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Better than You

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Part 1

Fascination twinkled and danced in his eyes, lighting up as his palms snap-crackle-popped to life. A small firework show at the tips of his fingers, leaving him to stare in awe as his heart thrummed in barely contained excitement.

He faintly registered his mother’s fingers roughly tousling his hair in encouragement- his father stumbling into the room in alarm as Mitsuki expressed her pride a pitch too loud.

Katsuki couldn’t hear anything, nothing else existed except him. Him and his now discovered quirk. He was amazing. The sparks in his hands ran hot and while he could feel the heat, it didn’t hurt. He was invincible. He would use this to burn down anything that stood in his way to greatness. He’d show everyone.



Turns out the first thing in his way was Deku.



They’d been friends since before they can remember, but ‘friends’ would be a stretched term. Stupid Deku is so easily amused and interested in everything, it’s like he’s doing it on purpose just to rub it in his face. That Katsuki isn’t good enough to hold his attention and that blooms irritation within him like nothing else.

As much as he would loathe admitting such, Katsuki was never very good at not expressing himself. He was important, and that made what he felt important, he wasn’t going to let anyone ignore him, especially Deku. This usually resulted in him showing his displeasure very clearly; kicking, punching, pinching, yelling, insulting and now surprise scaring him with his explosive quirk.

Only Deku didn’t fear him. His eyes would brighten, and his chubby, freckled cheeks would raise as a pearly white smile grew on his face, baby teeth hardly filing the gaps.

“You’re so cool Kacchan!”



Of course he was, he was the greatest.

 


 

Part 2


When they were five, Deku came to school one day looking like a ghost was haunting him. His eyes were puffy and red around the edges, his steps dragging slightly as he quietly scuttled over to Katsuki on his side of the playground. ‘Like a kicked puppy,’ Katsuki thought- insult on his tongue, ready to throw Izuku’s way like a ball he knew he couldn’t catch.

Deku beat him to his words and stuttered quietly, fumbling pathetically over his words as he fidgeted, shoe scuffing the dirt beneath them and twiddling his fingers like they were tied together.



“H-hi Kacchan, I went uh, to the doctors yesterday with Mama a-and they...they said-”

He paused, freezing like a small animal in the face of danger and his eyes darting around for an escape route.

“I’m-”

Katsuki’s impatience gave out.


“Spit it out already stupid Deku! Can’t you even speak properly-”

“-quirkless..”

They both flinched as the barely audible word escaped in the wind and sliced through them.

Quirkless



To say Katsuki didn’t take it well would definitely be an understatement.



For the most part, Mitsuki Bakugou and Inko Midoriya were aware of the dysfunctional and unmethodical relationship between their sons, Inko, in particular, left almost constantly conflicted. Her son looked up to Katsuki like he hung the moon in the sky, nothing but pure admiration despite the other tormenting Izuku at every chance he got. But that was before when the punches and pinches were quickly followed by laughter or overconfident smiles, a blatant childish cry for attention.

When Izuku came home that day, busted lip quivering as tears swelled and streamed down his flushed face, messy hair windswept from running, dirt scuffs covering his uniform- Inko cradled his head on her shoulder, muffling his sobs and struggling to suppress her own.

Mitsuki wasn’t sure what to expect when her son cannonballed through the front door, slamming it behind him with a startling noise and marching up to his room with heavy, angry stomps. Mitsuki let out an exhausted sigh,

“DON’T SLAM DOORS, DAMN BRAT!”

The silence was followed by another bang as the wooden frame on Katsuki’s door rattled.

Later that night, Inko phoned Mitsuki to tell her what she assumed had transpired between Katsuki and Izuku. Despite her own son’s desperate and hurried defence of the other boy, ‘I just fell off the playground’ wasn’t enough that she could let this one go, her hands were tied.

Mitsuki knew they had to talk to Katsuki, but she decided on further consideration to leaving the task to Masaru. Whatever had made her son beat up his only friend was obviously a delicate issue, and she knew better than anyone that mother-like-son, neither was very good at dealing with fragile matters. The cliche left a bad taste in her mouth, but it was no denial that she had no clue how she’d ever manage without her husband.

 


 

Part 3

 

It was at no one’s surprise that Katsuki didn’t listen to his parents. Well, not entirely anyway. He didn’t beat up Izuku anymore, but he did avoid him like it was the only other option to stop himself from pummeling the smaller boy. Skirting around him at school and letting his lip twitch in irritation as he threw an insult.

Deku of course, bounced back like nothing had occurred. It looked so easy for him, it was as if Katsuki hadn’t punched him square in the face at all. Like it didn’t hurt, and his words didn’t affect him -like he was better than Katsuki despite the fact he was quirkless .

Seeing the twerp's radiant and carefree smile made his teeth grind until his jaw hurt. Because how dare that worthless Deku thinks that he was anything more than the dirt beneath his feet, anything more than a pebble to crush.



How dare someone so broken pretend that he could be friends with Bakugou.



His quirk flared to life with his frustration, unable to take anything out on Deku, who was busy being watched under the teacher’s hawk-like gaze. What had happened last time was known by every student by the end of the lunch break, the situation only escalating further when his parents found out. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again.



“Son, do you want to talk about it? We heard what happened with you and Izuku-kun, that wasn’t very nice of you. We’re-”

‘-here for you.’ His father had said. It made him want to scream at him because why the hell is he being treated like he was broken and needed help- when that stupid, worthless Deku was the broken one.



He bottled up his anger until after school, vibrating with barely contained energy like shaken soda ready to blow. He took it out on the neighbourhood park first. The joints in his hands popped as loud twin bursts of fire erupted to life, the cap blowing off is temper with a crack . He loved using his quirk, feeling the burning muscle deep, it was the closest thing he’d ever known to accurately express himself.

He’d destroyed the park within a week, and public complaints began floating around. After that, he practised his quirk in the backyard, the only complaint being made by one of their neighbours,

“Stop that loud noise!!” Words wobbly and loud pitched.

“Shut it you old hag!” Was his only reply, shouted through the flimsy fence separating yards. Why was she bitching about it anyway, she’s probably half deaf already like most old people. It’s not his problem.

 


 

Part 4

 

Izuku noticed the change in Katsuki first. At school, Katsuki was always loud; loud to answer before anyone else, loud to drown out any noise other than himself and loud to make sure he always had eyes on him. Izuku, of course, was no exception, after all, it was still hard to do anything but admire the sheer confidence his friend had. He had enough courage for two, which was good- because Izuku wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to be that certain of himself.

Katsuki hasn’t so much as stepped within a meter of him in at least a year, but his words still hurt.



“Get away from me, I don’t want to catch your uselessness.” He would sneer.

Lately, his words didn’t just poke Izuku’s bruised self-esteem, they got louder too. A tone a little too much as if he’d never quite understood the concept of an ‘inside voice.’ He had no patience for anything said that didn't match the volume he, himself used, commonly snapping back at people with an annoyed expression, the corners of his mouth downturned in disgust.



“What?!”
“Ehh, the hell are you on about?”
“Oi! Speak up, you ain’t worth me bending down to your level.”

It’s like he wanted the world to adjust its volume because it wasn’t worth him straining his hearing even slightly.

It was probably him being arrogant.



Somewhere along the line, Izuku realised that he wasn’t the only one that had noticed the change in Kacchan. The usual groupies that trailed behind the overconfident boy had grown few in numbers, mainly in fear- because being yelled at for almost everything wasn’t exactly pleasant. No matter how amazing Kacchan was at everything, it wasn’t worth being around should you accidentally step out of line and face his wrath. It was apparent that since Katsuki had started gravitating away from the timid boy, he had lost a significant point of venting his life and his peers, parents, teachers and now public areas- were dealing with the explosive backlash.

Surprisingly enough, the worst situation that had become the norm in their lives often occurred in class. The teacher would be speaking while writing on the board, but if for any reason he wasn’t facing the students when he asked Kacchan a question on the topic, Bakugou would ignore him. He’d continue to write in his notes as if he was stuck in his own world of concentration- which makes sense as his grades are nothing less than perfect, and it’s hardly believable than anyone with a lousy attention span could achieve what he has.

It was only when he noticed the prickle of gazes on his back that he slipped his glare from his notes to find the teacher looking back at him expectantly.

“What?” He’d shout in accusing annoyance, startling those close enough with the sharp sound barreling through the classroom silence.

“I asked you a question Bakugou-kun, could you please answer it?” The teacher straightened his posture. Well used to his student’s unpredictability by now, he almost needed to physically brace himself for it.

“Ehh?! No you fucking didn’t!”

“Language, Bakugou-kun. Now please answer.” The teacher broke through Katsuki’s retort with a stern voice. Izuku shrunk further into his seat, shoulders folding in on himself. This wasn’t going to end well.

“You never asked me a damn question!” Katsuki scowled darkly as his patience burned, physically evident as his palms beginning to smoke.

“Bakugou-kun! I will not tell you again, language!”

The legs of Katsuki’s chair screeched as they drew harshly across the hardboard flooring. “Fuck you!”

“The office! Now!

The class went silent as the boy got up and stamped his way to the door, breathing heavy and face red with fury. Bakugou never got in trouble. Ever . He got scolded almost frequently for his crude language, but it was only recently he seemed unable to turn it down and keep his patience in check for even the smallest situations.

What confused Izuku more was that he knew beneath Kacchan’s swearing, and his evident annoyance, there was genuine cluelessness. Like he really didn’t believe that the teacher had been speaking at all.

 


 

Part 5

 

Both Mitsuki and Masaru also noticed the change in their son. They didn’t mind that he had destroyed their backyard. If it was what it took to keep him from taking his anger out on Izuku again, they were willing to sacrifice it. Neither of them had ever been into gardening, so they weren’t too upset.

Except instead of channelling Katsuki’s tempter into the soil, they watched as he grew more erratic by the day. He’d snap at them almost frequently, slam doors and stomp around the house like he was insecure about not being loud enough for them to hear his every move.

They started getting calls from the school; complaints about his language, mostly. They tried to speak to him about it, but the situation only lead to a repetitive shouting match between Mitsuki and Katsuki over the dinner table.



“Do as I say, not as I do, you damn brat!”

“Then why do you do it!?”

“Because I can!”

“Then why can’t I?!”



Masaru rubbed at his temples with a light pressure, you’d think that after all these years he’d get used to the shouting, but apparently not.



The calls from the school got more frequent, and they were starting to get desperate as to why their son was so enraged almost constantly. They tried to take him to a child therapist under the school’s recommendation, but once he had stepped into the waiting room, things became disastrous as the cogs aligned as to where he was.

“Fuck you! I’m not- I’m not broken ! ” He shouted, his tantrum boiling over with dangerous vigour as his hands threatened to burn anyone that stopped him marching back through the carpark. The only reason Mitsuki gave in to driving him back was the knowledge that her son was determined enough he’d try and walk if he had to.

By the time he was nine, they had started to become extremely concerned for their son. He outright refused to talk to them about it, his only plea was the absolute belief that they were asking because they thought he was ‘ broken .’ They tried talking to a parent help centre, just in case it was something they were doing, but they were only told he was ‘going through puberty early, and his hormones were a little out of whack.’ Told to watch his diet, be patient with him- and sent on their way like they hadn’t been desperate for any form of an answer for years.

His grades dropped at school and they can only remember the absolute fury as their son stormed through their already annihilated backyard, yelling about how ‘it was meant to be perfect, his notes were perfect, and it wasn’t fucking fair.’

They were quick to question his frustrations, desperate and willing to take any explanation their son would give. “Katsuki, what about this test wasn’t fair?”


He huffed, dropping his chopsticks onto the table, curry barely touched.

“The test had things on it we weren’t taught,” Katsuki mumbled under his breath, eyes locked onto the table.

Mitsuki sends a look Masaru’s way before continuing.

“Are you sure you weren’t taught it?”

“Yes! Of course I do! My notes are perfect copies of the board!” He snaps, standing from the table and trudging back to his room.

Mitsuki later calls Inko. They haven’t spoken in months, both busy with whatever life has thrown their way.



-

“Hi Inko, it’s Mitsuki, do you mind me asking Izuku-kun a question?”

“Oh hello, Mitsuki! Lovely to hear from you, if everything alright?”

“Everything is fine Inko, I’m just trying to clear something up for curiosity sake.”

“Oh, if you say so, give me a second to put Izu on the phone for you.”

“H-hello? Auntie Mitsuki-san?”

“Hi there spud! Need ‘ta ask you a quick question, on the test today, were all the answers in your notes?”

Izuku pauses, probably thinking over every question he can remember.

“I uh..think so..? From what I can remember everything in the test was covered in the last classes on the topic..” His voice wobbled, uncertain and shy as he grows quieter.

“My brat says his notes were perfect copies of the board, but he didn’t do so well on this topic, do you have any idea why that may be?” Oh, how angry he’d be if he knew she just said that.

“U-uhmm, well most of the theory wasn’t written on the board..S-so I mean that could be it...Ka-Kacchan doesn’t really write a lot down when sensei speaks..”

‘Why would that be? Does he the think that his teacher isn’t worth listening to?’ Mitsuki wonders.

“Ok, thanks, Izu-kun! Don’t worry, this’ll stay between us, take care!”

“O-oh, t-thanks Auntie, bye for now.”

-  



Later, when Mitsuki asks Katsuki what he thinks of his teacher, his answer was far more expanded than she expected, so it was clear the issue was bothering him as well. It was reassuring to know she may actually get an answer from her son this time.

“He always whispers! I can’t hear a fucking thing he says because he’s worse than a mouse! He calls me out on things and asks questions that aren’t even on the damn board! It’s stupid!”

Why would his teacher whisper? Katsuki should be able to hear him just fine, she knows because they were notified that their son had to be moved to the front of the classroom for ‘behavioural issues.’ Izuku could obviously hear their teacher just fine.

Masaru later suggests that maybe Katsuki should have his hearing checked, luckily able to hide it under the excuse that ‘It’s been a while, so it’s just a routine health check.’

 

 


 

Part 6

 


The ‘routine check-up’ was pointless. It took at least an hour of them prodding at him and testing his patience with stupid and sometimes obvious questions that made no sense. It was driving him up the wall and if he had to spend another second being asked, ‘What about this Bakugou-kun, can you hear this, on a scale of 1 to 10, how loud would you say this is?’

He was going to blow.

Thankfully, the weird looking nerd sat down, nudging his tacky round glasses further up his nose with a large exhale, as if he was the frustrated one.

“Bakugou-kun, we’re afraid that you have a serious case of sensorineural nerve damage.”

His youthful features scrunch in trepidation, knuckles crack as his fingers dig into his kneecaps. Anger swells like a bubble in his chest, burning and growing with an intake of breath.

“And you expect me to know what the fu-“

Interrupted by the soft palm of his mother’s hands on top of his clenched fist, he pauses. Her expression is gentle and lacking the familiarity of affectionate playfulness. It rips him of any comfort her presence should give him, and his throat tightens with growing dread.

“Katsuki, honey, you’re going deaf.”

Chapter Text

Katsuki's first reaction to the news was fury, once again, to absolutely no one's surprise. He wanted to punch the stupid nerd in the face and blow the whole damn building to the ground. Pure white, angry flames burn him from the inside and run rampant through his veins. With an impressive display of control, his expression remained passive in comparison to his inner turbulence.

 

"What?" He growled out forcefully between clenched teeth. There was no possible way that he could've heard that right. He wasn't deaf, he could hear just fine.

 

He was unequalled and impeccable.

 

Everyone knew that whether they liked to admit it or not- he was going to be the greatest hero in existence, he was going to outshine All Might! How would anyone as powerful and talented as himself have anything in his life that was anything less than perfect- did they honestly expect he'd believe such a cheap joke?

His line of sight whipped towards his mother in betrayal as she gazed down at him, her hand still placed gently on his fist as he clenched so hard his knuckles turned white. Her sorrowful expression turned slowly back to the doctor as he gathered his report in hand.

"I have reason to believe that Bakugou-kun here was born with perfect hearing, but upon further inspection, we have noticed several areas of the inner ear damaged later on in life. You've stated his quirk involves igniting his sweat to create momentary explosions, I suspect the overuse of Bakugou-kun's quirk has, unfortunately, lead to the slow deterioration of his hearing."

 

Katsuki can feel his breath being caught in his chest, his pride holding his need to breathe hostage, wrangling the air in his lungs because this is so wrong, they're lying- this can't- they can't-

 

"Well is there anything we can at least do?" His mother's voice spoke, soft and wary- unsure if the answer would worsen the situation or not.

"-The physical damage to his inner ear is regretfully irreversible due to the long-standing period of time that Bakugou-kun has exposed himself to the close ranged explosions. We can, of course, recommend you and your son to take advantage of our selection of hearing aids to improve his hearing, but I highly advise Bakugou to cease using his quirk to prevent further hearing loss."

 

No-no-no-no-no-no- you don't get it- you-

"-Can't do that!" Katsuki yelped, surprising himself with the potent panic in his voice, unaware of his thoughts being aloud to the world. His mother's grip clenched his hand, keeping him in his seat as he began to shake, what was this feeling and why does it render him so helpless?

 

The doctor sighs heavily through his nose, smoothly reaching up to remove his glasses from the bridge of his nose, folding them fluidly as he places the report on the table beside him.

"At his current rate of damage, I estimate your son has approximately until his late teens before he's completely deaf. I'm very sorry Bakugou-san, but there's nothing we can do."

The young Bakugou was at a loss with himself. Once his initial ferocity simmered down, he was left bare for ideas on how to process the news. He was dragged out of the doctor's office by his mother as he screamed profanities at the man, burning any furniture he could get his hands on.

 

"Liars! You're all filthy fucking liars! Die!"

 

Once outside in the carpark his mother snapped at him, shocking him and briefly halting his rage. It was so unlike how she usually raised her voice, it was raw and full of emotion- filling him with a wretched sense of horror. "Katsuki! STOP IT!"

She held a firm grasp on his wrist- preventing him from swinging his quirk around as his palms smoked. Her eyes welled with tears as she gently ran her thumb over his palms, before slowly bending down to his height and hesitantly moving her fingers to brush the nape of his neck. Her sorrowful gaze locked onto his as droplets rolled down her pale face.

"I-" Her voice broke as she cleared her throat with a chested cough. "I'm so sorry baby."

 

The vulnerability in her voice trembled Katsuki from his trance, the tension draining from his body as he allowed himself to go slack with exhaustion- Mitsuki tugging him into a bone-crushing embrace. He refused to acknowledge the stinging in his eyes and the un-swallowable boulder lodged in his throat as his ignorance reduced the world to silence.

The universe stayed silent for Katsuki. Upon arriving home, he locked his gaze to the floor, neck hunched under the weight of his new reality. He ran his fingertips lightly over the hairline cracks up the red oak before soundlessly closing his door. Sighing, the young Bakugou strutted up to his computer, punching in the password and powering up one of his games. Glaring at the already maxed out volume bar on the screen, Katsuki quickly tore his gaze away- aggressively ripping his curtains closed. With nothing but a slither of yellow leaking from underneath the fabric, he let his shoulders slump as his remaining energy left him. Tilting his head back to the point of strain, he gasped a shuddering breath before sliding his back down the wall. Seated on the hard timber, his legs drew close to his body as his pounding skull drooped to rest on his knees. His shaking hands nonchalantly reached his face, palms pressed harshly against his ears.

 

He screamed until his throat felt abused and raw, forcing back the world and hoping to bury his distressed sobs beneath the darkness of his room and the chirpy melody of his computer speakers.

Deaf

 

When Mitsuki thought the hardest part of motherhood was over after Katsuki's 'Terrible twos,' she was to be severely mistaken. Nothing could've prepared her for the amount of restraint she would need to pretend she couldn't hear her only son mourn his dreams being shredded mercilessly. Masaru held her hand in mute support as they sat in the dining room, wordlessly mulling over the upcoming major point of crossroads in their son's life.

Where they to demand that he give up his dream of being a hero, in order to save what's left of his hearing? Would he even want to be after all his protests against being 'broken'? If they supported his hopes, would they be to blame for his eventual complete deafness? And why the hell is there nothing about this in a parental how-to book?

 

With another round of Katsuki's shrilling voice rebounding off the plaster walls, Mitsuki scrunched her face into her palms. Masaru lent over the table, cautiously placing a warm palm tenderly on her shoulder, running the pad of his thumb in slow, soothing strokes.

With a whisper, he spoke. "We'll get through this, Katsuki is stronger than this."

Mitsuki raised her head with a damp breath, "But what if I'm not?"

Masaru only tilted his head with a compassionate, hopeful quirk of his lips. His hand ghosted a cradle on her cheek. "How could that possibly be, when you're the strongest person I know."

 

 

Hours later, when Katsuki didn't come down for dinner, his parents could only sigh and send each other hopeful expressions over the unusually quiet dining table. Knowing their son, he'd cried himself into unconsciousness, a habit originating from his younger years to avoid the aftermath of his tantrums.

When the sun awoke the following morning, Katsuki didn't. Used to their early bird son rising with the sunshine in his room, they grew worried. Knocking softly with the knuckle of a single finger, Mitsuki spoke through Katsuki's shut door. "Katsuki, honey, breakfast is ready."

A moment of suspense held in the air before Mitsuki stepped into her son's room, immediately taking note of his ready-made bed. Glancing around the dark room, her eyes softened upon noticing his curled up position on the floor- hand resting on his face, sliding from their previous position covering his ears.

"Katsuki?" She spoke as she crouched down, hopeful that it was loud enough to wake him. His only reply was a groan as his eyes squinted to consciousness. She ran a hand through his tamed blond spikes, almost identical to her own.

 

"C'mon brat, breakfast is ready." The nickname was an offer of comfort in familiarity, but her tone remained gentle.

Lifting his upper body from the ground, he couldn't help cringing at the bruising pain up his side as his muscles complained.

"You shouldn't sleep on the floor, stupid." Mitsuki scolded half-heartedly as she helped him upright.

The following days in the Bakugou household were eerily quiet. Mitsuki and her husband struggled to retain a sense of normality as Katsuki only huffed animatedly or grunted in response to questions, doggedly walking out on any attempts at conversation.

Mitsuki was at a dead end on how to get any sense of a rise out of her son. He blatantly refused to go to school and getting him out of his room only proved successful with meals. Her son was always a handful, his energetic, fiery temper was quite the task, but he was her son, and she loved him for it. The boy moping around her house was hard to look at, her son was trapped in that shell, and she needed to draw him out. She was getting desperate and she needed help, so she called her high school best friend, Inko. She felt mildly guilty for using such underhanded methods, but there was only ever one person that could aggravate her son to his usual temperamental self.

 

Izuku was a lovely boy, innocent and kind-hearted to the core; he was the polar opposite of her own son. Whether it be because opposites attract or clash violently, the two boys had always been in one form or another, inseparable. When they were little, Izuku would tail Katsuki everywhere, the shyer boy wouldn't ever be seen less than a step behind her son's heels. When Izuku started to become more confident, Katsuki would begin checking behind him to make sure the smaller boy was still there. When he wasn't, Katsuki would resort to forcing him to pay attention to him. It was a situation where he gave little care as to whether it was good or bad attention he received from the green haired child. Even as they grew part, the freckled boy continued to think of them as friends, a sad reality that Katsuki was more than likely the closest he'd ever come to having one.

 

Even as Katsuki's words became hateful, they still were about Izuku. That stupid Deku.

 

Convincing Inko to allow Izuku over was challenging, but once the situation was fully explained and reassuring her that 'yes, they would be home, and will not let Katsuki hurt Izuku,' she begrudgingly agreed.

Knowing full well that Katsuki will be livid when he finds out they not only told someone without his permission, but they blurted it to 'Deku' of all people, Mitsuki had to be ready. To an extent, she was okay with him being angry at her, he was completely entitled to be. But if it were what it took to bring some fire back to her son's eyes, it'd be alright.

Chapter Text

Izuku wasn't quite sure what meteor had hit the earth overnight when his mother told him over breakfast that he should go visit his childhood friend, Katsuki Bakugou. Her eyes refused to match his as she finished her bowl, lifting it from the table and leaning over to see if he had finished.

He hadn't. Frozen in shock his jaw had gone slack, yakizakana sliding from between his now loose chopsticks back to his bowl.

 

"Eh?" He squawked awkwardly in response, unsure if he'd heard correctly- because that couldn't be possible, his mother didn't like Katsuki, sure, it may be his fault- but there was no way that she would be suggesting that he has any contact whatsoever with the other boy- Even if Kacchan hadn't laid a hand on him since the incident- not that he wanted Kacchan to beat him up- but he did miss his friend, wait, would Kacchan even consider them friends still? Considering the insults probably not, but then again-"

 

"-ku, Izuku!" At the call of his name, his eyes darted towards his mother- her brows furrowed with worry. He must've been muttering again.

 

"Mitsuki-chan called last night, she needs your help with something, would you go over after school today? You don't have to if you don't want to- o-or if you don't want to go alone I'll come home from work a little earlier and we can go together, or just stay-" Inko started to ramble as Izuku finished his meal, eyes trailing his mother as she walked over to the sink, cleaning a bowl from the already washed drying rack. She got caught in her words much like Izuku had been mere seconds beforehand. It was painfully clear to see where Izuku had acquired the habit from.

"It's ok, mom. I'll be fine. P-plus, it'll be nice to see Auntie Mitsuki again." Izuku tried to swallow the tremble in his voice with a smile. It really had been years since he went to Kacchan's house and the idea of going back after so long made him nervous. If the off shoulder sneers he received from the other boy weren't a clear 'stay away' message- he didn't know what was.

After school, Izuku couldn't help the crawl of goosebumps that patterned the skin of his arms despite the warm July breeze. Kacchan had been absent from school for the fourth day in a row that week, that in itself should scare someone. Primarily because everyone knows that Katsuki wouldn't dare miss an opportunity to stay ahead of the whole class, he'd come to school sick if it meant that he could outdo every other student in every subject.

 

So what could possibly be happening to the blonde that had him out of school for almost a week?

 

His mouth suddenly felt like sandpaper as he fumbled with the gate. He was so caught up in his thoughts he had gotten there a lot faster than what he was mentally prepared for. It felt like he had dug his grave early and was battling a state of serious denial with nothing but his bare hands.

Lifting his knuckles to knock on the door- he was startled when it swung open before his fist could make contact with the wood. Mitsuki stood in the doorway with a smile plastered across her face.

"Izuku-kun! Wow, you've grown so much since I saw you last! You have no idea how happy I am to see you, kiddo!" She swooped towards him, enveloping him a swift hug.

"H-Hi Auntie Mitsuki-san." He squeaks out, shyly hugging her in return. He really did miss her. For a long time, Mitsuki was like a second mother to him, often taking care of him when his mom was too busy to look after the two toddlers. She was nothing like his own mother, but she showed her concern in her own ways. While his mother was always wary with Katsuki around, Mitsuki trusted them a little more- even if Izuku ended up being the victim of Kacchan's harsh teasing or roughhousing, the fact she let them be made Izuku feel strong. She trusted him to hold his own if he really wanted to. Even if he knew he probably couldn't.

Mitsuki leads him to the kitchen, offering him a drink and sitting down at the dining table.
A darker expression settled over her features and Izuku could almost feel the muscles in his fingers twitching, his need to fidget growing with every passing second in the unusually quiet household.

 

Maybe Kacchan is out?'


As if reading his thoughts, Mitsuki spoke, voice almost a whisper as she idly slid her fingers over the rim of her mug.

"As you've probably noticed, Katsuki hasn't been at school lately. He's had something come up for him, and he's..quite upset about the whole ordeal. He won't talk to us, he will hardly leave his room."

Izuku's mind short-circuited as his eyes widened. "You mean, you think he'll talk to me? U-Uh, Auntie, no o-offence- but Kacchan and I haven't spoken, I mean, actually spoken to each other for years- he can hardly look in my direction!"

Mitsuki glanced down at the floor and Izuku could feel his heart clench. "I know it's a far shot, but Izuku-kun, please. I beg you to try."

The moment of silence was suddenly very loud for Izuku, as his brain worked overtime with dead ends. He was uneasy about the idea because it was common sense that an upset Kacchan was a violent Kacchan. His eyes scanned over the slightly hunched form of Mitsuki, he couldn't just do nothing- he could see how much this was clearly hurting people he cared about. It was up to him.

It's what a hero would do.

"I-I'll try."

 

After he had finished his tea, they headed upstairs and for a split second, Izuku panicked that Kacchan may have heard them. He almost half expected the boy to come storming out of his room and try to throw him down the stairs.

"Katsuki?" Mitsuki knocked softly before opening the door. The room was dark, and Izuku briefly wondered if his explosive childhood friend was even in there.

Light flooded into the room as Mitsuki withdrew the curtains, revealing Katsuki's balled up form under his covers. "Get up brat, there's someone here to see you." Her voice was sterner as the said 'someone' stood nervously in the doorway.

He grunted from beneath the blankets, "then tell 'someone' to go away." He grumbled, the sound of his voice muffled from sleep.

"It's- it's ok, I can c-come back later," Izuku suggested as his voice wobbled, not wanting to aggravate the blond boy.

The bed sheets were abruptly ripped back as Katsuki almost flung himself from the mattress, explicitly recognising the young Midoryia's voice. He stormed up to Izuku and stood over him grimly, a scowl etched into his tired features. Izuku wasn't much smaller than the other boy, but he tended to hunch his shoulders when Katsuki stood over him- or when anyone did, to be honest. Like a pup standing before a wolf, he was prey before a predator, and it made him feel weak to cower- but it saved his neck on several occasions.

"Katsuki!" His mother yelled. His head cocked in the direction of her voice, but eyes never left their intimidating gaze from the hunched target.

"What, the hell, is it doing here?" He spoke with heavy breaths, the question directed at the other occupant of the room, refusing to acknowledge Izuku.

"A-ah, K-kacchan actually- I uh, I was invited," Izuku spoke meekly, but interjecting himself to the question to subtly express his displeasure of being spoken of as if he wasn't right before him.

"Not anymore, get out." Katsuki snarled, clearly irritated by the situation he'd awoken to.

"He's not your guest brat, I invited him. It might be good to talk to someone your own age since you won't talk to us. You did this, you can't hide from it for the rest of your life." Mitsuki intervened, a sad expression on her face as Katsuki bristled.

"There's nothing- I'm not hiding from anything-" Katsuki's voice raised as his temper shook his hands.

His mother coolly walked out the room, placing a soft hand on Katsuki's tensed, shaking shoulder as she passed, as if soothing a defensive hissing cat- hackles raised and fur standing on point. She cast a thankful look over Izuku.

"I'll be downstairs."

 

And with that, Katsuki's crimson glare redirected to him like the haunting laser on a rifle. Aiming it clean between his eyes and ready to pull the trigger.

'Say something, I dare you.'
His eyes seemed to say.

Izuku was never really one to disappoint on purpose- and whether it be from determination or aloofness, he spoke.

 

"Kacchan- uh-"

 

Ok. So he didn't get very far- but still. Katsuki huffed, spun on his heel and promptly continued to ignore Izuku entirely as he switched on his tv screen. Powering up one of his classic combat games he dropped a spare remote on the bed, not bothering to look away from the screen.

"You going to just stand there like a creep or you going to get your ass handed to you?"

Izuku blinked. Kacchan was offering to play video games with him. They hadn't done that since...well, a long time. He hesitantly sat down in front of the screen, reaching for the remote slowly in case the blond boy decided to change his mind at any time. He sat a safe distance away, at least a meter and out of arm's reach- lest he is attacked in surprise.

They sat in silence, the only sounds belonging to the game- a series of battle cries as punches landed and the referee announcing "KO!" As Katsuki's character thrashed Izuku's in an impressive display of attacks. Izuku couldn't help but let his eyes wander to Katsuki's form, shoulders and neck so tensely coiled he's surprised he hasn't pinged a muscle-

 

"You still suck shit." Katsuki muttered as his pointer hovered over the 'rematch' icon.

"Eheh..y-yeah. I uh, haven't practised, so it makes s-sense."

They listened to the upbeat stalling melody of the game as they took a break. Neither overly willing to start a conversation.

"How did you deal with, finding that shit out?" Katsuki's question sliced through the atmosphere and left confusion in its wake.

Izuku glanced up from the floor in surprise to see Kacchan gripping his remote so tightly the bone of his knuckles were defined.

"Uh..finding what?" Izuku questioned. No, seriously, the question was really vague.

Katsuki's glare steeled. "That you were-" He gestured to Izuku's foot with a jerk of his elbow. "-that."

 

It took a minute or two before Izuku's brain clicked all the pieces together.

 

"Quirkless?" Katsuki's eye twitched in annoyance.

"Broken." He corrected as Izuku flinched.

 

Izuku swallowed down the offensive term. 'Just breathe. This is the closest you've come to having a civil conversation in years. You can do this. Kacchan is trying his best.'

"N-not well. I was really upset for a long time. I- uh, still am I guess…I wouldn't say that I'll ever stop being unhappy about it..b-but I know that after a while it got easier to accept the f-fact I can't change it. I didn't want to let it beat me. For a long time my dream seemed really out of reach b-but I can't help it- I still really want to be a hero. Plus, I-I'll never know unless I try."

Katsuki turned away, seemingly to mull over his words.

Curiosity clawed at Izuku's mind, Katsuki had never cared about Izuku and him being quirkless, outside the fact that he was useless because of it. It seemed that after Izuku had come out about his lack of quirk- his presence in Katsuki's mind had been reduced to ash.

 

"Why do you ask that Kacchan?"

 

The boy's whole body seemed to jolt. His hands jerked free, dropping the console down onto the carpet, sweat leaving marks on the handle.

"They didn't tell you?" There was no question as to who 'they' were.

Izuku weighed his thoughts, as far as he can remember, he was merely told that Kacchan was unwell due to something happening. There was no way he'd be quirkless or something- that much was obvious, there was no considerable hint that was given away from Kacchan's mother- and Kacchan himself didn't appear to be unwell- other than tired that is, but that could hardly be the reason-"

"-Shut up." Izuku did, snapping his attention back to the blonde. He was muttering aloud again. Whoops.

Katsuki turned the TV off, and when he reached towards Izuku to take back his console, he spoke. Quiet, and so unlike him that it took Izuku a second to register that he'd heard right.

 

"I'm broken."

 

Izuku stared blankly at Kacchan's back as he turned away under the excuse of putting the remotes back into the cupboard. "...what?"

"I'm- I'm going deaf. I'm-" His voice choked.

Izuku was stunned. The frenzied boy he grew up would never admit something so- so unlike Katsuki. He'd never use a phrase that had been metaphorically duct taped to Izuku's forehead since first grade, in referral to himself. How could something like that ever happen to Kacchan of all people? Things like that just didn't happen to Kacchan.

"..how?" He asked, hesitantly. He could be stepping on eggshells by now.

It took Kacchan a moment before he plopped down on his bed. It gave Midoriya a chance to openly look at the other boy. Anger had blanketed Katsuki's whole figure for years now- it was shocking to see him without it. He looked bare, vulnerable to the world. Izuku knew what it was like to feel as fragile as Kacchan appeared.

 

"Some shit about how using my quirk a lot damaged my ears." He gruffed out under his breath.

'Well that was..somewhat unhelpful. Is he talking about the noise causing some sort of nerve damage? Or was it the soundwave? Was it the vibration or maybe-'


"You tell a soul and I'll rip your tongue out through your ass." Well, at least the threat was still very in character for Kacchan. The tiredness in his voice did nothing to quiver his seriousness of the claim.

"I won't," Izuku assured.

After that, Izuku and Katsuki fell into a tense, but relatively comfortable silence. Izuku still had questions, but he wasn't about to test how long Kacchan's seemingly placid attitude would hold out. Eventually, Bakugou clearly got sick of him being in his space.

"Get out."

 

Izuku headed downstairs, calling out that he'd see him at school on Monday. Mitsuki stood at the base of the stairs, scanning over the smaller boy's form as he stepped down, no doubt to check for any physical damage.

At the sight of none, she asks, "Do you think you could come by after school next Monday?"

Midoriya nodded without question and slipped his shoes on.

She leaned in to hug him again, "...Thank you."

Chapter Text

Eventually, Katsuki started coming back to school, which despite the disruption from temporary classroom peace; was a relief to the school. The prideful boy wasn't easy to get along with- some claiming it to be impossible, but he still played an important role in giving the class balance. He was the best in his year, acing tests, both physical and mental in such consistency that no one even came close to. The sort of raw talent so bone-deep that it made others flock to him even if he didn't want them to. With Katsuki setting the top marks so high, other students felt the pressure to perform as well- resulting in the whole class achieving better.  It was the instinctual need to make it onto Katsuki's radar that resonated with the need to do well. Admiration would be an incorrect term because frankly, his attitude was off-putting and his general demeanour radiates cockiness out of anyone's league.

Katsuki refused to tell anyone about the news, even when his mother told him to shove his pride down his throat and accept help in class so he doesn't fall behind. He simply jutted his chin with a set jaw, matched her glare, and told her he'd be fine.

