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3am

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There wasn’t much to do at three in the morning.

Izuku lazily thumbed at the buttons on his handheld, making his little avatar walk around aimlessly. All the shops were closed, none of the trees had any fruit to pick, and you could only fish so many times in a row before it got old.

But Izuku couldn’t sleep, nor did he particularly want to stop playing yet. He liked the nice limbo that he felt- his mind was too preoccupied with worrying about fruit and bells and how to make his (in his opinion) boring-looking town into something amazing, to worry about real-life problems.

Besides, the music was nice.

A spark of an idea flashed in Izuku’s mind, and he headed towards the train station. Maybe someone had left their gate open on Nearby- you didn’t need any friend codes for that; you could just walk in. Visiting others’ towns was something Izuku loved to do- on Nearby mode, it felt more intimate to him, as if he was visiting a neighbor, in a way. Sort of. There was always a chance he could know the person the town belonged to! And even if he didn’t, the person couldn’t be that far away from him.

The idea made him feel a little warm inside.

It looks like SATSU is open to visitors! Would you like to travel there right now?

Izuku balked at that name- SATSU? Who screamed their town name? Who names their town Murder? Oh, sorry- MURDER?

Maybe it was one of those horror-themed towns! Izuku had seen online that those were getting more and more popular.

But would that be a good idea at three in the morning?

Well, Izuku thought, I’m not doing anything else! I’ve seen a lot of scary stuff, a town won’t be that bad! Compared to what he had faced at USJ, a horror-themed Animal Crossing town was no comparison.

Besides! If it’s REALLY that bad, I can just come back!

He smiled at his screen and hopped on the train to Satsu.


Satsu was not a horror-themed town.

When Izuku got to the other town, the first thing he noticed was its flag. It seemed to be… explosion themed? It reminded him of Kacchan! Not so much of a scary murder-town.

He stepped off the train station, and was greeted by… if he were to be honest, his new favorite town.

Izuku had seen his fair share of lovely towns. He’s frequented dream towns, keeping a log of the codes of the ones he liked, drawing inspiration from the many different styles for the aesthetic of his own town.

But this? This seemed more… intimate.

It seemed to be themed to a forest- what Izuku wouldn’t give to see this place during the day! The trees were close together and the walkways were winding in such a way that it gave a sense of privacy from the world, as if shielding Satsu’s resident from any prying eyes. He was about to start walking deeper into the town, then he remembered- the message board! Mayors usually put some sort of rules there as to what to do in the town! Or something funny. Maybe Satsu’s mayor had something to say about his town? It wouldn’t hurt to check.

DON’T TAKE MY FRUIT. DON’T TAKE MY JACOB’S LADDER. IF YOU EVEN THINK OF TOUCHING MY JACOB’S LADDERS I WILL ACTUALLY FIGHT YOU IRL. I WILL DO IT, THAT’S WHY I ONLY HAVE NEARBY ON.

Tsuki-chan

Satsu’s Mayor’s name was Tsuki-chan? That was the cutest name Izuku had ever seen! What was someone with such a cute, soft-sounding name doing with Murder-town the forest paradise with the aggressive warning note? And Jacob’s Ladders? You only get those when your town is in perfect condition!

Izuku wondered if he would see one. Maybe he could get on Tsuki-chan’s good side by watering it? Or leaving a present? Or something. He started on the winding path, holding back from running because he wanted to take in the scenery. He knew first-hand how hard it was to design a town like this- Tsuki-chan must be super committed to their game if their town looked like this! And why wasn’t it a dream town? It was cute enough to be!

Maybe, Izuku wondered to himself, Tsuki-chan is like me. They like privacy, and intimacy? Coziness? Satsu screamed cozy-ness; despite the name, it was a clear respite from the world, just like how Izuku’s own town was for him.

He still half-expected something to jump out at him, though.

Seriously, why SATSU?

The dissonance between the coziness of the town so far and Tsuki-chan’s name versus the name SATSU and the threatening message board, still left Izuku reeling.

Would Tsuki-chan actually show up and fight him if he touched their prized rare flowers?

Who knew.

Going off that flag, they probably had an explosive personality.

Izuku laughed to himself softly- he was easily amused at this hour.

The Kacchan-ness of the whole town amused him, as well. He imagined Kacchan, hunched over a DS and furiously tapping at things and moving trees around, and he laughed again.

He wondered what a town made by Kacchan would look like. It probably would be a horror-town.

Not like this town.

As he went deeper, the trees dispersed, intercut by hydrangea bushes. Occasionally, there were beacon fires- a stood up torch- to light the way.

He heard some rustling over the background music, and he stopped in his tracks.

Was something really going to jump out at him?

Was Satsu really a horror town all along and Tsuki-chan is just REALLY good at horror? Was this just their ploy to get me to let my guard down? Is that why they have their gate open at three in the morning? To get unsuspecting people like me to walk in and then jump them with the things they’ve prepared?

Izuku found himself gripping his DS a little harder. Whatever it was, he was prepared! He came into this expecting a scary town, so he was totally ready for whatever Tsuki-chan had planned!

He walked forward, and came upon… another avatar. One with blond hair, red walnut-shaped eyes, and was that an Aggretsuko letterman?

Never mind that for now. This must be Tsuki-chan! Izuku thought to himself. But why do they look so much like…

Then, it clicked.

The avatar. The message board. The flag. The town name.

Could this really be…

Kacchan?

Izuku’s eyes widened in realization. “Wait!” He whisper-shouted, out loud.

“Tsuki-chan… Kacchan… Katsuki… Tsuki…!”

His eyes were huge as he noticed Tsuki-chan’s avatar was staring him down. He hoped, if this really was Kacchan, that he didn’t catch onto who Izuku was. He doubt that he would appreciate Izuku’s intrusion on what was most likely supposed to be private. He didn’t think anything about his appearance was particularly telling- His outfit was a recreation of All Might’s hero costume, including a hat that looked like his hair. He had the username 129, as he first got the game in middle school, and he didn’t want to risk any of his classmates stumbling across him on Nearby and making fun of him for playing. It was a fairly clever pun, and he grew to like it- Ichi, two, ku. Sure, in order for it to work, one of the numbers has to be in English, but he thought it was clever nonetheless.

Izuku pulled up his menu and selected an emotion, making his avatar smile and wave at Tsuki-chan. He quickly selected another one, and his avatar clapped. He hoped Tsuki-chan got the message that he thought their town was wonderful!

He seemed to, as Tsuki-chan struck a pose for him. Showoff! Izuku thought. I mean, I guess Tsuki-chan earned the right to show off!

Tsuki-chan turned around to continue what it was they were doing- oh! Izuku had just noticed the watering can in their hands.

Watering their bushes, of course. They wouldn’t look this nice all on their own. But! He smiled at the screen. That means Tsuki-chan has no problems with me!

An idea crossed Izuku’s mind.

His own watering can was still in his inventory- he took it out and had his avatar make a questioning expression at Tsuki-chan. Is it okay if I help you?

To his surprise, Tsuki-chan’s avatar nodded, so Izuku took his place at the bushes on the other side of the walkway, and started to water.

Was this really, really Kacchan? Izuku thought to himself. Did he catch on and is just pretending to not know who I am? Kacchan’s so smart, I bet he could figure out the pun easy! If it’s him, he’d be so mad at me! He obviously doesn’t want anyone to know he plays! Should I just leave once I’m done?

He glanced at Tsuki-chan, who was still diligently watering their bushes.

Is… it bad that I want this to be Kacchan? Kacchan hates me, but… he’s being so nice right now! If it is him. Is it even good that I want to be with Kacchan? Am I just… setting myself up for hurt?

No!

He’s- he’s changing! I can see it! He’s not mean to me anymore, he has friends, he’s kind of mellowing out a little! And he’ll mellow out more!

Maybe we can be friends again! If not at school, then maybe here?

I wonder what Kacchan is like when nobody’s around to see him…?

He has a reputation! I guess that would be important to him! He always did have a big ego… maybe he’s scared of doing something that doesn’t match what people think he would do?

Like play Animal Crossing!

That would make sense. Kacchan’s so prideful, of course he’d have secrets! Like that one time he broke his leg in middle school! He couldn’t hide that but he yelled at anyone who pointed it out- even his own friends!

And he smacked me in the leg with one of his crutches.

And then I saw him trying to hop without them! His friends were encouraging him!

Izuku frowned at the memory. Kacchan had fallen over trying to hop- more than once! But his friends didn’t even try to help him up, or even get him to stop! Izuku knew that Kacchan would’ve been mad if they’d tried, but he was hurting!

Izuku almost went up to Kacchan, guaranteed hostility be damned, and tried to help him up.

Almost.

Kacchan would’ve seen that as worse than falling over. He would have probably seen it as worse than breaking his leg at all.

Does Kacchan not like help at all? Or is it just my help that he doesn’t like?

Maybe I could ask him one day. When we’re a little closer!

Maybe we can finally talk about it.

Kacchan didn’t seem to hate help in general- here Izuku was, helping him right now! But maybe it’s because Kacchan is different if he has that shield of anonymity? Or was it because of the hour? People did tend to be different when tired.

If this even was Kacchan.

Either way, this was nice.

Helping the mayor of Murdertown with their flowers.

If it really was Kacchan, it made this moment all the more special, in Izuku’s eyes.

He tried not to focus on whether or not he should be feeling like this about Kacchan, and just continued to help.

The flower bushes had ended a little ways back, giving way to regular flowers. These ones were orange lilies.

Izuku wondered where Tsuki-chan kept the Jacob’s Ladders. Maybe Tsuki-chan would show him, or they’d come across one!

Izuku’s never seen a Jacob’s Ladder in-game before. He wondered, if he friended Tsuki-chan, and asked really nicely, if they would show him?

Or maybe Tsuki-chan would appreciate less timid-ness? Taking the initiative! Even if they weren’t Kacchan, they seemed to be a headstrong type of person! Maybe they would be annoyed by something along the lines of your town is so nice! could i maybe, if you want, see the jacob’s ladders? i won’t take any! please?

They had reached the end of the trail, and Izuku noticed that the rest of the foliage in this new area were all watered. His eyes flicked to Tsuki-chan, and seeing them put their own watering can away, he did the same.

It was now or never! Maybe.

Maybe Tsuki-chan wasn’t going to bed and he had a little more time! But maybe they were. Who knows! Not Izuku. He needed to be friends with this person.

Even if this was Kacchan. Especially if this was Kacchan.

He was done shying away and letting Kacchan do whatever! He was done a long time ago. Izuku wanted him and Kacchan to talk, and even though he couldn’t force Kacchan to talk to him- in fact, it would be better if Kacchan came himself, it wouldn’t hurt for Izuku to sort-of, nudge him along?

Maybe this encounter is exactly what the two of them needed!

And if it wasn’t Kacchan, Izuku would have a new friend! If they weren’t Kacchan, they sure seemed to have the same pride and assertiveness as Kacchan- so maybe they would know what to do?

He sent the friend request.

After a couple of seconds, the little indicator popped up. Tsuki-chan accepted it! Izuku’s heart was going a mile a minute. He wanted to be Best Friends, so him and Tsuki-chan could talk, but he couldn’t make them Best Friends. It had to be Tsuki-chan, that was how the game worked.

So Izuku improvised.

Two emotions: Love, for the little heart indicator on the friends list, and Thought, for the thought bubble.

C’mon! Please, understand! I want to talk to you! Please!

Tsuki-chan stood still.

Izuku held his breath.

Another indicator popped up. Izuku raced to see for real- yes! Tsuki-chan had understood, and agreed! Out of curiosity, he quickly checked Tsuki-chan’s Town Player Card.

Tsuki-chan was striking an irritated pose in their picture, wearing the same thing they did that night. Izuku smiled a little. It fit Kacchan’s personality- and Tsuki’s, he supposed. He quickly skimmed the rest of the info.

