hanging out with his friends.  He'd been wearing a jacket, and the cold didn't really get to him at that point.  But he knew it would, and it was only his urgency to move further away kept him from going back and fixing the problem.

He had thought that it wouldn't matter; once they had started moving around their route, he would have warmed up and forgotten the chill in the night.  However, shortly after they got to their designated block, a commanding officer approached them with a specific request for the evening.

Now he and Ashido had been stuck in an abandoned building, watching a warehouse and waiting for a signal from the local police.  They were to watch the warehouse to make sure no one left, and to tell if someone did.  There was a raid planned for early morning, after some minor red tape had been taken of, and the heroes were there as back up if anything got out of hand.  There were other police in other buildings watching, and it was all meant as a team effort to bring down some underground syndicate.

More life lessons for the aspiring heroes, he could almost hear Present Mic say.

The building they were confined to was empty aside from old furniture and cobwebs.  Plastic covered different places, as if it was a project left in a rush for whatever reason.  There were tools and construction left everywhere.  No one had been in there for what was probably years.

It would have been a perfect setup for one of the horror movies Katsuki liked so much.  He was just in too much of a foul mood to appreciate it.

Ashido had not been as chatty as he originally thought she would be.  She started some conversations, but when it was evident he wasn't going to participate, she dropped it.  They switched between who would do the look out.

When it was her turn, Katsuki found himself bored.  In his earlier hurry, he'd forgotten to get his phone from his room.  It wasn't just the entertainment he was lacking, it was the contact with Izuku that he wanted.  It left him anxious, wondering if his boyfriend had switched partners like he had asked.

Of course he did, he thought.  If he could have, he would have.

If nothing else, he could have been talking to him, easing himself.  But he was left to his own thoughts, which were quick to spiral.  He just kept pulling himself back, forcing his thoughts onto more pleasant things.

It was getting around one in the morning.  They had already been there for a few hours, and it just felt like it was going to drag on longer.  He hadn't really cared for the late shift, but it wasn't really that bad normally.  The first two days had gone by rather quickly, and he figured the rest would, too.  Tonight would just end up being an outlier, with how they were stationed with a pair of binoculars and a window and nothing else.

The building was cold.  There was no electricity or heat, and the chill came in from all of the various glassless windows.  It made his arm hurt more than the usual low temperature did.  He should have worn his brace, the one he got specifically for this issue, but he hated the way it felt inside his grenade.

He had taken off the large canister not for the first time that night, and he rubbed at his forearm.  He massaged it gently, but it didn't seem to help much.  He contemplated taking off his sleeve and warming up the area, but he knew it would just be a temporary solution.  He would have to do it constantly if he really wanted to help it.

Katsuki groaned.  He'd probably feel the ache for the majority of the next day.

"I'm back."

Katsuki looked up from his arm and at the entrance to the small room they were stuffed into.  The binoculars were on his lap, unused for several moments.  He should have been checking out the warehouse more, but he was too easily distracted that night.

"That was quick," he observed.

Ashido shrugged.  She handed him a bag and a cup of something warm.  He took it with a grunted word of appreciation.  She sat down in the other seat and opened up her own bag. 

"It's so cold tonight!" she exclaimed.  "I thought I'd freeze before I got back."  She pulled her coat around her for a second, nuzzling into the fur around the neck.

"And yet here you are," he muttered.  She chuckled, ignoring his tone.

She had only been gone for about fifteen minutes to get them something to eat and drink.  At least he guessed fifteen minutes.  Maybe it had been more.  He didn't have a watch without his phone.

He rubbed his arm for another quick moment before he took a sip of what was in his cup.  He stuck his tongue out at it and groaned.  "Why is there so much sugar in this?"

"Oh!  I wonder if that's mine," she pondered out loud.  She took a quick sip of her own drink.  She grimaced and bit her tongue.  She got up and handed him the cup, glaring at the offending cup.  Katsuki exchanged it, and they both took a sip to make sure it was right.

"I would ask how you can stand something so bitter, but it's Bakugou, so that's answer enough."  She was smiling as she said it, and there was no malice in her tone.

"Ha ha," he said dully.  "Am I supposed to comment what wanting it so sweet means for you?"

"I already know I'm sweet," she replied as she sat back down.

He rolled his eyes.  He almost commented how Izuku was the same way with his, but bit back the words.  He put the drink down next to his chair and looked back out the window, squinting at the area that they were supposed to be watching. 

"You okay?"

Katsuki looked back at her, brow raised.  "Why?"

She pointed at his discarded grenade and her eyes were on his arm.  He looked down at it himself and realised his hand had migrated back to it, massaging it in an attempt of relief.  He had probably done it subconsciously in response to the constant ache it was giving him.

He breathed a quiet 'oh' when acknowledged what she was referring to.  "It, ah... just hurts sometimes when it's cold."

Ashido leaned forward in his seat, obvious interest on her face.  "What happened?"

"What do you mean what happened?" he responded.  "I broke it in second year."

Her face lit up with recall.  "That's right!  You had a cast for, what, six months?"  She rubbed her chin.  "Didn't I sign it...?"

"Everyone did," he said.  "Deku made a big deal about it."

She laughed at that.  "I bet you hated that."

"Of course I did."  He didn't mention he still had the cast from after it was removed.  It wasn't like he kept it as sentiment for the class' sympathy.  Not entirely, anyway.

"Why did it take so long, anyway?" she mused.  "You'd think Recovery Girl would get it fixed up real quick."

Katsuki looked back outside, his eyes glued to the front of the warehouse.  "She can only do so much," he answered.  "The bones were shattered.  Even after surgery, it still took forever for everything to get back in place."

"How'd you break it?"

"What?"

Her expression was bright with curiosity.  "Your arm.  No one ever said how it got broken."

Katsuki narrowed his brows lightly.  He hadn't really talked about it to anyone but Izuku, but he was there.  There had been a few teachers around, but they didn't know the extent of what led up to it.

"It was when you and Midoriya got lost in the woods, right?"

"We didn't get lost," he corrected.  He leaned away from the window.  "We were separated; there's a difference."

"Whatever you want to call it," she said.  "Was it during the fight with the typhoon guy?"

"It was the tree guy," he said.  He leaned back in his chair, staring at the ceiling as he remembered the incident.  "Typhoon guy was how we got split up.  Tree guy was the one... hunting us, I think?  I never got his full deal."

"And he did it?"

"He..."  His face scrunched as he contemplated what part of the event he should tell.  "I fell off a cliff and landed on a tree."  It was what happened, in so many words.

Ashido didn't need to know the part where his flight off the edge was a result of his subconscious decision to protect Izuku at all costs.  Izuku knew why he did it.  That's all that mattered.

She tilted her head.  "That broke your arm?"

"The branch that went through it is what broke my arm."

Her eyes went wide and she whistled.  "That must've huuuuurt."

"From what I remember, it did."  He put his foot on the wall and pushed, leaning his chair back on two of its legs.  "I really can only recall what it felt like when it went through.  I passed out from shock pretty quickly, so I don't know much until I woke up back at school."

"Did you get a scar?"

He gave her an even look.  "Of course I have a scar."

"Can I see it?"

"Why do you want to see it?"

Ashido shrugged.  "Chicks dig scars?" she offered sarcastically.

He scoffed.  "Don't really care what chicks dig."

"Fine, guys dig scars."

Katsuki couldn't argue that.  Izuku loved it, in a weird way.  In the warmer months when he wore more exposed clothing, he'd find his boyfriend staring at it.  He remembered when he got it.  He'd remember what all happened that weekend.  He'd smile and run his fingers over it and kiss it, and then become increasingly affectionate.

Despite the amount of time they'd been naked around each other lately, he hadn't been as observant of it lately.  Maybe it was because how much time had passed.  Though it was a reminder of the start of their relationship, it was still in the past.  So much had happened in the near two years since that training trip.

Maybe Izuku was too distraction by his need for intimacy to focus on it like he used to.  They were both good reasons.

"C'mon, Bakugou," she pleaded in a sing-song voice.

Katsuki groaned.  "Fine," he said.  She gave an excited squeal, her attention square on him.  The legs made a dull thud as he set the chair back down.  He took off the sleeve quickly and held up his arm.

Ashido had almost leapt out of her chair and took his arm in her hands, eyes inspecting the proffered appendage.  "This is really gnarly," she commented.

Katsuki gave her another moment before pulling his arm back, looking at the area himself.  The scar was large; mostly round from where the branch had punctured him, going straight through his ulna and radius and on both sides of his arm.  There was a long line going through it from the surgery it took to repair it.  He was lucky they had Recovery Girl.  If she wasn't there, there was a strong possibility he would have lost the arm all together.

With that alternative, he would take a stiff arm in the cold any day.

He put back on the sleeve without another word.  She seemed almost satiated as she sat back in her seat and pulled out some food from her bag.  She was just a curious person, he guessed.  It wasn't the worst of quirks.

They fell into a silence as they went to snacking.  Ashido was smiling all the while, even humming when her mouth wasn't full of food.  He found it somewhat bothersome, but couldn't bring himself to really complain about it.  One thing he had learned during his relationship with Izuku was not to admonish someone in a good mood, no matter how it got under his skin.  It was a crude response to something innocent.

"How's Touru-chan?"

Katsuki gave her a confused look.  "Fine, I guess?" his response came in a slightly unclear tone.  "Why are you asking?  Aren't you two besties or something?"

Ashido gave him a bittersweet smile.  "We haven't gotten to talk that much over the year," she said.  "I've seen her around you a lot, so I thought I'd ask."

Katsuki scoffed and shrugged, turning his attention back out the window.  "Whatever," he said before popping a chocolate into his mouth.  They went back to quiet.  He rubbed his arm once more before putting his grenade back on.

After several moments, he sighed and glared at her.  Her humming had faded and she had been staring at him for minutes on end.  When he looked at her, she had a thoughtful expression on her face, but her gold eyes were still trained on him.

"What?" he growled out.

"Trying to think of how to ask you something."

He blinked.  She'd been blunt with him the whole evening, what was stopping her now?  "Ask what?"

She tilted her head again and scratched the bottom of her chin, humming.  She opened her mouth once than closed it, as if she was reconsidering what she was going to say.

"Just come out with it already."

"You... smell like Midoriya," she finally said.  "Like.  A lot."

His brows furrowed.  "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Well, maybe this is me just guessing and all, but you don't strike me as someone that gets too close to his friends."

He tapped his knee impatiently.  The observation felt obvious.  His friends knew he wasn't really the touchy-feely type, and they kept their distance from him.  Aside from Izuku, though he didn't really count.  And Hagakure, but he just hadn't gotten in through her head yet not to hang off him as much.  At least Kirishima had calmed down after a while, though he still did, too.

His friends really needed to learn not to touch him as much.

"And?"

"You shouldn't have a scent on you like that, then.  Unless you were really, really close."  She gave him a little smirk.  "Like, intimate and such."

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  "What are you getting at?"

"Tokoyami said Midoriya was out of bounds," she said.  "Doesn't seem he is for you..."

He glared at her, his teeth bared through a light growl.  "Were you going to try and fuck him?"

Ashido gave him a wide grin.  "That's very telling."           

"You fermin really do just gossip about who you can fuck, don't you?"

She rolled her eyes.  "It's not like that, you know."

He thought of how Tokoyami phrased it, that they were just 'helping' each other.  He had thought about that conversation a lot over the past few days.  He was sure he was being authentic with his reasoning.  Who knew better what a fermin needed than another fermin?  He still didn't like the answer.

"So?"

"So what?"

"Are you and Midoriya a thing or what?"

"Jumping to conclusions, aren't you?"

She gave him a sceptical look.  "Am I?"  She stood up and was close to him much too quickly for his liking.  He pulled back, but she was within centimetres of him, sniffing him.  "That is Midoriya.  I know it; I've been smelling it since his fermin started."  She tapped her nose, still in his face.  "I have one of the best senses when it comes to it, and believe me when I say, it sucks.

"So don't think you can just shrug me off.  No other reason for him to be all over you than the obvious."

"Why does it matter?"

She leaned back, giving him the space he needed.  He was grateful she had; he wasn't sure how much longer he could have held off before he socked her in the face.  She was still smiling, but it seemed less mischievous now, more genuine.

"It's okay, you know," she said.  "I'm more curious than anything.  I mean, his scent is so heavy.  And it's really nice, too."  She put her palms on the window sill and leaned back.  "I just like being around it more than anything.  But I kind of wanted to know why someone with such a good scent was off limits."

"I'm sure it's not the first time, with how you all group up."  He stood up from his chair and headed to the other side of the room, getting his much needed distance from her.

Ashido shrugged.  "Sure, Tsu-chan had a really good smell, but it wasn't as... prevalent?  I think that's the best word."

Katsuki gave her a look, even while he paced along the wall.  "What exactly does that mean?"

"You always know a room Midoriya's been in," she explained.  She was watching him as he moved.  "His smell, it just kind of hangs around.  You can tell where he stays the most, though.  When he's hugged someone or something."  She grinned again.  "Anytime I've walked by you, you smell like him.  Even now, he's stronger on you than anyone else."

He clicked his tongue but didn't acknowledge the accusation.

"So, are you?" she asked again.  "Or are you two in a will-they-won't-they kind of thing?"

"That kind of thing is stupid," he said definitively.  "Either you're with someone or you're not, that idiotic drama shit is worthless."

"Is that a yes?"

Katsuki groaned in response.  He pinched the bridge of his nose, sighing, before he looked at her again.  "Just stay away from him."

"Hmm, don't know about that."  She walked back to her chair.

He glowered at her, and she visibly bristled when his palms emitted smoke.  She frantically waved her hands in front of her face.  "I get it!  Trust me!"  She scratched the back of her head and gave a nervous chuckle.  "Who would do such a thing if Bakugou's his boyfriend?  That's just asking for a world of hurt!"

He grunted in agreement.

"What I mean is, Midoriya has a really good scent, as I'm sure you're familiar."  She gave a pause for him to respond, but went on when he didn't.  "I just like being around it.  It's like catnip or something."

Katsuki gave her another sceptical look.

Ashido waved him off.  "Don't worry, don't worry.  My fermin is loooong since over.  I mean, it was awful, but that's in the past.  Even though his scent is really... really strong and hard to ignore, I can keep it in my pants."

"I'm sure Tokoyami said the same thing."

"Hey, if he didn't do it, I was going to."

Katsuki paused at the statement, and thought how it was almost exactly what Tokoyami had said the other day.

"But I won't now," she assured.  "I... I already know about fermin having awful things happen in their relationship during their time."  Her voice was soft and had a thread of sadness to it.  She looked out the window, her expression fallen some.  "I wouldn't want that for anyone."

Katsuki raised a brow.  There was something in the words she said that he knew he should be grasping, but it just wasn't coming to him.

He shrugged it off.  "He wouldn't really be into it, anyway."

"Not into girls, huh?"

He shook his head.  "Not that.  He isn't gay."

"Like you?" she asked.  He could tell it was just her curiosity.

"Like me," he said easily.

"Then he's...?"

Katsuki hummed.  He came back to sit in his seat.  "You'd have to get him explain.  It's kind of weird, but he doesn't... he doesn't go for gender?"  He looked outside.  "He's more about the person, or something.  I don't know how to say it."

She pulled out a box of konpeito and started to munch on the sugary stars.  "I guess that makes enough sense."

He shrugged.  Izuku had explained his sexuality more than once to Katsuki, and he got it for the most part.  It just still seemed strange to him, but he wasn't going to hold his fault in understanding against how Izuku felt about himself.  He just wouldn't try to explain it for him: that wasn't his place.

"Ah, if he really doesn't care then, we could have had so much fun!" she exclaimed.  "How unfortunate."

"Do I even want to know what you mean by that?"

"Well, if we're doing guy talk here," she started, leaning forward, her elbows on her knees, "let's just say I'm twice the fun."

Katsuki wasn't sure he really wanted the explanation, but he felt a creeping curiosity.  "Twice the fun?"

She nodded, grinning.  She didn't say anything else, just raised her brow suggestively.

"...wait," he said, the gears finally turning in the right way.  "Do you... have both?"

She just kept grinning, a sense of pride about her.  He had to admire that.  "Huh.  I can see where that would be interesting."

Ashido gave a victory hum as she crunched on more candy.

"But I don't have a chance, do I?"

"Not a one."

She gave a sarcastic, defeated sigh, and shrugged.  "Oh, well!  Was worth a shot."

She gave him a genuine smile.  He thought maybe his lip turned up a bit.

"I still want your permission, though."

"For what?"

"What have we been talking about?" she said and tutted him.  "I just want to, you know, rub up on him, and get some of the smell for myself."

Katsuki gave her a strained look.  "You can't—"

"Don't worry, I get that I can't fuck him, and that's fine, really."  She threw one of the stars at him.  He swatted away at it.  "I just want to be around that smell."

He contemplated it for a long moment.  Finally, he said, "Fine, but if you do something I don't like, you'll regret it."

She made a small squeal of a noise.  "Of course, of course."

"And get his permission before you do anything too weird."

She nodded enthusiastically.  "I won't be too strange, I promise."

"Better not be," he grumbled.

Ashido sat back in her chair, laughing.

Chapter Text

It had to be almost nine in the morning by the time Izuku finally got near his bedroom door.  

He had originally intended to be back at the dormitories the moment he could, if only to see Katsuki.  He hadn't heard from him all night, and it had made him a little anxious.  He worried that Katsuki was ignoring him, though it wasn't something he'd been known to do.

They had their fights over the length of their relationship, but nothing so bad that required much in way of distance.  Now, even at their worst of disagreements, Katsuki would go home angry, but still text the moment he was back at his place.  They just needed the space for breath and to articulate what they wanted to say, but it didn't feel like real distance at all when they'd inevitably just call each other within an hour.

Izuku didn't let Katsuki go without discussion.  He knew him well enough that if he was upset about something, he would just back away and let it fester.  He had been worse when they first started dating, when they were still learning how to communicate their more intimate thoughts.   They would misunderstand each other's intentions, and Katsuki would get angry and walk off.  Left in his mind, he'd think too much, and it would get out of hand later.

Izuku had found quickly that if it was going to work, he couldn't let Katsuki anytime to muddle around in that head of his.  Even Katsuki ended up agreeing with the sentiment when he was faced with the truth of the matter.  It took a while to get to that, to get it through his thick head, but he learned it and used it.  Sometimes it meant oversharing what he was feeling in an attempt to not hold back, but Izuku would take it.

He would take his Katchan being completely open any day.

When he hadn't responded to any of his messages, he grew concerned.  He thought he understood Katsuki's earlier concern, that he didn't want him alone with Tokoyami.  The board had said everyone's names and partners, and if there was any special location for the evening.  He would have seen that they were set for the mall, and it wasn't a jump in conclusion that the lights would be out.

It was a little ridiculous for him to get so worked up, though.  Even in a darkened environment like that, no matter Tokoyami's shadow and its growing intentions would be, he had plenty of ways to separate from him.  The mall was large and he had his friend's understanding.  There was no reason for his boyfriend to worry.

But he could see why he was just uncomfortable with it.  It had even bothered Tokoyami to the point of switching partners.  It didn't sound like Katsuki had asked him to, otherwise he wouldn't have freaked out before he left.  And maybe he would have been awkward, too.  He just had the benefit of hindsight on his side.

Katsuki had been irrational in his request.  But Katsuki wasn't always rational.  He was instinctual.  No matter how he denied it, he was ruled by his emotions.  He spoke before he thought and he acted before he could regret.  Katsuki made rash decisions, but at the end of it, Izuku didn't fault him for them.  It was all part of who he was.

And one of the larger parts that Izuku had fallen in love with.

Izuku had worried about the lack of communication during the night, letting his thoughts run wild.  But that was too much like Katsuki, and he knew where it would lead him.  He just guessed he hadn't looked at his phone.  He imagined him getting into a rousing fight with some thugs and regaling Izuku with the story when he got back.

There was a reason.  Even if he just needed distance; that was a reason.  He'd just see him when he got back.  They'd talk and be fine.

It was funny, though.  For all of the concern regarding his fermin, his eagerness just to have a conversation with his boyfriend was more prevalent in his thoughts than anything sexual.  He had barely any inappropriate images and scenarios all night.  The most that had happened was an extended trip to the bathroom in the middle of the patrol.  He wanted to be around Katsuki, but his determination for physical interaction was just the extent of falling asleep next to him.

When the work day was done, he had intended on going straight back to the dormitory.  But his rush lessened as he came back to his conclusion that maybe Katsuki wanted sometime alone.  If he really wanted him right away, he would have asked, after all.  So when Kuroiro offered to get him a coffee, he just took him up on the offer.

They didn't go far from the mall, stopping a few blocks over at a row of vending machines.  Kuroiro got them the drinks and also some snacks.  They just hung around the area, partaking the bounty while talking.  They leaned against the building while they spoke.  Kuroiro was a little too close, touching him at different points in the conversation, but he just piled it onto his earlier assumptions when it came to the fermin.  Kuroiro was just a friendly person who didn't seem to understand boundaries.  He never said anything that could overtly be flirting, and anything else, Izuku just thought he was reading into it.

Time got away from them, and before he knew it, it was past eight.  They finally headed back to the dormitories, still chatting as they did.  Before they parted ways, Kuroiro invited him into his room to play some games.  He told him he brought a small television with him as well as one of his systems, preferring the privacy of his room to the shared living space of the common areas.  Though the offer was enticing, he was tired and just wanted to get to bed.  He politely declined, but suggested they hang out another time, to which Kuroiro accepted with a smile.

After leaving Kuroiro, he encountered Todoroki, who seemed to have just gotten out of the gym himself.  They engaged in conversation, though part of Izuku was just being polite.  He would have loved to talk to his friend more, but it was getting late, and he was tired.  He hadn't gotten much sleep the day before because Katsuki had kept him up, and the previous night had him drained just from his circling thoughts.

At some point, books had come up.  It wasn't an uncommon subject for them.  Todoroki had a surprising knowledge of fictional books, and he would lend them to Izuku in exchange for his reference or comic books.  Todoroki reminded him of one of the books he wanted to borrow, and it happened to be one of the ones Izuku had brought from home.

Todoroki came with him to his room, chatting all the way.  When he opened his door, he left it cracked so he could follow him in.  He glanced about his room, his eyes going over his bed before settled on the small bookshelf near it.  He took a step toward in when movement caught his attention.  He came back to his bed, where the covers started to move.  His brows raised, but he didn't say anything as he noticed a hint of blond against a pillow.

He quickly turned around, stepping back to block Todoroki from coming further into his room.  As he approached him, he stepped back, his expression quizzical as Izuku almost pushed him out.

"Ah, it's really messy in here, you know?"  His excuse was flimsy, but he was too busy trying to hide the nervous tinge to his voice.  "Just... wait outside, I'll get you the book, okay?"

Todoroki blinked.  "It's okay, I don't care."

"I do, though," Izuku insisted.  He gave him a small smile, hoping it would do the trick.  "Please?"

Todoroki returned the sentiment and nodded.  "All right."  He took the two steps back he needed to fully be out of the door way.  Izuku's smile lingered as he closed the door, reassuring him it would just be a moment.

He let out a breath as he leaned against the door.  He looked back at his bed: Katsuki was sitting on the edge, his feet on the floor as he was looking back at him.  He yawned and ran a hand through his hair.  Izuku crossed the room to him in three large bounds.

"What's—"

Izuku put a finger over his mouth, promptly silencing him.  He did the same to his own lips, giving a soft 'shh' before he went to the bookshelf.  He grabbed the book Todoroki had asked for and went back to the door.  He opened it just a crack, making sure his body was in the way of sight of his bed.

Todoroki was still outside, his eyes looking away and down the hall before he heard the door opening.  He turned back to Izuku, and his lips broke into a light smile.  Izuku responded and handed him the book.

"Here you go," he said.

"Thank you," Todoroki replied.  "I'll have it back to you shortly."

Izuku waved him off.  "Take your time.  Just need it back by the end of the Tour, right?"

"Or else I could come find you after graduation."

He chuckled.  "You could do that, too."

"Hey, you know, if you're still awake..." Todoroki started, "if you're hungry, we could get something to eat."

"Ah, that sounds nice, but I ate before coming back."  Not to mention he had a visitor he had to deal with now.  "Rain check?"

Todoroki nodded.  "Have a good... night, I suppose."

"You, too.  Sleep well."

They waved at each other, and Todoroki turned to walk down the hall.  Izuku watched him go, making sure he was further down the hall before he went back inside and closed and locked his door.

"Was that half-and-half?"

"Yeah," Izuku answered as he crossed the room to Katsuki.  "He was just borrowing a book."

Katsuki huffed.  He had his head in his hand, his chin tilted away.  His eyes weren't on him, staring off to the side.  His expression was stoic, but he looked tired more than anything.

"Were you asleep?"  The surprise in his voice was unintentional.  He knew Katsuki hadn't been sleeping much lately, and he even admitted to a mania the day before. 

Katsuki grunted.  When Izuku was close enough, he leaned forward, putting his forehead on his stomach.  "I guess so."

Izuku put his hands on his shoulders, a light smile crossing his lips as he looked over him.  He hadn't noticed it initially, but now that he was more fixated on Katsuki, he could see the only thing covering him was the blanket from the bed.

"Is Katchan naked?"

Katsuki shrugged.  He put his hands on his hips while he nuzzled into his abdomen.  "Came to see you this morning, and you weren't here," he explained.  "Thought I'd just surprise you instead."

Izuku chuckled softly.  He kissed him on top of the head.  "Consider me surprised."

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  "What time is it?"

"About nine, I think?"

He pushed away from Izuku to look up at him, his brow narrowed.  "Why are you so late?"

"Oh, I..."  Izuku paused.  Shouldn't he know?  He texted him when he got back with what he had been up to and his reasoning.  He put a hand on Katsuki's cheek, but it didn't seem to ease his boyfriend's concern.

"Didn't you get any of my messages?"

"No," Katsuki said simply.  "I haven't had my phone all night."

Izuku's eyes softened as realisation ran through him.  Of all the possibilities he had considered, the simplest that Katsuki just didn't get his messages at all had never occurred to him.  He had been concerned over nothing; he should have just waited for this conversation than any of his inane and inaccurate assumptions of what was going through his head.

Izuku took his face in his hands, tilting his chin up so he could kiss him.  Katsuki responded, pressing up against him, as he pulled his boyfriend closer.

"You didn't answer," he reminded.

Izuku hummed softly.  "I was hanging out with Kuroiro after work."  He kissed him on the forehead.  "Since you didn't answer, I thought you wanted space or something..."

Katsuki put his head back on Izuku's chest.  "Kuroiro?"

"Yeah, he..."  Izuku trailed off.  He hesitated and thought better of the simple answer.  If Katsuki didn't have his phone, it meant he hadn't gotten any of his messages explaining his side of things.

"You know how I was running late yesterday?"

He felt Katsuki nod against his chest.

"I didn't know who my partner was, you know?"  He pulled away some.  Katsuki looked up at him as he did, his lips even and his eyes intent on Izuku's.  "Kuroiro just came and got me, so I thought he was..."

"It wasn't Kuroiro," Katsuki stated.

Izuku gave him a light smile.  "Yeah, he mentioned that.  But I didn't know before."  He stroked his cheek with his thumb.  "Seems that Tokoyami asked—"

"To switch," Katsuki finished.

"I thought you didn't know?"

"I saw him this morning with Round Face," he answered.  "Before then, though...  I thought maybe you were..."  He looked away, not finishing.

"I'm sorry if it seemed like I was blowing you off," Izuku said.  "If I had known, I would have agreed."

Katsuki sighed.  "It was a stupid thing to get mad about."

Izuku's expression softened.  "I mean, kind of... but really, Katchan..."  He held his head firmly, making sure he was looking him in the eyes still.  "You should've trusted me."

Katsuki frowned.  "Do you think I don't?"

"It wouldn't have been a big deal if he was there," Izuku said.  "I mean, awkward maybe, but it's not like anything would've happened."

"That's not it," Katsuki insisted.  "You don't..."  He shook his head.  "If even he's uncomfortable with it, doesn't that say something to you?"

"Yes, that you probably threatened him, and he took you seriously."  His tone was light and teasing.

Katsuki scoffed but still smirked.  "That's beside the point."  He dropped his arms as Izuku moved further away from him.  "Deku, do you... do you know what your scent is like to be around?"

Izuku left him momentarily as he started to undress.  "I know it's strong, but that doesn't change anything."  He tossed his clothes to the other side of the room, leaving himself only in his boxers.  "Tokoyami stopped when I asked, and Katchan doesn't do anything if I didn't want him to.  Anyone else that's asked, I've told no to, and it gets dropped."

"And the one time they don't?"

Izuku huffed.  He sat down heavily on the bed, throwing his arms to the sides as he laid on his back.  Katsuki moved a bit to give him the room, but his eyes were still set on him.  "I can take care of myself, Katchan."

"Of course you can," he agreed.  He adjusted further on the bed, resting against the pillows.  "If they're being obvious.  But, come on, Deku, you are the worst at catching when people are flirting with you."

"I'd think that's a turn off," he commented.  He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, enjoying the feel of the mattress.

"Maybe for someone else."  Katsuki crossed his arms.  "Most people just find it cute when it's from you."

Izuku chuckled.  He opened his eyes as he turned to look at Katsuki.  "Do you think it's cute?"

"Never."

Izuku sighed contently, his smile genuine.  "You know, I like Katchan being here when I get back from work."

Katsuki raised a brow suggestively.  "Oh, yeah?  Pretty sure you're just happy for the easy access."

Izuku could feel his cheeks flush.  "That's not what I meant..."  He hesitated as he thought of his next words.  There was something he had wanted to ask Katsuki for a while, but he had been having trouble bringing it up.  Even when he thought it was a good time to talk about it, one of them would get distraction, almost always by the fermin.

"Don't... don't you think it's nice?  Coming home to each other?"

Katsuki hummed to himself.  "Well, it's not that hard right now, is it?  Even if I'm not here, all you have to do is text."

"But what about after the Tour?"

He shrugged.  "We don't work that far apart.  I'm sure you'll find excuses to come over."  He was smiling as he spoke.  "We'd have each other's key, right?"

"Yeah, but what if..."  Izuku bit his lip.  Should he ask?  Was now a good time to bring it up?  "Katchan, did you ever think about maybe..."  He trailed off.  He paused, trying to get up the courage to present the option to him.

Maybe he just didn't want to deal with the possible rejection.

Katsuki nudged his shoulder with his foot.  "Deku."

Izuku covered his eyes when the blanket fell off his lap, leaving Katsuki's body exposed.

"What's wrong with you?"

"Put something on," Izuku replied.  "I can't talk to you like that."

Katsuki laughed.  He could hear the blankets rustling and felt it move underneath him.  "You're way too easy, Deku."

Izuku moved his hands and turned his eyes back at him.  He blushed when he wasn't anymore covered than before, but instead the blankets were thrown completely to the side.  Katsuki's gaze was hard on him, his lips turned in a sensual smirk.

Izuku bit his lip.  "I don't...  We were talking, you know."

"Were you going to ask something?"  He nudged him again.  "Get it out if you are, because your scent is getting distracting."

Izuku sat up and moved up the bed, straddling Katsuki's lap.  Katsuki put his hands on his lower back as Izuku wrapped his arms around his shoulders. 

"It can wait," Izuku said.  "It's not that... important right now."

He seemed eager to change subjects.  He leaned in, and they met for a long kiss.

When they separated, Izuku asked, "So you aren't mad or anything, right?"

Katsuki kissed along his jaw.  "I wasn't mad at you, you know that, right?"

"I know, Katchan."

"I just... it just made me anxious..."

Izuku kissed his forehead.  "It's okay, I can understand that.  Just... trust me, okay?"

Katsuki looked him in the eyes.  "I can trust you and be uncomfortable with something."

He sighed.  He pressed their foreheads together.  "No, you're right.  I'm not saying you can't be..."  He shook his head.  "Just talk to me about it, okay?  Don't be vague.  You can't be vague."  He squeezed his shoulders.

Katsuki nodded.  "Yeah, yeah, I know..."  He sighed.  "I'm sorry, yesterday was just... it wasn't a great day; I let it get to me."

"Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, I just, hnn..."  He rolled them over, putting Izuku beneath him.  Izuku went with it easily, putting his legs around his waist.  "As I said, let things get to me."

"You sure...?"

Katsuki nodded.  Izuku thought to ask him more, but his prodding was silenced by his lips.  He murmured, but let it happen as Katsuki pressed harder into him.  He wanted to ask more, but there was always later.  For now, he would let himself sink into his boyfriend's affections.

Chapter Text

"I thought you were going to stay all day."

Katsuki paused mid-action, his shirt half way down his chest.  He sighed as he looked over his shoulder at Izuku.  He was sitting up on the bed, staring at him with tired eyes.  He finished pulling down the cloth as he stepped back over to the bed.

"It's almost five," he said.  He kneeled in front of the bed, putting his elbows on the mattress.  Izuku ran a hand through his spikes.  "I want to get out before any of the teachers start walking around."

He didn't want to draw attention to the fact he hadn't really slept during the day.  He had stayed with him the entire time, switching between holding him and rolling to the far side of the bed.  He had tried sleeping, but it felt almost every time he had finally nodded off, something kept him from fully falling to dream.

But he had made a promise to Izuku.

Izuku gave him a light smile.  He pulled a little at his shoulder.  "Just a little longer..."

Katsuki stood up, and he gave Izuku a kiss on the forehead.  "Let me take a shower," he said, "and then we can go get something to eat."

Izuku beamed at the idea.  He stood up and put his arms around Katsuki's neck.  He leaned up and kissed his lips.  "There's this one place on the other side of town I wanted to try.  It's a little fancy, but..."

Katsuki put his arms around him, smiling.  "A date, then?"

He nuzzled him under his chin, humming contently.  "Yeah, a date."

They kissed again.  Katsuki held him close as Izuku ran a hand through his hair.  It was a long moment before they parted.  Izuku said softly, "See you in a bit."  Katsuki nodded and after one more kiss to the forehead, he let go of him and left the room.

Katsuki had barely turned when he stopped short.  Surprise registered on his face as his eyes fell on one of the last people he'd thought he would see: his former homeroom teacher Aizawa Shouta.

"Um," was the only thing that left his lips.

Aizawa stared at him, eyes half-lidded in the tired way he always looked at people.  He seemed disinterested, until his gaze shifted slightly to the plaque on the door he had just closed.  He looked back at Katsuki, and he could swear that he saw the faintest of smirks on his lips.

Katsuki went through the excuses in his head to give when the teacher pointed to the name on the door.

"It's a little late for a visit," Aizawa drawled out.

"We were hanging out after work," Katsuki responded a little too quickly.  "I... I fell asleep."

A brow quirked lightly.  Katsuki could tell he didn't believe him, but he didn't respond right off.  He mulled it over before saying, "You fell asleep?"

"What else?"

Aizawa let out a chortle.  "You know—"  He was interrupted by a soft but audible ringtone, a fast-paced and upbeat song that Katsuki would never expect from the stoic hero.  He recognised it, but couldn't place it right away, just as something that maybe Izuku had forced him to listen to once before.

He held up a hand, halting Katsuki from movement as he pulled out his phone to answer it.  He was short with his greeting, but Katsuki couldn't help but notice the odd smile on his lips at the answering voice.  Whoever was on the other end was louder than necessary, but Aizawa already had the phone a bit away from his ear, as if it were expected.

It took only a moment before Katsuki recognised the voice, even if he couldn't really hear what was being said.

Well, other than something just as surprising as seeing Aizawa during the Graduate Tour.

The conversation seemed one-sided, held mostly by the other end.  Aizawa just answered with grunts and one worded responses.  The call lasted under a minute, ending after a 'see you in a moment.'  He put away his phone, his attention returning completely to Katsuki.  His good natured vibe from just a moment ago faded as he slipped back into his professor persona.

"Where were we?"

"Did Present Mic just call you 'sweetie'?"

Katsuki couldn't help but smirk in response to the twitch in Aizawa's eyebrow.  "Don't think that's going to distract me from the fact I caught you."

"Caught me doing what?  Coming out of my friend's room?"  He had gotten a chance to gather himself during Aizawa's call, and he was feeling more confident in his response.

Aizawa didn't seem keen that he was being smarted off to.  "You are aware I know what one plus one is, right?"

Katsuki gave a bit of a grin.  "I can add, too."

Aizawa scoffed at the remark.

"So how long has that been going on, huh?" he continued.  "Not sure two teachers should be—"

"And neither should students," the older man interrupted.  "Especially with certain circumstances for one of them."

Katsuki's brow twitched.  "What does that mean?"

"Students with fermin can't consent."  His tone was serious, his eyes trained on Katsuki.

"That doesn't seem fair to them, considering everything," he retorted.  "It's not like they can't decide for themselves."

"You've never been drunk before, have you?"

"That's a trick question," Katsuki snapped back.  He had been tipsy once or twice when Kirishima's parents weren't home and they were being rebellious, but nothing too bad.  He assumed that Aizawa wouldn't believe him in any explanations he gave, though.

"Doesn't matter," Aizawa insisted.  "There's a reason the rules were made.  And they were made by fermin, when they were old enough to look back at it."

"Did that include the whole keep non-fermin in the dark thing?" he asked.  "Because having to learn this shit second hand is really annoying."

"That sounds like an admission," Aizawa quipped.

"Sounds like someone who listens to his friend," Katsuki responded without fail.

Aizawa regarded him for a long moment, his expression devoid of anything to give away his inner thoughts.  Maybe he realised the same thing Katsuki had: they would just keep going in circles.  Aizawa had no proof of what he had done, and Katsuki couldn't get a real answer out of him.

"Be careful," he finally said.  "You know what will happen if you get caught."

"Yeah, yeah," Katsuki dismissed him.  "But not the same thing if you get caught, right?"

"There's a difference between the situations," he said flatly.

"Is there?"

Aizawa rolled his eyes.  "Yes, there is."

Katsuki shrugged his shoulders.  "Fine, whatever."

They both turned to look down the hall when a door opened.  At the end of the corridor where the teachers' rooms were, he could see the loud blond, his hair odd when it was down around his face.  He could tell he was looking at both of them, before giving a small wave and disappearing back into his room.

"Don't want to keep him waiting," Katsuki said with a snicker.

Aizawa gave him a look, his brow just slightly furrowed.  "Behave yourself, Bakugou."

"Right, yeah," he said.  "Can I go now?"

Katsuki had already turned toward his room before Aizawa had waved him off.  He was only a few doors down from Izuku and gratefully in the opposite direction his teacher was heading.  He was quick to unlock his door and get inside and away from anyone else.