Unfortunately, she was probably right. Katsuki found that he could still hear their teacher from his seat conveniently placed towards the front of the classroom, but only if he focused. As soon as his eyes couldn't match the man's lips, his words seemed to fade out and it took everything in Katsuki not to yell at him to speak the hell up. Whether it be when the professor turned to the board, or when Katsuki glanced to his notes to fill them in- his voice sounded to Katsuki as if he was talking through a pillow. It was infuriating beyond measure.

His nerves were already tested enough that day that it was no surprise when he almost blew up the whole field in gym class. The stress of the class before had his muscles cramping and when they were sent out to run laps, Katsuki accidentally scared himself. He had exerted himself to the point of overlapping his classmates several times- breathing hard he noticed that under the sound of his own blood pumping, his shuddering pants; he couldn't hear the sound of his footfalls on the ground.

He tripped.

Falling ungracefully to the dirt, he could only stare in horror down at his sneakers. Could he hear his footsteps before? Was it another thing he'd lost? He couldn't remember. He could still feel the ground- but he couldn't hear the impact. How could he be a hero if he couldn't even hear himself?

That dreadful feeling was back. The same one from the doctor's office- he couldn't muster the words to place it, but it sat like a concrete brick in his gut and made his hands tremble in something other than anger . If his dream was the sun, it was like he'd melted his wings, plummeting from the skies. *

"Are you ok Bakugou-kun?" His classmates had obviously caught up to where he sat on the track, some nameless chick waltzing up to him. His head snapped up to pin her with his deadliest glare as she stumbled back, deciding it was better to ignore him and continue running with the group.

He stood, ignoring the dust clinging to his gym shorts and headed over to the water taps. Rounding the corner, a mop of green hair met his sights. Deku had one of the nozzels rotated backward, using the upward stream to wash his face.

'Weakling probably only lasted a single lap.' He thought, reaching out to twist another tap on.

The sound of water splashing against title alerted the other boy to his presence as Katsuki lent down to cup water in his hands.

"Ah, Kacchan! I didn't see you there!" Deku's chirpy voice rang, careless and joyful.

Katsuki could feel anger boiling beneath his skin and he gripped the sensation by the neck, wrangling and choking out everything it had to give. He immediately took comfort in the overflowing arrogance that sailed his way as Deku faulted, wondering if now was a good time to try and spark conversation.

He didn't reply, instead placing his left palm firmly against the side of the tap nozzle. Aiming his fingers in Deku's direction, he watched in satisfaction as the water stream bent under the pressure, directing straight to the stupid Deku's freckled face. He squeaked in painfully high feminine tones, falling straight to the ground in surprise.

"Che." Katsuki couldn't help the smirk slinking onto his lips as he passed, flicking the last remaining droplets from his fingers to the sink.

After school on the way home, the twerp tailed behind him a couple steps back. This wasn't overly unusual as they lived around the corner from each other- but for years Deku would wait around at school until he was sure they wouldn't collide paths. They walked in awkward silence, both attempting to ignore each other for the sake of avoiding any sort of interaction. When they passed the Midoriya's house and Deku continued to follow him, Katsuki couldn't help letting his curiosity snap at his voice.

"OI! Shitface! The hell do you think you're going!?"

"O-Oh, your mum asked me over again-"

Katsuki simply stopped listening as Deku babbled. "Well, I take it back Deku, get lost."

The shorter boy paused in his reply.

"..B-but what will you tell her? I have to at least-"

"I'll tell her you're too chickenshit and she needs to mind her own damn business."

"But Kacchan, she's just worried-"

"Shut UP!" Bakugou's temper snapped like a rubber band, having it stretched slowly over the whole intolerable day. Spinning on the ball of his foot, he sent a blast straight towards Deku's stunned face, eyes wide and hands immediately raising to cover his face.

Katsuki's jaw clenched with force, lip curling to bare his teeth like a snarling animal. His fist raised as the sound of his previous explosion barreled down the narrow street.

The sound of a front door flung open followed. His mother was at the gate of their house within seconds.

"BRAT! SHUT IT, YOU'RE IN PUBLIC, SHITHEAD! OH! Hi Izu-kun! Come in!" The change in her voice upon taking note of the young Midoriya was almost comical.

Izuku started to spend every Monday evening after school at the Bakugou household. After the third or fourth attempt at getting Izuku to get out of his house, Katsuki gave up. Instead, he figured that if he just outright ignored the other boy, his mother would see how useless it is having the walking nuisance around. Izuku didn't seem to mind being ignored much, he simply helped Mitsuki in the kitchen, or did his homework on the dining room table when Katsuki slammed his door hard enough to get his intentions of solitude across.

Until one day, when Izuku knocked on his door instead of going back downstairs. Katsuki whipped the door open- hoping to scare the timid boy off again. Having the boy in his house so frequently had started to grate on his nerves- sometimes he'd go downstairs for dinner and his stupid grinning face would be there, beaming at him like he'd won the bloody Olympics. Then, he'd find out that he helped cook and Katsuki could tell because the rice was firmer and slightly less soaked than usual. He grimaced, appetite now gone.

"What the hell do you want Deku." It was less of a question and more of a growled statement to blanket the thin layer of poison covering his words.

"C-can I come in?"

Katsuki thought over it for a moment. Deciding that it would be easy enough to throw him back out again if he pissed him off again, he stepped aside.

Deku scuttled around his room like a hamster in a cage, scared of his own shadow. Settling next to Katsuki's fold-out study desk on the floor, he jumped slightly when Katsuki shut the door with a bang. Purposely seeming tenser than he actually was in order to set other as close to the edge as possible.

Katsuki dropped down to the floor, throwing a bored and unimpressed look Deku's way as he ruffled through his ridiculously big yellow bag. He tugged out a notebook, it had no extravagant hero title on the front, so he knew it wasn't a stupid hero analysis book. He placed it on the table and cautiously slid it over towards Katsuki, who raised a single eyebrow in suspicion.

"The hell?" He asked, but Deku just squirmed under his judgemental gaze.

Wedging a finger beneath the cover he flipped it open, staring at notes he recognised from one of their classes today.

"Why the fuck would I want this worthless crap?" Katsuki had his own notes. His notes were perfect already, why would he want this shitty chicken scrawl? He's going deaf, not moronic- the very idea that the pale boy across from him thought he needed help; it brought up an ageless fury that flushed through him like a wave and thrashed against any remaining restraint.

Izuku began to furiously try and explain himself as he watched Katsuki's face heat up and subtly twitch in barely contained anger.

"Wai-Wait, Ka-Kacchan it's not like what you t-think! These, th-these aren't notes from the board! I made a copy of everything Hayashi-sensei said- th-things he didn't write on the b-board. Just- Just incaseyoumissedsomething -" Deku finished out of breath as he hurried to say everything, hoping to calm the fast approaching storm of Katsuki's temper.

Katsuki didn't care.

Standing abruptly he knocked the table and its contents over. "I don't need your damn help! Don't you DARE pity me! I'm BETTER THAN YOU EVER WILL BE! You're worthless and you really think you can use me as a shitty stepping stone to make yourself feel BETTER?!" Spittle flew from his lips as he shouted, palms igniting instantly. He suddenly found himself back in that moment when they were kids- Izuku's tiny hand reaching out to him as he sat in grotty water.

His knuckles popped as his hands flexed. No, he was better than back then. He'd bash sense into the nerd until he knows never to look down on him again. Small hand grenades boomed to life along his palms as he saw it.

Horror, written beautifully across Deku's face. He felt powerful again as he trembled.

He tuned the world out as his explosions became louder, more threatening by the second and Deku's terror grew. Deku had never been scared of his quirk before, but Katsuki wasn't about to question it because it felt good.

He lightly felt arms clutch around his shoulders and a solid grip on his wrist, jerking his palms back and yelling at him to stop. His attention briefly met his mother's panicked eyes and the fire in him was doused with cold water. The room was reduced to silence.

"I'm sorry Izuku-kun, you should leave now," Mitsuki spoke sternly. It wasn't really a suggestion, but Izuku didn't need to be asked twice, grabbing his bag and hoisting it over his shoulders, power walking all the way to footpath outside.

Katsuki had come down from his emotional high to find his mother clutching his hands. The same hands that could've caused so much damage only seconds prior. He could only stare silently as she lowered his arms and released her grip, moving to smooth the invisible creases in his shirt collar. It was so unlike her to preen him.

"Shitty brat." She sucked in an unsteady breath.

"Don't do that again. Please. I know you don't want help. We're not doing it because we think you can't do it on your own, we're doing it to make it easier for you to do your best. We don't think any less of you. Even if you end up crippled with hero work- nothing but a veggie-" She let out a dry, humourless chuckle.
"-We will never think any less of you. We love you. You don't need to prove anything, we know you're amazing. We will always be proud of you because you're our son."

Katsuki nodded, unable to look her in the eyes. They didn't get it. No one understood him. He knew they loved him. Of course they did. But he didn't want them to be proud of him. He didn't want his existence to be enough, he wanted to earn it. He wanted true pride that proved he wasn't just amazing- he was the most amazing. He'd be better than everyone else- his existence needed to mean something more. People like stupid Deku were trying to ruin that for him. He was trying to spoil all Katsuki has worked for.

Once Mitsuki had left his room, Katsuki decided he needed some air. Grabbing his running shoes from beneath his bed, he slipped out his open window and landed stealthily on the hanging garden bed conveniently placed on the way down.

He'd started leaving via his window when he was nine since his parents decided that he shouldn't be outside on his own after school yet. 'When you're a little older.' His father said.

'Screw that.' Katsuki replied mentally. He would've just stubbornly left out of front door, but it wasn't worth being caught in a yelling match with his mother again.

After a couple laps of the surrounding blocks, Katsuki's legs started to burn with strain. In a way, Katsuki liked the pain, it made him feel alive, the frigid air chilling his skin- every step after the point of tiredness was where Katsuki knew success lied. Pushing himself like this- it was fuel to Katsuki's fire, he was better than everyone and the proof was every meter he moved after exhaustion.
'Just like Deku' he thought, recalling every time Deku would get up after being beaten down. Verbally or physically- he just kept coming back. It infuriated him, made him want to beat him until he gave up. Someone so useless shouldn't be able to even compete with Katsuki, it was insulting to see him even try.

'Plus, I-I'll never know unless I try' Deku's voice bounced around tauntingly in Katsuki's head. He was quirkless and he still wanted to be a hero. The hell would he let that useless nerd beat him to be a hero. It would make it look like he was the one that gave up without even trying.

He clambered from the now flattened garden bed to his room, flinging his shoes off and slumping face-first into his pillow. One hand slid across his bedsheets to his face, lightly taking hold of his earlobe and concentrating on the soft sounds of the breeze wafting through trees from his window.

He'd be a hero no matter what. He'd show them all. He'd give up his hearing and he'll beat them all without it. He'll beat quirkless Deku, beat All Might too- and do whatever it took to achieve that.

Hearing or not.

He needed to be better at everything, but he was smart enough to know he was human and unfortunately, they have limits. His body was still growing, he couldn't afford to burn himself out on the small things. He needed to use his energy wisely until he was good enough.

He shut the glass panel of his window, latching the lock and dampening his world to silence. Turning around, his eyes slid over to Deku's notebook, pages splayed outward next to his tipped study desk.

Sighing, he used his pointer and thumb to pinch the spine of the book, lifting it from the floor as if it was a disease infected rag. He grabbed his own notebook and set them next to each other, there really were things he'd missed. The light smell of smoke reached his nose and he quickly released his grip on the now slightly warped plastic table corner.

"Shit." He voiced, running a hand through his blonde windswept hair. He couldn't afford to let his grades drop any more than they have. He needed perfect grades to get into Yuuei and asking the teacher to shout didn't seem like a good plan of action. The idea of wearing hearing aids sent a physical shudder down his spine. Just, no. This whole thing hurt his pride enough, he wasn't ready to wear something that blatantly announced to the world that he was broken. He glanced back down to the scribbled kanji notebook.

But Deku already knew. It wasn't like he could point fingers because he was quirkless. If anyone asked, he wasn't getting help from the useless pebble, Katsuki was the one helping Deku. He was making him less useless by giving him a purpose.



On Tuesday morning, Katsuki caught Deku on his way to school, slapping the notebook lightly to the smaller boy's chest as he walked.

"Do it again. In class." He said, refusing to acknowledge the smile that slid onto the nerd's face.

"Un!" Hummed Deku, nodding in agreement.

Several weeks passed of Izuku's continuing Monday visits, each time sliding over the notebook containing all the notes Katsuki may have missed. Katsuki figured no one had told Midoriya-san about what transpired, or he doubted Izuku would've been let into their household again.

Deku didn't sit at the dining room table anymore, following Katsuki to his room once they arrived together, the green haired boy usually trailing a couple paces behind the other. At first, Mitsuki would check in with them every half hour under the excuse of asking if they wanted snacks, but the habit died out as Izuku soon became more comfortable. To an extent, of course, there was nothing relaxing about sitting next to a walking shell that refused to make conversation. The two boys had apparently come to a silent agreement, they didn't interact with each other at school and no one was to know that Katsuki was accepting Izuku's notes.

"Oi, hand over your book." Izuku glanced up to the other, indicating at him to hand it over.

"Eh? But the notes I gave you are the same Kacchan." He questioned, handing over his notebook regardless.

"Yeah, well how do I know you're not leaving shit out to trick me?" Katsuki said gruffly, ripping it from his hands and scanning over the page.

"These are more detailed than mine." He states unsatisfied, after a couple seconds of reading.

"W-well, it's not exactly easy to make two sets of notes- e-especially since they're not on the board so I can't fall behind-" Deku started to stutter, hand nervously reaching to rub the back of his head.

"Then don't, idiot. Just give me yours afterwards and I'll copy it to make sure you don't pull some shit on me or miss something."

Izuku just nodded in reply, shoulders drooping as the impending crisis of offending Katsuki was avoided.

Katsuki let out an exaggerated sigh, dumping the notes down and walking over to his TV, plugging in his second remote and chucking it at the other boy.

Deku barely caught it in time as it landed in front of him. This time, he picked a weapon-heavy avatar in hopes that it may have a better chance against Bakugou's refined combat. It didn't do much, Izuku's reaction time still wasn't enough to defend Katsuki's character- but he did get more hits in.
After the twentieth time or so of being K.O'ed, he remembered something and decided that now was a good time as ever to bring it up. After all, if Katsuki was in a bad mood he would've simply kicked Izuku out after they stopped studying.

"I thought of something kinda cool today." Spoke Izuku, pausing in case the other decided he didn’t care.

"I was reading some really old comics, with the n-ninjas and stuff, and they used hand codes in battle. Imagine if you could use signals instead of words to communicate on the battlefield. It'd be really helpful for a range of mission types and I just t-thought-" Izuku glanced up from the floor, regret immediately clipping him in the jaw, haunting his words and clamping his lips shut.

Katsuki's scowl was so harshly set that Izuku could almost feel the air heating up.

Just as Izuku went to take it all back, ready to grab his bag and run-
"And?" Katsuki spoke in a level tone, surprising him.

Izuku swallowed, throat dry.

"-And so I thought... t-that sign language could give you an advantage...If you know...eventually you d-do go completely d-deaf." He worded carefully. Last time he tried to help, the result was catastrophic- even if it did end up working. He braced himself for it to go wayward anyway.

Katsuki seemed to be considering his options but was clearly still displeased with the prospect.

"Ok then nerd. Show me."

"Huh?" Izuku blurted.

Katsuki's eye twitched in annoyance, he didn't like repeating himself. "Well, there's no bloody point having a code if no one understands it, idiot. Show me."

This isn't what Izuku expected, but in all honesty, he didn't imagine he'd even get this far- fully prepared for the idea to be shot down and brutalised. He couldn't help the spark of something akin to happiness that bloomed deep within him, It felt like he was slowly regaining a long lost friend. He stubbornly shoved down any sense of gratefulness towards this unfortunate event might be changing his childhood friend for the better.
Regardless, apparently, Izuku was going to have to learn sign language too.

He suddenly really didn't mind.

 

Chapter Text

Teaching himself sign language was actually pretty fun. Izuku enjoyed practising in the bathroom mirror when his mum was busy. He really wasn't kidding when he told Kacchan that he thought it'd be cool. Being quirkless, he figured that he'd need every advantage he could get with hero work. He could just imagine it now.

They'd be roughed up- his hero costume in tatters, they'd be fighting tooth and nail against a villain. Screaming and cheering could be heard faintly in the background as he stood tall in defence against trapped civilians- Kaos and fire from Katsuki's quirk barricaded the villain and them together- preventing escape. Helicopters would be in the sky- broadcasting it live as the mighty duo saved the city. But wait- the villain had the upper hand, what were they to do? He'd send a look Kacchan's way- and then he'd see it-

'I've got a plan'  Katsuki would sign to him in a flurry of hand movements from behind his hiding spot, debris from the smashed road littering the ground. The villain wouldn't even notice as Izuku dived behind a smashed up car for cover. They'd nod in agreement- They had a plan that no one would ever see coming. then BWAM! And KWAA- and WHOOSH! Izuku animatedly punched upward in the mirror's reflection, imagining the villain flying back in shock as he and Kacchan trapped him in their plan. A grin of excitement was untameable, he hadn't felt swelling hope like this since he was four.

They were going to be the best heroes.

Next to All Might of course.

Much to his disdain, Kacchan was nowhere close to being as enthusiastic. They'd only been able to practice for a couple minutes after school each day until the blonde got frustrated and gave up. He said it made him look stupid and Izuku didn't want to correct him when he got it wrong. Now he just watched Izuku as he explained another word or phrase he'd learned, he didn't attempt to copy it anymore. It was going to take some time that was for sure. But that's okay- he'd be patient because the joy that swelled his chest when Katsuki actually asked him to show him, it was unrivalled. Because it meant more than Kacchan accepting his help.

"Well, there's no bloody point having a code if no one understands it, idiot. Show me." That's what he said. That meant that he thought Izuku could stand by his side. That meant that Kacchan had accepted more than just his help, he'd accepted him, this useless Deku as he eloquently put- as something more than nothing. He at least had some sort of belief that he could be a hero.

What more could he ask for in a friend?

He could put up with Katsuki shoving him around at school- insulting him, even ignoring him; because every Monday for a couple hours after school, just for a little while- he got his childhood friend back. It was worth it.

They were in junior high now and the nature of their relationship during school hours hadn't changed much. The two would walk home separately on every day except Monday when they swapped notes. Izuku showed Katsuki the sign language he'd learned recently and if they got bored, play video games.

Katsuki wasn't overly talkative anymore. Make no mistake, he was no less aggressive- shouting at anyone that dared to prick a nerve, scowling at anyone in his space- his attitude definitely hadn't changed and that was for sure. He'd make small talk with Izuku over heroes, debate fights that had sprung up lately and yell at him for 'abusing his recipes' when he helped out with dinner; but he didn't like talking at school. He'd grunt, scoff and grimace, never losing his ability to shut anyone up with a single glare that could probably make the devil himself flinch.

Izuku guessed that it made sense, that if the world got quieter, he would too. Apparently, deaf people struggled with pronunciation because they couldn't hear themselves, and knowing Kacchan, he didn't speak in case he slipped up at school. How would he explain himself? It would no doubt be embarrassing for him, frustrating because they both knew Katsuki had an extensive vocabulary and was often known to gloat about it to Deku.

They were also at that age where girls started to get weird. Izuku has no idea what happened between grade school and junior high, but the girls flocked to Kacchan like never before. They saw his quiet demeanour and swooned "Kyaaa~ Bakugou-kun's so mysterious!" They'd giggle. No, he isn't, he's annoyed.

It seemed they were so desperate for his attention that they'd see him glaring at them from across the classroom, no doubt because he was trying to focus and they were being loud enough for even him to hear, and they'd tease each other, "ohhh, Bakugou-kun's looooking at you~"

Most of the guys followed Kacchan around, would call him a mate and roughhouse in gym class. Like the lackeys from grade school, but this time Bakugou just ignored them instead, he didn't care much for them, that much was clear to anyone looking.

Izuku, on the other hand, was pretty much in the same position as grade school. Once it was out that he was quirkless- which took all of about a week, the teasing began. Kacchan's lackeys would make snides at him in class, push and shove him around if they passed in the hallway, but to his relief nothing serious. Kacchan didn't join in, but he didn't stand up for him either. Time seemed to pass easily day by day for the two boys, their dream seemed to be paused momentarily as they focused more heavily on their studies.

That was until one of Kacchan's lackeys, one of the more persistent ones, decided that picking on Izuku was a nice hobby. Sousuke Seiji, his quirk allowed him to attach almost invisible sticky strings to objects by touching them with his fingertips. It reminded Izuku of one of the old western superheroes he read about once, Spiderman- Except for the crucial detail that Spiderman wasn't a school bully. He was usually busy testing Kacchan's boundaries, slumping over him in theatrically or acting as if they were mutual friends.

He was cocky for sure, but unlike Bakugou, Seiji didn't have anything to be overconfident about. He was lazy with his schoolwork and spent a lot of time using his quirk to cause mischief rather than anything helpful. He'd attach web-like strings to the girls' skirts and flip them up, laughing hysterically with the other boys as the girls squealed at him in embarrassment.

When he started using his quirk on Izuku, it was just small things, like tripping him up in the hallway, attaching threads to his books and his hair, roughly jerking his hand back and giving Izuku a killer neck ache as his head was snapped at an awkward angle.

The problem was that the freckled boy was actually used to this type of nitpicking and annoyances- so eventually Seiji decided that he was going to have to step up his game.

That was how Izuku found himself stuck in a lavatory cubicle, it wasn't even locked- his head was webbed face down in the bowl of a toilet. His neck strained from the pain of resisting against the mass amount of sticky strings keeping his nose inches from the unflushed urine. His knees hurt from being pressed against cold title and tears pricked at his eyes. He had no idea how he was going to get out of this one, he'd been stuck here since lunchtime- he just heard the home bell and he was exhausted, ready to puke from the pungent smell.

The door to the boy's bathroom slammed open and Izuku could feel his heart jump. He braced himself for Seiji's return, no doubt to torment him some more. He didn't know what he did to deserve this- it wasn't his fault, he didn't want to beg, he was so weak still- he was so sick of feeling useless.

The heavy footsteps got closer and Izuku's breath hitched, tears started to drip down his face and he didn't want anyone to see him like this-

A heavy sigh was heard, but Izuku was too worked up in a panic to notice that it wasn't the sound of Seiji's voice. He could smell smoke and 'for the love of all might did they have a lighter?! Are they seriously going to burn him? No- no- no-'

A hand grabbed him by the back of his collar, throwing up backward from the toilet. Izuku gasped for fresh air as he glanced up from beneath wet eyelashes to see Katsuki standing in the in the cubicle doorway, he'd used his quirk to burn the strings.

A grimace met Izuku's tear-streaked face and he turned away, making a faint "Tsk" noise as he dumped Izuku's overfilled bag at his feet.

"You're even uglier when you cry, Deku."

Izuku let out a breathless forced laugh, standing to wash his face and hands in the sink. He briefly looked up into the mirror. He looked pathetic, "stupid Deku..." he whispered under his breath to his saddened reflection.

When he opened the door to leave, he was surprised half to death when one of the straps to his backpack was pulled forward roughly.

"Took your damn time!" Yelled Bakugou. Luckily everyone else had appeared to have left school already.

"Ehh? Kacchan? I didn't know you were waiting outside? N-not that I didn't want you to be- I just mean, why? Not that I'm c-complaining or anything- I mean, t-thanks- for you know, helping." Izuku trailed off.

"Tch."

On the way home Kacchan made a different turn from usual. He was heading in a different direction from where either boy lived, so Izuku figured it wasn't him trying to simply get rid of Izuku walking after him.

"Where are we going?" He questioned, but Kacchan only ignored him. That, or didn't hear him- both legitimate options by now and he could never tell between the two anymore.

Katsuki leapt over a chain link fence to what seemed like a nature reserve of some sort. Seriously, where the hell was he going? Izuku's not an expert but he was pretty sure that fences were designed to keep things out. He was half waiting for them to come across signs of 'Keep out' or 'Radioactive material', danger signs of any sort, really.

They eventually stopped walking, in the middle of a clearing of some sorts, some patches of grass were dead and some trees burned.

"..Kacchan, is this where you train?" He asked offhandedly as he glanced around.

"Well, you can't get into Yuuei with grades alone, stupid."

Izuku tried to swallow the ever-growing lump in his throat. He's not sure why Kacchan chose today of all days to rub it in his face, did he really need to make his day even w-

"AH!" Izuku dove to the side, barely missing Bakugou's fist aimed for his side, huffing out an "Oof!" As the impact of his ribs knocking into the ground winded him.

"Kacchan what are you-?"

He threw another punch, making Izuku scramble pathetically across the dirt to dodge.

"Did you hear what I just said?! GET UP." He shouted.

Izuku used a nearby tree root to help himself stand, legs unsteady as Kacchan's fist flew through the air- this time towards his face. He winced his eyes shut and hunched his shoulders, using his arms to cover his head and brace for the impact.

The hit never came, instead, calloused fingers grabbed his hands, bringing them to a braced fighting position in front of him and forcing his shoulders straight.

"Don't tuck your thumbs in, idiot."

"You can't get into Yuuei with grades alone." Is what he had said.

Wait...Was Kacchan teaching him to fight?!

He stared at his childhood friend in shock as he crossed over to the other side of the field. He turned, lifted his hands and made a subtle triangular motion in his direction. Izuku's brows furrowed in confusion before they shot up beneath his fringe in revelation-

'Watch, focus.' Katsuki had signed to him.

Izuku couldn't contain the determined expression as it lifted his smile.

Chapter Text

Katsuki Bakugou thinks that if he were born in a different life where he didn't go deaf, he would've thrown Izuku to the dirt when he came out as quirkless, in order for Katsuki to rise to fame like he should. Technically he already did in this life, but now, Bakugou has come to begrudgingly involve the worthless little shit back into his life again. Not out of acceptance, repent or god forbid- fondness, but because the world lacked a single soul that understood him.

However, Izuku Midoriya would probably come the closest.

It made him uncomfortable because when saw how useless Deku was, it prickled at his internalised fear that if anyone ever found out he was broken too, would he become as shunned and worthless as him. Katsuki buried the thought- and all other concerns beneath his pride, it was the walls he built around himself. No one comes in, no one leaves- he stood alone and he'd raise the ground of the earth with his own two hands he needed to.

When Deku didn't come to class one day after lunch, Katsuki knew something wasn't right. The nerd was obsessed with school, he was the one bastard in that room that actually wanted to be there.

He waited until the home bell rang and the classroom was stripped of life before he stood, lazily sweeping the contents on of Deku's desk into his bag. If his pencils broke it was Deku's own fault for overfilling the damn thing in the first place.

He did a brief sweep of the school, obvious places like the nurse's office, before starting to check the places the nerd could've gotten stuck. The courtyard, the gymnasium gear shed and finally, the toilets. He was only going to check the guys'- if he'd been bullied into the girls' toilets it wasn't Katsuki's problem, he wasn't obligated to do shit, after all.

He'd found the crybaby with his head shoved in a toilet, trembling like a leaf in the wind.

Once he'd burnt the strings from Seiji's quirk and Izuku jerked his head away from the seat, his red, puffy eyes fluttered up to meet Katsuki's.

He looked so small, so helpless.

'Looking at you pisses me off!'

The words grew like a lump in his throat and Katsuki was quick to break his thoughts before they spilled from his lips. "You're even uglier when you cry, Deku."

Throwing the obnoxious yellow backpack to the grimy bathroom floor, he left.

The muscles in his arms twitched and he battled tooth and nail with the urge to release the cage on his anger.
He pictured the webbed vermin- Seiji's, face crumpling on impact with his knuckles, palms igniting and burning into flesh-

Katsuki stopped walking halfway down the hall.

He realised that he didn't like the idea of Deku breaking under the pressure of something or someone other than him. It wasn't possessiveness over his prey, it was the fact Deku shared his dream, shared his determination, shared the brutal reality that the world fucked them over.

Katsuki refused to let the world or anything in it break him. He needed Deku to be the same. So whether he liked it not, he and Deku were in similar positions. Midoriya was making them look bad by being so pathetic.

Katsuki only associated himself with the best.

There was no point having a rival to beat into the dirt if some high school douchebag and cheap bullying could do a better job.

Spinning on the ball of his foot, he headed back to the bathrooms and leaned casually on the cool plaster wall.

Deku soon emerged- water dampening his face and doing little to soothe his freckled, tear-stained cheeks. He was clearly still upset because he didn't even take notice of Katsuki standing there.

'What if I'd been that spider fuck? Be more aware of your surroundings, idiot.'

Reaching out, he grabbed an iron hold on the strap of Deku's bag- jerking him forward roughly and scaring the boy into a spluttering mess. "Took your damn time!" He snapped.

He ignored Izuku's attempts at explaining himself. He didn't really care.

On their way home, Katsuki glanced over Izuku. The boy was a twig, no wonder he couldn't do shit against anyone, his body was useless even without a quirk. It was almost a wonder how he managed to not bulk up when he spent hours lugging his bag- which probably weighed more than he did, everywhere he went.

Bakugou suddenly knew exactly where to start.

For the second time that day, he took a sharp turn as his mind hit a jackpot idea.

Stepping into the familiar field that he'd declared as his years ago, he brushed off the wave of doubt that clawed at his impulsive idea to bring Deku here.

This field used to be beautiful. Deserted area of nature grounds and relatively untouched despite the hidden surrounding suburbs. The kilometres of shrubbery dampened the sound of his quirk and muffed his frustrated cries from the rest of society. It was his. This place had evidence everywhere, every singe and burn held the only physical evidence of Katsuki's vulnerability in this world.

This field was now nothing but a destroyed area of dead grass and overturned soil, but it was still his.

He turned to Deku, who was busy gawking at the clearing. Unknowingly absorbing everything Katsuki had laid bare by taking him here."..where you train?" The barely audible words tumbled from Deku's mouth.

Katsuki barely caught onto the question, his attention divided by his thoughts.
'Stop it. Stop looking.' "Well, you can't get into Yuuei with grades alone, stupid."

It was an excuse. He wanted to cover Izuku's eyes. He wanted to turn him around and tell him to forget all about this. That horrible feeling was back and his hands started to tremble, sweat beading down his back, his breathing quickened and he told himself it was adrenaline-

'Do something- I have to do something- Stop, make him stop looking at it.'

He threw a punch. It was sloppy and missed as Izuku threw himself to the side, gasping out "Kacchan what are you-?"

He didn't know what he was doing- so again he let his clenched fist fly.

"Did you hear what I just said?! GET UP." He shouted, of course, Izuku couldn't hear what he'd thought.

He watched as the smaller boy squirmed through the dirt and used an uprooted tree to haul himself upright.

'Pathetic.'

The word snapped at him and he recoiled as his knuckles jolted before Deku's poor excuse of a defence.

'I'm being-'

"Don't tuck your thumbs in, idiot."


 

The next day, Katsuki grabbed Seiji on their way back to the gym shed after PE. They were alone and Seiji had slung his arm across Katsuki's shoulders like they were old mates.

"Aaah," He sighed dramatically, "PE is always so tiring- Although the netball coach, what's her name? Kikyo sensei', yeah- she pretty hot though-"

Katsuki didn't push him off unlike usual, he let the bastard slug over him and ramble about...whatever he was blabbing about, until they were far enough away from the view of their classmates. He brought his hand up and took a steel grip on the spider fuck's wrist over his shoulder- avoiding any angle he could get his stupid webs on him.

"Eh-" Seiji let out a noise of question before he was cut off.

Bakugou threw his other arm behind them and pushed violently against Seiji's shoulder- launching his upper body forward. Katsuki ducked his head as the other boy's lanky body slung towards the ground, arm now twisted painfully at an unnatural angle in Katsuki's grip.

Face down in the dirt, arm twisted backward, he yelled.

"ARGHH, What THE FUCK- You BASTARD-!"

Katsuki crouched, taking Seiji's wrist with him and threateningly crushed the pained boy's face into the gravel with his sneaker. He couldn't hear his pleas or insults, but not because of his ears- but because he was determined to feel nothing other than apathy. He suffocated any sense of satisfaction like a flame in his chest- depriving it of oxygen and feeling it die. He could tell himself that it was because he was protecting someone- but even an idiot could tell you that nothing about his actions right now were heroic.

His pride was stroked lovingly by the featherlight claws of his anger.

"Do so much as look in Midoriya's direction again, and I'll break your arms." He growled out in a monotone. Tightening his grip until Seiji had tears in his eyes and his nails bled, his free hand grappling against the ground in desperate attempts to free himself.

This was unlike Katsuki's careless snide remarks and threats- absurd creativity usually showing his lack of motivation to go through with it.

'Go shove a cactus up your asshole.'

'Choke on pencil shavings and die.'

'Touch me again and I'll rip your arm off and beat you to death with it'

This, however, wasn't even a threat- this was a promise that entwined so tightly between Katsuki's bones it persuaded his hands to give Seiji's wrist another excruciating twist before he stubbornly let go.

Standing, he brushed off the dust from his shorts as if he'd just finished a light chore in the garden.

Seiji rolled onto his back and hobbled to his unsteady feet, cradling his arm and purpling wrist to his sternum, panting from the agony as his sore shoulder slumped. Bloody murder was veiled by fearful eyes, drowned by his tears. He glared at Bakugou before their coach's whistle rang through the field and sliced at the aired tension.

"Shit- fuck-" Seiji spat at the ground before he took off towards their class.

Back in class, the teacher asked why Seiji's wrist was bruised. His eyes heedlessly whipped towards the explosive bully and Bakugou's pointed, emotionless gaze met him halfway.

"I fucking tripped over some equipment in the gym shed." It was a poor lie, but not completely unbelievable due to his track record of doing inappropriate and impulsive misdeeds.

The teacher frowned. "Watch your language Seiji-kun. Now please report to the nurse's office." He said sternly.

Bakugou trained his attention back to the blackboard, ignoring Deku's questioning eyes tugging at his back. He was no doubt going to cop a tsunami of questions and accusations later, not that Katsuki had any intention to indulge him with that information.

He never did tell Deku what he'd done or why he did it. He figured if there was one thing the other was actually good at- it was that he was smart. Still not better than Katsuki, of course, but he could definitely come to his own conclusions.


 

They continued with their routine, studying on Mondays and training on Saturdays, for the next two years. The more Katsuki's hearing faded, the more he started to practice and rely on sign language. By their last year of junior high, the childhood friends were able to have whole conversations using it. Katsuki still didn't like using it, however, and usually stuck to using it solely when they trained.

Instead, he found that he had taught himself to lip read without intentionally trying. It still had downfalls, sometimes he'd only get parts of what people were saying, and often got phrases and words mixed up.

Deku said he could be intimidating when he tried to focus on people's faces- using expressions and other indications to give him the best chance of deciphering their words.

"What's new." He had replied to Deku's comment.

Good thing he was an unnerving person by nature, he thinks offhandedly in amusement.

He tended to avoid small talk, it was exhausting to focus for long periods of time. Luckily the only person that really tried was Deku- and he didn't mind the conversation being one-sided. He'd babble on about random shit until Bakugou got annoyed. Occasionally he'd find himself thankful he can't hear Deku every time he starts mumbling, it'd drive him insane.

His parents also started using bits and pieces of sign language over the years. His mother took his situation the hardest. She was loud by nature and it was a habit to yell at him- rarely with negative intent, but the first-time Katsuki genuinely didn't hear her- attention divided as he focused on the TV, she didn't bother to call again. Her expression was overshadowed by her fringe in saddened guilt before she pulled on a smile- Katsuki could tell it was fake as her eyes squinted too hard and her lips thinned.

He hated that look.

Hated it more than Deku's mumbling.

"Don't look at me like that!" He'd lashed out and her expression only grew grim with regret.

It had taken years, but she'd finally stopped looking at him like that. At least while he was watching, he ignored the self-pity that bit at his ankles.

"She probably just feels bad about yelling at you when you can't hear her," Deku mumbled, yawning tiredly as he wiped the sleep from his eyes. He had stormed up to the Midoriya household at the crack of dawn and awoken the scruffy boy by throwing his shoes at his head- promptly dragging Deku out of bed for a run.

Running had become another habit shared between them- It allowed Katsuki to release everything he'd built up in the raw form of adrenaline before they got tired. They'd rest in Katsuki's training spot and Bakugou would either talk, yell, or take a swing at a tree (and occasionally Deku). Sometimes all three at once.

He had been adamant about the fact that even if they trained there together, it was still his spot. The first and only time Deku had called it theirs, he'd ended up being socked in the back of the head for it.

It wasn't a playful throw and had left him with a throbbing headache for hours. Nevertheless, Izuku didn't ever make that mistake again.

It became an acknowledged fact that whilst Bakugou was unrivalled in brute force, Midoryia was far more nimble.

The sturdier built boy would throttle the life out of Izuku if he ever voiced it, but Katsuki wasn't a very good teacher.
He'd claim unflinchingly that 'experience is the best path to success,' with his execution of this method entailing him throwing punches relentlessly until Izuku got tired, usually losing his lunch to a fist lodged in his solar plexus.

Anyone would become a master of dodging with Bakugou Katsuki as a training partner.