“YOU CAN LOOK BUT YOU CAN’T TOUCH”

Shizuoka Prefecture

SATSU

Mayor Tsuki-chan

Birthday April 20

There was no way this all was a coincidence.

No way there was another hotheaded guy who lived in Shizuoka Prefecture with a birthday on April 20 who looked like that and had “Tsuki” in their name.

Or- his name, the card’s color had confirmed that Tsuki-chan was, in fact, male.

There was no way this wasn’t Kacchan. No way on this Earth.

Izuku had already made the first step, and he had to follow through. His heart beat with excitement and anxiety.

Tsuki-chan: wow. can’t believe All Might likes my town.

Tsuki-chan: can’t believe All Might took a break from hero work. to water my flowers.

Izuku’s hands shook as he typed out a message. Remember, don’t be timid. Impress him!

129: do not worry!! why not?

129: because i am here!! to water your flowers!!

Wow, that was the absolute worst! Izuku mentally slapped himself and prepared for Kacchan to know who he was instantly.

Tsuki-chan: hahahahaha.

Tsuki-chan: fucking nerd.

Tsuki-chan: you wanted to talk?

129: yeah! i was just wondering, if i could see your jacob’s ladders?

129: i want to steal one! (^~^)

Tsuki-chan: HEY.

129: it was a joke!!

Tsuki-chan: better f in be.

Tsuki-chan: follow me.

Without waiting for an affirmative, Tsuki-chan started down a path, Izuku hurrying to catch up. This was going better than Izuku thought! Did he really think Izuku’s All Might joke was funny?

He tried to ignore the fluttering in his heart.

Tsuki-chan: here we are.

He stood next to a garden area, where there were a cluster of Jacob’s Ladders. Izuku stared at the layout- it was amazing! Kacchan was good at a lot of things, so it makes sense that he would be good at this, too.

129: i love your town!! it’s so cute!! so pretty!!

129: the layouts!! everything!! i love it so much! you’re amazing!

Tsuki-chan: flattering me won’t get me to give you one.

129: that’s not what i meant by that at all!!

129: i’m sorry!! please don’t be mad!!

So much for being assertive.

Tsuki-chan: oh my god wedge that stick out of your a.

Tsuki-chan: i thought you would fire back. or something.

Tsuki-chan: i don’t bite. promise.

Tsuki-chan: fire’s more my specialty.

Did… did Kacchan want an argument? Was this was one of those friendly banter things?

He doesn’t know who you are. Just go for it!

129: oh really? i couldnt tell because all your insults are so dull!

Tsuki-chan: HAHAHA

Tsuki-chan: f that was a good one. im totally f ing stealing that and using it.

Tsuki-chan: theres this a hole in my school that that would be perfect against.

Tsuki-chan: f ing fire quirk b tch.

129: oh? what school?

Tsuki-chan: not telling. what if we went to the same school?

Tsuki-chan: it would actually kill me.

129: not if i kill you first!

Was he doing this right? Was that a non-banter time?

Tsuki-chan: haha. you’re good at this.

Tsuki-chan: if you were a hero you’d be pretty f ing menacing.

Tsuki-chan: if i was a villain and the hero started bantering back better than me, i’d be pretty shaken.

“If you were a hero?” Was this really Kacchan talking? Where was- where was the gloating? The pride? The arrogance? The… anything?

129: oh but im not studying to be a hero!

129: i wanted to get into ua but…

129: :(

Something twisted in Izuku’s stomach at the lie. But if Kacchan were to find out who he was, it would be a disaster.

Izuku wasn’t willing to throw this away to avoid the possibility.

Tsuki-chan: i’m gonna make you really jealous then

Tsuki-chan: because i know we don’t go to the same school

Tsuki-chan: i can tell you that. i actually go to ua

129: WOW REALLY? THAT’S AWESOME!! YOU’RE SO AWESOME!!

It was Kacchan, it was! There was no way it wasn’t! Izuku’s body was buzzing with energy and feelings and his heart almost leapt right out of his chest.

Tsuki-chan: heh. guess i am.

Tsuki-chan: and don’t you forget it, nerd.

129: don’t you have school tomorrow though?

Tsuki-chan: it’s not that late.

129: tsuki… its 3:30…

Tsuki-chan: WHAT.

Izuku couldn’t help snort at that.

Tsuki-chan: I’VE BEEN HERE SINCE LIKE 6

129: dont worry, i get lost in the relaxation too!

Tsuki-chan: OH MY GOD. GOOD F ING NIGHT NERD.

129: wait!! are you gonna be here tomorrow?

Tsuki-chan: yeah. at 6ish. thats when i usually play.

129: i’ll be here!! do not worry!!

Tsuki-chan: dont nerd too hard it might actually kill you.

Tsuki-chan: now get out of my town. im gonna close the gate.

129: ok!! good night!! (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

Izuku made his avatar give Tsuki-chan a little wave as he scurried back to the train station, and back to his own town.

Even so soon after this encounter ending, he wondered if it really happened.

I met Kacchan on Animal Crossing. I watered his flowers- he has FLOWERS! I insulted him and he liked it! We’re friends! And I’m gonna talk to him again tonight!

He almost missed the little indicator.

A present. From Tsuki-chan.

Izuku held his breath as he opened it.

“FOR YOU. I’VE GOT A LOT OF THEM ANYWAY.”

A Jacob’s ladder.

Chapter Text

Izuku’s heart was hammering all the way to UA.

He was both dreading to see Kacchan and couldn’t wait to see Kacchan! He wanted some kind of definitive proof that it really was him he talked to last night.

Last night.

when Izuku had woken up, the first thing he did was grab his DS and see if what had happened really happened.

And there it was: Tsuki-chan on his friends list. With the same little irritated picture.

All morning, Izuku wondered what to do with the Jacob’s Ladder that Tsuki gave him.

Should he plant it? Put it inside his house? What? What?

Izuku was thinking of wearing it in his hair, for now. It would make a nice accessory! A way to show Tsuki-chan how thankful he was for the gift!

But it would look bad with his All Might getup. He had to have a wardrobe change!

To what, though?

There’s no way he’d make his hair green. He already was pushing it with the green eyes.

Hmm… he’d have to think of that.

“Good morning, Deku-kun!”

Uraraka snapped Izuku out of his thoughts, and he smiled at her.

“Good morning!”

She frowned in concern, tilting her head. “You look tired! Are you alright?”

“Y-yeah! Just… stayed up late last night playing a game.”

“Oh? What game?”

His face turned a little pink- he still hadn’t gotten over his worries of being made fun of. He knew Uraraka wouldn’t, but still!

“I, ah, I’ll tell you later!”

She smirked at him. “Oh, was it one of those games?”

Those games? What was she-

Oh.

Oh.

“N-no, it’s nothing like, that, honest!!” His face went pink at the implication. “It’s just- it’s just a little embarrassing!”

“Suuure~”

They stepped into the 1-A classroom together, and the first thing Izuku did was scan the room for Kacchan.

There he was, early as always. And- was Izuku imagining those dark circles under Kacchan’s eyes?

“Whoa, Bakugo looks tired,” Uraraka whispered to him. “You see it too?”

Izuku nodded. “Yeah.”

Playing a game until 3:30 in the morning has a tendency to do that to people.

“Do you think he’s ok?”

Izuku shrugged. “It’s Kacchan, I’m sure he’s fine!”


Katsuki was trying hard to resist the temptation of rubbing his eyes.

Fuck, he was tired.

It was his own fault for staying up so late, but still.

At least that 129 guy was entertaining.

He would crack a smile at the memories if he had the energy to.

What a god damn nerd. He was trying to impress him, too, it was so obvious.

He wondered what 129’s town looked like. Probably All Might themed or something. Maybe he could ask tonight.

He’d never admit it to anyone, but he couldn’t wait to get back home.

That game was oddly relaxing to him. If his anger wasn’t too bad, it gave him something else to think about. If it was one of the worse days, he played another game to blow off steam, and then it was right back to Animal Crossing to deal with the emotional fallout, the calm scenery slowly easing the post-anger numbness away.

Not that he’d ever admit it.

He thought he could get away with having his avatar look like him- he didn’t look especially striking, in his opinion. Tsuki was a fairly common name, though, and anyone who knew him might not get the connection due to the last-name basis he had with pretty much everyone.

That, plus the -chan at the end. Katsuki Bakugo would never put that suffix on a name he chose.

Except he did.

And he would rather die than admit why he did that.

Fuckin’ 129.

Katsuki never, ever, ever gave away his Jacob’s Ladders. But there was just something about 129, something soft and familiar. Like he’s known him all his life.

It was most likely Katsuki’s 3am sentimentality kicking in, but he didn’t know how to turn it off. Nor did he particularly want to.

His fondness for 129 was fine. 129 didn’t know who he was. Nobody in his class even knew he played Animal Crossing, let alone that he was talking to a guy on it. He could be as oddly affectionate as he wanted, and he wouldn’t affect him at all.

It was safe.

Maybe 129 could help him figure a few things out.

Katsuki was stuck- stuck between I don’t want to be like this and but I’ve been like this for so long; what do I become in its absence?

He was cruel.

He was cruel, and it cost him something he would never admit to missing.

He was cruel, and it could cost him new friends. Could cost him a hero career.

But he couldn’t just- not be cruel out of nowhere. Because then, what should he be? Doing a complete 180 on his personality seemed… fake. As if he was pretending. Slapping a mask on and trying to pass it off as his own face.

He had to change, but to what?

He didn’t want to be cruel. He didn’t understand why he was so cruel.

And that was funny, wasn’t it? He was cruel. He should know why he was cruel.

But he didn’t.

Why did hearing Deku talk about being a hero twist his insides up? Make them burn like he grabbed his own heart and used his quirk on it?

It was impossible for someone quirkless to be a hero! Impossible! Didn’t Deku see? He was going to get himself killed!

It made Katsuki mad.

So mad.

And then Deku had a quirk- and then what? All those years of anger, for nothing? Hooray, he has a quirk, and the freedom to what, pulverize his fucking arm?

What an upgrade.

How cruel.

Katsuki couldn’t even be happy for him. He was even angrier than ever. His anger drove him to do things, things people knew about- and things people would never know about until they came into fruition.

His leg tingled with phantom pains.

He remembered the night he’d broke it- how it was crushed, how Katsuki was barely aware of his surroundings, gasping for breath, how one of his parents- he wasn’t sure which one- burst into his room and screamed.

“Again?” His mother had said. “Fucking again? How many TIMES, Katsuki? How many is ENOUGH?”

He wasn’t sure how many times would be enough.

He wasn’t even sure how many times it’s been. Keeping track would just drive him further into a pit of emotions he’d rather not name.

Aizawa-sensei’s arrival into the classroom snapped Katsuki out of his unpleasant thoughts.

God, he needed some fucking sleep.


Izuku finished his homework as quickly as he could and hopped on his DS.

Tsuki-chan still wasn’t online.

Well, Izuku was an hour early. He needed to tend to his own town, after all.

His town’s name was Ureshi- it sounded like the word for happy, ureshii, but he swapped out the last kanji with the kanji for town- shi.

Happy City, literally.

Izuku scurried around the town, making sure everything was as pretty as it could possibly be. He needed to impress Tsuki-chan! Not that there was much that was impressive.

His many inspirations from his dream town travels led there to be decorations wherever he saw fit to put them, in no real order or cohesive pattern. His town was more open than Satsu, giving its inhabitants room to breathe, as opposed to the concealing forests crafted by Tsuki.

Once he finished his work, he started thinking of his new appearance. He stole a glance to his friends list- Tsuki still wasn’t online yet.

He had time.

Izuku had settled for his hair to be a nice orange, to match Tsuki’s fires. That part, plus his new haircut, was easy. He liked the loose style he picked- there were two loose styles in the game, and he liked how both him and Tsuki had each one.

He wondered if Tsuki would take it the wrong way.

If it is Kacchan- he could! Maybe he saw Izuku’s new look as him being a copycat?