He leaned heavily against the door when he was inside, and a long sigh left him.  He rubbed his temples, cursing under his breath.  This was why he always left early from Izuku's room, long before anyone could find him.  He knew it was a fluke that Aizawa was there, but it could have just as easily been any other teacher.  There was nothing they could say about it, nothing they could prove, but if he was seen more than once coming from the same room, they could make some fair assumptions.

But he didn't consider for a moment to stop his visits to Izuku.  Even if he weren't going through the fermin, he'd still see him every day after work.  He liked it too much.  He liked ending his day by being in the same bed with his boyfriend, and he was reluctant to give it up.

Katsuki shook his head.  There was nothing to consider other than being more careful.  He would just have to leave at the same time he was before.  He rubbed his face.  That was all he needed to do.  There was no alternative he could think of because he wasn't going to let go of the small slice of domesticity they were getting a chance at.

He shook it off.  He'd tell Izuku about it later, and they'd probably come to the same agreement.  For now, he would get cleaned up and back to his boyfriend so they could enjoy what part of their day they had before work.

Like real adults, he reminded himself.  He had to smile at the thought.

He checked his phone before gathering his things for the showers.  It was almost all messages from Izuku, and he sat down on his bed as he went through them all.  They started from when he left for All Might's house to just before he got back.  It began with casual messages, but got more incessant as the work hours began.  He could tell when he was trying to just get his attention, to have a more in-depth conversation than the one right before they left for their separate patrols.

There were two long ones somewhere at around two in the morning, one explaining that the misunderstanding and that he wasn't with Tokoyami, and the other was just a lengthy assurance that everything was all right and an admission of concern and love.

There was nothing accusing in his messages; nothing more than worry about why Katsuki hadn't responded.  He didn't sound angry, even when Katsuki thought he should have been.  He was being irrational and foolish.  Izuku was right to say to him that trust should have stood in the way of his errant thoughts.

It did stand in the way, in a fashion.  He did trust him.  He trusted him not to give in to even the worst of his urges.  He just couldn't stop the thoughts of not being able to trust others.

It didn't excuse his behaviour the day before.  He would have to make it up to him.  The date was just the start of it, though.  There was something else he knew he could do.

But first, he would update the notes in his stability application.  That was the least he could do.

::*~~*::

It was a little under an hour later that Katsuki and Izuku were on their way to the bus stop a few blocks from the dormitory.  To no surprise, Izuku had already had suggestions of what they could do with their time before work.  Katsuki let him ramble off the list, only paying attention to the ones that interested him or seemed important to his boyfriend.

Izuku liked to plan.  That was who he was, after all.  Think of every detail, every possibility for a good time.  It was cute the way he got excited for whatever attraction he had picked out.

When they first started dating, it had been a slight problem.  Izuku's enthusiasm didn't always account for Katsuki's ill-temperament in crowds, and if they went to too crowded of places, he would shut down and just walk out without saying anything.  It didn't help that, though many of their interests had intersected, not all of them overlapped.

So Izuku started to give options when they went out.  He would have a variety of activities for them to decide on together, and then give him a pass if he suddenly didn't want to do something or go home early.  He would try more on the things he knew were more for Izuku than him, gritting his teeth through the throngs of people they sometimes had to go through.  In return for his efforts, he was rewarded with things meant just for him.

They stood just underneath the sign, Katsuki looking down the road as he saw what he suspected to be the bus approaching.  Izuku was close to him, shoulder to shoulder as he spoke of the restaurant he was curious about.  It would be easy to assume his proximity had something to do with affection, and while that wasn't far off, Katsuki was more certain it had to do with the snow falling lightly around them.

Izuku knew how naturally warm he was.  Even as Izuku had a thick jacket over two layers of shirts, he only needed a heavy hoodie with a short sleeved shirt underneath.  Izuku leaned in just a bit more, attracted to the natural space heater his boyfriend was.

His arm hurt, though.  It had been aching since last night, only waning in intensity back at the dorms.  Now that he was back in the cold, it started to hurt again.  He clinched his fist and tucked it a little closer to his body.  It had never worked to try and use his core, but it was worth the attempt.

"I know it's a little late, but I'd like to go to the temple first, if that's okay."

Katsuki gave a small shrug.  "Sure."  He gave a grunt when only a truck drove down the road.

Izuku had always pulled him to the shrine that was in between their apartment buildings whenever they happened to pass by it.  Katsuki didn't see him as being particularly devout, but more enjoying the routine behind it.  His worship was small and almost humble, and he could never tell him no when he asked to participate in matsuri.  It was nothing for him to go to the festivals with him, leave an offering, and kneel with him during small prayers.

It made Izuku happy, and he enjoyed the food and fireworks.  Seemed a win-win for both of them.

"You may not like the restaurant too much, it's not got anything exotic, but you can't say no now."

"Really now?"

Izuku hummed, sinking a little more into him.  He was being bold, as close as they were to the Tour.  Katsuki didn't stop him, though.  In response, he ran a thumb across the back of his hand.  He wondered if he could feel it through his glove.

"I made reservations already," Izuku said.  He turned from watching the street to look at Katsuki.  "But if you want to change..."

Katsuki shook his head.  "It's fine," he said.  He met his eyes as he slowly wrapped his fingers around Izuku's palm, moving so their digits entwined.

Without moving his head, Izuku glanced at their hands before focusing on Katsuki's face again.  "Katchan?"

Katsuki gave him a light smile before looking away.  This time the bus was coming.  "I get to pick the next place, though."

"Oh, uh, okay..." he heard Izuku say.

The bus came to a halt in front of them.  The doors opened and they got on, swiping their cards before attempting to find somewhere to wait.  The vehicle was full, and they would have to stand.  Their conversation had quieted briefly as they found a spot near one of the back doors.

Katsuki pulled Izuku close as the doors closed behind them, keeping a hand loosely around his back.  He could see the flush on his cheeks as he looked around the car before letting himself settle into Katsuki's side.

"Katchan's in a mood," Izuku said, his tone light.  He was smiling as he took the edge of his hoodie in between his fingers and pulled a little.  "Isn't he worried people will see?"

"Let them see," Katsuki said simply.

Izuku pulled at the fabric a little more.  "Not that I'm complaining, but..."  He bit his lip.  "Where did this come from?"

"Just... don't care, I guess."  He caught someone nearby looking at them.  He glared a little, but squeezed Izuku's hip instead of letting go.  "If people see, they see."

Izuku clicked his tongue.  "You say that now..."

"Look, just..."  He looked out the window, watching the street signs.  "People are finding out, so..."

"You mean Tokoyami?"

"And Ashido," he corrected.  His conversation with her the night before hadn't come up yet.  He had meant to bring it up over dinner, but he would just keep the details for later.  "...and Aizawa."

"Aizawa?  As in Professor Aizawa?  He's not even here!"

Katsuki almost laughed at the memory from earlier.  "Oh, he's here...  I'll tell you about it later."

"Um, okay..."  Izuku sounded a little disbelieving, but dropped it easily to add, "I told Toshinari yesterday."

"Of course you did," Katsuki said evenly.

"I had questions on the fermin, and the conversation just led to it."

He shrugged.  "Whatever, it's not like he's a teacher anymore or anything."

"So... does that mean you're okay with telling other people?"

He didn't answer right off.  He hadn't thought that far.  He just thought of showing a little public affection.  But the question made him nervous.  Was he ready for that step?

Katsuki sighed.  He didn't think he was.

"If... if someone finds out, that's fine," he said.  "But that doesn't mean going out and shouting it down the street or anything."

Izuku laid his cheek on his shoulder.  The messy green locks tickled the bottom of his chin, which was almost as distracting as his raising scent.  "Are you sure you're okay with that?"

Katsuki looked around the bus before he kissed the top of his head.  "Yeah, it's... it has to be fine, right?"

"Katchan..."

Katsuki used his free hand to rub at his temple.  He couldn't really believe he was letting himself say things so simply, but he knew he needed to.  He needed to be more open, he knew.  He had mulled it over almost all of the night after Ashido had gotten him into a further conversation about his relationship.  He couldn't keep hiding it, especially with her insistence, and he finally gave in and acknowledged her inquiry as correct.

She had made it sound like her inquest was due to her nose.  When he asked if there was anyone else with as good a sense of smell as she had, Ashido said that she was the only one in the class she knew of, but couldn't speak for anyone else.  It meant to him that others could make the same deductions she had.

Then there was Aizawa only an hour ago happening upon it, and Tokoyami finding out in his own way, not to mention Izuku telling All Might.  How many more scenarios were going to come up during the Tour?

He didn't want to announce it, but if someone found out, there was no reason to hide it, was there?  He had his own misgivings and reasons he still wanted the privacy, but he couldn't find good enough reasons to deny his boyfriend something he had wanted for a while now.

"I want to tell people," Izuku said softly.

"Not... not yet, okay?"  He looked back toward the front of the bus to see what the next stop was, and it was theirs.  "Can you just... can this be a compromise for now?"

Izuku made a thoughtful noise.  "It's a fair one, but..."

"We can, just not yet."

"Katchan."

"No, listen." 

The bus came to a slow stop.  The doors they had been standing next to opened, and Katsuki took his hand and pulled him out of the bus.  Izuku gave him a squeeze, smiling as they stepped away from the curb.

"I know you want to tell people, I just..."  He looked around, orienting himself.  The hill with the shrine was within sight and was probably only a five minute walk away.  He glanced back at Izuku.  "I need time."

"How much time?" Izuku asked, his tone strained.  He probably expected Katsuki to start wheeling back, to take the small progression away as simply as it had come.  That was a fair expectation.  Any conversation before that had come this close to Izuku's ultimate goal of being completely opened would end with Katsuki revoking his participation, and they'd be back at square one.

Not this time, though.  Katsuki had to come through this once.  It didn't matter how uncomfortable he was.  Izuku deserved more than this, and he should be able to swallow down his reservations for the man that put up with so much from him.

Besides, if people knew they were dating, wouldn't that help with the advances Izuku was getting from the fermin?

"By the end of the Tour," he said.  "Just let me get used to this much, and then we can start telling people."

They had stopped at a corner, still holding hands as they stayed close to a nearby building.  They were facing each other, and they didn't really need to be this entwined, but Izuku seemed keen on keeping his fingers laced with Katsuki's, as if he'd take everything back if he didn't.

"Promise?"

Katsuki nodded.  He tugged on his hand, pulling Izuku closer to him.  He gave him a quick and light kiss on the lips, ignoring any looks they might get.  He stepped back, smirking at Izuku's wide eyes.  "I promise."

"You don't get to take it back," Izuku insisted.  His face was flushed, but he held tightly to Katsuki's hand.

"I won't, I won't," he assured him.  They resumed their walk to the shrine.

"You'll tell me, though, right?  After you start?"

"Yeah, of course."

Izuku hummed, pausing a moment before asking, "And Katchan is sure about this?"

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  "I promised already, Deku."

"I know, it's just...  This means a lot to me, you know that, right?"  He changed his step, coming closer and bumping shoulders with Katsuki.  "I really appreciate it.  I know it's not easy for you, but I... I really think it'll be better for us."

"You're probably right," Katsuki agreed.  He sighed, saying, "And I... I'm sorry."

"It's okay."  Izuku squeezed his upper arm with his free hand.  "I know you just wanted privacy.  And I mean, I get that and all, but there's got to be a point, right?"

"Deku, yes," he replied.  "I know it was a shitty thing of me to ask of you."

"That's not what I—"

"I know it's not, but..."  He shook his head.  They stopped as they came closer to the tori.  Katsuki looked up at the rope hanging from the gate.  "I can't change it.  But I can try this way."  He turned his eyes back to Izuku.  Their hands had fallen apart in favour of stuffing their bare palms in their pockets.  "This is the only thing I know to do to make it up to you."

"Then I know you'll do it," Izuku said.  "If Katchan promises, then he will."  He walked by him, a smile on his lips as he said, "Or I'll make him pay."

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  "Whatever you say, Deku."  He fell into step just behind him.  "Can we change topics now?"  He was getting tired of how the conversation had stretched out, and he was already reconsidering his words.  He couldn't take them back now, but he did need to think of something else for the time being.

"Sure," Izuku agreed as they headed up the steps.  "We can talk strategies for patrol tonight.  There's been a string of—"

"Patrol?"

Izuku looked over his shoulder at him, a little smirk on his lips.  "Didn't you read the board before leaving?"

Katsuki scoffed at that.  "And today you did?"

Izuku shrugged as he turned forward again.  "If you did, you'd see we're partners tonight."

"I thought we were always partners."

Izuku laughed.  "Trying to get points?"

Katsuki had stepped to the side, picking up his pace so they were on the same step.  "Figured now was a good time to."

"You're not the only one who made a mistake, Katchan."

He only hummed in response.

"Anyway, about the route tonight..."

::*~~*::

It was another cold night.  Katsuki remembered his brace (actually, Izuku remembered it, but that didn't matter), but it only helped so much.  Thankfully they were moving more than the night before, alternating between streets and roofs, occasionally sprinting and jumping just to keep their blood pumping.

He liked having Izuku for a partner.  There were no awkward and forced conversations, or trying to learn each other's hero style.  They knew what they were doing without much communication, which led to more time to talk casually.

They took a break somewhere around midnight to get a snack.  The downtime was refreshing, but it led to another issue, one Katsuki had worried about.  When Izuku was done with his drink, he pushed Katsuki against the vending machine, pulling on the stripes of his outfit as he kissed him roughly.  Despite his better judgement, he responded, putting his arms around him as he pressed back.

It was a long moment before he pushed him away.  Izuku was persistent, though, and didn't let up easily as he brought their bodies back together.  He entertained the idea for a time more than he should have, looking around for some alley they could maybe tuck into for a few minutes.  It was the middle of the night, after all, and it wouldn't be that hard to find privacy.

Katsuki was somehow able to get his wits about him, and he separated himself, putting a good distance between them.  Between Izuku's disappointed look and his strong scent, it was a test of willpower not to resume their affections.

The next hour was spent doing free runs on roofs with metres between them, doing their best to work off the frustration.

Izuku had coaxed him into sex earlier in the day, both on their date and before work.  He had the same concern Katsuki had: being together on patrol might lead to some... distractions.  The thought was maybe if they had enough intimacy before work, it would lessen the need later.

And at first it had been useful.  The hours before their break had gone by easily, and they hadn't acted on their affections toward one another more than an occasional remark or an off chance kiss.  They needed to be professional, to quash their romantic entanglement for the night and focus on their jobs.

After that, they kept apart as much as they could.  Izuku would sneak in moments of touch and Katsuki would respond with quick kisses, but nothing that would lead to more contact.  He could tell it was making Izuku anxious, that he wanted to be closer, but they both knew the error that would come from letting their guard down around each other.

They were good partners; he knew that from past experiences.  But during his fermin, their proximity was too easy to become a liability.  It was a disappointment to both, but a reality they had to live with.  Thankfully it would be the only night they would have to deal with such a cruel truth during the Tour.  You didn't have the same partner twice, and the last two weeks of the Tour were done solo.

They just had to make it through the night.

"Your arm's hurting, isn't it?"

Katsuki blinked, looking back at Izuku.  They were on top of a bookstore, looking out at a small strip of stores across the alley.  There had been a number of jewellery store robberies over the past few months, and Izuku had a hunch of which store would be next, down to even the probably timing.  They had been watching the back entrance since about three, and Izuku had only suggested watching it for no more than hour.  The area wasn't known for crime, so they weren't too concerned with the side-track.

This meant a stillness as they left themselves to wait for a perpetrator that might not even show up.  They took up different spots watching, keeping the space of at least two metres between them, while still conversing as if nothing was out of the usual.  The inaction, though, let the cold sink back in, and in the bitter nip of it, Katsuki had taken off his grenade to work on his arm, twisting the brace, hoping the friction would help.

He shrugged.  "Yeah, I guess."

Izuku was suddenly close to him, taking his arm in his hands.  "It's been really cold the past few days," he mentioned.  "I was wondering when it would get to you."

Katsuki grunted his response, but didn't stop Izuku as he took off his brace and glove.  He began to knead gently into his forearm.  He didn't need to remove his sleeve to press just over the larger part of the scar.  He tried to keep his stoic demeanour, but as his warm palms worked the area, he relaxed and leaned closer to him.

"It's good next week is a midday thing," Izuku went on.  "Sapporo will definitely be colder."

"Great."  Katsuki already knew it would be worse next week.  Sapporo had a festival dedicated to how cold it could get, leaving no denial about what kind of weather they got.  He'd been foolish to think he could just power through it, but it was becoming evident he would have to wear the brace and something thicker from now on.

Izuku chuckled.  "I'm sure Katchan can make it through."

"Not like I'll be going back after the Tour is done."

Izuku hummed.  "You never know."

Katsuki didn't really respond as he concentrated on the feel of thumbs working against his aching forearm.  He had leaned a bit more, his body threatening to just melt into his boyfriend.  He made a small noise as he squeezed up and down his arm.

"Katchan..."

Katsuki nuzzled the side of Izuku's head, inhaling his scent.  Izuku gave a pleasant sigh, and he kissed the underside of his chin.  Katsuki put his other hand on Izuku's shoulder, running his gloved thumb on his neck as he pressed closer to him.

"H-hey," Izuku said low.

Katsuki could feel the shiver going through him when he lightly kissed the lobe of his ear.  Izuku almost purred as he continued to press his lips to the side of his face.

Izuku put an arm around his neck, pulling him in and tilting his head so their mouths could meet.  Katsuki moved his mask to the other side of his neck so it was out of his way before he cupped his jaw and opened his lips against Izuku's.  He gave Katsuki's arm a squeeze before he led it down his body, pushing on his hand until he bumped against his growing need.

Katsuki smirked into their kiss.  He flipped his palm, and Izuku gasped when he cupped his length through his jumpsuit.  He ran the bottom of his palm along him, and in response, Izuku's fingers dug into his scalp.  He put his other arm around him, and they pressed their chests together as they ran their tongues over the others.

Katsuki continued to rub him, stroking him as well as he could through the thick material.  At some point Izuku pulled off his other grenade and glove, making it easier for him to hold him, keeping him close and kneading into his back.  Izuku spread his legs just a little, as if it would give Katsuki the advantage to touch him better, but it was to no avail.

There was an audible click as Katsuki undid his belt.  Izuku moaned into his mouth, anticipating his next actions as it landed loudly on the roof.  When he wasn't quick enough, Izuku started to pull on the zipper at the top of the suit.  Katsuki snickered at his eagerness.

"It's cold, Deku," he teased softly.

"Then you'd better keep me warm," Izuku retorted.  His eyes were half-lidded, and he had a light smile as he unzipped his suit to just about his naval.

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  "Good thing you're cute when you're commanding."  He put his hand in the opened cloth, and he put off light explosions from his palm when he got under the shirt he had underneath.

Izuku moaned a little too loud, and he covered his mouth as Katsuki's hand dipped under the hem of his boxers.  He put his forehead on his chest, low enough to miss his collar brace.  He bucked his hips insistently, begging with his body for Katsuki to speed things up.  Katsuki chuckled, keeping his fingers from just touching his hardened flesh.

"Don't tease, Katchan," Izuku said in a soft but demanding tone.

"Fine, fine," he said.  "But..."

Izuku looked up at him, his hands on his shoulders.  Katsuki grinned at him before giving him a light kiss.  "Calm down, just instead..."  He moved his hand back up and his other hand joined underneath his shirt.  He skirted his warm palms over his chest and stomach, leaving little explosions in their wake.  Izuku shivered, and he bit his lip to keep back the sounds that threatened to escape.

Katsuki slowly lowered himself to his knees, his metal guards keeping him from feeling the cold of the roof.  He looked up at Izuku from his position, smirking up at him.  Izuku's eyes were on him, his expression nothing but desire and heat as he covered his mouth.  He didn't have to say anything for Katsuki to know the plea that wanted to leave his lips.

Katsuki took the zipper between his teeth, bringing it down just enough that it was to his inseam.  It went further, he knew: it opened all the way for ease of use in all functions it needed.  But he needed only this much for now.  He could make use of how far the suit opened later on.

His hands still roaming his chest, he leaned in, and he gently kissed his clothed member.  Izuku put a hand on top of his head, but he didn't move him.  His other hand took Katsuki's left hand, pulling it to him.  He started to press his lips along his fingers, to his palm, and he bent a little so he could kiss him where his scar was underneath the sleeve.

Katsuki kissed him more through his boxers, mouthing over his length in a way Izuku normally teased him.  He wondered for a moment if this was the best of ideas; if it wouldn't get too cold, but he figured he could keep him interested with the warmth of his mouth for long enough.  But if Izuku wanted something more, which he probably would, he would try to find somewhere warmer than the open air of a rooftop.  Maybe somewhere more private, too, though the time of night did help ease his worries of being caught.

When Izuku's bucking had become more persistent, he figured it was time to stop playing.  He brought his other hand down, pulling lightly at his boxers.  He was still slow in his movements, and for a long moment he only saw the head of his penis.  Still tempted to agonisingly take his time, he moved in to lick his slit.

Katsuki had just gotten the taste of precum on his tongue before he grunted as Izuku roughly pushed him away.

"Shit!" he heard Izuku exclaim.

"Deku, what the fuck—"

"He's here, he's here," he said frantically as he quickly pulled up his zipper.

Katsuki would realise later his slow movements were a good thing, lest Izuku would have met some unfortunate resistance when zipping himself up.

Katsuki looked up at him, his brow furrowed.  "Who's here?"

He watched Izuku as he bent down to retrieve his belt.  He wasn't looking at him, but across the way.  Katsuki couldn't see over the roof's ledge.  He stood up, trying to see whatever it was Izuku was looking at, but he saw nothing.

"What did—"

He let out a huff when Izuku pushed his grenades and gloves into his chest, and he just barely had the mind to catch them.  Before he could ask anything else, Izuku was hopping off the roof onto the road below.  He groaned while hurriedly putting the canisters back on his arms.  He followed after him, only catching the tips of the ears on his suit as he ducked into the jewellery store.

::*~~*::

Katsuki let out an exasperated sigh as he threw his pen across the table.  He crossed his arms over the paperwork he had just finished and laid his chin down.  He groaned again, uncomfortable as he tried resting on his grenades.

"Paperwork's part of the job, Katchan," Izuku said.  He sat next to him at the table, his chair close while he finished the last of his pages.

"I know that," he snapped.  "It's not like it's my first time doing it."  He adjusted, putting his elbow on the surface and putting his chin in his hand.  "I just hate it, is all."

"At least we caught him," Izuku added thoughtfully.

Katsuki looked at him from the corner of his eye, his brow quirked slightly.  "Despite distractions?"

A light blush crossed Izuku's cheeks.  "Hush."

"Disappointed?"

Izuku put down his pen as he put his last signature down.  He leaned back a little in his chair, staring at the desk.  "...maybe a little."

Izuku had been antsy even before they stepped into the police station.  The take down of the robber had been almost comically easy.  There was no need for two of the higher powered heroes to go after him, and it hadn't exactly been Izuku's first intention.  He had thought about calling the authorities, only catch him and stall him, and have them there to take him in, give them the arrest.  He had only happened to find the pattern to the robberies, and didn't want to take any of the credit for what he assumed the police would eventually have found out themselves.  It was just be luck his hunch was right, after all.

However, their delayed reaction to his process had given him a lead.  It was just easier to take him in on their own by then.  The station was a good fifteen minutes away, but it wasn't difficult to drag the criminal the distance to them after giving them a heads up they were coming in.

The difficulty was Katsuki's wandering thoughts over the blocks' journey to turn him in.  Though it was nothing more than a scuffle to catch him, it had still been something of a fight, and since it ended, Izuku's scent had become heavy.  He already had a stronger smell about him since their date earlier, but something about it all seemed to make it worse.  He would later wonder if maybe the adrenaline was a factor, but at the time, all he could think of was slamming him against a wall and continuing where they had left off on the roof.

The thoughts hadn't left even as they turned him over and did their paperwork.  Izuku was almost purposefully too close, and he more than once sneaked touches to his thigh.  Izuku's scent seemed only to permeate the air more and more, and he found doing the necessary boring leg of his job almost impossible amid the scenes playing in his head.

It must have been worse for Izuku.  He had Katsuki hold on to the criminal the entire way there, staying behind him, and when he bumped into him a few times, he could feel his hardness against him.  Thankfully his jumpsuit was loose enough that it wasn't too obvious, even when he sat down.  But Katsuki could still feel it when he touched him under the table.

He shouldn't be egging him on; in fact, he should be as far from him as he could get, but he found any willpower he'd had previous in the night all but gone.  He only had enough strength not to bend him over the wooden surface, but even that was starting to wane.

They needed to get away from each other, he knew.  That was the right thing to do.  But, regardless of his own desires for his boyfriend, he didn't want to leave him on his own like this.  There were a few officers still in the almost empty station, mostly younger street cops taking breaks or older detectives working late.  A couple of the youthful officers had their eyes following Izuku since he walked in, and Katsuki couldn't deny his almost possessive thoughts at the sight of their obvious intentions.

That was probably why he didn't mind being seated so close to him, why he didn't care if someone saw him sneaking his hand on his thigh.  He had already promised if someone saw, he wouldn't deny their relationship, so why not work that to his advantage now?

"I'll make it up to you," he said.  He had leaned closer to him, his tone low and purposeful.  Izuku seemed to shiver at the thought, and Katsuki thought he almost melted as he visualised his meaning.

"Katchan," he replied, his eyes still on the paper.  His cheeks were still red as Katsuki's hand massaged his inner thigh.  "Can we...?"

"We shouldn't," he said.  He should take his hand away, give him the distance they both desperately needed, but he couldn't find any real want to stop the contact.  "But when we get back, I'll do whatever you want."

Izuku gave him a small but suggestive smile.  "What if I want to tie up Katchan and keep him all day?"

Katsuki reluctantly took his hand away as Izuku stood up.  He watched him as he picked up his papers.  He smirked as he asked, "Is that what you want?"

Izuku reached over and picked up Katsuki's papers, saying, "I'd think it's worth a try."

"Am I boring you, Deku?"

It was something he'd thought about before, but had only ever brought up in a teasing manner.

"Katchan could never bore me," he assured him.  "Doesn't mean we can't try new things."  His smile had turned to something softer and more genuine, but Katsuki knew that behind it was something more devious.

Katsuki scoffed, but he was still smirking as he picked up his grenades and followed Izuku out of the small conference room they'd be lent for their paperwork.  As the door closed behind them, he briefly wondered if they should go back in, lock the door, and have some fun, but it wasn't private enough.  The glass windows around the room were too big and the blinds didn't close right, and it didn't matter how barren it was, someone could find them.

Someone walking in on him with his hand on his thigh was one thing.  Someone catching them fucking was another.

"With what?" Katsuki asked as they headed down the corridor.

"What?"

"What would you tie me up with?"  He might as well play along.

Izuku was only a step ahead of him.  They were in the administration hall, which was completely devoid of anyone but a janitor who was cleaning out an office.  He moved the canisters to one hand, held in his fingers though it strained his grip a little.  Sure that no one would see, Katsuki matched his footsteps, just to his side, and he put his hand over one of his buttocks.  Izuku gave a small start, but didn't stop him as he squeezed the firm flesh through the jumpsuit.

He was sure he was holding the papers over his lower region for a reason as his strides slowed.

"I thought about rope at first," he mused.  "But I think I'm getting influenced being here, because now I'm thinking of handcuffs."

"Where would you get said rope?"

"Who said I don't already have some?"

Katsuki chortled.  "When did you get that?"

Izuku looked back at him, eyes full of mischief.  "When we went to that shop earlier."

Katsuki had to laugh.  They had tucked away into an adult shop near the end of their date so Katsuki could stock up on his packets of lubricant.  He had only stayed in there for a few moments, but Izuku lingered behind while he went to another shop.  "Did you just sneak that by me?"

"Among other things."

That had him curious.

"Not your first time wanting to bind me, huh?"

Katsuki didn't have to look at his face to figure he was blushing.  "You've thought about stuff like that, right?"  He looked over his shoulder momentarily at Katsuki, and he could see he was a bit embarrassed.

"Everyone has fantasies," he said simply.

"Katchan doesn't share a lot of his."

"Neither have you," he replied as he gave him another squeeze before dropping his hand.  He moved grenades and started to put them back on.

"Maybe... maybe we should start."  He stopped right before he got to the door leading to the main bullpen.  He turned to follow look at Katsuki, his lips set in a gentle look.  He leaned closer to him, and their lips just barely touched.  "If that's okay."

"I think I can deal with that," Katsuki agreed with a nod.

They hadn't discussed it often, he thought.  They normally just acted on their urges like teenagers did, but he knew Izuku had ideas.  At least, he assumed as much by the kinds of stories he'd found in his search history.

He wondered if that meant he would call him out on the kinds of videos he had on his computer.

Izuku gave him one last large smile before opening the door and heading to the front desk.  The conversation dropped as they approached the receptionist.  When they got to the counter, the mousy younger woman looked at them with a smile.

No, she was giving Izuku the smile.  She didn't even look at Katsuki.

Izuku handed her the forms, his expression friendly as it usually was.  "That's for both of us," he told her.

She went through the papers, her ear twitching once and again.  Katsuki was leaning against the counter while Izuku stood in front of her.  He tapped his foot a little as he waited for her to get done.  He was already eager to get out and out of the enclosed space; he didn't want to wait any longer.

She, however, seemed keen on taking her time.  Her nose and whiskers twitched every time she glanced up at Izuku, and a light flush was on her cheeks.  Katsuki brow twitched when she smiled a little too wide.

"You're both with the Tour, right?" she asked.

Izuku nodded.

"Well, I'll be sure to get this in right away," she went on.  "This will look good for you: this guy has been on the loose for some time."  She put her elbow on her desk, leaning in as she put her chin on the back of her hand.  "You know, I get off in about an hour, maybe you could come back and tell me how you caught him."

"Oh, uh, no, I don't think—"

"Back off," Katsuki interjected.  She looked at him for the first time, a frown on her lips.  "He's not interested."

She gave him a little huff.  Her tailed swished behind her in irritation.  "I didn't ask you."

"He's right," Izuku said.  "I'm not."

Her brow creased, but she only clicked her tongue.  She sat back in her seat and mumbled, "Whatever."  She turned away from them, paying attention to the phone next to her computer.

Katsuki nudged at Izuku's shoulder.  "Come on."

"Right, yeah."  He waved at her.  "Thank you for your hard work," he said quickly before he followed Katsuki's steps.

"Really, Deku?"

"There's no need not to be polite," he rebuked.

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  He looked out over the bullpen where another young officer was staring at them.  He glared, his teeth revealed through a small snarl, and they looked away.

"I... kind of liked that, you know," Izuku said.

"Liked what?"

Izuku didn't answer, instead looking around, his eyes back on the administration hall they had come out of just moments ago.  He only briefly made sure no one was looking before nudging him toward the door.  He pushed him down the hall quickly with only a little protest from Katsuki.

"Deku—"

"It's fine," he insisted.  "We never really had a lunch break, right?"

Katsuki only barely caught the title of 'supplies' on the plaque of the room Izuku was ushering him into.  It was dark and stuffy, but he could see from the dim light of the hallway it was a small space.  The three walls were adorned with shelves full of office supplies like paper and pens.  He barely had any time to take more inventory before the door was closed, enveloping them in full on darkness.

He turned around when he heard a click.  He couldn't make out Izuku in the absence of light, but he felt his body press up against him.  He pushed him back, and it was only two steps before his back hit the shelves.  He grunted and was about to admonish him when he was silenced by a pair of lips.

He grumbled against his mouth at first, but sunk into him as the kiss continued.  Izuku fumbled around for a second, as his hands ran down his shoulders and to his forearms.  There was a loud thud as his grenades hit the floor, but Katsuki took his boyfriend's hint as he put his arms around him.  He picked him up just a bit, bringing him closer as their kiss grew in heat.

"You didn't like it, did you?"

"Someone hitting on you?" Katsuki asked, nipping at his chin.  "Can't say I like it, no."

"I could tell her on my own, you know."  Izuku tilted his head back.  Katsuki kissed him under his jaw before taking hold of his mask and moving it.

"Yeah, I know," he replied.  "I couldn't help it."

Izuku purred as Katsuki's kisses moved down his throat.  "I liked it."

Katsuki put his hands on his hips and brought him closer.  "Yeah?"

"Yeah..."

"I promised, didn't I?"  He bit down on the part of his skin he could get to.  He took hold of his zipper, slowly moving it down.  "That means not letting people hit on my Deku if I'm around."

Izuku ran his hands up his arms.  "Your Deku, huh?"

Katsuki let a low rumble go through his chest in response.  Izuku yelped when he bit down particularly hard.  "Katchan!"

"Quiet, Deku," he hissed.

"I know, I know," Izuku whispered.  He pulled a little away from Katsuki.  "But, you know, if you really want me to keep it down..."

Katsuki grinned as he ran a hand through Izuku's messy hair.  He kept it there, forgetting the outside world as his boyfriend descended to his knees.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure you're up for it?"

Izuku smiled a little at the tone in his boyfriend's voice.  "Katchan sounds concerned," he spoke into the phone.  His tone was light and playful, perfect for the mood he'd been in most of the day.

"Deku."

He clicked his tongue.  "You said my scent wasn't bad today," he reminded him.  He was grateful for the nook he'd found in the busy theatre; despite how loud it was in the lobby area, he was still able to talk softly to Katsuki.

"It isn't, but you were only getting to functioning before you left."

"I'm fine now," Izuku insisted. 

It was true for the most part: he was feeling more like himself than he had been for almost a full day.  Since his patrol with Katsuki, his fermin had gotten more and more out of control to the point he had to miss a night of work.  He hated that he had to stay, but he couldn't even bring himself far out of bed before he was in his head with wandering thoughts again.

Katsuki had been there for as much as he could be.  He stayed for most of the day, doing his best to keep up with Izuku's almost insatiable appetite, only slipping out when he had napped for a little.  He was just as hungry for Katsuki when he woke up, stealing him away for as long as he could before work.

It was at Katsuki's insistence that he stayed, much like it was the week before.  He wasn't keen on it, not just for the money he'd lose out on, but how he might be perceived for it.  The professors knew why he needed the time off, but he still didn't want anyone to think he was slacking.

But he knew the time off was imperative.  Almost all of the night was spent on his bed, pleasuring himself with his toys and thoughts of Katsuki.  When he was back from work, he'd brought food and affections with him.  When he was even a little bit content, though, Katsuki had been quick to harangue him not about missing the day, but about how his fermin was interfering with his everyday life.

He also brought up not just what happened in the police station, but everything that happened after they left.  Izuku had been very convincing that evening, and it wore thin on Katsuki to the point he was strongly encouraging him to just leave work early.

Katsuki had probably been tired of finding private places when they should be on patrol.

It wasn't until just a few hours ago that he finally got something like normal again.  He was able to keep his thoughts at bay long enough to come out of his room and meet up with his friends. 

The night was free to them in preparation for the long train ride that was coming the following day, and many of the students had formed groups to enjoy the night.  He was waved down by Uraraka, who dragged him along to dinner with several of students from all classes, hero, general, and support.  A few of them had secured a large room in a decent restaurant, and he was able to visit with many people he hadn't gotten to talk to as much yet on the Tour, like Hatsume and Shinsou.  Kuroiro was among the company, and he spent a great deal of time talking with him and Todoroki.

Katsuki wasn't there.  He had gone with a few others to something less crowded, and Izuku had wished him fun.  They had been spending a lot of time together recently, and as wonderful as that was, they both needed time with their friends.  It was good for couples, after all, and normally it wasn't even something he thought twice about.

But normally he wasn't set off on daydreams as easily as just mentioning something vaguely sexual.

After the quite refreshing meal, many of the group had suggested going to a movie.  There was one at the dormitories, but it only played what was available on disc.  There were still new movies out worth seeing.  Not to mention the students just wanted to be out and away from anything school related and away from the eyes of the professors.

With time before the movie, Izuku had snuck away to call Katsuki.  They had been exchanging texts throughout the night, nothing out of the ordinary for them.  There had been some concern underneath his messages, his worry for Izuku's fermin evident in the subtle words he sent.  He rang him, not just to hear his voice, but intent on easing him and his only slightly justified concerns.

Katsuki was being a little over protective still.  That was all right, though: he still wasn't being too pushy or controlling.  It made sense, from everything that was happening.  But he wished Katsuki would have a little more faith.

A sigh came from the other end of the line.  "If you're sure," Katsuki said, though he didn't sound too convinced.  "Just... if it comes back up, promise me you'll be careful."

"Don't worry so much, Katchan," Izuku said softly.  "Nothing will happen.  And if I get bad again, I'll go ho- back to the dorm."

"Tell me if you do."

"Maybe," he teased.  "Katchan's spending time with his friends: if I told him, he might try to see me."

Katsuki scoffed.  "Yeah, whatever..." 

"What did you guys decide on doing?"

"Just the arcade," he answered.

"That sounds fun."

"I guess," he lazily agreed.  "You know, if you're still up after the movie..."

Izuku chortled.  "You think you guys will still be there?"

"We'll probably be here all night, honestly," he admitted.  "There's a couple of games we're trying to beat."

"Well, if you're still there, then I might just stop by to beat you at that punching game."

Katsuki laughed.  "You cheat," he accused.

Izuku shrugged, smiling to himself.  "Just using my natural talents."

"That's what we're calling it," was his sarcastic answer.  "What movie are you seeing?"

"Uh, that new one, the one with the spiders...?"

"It's not spiders, it's webbing, and why are you seeing that kind of movie?"

"Because that's what everyone else is seeing," he replied.

"You don't like those kinds of movies."

"I watch them all the time with you," Izuku corrected.

Katsuki huffed.  Izuku knew why he was getting a little upset.  They normally saw horror movies together: because Katsuki liked them was less of the reason than how Izuku would cling to him during them.

"And when you get scared?"

"I'll pretend Katchan's there," he said.  Katsuki hummed, but it didn't seem to pacify him.  "Maybe we could watch something when we get back, something really terrifying, hmm?"  His tone was purposefully suggestive.

"Don't offer unless you plan to go through with it, Deku," Katsuki said, his voice bemused.  "Because I've got some rough things we haven't watched yet."

"Rough things, huh?"

"Stop getting ideas," Katsuki chided him.  "Or else you won't even get to see the movie."

He made a soft whine, but had to agree.  If his thoughts got too off track, he'd be in the same predicament as he'd be in the night before.

Izuku watched the crowd as it ebbed and flowed while the conversation turned to small events during their separate dinners.  No one seemed to notice him other than a few errant glances.  He recognised a few of his fellow classmates as they went to the concession stand or into the theatre.