It was now the start of their third year at junior high. Their teacher had waltzed into the room with his usual hard-nosed face and mulish gait, holding a stack of forms in his arms.

"Ano, since you're all third years now, it's about time for you to start thinking seriously about your futures." He drawled, tapping the papers on his desk into a neat pile. "I'll pass the handouts for your future plans now, but you're all…" He swiped the papers off his desk dramatically as the class grew tense, some students activating their quirks in suspense.

"-Pretty much planning on entering the hero course, right?" He spun as the forms flew into the air, his voice comically raising several octaves higher as the student's hands shot into the air with a gleeful agreement.

"Yes, yes, you all have wonderful quirks," The teacher complimented as he glanced around his classroom to his students showing off elaborately. "-But using your powers at school is against the rules!" With a dangerous glint in his eye, the classes' excitement dampened.

Katsuki's brow twitched with irritation. He wasn't about to lumped into a group with all these extra rejects- he worked hard and his success wasn't about to be shit on by their half-assed attempts.

"Oi! Teach, don't group us all together- I'm not going to be stuck at the bottom with these rejects!" He yelled smugly, grinning as he leaned back in his seat with an impressive display of balance.

The class whipped their attention towards him, it wasn't often for Bakugou to be outspoken anymore. After taking a second- the statement settled and the class erupted in retaliation.

"You should shut it like the extras you are!" He snapped, smirk stapled in place mockingly.

"Oh, if I remember correctly. You want to go to U.A High right, Bakugou-kun?" The class silences once more as the teacher spoke offhandedly, glancing down at his papers.

Hushed whispers of disbelief echoed around the classroom.

"U.A? That national school?"

"Awh, isn't it crazy impossible to get into that school?"

"It was the top 0.2% this year, you know!"

"That's exactly why you're extras!" Katsuki shouted, placing one foot on his desk and the other on his chair as if he were climbing to a pedestal.

He jabbed a thumb into his chest "I aced the mock test! I'll definitely surpass All Might and become the top hero!" He bellowed his smile wide.

"-Oh yeah, Midoriya wanted to go to U.A too, right?" The teacher cut in, unfazed by Katsuki's elaborate attitude.

The world paused and Katsuki's froze, everyone looking to the timid boy who flinched as their eyes settled on him. He was hunched over his desk, hiding his face in embarrassment at being called out.

"Ehh?"

"Midoriya? Pffft. No way!"

"You can't get into U.A. by just studying!"

His ears reddened and he tucked into his arms more. Katsuki's jaw clamped shut and his smirk died. 'That pipsqueak's worked harder than any of you fuckers.'

The class didn't hear Katsuki move from his seat until he slammed his hand down on Deku's desk- exploding on impact and splintering the wood with a bang, making the occupants in the room jump ever so slightly.

"It's true, you can't get into U.A with just study, right eh, Deku?" His spoke threateningly, staring the other dead in the eye.

He wasn't talking about Deku, they both knew they'd been pushing their bodies and minds for years, all for a childhood dream the world tried to rip from their sweaty, calloused, burned hands.

But no one else needed to know that.

Once classes were over and Bakugou had set off on his way home, he was ripped from his thoughts when Izuku grabbed the sleeve of his jacket, startling him to impulsively take a swing and free himself.

The green haired boy ducked under his punch, but let go of his Katsuki's jacket regardless.

"Ah! Sorry to frighten you Kacchan!" Deku apologised abashedly.

"You didn't fucking scare me!" He defended himself with downturned lips. He really didn't hear Deku coming and he could feel his lungs clench uncomfortably at the thought it could've been anyone.

Then again, if it were anyone else, he would've caught them with a powerful left swing to the gut.

"Aha...I just- er..wanna thank you for today."

"I didn't do shit, nerd."

Settling to silence, they took in the Friday evening breeze, peaceful streets and cherry blossom snow.

"Ano...Do you wanna go to the arcade Kacchan?"

Katsuki rolled his eyes, adjusting his bag over his shoulder. "Whatever. "

They took the back streets to lessen the chance of running into classmates, since explaining the oddity that was their friendship, was a can of worms neither teen wanted to touch. Trying to explain it to a third party would've been equal to shaking that can, yanking it open and firing it from a cannon across a football stadium.

Chapter Text

 

It happened so fast neither of them saw it coming.


The world seemed to enter slow motion as freeze frames captured the surprise and horror slowly settling onto their paling faces. The villain had emerged from a nearby drain pipe, spewing from the ground and gruesomely gaining in body size, towering over the two boys. It’s semi-translucent body gurgled and bubbled as it suffocated the sunlight under a dark juniper green.
The putrid smell of decay and sewage flooded the alleyway, combining an uncleanable layer of decomposition to the garbage that littered the grimy concrete. Its eyes were buoyant spheres slicked in a thin mucus, tingeing them yellow and overshadowing it’s unfocused pupils, darting between them hungrily. Its mouth was a slightly hollow pit- surrounded by crooked, sharp teeth, moving fluidly between its gums as its body oozed in waves.

“Yes! Two perfectly ample cloaks for my taking!”

Bakugou had snapped from his reverie the fastest as the villain’s voice rumbled, deep and inhuman. His blood was pumping through his veins so fast and hard he could feel his heart thump soundlessly against his tightening rib cage. His eyes darted towards Izuku, who stood stone still next to him, eyes wide with terror and mouth gaping. A deer caught in the headlights, flight response glitching out as fear shook his foundations.

Katsuki’s hand shot out to clutch a bruising grip on Deku’s wrist, he didn’t even flinch.

RUN, IDIOT!” He shouted, swerving on the ball of his foot and hauling the other’s boys body to movement as he took off in a sprint.

Izuku stumbled as he tripped over his own feet and the slime lunged forward- ready to latch onto his back leg. Bakugou cursed under his breath and threw his arm- with Deku’s wrist attached, forward- throwing him to the ground ahead of them and out of reach. Izuku yelped out a pained scream as his shoulder was yanked from its socket, but his feet took off the moment he had his groundings.

Katsuki grunted as his leg was tugged backward. The sludge encompassed his left shoe, suctioning him towards the liquid body and leaving a chill slithering up Bakugou’s body from the heatless mass.

He faintly heard the shrill echo of “Kacchan!” from down the alley as the villain cackled in delight.

“Fuck…” Katsuki growled from between clenched teeth as he struggled to free himself. Whipping his attention to the eyes of the villain, he aimed his palms straight at the only solid mass the being possessed.

OFF!” He yelled as his palm burst to life, throwing the monster backward and freeing his aching leg. He pushed down the dull ache and bolted down the alley towards the marketplace.

“What a powerful quirk! It’s perfect!” The villain gurgled as he made chase.

Crowds of people shrieked as they came into view, caught in the furious madhouse as hoards of citizens scattered erratically out of the way.

Bakugou tried to move with the crowd- but ended up almost being trampled into the flurry.

“He’s over there!” Voices yelled from the building roofs, revealing pro heroes moving onto the scene.

Bakugou turned to the villain, resolve concreting his footing into a fighting stance. The crowd was clearing fast enough now that they should be able to avoid being caught in the fight. Deku was nowhere in sight- he’d legged it.

Good.

A smirk slinked onto his lips and his features angled like a flexing cat, claws sliding out and ready to slice.

Bring it on, sewage puddle.’

Oi! Kid, get out of here!” Desutegoro, one of the Pro heroes, yelled from the sidelines.

Katsuki couldn’t hear anything over the screaming of civilians and his blood gushing through his veins, breath heavy, as he locked his gaze to the rapidly approaching villain. He thrust his right arm forward, releasing a heavy scale blast directly at the incoming threat.

This time, the villain shielded his face, bypassing through the smoke cloud easily- enveloping Katsuki’s outreached hand.

“Fuck!” Bakugou winced as the sludge suctioned his arm further to the elbow. He continued to release a series of deadly explosions from his hand, but they only managed to ignite slightly before being smothered.

Ropes of slime droop over the back of his head, quickly tightening like elastic and Bakugou bit his tongue as he forced his body away from the liquid being. He’d overshot the situation. His first attack was successful and lead him to overlook that he had to hit the face of the villain in order for him to take any damage.

He let out a forced battle cry at the strain of his exhausted muscles, letting off as many fiery attacks as he could muster in the desperation to free himself.

Sweaty hands suddenly took hold of his free hand- tugging harshly and allowing Katsuki to force his body weight away from the slime monster a couple inches.

The villain’s face spun around in surprise- both simultaneously taking note of Izuku. “This brat….!”

“Deku!” Finally spotting an opening to the villain’s weakness, Bakugou aimed and fired in the last ditch effort, wincing as the muscles in his forearm ripped.

The monster screamed a shrill sound and released Katsuki as he folded his face into his voluminous body to prevent further harm.

“Kacchan!” Deku yelled, unable to catch Katsuki as he collapsed from the hold, but crouching close by and shielding him from view of the screeching villain. He clutched at the arm Katsuki had grabbed before- it was more than likely dislocated.

Bakugou glared, “Idiot! What the hell are you-” he started with a gruff tone.

“I don’t know! My legs just moved on their own!” Izuku replied, panic clear in his voice and confused by his own rash actions. Tears pooled at the corners of his eyes and his cheeks were pale in fear.

Kamui Woods took the split second to swoop in with a branch-like arm, prioritising the blonde boy as he slumped to the ground in bone-deep exhaustion.

The villain recovered fast, one eye blotched black and burnt, but unwilling to let his victim escape. Flying his whole mass towards the retreating heroes, he slammed into the back of the distracted Izuku.

The heroes could only watch in horror as the flailing boy was enveloped into the gooey substance, eyes wide with fear as the air left his body in the panic- unable to breathe as he was suffocated painfully.

“Someone grab him!”

“We can’t get a hold of him- you saw what happened to that other kid! If we attack we’ll end up injuring the hostage!” The Heroes yelled at each other.

Midoriya’s eyes started to droop shut as his chest shuddered, his struggling slowing to a halt as his oxygen supply ran dangerously low. The onlooking crowd was alive in horror, watching helplessly as the middle schooler stopped fighting.

The winds suddenly picked up, fanning the flames before a large figure slammed into the ground, unaffected, as the road splintered and cracked on impact.

Slowly he stood, and the crowd cheered hysterically in relief, it was All Might.

“Detroit SMASH!” A deep, booming voice cut through the commotion. His fist reared back, before flying through the air towards the unsuspecting villain- a wave of air spun around his knuckles and swept over the markets in a cyclone of unrestrained power.

When Katsuki came to, he was being needlessly fussed over.
“Are you ok?”
“How do you feel?”
“That was quite reckless, young man.”
“Don’t sit up too fast.”

Bakugou stayed silent, but couldn’t shake off the irritating ring in his ears under the dizzying noise of everyone talking at once. He subtly took note of the large form approaching the ambulance van with a limp body in his arms, blood staining the front of his shirt.

His mind took a catapulted bomb dive into the worst possible situation.

“Fuck- Fuck-” He forced himself off the ground, despite the hands on him and the voices insisting him to take it easy. He stumbled in the direction of the pair and the ringing in his ears got louder, suddenly the ground tilted and “Fuck- SHIT-” He choked through his dry throat before he crumpled to the ground. “Ugh…”

He was seeing double and had to squint to focus, as All Might placed Izuku’s body onto one of the ambulance van beds. Men in hospital uniforms attached the younger boy to oxygen and calmly worked around him. They wouldn’t be this calm if he was dead, Katsuki figured, as he visibly deflated from relief.

All Might saluted the Pro Heros in charge and then turned heel. He was walking stiffly away from the press that was beginning to pack the area, hoping to catch a glimpse or interview with the victims of the incident.

Bakugou willed himself upright for the third time, snapping at the staff blocking his view and throwing them his claim of ‘feeling fine.’

All Might was a really fast walker, so Bakugou had to awkwardly jog after the man as he buried himself in the backstreets.

Panting heavily, Katsuki yelled at him. “OI! ALL MIGHT!” before slowing to a stop, leaning heavily on a powerline post and cursing himself for his pathetic form.

The man didn’t seem to hear Bakugou and kept walking. Katsuki’s hands shook and his frustration grew, filling his chest and threatening to overflow.

At least, he thought it was his temper.
Turns out it wasn’t.

His stomach lurched and he retched, grasping desperately to the post like a lifeline stopping him from falling forward.

This time, All Might paused. “You shouldn’t be moving yet, young man, go back and get the medical attention you need.”

Bakugou simply sent him a heated glare, as he aggressively wiped the remnants of his lunch from his lips with his uniform sleeve.

“I really must go- Tell your friend he was extremely brave today, you both were. But that should be no excuse to start running blindly into danger.” He turned his back towards Bakugou as he prepared himself to leap away.

“Don’t look down on us! If you had caught that bastard before, we wouldn’t have been caught up in this in the first place!”

“Indeed, and for that I truly apologise, but I really must go-”

Hey! I’m not done!” Katsuki bristled.

“No!” All Might halted Katsuki to silence as he held his hand up in visual decline.

This time, there was no mistaking the familiar burn and bubble of his fury. Top hero be damned. He yelled at him without hesitation.

“We will surpass you! That stupid kid back there- He saved me, that quirkless fucking Deku did what you couldn’t, don’t shit on what he did like that! Yeah, we’re broken- We’re not blessed with greatness like you assholes, but we’ll spit on fate! We’ll beat the world and we’ll beat you!”

All Might looked confronted by his words, peering at him wearily before his body burst into steam. Plumes of steam covered his withered form, skinny and hunched. Sunken eyes were overshadowed by his pronounced brow and his Pantone yellow hair sat straggly and wiry.

Bakugou took a step back in shock as his brain short tracked. ”Oy, oy, what the- is this- the hell…who the..?”

“I am All M-” The man began before blood spewed from his dry lips and splattered to his already stained shirt.

“Do you think I’m an idiot? It looks like you’re ready to kick the bucket.” Bakugou spat, this whole thing was a goddamn joke.

The frail man sighed heavily, wiping the blood from his bottom lip. “I assure you, my boy, I am All Might. I was..heavily injured in an incident many years ago and it left me unable to use my quirk for long periods of time. Like how guys at the pool flex, but then get tired fast.”

Katsuki looked dubiously at the person in front of him claiming to be the top hero. He looked so...weak. Like the breeze could topple him over- like Deku before they started training together. To be honest, Bakugou wasn’t entirely sure what to do with the situation.

“I request you don’t mention this to anyone- it’s a secret known only by a few individuals and it must stay that way.”

He nodded tensely, bottom lip curling inward as he bit the inside of his mouth. “Deku, the nerd back there- I want you to meet him. He’s your biggest fan to the point it’s creepy.”

“Ah, it will have to wait till another time- however, I greatly appreciate his enthusiasm! I have been tailing that villain since this afternoon and am afraid I have already pushed my limits-”

“-No, like this. Tell him what you told me.”

“I’m not sure that is-”

“I’m not asking you to sell your kidneys, shit, fuck, just-” Katsuki’s voice died in his throat.

“Please.”

All Might ended up agreeing, under the terms they meet again when both Bakugou and Midoriya have fully recovered. Katsuki eventually got home and was promptly strangled in a crushing hug by his mother at the door. He sat silently as she scolded him for attempting to take on the situation despite the Pros being there, but thanked him nonetheless for coming home safely.

Inko Midoriya also arrived at their door later that night after dinner. She informed them that Izuku is doing well and is home recovering. Once Mitsuki and Masaru disappeared into the kitchen to clean up, the small woman approached Bakugou confidently.

“Izuku told me the full story of what happened earlier today, and I just wanted to thank you Katsuki-kun. Really, you saved my boy and I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past, and I will never be able to take back how I have treated you, but I want to make amends. I was wary of your reconciliation with Izuku all those years ago, but I now see I was wrong to hold your past actions against you.” Her sights moved from their pinned attention on the floor to his face, a soft smile wrinkling her skin.

“You’ve changed, you’ve both matured so much- you believed in my boy and helped him with his dream- m-more than I ever could.” She spoke softly and although he struggled to hear her words, her face was in front of him and he focused intensely to ensure he missed nothing. She didn’t mind his intense gaze and slowly reached for his hand.

She cradled his palm between her smaller, soft chubby hands.

“Thank you for being a hero.”

Chapter Text

When Izuku Midoriya finally met All Might, there was a lot of screaming. Whipping his head between his childhood friend and his now deflated idol, you could almost see the very foundations of everything he's ever known quake. Jaw loose, he could only gape in disbelief. One minute, the greatest hero of all time was standing right in front of him and the next, a crumpled, sickly man.

"Ano...This is one impressive prank Kacchan...You r-really went over the top with this one…"

Katsuki didn't hear him, but after glancing over his shoulder to see Izuku's sheepish, nervous expression- he spoke.

"Have I ever been one to joke? This glorified old coot really is him."

Izuku tried to swallow the lump in his throat. If this really was all the truth- the villain that had done this to All Might would've been insanely strong. But still. It sparked at something within Izuku to see All Might in such a state, in one hand it made him fearful and almost disappointed- but then on the other hand...

...it bloomed butterflies of hope in his gut.

It was no question that he'd grown in both mentally and physically since he and Kacchan started working together, but to see the pinnacle of heroics in such a state of weakness, it made him less of a god and more...Human. He had worked blood, sweat and tears to get even close to his goal, he could rival Katsuki in every way except his quirk. Even then, he put up an impressive fight that left both teenagers exhausted.

"All Might-"

"-Ah, I do ask that you boys call me by my name, Toshinori Yagi when I look like this."

"O-Oh, sorry! Yagi-san, I have a question…"

He paused, eyes shooting down to glance at his shoes as nervousness ate at him slowly.

"Do you..do you think that I can be a hero...even if I'm quirkless…?" He shut his eyes and kept his chin angled towards the ground- as if he were hiding from the answer.

Silence followed between the three of them, the only disturbance being gentle waves caressing the shore behind them.

"Midoriya-kun, I'm afraid that it would be unrealistic to say that you could be a hero in your current state of quirklessness... Being a hero doesn't come without the possibility of danger and as you've both seen- you will find yourselves in situations under extreme pressure. It would be unbelievably reckless and immature to assume that your mentality alone will be enough to leave you unscathed."

Izuku could feel tears prickle at his eyes- he should've known, he was just being foolish-

"-Oye, we don't need to hear that from you, you damn hypocrite-" Bakugou snarked.

"-But. Despite all this, I saw something that day. As Bakugou-kun said, you were both better heroes than I was, I had forgotten my own principals and was distracted by my time limit. It was my haste that got both of you caught up in this. Yet...I'm thankful. You both showed no hesitation to face a hopeless situation. I see so much potential in both of you, and that's why I would like to offer to train you both. No doubt you are aiming for UA- I'd like to help nurture the greatness I saw that day."

"EeeehhH?" Yelled Izuku, in shock. Bakugou stood shell-shocked, clear by his eyebrows hidden under his hairline.

"I do not have much time left as a hero. As I said, my time limit shortens almost every passing day- I want to instil my legacy to you. Which is why...Midoriya-kun. I'd like you to inherit One for All."

He could feel the air inflate his lungs in a snap of breath. "...inherit...?"

"The world needs to believe that the symbol of peace is just a natural born- without weakness or fault, but you both now understand there's nothing natural about my quirk. I was given this- the ability to stockpile power- just as the generation before me. Of course, I would not force this on you. It's your choice, young man.

The world will never let you become a hero if you are quirkless. But you must pave your way to greatness and, you will need to work hard to show them that it is not the quirk- but the user who the world believes in. I believe you will do well to become the next symbol of peace. In fact… you both show limitless potential to steer the world in the right direction."

Midoriya was muttering again, his brain working at a million miles per hour as he struggled to process the ordeal. This was a situation that he never thought would ever be possible, let alone, offered to him by the greatest hero of all time. He probably needs time to think it over but then again- why wouldn't he accept it? This is his one chance at greatness- he'd finally have a quirk- his dream would be finally within reach-"

Bakugou, who had stayed silent throughout all Might's announcement, stepped forward. "-He'll take it."

Izuku snapped his attention to the blonde and his thoughts faltered. "Wha-?" He looked over Kacchan's form. His face was overshadowed by his fringe, but there was no mistaking the tenseness in his shoulders, his fists clenched- jaw set.

All Might's gaze hardened as he also took note of the boy. He looked like any sudden movement could jolt his resolve, leaving him crumbling on the spot- or ready to run for the hills.

But Yagi didn't know what Izuku did. He didn't know that Bakugou was going deaf- didn't know that the only reason the two were still friends is that they had each other's backs. They were on level ground. Kacchan would be deaf, and Deku, quirkless. They were going to prove the world they didn't need perfection to be great. But now, Izuku was being offered a way out from his fate, Katsuki didn't have that.

In a way, the sparkle of hope in Deku's world had darkened the rest of the sky for his friend.

It was cruel and it wasn't fair. How could he do that to his friend? Do that to the one person that believed that he could share their dream even with all odds against them.

Better yet, why would Bakugou want him to take it? Did he want to split them up? Would he throw him in the dirt just like the first time?

"No." He wasn't going to let Bakugou throw him away. Bakugou was already the reason why he could fight, he taught him to stand up for himself- even if he still wasn't any good at it. He gave Izuku means to his own power and accepted Izuku's help because they were the same. Katsuki needed him. They'd be heroes even if they had to do it the hard way.

"I won't take it. I'm sorry Yagi-san. I- I can't. I really appreciate the offer-"

"Bullshit!" Snapped Katsuki, anger laced into his voice.

"He'll fucking take it! Don't be stupid you damn Deku!"

"No! I won't! I don't need it- We'll-"

He paused.

Kacchan looked absolutely livid.

"Don't." He set his torso straight, puffing himself up like a bear.

"You dare-" He stepped forward with heavy steps, hands beginning to smoke.

"Pity ME!" He launched at Deku, throwing a flurry of angered blows, he was erratic in his movements and let off more blasts than usual. Mainly for intimidation purposes rather than to necessarily to cause harm.

"S-stop! Kacchan I don't mean it like that! I j-just-"

"Just WHAT! Just want to HOLD YOURSELF BACK? Want to keep the playing field EVEN? You think I can't beat you down if you've got some stupid secondhand quirk? Don't insult me!" His explosions died down and he huffed open-mouthed. His teeth were bared in a snarl and his gaze could slice through Izuku's soul, could burn him from the inside.

He swung around with his back to the beach, kicking some metal debris and forcing it to cave threateningly under the force of the blow.

Izuku watched him walk away and tears began to pool in his eyes. They stung as they blurred his vision and his cheeks heated at the frustration.

Idiot.
He was such a -

"Midoriya-kun, do you mind me asking..what exactly is your relationship with Bakugou-kun?"

Izuku wonders if 'complicated' would be an acceptable answer.

After about an hour of trying to summarize the mess that was their unusual friendship, Yagi had a bit of an idea of what the ordeal was about. The young Bakugou was hot-headed, strong, smart, and Midoriya admired him for it. His determination was unrivalled.

"Midoriya-kun, if Bakugou was offered a cure for his disability-"

"-Ah, could you..not call it that…?" Izuku asked shyly.

Yagi glanced at him and nodded slowly. "If there was a way for Bakugou to regain his hearing, would you want him to take it?"

"Of course I would! Kacchan deserves it more than anybody- more than me, for sure."

"Young man, I can't help but think your friend is thinking the same about you. He cares and wants you to succeed with him. I think this is his way of not disposing of you- but ensuring that you can stay by his side."

Izuku's stare slipped to his shoes, studying the scuffs absentmindedly.

"Do you think Kacchan is the one pitying me…?"

"Hmm. I can't say for sure, you know him a lot better than me- but from what I've seen, he does not come off as someone who pities people. If anything, it may be his absolute refusal to pity you that has convinced him to allow you to grow into the best hero you can. Remember that after you saved Bakugou-kun on that day, he was unable to rescue you. He's realised that in order for you to be by his side, you need to be able to stand on your own feet first. Having you accept this power, it will no doubt help to give him some peace of mind."

Warmth spread from Izuku's chest.

He remembered when the villain had first emerged, Kacchan had thrown him forward and yelled at him to run.

He did, and with every step, guilt had corroded away slowly all sense of self-worth he ever had.

Eventually, he couldn't take it anymore and whether it was the smoke, or his panic at seeing Katsuki being sucked into a suffocating death, air refused to enter his lungs.

His body just moved.

Even once he'd helped Katsuki rip himself free from the hold- he hadn't actually achieved much.
Other than proceeding to get caught again and needing to be rescued.

It was humiliating, every ache from his reset shoulder was a painful reminder that he had finally lived up to his nickname,

Useless.

But with One for All, he would be the one saving people just as All Might did to him. Kacchan could finally rely on him rather than just telling him to run away.

He finally knew how Katsuki felt when his pride was hurt. Frankly, it was a really shitty feeling.

The next day, Katsuki ignored him. He avoided him on the way to school and didn't talk to him in class, although that was nothing unusual. On the way home, Izuku had to run to catch up to him, he was a fast walker and no doubt slipped out of class the moment the bell rang.

Izuku first tried to yell at Kacchan to slow down, but he didn't so much as twitch in response. Once he'd caught up, he took a light grip on Katsuki's bag. As expected, he swung around and it could've been Izuku's own sense of guilt- but he didn't bother to dodge.

He bit his tongue when Katsuki's fist collided with his jaw and sent him to the ground.

"I guess uh...I deserve that one…"

The blonde boy didn't reply, strutting over to where Izuku laid on the pavement. With a swift kick to his chest, Izuku's torso slammed back into the rough cement.

"What do you want, Deku?" He growled, grinding the sole of his shoe into Izuku's sternum.

Izuku's hands flew the edges of Kacchan's sneaker, trying to relieve his lungs of the weight as he gasped.

"I said yes! I said yes to All Might! Stop! I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions- I didn't mean to assume anything- I don't pity you! I never pitied you! I was just scared of you getting rid of me again!"

Katsuki's glare sharpened like a wild animal, assessing his resolve and seeking out even a trace of deceit. Once satisfied with Deku's apparent truthfulness, he stepped away with an amused grunt.

"Do what you want, idiot."

Izuku smiled before trying to lift himself from the ground. He winced as his ribs blossomed with a bruising pain, the exposed nerves stung at his elbows from where he'd grazed the skin off.

"Oh, and Yagi-san said he wanted to meet us at the beach again!"

"Whatever."


 Later that evening when they arrived at the beach, they noticed that there was a cleared line dividing the piles of trash. All Might stood in the middle in his muscled form, peacefully looking out to the setting sun.
The sky burned from a baby blue to heated yellow, staining the clouds with a mixture of tie-dye pink and orange hues. The ambience gave the beauty a solemn feel, All Might's dying shadow stretching over the sand. The warmer the sun grew, the darker his shadow faded.

He turned to face them as they padded soundlessly over the ruined beach.

"Oh! Bakugou-kun! Midori-"
Blood sprayed from his lips comically as he reverted back to his sickly form. Izuku yelped in surprise and Bakugou grimaced.

Yagi wiped the remaining blood sheepishly. "Aha, sorry about that. Splendid to see you both again! As you can see here, I have divided the beach into separate halves. Whilst questionable to use my limited power for such means, I'd like to take this opportunity to test you both.

You will each be allocated a pile, and you will be required to clear your side of the beach to the best your ability. However, the result of the test is not necessarily based on the time taken, but on efficiency. You both have clearly done some physical training, but this is not about combat. You will be measured on your ability to train yourselves in all areas, including restraint-" He looked selectively at Bakugou "-And the ability to respect your own limits." He moved his analysing stare to Izuku.

"This is to help me access where you will both need to work on your physical abilities, as well as to show that you are ready to start treating heroics as a mindset rather than an activity. I will not help you, or hand Midoriya-kun my quirk, if I think you will throw away your lives in order to use whatever I teach you straight off the bat. It is a careful balance between your lives, and getting the job done to the best of your ability."

He gave them both a side of the beach and got them to work soon after. Walking over to Bakugou as he assessed his own task, he stopped the teen before he could land a crushing blast to an old microwave.

"Ah, Bakugou-kun- I do ask that you refrain from using your quirk. I am already aware that you are well proficient in using it. Additionally, it is of no use to further damage your hearing needlessly."

As if shocked by electricity, the boy's posture struck into defensiveness and his expression darkened- shooting a betrayed glare Deku's way, uncaring if he saw it or not.

"I believe my abilities are biased towards you and your friend. If he decides to inherit One for All, I will need to dedicate much of my remaining time training him to use it. I ask that you do not take this as any form of neglect, for I see mountains of potential in you- it is simply that I am..unsuitable to help you access that in the best way possible.

You undoubtedly will be able to get into UA, and until then, I'd like to train you and Midoriya as my pupils. However, I have a contact at the school that I'd like you to meet once you have been enrolled. I think his assistance will be of great help to you."

"Tch." Bakugou turned back to his pile, deciding to instead step on the microwave until it caved and the glass shattered.

Once All Might had gone back over to the green haired boy, Katsuki glanced up from the mutilated appliance to look over the ocean peeking through the mounds of litter.

He takes a deep breath of sea-sprayed air and wonders what it sounds like.


 

Deciding to stay away from Izuku for the time being, he headed home first. He needn't worry about Deku getting ahead, the twerp was still piss-weak next to him.

Feeling the trickle of insecurity seeping into his skin and leaving goosebumps in its wake, his frustration sparked to life. Ducking into a carpark, he threw fuel at his temper, feeling it bubble to life on his hands.

The convenience store car park was dead at this time of night, but Katsuki's yell of anger was shrouded under the boom of his quirk being set free on a pile of tin paint cans and empty tin barrels.

"Hey! Hey, stop it! Oi!" Bakugou didn't hear a voice trying to pull him from his rage.

-But he did feel the grip around his elbow.

The explosions died and he jerked his arm, dropping the unsuspecting victim to the asphalt.

"Oww…" She whined half-heartedly as he looked her over. She had bright purple hair, fringe cut in a slope and bangs covering her ears. She looked about his age, wore a loose yellow striped shirt, ripped black skinny jeans and dark combat boots.

"Oh shit...I needed those, thanks a lot, asshat." She grumbled as she picked up her discarded plastic bag, now holding a carton of broken eggs.

Bakugou said nothing as she frowned up at him. She stood and he took note of the bottom of her ears extending into what looked like chords resting limply on her chest.

'Must be her quirk.' He thought casually.

She stood, brushing the dirt from the back of her pants and glanced over at the pile of now singed garbage.

"Ah! What the hell, man?" She swiftly sidestepped him to hover over the now dented and blackened metal. She dropped to a squat and pressed a hand to her eyes with a sigh as if physically refusing to cry.

"Oy, the hell are you getting caught up over a pile of shit?" He asked, this girl was weird. But not the sort of weird he was used to from the girls at school.

She turned to him with a glare, crossing her arms over her chest.

"My parents and I can't afford a drum kit...I'd been collecting these tins for the last year trying to make some sort of makeshift kit I could practice on."

He looked back over the pile of garbage. It wasn't his fault it looked like nothing useful, he wasn't to blame. - It wasn't his business.

Yet he looked back over her bag of crushed eggs and-

"-stay here." He blurted, spinning around and heading in the direction of the front of the convenience store before he could stop himself.

She spluttered and looked at his retreating back with a single eyebrow raised in question, but she stayed regardless.

He came back around the corner a little while later and without explanation, handed her an identical plastic bag with a new carton of eggs.

He didn't stay to hear her huff out a begrudged thank you.

Chapter Text

A shiver trailed down the length of Katsuki’s spine, cool air dancing into his room from his window and stroking chilly featherlight touches to his bare skin. Sunrise broke through the clouds and lunged through his curtains, laying across his flooring with a warm body. Bakugou isn’t a morning person, but his consciousness arises with the sun and he can’t help it anymore. He’d stay in bed longer but the emptiness of the household at unwoken hours… It’s a silence that brings a surge of discomfort.

Bakugou will never get used to silence. During the day the world has movement- it has background sounds and the inescapable noise pollution of the busy cities of Japan. You don’t need to be able to hear to know that there’s life around you and for Katsuki, it’s a low hum of comfort at the back of his head- he dreads it’s disappearance.

Mornings are the worst. The sounds around him are dead and he feels himself being uprooted- his sense of reality slips when he’s stuck inside of his head. His quirk lets off more than sound, it makes the ground quake and the thrill is worth the white sting of his ears afterwards.

All Might has refused to let him practice his quirk under his teachings and he’d be lying if he said it didn’t unsettle him. Izuku was improving rapidly. He could beat Katsuki without quirks- even if it was rare.

It should be his choice whether to use his quirk or not.  He was millimetres away from blowing up the next person that stopped him from using his quirk- as if the consequences were theirs to deal with. What bullshit. They’re trying to keep themselves guilt free and Bakugou was sick of it.

When Deku beat him, it was like icy water had been mercilessly dumped over his head. A chill soaks into every pore along his skin and shook his bones. Izuku had only just been given One for All last week and the exam was today, they hadn’t fought against each other with their quirks yet. Would they still be just as rivalled, or would Deku-

Katsuki took a gulp of his coffee. White, two sugars.
-Now wasn’t the time. Or ever, really. He knew he’d get into U.A.  There was no doubt, he’d wipe the floor with these bastards before they knew what hit them.

He’d been waiting years for this day. No stupid Deku would get his way, intentionally or not.

The day cruised along, not a beat out of queue until Bakugou had set foot in the front door of UA.  The campus was as impressive as it looked from a distance, sheened glass exteriors, pristine conditions and walkways lined with cherry blossoms. It was as daunting as it was enthralling and Katsuki knew that one day, he was going to rule this school from the top point of the hierarchy. He would be their pride and joy, their highest achievement.

The very thought had him practically buzzing with energy, but didn’t dare let a single trace of excitement show on his features.

Waltzing boastfully into the campus, he passed Deku in time to see the other trip and almost faceplant it into the concrete. A random girl managed to tap him on the shoulder milliseconds before his nose could kiss the hard ground and Bakugou watched as Deku awkwardly began to hover. The two engaged in a one-sided conversation before the girl trailed off, waving at the now madly blushing Izuku.

He scoffed, brushing off the second-hand embarrassment wafting off Deku as he reduced himself to a flushed mess.

“Wipe that stupid look off your face, Deku.” He announced his presence as he clipped his shoulder against Deku’s bag, startling him.

“Oh! Hi Kacchan!” He says enthusiastically, flashing his face-splitting grin Bakugou’s way.

He ignored him.

 




The written exam took 2 hours, it wasn’t easy- but doable. The idiot next to him with bright yellow hair clipped back to his head looked like he was ready to stand up and bolt, his panic only helping to motivate Katsuki to ace everything perfectly. He was in his own league and these losers would know it soon enough.

Shoved into the auditorium afterwards, Katsuki watched Izuku make an ass out of himself and his muttering. At least, he figured, that if Present Mic was his teacher he would never have to ask him to speak up.

Split into groups and sectioned off, Bakugou shut the world off as he focused. Scanning his group, he subtly took note of the other students as they grouped for conversation. Aligning himself at the gates next to the stronger looking contestants, he stood patiently, shifting his weight and flexing his hands and arms. He felt his muscles stretch and tremble as anticipation built up the pressure beneath his nerves.

With a sudden pop of his knuckles the seal cracked, the doors swung open and he felt the rumble of Mic’s voice. His view became devoid of other members, scanning the area and snapping into a predatory offence within a heartbeat. There was a delayed second as some of the students were taken by surprise, but Bakugou paid no attention as he darted headfirst onto the cityscape course.


Almost immediately, a one-pointer robot spun out from between two buildings- Bakugou let out a battle cry as he ran headfirst toward it, his last steps leaving the ground as the robot took a swing. His feet planted against the building to his left as he simultaneously positioned an explosion behind him, propelling him from his elevated position on the wall towards the robot. Using his right hand, he swung forward and landed a devastating blast to the robot- ensuring it was broken before hopping off the wreckage and making haste down the alleyway it appeared from. His gums pulled back into a lopsided satisfied smirk and he reveled in the breathful of smoke breezing off his palms- it had been too long.

It was better to start with a high powered blast to gauge how much damage each type of robot needed to register as down. Bakugou avoided running straight down the city path aligned with the entrance as most other students took to the main roads. Sure, there would be more robots in the populated areas, but there was also a lot more competition to get to the bots first. As much as Bakugou loved rivalry, this was a matter of points- Like a dog guarding his territory, he was better off leaving a trail of destruction in the backstreet areas where targets were his, and his alone.


When the halfway time was announced, Katsuki knew for sure he had made the right decision. He hadn’t seen a single other student and was racking up points like a thief in an unsupervised jewellery store.

The finish was closing in rapidly and Bakugou was panting with exhaustion- the only downfall to his tactic meant he had to cover a lot of distance in order to find robots.
Sweat ran in rivulets down his skin, shirt blotched in dampened pools down his collar and under his arms.
Droplets sizzled and sparked as they reached his hands as if electrified- it jolted him into a state of almost constant alert.
His ears were sore and the white noise in his head was throbbing and painful- tagging along hand-in-hand with an uncomfortable surge of dizziness that threatened to tip the ground.

He made a mental note for later to work on his endurance.