Blegh, he needed to stop worrying so much!

Maybe he should work on more insults? They seemed to impress Tsuki last night. Izuku still wondered why Kacchan would like to be insulted. Maybe he liked it because it was all in good fun? He must know that 129 didn’t mean it, and his lack of rage must indicate that his insults towards 129 were just in a joking manner.

Did he do this in real life, too? Did I just miss it? Were those ten years- no, no, that was a different style, those weren’t jokes. But I am kind of noticing it! He always says “DIE!” or “GO TO HELL!” when doing something extreme! Of course those were all jokes! Er, exaggerations. Something to hype himself up. I mean, I never actually thought that he wanted to kill all of his classmates, but I guess I just never made the connection before now! It’s kind of obvious in hindsight!

After too much debating with himself, Izuku decided to keep his current All Might outfit- it had been expensive for him to buy in-game! So many bells that could have gone towards his mortgage, or something.

The thing he saved for last was his Jacob’s Ladder, equipping it on his head and smiling at the screen when he saw how nice it looked there.

He headed towards the train station to open his gate, but on Far Away mode. Only his friends could visit, which, at this point in time, he preferred. He just wanted Tsuki to see, and maybe help him make his town good enough to open on Nearby.

He looked at the time- it was past 6. Where was Tsuki-chan?


Katsuki blearily rubbed at his eyes, lifting his phone and checking the time. 8:04 PM. He squinted and groaned at the light, letting his arm flop back onto his bed.

He hadn’t meant to sleep for so long- he’d finished his homework quick and practically inhaled dinner, but the 3 hours of sleep he got last night had really done a number on him. He just wanted to rest his eyes for like, five minutes.

But no. It’s been two hours.

129 must think Katsuki stood him up.

He sat up and stretched, grabbing his DS from his bedside table and opening it. First thing he did was check his friends list- 129 was online! He rushed to the train station and opened his gate to Far Away- he didn’t want anyone intruding on this and interrupting his time with 129. Fuck nipping this new friendship in the bud.

He had matters to attend to in his own town, though.

As he scurried around Satsu and took care of everything one by one, he could feel the anxiety he wouldn’t admit to having ebbing away.

Why the hell am I anxious? I don’t even know this guy! Who cares what he thinks of me?

Whatever. He’ll burn that bridge when he gets to it.


When he had finished, there was still no sign of 129. Where was he?

Was he in his own town?

He went to the train station and first checked Far Away- and there it was. Ureshi. It was one of the few things he actually bothered to read on 129’s Town Player Card.

Without any hesitation (okay, maybe a little,) he hopped on the train.

As his game loaded up, he wondered where 129 even was. Did something happen to him, is that why he’s not there?

Did he realize just who he was talking to and decided to bail? Anyone who saw that picture of him from the sports festival would probably do the same.

Fuck that, though.

He stepped out of the train station and took a look around. Ursehi was nice, he decided.

It was a little disorganized, a little scattered- but Katsuki figured it fit 129 pretty well.

He decided to check the message board- nothing. Don’t get many visitors, do you, nerd?

He wandered around until he saw 129’s little avatar… just standing there.

Tsuki-chan: sorry i’m late.

Nothing. Who did this guy think he was, ignoring Katsuki like that?

Tsuki-chan: answer me f er.

Still nothing. Katsuki gripped his DS and felt rage filling him.

Wait no fuck don’t fucking do that for christ’s sake don’t destroy this before it even starts.

There has to be another reason.

But what reason?

129 figured it out and hated him, and he’s trying to find other UA students to show.

No, don’t fucking say that. Besides, he would have closed his gate.

129 was doing all that and was just trying to play it safe.

Oh my god, something else you shitty brain.

129 was laughing at him floundering around and he was totally doing this on purpose to rile him up and get him to show 129 his true colors-

FUCK! THESE ARE ALL GARBAGE IDEAS!

Something else, something else…

What’s something YOU would do?

129 is laughing at him and was about to corner him the next day and ruin his life.

OH MY GOD this is annoying. What’s something you would do AND LIKE DOING.

He would ruin his-

MY GOD I GIVE UP THIS IS HOPELESS. Okay, okay, one more. One fucking more. Something rational.

… 129 was recording this all and having a laugh at him and was gonna post it online to humiliate him and he would absolutely deserve it because of the last ten years-

FUCK’S SAKE!

I mean… that one’s right. Maybe not about the recording thing but the second bit was all correct.

A noise snapped him out of his thoughts.

129: ohmygosh im so sorry!!!

129: i fell asleep omg did i keep you waiting for long?

129: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Oh.

Okay, that made a lot more sense than the garbage his brain came up with.

But did it really?

Yes it did, shut the fuck up.

Tsuki-chan: i just got here actually.

Tsuki-chan: i thought you were giving me the cold shoulder.

129: why would i do that!!?

Tsuki-chan: lots of reasons haha.

129: i cant think of any!!

129: oh!! do you like my new look?

129: i made my hair orange like your fires!!

129: and the flower!! i wanted to look at it all the time so;;

Oh my god, oh my fucking god. Why was Katsuki finding this all so fucking precious? What was wrong with him? His chest ached for this shitty nerd with his shitty orange hair.

Tsuki-chan: it’s ok.

Tsuki-chan: town’s nice. happy city haha.

Tsuki-chan: at least your name fits your town.

129: ;;YOU THINK MY TOWN IS NICE??

129: yours is so much nicer!! i was actually hoping you’d help me with mine!!

Tsuki-chan: the weird scattered cr p fits your personality.

129: is that another insult!!?

Tsuki-chan: maybe it is. maybe it isn’t.

Tsuki-chan: get on my level.

There was a little bit of a longer delay between messages, but then-

129: unfortunately to get on your level...

129: id need a pair of cinderblock shoes and a trip to the mariana trench!

Katsuki couldn’t help the laugh that tore out of him at that. WHAT did he just say?? What just came out of that fucking nerd’s mouth?? He laughed so damn hard he dropped his DS and felt tears pricking his eyes. Where did he learn THAT?? Oh my god how long did he spend thinking that up-?!

He’d never been more delighted to be insulted.

And he hadn’t laughed that hard in… fuck, how long has it been?

He wiped at his eyes and picked up his DS again.

129: did i go too far?

129: im sorry if i did!!

129: please come back;;

Tsuki-chan: NO

Tsuki-chan: I WAS LAUGHING OH MY GOD

Tsuki-chan: how long did that take to come up with hahahaah!!

129: youd laugh if i said;;

Tsuki-chan: cmon. i wont be mean. im still riding the laughter high.

129: i… while i was waiting

129: i spent an hour thinking up insults and writing them down!!

Oh my god.

What a god damn nerd.

He kind of reminded him of-

Nononono we’re not going there again you shitty brain. We went there last night, and we’re not going back.

This isn’t shitty Deku.

He pretended not to notice how his chest tightened at that.

Tsuki-chan: you’re a nerd ahahahahaha.

Tsuki-chan: f ck. at least you try.

129: of course!! i always try my best!! even if its at insulting my new friends!!

129: did you like it…?

Tsuki-chan: of course i f ing did. that was legendary.

Tsuki-chan: the lack of confidence f ing killed it though. nerd.

129: im sorry!! its just that;; im not used to this!

129: im not the playful insults type! im always worried that like, what if i go too far?

129: and you block me or something haha;;

Tsuki-chan: tch. nothing is too far.

Tsuki-chan: words won’t f ing hurt me.

Tsuki-chan: don’t treat me like some kind of weak b ch.

129: ok;; im still new to this! so if i go too far! tell me!

Tsuki-chan: you won’t.

Jesus christ, was this guy for real?

129: ok… its just that, i kind of, had a bullying problem.

129: so im scared of hurting someone like that!!

Oh.

Oh.

Kastuki hadn’t stopped to consider… if 129 would even like the style of humor he decided to try out…

Tsuki-chan: i had a bully problem too.

Tsuki-chan: the problem was that i was the bully.

That’s it, 129 is going to call him an asshole and leave. He braced himself for impact and tried to ignore the knife in his heart.

129: oh, that IS a problem!

129: you said “was,” though! so you’re better?

Tsuki-chan: trying to be.

Tsuki-chan: failing.

129: i bet youre doing better than you think!!

Tsuki-chan: why are you cheering me up?

Tsuki-chan: i’m the kind of person that hurt you.

129: people can change, i think…

129: i have a friend- well, he hates me…

129: he used to be mean to me, but he stopped!

129: im hoping that maybe one day, we can talk it out?

129: is… that bad, do you think?

129: he hurt me but i want to be friends again!!

Katsuki felt like he was floating, and not in a particularly good way. This was disorienting, and shitty.

129 reminded him so much of Deku. So, so much. That little twinge of hope flared up again, and it was the only thing he could feel.

But it wasn’t Deku.

He refused to take a closer look at 129’s Town Player Card and confirm. He wasn’t sure if he could take it.

Tsuki-chan: you do what you want.

Tsuki-chan: people respond to sh t in different ways.

Tsuki-chan: but don’t let yourself be f ing walked over.

Tsuki-chan: if that a hole wants to change, dont let that be enough.

Tsuki-chan: he has to ACTUALLY change.

Tsuki-chan: don’t let yourself be walked over.

129: no offense but, to steal your words, don’t treat me like someone whos weak!

129: i can stand up for myself now!

129: i wont let him torment me like that ever again!

129: i wanna be friends again but im not gonna be stupid about it!!

129: and i AM mad at what he did to me!!

129: but im willing to hear him out, and talk, and smooth things out on both sides!!

129: i won’t be mad anymore if he actually did change;;

Katsuki smirked. This guy had some spark in him yet. Whoever he was, Katsuki had full confidence that 129 could hold his own against his former tormentor.

Tsuki-chan: that’s what i like to f ing hear.

Tsuki-chan: rage, you d mned nerd.


Izuku had managed to talk Tsuki into at least helping him have some sort of cohesion with his random decorations, instead of it being scattered like it currently was, and they had spent a good deal of time moving things around together. Well, Izuku did most of the moving, and Tsuki provided the advice, mostly amounting to maybe this should be next to this, or jesus christ have some flowers other than tulips, this is redundant.

Izuku glanced at the clock, and his brow furrowed at how late it was.

129: its like 10:20!!

Tsuki-chan: oh shi ur right.

129: u need to sleep!! isnt hero school hard?

Tsuki-chan: i can handle it.

Tsuki-chan: but i was dying today.

Tsuki-chan: hahaha.

You sure were, Kacchan, Izuku thought. He remembered noticing that Kacchan’s movements were more labored throughout the day. But that was just because he was looking out for it- none of the others, nor the teachers, noticed anything. Or if they did, they didn’t think of it as anything too serious.

129: id bet!! i was dying too!!

129: i bet i was dying more than you were

Tsuki-chan: tch as if.

Tsuki-chan: i was totally dying more.

Tsuki-chan: i was so dead i was writing my will.

129: writing your will?? i was so dead we held a funeral at lunch!!

Tsuki-chan: well i was so dead we held a funeral in first period.

129: i was so dead i was DEAD

Tsuki-chan: THAT’S WHAT DEATH IS NERD HAHAHAHA

Izuku let out a soft laugh at that. He hoped that when Kacchan wrote out his laughs, he was actually laughing, and it wasn’t fake, mocking laughter.

Tsuki-chan: by the way.

Tsuki-chan: did you want my number?

Tsuki-chan: or something.

Tsuki-chan: this chat system f ing sucks. i wanna swear.

Izuku turned beet red- Tsuki wanted to give him his phone number? To talk like regular people? And have conversations? Normally?

He could message Tsuki-chan at lunch! While he was going to sleep! Before school! He didn’t have to wait for Tsuki to come onto Animal Crossing to talk to him!

129: yeah yeah yeah!! that would be so cool!!

Tsuki-chan: ok here you go.

And there it was.

Tsuki-chan’s- Kacchan’s phone number.