He blinked when he noticed someone in particular.

"Hey, Katchan, you won't believe this."

"What?"

"That girl from the station the other night is here."

He could almost feel the growl through the phone.  A chuckle left him despite himself.  It was selfish of him to enjoy this part of his protectiveness, but he couldn't help it.  He wasn't even sure why he mentioned it, other than maybe for conversation.

He really should stop egging Katsuki like this.  He had already promised to start telling people of their relationship.  Izuku may have thought about forcing it out of him before, but now his boyfriend was trying to compromise and make it bearable for himself.  He should be considerate of it, even if it should have already happened.

"It's not like she saw me," he assured him.  "And I'm pretty sure she got the hint before."

Katsuki didn't respond right off.  Izuku was sure he wasn't convinced.  But it wasn't like it really mattered.  "Katchan," he said, his tone low.  "You're the only one for me, you know that, right?"

There was a hesitation before he said, "Sorry, I know...  Listen, just... you'd tell me if something happened, wouldn't you?"

Izuku raised a brow.  "Katchan?  What's wrong?"

"All of this stuff, I can't help..."  There was a long exhale.  "Forget it, we can talk about it later."

He frowned.  He had overstepped.  "No, don't worry about it," he said.  "Of course I'll tell you.  But, hey, don't worry, nothing—"

"Midoriya, the movie's about to start."

"Ho-hold on," he said quickly into the phone before covering the mouthpiece.  He looked over toward the lobby to see Kuroiro.  He had his arms crossed over his chest and a small smile on his lips.

"C'mon, we need to get seats."

"Ah, is it time already?  I haven't gotten my ticket already, I thought we had longer."

"Don't worry," Kuroiro said.  He extended his hand, a piece of paper in his grip.  "I grabbed extra."

Izuku gave him a light smile.  "Awesome," he said, taking the ticket.  "Just need to, uh, finish—"

Kuroiro waved him off as he took a step back.  "I'll save you a spot."

"Yeah, thanks, appreciate it," Izuku called after him before uncovering his phone.

"What was that?" Katsuki asked.

"Just Kuroiro," Izuku answered.  "He was getting me for the movie."

Katsuki hummed.  "Why did he have to?"

Izuku shrugged.  "He's just being friendly."

Katsuki scoffed.  "Whatever."

"I'll text you when it's over, okay?"

"Yeah, I probably need to get back to them," Katsuki said.  "Talk to you soon."

"Love you," Izuku chirped.

"Me, too," Katsuki responded before a hurried parting and the line being cut.  Izuku rolled his eyes, sure that he was too close to his friends to give the full response.  It was all right, though: he knew well how he felt.

He tucked his phone away and headed toward the theatre that matched the screen number on the ticket.  The lights were still on when he got into the seating area, but it would be only moments before the dark came.  He scanned over all the seats, until he found Kuroiro one row from the back, waving at him.  He smiled and hopped up the small steps to the top.  He had to pass several people, until he was in the spot next to him.  They were near the middle, with many of the other students around them.  He had passed Uraraka and Iida, smiling and giving them a small greeting before taking his seat.

He noticed the mouse-girl walk into the theatre shortly after he had sat down and taken off his coat.  She wasn't looking for him, but after a sniff in the air, her eyes seemed to find him easily.  She smiled at him and after a few hops and some manoeuvring of her own, she was soon in the seat behind him.

"Funny seeing you here," she comment as the lights started to dim.  She was leaning forward in her seat, grabbing lightly onto the back of his and her face coming close.  She put herself between his and Kuroiro's seat, and he sat up and moved forward to see Izuku around her.

"Uh, yeah," Izuku had to agree.  It was one thing to notice she was there, but her approach made him uneasy, especially the smile she gave him.  "Who would have thought?"  He tried to seem as polite as possible given the situation.

"Maybe now that Mister Grumpy isn't with you," she started, "we could maybe--?"

"The movie's about to start," Izuku interrupted.  His tone was tight and dismissive.  He wanted to be polite, but he also wanted his point not to be missed.  He turned forward in his seat, his eyes on the screen.  He could feel her hovering for a moment more before she clicked her tongue, and he could hear her seat squeak back into place.

Izuku gave a start when he felt something cold touch him.  He looked over to find Kuroiro's hand lightly on his arm.  He wandered briefly if he was actually that cold or if he was just instinctively comparing him to Katsuki's touch.

The previews were starting as Kuroiro leaned in so he could whisper, "You okay?  That was kind of weird."

Izuku sighed.  He didn't know how to explain the situation without referring to his fermin.  One of the things he liked about Kuroiro was he didn't have to bring it up or talk about it, and he just wanted interaction that wasn't surrounded by his pheromones.

"Don't worry about it," Izuku assured him.  "Just someone I ran into the other night."

Kuroiro accepted the explanation with a shrug and sat back in his seat.  Soon the movie was starting, and the whole row fell quiet aside from gasps and chuckles as the plot progressed.

Izuku had recoiled some into his seat.  He knew he wouldn't be the biggest fan of what was to come, but he hadn't thought it would be so bad.  Katsuki was notorious for the things he made them watch being on the far end of the scale, which had led him to think nothing his other friends would want to see would be all that bad.  However, it was a lot more gory than he had originally assumed and much more intense.

While the movie went on, he tucked under the collar of the hoodie he was wearing at any rough scene.  It provided some comfort, but the scenes were still a little much.  After a particularly terrible scare, he found Kuroiro had grown closer.  He had put a hand on his, squeezing.  Before Izuku could react, he was leaning in again, whispering, "If it gets too bad, you can just hold my hand."

Izuku shivered at the feel of his breath.  He smiled but still pulled his hand away gently.  "It's... I'm fine, but thank you," he hurriedly whispered back.

He couldn't really see his expression with his skin fading into the darkened room, but he thought he was still smiling.  "Offer's open, if you change your mind."  He kept his hand on the arm rest to emphasise his point.

Izuku did appreciate the thought.  Whenever he went to movies with Uraraka and Iida, there was a similar suggestion in mind.  They didn’t after see horror movies, but when they did, Izuku was in the middle, and the three of them would just latch onto each other for comfort.  Kuroiro's tone conveyed a similar feel, and he settled on the idea that if it got too bad, he would take his hand.

He would just have to make sure not to crush it.  He had done that when he and Katsuki had first started dating, during the first horror movie they'd seen together, and it was when Katsuki's arm was still healing from being broken.  He didn’t hold it against him, but it did taint their movie-going experiences for several months.

Eventually it was the gore that got to Izuku.  No amount of hand-holding or comfort would help him recover from the sight, and he was excusing himself.  He stood up and stepped quietly and as quickly as he could past the rest of the row and down the steps.  He waited until he was out of the theatre to pick up his pace to the toilets.

He thankfully didn't throw up.  There had been a few films that had caused that reaction, but he wasn't really in the mood to deal with that taste in his mouth.  He just sat in the stall for a long moment, breathing heavy and trying to get himself back together.

When he had entered the bathroom, he had been alone.  It was a small theatre, and the room only had three urinals and one stall in the equally tiny room.  It made him painfully aware when he heard the door open and close, and his solitude was broken.  He stayed in the stall for a moment longer, not really wanting anyone to see him in his current state.

He heard nothing else for a long minute other than a click he couldn't identify.  Maybe whoever it was needed to use the stall?  He'd have to leave eventually, anyway.  He took in a deep breath, and he slowly opened the door.  He didn't look anywhere but the sinks as he made a beeline for the faucet and to wash his hands.  He hadn't used the facility for any of its intended uses, but he thought it would look weird if he didn't do the simple ritual.

All the while, he kept his eyes on his hands.  It wasn't until he was turning off the faucet that he looked up in the mirror.  He gasped, turning around and staring the other occupant with wide eyes.

"What- what are you doing?"

The mousey girl smiled back at him where she was leaning against the door.  She stepped toward him, her movements deliberate as she swayed her hips and her eyes were half lidded.  "Did anyone ever tell you how good you smell?"

"Yeah, I get that a lot," Izuku said, his tone short.  "But I'm not really interested."

She didn't seem that deterred, her smile still in place as she bridged the distance between them.  "Don't be like that," she said.  She put her hands on his belt, her intentions clear.  "It's okay, Mister Grumpy doesn't need to know.  We can be quick and—"

Izuku shoved her hands away just as she was undoing his buckle.  He moved himself along the sink, doing what he could to put as much space between their bodies.  He had to manoeuvre around the room to get toward the door.

"Look, it's flattering and all," Izuku said, his words falling fast out of his mouth as he tried to pull at the door, "but I can't do... that, or anything."  He frowned when the door didn't open.  His gaze flicked to it, and he realised what the clicking sound from before was.

"Can't or won't?"

"Both," was the simple reply.  He undid the lock with clumsy hands.  "I can't because I won't...  I won't do that to him."

She rolled her eyes.  "I don't get what your hang up is," she said.  She was approaching him again.  "If he knows what's happening to you, he should understand."

Izuku shook his head.  "That's not what I'm..."  He took a deep breath.  "It doesn't matter."  He moved to the other side of the door, opening it up.  "Just... no."

She had started to protest, but he was already out of the room and speed walking toward the exit of the theatre.  His phone was to his ear as he was pressing on the arm and walking outside.  He had to ignore the cold as it hit him in the face.  He had left his coat in the seat next to Kuroiro, but he had no desire to go back in.

"Come on, come on," he muttered at the ringing coming from the ear piece.  "Pick up, Katchan."

He groaned when the voicemail picked up.  He was still hurrying down the street, his step picked up by his rush and the temperature.  He knew where he had to go and the connections he would need to take to get there, but he still wanted to hear Katsuki's (really, anyone's) voice to calm down on his way there.

Thankfully, he didn't need to wait long for the bus to arrive.  He had a brief worry, since it was probably one of the last buses of the night, but it would be better than trying to walk the several blocks to his destination.  He hopped on, sliding his transit card, only able to give a polite wave to the driver as he was still trying to reach Katsuki. 

It was during his fourth attempt that the call was interrupted by Katsuki calling him.  He quickly ended that call for the one from his boyfriend right as he was sitting in a seat near the front of the bus.  It was almost deserted aside from a couple of people in the back.

"Katchan," he said the moment he answered the call.  He knew his tone was needy, but he didn't really care.  All he wanted was to hear his voice.

"What's wrong?" Katsuki instantly asked.  He could barely hear him through shrill noises and beeps but his voice was concerned, and Izuku was silently grateful for his protective nature.  "Did something happen?  Do I need to--?"

His question interrupted the offer: "Are you all still at the arcade?"

Izuku could hear noise from the other end of the line, what sounded like a whoosh before some wind.  He assumed he was walking outside, as the sounds from the games faded with the pick up of the wind.  "Yeah, we're still here.  Where are you?  Do I need to get you?"

Izuku shook his head, even if it would go unseen.  He looked up at the LED above the bus driver's head.  "No, I'm only a couple of blocks away..."  He gritted his teeth, hoping to keep them from chattering as a cold wave came over him.  "I'll come to you; I just wanted to make sure you were still there."

"Deku," Katsuki said, the worry clear in his voice.  "What happened?"

Izuku contemplated if he should go ahead and tell him or wait.  He scanned the bus again, judging the attention he might attract.  The two other people on the bus were far from him, and they both looked like they must have just gotten back from work by the way their heads drooped onto their chests.  The bus driver clearly wasn't paying attention, earbuds obvious as they focused ahead at the road.

"Someone... someone tried something," he said simply.  He didn't really want to divulge too much even in the semi-private situation.  He would rather wait until he could talk to him more one-on-one.  But he would give him the full truth.  He had promised to.

"Who the fuck was he?"  Katsuki's voice came out practically as a snarl.  "I swear, I will—"

"It was a girl," Izuku corrected.

"You think that changes anything?"

Izuku would have laughed at the comment were it during any other conversation.  Katsuki always did see equality in gender, even when it came to violence.

"I'll tell you more when I see you," he told him.  "But, Katchan, don't... it won't matter after we leave tomorrow."

"So it wasn't anyone we know?"

"Not... exactly."

"Deku."

"It's okay, it's okay," he quickly assured him.  "Nothing actually happened; it just..."  He sighed.  They were coming up on the stop he needed.  "Rattled me," he said as he stood up.  "It just rattled me."

Izuku stepped off the bus.  "Katchan?" he called when his boyfriend didn't respond right away.

"Where are you?"

"I just got off the bus," he said.  He looked around, getting his bearings before heading down the street.  The chill picked up again once he was off the bus.  He held to the front of the hoodie, but it wasn't really enough.  "I should be there in just a few minutes."

"I'll meet you."

"No, Katchan, just stay, it'll be—"

The line clicked off.  Izuku pulled the phone away from his ear, staring at the screen as it said the word Disconnected under Katsuki's pictures.  He frowned, muttering under his breath.

"Deku."

He looked up to see Katsuki hurriedly walking up to him.  The cold was forgotten as his boyfriend bridged the distance between them in swift steps and wrapped his arms around him.  He kissed him before Izuku could even open his mouth to say anything.

It was nice.  It felt nice.  But more than anything, it was warm.  He put his arms around his waist, resting his head against his chest.  He sighed as Katsuki rubbed his back.

"You're freezing," Katsuki commented as he pushed away from Izuku.  He took off his coat, and Izuku went along with his movements as he wrapped the garment around his shoulder.  Katsuki closed it and pulled him closer so he could take his heat once more.  "Where's your coat?"

"Left it in the theatre," Izuku answered.

"We can go back and get it."

Izuku shook his head.  He put his cheek back on his chest, and Katsuki went back to holding him.  "I'll text Kuroiro, ask him to take it back for me," he said.  "I don't want to go back right now."

"What happened?"

"It wasn't... it's stupid," he mused.  He pulled away enough that he could look into his eyes.  "I shouldn't have even run, but..."

Katsuki put a hand on his cheek.  Izuku fell into the palm, soaking up the warmth his boyfriend naturally exuded.  "Tell me."

Izuku sighed.  "That... girl, from the police station.  I told you she was there, right?"  Katsuki nodded.  "She followed me into the bathroom, and she just..."  He put a hand over Katsuki's mouth as the growl started to leave him.  "Nothing happened.  She barely touched me, but I left."

"That fucking—"

"It doesn't matter," Izuku insisted.  "We're leaving tomorrow; and then she's gone."

Katsuki didn't seem too convinced.  "Should still give her a punch to the teeth."

Izuku pulled on the sides of his shirt, keeping him close as he started to fidget with his misguided urgency.  There was a part of him that wouldn't mind seeing that, to see his boyfriend's protectiveness come out.  But he kept that to himself, knowing full well that he shouldn't play into the visceral reaction he felt.  Nothing had happened, he reminded himself.  Nothing would have happened.  There was nothing really to report, other than how uncomfortable it had made him.  Even if she had continued, he would have been able to stop her.

Katsuki wouldn't see it that way.  He would think of the principal, that she should be punished.  He saw it from the perspective of what would happen if Izuku couldn't defend himself.  And he was right, of course.  It did matter.  His anger was justified, because it wasn't just about Izuku.

But Izuku was tired.  He didn't want to talk about it more than he had, and he just wanted to forget the whole thing.  They'd be on a train the next day, and the matter would be on the rails behind them.

Was this what all fermin went through?

"Deku, let—"

"I just want to forget about it," Izuku interrupted.  He kissed the underside of his chin.

"Deku."

"Please, Katchan."  He pulled at his shirt again.

Katsuki held onto him a little tighter.  "Fine," he agreed after a long moment.  He paused before asking, "Do we need to--?"

Izuku blinked.  "What?  No, no.  I'm not really... in the mood."

Katsuki nodded.  "Sorry, was just remembering... after the thing with Tokoyami, you were really..."

Izuku shook his head.  "That was... different."  They pulled away from each other momentarily, turning to start heading down the way Katsuki had just come from.  They held hands, Izuku close to his side as they went down the street.

"Different how?"

"Tokoyami was..."  He tried to put his thoughts into words, but nothing came readily that he thought wouldn't upset Katsuki.  Tokoyami had been gentle and kind with his approach, almost friendly more than flirty.  He knew now that his intention had been something of kindness more than attraction or desire, and the feeling had come through at the time even if he didn't understand it at the time.  This girl had been aggressive in a way he couldn't appreciate.  Tokoyami had easily understood no.  She had thought she could convince him.  Everything about it was different.

But telling Katsuki that was difficult.  He didn't know how to tell him that Tokoyami's touch had been slow and actually felt nice without it coming across strangely.  He was already on the defence.  He was already insecure.  Even if he didn't mean it the way it sounded, it still sounded that way.

"Let's just go to the arcade," Izuku offered.  "I really just need a distraction."

Katsuki scoffed but didn't press the subject.  "Yeah, fine." 

The neon light of the arcade's marquee was already in sight, displaying the name Game Panic.  Izuku was grateful that it was close and he could get started on just leaving the earlier part of the night behind him.  When they got to the entrance, Katsuki didn't pull away right off, something that made him smile.  He still let him go when Izuku left him, pulling out his phone, reminding him that he needed to text Kuroiro.

"Is that my hoodie?"

Izuku had just hit send when the question came.  He looked down at his clothing before looking back up, a shy smile on his lips.  "You left it in my room when you left today, and, ah..."

Katsuki rolled his eyes, but his lip was still curled up a little.  "Whatever," he said with a shrug as he opened the doors and they went inside.

It wasn't more than a moment before they were meeting up with Kaminari and Hagakure, who were on the sides of a cabinet watching Kirishima play something.  It wasn't until he died that the small group noticed that Katsuki had come back with someone new.  When they turned to welcome him back, all of them took notice of Izuku.

"Hey, it's Midoriya!" Denki exclaimed.

Hagakure waved, at least he assumed she did by the way her sleeve moved.  "Hi, Izuku-kun."

Kirishima grinned, revealing a bit of his fangs, and there was something in the shine of his eyes that seemed knowing.  "Bakugou got you to come along, huh?" 

Izuku noticed how he focused on the coat around his shoulders, and it made him self-conscious.  Katsuki made no move to take it, though, and was even standing closer than he normally did around other people.  Had he told them?  He wasn't sure, and it left him unsure of how to act.

"Guess they were just too boring for him," Katsuki mused.

"Not that," Izuku defended.  "Just didn't like the movie."

Katsuki snickered.  "Knew you couldn't do it without me," he said.  "Always needed someone to cling to when it gets scary."

He ignored the questioning looks as he sat down at a cabinet on the other side of Kirishima, putting in yen and starting up a game without another word.  Izuku's face was red, and he was left even more confused than before when none of the three seemed to understand his context.

"Uh, right," Kaminari said.  He only looked at Katsuki a moment longer before turning back to Izuku.  "What's your game?"

The group moved from game to game after that.  Sometimes the five of them would sit in a row to play, and others they would watch someone playing.  It was getting late, but Izuku had gotten the idea that they would be there until the arcade closed.  He didn't really mind: it was a rather enjoyable distraction from earlier events, and he liked the time with his boyfriend and his friends.

He picked up that Katsuki hadn't told anyone as the time went on.  No one said anything that made it seem like they knew, but at the same time Katsuki wasn't distancing himself like he had in the past.  He even thought he was openly flirting with him, something he hadn't really done since they first start dating and was hard to tell if you didn't know Katsuki well.  But he knew by his proximity and how he teased him.

He thought the others picked up on it, too, but no one really said anything.  Izuku was grateful for the behaviour, and he started to respond to it, touching Katsuki on the shoulder when he talked, or staring for a bit too long.  Without saying anything, he knew the others had to assuredly pick up on that.

So no one really knew, but they could only guess if they tried.  When Izuku gave it a thought, he realised what was going on: Katsuki had found a loophole to his promise from the other day.  He had said after he started telling people, Izuku could do the same.  But if they found out on their own, it would be different.  Clever, maybe, but still not what he wanted.

He'd call him out on it later.

He received a call about an hour after he'd gotten there.  He excused himself from watching Kirishima and Hagakure duelling on a dance game, and he tried to find a quieter part of the arcade.  The call was simple, just Kuroiro asking where he was and if he was okay.  Izuku assured him he was okay, that he just let the movie get to him and apologised for running off without saying anything.  Kuroiro seemed more concerned than anything else, but by the end of the conversation his curiosity was sated.  He advised that he would keep Izuku's coat until the morning, and he gave his appreciation, silently grateful he wasn't pushing for more answers.

He came back to find Kirishima and Hagakure had switched out for Katsuki and Kaminari.  Izuku settled in between the spectators in order to watch the dance off, at which he had to chuckle at how his boyfriend wasn't really good at.

"Everything okay?" Kirishima asked.

Izuku nodded.  "Just left something at the theatre: someone's getting it for me."

He smiled and nodded in acknowledgement.

"So, you didn't like the movie, huh?" Hagakure asked.

"Yeah, well," Izuku started, "I'm not a huge fan of horror movies."

"Unless Katsuki-kun is with you."

Izuku's face heated up at the accusation.  "That's... I've just always watched them with him, and, um..."

Kirishima gave him a nudge with his elbow.  "What else would scary movies be good for?"

He gave a nervous laugh.  He gave Katsuki one last look before looking at his feet.  "I don't know what you mean."

"It's okay, Izuku-kun," Hagakure said.  "He really is a decent guy."

Izuku looked up at her, his cheeks red but an eyebrow raised.  "I, I know he is."

"Just saying," she went on with a light shrug.  He couldn't see it, but he wondered if she was smiling.

Before he could say anything else to her, her attention got caught by something, and she was approaching Katsuki and Kaminari who were bickering over something on the game.  In her absence, Kirishima scooted a little closer to him, leaning in so he didn't have to talk over the sounds of the arcade.

"She thinks Bakugou has a crush on you," he said just loud enough for Izuku to hear.

Izuku gulped at the statement.  He was a little upset that Katsuki had put him in a precarious situation, leaving him unsure how to respond.

"We both know that's not the case, though," he said.

Izuku's brows raised, uncertain what to think of the statement.  "I, uh..."  He gave a nervous smile.  "What, ah... did Katsuki talk to you or what?"

Kirishima shrugged.  "Nah, but he didn't need to, did he?"

"I don't get what you mean."

"I'm his best friend, dude," he said.  "You think I wouldn't notice something?"

"What, um, what did you notice?"

Kirishima rolled his eyes before nudging him again.  "C'mon."

Izuku didn't respond right away, as they both watched the other three have some animated discussion drowned out by the beeps and other high-pitched noises of the arcade.  They were arguing about something, but it didn't seem to have any real anger to it.  Eventually Katsuki waved them off and walked away, but he didn't seem upset, just more done with the conversation.  Izuku watched him go as he disappeared between a row of cabinets.

"It's almost graduation," Kirishima mentioned.  "Might as well get it out in the open."

"I've been telling him that forever," Izuku said without thinking.

Kirishima laughed.  "Gotcha."

Izuku coughed.  He watched as Kaminari and Hagakure started a dance match.

Kirishima rolled his shoulders back and gave a good natured smile.  "It's good for him," he said.  He looked at him, his tone sincere as he said, "You're good for him."

"It goes both ways, you know," Izuku insisted.

"I know," he replied.  "But whatever he does for you is between you two.  What you do for him, we all see, even if we don't know where it came from."

"It's not like I was trying to change him."

Kirishima chuckled.  "But you gave him a chance to."

Izuku chewed on his thumb.  He never really got a chance to talk about his relationship with anyone other than maybe his mother, and that always had some mortification to it.  He wanted to be vocal.  He wanted to describe how he felt and how it impacted his life.

Even this small conversation was something like refreshing to him.  He looked forward to when he could have lengthy ones, especially with Uraraka.  But he still had to wait for Katsuki to give that signal.

"How long have you known?"

Kirishima tapped his chin.  "You know, I had hunches, but I'd say it was really—"

"Izuku-kun!  Come play!"

They both looked up at Hagakure who was beckoning Izuku to the machine.  He smiled at the offer and nodded.  He looked back at Kirishima, who just gestured with his head to the game.

"We'll talk later," he said. 

Izuku nodded, saying, "Yeah, later," and joined Hagakure on the dance pads.

Midnight came up too fast.  They were having fun, but the arcade still had to close.  The five of them left the building, all but Katsuki still loudly talking amongst themselves.  There was a consensus that they should go back to the dorms, try to sleep and get ready for the train in the afternoon.  The night off was an attempt to get them back on a different schedule, but none of them were really tired yet.

They discussed more games when they got back, plans of sniping the gaming area from anyone that might have tried to claim it.  Izuku was keen to agree with the idea, until Katsuki put a hand on his shoulder and pulled at him lightly.

"We'll meet you guys back at the dorms," he told them, his grip firm on Izuku's shoulder.

Two sets of eyes looked between Izuku and Katsuki, and he had to assume the third was on him, too.  He looked up at Katsuki, who had a serious look to his features.

"Yeah, sure," Kirishima said.  "Wouldn't stay out too late, though."

Katsuki nodded.  The two of them waved the others off before Izuku was led off in the opposite direction.  Izuku wasn't sure where they were going, other than they were headed toward the river.

It had started to snow while they were in the arcade.  Izuku was grateful for Katsuki's coat as he pulled it closer to him.  When they were out of the sight of the others, Katsuki put his arm around him and pulled him into his side.  Izuku sighed contently and put an arm around his back, and took in all the warmth his boyfriend had to offer.

"Did you have somewhere in mind?" Izuku asked.  He wanted to ask if he was just getting tired of the social interaction and needed a break from it, but he could just assume that much was true.  Katsuki had a strained look in his eyes, but as they walked, he seemed to relax more.

He grunted an affirmative.  "It's going to be a walk, if you're up for it."

Izuku nodded.  "Sure," he said. 

They crossed a bridge over the river, falling into a brief quiet as Izuku watched the city lights in the cold water.  He stopped in the middle, pulling Katsuki with him.

"I want to take some pictures," he told him.

Katsuki nodded.  He didn't say anything as he moved behind him, putting his arms around his waist and pressing against his back.  Izuku settled into the embrace as he pulled out his phone and started to snap some images.  While he did, Katsuki nuzzled his neck and kissed his jaw.  It made getting the pictures a little difficult, but he couldn't deny he was enjoying the attention.

"You didn't tell anyone, did you?" Izuku asked.

"No, not yet," Katsuki admitted.  His hold tightened a little.  "I will, though."

"I know you will," Izuku said.  He took one last photo before completely relaxing into Katsuki's arms.  "I just had to ask after..."

"I thought it would make a good compromise," he admitted.

"Without telling anyone, right?"

Katsuki scoffed and kissed the tip of his ear.  "It doesn't count, right?"

"Katchan," Izuku quietly scolded.  He put away his phone and removed himself from Katsuki to take his hand again.

"I know, I know..."  He led him again toward whatever their destination was.  "I figured... if I made it obvious, they'd ask, and I'd have to say something, right?"

Izuku clicked his tongue but nodded.  It made sense.  Katsuki had trouble saying the words, so the encouragement to speak would be the inevitable solution.  He was trying, in his own way.  It was all he could ask for.

It wasn't easy for him to speak his feelings.  It never had been, and Izuku knew that.  It had been an issue in their own relationship, so why wouldn't it show up elsewhere in Katsuki's life?  He had to give him the benefit of a doubt, that he would do what he promised.

"So you never mentioned it to Eijirou?"

"What?  No," he defended.  "I mean, I think he's always thought something; he's said stuff before, but—"

"He knows," Izuku interrupted.

"What do you mean he knows?"  They stopped at a crosswalk, waiting for the sign to turn to walk.  "How the fuck does he know?"

Izuku shrugged.  "I don't know, he just knows."  They started walking again at the sound of the toryanse.  "Or at least that's how it sounded."

"Idiot," Katsuki said more into the air than anything else.  "Asshole just used to say shit, if he knew something—"

Izuku gave his hand a squeeze.  "He was probably waiting for you to bring it up," he said.  "You can be, well, confrontational if you're not ready to talk about something."

Katsuki sighed.  He knew Izuku was right in his assumption.  He put his arm around him again.  "Whatever."  It was the closest he would probably get to admitting Izuku was right.

"It means you can talk to him about it, though," Izuku assured him.  "I think that would be good for you."

"And good for you, too," he replied.  "That’s what you're getting at, right?"

Izuku sighed.  "It doesn't count, if that's what you want me to say.  You didn't tell him."

Izuku recognised where there were, as they came to a gate at the entrance to a large park.  It was one of the places he had wanted to go to but hadn't gotten a chance to get to. 

Katsuki pulled him close suddenly, turning him so he could kiss him.  Izuku was caught off guard, but let it happen, contently sighing against his lips.

"I'll tell them," he said softly.  He held onto Izuku's face, his touch warm and soft.  "I promised, and I will.  Just give me the chance."

Izuku smiled at him, his gaze soft.  "I am," he said.  "But... if you don't start, I will."

"Deku."

"I know you said by the end of the Tour, but..."  He looked up the steps on the hill.  "The end of next week.  That's how long I'll wait."

"A deadline, really?"

"Consider it me forcing your hand," he admitted.  He started into the park, taking Katsuki's hand and pulling him along.  The park was always open and well-lit, but there was only one or two other people walking around.  The snow had picked up and it was too cold for casual strolling.

Katsuki picked up his pace enough to be side-by-side with him.  "That's... fair, I guess," he offered.  "By the end of next week, I'll tell someone other than Kirishima."

"And if you don't?"

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  "And if I don't, you can tell... whoever."

"Uraraka," Izuku said.

"Yeah, I figured."

They held hands, continuing their stride through the park.  A few moments later, they came to a large cherry tree.  It was bare, the snow the only thing on its branches.  Several lights were pointed at it, illuminating the hibernating timber.

Izuku still admired it.  It was one of the things he had wanted to see in Kyoto, but he silently wished it was later in the year, so he could see it in full bloom.  He didn't know when he'd be back, however, so he would happily take what he could get.  He took out his phone to take more pictures.

Katsuki resumed the position of holding him from behind.  He kissed him once on the cheek, but afterward just settled his head on his shoulder.  He said nothing as Izuku got his fill of images.

"Deku?"

Izuku turned his head, though he really only got sight of blond spikes.  Katsuki's tone was off somehow.  He kissed the top of his head before replying, "Yes?"

"Is it..."  His grip on his waist tightened.  "Is it enough?"

"Is what enough?"

Katsuki buried his head in his neck, like he was hiding his eyes from him.  "That girl... if we weren't together, would you have...?"

"Of course not," Izuku was quick to answer.  "She was just too... pushy."

"But the fermin..."

Izuku turned around in Katsuki's arms.  He took his face in his hands, tilting him so he could see his eyes, but crimson still looked down.  "Katchan?" he asked, his voice concerned.  "What have you been thinking about?"

"What if... what if it gets too bad?"  His voice was low, almost a whisper.  "What if I'm not there, or just not enough?"

"Katchan, you're more than enough."

"I can't always be, can I?"  Katsuki leaned in, putting his forehead on Izuku's collar.  "Every story I hear from other fermin, it sounds like there's no such thing as enough."

"I don't care," Izuku retorted.  He wrapped his arms around his neck, running a hand through his hair.  "No matter how bad it gets, I only want Katchan."

"What about... what if I told you it was okay?"

Izuku's eyes widened at the implication.  He pulled away, taking Katsuki's face again, forcing him to look him in the eye.  "It isn't okay.  You can say the words, but you won't mean them, and I won't take them."

His brow was furrowed, his face set in confusion and some hurt.  How could he say that?  How could he offer it?  "Even if you say it, even if you said I had permission, it's still cheating.  I won't do that to you, Katchan.  Never."

"You can't say that," he hissed.  His look was bitter and saddened.  "You can't guarantee that.  You have no idea what could happen, how bad it could get, what—"

"Katchan, stop," he lightly commanded.  "You're letting your imagination get the better of you."

"No, I'm not," he insisted.  "How many fermin have you talk to?  It feels like that's the only people I talk to now, and just all their stories, I can't help but—"

Izuku hushed him with a gentle kiss.  "I won't," he repeated.  "And even if you give permission, I won't take it."

"What if I need you to?"

"Katchan."

"If I give you that, even if I don't mean it," he said, a hitch in his voice, "it means I can forgive you."  He held to Izuku, desperation in his touch.  "I'd rather just forgive you if something happens, then... then I wouldn't have to..."

"Katchan," Izuku said, his voice more insistent.  He pressed their foreheads together, his grip on his face tight.  He couldn't get him to look him an eye again, but he wasn't going to let him go.  "You've been in your head again."  He could see the drops of moisture in the corners of his eyes, but he wasn't about to draw attention to them.  "You need to get out of there."

"Deku, I can't... I can't stop thinking about it..."

"I know, it gets in there and you can't get it out, right?"

Katsuki slowly nodded.

Izuku sighed but still gave him a reassuring smile.  He wondered how long he'd been thinking of it.  He knew he had concerns, but the way he talked about it, the worry hit him hard.  He didn't even need to think of it long, it could have just been on the way to the park, but if his thoughts could spiral quickly. 

He was swinging down and quick, and Izuku didn't know if he could bring him back up.  All he could do was be there for him and assure him.

"I'll tell you as many times as you need me to," Izuku told him.  "I'll remind you every day, I don't care."  He kissed his forehead.  "I know this is hard on you, but we can make it, right?"

"It's hard for you, too," he said.  "I shouldn't be so selfish."

"It's not selfish," Izuku replied.  "And you're doing everything for me you can.  You're there when I need you, and the rest I'll do on my own."

"But it's not—"

"It is enough," Izuku interjected.  "You are enough."  He put his arms around him, putting his chin on Katsuki's shoulder.  "And if I need something else, I'll tell you.  Because if I'm missing something, I guarantee you it's not a person."

"Are you missing something?"

Of course that was the only part of the statement he caught onto.

"I want to try things, maybe," Izuku said.  "But only if they're with you."

"What if I can't do what you need me to?"

"Hasn't happened yet."

"Deku."

"There something weird I asked for?"

Katsuki nuzzled into his neck, scoffing.  "Weird?  Maybe."

"Too weird to do?"

"Not yet."

"What if I asked you to fuck me in this park?"

Katsuki laughed.  "One track mind, as always."

"It used to be you, if you'll remember," Izuku teased.

"It's really cold," Katsuki said, his tone mocking.  "You up for that?"

Izuku hadn't really meant it when he first said it, but now that the thought was in his head, it was lingering and taking hold.  He was aware how Katsuki needed him, but thoughts were crawling in, how there was coverage and trees, places to hide and no one to find them.

Would Katsuki be up for something so public after the police station and the hours that came after?

"Deku," Katsuki whispered in his ear.  "You... your smell is picking up."

Izuku pulled away a little at the information.  "I'm sorry," he said quickly.  "I know it's not, it's not a good time, we should just go back and—"

Katsuki took his hands and pulled.  "Tell me you need me."

Izuku gave him an unsure look.  "Katchan?"

Katsuki led him to a small but tight group of trees, just like the ones he'd been thinking of hiding in moments ago.  When they got into the grove, he pulled him against his chest, holding him tight.  "If you need me, tell me."

Izuku's brow relaxed and he fell into Katsuki's arms easily.  He was swinging again, and really, he should be trying to address the original issue, but his body felt too good against his.  They kissed, softly at first, but then Izuku's arms were around his neck, and their lips pushed harder together.

"I need you," he whispered.  "And only you, Katchan."

Katsuki kissed the bridge of his nose.  "It's cold," he reminded him.

"I have you," Izuku told him.  He kissed his chin.  "That'll keep me warm enough."

Katsuki took his face in his hands, kissing him again.  "Say it again."

Izuku smiled against his lips.  "I need you," he said softly.  "I need you, Katchan."

He grunted when he was pushed against a tree, the bark cutting into his neck.  "I love you, Deku," Katsuki said, his voice gravely.  "I want to be the one who takes care of you."

"You're the only one I want to do it," Izuku told him.

Katsuki kissed him roughly.  A hand was between his legs, rubbing his inner thigh.  "Whatever you want, just ask."

Izuku nodded.  He wanted more of what Katsuki was doing, he wanted to feel him and call out his name.  "Fuck me," he commanded. 

A smirk crossed his lips.  "Whatever you want," he repeated before leaning in for another kiss.

Chapter Text

Katsuki stared out the window, his lips set in a straight line as he watched people moving along the train platform.  He had been one of the first in line to get on the shinkansen, eager and more than ready to get away from Kyoto.  The week hadn't been particularly kind to him, and he just wanted to put things far behind him.

He put his head in his hand, propping his elbow on the arm of his seat, and leaned a little against the cool glass.  He closed his eyes and flirted with the idea of just going to sleep. 

He was exhausted.  He hadn't slept since the day before.  When he and Izuku got back to the dormitory after their trip to the park, they had stayed up even further into the night.  They never went to visit their friends in the common area, ignoring them for private attention.  He had made promises to Izuku of things he couldn't do easily in the cold and public, and his boyfriend was intent on him keeping his commitments.

When they were done, Izuku had brought up some of the conversation the night before.  He gave Katsuki more reassurances and affections of the non-physical kind.  Katsuki, for the most part, appreciated it.  He hadn't meant to be so emotional, but it was thoughts that had started to weigh him down, and he couldn't help the words that were leaving his lips.

Katsuki knew Izuku would never be unfaithful, and it was an awful thing he had suggested it.  It wasn't even how he meant to phrase it, but he knew that was how it came out.  Izuku didn't fault him, didn't think he was lacking in trust, but he wasn't sure if he got the full grasp of what Katsuki was trying to offer him.  He wasn't trying to suggest Izuku go out and find someone if he needed to; he was just trying to tell him if it came to it, he had Katsuki's blessing.

It was a ruse, of course, and there was no truth to his permission.  Izuku was right to call him out on it.  But Katsuki had convinced himself if he had said the words, it would make it easier if something did in fact happen.  He had thought about it, more than once, since the thoughts had started to get out of control.

There was a chance Izuku would not be able to help himself.  And if that happened, he would need to acknowledge what that meant for their relationship.  And to Katsuki, no matter how he justified it, how he had his own personal beliefs on the matter, he always came to the same answer:

He would forgive Izuku. 

He would forgive him and move on, because that course of action was the only thing that made sense to him.  If he lived out his actual philosophy, what he had said to others in similar kinds of scenarios, he would leave Izuku without a second thought.  But he couldn't do that.  He couldn't leave him.  He had put too much into the relationship, into becoming someone worth such a relationship, and he could not imagine spending any of his future without Izuku in it.

Maybe he was being foolish.  Maybe he was letting his youth get to him.  But he didn't care.  All he knew is he wanted Izuku to continue being there; to one day be able to come back from work to him, to wake up with him, to start a home with him.  And that meant forgiving him for something he couldn't exactly help.