Shaking himself from his thoughts, he winced at his growing headache when he felt the road start to shake. It was followed by a loud series of crashes and he barely had time to react, before a large piece of metal was rocketed into the ground a couple feet away. It landed with such immense force the path was ripped up and Bakugou had to shield his eyes from the dust plume.

The top of the zero pointer was barely in sight, but it was big. Huge, towering over the buildings and scanning down menacingly at the course with soulless, spider-like red eyes.

Bakugou could barely hear it, but there was a distinct ring of screams in the distance towards the robot. He took a step forward, only to stop, clench his teeth, and break it in the opposite direction.

‘Fuck it. It’s an exam, they won’t let the students die.’

With every rumble and thump of the robot’s steps, Katsuki felt as if someone added weight to a prison ball attached to his ankle.

He managed to collect a decent number of extra points in the time before the final call was given, instructing them to head towards the entrance. Once back, his eyes scanned the state of the other contestants- they all looked fine, albeit tired.

Until he caught a glance at brightly coloured outfits and his stomach flipped. Two sets of men in green and fluorescent yellow carried stretchers into the course, carting out two unconscious students into the ambulance back to the main campus.

He mentally cursed at himself and tore away his attention. It wasn’t his fault they got hurt. He didn’t have any reason to feel bad- to blame himself. The bile that sat at the back of throat bubbled and he grimaced at the flavour on his tongue.

‘Damnit.’

Knuckles pasty white from strain, Bakugou could barely register his quirk going off with a subtle ‘pap’ ‘pap’ ‘pap.’

“You do know the exam is over now, right?” A feminine voice, too close for comfort, spoke next his ear.

Ignoring the flinch of his skin, he turned slowly to peer at the person.

“Oh, hey it’s you, angry. Long time no see.” For a second, Bakugou was tempted to shoot a poison flooded insult their way before the purple haired bob and earphone jack cords sparked a memory. He didn’t even notice the girl had been split into his group in the first place.

He cautiously raised an eyebrow in a silent question ‘what do you want?’

She seemed unfazed by his lack of verbal reply, instead, offering her smaller pale hand out towards him.

“Kyouka Jirou.”

Surprise momentarily halted Bakugou’s thoughts as the not-so-stranger offered him a hand in greeting. Most of the time, if he glared at people, destroyed their shit or ignored them, they’d simply stop trying. It made sense he supposed, but this girl kept surprising him and he was at a loss on how to approach it. The only person he really interacted with was Deku, and that was easy. If he was confused, he’d use anger. If he was winning, he’d use anger. If he was losing, he’d use anger. This was…

Different.

Usually, when people offered their names, the recipient was expected to offer their own in return. But most people aren’t Bakugou Katsuki, and to be honest, he wasn’t entirely ready to give out his name to some random- he wasn’t sure what to make of the other person and didn’t want them to get any ideas.

Being friendly left a bad taste in his mouth. It was untouched territory and words weren't exactly his forte.

It wasn't that he didn't want to be nice-

But rather, it was that he actually couldn't.

It was a language he didn't speak. His own internal frustration at his inability to do so meant that he'd go in with good intentions and then-

Fuck-

Nope-

Fuck it-

Fuck you-

Screw this-

Never again-

The colourful language and verbal confusion were like someone pinching him mid-sentence. Even before he had started to lose his hearing, Katsuki didn't like words. Now it wasn't that the words themselves were what he didn't like- It was the ability to string them together and manage not to insult someone that he struggled with.

'Polite' wasn't an option- Silence was the closest he ever got and even still, he was forced to bite his cheek to stop the knee-jerk snark retort from pouncing from his tongue. He wasn't really given many opportunities to practice either, his mother was just as bad as he was. He really didn't know how Deku did it- he was obviously a carbon copy of his mother's habits as well.

He could handle learning hand signs with the runt, but the very thought of asking him 'how do I talk to people' would be a massive blow to his ego he'd probably never recover from.

He turned heel, throwing a casual wave over his shoulder to cover his uncertainty. He didn't bother to wait and see how she reacted.

"See ya 'round, fuckin' droopy ears."

 




It was a week later when his results letter came in the mail. He had been checking the letterbox every morning and afternoon religiously since the exam. His father would smile from the front window as he watched his son rip open the flap as hastily as he could- as if to hide his excitement.

When All Might’s beaming smile met his sights, he knew he got in- he didn’t even need to be able to hear the holographic voice to know it. He was congratulated for not only passing the written and practical exams- but almost completely acing the scores. He passed second in the physical exams and first in the written entries.

Wait- second?

Pride was smothered like a candle in an air sealed space. The words stole the oxygen from his lungs and a surge of frustration flooded through him and burned his veins.

Who the fuck stole his goddamn spot?

Oh boy, was he was going to make them regret it. He was going to pummel the fucking daylights out of them- show them who the hell they’re dealing with and how dare they-

The front door abruptly slammed open and Midoriya flung himself into their house, single free arm swinging madly for balance as his bandaged legs fumbled with his shoes.

“Kacchan! -Kacchan! -Kacchan! -Ka-”

“Fucking WHAT?!” He cut off Deku’s desperate cry for his attention as Deku ran up to him, clutching a letter with a vice grip in his left arm, that sat limply in a cast.

“I got in! -I got in! -We did it!”

“Of course we did. Dipshit.”

Still sour about having his rightful place snatched straight out from underneath him, Bakugou took little notice of Deku’s injuries- it didn’t take a genius to assume he’d gotten them doing something stupid. His mother, on the other hand, was adamant about knowing exactly why the greenette was in such a state.

“Izuku-kun, please tell me it was someone else that did this to you, so Katsuki can go beat the shit out of them.” She says in a too-sweet voice, tilting her head slightly as she glazes over his physical state.

“Oi! Shut it Hag! I ain’t doin shit!” He barks in retort, releasing a stubborn huff as he crosses his forearms and stomps into the kitchen.

“I TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL ME THAT!” She screeches, gaze unwavering from Izuku’s direction.

He winces at the noise and scratches the back of his neck lightly in his hesitance.

“Ah, it just kinda happened…A girl got stuck and well- someone needed to do something...It was my fault this happened.” His vibrant emerald eyes darted around to the corners of the room as he anticipated the incoming reaction.

Kacchan didn’t reply, or scold him for his rash decision- so Izuku assumed he simply didn’t hear him. He thought it was unlikely at this distance, but it was still extremely difficult to gauge how good Bakugou’s hearing was. He didn’t talk about it and lashed out consistently if Izuku- or anyone, really- tried to pry. On top of this, he frequently abused his ability to pretend that he couldn’t hear people in order to excuse him from needing to reply.

“Ow- ow- ow-” Mitsuki bonked him on the side of the head several times with a rolled up newspaper. He didn’t even notice her turning around to retrieve it from the dining room table until it was making contact with his skull.

She stopped her assault and he peered up at her through ruffed curls. She gave him a stern, unimpressed look. “Rely on others more, ya damn brat.”

He smiled shyly and gave a small nod, tentatively rubbing at the places she made contact with her makeshift weapon. It’d didn’t hurt, not really- but it certainly didn’t achieve much to help his headache from Recovery Girl’s drain on his energy earlier.

“We’re having Katsudon, go get your mother!” She called out to him as she walked into the kitchen.

“Ehhh? Why are we having his shitty favourite? I got in too, ya damn hag!” Kacchan complained, the sound of his voice quickly followed by the faint snapping noise of a rolled up tea-towel whipped against a solid surface. It was undeniable that the older Bakugou was the queen of finding weapons with household objects. It reminded Izuku of one of the times Kacchan had chased him from the kitchen with a spatula after he had accidentally burnt the rice. 

“It’ll be ready in a bit, I want you back here in five!” She continues to Izuku.

“O-oh it’s ok, we don’t want to be a bother!” He says, but continuing to lean down to his shoes regardless.

“FOUR MINUTES!” Mitsuki hollers.

Oh right, it wasn’t a question.

Chapter Text

When it was announced that not only Bakugou but also Midoriya, had both gotten into the prestigious UA High school- there was an uproar. Their teachers had revealed their achievements with great pride, in front of not only their class but their whole graduating year- along with a few other high achievers.

Some students gaped in awe, settled for disinterest or seethed in jealousy. Bakugou soaked in every praise and jutted his chin high down the halls- the aggravation he aroused in others only serving as further motivation. He liked being able to force classmates like Sousuke Seiji, into such a green frenzy with their own resentment.

He worked hard to achieve his perfect record- not bashing someone's face in took an awful lot of restraint. Now, he was being rewarded handsomely with the right to punch someone fair and square- and slap it under the label of 'hero work.'

Don't get him wrong- he'd save people if he needed to, but Katsuki much preferred to speak with his fists. He wanted everything- he wanted the power, the glory, the money, the title.

Number 1.

The absolute best, and nothing less.

When Deku decided to be bashful about it, asking the teachers to not to announce it, tugging meekly on Bakugou's sleeve when he trod along the egos of the losers like a red carpet walkway down the halls- Katsuki lashed at him, injuries be damned.

"What do you want?!" He yelled, landing a kick next to Deku's trapped position against a brick wall.

He flinched instinctually but met his haunting red eyes confidently. "I want you to stop rubbing it everyone's faces. Stop boasting about it."

"EeehhHH?" Bakugou hunched down to his eye height, broadening his shoulders like when he used to scare Deku.

"Is this a joke to you? We fucking earned this. This is what winning tastes like Deku, and you're asking me to spit it out because of the pathetic self-esteems of losers?" His head tilted slightly as he disparagingly spoke of their classmates, sizing the smaller boy up for a whiff of hesitation.

His glare was unwavering and Izuku kept his breath shallow, back pressed against cool stone behind him. Bakugou had been balancing on a fraying tightrope since the results day, furious about not taking the top spot and busy drowning his disappointment under his ever-growing ego.

"They don't bother you, but after you rub their faces in it, they take it out on me. They spit on my shoes and steal my things, say I cheated- they wouldn't care if you stopped reminding them."

Katsuki's eye twitched in irritation. "You made it fair and square. Show them what they're messing with. Where's the shitty idiot who shoved my face into the sand, huh? They did this to themselves- they fucking chose to do shit, they chose to apply elsewhere, it shouldn't be my fucking issue if they didn't have what it takes."

Izuku paused. It was unlike Bakugou to admit his own defeat, even going as far to almost compliment him.

Was he...trying to pep talk him..?

He cleared his throat, finally breaking eye contact with the blonde.

"I can't just go around beating people up, Kacchan. I'm not you."

"Fine then. Stop whining about them spitting on you then. You can pity them, but I sure as hell won't." He ends with a downward quirk of his lips and a growl in his throat.

Izuku's head droops towards the ground with a breathful sigh. Kacchan had a point, even if he didn't like it. He didn't mean for his actions to come off as pity- but in a way, he understands he may be enabling his classmates bullying.

Oh well. He'll be at UA soon enough, he'll start changing the world from the bigger picture.

 


 

 

Time passed, zipped by them like a train window; Christmas passed over along with the end of their middle school days, rolling out the pathway to their high school lives.

Barely a toe in the doorway of their hero careers.

Bakugou was ready. No, seriously- he's been ready for at least an hour already. He couldn't sleep and had already gone for a run. He showered longer than usual, trying to ease the tension from his muscles with the heated water. Preened himself in front of the mirror for a good half hour- he's uniform looked good on him. Of course it did. It was made for him.

He added the last finishing touches, creating small explosions in his hands and bringing them to the edges of his hair, creating just enough heat and static that the spikes stayed. He loosened his perfectly fitted pants, moving the belt buckle two holes down from where it should sit and leaving his slacks to droop dangerously below the elastic of his underwear line.

Perfect.

What? You thought he wore his uniform like that out of laziness?

He cooked breakfast and made himself lunch, throwing the leftovers in the fridge for his parents. His bento box was a plain black and red box- only a small dent in the corner from when he had socked Deku with the lid for trying to steal his lunch one day.

His eyes flicked up to the kitchen clock- 7:10 am. if he leaves now, he reckons the doors will be open by the time he'd get there. He's tired of restlessly waiting around at home, he's going to burst with barely contained energy.

He swings his bag over his shoulder, sending a small notion of goodbye to his father, who sat in his usual spot in the living room by the front window, reading over his newspaper in his pyjamas.

"Bye son, have a great day at school. Oh, and your mother-"

He was interrupted by said person stomping down the hall, somehow managing to make the floorboards creak under her footfalls despite wearing slippers. Her bed hair is spiked wildly and untamed, clad in her baggy Pj's and fluffy yellow dressing gown flowing dramatically behind her.

"Oi brat! The fuck are you doing sneaking around this early? Get your ass back here, we got something for you." She places a hand on her hip and waits for Bakugou to drop his hand from the doorknob before she turns to fish an object from the cabinets.

He raises an eyebrow as he studies the small box, he can't tell what it is from the blank white packaging. Walking over to it, he picks it up and sends a questioning gaze his father's way- Masaru's head is still buried in his newspaper.

He barely opens it an inch before snapping the lid shut instantly- a groan accompanying his pressed sigh.

"No."

"Yes. You're going to the school you've been aiming for since you were 4. You're being an idiot Katsuki, don't throw away your hard work because you're too damn stubborn. You can't afford to put extra strain on yourself, can't afford to slip behind. You're making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself." She narrows her eyes and he hardens his glare to match hers.

She's right. She's always fucking right and he hates it.

"Fuck." He barely registers his words were aloud until she grabs his shoulders, pulling him into a stiff hug.

"We love you. You can do this."

But he doesn't fucking want to. He doesn't want to wear them.

He pulls himself from her arms and roughly shoves the box in his pocket.

"Whatever."

He tugs his bag over his shoulder, slamming the front door behind him.

Bakugou is the first to class that morning and he analyses students as they filter in, sizing them up from his seat, feet propped up on his desk. He's looking for the cactus sucking, pole humping, flying fucking thundercunt that robbed his first place from him.

The first couple looked unimpressive; some big burly dude with huge lips, a tailed boy, a small girl with dark green hair- and apparently an invisible girl- whom Bakugou had to double take as he watched an extra chair pull out and a hovering uniform take a seat.

They peered over at him and he darted his attention to the door. The message was clear: 'don't talk to me.'

He continues to watch students slowly trickle in, sometimes in small groups. They conversed with each other excitedly and Bakugou took a silent note of how lively and positive the atmosphere seemed to be- it was completely at opposites from middle school. Middle school was one big dick measuring contest. The girls would giggle and herd together, only to stab each other in the backs with poisonous darted glares. The guys would act friendly, but sized each other up at every opportunity, leered at the girls and joked of their needful wants.

"Disgusting." Bakugou once commented.

That caused quite the stir- It was a well-known fact that he had several girls confess to him, only for him to turn down every single one. Out of curiosity, he decided to leave one hanging- he simply shrugged and walked away; she took it as a win and had promptly told the whole school of their 'blooming fairytale love.'

Deku had scrunched up his face like someone was holding shit directly under his nose. "I didn't think you had time for girls Kacchan? You shouldn't play with her feelings like that."

Technically he hadn't done anything though- literally, he hadn't even talked to her. Regardless, he got sick of her latching onto his arm. After a week, when she asked him if she could come over, he turned to her and spoke loud enough for the class to hear.

"Why would we do that? It's not like we're dating or some shit." The resounding gasp was enough to blanket silence.

On the way home, Deku had given him an earful. "Kacchan that was so mean! Mimea-chan is the cutest girl in the whole school- she didn't mean any harm and you really hurt her!'"

"Well if you like her that damn much, you date her. I never signed up for jack, she assumed it."

Deku choked on his own spit and had to lean against a powerline poll as he hacked his lungs up. His face was flushed in a deep red over his cheeks and over his ears, Bakugou blames it on the coughing fit.

"She's, er...not my type..." Deku said, refusing to look in his direction. Katsuki pretends he didn't hear, he doesn't care much for Deku's love life.

He's brought back to reality when a head of purple hair appears in the door and earphone girl walks in. He's subtly glad she got into 1A- She's consistently nice despite him being an asshole to her and he almost wants a chance to redeem himself. The uniform looks good on her, but he couldn't help taking note of the worn and scruffy look of her shoes. He doesn't comment. She looks over to him by the window and bypasses the ever-growing crowd of more social students.

"Hi there, angry. Surprised to see you here with that salty attitude of yours-" She starts.

"Bakugou." He interrupts, he doesn't actually mean to- he could barely tell what she was saying because she was moving and he couldn't see her face.

"Wha?" She peered at him.

"You want me to spell it out for you?" He says sarcastically, she rolls her eyes with a small upward turn of her lips as she takes a seat in the spot next to him.

Soon enough Deku makes it into the classroom, thankfully distracting the uptight Somei kid from trying to lecture him about having his feet on the desk. He was waving his hands around stupidly and his mouth movements were too fast for him to understand even if he was trying to listen. For the record, he wasn't.

He watched in mild amusement as Deku was complemented by the girl that had saved the dork from his own feet before the entrance exam, making him blush madly and attempt to hide his face under his hands.

Their sensei, Aizawa Shouta, then introduced himself as the students took their seats. He spoke in a drawled manor and his lips hardly moved making it difficult for Katsuki to piece together his words. He grits his teeth as he stabbed his thumbnail into the side of the small box in his pocket.

They shuffled out to the field not long later and Bakugou promptly decided to show off with a high-grade explosion right off the bat. He grinned at his score and ignored the ring of his ears afterwards- it was worth it. He couldn't afford to be any less than the best.

After the tests, they headed into their respective change rooms to switch back to their uniform for the rest of their classes. A couple of classmates complimented him on his score, in particular, a redhead- Bakugou hadn't caught his name, but that hair would be hard to forget. The other kid Katsuki recognised from the written exam, he absentmindedly wonders how someone that intellectually troubled even got in.

Taking his time, he waited until all the other students had cleared from the room before reaching into his pants pocket, yanking out the 'present' from his parents. He hesitated, jaw locked in frustration as he flipped it open and removed the hearing aids.

They were clear and small; discreet. He put them on in front of the mirror and let out a groan of disappointment. He was hoping his bangs would cover them, but the way he had styled his hair left them in plain view.

Lowering his hands into the sink, he let the cool water sweep away the show of pop rocks starting to line his palms.

He roughly pulled the devices from his ears, shoving them back in the box and pitching them into his gym bag across the room. Slumping onto one of the benches, he moved a hand up to his eyes, covering them and subtly massaging his growing headache.

"Fuck."


 

He stayed to himself for the rest of the morning classes, thankful that his peers seemed to pick up on his self-set isolation.

It wasn't until lunch when he was jostled from his brooding by the red-haired boy. "Hey, Bakugou! Why's the long face man, you did, like- amazingly on the tests!"

"Ueh…?" He lets out a noise of question in an annoyed tone before his eyebrows raised in surprised realisation. Shitty hair, the yellow-haired dipshit, triangle face boy and the pink mutant have casually slotted themselves onto his lunch table- sandwiching him in.

They made friendly banter that seemed too casual for new classmates and Bakugou obviously wore some resemblance to confusion on his features; since pinky perked up from her spot after glancing over at him.

"I'm Mina Aishido! Me and Kirishima went to middle school together! This is Kaminari and Sero- another two middle school graduates! Nice ta meet 'cha! She grinned from cheek to cheek after gesturing to each of the said classmates.

Bakugou wasn't sure how to reply.

But he couldn't deny the flutter and bloom of something deep in his chest. It made him feel lighter and it had been so long he almost couldn't put a finger on it.

Hope, cascaded over the smothered form of happiness.

"Yeah, back to you, extras."

Chapter Text

On the first Friday of their time at UA, the students of 1A were finally ready to have their first battle simulation lesson with the one and only, All Might. Tensions were high and most of the teens would be in no denial that a layer of pressure had been added to the weight on their shoulders. This would be their first real class against each other- rather than the traditional schooling environments encouraging teamwork. They were finally being allowed to clash skin on skin with some of the top potential students in the whole of Japan.

They had shown their potential in the exam, earning their place to stand before the greatest hero the world had ever seen. It was time to prove it to themselves and put potential into action.

They were ready.

Clad proudly in their newly designed and engineered costumes, they were high on the fluctuating balance of nervousness and excitement thrumming through their blood.

Bakugou was mildly impressed on how the support faculty had designed his costume. Frankly, between the heavy twin cannons and striking red and black colours, he felt like a badass. Compared to the other students, he guessed he did seem a little more morbid- not necessarily designed to calm innocents for rescue, but rather, with the intention of stabbing fear into the hearts of his enemies.

He wanted to look as intimidating as possible.

He remembers when he was 12- he'd been scribbling down ideas with Deku with a documentary on wildlife idly playing in the background, when the idea ignited like a match against sandpaper.

He suddenly yelled at Deku to pause the TV and they both scrambled furiously to rip up the couch cushions and find the remote in the panic of the moment.

"Where the fuck is it?! Pause it- pause it- pause the TV! Deku fucking hell haven't you found it yet!?"

Izuku, who was currently shoulder deep into the couch, trying to find if the remote had slipped, was very confused after the other boy had done a panicked one-eighty in the timespan of a millisecond.

"What? Why!? Why do you need to pause it?!" He questioned, grimacing as he desperately grappled through dust bunnies inside the couch.

"Shut up fucking Deku it's about to finish! FUCKING PAUSE IT!" Katsuki yelled, voice muffled from where he had shoved his head beneath one of the couch footrests.

"WHY THE HELL ARE YOU YELLING?!" Screeched Mitsuki's voice from the kitchen.

"WHERE THE FUCK IS IT?!" Screamed Katsuki in frustration, flipping the whole single couch over.

"I FOUND IT!" Yelled Deku, perking up from beneath the coffee table, striking a victory pose as if he'd pulled the sword Excalibur from stone- simultaneously jamming his finger into the pause button.

Mitsuki stomped into the room to see one of the couches overturned, cushions across the living room, all the seats moved, coffee table pushed forward, rug half flipped up, Izuku panting, holding the remote high in the air and Katsuki red in the face, covered head to toe in dust. "What...the FUCK?"

"THAT!" Katsuki ignored her, jabbing his finger in the direction of the screen.

"Oh, I know what that is." Says Deku, finally taking a moment to assess the target of the commotion.

In retrospect, he probably should've simply asked Deku what it was and googled it.

It was an Australian spider, Latrodectus hasselti, or better known as the highly venomous 'Redback spider.' It was deadly and Katsuki had quickly fallen in love with the grotesque arachnid. He later found out that it was actually very common for dangerous animals to be characterised by the bright red, orange or yellow hues. It was a warning symbol and he thought it was perfect for his future costume.

Unfortunately, the battle simulation didn't go as well Bakugou had hoped.

He'd been paired up with Ingenium's younger sibling, clear by the prominent steam engine style exhausts extending from his calves. His uptight and strict attitude was a pain in the ass to deal with, but he was at least capable thanks to having hero exposure.

When they were paired against Deku and the brown haired girl, the glasses' ponce was quick to become heavily invested in his given role. It was laughable to see him fire himself up- putting on an accent and posture to suit the type of overplayed villain from children's comics.

He initially insisted on organising a plan, but Bakugou had snarled his way like a dog defending his space- they didn't need a plan. It was simple, he'd smash Deku into the ground right off the bat and with the brain's gone, they'd easily be handed a win after that.

Knowing Deku, he'd try to avoid violent confrontation first.

Well, that's what he thought anyway, which turns out, was very wrong.

Deku had intercepted his first barrage of attacks perfectly, his footing not budging an inch from the force before he'd gotten a hold on him, flipping Katsuki straight over his shoulder to the ground. Fuck, that had hurt like a bitch.

"Fucking Deku!" He'd almost yelped.

The little menace had legged it the second Bakugou's ribcage collided with the concrete and left him winded. On paper, he would've admitted it was probably wiser to look for the girl at this point, leaving Deku to think he was chasing him- but he didn't care now.


That infuriating idiot was going to pay. In preferably the form of Bakugou's fist lodged in his skull.

It was a stupid decision.

He's not wearing his hearing aids.


He can't fucking hear and Deku knows it.

But the bruise on his side was throbbing and every ache brought a new surge of anger, Deku was leading him along by the nose and he knew it- He kept seeing flashes off the bastard's obnoxious green suit as he whipped around corners, like a bull to a flag he grew more and more frustrated.

Nostrils flared, angled eyes, knuckles popping- followed by the tiny vibration and red flare on his cannons.

They were ready and his revenge was at wit's end.

"GET OUT HERE AND FIGHT ME, DEKU!" He hollers, tone scraping along a barely contained growl.

They come to a halt at a dead end. Well, Deku does, Bakugou takes a brief note of the singular room and launches himself forward, blasting his way through the air and aiming a devastating punch towards the other.

He dodges by the skin to his teeth, a gasp slipping through his lips.

Bakugou's furious gaze met his and suddenly the two were back to when they were five.

'I'm going to destroy you.' He eyes mocked, piercing through him with a predatory dare.

Deku winces and Bakugou waited for the greenette's nervous habit to kick in. Almost immediately, emerald irises darted away from bleeding rubies and Bakugou's beast leapt for its prey.

A fire ignited to life, crackling and snapping in agitation as he threw burning flames Deku's way.

After the sixth or seventh missed blast, Bakugou's fury had bubbled over. The other boy was no longer fighting back, his tacky costume was frayed with melting strands and his forearms were bruised in singes.

"FUCKING FIGHT ME!" He snapped, lips peeling back with a flash of teeth.

Deku had raised his hands up, signing clearly 'stop.'

Why would he be signing? The fuck would he stop now? Was this just some little game to him?

As if someone had run a vegetable grater down his skin, he felt raw and exposed to his rage. Stripped down to nothing but years of frustration.

'DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE- DIE- DIE-!'

He didn't even register the words were aloud. Didn't see Deku's mouth moving, his words mute.

Deku met his eyes and hardened his light steps. The fucking son of a bitch was trying to stand up to him- mock him- tell him he's not scared of him-

-Absolute terror marring his freckled features, eyes wide, tears beginning to pool at the seams, the colour drained from stressed skin-

He hadn't seen that look for years, not since he'd snapped at Deku for first trying to hand him notes after school.

'Please stop' he signed desperately, eyes whipping down to Bakugou's shaking hands.

Then it all just clicked and white noise drowned him out. Deku was never afraid of him.

He was afraid of what he was doing to himself.

Katsuki's throat scratched and his lungs heaved, his pride ripping its way from his chest and shredding his insides as it escaped to the world in a pained, frustrated roar. His right cannon aimed, loaded, ready-

Deku's face twisting grotesquely in disbelief.

All Might's voice stabbing through his earpiece full volume.

Boom.

 


 

They lost.

Pulled from the rubble after he'd exploded the smaller boy from the building. The explosion had collapsed the whole floor and therefore those above it.

They had been lucky that Izuku had apparently been conscious enough to filter One for All into his legs, allowing them to absorb the force of his landing. Even still, he broke them both in the process and had to be carried to Recovery Girl.

Iida and Uraraka were shaken, but thankfully unharmed. Bakugou wasn't around to see the aftermath. All Might immediately came to escort him from the premises, calling Aizawa to retrieve the boy.

So now he sat in the teacher's lounge, a cup of green tea in his calloused hands. Probably about to be expelled for almost killing another student.

The lump in his throat tightened, his ears were still ringing.

A little while later, two figures sat on the couch across him. Katsuki tried to hide his noticeable flinch at the somehow intrusive action on his privacy, he hadn't heard them come through the door.

He couldn't hear a thing.

Aizawa's lips started to move.

"I can't fucking hear you." He says, rolling his eyes and pointing idly to his ears. Technically, if he wanted to, he could try and read the man's lips, but he couldn't be bothered at this point.

Then, Present Mic does something surprising. He lifts his hands from his lap, and signs to him.

'We know. We have your medical records. Can you sign?'

There's a second that passes as Bakugou registers the question. He could pretend that he can't, but it'd be stupid since he'd be answering the question that he clearly understood.

'Of course.' He signs, letting out a stubborn huff.

The two pro hero's share a look.

Aizawa gets out a clipboard and begins to jot something down as Yamada continues to sign to him.

'We noticed your classmates don't know, you also don't wear hearing aids.'

Bakugou tries to swallow the lump beginning to form, shrugging his shoulders in a futile attempt to brush off the underlying question.

'You can hurry up and kick me out now. Don't bullshit me.'

Present Mic's face scrunches up and he snorts, making Aizawa shoot him a questioning glance before continuing to write.

'You're not going anywhere. Don't worry.' He looks at the younger blonde intensely, it was probably meant to be reassuring.

Katsuki diverts his eyes.

A couple minutes pass before the dark-haired pro slides his notepad across the table to him.

'There will be consequences for what you did in All Might's class, we believe we can help you with why you have of done something so-' the word idiotic is messily scratched out- 'irrational.'

'For now, you're suspended for the next week- and in the meantime, you will be taking remedial lessons with Yamada-san here. All Might had actually informed us of two boys he'd assisted before the beginning of the exams, but it was only last week we'd been told who.

From now on, you will be required to wear your hearing aids during school hours. You're our responsibility as a student and our job is to supply you with the best means of excelling in your education. Unless you want to take additional make-up lessons to relearn what you may have missed in class, we suggest you take this seriously.'

Bakugou's eyes flew over the words and he quickly snuffed out the anger and panic that rose. He didn't need some stupid extra help, he didn't want to wear his hearing aids- didn't want them to know or treat him any differently because of two pieces of plastic in his ears. He nodded stiffly, studying the shine on his new shoes planted to the ground so he couldn't hear or see Mic trying to sign to him. He sat in blissful ignorance until Recovery Girl arrived, giving him a quick once over and updating them on Deku's condition.

He was only allowed back to class to grab his things, but he stubbornly refused until school hours were over. He didn't want to face his classmates. As much as he pushed people away, he knew he ultimately fucked up his chances of having a second chance. He took out his anger on the only person that had put up with his bullshit for years- his classmates are probably scared of him now. They wouldn't want him to sit at their lunch table, they'd sit there with shadowed glances like middle school. Whispers of 'villain' floating around his head even when rationally he knew he couldn't hear them.

On his way back to the teacher's office- now changed back into his uniform and bag lazily slung over his shoulder, he was snapped from his autopilot-like daze when a finger playfully poked him in the ribs. He instantly knew it wasn't Deku, who always avoided physical touch with him to get his attention, preferring to tug on his clothing.

His eyes whipped around and his neck craned awkwardly to accommodate a clear view. It was the kid with a hardening quirk, alarmingly red hair rivalling the uniform tie. He gave a small wave before starting to speak, a little smile tugging at his lips the entire time.

Of course, Bakugou couldn't actually hear his words, only a light-hearted muffled tone. He took the time to study the other's face, a manhunt for some form of clarity in the boy's features. He was poised and clearly confident despite his sightly shrugged shoulders. Nervous maybe? The skin around his eyes crinkled with mirth and Katsuki took a small note of the lighter hue of skin above his eyelid, a scar, apparently.

His words halted and he looked expectantly at the blonde in front of him. He'd probably asked a question.

'Shit.'

He feigned a look of boredom, jutting his bottom lip and forcing himself to turn heel as he hushes his inner turmoil.
'No! Idiot! Turn around! Say something, dumbass! Just tell him- they'll find out next week away! Fuck- Just- No- Shitfuck-'

Unaware of the unfazed red-haired boy, brushing off Bakugou's silence and waving at his back as he retreated. "Oh, ok, see you in class Bakugou! Glad you're ok!"

He slammed the door to the teacher's office, alerting the residents occupying the room. Yamada stood from his desk, signing 'Give me a minute, we'll go to the gym.'

Why would they go to the gym? Wasn't he meant to be sitting down and talking about his problems or some shit?

They walked in silence and when Bakugou reached the centre of the gym, Yamada's hands moved. 'I watched your match today. I'd imagine you can't hear a whole lot right now. We can talk another day, for now. I'd like you to ignore any sounds around you. In fact, I want you to wear these so you can't hear anything at all.'

Bakugou quirked a single brow as Mic handed him a pair of sound cancelling headphones. The contents of his stomach sloshed around in unease at having his hearing taken away from him. The world was slowly ripping it from his fingers- he wanted to use it and enjoy it while he could. Maybe- maybe if he was strong enough by the time it was completely destroyed it wouldn't matter-

He didn't want to start training as if it was already gone.

'I want you to stand there and close your eyes. I'm going to move around the room and call out to you and I want you to turn to face the direction you think I am in.'

The fuck? He can't fucking hear- now he wants him to close his damn eyes? They work just fine. Why would he want to deprive him of that?

Was this punishment? Making him feel helpless? Mocking him?

His heart rate picked up as he looked down at the headphones. Where was his determination? This was stupid, he could do this. Just- just put them on.

He's not quite sure why his eyes darted towards the other occupant of the room, but a patient gaze met his. He's never seen the pro like this. On his radio stations and reports, he's always high with energy, outspoken and loud in personality.

He nodded to Bakugou, 'ready when you are.'

Roughly shoving the headphones over his ears, he shut his eyes and held his breath. A second passed when the world disappeared.

How the hell was he meant to know where Mic was? He can't even hear himself- he can't see anything but the pitch darkness of his eyelids, oh, how badly he wanted his sight back.

Sensory deprivation was terrifying.

His breathing picked up and he started to sway with the lack of oxygen. He was hyperventilating.

With a groan, his knees crumpled under his own weight. Balancing himself with his hands on the floor- he strangled the need to open his eyes. A minute or so passed and Bakugou was starting to feel sick. He tried to focus on smell, but the smoke from his palms clogged every scent.

Frustrated tears slid from his tightly winced eyelids and his pride collapsed. He's gasping for air but not enough is reaching his lungs- he going to open his eyes, he can't do this- can't-

A small vibration, coursing through the pads of his fingertips, there- behind him.

He whips his head around to face it.

A small tap on his shoulder. His eyes slam open and dark blotches dance in his vision, his unsteady hands reach for his ears, tearing off the hard plastic earphones and angrily throwing them to the ground.

"FUCK!" He yells, wiping furiously the stray tears that threaten to trickle down his flushed cheeks.

A hand is gently placed on his back and he's so breathless he can't muster up the energy to shove it away.

He's handed a small box, the lid is open and shows a set of red hearing aids.

His pride has finally been swallowed and he has no fight left to stitch up his bloodied neck. He puts them in and slowly adjusts them.

"I get it. I won't attack anyone again. I lost my cool. Just-" Please never make me do that again.

Yamada lightly chuckles, waving at him dismissively. "These hearing aids I nicked from the support building, so you should replace them with your own when you get the chance. Also, that wasn't punishment Bakugou-kun, sorry to hear you felt like it was. Sensory deprivation can be scary, hey?"

"What the fuck would you know about it, asshole?" Bakugou says gruffly, finally able to manage his heaving lungs working overtime.

Present Mic let the insult slide. "Every quirk has some sort of backlash, you seriously don't think having a quirk that relies entirely on being loud wouldn't affect me?" He says with a humorous tone.

Wait. "So you're-" Katsuki hardly registers that he was asking aloud.

"Yup. Ruined my own, and my parent's hearing before my quirk was a month old. Probably the neighbours too. I can't hear a thing. I've relied on lip reading and sign language almost my whole life- now as a pro, I use some handy tech'. You see Bakugou-kun, I have something I'd like to teach you. Personally, my quirk allows me to use my voice to send out large and powerful soundwaves- this little device here," He taps on the metal box around his neck-"allows me to pick up on feedback- basically when those sound waves bounce off solid objects. I had to learn to understand the vibrations through practice. I'm like a sonar."

Bakugou's mind was working at a million miles per hour. That's kinda cool if he really had to admit it, but he doesn't have a sound quirk."So you're going to teach me to..?"

"We're going to teach this-" He points to Bakugou's head-" to use vibrations as your new ears."

The shorter blonde looks at him questioningly, despite already having an idea of how judging by the last exercise. He didn't like it and a string of hope wanted the man to correct him. For once, he really didn't want to be right.

"As you probably already know, when you're deprived of one of our five senses, the others try and make up for it. We're going to focus that. I'll be sending vibrations at you as I move around the room-I'll start loud and deep, the strongest soundwaves. Then, we'll work our way to up to lighter ones that are harder to detect. Is that ok?"

Katsuki's eyes found the headphones laying on the floor and he ignored the single bead of sweat rolling down his neck as he nodded.

On Wednesday the following week, approximately 5 temper tantrums later, Yamada-sensei invited him to the support building after class hours. He said something about asking one of the more passionate students to help with some costume upgrades.

Bakugou stubbornly agreed to follow along and hear them out, but stood firm with a mindset that his costume was fine just the way it was.

They walked into one of the labs just as a fisted glove came rocketing out the door, missing them by a thread and flying into the wall behind them.

"Woah! That baby really flies! Now, where'd it...OH! Why hello there, Yamada-sensei! And oh! You must be Bakugou-kun from the hero course!" A high pitched, bubbly tone sung through the messy lab as a girl stumbled through pieces of scrap metal on the floor. She was almost completely covered in soot, dashes of pink in her hair. She lifts her clunky goggled glasses and the light skin of her face was revealed along with bright yellow eyes.

"Looks like you're busy at work here! Bakugou-kun, this is Hatsume Mei from the support course. She offered to give you some costume options." Mic introduces.

She smiled widely at him. "I'll go get the prints! Stay right here!"