Izuku rushed to grab his phone, and shakily punched in the digits, triple-checking to make sure he got them right.

He had a simple message typed out, but right before he pressed Send, he was overcome by anxiety.

He felt sick.

This was totally a next step- now him and Tsuki were friends friends, whatever that might bring. What was it even like to be friends with Kacchan in the present day? Close friends?

Kacchan was so different as Tsuki-chan…

Tsuki-chan: are u gonna text me or what nerd.

Izuku took a deep, shaky breath, and exhaled.

Just press the button. Just press the button!

He pressed the button.

129: hi!! \(^▽^*)

Izuku held his breath as he saw the little “typing…” indicator pop up.

Tsuki-chan: OH THANK GOD I CAN FINALLY FUCKING SWEAR

Tsuki-chan: I’M TRULY LIVING NOW

Tsuki-chan: like giving water to a dying man.

Izuku let out a sigh of relief, of course Tsuki-chan was acting normally! Why wouldn’t he?

129: haha!! i saved you!

129: worry not! i am here! (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

Tsuki-chan: wowowow you REALLY like those things don’t you.

129: whaaat!! theyre cute!!

Tsuki-chan: never said they weren’t.

129: do you want me to make you one??

Tsuki-chan: you can do that?

129: yeah!!

Tsuki-chan: you know what? im curious.

Tsuki-chan: why not.

129: yay!! itll be my thanks for the jacobs ladder!!

129: its really cute…

Tsuki-chan: i can tell you like it.

Tsuki-chan: i might get a jacob’s ladder.

Tsuki-chan: a real one, i mean.

129: !!!! you keep flowers?

Tsuki-chan: don’t tell anyone. but yeah.

129: who would i tell? haha

Tsuki-chan: don’t know.

129: what flowers?? do you keep?

Tsuki-chan: hold on

Izuku held on, trying to picture the mental image of Bakugo Katsuki tending to flowers. He felt his face heat up at it- did Kacchan have a garden like he had in Animal Crossing ? Or was it just some potted plants? What potted plants? He cracked a smile at the thought of Kacchan scowling at his plants as he watered them, and screaming “GROW, YOU DAMNED BASTARDS! FLOURISH!”

His phone pinged and dissipated that mental image. His heart fluttered- what did Tsuki want to show him?

A picture of a cherry tree bonsai, of all things.

It was beautiful.

It was in full bloom, the light pink flowers large and vibrant. It was in a green pot, which worked well against the pink of the flowers. And- were those wires wrapped around the roots?

Kacchan took care of this? It was… amazing.

It made Izuku’s heart leap out of his chest.

Tsuki-chan: technically not a flower. but yeah.

129: ARE YOU KIDDING THIS IS AMAZING!!

129: you take care of that??? i love it so much!! it’s so pretty!!

129: what are those wires?

Tsuki-chan: it’s called nebari.

Tsuki-chan: the roots are important to the aesthetic of the whole thing.

Tsuki-chan: i put the wires in when i repotted it to this pot and added the new non-shitty soil.

Tsuki-chan: they’re shaping the roots and making them grow in a nicer way.

Tsuki-chan: it’s gonna be fucking amazing when they’re done.

Tsuki-chan: if i even did it right.

129: wow!!

129: and you call ME a nerd!!

Tsuki-chan: SHUT UP

Tsuki-chan: it’s only normal to know about what you do!

129: aww its ok, nerd!! i wont tell!!

129: nerds have to stick together you know!!

Tsuki-chan: I’LL KILL YOU

129: but i dont wanna die!! ε=ε=(っ*´□`)っ

Tsuki-chan: pff on my screen it looks like you’re running towards me

129: protect me, hero!! |ω`)

Tsuki-chan: even if you call me a nerd, i’ll never be a bigger nerd than you, nerd.

Tsuki-chan: and i’m only in training.

Tsuki-chan: can i be honest

Izuku went cold at that. Was Kacchan about to admit something to him…? Something that he, as Izuku, did not know? Something he was never supposed to know?

But who was he, to turn Kacchan away at his time of need?

129: sure!

Tsuki-chan didn’t say anything for a few minutes, and then:

Tsuki-chan: sometimes i don’t think i deserve to be a hero.

Tsuki-chan: fuck, that sounds pathetic.

Tsuki-chan: i want to be a hero. but i didn’t earn it.

129: you… dont?

129: but you’re so nice!

129: kind of rough! but nice

Izuku felt tears well up in his eyes. Kacchan thought like this? His Kacchan? Amazing, inspiring Kacchan, the Kacchan who always said he would be the greatest hero, the Kacchan who was stubborn to a fault, and would never let anything stop him from reaching his goal?

Tsuki-chan: i used to be an asshole.

Tsuki-chan: it’s worse than you think.

129: how do you know what i think?

Tsuki-chan: i don’t know.

Tsuki-chan: fuck

Tsuki-chan: i don’t know why i’m saying this

Tsuki-chan: i hate thinking about it

Tsuki-chan: i told myself i wouldnt tell

Tsuki-chan: nobody needs to know

Tsuki-chan: im selfish. it wont stop me

129: STOP IT!!

129: you’re just spiraling!!

129: im sorry for yelling but you have to stop!

129: i don’t know what YOU were like! but i was bullied too!

129: i know about people like you!

129: it’s obvious you actually CARE

129: im not gonna say its fine

129: but its not not fine

129: do you get it?

Izuku’s phone trembled in his hands as he bit back sobs. His tears streamed down his cheeks, a few droplets dripping onto his phone.

Was he doing this right? He wished he could say more- he knew what Kacchan did! Kacchan was really this torn up about it all? Izuku thought he would be more angry at the fact that Kacchan knew what he did wrong and yet didn’t apologize, but it all clicked.

Kacchan was scared.

He was scared- of Izuku? Of failure? Rejection?

Izuku was scared too. Scared of a lot of things.

He couldn’t fault Kacchan for being scared.

Tsuki-chan: i want all of this to stop

Tsuki-chan: forever.

Tsuki-chan: but it never does

Tsuki-chan: i try and try and try and try and it never works

Tsuki-chan: what am i supposed to do

Tsuki-chan: i have ONE SHOT to talk to him. once. one. uno.

Tsuki-chan: if i fuck up thats it

Tsuki-chan: i fuck both of us over

129: its ok to be scared…

Tsuki-chan: i’m not scared.

129: i said its ok! but

129: i think you deserve to be a hero

129: heroes mess up! they just have to fix it

129: so fix it

129: i know you can do it! (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

Tsuki-chan: has anyone ever told you that you’re too nice

129: sometimes!

Izuku wasn’t sure if Kacchan had figured it out yet. What if he had his suspicions, but didn’t want to say anything, because it would be obvious who he was if he was wrong? Or maybe he was banking on Izuku himself not knowing who he was?

What he wanted to say was a risky move.

But… Kacchan took a risk, too.

He was vulnerable.

Izuku could only try and imagine how hard this was for Kacchan. What kind of breaking point Kacchan was pushed to, to talk about this with anyone!

Was Kacchan just at his breaking point this whole time? Had Izuku never noticed?

He had to help Kacchan. That’s what heroes do.

129: you know how i said i was bullied?

129: and that i wanted to be friends with him again?

129: people say im too nice

129: i know my mom thinks it, even if she doesnt say it;;

129: im doing it anyway because i know! i know i can!

129: i know he’s a good person! i’ve seen it!

129: and i know YOU’RE a good person!

129: i dont know what you did, but…

129: i think i’d still like to be your friend

129: if it were me you bullied

129: if i thought you were a bad person, i wouldn’t still be talking to you!

Izuku trembled as he waited for a response, each second feeling like an eternity. He wiped at his eyes, sniffling as his insides twisted- a futile measure, as new tears just replaced the old ones.

It took Tsuki-chan a long time to respond.

In actuality, it was probably only five or so minutes. But to Izuku, it felt like an hour. Maybe more.

He couldn’t hold back sobs anymore; the most he could manage was just muffling them, biting his lip to keep them quiet.

Had Kacchan done… something? Did he leave? Was he crying and couldn’t type? Izuku didn’t want to think about Kacchan crying, ever. But why wasn’t he answering? Was he thinking, or just doing something? What was he doing? Was it something bad? Was he hurting himself- no, no Izuku thought, Kacchan would never hurt himself. Or would he? I used to think that Kacchan never felt this way but he DID and he’s talking about it, and Kacchan NEVER talks about things like this, ever, he doesn’t talk about anything, and he feels bad about hurting me? And he’s scared? Anything goes. Anything goes! Anything, including things I really really don’t want to think about. Oh god, Kacchan said he wanted everything to stop forever, did he mean fixing things or did he mean-

Ping!

Izuku scrambled for his phone, letting out a cry of relief at the texts.

Tsuki-chan: that’s you.

Tsuki-chan: my guy is my guy.

Tsuki-chan: i made a mistake mentioning any of this.

Tsuki-chan: i just want to go to bed.

Tsuki-chan: don’t worry about anything i said, ok?

Tsuki-chan: everything is fine.

Izuku felt sick, he honest to god felt sick as he read the texts over and over. Those simple little lines seemed so foreboding- they were so innocuous, but Izuku felt as if they were a hastily slapped band-aid on something ugly, something nobody was ever meant to see.

129: are you sure?

129: its ok if you still wanna talk!!

Tsuki-chan: i’m sure.

Tsuki-chan: i’m just pissed. at myself.

Tsuki-chan: don’t worry.

Tsuki-chan: i’m fine.

129: ok…

129: ill be here if you ever wanna talk again though!

129: i may not be studying to be a hero, but i can be YOUR hero! (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

Tsuki-chan: nerd.

Tsuki-chan: neeeeerd. haha.

Tsuki-chan: goodnight.

129: night, tsuki-chan!! (ノ^ヮ^)ノ*:・゚✧

Izuku was left to wonder alone, if he really did the right things.

He didn’t get much sleep that night.

Chapter Text

Katsuki groaned, stretching his arms, then his legs- wait fuck no bad idea shit no don’t move your leg, idiot.

Gotta move it at SOME point.

He sat up, being a little slower with his leg. Fuuuck, fuck fuck fuck. Fuck! Of course he had to take care of this shit again, of course, because, y’know, why not? Why not! This was probably his punishment for being so weak.

Well, punishment-after-the-punishment. Punishment 2: This Is Just Annoying.

He did everything right after the first punishment! With the state of his leg and his sheets, it was like he didn’t even put a-

Wait.

Fuck. He forgot to dress the damn thing.

God fucking damn it. HOW many years of this shit, and you forget to dress it NOW? How do you forget something like that!

He picked up his phone and checked the time. 6:45. And he fucking overslept.

Wonderful. Great. Fan-fucking-tastic. This day was going so well already, why even bother going to school? With his luck, some freak accident would happen to him on his way there, but not even anything bad enough to get him out of going! He would have to show up late and humiliated, and God knows what would happen to him there!

Oh. He also had a text. He hadn’t even noticed.

He unlocked his phone to check his messages- he was already running late, what was a couple more minutes? He was already existing as the pathetic wreck that he was deep down, so why not indulge in it for a little bit and make himself show up late and ragged?

129: good morning, tsuki-chan! (❀ ´ ▽ ` )ノ

129: how are you? im doing ok!

129: i made you that kaomoji!

129: 凸( >︿<)凸︵┻━┻

129: look! it’s you!

129: i found a picture of you when someone steals your jacob’s ladders! o(^▽^)o

129: do you like it?

Fuck, what was with this nerd and his ability to make Katsuki feel so… warm? Suddenly, he didn’t care that his boxers were literally fused to his leg.

Tsuki-chan: morning.

Tsuki-chan: im good. now that i saw that thing.

Tsuki-chan: i fucking love it.

Tsuki-chan: that sure is me

Tsuki-chan: 凸( >︿<)凸︵┻━┻

Tsuki-chan: me when you be a nerd. which is all the time

Tsuki-chan: you owe me 400 tables, nerd.