It had taken him too long to understand how the fermin worked for those that endured it.  He should have been listening more, but it was really parts of his night with Ashido as his partner that made him start to realise things.  From what she described, her fermin had been similar to Izuku's, where both her pheromone and libido were too much.  She empathised with Izuku on the days he was out, as she remembered almost a week she couldn't come to school.

Ashido made it clear that Katsuki should cut him some slack.  She made it clear that he needed to understand it was awful for a fermin, especially for ones who had it more severe.  She made it clear that mistakes would happen, and it would be on Katsuki how to handle them, to show him that he supported him than to simply act like it was something so easily dismissed.

Ashido had been right.  He just had to let it process.

Katsuki sighed.  He hadn't slept after Izuku and he were done talking.  He had held his boyfriend for a while, listening to his soft breathing as he fell asleep, but he was wide awake.  He stayed for only so long before leaving, making sure he wouldn't get caught.

He went to his room, but found himself only staring up at the ceiling after laying down.  The students were supposed to be sleeping during the night, or at least trying to, to get ready for next week.  In the morning, they were woken up and given little meaningless projects to do to keep them awake during the day.  They had a small gym class in the middle of the day to try and help, too, but it seemed to do little.  Almost everyone was tired as they got a one day bag ready and got to the train station.

"You're not going to sleep on me the entire ride, are you?"

Katsuki grunted, slowly opening his eyes to glare at Kirishima as he sat in the seat next to him.  The train they were in was set up in rows of two with more cars, something that irritated Katsuki.  When they had the four facing seating, he could rely on his friends talking to themselves, leaving him a chance to escape conversations when the socialising became too much for him.  With just two of them, though, he would be forced into more talking then he would want to be active in.

Kirishima was a bit better about it, knowing that his friend needed time out of the group, but he still was a chatterbox that liked being acknowledged.

"Up all night, huh?"  He was grinning, his fangs glinting as his brow raised suggestively.

Katsuki growled.  Izuku had shared the revelation with him the night before, and he knew it was something that would come up, something that they would have to talk about.  He wasn't looking forward to it, though.  He wasn't looking forward to telling anyone the truth, nonetheless having a lengthy talk about it.

"You know, Touru-chan has ideas of what you two got up to after the arcade."

He groaned and rubbed his forehead.  He should have told her from the beginning, instead of letting her imagination run wild.  "I don't even want to know."

Kirishima snickered.  "Can't help wondering if she's near to right, though."

"Considering she doesn't know anything, I highly doubt it."

His friend leaned in, the grin still plastered on his face.  "So, what were you two doing?"

"We just went to the park," Katsuki answered.  He stared out the window again.  He put his chin in his palm again, keeping his face from Kirishima so nothing in his facial expressions would betray him.

"That sounds romantic," Kirishima said.  His voice lacked the teasing tone from just a moment ago.

"Maybe if it weren't the middle of winter, it would have been."

"Aw, didn't like his date idea?"

"It was my idea," Katsuki quickly corrected.

"Huh."  Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Kirishima scratching his chin.  "Kind of figured you wouldn't be that kind of guy."

That got Katsuki to look back at him, brow raised.  "You don't think I can be romantic?"

Kirishima shrugged and slouched into his seat.  "I mean, to be fair..."

He sighed and rolled his head back.  "No, that's fair."

They both chuckled at the immutable fact and relaxed into a comfortable silence.  He was surprised how natural the conversation was.  Kirishima didn't even mention anything about the relationship, just accepted it as the reality it was.  It was almost like they had always talked about it, how easily it flowed from him.

He should have told him long ago.  He should have never kept it secret.  How much would have been different if he had let him in?  He could almost hear Izuku chiding him for his hesitance.

"Hey, guys."

They both looked up at Izuku, standing in the aisle, a bag slung over his shoulder.  He had a small smile on his face, but he looked tired, too.  Katsuki almost wanted to scoff at that, seeing as he actually did get some sleep.

"Hey, Midoriya," Kirishima greeted, still smiling widely.  "Did you want to sit here?  I'll move."

Izuku's smile widened a little at the consideration, but he shook his head and gave a small, dismissive wave.  "That's all right.  Katchan and I already made plans for a different train," he said.  His eyes flicked to him for some sort of cooperation, and Katsuki only grunted in agreement.  "Besides, I already told someone else I'd sit with them."

"Who?"

Both of them looked at Katsuki.  He hadn't even realised he asked, especially with the tone of voice that came, but he couldn't take it back.  Izuku tilted his head a little, but his smile only faltered for a second before it settled to something between understanding and reassuring.

"Kuroiro," he answered.  "I ditched him last night, so..."

Katsuki's brow was furrowed, a growl set in the base of his throat, but he decided to ignore it.  He hadn't liked that attention the darkened student had been giving to his boyfriend, but he knew he was probably overreacting.  He hadn't done anything more than try and hang out with Izuku, so there was really no reason why he was getting so anxious about it.  But he still was.

He gave a small huff, but forced out a shrug before he leaned back in his seat and slouched.

"Dude," Kirishima said with a nudge.  He turned his attention back to Izuku.  "What did you need?  Wanted to give us a kiss?"

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "I was actually wondering if I could borrow Katchan's phone."

Katsuki's gaze fell on him, brow raised.  "Why do you want my phone?"

Izuku gave a nervous chuckle, scratching the back of his head.  "I forget to charge mine last night, and I wanted some music."

Katsuki scoffed, but he was already removing the device from his pocket.  He handed it over to Izuku, who took it, his thumb grazing his palm as he did.  "Just give it back later," he instructed.

"And text me if you need him," Kirishima interjected.  "But try to keep it kid-friendly, right?"

There was a light blush on Izuku's cheeks.  Katsuki smiled despite himself.  He couldn't help but enjoy the look on his boyfriend's face.  "I think that's asking a lot of him," Katsuki teased.

"Hush, Katchan," Izuku defended.  He put the mobile in his pocket.  "I am not that bad."

Katsuki decided it best not to acknowledge the dishonesty of the statement.  He had not been bad previously, maybe, but his fermin sure made his thoughts come easily uninhibited.

"Oh, and, Midoriya."  Kirishima tugged at his sleeve, gesturing for him to lean down and whisper something into his ear.  Katsuki furrowed his brow some, his teeth clinched as he watched them.  Izuku blushed a little more and nodded as he straightened himself up.

"See you guys at the station," he said, his smile soft.  Kirishima waved him with a parting, and Katsuki just huffed something under his breath.

When his boyfriend was way down the aisle, heading to another car, Katsuki gave Kirishima a look.  "What did you say to him?" he asked, his tone a little too harsh.

Kirishima seemed unfazed, shrugging as he sunk into his seat a little.  "Just a suggestion."

Katsuki raised a brow.  "What kind of suggestion?"

"Don't worry about it," he insisted, grinning.  "Just wanted to make sure he was entertained through the trip."

"What?"

Kirishima waved him off.

Katsuki murmured under his breath.  He was quiet for a moment, his head following against the rest.  After a moment, a thought came to him, nagging at his mind.  "How long have you known?"

Kirishima hummed, tapping his chin.  "About a year or more?"

He sat up straight, his eyes wide.  "A year or more?" he exclaimed but kept his tone low.  "How have you known so long and not said anything?"

His friend lulled his head to the side to look him in the eyes.  "Was waiting for you to say something, man."

Katsuki couldn't think of any argument to that.  It wasn't simply that he was notorious rough to start difficult conversations with, but he also hadn't taken any of the invitations Kirishima had given him for the topic.  Ever since they had become best friends during first year, Kirishima had always been saying things.  He had made several allusions all along those years.

At first it had been just fleeting comments.  Kirishima would point out Katsuki's fixation on Izuku, calling him out that it had to be more than just bullying.  It wasn't until after Katsuki came out to him half way through first year that he amped up the rhetoric, coming on with full blown interrogations.  Kirishima had never let him go of it.  He gave him pep talks, ushering Katsuki into situations where he would have to speak to Izuku.

At the time, Katsuki had thought he was trying to be his wingman.  Now that he could look back it, he wondered if he was just trying to force him into a confession.  He had been giving him an easy way into the conversation for some time now, and he was blatantly missing it.

"Yeah, well..."  Katsuki slouched down more in his seat, his arms crossed and his eyes forward.  "A guess it's said now, right?"

"Really, Midoriya was the one to say it," he corrected.

Katsuki huffed.  "He's been eager for that lately."

"You guys doing okay?"

"What?"

Kirishima gave him a sincere look.  "Normally I can tell when you two are fighting or something, but lately it just seems... weird."

"He's, ah..."  Katsuki hesitated. 

He thought about telling him everything.  He had talked to Tokoyami and Ashido, but they weren't really the people he wanted to have the conversation with.  But Kirishima was his closest friend, other than Izuku.  He was someone worth talking to, someone who could give him something personal the others couldn't.  They could tell him about the fermin, but Kirishima would probably be able to understand better what he was going through because he knew him.  He knew his attitude and how things affected him.

But he only knew him.  How much could he know of the relationship itself?  Would he need to fill him in on that first?  Did he even deserve to have this conversation, when technically he was still depriving Izuku of one with Uraraka?

If he talked to Kirishima about it, that meant he had to open up to someone else about their relationship.  But he was planning on doing it anyway, right?  He'd just have to do it sooner rather than later.  So he could talk to his friend, he would just need to keep his promise with no more excuses.

He could do that.

"Deku's... he's going through his fermin," he admitted after a long pause.

"Really?" Kirishima asked, his voice holding a hint of surprise.  "That's kind of weird, isn't it?"

"More like kind of awful," Katsuki retorted, his voice lowered some.  "Everyone acts like it's open season on him, and it just...  Fuck..."  He growled, a soft sound more meant for himself.

"I mean, can't really blame anyone."  Kirishima scratched his chin.  "He is kind of cute."

Katsuki glared at him.

Kirishima nudged him.  "Don't worry, still straight as an arrow."

"Sure," he muttered.  From all the stories he'd been hearing about the fermin, sexuality didn't really seem to matter in a lot of situations.  Though that wasn't a reality for Kirishima, whether he wanted to deny it or not.  "That's why you keeping fucking Sparky."

Kirishima's face instantly reddened at the accusation.  He couldn't deny it: Katsuki had caught them a couple of times, and they both had confided in him separately about the situation.  He had his own opinions on the subject, but he kept them to himself, knowing they wouldn't help anything.

Though he had always made it clear he wouldn't let Kirishima get away with calling himself straight.  He wasn't, and that was okay.  Getting his friend to make the same acknowledgement, though, seemed impossible.

Kirishima coughed and looked away for a second.  Without comment on the previous statement, he went on to say, "I bet it sucks, but people have always had an eye on him.  Can't be that much worse now, can it?"

Katsuki rubbed his temple.  "You have no idea..."

"You could always, you know... give me an idea?"

Katsuki looked over at him to find his friend giving him a sincere smile.  He didn't respond instantly.  But he had already said so much, would it be so terrible to say something more?

"It's just... fuck, it's not what I thought it was..."

Kirishima leaned in, his interest obviously piqued.  "Go on."

And Katsuki did.  He was surprised how easily the words came out the moment they started, but he didn't stop them either.  He didn't notice as the train started, so wrapped up in the conversation.  Kirishima was equally enthralled, leaning in, and eagerly listening to him.

Two hours went by almost too quickly.  The conversation was almost nonstop aside from small breaks when Izuku texted Kirishima.  He would casually hand over the phone with some quip about keeping it safe for innocent eyes.  Katsuki would roll his eyes, but still happily answered the messages.  The notes were questions and little hints of affection, but nothing more than that.

When the train stopped in Tokyo, they had just gotten past his irritation with Tokoyami.  The beginning of his complaints had more to do with the fermin itself and learning about it.  He expressed some annoyance with the amount of sex he was having, something he never thought he'd complain about in his entire life.  Even Kirishima called him out on it, but more to tease him than anything else.

Their conversation paused as they parted ways at the station.  Kirishima assured him they would pick it up later before he went off to find Kaminari.  Their next train wasn't for another hour, and it seemed as good a time as any to get something to eat.

He was caught by Izuku before he could even leave the station for food.  His boyfriend simply grinned and dragged him away.  It was a little harder to be sneaky when so many of their peers and teachers (and Aizawa, why was he still here?) around, but they made it work.

Which is how Katsuki found himself in a stall in the furthermost bathroom, Izuku in his lap and his hand on his mouth.  It wasn't the optimal situation, but it seemed to do the trick for Izuku by the smile he had as they left the stall.  He kissed him softly, his cheeks flushed and his touch soft, and he whispered a declaration before he went to find Uraraka.

It made Katsuki regret his earlier griping.  The amount of their intimacy was overwhelming sometimes, but he was happy to be sharing it with him.

Katsuki was only barely able to get any food before the time came for the next train.  He was still eating his yakitori off the stick as he headed back to the line of students.  He was halted before getting to the platform by a hand on his shoulder.  When he turned, he found himself staring into the tired eyes of his former professor.

"What do you want?" he asked, his tone impatient.  He really didn't want to talk to Aizawa, considering their short conversation the other day.

"Just wanted to tell you," he said, "the hotel arrangements have been made."

Katsuki furrowed his brow a little.  The train schedule had been pushed back later in than day, making the ride to Sapporo go overnight.  It meant that there would be a stay in a hotel, but he had been trying to ignore who would be roomed with who.

"What about it?"

Aizawa kept his indifferent look despite his indignant tone.  "You won't be with Midoriya."

"Fine," Katsuki bit back.

"And I'll be keeping an eye out, making sure you don't try anything."

Katsuki almost wanted to comment how useless that threat was, especially as the feeling of their love-making was still fresh in his memory.

"I have no idea what you mean," was his response.

He didn't argue with him.  "Just behave," was his final warning before he left him to join the other teachers.  Katsuki watched him as he approached the other adults, his step intent mostly on Present Mic.

Hypocrite, Katsuki thought.  He stalled for only a moment more before he went back into the line with the other students.

Izuku bumped into him, almost certainly purposefully by the grin on his lips.

"Forgot to give you your phone back," he said, heading him said object as they followed the others to get on the train.  "Thanks.  I was able to charge mine during the ride."

"Keep you entertained?  Or did you even need it with Shade?"

"Katchan."

"...sorry."

Izuku brushed his thumb over the back of his hand for just the briefest of moments.  "It's okay," he said.  "But really..."

"I know."  They stepped into the train.  They took a side step behind the end seats as students passed them by.  Katsuki rubbed his face.  He looked over everyone before turning his attention back to Izuku.  "I know, I didn't mean it, I just didn't think it..."

"I know you didn't mean it," Izuku assured him.  "But I have friends I—"

"No, no, go, sit with whoever you want," he said with a wave.

"I was going to no matter what," Izuku returned with a playful smile on his lips.

Katsuki smirked at the remark.  "Of course," he said.  He wanted to lean in, kiss him and send him on his way, but there were too many eyes.  He would settle with just a stolen touch of the arm for now.

"But we're still on for after Aomori?"

Katsuki nodded. 

"And call your mother."

"What?"

"You got three texts from her, wondering about you."

Katsuki grumbled.  He hadn't spoken or messaged her since the end of the first week.  Of course he should have, and there was a nagging part of his conscience that told him to do it at least twice a day, but he didn't really want to face her questions.  With his mood all over the place, the simple inquiry of 'how have you been?' seemed almost daunting.

"Yeah, whatever," he responded, if only to pacify his boyfriend.

Izuku had an unbelieving look on his face, but didn't press the matter.  He looked over his shoulder at the passing students filling into the train, and his gaze paused when Todoroki walked by.  The other one seemed to sense he was being looked at, and for a brief moment they shared a glance as he smiled at Izuku.

Katsuki frowned.  He heard the words Todoroki had started the other day, and he didn't like how they ended in his imagination.

Izuku was already turning back to him as Katsuki took his hand, squeezing it.

"Katchan—"

"I love you," he said in a hushed and desperate tone.

Izuku's features softened, his smile widening and appearing as genuine as it always did.  "I love you, too," he said back.  He stroked his hand with his thumb before pulling their palms apart.  "We can hang out at the hotel, okay?"

Aizawa's warnings went through Katsuki's head.  He wanted to defy him, especially if it meant being with Izuku.  They just had to make sure not to be caught in a compromising position, right?

"Yeah, definitely."

Izuku beamed at him.  "Text me." 

He nodded.  A thought occurred to him at the suggestion.  "What did Kirishima tell you earlier?"

Izuku paused, his brow raised as he processed the question.  "Oh!" he exclaimed as he eyes lit up.  A knowing grin crossed his lips.  "He told me to check out your 'Stupid' playlist."

Katsuki's cheeks reddened at the idea.  "Did he now."

"Yeah," he affirmed.  "I hadn't ever listened to it; I always thought it was some sort of joke list or something."  His lips fell to something more playful.  "But I really liked it."

"Of course you did."

"Don't worry, Katchan," he said.  He reached out, stroking the underside of his chin in a quick and hidden action.  "Only I get to know how much of a sap you are."

Izuku laughed at Katsuki's huff and general annoyance of the accusation.

Izuku was still smiling as he waved and turned to join the shuffling students, off to find his seat.

Katsuki realised he was seating himself next to Todoroki, but he ignored the raise of anxiety that came in his chest.  He knew better.  He sighed, pushing through his doubts as he went to find a seat.

He had wanted to find a spot to himself, not really wanting to talk to anyone, but he had to stop when he came to a set of seats preoccupied by a floating set of clothes and phone.  He looked around the carriage briefly, checking out the other seats.  Almost everyone was seated, having picked their trip partners ahead of time.  Kirishima sat next to Kaminari, the two of them already striking up a conversation, and Ashido was next to Asui.

Katsuki's brow furrowed a little.  The set of clothes gave a start as he sat down heavily in the open seat next to her.

"Oh!  Evening, Katsuki-kun," she greeted.

He grunted his acknowledgement, "Evening."

"Haven't gotten to see much of you today."

"Not really in the mood," he admitted.  He wasn't normally social, but he had been particularly aloof before the train ride.  When they had done their exercises earlier in the day, he had hid in the back of the rows and even ducked out near the beginning of them.  He just hadn't felt up to it before, but over the past couple of hours, he's ease-to-agitation had mellowed out considerably.

"I know you aren't normally," she offered.  "Is everything okay?"  Her sleeve lifted as she leaned in, as if she were holding a hand up to muffle her voice as she asked in a low tone, "Did something happen between you and Midoriya?"

Katsuki sighed, but he couldn't find it in him to be annoyed.  He hesitated for the briefest of moments, pushing back the urge to tell Hagakure the truth.  He should do it.  There was no reason not to tell her, especially with her enthusiasm and honest concern for her new friend.

Later, he told himself.  After everything he told Kirishima earlier, he couldn't will himself to the conversation all over again.  And it would be even more in depth, considering how she didn't have the history to take out half of the exposition.

But he would do it.  He had promised.

"Deku and I are fine," he answered.  His tone was light, as he tried to avoid his normal annoyance at invasion into his private life.

"Oh, good," she said.  "I was wondering.  I mean, you guys were gone all night, so I figured it would be one or the other..."

Katsuki settled further into his seat as the train started to move.  Everyone else was seated, talking amongst themselves.  Even if he wanted to, he wouldn't be able to find a seat.  He had originally thought of sitting alone, but he knew it wouldn't be too bad of a trip.  If anything, the ride would hopefully teach Hagakure when to talk to him and when to leave him alone.

"No, we're... it's good there," he admitted.  It was okay to say it.  "I just didn't sleep much last night."  It was the truth.

"I'm glad," she said, her tone sincere.  "You'll have him by the end of the Tour, huh?"

"That's the hope," he said without thinking.  Hagakure giggled at the response.

"We got the hotel arrangements, by the way," she said, holding up her phone.

Katsuki groaned.  He didn't really want to look at it.  "Great," he replied in a gruff tone.  "Do I even want to look at it?"

Her sleeve moved toward her face, and he could lightly hear her tapping her chin.  "I don't think so," she said.  "You're not with Midoriya."

Katsuki figured Aizawa wasn't lying about that.  "Who's he with?"  That mattered to him more.  He could handle whoever he was with, since it would more than likely be Kirishima or Kaminari.  The teachers had been the ones assigning rooms, after all, and they would probably be putting people together who often fit better.

At least that's what he assumed.

"Looks like Iida-san," she said as she scrolled through her phone.  "That's okay, right?"

Katsuki's preference was Izuku be with him, but there were options clearly better than others.  That one was probably the best out of them all.  Iida was head over heels for Uraraka, and he couldn't imagine him doing anything untoward, even with the fermin involved.  Izuku wouldn't let him either, for obvious reasons, as well as he wouldn't let his friend do something horrible to his best friend.

He didn't hide the sigh of relief.  "Yeah, that's fine."

Katsuki tensed a little when Hagakure patted his shoulder.  He willed himself to relax.  She was still way too touchy-feely for his tastes, but he knew she did it out of affection.  She was even more physical with Kirishima and Kaminari as she got closer to them, but she held off when it came to him.  He appreciated her restraint, and he would take what little touch she gave him without backlash to show his gratitude for her consideration.

"Who are you with?" he asked.

She didn't answer right away.  Her body sank down in the seat, as if all of her mirth had been deflated suddenly.

"...no one," she finally said, her voice lilted.

There was a silence after the information.  Katsuki wasn't sure how to answer her.  He knew there had been an odd number from both girls and boys, but he figured they would just lump three of them together.  He frowned, knowing how it would affect her.  Hagakure had been lonely the entire trip.  She hadn't been hanging out with any of the other girls, hovering mostly with their group. 

He silently wished she was sitting next to Ashido.  It wasn't for any lack of compassion on his part; more so that she would be better at handling her and possibly make her feel better.

She leaned in a little, her body close to his.  It made him think of when Izuku and he first started dating, and Izuku clearly wanted to be closer to him, but didn't know how to bridge the gap. 

Katsuki sighed.  He let his shoulder drop toward her.  The idea made him anxious, but he knew she needed the comfort.  It wasn't more than a moment that she took the offer, laying her head on his shoulder.

"Maybe you should see if one of the other girls would let you stay with them," he suggested.  "Like Ashido or something."

"That... that probably isn't a good idea," she said, her tone soft.

"Why?"  He remembered the way Ashido had asked about her the other day.  What was with these two?  Shouldn't they be hanging out?  They were almost inseparable last year, aside from when she was with—

Something clicked in Katsuki's brain; something that should have clicked a few nights ago when he was talking to Ashido.  He was ashamed that it took him this long to put two and two together.

"It was her," Katsuki said, more of a statement than a fact.

"It wasn't her fault," Hagakure was quick to defend.  "...and it wasn't his fault."

"So you've said."  And he believed her.  He had finally come to understand why she wasn't mad at them, why she was so quick to forgive them for the transgression.  But he also understood why it would be hard to be around Ashido.  It only complicated the matter that Ashido probably thought the breakup had to do with the cheating.

But that wasn't why.  And it made Katsuki wonder if Hagakure had ever mentioned her forgiveness to her friend.

"We'll check on you before you go to sleep," Katsuki offered.  "It's just a little while before we get back on the train, after all."  He adjusted a little, just enough that he would be comfortable with the weight on his shoulder.  "Kaminari would insist anyway.  He has this weird thing about keys."

"Keys?"

"Yeah, he likes having a copy of everyone's keys," he answered.  "We've done a couple of trips with him, and he always wants them.  He just kind of drops in unannounced." 

Memories of the couple of summer trips he took with his friends played in his mind.  Katsuki always wanted a separate room, but it never seemed to matter with Kaminari around, as he always showed up in his room (normally with Kirishima) by the morning, and they would dogpile on him. 

He both hated and enjoyed it.  But it wasn't something he would ever tell them.

"I don't... I don't know if I'm comfortable with that," she said.  "I know he can't see anything, but it just..."

"Just give me your extra key, if they give you one," he said.  "That way he has to bother me before he can bug you, and I can give you a heads up."

Hagakure nodded against his shoulder.  "You know, you can be a good guy sometimes."

Katsuki huffed.  She just laughed.

"You still have that email up?"

"Yeah, hold on."  She lifted her phone, opening the screen and putting it between them.  He used the hand not attached to the arm she was leaning on to scroll between the names, scanning for his own.

"You have got to be fucking kidding me," he said through gritted teeth.

"What?"

"Fucking half and half."

"Half and half?  Do you mean Todoroki?"  She tapped the screen, stretching the pixels to extend the text for easier reading as she confirmed her own question.  "He's not that bad, is he?"

Katsuki just gave a slight growl.

"I know you two don't see eye-to-eye, but really..."

"...he likes Deku," Katsuki said.

"Really?  How do you know?"

"I just... know."  He didn't want to say he knew by the way he looked at him, how it mirrored some of his own fawning.

"Has it been for a while?"

"Since first year's Sports Festival."

"No," she replied, her voice somewhat shocked.  She turned her head, tilting to face him, probably to read his expressions.  "That long?  Really?"

Katsuki nodded.  He had known about Todoroki's crush even before he was sure of his own affections for Izuku.  He had seen the way he stared, understood the way his voice changed when he talked about him, how he had gone out of his way to visit Shizuoka when he could.

He hadn't told Izuku.  He didn't even want to address it.  Bringing it up meant bringing up too many mixed feelings.  He didn't want to see the look in Izuku's face when he found out how Todoroki felt.  He didn't want to even think what would happen with that knowledge.

Todoroki was infinitely a better choice for him.  Izuku had to know that.  If he knew he could be with someone so perfect, what would stop him from making the right decision?  Katsuki didn't want to let go of him, not yet.  It was selfish, but he wouldn't let Izuku get away so easily.

"Well," she said, "I'm still in your corner, Katsuki-kun."

Katsuki turned away some as he smiled despite himself.  "Whatever," he said.

He was sure she understood it as the 'thank you' it was intended to be.

The rest of the train ride was relatively pleasant.  There was still light conversation of varying topics, but they both napped at some points, too.  Hagakure sat back up when they were talking, but slouched over when she nodded off.  By the time they got to the next station, Katsuki had become familiar with the pattern, and he had stopped flinching when her head fell on his shoulder.

Izuku messaged him within twenty minutes of the ride and continued for the duration.  Only the first texts had been anything tame; his boyfriend was quick to descend into something intimate.  They exchanged many flirtatious and outright sensual messages over the ride.  Izuku seemed to be in a mood, which he had guessed from their earlier exploits in the bathroom, but it was only getting worse with every scenario they discussed.

Katsuki didn't mind, though.  It was almost enticing, knowing that his boyfriend was sending him such salacious messages while sitting next to Todoroki.  He even threw in some suggestive pictures that Katsuki was curious about when they were taken, but enjoyed nonetheless.

By the time they arrived at the station in Aomori, Izuku's eagerness had well come through his messages.  As they took a bus to the hotel, Izuku almost strategically made his way to Katsuki's side.  He sat on the seat next to him, leaning in so their shoulders touched, and almost instantly started whispering provocative things to him.

Apparently, his fermin had slowly gotten worse over the day.

Katsuki didn't respond much.  He thought encouraging him much would just complicate things.  He assumed Izuku had gotten the hint, but he seemed unable to control himself as he spouted ideas for the next moment they were alone.

Katsuki hated the look of disappointment on his boyfriend's face when he told him they more than likely wouldn't get a chance for intimacy.  Izuku questioned his meaning, and Katsuki advised him of his earlier run in with their former teacher.  Izuku huffed, muttering about how that shouldn't stop them.

Iida was surely in for an awkward night.

Katsuki met up with his friends at the hotel after Aizawa gave him his key.  He wasn't looking forward to his shared quarters, and he had designs to come in as late as possible when Todoroki would most likely be asleep.  Kirishima and Kaminari seemed up for the late meal, and they discussed their plans in the hotel lobby.

Hagakure joined them, eager to spend time with friends and hold off longer on a night alone.  She was quick to hand off her extra key card to Katsuki, despite Kaminari's insistence that it go to him.  She hung close to him, and he allowed the way she clung to his arm.   He knew she was lonely, and that she just needed some attention.

As the small group chattered amongst themselves, Katsuki looked around the lobby.  He wasn't particularly interested in the topic, knowing full well he'd just go wherever the others decided to go.  His gaze landed on Izuku in his own group of friends.  His boyfriend noticed him for a moment, giving him a smile before turning his attention back to Iida and Todoroki for a further discussion.

Katsuki got lost in thought for the briefest of moments, contemplating how maybe he could sneak a rendezvous with Izuku.  He knew he would be eager for it, and there was a part of him just as longing for a true chance alone.  He wasn't even thinking anything sexual; he just wanted to give him attention, to hold him, and kiss him and just... talk.

He wondered how long Izuku could just talk at this point, though.

Katsuki watched as Present Mic joined the small group, talking amongst them but mostly to Izuku.  Katsuki squinted, curious at the change in expression on his boyfriend's face.  Present Mic leaned in, cupping his hand to his ear as he whispered something to him.  Izuku's face turned all shades of red as he listened to whatever was being told to him.  He looked down at the floor, nodding in agreement, as he continued to change colour.

He was about to take out his phone, ready to message his questions to him, when he was yanked back to his own group of friends as Hagakure started to pull at his elbow.  He grunted, and he thought about pulling away, wandering over to Izuku and getting the information he wanted, but she (and the others) was being insistent.  Katsuki let himself be pulled, resigning himself to the group activity.  He would just text Izuku as soon as he could.

They split for a moment to take their things to their rooms, to reconvene in the lobby shortly after.  Katsuki had sent a message to his boyfriend, only to have the response, I'll tell you later.

Katsuki huffed at that, but let him have it.

It was a couple of hours before they were back, their bellies full.  Hagakure parted ways with them first, mentioning she wanted to get off to sleep sooner than later.  Though she didn’t say it, Katsuki made the assumption that she was just ready for the day to be over.

It wasn't much longer after that Kaminari and Kirishima had slunk off together.  They were rooming together, so their departure together made sense, but the way Kaminari hung off his arm made Katsuki think of the conversation he had with his friend earlier in the day.  They wouldn't be far from him, being only in the next room over from him, and he already knew he could rely on Kaminari being his alarm clock somehow, even without a key for access.

Katsuki himself wasn't looking forward to the end of the day.  He knew it was better to get it over with.  Maybe Todoroki would already be asleep, and he could just slink in and get in bed without any attention.  Or maybe he snuck off to someone else’s room, and Katsuki would be left alone.  That was a much better scenario, though one he was sure he wouldn't get.

Unless he snuck into the room with Izuku and Iida.

He clenched his teeth.  Why was he letting his thoughts get away from him?

Katsuki was still in the hotel lobby when the thoughts were starting to sink in.  He was still waiting for the elevators as he rubbed his forehead, grumbling.  He had to rein in those wandering reveries before they led him somewhere he’d rather not go. 

He needed a distraction.  Maybe he'd just wander the halls for hours.  He didn’t really need sleep, right?

"Katsuki-kun!"

Katsuki turned to the direction he heard his name from.  Ashido was waving as she almost skipped toward the elevators and came to a halt just within reach of him.  Her smile was large and inviting.

"Ashido," he gave a monotone greeting.

"On your way to find Midoriya?" she asked through a knowing look.

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  "Not tonight."

The elevator dinged and a second later the doors opened.  They both stepped in and went to opposite sides of the metal box.  Katsuki was grateful for the lack of closeness in the small space.  The train ride had left him too close to people, and all he wanted at the moment was just some room.

Ashido clicked her tongue.  "Shame," she said.  "If his smell is any indication..."

"It's weird when you say stuff like that."

She chuckled.  "Just saying."

Katsuki pushed the number of his floor.  "Whatever."

There was a brief silence as the elevator dinged once more.  They both pulled out their phones and checked them as they waited for their floor to come up.  He had a couple of messages from Izuku, some rambling from Kirishima, and notifications from Kaminari's social media with new selfies from the dinner and already from the hotel room.

Hagakure had an update on her blog.  It was brief, but the text was feigned happiness when he knew she was lonely.

Katsuki looked up at Ashido.  She was too focused on the screen in front of her to notice his attention.  A thought came to him.

"Ashido," he called.

She glanced up at him, a half smile on her lips.  "Mm?"

Katsuki fished around in his pocket for a second before extending his hand to her.  "Go see Hagakure."

Ashido blinked.  She looked at the keycard he was holding out to her and then looked back at him.  "Touru-chan?  Why?"  She held up a hand to decline the offer.  "I don't think—"

"I don't care what you think," he interrupted.  He didn't lower his arm, instead holding it out further.  "She needs the company."

"Why don't you?"

Katsuki narrowed his brow a little.  "Because it would be better from you."

"Listen, Katsuki-kun, it's not... it's not a good idea, we—"

"I know what happened," he said.  Her eyes widened a little in surprised, but settled into an uneasy look.  "But you..."  He paused.  It wasn't exactly his place to tell.  But at the same time, he knew pieces that the girls didn't.

"You should see her," he repeated.  "And ask her the real reason she broke up with Oujiro."

"I... I know why, I don't need to revisit that."

The elevator stopped and a moment later the doors slid open.  Katsuki stepped forward, standing in the way before Ashido could leave.  He hit the door closed button and then selected Hagakure’s floor, only one up.

"You don't know why," he corrected.  "Because it wasn't for the reason you think it was."  He shoved the key into her hand, and she reluctantly took it.  "Ask her.  You both need it.  And she needs to hear it."

Ashido stared at the card.  It wasn’t more of a moment before the doors were opening again.  She glanced up at them, and he could tell for a moment, she was thinking of ignoring the floor.

It was hard when Katsuki was pressing the door open button.

"It's 1328."

"Katsuki-kun—"

"I wouldn’t be saying anything if I didn’t think it mattered, would I?"

This got Ashido to stop her line of questioning immediately.

"Okay," she said.  "I'll go talk to her.  But when she gets upset, you better deal with it."

Katsuki nodded.  "Fine."

Ashido gave him one last glance before stepping off the elevator and off into the hallway.  The doors closed as she headed toward her friend.  Katsuki thought maybe she would turn around, wait for the elevator to come back and leave her, or even go to the stairs, but he had hope that she would go through with it.

As the doors closed, Katsuki leaned heavily against the back wall of the elevator.  He sighed and scratched at the back of his head.  It had been too much in one day.  Too much interaction, too much talking, too many emotions in one day.

Katsuki was exhausted.

He just wanted to go to sleep.  He wanted nothing more to do with anyone for the day.  He needed the break.  He really was hoping he could just get to that point without any more interaction.

He propped the door to his room open for an extra moment after using his key.  He slid the card under the neighbouring door where he knew Kaminari would find it the next day.  He figured it would be better than him pounded on the door in the morning.

Besides, it might get a good scare out of Todoroki.  That thought was pleasant enough.

It was dark and quiet when he got into the hotel room.  His steps were slow and silent as he walked in and closed the door behind him.  Thankfully, he could hear the shower running and found the room empty.  He found his bag, still on his bed and undisturbed, and he quickly changed into his nightclothes.  He dug out his charger and hooked up his phone in a practiced motion.

Katsuki figured if he just tucked himself in, even if he didn't go to sleep right away, he could fend off any conversation.  They could ignore each other, which is what he wanted more than anything.  He rarely talked to Todoroki, and he still had a bad taste in his mouth from the last subject that was brought up between them.

Katsuki threw his bag to the side and quickly got under the covers.  He pulled the blanket high on his face and turned away from the direction of the bathroom.  He did this just in time as the faucet turned off.  Good.  He could just pretend he had come in during the shower and fallen right asleep.  Todoroki would get it.  He wasn't going to start anything unless he really needed something.

Like to talk about Izuku.

Katsuki groaned.  He needed his thoughts to cooperate.  Stop heading down that way.  He knew better.  He definitely knew better.  Getting his delusions back in line was part of the problem, though.

Try to think of something else, he chided himself.  Try and forget about him, think about something, think about...

He wished he had somehow conned his friends to staying out later.  Just long enough until he came back to his roommate sleeping, just long enough that his mind wasn't easily caught off guard.  But Kaminari had been clear he wanted to go back, and Kirishima was giving in to him way too easily, and Hagakure wasn’t going to argue.  And who was he to argue?  He couldn't just stay out by himself, they would ask him what's wrong, if they needed to stay out, too.

The door to the bathroom opened.  Feet shuffled around.  Katsuki curled into himself.  Don't say anything, just go to sleep, leave me alone.

His whole body tensed when the mattress dipper with weight.  What the hell was Todoroki doing?  Why was he so close, why—

There was a smell in the air.  He knew that smell.

Breath on his ear.  A whisper that sent a shiver done his spine: "Katchan~."

Katsuki sat up, turning around to meet the glint of eyes he didn't need the light to know were green. "Deku?"

Arms wrapped around him, and a face tucked into his neck.  "I was wondering when you'd get here," he mused.

"Uh... not that I'm bitching or anything," he started, putting an arm around his back, "but I thought you were staying with...?"

Izuku took a moment to adjust until he was in Katsuki's lap.  His body draped around him as Katsuki put his hands on his hips.  He kissed him, his lips soft but eager, and he instantly responded.  Izuku pushed against him, and the smell became more evident.

"Deku—"

"Present Mic changed the arrangements," he whispered against his lips before kissing him again.  "He knows, but he doesn't care."

Katsuki tangled a hand in his hair as he pressed his lips up his jaw.  "Aizawa doesn't agree."

Izuku snickered.  "He mentioned that," he said.  "He also called him a stick in the mud."

Katsuki couldn't help but laugh at that.  "At least someone's on our side."

"A lot of people would be," Izuku corrected.

Katsuki flipped him over, kissing him as he put himself on top of him and between his legs.  "Don’t want to hear about it right now."

He chuckled.  He put his hands on his face, stroking his cheek as he kissed his nose.  "Good.  Because I don't want to talk much right now."

Katsuki had never felt such appreciation for a coming lack of conversation.  He brought his lips back to Izuku's, ready to show him his gratitude for the respite.

Chapter Text

Izuku had realised at some point in his hero internship that he wasn't good with talking to reporters.

He found that if he didn't freeze completely, he would overshare something that was unrelated to hero work.  It had only happened a few times before, where he was expected to talk about whatever heroic deed he'd done, and he bombed the interview.  After that, he kept his answers short and much like All Might's 'I did what I had to' kind of responses and then he'd move on.

In the third week of the Graduate Tour, Izuku found a microphone in his face and questions directed at him.  He couldn't even begin to think of answers, with how quickly the last twenty minutes had gone by.  He hadn't even started this, he'd just followed when he realised what was happening.

Izuku took a step back, and with a quick segue, he introduced the reporter to Iida.  His friend was much more equipped for these things.  He had been raised with other heroes, and his answers came almost too naturally.  It was of no difficulty that he took over for Izuku, starting the interview with ease and going forward with whatever the brunette had in store for him.