Bakugou wasn't sure how he felt about one of the other students knowing about his hearing without his permission, offering him essentially what was assistance gear.

She brought rolls of paper up to the bench where they stood, unfolding them to show an artwork of intricate but messily done plans. Most of them along with drawn parts of his originating costume.

"Yamada-sensei explained what you were were working on- I decided to focus on that since you'd be reversing the process of Present Mic's technique of sending out soundwaves." She pointed to a sketch of his headpieces, but with small pencilled in lines running along the outside of the orange spikes.

"I'm thinking that we could run electromagnetic wires through your headpieces- by running a current through them they'd be able to detect the tiniest of movements around you- catching the sound waves carried through the air. Now, by channelling what they pick up to an earpiece, you'd essentially be able to sense things and where they are just as you would if you could hear them. But unlike human ears that struggle with higher or lower frequencies, you'd have almost a limitless soundwave range. The closer you are, the clearer you'll be able to pinpoint the origin."

Bakugou soaked the idea in like a sponge. Every detail. Even to him, it'd be idiotic to pass this up.

"A bit like cat whiskers!" She says, clasping her hands together excitedly.

He deadpans. "Whatever you want, as long as they look and work like the plan."

"Roger that!" She salutes with an unwavering smile.

He scoffs, reaching out a single hand to shake- a rare offer of non-violent physical contact from the explosive teen. She takes no visible note of his hesitance, taking his hand in her own and shaking them enthusiastically.

"Thanks." He mumbles.

"Pleasure is mine! They'll be ready by Monday!"

Chapter Text

When Katsuki Bakugou was little, he had his fair share of unusual habits.

For example, his room had to be messy. Now, this wasn't necessarily the case, but certainly to the public eye. Truthfully, Bakugou had some compulsive extremities. His room was one of them. It consistently started the same way; so tidy that it was borderline OCD, colour coordinated, sizes and shapes deciding the exact position of every item he owned. But like any other young child, the cleanliness wouldn't last long. Within a day, his perfect room could become a makeshift minefield- all because as soon as something wasn't perfect, it had to be a total and utter disaster. There was no in-between.

There was no 'sort of clean.'

It was either the idealistic, picture perfect or a biohazard.

This of course, sometimes resulted in him getting sick. It was hard to dodge germs when you're young, ultimately due to the lack of physical boundaries and hygiene awareness. Admittedly, Katsuki got sick frequently as a child, never failing to power through the viruses and build his immune system. He's now got a fully equipped defence, now both physically and mentally.

When the small boy's temperature would hike up, his tiny body already set to work fighting the bug, he'd escape from prying eyes. When he was a toddler this was literal, refusing to be seen by anyone except his mother. As he got older, he took a more indirect method of hiding his illness, feigning his physical state rather than his whole body. Even going as far as to steal some of his mother's makeup concealer for school, when his sore and drippy nose would flush with irritation.

Another oddity was the need for constant order and routine. Being young comes with many pros and cons, one being the lack of control and choice in one's lifestyle. Katsuki decided very early in his life that if he couldn't have control of a situation, he at least had to be aware of exactly what was going on and why. Everything had to be planned and executed just as they were set out.

You could accurately assume that the youngest Bakugou of the household had some mild control issues.

It was why when little Katsuki met the shy toddler from down the road, Izuku Midoriya, the two quickly became attached at the hip. The small aggressive blonde was obsessed with the sense of control and power he felt over the other boy. He simply did whatever his beloved Kacchan wanted him to. When they started preschool together, Katsuki would chase off other children from the smaller freckled boy- he didn't want Deku to look or listen to anyone but him.

Now whilst this relationship provided both tykes with some resemblance of kinship, it was at no denial that the young Midoriya's presence and such willingness to obey the other was enabling Bakugou. Every time Deku bent under Kacchan's fury, it taught him that it was okay- that it was alright to treat others like he treated Deku.

The rest of the kids didn't take a liking to this. Everyone knew that to be next to Bakugou, was to be his footrest and that was as close as he'd ever allowed someone to get to his heavily inflated ego.

No one ever took the time to think that Bakugou Katsuki didn't build his own pedestal.

He never wanted to shut the world out, but his domino reaction compulses and desperate search for control had closed him in.

A cornered animal, spine arched, fur standing on the edge, teeth bared,

-and they wondered why he lashed out.

He'd learnt early on that if everyone only wanted to see him as the bad guy, he may as well become the monster they said he'd be.

People were afraid of things they couldn't control, so he'd be so amazing they'll be running for cover.

All Might sought to inspire, to strike hope in the hearts of those in need. But Bakugou would be so amazing they won't need to beg for hope and cower in fear. He'd annihilate whatever dared to stand in his path, deaf to the cries against his brashness and unrealistic ideals.

Sweat dripped from his forehead to the floor, his breathing being forced through stiff and stubborn lungs. He was hunched over, hands bunched in the fabric sitting above his knees.

"What's that?" Mic questions from across the gym, having briefly noticed the boy's pale lips moving.

"I said-" Katsuki's lasered glare slid lazily from the floor to the man walking towards him, pinning him down and snarling out his words. "-Again."

"Ahah! Such enthusiasm is an important quality in young aspiring heroes!" He throws his head back with an exaggerated laugh, untouched by the youngster's hostility.

"But so is knowing when you're at your limits." He finishes, parring the sharp stare with his own serious gaze, conveying the true weight of his words.

"Tch." Bakugou sneers, breaking eye contact with the older man.

After a couple minutes of silence, Yamada sighed, plopping down to sit cross-legged on the hardwood gymnasium flooring. He gave an idle waving gesture with his hand as an invite for Bakugou to join him.

"We'd be able to continue for longer if you could get your breathing under control. We're having to stop because if you continue to be so careless you'll end up fainting, or throwing up."

"Yeah? And do you expect me to do that, huh? I'm not doing that it on purpose." Katsuki retorts snarkily, standing upright as if confronted by the idea it was his own fault.

Present Mic looks at him with a quirk of his lips."Well, I'd hope not. No one should have a panic attack on purpose."

"A fucking what?" Bakugou snaps. "I'm not- this, that isn't- fuck, no-"He fumbles over his own defence, ignoring the sour taste creeping into his mouth, quickly and brutally wrangling a death grip on a rising sense of dread.

Because that wasn't- It isn't, It's just- It's just a thing. He just doesn't like the silence. It's not some, some stupid- wimpy, reaction- he's got control. He can handle it.

His hands started to shake and he was suddenly hyper-aware of the cold sweat soaking his body, his clothes clinging uncomfortably to his skin. He opened his lips with an insult ready to leap from his tongue, but clamped his jaw shut with an audible clack of his teeth when his voice trembled and his stomach lurched. His fingers buried themselves in his hair, pulling at his scalp as his body sagged, leaving him squatting with his head hunched between his arms and knees drawn close to his chest.

His mouth slipped open and a hitch of breath caught in the air.

"I don't- I don't want to feel like this anymore." He whispered, knowingly glad the other man couldn't hear his confession.

"It's ok not to be perfect, Bakugou. In fact, it's probably better to have flaws. Afterall, how would we ever get better if we never had to improve or conquer things? Everything that makes a man great, is his battles- not the win. The bigger the fear, the risk, the higher the achievement." Mic rambled his words of wisdom, silently acknowledging Bakugou's unravelling of his obvious fear of losing control.

The dam holding Bakugou's tears broke for the first time in over a year. He didn't try and stop it.

 


 

His feet dragged along the paved walkway of the Midoriya household. Reaching the door felt like Katsuki's doubts had been given solid bodies, tugging at his ankles and dragging him away, hissing in his ears.

He knocked with more force than needed, hoping that Inko would reach the door quick enough that running and pretending to be a passerby wasn't an option.

His prayers were heard when the pine door swung open, a short, dark-haired woman meeting him. She peered at him top to toes before speaking, no doubt wary after she'd heard of why her son had two shattered legs.

"A-ah, Katsuki-kun, how are you?" She smiled meekly. Usually, she greeted him at the door with a gentle outreached hand, inviting him in with an elated shine of pearly whites.

He wrenched his fingers from their state of a clenched fist, wiping his palms on his pants as he tilted his chin toward the ground.

"I want to- I-" He choked as his throat gave a sporadic twist.

"Sorry." He says in a hushed tone, eyes darting to his feet.

Inko sighs, before slowly taking a step back into the house. "Come in, Katsuki-kun. Izuku is asleep upstairs. Help me with dinner." She says softly, despite the lack of question in her offer.

He nods, placing his bag on the table and removing his blazer, hanging it on the back of a dining room chair. He moves silently and cautiously, wary of the smaller woman having a change of heart.

He dares a glance at her when he moves to the sink, washing his hands under the cool stream and rolling his sleeves to avoid getting them dirty.

She avoids his eyes, handing over the large wooden chopping board and some vegetables. The atmosphere is tense, but Bakugou is grateful for the supplied distraction.

"I'm not the one you should be apologising to." She says with an offhanded glance as he starts dicing the ingredients.

"I know." He replies, tone devoid of emotion and ignoring the flutter of uncertainty beginning to rise in his chest.

"He tried to claim it was his fault. He was the one that decided to sacrifice his legs. That it was him at fault to rile you up and to misjudge the situation and consequences of doing so." She pauses and her features soften, an age-old sadness settling in the dark pools of her eyes- Katsuki almost loses his grip on the knife.

"You blasted my son out of a four-story building Bakugou. He could've died."

And he knows, he knows all of this already, but the words still sting like he'd stepped into cold ocean water with an open wound.

"You're not an animal. You have control of your temper and your knew it wasn't a good idea- I know you, Katsuki. You've wanted this dream since before you were out of diapers, for goodness sake. You've put so much pressure on those young shoulders of yours and it's eating away at you and destroying the smart, determined, talented little hero in you.

You can't become a hero if you become a murderer first. That's just the harsh reality Katsuki. I know you're better than this."

He lets out a shuddering breath he didn't know he was holding.

"I think you'll find that Izu would like to apologise to you too." She later adds.

He lets out a small hum, letting her know he heard her.

When dinner is made and Inko sends him upstairs to tell Deku, he lets out a chain of curses under his breath the whole way up the stairs to stand in front of his door.

He barges in before he can stop himself, pausing to see Deku already awake, sitting at his desk hunched over a notebook.

He clears his throat and Deku jumps out of his skin, flinching so hard his pen is flung halfway across the room. He looks briefly at the person in the door of his room and places a hand on his chest, sighing loudly to calm his racing heart.

"For the love of All Might- you scared me half to death, Kacchan! I didn't even know you were here!"

It was an unfortunate choice of wording, to say the least.

Bakugou's eyes catch sight of Deku's bandaged legs as he swivels on his desk chair to face him. Deku, as observant as ever, notices and starts to babble.

"Hey- I'm fine now! Honestly, you gave me a bit of a scare, but it's ok! Everyone ended up being ok and no one was seriously hurt when the building came down- Recovery Girl patched me up really well, so all I had to do was rest a lot- I'm really sorry about leading you around and working you up, it was a mean plan and I didn't really plan it out well and-"

Bakugou's hand strikes out, taking a solid hold on Midoriya's slender throat and abruptly halting his words as he let out a gasp.

"No one got seriously hurt? You are fucking kidding me?" His top lip curls as he spits out his words.

"I-" Deku tries to speak, but ends up retreating the action as Bakugou's grip tightens. Izuku's eyes widen and his hands fly to Bakugou's fingers, attempting to pry their iron hold on his windpipe.

"Look at yourself! You shattered both your goddamn legs after I threw you from a fucking building- And you have the gall to pretend like nothing happened? Like this is all ok? You should hate me! Yell at me- be angry- anything- Jesus, you're so goddamn fucked up." He finishes with a desperate tone, releasing Deku to run his palm over his spiked hair.

Deku idly rubs at his neck until he finds his words, hobbling over to sit on the side of his bed.

"I know I should, but I don't. I don't hate you, Kacchan. I know that might make me 'fucked up' but I can't help it. Yes, I was mad at you for a little while, a-and I felt really betrayed when you shot me from the building- b-but I don't hate you for it. I forgave you when I realised that you wouldn't have done it without reason- I know you're hurting too Kacchan. I could never hate you for that." He rubs his upper arm half-heartedly in nervousness.

"I'm sorry." He adds in, after a couple seconds of tense silence, almost missing the quick movement of Bakugou's hands in reply.

'Me too.'

The following Monday, Bakugou waited outside the Midoriya household until Deku sprung from the door, toast in his gob and fumbling ridiculously to get his bag on without dropping his crutches.

He emerged from behind the gate, pretending that he'd simply been walking by coincidently at the same time. It was a poor excuse, really. Deku knew perfectly well that he was never up early enough to catch the young Bakugou on his way to school.

"Oh! Good morning Kacchan!" Deku chirps, blinding him with a smile that should be impossible at 7:20 am in the morning.

He grunts in response, reaching behind the smaller boy and to steal his hideous yellow bag.

"E-Eh? Hey, give it back!" Deku yelps in surprise, frowning at him.

"Nope." He confidently pops the 'p' as he slings the pack over his shoulder, reaching over to open the gate and leave.

"H-Hey-!" Deku yells at him, taking a couple fast-paced steps to catch up before Inko's demand cuts through the air. "No running!"

Deku whips around, quickly maneuvering his crutches to his armpits. "Y-yes Mom! Bye, Mom! W-wait Kacchan, wait up!"

Bakugou smirks, turning briefly to return Inko's small wave.

She may approve of him helping her son, but she didn't need to know that Bakugou wasn't carrying Deku's bag for him. He was doing this for himself. Guilt had eaten away at him like a starved and frenzied pack of wolves last week. Deku may have forgiven him, but he was still working on trying to forgive himself- He figured being a little less of a douchebag was a good place to start.

Afterall, after the incident, Deku would probably be the only one that wanted to associate with him anymore. Aizawa's words 'you're not here to make friends' rattled around in his skull, but did little to quell the ever-growing self-disappointment at ruining his chances of having friends for once.

He's wearing his clear hearing aids and had his bangs styled so they covered at least a decent amount of his ears. Deku was one of the most observant people he'd ever met and he was yet to notice, or if he had, had yet to confront him about it- which was a good sign. Regardless, at this point, he figured he had nothing to lose.

When they got to the giant classroom door, he carelessly dropped Deku's bag to the floor with a loud thump. 'Seriously, what the hell does he even put in there?'

He slid into a trance of indifference, inwardly cursing himself at the subtle unstable shake of his hand on the door handle.

He managed to make his way over to his desk without interruption, but before he could let his shoulders droop, two hands slammed down on his desk.

"Bakugou! You're finally back in class! Had us panicked for a second there, no one had seen you in over a week! Kinda unfair that you got a week-long break haha." The red-haired boy from before was looking at him with a grin that could rival Deku's- except with pointed teeth. He was an oddity- even when they met in the halls, he seemed to be completely unaware of the absolute brutality that Bakugou displayed in the match. For heaven's sake, he poked him in the side- After he brought down the whole training building and blasted a classmate from the fourth floor.

He was either really dumb, or really weird.

"I was suspended, not on break. Now get your shitty hair away from my desk." He retorted, there was no point trying to be friendly. Eventually he'd hear the gossip and turn on him anyway.

"Hey any day off from class is a break! Talking about that- do you want my notes? They're not the greatest, but you probably shouldn't miss a whole week off topics. Especially this early in the year!" He says enthusiastically.

"No. I've already got a copy." He actually didn't, but Deku would let him borrow his.

"Wow, you're really diligent, aren't ya? That's super manly bro." He lifts his arm in a feigning flexing action.

Before he can continue, Aizawa crawls out from his yellow sleeping bag slotted under the teacher's desk, ordering them to hurry up and get seated for class.

Thankful for the escape from social attention, he ducks his head, leaning down to retrieve stationary from his bag. Straightening his spine and opening the textbook, he manages to catch a raised eyebrow and curious look sent his way from the earphone girl sitting next to him.

He frowns, widening his eyes slightly in accusing question for her to explain.

The world spins a little slower and Bakugou can feel his blood thrumming loudly as she raises a single finger to point at him, before moving to indicate at her ears.

Shit.

Chapter Text

Jirou isn't sure what to make of her angry classroom desk neighbour. Despite them meeting each other before the school year had even started, they only had exchanged names- even then, he'd been stubborn about it. She blames it on the fact that the blonde boy has some serious communication issues; probably enough frustration to fuel a riot.

He'd been suspended within the second week of the year and if she was being completely honest, that was almost impressive. It had to be a school record, for sure.

She almost missed the irritable ball of melodrama. He snapped at everyone like a defensive dog, but over the week was clear to anyone watching that his words often conflicted with his actions. He'd tell everyone to 'get out of his face' but then proceed to sit in the same place every lunchtime- full well knowing that the other's would join him.

Jirou knew he wasn't a bad guy. She knew that right after he'd bought her eggs after she'd fallen and cracked hers. She's met bad guys before. They didn't apologise, even if it was in the form of buying someone food or repaying them.

Plus, he did actually have a point, her makeshift drum kit really did look like a pile of junk. It wasn't entirely his fault that he decided to take his anger out on it.

But she was proud of that pile of junk, damnit.

Friends were never really her forte, but the fact that it clearly wasn't Bakugou's either, made her strangely motivated to get to know him.

On Monday morning, she found herself absentmindedly picking at the chipped paint on her desk as Kirishima attempted to engage in an- ultimately, very one-sided conversation with Bakugou. Clearly, she wasn't the only one that thought he was worth copping an insult or twenty for.

When their death-on-legs sensei, Eraserhead, drawled at them to get ready for class- she found her eyes wandering back to the blonde. It was clear he had grudges against figures of authority, but it seemed that he was also oddly selective about them. He seemed to obey Aizawa without question, but the legendary, number one hero of all time- All Might, apparently wasn't worth listening to? What the hell's with that?

It was to everyone's shock when the intimidating boy made it very clear he wasn't all bark and no bite, on the first day of training with the Pro.

The two boys, Midoriya- apparently, had some seriously fucked up history.

Just as she went to look back at her notes, she noticed light from the early morning sun was reflecting off something by Bakugou's ear. There was no possible way his skin was that greasy- it had to be something stuck in his hair.

'How the hell did he get a piece of plastic stuck in his hair? Maybe it was a clear clip to pin his hair back?' He did have some pretty wild hair, after all.

Like a man under a microscope; the boy turned to Jirou as if sensing her gaze, shooting her an obvious expression of 'what the fuck do you want?'

She dared a quick glance at Aizawa to see if he'd noticed them, before choosing not to risk verbal wording. For a guy that looked tired enough to topple over, he was incredibly aware of everything that went on. She pointed a single fingernail at him and then to her ear.

Now, she'd seen a fair share of people in her lifetime freak out in embarrassment after being caught out with something on their face or hair- but nothing quite compared to the sheer level of mortification on the young man's face. It looked less like someone had told him something menial and more like someone just casually informed him the world was ending.

He'd shot up from his seat as if set alight, asking to be excused from class. Aizawa dragged a lazy stare over him, completely unfazed by Bakugou's sudden need to gnaw on the bit in impatience.

"No. Class just started. Whatever it is can wait until break." He says, uncaring for the heat directed his way and redirecting his barely awake eyes back down to the morning notices.

You could almost visibly see Bakugou's brain weighing exactly how much damage it would do to simply walk out. After the incident with All Might, most students probably wouldn't be surprised by it.

But instead, he sat down, slumping with more force than necessary and focused on trying to wear holes into the side of Eraserhead's face.

If looks could kill, Bakugou would be in prison for mass murder.

He heaved a sigh and brought one arm up to lean on the desk, elbow bent and right hand being used to hold his head. Finger's were outstretched to cover the plastic.

He ignored Jirou's attempts to casually grab his attention for the rest of the morning classes. She briefly wondered why he didn't try to get up for the rest of the classes despite several opportunities arising. He obviously was aware that he had something stuck in his hair and was trying to hide it.

When he finally got up from his seat in the class break, she waited until he had gotten to the door before perking up to follow stealthily.

He headed to the toilets and she gave the sign little thought as she slipped through the door before it closed.

She lost sight of him for a split second before a lighting fast hand clamped around her wrist. It was obviously Bakugou, who had obviously caught onto her presence on his tail and had slid behind the door on entry.

"The fuck do you want, Droopy?" He spoke with a hostile and icy chill to his words.

She clenched her teeth to quickly reign in any sort of reaction at being caught. She gave a rough tug back on her arm towards her chest and he dropped the limb as if scorched.

"To go to the toilet?" The excuse was flimsy and she inwardly cursed at her terrible improvisation skills.

He flicked his eyes to the male sign on the door before moving them back to Jirou, raising a single blonde eyebrow dubiously as if to say 'yeah, right.'

Her brow wrinkled as she frowned in defeat, grumbling "Shut up" under her breath. "You have something stuck to your ear." She informed, watching him carefully as his entire body seized up slightly.

Tough-guy, fearless, never-breaking-a-glare, better-than-thou- Bakugou, looked away from her. Unknowingly cocking his head to the side and giving her a perfect view of his other ear.

"Make that ears." She corrected, earning her a sharp and poisonous look.

"It doesn't concern you." He snarled from between clenched teeth.

She looked at him calmly, shifting her weight onto her right leg and slouching casually. "Yeah, I know. But I'm curious."

Truthfully, he was pretty intimidating. But she wasn't afraid, she'd seen meaner and scarier men with far less intimidating expressions. The fact that he wore his anger on his sleeve was actually pretty reassuring.

One of the hallway doors opened towards the boy's bathroom and her eyes widened a split second before she launched her body weight at her angry classmate, shoving him into a stall and ramming the door shut.

"What the mother fucking-" He snapped at her, tone lacking the malicious beforehand intensity as sheer surprise rippled through him.

"Shhh!" She hissed at him, leaning forward to slap her hands over his mouth and slam the brake on his words.

It wasn't until the other person stepped into one of the other stalls did Bakugou seem to realise why the two were awkwardly squished together. He didn't let his glare falter, but let his hands droop to his sides from their previous position- about an inch from ripping away any form of physical contact. One of his legs was still stepped forward and Jirou was too preoccupied with hearing the movements of the other person to take any notice of the proximity of her pelvis to his thigh.
Jirou waited a couple seconds after the unknown identity exited the bathroom before she seemed to fully acknowledge her manhandling of the fiery teen who seemed seconds away from frying her.

"Ah!" She removed her hands with a small squeak and quickly hopped out of his personal space, getting ready to bail and avoid his wrath.

Then, he spoke, mysteriously not a trace of his previous anger detectable. "Hearing aids."

"Wait-" She whipped a glance up to his ears, as he brushed one side of his bangs out the way for a clear view. "You're deaf?" She questioned.

"Almost." He finishes, moving his hair back.

"Sooo, you going to explain the change of heart about telling me? A minute ago you were telling me to butt out." She squints as if physically inspecting him for the answer.

He gives a small shrug. "I believe in trades." He says off-handedly.

Her eyebrows shoot up. "But you don't know-" She cuts herself off with a sharp inhale as he leans in, too close into her personal space for comfort.

"Don't I?" He says in a bored and questioning tone, meeting her widening eyes for a split second as he indicates downward with his devilish irises. His hand finds the door latch and he swiftly moves around her to leave.

Oh.

...Fuck.

She stood there completely stunned on the spot until the sound of the bathroom door closing shook her.

She had quite literally played with fire and got burned.

Bolting after him, her legs moved faster than her train of thought. Taking sight of a head of sunburst hair and broad shoulders in the hall, she sprinted forward and gripped his forearm- hard.

His eyes locked on her before she'd even made contact with his sleeve, but made no move to avoid the hold. They glance at each other like two people with a gun at each other's foreheads, coming to a reluctant and cautious agreement to lower their weapons.

"Not a word, deal?" She says, breathlessly.

His expression softens slightly and he gives a single, small nod of mutual agreement. He doesn't smirk, laugh or threaten her and that simple notion allowed a blanket of sheer relief to muffle her panicked thoughts.

 


 

 

She avoided him for the next couple of days, feeling exposed and vulnerable. He knew.

He fucking knew.

She promised herself she wouldn't let anyone find out. Memories of middle school haunted her like a shadow out to consume her. She could feel the paranoia settling in and shake her sense of rationality.

It shouldn't change anything- him knowing. He looked sincere about keeping his word.

But she couldn't help it. The tables had been drastically turned. She hardly gave a second thought about him being deaf- He was clearly perfectly capable anyway.

No one else seemed to know about him, or if they did, they didn't say anything. He only wore his hearing aids in class and the only two people close enough to tell was Midoriya- who sat behind him, and her- who sat next to him.

If the nickname and familiar atmosphere between the two were anything to go by, she'd say Midoriya already knew.

Her attention was in tatters, plagued by a jump startling, electrifying fear that shocked her like a taser to the ribs every time she found herself with an inkling of headspace. She spaced out in class, forgot to take notes, got punched square in the jaw and tripped- fucking tripped by a grade school trap of Momo's wire across the ground in training- and she'd be lying if Momo's fussing over her afterward didn't leave her red-faced and practically melting from the knees down.

She was embarrassed and scared.

When Bakugou dropped into her personal space at lunchtime under a tree on the grounds, she yelped in surprise. It was unexpected because the guy tended to stick by his routines, one consisting of him sitting in his self-proclaimed spot in the cafeteria.

"Fuck, calm down." He says with a roll of his eyes.

"What do you want?" She replies in a clipped and defensive tone.

"To protest that global warming isn't real- what do you fucking think? - Oui, sit the fuck back down." He adds in as she tries to subtlety make a move for her jacket splayed on the ground next to her.

"We made a deal, unless you've been spouting my shit then why do you look like someone called you and said you had seven days left?"

She swallows and dares to look over at him.

"I haven't told anyone."

Silence washed over them like a soothing breeze of cool spring air under the hot midday sun. She took a second to catch her breath, crossing her legs and running her fingers through some blades of grass. She plucked at a couple strands and allowed the spotted sunlight through the treetop to warm her neck.

"So...you don't care..?"

He scoffs like she'd suggested something completely unimaginable. "Peh. I could care less what's between anyone's legs."

Her eyes dart to the ground and she can't stop the smile that sneaks it's way to her lips. A thought comes to mind and she lets the wind carry a barely audible giggle on its way. "So you're a butt muncher then?" She asks humorously, her expression slanting into a sly and cheeky grin as Bakugou's sunkissed skin bursts into red hues.

Then, he splutters- Pure, unfiltered word garble as he tries and fails miserably to reply with real words. Jirou barks out a bellowed laugh that leaves her heaving for air and a stitch digging into her side.

She points at his face as if to bring attention to his terribly confused and embarrassed expression. "Oh my god, holy-shit, y-your face-" She continues, too caught in her laughter to spare oxygen for words.

"Fuck off! I'm not a- that- whatever you-" He flails, trying to look angry, but the bright red heat to his face and wobble in his voice does little to support his argument.

Jirou wipes at the tears that pool at the side of her eyes. "I'm kidding- I'm joking- oh my god, calm down, I'm just-" She cracks open an eyelid to look at the absolute mortification on his features before falling into another bout of uncontrollable giggles.

It takes her a full minute to compose herself and by that point, Bakugou had folded into himself, face decorated in a scarlet so contagious even the tips of his ears appeared sunburnt. He buried his school girl blush in his powerful and deadly palms in the perfect picture of irony.

Wiping an escaped tear from its journey down her cheek, she gave into the small tug of guilt that welled up. "Sorry man, I was only joking. It really doesn't bother me, really- I mean, technically I'm gay anyway."

"I'm not gay." He says, voice muffled into his jacket cuffs.

"-I've just never thought about it." He adds in a hushed tone.

Jirou feels her neck complain at the speed on which she turns to look at him. "Wait- so you're saying you've never given it a rub 'n tug?"

He props his face out of his lap to glare. "Fuck off- of course I do!" He admits unabashedly, "-I just.." He trails off and she gives him a minute as he looks around, hunting for the right words.

"Other people are difficult." He grumbles, idly ripping grass into his palm.

She sighs, gracing her lips with a reassuring smile. "Romance is dead and love is a lie. That's what my mom once told me, right before she left me in shitsvile with my Dad. -But hey, there's always good ol' horniness. I mean that's what teenagers are known for, right? And your dick still works, so go get'em, tiger!" She pumps a fist enthusiastically with a small laugh.

Bakugou throws a handful of grass at her.

Chapter Text

Now he's not entirely sure, but Bakugou would definitely be placing his money on the assumption that some random dead fucker up there really, really- has it out for him.

It was literally only that morning his mother had turned to look at him over the breakfast bar, trying her best to appear like an offhanded thought had just come to her- casually asking a question like it hadn't been eating away at her for days.

"So brat, how's school going?"

He shoves his coffee cup up to his lips, grumbling a noncommittal sound as an excuse for not replying. She knows, but abandons pursuit in favour for her next question.

"Made any new friends?" She turns back to the omelette in the pan, letting it sit a little longer than necessary to take off the pressure of eye contact.

"The same fuckers sit on my lunch table and take up all the oxygen in the room with the rate they yap. That count?" He finishes with a hint of sarcasm glazing over his tone.

"That works. How's Izuku-kun?" She plops the omelette on a spotless ceramic plate and slides it across the counter towards him, resting her elbows and slouching over the granite.

He wedges his chopsticks under the messily folded egg roll, lifting it slightly to peer underneath with a sneer on his lips.

"You fucking burnt it." He dodges her question.

"Bon appetit, you ungrateful shit."

Once he got to school, it only got worse. Sparky and Shitty hair had perched themselves around his desk on their last break before lunch. Peering over at him like they had something to say and what the hell was with people at the school wanting to talk to him? Are they masochists who like their egos battered and bruised or is the giant 'fuck off' sign practically hanging above his head not clear enough?

"What the fuck do you want? -And get your grimy asses away from my desk before I catapult you across the room." He gruffs out as his top lip curls in disgust.

Denki laughs nervously, reaching a hand to adjust his shirt collar as if it sat too tight. He glances toward Kirishima as the red-haired boy replies without hesitation, even going as far to smile the fiery teen.

"Bakugou! Hey! Me an' Denki were jus' sayin how we should go to the mall and get to know each other out of class! Wanna come?"

He flitters a look between the two, face failing to give away any emotion.

"No."

Kirishima visibly deflates. "Mina and Sero are gonna be there too!" He tries to urge.

"Great, now you can all hold hands and get the fuck away from me together." Katsuki's unimpressed eyebrow twitches.

Kirishima groans animatedly. "C'mon man, it'll be fun!"

"Nothing about shopping and being stuck with a bunch of losers sounds fun."

Surprise jolts Denki's shy expression, eyes meeting Kirishima's as they share a cheeky grin. They turn to him and suddenly Bakugou feels very small, like he stepped in shit and he's the only one that doesn't know. He tries to recall the conversation, looking for any fault that could possibly result in these dumb fuckers practically leering at him.

Suddenly his equilibrium was thrown off by someone slumping heavily on his shoulder. It was Mina, judging by the soft cushioning against his arm and her apparent bad habit of listening to other people's conversations. He doesn't look at her, but she has a sly grin in her tone.

"Who said anything about shopping?"

For the second time that day, he's not entirely sure, but it sounds like these fuckers had a damn heist planned. Not that it would work- they had less than a brain cell with them all put together.

But something about the fact they invited him to go along with so much enthusiasm, it was alluring.

He sighed.

And since it wasn't a violent 'no,' they took it was as close to an 'ok' they'd get.

Kirishima freakin' beamed.

At lunchtime they exchanged numbers, well actually, they gave him theirs- he refused to give them his. 'Didn't want junk clogging up my inbox.' as he put it.

"Meet us at the Mall, back entrance around 8." Read the message on his phone.

He was suspicious, but made it very clear that if they do anything to tarnish his hero career he'll skin them alive and sell them as body suits to villains. They all agreed with a mild shudder at the seriousness of his claim.

So here he was, looking down at his watch, outside the back of the mall, idling scrolling through the latest hero reports on his phone. He was jittery- like any second he could blow something to smithereens.

Faintly in the distance, he could hear the violent rattle of trolleys being moved back across the asphalt and his hand lifted to play with his bangs. It had become an unconscious habit of late to fiddle with his usually spiked hair to make sure it was successfully covering his hearing aids.

His eyes widened when he took a subtle note that the rattle of trolleys was moving towards him and he ducked behind a stationary vehicle in a parking spot. He knows he's not doing anything shady, but still doesn't want to be seen snooping around at night.

He pretends not to lose his fucking shit when he's tapped lightly on his shoulder and throws his wrist out, contorting his waist and mercilessly backhanding the assailant in an ungraceful move of panicked self-defence.

The body hits the ground with a groan, peaking a red eye at him as he cradles his jaw with one hand.

"Woah! Dude- those reflexes are badass!" Kirishima's voice echoes as three other bodies peak around the car. The compliment was a total lie- he knew he looked like a damsel in distress that just slapped a guy for making a move.

"What the fuck!?" He snaps creatively before Denki decides to burst out in laughter.

"Bro-" He gasps "-oh my god- you- you, just got bitch slapped!" He laughs obnoxiously before Mina chokes and joins him with when a puff of poorly concealed laughter breaks.

"It was a manly slap!" Kirishima defends, Bakugou isn't sure which of them he is trying to back up.

"So you ready?" Sero interrupts.

They each give each other a look.

"You got the shit?" Mina asks the yellow-haired boy. He nudges his backpack. "Yeah!"

Katsuki's mind flashes to a cheesy movie scene of drug dealers. His spine stiffens like someone shoved a cold metal pole down his shirt. Oh fuck no- He avoided the druggies at his previous school, he's not quite sure why UA would be any different. Oh for the love of- he's been hanging out with the stoners- He literally just got off suspension- What the fuck is he doing? He should've seen it coming really, these fuckers were whacked. No wonder they were hanging out with him- they were fucking doped up-

"Bakubro you look like someone pissed in your tea-"

The nickname goes straight over his head. "Oh fuck off! Keep your drugs to yourselves-! I told you to leave me out of your illegal shady shit." He spins on his heel to hightail it the fuck out of there when a strong hand shoots out and grabs his forearm.

He growls frustratingly and throws his weight forward, off balancing the grip and jutting his elbow out to dig into the person's gut. Instead, his elbow hit solid. It'll probably bruise.

"Almost got me again! Ha, you're good! No wonder you got into UA! But seriously- this is a misunderstanding. These idiots are just bad at phrasing, I know it looks bad. Give us a sec to explain?" Kirishima puts on his best begging puppy face, wide hopeful eyes under the fluorescent car park lights and a glistening embarrassed smile.

Bakugou raised an eyebrow in suspicion, indicating them to start talking, and fast.

Denki took the cue, ripping his bag off his shoulders and letting the 'zirrp' sound echo in the almost empty car park. He pulled out a bottle of spray on grease, grinning madly.

"There's an underground carpark here- they use it for all the shipping trucks."

Katsuki's eyes flickered between them, dipping his chin with a displeased and confused expression. What the hell would they do with a bottle of grease in a shipping car park?

Mina groans animatedly. "What? Bad boy Bakugou never did anything like this in middle school? Wow. Talk about a culture shock."

"Call me that again and you'll get a different kind of shock, Pinkie." He retorts with an unimpressed tone.

Sero waggles his eyebrows at her. "Hear that? He'll give you a-" He's cut off when she steps on his foot.

"Ow!" He hobbles a bit before rolling his eyes dramatically at her. He looks mildly pained, waving his hand in an 'I'm fine, don't worry' motion. "C'mon, we'll show you! Just need to go get our trusty steed- Meet you guys down there!" He starts to jog off in the other direction with a quick salute their way.

Trusty...what?

They started to walk towards the entrance to the underground loading dock, the ground dipping below road level and the gravel smoothing out to polished concrete. It was only with a tug on his arm did he realise Kirishima never let go of him.

Like a kid getting caught holding hands, he shook off the now loose grip with a disgusted grunt.

After a minute or two, Sero followed them into the empty car park.

...With a trolley.

"I got our baby!" He announced and Mina cheered for his return. She walked up to the switch for the roller door and promptly shut them in, flicking on the bright industrial lights that reflected off the shiny floors.

Bakugou's eyes zipped to the security cameras wearily. A hand clapped him on the back with a laugh.

"Relax man, we've done this heaps of times. They don't care as long as we don't break anything. Pretty sure they don't even bother to check the footage, not that they'd find anything if they did. Denki fried the system. Will take a couple hours for them to reboot."

He would've let some tension slip from his muscles at that, but he still wasn't entirely sure why they were in an underground loading dock with a bottle of grease and a shopping trolley.

If he gets murdered by a group of baked teenagers he's going to be so fucked off.

Denki whips out the bottle of grease and starts spraying the joints and wheels of the trolley. Testing them out with a quick spin, he shoots a thumbs up their way.

"She's ready! Whose first?"

They turn all towards him and he takes a step back. "No. Whatever the fuck you fucktards are doing- leave me out of it."

Mina sighs before she does an emotional 180. She grabs Sero's arm and they walk the trolley to the top of the ramp of the exit.

Sero holds the trolley and she clambers in a very unladylike fashion. "Seat Belt?"

They grin at each other and she takes a solid hold on the sides of the metal crib on wheels.