He left his phone on his bed and got up to take a shower. He tugged at his boxers and winced at the pain. They sure were stuck nice and good.

He knew how to get them un-stuck. Hot water and a godly pain tolerance. But that doesn’t mean he liked doing it.

This was going to hurt, so fucking much.

xxxxx

His mom had noticed his gait. It wasn’t his damn fault that walking normally hurt!

Well, it was, but whatever.

At least she didn’t comment on it this time. She just shot Katsuki a look.

Katsuki knew she was getting fed up. He was fed up at himself, too.

“Fed up” was the only appropriate reaction, really. After all this time.

He hoped nobody at school would notice. Maybe by the time anyone bothers to talk to him, the pain would’ve calmed down enough so he could walk normally.

“Yo! Baku-bro!”

God damn it.

Kirishima was waiting right inside the school gate, and clapped him on the back. “Dude, you’re late! Where were you?”

Katsuki shrugged. “None of your damn business, Shitty Hair.”

Kirishima frowned at him and gave him a pointed look. “You’re never late. I mean, you’re not late-late, you just never get here this late!”

“If I’m not late to class then what the hell’s the problem, huh?”

He smiled. “I saw you looking kinda excited yesterday! Did you go on a date~?”

Katsuki stopped in his tracks, eyes going wide. “What the f- Shitty Hair! What the hell, don’t say that!”

“A date isn’t that scandalous!” Kirishima tugged on Katsuki’s wrist to get him to keep walking. “So that means it must’a happened!”

“That’s not how that works!” Katsuki’s face was starting to turn red. “That’s not how anything works!”

Kirishima gave him a knowing look. “Was it with Midoriya~? Is that why you’re embarrassed-”

“IT WASN’T WITH HIM!”

“So you did have a date! But with someone else!”

Katsuki let out a long groan and buried his face in his hands. What, what did he do to deserve such torment?

“No, Shitty Hair.” He willed his voice to be steady. “I did not. Have. A date.”

“Then why did you look so excited?”

“A guy can’t be excited? I can’t have emotions?”

Kirishima lightly smacked him on the shoulder. “C’mon, Baku-bro! I won’t tell anyone if you don’t want me to!”

A sigh. “I did not go on a fucking date. I was just playing a videogame with some asshole.”

Kirishima’s eyes sparkled. “Ooooh, a videogame date? With who? Do I know ‘em?”

“It’s not a fucking date! It’s just some guy I met on the videogame and talked to, what, twice?”

He draped his arms around Katsuki and overdramatically leaned on him, making Katsuki stumble.

“Haha, riiight~ You can tell me whenever you’re ready, lover-bro!”

“Shut up. And get the fuck off of me.”

Kirishima laughed, but did so anyway.

Suddenly, Katsuki heard his phone ping from his pocket. He felt his heart speed up and willed himself to not check it right then- Kirishima would totally ask questions.

“Yo, Baku-bro, your face is red!”

“Wh- no it’s not!”

Another fucking smile. “No, it totally is! See, we can swing by the bathroom and check in the mirror-”

“We aren’t swinging anywhere or checking anything!” To Katsuki’s relief, he’d fallen into a normal walking pattern without realizing, which meant his shitty leg was okay for the time being.

So, naturally, he immediately took off running down the hall and towards the 1-A classroom.

xxxxx

129: im so happy you liked it!!

129: here’s one of you when you saw it!

129: 凸( >▽<)凸︵┻━┻

Izuku fidgeted in his seat, checking his phone every few seconds. He knew there would be nothing there, there was no ping or anything- but he still checked nonetheless. Tsuki-chan’s… episode… last night still replayed in his mind. Perhaps he was making a big deal out of it all. But perhaps he wasn’t. That was one of the sad downfalls of text-only conversations. Izuku had absolutely no way of telling what was going on where Tsuki-chan was, outside of asking. Which, would never yield any results. Tsuki-chan would either continue saying “it’s fine. it’s FINE.” because it was genuinely fine, or he could lie. Either option was viable.

But Kacchan doesn’t like lying!

Izuku let out a sigh. Sometimes there are things so personal to someone, that they are willing to sacrifice their morals to keep them hidden.

A banging made Izuku- and many of the others- jump.

Katsuki had barrelled into the classroom, red-faced, and pushed past everyone, sliding right in his desk. Kirishima was right after him, yelling “Chill, Baku-bro, it was just a joke!” prompting Katsuki to yell “Shut the fuck up!” right back. Kirishima made a move to bypass his desk and get close to Katsuki, but a glare from Katsuki made him put his hands up in a mock-surrender position and sit down.

Everyone slowly went back to their respective conversations, as Izuku kept his eyes on Katsuki.

He was just… sitting there for a minute or two.

But then…. yes! He pulled his phone out and typed something. Izuku’s phone pinged, and he hurried to put it on silent mode before the consistent synchronized pings tipped Katsuki off.

Tsuki-chan: hahahaahahaha

Tsuki-chan: fucking amazing.

Izuku had a flash of an idea. He was anonymous, and in this moment, he understood the appeal of the concept. He could say whatever he wanted, with no consequence. The most that would happen is Tsuki-chan not talking to him, which… Tsuki had said he could take anything, so bailing out because of some words didn’t seem like a very him thing to do!

Izuku could finally do something he’d wanted to do for so, so long.

Something he still had to wait to do to the Kacchan sitting right in front of him. They weren’t at that point yet.

He took a deep breath.

129: of course its amazing!

129: its you, isnt it?

129: (。•̀ᴗ-)✧

Izuku could swear that he heard Kacchan sputter. That couldn’t be right, Kacchan doesn’t sputter! But… he could swear…

Tsuki-chan: nerd.

Tsuki-chan: flatterer.

Tsuki-chan: fuck you.

129: how forward, tsuki-chan!!

129: we haven’t even met!

129: or is this your way of asking me out?

Now Izuku knew he wasn’t imagining the choked sound Katsuki made, because a couple of his other classmates turned their heads as well.

“Whoa, dude!” Kirishima exclaimed, “You’re as red as my hair is!”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

Tsuki-chan: SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP

Tsuki-chan: PEOPLE ARE STARING

Izuku was so thankful that he sat behind Katsuki, so nobody could see the faint blush that he knew was starting to bloom on his own cheeks.

129: if theyre staring, does that mean youre flustered?

129: did i fluster you?

Tsuki-chan: YOU FUCKING ASKED ME OUT I’M EMBARRASSED THAT’S WHAT I AM

Tsuki-chan: GO TO HELL

129: aww, so no date?

Katsuki had audibly groaned at that.

Izuku was amazed. He likes me that much? Or maybe I am just embarrassing him…

Tsuki-chan: WHATS GOTTEN INTO YOU

129: well you were the one who said i needed to

129: how did you put it?

129: “wedge that stick out of my ass?”

129: i guess you wanted me to make room for your

Tsuki-chan: DO NOT FINISH THAT SENTENCE.

129: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Tsuki-chan: DIEEEEEEEEEE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE

Tsuki-chan: I WILL KILL YOU AND YOU WILL BE DEAD

129: hahahaha!!

129: ok ok ill stop!

129: only if im scared that youll actually have a heart attack if i don’t!

Katsuki was hunched over in his seat, shaking like hell and holding his phone in a vice-like grip. Kirishima was staring at him, concern etched all over his face. Some others were stealing glances as well- seeing Katsuki in a state like this was something they’d never thought could happen.

Tsuki-chan: don’t.

Tsuki-chan: joke about this shit.

Tsuki-chan: anything is fair game. just not joke flirting.

Oh.

Oh fuck.

Izuku had upset him.

He was selfish and used this opportunity to do something he’d always wanted to do, without considering that Tsuki-chan might find it weird, coming from a near-complete stranger!

And so soon after he’d had some kind of breakdown, too…!

What kind of friend was he?

129: im so sorry!!

129: i won’t do it again im so sorry are you ok?

Did he just hear Kacchan laugh…?

Tsuki-chan: oh my god chill i’m fine

Tsuki-chan: you didn’t break my heart or whatever

Tsuki-chan: its just

Tsuki-chan: you kind of remind me of this guy i know

Tsuki-chan: between you and me

Tsuki-chan: i might like him.

Izuku’s heart shattered.

Kacchan already had a crush…?

On who?

Who here is similar to me? It’s a guy? Are they even in 1-A? Does Kacchan have friends outside of school that I don’t know about? Maybe he meets people like this on videogames all the times, and I’m not even that special! Just one more drop in the ocean of friends that I know it’d be easy for him to have!

129: oh!

129: good luck then!

129: you should ask them out!

Tsuki-chan: NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT

Tsuki-chan: NOOOO

Tsuki-chan: can’t.

129: why not?

Tsuki-chan: complicated.

Tsuki-chan: besides. i said i MIGHT like him.

Just then, Aizawa arrived in the classroom, and everyone hurried back to their seats, Izuku quickly stuffing his phone into his pocket, Katsuki doing likewise. He saw Aizawa look in their direction and raise an eyebrow.

“Bakugo, are you ill?”

“NO FUCK YOU I’M FINE JUST START CLASS ALREADY!”

“Don’t yell.”

xxxxx

Ping!

Katsuki’s phone went off in the lunch room.

He wanted nothing more than to check his phone right then. But Kirishima was right next to him.

Ping!

“Yo, you gonna get that?”

Katsuki grunted. “It’s not important.”

“Seemed to be pretty important before class~”

“Shut up, Shitty Hair!”

Ping!

“Seriously, bro, your boyfriend might think you’re giving him the cold shoulder.”

“I don’t have a fucking boyfriend!”

Kirishima solemnly closed his eyes and laid a hand on Katsuki’s shoulder.

“Bro… it’s okay. I support you. You can tell me if you have a boyfriend. I won’t judge. Love is love.”

Katsuki slapped his hand away. “Asshole, you ALREADY KNOW I’m gay!”

Kirishima struggled to keep the solemn expression without breaking into a smile. “Love is love….”

“Shitty hair, for fuck’s sake.”

“Accept yourself...”

Katsuki groaned. “I hope you die.”

Kirishima’s eyes popped open again. “Why, so you have more free time away from me and with your boyfriend~?”

All Katsuki did was glare at him. “Scratch that, actually. I hope we both die.”

Kirishima let out a laugh and smacked him on the shoulder. “But then who would keep your boyfriend company?”

“Y’know what? I’m ignoring you now.”

Katsuki pulled his phone out and made a show of burying his nose as far into it as possible.

“Tell him that your best friend and wingman says hi!”

Ignoring.

129: hi tsuki-chan!

129: sorry, class started earlier! (シ_ _)シ

129: but im on lunch now!

129: how’s hero school?

Tsuki-chan: fun.

Tsuki-chan: we had hero stuff right before lunch.

129: oh cool!!

129: how was it?

Tsuki-chan: eh. it was mostly like. tactical lessons.

Tsuki-chan: after lunch it’s practical stuff.

Tsuki-chan: i can’t fucking wait.

Tsuki-chan: finally i can use my quirk.

129: oh! cool!

129: what’s your quirk?

Tsuki-chan: not telling.

Tsuki-chan: it’s pretty flashy.

129: i bet its amazing!

Tsuki-chan: you place good bets haha.

Tsuki-chan: it is.

Tsuki-chan: what’s yours?

There was a little break in the responses. Was 129’s quirk complicated? Was it something that might have some prejudice attached to it, like What’s-his-face’s quirk in General Studies? Or was it something that might be deemed “useless?”

129: i, uh…

129: don’t… have…

Oh.

Oh my god.

Or he could be quirkless. That was also a possibility.

Oh my god, Katsuki felt like an asshole. So that’s why he couldn’t get into U.A.

Here he was, bragging about accomplishing the dream of someone who couldn’t do it.

Just like how he was with Deku.

I don’t wanna be cruel, his ass! Liar. He was a liar, that’s what he was. He would always be cruel.