Izuku pardoned himself quietly, stepping away from the camera and reporter.  He turned back to the scene that had led them to their news-worthy situation.  A bus was turned on its side, the side facing up crunched in at various spots.  There was a small group of people still being led away from disaster, after a hole was opened on roof to help them get out.  It was the only way to get access to the persons inside, the damage to the frame too great to open any windows or doors without breaking glass.

The culprit for such damage was being handled by a mix of police and hero.  Kirishima had taken the brunt of the man’s attacks, accepting hit after to his stone body from his metaled hands.  The diamond edge claws had nothing on his tough skin, making him the only one able to withstand him as the officers were trying to subdue him with Tasers and other such means.

Uraraka led the group helping the survivors out of the bus.  She was giving instructions while also clearing the streets of debris from the villain’s earlier attacks.  There were other upturned cars (thankfully they weren’t in use but parked on the street) that she righted, and she piled up the broken pieces of street that would later need to be replaced.

Almost every member of the Graduate Tour was involved in the clean-up and handling of victims and villain.  The only ones who were distracted were himself, Iida, and Katsuki, who had been accosted by people with varying curiosities.  Iida and Izuku had been addressed by the news reporter, but Katsuki had been approached by someone who seemed unaffiliated with the press.  Izuku wasn’t sure who it was, but the young man talking to his boyfriend was eager in his questioning.

Izuku couldn’t help but notice the way he leaned in while he was talking to Katsuki.  He frowned.  There really was no need to be that close, was there?

"Can you believe this shit?"

Izuku gave a small start when an arm slung around him.  It was momentary, easing when he looked up at Kirishima, who was grinning back at him.  "Y-yeah, it's something else..."

"I can't get over it, though," he went on, "Bakugou jumping off the fucking train!  What the fuck was he thinking?"  Kirishima's tone was jovial, and he gave a hearty laugh at it.

Izuku nodded.  It had been quite a thing to watch.  It hadn't been too long ago that they were on the shinkansen into Sapporo, only about fifteen minutes away from the station.  Katsuki had been in the seat behind him, next to Kirishima while Izuku had Iida in his row.  He had been turned slightly in his seat, peaking over the back to talk to Katsuki, and his boyfriend staring out the window watching the snow fall and responding to him in grunts and shrugs.

It had been sudden when Katsuki stood up.  Izuku had only barely registered the change in his expression when he was out of his seat, leaping over Kirishima and running down the aisle.  No one had any thought to stop him as he ripped open the door, but only had wide eyes as he was within a second's notice jumping out of the moving train.

It was only a second more before Kirishima, Iida, and he were similarly out of their seats and following.  The tracks were high above the ground, but it mattered not as they were on Katsuki's heels, seeing his bellowing smoke clouds as they leapt after him.  Izuku held onto Kirishima as he armoured up, creating a slight crater as he landed shortly after Katsuki.  Uraraka had noticed them in time to aide Iida in getting down, and by the time they were all on the ground, they were able to grab onto the speedster hero to catch up to Katsuki, who had gotten a head start on them.  Though Katsuki had only been a few seconds ahead of them jumping out the train, it was enough for bullet train to get away from where he landed, not the least where he was going, which seemed the opposite direction.

Katsuki, though, in his trademark style, had left puffs of clouds from his explosions in his wake.  It was easy to pick up on where he was going and to trail him through the streets.  Behind them, other students had started to come along, finding other ways to get down from the tracks or help others do the same.  The four of them had a lead, however, and it wasn't too long before they came upon Katsuki.

The bus was already on its side when they got there.  Izuku could hear screams of confusion and fear from inside the vehicle.  On top of the bus was a large man, his body shimmering in the winter sun with a rainbow hue.  He was trying to get inside it seemed by the way he drove his clawed hand into the metal over and over.  He screamed when he was knocked back, his body landing heavily on the street as Katsuki came to stand over him.  The smoke cleared, and Izuku could get a look at his boyfriend’s face for the first time since he leapt off a moving train.

Izuku knew the expression well.  He had seen it more than once, but he would never forget the first time.  Katsuki glared at the man, anger over his features, but not his usual anger.  It was the anger he felt toward villains, the anger he felt when someone was being wronged.  The anger he felt when innocents were being threatened by someone he would later call pathetic.

It was the same anger he'd shown when Izuku was being threatened, what had led to him being thrown off that cliff and getting the scar on his arm.  It was the moment Izuku had seen the hero in him that he knew was always there.

Izuku knew that look.  And even though there was more going on, in that brief moment, he was reminded what had led him to falling in love with Katsuki.

The villain wasn't that hard to take down once confronted.  Izuku and Kirishima were the ones to join Katsuki in subduing him.  They both shoved their armoured friend at him, and he used himself as a distraction while they hammered into him.

There was a moment during the fight when the man's movements were suddenly halted.  None of them thought to question it, using it to their advantage to bring him down completely.  With his hands held firmly behind his back, Kirishima dragged him to the police that had come.

Though they had been joined by other students, there were a few faces that stood out in their unfamiliarity.  From the outfits they wore, though, it was easy to assume they were the local heroes.  Izuku came upon one that cut the hole in the bus with elongated claws, but before he could talk to him and learn anything about him, he had left the area to those recovering the civilians.

He was the one talking so enthusiastically to Katsuki.  Izuku found himself not caring to learn anything about his Quirk as he hung around him.

"Good thing we're considered Pros," Kirishima commented, bringing Izuku's attention back to him.  "Else we'd be in a lot of trouble."

Izuku just nodded absently at him.  He wasn't really paying attention.  Kirishima caught on to his feigned consideration and followed his line of sight.

"Think he's one of the heroes from around here?"

"I guess," Izuku answered, his tone short.

Kirishima squeezed his shoulder.  "You could always just go over there."

Izuku cringed at the suggestion.  "Wouldn't that seem weird?"

"You should stop worrying about it then."

He bit his lip.

"Kirishima, you don't think--?"

He pulled on him more.  "Don't read into it."  He quieted some as they came to the group.  "You know he's too head over heels for you."

Izuku bit his lip.  "It just... doesn't it look like flirting?"

"If it is, the guy's barking up the wrong tree."

That didn't ease Izuku as much as he wanted.

"C'mon," Kirishima said.  He pulled him away toward the rest of the students.

Izuku threw a glance over his shoulder at the two just as the young man leaned forward as he laughed, his hand resting on Katsuki's shoulder.  His boyfriend only barely flinched, a smirk on his lips as he responded with something he could not hear.

The scene was cleaned up and handled within the next thirty minutes.  More of the local heroes came by and finished taking care of the civilians and the bus.  There were cars that had been flipped in the villain's rage that were being righted and taken away.

A bus came for the students that had helped with the clean-up and getting the villain.  They were taken the station where the train had gone to grab their things.  Along the route, Aizawa stood at the front, both complimenting them on their hard work, but mentioning that it was still reckless.  He was also sure to bring up how their week of Tour in Sapporo didn't start until later that afternoon, and they should respect another prefecture's hero structure until they were eventually part of their ranks.

Shortly after Present Mic sung their praises, all but ignoring the other teacher's warning.  He congratulated them and was sure to say how proud he was.

Izuku sat in the back with Todoroki, who had only come at the end of the spectacle.  His friend asked him how they had gotten involved in the whole thing to begin with.  Izuku told him about Katsuki jumping off the train and following him.  He listened intently, his two-toned eyes soft and on him with interest.

He was too close, Izuku thought.  His fingers were close to his hand on the seat, as if they wanted to touch.  His smile was sincere and open.  He hung on too many of Izuku's words. 

He knew the look.  Not just from how others had given him something similar, but because it wasn't the first time he'd seen it on him.  Todoroki was being clear in his aloof way, and it wasn't anything new.

"Do you think we will have time for dinner?"

"Ah, well, maybe..."  Izuku looked forward to the front of the bus.  He wasn't looking at anything in particular, but he didn't know if he could keep his gaze on him.  There were too many things to consider with the one question.  Todoroki had been insistent on spending time with him lately.

That meant things.  It meant more than others, maybe, but it still meant things.  And while Todoroki was just trying to see him, all he could think of was the next time he would be alone with Katsuki.

How was that fair to either one of them?

"I think tomorrow will be better," he suggested.  "Wait, no... for breakfast, yeah, not dinner."  Kuroiro had already taken his later occupation.  There were too many people in his life when all he could think of was one.

Todoroki smiled and nodded.  "It's a..."

Izuku shot him a look.  It wasn't anything more than a bit of disappointment, but it got Todoroki to reconsider his attempt at casual idioms.  He closed his mouth and just gave a small sound of affirmation.  Izuku smiled at him lightly and agreed.

When they got to the train station, their things were waiting for them.  All the students that hadn't jumped from the train were already on their way to the dormitories.  It wasn't that far from where they were, but all the mess had made them later than intended.  They were supposed to have a patrol that afternoon, but now there wouldn't be much time for rest between the station and then.

Or time for him to drag Katsuki somewhere.  After all of the raucous, riding his boyfriend's cock was all that was on his mind.  It made him groan.  The night before had already indicated he was falling into a worse state, but it was going nowhere but down and fast.  At this rate, he wasn't sure if he should even go on patrol.

He couldn't help the feeling that everyone was staring at him as he grabbed his things.  He just wanted to curl up somewhere where no one else could see him.  No one but—

Izuku looked around, trying to lay eyes on his boyfriend.  He wanted to see him, grab onto him, hold his hand in public.  He wanted people to know to back off.  He was so tired of everyone.  He was started to doubt people's sincerity, and he despised the way that made him feel.

The day was starting to weigh on him just too much.

Izuku finally caught a glimpse of him.  A smile spread on his lips as he took a step to him.  It faltered, however, when Ashido and Hagakure approached him with jovial expressions on their lips.  They grabbed on to each of his arms, and though he didn't look willing to go, they dragged him off and toward the station exit.

He bit his lip, arguing with himself briefly if he should try to follow.  It seemed everything was taking his boyfriend from his attention for the day, and he was starting to get tired of it.  He bit his thumb.  He should go, right?  It wouldn't seem too weird; Ashido knew about them and Hagakure might as well know.  If he walked up to them, he could take Katsuki's hand without any confusion.  And maybe Touru wouldn't understand it, but Ashido wouldn't question it when he'd pull him to go be alone somewhere.

"He~y, Midoriya!"

Izuku turned to find Kaminari walking up to him.  His face turned red almost instantly at the sight of his classmate.

There was only one thing he'd want to address.  And Izuku didn't know if he could handle the embarrassment.

"Kaminari," Izuku greeted as he came to his side.  "Good... good afternoon."

Kaminari's face was in half with a grin.  A very knowing grin.  "Indeed," he commented.  "Eventful day, huh?"

"Yeah, that bus thing—"

"I was more thinking about this morning."

"Nothing happened this mor--," Izuku retorted quickly.

Kaminari patted him on the back with a laugh.  "Don't be like that, Midoriya!" he cooed.  His voice was too cheerful for his tastes, especially when he was sure what the conversation was going to be about.  He leaned in, his hand up to hide his speech as he whispered, "You going to tell me what you and Bakugou were doing this morning?"

"Why aren't you asking Katchan?"

"I doubt he'd really talk about it.  So it's just you and me, going over it all."

"How did you even get in the room?" Izuku asked, trying to derail the topic.

Kaminari leaned back with a shrug.  "Bakugou gave me a key."

A brow rose.  "He gave you a key?"

"Of course!  Otherwise I'd be knocking until he answered."  He tapped his chin.  "Though I was sure it was supposed to be Todoroki he bunked with..."

"Ah, well," Izuku stuttered out.  "Things... changed..."  He didn't feel the need to tell him that Present Mic had swapped the rooms purposely, knowing full well what he would get up to with Katsuki.

Kaminari grinned.  "You don't mind either way, huh?  Either option is good."

"What do you--?"

He waggled an eyebrow at him suggestively.  "I mean, between Iida and Bakugou, that can be a tough choice."

"You do remember Iida has a girlfriend, right?"

"I know, but if your scent is any hint, I could see where it would be hard not to at least consider it."

"You... you can smell me?"

"Yeah, and it's pretty bad today, huh?  'Cause I can smell you from--"

Izuku's expression widened a little.  "Denki, are you a fermin?"

He shook his head.  "Nah, not me.  But I can still smell you."  He said, "And, boy, have you been interesting to be around for the past month."

"How?"

"Huh?"  He tapped his nose, saying, "Some of us can smell fermin without actually going through it.  They tell all fermin that."

"Well, not all..."  Izuku looked around, and he noticed the lack of students around.  He stepped to start heading toward the station exit, only to find Kaminari still hard on his heels. 

"Is it so surprising?"

"Kind of, yeah," he admitted.  They left into the coming cold.  Snow was falling as they marched on to where the others were piling into another bus to finish the trip to the dormitories.  "I didn't know anyone could..."

"Really?"  He hummed.  "I just thought it was common knowledge..."

"That someone can just sniff them out?"

Kaminari was still close to him as the entered the large vehicle.  There were only so many spots left as they were the last ones to get on, forcing them to sit near each other.  They sat in front of Kirishima, who looked excited to see them.  He hung over the back of the seat as they sat down, his fangs showing in his smile.

"That there's always a small percentage that can smell but aren't affected," he said.

"Aren't affected by what?" Kirishima asked.

"It's nothing."

"You will never believe what I walked in on this morning," Kaminari exclaimed, his attention completely on Kirishima.

"You don't really need to tell--"

"Shh, I want to hear the gossip," Kirishima teased him.

"Listen, so I go over to get Bakugou to wake him up, and who's there," he waved over at Izuku, "but Midoriya over here, and they're--"

"Fucking, right?"

"Kirishima!"

"Hey, this is my story!"

Kirishima shrugged and chuckled.  "Just saying, if Deku's there, Bakugou's probably not far... behind."  He winked with the bad joke.

Izuku was sure his face was the colour of a tomato.  "Seriously, could you not--"

"What do you know about it?" Kaminari asked, still turned to Kirishima.

Kirishima gave him a feigned innocent look.  "Well, ha."

"It's okay," Izuku said.  "Might as well let him in on it at this point."

"Wasn't Bakugou supposed to tell him, though?" Kirishima asked.

Had Katsuki told him about their compromise?

Kaminari looked between them, his expression slightly confused.  "I thought you were off limits?"

"Off limits?"

"That's what Tokoyami told all of us."

"What would--"

"Who all did he tell?"

"Just the ones of us that it would be interested from our class," he said. 

"For what?" Kirishima was still trying to get into the conversation.

"He said he would, just really haven't talked to anyone about it..."

"Did Bakugou not get the memo?  Why does he get to--?"

"Take a moment there, Denki," Kirishima commented, putting a hand on his head, "see if those two things might be connected."

Kaminari's expression was quizzical for a long moment.  Izuku thought he could see the gears turning and when they clicked into place by his change to an exclamation.  "...wait, seriously!?"

Izuku looked away from him, his cheeks flushed from the sudden scrutiny.

"So you chose only one person for your fermin?" Kaminari asked.  "Man, is that weird, and I don't see that working."

He yelped when Kirishima smacked the back of his head.  He rubbed it, giving him a pout, but Kirishima just rolled his eyes and told him not to be rude.

"That isn't...  I didn't just pick him for the fermin or anything," Izuku defended.  "I didn't even know I was a fermin.  We've been dating for almost two years."

"Two?"

"And they snuck it by everyone!"

"But you knew?"

Kirishima looked almost offended that it wasn't assumed.  "Well, I mean, yeah."

"But how did you know?"  Izuku had been wondering since he was told in the arcade how Kirishima could have known.  Uraraka didn't even show any inkling of knowledge, and that was his best friend.  How was it different for him?

"I don't know when it started or anything, but I found out along the line."

"When, though?"

"During summer break of second year, when I was staying with Bakugou while his parents were out of town," Kirishima started.  "You just kind of showed up, and, I don't know, I could just kind of tell something was up." 

He paused before saying with a smirk, "That, and you were making out when you guys thought I was asleep, so..."

Izuku ignored the heat in his cheeks as he asked, "Was that the night you two were drinking?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"I know which night," Izuku said sincerely.  A smile had crept on his lips at the memory.  "I can see where we were being obvious..."

"What made you show up?"

Izuku didn't answer right away.  He was sure Katsuki would hate to share that moment with anyone, but Izuku didn't feel the same way.  It was one of those things you were supposed to talk about, a memory you shared with friends when recounting your own story as a couple.

He wanted other people to know how his relationship had progressed, if only to let them in on how good Katsuki was as a boyfriend, despite what people might perceive of him.

"Katchan left me a really... interesting voicemail, but then didn't answer my calls or texts.  I just... really needed to talk to him about it."

"He say something that dumb?" Kaminari asked.

"...it was the first time he told me he loved me."

"Oh," they both said in unison.

"Yeah..."

"Wow."

There was a beat of silence.

"...still, only one person for the fermin."

"Denki."

Izuku scrunched his nose at the continued topic.  He wanted something to not be about his fermin.  It was bad enough how he felt that day, how he was having trouble dwelling on anything but his body's wants.  Having it brought up more than once was almost agonising, as it reminded him how he couldn't get what he needed right then.

"How do you know it wasn't like that for anyone else?"

"Because I was on speed dial for all of them."

"Really?  All of them?"

"Except one, but yeah.  Works out for me just as well."

Izuku couldn't help but notice the displeased expression on Kirishima's face at the comment.

"Well, we're fine this way."

"If you say so," Kaminari said, his tone sceptical.

"Why is it so strange that I don't want to cheat on my boyfriend?"

Kaminari quickly retorted, "It's not cheating if he's okay with it."

"Do you really think Bakugou would be up for that?"

"He's not, and I'm not."  Izuku's voice was definitive, as was his words.  It didn't matter what Katsuki had said the other day.  They both knew he hadn't meant it.  No one else needed to know about that conversation.

"But, really, is that okay?  Some days you seem..."

"It's not really been easy.  It doesn't help I had no idea about or that it would happen to me, or that it would be during the fucking Tour, or--"

"Dude, are you okay?"

Izuku hadn't noticed how his voice had hitched.  He also didn't notice his fingers curled into his pants until he heard Kirishima's voice.  He had to take a deep breath before he could release his jeans from his grip.

"...it's not been a good day."

"I was wondering.  Your scent is, ah..."

"What?"

"It's just been a bit... more?  Than usual?"  Kaminari tapped his chin as he thought.  "It's not even the same as this morning, it's worse and kind of... different."

"...is it bothersome?"  Izuku started to chew on his thumb.

"I'm used to the effects for the most part, but you..."

"Denki."

"What?  It's the smell making me horny, not Midoriya specifically."  He paused before smirking and saying, "Not that you aren't cute or I haven't thought about it."

"Please don't," Izuku said bitterly.  "I'm tired of being hit on."

"Whoa, sorry, man, I was just--"

"I know, I know, sorry, I'm just..."  Izuku rubbed his temple.  He knew Kaminari hadn't meant it.  He was more aware of how people looked at him, especially since that morning when they first got to the train station.  It felt like everyone was staring at him.

Everyone's eyes felt like a weight on him.  He didn't just know they were staring, he knew why they were staring.  Maybe what had happened at the theatre had gotten under his skin more than he thought it would, or maybe it was just getting too taxing to be looked at so hungrily for days on end.

"Frustrated?"

"Yeah, I really am," Izuku admitted.  "Since someone interrupted me this morning."

He was a little bitter about it.  They had only been intimate once the night before, and that morning was Katsuki's way to make up for how tired he had been.  Kaminari bursting in the room had left them no way to finish, and there definitely hadn't been time to get back to it since.

"Oh, ha, sorry..."

Izuku didn't hear him.  He was getting anxious again, and he really needed to--

"Midoriya, you going to be okay?"

"...I am, just tired, and I just really want to--"

"Ride a cock?"

"If he wasn't so busy with everyone else, yes," was Izuku's bitter retort.

"Dude, I told you, you're reading into it."

Kaminari looked between them.  "Reading into what?"

"He thought Bakugou was flirting with someone earlier."

"Who?  The guy with the claws and glasses?"

Izuku held up a hand with exacerbation.  "See!"

"He wasn't," Kirishima reaffirmed.  "You're just seeing it like that because of what's going on with you."

Maybe he was right.  But Katsuki almost never flirted, hardly even with him, and he knew what it looked like.  Or maybe it had just been the guy flirting with him, maybe he was reading into it, maybe so many things.  But Kirishima was acting like it was so farfetched if he was even being flirted with, and why should it be?  If everyone was hitting on him, why couldn't they hit on Katsuki?

Someone had to see the same things as he did.

"I mean, maybe--"

"Bakugou is literally getting more than anyone else here, why would he need something else?"

Izuku ignored the point.  "It's just..."

"You should just talk to him."

"He hasn't been answering my texts."

"Because the girls are talking his ears off back there."

All three of them looked toward the back of the bus where Katsuki was trapped by Hagakure and Ashido.  They were talking his ear off about... something.  He didn't seem too interested, but they were eager to keep him in the conversation.

"Yeah, what's that about?" Kaminari asked, though it couldn't be readily answered.

Izuku sighed.  He slouched in the seat, chewing his thumb again.  "Sorry, I’m just... I really don't want to be around people right now."

"Except for..."

"Yeah, except for Katchan."  There was no point in denying it.  He felt bad about it, how much of his attention he was wanting, but he couldn't hide it any longer.  "I'd keep him all night," he mused to himself.

"Be in the way of patrol," Kaminari said.

"Worth it."

Kirishima gave him a knowing smile and said, "See if Bakugou agrees."

"It's worth a try," he replied without thinking.

The two laughed at his glibness.

::*~~*::

Izuku knew he should get back to the ground.

He had been jumping between roofs for a good few hours at this point, pausing to observe areas, and then going back to it.  It hadn't been long after his patrol had started that he had resigned himself to the tops of building.

He should be in the streets, a display for all civilians, but he couldn't bring himself to be around anyone, civilian, hero, or anything.  Not with the way they looked at him, the way so many eyes kept coming back to him.

It was making his skin crawl how they looked at him like a piece of meat.

Izuku was still thinking of the conversation he'd had with Kaminari earlier, and his clear indication about how high his fermin was.  It was the first time someone other than Katsuki had actually said something descriptive of his scent, not just the simple effect it gave.

He thought of how he said it was different than normal.  He couldn't ask him to elaborate because he wasn't a fermin, but it left him with a question: how different could the pheromones he gave off be?  Was there a different one depending on some variation in the day?  Katsuki had mentioned more than once when his fermin was higher or more intense, but nothing definitive about how it smelled.

Izuku thought it was different, though.  It had to have been in the past couple of days.  Before he had noticed when people looked at him, but their stares were distinctively different than before.  Their approach was different.  He agreed that it had to be more intense, since he was getting a lot more attention.  Before he had given off a slight 'not interested' vibe, keeping people to mostly look but not touch.  However, the day before, from the moment he stepped into the station on the way to Sapporo, there were people talking to him, making it quite clear their intentions.

He hadn't denied so many people since the beginning of the Tour.  Even the few students from the other classes asked again.  They seemed to pick up on the change, maybe the desperation in his scent, and thought that overruled his first objection.  Only the students from his own class left him alone, but he knew that had more to do with Tokoyami telling them to back off.

He hadn't told Katsuki about it.  He was already on edge about the whole situation, especially after what had happened in the theatre.  He couldn't help but keep the conversation in the park on his mind, how dedicated Katsuki had been to his lie that it would be okay if something were to happen.  He thought about what had possibly led to the conversation.  He worried that it was more than just a manic procession of thought after the mousy girl had gone after him.  Had he given him the impression that maybe he had thought about it?

It was one of the few times he really hoped it was just Katsuki's overthinking getting the best of him, not something he had seen or heard or misunderstood.

There were things he wanted to tell Katsuki.  It wasn't just the renewed string of people hitting on him.  He wanted to tell him about the 'bumps' he'd gotten in the train station. He wanted to tell him the lewd comments he was getting.  He wanted to tell him how before he had found him and dragged him to the bathroom, he was propositioned by a muscular man who looked in his twenties.

He wanted to tell him about Kuroiro, too.  He wanted to bring up some of their conversations and weird things that had happened, but he knew which way Katsuki would take it without trying to analyse it.  But the fellow student had left him with such a strange feeling after the train ride to Tokyo.  He had handed him his tablet to show him something, where there was some... videos still up.  He wasn't exactly surprised by it (he'd come across Katsuki's more than once in a similar fashion), but the way he acted after.

The videos were not only explicit, but displayed only men, some of which looked vaguely like Izuku.  It wasn't that embarrassing really until Kuroiro all but asked him if such things bothered him, hinting his curiosity if Izuku was into those kinds of relationships.  Maybe he was getting to know him and he wasn't really sure how to ask, but it felt more like he was gauging if he would want to engage in similar acts.

Maybe if he hadn't brought it up, he wouldn't find his invite to his room later so strange.  But he did bring it up, and now the offer seemed tainted.  He may have meant it in a mutual sense, and he probably did, but Izuku couldn't bring himself to agree to it.  He made up some excuse, saying he'd try but couldn't promise anything.  He could see the disappointment on Kuroiro's face, and for a moment, he had thought he completely misread him.

He'd make it up to him later, he decided.  When he got the chance, he would.  He just would be insistent on playing games in the common room.  That wouldn't be too weird, right?

And then there was Todoroki.

Izuku almost groaned at the thought of it.  He knew he had to deal with it, but he had hoped to leave it all back in first year.  Todoroki had been almost too obvious lately, but Izuku was almost sure he hadn't realised it.  He was asking for more and more of his time, wanting to go on what was effectively dates, and he was just always too close.

Part of him assumed that Todoroki just wanted to see as much of him before school was over.  He wasn't the only one that was like that.  Without the common meeting place and their upcoming careers, they both knew it wouldn't be as easy to hang out.  Izuku had felt some sadness at this, just like he had with all of his other friends, but there was another layer to it with him.

He had really hoped that it was all it was.  He was just getting ready to miss his friend and wanted it to feel as little as possible.  But he wasn't completely sure about it.  Some of it felt like it did back in first year, when he would come to Shizuoka to see him.  It was friendly at first, but his intention was evident soon enough.

And Izuku hadn't spurned him at first.  He had his curiosity; he wanted to see what would happen.  But nothing did, and he eventually told him that he didn't think it would.  Todoroki had seemed a little crest fallen then, but he understood, and they fell back into the routine of being just friends.

Izuku had never told Katsuki.  He knew he should, and with Todoroki's recent attempt at closeness, it was becoming much more of needed topic.  But he had his reasons, as foolish as they were, for why he never brought it up before.

Katsuki had never liked Todoroki, that much was obvious.  It was beyond that, though.  He compared himself to the other hero.  He had talked himself up, made it seem like he thought he was better than him, but Izuku knew better.  He could tell by some of the underlying words in his argument what he really felt.  There was a part of him that thought he'd never compare to him.

He didn't want to bring that anxiety to him.  Especially not now.  Between his fermin and Katsuki's depression, it was just not a good time to mention, especially when Todoroki was still around.  Katsuki would assume something about his fermin, that it was spurring Todoroki on without listening to the rest, but Izuku knew better.  Izuku knew that Todoroki wasn't like that, that he barely liked physical contact beyond simple touch, and he was sure from his reaction to him, that the fermin was having no effect on him.

Katsuki wouldn't hear it.  He would just assume the worst, and he couldn't blame him.  It didn't help that he never told him about what happened back then, and he would think too much on his silence.  He would also start comparing the dates of when Izuku stopped seeing Todoroki and when he started spending more personal moments with Katsuki.  He would see the overlap and get the wrong idea, because why shouldn't he?

He should have told him back then.  Now he just didn't know how to bring it up.  But if he didn't handle the situation now, cut it off soon, it would bring itself up one way or another.

Izuku stopped on one short building when his phone rang.  He would normally ignore it, but he recognised the ringtone.  He quickly put in his earpiece and answered.

"Evening, Katchan."  His tone was a little distant.

"Deku," came Katsuki's voice.

There was a pause where neither of them said anything.  Izuku started to pace around the roof.  The sun was setting, but the building was illuminated by a nearby billboard.

"I was looking for you earlier."

"Yeah, sorry, it's... been such a weird day."  Katsuki's voice seemed weary.  Izuku could understand the sentiment.

"It has been," he agreed.  He remembered the events of the morning.  A smile crossed his lips when he thought of Katsuki jumping off the train.  "But earlier.... you were amazing, Katchan."

"No, I..."  Katsuki trailed off.  "It was what you would've done."

"But you did it," Izuku insisted.  "That's what matters."

"Whatever."

"...who was that guy, though?"

"What guy?"

Izuku bit his lip.  He hadn't actually meant to bring it up, but it left him before he could stop it.

"That you were talking to after the villain... and before work..."  His voice was low, and he had started to chew on his thumb.  He was pacing along the roof more, making rounds of every corner.  "It seemed... you were really into talking to him."

Izuku had been keen on seeing Katsuki before work.  Even if it was just to talk to him, he had been determined to get some of his time.  He had a preference for what they would do, but proximity was the ultimate goal.

When he found Katsuki, though, he stalled when he came upon him talking to someone else in the common room.  It was the same hero from before, the one he had been talking to after the incident.  He still seemed so glad to talk to him.  He was smiling just a bit.

The sight had bothered him more than he liked to admit.  He hadn't even tried to interrupt.  He just turned and left, opting to spend some time with Uraraka.  He chided himself for being so foolish, but he couldn't help the creeping sensation of jealousy.

He had hardly ever felt the emotion.  There was always such a certainty that Katsuki was his that he had never questioned him talking with anyone else.  To be fair, he hardly talked with anyone other than his own friends.  And when confronted with others, he always came across as his normal confrontational self.  Izuku had gotten used to being the only one Katsuki would immediately soften for.  Seeing him be like that with anyone else just found a place under his skin.

It didn't help that it meant they couldn't achieve any intimacy, the goal his body was screaming at him to complete.  Maybe that had something to do with it.  Maybe it was agitating him more, keeping him from his usual rationalisation.

He really just wanted to see Katsuki.

"He's from the JH Agency.  He's Brute Wall's sidekick."  Katsuki's tone was matter-of-fact.

"And?"  He wondered if his voice sounded as accusatory as he thought it did.

"What do you mean 'and'?"

"Just..."

The confusion was clear in Katsuki's voice.  "Deku, what are you thinking about?"

"You just seemed so eager to talk to him..."

"Don't be stupid."

"He was eager to talk to you."

"And you think I care?"

"Katchan..."

"You... you know better, right?"  There was a genuine hurt in his tone.  "I've never...  Did I do something to make you think...?"

"No, I think it's..."  Izuku sighed.  He was an idiot.  How could he accuse him of such a nonsensical thing?  "I just really needed to see you today, and I think it's affecting me badly," he explained.  As an afterthought, he added, "I'm sorry, that must sound really needy."

"It doesn't," Katsuki insisted.  "And it's okay, I can understand it, really."  His voice was sincere.  "I've wanted to talk to you all day."

Izuku brightened at the admission.  "Really?"

"Of course, Deku."

"I... I really want to see you."

"It would be nice."

There was another short silence.  Izuku was still walking in circles on the roof.  He should go back to his patrol, but he couldn't bring himself to leave.  He knew he would be able to both talk to Katsuki and keep up his route, but he just... didn't want to.  He just wanted to focus on Katsuki.

He had to remove the cable to his ear bud from his mouth.  How long had he been chewing on it?

"I, ah... I talked to Kaminari earlier," he said, searching for topics.  He didn't really want to talk too much on it, but it was better than letting him off the phone.

"Great," he responded in a sarcastic tone.

"He knows now."

"...does it count?"

Of course he asked about that.

"Katchan."

"I'm being serious."

Izuku rubbed at his temple.  "I guess not," he conceded.

The response was instant: "Then I'll tell Hagakure."

He felt sceptical at the statement.  "When?"

"Probably the next time the conversation comes up."

"Promise?"

"I already promised."

"But you'll keep it?"

"Of course I will."

"I'm glad..."  He was smiling to himself.  He was still looking forward to being out in the open.  He knew it would have come in handy earlier: he would've felt more confident going up to him during that conversation, and making sure the guy knew who Katsuki was with.

It was a weird tangent his thoughts were taking, but he liked the idea.  'He's mine,' he would've told him.  'And now he has to take care of me.'  It was silly, but it was an easy line for his imagination to take.

Katsuki interrupted the daydream: "Hey, are you near the clock tower?"

"I... yeah, I am."  Izuku blinked.  "How did you know?"

"Hold on..."

"Katchan?"

"Near the... what, makeup?  Sign thing?"

Izuku was getting more and more confused.  "Why are you asking?"

"Look over to your left."

Izuku started to turn, following the instruction.  He looked over the cityscape as he did.  "What—?"  He stopped when his eyes fell on the visage of none other than King Explosion Murder. 

Izuku walked to the edge of the building, his eyes intent on Katsuki.  "How did...?  I thought you were in Kita?"

Katsuki was looking back at him.  He could see his mouth moving along with the words he spoke into his phone: "I was, but I guess you came through there."

"What makes you say that?" 

"I've been following you for blocks," Katsuki answered in an all too matter-of-fact tone.

"W-what?"

"Your scent."  His eyes were narrowed, as if all he saw was Izuku.  "I... I caught a whiff of it and just... had to follow it.

He added, "I had to find you."

Izuku's eyes were wide.  That couldn't be true.  He knew his scent was bad that day, but...  No way was it anything like this.  "You really could follow me so far just like that?  It's so... it's that bad?"

"Yes."

Izuku thought of all the hungry looks he'd gotten during his patrol, the ones that had driven him up to the roofs to begin with.  It felt like all eyes were on him, waiting for just a moment's weakness, to go after him.  It didn't matter that he was clearly a hero on patrol.  They knew what that smell was and what it meant.

None of those stares were anything compared to the expression on Katsuki's face.

"Ah... well..."

"Deku."

Did he just lick his lips?

"Katchan..."  Izuku took a subconscious step back.

"Stay there."

He felt like prey under a predator's stare.  He would not go so easily.

"...catch me."

Izuku leapt off the roof, away from Katsuki.  He heard him laugh and the sound of explosions as he followed.

The chase was on.

Chapter Text

Katsuki felt the best he had in weeks.

He knew full well it was probably an upswing, but he didn't care.  He had been enjoying the high of it all since he got back to the dormitory.  He was much earlier than anyone else, having arrived in the early afternoon.  He had spent some time playing games in the common room alone before heading to the rooms to wait for the end of the work day.

Throughout it, he was texting Kirishima.  His friend had questions that he needed to answer.  They made plans for the night, but Katsuki told him to wait.  As good as spending time with friends sounded to him at the moment, there was something that was a bit more appealing to him.

Izuku had a look of surprise when he walked into his room to find his boyfriend laid out on his bed.

"Katchan?"  He closed and locked his door before approaching the bed.  "I didn't think you'd be back just yet..."

Katsuki sat up as Izuku sat down on the bed.  "Only worked half the day," he responded.  He leaned in to get closer to Izuku.  He kissed his cheek, earning a smile from him as he worked on getting his shoes off.

"You?  Only half a day?"  Izuku turned to kiss him.  "What was the occasion?"

Katsuki shook his head.  He didn't want to acknowledge the question, at least not if he didn't have to.

"The guys wanted to go out to dinner and hang out tonight," he told him.  He put his chin on Izuku's shoulder and put his arms around his waist.  "Do you want to go?"

"You sound almost eager," Izuku retorted.  He leaned his head some when Katsuki nuzzled his neck.  "That anxious to get out?"

"Tell me to stay in with you, and I will," Katsuki said without hesitation.  "But I was thinking we could just do that tomorrow."

"Tomorrow night?" Izuku turned more, putting his arms around Katsuki's neck.  His scent wasn't nearly as heavy as it was just a day ago, but it was still there.

He shook his head.  "No, tomorrow tomorrow."

Izuku raised a brow. "You want to skip work?"  His tone held disbelief.

"I do."   

Katsuki didn't blame his questioning, though: no matter how many times his boyfriend had begged for him to stay on his worst days, Katsuki had always turned him down.  Work was important to him, and even though this wasn't exactly the real thing, it was the closest hey would get before graduation.  He wanted to look good.  He wanted to look perfect.  He knew his reputation wasn't the greatest, and he was lucky to have gotten the agency he did.  Anything to make him look better...

It was true he had gotten many offers after the first-year sports festival but they declined after his internship with Jeanist.  Agencies caught wind of him; he was incredibly strong and capable, but almost impossible to work with.  When others were getting their first inquires at the end of second year, Katsuki only got one.  He ignored it due to distance from Shizuoka, but it was still well into third year before he got real considerations.

Izuku had gotten several from all over Japan and other countries.  They didn't talk about which one he shoulder take.  He never made any suggestions.  But he was still relieved when he went with one in Tokyo.  The one he had accepted was just outside of the capital.  It was still close, not much different than the trip they were taking to school every day.

They could still see each other.  Nothing had to change.  No matter what other offers would come, as impossible as it seemed, Katsuki wouldn't take it.  He just wanted to be near Izuku.

Katsuki's voice seemed to leave him ahead of his thoughts:

"I want to skip with you..."

"Is there...?"  Izuku bit his lip.  He clearly didn't want to comment on his attitude.  Katsuki knew it was out of the ordinary.  He also knew his eyes were on his fidgeting legs.

Izuku knew.  He had to know.  But it wasn't like normal.  It wasn't like how it usually was.  He wasn't angry, he wasn't anxious, he just—

"I feel human," Katsuki said, his mouth running away again.  He had moved, taking Izuku's face in his hands.  His green eyes were soft under his heightened expression.  "For the first time in a while..."  He sighed and pressed his forehead to Izuku's.  He put his hands over Katsuki's.

"Please spend it with me."

Izuku smiled.  He looked genuine, his expression open.  A look just for Katsuki.

"Of course, Katchan."  His voice was soft.  "I'll always stay if you ask."

For a moment, he thought Izuku was guilting him about all the times he hadn't stayed.  The thought was easier to dismiss than normal.  He would just blame it on his mood.

Katsuki kissed his forehead, an audible sigh leaving him.  "Thank you, Deku."

Izuku nuzzled into his neck.  He made a content hum before saying, "I missed you today."

"Me or my dick?" Katsuki asked with a slight snicker.

Izuku laughed.  He pulled away enough to look Katsuki in the eyes.  A smirk was on his lips, and his brow was raised suggestively.  "I can miss both."  His arms came around Katsuki's neck and he leaned into him.  Katsuki took the hint, leaning back against the pillows as Izuku got on top of him.