Denki pulls two speakers out of his backpack as well, fiddling with his phone before music and a heavy base starts to play through strained speakers. "The acoustics in this place are great man!"

I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone.
I crashed my car into the bridge.

Sero gives the trolley a light push. The trolley tips, Mina leans forward and it zoomed down the ramp, picking up momentum every millimetre.

With newly grease wheels, the trolley fucking flies.

I watched, I let it burn.
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs.

Mina's excited scream echoes over the music and by the time she moves past Bakugou and Kirishima standing to the side, she's moving so fast she's nothing but a smudge of pink blur and a pitched squeal of joy.

She makes it almost the whole way down the car park before it slows to a light spin. They hear a distanced cry of "THAT WAS SO FUCKING AWESOME!" As the tiny figure of Ashido at the other end of the lot jumps out of the trolley with a light stumble. Throwing her hands up in a double-fisted air pump.

I crashed my car into the bridge.
I don't care,
I love it. I don't care.

Denki goes next, followed by Sero, Mina again, Kirishima- and then Mina. Again.

They went in turns, Mina taking up a majority of turns as Bakugou watched. He couldn't even stop the light chuckle and wicked grin that eventually made it to his lips, especially when Denki accidentally sent the trolley off course and ended up running into a pillar. Or when Sero accidentally tipped the trolley and sent it into a violent spin that had him heaving afterwards.

They were idiots, really.

The music was shitty throwbacks and the air held a chill, the entertainment was teenage stupidity at it's best, but it was kinda, just a little- even a smidgen- fun.

As he argued absentmindedly with Kirishima and Sero on their off turns about bad music- why punk rock was better than pop any day- about how jeans and sneakers are an abomination, he found himself forgetting about the heavier troubles going on. He forgot all about the plastic in his ears, about the pressure of school- about his mother's worried looks she thought he couldn't see- about his bruised and beaten friend that was a result of his actions.

He forgot about hero training. About being model citizens, about villains and training to be stronger.

He felt like a rebellious kid that just snuck out of the house to do something mindlessly pointless and fun.

Because he did.

And it felt great.

Once the other's finally got tired and had long given up on trying to convince the now titled 'Bakubro' from giving the ol' shopping trolley a try, they started to pack up. Sero and Denki had worked out at some point that they could slide across the floor with their socks and now had to search behind all the pillars for their shoes after Mina thought it was a good prank to hide them.

They got into the casual conversation of 'what ifs' if they were criminals- and Bakugou promptly let his opinion clear that they'd get caught in five seconds flat and they'd make shitty thieves.

"Actually, I think I'd make a great thief!" Mina perks up.

"Yeah? 'Cus something about green cheetah print and bright pink skin tells me stealth ain't your forte." Sero says sarcastically.

"Ha-ha." She deadpans at him. "No, really. I don't have fingerprints!" She holds her hands up enthusiastically as if showing them.

Denki squints at her hands for a second. "Woah! She's not kidding!" He exclaims and she playfully slaps his shoulder.

"Of course I wasn't! My skin can secrete acid, but the toxicity in my skin burns the first layer off in places like my hands!"

"Huh. Mine just makes my muscles really sore and stiff unless I workout often." Kirishima adds offhandedly.

"Mine gives me sore elbows."

They simultaneously send an odd look Sero's way.

"What? How is that weirder than stiffy over there or banana brains?" He replies with a straight face and Denki snickers, Kirishima's face starting to blend into the colour of his hair.

They look towards the blonde expectantly.

"What? Is this primary school circle time? You wanna hold hands and talk about our problems?" He scoffs, roughly shoving his hands into his pockets to stop the breeze biting at his fingertips.

The guys look a little awkward and Mina rolls her eyes at them.

"We're just sharing things about us. You know, so you know we're here if you wanna, oh I don't know- tell us something? Or get something off your chest?"

The relaxed atmosphere gets shot down like a sniper victim with Bakugou's temper as the firearm.

"You fucking knew?" He asks gruffly.

"The guys saw you take your hearing aids out a couple times for our outdoor classes. You don't wear them when we swap to our suits." She shrugs as if to say 'so what?'

He swallows, his breath quickening slightly. "Is this what this fucking is? A pity group? You thought you'd take the poor deaf boy out so he knows he's included too?" He snarls with poisonous venom laced in his tone.

"It has nothing to do with that! We genuinely want to be your friend. We just want you to be comfortable- You can talk to us."

"I'm not a fucking charity case. Now take a note and fuck off!" His palms smoke and Kirishima raises his hands in the universal sign of surrender, desperate to defuse the situation.

"Hey, Bakugou- We honestly don't care about your hearing aids- I mean- yeah, it must suck, but it's still you, right? Put it like this; We've been trying to be your friend since the start of the year when you definitely weren't wearing those things. We won't ask about it, it doesn't affect our opinions of you. We're just saying you don't have to be ashamed of it. We want to be your friends, so you shouldn't need to carry so much weight by yourself."

And Katsuki wasn't looking for an excuse, but his feet stayed planted on the ground in front of them. With a set jaw, he gave a small nod of acknowledgement. And he hates it- hates it all. Because it's so much fucking easier when he can just be angry about things.

But these numbskulls- these absolute dipshits, these goddamn fucking fuckers-

Managed to remind him that he's been so consumed by so much fury that he's forgotten to have a childhood.

He doesn't want them to care about him.

He wants them to treat him like shit so he can be validated about the violent vortex of thrashing -burning -searing anger he feels.

But they go out of their way to show him that he was wrong, and instead of feeling frustrated- just feels a boulder of guilt that grows and sits so far down into his gut that even his legs are weighed down.

"I'm going home." He finally announces, breaking the silence of the empty car park. He could've just started walking off without explanation, but something told him to tell them, give them some reassurance, because, well-

They care.

 


 

Deku isn't very good with girls.

Well, actually, he's not really good with anyone, really. But especially girls. He has no idea how they think- like the one biological being that books still can't explain. It makes them intimidating.

So when Jirou Kyouka, one of the girls in his class, shamelessly slides flush beside him in the cafeteria and sandwiches him into Uraraka, who sat on his other side, he almost fainted.

He was barely comfortable with his brunette friend, after all, he'd only realistically known her for half a term. And here he was, way too close with both females. Shoulder to shoulder- and for the love of All Might- keep your elbows on the table because you could elbow them in the- holy shit- that's- he thinks that's definitely thighs against his- Oh my god, Kacchan- actually no- nevermind- anyone, please someone help him.

He was really glad his mouth was filled with food to stop the flood of error messages his brain was blaring at him from pouring out.

He always was jealous of how cool Kacchan was when dealing with girls. Actually, scratch that. Just like how Deku really wasn't good with anyone, Kacchan was just cool with everybody.

People just didn't phase him. He just saw everyone the same.

He was always really confident -and if he wasn't, then he'd at least look like he was.

Deku may be the only one that's seen firsthand that Kacchan does care what people think- even if he doesn't want to. He gets self-conscious just like everyone else, he just shows it differently.

He forces his mind back into his body to face the issue at hand.

"A-Ano- J-J- O-oh, -u-uh, um, hi." Apparently, speech was a work in progress right now.

Jirou turns towards him, leaving one arm on the table to box him in. If he didn't know better, he'd think she may be doing it on purpose to pressure him.

"Hi Midoriya, can I ask a favour?" She asks calmly.

"U-uh, S-sure-"

She cuts him off short "-Cool, can you teach me sign language?" She pins him down with a straightforward and expectant stare. His brain short-circuits, with 'yes = ability to breathe again' and 'no = continued social interaction with incapacitated vocabulary.' He nods rapidly and she slinks back out of the booth.

"Thanks, library, after school, tomorrow- see you then." She smiles and gives a small wave to the group as Deku lets out a held breath of air. He lets his upper body melt onto the cool table surface in a slump.

Uraraka and Iida look utterly confused about what had just transpired.

"I didn't know you and Jirou were friends!" Uraraka asks lightheartedly.

He pauses before answering "...Me neither?"

"Acquaintances, maybe?" Iida suggests, wedging his glasses up the bridge of his nose in habit.

"Hmm.." He mumbles, mulling over possible times he might've spoken to her previously- which was unlikely- but maybe a group project? But wait, she asked- what did she ask again?"

"I didn't know you knew sign language, Deku! That's so cool!" Uraraka compliments, unknowingly informing him of his audible thoughts.

"Oh, um- yeah. I taught myself." He peers at them from the corner of his eye, mind elsewhere.

"Yes, it is a very useful and thoughtful action! Allows a hero to be adverse in his ability to speak to a range of people and speak with those without the need for words! A wise decision, Midoriya! Once again you amaze us in your area of hero expertise and dedication!" Iida rambles, explaining the benefits of sign language with a series of eccentric hand movements for emphasis.

Uraraka listens keenly, nodding her head and agreeing with the other.

Meanwhile, Izuku is completely lost in his thoughts.

Because why would Jirou ask him to learn sign language? And how did she even know that he knew sign language? The only people that knew were his parents, Kacchan's parents, All Might, probably Aizawa and of course-

Kacchan.

Chapter Text

"Hey Bakugou, why do you only call people by nicknames?"

"Yeah, now you mention it, I don't think I've ever heard you call anyone by their name! You even call Aizawa-sensei just 'sensei'!"

Katsuki's spine drags along the edge of his seat uncomfortably as he groans in annoyance. The band of idiots consisting of Mina, Sero, Kaminari and Kirishima- had basically adopted him not long ago and were currently chatting amongst themselves on bus ride to school's specialised stadium, 'Unforeseen Simulation Joint,' or, 'USJ'.

He'd almost felt sure that they would keep to themselves for once.

Honestly, he should've known.

He tried ignoring them first, it was his go-to method for avoiding conversation. Deku was smart enough to know that he either didn't hear him, or if he did- he was not engaging on purpose.

Not these fuckers though- which he realised when a solid elbow caught him in the side. His head whipped around as if reeled in by a tape measure, neck complaining slightly at the strain he had cocked his head to complete the 'what the fuck do you want?'- Look.

Not even his snarky comment had time to compete before Kirishima's toothy smile was beamed his way, lips starting to flap as he repeated the question.

"C'mon man, my hair can't be so bad that I need my whole nickname revolved around it! You know how hard it is to get my hair to defy gravity?" He jokes as Mina leans over the back of her chair from in front of them, threatening to mess it up with wiggling fingers.

Katsuki's attention briefly wanders over the redhead's crown, discarding a mental note that his hair really was impressive. As an off thought he wonders how much time it takes in order to get it that way.

As the group moves on to how Mina's hair is somehow naturally pink, and Kaminari's lightning bolt really isn't a cheap dye stencil- Bakugou's commitment to the conversation fades.

The thing about gradually going deaf is that you speak from memory. You can remember how certain words are pronounced and can imitate how the words were formed without needing to hear yourself. Luckily, when growing up, Katsuki had an extensive vocabulary- never ceasing to strike up creativity when insults are involved.

Katsuki Bakugou had lost most of his hearing before he started to attend U.A. He can read names, can watch how their names look on their lips- but like hearing a thick accent through a bad phone line, he doesn't actually know how their names sound. He can pick up the majority of the simple ones- but since his own voice sounds as though he's trapped underwater, it would be a risk. He might pronounce it wrong and have to face the fact he'd made himself look like an idiot. He's not sure he's comfortable with the fact that the group of morons would probably pass on even telling him he's saying it wrong.

'Was worried it might hurt his feelings' they'd probably say.

The embarrassment simply wasn't worth it.

So they'll have to put up with the nicknames.

Absentmindedly, his head slipped from its previous position of leaning on the bus window sill with his right arm. His left hand glided over the smooth surface of his suit's headpiece, the support student- Hatsume Mei, had done well (although he'd never admit it aloud) with incorporating Mic's new method of training into his gear without sacrificing the design. He's got his hearing aids in almost full time at school now, only taking them out to slip into his hero costume. He usually waits until the last second before he puts the headpiece on.

It was somewhat like a method of echolocation; using the vibrations of sound wave feedback to not only act as his new ears, but also an improved version of sight. He wouldn't be able to hear exactly what someone is saying, but he'd be able to decipher if someone was talking; moving, making any noise, where they are and various other types of information based off the situation.

Because he obviously lacked the ability to send out sound waves like Present Mic, his neck brace had been equipped with speakers, in charge of sending out an extremely low-frequency sound wave. The human ear only has a very limited range of hearing- so it was easy to find an adjustable level that would go unnoticed by any opponent without sub frequency hearing abilities.

The previously decor based flares behind his ears, whilst initially simply for show- now conveniently also have purposes too. The sound waves that were sent out initially by his speakers would bounce off anything that created its own sound frequency and the feedback would rebound back towards him. Now by all means, normally this would be too out of range for his ears; if not for the millions of tiny Electromagnetic Receptors that Mei had woven into the fabric of his decorative earpieces. Acting like a 360-degree net, or like 'Cat Whiskers' as Mei so eloquently put it- they would catch any sound waves that passed in his vicinity. These would act like nerve cells, sending a signal to the Neurotransmitter around his ear.

This would receive the signal and translate it to the brain via two paths; the first, at the jaw for easier to pick frequencies and the second, behind his ear for deeper and less easily identifiable ones. The only piece of his gear that would actually be in his ear was a simple earplug, serving to lessen his quirk's strain on his ears- as well as avoiding distraction.

It was a bit like learning a new language, he supposed. He would need to learn how to read different vibrations and what they mean. Is that someone walking down the hallway, or someone yelling down it? Are they running, or jogging? Are they big, or small?

Bakugou's only ever had to learn sign language before, so if it was anything like that, he's pretty sure it's going to be a royal pain the fucking ass.

He rolls his eyes as he snags the attention of Jirou across the bus. She's got earphones in, blissfully ignoring the world as her onyx eyes glaze over other chatting students. She catches Bakugou's brief attention peering over at her. Just as Kirishima nudges his side to draw him back into the conversation, Jirou smirks, lifting a finger to pull one bottom eyelid down, poking her tongue out slightly in tease.

'Such a charmer.'

Denki leans his chest over the back of Kirishima's and Bakugou's seat, apparently taking an interest in the brief interaction between Bakugou and Jirou.

"Ne-ne, ne- Bakubro, you didn't tell us you were on friendly terms with Jirou." He grins slyly, nudging Kirishima with his elbow with an apparent unsaid look being shared.

Kirishima looks briefly at Bakugou with surprise, quickly replacing it with a sheepish smile as he moves to adjust his headpiece with a finger- as if it sat too tight. "Woah man, you're quite the social dude! Who'da thought?"

Bakugou looks slightly taken back. "I'm not."

"Mhmmmm…? Then why did girlie over there send you a face?" Mina chirps with a tooth-rotting smile on her lips.

'Seriously- does this pink haired bug have eyes on all sides of her head or something?'

"Ehh? Someone made a face at Bakugou and didn't get a snarl in return? Mustn't have been a very good one." Sero's voice bounces from the back row.

"The fuck is with you people and assuming shit-" Bakugou barks, a pitch too loud.

Aizawa's voice cuts him off from the front of the bus."If you're done behaving like animals, we're here. Shut up, grab your things and follow instructor Thirteen out."

They started to walk into the stadium entrance and immediately Katsuki could tell something wasn't right. Bakugou could feel it, sloshing around his stomach like putrid bile with every heavy step. He wasn't nervous about using his new gear- okay, maybe he was a little, but anxiety was more Deku's forte- Not-

He risks a look behind him near the back of the group, at Deku- wedged between Uraraka and Iida as vivid green pupils bounced frantically around the stadium interior. He wasn't staring in awe, no- he was looking for something.

A slight change in air direction had the hairs on the back of his neck standing tall.

Falling victim to the prickle down his spine, he dares to redirect his head back towards him- just as several students gasp and Izuku's constricted pupils lock onto something. The joint industrial beams of light crackle before dimming, power short-circuiting and bringing darkness to the areas.

A black hole forms through the atmosphere and seems to wrench thin air apart, revealing an endless pitch black rip in reality.

Villains.

Practically pouring out of the warp in crowds.

"Gather together and don't move! - Thirteen, protect the students!" Aizawa shouts, forcing the students to back into each other from their previously spaced out formation as he leaps into battle.

"What the hell is that?!" Kirishima's startled voice questions as they watch in horror- an inhuman beast steps out beside the man covered in what looks like...hands?

'He must be the leader' Bakugou concludes, based on the fact the creep stands back, simply watching as several hoards of villains are sent out to attack Eraserhead.

The giant monster at his side must be some form of protection and judging by the sheer size of it, it's probably their strongest player.

"It's not working! I can't get a signal!" Kaminari's panicked voice announces- Aizawa had asked him to try and contact the school using his quirk and radio piece. His yellow eyes zip around, looking for any sort of grounding to his apparent failure.

When Thirteen directs the group to run for the exit, their attempt is abruptly halted by another tear in the atmosphere, the pseudo black hole now sporting two fluorescent yellow eyes and a bellowing voice.

"Nice to meet you, we are the League of Villains. It might be presumptuous of us, but we have invited ourselves in. We seek your symbol of Peace, All Might, in order to claim his last breath."

Katsuki can hear a low rumble, it was clear that the thing was speaking, but it doesn't have lips, Bakugou has no way of knowing what he's saying. He can't stop the shake that crawls down his spine and the sweat beading down his neck, watching as Deku's shoulders slowly rise and cascade into trembles. He's yanked back to middle school, Izuku's blurry form hovering over him, shielding him from view-

"My legs just moved on their own!"

"I believe All Might should've been here. Has there been some kind of change?"

Bakugou's forearms rise to his front, the corner of his vision catching as Kirishima takes a defensive pose. Rubies clash as his riled muscles tense and he snaps to look at the red-head. Fire courses beneath his skin, consensing around his hands.

"Well, that is neither here nor there. This is the part I am to play." The mist continues.

Bakugou's frustration bursts like an overheated light bulb. He can't tell what the hell this fucker is on about, but it's pissing him the hell off feeling like the only one left out of awareness. 'Enough of this bullshit!"

With a furious battle cry, he drops into a crouch and lets his hands heat until the vibrating adrenaline is on the brink- launching himself at the pitch black entity as he lets an explosion loose.

 


 

 

If Bakugou was completely honest, which usually he has no dilemma being- he'd say that it wasn't his brightest idea to leap towards the villain capable of teleportation.

Especially when a shitty haired fuckknuckle decided he needed backup and followed the impulsive blonde.

"The fuck were you thinking?!" He frustratingly yells at Kirishima when they finally have solid ground beneath their feet. A soft hum filters through his headpiece as the teen's lips move.

"Well someone has to have your back!"

Bakugou can't tell what the fuck he's saying but he's smiling like a bloody idiot, so whatever the hell it is, he seems to be proud of himself for it.

"Fuck- Whatever, just shut up for a moment." Bakugou sends the idiot an unimpressed look before kneeling, placing one hand on the ground to steady himself.

They had landed in a district area, in one of the tall high rise buildings. The location wasn't ideal for fighting, with the only way out being down the stairs and that escape route was quickly shot down when a stampede of villains came hoarding through the passageways.

Bakugou wasn't entirely comfortable not being able to hear anything, his own heartbeat was impossibly loud as he slipped into a state of hyperfocus.

It took him longer than he would've liked, but it helped that the villains weren't prioritising any type of subtlety.

"Twelve. Two have abnormally paced footsteps, most likely large in size or with mutant quirks. They're pausing to check every room, so they don't know exactly where we are." Katsuki tries to keep his voice low.

Kirishima blinks at him, looking surprised. Then, his trademark sharp grin is flashed his way as they shuffle over to either side of the entrance door. Surprise attack, it is.

It's Bakugou's first time actually fighting against someone with his new gear- he's not used to being unable to hear his own battle cries that commence the flurry. He sets his explosions harshly against unexpecting bodies and he can feel the burn, the release, the tremors quivering his muscles- but it's not the same. He pauses too long between hits, waiting hungrily for the satisfying ringing bang that he knows slams against the walls. He can feel them, a soundless vibration against his skin.

But- fuck, it's not- it's not the same.

It's not loud enough- it needs to be louder- the hits need to sound more powerful, he needs-

He goes a little overboard.

With a little being, well-

A firm and stabilizing hand around his forearm, another on his shoulder. Unconscious bodies littering the floors.

His whole core is coiled so tightly he's going to bust a vein. His lungs heave- pushing against his chest. Smoke plumes around him, an engine overworked- his pupils shrunken and eyes focused so intensely the whites have been tinged red.

Kirishima is completely untouched, he hasn't even broken a sweat. There's a crease in his brow and his skin is hardened as if expecting Bakugou to lash out at him after his apparent rampage.

Pop, pop, pop, pop-

As soon as the electric buzz of adrenaline fades, Katsuki is flushed with a wave of lightheadedness and Kirishima feels the blonde slump under his hand. The tension fading from his body with the smoke cloud.

"You're not very good at sharing, are you?" Eijirou chuckles at his own comment and the blonde doesn't need to be able to hear to take offence.

"Shut the fuck up." He spits, exhaustion wiping the seriousness out of his voice.

Pop, pop, pop, pop-

There's something else in the room. It's like- Bakugou pauses because he can't place it but-

It's like the release of a suction cup against glass.

-And it's getting closer. It's approaching from behind them and Bakugou leans flush against Kirishima to get closer to the source without alerting it.

The other teen freezes, opening his mouth as if to say something.

Bakugou's eyes zip around the room to locate any movement, but he can't see anything- But he knows-

Pop, pop, pop, pop-

It's right behind Kirishima.

Without warning, Bakugou throws an arm between the junction of Kirishima's shoulder and neck. Aims behind him and fires-

The other teen doesn't even flinch, swinging around to watch as a chameleon faced villain slumps to the ground, burnt and unconscious.

"Woah! Bakubro that was so cool! I didn't even hear him-"

Katsuki unlatches himself and takes two wide steps back out of the other teen's personal space. He idly watches as Kirishima's lips form the words 'so cool' with a wide grin and amazed eyes.

It faintly reminds him of Deku when Katsuki would beat up the older grade bullies in the courtyard.

"Tch." He clicks his tongue, spinning on his heel to leave the building.

"-But seriously, give a guy some warning next time-"

When they reach the base of the building, they look over to the entrance of USJ. The other students are gone too, so they've all been split up by the warp gate.

"I'm going to kill that mist fucker."

Kirishima waves his arms dramatically as he speaks, clearly unhappy about the idea. Bakugou watches long enough to catch 'friends' and 'help' shape.

'Always the team player.' Bakugou concludes with a deadpan. He tunes out the rest of the red head's complaints.

"That teleportation asshole is their only way out. We take him down? They have no escape. I'm going, either be useful or piss the hell off." Bakugou turns, taking off in a jog towards the plaza.

The explosive teen doesn't pause to catch the other's decision, but feels a second pair of running footfalls behind him. He ignores the reassuring confidence that trickles through him at the realisation, making his feet feel lighter and allowing his pace to quicken.

Time to fuck some shit up.


 

bakugou

 

Chapter Text

Deku sometimes forgets things. He forgets he was useless when All Might himself praises him, tells him how amazing he will be. He forgets he’s still just a kid when his mum comes home so exhausted from her three jobs, he has to help her to bed and do all the house chores. He forgets about the nights he submerges his head into the bath for a minute too long. He forgets that he’s still only human when he sees the wall of impossibilities he needs to overcome.

 

But sometimes, he gets reminders.

 

When the villains announced they were after All Might- His hero, their hope- Dread had leached his face of colour and winded him of oxygen. Then, Bakugou decided to attack the dark mist figure head on and Deku had seen it all as if the universe wound down to an agonisingly slow crawl. Felt his heartbeat leap to his ears and drown out everything else as Bakugou’s form disappeared into nothingness. The enemy said he was going to torture them- but Kacchan- “Kacchan, oh my god- He couldn’t hear him. He doesn’t know- Where would they be sending him? Kirishima is with him, but not him, he couldn’t move, didn’t react fast enough and now they’re- they’re gone-

With his mouth speeding him towards hyperventilation, he was jolted to reality with a small soft hand gently placed on his shoulder. It was impossibly calm for the situation of panic and Izuku’s panicked lush green eyes had to ground themselves in searching the details of Uraraka face as she turned to him. Her tightly pulled nervous smile on pale lips, trying, trying so hard- Determined chocolate pools locking with his and echoing his name in a pull back to reality.

Swallow. Breathe.


It takes him a couple shallow breaths before he gives her a grateful nod.

“We need to send someone to help.”

 

Together, they manage to devise a plan to get Iida outside of the stadium. He wasn’t happy with the decision and was undoubtedly reluctant to leave his friends to fight for themselves, but eventually caved to the responsibility.

The plan ultimately worked, but aggravating the villain had its downfalls.

They’d been separated, warped into supposedly different areas of USJ and whilst almost drowning wasn’t the greatest, it was reassuring because it meant that Kacchan and Kirishima were still here.

There was still water in his lungs, tugging at his gag reflex and tickling his throat, coaxing him to enter a violent coughing fit. Asui was a saviour, really. His brain was swimming at a pace he couldn’t translate and her rational level-headedness was greatly appreciated while he was hindered by worry. Mineta had been of little help, flailing pathetically and only proving to unsettle Izuku’s own struggle on his panic.

Mineta Minoru was someone that confused Izuku.

The smaller statured hero treated their heroics course as a joke, and whilst Deku was sure he had his reasons to be- the notion of someone treating something he’d worked so hard for as a game, it was- Well, he dare say it - it was insulting. At first, Izuku had felt a pang of mercy for the boy. He deserved a chance. Then, Izuku had recalled Bakugou’s sneer of distaste at Mineta as he peeked through a hole of the locker room to abuse the girl’s privacy.

Midoriya liked to tell himself that he saw the good in everybody, but now, in a time of need, he realised the only good Mineta was serving- was opening his eyes between the difference between those that passed, and those that won.

Mineta was nothing like Kacchan. Kacchan was in a league of his own. They worked for this, they gave blood and bone to change the world. Kacchan doesn’t grace others with pity and he doesn’t waste his energy on being kind to those he doesn’t care about. In a way, he was being more truthful then Izuku was. His honesty was the kindest gift he gave. He made people work for his respect, so when he looked Izuku dead in the eyes and told him to fight, it was a reward.

And it was exhilarating.


He kept Izuku’s offensive nickname because it’s a lesson that keeps him nailed down- proof that he was useless and he’s going to show them all that he’s so much more. He’s strong because he wants to be. He wasn’t born this way.

Izuku thought he was being nice, because that’s what heroes are, right? They’re kind, but in actuality, he found himself pitting Mineta behind curled lips.

He wasn’t as nice as he thought he was.

 

Mineta’s crying face, mindless blubbering that they were going to die- like they didn’t already doubt their abilities already in such a dire situation.

‘Shut up, shut up, shut up,-’

 

He could feel his deep-rooted self hatred being yanked from the soil he’d buried it under years ago.

It scared him. 

 


They’d barely made it back to the plaza in time to see their teacher have his face imprinted into the concrete. The crack was so loud Izuku swore he could feel it. He was no doubt unconscious at the least.

That, that thing- let out an inhuman screech of strained vocal chords and mindless, bulging eyes.  It seemed to wave straight through them, slamming into his chest- pushing him back. It was terrifying- It wasn’t a quirk- couldn’t be a quirk-

“Aizawa-sensei!”

‘We need to do something! He’s going to die!’


It took him a moment before he realised he was hurtling towards the grey-haired man and his beast-like henchman. Which he should know better to do- it was stupid- stupid- stupid- But the slither of worth he held for his own life was being drowned in the pool of blood from Aizawa's skull.  

One for All filters into his right hand, an erratic current of power zipping along his skin- before he throws a clumsily thrown punch-

 

‘Don’t tuck your thumbs in, idiot.’

 


The hit landed and the pure speed and power of the swing alone, had the glass of the stadium crackle and shatter. The dirt picked from the ground and plumed into a whirlwind cloud, plucking both villains and heroes from the pull of gravity and sending them hurtling backward.

There was a sharp pang of pain, but nothing like the bone shattering agony of usual.

‘Have I finally mastered it?’ He questions with a ray of optimism.

When the dust settles, horror strikes him harder than any of Kacchan’s hits.

Black, smooth and perfectly undamaged- completely unaffected- black leathery skin, absorbing One for All and any shrapnel of hope it brought.

He doesn’t want to look up, but with a sinister cackle of his target- now safely hidden behind toned mass, he does. Crazed and unfocused pupils, surrounded by exposed, fleshy and pulsing brain matter, meet him halfway.

“Ehhh...what do we have here…?” A mildly amused tone drawls.

“A brat thinks he can save the day? We’ll humour you as we...damage some of All Might’s pride before we depart.” The grey-haired man speaks, the smile in his voice crawling over Izuku’s skin.

The man darts to the direction Midoriya appeared from and with heart-wrenching fear jolting up his sides, he watches as the villain closes in on Tsuyu and Mineta. With a gasp, he swings his whole body around- because maybe , just maybe- if he uses his quirk in his legs he can-

The thing in front of him learns forward and with large hands- talons- claws- takes a crushing latch onto his arm. The pain of his shoulder creaking in it’s strained socket forces his attention back to the monster in time to see muscular hands twist-

 

He can’t decipher if his blood-curdling scream is for Mineta and Tsuyu- Tsu- Tsu, she asked him to call her Tsu-

Or his arm, as the monstrosity of a being snaps it at the elbow like a toothpick.

The doors of the stadium slam open with the sound of thunder.

“All Might!”

No sees him move, but he’s there- right in front of them, Tsuyu and Mineta safely with the rest of the students. He turns around, darkened shadows under his brow and lack of sheening smile indicating his seriousness.

He looks furious.

 

Izuku can feel himself slipping into a state of shock. He can hear his heartbeat in his ears and his terrified eyes desperately try to follow the blonde man because if he looks behind him- oh god if he looks behind him-

All Might closes in, his initial blow enough to dislodge the Nomu’s grip and the brief redirect of attention allows Izuku to reclaim his broken limb from its hold. He’s panting, never been so glad he’s broken his bones enough times to stay conscious through the pain.

He hobbles, but his muscles seize when liquid trickles down his forearm. This isn’t like his usual breaks, the bone has broken skin, he’s bleeding out.

He can’t help it- he cautiously looks glances down with immediate regret sweeping over him in a wave of nausea at the mangled limb. He can see his bone splintering right through blotched, purpling skin- blood riveting down his arm. The break isn’t clean, he’d no doubt be dealing with bone shards in flesh where they most definitely shouldn’t be.

The pain oozes into his system and his gag reflex fails, throat spasming with a gulp of his breakfast dribbling over his bottom lip. His vision swirls and his head feels like it’s filled with cotton. He can’t focus on anything and his legs aren’t listening to him anymore.

 

He’s bleeding out, and fast.

 

There’s a cold chill that breezes over the air from Todoroki’s quirk, announcing the arrival of students from their initial separation.

One knee hits the ground and he has to stop before his balance abandons him to the dirt. His whole body seems to tilt- he can’t even identify his own limbs anymore- He can’t concentrate, doesn’t know what’s going on- but he feels lighter than before. He feels like he’s floating, actually. He’s lost enough blood that even his face feels numb- where was he? He’s staring at the ceiling, why was he staring at the ceiling?

“Deku-kun!” Uraraka, getting closer- a hitch of breath.

The pillow shifts against his side and another body supports the back of his head, warm- impossibly warm and he’s so cold-

He shivers, hooded eyes quivering because he’s just so tired- it can’t hurt to just rest for a bit-

“Deku, stay fucking awake.”

Kacchan. He’s safe, warm , Kacchan is safe. It’s ok.

“Oui- DEKU!” The pitch hurts his ears but he doesn’t have the energy to flinch. One eye lazily peeks open.

“Eyes OPEN!” What is he talking about? His eyes are open- oh wait, no he’s imagining that they are. He tries to open them again to no avail.

He pushes a lungful of air out of his body with a groan. He’s trying, but it’s not working and why can’t he just... sleep, just for a little-

His head lolls to the side and the air breaks with a loud bang , right in front of his face. His heart stutters and his eyelids rip apart to find the source.

The ground quakes- It’s All Might- or maybe, maybe that, that thing - All he knows is that All Might needs help. One for All use useless, they’ve quirk that can absorb it-

He can’t do anything in this state, he can hardly tell left from right. He can’t ask anyone, they’ll know that All Might is getting weaker. But Katsuki, Katsuki knows. “Ka-” He tries, but even his lungs feel his exhaustion. He tries to lean away from the warm, comforting body.  “A- a-ll, might, h- p.” He squeezes out, breathlessly.

Please, please understand what he’s saying.

All Might needs help. Help him, please, Katsuki, help him.


 

Well, this is a fucking mess.

By the time he and Kirishima had gotten to the main plaza, the place was in shambles. They’d managed to pin the Mist guy to a single position, cornering him and threatening him with a slow and painful death as he allowed his hands to heat the metal brace to dangerous temperatures. If this guy has any sort of physical body beneath that thing, he’s not getting away without at least third-degree burns.

Then, Deku, that stupid, idiotic, fucking Deku- goes and leaps into the spree. Katsuki swears he’s going to fucking gut the little bastard so that he stops thinking with his spine. He wants to move- has to do something, pull the little twerp back so he can fucking think for a second before trying to act like a good little martyr.

He may be a hypocrite, but still. At least he had a plan and backup.

His grip tightens on the Warp gate when Deku’s punch lands. Take that , you overgrown evolutionary mistake. The wind spirals around them and Katsuki has to squint to stop the painful sting of dust in his eyes.

The warp gate guy looks completely unaffected, a rumble from the metal under his palms indicating speech again.

“Is this the first time you’ve seen a friend die?”

 

The field clears and Katsuki lets the curses rip from under his breath as his ribcage squeezes so hard it feels like a rock has crushed him. Izuku’s punch didn’t even phase the giant henchman- he knew how much power that throw had, just how strong is that thing?

Fucking move, Izuku!

Everything after that happens so quickly that Katsuki can hardly keep his legs underneath him. All Might arrives, but he’s not fast enough and Izuku’s arm- he looks so small under the grip of that thing- is snapped.

Bakugou can barely conceal his visible wince and announcing fuck it all- because there’s no point holding their way out hostage if one of them end up dead because of it.

 

‘You can’t become a hero if you become a murderer first.’

 

Inko Midoriya words rattle his core and spur his muscles into action. Last time Izuku could’ve died, it was because of him, he’s not letting it happen again. Deku manages to escape when All Might interferes, but his injury seems to take a toll on him fast. The explosive teen doesn’t say anything, but Kirishima signals with two fingers toward Izuku and a reassuring, confident smile.  

‘Help him. I’ve got this.’

Which is stupid, really, because Kirishima is so much better at non-aggressive interactions than he is. Not to mention, the grey-haired villain has a devastating quirk that is best countered with a quirk that has minimal bodily contact. Literally the opposite of Kirishima’s.

But instead of voicing his concerns, Katsuki's feet just move.

Deku is not in a good state, the blood loss already showing clear on his pasty face. He looks washed out and eyes are unfocused. He’s murmuring to himself. Bakugou places a hand firmly on his uninjured shoulder and he doesn’t even acknowledge him. He’s trying to work out a way to get Deku to a safe distance without disturbing or moving his arm because the bone is poking through a heavily bruised and bleeding wound.

Bakugou has never been squeamish with blood or gore, but there’s something very, very unsettling about seeing it in front of him.

He tries to get Deku to lean against him and hoist an arm over his shoulder so he can walk, but his legs just flop and drag.

“Fuck, your arm is broken, not your legs, you shitty piece of-”

He’s swearing fluidly enough to put a sailor to shame, but his brain is wracking through how to get the delirious teen to safety.

He ends up resulting to simply grabbing Deku firmly around the torso and the hitching the other arm under his legs. Classic fuckin’ bridal style it is, mother fuckers . Izuku’s broken arm hangs down limply, trails of blood leaving a breadcrumb evidence of their path. He needs to work fast to splint Deku’s arm to his side and stop the blood flow.

“I’m never letting you live this down, you shitty Deku.” Which means you have to not die of damn blood loss, you idiot.

When he gets to the main plaza, students are crowded over Thirteen, the entire back of their suit gone.  Katsuki feels a distinct pang of sympathy because but he doesn’t have time to mourn or worry because he’s got a very much alive Deku here, right now.

Thankfully, Uraraka notices him almost straight away. She double takes with a brief look of surprise at seeing someone in his arms, but upon realisation of the identity, she abandons her hesitance. She runs towards him faster than he noticed she was even capable of.  

“Deku-kun!” She yells, her voice breaking a pitch.

By the time she reaches him, she’s almost as pale as Deku is. Her brow is furrowed and her whole face is scrunched with uncontained worry. Katsuki doesn’t know why, but he looks down at Deku in his arms and suddenly knows exactly how the usually bubbly girl feels. Those green eyes have been concealed under dark, thick lashes, damp with unshed tears. If not for the subtle shuddering breaths shaking his paling lips, he would’ve been mistakenly dead.

Oh, hell no.

He slowly and carefully leans down, placing the green haired boy on the ground and unwinding his hold on him. Uraraka is quick to replace his position, maneuvering Deku’s head on her lap.