Always.

Tsuki-chan: oh

Tsuki-chan: that sucks.

129: yeah it does suck

129: a lot…

Tsuki-chan: and here i am bragging about hero school.

129: i asked!

129: if i didn’t want you to mention it, i would have said so!

129: and i dont think you mean to rub it in or anything haha

Tsuki-chan: i’m not.

Tsuki-chan: you sure it’s ok?

Tsuki-chan: i mean. i just. i knew someone who was quirkless.

Tsuki-chan: and i was a huge fuck about it.

Tsuki-chan: i. don’t want to do that with you.

129: dont worry about it!

129: as long as you dont think of me as lesser for not having a quirk;;

Tsuki-chan: fuck no i learned my lesson.

129: good haha!

129: i’ll still be a hero though!

There it was- that fucking sinking feeling. Katsuki felt rage filling him- just as much as it did with stupid Deku. Don’t fuck it up. Don’t tell him he can’t.

Doesn’t he get it?

He’ll die!

He’ll…

It smacked Katsuki in the face.

He’ll die. He would have died.

DEKU would have died.

That’s why. That’s fucking why. That’s why I did it. That’s why I did everything.

He would have died. He would have DIED.

HE WOULD HAVE DIED.

I’VE KNOWN THAT ASSHOLE SINCE I WAS FOUR AND HE COULD HAVE DIED.

“Bakugo… You okay?” Kirishima was looking at him with genuine concern.

Katsuki hadn’t noticed that he dropped his phone and his mouth was agape. He quickly snapped it shut and scooped his phone back up.

“Yeah. M’ fine. Just some… horror shit.”

“You read horror?”

“Fuck off.”

He would think about this later.

He can’t be going and breaking down in the fucking lunch room.

Tsuki-chan: be careful.

Tsuki-chan: quirks are powerful shit.

Tsuki-chan: you could die.

Tsuki-chan: so. try not to do that.

129: aww, is tsuki-chan worried?

Tsuki-chan: i bore my soul out last night so what the hell

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: i think i was worried about my guy too.

Tsuki-chan: it’s complicated.

129: is that why you were so mean?

Katsuki’s blood ran cold, colder than it already was.

Tsuki-chan: what do you mean?

129: your guy that you bullied was that quirkless kid, wasn’t it?

Tsuki-chan: ...how did you know?

129: i just kind of figured

129: a lot of people bully others based on being quirkless

129: i was bullied a LOT, by a lot of people

129: thats why my name is numbers on ac!

129: so they wouldnt find me;;

Tsuki-chan: guess we’re both hiding from something haha

129: i guess!

Tsuki-chan: but there’s one way for you to be a hero haha

129: yeah…?

Tsuki-chan: there’s this anime

Tsuki-chan: about this super powerful guy that can destroy shit with his punches

Tsuki-chan: in the anime he does like

Tsuki-chan: 100 pushups and sit-ups and squats and a 10km run every day

Tsuki-chan: plus eating right and not using heating or a/c

Tsuki-chan: for 3 years. with no breaks

129: oh ive seen that one!!

Tsuki-chan: so you know exactly what to do.

Tsuki-chan: you should be done by the time i’m done at ua.

129: and we can be a hero team!

Tsuki-chan: in your dreams haha, i work alone.

129: a lot can change in 3 years, tsuki-chan!

Tsuki-chan: put your money where your mouth is, saitama.

Katsuki put his phone down and resumed eating, a faint smile on his face. He didn’t expect his Quirkless friend to react so well to finding out that he used to bully someone who was Quirkless. Although, he did say that shit about thinking people could change the previous night.

Still, it was almost like he already knew.

Katsuki’s heart fluttered again, and he squashed it down like he always did.

It’s not Deku! It’s not fucking Deku! Deku would never be this god damn nice to you. The second he’d look at your TPC and put it together, he would ditch you! This fucker’s still here, so it’s not Deku.

And you’re fucking selfish for hoping that it is.

Shitty, selfish Katsuki.

Trying to speedrun the apology, huh? Baring your soul out to a random person in the hopes that he’ll coddle you and tell you that you’re not a garbage person? In the hopes that it’s Deku and he takes pity on your sad, sorry ass?

He’s only doing this because he barely knows you! The second he knows more about you, knows you’re KATSUKI BAKUGO, he’ll rightfully ditch your ass!

He was bullied and you’re forcing him to coddle someone just like his bully!

Shitty.

Selfish.

Cruel.

Cruel, cruel, cruel.

Forever.

xxxxx

Hero training sucked.

Katsuki normally loved hero training.

But today, he couldn’t even put his all into it.

He tried his fucking hardest, but it was like there was a ten-ton weight strapped to him. He did his normal schtick just fine, though! Maybe a little less enthusiasm behind his words, but nothing too noticeable, hopefully!

No, the worst part was when he twisted in a certain way and there was suddenly a sharp pain in his leg.

A pain he knew all too well.

The pain of a wound reopening.

He’d cried out in pain and faltered- but thankfully he could play it off as just a cramp.

He didn’t need his teachers all up in his business. What he did at home was nobody’s concern but his.

After hero training, he was forced to walk in that stupid fucking gait for the whole rest of the day. He knew that fucking thing would be fused to the bandage when he got home, he knew it.

He slowly peeled his pants off, taking care not to agitate the fucking thing even more.

The bandage wrapped around his upper thigh had a large, red stain on it, and he wouldn’t even get started on the rivlets of dried blood on his leg.

Stupid leaky thing.

Katsuki grit his teeth and began unraveling the bandage, the red stain getting larger and larger the more layers were peeled off. He got to the final layer, and grit his teeth.

This is gonna hurt. Just get it over with.

In one swift move, he pulled at the bandage with one hand, covering his mouth with the other to muffle his scream. He ignored the tears of pain pricking his eyes and brought up the bandage to inspect it. It’s not like he had a morbid fascination with his own blood or anything, he just needed to make sure of a few things.

Just as he expected, the blood had dried and fused to the bandage- but there was no evidence of any kind of scabbing.

Oh. It’s one of THOSE.

He tossed the bandage away and inspected his leg. For the most part, everything was scabbed over as they should be- save for three.

Blood cascaded down his leg. Three of them?

Katsuki really, really didn’t want to deal with this. He grabbed his sheets- hey, they were already bloody from the previous night, so who gives a shit- and wiped the blood away, taking care to be gentle where the wounds actually were.

He’d give them the night to scab over. If he woke up and they still hadn’t scabbed, then he’d worry.

Well, not worry. He knew what to do. Katsuki’s needlework was always a bit shitty, but it got the job done.

Katsuki heard his phone ping. Ah, hell, his thigh could wait. It’s not like this was exactly a rare occurrence or anything. He wiped his hand on his sheets and sat down, picking his phone up.

129: hi, tsuki-chan!

129: how was school?

129: sorry it took me a little while to say hi, i was busy with those 100 push-ups!

Tsuki-chan: hey.

Tsuki-chan: it was cool.

Tsuki-chan: hero stuff was fun but then i had regular classes.

129: aww (╯︵╰,)

129: at least you had hero stuff!

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: how was nerd school?

129: you tell me, nerd!

Tsuki-chan: i’m not as big a nerd as you.

129: you referenced anime

129: i think that confirms your nerdiness!

Tsuki-chan: bitch.

Tsuki-chan: 凸( >︿<)凸︵┻━┻

129: YOU USED IT!!! ヾ(〃^∇^)ノ♪

Tsuki-chan: why would i not use something i like.

129: still!!

129: i have to do homework, though!

129: i just wanted to say hi!

Tsuki-chan: nerd.

Tsuki-chan: i’ve got shit to do too.

Tsuki-chan: after dinner let’s play acnl.

129: ok!! i can help you with satsu if you want?

Tsuki-chan: it’ll go faster. and i’ll keep helping with ureshi.

129: see you then!! ヽ(´∇`)ノ

Tsuki-chan: see you.

Katsuki let his phone fall out of his hand and onto his bed, and checked on his thigh again. None of those wounds have even slowed down with their bleeding, and Katsuki could swear he was getting a little lightheaded. Or was that just his mind playing tricks on him?

Either way, he no longer had the luxury of waiting.

He got up and retrieved a box from under his bed, opening it up and pulling out the contents with the stiff determination of someone who had done this sort of thing before.

A couple of minutes later, and he was all set up. He was biting down on his shirt’s collar, sitting on his bed bare-assed and holding a sewing needle, ready to take care of this problem himself.

It was still as nerve-wracking as always.

Katsuki prided himself on his mental fortitude, but it took a special brand of steel nerves to stomach stitching yourself up.

A special brand of steel nerves he wasn’t sure he’d ever have.

He’d already cleaned the area with peroxide, holding back cries of pain at the burning, and was still patting at it with cloth to wipe away any blood.

Good thing he was experienced enough to be able to work around that. Katsuki had a feeling that his needlework would be a little better if he could fully see what he was doing.

But beggars couldn’t really be choosers.

He was stalling. He had to finish up soon so he could do at least some of his homework before dinner.

C’mon. Just do it. Just fucking do it! You’ve done it before, so many times! Just do it. Do it. Before you bleed out or whatever. Do it. Do it!

If you don’t do it, you’re gonna haveta shamble down to your mom, delirious from blood loss, and tell her to take you to a hospital, and you don’t want that, do you?

That’s what I thought, me.

Stitch yourself up, asshole.

xxxxx

His leg ached with dull throbs of pain as he gave those stubborn things one last cleaning and started to bandage them up again. The rest of his leg was still bloody, as were his sheets. He’d have to clean all of that and replace his sheets with a fresh set.

Katsuki was this close to just shelling out for new sheets whenever this happened, instead of constantly washing them. It would be expensive, but god damn did he hate washing his sheets.

Fuck bloodstains.

He finished up bandaging his leg, and just took a minute to let his body go limp. He wiped away some beads of sweat on his forehead and sighed.

He was sure he was the only person he knew with the mental fortitude to stitch themselves up.

Except maybe Deku.

That fucker broke- no, pulverized his arms on a constant basis, there was no way he would have a problem with stitching up a pussy baby cut like what Katsuki had to deal with.

He’d stitch his own wound, and the wounds of everyone in his fucking class, then smile and wonder why everyone was impressed. He would wonder why it was hard. He would wonder why nobody else could do it.

Fucking Deku. Doesn’t he have any self-preservation?

Deku.

Concern.

It had always been concern for Deku. Katsuki knew the dangers of the world, he knew the strengths of villains- he’d always been big on learning about villain strengths. In his eyes, the stronger the villain, the better, because then it would be all the more amazing when All Might won out against them.

Villains were strong.

They were strong, and they would not hesitate to kill.

They had experience in combat.

A Quirkless whoever would just be a freebie for them.

Deku would rush in, eager to be a hero, and he would get mercilessly, brutally slaughtered.

The thought of it made Katsuki sick to his stomach.

It made him angry. Why couldn’t Deku see that for himself? Why did he have to cling onto a dream that wouldn’t just hurt him, but would kill him?

Deku was always so fucking resilient- in all those years, Katsuki never knocked him down. He never hit back against him, but he never took anything Katsuki did lying down, either.

The thought of that resilience meaning nothing to someone. The thought of someone ripping Deku in half without a second thought. Those thoughts made Katsuki feel sick.

Now that he knew, now that anger was not at the forefront anymore, he didn’t have the luxury of feeling it. Anger was safe. Anger was something he knew how to deal with, how to cope with.

The raw, unfiltered concern of ten years past crashing into him, however, was not.

He didn’t want Deku to get hurt. He’d hurt Deku to prevent him from getting hurt.

But he’d hurt him.

He’d told him to kill himself.

He had told Deku to kill himself.

And what if had done it?

What if? Would Katsuki have been forced to see the mangled body of his childhood best friend? Would Katsuki have realized, then?

Would he be angry? Would he have realized too late?

Katsuki didn’t even want to think about it.