"I did miss both," he said.  He started to kiss his face and neck.  Katsuki tilted his head back, smiling and letting him get anywhere he wanted.  "Sometimes one over the other..."

"Which one were you missing the most today?"  Katsuki's hands settled on his hips as Izuku straddled his waist.

Izuku grinned as he laid a quick soft kiss to his lips.  "Don't ask questions you might get upset about learning the answers to..."

Katsuki put his hand behind his head and pulled him in.  "Why don't you show me what you missed...?"

Izuku's next kiss was halted by a vibration from his pants.  He stilled for a moment to pull his phone from his pocket.  Katsuki's hand fell away so Izuku's attention focused on his screen.  He was intent on whatever it was before seemingly shrugged it off and putting the device on the nightstand.

"What was that?"

Izuku had moved back in to kiss him when the question stopped him.  "Huh?  Oh."  He shrugged.  "The Tassuru has been emailing me all day."

"The one from Kyoto?"

Izuku nodded.  He moved back in to kiss his neck again.  "They've sent me a couple of messages since that jewellery store thing."

Katsuki moved his head again, but his brow furrowed some.  "What do they want?"

"It's a job offer."  His answer was almost casual.  He didn't stop as he bit at the underside of his chin.

Katsuki gripped his hips a little at the answer.  His whole body tensed.  It wasn't the first offer he'd gotten since the Tour had started, but every time he brought it up, it made him anxious.  Katsuki didn't have much to worry about.  No one would give him a real offer, and when they did, he was quick to decline.

But was Izuku thinking about it?  Did he give it a thought?

"I turned them down."  Izuku had moved, smiling and looking at him.

Katsuki's brow relaxed, and he smiled.  Of course he did.  Of course he would. They had planned their agencies specifically, even if they never said exactly why.  They knew.  They both knew what they wanted, and there was a silent agreement. 

A random message from another agency wouldn't change that.

Katsuki leaned up to kiss him.  "You were showing me something...?"

Izuku chuckled.  His hands went to his chest, going underneath his shirt.  "Yeah, let me..."

::*~~*::

About two hours later, Katsuki was walking out of the building with Izuku at his side to meet up with his friends.  Izuku had been insistent on getting a few rounds in, only to satiate him to make it through the night.  They could really only get two rushed sessions in before Katsuki demanded a shower.  Izuku begrudgingly caved, but made it certain they would spend time together after spending time out with friends.

Kirishima, Kaminari, Ashido, and Hagakure were all already outside, talking amongst themselves.  The two young men were having a loud discussion about who could drink more given the chance, and the young women were giggling about something on Hagakure's phone.

He was glad to see them getting along, even if he wouldn't say it out loud.  He wasn't sure what had happened the night he gave Ashido the key card to Hagakure's hotel room, but it seemed to end positively.  They had been spending most of their time together since, gossiping and whispering like he remember them to before.

It also relieved him from their individual attentions.  Though now they just approached him together to have him join in their gossip.  He didn't really participate, but he didn't leave either.  It was just nice to see them getting on.

The group only stuck around the dormitories for a few more moments, discussing their plans for the night.  They also had to plot a course, making sure to avoid the snow sculpture festival.  There had been a consensus on the train to Sapporo that they would go to the festival as a class, decided at a later time.  The group planned to honour that and also just keep from the crowds of it all.

Dinner was the first thing on their minds.  It was the easiest decision made, and they were on the move once the type of cuisine was picked.  Kaminari had found somewhere on his phone and he led them along, Kirishima close to him.  Hagakure at first was between Katsuki and Izuku, but shortly, he navigated back to him.

Izuku gave a small start when Katsuki took his hand, but he easily recovered and gave his palm a squeeze.  He got closer, stealing more of his heat as their shoulders rubbed up together.  No one said anything initially.  Kirishima just grinned when he noticed and Kaminari made a suggestive eyebrow wag.  Ashido just smiled at them, but continued her conversation with Izuku about local heroes.

The only one not treating it as a usual thing was Hagakure.  She was trying to participate in the conversation with Kirishima and Kaminari, but Katsuki could feel her eyes just stayed on their entwined fingers.  She didn't say anything, but Katsuki could tell she wanted to.

Katsuki was biding his time.  He was getting a little anxious, just wanting to go ahead and say something, but he also didn't want to just blurt anything out.  The only thing that pacified him was the feeling of Izuku's fingers tangled in his.  That itself was beyond pleasant.

Hagakure had the question on her tongue, Katsuki could tell.  It only intensified on the subway ride, when Izuku sat next to him, his hand on his thigh.  She was sitting opposite of them, trying to talk casually, but her distraction was obvious.  It was almost humorous, in a way.

It wasn't until they got to the restaurant that he got a moment to speak to her.  They had to wait for a table, the place being oddly busy for a Monday.  Izuku and Kaminari went in to reserve the table while the others stood outside.  It was still cold, some snow falling on them, but it wasn't as bad as it had been.  They were discussing a few ideas for the night while Katsuki went through his phone.  His mother had sent him a few more messages, asking for him to call.  He sighed.

He was just going to avoid it for now.

"Katsuki-kun."

Katsuki looked up from his phone to find the floating pile of clothes suddenly very close to him.  She had moved from the others to his side.  He raised a brow, a nonverbal indication for her to continue.

"So I guess you two...?"

Katsuki sighed.  He knew he had to have the conversation.  He just hadn't been looking forward to it.  It meant admitting he hadn’t been completely honest with her.  He hadn't exactly lied, never denying the fact of their relationship.  But that was only because she had never asked that specifically, assuming they weren't already together.

"We already have been," he answered her unfinished question.

"Oh?"  She leaned in.  "Since when?  Was it the other night, after the arcade?"  She started to move her arms with a little more enthusiasm.  "I heard rooms got switched at the hotel!  Was it then?"

Katsuki shook his head.  "No, it was, ah..."  He paused.  He felt himself having to physically push the words from his mind to his throat and out of his mouth.

"Since the beginning of second year."

Hagakure made a sound, like she was going to say something, but stopped.  There was a long moment before she said, "Excuse me?"

Katsuki scratched the back of his head.  "We've, ah.  We've been together... dating, you know, for about... two years."

"...why didn't you tell me!?"

The others turned, curious at her almost hurt tone.

Katsuki frowned.  She sounded not upset, but more confused.

"Sorry, I just... didn't, I really didn't tell anyone."

Hagakure only stood in front of him a moment more before she turned and walked in the restaurant.  Katsuki watched her go before looking over at Kirishima and Ashido.  He wanted to say something, but he didn't know how.  He felt... regret.  But how did he say it without looking foolish?

Even though he was foolish.  He was an idiot for not saying anything to her.  She trusted him with such a large secret about herself, and he couldn't even mention she was right about her assumption on his 'crush.'

"What was that about?"

Kirishima was suddenly at his side, brow raised.

"Finally told her."

"About... ?"

"Me and Deku."

They both made an 'oh' noise.

"Do you want me to talk to her?" Ashido asked.

Katsuki shook his head.  "No, let her be upset," he said.  "I was... I'll try to explain it to her later."

Ashido looked him over, her expression clearly concerned.  She finally nodded.  "If you're sure..."

"It's fine," he said sardonically.

"I'm sure she'll understand," Kirishima reassured him, patting him on the shoulder.

Katsuki shrugged.  "Yeah..."

Ashido looked between them.  "I'm going to go check on them."

Kirishima nodded.  "Yeah, we'll be there in a second."

She gave them a smile and waved before disappearing behind the glass doors.  It wasn't until she was out of sight that Katsuki let out a breath he didn't even know he was holding.

"You okay, man?"

Katsuki ran a hand through his hair.  "Yeah, I needed to, just..."  He sighed.  "Should've done it before.  Should've done it from the beginning."

"Almost definitely," Kirishima agreed.  "Midoriya's going to be happy, though."

"That's true..."  It was all for Deku, after all.  "Fuck..."

Kirishima shook his head, laughing quietly to himself.  "Speaking of Midoriya... what did he say about your lunch with Brute Wall?"

"I didn't tell him about it."  He wasn't looking at his friend as he spoke.

"Why not?" Kirishima asked, truly perplexed.  "It was a really good offer."

Katsuki furrowed his brow.  "I know it is."

"He's going to tell you to take it."

"That's what I'm worried about."

Kirishima gave him a quizzical look.  "Why?  Isn't it a good thing he'd be cool with it?"

"While he stays in Tokyo?"  Katsuki clicked his tongue. They had never said it, but it was the agreement.

Right?

"You just going to leave it like that?"

"He's turned down jobs already," Katsuki said.  "Shouldn't I do the same?"

"Were they offering him what they're offering you?"

"Couldn't tell you," Katsuki admitted.  "We don't talk about it other than which agency made an offer and that he declined it."

"You should at least mention it to him," Kirishima insisted.  "I mean, the JH is kind of perfect for you."

"Brute Wall must agree," Katsuki said off-handedly.  "It's the third time she's offered."

"Third!?"

Katsuki shrugged.  "I know it's meant more for people with my... personality."  He put his hands in his pockets, kicking at a rock on the ground.  "But Sapporo is so far from Shizuoka."

"He should still get an opinion."

"...is it pathetic I want to be close to him?"

Kirishima smiled, his look concerned but reassuring.  "Just shows you're devoted, I think."

Katsuki was silent.  "I... I just really..."

He wasn't sure what he wanted to say, but it felt like something that he should say to Izuku first.

Kirishima put a hand on his shoulder.  "I get it, don't worry.  Just make sure to tell him, right?"

Katsuki nodded.  "I will, I will..."

"Table's ready!"

Both looked over at the door where Kaminari was sticking his head out.  He was smiling wide, and Katsuki couldn't help but notice the soft expression it brought out in Kirishima.

"Be right there," Kirishima told him.  Kaminari nodded his acknowledgement, flashing them a thumbs up before retracting back inside.

Katsuki looked back at Kirishima, not saying anything, but still giving him a knowing look.

"Don't."

Katsuki put his hands.  "I didn't say anything."

Kirishima's cheeks were red.  He knew he was caught, but they still wouldn't talk about it except vaguely. 

His friend was ignoring something he desperately needed to acknowledge.  But Katsuki wasn't one to force people into talking until they were ready.  Most of it had to with he didn't really know any subtility.  He would be blunt, and the last time he was with him, it hadn't gone well.  Kirishima would just deny something obvious, Katsuki wouldn't understand why he had, and it would end in a stalemate where they didn't talk for days.

Not worth a repeat.  At least not now, when Katsuki was still holding on to his good mood.

Kirishima shoved, his hand in his pockets and mumbled, "Let's just go."  He left for the door, Katsuki close on his heels.

::*~~*::

The dinner was rather... pleasant.  The group had been jovial and loud, staying longer than the servers might have liked.  They surrounded the barbeque, ordering plate after plate, while talking about various happenings over the Tour as well as reminiscing about their three years together.

Hagakure was aloof for the first bit of their jubilations.  It was clear she was still upset with Katsuki about his subterfuge, and he didn't fault her on that.  Eventually she warmed back up to him, talking adamantly again.  He made a mental note to talk to her later, explain it all.  She deserved that at the very least.

The rest of the night was spent wandering the streets and drifting through parks.  They hadn't found much else to do with the night except hand out and do some light shopping.  They explored a section of Sapporo, learning its layout by the time they were thinking of heading back, especially if they were going to get to the subway.

For most of the outing, Izuku stayed close.  When they were at the restaurant, his hand was often on his leg while Katsuki kept his arm behind him in the booth.  Walking around, they would hold hands.  When they stopped at a wall after getting some street food, Izuku sat on the brick while Katsuki leaned against him.

No one seemed to bat an eye at it.  They treated it as though it were completely in the norm, like they had always been that way.  Hagakure was a little bit more interested, but she didn't say anything about it.

And Katsuki had found he enjoyed it.  He knew he was okay with more public affection, having done it mostly when they were back at home in Shizuoka.  But being so open in front of friends...

Izuku had been right all along.  They should have been open from the beginning.  But he couldn't take it back.  None of that time could be reclaimed.  He could only make it better from here on out.

On their way back to the dormitories, they stopped at a small market.  Izuku made mention he wanted to get snacks for the next day, holding Katsuki to his earlier promise.  The others didn't seem to mind, and they descended on the small corner store.

Katsuki only stayed in for a moment, noticing a row of gashopon just outside.  He went inside the building only to exchange bills for coins and a plastic bag before going back out.  He went to the coin machines and squatted in front of one specific one.  He put a coin in it, turn the crank, and waited for the capsule to drop.

"What are you doing?"

Katsuki didn't look up at Ashido as he opened the fifth capsule.  He glared at it.  "What's it look like?"

"Didn't see you as the phone charm kind of guy."  She squatted down next to him, her eyes on the capsule in his hand.

"Not for me," was Katsuki's simple response.

"Oh."

Ashido watched him retrieve a few more capsules.  He growled when they still weren't producing the exact one he wanted.

"Do you have any coins?" He asked, turning to her for the first time since she walked out.  "I'm almost out."

She blinked.  After a brief moment, she pulled out her wallet and handed him some change.

"Thanks," he said as he put another coin in.  "I'll pay you back."

She shrugged him off.  "Whenever."

They feel into a comfortable silence as Katsuki continued to get capsules.

"...can I ask you something that might seem weird?"

"What is it, Katsuki-kun?"

Katsuki didn't immediately continue.  Finally, "It's about the fermin."

Ashido gave him a concerned look.  "Is everything okay?"

"It is."  He bit his lip.  "Well, I think it is."

"What do you mean?"

Katsuki sighed and bit his lip.  It was a hard topic.  He had tried bringing it up with Izuku the night before after they got back from their patrol, but his boyfriend didn't understand his worries.  But he needed to know, needed to be sure if he was overreacting or not.

"Have you ever been around a fermin and it was just... too much?"  It was the best way he could think to ask.  "Like you couldn't help yourself?"

He was met with silence.  He turned to look at her to see a solemn look on her face.  He realised his mistake almost instantly.

"Really, Bakugou?"

"No, sorry, I didn't mean to--"

"Why are you asking?"

Katsuki paused.  Should he tell her...?  He had already started the conversation.  He couldn't get out of it easily.

"Did you do something to Izuku-kun...?"

"Nothing he didn't like," Katsuki returned.  He put in another coin.

"Then...?"

Katsuki sighed.  He might as well say it.  "The other night, we... I.."  He opened the capsule.  Still not the one.  "I could... I was able to follow his scent.  Blocks away, nowhere near him."

"You mean yesterday, right?"

Katsuki raised a questioning brow. 

Ashido gave a casual shrug.  "He was really bad.  We probably could smell him a city away."

"Well, I wasn't, I was closer."  One more coin.  "And when I smelled him, I... I had to find him, you know?  I didn't care that I was working, I had to."

"Haven't you felt that way before, though?" Ashido asked.  "All of us have felt that at some point."

"This was different."

Twist the crank.

"How so?"

Capsule fell.

"I..."  He trailed off.

"Katsuki-kun?"

"I think I didn't care."

"Didn't care?  About what?"

"If he... if he wanted it or not."

Still the wrong one.

Ashido didn't say anything for a long moment.

"You wouldn't have."

"You don't know that."  Katsuki furrowed his brow some.  "I don't know that."

"You said he liked it."

"That doesn't make it right."

"It doesn't, but if he didn't want it, you wouldn't have gotten to."

"I know that," Katsuki said.  "But I can't help but think... I'm not a fermin, and it was that bad for me.  What about actual fermin?   What about a fermin who wasn't afraid to...?  What if their Quirk were...?"

"Did you tell Izuku-kun?"

He nodded.  He went for another capsule.  "He doesn't really believe his fermin is that bad.  Like, it doesn't matter how bad it is, people can just not respond to it, at least how he makes it sound."

Ashido crossed her arms and gave a sigh.  "He wasn't raised a fermin, was he?"

Katsuki grit his teeth.  Of course, he wasn't raised a fermin.  But he couldn't explain how he was Quirkless for so long and then suddenly...

"No, he wasn't."

"We're raised to be on guard, you know."  Ashido handed him another coin.  "To always suspect someone wants something, and just be sure to be around those we prefer."

"I can't ask him to always be around me.  He has work.  I have work."

"It must be hard for him."

"...he's had to skip days."  Another dud.

"You've mentioned that before," she said.  "I'm not surprised: he sounds like how mine was, and I skipped a lot."

"How is he going to be with work?"

"Maybe you should mention to him to have some time off before he really starts?"

Katsuki frowned.  He had thought of it before, but he was sure Izuku wouldn't take the suggestion well.  But he did need to consider it.  After all the times they had been distracted from work...

"Katsuki-kun?"

Katsuki blinked.  He looked at the capsule in his hand.  Finally.

"I'll talk to him."

Put it on the pile of other things they needed to discuss.

He stood up and Ashido straightened up, too.  "Good.  He really does need to understand before something happens."

Katsuki groaned.  "I don't want to think about it."

Ashido laughed.  "Hopefully it'll never come to that."

"There you are."

Katsuki turned to his boyfriend's voice, their other friends close.  He had too large bags in his hand and a grin on his face.  Katsuki felt a smile creep on his lips.  He quickly shoved all but the one capsule into the plastic bag.  He approached the others and pushed the sack into Kaminari's hands, ignoring his questioning look.  He handed the one to Izuku, who couldn’t open it one-handed.

"Ready to go back?" Katsuki asked the group.  They all nodded and gave some sort of acknowledgment.  He took one of the bags from Izuku and fell into step next to him as they started back to the dormitories.

"Is this just a bunch of All Might charms?"

Katsuki just ignored the question, his arm around Izuku, ready to be back.

Chapter Text

Izuku woke up in a cold sweat.

He was gasping for air, as though the running he had done in his nightmare had affected his lungs in the waking world.  He was covered in sweat, and his covers had been thrown off, leaving him cold.  He rubbed at his shoulders, trying to warm himself up as he forced his breathing to return to normal.

He turned quickly, looking for what should be quick comfort.  "Katc—"

There was no one next to him.  He bit his thumb.  Of course there was no one.  Katsuki always left in the early morning, trying not to be caught.

Izuku laid back against the pillows with a sigh.  He wanted Katsuki there.  He wanted to have him there when he woke up any morning.  He liked having him there.  Not just for the fermin, but just because he loved waking up with the arms around him.

When they stayed at each other's houses, it was close to perfect.  They fell asleep and woke together, but they rarely got such mornings without parents somehow being involved.  Their parents were thankfully pretty hands off when it came to their relationship, but it wasn’t the same as if they were free of them.  He knew that from the few weekends they had without them.  Their time was completely theirs, even whey already had early morning plans.

Izuku wanted that.  Izuku wanted nights and morning on their terms.  Izuku wanted to go to bed after a long day of work with the man he loved, and he wanted to wake up the next day and get ready with him.  He had been thinking about it for a while.  The Tour just solidified the goal in his mind.

Izuku wanted to live with Katsuki, after they had graduated.  Or at least, give it a try.

He bit his thumb again.  His nightmare was starting to come back up, and it only made him want to see Katsuki more.  He reached for his phone and turned on the screen.  It was still early in the morning, hours before their shift started.  He frowned, thinking Katsuki would have stayed a little longer.

He probably just couldn't sleep.

Izuku brought up his call list, ignoring the other notifications waiting, and hit send on the second most called number.  He rolled onto his side, holding the phone to his ear as it started to ring.  It was only two before the line picked up.

"Deku."  There was some noise in the background and what sounded like voices.

"Morning, Katchan..."

There was a pause.  "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I..."  He bit his lip.  It was going to sound so pathetic, but...  "...what are you doing right now?"

"We're getting ready to go to that stupid breakfast thing," he said.  His tone was a little confused.  "Where are you?  Shouldn't you have left with Round Face and them?"

Izuku groaned.  Right, he remembered.  The students of class 1-A had made plans to go get breakfast, all together and catch up.  They were to go early, get as much time together before work.  It was a rushed plan made mostly between the girls of the class, but everyone seemed content with it.  Trying to get a dinner was proving too difficult, with everyone getting off at different times and some just not wanting to do anything after.

Or, in Izuku's case, he only wanted time with Katsuki most days.

"Wait, that's..."  Izuku ran a hand through his hair.  He looked at his phone, seeing the notifications at the top.  He vaguely heard Katsuki asking for him as he went through the few messages, all from Uraraka.  He sighed.  He must have slept through his alarm.

"Deku?"

"Sorry, was checking my texts," he said.  He started to get out of bed.  He stretched everything but the arm holding his phone.

"...you know, if you'd rather I just stay with you..."  Katsuki's tone wasn't even suggestive.

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "You're going, Katchan."

Katsuki scoffed.  He could hear someone speak behind him, who he thought sounded like Kirishima.  Katsuki just groaned.

"Do you want us to wait for you?"

"Did Uraraka already leave?"

"She went with a couple others to get the table or whatever."

Izuku was already getting dressed.  He was having trouble with the one hand, but he had already gotten his pants mostly on.  He was still waking up; otherwise he might have remembered that the speaker phone existed.

"Do you mind?"

"Whatever," Katsuki said.  "Just hurry up.  We're right outside."

"Be right there," Izuku said.  "Love you."

There was a bit of silence.

"Love you, too.  Now get the fuck out here."

The line clicked.  Izuku smiled, a small chuckle leaving him.  Katsuki was getting more into the small affections in front of others.  He wasn't quiet with his admission and he knew there were others around him.  And those others knew who he was talking to.

Izuku felt his heart swell at that realisation.  Katsuki had tried so hard, despite his clear obstinateness.  He really wanted to overcome the obstacle, and Izuku wanted to show his appreciation.  It was something they should have been through already, but he had only looked the other way for so long because of Katsuki's nature.  There were flaws with this, but they were overcoming it.

Together.

Izuku's reward was subtle; one he was sure Katsuki hadn't caught right away.  But it was just a little more for him.  He knew Katsuki had told Hagakure the other night, fulfilling their agreement.  Izuku was free to tell whoever he wanted.  And he almost had the night before when talking to Uraraka.  He refrained from it, just for the moment.  He would tell her, most likely before the end of the day, but the extra moment of secrecy was just for Katsuki.

Izuku finished getting his clothes on and headed out.  He locked his door as an afterthought, and went down the corridor.

"Hey, Midoriya!"

Izuku stopped mid stride to turn, facing the source of the voice.  Kuroiro stood just inside the men's kitchen, a smile on his lips as he looked him over.  Izuku hesitantly smiled back and waved.  He hadn't really spoked to him since the train ride, still put off by his behaviour.  He seemed to not have noticed, though, as he approached him.

"Morning, Kuroiro," he said.  He turned on his polite demeanour, pushing back any uncomfortable thoughts.  After all, he may have misinterpreted it all, and he meant nothing offensive when he was sharing his phone.  He might have been trying to come out, even, and needing a way to do it.

Though, maybe, he could have done it without porn that looked like him in some very compromising positions.

"Been busy?" Kuroiro asked as he came closer.  "Haven't seen you as much this week."

Izuku nodded.  By busy, he was either with friends or dragging Katsuki off, but it was still busy.  "Just been really tired after work."

This seemed to be enough for Kuroiro.  He smiled still and there was thankfully nothing suspecting in his expression.  "Maybe you could chill out in my room sometime?  We could just watch movies and relax."

There was nothing untoward about his request.  His voice was friendly and there was nothing suggestive in his words.  He had been asking the same thing since they first started conversing.

And yet, Izuku still couldn't help feeling uneasy about the offer.

"Maybe later," he said, forcing a pleasant tone.  "I actually—"

"Are you going to the party on Friday?"

"What party?"

"There's a guy who graduated from the school in this area," Kuroiro said, "and apparently he throws a party for the Tour as it comes through.  A big hooray or something."

Izuku raised a brow.  "Isn't that a little... odd?"

Kuroiro shrugged.  "From what I understand, he started it first for himself and then his little sister.  Then he just kept doing it."

Izuku clicked his tongue.  "That still sounds a little suspicious."

"We can take care of ourselves, right?"

He had a point.

"We'll see," Izuku said, though it was noncommittal.  "Let me see if Uraraka is going."

He seemed a little disappointed hear the name, but he still nodded.  "Just consider it, yeah?"

Izuku's smile became a little more genuine.  A party didn't sound too bad, especially if he could drag Katsuki with him.  "I will," he said sincerely.  "But I actually do need to get going; I'm meeting people for breakfast."

"Oh, yeah, sure, sure."  Kuroiro took a step back.  "Have fun."

Izuku passed by him, waving, and headed toward the exit of the building once more.  He could feel Kuroiro's eyes on him as he left, but he chose to ignore it.

A notification tone went off on his phone, and he pulled it out to check it.  He found one from Katsuki that read:

Kirishima wanted to go early because he's being an idiot and can't handle shit, whatever.  The others are still out there, though, waiting for you.  Love you.

Izuku raised a brow, not sure what to think about what he was saying about Kirishima.  He would just have to ask later.

He sent an acknowledgement text just as he was stepping outside.  He had only breached the doors when his name was being called.  He didn't hesitate this time, but instantly went to the ones calling out for him.  Kaminari and Hagakure were at the base of the entrance steps waiting for him.

"Morning, Izuku-kun," Hagakure chirped.  She was wrapped up in so much clothing, but it was clear the slight snow was still getting to her by the shiver that went through her body.  Izuku felt a little bad, her waiting for him, even if he appreciated it.

Kaminari gave a similar greeting, though something was off about his usual jovial behaviour.

"Morning," he called as he joined him.  "Thanks for waiting.  You guys didn't have to."

Kaminari smiled.  "It's fine, man," he said.  "We offered to."

Izuku beamed at them.  "Well, I still appreciate it."

They started off, heading toward the restaurant that all of them had agreed on.  Before they got too far, Shinsou had joined them, and soon the small group was holding a conversation.

Halfway there, Izuku's phone had gone off with an email notification.  He checked it to find a professionally titled bit of correspondence.  He skimmed over it as they came to a stop crosswalk.  He didn't move right away at the crossing tone, something that seemed to catch Kaminari's attention.  He leaned in from behind him, putting his chin on his shoulders as he pushed him on.

"What's so interesting?"

"It's just an agency offer," Izuku answered.

"Who from?" Shinsou asked.  His tone might be even, but his curiosity was evident.

"The Yuchoen Agency."

"Isn't that Nabang's Agency?" Hagakure inquired.

Izuku nodded.  "They've sent me a couple of things since the start of the Tour," he said.  "Now they're asking for a sit down since I'm in Sapporo."

"Well, isn't that perfect?" Kaminari offered.

Izuku raised a brow.  He moved himself from out and under his chin to get a better look at his face.  "What do you mean?"

Kaminari gave a look to Shinsou before looking back at Izuku.  He kept his voice low as he said, "Since Bakugou got the offer at the JH.  Wouldn't that just work out well for you two?"

Izuku's eyes widened a little bit in confusion.  "Katchan got an offer to the JH?"

When?  And what hadn't he told him...?

Kaminari bit his lip.  He could tell he had spoken out of turn.  "I just overheard him and Eiji talking about it," he said.  "So I just figured he told you."

Izuku sighed.  "He probably just didn't get a chance to yet."

"You do keep him busy, huh?"

Izuku pushed at his shoulder, ignoring the heat to his cheeks.  Kaminari laughed in return, earning looks from Hagakure and Shinsou, but he just waved them off.

It wasn't much longer before they came to the restaurant.  Izuku smiled when his eyes fell on Katsuki, who was just outside the door, looking at his phone.  Kaminari caught his attention, throwing some snow at him he'd scraped up from the ground.  Katsuki gave him a dangerous look, and he leaned down to pick up his own snow.

"Oi, Bakugou."

"What?"

"<Don't.>"

Katsuki's hand stilled at the simple command.  Shinsou smirked as Katsuki glared at him.  No matter how many times it happened, he always answered Shinsou's bait, to the same end.  Katsuki would growl and get upset, but he never did anything about it.  Shinsou meant nothing malicious about it, using it more as a water bottle on a dog than anything else.

Izuku couldn't exactly be upset about it, either.  Especially when he seemed to be learning from it.

Shinsou held the door for Hagakure and Kaminari, the latter giving the tired teen a grin.  He looked to see if Izuku was coming, but he shook his head.  Shinsou left them, still smirking.

"You okay, Katchan?"

Katsuki nodded.  He was looking inside, and Izuku followed his gaze.  He could just barely see inside the restaurant, but in the back, he could tell the class all picking seats as they talked to each other.

"It's just a couple of hours, at the most," Izuku said.

Katsuki didn't answer at first.  "...I know."

Izuku nudged him.  "It'll be fine."

"What about you?"

Izuku raised a brow.  "What do you mean?"

"When you called this morning," Katsuki said.  His attention was finally on Izuku.  "You just... sounded kind of upset."

Izuku smiled softly.  He reached out and gently touched his hand.  Katsuki tensed a little, but he didn't move away.  "It's stupid."

"What is?"

Izuku shook his head.  "I just had a really bad nightmare," he answered.  "I just wanted to see you, that was all."

"What was it about?"

"Don't worry about it," he assured him.  He didn't want to talk about the way Katsuki left him in the subconscious scenario.  Or how everyone got to him, piled onto him, did things, and he didn't stop them.  His scent was physical, hanging in the air and leading people to him.  And Katsuki's face during it all...

There was no point in bringing it up.  Katsuki was already so worried, and it would be cruel just to add to it.

"Let's just go have a good meal with our friends," Izuku said, quick to switch topics.  He rolled his eyes when Katsuki groaned.  "The sooner we do this, the sooner it's over."

Katsuki opened the door for Izuku.  "Yeah, yeah."  He waited for Izuku to go in before following in.  "Just... why am I even here?"  His question was soft but still hung in the air.

Izuku looked back to him, his expression soft.  The Tour was taking a toll on both of them, in much different ways.  Katsuki's moods were all over the place, brought on by so many outside influences.  Izuku could only be so much help, though, with his own needs almost bullying him into focus on being selfish.

Katsuki was clearly about to swing down from the small mania he'd been having, but all he could focus on was the taut muscles under his skin tight thermal shirt.  He was cursing him taking off his jacket already and distracting him from the concern to the obvious mood shift.  He had to shake his head and force his eyes on the blond spikes.

"Katchan, you know that—"

"Deku-kun!"

Izuku looked to the back where his name was being called.  Uraraka was waving at him from a round booth in the back, ushering him over.  The class had two of the semi-circle booths side-by-side, and they were full aside from the late occupants.  It was separated by Izuku's friends and Katsuki's 'squad' almost perfectly, and he couldn't help but notice it.

He almost wished they had just gotten a long table, one he could still be close to Katsuki, while giving his friends his attention.  Isn't that the point of telling them?  So he could intermingle?

Izuku reached for Katsuki's hand, ready to forget all pretences and just come out to everyone fully.  However, his boyfriend had already rushed to the other booth to sit in the open seat at the end.  Izuku sighed, but let it go.  There was time later to give everyone the revelation.

Izuku made his way to the other booth and sat down at the only seat upon next to Todoroki.  Behind him was where Katsuki had ended up, and something about having him close was comforting.  He settled into the seat and almost instantly picked up on the conversation they were having.  He smiled wide, happy to be among friends, and soon his nightmare was quickly forgotten.

The groups were noisy the entire time they were in the restaurant.  They ordered their food and only barely paused in their conversation to eat.  They discussed a variety of things, ranging from work, to graduation plans, and even just random topics like movies and music.  Izuku was enjoying himself, happy to be in such a lively situation.

He forgot about the Tour and his fermin for a good moment.  It was... refreshing.

Behind him, he could hear Katsuki talking just barely under Kirishima, Kaminari, and Ashido.  He could hear him participating, but his tone of voice gave him away.  He was enjoying himself, he knew, but he was affected by whatever was occupying his mind at the time.

He would be better, Izuku thought.  It was just a moment, a passing.  Being around friends would definitely help.  He could imagine Katsuki saying how much he hated the socialising, but his voice would pick up when he was eager about the topic on hand.

It was a moment, and moments passed.

The conversation veered into the snow sculpture festival they would be attending as a group the following night.  They were making plans about time and events, and eventually attire was mentioned.  The discussion led to it was a proper festival, so proper clothing was required.

"I didn't think to bring a kimono," Izuku admitted.  He had thought of the winter festivals they would be going to, but dressing for them hadn't' been at the forefront of his mind when he was getting things together for the Tour. 

No, he had been thinking about how he was staying with Katsuki that night, and it had been a very distracting line of thinking.

"I brought two," Todoroki spoke up.  "If you like, you can borrow one."

Izuku smiled.  "That would be great; I'd really appreciate it."

Todoroki smiled back, but there was something a little more in his eyes.  Izuku decided to ignore it, knowing better than to give it any weight.

"Oi, Deku."  Katsuki was leaning over the booths, his body coming in between Izuku and Todoroki.  Izuku blinked, but kept his smile, though his brow quirked a little.  Had he been listening?  He knew Katsuki wasn't fond of him, but there was no—

"Give me that bacon."

Oh.  Now who was overthinking?

Izuku chuckled and held up his plate for him.  Uraraka was giving them a look as Katsuki started to pick the meat off the plate.  She had been the one to first bring up what to wear at the festival and it was clear she still wanted to talk about it.  Her eyes glanced to Todoroki, something telling in her expression, but Izuku couldn't catch as to what.

"Done be so rude, Bakugou," she scolded him.

Katsuki scoffed.  "He wasn't going to finish it."  And he wasn't.  Izuku really only liked one or two pieces at a time unless he was really hungry.  He commonly gave Katsuki his left overs, since he was normally a garbage disposal.

Uraraka didn't seem too impressed by the answer, but let it go.  Katsuki turned back around in his seat after finishing off what was left on his plate.  Izuku shrugged it off and went back to the previous conversation.

He vaguely heard the other group talking about the same thing, before Ashido and Hagakure's excited voices took over.  They were still hushed, but something was almost overly jovial and mischievous in their tones.

Eventually they were starting to file out to get back to the dormitories to get ready for work.  Some of them staggered behind, and Izuku found himself still talking to Uraraka, the time getting away from him.  They were some of the last to get up and pay, still deep in their conversation.

Katsuki had left long before by himself.  Izuku wasn't surprised and was just happy he had stayed as long as he did.

Hagakure joined them on their way back to the UA building.  She and Uraraka started talking about the festival again, but by this point, Izuku had zoned out a little.  He pulled out his phone and sent a few messages, one of which was to Katsuki to see if he was up for a visit before work.  His fermin wasn't really driving him to seek attention, and he was more than content to get some non-sexual moments with his boyfriend while he was able to.

"That sounds like a great idea!" he heard Uraraka squeal.  "Doesn't it, Deku?"

Izuku blinked and looked between them.  "I'm sorry, what?"

Uraraka seemed undeterred by his inattention, still smiling.  "We were talking about getting really dressed up and nice for the festival."  Her eyes held the same excitement as her voice.

"Get really into it, you know?" Hagakure chimed in.

Izuku glanced between them.  It sounded pretty normal for girls, right?  Why were they putting so much emphasis on this?

"I mean, sure," he said, feeling it the right answer.

Uraraka beamed, and by her squeal, he thought Hagakure was doing the same.

...what had he walked into?

"So you'll join us then?"

"What?"

"We'll only do a little, we promise," Hagakure said.  "Just enough to get you to stand out."

"What do you mean?"

"Only just a little makeup," Uraraka said.  She was talking more to Hagakure than him.  "I think it's more about the outfit."

Hagakure's earrings moved as she nodded.  "We should ask Todoroki to see his kimono, to get some ideas."

"Oh, of course," Uraraka agreed.

Izuku kept walking, just behind them, and clearly not that involved in their discussion as he thought he should be.  He just assumed he had no real say in the matter.  He wasn't completely adverse to the idea, having been at his friend's hands before for such things, he just wanted to have an opinion.

He caught when he was supposed to be available for said makeover.  He only barely agreed when they reached the dormitories.

Uraraka waved them off shortly after the got inside.  Izuku was about to leave himself when Hagakure stopped him.

"I didn't know if we were allowed to bring it up around her..."  Her voice was low, only for Izuku to hear.

"What is it?"

"We were talking, and we had a suggestion for the festival."

"'We'?"

"Mina and I," she admitted.  "But Eijirou-kun and Denki-kun agreed."

Izuku tilted his head, clearly curious.  "And what's the suggestion?"

Hagakure clapped her hands together and made something like a squeal.  "You two come together to the festival."

Izuku raised a brow.  "I figured we were all going as group already."

"No, no, no," Hagakure interjected with a wave of a hand.  "Together together."

Izuku's eyes widened with realisation.  He felt a blush creep up his cheeks at the idea, but he couldn't help the smile that came.  "You think we should come out then?"

Hagakure nodded.  "Wouldn't it be sweet?"

Izuku had to agree.  It would be...  "I would like that, yeah."  His smile had grown.  "Did Katchan agree to it?"

"As much as he was going to."

He laughed.  "Sounds about right."

"So you like the idea?"

Izuku nodded, beaming.  "I do," he said.  "Is Katchan going to...?"

"Mina-chan is going to make sure Katsuki-kun looks presentable," she answered.

Izuku chuckled.  "That will be a sight to see."

"It will definitely be fun," Hagakure agreed.

Izuku nodded.  He looked at his phone and noticed the time.  "Ah, well, I need to get ready for work."

"Yeah, me, too."  She started to wave before exclaiming: "Oh!  Before I forget..."  She dug through her skirt before pulling something out and handing it to him.

"Katsuki-kun forgot this at the restaurant," she said.  "And I figured you would be seeing him before me."

Izuku took the device, looking at the phone.  It was an odd thing for Katsuki to leave, but he was pulled by Kirishima a lot during the morning.

"Ah, thanks," Izuku said.  "I'll get it right to him."

"I'm sure you will," she said teasingly.

Izuku rolled his eyes but smiled.  "Have a good day at work, Hagakure."

"You, too, Izuku-kun."  She gave him a small wave before turning and heading toward the female dormitories.

Izuku rounded his step and started off in the direction of his room.  He meant to go by Katsuki's room, but when he glanced at the time using his boyfriend's device, it was getting too late.

He noticed a line of notification on the lit up screen.  He hesitated for a moment, staring at the name of the sender and the subject line:

Re: Consider this new offer.

Izuku had stopped, just inside the men's side of the building.  He thought back to what Kaminari had told him before breakfast.  He bit his lip as he felt the curiosity build up inside of him.  He could guess why Katsuki hadn't told him.  He was sure it was because of all the offers Izuku had turned down, just to make sure they would be working in the same city.

But the JH was a good agency, one of the most renowned in northern Japan.  But its fame came more from its heroes than anything else.  Brute Wall only hired heroes that others seemed unwilling to work with, mostly who others called delinquents and trouble makers.  She was known for her own rebellious beginning, and her history gave her a one up on being able to lead such heroes.