She looks confused, panicked, tears already starting to cascade down her rosy cheeks. He doesn’t know if she knows first aid, but he doesn’t have time to ask. He starts hacking at his suit- which fucking sucks- but it’s not like he can ask Uraraka to. He takes off the green straps hanging from his belt- tearing the fabric with adrenaline-fueled strength.


“Deku, stay fucking awake.” It’s not a request, it’s a fucking demand. Izuku stirs slightly, but his eyes stay closed.

“Oui- DEKU!” He outright yells this time, subtly be damned.

“Eyes OPEN!” He adds, just in case the command wasn’t fucking clear enough-

The brown haired girl looks conflicted about him yelling at their injured classmate, sneaking him a searing glare that’s unexpected, but easily brushed off his shoulder for the task at hand. She doesn’t get it, Deku is stronger than this. He shouldn’t need to be carried, he doesn’t need to be babied, he chose to act like dumbass, despite him being smarter than this-

The train of thought is enough for his patience to bubble and burst when a head of fluffy green hair flops to the side. He expresses it loud and clear, letting frustration ebb away when those forest green eyes and blown pupils bypass Uraraka altogether and grab him. There’s a tiny little part of clarity under his anemic shock that acknowledges his surroundings quaking as All Might parries a hit.

“Ka-” He barely gasps out the first syllable but Katsuki knows . Those exhausted eyes are the same look from their childhood, he’s begging and there's a desperation that strips Bakugou bare of options.

“A- a-ll, might, h- p.” The words are so breathless he can hardly pick the context, but it’s not exactly hard to figure out the only person here Deku could possibly plead Kacchan to help.

He forced out an aggravated sigh, brown eyes briefly looking at him curiously as he hands the torn straps from his costume to her.


“He’s more than likely nicked an artery- use these. Tie one as an underarm tourniquet, stop as much blood flow as possible. Use the other one to keep his arm as still as possible. Do not push the bone back in. Got it?”

 

It could’ve been the lack of swearing, or the sudden authority and seriousness in his voice, but Uraraka’s face is squinted with surprise and overcome with a grateful nod as he slips her a departing glance.


He’ll be fine.


All Might, on the other hand, Katsuki is having real doubts about. Which is bullshit , because he’s the number one fucking hero. He’s not allowed to be anything but the best- some petty damn villains aren’t going to change that, not if he can help it.

Black claws sink into All Might’s white shirt he coughs blood. Which was definitely not good.

 

“ALL MIGHT!” He roars over his explosions as tries to catch the thing from behind, staying well away from any situation Deku threw himself haphazardly into.

“WIN!”

Chapter Text

They'd won against the villains at USJ. After Iida had returned to the stadium with backup from the main campus, the league of villains had retreated. Whether this could be considered a 'win' was debatable, but they all walked away with their lives so it could've gone worse.

Aizawa and Thirteen had suffered the most life-threatening injuries of the group but luckily survived with extensive medical assistance. Midoriya had gone into Hypovolemic shock and needed a blood transfusion along with surgery to mend his arm back, leaving him with a vertical scar down his forearm from where the bone had broken his skin.

The rest of the group had been insanely lucky, managing to get away the only minor scrapes and bruises. That was, at least what they told the student body.

All Might had possibly received the most damaging injuries. Even despite his quirk's much larger stance, his real, but tragically fragile, body had not taken the beating well. The monstrous being that the villains had brought was labelled 'Nomu' and had perfectly countered One for All, leaving him with damaging after effects. They'd managed to capture it in the process of the attack but were still unable to accurately decipher precisely what it was. The Principal and All Might, of course, had their suspicions upon the discovery that it wielded many various quirks- but without substantial evidence, they could only speculate.

It was a majority decision to move the students of the hero course to on-campus dormitories for protection after the attack. Since the league had gone out of their way to attack the members of 1A to bait All Might into engaging, it was of wiser decision to place the students directly under the school's protection- acting as a deterrent more than anything.

 


 

Deku was brooding.

 

Bakugou had no tolerance for anyone's heavy silences except for his own, so he wasn't sure how to approach the situation.

Once he received notice that the string bean had awoken, he silently stashed away the comfort that his friend was once again in one piece and decided not to see him until he came back to class. It wouldn't be long, knowing Izuku he'd be practically gnawing on the bit to return to school.

But once he got to class, he was met with wallowing pauses and faraway gazes instead of the usual bouncy enthusiasm.

 

"The fuck's with you?" He slouches over the backrest of his chair, sending a sideways glance at the greenette.

Deku doesn't seem to even hear him, trapped in his own world as he peers out the window.

"Oye. Deku!" He snaps as his patience thins.

"Oh, sorry Kacchan, I uh...Was thinking..?" He refocuses on Katsuki halfheartedly, unsure of his words.

"No shit. Stop it, you're going to get lost in that giant brain of yours."

"Yeah, you're probably right."

Then, Izuku smiles, but somehow his face morphed into something so impossibly sad that Bakugou doesn't even know where to start. How does one react with a look like that? Aren't smiles meant to be happy? Or cocky? Or anything positive and- fuck.

Maybe it was just a passing thought. He'll get over it.

 

Well, that was the idea, anyway. But it doesn't stop. Deku mopes around like he's got a big, fat, rain cloud over his head for the whole day. Four eyes and Round face notice too, daring to send him a glare over lunch from their separate table.

On their way back to class, the gravity girl storms right up to him, a mission in her strut. He stares expectantly at her, appearing bored despite the fact he's mildly impressed with her determination. She looks the type to wear flower crowns and dance with the pansies, but her body language is nothing less than fierce. There are threats between her little-whitened knuckles, and he obeys with his full attention.

"What did you do?" She accuses sternly.

"Ueh? I didn't do shit."

"You put him down or something! He's been miserable since the hospital!"

"Look, bitch, I don't know what the fuck you're assuming, but it's fucking wrong. I didn't go to the hospital, and I have nothing to do with the idiot's stupid pity party!"

"That! That there! That's the problem! You keep putting him down, and he doesn't deserve your bullying!"

"You don't know what you're talking about. What he does and doesn't deserve is up to him! Quit babying the idiot!"

They're both breathing hard, a hiss in the air as they try to desperately keep their voices down to feign control and avoid attention.

"I don't know what is between you two, but I do know that Deku-kun is not in a good place and you know it. So even if you're not the problem, either help us fix it or stop making him feel worse."

 

Yeah, ok, fair enough. But-

how the fuck is he meant to do that?

 

Afterschool, the members of 1A have a showroom type presentation of their rooms. Bakugou isn't interested, but Kirishima sees him trying to pry away from the common room unnoticed and promptly ruins his attempt. Latched at his elbow, Bakugou throws him a snarky comment and heated glare for him to ignore.

He shows his room, taking pleasure in Mina's disappointed wail at the plainness of his decor. There are some weights in the corner that Kirishima and Kaminari gawk at, along with some band posters from some of his favourite bands, making Jirou poke her head around the corner. His bed is a king single with a silky black cover and red stitching, his desk is a minimalistic plain metal frame and frosted glass top.

"So manly!"

Once the excitement moves onto a far more exciting room, Jirou moves from her position around the doorframe.

"You like the Daymares?" She indicates with a slight head tilt towards the poster over his weights.

"Did. What's it to you?"

"If you don't like them anymore, why do you have the poster?"

 

It's hard to appreciate something when it's a reminder the world doesn't sound the same. 

He shrugs.

 

"I taught myself to play their first album on guitar."

"Mm."

"Want me to show you sometime?"

Please don't.
 "Whatever."

 

Later that night, there's a sharp knock at his door. It was perfect timing for the person of question since he was just about to take his hearing aids out before bed. It was, however, bad timing for Bakugou, and he silently debated whether it was worth taking his hearing aids out and pretending he never heard them in the first place. He was in a bad mood. More so than usual.

He prided himself on being able to solve any problem that came his way, but that was on paper or with his fists. Everyone is always urging him to speak to them, 'use his words' his mother used to say. But now, the very thought of trying is leaving him with headache of a dilemma.

When the door creaked open anyway, he realised there was no point in ignorance and readied his unimpressed expression for his unwanted guest.

It was the redhead, but his hair wasn't up like usual. Flopping down to frame his face, his soft wariness chipped away at the sharpness of Bakugou's attitude.

"Hey, Bakugou, sorry for intruding- I did knock first, swear."

"Clearly not that concerned with permission if you walked in any way, Shitty hair."

Kirishima has one hand behind his back as the other lifts to his hair, bashfully smiling.

"Well, get in or get out, I'm busy."

The other shuffles into the room, moving his hand out from behind him to show a small terracotta pot, vibrant green sapling and a couple leaves poking out from dark soil.

He raises a single blond eyebrow in question.

"This is for you." Eijirou gestures toward him with the pot in hand.

"Eh? What the fuck? Why would I want a weed?"

"It's not a weed, it's a plant."

"Weeds are plants, dumbass."

Kirishima's face pinches, and he shuffles his feet.

"Well, it might be useless now, but if you take care of it, it'll be helpful later. I noticed you always have really fancy lunches, so I figured you must appreciate cooking. This is Basil, it's fragile now, but when it's big enough you can use it to ya...know, make stuff taste better."

The idiot had a point. Fresh herbs were expensive but always tasted better than dried ones.

"I don't want your charity."

"I know. So, you can think of this as me repaying you. You really had my back there at USJ, this is thanks."

Katsuki can feel his stomach give an uncomfortable twist.

He glares down at the plant in Eijirou hands. It's delicate, and one blast of his quirk could kill it instantly. It's utterly defenceless and completely reliant on other factors. It's useless.

"Hey man, no pressure. If you don't want it, that's fine- I'll just-"

He snatches the earthenware pot from unexpecting hands and stomps over to his window sill, slamming it down unnecessarily hard and ignoring the pang of worry that questions if he broke the pot.

"Woah, be careful, wouldn't want to break it," Kirishima warns as he flaunts a happy expression at Bakugou's acceptance of his gift.

 

On the topic of breaking things, Katsuki's mind zips to Deku's two-sided smile in class that morning. Kirishima is known for his smiles, he does it a lot, so it's likely he knows more about it than he does. And how he can fix Deku's.

 

"Oui, what's the point of pretending to be all fucking happy-go-lucky if you're not?" He asks after a couple seconds of silence.

Kirishima looked as though Bakugou ripped off a band-aid without warning him. His face is stricken with disbelief and a blood-freezing dread before quickly fastening it with a doubtful and hesitant quirk of his lips-

Bakugou points to him with an accusing finger. "There. Yeah, that face. Deku made that face."

The other blinks a couple times, features slack before he seems to come to his own conclusions, breaking a sigh of relief.

"Midoriya did?"

"Yeah. It's fucking annoying. I don't get it. If he had a fucking problem, he should just fucking say something."

Kirishima sits on Bakugou's bed in thought. "Hmm."

"...Have you tried asking him?"

"What? No. It's not my fucking problem."

Except it clearly is.

"Well, something is probably bothering him. If he's trying to cover it up, he more than likely thinks you don't want to know. Try asking him, he might open up if he knows you care."

"I don't care."

The red-head sends him a look that can be easily translated to 'Yeah right.'

They sit in comfortable silence until the bright digital numbers of Bakugou's alarm clock catch Eijirou's attention."Righteo, well I'm going to bed. Take care of Basil."

Bakugou pretends to mull over already solved homework, but when Kirishima turns to leave, he catches a barely audible,

"-Night" thrown carelessly into the room.

 

 

For the next couple of days, Katsuki keeps to himself. He doesn't try and talk to Deku, still unsuccessfully hoping that the problem will solve itself without his assistance. He keeps Basil on the window sill, and it's not until he notices it's leaves are yellow and dropping that his heart sinks.

He grabs the pot, lifting it try and find a label somewhere. 'Why don't these damn things come with instructions?'

Panicked, his first thought is to go to Kirishima. But how the hell was he going to ask him? 'Hi, remember that plant you got me? I think I killed it.'

Nope. He can't go to Deku either. 'Look, I don't know what's wrong with you or Basil, but fix it.'

He huffs, winding in his slowly rising frustration to keep from damaging the pot with his roaring temper.

He tucks the sapling firmly under a one-armed grip, leaving the room with a curse under his breath. He slams his door open with a rattle of the frame, barely noticing the resulting bang. He stomps through the common room and ignores the brief looks of confusion from classmates.

'Is that Bakugou? Why does he have a plant?'

 

He punches in the number of the girl's floor in the elevator, heading straight towards the end room of the hallway. With a curled fist, he hammers against the door until it opens swiftly.

Jirou has her hair mused from her usual style, leaving the back spikey and her fringe wayward. Oversized black track pants, matching Bakugou's, except with a yellow stripe lining the side. She's wearing a light grey tank top and an impassive expression.

"You sure know how to make an entrance."

"Let me in." It's a rude demand, but partnered with the fact he could easily barge past her- and hasn't thus far, was enough to reveal his urgent distress. She steps aside, taking a questionable note of the plant pot under his grip.

"Is that-"

He places the plant on her desk and turns toward her with a dead serious gaze.

"Fix him."

Her eyebrows shoot toward her hairline.

"Him?"

"Tch. I don't know- it, him- it's all the same- it's dainty and shit and-" He rambles, running an aggravated palm through his spiked locks. "-Fuck!"

She adopts a mildly amused look as she slots herself down at her desk chair. "I didn't know you had a green thumb."

And it hurts to admit he's not good at something but-
"I clearly don't, Shitty hair gave him- it, to me and I don't fucking know how to not kill shit- It was a bad idea-" He starts pacing the length of her room, caught in a turbulent tennis ball match of leaving and staying.

"Hey, now, now- Calm down Blasty. I'm sure this is fixable." She says placidly, plucking her phone from the stand.

He eventually settles for sitting on her ragged wool carpet, knees drawn close to his chest as he leans back on the side of her bed.

"Ok, here we go, 'planting for dummies,' the beginner guide." She brings up an article on her phone, walking over to him and plopping herself on her checkered bedcover, leaving her legs to dangle next to him.

Okay, that was definitely jabbing at his ego on purpose now.

 

"Oh good, it's got a directory for different types. Now, what is the name of our sick friend?"

"Basil." And he catches himself because she was talking about the type of plant, not the name he's accidentally given it. He thanks a higher power they're the same and she probably won't notice.

"Hmm, by the looks of it, he needs more water, and he's not getting enough sunlight. You're not keeping him in the closet from embarrassment, are you? You should really spend less time in there."

He knows there's a double meaning by this point and doesn't hesitate to lean over, lightly pinching the sensitive muscle in her calf, making her kick out with a melodramatic gasp.

"Don't you know better than to touch a ladies' legs? How dare you!" She exclaims in a posh voice, giggling.

He dares to chuckle at her antics. It's reliving. He knows it's stupid, but between his inability to keep a simple plant alive and trying to work out how to approach the conundrum of Deku, he's been uncharacteristically stressed. He doesn't like feeling helpless, and he hates not being able to fix an issue. Jirou is carefree and very little seems to get to her. She doesn't seem at all fazed by his steadfast attitude and provides him with a welcomed distraction. She doesn't intrude on his space and tends to wait for him to approach her first, providing him with the comfort of control.

"Ok, so according to this, Basil here will need lots of sunlight and enough watering to keep the soil damp. So probably once a day." She informs him with a mock tone of the English gardening shows.

"Mm." He replies dully, nudging her knee gently with his head in thanks. Casually, but cautiously, she runs a hand through his blonde strands from her spot on the bed, continuing to fill the silence with stories of how she used Kaminari as a human stun gun during USJ.

 

"Oh hey, I said I was going to show you those songs from Daymare, didn't I?"

He quickly moves his head away, ignoring the abandon of soothing contact. "Don't."

"Is my music that insulting?"

"No. It's not that."

She slides towards the edge of the bed, dropping to a spot beside him with a light thump. "Then…?"

"I said I used to like them."

"How can you not? Their first album is amazing. C'mon, lemme show you. It took me four years to save up for this baby." She moves toward her gunmetal grey bass guitar just his breath is ensnared in the barbwire of his pride, forcing him to snap forward and grab her wrist.

His hand is shaking, and she can tell, but she makes no comment. "Katsuki, talk to me."

Hearing his name takes an iron hold on his attention. "I can't- fuck- I don't-"

She frowns as he struggles with words, but it's not at him. "Take your hearing aids out for a second."

He grits his teeth and makes no move towards his ears.

She's patient, waiting the whole four minutes it takes for him to gather his breathing under control and remove his hearing aids.

She takes hold of his calloused palms and gently places them on the speaker of her guitar as she plugs it in.

 

'Stop hearing, start feeling.' She signs to him slowly, and his surprise is swallowed by the thrum of noise, waving through him from the speaker as she starts playing.

 

He can somewhat hear the once familiar beat, the strong base and firm melody- but its all covered by the sound moving through him. It shakes his core and leaves him in a numb nostalgia. There are so many trapped memories of frustration, grief, pride, childhood wonderment- all escaping from his weighted shoulders. It was the first time the gentle thrum beating through him felt natural, like a second pulse through his veins.

She almost gets through half the whole album before she stops. Katsuki doesn't say anything, and he doesn't even move because he's scared and desperate to saviour the fleeting feeling of comfort.

Jirou silently gets up from her spot on the floor, unplugging her guitar and slotting it back into the stand. She slips a piece of paper to in front of his face 'Midoriya is teaching me sign language. It's a work in progress.' It reads.

He signs a single gesture to her.

'Idiot.'

She deadpans. 'He taught me that one first. Said it was a favourite of yours.' She writes.

On his way out, he grabs Basil under his arm and turns toward Jirou, hoping that she knew enough sign language he didn't need to vocalise his departing "Thanks."

She does, and replies with a smile. 'Anytime.'

 

 

He waters Basil as soon as he gets back to his room and gets to work on the sunlight issue. His room was on the south side of the building, only briefly catching the early morning western sunrise and completely missing the eastern sunset. It was the trade-off for having a naturally dark room, which he was grateful for.

The problem lied in the fact the entire student housing complex was angled out of the way of direct sunlight. The only place that would get enough sunlight would be the roof, and they were definitely not allowed up there. Not to mention the winds up there were strong enough they'd absolutely shred the sapling.

So with that conclusion, Basil ended up having Bakugou's name written in large bold permanent characters on the base. He also now attended lessons, leaving many people to double glance at the blond ball of snarling threats and heated fury as he stormed around the campus with a careful but firm grip on Basil's terracotta pot, small enough to fit in his palm.

Kirishima's face bloomed in rosy tones when the fiery teen got to class, placing the pot on his desk, directly under the sun of his window seat.

"Bakubro, what's with the plant?" Kaminari asks, leaning on the blonde's desk.

"He's mine, fuck off." Bakugou defensively snaps.

"Check it out, Bakubro's a plant Dad." Sero snides, but before Katsuki can swivel around to strangle him, Mina interrupts.

"Aw, well I think it's nice Bakugou has a caring side."

At this rate, he's going to give himself whiplash. "I do not-!"

"Bakugou, as you know, we highly encourage students to pursue out of school hobbies, but we request they remain that way. Out of school." Aizawa's voice drags into the classroom as his yellow sleeping bag slides out from behind his desk.

With his temper already at fuses end, he snaps. "It's the school's damn fault for building the dorms with no sunlight!"

Aizawa sighs deeply, massaging his temple. "You may...bring your plant to class as long as it stays small enough for that pot. I don't want a jungle in here." It was only a temporary fix for Basil's sunlight problem and Aizawa's Bakugou issue, but it would work for now.

 


 

By the end of the week, everyone had noticed Deku's strange change in attitude. The worst was in All Might's class when the skittish boy avoided any unnecessary eye contact or conversation with the Pro, sticking to himself and stuck in a state of constant unfocus. He failed the drill terribly, spraining his ankle when he got frustrated with himself and tried to use his quirk carelessly.

That's when Bakugou called off his plan to leave it be. Deku is his rival, he's not allowed to be pathetic. He's smarter, better than this. Katsuki has no idea what's gotten into the twerp, but it's going to end. Round face and several others- including All Might, had tried to talk to him to no avail, so now it was Bakugou's turn. Knowing them, they tiptoed around him and asked him if he's 'okay-' or said 'if you need to talk, we're here for you.'

 

Not Bakugou, though. He's going to communicate with Deku in the only way he knows how to without bullshit.

 

Once the clock hit 4am, well past the student curfew, Bakugou slid out of bed and changed into his sneakers, a pair of loose black shorts and his favourite shirt- black with a skull on the front. He left his hearing aids behind for good measure and slipped out of his room with surprising grace. He's memorised the floor plan, so it was no challenge navigating his way to Deku's room without the assistance of a light.

Opening the door with confidence that the shorter boy never utilised his lock, he quickly found himself looking through Midoriya's things. Grabbing some casual clothes from his wardrobe and sticking to his routine of waking the other up, he located his obnoxious red shoes- and pitched them at Deku's mused bed hair. It wasn't the quietest or nicest way to wake someone else up, but he can blame it on habit.

Deku woke with a startle and a loud groan, furiously rubbing his eyes in an attempt to focus them in the dark. "Whaa..?"

"Oui. Get up."

"Kacchan?"

"Up." He throws the clothes at him this time, a much lighter landing.

Izuku squints at his alarm clock and sends an annoyed look Bakugou's way, laying back down and covering his head with the duvet. He doesn't expect Bakugou to respond kindly to being ignored, but it really shouldn't be a surprise when the entire quilt, sheets and all, are ripped from his grasp.

Izuku gasps and tries to launch himself toward the escaping warmth. When Bakugou holds the bundled heap further away, Deku huffs, pouting, before slowly moving to get changed.

 

Once they get to the elevator, Deku had worked out his questions on the walk down the hallway fell on deaf ears, literally. He began signing.

'Ass.'

'Bush hair.'

'That's your fault! Where are we going? We're not allowed to be out of the dorms at this hour!'

'I'm fixing a problem.'

'Why am I here? Why now?'

'You're the problem.'

 

Deku looks scandalised, and if the night chill wasn't enough to wake him up, that sure did the trick.

They stand on opposite ends of a small clearing, out of the way of the path and a short walk from the main campus.

'No quirks.'

Deku nods nervously, and it only serves to rile up flames from the sparks of Bakugou's anger. He shouldn't be nervous. He'd been able to go head to head with the blonde for months.

 

Where was that unyielding determination?

 

By the looks of things, Izuku wasn't going to throw the first hit. It was a wise move, Bakugou can usually counter with devastating force. Without his hearing aids or his equipment, Bakugou was at a disadvantage, but he made it painfully clear to Deku he wasn't going to tolerate him holding back because of it- a clean and solid leg flying out knock Izuku straight to the clutches of gravity.

 

'Stop! Timeout!'

Not today.

 

Another five minutes had them panting, and Deku tried to merely stop fighting back in an attempt to halt Bakugou's actions. Unfortunately, Bakugou wasn't above beating someone solely because they weren't fighting back.

A cruel clip to the jaw made that clear. Deku finally started to defend himself, for the sake of keeping all his teeth.

They weren't using techniques anymore. They were tired, sweat rolling down exhausted muscles and aching joints. But Katsuki kept going. He'd make Deku realise he wasn't pathetic anymore, he'd force him to fight back. Force him to prove to himself he wasn't someone that could be walked over.

It was hardly called sparring. Not even training, they were rolling around with grass stains covering bruised skin. Nails scratched, pinched, teeth gnashed into skin, and it was more of a pushing match than a punching one. It was desperate and animalistic roughhousing as they yelped at a savage tug of hair. At some point Katsuki's shoe is stolen and used as a temporary club to sock him in the brow, it was probably his fault for wearing the laces loose. The blonde had pinned Deku face down to exposed dirt, grass having been ripped from its roots earlier- until Deku let out a battle-cry that sounded more of a sob and forced Bakugou's wrist into a painfully unnatural angle.

Tears openly poured from the corners of moonlit emerald glassy eyes and Izuku twisted his whole torso until his ribs hurt, to blindly grab a nailed grip in the collar of Katsuki's shirt- throwing him to the dirt and scampering to place his weight on top of the larger opponent. His breath hitches with a huff of air as a growl rips from Bakugou's throat, hands flying out to push at Deku's slowly darkening eyelid in attempt to remove the weight from his chest. Izuku returns the favour with a pinched grip on Katsuki's grass-stained cheek- and pulls.

They're so bone-deep tired by this point that neither can hardly find the effort to retaliate. Somewhere, lying right next to a dull throb of pain, is the relief of something more significant. A satisfaction that soothes a caged animal and lets them simply breathe. The cold breeze makes sweat icy and helps numb the ache of purpling skin.

An airy laugh escapes from split, bleeding lips.

Katsuki tries to sigh and hisses in pain. "Off."

Deku says nothing, letting his limbs go limp and allowing gravity to pull him to the ground next to the other with a thump.

They lay there until their flesh is clothed in goosebumps and the sun peeks through a dark blanketed sky. Sometime after they stopped brawling Izuku had slipped into the grasps of unconsciousness, cushioning his scratched cheek on Bakugou's bruised shoulder. It hurt, but he was too tired to move. Or at least, that's what he told himself. Peaceful, light breaths that brushed past his dirt smeared skin pulled him into a doze, cruising in content.

Eventually, the cold really starts to settle in as the heat of adrenaline dies. They rise slowly from sleep with a shiver.

"Oye, where the hell is my shoe?"

 

Izuku looks around in a daze and shrugs, but he's got a small and wholehearted smile under his flushed freckled cheeks that makes the sunrise look so much more amazing.

Chapter Text

When he takes time to think about it, Kirishima Eijirou was a selfish human being.

 

He wonders what people would say, how they'd look at him, if they knew.

 

What would they feel if he told them how broken he was behind his carefully crafted, likeable facade. He doesn't have time for others, can't risk taking his eyes off his own reflection because he can't afford for it to slip.

He spends his whole life idolising others because he knows he'll never be like them. It's not like he thinks everyone doesn't have their problems too, he just can't afford to ask about the weight other's carry. He can't share their burdens.

 

He can't keep them both afloat, and when push comes to shove- he's weak.

 

He'll drown.

 

With every bead of sweat, groan of pain and scream of frustration that leaves his overexerted physical state, he finds reassurance in the thought that if they can't see him as weak, he might be able to trick himself into a false sense of security.

 

Look at me. Look at how strong I am, how indestructible I am.

(Don't look at me)

 

Eijirou is going to be a hero. He's going to learn to help people.

So one day, he can forgive himself for being so selfish.

He dyes his hair bright red, forces his body to build itself into something capable of withstanding back-breaking hits, plasters a smile to his lips.

Because if they're busy looking at his appearance, they won't find the dulled, weak, crying boy underneath with hairline cracks decorating his skin.

 

He gets into UA, and he cries, because he's finally going to be allowed to do something right.

Kirishima meets a class full of people that make his chest tighten until it burns. They're amazing, reliable, and kind. They smile at him with so much genuine intent his heart swells until it threatens to overflow- he's never wanted to spill his secrets to anyone this much before.

He trusts these people.

At the same time, he doesn't want to burden them with his problems, because that would be selfish, wouldn't it? To put weight on someone else's shoulders just because he's tired of carrying it.

 

One classmate in particular, catches his attention faster than fireworks at midnight. With predatory red pupils and an unstable ion for a personality, the boy has a bite that precedes his bark. He is what he says, erratic emotions burned into his sleeve for the world to see, no matter how ugly. He's not afraid of what he is- 

At least that's what Kirishima thought. 

But after a couple weeks of being in the same class, and finding his garnet stare frequently drifting over to the strange Aldera Junior High graduates, he began to realise he was wrong.

Something heavy hung between them, under cocky smirks and nervous stuttering.

It was in the way Midoriya would stare into broad shoulders in front of him when it looked like he was following the board. The furrow between blonde brows when Bakugou's pen pauses in his notes, despite the question being easy.

Something in him pulls him to Bakugou, someone so seemingly perfect that Eijirou's itching morbid curiosity wants to find his faults. Know that he has weaknesses too. The first time he catches sight of Bakugou's hearing aids, he's shocked- but not too much. It actually explained a lot, the unnervingly intense staring at other's faces, the ignorance when All Might called the Villain/Hero training match, the pitch of his voice consistently too loud for what's appropriate.

Bakugou's distress over his hearing aids made his chest ache, and he knew he was just projecting, but all he wanted to do was reach out to him.

 

Hold him.

 

He wants to tell him that he's going to be okay. He's fantastic- hearing or not. He was going to be the best and Eijirou didn't doubt it the least.

And it was selfish-


But he wanted to Katsuki to tell him he'd be okay too.

 

Because it's not the same when it's someone else. It's not a stupid mantra to coax him from panic attacks, something to whisper to himself when his Mom asks how he is, and he cocks his head to the side-

Peels his lips back-

And sows a smile into his cheeks.

'I'm good!'

 


 


Izuku Midoriya wasn't someone that Kirishima would've guessed to be so similar to him. Equipped with a quirk forceful enough to shatter his bones, the small, timid boy was a peculiar case. His very existence seemed to be a physical opposite of Kirishima's situation. So much strength all tucked away under stuttered words and idle shoe scuffs.

When Bakugou asked him what the point of pretending to be happy was, he'd be lying if he said he didn't launch into the worst possible situations.

But then, he'd non-to subtly informed that no, Bakugou hadn't suddenly gained emotional awareness in others- but was looking for advice concerning Midoriya's recent depression after USJ.

Honestly, Kirishima understood how Midoriya was probably feeling. He'd sustained severe damage in the fight and if what he'd seen of the boy's casual self-deprecating phrasing- he was beating himself up over it.

 

You can't help others if you're dead.

A controversial opinion of shackles or a lifeline pinning Kirishima's limbs to this world.

 

"Yeah. It's fucking annoying. I don't get it. If he had a fucking problem, he should just fucking say something."

It's not that easy. I wish it were that simple.

 

Kirishima sits on Bakugou's bed, taking a contemplative expression despite the reply seated on the tip of his tongue. He knows Bakugou doesn't mean to be insensitive, if anything- this is the most he's seen the explosive boy go out of his way to involve himself with anyone's issues.

 

"Hmm...have you tried asking him?" He knows the answer, but he asks anyway.

"What? No. It's not my fucking problem." Ah, the familiar flavour of heavily coated denial.

 

He tries to guide his irritable classmate with the most straightforward line of action.

"Well, something is probably bothering him. If he's trying to cover it up, he more than likely thinks you don't want to know. Try asking him, he might open up if he knows you care."

Some more displays of stubbornness follow, but they both let it go unsaid that Katsuki wouldn't have asked if he wasn't prepared to do something.

When he finally turns to leave the room, the blonde's hesitant and hardly audible "-Night," is enough to flood his veins with warmth and leave him glowing from the inside out.

 

The shadows of his mind can't touch him tonight.

 


 

Bakugou takes his sweet time with talking to Midoriya. His fuse is somehow shorter than usual, and Izuku is looking more deflated by the day, purpling skin under his wide, doe eyes.

He wants to step in so badly. But he doesn't- it's not his right. He can't help but feel intimidated by the tense atmosphere between the two unusual students. It would be like intruding on something- almost intimate. They had history so interwoven the whole class couldn't even begin to pierce their threaded thicket.

By Friday night, he's torn the same piece of homework seven times from accidentally tensing the muscles in his forearm and tearing paper with hardened skin. It was due earlier that day, but the whole class seemed to be suffering from the butterfly effect of Midoriya's dull gazes and Bakugou's coiled frustration. Aizawa had taken one glance at his dispirited students that morning, and with knowledge of the impact of the paper's grade- subtly asked Mic to collect them the next Monday.

He groans, dropping his now snapped pencil and hastily scrunches his chicken scrawl paper into a compressed ball with more force than necessary. He pitches it at the wall hard enough for it to bounce and fly under his bed frame.

He turns his lamp off and lets his head crane to stare at the ceiling as he leans his chair back, slowing his breathing until he can count to ten between breaths.

He stays like that until the sunlight drains from his walls and his room becomes shadowed. Doing nothing was an addictive and alluring trap, he needed to move. He peers over at his clock and makes a mental note to do something at six.

The intervalled goals are prolonged until eight, when the chill from his room starts to bite at his toes. He gets up and stretches his limbs, wincing at the gruesomely loud pop of his neck. Decked in knee length shorts and a casual tee, he slipped on a pair of scruffed but worn in socks and leaves his room with the excuse of finding a study buddy.

 

He goes to Kaminari's room first, knocking lightly on the door. He gets no reply but sees the faint glow of light from under the frame.

"Oye, it's me."

No reply answers him, but he hears shuffling across carpet from inside. Concern grows icy trails up his bare legs, prickling his skin and forcing them to move.

"Excuse the intrusion." He announces, opening the door as calmly as possible and humorously hoping he's not about to catch the poor blonde classmate rubbing one out with his earphones in.

He does have his earphones in- which explains the lack of reply, but he thankfully has his hands preoccupied at his desk.

When Kaminari finally seems to notice his guest, his eyes blow wide in panic, ripping his headphones out and leaning over his desk to cover view with his forearms.

"Oh fuck- Hi, man- dudebro, Kirishima- wow, hi."

Eijirou raises an eyebrow, the awkward pause hanging between them lasting long enough for his nose to catch a familiar scent.

 

"Dude...is that weed?"

 

The panicked boy takes a deep breath in and runs a forced hand through tousled hair.

"What, pfff, haha- bro, I'd never, um..." He laughs nervously, eyes darting quickly between the unconvinced redhead to under his bed.

 

"No?"

 

Kirishima deadpans.

"You're not exactly instilling the brightest ray of optimism in me bro."

Kaminari's face goes from guilty to fatigued in record time as he groans dramatically, dragging himself down his chair until his back is almost flat with the seat, revealing a messily rolled joint in progress on the desk.

"I'm fucking high, don't use big words."

A chuckle escapes from between pointed teeth as he moves to sit on the shagged rug.

"Was just checking."

"Don't tell."

"Only if you never try and lie while whacked. To anyone, ever."

"...That bad?"

"Like catching a dog eating its own upchuck."

"Dude, that's fucked."

"No, you're fucked. It stinks in here."

Denki takes a long and exaggerated sniff of the air before wrinkling his face up, wheeling to his balcony in a spider-like fashion. He pulls the curtain aside and struggles with the door latch for a couple seconds, before wedging the glass door open and shutting the curtain again.

"Problem-" He wheels over to Kirishima until the desk chair catches on the carpet. He slides himself the rest of the way to the floor, landing with a soft thump.

"-Solved." He grins widely, proud and clearly happy with his genius idea.

Kirishima sighs, peering to Kaminari's sloppily half rolled joint on the table.

"Dude, you can't smoke that. It'll fall apart as soon as you light it."

The blonde squints, leaning precariously forward into his personal space. "How'd you know?"

He shrugs one shoulder, moving over to the desk to re-roll the heavily wrinkled paper. "Middle school was rough."

Denki lets out an airy giggle. "Pun."

"What?"

"Rough, rocks- you, ah fuck it made sense, like…before." He gets up, leaning his head in the junction of Eijirou's neck to see what he was doing. In his state, the boy seemed to abandon any awareness of personal space, not that he had an awful lot, regardless.

He gasps, "You glorious wick stick mother fucker." Snatching up the neatly tucked spliff he cradles it to his cheek.

"It's beautiful." He whispers.

"Aha, glad you think so." He replies sheepishly.

 

They end up sharing the joint next to the open balcony door, ignoring the frigid night air as small talk fills the room. When Kirishima eventually asks why Kaminari is stashing weed in his room, the other explains with an overshadowed fringe.

"When I first decided to be a hero, I was really scared. You know what it's like to feel yourself losing control of your own limbs? Feeling your own brain literally short circuit? I'm conscious you know- when I overuse my quirk. I'm still in here, but I can't- I can't-" He waves his arms around as he struggles with the words.

"I'm still there! Like when your controller breaks but the game keeps going! I'm still playing! I can't exit the game and I can't- do anything! I can't do anything! And it's fucking terrifying, you know?"

He explains that for a long time, he wasn't good at using his quirk out of fear of overdoing it. And because he never pushed his limits, they never improved. It was only when he tried drugs that he found he could recreate the head spinning sensation, but to a lesser extreme. Within a safe and controlled environment, and willingly.

With that, he decided to practice with being comfortable in his influenced state.

 

It sounded like a brilliant idea at the time.

He just didn't expect sparks to run over his skin that weren't from his proximity to a power socket.

 

He was addicted.

 

Kirishima's eyes glare down at the burnt out joint wedged between his fingers, inhaling deep enough to burn his chest. They decide to layer up and move outside to help clear the smell from the room, Denki's numerous gaudy jackets all ending at Eijirou's forearms.

"Can you imagine how pissed Bakugou would be if he found out he really was hanging out with the stoners?"

They share a look and simultaneously wince at the thought.

After a couple minutes, Kaminari perks up to look between the balcony rails. "Talk of the Devil."

"Hmm..what about him?"

"No, I mean, really- That's Bakubro." He sticks a finger through the bars and points down to the field behind the campuses. A smear of blonde hair is easy to see, but then, they notice a smaller and dark-haired individual with him, harder to spot in the low light.