He didn’t want to think about seeing Deku, broken on the pavement, glassy eyes with no life in them and limbs twisted in ways that they shouldn’t, face contorted into an expression of permanent misery.

Or would it be bliss?

God, who fucking knows.

Katsuki squeezed his eyes shut and willed himself not to cry.

He had work to do, after all.

He carefully eased himself off his bed, moving his injured leg slowly as he got up. He laboriously got himself a pair of boxers and a pair of pants, each one being an ordeal to get on. Once he was actually wearing something, he packed up his supplies in his box again and stashed it all in its place under his bed.

‘Till next time.

He checked the time. 5:37. He still had some time to get homework done before dinner.

So that’s what he settled down to do.

He worked methodically, and after a few minutes, he nearly completely forgot about everything that had happened earlier.

xxxxx

“OI, BRAT! DINNER!”

“I’M COMING!”

Katsuki pushed himself away from his desk and stood up. He managed to get a good deal of homework done- all of his English and most of his Japanese, in fact.

He totally wasn’t rushing, though.

Much to his chagrin, his leg was still sore, meaning he had to walk with that stupid gait.

Downstairs.

Where his mom could see.

Because, why not, after everything that happened today?

“WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?” His mother’s yelling sent a spike of anxiety through him.

“I SAID I’M COMING, OLD HAG! I’M FUCKIN’ SORRY MY QUIRK ISN’T TELEPORATION!”

He should just get this over with and hope that she didn’t notice.

xxxxx

Mitsuki Bakugo was glaring daggers at her son as he ate.

She totally noticed. You do a shitty job at disguising that god damn gait! Of course she picked up on it!

Don’t provoke her. Don’t say anything.

God, this is nerve wracking.

Fuck this.

“Oi, hag, you want somethin’, or? Did I breathe wrong again?”

She slammed her hands on the table and stood up.

“I noticed that bullshit limp you have every time you do that.”

“It’s a gait.” Katsuki stabbed at his food.

“Oh? Is that all you have to say for yourself? ‘It’s a gait?’ That’s it?”

He shoved some food into his mouth. “What else s’ there to say?”

“Y’know, you sure seem pissed that I noticed for someone who does all this FOR attention!”

Katsuki rolled his eyes. This again.

“Don’t you roll your eyes at me, brat!” Mitsuki’s voice rose. “If you don’t do it for attention, then why do you parade that fucking limp around like you want everyone to see?”

He shoved another, bigger bite of food in mouth. “It fucking hurts, what do you expect?”

“Oh, it hurts, is that it? I thought you LIKED it when it hurt? Isn’t that why people do it?”

“Shut the fuck up!” Katsuki tried to eat his food as fast as possible.

“Mitsuki,” Masaru spoke up, “please, not at dinner-”

“You don’t think this is a problem? He’s doing shitty, weak things like hurting himself, and for what? He obviously doesn’t LIKE it because of that stupid fucking limp, so it HAS to be for attention-”

This time, it was Katsuki’s turn to slam his hands on the table and stand up. “IT’S NOT FOR FUCKING ATTENTION, HAG!”

“THEN WHAT? WHAT MOTIVE COULD YOU POSSIBLY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING SO WEAK?”

“LIKE I’D FUCKING TELL YOU!”

“Enough, both of you!” Masaru stood up as well. “Please,” he said, in a softer tone. He turned to his wife and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“Mitsuki, please, antagonizing him won’t get him to stop. Maybe we should look into it a little-”

She slapped his hand away. “It’d just be giving him what he wants! He just wants us to coddle him like everyone does in his life!”

“I don’t fucking want to be-”

“SHUT UP, BRAT!”

“Katsuki, please, don’t make it worse.”

Katsuki’s face scrunched up in a way that he hated and his hands balled into fists. “Don’t make it worse? Is that what you fucking said? Are you fucking hearing the things she’s SAYING ABOUT ME?!” He could feel explosions igniting on his palms, the sensation tickling a little.

“Katsuki, think about it. You never did tell us why you do any of this…”

“Like I’d trust you with that!”

Mitsuki put her hands on her hips. “Oh, so now you’re saying you don’t trust us, you brat? We’re your parents and you don’t trust us? Who do you trust, then? Your so-called friends at school? I bet you parade this shit around everywhere and tell them that you do it because we’re both such awful parents and you can’t take it anymore and other garbage that I can’t believe would ever come out of the mouth of my son!”

“NO!” This normally wouldn’t happen, but after everything that happened today, Katsuki was on the verge of tears. “Nobody knows! I didn’t tell anybody!”

“Like I’d believe that!”

“Mitsuki-”

“STAY OUT OF IT, MASARU!” She turned her attention back to Katsuki. “And you. Do you have any idea how weak this makes you? Do you think anyone else in that fancy school of yours does that?”

“No-!”

“SHUT UP WHEN I’M TALKING! If you know it’s weak, they why do you do it?”

Katsuki couldn’t take it anymore and tears sprung from his eyes. “SHUT UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

Mitsuki seemed completely unfazed by this. “What’s wrong? Did you finally run out of excuses?”

“THAT’S NOT-”

“Katsuki! Don’t antagonize her.” Masaru slowly walked up to his son and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Maybe you should go upstairs-”

Katsuki swatted Masaru’s hand away. “Fuck that!”

“Don’t you yell at your father, brat!”

Masaru paid her no heed as he leaned in closer to Katsuki. “Please, Katsuki. Don’t be mad at her. You know she’s just showing concern in her own way.”

“How?” Katsuki glared and grit his teeth and tried his hardest to hold back his tears. “By saying I do it for attention?”

“It’s hard to understand, Katsuki. But just… try to see it from her eyes, okay? Her son is hurting himself, who wouldn’t be worried?”

Katsuki said nothing, and looked away.

“Don’t coddle him, Masaru!” Mitsuki yelled from the other side of the table. “What’re you even saying to him?”

“I’m just- I’m trying to calm him down so he doesn’t yell…”

Katsuki bit his lip. “Is that all you fucking care about? Keeping me calm?” His tears had finally overflowed and started to freely stream down his face. His nose was starting to run, too. “You just don’t want me to be a handful, don’t you?”

He finally turned and faced Masaru, rage radiating from him. “Fine. FINE!” He started to storm away. “You don’t want me to be a handful? I’ll fucking get out of your hair, then!”

“BRAT!” Katsuki didn’t even slow at her call. “If you do that SHIT again, I’m not coming when you cry for help! Help your damn self this time!”

“Mitsuki, you can’t say that! He could-”

“He won’t die! He’s too chicken-shit! How many times do I have to say, he doesn’t actually want to do it!”

Katsuki walked faster, slamming his door with all the force he could muster up once he arrived in his room. He immediately collapsed onto his bed, grabbed his pillow, and screamed so loudly into it that he felt his throat start to go raw. He beat and clawed at his bed, explosion after explosion shooting from his hands, the smell of burnt linens permeating the air. His screams devolved into sobs, his lungs burning due to lack of oxygen- not that Katsuki would lift his head even for a second to breathe a little easier.

He was too far gone to even think about stopping himself- his mind was foggy and blank even as he eventually ran out of steam to continue taking his emotions out on his bed, laying there limply as he clutched his pillow and he cried into it.

Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic pathetic pathetic pathetic pathetic.

I bet nobody else in your class does this shit.

Because they’re all strong. You’re fucking weak. What, can’t handle a little argument? How the fuck can you expect to handle actual villains? Your shitty ass would probably break down crying in the middle of a fight. You’d be a liability to everyone around you.

The shittiest hero ever.

Bottom of the fucking charts level shitty.

Hated. Mocked.

Because you’re pathetic!

You’re weak!

You’re too chicken-shit to do the thing you want to do!

Chicken-shit.

He’d fucking show her chicken-shit.

Then who’d be laughing?

He pushed himself away from his pillow, not even caring that his head hurt and his eyes stung and his entire face was wet and gross and covered with either tears or snot or drool- or that he was still crying- and he reached under his bed.

He felt on the underside for it and ripped it away from its hiding spot- a Swiss Army knife, taped in place. Dried blood dotted it, and its blade- which Katsuki never bothered to close- was near-completely coated in it.

Normally, Katsuki would make a mental note to clean it.

But who cared.

Who fucking cares!

He doesn’t need to worry about risk of infection where he’s going.

He brought the knife up.

He could just stab it straight down- for this, he didn’t need a bare leg. He could cut through his pants, cut through the bandage- and cut right through where he knew he had to.

And no fucking screaming for help.

This was it. Even if he pussied out like he always did, there was no help coming.

Finally. Fucking finally.

He brought the knife down-

Ping!

-and stopped midway.

Right. 129.

He’d forgotten to say goodbye.

Oh, well. He had a few minutes before he bled out. He could do it then.

He brought the knife up again.

Ping! Ping!

...He couldn’t deny, he wanted to see what 129 was saying.

He wanted to be in his right mind when saying goodbye. Blood loss does do things to a person.

Namely, makes them delirious. 129 doesn’t deserve that. He doesn’t deserve a shitty goodbye from a guy with one foot already in the grave.

He dropped his knife, and stood up.

Katsuki had left his phone on his desk. I probably would have blown it up, he thought as he looked at his charred bedsheets.

He numbly picked it up and sat down on his bed.

129: hey!! (*´∇`)ノ

129: i just finished dinner!

129: are you ready yet?

129: it’s okay if you aren’t!

Tears sprung to Katsuki’s eyes once again. But why? Why now?

Tsuki-chan: i just finished

129: yay! we can play then?

129: sorry, i just;; i really like playing with you

129: am i being too eager? haha

Tsuki-chan: it’s cute

Tsuki-chan: reminds me of someone i know

Why had Katsuki said that? His brain was too autopilot-y to be talking to 129 right now. He just said whatever he wanted to, even more than usual.

Even if it was embarrassing.

129: (⁄ ⁄^⁄ᗨ⁄^⁄ ⁄) you think i’m cute??

Tsuki-chan: what’s cute is that little guy.

Tsuki-chan: you’d be pretty ok if you looked like that

129: that’s my quirk! i look like kaomoji!

Tsuki-chan: thought you said you didn’t have one

129: oh no! (;•͈́༚•͈̀) tsuki-chan caught me!

Talking to 129 was like if Katsuki had just came in from a blizzard and had sat down next to a warm fire with a thick blanket and some hot tea. He felt himself slowly returning to normal, the fog in his head clearing away.

Tsuki-chan: nobody pulls a fast one on me haha

Tsuki-chan: have you been doing your training?

129: i want a/c back ( ب_ب )

129: wait…

129: will this make me go bald??? ━(◯Δ◯∥)━ン

Katsuki laughed at that, the action making him feel lighter.

Warmer.

Tsuki-chan: it might

Tsuki-chan: then you’d really look like a kaomoji

Tsuki-chan: none of them have hair

129: you’re right!!

129: did you wanna pay nl or?

Tsuki-chan: yeah give me a few minutes though.

Tsuki-chan: need to get ready.

129: ok!! ill be waiting in ureshi! my gate’s open!

Tsuki-chan: see you there.

Katsuki stood up and wiped his face, fixing his sheets into something vaguely comfortable to sleep in. He didn’t get a chance to actually change them, and he’d made them worse, which meant tonight he got to have the privilege of sleeping in shitty, bloody, burnt sheets.

He accidentally kicked something, and he looked down to see what it was.

His knife, still where he’d dropped it.

He bent down and stashed it under his bed again. He wasn’t going to be needing it.

Not yet.

xxxxx

Tsuki-chan: boo!

129’s avatar shook in fear.

129: ahh!! you scared me!!

Tsuki-chan: nerd haha

Tsuki-chan: we can do sh t here first then go to satsu later

Izuku smiled at his DS. Thank god, things had gone back to normal with Tsuki-chan. With the conversation from last night, plus Izuku making him upset that morning with his flirting, he’d thought he messed up big time with him.

But! Everything was fine.