It was perfect for Katsuki, so why was he turning it down?  He could have at least talked to Izuku about it just like he always brought up his offers.

Izuku was still looking at the phone when he got into his room.  He had it on his mind, what would be inside the email.  He bit his lip.  He sighed.

He shouldn't.

Izuku set the phone down.  He would wait.  He had to wait.  Katsuki should be there to bring it up to him.  It was a sore spot that he hadn't told him already, but it wasn't really out of character for Katsuki not to mention it.  Especially if he was going to just turn offer down.

He would drop it.  He left the phone alone as he went about changing.  He pushed it out of his mind as he shrugged off Katsuki's hoodie from his shoulders.

He paused.  He sighed.

Then he picked up Katsuki's phone.

::*~~*::

The work day came and went and what felt like forever but still soon, Izuku found himself in his room.  He had striped himself of all his clothes and laid on his bed, playing with himself.  He just barely got to the mattress before starting.

The last hour of his patrol had been difficult.  He didn't know if there was a trigger or if it was just a random upturn of hormones like it had before, but it had hit him hard and fast.  It was all he could think of, just getting back and doing... something.  Anything.  Everything.

Especially if it was with Katsuki.

Izuku had barely made it.  There was a good moment he just thought of finding a dark corner and taking care of himself, but was able to stave it off.  He was so grateful when the work day was over, and he almost used Full Cowl to help get him back to the dormitories faster.

He didn't even go through the locker room entrance to change; he went straight to his room and undressed there.  It would be annoying to move it back later, but he really didn't care.

On his way to his room, he had messaged Katsuki in hopes he was back or would at least come see him once he got there.  Something went off in the back of his head, trying to remind him of something, but it wasn't coming through.  Only one thing was coming among his haze, and that was the need for relief.

Izuku had left his phone on his night stand, missing the other device as he opened the drawer for his vibrator.  The ringer was up just in case Katsuki messaged him.  Otherwise, he ignored the rest of the world as he started on himself.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed before the fog started to clear.  He was out of steam for the moment, needing a break before he could go on.  He laid back against his pillows, relaxing, and letting his euphoria wash over him.  He still had a ways before real relief, he knew, but it cleansed his mind for the moment.

And in that clarity, he just found himself wanting something else, and badly.

Izuku pulled over his phone, looking it over to see if he had texted during his session.  He frowned when he saw nothing after two hours had gone by.  He was being needy, he knew, but that's just where was: in need.  So, his need in mind, he quickly sent another message to hopefully get to his boyfriend.

He blinked when he heard a chirp seconds after he hit send.  He turned toward the sound only lay eyes on the source.

Izuku groaned loudly.  He had completely forgotten to give Katsuki back his phone in his rush earlier that morning.  So none of his messages would have gotten to him, to know he needed him.

He spent a long moment deciding what to do.  He should give it back to him, that seemed obvious.  If he did, he could just pull him along back to his room and...

Izuku closed his legs tightly, as if it would drive off the thoughts that were coming.  He couldn't start again.  If he did, it would be another few hours before he could will himself to find Katsuki.  And that would just make no sense when he could just hold off for ten minutes and have him for those hours instead.

After willing his thoughts into submission, he got up from the bed and started to dress.  He huffed a few times as he did, knowing he was unnecessarily upset about the whole thing, but he just wanted...

Stop the thought.  Take Katsuki his phone and then drag him back.  That was what he should be concentrating on, while also keeping it as neutral as possible.  No need to think about what will happen when they got back to his room, no need to think about Katsuki's naked body, about what that naked body will be doing to him, or about—

It was getting bad.  He needed to find Katsuki, and he needed to find him now.

Izuku left his room, wearing loose pyjamas and holding on Katsuki's phone.  He was still battling thoughts, but it was easier to do with his goal in mind.

He tried Katsuki's door first, knocking loudly and calling his name.  Nothing.  He frowned.  He had hoped it would be just this simple, but it seemed he would have to put more effort into it.  He turned from the door and headed to the second most-likely place he was: the common room and playing games.

Izuku was only half-way to his new destination when the device in his hand started ringing.  It caused him to startle at first, not used to the tone.  He looked at the screen to see a familiar name and number.  He resumed his approach down the hall as he picked up the call.

"Evening, Bakugou-sa—"

"Izuku?  Is that you, dear?" came back the feminine voice.

"Yeah, it's me."

"So good to hear your voice!"  Mitsuki sounded cheerful that evening.  "How have you been?  How is the Tour?"

"I'm fine."  Izuku came out into the common area.  He started to look around, searching for his boyfriend.  "It's been... nice, actually."  He was being honest.  No matter the strain of the fermin, the Tour still had a lot of good moments.

"I'm glad to hear it," she said.  "That stupid boy of mine hasn't told my anything.  This is the first time my call has been answered."

Izuku roamed through the kitchens to the gaming room.  "Really?  I tried to get him to call, but you know..."

"How bull-headed he is?"

"I was going to say stubborn."  He laid eyes on him in the sunken living room, surrounded by a number of their friends.  "Hold on, think I found him..."

"Give him a knock if he won't take the call," she said.

"I don't think it'll come to that," Izuku said with a laugh.

There was a decent sized group of young men around the television, all excitedly watching the screen and the fighting game on it.  When he followed the line across from the television, it led to the two fighters: Kirishima and Kamakiri.  They were intense in their concentration, the world seeming to disappear as they handled the controllers.  It took a moment but Izuku soon realised the men had separated themselves by classes.

Even this close to graduation, and class 1-A and 1-B were still as competitive as ever.

When he got further into the room, he caught the attention of some of the spectators.  Kuroiro was the first to spot him, and he flashed him a wide grin, indicating to the spot on the floor next to him.  Izuku smiled back, but shook his head as he pointed to the phone in his hand.  Some of the others saw him and nodded.  Kaminari waved at him cheerfully, and Katsuki, next to him, followed his line of sight and looked at him, brow raised.

"One second, Mitsuki-okaa-san," he said.  "I have to do an extraction mission."

Mitsuki laughed.  "If any hero can do it, it's you."

Izuku approached the other side of the large couch, where Katsuki was sitting.  Katsuki's eyes followed him as he did, waiting for him to get closer.

When he was only centimetres away, Katsuki mouthed, 'You okay?'

Izuku nodded.  It wasn't exactly true, but having Katsuki's mother on the other side of the phone tempered his fermin some.

He got closer, leaning in as he held out the phone.  Katsuki blinked and took it, though he still seemed confused by it.

"It's your mother," Izuku said.  Katsuki furrowed his brows some and almost looked like he was going to give it back to him.  "If you hang up on her, I'll just call her back.  On speaker phone."

Katsuki rolled his eyes but still put the phone to his ear.  "What do you want, hag?"

Izuku could faintly hear Mitsuki on the other end of the line, but not clearly what she was saying.  Katsuki looked a little perturbed, but not really angry.  He stood from his seat and started to step away before Izuku caught his free hand.  Katsuki looked back at him, brow raised.

"Try not to be too long," Izuku said low, only for Katsuki to hear.

He smirked and nodded before turning and walking away.  He was already bickering with his mother as he wandered off into the main hall.

Izuku took his place on the couch and watched the rest of the fight.  For a long moment, he was able to forget about the fermin.  He stayed for a few more rounds, cheering anyone from their class.  They switched players depending on the winner, and at the end of it all, it was Shinsou who won.  The entire time, he kept a stoic expression and his mouth closed, leading to his opponent underestimating him.

There was a loud raucous at the end of it all, one that got looks from the male teachers who had been passing by.

Katsuki had not returned by the end of the matches.  Izuku had expected him to, not really thinking he'd stay long on the phone.  He hadn't seen him and had just made the assumption he was coming back.  Maybe he thought Izuku was just heading back to his room?  That would be a fair guess.

After a quick chat with some of the other students, Izuku excused himself for the evening.  Kuroiro slipped in our offer to go back to his room to play some games, he declined with a smile.  His thoughts were starting to creep a certain way again and he wanted to entertain them, with or without his boyfriend.

He wasn't half way to his room when one of the doors opened slowly.  He was about to ignore it, knowing whose room it was, but he had to pause when he heard a breath of exclamation.

"Izuku," he was called.  "I was actually about to come get you."

Izuku was midstep when he was spoken to.  He took a breath and turned, smiling as he faced Todoroki.  He wasn't really bothered to see him; he was just distracted by what he would rather be doing.

"Evening, Shouto.  What did you need?"  They were alone, the only two in the hall.  It meant they could drop their formalities.  It was a habit they had gotten back when they were spending more time alone, and it just stuck.

"Ah, I thought..."  He was standing in the doorway, keeping the threshold open.  "Would you like to pick which kimono you'd like to wear for tomorrow?"

"Oh.  Yeah."  Izuku had almost forgotten about it in his haze.  It wouldn't be bad to do, right?  He could grab it and go with a rushed excuse.  And it would be easier if he already had it so he and the girls could just get right to it.

He stepped inside Todoroki's room, and he shut the door as he followed behind him.  He moved to his closet and opened it up to start looking at some of the hangers.  Izuku waited patiently, his eyes scanning the room.  He had only been in there a few times since the Tour had started, purposely keeping their alone time short.  He had been vague about it initially, but Izuku was getting more and more sure of what he was leading up to.

He should talk to him about it.  Just let him know it wasn't going to happen.  Even without Katsuki, it just wasn't in the cards.  He could even bring it up now, couldn't he?  If Todoroki said something, he could cut him at the pass?  Katsuki had done what he promised; Izuku was free to tell anyone.

And yet, he was finding himself looking forward to their reveal the next night.  That would be so much better.  It was selfish and a little cowardly, but wasn't it a kinder rejection?  No, because I'm dating someone else, not because I'm genuinely uninterested?

"Izuku?"

Izuku shook off the reverie to fully pay attention to Todoroki.  He was holding up two kimono, one blue and one red.  They had differing patterns, the red with a golden sunrise and the blue with silver snowflakes.  Their obi was slung over the shoulder of the garment, both white, but the one with lace patterned gold stitching, and the other with just an embossed like about its swirls.

"I have matching hakama, too," Todoroki said.  "Either one should fit; I think we're about the same size now.  Well, about..."

Izuku knew what he meant.  He had only grown so much, and though he wasn't the shorted of his peers, he was certainly not the tallest.  Todoroki and Katsuki both had centimetres on him, but it never really bothered him.  He had it where it mattered, in his strength and speed, and that was all he cared about.

"They're both great," Izuku said.

Todoroki beamed at him.  "Is there one you'd prefer...?"  His tone was leading, and eyes kept glancing to the blue one.

That at least helped the decision.

"I really like the red one," he said.  "I love all the gold and it makes me think of..."

Katchan.

Todoroki's smile faltered a fraction, but any disappointment was well hidden.

He handed him the red one and brought him the hakama.  Izuku held on to them delicately, making sure nothing touched the floor.

"Thank you again," Izuku said.  "I really do appreciate it."

Todoroki nodded.  "Of course."

Izuku took steps toward the door, making his intention not to linger clear.  Todoroki got the hint and opened the door for him.  He took a step just into the hall before looking at him again.

"Well, ah... good night, Shouto," he said in a pleasant voice.

"Yes, goodnight," he responded.  It was clear something else was on his mind, the way his lips parted as if to say something else.

He could just turn away, pretend not to notice.  He had already said their parting, there was no guilt in just heading to his room.

"You know, for tomorrow..."

"Shouto," Izuku's expression softened, but he wanted to silence this conversation before it would get louder.  "Shouto, please..."

"I mean, we could just—"

Todoroki's words got lost in the heavy footsteps coming down the corridor.  They both looked up to see Katsuki stomping down the hall, his head down and his mouth set in a grimace.  He didn't look up, even as he passed them, and it didn't seem he saw them at all.

Izuku frowned and took a step toward him.  "Katchan?"

He was already far down the hall, not having heard him.  Izuku's brows raised and he bit his lip.  He looked back to Todoroki, muttering, "Excuse me," before he rushed after him.  Todoroki said something, but it was lost in his concern for Katsuki.

He followed him to his room, still mindful of the kimono as he hurried toward his door.  He didn't even bother to knock, just trying the door.  It was unlocked and he let himself inside.  He closed and locked the door behind him and looked over the room.

His eyes found him curled up, sitting next to his bed, his arms around his knees and his face buried within.  There was a soft murmuring sound, and for a second Izuku thought it must be...

"Katchan," Izuku called.  He hung the kimono from the hook behind the door then stepped closer to Katsuki.  He sat down in front of him, leaning in hopes of seeing face.  He had it well hidden, and didn't even acknowledge his presence.  "Katchan."

Katsuki groaned.  He tilted his head, running a hand though his hair.  He was looking to the side and out his window, his eyes red and tired looking.

"...give me a second."

Izuku nodded.  He made himself more comfortable, sitting cross-legged and putting his hands in his lap.  His eyes were still on him, but he said nothing, waiting for when he was ready.  He wasn't going to push him, he knew better, but he still felt anxious.  Katsuki had been in such a better mood the past couple of days; he hated to see it go easily.

But that was how it was.  He knew that.  And some days, Katsuki remembered that.

"Fuck..."  Katsuki was running his hands though his hair as he hung his head again.

"Is... is everything okay?" Izuku ventured.  "Is something going—?"

"She has it."

Izuku stilled other than raising a brow.  "I'm sorry?"

"Mom," Katsuki said.  He looked up, finally meeting Izuku's eyes.  "It's... she told me..."  He growled and groaned.

"What is it?"  Izuku reached out, putting his hand on his knee.  "What did she say?"

"She was asking all these things," Katsuki said, his voice irritated.  "She just wanted to know, I know, but it was so specific, and I had to ask, and she..."

Izuku squeezed his knee, urging him to continue.

"I should've known, maybe in some way," he went on.  "Dad was always saying we're just alike, that I have her temperament.  And she's always asking, she always phrases it, 'How's your mood?'"

Izuku's eyes widened before as the realisation sunk in.  His expression softened, and he moved, sitting next to him and leaning against his shoulder.

"Did she actually say it?" he asked.  "Did she tell you she had bipolar?"

Katsuki nodded.  "Then she went off on these stories, talking about when she was my age, about doctors and medicine, and I..."  He took in a deep breath.  "I just got so fucking angry, I couldn't even hear her at one point."

Izuku took his hand tangled their fingers together.  "Angry?"

"She should have told me," he said through gritted teeth.  "If she knew, she should have at least bothered to mention it."

"Did you ask her why?"

"She said she was hoping... she was just hoping I was just being an angsty teenager."  Katsuki rubbed his temple with his free hand.  "But, I mean still..."

"...what would you have done different?"  Izuku's voice was soft, but the question was honest.

Katsuki sighed.  "I don't know, maybe just... maybe just knowing would've..."

"Katchan is still Katchan," Izuku said.  He nuzzled into his shoulder.  "He still would've had a hard time, unless..."

"Unless what...?"

Izuku turned to look him in the eyes.  "Unless it would have gotten you to go to the doctor," he said.  "And maybe even—?"

"Get medicated?"  Katsuki's voice took a dangerous drop.

"Katchan, it's not the end of the world."

"But it might be the end of my career."

Izuku blinked.  "How?"  He couldn't help how incredulous his voice sounded.  "If anything, it should make it be—"

"Wind Sheer in America," Katsuki interrupted.  "He was fine for years, no one knew, but after he failed to save children from a bus crash, his medication meant nothing.  He started hearing them everywhere, everywhere, and when it affected his hero work beyond being functional, his schizophrenia was outed to the public.  He was banned from hero work, just in case he had another relapse."

"Katchan, that's not—"

"In Thailand, Sparkin's career ended when his depression was discovered after her partner died," Katsuki went on.  He wasn't looking at Izuku anymore, glaring at the floor instead.  "They fired her because her suicide attempt was seen as a liability.  No one wants a sad hero."

Izuku's eyebrows knitted with concern.  Katsuki was crying as he spoke, but he was sure he didn't notice it.

"Despereaux in France had a month-long mania where he never slept.  He just kept fighting and fighting, but he was so blinded by it, he didn't realise he was just fighting anyone."  He took a breath.  "And the depression after, he was out of work for months until they just... let him go.

"Even here in Japan, it doesn't matter that it's technically illegal."  Izuku could hear the way his teeth grinded between pauses.  "There are a number of heroes who have to hide it, because if they go to a doctor, there's a chance someone will find out.  There are some agencies that will fire someone if they find out.

"We're not sick to them, Deku."  He looked at him.  "We're just liabilities, waiting to happen.  Even medicated, we're just one bad day away from losing our minds.  At least, to them."

Izuku's eyes were soft, never leaving Katsuki's face.  He was visibly shaking, tears streaming down his face.  Everything was anger, a righteous anger, but still a sad anger.  His head was hung again, his bangs obscuring his face, but he knew.  He knew the look on his features, and he was sure he was one of the only people who had seen it.

Katsuki, for all of his flaws, still knew right from wrong.  He knew when things were wrong, and he felt fury toward them.  That was always who he was.  But that fury could be tucked down when it came more to himself.  He would fix things on his own; he would righty every injustice in front of him.

But this one could not be so easily corrected.  He couldn't punch his way through; he couldn't throw an explosion at it.  He had no way to fight it, not that he would let himself do easily.

Fighting meant giving in.  Fighting was acknowledging.  Fighting was knowing there was no end.

Izuku had no idea the extent of his worry.  Katsuki had always made it seem like his lack of ability to fight, to combat it, that was what he was angry about.  He had thought a loss of control was his main fear, his argument that it couldn't possibly be true.

That wasn't the only thing he was fighting against, at least not to him.  He felt attacked from so many sides, and he had nowhere to go.  No way to defend, no offensive actions, just his attackers circling in.

Izuku had only been helping on one side, because it was all he had known, all he had seen.  Katsuki may have been opening up more and more, but he was always good at hiding things.  His battles were his own, even when he knew there was no reason for them to be.

He had no idea the level of his fears.  Katsuki had hidden it.  But now it was out there, now Izuku could help, whether that was an intention in his outburst or not.

Katsuki wasn't alone.  He was just too stubborn to see it.

Izuku put his arms around him and pulled him closer.  Katsuki easily followed his gesture and buried his head in his neck.  He felt the moisture from his tears, but he heard nothing of it other than one hiccup.  He rubbed his back and murmured softly.

"You're right about being sick..."  Izuku put his chin on top of his head.  "But not about being a liability.  None of you are, people are just..."

Katsuki made a scoffing noise.

"We... we don't have to talk about doctors and medicine right now," Izuku assured him.  It was a subject he had tried many times to bring up, but Katsuki deflected every time.  It needed to be discussed, but now wasn't the time.

"But... you're strong, Katchan," he said.  "Even if it's just from stubbornness.  But Katchan is still the toughest person I know."  He kissed the top of his head.  "And if anyone can get through this, it's you...

"Just not by yourself," Izuku said.  "Your mom just thought she was doing right by you.  But think of it this way: now you have someone to talk to, someone who knows what you're going through."

Katsuki groaned.  Izuku chuckled.

"And me," he said.  "I'm here for you."

Katchan muttered something against his neck.

"What was that?"

He shook his head.

"Katchan..."  He pulled away a little as he could look him in the eyes.  "The world needs you, needs you being a hero."

Katsuki looked up at him through wet eyes.  "And when I lose it?"

"We'll get to that when we come to that bridge," he responded.  "We'll have lots of ideas and plans, and most of all, we'll get through it."  He pressed their foreheads together.  "Together."

"You always say that."

"I always mean it."

Katsuki rolled his eyes but smiled lightly.  "Together."

Izuku smiled and kissed his nose.  Katsuki took in a deep breath, his eyes downcast.

"I'm... I'm sorry..."

Izuku raised a brow.  "For what?"

"For just...  I shouldn't have gotten so upset..."

"It's okay.  You can't always help when you—"

"Swing?"

"It's who you are, Katchan.  I don't mind it."

"Even though it's horribly inconvenient?"

"Life is inconvenient," Izuku was quick to correct.

"Don't be so cheesy."

"It's true!"

Katsuki pushed on his shoulder.  Izuku laughed and pushed back, to which Katsuki nudged him again.  The pushing went back and forth and soon escalated.  Izuku pushed a little too hard, and soon he was on top of him.

Despite himself, he was soon kissing him while holding his face.  Katsuki's arms were around him, and Izuku's thoughts were wandering.  For a moment, he remembered why he had sought him out in the first place, when he was giving him his phone.

Now they were alone, finally, and they could—

"Deku."

Izuku grunted when he was being pulled away.  "Katchan—?"

"Not... not right..."  He sighed.  "Can you hold off or do you—?"

Izuku sighed.  He would be lying if he said he was little disappointed, but he knew there was no point if Katsuki was swinging really low.

He nodded.  "I can wait."

Chapter Text

Katsuki tapped his foot impatiently.  The disinterest on his face was clear as he kept his arms crossed and his eyes anywhere but at the task at hand.  He was standing in the middle of the locker room, glaring at the floor, his lips in a deep grimace.

"You have some of the worst clothes, Katsuki-kun," Ashido's voice came from further down the row.  She was sifting through a pile of clothes Katsuki had brought down for her to go through.

"Not really something on my mind," Katsuki snipped out.

Ashido came back to him, a few things in her hands.  "I just don't understand," she commented as she dropped them on the bench next to him.  "How can you live without being presentable?"

"Deku likes it," Katsuki muttered.

"Oh, honey, of course he does."  She held up one of his button-down shirts and inspected it.  "You could be wearing a rice sack, and he'll still think you're cute.  That's how that works."  She hummed and picked up a different shirt.

"He'll still notice the difference, though."

Katsuki scoffed.  "It's not like it matters."

Ashido looked over at him, brow raised.  "Haven't you ever dressed up for him before?"

Katsuki hesitated with his answer.  He didn't really dress up ever unless he was forced into it.  He much preferred being comfortable over anything fashionable.  And he never felt any need to be anything other than that around him: comfortable.

Izuku had never asked for anything more.  Sometimes he dressed up a little bit for a date, but it was nothing extreme, just as well-fitting shirt and tighter fashion pants.  He always looked wonderful in those outfits, and even Katsuki had to admit he enjoyed it.

But Izuku never brought it up, and on the days he was more presentable, he never side-eyed Katsuki for not doing the same.  Now that Ashido brought it up, though, was it something he secretly wanted from him?  He just wasn't into that kind of thing, and he figured Izuku understood that.  But maybe he should try it.  What would his reaction be later in the night, when they went to the festival?  He guessed he would base it off that, and try in the future to make more of an effort.

Should he have been already, though?

"Our first date," Katsuki said.

Ashido turned to him fully, holding a pair of pants.  Her eyes were full of intrigue, and she clearly wanted him to continue.

Katsuki rolled his eyes but decided to indulge her.  "My mother made me," he said.  "She wouldn't let me go on that first date with being presentable."

"Your mother knew about it?" Ashido asked.  "She knew you were--?"

"She knew I was before I did, according to her," Katsuki said.  "She's actually... she's always been supportive about it, never treated it like a phase or anything."

He knew someone already whose family wasn't as understanding, and knew too well what it was doing to him.  He was grateful to his parents who never questioned who he was, but just loved him the way he was in almost every facet.

"And when I told her it was with Deku, she was ecstatic."

Ashido chuckled.  "She's always approved, huh?"

Katsuki nodded.  "She's like him since we were kids, always saying he'd be a good influence on me."

She gave him a knowing smirk before turning her focus back to the clothes.  "She sounds wise."

He huffed.  "Yeah, yeah."

"So, she made you dress up?  Where was the date?"

"It wasn't like formal or anything," Katsuki said.  "It was just a little café for coffee and cake."  He toed at the ground, ignoring the flush on his face.  He had never told anyone these things; it was something left just between him and Izuku.

But there was a point to friends knowing, right?  So, you could share these things?  Not all memories should be private, he could Imagine Izuku saying.  Wasn't it a good thing that happened?  Shouldn't others know how far they'd come, how they were happy despite the hurdles they faced?

Katsuki twitched. It was still strange to share things he considered so private.  But the smile and the soft expression on Ashido's face eased the tension some: she wanted to hear it so she could show her support.  That's what real friends did, just as Kirishima and Izuku did.

He scratched the back of his neck.  There was still so much about friendship that felt foreign to him.

"Aww, so cute," Ashido cooed.

Katsuki scoffed.  "More like awkward."

She hummed and shrugged.  "But still good, right?"

He blinked.  It had been good, despite the awkwardness of it all.  They hadn't talked much at first, not sure what the topics of a first date contained.  It didn't change until Izuku started to nervously talk about the plastic decoration on his pastry, and something about it led Katsuki into a rather silly but still entertaining conversation about food presentation.  From there, they eased more into a natural conversation that led to louder voices and laughing.

That stupid piece of plastic could possibly be thanked for things going so well after.  How stupid was that?

"I'm going to go ask Eijirou-kun," Ashido's voice invaded his reverie.

He looked up at her, brow raised.  "Ask him for what?"

Ashido clicked her tongue but smirked.  "You weren't paying attention, were you?"  She tsk'ed at him.  "And I thought I was distracted by that scent on you."

Katsuki glared a little.  When Izuku had come to him the night before, questioning only why he was so upset, he had smelled it on him.  Izuku had been in need, but he was too gone in the conversation with his mother to give him any proper attention.

They had stayed up, talking more about Katsuki's mental stability and his mother hiding hers from him.  Eventually they moved to Izuku's room to take the kimono and hunt it up.  They discussed a little more before falling asleep, and at no time before were they intimate, despite the aroma in the air.  They fooled around at some part during the night, but nothing too intense.  Katsuki was far from a mood to enable such things, and Izuku wasn't going to push it.

The smell was still in his room, so long after Izuku had last been there.  It had been so strong the night before, Katsuki wondered how he controlled himself during his breakdown.  He was grateful for it, though: he needed him so desperately, needed the ground he was before he flew too far away.

"I'm going to go see what Eijirou-kun had," Ashido said.  "You two are about the same size, right?"

"I guess."  Katsuki wasn't completely sure.  They looked to be, but he thought Kirishima might have a little more to his chest, but that was about it.  Otherwise, they had grown at the same rate and were the same height.

"Stay here," she said.  She was already at the door and taking a step out.  "I'll be just a few moments!"

Katsuki watched her as she left.  The moment she was gone, he let out a long breath.  He ran his hands over his face a few times as a groan left him.

He didn't want to do this.  It wasn't the dress up or the fuss over makeup that he was bothered with: it just wasn't his thing.  He had been with Kirishima and Kaminari too much to not be used to wasting time to being presentable.  He had let Kaminari put makeup on him more than once, after all.  The attention it would bring him didn't exactly bother him.  He was used to eyes on him in public, had craved it on better days.

But when people looked at him, they were at a hero.  That wasn't the goal they were going for this time.  He wasn't a hero that night, he was Midoriya Izuku's boyfriend.  They were deliberately calling attention to that.  All eyes would fall on him, and everyone would know.

Katsuki felt sick.

It didn't help that he was still down from the night before.  He was still thinking of the night before, of the conversation with his mother, of the words that spilled out to Izuku.  Ever fear, every worry, every concern came falling out, after he had spent so long trying to keep it in.  It wasn't just the fear of the future, but the vulnerability that fear brought that had kept him holding it in.

But it was foolish of course.  There was a part of him that always knew he could tell Izuku.  He knew.  Like so many things, though, he couldn't bring himself to believe it.  But when Izuku held him, let him cry, let him pour out every last thought burrowing into him, he didn't judge.  He would never judge him.

Izuku would just be glad to know him.

Being seen as Midoriya Izuku's boyfriend was the least he could do in return for everything he brought to his life.  Izuku wanted everyone to know.  Izuku held no shame in showing him off, held pride in the idea of holding hands in public.  The least, the very least Katsuki could do was give him that.

Katsuki tapped his foot again.  How long was she going to take?  He wanted to get this over with, get on with it, before he started talking himself out of it.

He pulled out his phone to help keep himself distracted.  He found a message waiting for him, and he couldn't help but smile at the name of the sender.

How's the torture going?

Katsuki smirked.  Long.  I apparently have terrible fashion sense.

The answer wasn't immediate, but still came.  You do.

You're not much better.

That's why I let Uraraka and Yaoyorozu take me shopping once in a while.

Katsuki laughed at that.  He could always tell the difference between the clothes Izuku already had and the ones he bought with the girls.  Both looked good on him, just in different ways.  The loose, nondescript comfortable clothes were meant for more casual things or more in-depth activities; where the fashion clothes looked perfect on him without losing any of his masculinity.  They showed how taunt his body had become over the years, hinting at the muscles beneath the stylised fabrics.

He was silently grateful for the way they picked his clothes.  Katsuki was the one who got to reap the most benefits from it.

I'd hate to see what wardrobe Kirishima or Kaminari would give me.

Maybe let Hagakure and Ashido dress you?

I don't know if that would be worse or better.

"Ba~ck," Ashido called from the entrance of the locker room.  She had a few things in her arms and was inspecting them as she walked back to him.  "Only so much, though: he has so many colours in his wardrobe, and I just don't think that's you."

Katsuki was silently grateful for the consideration.  He wasn't looking forward to any bright colours.

Getting back to the torment, he quickly typed.  See you in my room and go from there?

Perfect.  Have fun getting dolled up.  Love you.

Katsuki put his phone away as Ashido stepped up to him.  She held up shirts to his chest, but he wasn't really paying attention to what they looked like.  She hummed and considered and finally snapped her fingers.  She parted from him as she started to rummage between the two groups of clothes.  Finally, she handed him a set.  He took it as it was thrusted into his arms, and for the first time, he looked over some of the garments.

"These are leggings," he said, his tone even.

Ashido nodded.  "They go under the jeans."

Katsuki furrowed his brow.  "These aren't—"

"They're mine," she interrupted.  "They'll be short probably, but they shouldn't be too tight."

"What's the point?"

Ashido raised a brow.  "The colour?"

Katsuki looked over the garment again.  The crease in his brow softened as the understanding fell over him.  "...right."

Ashido smiled wide.  "Well?  Go on!"  She shooed him toward the stall area.  "Let's see what it looks like!"

Katsuki rolled his eyes.  "Stay out here."

"You're no fun," she said with a laugh.

::*~~*::

"The pink looks so good on you!"

"You think?  Not too much?"

Uraraka and Hagakure spoke to each other in excited tones, going over their outfits for the festival.  Iida had joined them thankfully; giving Izuku someone to talk to while the girls did their own thing.  He didn't seem that bothered by any of it, and just smiled and made small comments when asked.

Izuku didn't particularly care either.  It wasn't the first time Uraraka had dragged him along or made him sit for makeovers.  She liked doing it, and he wasn't one to say no, especially to something so harmless.  When it came to the makeup, she was subtle with what she did, giving him more neutral colours that just matched what he was wearing.  She took pictures, but only shared them with Izuku.

And then he would share them with Katsuki.  He would smile at them, but Izuku was never sure how he really felt about it.

Uraraka spent time with Hagakure first, putting some light, sparkling eye shadow on her that matched a warm honey highlighter.  She finished with a soft lip gloss and the look came together to give her an almost ethereal look.  She was ghostlike, transparent in everything but her kimono and the makeup.  But all of it was warm colours, matching her personality.  She was a spirt of good fortune, Izuku thought.

Uraraka had come with her makeup already done.  She was covered in shades of pink and blue, all of it light and shimmering.  It matched her kimono and the furs she had set aside for the festival.  It was clear that some of the blue was for Iida, matching his kimono, and he had come pink in his.  It was rather cute, when Izuku let himself think about it.  Maybe a little silly, but he could see the appeal of maybe occasionally being so obvious.

After all, hadn't it been part of his decision for the kimono he would wear?

Iida had agreed to a little himself, getting just a touch at the corner of his eyelids.  He sat perfectly still and moved as if he anticipated her actions.  It wasn't a surprise, though: he'd probably been roped into it even more than Izuku had.

When it finally came to Izuku, it was getting late and closer to when they were supposed to leave.  And he wasn't even in his kimono yet, not wanting to go around the dormitory in it.  Uraraka had made it clear she only wanted to do a little to him, but was insistent that they do it.  He thought it odd, but he wasn't going to speak against it.

She started with his hair, doing as best she could with the unruly locks.  There was some attempt to get it flattened, but she settled for getting the most of it into a small ponytail at the top of his head.  She accented it with a comb accessory that was almost glass looking and vibrant red.  She clipped it in just behind his hair, and he could feel the shorts rows of beads against his skull.

"Isn't this a little too..."  Izuku met Iida's eyes, and he could tell he was thinking the same.

"I like it," Hagakure said.  "Doesn't it match the kimono you borrowed?"

"Not the only thing that matches," Uraraka murmured.

Izuku looked at her, brow raised.  "What do you mean?"

She gave him a wide smile as she held up a colour pallet.  "This will only be a moment, I promise."

Izuku held her eyes for only a moment more before closing his eyes.  He twitched at the feel of the brush against his eyelid but instantly stilled himself.  He always had trouble sitting still during these makeovers.  The bristles felt weird, almost like they would fall off in the cosmetics and cling to his lids.

It was even worse when it came to the eyeliner.  He was always worried that the pencil would go in his eyes, especially when he was told to open them and look up.  Uraraka was always careful, but he couldn't stop the hesitation that came.

How did she do this every day?

"you can relax, I'm done with your eyes."

Izuku let out a long breath.  He opened his eyes slowly and looked over at Uraraka.  He gave her a small smile.  "Thanks," he said.  He started to stand up, but he was surprised to find a hand pushing him back into the seat.

"Umm, Uraraka, I still need to get—"

"One last thing."  She was smiling as she pulled out a small compact and a flat, fanned out brush.  There was something almost mischievous about the look on her face.  Mischievous?  No, maybe not that... just... knowing?  It was more than a little off-putting.

"Just need two seconds."

Izuku gave a reluctant hum, but he kept still.  She was honest about how fast it would be done: she took two swipes over each of his cheeks, only separated by passing the brush through the compact.  She settled back, looking over him, inspecting him, before she nodded.

"Wonderful."

Izuku turned when he heard a sound of uncertainty from Iida.  He looked almost unsure, but hee said nothing.

Uraraka clicked the compact closed as she took steps away from him.  While she was putting all of her makeup away, Hagakure leaned in to look over the final result.  Though she didn't have it caked on, there was enough of the cosmetics on her face for Izuku to see the worry in her brow.

"Does it look bad?" he asked softly.

She shook her head.  "I don't think so, just an odd choice."

"It's meant to match," Uraraka spoke up.

Izuku raised a brow.  "Match what?"

Iida's brow knit in some concern.  "Should you be so--?"

Uraraka waved him off.  She grinned at Izuku.  "We'll let you finish getting ready," she said.  "You think you'll be long?"

Izuku was still uncertain but forced a smile.  "Go on ahead if you want," he insisted.  "It'll take me a moment to get my kimono on, and I'd hate to have you wait on me."

"Do you need any help?" Iida asked.

Izuku shook his head.  "I'll be fine."

Uraraka picked up her makeup case.  "Don't be too, too long," she said.  "It should be a fun night.  I'd hate for you to miss out on anything."  There was something in her voice... she knew something but wasn't saying it...

Izuku stood up and nodded at both of them.  "I'll be quick, I promise."

Uraraka smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek.  She waved at him and Hagakure.  "We'll see you soon, then."

Iida waved as well before turning and heading off with his girlfriend.  Hagakure chirped a parting and Izuku just gave a wave as they left.  He sighed and turned to her.

"It's not that bad, right?"

The earrings swayed as she shook her head.  "It looks good," she said.  "Subtle, fits you... it's just..."

"What?"

Hagakure paused.  "I'm just going to..."  She leaned forward and took hold of his chin.  She lifted her other arm, sliding down the billowy sleeve to reveal her long sleeved undershirt.  She wiped at his cheeks, applying pressure, but not enough to hurt.

"What are you doing?"  He didn't stop her but he was stiff as she moved.

It was all but a moment before she was pulling away, having scrubbed his cheeks.  She held up her sleeve to show off the cosmetics she was wiping off.  He had to stare for a moment to get exactly what he was supposed to be looking at.  The colour looked close to something, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

"I don't--?"

Hagakure waved the white-blue shimmer in his face.  "To match."

It was another second before it clicked into place.  The colour was just like—

"Was this supposed to match Todoroki's...?"

She nodded.

"...why...?"

"Ochako mentioned... I think she's going to try and get you two alone tonight."

Izuku frowned.  Uraraka knew better.  She was one of the only people that knew about his brief relationship with Shouto.  She knew that it had ended and mostly why, though he left anything about Katsuki out of it, when he came later into the situation.  She had always made her opinion known that she thought Shouto was good for him and maybe even get back together.  But he wasn't, though he hadn't been honest about why.

That wasn't only because of Katsuki's request of silence.  He hadn't been exactly upfront about reasons for the breakup.  He had given some excuse about not having time for the relationship, that right then wasn't for the best.  He didn't know how to explain that Shouto that didn't... click with him.  And it wasn't from a lack of trying.  He really had hoped that they could work out, but...

On paper, Shouto would seem perfect.  A little aloof and in need of not only getting in touch with his feelings, but learning how to express them.  It wasn't like he wasn't into that sort of personality.

Clearly.

But there was something about their time together just felt lacking.  No matter the amount of time together, they never got as close as he imagined they would.  For the months they were together, they had done little more than hold hands.  They had never even kissed.

Katsuki had kissed him to show him how he felt, which led to their current relationship.  The difference stood to him, for sure.

"Well, she won't get the chance," he said.  "I'm going with Katchan, and no matter how he behaves, I plan on being very honest."

The glint of gloss moved up into a smile.  "You two will be so cute tonight," she said.  "And no room for questions, right?"

Izuku smiled and nodded.  "No questions."

They spent only a few more moments making conversations of where to meet when they got to the festival before parting ways.  Izuku went back to the men's side of the dorms to finish getting ready.

It didn't take him too long to get the pieces together and dressed.  He was putting the haori on his shoulders as he made his way down the hall to Katsuki's room.  He had a large smile on his face a jump in his step.

He was ready and he was excited.  He finally got to show off his boyfriend.  He got to tell his friends who had been with and for anyone else to get the hint that he was truly off limits.

He just hoped Katsuki would be just as excited.

Izuku knocked on the door.  "Katchan?" he called.  "You ready?"

"Door's open!" was the answer from the other side of the door.

Izuku came in, closing and locking the door behind him.  His eyes fell on Katsuki and he couldn't help but raise a brow.  "What are you doing?"