"Is that Midoriya? What the hell are they doing outside at this hour?" The spun out boy asks, eyebrows raising in curiosity.

Kirishima shrugs, leaning as close to the bars as possible to get a better view. The freezing temperature spearing into his flesh doesn't even start to compare to the arctic claws of his insecurities digging into his heart.

"Maybe they're just talking-" Because trust Bakugou to take simple advice and make it as complicated as possible.

"Woah- did Bakugou just try to punch Midoriya? Wait a second, I think they're just fighting, they're both punching each other- talk about being pent up. Sure, they both were worked up this week, but this is, jeezAnd I thought I had issues." Kaminari commentates, dry humour lining his words.

When Bakugou lands a particularly savage fist to the smaller boy's stomach that leaves him toppled to the ground, Kirishima stands abruptly, intent on getting their attention or finding a way to stop the two. Because this is so not how you ask someone if they're okay, how the hell do you even interpret talking to someone into beating them up instead?!

A quick hand desperately latches onto his pant leg, aggressively whispering in hushed tones.

"Dude, the fuck? Get down before they see you-!"

"That's the point!"

"Are you insane? We just fuckin' agreed about how Bakugou would literally roast us alive if he found out about this!"

"They're beating the shit out of each other!"

"They're not even using quirks! This is my ass on the line too you know!"

The wobble of panic in his voice makes his throat constrict, and his muscles cramp. Slowly and stiffly, he lowers himself back behind the bars of the balcony.

At some point, his blonde companion complains about his balls freezing off and heads back inside to sleep. He suggests Kirishima goes back to his room, but he brushes the offer aside in turn for watching. His room is on the other side of the hallway, he can't see the field from his balcony. His tanned skin is stone cold, and his breathing is accompanied by a shivering lip, but he can't pull his eyes away. A protective need to watch over the two and wince for every hard hit keeps him bolted down as a witness. A part of him still entirely willing to jump the bars and climb down seven floors to stop them if they go too far.

When the fighting degrades to sloppy punches, biting and hair pulling, Kirishima feels a wave of relief wash over his unsettled gut. They were finally getting tired- and not alone either. He could feel exhaustion tug at the skin under his eyes, and he loses track of time when the two finally stop moving. He knows they wouldn't hurt each other fatally, but still spends the last minutes before unconsciousness claims him squinting to try and spot a rise of a breathing chest in them both.

 


 

It should have come as no surprise after accidentally falling asleep outside, after several hours in the frigid cold night, but the unbreakable boy catches a cold.

He's congested, whole chest clamped and clogged with phlegm. His nose is blocked and dusted red from an irritating drip being aggressively wiped away. It got around pretty quickly that Bakugou and Midoriya had a pretty vicious brawl, Mina explaining dramatically over breakfast that Recovery Girl had outright refused to heal their multitude of bruises, scrapes and cuts to teach them a lesson. They also got a clear scolding by Aizawa, for being outside after curfew, both having to serve a week of detention with Lunch Rush by cleaning the kitchens.

Kirishima doesn't really feel sorry for them, it probably could've been avoided if Bakugou had just listened to his advice. Then he wouldn't have felt the need to stay up and make sure they were both okay.

But he's not the only one that is over the moon to see the two back to their usual enthusiastic selves, and for that, he'd happily catch a cold anytime if it meant some bruises were the price for peace to be restored.

 

Relative peace, anyway. Especially when Bakugou reaches for the coffee pot and Asui blatantly admits aloud over the breakfast table that he has a two semicircle incisor marks decorating his wrist.

"As in bite marks!?" Squeeks Mina, practically in shock, before all chaos is unleashed in the shared kitchen.

It starts with Mineta's cry of "Kinky!" As he sends Bakugou a thumbs up, only for him to quickly cower under a scorching gaze with a promise of pain.

Sero and Mina hurdle themselves over the granite counter to grab a fleeting look at the fuming boy's hand as he starts yelling his denied response to the claim. In turn, Iida starts demanding the respect of kitchen and all household furniture, Uraraka trying to hush him and simultaneously trying to diffuse the situation.

It seems to be working until Jirou decides to take note of Izuku, who had bundled himself into the edge of the loveseat, and points to his forearm. He catches the indication and brings his arm into view, desperately trying to peer at the angle. He can barely see the skin above his elbow, now marred with a slightly bigger pair of bite marks, but the red tenderness is enough for him to throw her a puppy worthy pleading look.

Her eyes soften, and just as Izuku falls into a sense of security under her sympathising smile, she looks over to his brunette female friend.

 

"Midoriya's got them too."

 

From peacemaker to competitor, Uraraka gives herself whiplash with the speed of her redirected attention. Midoriya squeaks and launches himself over the back of the couch arm to avoid her determined outreaches as she bends herself over the backrest.

"I-I s-s-swear I don't!"

"Deku-kun just let me see!"

"Uh n-n-no, I uh- I'm- I'm-"

His stutter flares like an allergen to lies, eyes darting between students like an arcade pinball, and lands on a crown of bright red hair and flushed cheeks.

He coughs loudly into his shirt collar.

"Sick! Y-yeah, I'm-" He coughs a couple more times.

"-s-sick! I should g-go! S-sorry!" He scrambles from the floor in a flurry of limbs and retreats to his room.

 

A few seconds pass before Todoroki's monotone disapproving voice cuts through the living area.

"You beat up a sick person?"

 

"He fucking punched me in the eye with my own damn shoe!"

Cries of "Liar! Deku-kun would never do that!" Echo.

"It does seem awfully out of character for Midoriya to do something unsophisticated. Even if Bakugou may have deserved it." Asui contemplates, sipping her tea.

Sero snatches the opportunity. "Why did he have your shoe?"

 

As Kirishima continues to watch as Bakugou is thoroughly hounded about exactly what went down between him and their smaller green haired classmate, he fails to notice Kaminari scooting around the dining table, one chair at a time until he's in the one next to him.

He leans over the table and cups his face with both hands, staring him down with an overly concerned look.

"That's why you were up all night watching them?!"

"It's really not what you're thinking."

 

Denki's eyebrows raise unnecessarily high as he moves his hands up in defence, sly smile patched to his face.

"Yeah...right, I was just checking."

Chapter Text

“Sports festival?” A voice questions.

“Woah, even the top schools have something that normal.” Sero snides as he leans back in his chair.

“Quite the contrary! U.A’s prestigious Sports festival is nothing of the like!” Iida corrects, appalled, and throwing his arms into motion as he protests.

“Dude, we’re going to be famous!” Kaminari’s eyes sparkle as turns around to Kirishima’s pinched beam of delight.

“Quiet down. Due to the recent attack, security will be tightened- but the festival will still commence. Put trust in our hired heroes to protect the stadium, civilians and of course, yourselves. Do not allow this to place doubt in your focus for the task at hand. As your first public debut, you’ll be on show for pro heroes to scout the potential of this year. Only three times in a lifetime.” Aizawa’s posture straightens as he scans a calculating look over the class.

His head dips ever so slightly to the side, eyes narrowing through the thin slit of his heavily bandaged face. “Do yourselves a favour…”


The line in his bandages curl upwards ever so slightly.

“Make a good impression.”

 




Bakugou had awoken with a slap in the face. A metaphorical one, dealt by the brutal hand of misfortune. He had awakened before his phone even had the chance to blare a sirened alarm at him, a beam of sunlight had lasered through a gap in his blinds and caught him in the eye.

Right in the fucking eye.

A loud and dramatic groan of protest echoes from between chapped lips. His sense of distance warped through hazed and sleepy sight convincing him that he was close enough to reach out and close the curtains.

He wasn’t, but he’d lent so far off the bed in a desperate grapple for the blinds that realisation hit with a solid and bruising thud. A literal one this time, as his limp torso oozed out of the comfort of his sheets, and kissed the floor.

“AaaRAaaaGH-!” He growls unintelligibly at nobody in particular, voice rough from sleep- confused and thoroughly pissed off- 

 


He groggily lifts himself off the floor with his forearms, sliding one leg slowly under him. But as he goes to emerge the other from the warm cavern of his blankets- his ankle catches on the sheets with a sharp tug.

“Oof-”

His balance tips- and he hits the dust for the second time, landing on a still tender shoulder from Deku’s solid punch only days prior. “FUCK!”

His door slams open and a boulder of worry and bright red bed hair barrels in. “Bakugou!”

A head of sunburst strands snaps in the direction of his intruder. “What-”


“The fuck-” Tired eyes widen slightly at the sight of the dishevelled and morning flushed blonde- shirt riding up to gloat a perfectly tanned and flexed abdomen, bright red boxers drawing his attention to muscled and -tangled legs.

“-do you WANT!?” He finishes, blood rushing to his cheeks in a way that makes Kirishima wonder if it’s the fury or downward angle of his head- both, maybe?

“Uh-” He starts, allured garnet stare tracing Bakugou’s awkwardly bent, and utterly humiliating position.  

“Are you-” His voice breaks, an embarrassingly high tone cracking into his words as he coughs.

“I heard a bang and thought- I was just checking, Sorry bro for uh- breaking in- and stuff-”

Katsuki snarls at him, quickly twisting himself around and kicking angrily at the sheets around his legs in an exaggerated manner.

Kirishima swallows hard enough that it’s audible in the room. “But I see you’re fine, so I’ll go-” He spins on his heel, darting in the direction of the hallway at a speed that has him unintelligently stubbing his toe on the frame of the door. He grunts loudly in pain as his lips curl inward to face his teeth, but doesn’t dare look back or pause his retreat.

“Fucking, fuck- shitty morning, shitty sun- shitty fuckin’ hair and shitty fucking sheets-” The uncreative string of curses line the blonde’s breath as he finally makes his way upright, throwing the ball of sheets in his arms dramatically back at the bed. He grabs Basil from his bedside table, sliding his pot onto the sil of the window. At least someone can enjoy the morning’s appearance.

He shuffles angrily towards the door with the intention of washing some of the stress off his body, but as he goes to close the handle behind him, notices the lack-thereof.

He takes a minute to glare at the splintered wood before the dots aline.

“FUCK!”

He really should’ve expected this when that fucktard apologised for literally breaking in.

 



When lunch rolled around, and he decided to call the red-head upon breaking his door, he made the crucial mistake of not taking audience precautions.

Storming across the cafeteria, the prickly feeling of satisfaction at seeing the entire student body part at the sound of his thundering gait, was smothered by the lack of characteristically crimson hair at their table.

Mina is the first to notice him. “Woah, honey, what crawled up your-”

He slams his hands down on the table with a disappointingly muted thump, but the vibration jolts everyone’s lunches despite the bolted down solid steel frame.

“Where the fuck is that shitty haired halfwit?!”

Sero raises an eyebrow, utterly unfazed by the attention the blonde seems to attract. “Well-


A familiar voice loudly breaks him off in the fakest throat clearing cough Bakugou has ever heard.

He spins on his heel, swiping an arm out to snare the other’s tie, roughly tugging him forward.

Kirishima is forced to take a wary step towards the furious blonde, one hand in a dismissive waving gesture. “Wait, wait, Bakugou- Let me explain-”

“Hey!” Mina’s high pitched voice slices through the rising pressure in the room and they both pause at the sound. Eijirou dares to look away from the burning eyes boring into him to glance at her, standing from her seat, frowning at them with hands on her hips.

“If you’re finished giving the entire school a show of raging testosterone, then sit the hell down! I’m trying to eat here!” With a huff, she sits down.

“You know what testosterone is?” Sero sarcastically enquiries.

“Of course I do. Makes your balls big right?” She replies nonchalantly.

Kaminari, who had remained uncharacteristically quiet up until that point, chokes on his lunch.

And like that, the cafeteria peace is restored. Bakugou begrudgingly releases his classmate’s tie, and Eijirou helps a red-faced Kaminari heave a stubborn piece of rice from his system. After they’d finished their meals and Denki had resumed breathing normally, the inevitable question arose.

“So, someone going to tell what the hell earlier was about?”


“None of your fucking business.” “-I broke Bakugou’s door.” They answered simultaneously.

They ignored Bakugou’s menacing look being shot around the table.

“Broke his door? How- and wait a minute, why?”

“Well I heard this bang-” He starts, only to be interrupted by a low and threatening tone.

Nothing. Happened.

“Bro, what’s got you so defensive?” Mina asks, leaning one arm on the table as she turns to Bakugou.

Sero swipes the opportunity, suggestively nudging Mina with his arm. “Probably caught him jerk-”

Like a gun igniting its barrel, Katsuki immediately has one foot on the chair, shoulders thrown back and hands sparking in a threatening display of barely restrained control. “HaaAAAA?!

Kaminari slides himself further down his seat until he’s barely visible under the protective barrier, Kirishima takes an opposite approach, standing abruptly and leaning over the surface as if ready to leap over the table to hold the explosive classmate back. “WOAH- I swear, it was just some books falling on the floor!”

“But anyway,-” he continues over Katsuki’s low snarling.

“-I went to check on him and my quirk was activated when I opened the door, so it just kinda...snapped the handle off?” He finishes abashedly.

“You just accidentally snapped the whole handle off?” Mina questions in awe.

“Bro…”

“What the hell were you doing with books, in the morning?” Kaminari gasps in Bakugou’s direction.

He takes a moment, ignoring Kaminari to swipe his glare from the pinkette to Kirishima.

“Fucking studying.”



Eijirou quickly covers his look of brief shock with an easy smile. “Yeah. Probably for that test in Cermentoss’ class today.”


Mina and Kaminari go pale with horror. Sero laughs, wiping at an imaginary tear.

“Oh, well I guess we’re screwed.”

 


 

Midoriya doesn't know why, but he's somehow found himself in the hallway of the dorms. At 1am. 


‘I’m an idiot, what am I doing? This is stupid, I should just go back to bed. This is utterly insane. Curfew was over three hours ago. This isn’t healthy- All Might would be disappointed in me. I’m disappointed in me-’ Thoughts spun rapidly around his head, a nauseous feeling bubbling in his stomach from the unseemly concoction of tiredness and shame.

He runs two fingertips lightly over the wall as he walks down the doom hallway. The darkness dances over the walls and even the moonlight leaves no illuminated trail of direction. He winces, pausing in his step when a miscalculated floorboard creak reverberates down a deserted passage.

Deeming it safe a couple seconds later, he quickly makes it to the elevator, staring at the panel longer than what was necessary after the doors had closed. He hadn’t thought this far. He was sick of pacing his room when he impulsively decided to leave. He could go for a walk? Not far, maybe just around the dorms? It wouldn’t take long, he’ll be back before anyone notices. Probably.

Izuku presses the ground button with more force than needed, latching at his brief decision before his thoughts ran away from him again.

He wasn’t expecting a light on in the gym when he finally stepped out onto the floor.

Now he doesn't exactly know why- it could’ve been the recent string of villain activities, but he dropped to a crouch as soon as he noticed someone must be in the gym room, cursing himself for choosing the sneakers that had a tendency to squeak against hardwood floors. Opting to crawl over to the glass window panels, he scuttles himself behind the wooden panel under the window, pressing a hand firmly against his mouth to avoid any fog. Steeling himself, he dares a peak.

A desperately held lungful of air heaves from his lips when he recognises his classmate, Kirishima, sitting on the edge of the bench press, a simple eight kilogram weight in hand. In his distracted moment of overwhelming relief, he almost misses the shake of his tanned shoulders, bare in his sleeveless workout top. The usually spiked red hair shades his face and Izuku can’t help but notice the darker shade of his roots along his parting. With classmates like Mina, he honestly believed the blazing colour was natural.

Izuku decides to wait a little longer before making himself known. The other boy isn’t actually lifting the weight in hand, and while he could simply be breaking between reps-



A single, almost inaudible, breathless hitch.

He’s crying.

 

All Might please help him, what does he do? Does he pretend to never have been here? Just, go back? Does he say something? Right now? Maybe tomorrow would be better? Does he interrupt? Knock slightly? Maybe pretend to walk out the elevator again- but noisily, so Kirishima has time to clean himself up before being seen- Make it look like an accident? Waltz right in and pretend not to notice?

“-doriya?”

A shamelessly loud squawk chokes it’s way from his lips in fright.

Kirishima was right at the door, poking his head out and looking down at him- 'oh my gosh he probably seems so creepy, crouched like a pervert under the window- '

“-Kirishima-kun! H-hi! Ah- I was just- W-walking. In like, the other direction- not because I was really going anywhere! Just- outside, for uh, air- a-and I noticed the light on- and then I thought ‘‘maybe it’s a villain?’ B-because of, you know, the recent a-attacks- not saying you’re a villain, that'd be stupid- you’re- uh, we’re, the opposite of one! I was just- uh, c-checking because it’s like- uh, 1am, and uh-”

“Woah, bro, calm down, it’s fine.”

Izuku stops his ramblings immediately, sucking in a deep and very much needed, lungful of air.

He’s almost nervous to look the other boy in the face.



‘Are you okay?’

“Want someone to spot you?” He says instead.

coward.



Kirishima offers a sheepish grin, neither speaking about the reddened skin under his eyes.

It wasn’t Midoriya's original intention to work out at 1am, but he lets it go as a desperate exit out of the situation he’d unknowingly walked into. After half an hour, when sweaty bodies start to tire, Kirishima sits up on the bench press for a break- and Izuku discreetly lets his eyes slip up from his reps. He realises that he looks tired in a way no amount of sleep will fix,  the bone-deep exhaustion of existence- weighing heavier than any barbell in the gym.

“Why were you awake?” He blurts, cursing himself for letting the words fall off his tongue impulsively.

The redhead is uncharastically unenthusiastic about providing an answer, though. “Can’t sleep, I guess.”

“I can’t sleep sometimes, too. When my head is too busy-” Izuku inwardly frowns at the indirect wording spilling from his mouth. “W-when I’ve got a lot on my mind.” He corrects.

They stay silent, neither overly willing to mention much on the subject. The atmosphere starts to slip, and Deku barely catches it between his fingers.

“..So...Kirishima-kun if there’s something on your mind...I’d be happy to help, y’know, if you- if you wanted me to.”

There, he said it. He just didn’t expect Kirishima to respond so early.



“Has Bakugou ever hated you for being better at something?”



Izuku’s thoughts come to a screeching halt. He knows Kirishima has gained an unlikely kinship with the feisty blond, but he had definitely not expected for him to be upset over it. Bakugou was savage when he spoke to people, sure, but Kirishima had always seemed unphased by the rude comments snarled his way. Why would he continue to try so hard when he was obviously being hurt?

A small part of him was jealous when his classmate had managed to bond with Kacchan so quickly into the year. It had taken Izuku years to build his friendship with his childhood companion- and his words still hurt, even when Deku knows that half the time they are said without intent. It was surprisingly...humanising to find Eijirou in such a state. To know that the relationship wasn’t as smooth as he made it look.

He hates himself for being thankful.

“I’d say Kacchan doesn’t hate people better than himself. He sees them as a challenge.” He admits honestly. Of course, the explosive teen had issues with members of authority, but that was only in the cases of people higher up by expectation, and not because they earned it. He respects people better than him by viewing them as milestones for himself.

The red-head gives a simple nod of understanding and doesn’t prod further on the topic. He reaches up to run a hand through his flattened locks, sending Izuku a sheepish look.



“Sorry, you had to see me like that.”

“No, no, I’m sorry for disturbing you! I mean, if you’d asked Kacchan you’d know I cry all the time, so…” His tongue feels tied in knots, lump sitting heavy in his throat. Seeing his classmate apologising for his vulnerability had made Midoriya instinctively admit to his own-  to settle the score, if anything.

“..so, thanks, Kirishima-kun.” He goes to finish, a crackle in his voice, scratching at him.

Eijirou tilts his head, not understanding and subtly urging him to explain.

Izuku tries to untangle his words, an impressive feat at the late hour. “You’re really strong. At USJ, you- you went after Kacchan. Whilst I just...stood there. A-and I guess seeing you here now, it taught me that, that maybe..it’s manly to cry, too.”

Izuku finally looks up from his feet to face the other boy, and watches as his eyes go glassy, a toothy grin ever growing and a wobble in his cheek.

“Thanks, Izuku-kun.”


He can’t ignore the distracting thud of his heart against his chest.




“We will now ask the remarkable number one student from this year’s physical entrance exam to step up to the podium and present a representing speech for 1A!” Midnight announces, waving her arms to rouse the crowd.

The whole year seems to take a deep inhale, holding bated breath as they glance around. Only one set of stress chewn lips exhales in a shaky gust of air.

Izuku’s emeralds widen, and dart to equally surprised burning rubies, standing only two steps away. A head of bright red spikes moves in the gathering of frozen tension.

Kirishima steps forward.

Chapter Text

“Kirishima-kun!?” Izuku wants to shout.

Because wow, does that conversation a few nights ago make a whole lot of sense now. It’s somewhat surprising to find out that the kind-hearted, humble member of their class came first in the Entrance exam. Not the writing component, clearly- He’d seen Kirishima’s study habits often paired with an utterly brutalised pencil end and ripped up paper corners. Now he thought about it, it wasn’t that unbelievable, Kirishima was built for close combat and the entrance exam robots wouldn’t have stood a chance. 


But the fact he even bet Kacchan, (probably having the bonus of being bumped up by rescue points-)

 

Shit.

Kacchan.

 


He cranes his neck in an attempt to find the blonde again. He’s not sure what to expect, the familiar burn of fury, blood vessels showing at the corners of his whites,  a frown so downset it was going to leave a crease in his brow-

Honestly, he would’ve been thankful for the familiar heat of Kacchan’s anger rather than what he saw.  

 

Lax shoulders, a loose jaw and cold eyes.

And if that didn’t spell terror, Izuku didn’t know what did.

 


The crowd’s hushed whispers are consumed by the suspense, and Kirishima hesitates when Midnight hands him the microphone. He finally diverts his attention from the ground to scan the crowd of students, but Izuku knows what he’s really looking for. He’s searching- looking desperately looking for Katsuki’s judgeful gaze. His closest friend who did not have the emotional capacity to be a best friend right now. 

Izuku’s heart is caught in a death grip. Like it’s into slow motion, he can see the moment they make contact and Katsuki’s jaw locks as he begins tearing the other to shreds. If the comfort of a friend is what Kirishima is seeking, he will only find the decaying monster of Kacchan’s pride ready to rip his throat out. Everyone knows you should never turn away from a predator- but Kirishima doesn’t look like he’s prepared to engage in that battle as he hastily looks away.


“I know we’ve all worked super hard to get this far, so we’ll all be wanting to make it count for something.” He pauses, and adopts a sheepish smile. “I look forward to competing against everyone today, because-”

Izuku briefly finds sparkling rubies directed at him, and he offers a shy, soft smile in the mistake of assuming Kirishima was seeking support after copping the right hook of Katsuki’s anger.

“-I’m gonna be going for the top spot.”

....And promptly feels like an idiot.

Because that generic speech of a natural team player so didn’t prepare Iruku for the direct challenge of rivalry being slammed down into the equation.

 

Everything just got a whole lot more serious.

 

 

 


 

Bakugou never had doubts that Eijirou would’ve excelled at the entrance exam. Physically, he was ideal for the testaments of strength - he didn’t have to be a genius to know that.

 

His heart though, was weak.

 

He saw it in the way he would bend under the clasp of Bakugou's impatience, in the moment of hesitance before a match. Under the blinding stadium lights, Kirishima’s shadow lies down over him as he outright declares war. Standing above him on the stage platform, Katsuki can feel the blade of a challenge being held under his jaw as he’s forced to look up and meet his match.

If he wants to entice the bull to rage, he needs to be sure of himself. Stand firmly in front of the beast and hold his flag of red.

Don’t you dare look away, you damn coward.

Kirishima does. Has the audacity to break eye contact to look over at Deku, a light-hearted determined smile stretching his lips into a mockery of their friendship.

He his teeth clip against each other as they snap into place. Like flint over steel the sparks fly and with a painfully slow exhale, he blows into the burning pits of kindling. The heat is inside him, curling down his spine and settling in the belly of hell.

 

You’re wrong, Eijirou.

I’m going to win, and until your resolve is thicker than your skin-

You won’t even get close.

 

 


In the locker room, Izuku is confronted by Todoroki in front of the whole class. Knuckles popping as he flexes one hand, Katsuki studies the cupid’s bow of pale lips as he reads their words from the shadowed corner of the room.

He stays silent, casting his angled subjective stare over them. There’s no point in interrupting because they’re all wrong anyway.

Todoroki would make an excellent opponent for him, skill expertly ingrained in a way that leaves professional technique to significantly challenge his equivalent self taught roughhousing.


But it doesn’t matter because he’s making empty claims to the wrong person. Just a whole heap of rodents trying to play cat and mouse with a lion in the room. 

 

Before the exams, Mic had confronted him and informed him that he was given permission to use support gear in the tournament for his hearing. He had scoffed at that and calmly shoved down the impulsive want to spit at the teacher’s office door on his way out.

He’s not going to be some victim in need of a handicap. He doesn’t need anything to beat these losers into their place and take the victory with his bare, unassisted, hands.

The first task was an obstacle course, and he only needed to glance around the packed to the brim halls to know speed wasn’t going to be an issue in the first half. It was space. He needed to find a clear path to bypass the push and shove as the rest trampled each other like a herd of mindless wildebeest. At the crack of the starting pistol under the bellow of Mic’s voice, he leapt straight into the air and let off an immediate stream of continuous blasts behind him. Blissful ignorance for the unfortunate fools that coped a face of smoke at his negligent actions.

For the most part, the course had Todoroki and himself biting at each other’s ankles like starved ferals. His arms were starting to throb after deciding to completely soar over the majority of the tightrope canyon. Maintaining his balance was a juggling act of controlled blasts as he struggled to keep his speed up to par with the iced surfer riding his hide.

Neck and neck, finishing tunnel in sight and not a single other participant in the proximity- he begins to stretch his forearms as he prepares for the winning shot powerful enough to pistol him right over the line before Todoroki knew what hit him. Faintly, he sees the shock of red and white hair turn to look behind him in the corner of his eye- Bakugou isn't sure whether it was fear of the stragglers making an unheard ruckus that made him do it. He feels a smile sneak onto his face and split his lips into a cocky grin. The distracted fool isn’t even looking forward, he won’t see Bakugou charging himself for his winning move.

 

‘Eat my dust, you mutilated popsi-’

 

A whistle of someone yelling is suddenly so close he doesn’t have time to look before he feels a massive solid weight slam into his back. Punching the oxygen from his body, he inhales to a choked breath as his body collides harshly with the rough ground. He’s severely winded, and the panic of feeling air refusing to enter his bruised rib cage is drowned as the confusion and anger curdles into a deadly concoction that has his legs scrambling. He doesn’t even register the plate of fucking metal behind them, or the gasping Todoroki army crawling himself from the wreckage of dirt and rocks.

He does see a smudge of green making the mad dash in front of them. He doesn’t give himself time to think about how Deku, who hadn’t shown his freckled mug since the start- managed to not only catch up- but get ahead. He feels his legs begin to sprint faster beneath him before his palms ignite with a snap, boom- propelling him into the air and rocketing forward his deserved victory.

Only metres from the finish line, Todoroki, Midoriya and he were once again side-by-side. Their sprinting bodies fight for the fastest step as sweat flings from scrunched brows. Hell, he doubts Deku can even see with how hard he’s squinting, gob hanging with open-mouthed pants.

The tunnelled hallway narrows dangerously, and only a few steps from the blinding light of the stadium, a split second has Shouto extending the ice under his feet to skim over the ground.

“WHA-”

“SHI-”

He falters, Deku doesn’t.

Obnoxious red sneakers slip over the slippery icy surface with a squeak- they collide, both crashing into each other as they fall over the line.

 

But the crowd is already cheering.

Todoroki won.

 

'Well isn't that just perfect.' He thinks sarcastically, wishing looks could kill as he imagines Todoroki copping a mouthful of ignited nitroglycerin.

 

His tongue swirls over his gums, and he spits a mouthful of blood and dirt to the ground. Deku looks at him with concern, noticing the red staining the edge of his bottom lip.

“Kacchan, you’re bleeding!”

 


“Maybe it’s because someone decided to use human beings as a goddamn landing strip!” He snarls, genuinely angry. That win was meant to his, damnit, and how his whole body fucking hurts.



Deku flails, as if only just realising the error of his methods. “Awah-! I’m r-really, really sorry about that- I just let go of it too late, I was meant to- Omgmygod, I need to apologise to Todoroki-kun too-” He spins on the ball of his foot to find the mentioned opponent, but before he has the chance to leave, Bakugou finds one of his hands clapped down on Deku’s shoulder.

“Oye, you dumbass, you seriously aren’t thinking of apologising after he just-” He hisses, putting emphasis on his evident disgust as he mentions apologising.

“I really didn’t mean to- a-and Kacchan you two could’ve been seriously hurt-!” He urges.

“You gonna insult him like that after the weirdo vows to beat you? What are you, a fucking idiot? In case you hadn’t noticed, Deku, he’s winning.”

“No! I know that I just- I-”

An exhausted and frustrated groan visibly rolls the tension from Bakugou’s shoulders as Midnight announces that the next event would be a cavalry team battle. He sees Deku look around furiously, accessing the slowly disappearing crowd as they split into groups.

“Oye.” He says, drawing Izuku’s frantic concentration back to him.

“You’re my rival, and I’m going to be the one to win this shit-show. You and Shitty-hair can beat each other with sticks over second place for all I care, but right now- That fucking popsicle is both our problems.”

“Kacchan, are you suggesting we should team up? But who’d ride who?” He replies, leaping into analysing the possibility before he freezes, jaw snapping shut. Once the words had left his mouth, he clamps both palms over his lips and flushes;  his shoulders rising as if they would provide sufficient cover to hide between.  

Bakugou raises a single poise eyebrow as he watches blood dye the tops of Deku’s ears red.

 

Weirdo. 


“Your quirk isn’t as versatile since you keep fucking breaking yourself, so you’d probably be the rider.” He hypotheses, thinking that his quirk could probably provide more rapid movements than Deku’s. They’d be a main target as small team with highly ranked points, so ideally they could use a defensive-

“Hey!” Kirishima’s friendly voice calls out as he runs up to them, halting Bakugou’s thoughts.

“The fuck do you want, you cocky shit?” He snarks, a flash of teeth as he expresses his disapproval of the pointed boy’s conveniently timed appearance.

“Aha, well it really should be no surprise you two did so well in the obstacle course...I got really held up at the tightropes.” He replies sheepishly, scratching the base of his skull. 

“So what? You wanna ride our asses to victory? The fuck are we going to let you seagull off our-”

"Uh-" Kirishima coughs simultaneously as Deku lets out a strangled squeak, the shade of his face a drastic contrast to his hair. “Kirishima-kun wouldn’t-”

 

“What, you’re taking his side now!?” Bakugou snaps, looming over the smallest team member.



“Guys calm down, it’s okay if Bakugou doesn’t want me in your team, I get it.” He crosses one arm over his torso to grasp the other at his side. “It’s just that I really want to fight you both in the finals, and no offence, but you guys are a major target right now-”



“You saying we’re going ta’ lose?!” Katsuki can feel the anger ticking his brow as spittle flies from his split lip.

“I think Kirishima-kun means to say that he wants to give us all the best chance possible to win, Kacchan. We would be at a big disadvantage without someone to defend the..uh-” He swallows hollowly. “..rider.”

“I can protect the shit out of you just fine.” He sneers in reply.



“But Bakubro, who is going to protect you? And don’t say ‘you don’t need protecting’ -You’ve both got a lot points. It doesn’t really matter if they get mine, since it’s not worth a lot.” Kirishima reasons, and coming from the dumbest fuck next to Buzz-Brains, he hates how much it makes sense.

Bakugou bristles like a reared cat under the torchlight of encouraging smiles beaming his way.



They decide to have Bakugou at the front to act as a deterrent with his offensive blasts, forcing distance between them and approaching teams. Kirishima would support the back, an impenetrable barrier between sneak attacks and both Midoriya’s and Bakugou’s sash. Midoriya would be their outlooker, keeping an eye of for approaching teams and directing their either attack or retreat based on his lightning-fast quirk analysations.

On paper, they made a great team, but they ran into trouble right off the bat when Bakugou insisted they take an offensive position and go straight to Todoroki for the million. Midoriya and Kirishima protested, both on the same page that having guaranteed entrance into the finals would be better if they focus on defending their second and third points from the Obstacle course, picking from the smaller less guarded teams.

“You fucking serious? You get this far and then wimp out on me-? We’re going to get that million sash from two-face.”

“Bakugou, even if we get through Todoroki’s ice, we can’t catch them if they’re using Iida’s speed!”

“I didn’t fucking ask you, Shitty-hair.” He growls, jostling Deku above him. “You, nerd, figure out a way.”

“K-Kacchan- I agree with-”

“No, you don’t!” He yells, just the whole team swerves as he threateningly lets off a ringing explosion in the face of an approaching squad, acting as a smokescreen for them to make a break for it.

“You didn’t just stop running when you caught up to us before- what the fuck changed?! Pull your finger out, I’m going to be first Deku, and if either of you fucks get in the way I will drop you both!” He shouts over his blasts, throat scratching from the dry air and voice grating away Deku’s hesitance.

 

Dodge, punch, faux attack, dash. Dodge, punch, faux attack, dash.

 

Deku whips around, sensing something behind them just in time to see Dark Shadow clasp onto the back of Kirishima’s sash. “Kirishi-”

It’s too late, and the ghost-like shadow body whips away with the band in his jaws just as Kirishima turns around to look, desperate horror scribbled over his face.

They both clasp their ears when an explosion decimates five metres of the surrounding field, smothering the tortured screeches of Dark Shadow under the flash grenade. The smoke cloud is all that’s left when Bakugou yanks them forward, sprinting through the plume of darkness and dust. Deku yelps and Kirishima’s lets out a surprised “-ey!” when Bakugou’s support against them drops. Just as they emerge, Deku feels scorching palms under his clothed thighs lifting him back up to his perch.

Having already worked out Dark Shadow's weakness to light, he had forced the Shadow to drop Kirishima’s sash in his withered retreat, and Bakugou had bent down under the smoke cloud to pick it up. Wearing it proudly around his neck despite the irritating ache of his forearms and pinch of his bruised ribs.

The action had shocked them both, but-

“Bro, that was so awesome!”

“Kacchan you got Kirishima’s band back!”

“Of course I fucking did, you idiot! What part of winning makes you think you’re allowed to slack off?!”

 

Every point counts. You count.

 

Deku casts a quick look at Kirishima, who looks to be on the verge of tears. He shakes away his watery eyes and replaces them with a sharp-toothed smile brimming with determination. Iruku tightens his own sash, and squeezes Katsuki’s shoulder as he leans down slightly, pressing his lips almost completely against Katsuki to make sure he can hear clearly without it being shouted aloud. He's so close he can feel the peach fuzz from Deku's face ghost over his ear and the husk in his voice, making him curse at the brief waver of his attention.

“Ok, so here’s the plan…”



After Deku had made sure they all knew exactly how to execute their win with the best chances of victory, they had skittered around the field, picking the odd band off unsuspecting teams as they lingered for the exact right timing. For the most part, their plan worked out pretty well, waiting until the other teams had boxed the top team to the point of Todoroki surrounding themselves almost completely with an ice shield. WIth the last remaining minutes slipping from the clock, Izuku obliterates a wall of ice shards with a flick of his pinkie finger and throws the team inside skidding backward.

Trapped in their own self imposed barrier of ice, Iida can’t help his team with a quick escape. With them being so far into the contest Denki had already glazed over with fogged vision and fumbled steps, leaving Momo and Todoroki to defend themselves.

The only downfall was that they couldn’t see the stadium timer, nearing dangerously close to the last moments for victory. Bakugou has them on the offence, Todoroki’s team energetically bouncing off the corners like a pinball inside their ice prison to avoid heated attacks.

Beep-Beep-Beep-

 

Suddenly Deku taps him on the shoulder in quick concession, making him stop their barrage. His eyes quickly find the movement of Momo looking down at her wrist. 

''Is that... a stopwatch?'


And fuck, it was. Momo was discreetly looking down at a watch and a prideful smile as she looks down at the ground, now covered in puddles after Bakugou’s explosions had melted some of the ice.

They had been stalling for time.

“Now!” Shouto’s voice yells.

Denki smirks lopsidedly, and they barely have time to look to their feet in dread before electricity shoots up through their legs. He only needed to discharge a small amount of power for it to soundlessly travel across the puddles of melted ice like speedway at the speed of light.

The stadium buzzer signals the end just as Bakugou grunts in pain and Kirishima hollers.

They both drop Midoriya, he lands with a simple “Ooft-” as he fails to catch himself in time and lands flat on the asphalt.

“Leg cramp! Arghh, the cramps! Holy shit, dude, ow!” Kirishima groans, crouched as he desperately holds his legs as the muscles quiver uncomfortably.  

 

“Annnnnd Todoroki wins!” Mic rejoices over the speakers, sounding muffled under the ice dome and the white ring of his ears after abusing his quirk. 


Whether it was the physical pain of electric tremors still tingling his calves, or the vicious stab at their failed plan- Katsuki’s lips unfurl from the bite of his teeth.  “ARAGHHHHHHHH-!”