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the view from the peak

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It was rare that Katsuki stayed awake longer than Eijirou. By nature, he enjoyed sleep more than his boyfriend, who could stay up late, rise with the sun, and still immediately have a bright smile on his face. Most days, Katsuki was the one climbing into bed first and leaving it last.

However, on the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, Katsuki found himself wide awake, watching Eijirou. He was deep in his sleep, stretched out on his stomach with his arms hugging his pillow and the bedsheets pooled around his waist. His red hair was splayed across his pillow, and Katsuki pushed aside the few pieces that had fallen over Eijirou’s face. Long eyelashes cast shadows beneath his eyes and his lips were parted just enough to see a glint of a sharp tooth between them.

Katsuki should have been sleeping, too, after a great but exhausting day. Eijirou had insisted they both take off work and had woken him early to go rock-climbing since he hadn’t had the chance in months. He’d nearly forgotten how amazing it felt to spend a day testing the physical limits of his body against nature, and he couldn’t think of a better way to have celebrated his birthday: twenty-five, just days after he cracked the Top Five for pro heroes, and climbing a mountain with Eijirou.

By all means, he should have been out cold by now, but something about the moonlight cast across Eijirou in that moment took Katsuki’s breath away.

Propping himself up on one elbow, Katsuki ran his fingers along Eijirou’s back, careful to keep his touch light to avoid waking him. For someone with a quirk that could make his skin rock-hard, Eijirou was incredibly sensitive to physical contact when relaxed, but now he only indicated that he felt Katsuki’s touch with the occasional sleepy grunt of contentment.

Katsuki gently traced the ridges of scars — illuminated silver in the moonlight — like they were the guidelines of a map he’d long ago memorized, relearnt many times over the years as each one had been added. He knew well the slope and curve of every muscle, the slight dip of his lower back, the span of his broad shoulders.

Sometimes he was amazed by how much he loved every single piece of the beautiful man he was lucky enough to share each day with. Having spent much of his earlier life prioritizing himself and his own success, he hadn’t realized he had the capacity to love someone else so much. But here he was, head over heels and embarrassingly sentimental over some dork who smiled way more than any person had a reason to, took Katsuki’s abrasive personality not only in stride but enjoyed it, and dragged him out to a mountain to celebrate a milestone birthday instead of throwing some party like most people would.

The first time Katsuki had gone rock-climbing, he was seven years old. His mother’s complaints that he was using his excess energy in destructive ways (i.e. testing how many things he could blow up with his hands) had led to him and his father standing in a rock-climbing gym watching a couple dozen people in harnesses ascending manmade rock walls. Katsuki had been fitted with a pair of climbing shoes and led to a small wall designated for children, where the staff harnessed him and instructed him on what to do. By the time he reached the top, muscles tired and hands sore from the grips, Katsuki had a massive grin on his face, and it wasn’t too many visits before he was climbing the full walls with the adults.

It was then, years before he’d learned to propel himself through the air with explosions, that Katsuki had gotten his first taste of standing at the top.

He’d always enjoyed hiking trails and often had a group of ass-kissing dorks following behind him on his outdoor “adventures.” But soon none of them could keep up with him when he decided to go free climbing, especially once he got strong enough to take to greater heights with his explosive hands to break any potential falls.

Nothing really compared to the feeling of standing at a peak after a long climb. He enjoyed the solitude and seeing the world from above with greater clarity. And one day, he’d reach the highest peak.

Katsuki used to believe that meant being the top hero, where he could look down at everyone who stood beneath him. But he didn’t know then that there would be things that meant just as much to him. That there could be things that would mean more.

That there would be Eijirou.

When he’d enrolled in UA, eyes set on the target of Number One, he had not expected to meet someone who would not only demand to stand as his equal but would earn that right. How could he have ever predicted that reaching the highest peak would be better with someone standing by his side?

He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Eijirou’s shoulder. Eijirou hummed and Katsuki moved higher, his next kiss landing behind his ear.

“Katsuki?” Eijirou mumbled, eyes peaking open to meet his. He smiled sleepily and rolled onto his side to face Katsuki when he kissed his lips. “Aren’t you tired? What time is it?”

“Yeah,” Katsuki said quietly and slid back down so that they were lying face-to-face, arms around each other’s waists. “And late.”

“Why are you even awake?” Eijirou asked.

“Because I can’t stop looking at you.” Katsuki tucked the hair that had fallen back into Eijirou’s face behind his ear. “Or thinking about you.”

Eijirou laughed. “Oh yeah?”

Katsuki kissed him properly, fingers tangling in Eijirou’s hair and tongue sliding into his mouth as Eijirou reciprocated. When they pulled away, Katsuki rested his forehead against Eijirou’s. "Eijirou?"

"Hm?"

“Marry me.”

Eijirou’s eyes went wide. “Wha—?”

“You heard me,” Katsuki said. “I’m shit with words, so I’m not going to make some big romantic speech. But I love you. And I want to be by your side forever. So marry me.”

Eijirou’s eyes were watery. “I think you’re plenty good with words,” he laughed and kissed Katsuki. “My answer is yes!”

They were awake for a long time after that, both too happy to sleep, too in love to keep their hands off of each other. But when Eijirou finally did drift off to sleep again, Katsuki watched him a moment longer and was grateful for how much better life was with Eijirou in it.

Katsuki’s goals hadn’t really changed – at 25 years old, he was already a Top Five hero, after all – but they had long ago grown to include more than just himself. And the view from the peak was clearer and more beautiful with an equal beside him.