Katsuki came from underneath the bed, a decent sized box in his hands.  "Needed to find something," he muttered as he set the box on the bed.

Izuku came further into the room, taking in Katsuki's backside, still bent over some.  The jeans he was wearing were tight in all the right ways, and he could tell his shape through his top.  He bit his thumb as he thought about the muscles underneath.  He was strong, and he could certainly do something with that strength...

"Deku."

"Hmm?"

Katsuki was looking at him, still on the floor.  His brow was raised, but he was smirking.  Izuku flushed a little.  Of course, he knew where his mind was.

Izuku coughed.  "What's in the box?" he asked as he sat down on the bed.  He barely lifted the lid of the thick and decorated cardboard.  He recognised it as something from Katsuki's room back in Shizuoka, under his nightstand.  It was just something that was there.  Katsuki had never called attention to it, so he had never thought to ask about it.

But Katsuki had brought it with him.  Didn't that make it important?

Katsuki crossed his arms on the mattress and put his chin on his forearms.  He looked at Izuku from his spot on the floor.  "Just some things."

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "Things," he repeated.  He put the box in his lap and opened it.  Katsuki watched him but said nothing and didn't stop him.

The contents were odd at first glance.  Pieces of paper, random trinkets, and...

"Is this your cast?"

Katsuki grunted with a shrug.

Izuku looked over the plaster covered in various names and well wishes.  He smiled at the tiny hand drown into the palm.

It was strange to have such a strong memory to something that had cause so much pain to Katsuki.

He went through the rest of the box, noticing the ticket stuffs for each of the trains they had gone on for the Tour.  There was a folded piece of paper that he found was a test with a high grade marked on it.  But it wasn't Katsuki's name on it.

"Why do you have one of Kirishima's tests?"

"It was the first time he scored that well."

Izuku's gaze softened.  He knew Katsuki could be sentimental, but he had no idea it could be this much.  Even after a lifetime of knowing each other, he was still learning new things about him.  He hoped that it would be that way ongoing.

He leaned in to kiss his forehead.  "Were you just wanting to look through this...?"

Katsuki moved to sit on the bed next to Izuku.  He put his hand in the box and started to sort through it.  As he did, Izuku got a better look at his clothes.  His dark red shirt was opened at the top, showing a black tank top underneath.  His black denim pants had purposeful rips in them, and green fabric showed underneath.

"I was looking for..."  He pulled his hand out, a chain in his fingers.  He held it up for only a moment before putting it around his neck.  "...this."

Izuku eyed the little trinket, a smile playing on his lips.  He pulled on the chain lightly until the plastic piece was in his palms.  It was a vibrant blue circle that had a piece looping out on top.  He recognised it instantly, even if it had been two years since he'd seen it.

"You kept this?"

There was a flush on Katsuki's face.  "Shut up."

Izuku chuckled.  "It's cute," he said.  "It's adorable you kept it."

Katsuki punched him in the shoulder.  "I said shut up, nerd."

Izuku still laughed.  "Or what?" he teased.  "Show me how much more of a sap you are?"

Katsuki growled lightly.  He pushed on his shoulders, and the box fell from his lap as he found his back on the mattress.  The sound of the contents spilling didn't seem to deter him as he leaned over Izuku's body.

Izuku grinned up at him.  "This how you going to do it--?"

"Quiet," Katsuki said before moving in and pressing lips together.

::*~~*::

The sun was starting to set when they got to the festival.  It took up the park and spilled out into the streets around with food and game booths.  There were snow sculptures everywhere of various sizes and shapes.  Lights and music filled the whole area, giving it an almost ethereal presence.

Katsuki already hated it.

"Katchan, you don't have to hold on so tight."

Katsuki looked down at their entwined fingers.  "...I won't go through with it otherwise."

Izuku smiled and kissed his cheek.  "It'll be fine," he said.  "Everything will be fine."

Katsuki grunted.

"Once it's done, it's done."  Izuku gave his palm a squeeze.  "Then you'll never have to do it again."

Katsuki sighed.  He stopped in front of one of the larger sculptures depicting All Might.  He looked up at it, his fingers still tight around Izuku's hand.

"Then I just have to deal with what everyone is going to say."

Izuku rolled his eyes.  "You're exaggerating."  He leaned against his shoulder.  "The most people will be is surprised."

Katsuki said nothing, though it was clear he was still uncertain.

"Katchan."

"I'm still going through with it."

"You better."  Izuku wrapped his arm around Katsuki's lower back.  "Either this, or I'm just going to kiss you in front of everyone."

Katsuki scoffed.  "The fuck you will."

Izuku fixed with a stern gaze.  "Don't test me, Katchan."

Katsuki clicked his tongue but didn't refute his claim.  Izuku had already been so patient, beyond what should have ever been asked of him.  He could go in the middle of the crowd and shout about it, and he had no right to be upset about it.

No, this was the best way to go about it.  Izuku was right.

Katsuki put his arm around Izuku's shoulder and kissed the side of his head.  "This way is fine," he said sincerely.  "...and if you want to kiss in front of everyone..."

Izuku nuzzled under his chin.  "I won't," he said.  "Unless you want to."  He smirked.

Katsuki nudged him.  "Don't push your luck."

Izuku chuckled.  He rested his head on Katsuki's shoulder, silent for a moment.

Katsuki pulled out his phone when he felt it vibrate.  There was a message from Kirishima, letting him know where they were amidst asking where they were.  He looked around, following the lights to where the majority of the food vendors were located.  He couldn't see them through the crowd, but from the directions given, he assumed that's where they were.

"Want a snack?"

Izuku considered that for a moment.  "Not really," he said.  "I wouldn't say no to a drink, though."

Katsuki let go of his shoulder, but kept a hand on his arm.  "I'm going to go check in with the guys real quick," he said.  "I'll probably grab something to eat, too.  And drink."

Izuku gave him a look, brow raised.

"I won't be more than a few moments."  He kissed his cheek.  "And then we can go show off."

Izuku's expression softened.  "Just say you need a moment first, Katchan."

Katsuki ran a hand through his hair.  "...I need a moment."

Izuku smiled, his gaze gentle.  "Go ahead," he said.  "Besides, they all know what we're doing."  He smirked.  "They won't let you out of it so easily."

Katsuki scoffed.  "Whatever."  He was right.  If he tried to back out, Kirishima and the others would force him into it.  Not to mention, Izuku's threat was still there.  "I'll be back."

Katsuki parted with a short kiss and headed off toward the food vendors.  He had to go through a crowd to get there.  It was just a bunch of people mulling around the centre of the park, admiring various sculptures.  He had to push his way past when he couldn't find other ways around.

Was this so worth it for something he could take pictures of?

As he got closer to his destination, there was a large group taking up a walk way.  The people on it were all cheering and making a loud commotion.  They were excited about something they were all circled around.  The sound was familiar, like whenever All Might was in a crowd.

Katsuki groaned and rolled his eyes.  It must be some local celebrity.  How obnoxious.

He moved, trying to find another way around.  It too a moment, but he was able to get around the throng of people and get back on his way.  He glanced back at the crowd, having come to the spectacle they were all yammering about.

It was indeed local heroes: specifically Brute Wall and Nabang.  They were greeting the crowd, smiling and waving and talking pleasantly.  Well, Nabang and one of Brute Wall's sidekicks, Road Train, were talking happily.  Brute Wall stood close, her arms crossed over her chest.  She was responding to people, but it was clear she didn't really want to be there.

Katsuki couldn't help but empathise with her.  He had always wanted the fame that came with being a top hero, but he had found over his time at the UA that it wasn't exactly the way he'd expected.  Talking in front of people bothered him when he knew they would talk back.  Crowds were too much sometimes, and he didn't know how to handle them when they were too close.  Not to mention his worse manias made him worse with people when he wasn't in control of the situation.

He understood why another Hero would hate going into public.  It was the whole reason Brute Wall's agency had seemed so appealing to him.  Even when she had first reached out to him in second year, he was already looking into it.  But then his relationship with Izuku had gotten so deep...

He was making the right choice.  He could always find an agency: there was only one Izuku.

Katsuki turned, taking a step forward toward the vendors.  He stilled when he thought he heard his name being called.  The voice was unfamiliar, though, and he started again, just ignoring it.

He only got a few steps before he was stopped again by a hand on his shoulder.  He flipped around, ready to get into a confrontation.  He was surprised to find Brute Wall there with Road Train at her side.

"Bakugou Katsuki."

Katsuki finally turned to face them.  He nodded in greeting directed at both, but he kept his attention on Brute Wall.  She was an imposing figure, almost as tall as All Might and built similarly.  Her long, fiery red hair was tied in a long braid with several pins and baubles in it.  She wore a masculine kimono in tones of purples and whites.

Road Train was short but had the same kind of build.  His black hair was short and spiked, and his dark eyes were almost tired looking.  He wasn't wearing a kimono, but still looked good in his button down and blazer.

"What is it?" he asked.  He tried to keep his tone even, not let any of his crassness come out, but it seemed unavoidable.

Brute Wall smirked.  "I wasn't expecting to see you tonight," she started.  It was an odd statement: why would she expect him at all?

"I got dragged along," Katsuki replied.  It was honest in most ways.

"Well, since I have you, we could hammer out some details, eh?"

Katsuki raised a brow.  "Details for what?"

"For coming to the agency."

Katsuki scoffed.  "What are you talking about?" he asked, brow furrowed.  "I told you, I can't join the JH.  I... I have to stay near Shizuoka."

"Then you shouldn't have said you were accepting the offer," Road Train chimed in.  His tone sounded upset, but Katsuki could hardly place why.

"I didn't," Katsuki said with a glare to Road Train.  "The last thing I sent was a declination."

Brute Wall frowned.  "The last I got from you was reconsidering."  She pulled out her phone and skimmed through it quickly before handing it to Katsuki.  "See?  From yesterday morning."  The screen was a wall of text, starting with the subject about the offer and the send from Katsuki's email address.

Katsuki began to read over the characters.  It was indeed an acceptance of Brute Wall's very generous offer, but none of the words looked familiar to him.  He didn't remember writing this.  Where had it come from?

"I was planning on coming by the dormitories on Saturday when you were more likely to be free," she said.  "Nabang and I had a few from your year we picked out and were going to talk to.  But since you're here..."

"I didn't send this," Katsuki said with a harsh tone.

Brute Wall took her phone back and glanced at the screen.  "This is your email address, isn't it?  This was sent from you, wasn't it?"

"It is, but I didn't send that email."

"If you didn't, then who did?"

"I don't know, but—"

"Why not just take it?" Road Train interrupted.  "The offer is very good, one of the better ones we've given out.  There's no reason not to reconsider!"

"Hatsukawa," Brute Wall addressed him.  "Calm yourself."

Road Train huffed.  "He's the one being ungrateful."

"I'm not being ungrateful," Katsuki snapped.  "I have my reasons."

Road Train didn't seem to care for the vague answer.  Brute Wall seemed disappointed more than anything.  But Katsuki didn't care.  His answer wasn't going to change.

"Is there nothing that can change your mind?"

Katsuki shook his head.  "No.  Not anything that remotely comes to mind."

Brute Wall sighed.  "Fine, fine."

Road Train didn't look convinced, but he said nothing.

"If you change your mind, though, drop me a line."

Katsuki nodded, even if he was sure nothing would change.

"Enjoy your evening, Bakugou-san," she said with a wave.  "I wish you the best in your career."

Katsuki just grunted in acknowledgement.  Road Train opened his mouth to say something, but Katsuki had already turned, heading back toward his original destination.

::*~~*::

Izuku wandered around the festival, enjoying the sights and sounds of the lively decorations and shows.  He admired the different sculptures, inspecting the more detailed ones, appreciating the artistry that went into it.  He had seen plenty of pictures from the years before, but there was something more when seeing them up close.

Along his wandering, he came to thoughts about the prefecture itself.  He had been paying close attention to the area all week, something he always did, but especially in the past couple of days.  Since Kaminari had slipped up and told him of the offer Katsuki had gotten, he had reconsidered his own offer from Nabang.  Between his fermin and during downtime at work he had looked more into the surrounding area.

He would have to bring it up to Katsuki, which Nabang would be its own trial.  Katsuki clearly didn't want him to know about it, so there was the initial anger there.  Izuku also wanted to discuss it without bringing up the offer from Yuchoen.  He didn't want Katsuki's decision to be based on him anymore than he knew his current on to stay in Shizuoka had been.  And though Izuku was just as guilty of making a similar selfish decision, he had to take a step back here.  The JH was perfect for Katsuki, and Izuku didn't want their relationship to get in the way of his career.  They could withstand some distance, if it came to it.  He just needed to see if Katsuki agreed.  Their relationship shouldn't be in the way of their careers, but work toward them.

Izuku also wasn't looking forward to Katsuki figuring out about the email he sent.  Though he had Katsuki's best intentions in mind, he knew the meddling wouldn't initially be received well.  He didn't blame him there, but sometimes he wished he could skip over Katsuki's first response to things and get to what the real conversation was about.  He had thankfully gotten better about it over time, but over certain things that would be seen as too personal, Katsuki couldn't control himself at first.  He needed to have that first outburst before he could even think about the actual conversation happening.

It was easier to deal with on topics he knew it would come upon.  And there were times that anger was even justified, and Izuku didn't mind to let him have it.  He was entitled to it, after all.  It would just be easier to talk to him if they could get past it quickly and into what really needed to be discussed.

None of this discussion would start off simply, but they needed to have it.  He was sure it would end well, it would just take a bit to get to that part.  But it would be worth it.  That he was sure of.

Izuku walked back to the spot Katsuki had left him at, hoping he had returned.  He frowned when he looked around and couldn't find him in the crowd.  He figured he would be a while, maybe got caught up talking to his friends, but he was hoping he'd make it back soon.

Hopefully he wasn't losing his nerve.

Izuku sighed.  He shouldn't have let him go alone.  He could just go back to the dorms if he got too anxious, and Izuku would never even know.  No, he wouldn't do that, he wouldn't leave without telling him.  At the most, he'd bring it up and maybe try to get out of it for just a moment, but then stop.  He would do it for Izuku, no matter what it meant for him.

Katsuki promised.  That meant he would do it.  No amount of overthinking on Izuku's part would convince him otherwise.

"Ah, Midoriya-san."

Izuku turned, facing who had called him.  He found himself in front of the head of the Yuchoen Agency, Nabang.  His eyes lit with surprise, never having expected to meet them in such a place.

"Nabang-san, good evening," he greeted with a bow.  "What a pleasure to run into you."

Nabang smiled and bowed back.  "I'd have to agree," they said.  "Have you been enjoying the festival?"

Izuku nodded.  "It's wonderful," he said.  "Such talent and love went into a lot these, you can tell."  His eyes went over few of the closest ones.  "It's quite a sight..."

Nabang looked over the same statues.  They folded their hands together in front of them and their moth-like wings fluttered a little, shaking off the falling snow.  "As long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed this time of year, just for this reason."  They turned to look at Izuku.

"We have a lot of things like this here," they went on.  "It's a wonderful place to live."

Izuku turned to them, a sincere smile on his lips.  He thought the conversation would lead this way, and he was glad for it.  He actually wanted to discuss his options with them, see what could come of it.  He still hoped Katsuki would take Brute Wall's offer, but it didn't mean he couldn't hear them out in the meantime.

"I'm sure it is," he said.  "I'm, ah... been looking at the paces around here."

Their eyes lit up a little at the information.  "So you're interested?"

Izuku nodded.  "I'm definitely considering it."

Nabang hummed and tilted their head.  "Only considering...?"

Izuku scratched the back of his head with a nervous chuckle.  "I, ah... am still waiting for an answer from somewhere else."  They didn't need to know about his current conflict in full, right?  "Not to mention, I've already been accepted to an agency in Shizuoka."

"Is it that much of a better offer than mine?"

Izuku had to pause at that.  It was just as good an offer as what Nabang had given him.  The benefits were a bit different, but the biggest difference was the change in location.  He had looked at so many offers, and one of the things that came out was that they weren't in Shizuoka or Tokyo, and there was something alluring about it.  Every offer he would look at the surrounding area and learn about it, gaining an interest in everything not only the job provided but also the city.

...should Katsuki really be part of the decision?

No, of course he should be.  It was a selfish thought.  They should talk about options, that was true.  Izuku shouldn't feel bad about the offers he got.  They should be able to have discussions about this.  Though it wasn't like there was some spoken embargo on the topic.  They just picked their agencies, that not a real discussion just assumed, and that was it.

It was a conversation they should have.  Especially now.

"It's a good offer," Izuku admitted.  "And... I'm considering it actually."

Nabang's smile brightened.  "Is there anything you have questions on?  Something to tip the scale?"

Izuku shook his head and gave a wave, but his expression was still soft.  "I... I just need to go over a few things," he said.  "See if some things would... work, if I accept."

Nabang had something like understanding in their faceted eyes.  They nodded and tucked their arms into the fur of their kimono.  "Some things have to be arranged, I see."  They hummed, their gaze moved to nothing as if something was passing by them.

"Please let me know," they said.  "And if you have any... concerns, just email me.  We may be able to work something out."

Izuku nodded.  "I'll be in contact," he assured.  "Either way, I'll let you know."

"I appreciate it."  They looked around and back toward a crowd some metres off that had gathered.  "I need to get back to Tsuyomi.  She doesn't do well in these kinds of things."

Izuku only give a short laugh at the information.  "Yeah, I know someone like that."

Nabang chuckled.  They gave him a light bow, saying, "Enjoy your evening, Midoriya.  I hope to hear from you soon."

Izuku bowed.  "You, too, Nabang-san.  I'll reach out to you soon."

Nabang smiled and made their leave, heading to the crowd.  As they left, people spotted them and started to cheer.  They went into the crowd with an almost sereneness Izuku wasn't expecting.  What it must be like to be so famous and loved.  He had seen many heroes over the years greet their fans so happily, and there was something about it be always envied.

He was excited for his turn for it.

Izuku turned to the path of another set of sculptures.  It was a bit away from where Katsuki had left him but closer to the food vendors.  It should still be on his way back, so they wouldn't miss each other.  If nothing else, they both had their phones.  He had made sure of it before they left.

With a hum, Izuku started off to look at more of the carved snow.

::*~~*::

Katsuki despised the smug look on his friends' faces. He walked past Kirishima and Kaminari with a groan and an eye roll, wanting to postpone their negging.  He was sure it was inevitable, but it would be easier to deal with if he had something to eat.

"You're late, Bakugou," Kirishima called after, hot on his footsteps.

Kaminari audibly sniffed the air.  "And I bet I know what kept him..."

"Shut it," Katsuki growled.  They just laughed in response.

Katsuki continued down the aisle of vendors until he came to one with something he wanted.  He shushed the two of them as he made his order, telling the cook to put it all in one container.  He stepped aside to wait and glared back at his friends.  They had started talking amongst themselves, their attention firmly on each other.

Kaminari was close to him, his arm wrapped around Kirishima's bicep. It wasn't uncommon for him to be so affectionate with any of his friends, but it was always different with the red-head.

Kirishima was an idiot.

"Where's everyone else?"

Kirishima looked around before back at Katsuki.  "A lot of them are over at the pond skating.  I think Hagakure and Ashido are somewhere close by.  They were playing some games at the midway."

"Where's Midoriya?" Kaminari asked.  "Weren't you two going--?"

"We are," Katsuki interrupted.  He ran a hand through his hair.  "We are, I swear."  He was speaking more to himself than them.

"You okay, man?" Kirishima asked.

Katsuki shrugged.  "Whatever."  He turned when he heard his order being called out.  He took the large paper basket of fried foods with a word of gratitude and came back to the others.

"Aww, he's getting something for his date," Kaminari said with a chuckle.

"Yeah, yeah."  He headed off to a beverage vendor he had seen on his way down the aisle.  He got in line, muttering, "Might as well make this whole thing worth something."

"The sculptures are nice," Kirishima said.  They were still close to him, Kaminari still on his arm.

They looked... good together like that.  He almost thought he should mention it, but he didn't want to deal with Kaminari's disappointment when Kirishima inevitably said something stupid.

"Katsuki-kun!"

Katsuki just barely lifted his tray of food above his head as he was bombarded with the weight of layers of clothes running into him.  Hagakure gave him an odd, one armed hug before pulling away.  In her other hand was her phone, an image moving on the screen and a voice coming from the device.  Only a few steps behind as Ashido, grinning as she took his free arm in a similar fashion as Kaminari and Kirishima.

"We were wondering where you were," Hagakure said.  Even with the little he could see of her, he could tell she was ecstatic about something.  The light makeup on her face revealed her large smile and wide eyes.

"Who's that?  Is it Bakugou?"

Katsuki raised a brow and looked at her hand at her mobile.  She held it up as though she were taking a selfie.  She got Katsuki in the camera's view, and from there, he could see clearly who was on the screen.

"Hey," Ojirou said with a wave.

Katsuki gave a hesitant wave back.  "...hi."

Hagakure brought the phone back down and started some conversation with him, getting into it quickly and walking off.  He watched her before turning a glance to Ashido.

"So, I guess--?"

Ashido smiled and nodded.  "Yeah, everything's... it's better."

The other two looked confused at the conversation, but didn't press anything.

"You never answered my question," Kaminari quipped.

"Which one?" Katsuki was getting to the front of the line.  He picked up one of the yakitori sticks, hard as it was with Ashido still on his arm, and took a bite of it.

"Where's Midoriya?"

"Yeah, where is Izuku-kun?" Ashido asked before stealing a bite off his yakitori.  "Shou'd'n he be wit' you, sh'n' off?"

Katsuki pulled his food away, only to have Kirishima take a bite of it.  He growled and snapped it away from him.

"He wanted to look at some of the sculptures," he said.  "I was just going to get this, and then we'll... you know."

"Come out?" Kaminari offered.

"Katsuki-kun's already out," Ashido corrected.  "Who would think he's straight?"

"Thank you," Katsuki said sarcastically.

The conversation paused as Katsuki got to the front of the line and made his order.  He only got on drink, something large that was more what Izuku would like but he could also stand.  Behind him, he heard the three talk, but ignored it as they made his drink.  When it was handed to him, he thanked them and led the group away.

"Should we go get him?" Kirishima offered.

"No, I... give me just a second, I'll get him."  He looked at his hands and frowned.  He couldn’t get to his food like this...

"You're stretching it out," Kaminari accused.

"Shut up."

"You already wasted time getting here," Kirishima added.

"And messed up your makeup!"  Ashido was looking over his face with some scrutiny.

"I bet he sweated it off."

"Ha, I bet!" Kaminari agreed.  "That's what kept you, after all, wasn't it?"

"I will kill all of you," Katsuki growled.

Kirishima took the basket of food from his hand and stuck one of the takoyaki in his mouth.  "Brought it on you's'lf."

Katsuki glared at him and reached for it.  Kirishima held it away, and Kaminari took something from it.  He growled but stilled for the moment.

They came to an eating area where a few of their classmates sat, talking together in a group.  Kirishima and Kaminari headed to them, all smiled and greetings.  Katsuki didn't look too thrilled about coming to the others, but he couldn't get out of Ashido's grip without making a scene of it.

Uraraka was talking to Todoroki and Iida when they came up to them.  She was quick to turn and greet them, even giving a somewhat genuine one to Katsuki.  The other two also acknowledged them, but Todoroki seemed to barely pay attention.  He was looking over them, as if he was looking for something.

"You guys get tired of skating?" Ashido asked.

Iida answered, "It was getting a little too crowded."

"And someone was getting anxious," Uraraka said low, glancing at Todoroki.

Katsuki raised a brow as he turned away, something like a blush on his cheeks.

"Do you know where Izuku is, Bakugou?" Uraraka asked him.  "Kirishima mentioned he was coming with you."

"He already did," Kaminari said under his breath, getting a snicker from Kirishima and Ashido.

Katsuki shot them a look.  The others looked confused.  He cleared his throat and said, "He wanted to see the sculptures in the northern part of the park."

Uraraka smiled wide.  "Oh, good.  I was worried he decided not to come or something silly like that."

"No, he was just waiting on Bakugou's slow ass," Kirishima said.

"Didn't want to come alone, right?" Ashido added.

Katsuki glared at them.  He noticed at some point during the short exchange, Todoroki slipped away.  Good riddance, he thought.

"Want some?" Kaminari offered the basket of food to Uraraka and Iida.

They both said a word of gratitude and took some of the fried foods.

"Are you fucking serious?"

"Running out of excuses, Bakugou," Kirishima teased.

"Excused for what?" Iida asked, his eyes moving between them all.

"Nothing," Katsuki growled.  He finally got his arm from Ashido and snatched his food back from Kaminari.

"Might as well, right?" Kaminari mentioned.  He took one last stick of yakitori before leaving Kirishima's side to sit down on the table Uraraka and Iida sat at.  "No point in keeping it secret anymore."

"...not without Deku," Katsuki said quietly, not looking at any of them.

"What are you guys talking about?"

Katsuki shot a glance at them, staring daggers and willing their silence.  So much of this had been beyond his control.  The only person he had told was Hagakure, and that was because he felt almost guilty that point he hadn't.  This whole night was about control over how they came out.  Izuku had even given him this moment away to get ready.  It was in his control.

He just wanted to keep it that way.

"Hey, everyone!" Hagakure chirped to the group as she approached them.  She was putting her phone into her purse, giving her undivided attention to them all.  "What's going on?"

"Bakugou was about to tell us some secret," Uraraka said.  She scooted over an let her sit next to her on the bench.

"Oh?  What secret?" she asked, though her tone gave her away.

"Oh, you know..."  Kirishima led on.

"Quit it," Katsuki snapped.  "At least let me get Deku first."

Iida raised a brow.  "What do you need him for?"

Katsuki snapped his jaw shut.  Thankfully, the others did the same, finally waiting on him to speak.

"Look, it's just... I need to grab him, okay?  Just..."  Katsuki shook his head.  He handed the basket back to Kirishima and turned to leave.

"Ah, Bakugou!  Wait a second!"

Katsuki turned, glaring at Uraraka.  "What is it?"

Uraraka hesitated.  She scratched at her cheek almost nervously.  "Um, well.. you just hold up a second."

Everyone was looking at her, their expressions questioning.

"Why?" Ashido asked.

"Well, see... he just needs some time..."

Katsuki blinked.  "Who needs time for what?"

"Are you talking about Todoroki?" Hagakure asked.

Katsuki's brow only knitted more.  "What about half and half?"

Uraraka looked taken aback by his tone.  "He needed to talk to Deku."

"Oh, no, not about--?"

Uraraka looked at her, surprised.  "How did you know?"

"Izuku-kun was worried about it..."

"Worried about what?" Kirishima spoke up.  He moved closer to Katsuki and put a hand on his shoulder.

"It's not that bad," Uraraka said.  "I think it'll go well."

"No, Ochako-chan, I don't think it—"

"What the fuck is going to go well?"

Uraraka gave him a stern look.  "It's not really your business."

"I'm pretty sure it is."

Kirishima squeezed his shoulder.  "Dude, you're getting a little—"

Katsuki shrugged him off.  He took a step away from the group.  "That fucking..."

"Maybe you should let Midoriya handle it," Kirishima suggested.

"Yes, you should," Uraraka interjected.  "Todoroki had been trying to get him along for a while and—"

"For what?"

"Oh, that was the wrong choice of words," Kaminari mentioned softly.

Uraraka's eyes were wide at the tone of his voice.  "He was just—"

"Go after him like a piece of meat?"

"Katsuki-kun, calm down," Ashido touched his arm, but he swatted it away.

He shot her a dirty look.  "Let someone else act like it's open fucking season on him?"

"Seriously, man, you know it's not—"

Katsuki broke away from his friends.  He said nothing other than growl as he turned from the group and disappeared back into the crowd, Kirishima calling after him.

::*~~*::

Izuku started his way toward the food vendors when time had started to crawl on too long.  He had planned to give Katsuki the moment he clearly needed, but that moment was long past due.  He was getting worried that he would pull back on his promise, and he just couldn't let that happen.

It was time everyone knew the truth.  That, and he just wanted a date with his boyfriend where they could finally act like boyfriends around more than just Katsuki's friends.

He was passing a Mount Lady sculpture when his phone chirped at him.  He pulled it out of his sleeve and swiped at the notification.

Where are you?

He raised a brow at the abrupt message.  Shouldn't he be asking that of Katsuki?  He was the one taking forever to get back to him.  Getting food shouldn't have taken so long and he posed his fingers over the screen, ready to tell him so and that he was on his way to him.

"Izuku?"

Izuku looked up, hovering over the barely started message to turn his gaze to Todoroki.  He smiled at his friend, lowering his phone after a hastily written response where he was stalled.  (­The weeping willow next to the bridge, though his text only barely resembled that answer.)

"Shouto."  Izuku put his phone away and turned his focus completely on him.  He gave him a soft, friendly smile.  "Has the evening been good?"

Shouto returned the smile and nodded.  "It's been rather enjoyable.  Did you just get here?"

"Oh, no, I've been here for... an hour, I think?"

Shouto gave small 'oh.'  "Have you been--?"  He hesitated, as if he was considering his words.

Izuku tilted his head, but he didn't continue right away.  "I guess I got caught up looking at all the sculptures." 

Should he mention Katsuki?  He almost felt he should, but they promised to come out together.  But they were supposed to by now... If it came out, he was sure Katsuki would be okay with it.

Shouto's smile spread a little.  "They are something."

Izuku relaxed a little, thankful he didn't press further.  "They are!"  His excitement was coming back as he looked about at all of them.  "I mean, I saw pictures, but looking up close, there's such incredible detail."  He glanced back at Shouto.  "Isn't it awesome?"

Shouto nodded.  "It really is."  He put his arms in the sleeves of his kimono as a wind came by.

Izuku shivered and he wondered where Katsuki was.

"Do you know where everyone else is?" Izuku asked.  "I wanted to—"

"Izuku, I..."  Shouto stepped forward, closing the small distance between them.  "Give me a moment?  I wanted to talk to you about something."

Izuku took a step back.  He tried to keep a pleasant smile to his features, but he couldn't help but fret about where the conversation was going.

No, no, no, don't bring it up, please, please...  I don't want to do this...

"Shouto, I really don't think—"

He quieted when Shouto's hands were suddenly on his.  His cheeks were flushed, his left hand was too hot and his right hand was too cold.  His eyes were stuck on Izuku's and they were so serious.

No, no, no, stop, stop, stop.

"I know we haven't talked about it in a while," Shouto started.  "But it's almost graduation, and I just can't... I can't let us part ways without fully discussing it."

Izuku found himself frozen.  He was always able to get out of this topic since Shouto only hinted at wanting to talk about it and not actually saying anything.  But he was being so forward, leaving no room for him to wiggle out of the conversation without directly engaging in it.  He was caught off guard and Shouto was taking advantage of it.

"Izuku, I still... I know we tried, but it really wasn't for that long."  Shouto scratched the back of his hands.  "And I still, you know...  I still like you.  I get that before, before we were still getting to know each other, and there was so much going on in the first year..."

Just let him get it out, Izuku thought.  You've been avoiding it so long, it's time to just let him have it.  He's going on too much now to be cruel.

"...and we could make it work," Shouto went on.  Izuku hadn't paid attention for a moment, and he wasn't sure what he missed.

He just knew Shouto was leaning in more.

"I'm not going to be in Tokyo," Izuku said without thinking, as if it would deflect his words.

"But you're staying in Shizuoka, right?  That's not far.  It wouldn't be that hard to keep up."

Difficult if I go to Sapporo, with or without Katchan.

"This isn't... Shouto, really, this won't—"

Izuku's eyes widened as Shouto made the space between them to press his lips against his.  He squeaked against him, his mind spiralling.  This was the first time they had kissed, even during their small time together, and it was nothing he wanted anymore.

He had then, but things were far different now.

Izuku was surprised when he wasn't the first to pull away.  Shouto was just as quickly away as he was there.  He was about to say something, about to correct him, when Shouto was turned around.  Before he could say anything, even really think anything, there was a sound of flesh on flesh and Shouto was stumbling back to be caught by Izuku.

The kiss to the sound to Shouto in his arms all happened within a space of just a few seconds.  So focused on Shouto, it wasn't instant for Izuku to catch what was going on.

It was the sight of Katsuki pulling his arm back that it connected in his mind what had happened.

"Katchan!" Izuku exclaimed.  He helped Shouto straighten up and get his balance back.  "Are you okay?"  His attention was on Shouto again, looking over his face.  He could tell where Katsuki had hit by the red around his non scarred eye.

"Yes, I'm fine, just—"

"What the fuck were you doing, half and half!?"

Shouto shot him a glare.  He had removed himself completely from Izuku to face Katsuki.  He did not take any offensive action, but his body was tense, ready to defend if he was attacked again.

"I could ask the same of you," he quipped back.

Katsuki's face was red and he was glaring daggers at him.  "Stay away from him."

"I think he can make that decision for himself."

"Don't fucking start with me," Katsuki growled, taking a step forward.  "I'm sick of you assholes trying to take advantage of—"

"Katchan, it's not like that."  Izuku had moved, stepping between the two.  He put a hand on Katsuki's chest and pushed him further from Shouto.  "He wouldn't... this has nothing to do with that."

This only seemed to aggravate him more.

"Then what is it like?"

"This is between Izuku and me," Shouto asserted.

Katsuki clicked his tongue.  "The fuck it—"

"Katchan is my boyfriend," Izuku said bluntly.  "So it does concern him."

Shouto looked shocked by the response.  Katsuki smirked at the reaction, but it was clear he was still enraged.

"I'm sorry, Shouto," Izuku said with sincerity.  "I... should have told you, I know, but..."  He glanced to Katsuki.

"How...?  But when?"

"Does it fucking matter?"

"Katchan," Izuku chided him.  "Shouto, please... we'll talk about this later, okay?  I promise, I'll explain everything."

"Izuku..."  Something sullen came over Shouto's expression.  "Can't we just--?"

"Later."  Izuku took Katsuki's hand.  "I promise, later."  Izuku started to drag him away.  "We need to talk."

Katsuki's eyes didn't leave Shouto's face until they were well and away from him.  Izuku pulled him through the crowds until they found a secluded spot off the main path and among a few trees.

"Deku, let—"

"What the hell were you thinking!?"  Izuku turned to him, his hand falling from his as he pinned him with a livid expression.

Katsuki was initially taken aback by his reaction.  He then got his bearings back so he could say, "What are you talking about?  He was fucking kissing you!"

"One kiss, one, that I didn't even have time to react to!"  Izuku crossed his arms over his chest.  "It's not like I wanted it or anything."

"He sure thought you did," Katsuki retorted.  "You didn't really stop him from getting the idea he should."

"Oh, fuck you," Izuku said bitterly.  "I wasn't expecting him to.  And if I hadn't been hiding us, he would have already known!  It wouldn't have even come up!"

"Everyone else you could shrug off without saying anything, why is that bastard different?"

"No, I told all of them when they hit on me either about you or at least that I'm taken," Izuku was quick to correct.  "And Shouto was different.  Shouto wasn't hitting on me because— this has nothing to do with my fermin."

"Of course it does," Katsuki said.  "He's been after you for years, and the fermin just—"

"We dated before," Izuku interrupted.

Katsuki fell quiet and his eyes were hard on Izuku.  "What?"

"I mean... we went on dates is a better way to put it," Izuku said.  "But we were... something like together for a few months during first year."  He quickly added, "Before you and I..."

"Why the fuck didn't you tell me?"

"You already don't like him, why add fuel to the fire?"

Izuku could almost hear Katsuki's jaw clench tight.

"I deserved to know."

"Did you?"  Izuku's brow furrowed.  "Just so you could have another thing to be overly involved in?"

"What are you--?"

"You thought this was just about the fermin, right?"  Izuku moved his hands to his sides, his fists balled.  "So what were you going to do, swoop in and protect me?"

"Deku—"

"Even if that were true, I can take care of myself!"  Izuku's voice rose.  "It isn't that bad!  So what if people are attracted to me!?  They get what 'no' means!"

"Not everyone," Katsuki snapped.  "And not everyone can help themselves, especially around yours.  And if you listened to anyone, you would know that!"

"Oh, come on." Izuku rolled his eyes.  "You're just blowing what everyone has said out of proportion.  I doubt anyone has had the problems you're trying to put on them."

"Do you not remember the other night?  Where I chased you across town?"

Izuku huffed.  Katsuki had told him that he couldn't control it, couldn't help having to 'hunt' him down.  But he let himself get that bad.  He knew he could with Izuku; that they could be together without inhibition.

Izuku had seen no problem with it.  Why couldn't Katsuki let it go?

"That was no big deal.  It was fun."

Katsuki let out an angered sigh, and he threw up his hands.  "What do I have to say to get through that thick skull of yours!?"

"There is nothing to get other than you don't trust me!"

A silence fell between them, Katsuki's eyes wide and Izuku's brow furrowed.

"You... you don't really think that."  Katsuki took a step forward, reaching out for him.  "Deku, that... do you really think I don't trust you?"

Izuku stepped back, keeping out of reach.  "Isn't that what this is about?  You don't think I can help myself during the fermin.  You think I'm going to slip up."

"Listen, if you talk to—"

"Isn't that why you pre-emptively forgave me?"

"That..."  Katsuki almost seemed to shrink at the accusation.  "There's a reason for that."

"So you can think about and justify being so involved?"

"Deku, fuck, just let me—"

Izuku didn't care to hear it.  Not now.  He was seething.  Katsuki meant well, he knew, but punching Shouto was not part of that, it was part of a possessiveness he wasn't entitled to.  That wasn't what they agreed to when they said they belonged to each other.

"No, you listen to me, Bakugou."

Izuku ignored how he visibly flinched at the use of his surname.

"I'm not some fragile thing like I was in middle school."  His voice was harsh as he spoke.  "I don't need protection from anyone.  No fermin, no exes, and not from you.  I can defend myself.  If I don't want it, it won't happen.

"And if you can't understand that, meet me somewhere with it..."  Izuku shook his head.  He didn't think that but maybe he should start.

"Deku..."  There was something desperate in his tone.  He made another movement to him.

"Give... give me a moment."  Izuku stepped away.  He was pulling his phone from his sleeve.  "Please... we both should calm down.  We need..."  He took in a deep breath.

Katsuki kept his eyes on Izuku, his expression almost lost.

"A moment," he reasserted.  "We need a moment... Katchan."

Katsuki breathed a small sigh at the return of the nickname.

"...okay, Deku."

Izuku was thankful for his agreement.

"I... I'm going to go find Uraraka," Izuku said softly.  "I..."  He shook his head.  "Later."

Katsuki said nothing, but Izuku could feel his eyes as he walked off, leaving him alone among the snowfall.