Tsuki-chan was acting like his normal self again, and Izuku was beyond relieved. The last thing he wanted to think about was Kacchan being upset. Logically, he knew it had to happen sometimes, but that didn’t mean it was a pleasant thought.

Telling Tsuki he was Quirkless was a gamble, though.

It hadn’t been an outright lie, he’d been Quirkless his whole life, but still!

What would Kacchan say to that, if nobody knew what he was saying?

Would Kacchan be even worse about it than in middle school?

Izuku hoped not. But it was a very real possibility.

It felt like a weight was lifted off his chest when Tsuki had reacted with concern over anything else. And had he implied that he was actually concerned for Izuku’s safety? Was that harshness just him expressing it? He had said he’d just realized it, so maybe Katsuki himself didn’t know he was concerned up until then?

He hoped Katsuki brought it up whenever he came to Izuku to have their talk.

Tsuki-chan: oh i almost forgot

Tsuki-chan: check my tpc, nerd.

129: ok..?

Izuku did as he was told.

“凸( >︿<)凸︵┻━┻”

Shizuoka Prefecture

SATSU

Mayor Tsuki-chan

Birthday April 20

Izuku’s eyes shone. Kacchan really liked his kaomoji that much? He broke into a wide smile, tearing up from happiness. He’d made Kacchan happy!

129: oh my gosh!! you liked it that much!!?

Tsuki-chan: it’s a perfect likeness haha

129: aww!!

129: im glad i captured your wonderful style!

Tsuki-chan: you bet your a you did.

129: speaking of, where did you get that jacket?

129: did you make it?

Tsuki-chan: you mean the letterman? nah. got it off a blog

Tsuki-chan: i can give you the link later if you want. there’s a calm retsuko version if you wanted to match with my rage one

Kacchan wanted to match? To most, this wouldn’t mean much, but to Izuku, it meant everything. Kacchan was always the type to be completely solitary- he was the type to see Izuku trying to match him as Izuku ripping him off.

But here, Kacchan wanted to?

Izuku knew it was silly, but he wondered if maybe, his hopes of teaming up with Kacchan in the future weren’t dashed.

A lot could change in three years.

129: i’d actually really like that!

Tsuki-chan: i’ll give you it later tonight then

129: you must really like that jacket!

129: if there was a real version would you wear it?

Tsuki-chan: you’re gonna laugh

129: i think i know the answer already haha

Tsuki-chan: ...yeah. i’d wear it.

Tsuki-chan: it looks cool.

A flash of an idea sparked in Izuku’s mind, and he was just about ready to explode from excitement.

129: haha i figured! i think youd look good in it haha

129: by the way, weird question but, how tall are you?

Tsuki-chan: why

129: i wanna know if im talking to a giant or not haha!

Tsuki-chan: only if you tell me your height too

129: i guess thats fair!

129: i’m 166

Tsuki-chan: haha i’m taller.

Tsuki-chan: 172.

129: hey!! you’re not that much taller!!

Tsuki-chan: oh my god i can practically see your f ing pout

Tsuki-chan: hows the weather down there shorty

129: tsukiiiiiiiiiii

Tsuki-chan: i might as well be a giant haha

129: it’s!! two inches!!!

Tsuki-chan: the actual size difference doesnt matter

Tsuki-chan: its what you do with it

129: TSUKI!!!!!

Tsuki-chan: hahahahahahahaha

There was something that was nagging ar Izuku for the entire day- something that he doubted was a good idea to bring up, but he had to.

He needed to know.

129: also…

129: you have a crush?

It took a long time for Tsuki to respond. So long, that Izuku was worried that he’d just gotten up and walked away.

Tsuki-chan: like i said. it’s complicated.

Tsuki-chan: like. my friend INSISTS. that i like him.

Tsuki-chan: but it doesn’t really make any sense. because i’m an a hole.

Tsuki-chan: i don’t really get crushes.

Tsuki-chan: but one time i thought about it.

Tsuki-chan: and i figured, maybe?

Tsuki-chan: i might. i don’t know.

Tsuki-chan: it’s complicated.

Tsuki-chan: i don’t want to go into it.

Tsuki-chan: like i said, he’s a lot like you.

Tsuki-chan: it just feels weird. to talk about it.

129: im not insulted, if thats what youre worried about!

Tsuki-chan: it’s. no.

Tsuki-chan: it’s stupid.

129: i won’t think it’s stupid, honest!

Tsuki-chan: i don’t f ing want to get into it.

129: but i want to help you!

Tsuki-chan: 129 if you don’t f ing shut up about it right now i’m leaving.

Izuku froze. Right. He should know better, he should know that pushing Kacchan wasn’t the answer!

Kacchan was different when anonymous, but he was still Kacchan. At times, he would talk about his issues- but he would still slap away an outstretched hand.

Kacchan had to be the one to initiate it.

The difference was that there was any sort of talk, initiated by Kacchan or not.

Izuku needed to remember that.

129: ok i’ll shut up about it

129: i need to be less pushy ahaha;;

Tsuki-chan: whatever.

Tsuki-chan: let’s keep working.

Tsuki-chan: i keep pausing to type.

129: ok!

He’d best go along with it, at least for the time being. Whenever Kacchan felt comfortable talking, he would talk, and Izuku would be there for him.

Pressure wouldn’t make him feel comfortable.

xxxxx

They’d been working for a long while.

Despite their plans, they’d started in Ureshi, Tsuki-chan helping 129 move his decorations around. Still with no real pattern to it, except a vague color grouping.

Katsuki sighed. 129 sure did have a lot of crap in his town. He obviously just bought it because it was something he’d seen in a dream town, or a Nearby town, and just plunked it into his own town because it was pretty.

Katsuki had announced his boredom, however, and the pair had switched gears, travelling to Satsu. 129 had trailed behind Katsuki, helping him maintain his town, just as he did that very first night, two nights ago.

It had been two nights ago.

Every time Katsuki realized and re-realized that he hadn’t actually known 129 for that long, he almost couldn’t believe it. He truly felt as if he knew 129 for longer.

Perhaps their friendship was meant to be?

Or perhaps it’s Deku, idiot.

Not this again. It wasn’t Deku.

Deku would catch on to who he was instantly and ditch him.

Or start changing his town to model Satsu exactly, except make his better than Satsu.

One or the other.

Katsuki had recruited 129 to help him place some new decorations and rearrange his flowerbeds, and when he did, he swore he could feel the excitement radiating from him.

The excited rapidfire messages of “OH MY GOSH YOU REALLY WANT MY HELP AAHH YES OF COURSE TSUKI WHERE DO YOU WANT THIS!!?” also clued him in a little.

Just a little.

I really hope 129 didn’t notice I have a lot of orange flowers now.

129: hey tsuki?

129: i think i realized something!

Fuckfuckfuckfuck he totally noticed, you creepy asshole.

Obsessing over this guy you met two nights ago.

Tsuki-chan: yeah?

129: tsuki means moon, right?

Oh, he hadn’t noticed the flowers? All for the better, really.

Why was he bringing up Tsuki’s name?

Tsuki-chan: sure does.

Tsuki-chan: i speak the same language you do.

129: aaand… you wanna be a hero, right?

Tsuki-chan: yes?

Tsuki-chan: where are you going with this.

129: so you’re a moon hero….

129: i know who you are!

129: you’re sailor moon!!

Katsuki let out a snort. Really? Really?

Holy fucking shit, 129.

He did catch himself smiling fondly, though.

Who cares. Nobody would see.

Tsuki-chan: are you kidding me.

Tsuki-chan: nerd.

129: am i right~?

Tsuki-chan: maybe you are, maybe you aren’t.

129: i’m right!!

129: sailor moon and saitama

129: the most unexpected team up!

Tsuki-chan: where’s the f ing kaomoji

Tsuki-chan: where is it.

Tsuki-chan: 凸( >︿<)凸︵┻━┻

Tsuki-chan: there you have it.

129: haha!! you’re just mad that i caught you!!

Tsuki-chan: in the name of the moon, shut the f ck up

129: hahahaha! nerd!

Tsuki-chan: you called us ‘sailor moon and saitama’

129: that’s what we are, aren’t we?

Tsuki-chan: now im imagining you as a baldy

129: i’m imagining sailor moon! but with shorter hair, and also angry

Tsuki-chan: omg asshole

Katsuki’s door opened, the light from the hallway making his head jolt up. He took out one of his earbuds and squinted.

“Katsuki?” It was Masaru. “Can we talk?”

“No.” Katsuki shoved his earbud back in. “Fuck off.”

Masaru, sadly, did not fuck off. He gently closed the door behind him and sat down on Katsuki’s bed.

“What game is that?” Masaru was so close to Katsuki, that he could hear him over the music.

“None of your damn business.”

“Katsuki, please… I really need to talk to you.”

“Why?” Katsuki yanked both his earbuds out. “So you can just whine about the shit I do?”

“No, Katsuki, you know we’re just worried-”

“Were.” Katsuki interrupted, glaring daggers at his father. “You were worried. Back when it started. And then you just started getting fed up!”

“Katsuki.” Masaru’s tone was soft yet firm. “I’m not your mother. I… I don’t doubt she’s concerned, but the way she goes about showing it isn’t ideal. Katsuki, you know I hate to see you do this to yourself-”

“Don’t look, then!”

Masaru frowned. “Katsuki… please, hear me out. You’re my son. And I don’t want my son to hurt like this.” He placed a hand on Katsuki’s shoulder. “It breaks my heart whenever I see you limping like that…”

Katsuki shrugged Masaru’s hand off. “Like I said, don’t look!”

“I know you’re not doing this for attention, like she says.”

Katsuki glanced at him. Masaru took that as a sign to continue.

“That doesn’t add up. You don’t talk about it, you avoid any conversation we start up about it, I doubt your friends know-”

“They don’t.”

“-my point exactly. I’m just wondering, why do you do it? Is- Katsuki, is there anything upsetting you?”

“No. I’m fine.”

“Did something happen? Do you feel a certain way?”

“I feel pissed.”

“Is that why you do it?”

Katsuki glared at Masaru, then turned his attention back to his DS, roughly shoving one of his earbuds back in. “It’s none of your fucking business.”

“But it is. Katsuki, I don’t want to see you so upset-”

“I’m not upset!” Katsuki yelled, slamming his DS down and glaring at Masaru full-force, hands balled into fists. “I don’t GET upset, I get pissed!”

“There’s obviously something wrong, Katsuki, with how often you do this- I’ve noticed you limping more and more- and I didn’t want to bring it up, but your attempts-”

“If you don’t want to bring them up, then why bring them up?”

“It’s important, Katsuki!” Masaru, in a rare turn of events, raised his voice. “I bring them up because you almost died. I know you don’t think much of it, since it was going on since middle school and you don’t ever actually die. But one of these days, you might. And I don’t want to just sit here and wait for you to come to me while you’re in danger of dying at any moment!”

Katsuki said nothing for a long while, and chewed on his lip. Masaru seemed to throw caution to the wind, and enveloped Katsuki into a hug.

“I’m sorry for raising my voice, Katsuki. I just… I worry.”

Katsuki stayed stiff. “Then don’t.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“You never visit me, ever.” Katsuki spat. He could feel Masaru go stiff.

“Not once, Dad. You never fucking show up. If you worry so much, why don’t you ever want to see me?”

Masaru heaved a long, shaky sigh. “You want to know the truth, Katsuki?”

“Yes I do! What kind of a question is that?” Did Masaru think Katsuki couldn’t handle the truth or something?

“I… Katsuki, I want to visit you. But I can’t-” he took a shaky breath “-can’t stand seeing you there. All the time, hooked up to machines. I’d- this sounds stupid, you’d think it’s weak, but I’d cry.” He laughed bitterly. “And I don’t want you to ever see that, Katsuki. You already have enough to think about.”

Katsuki was as stiff as a rod in Masaru’s arms, his eyes wide.

He honestly, truly, didn’t know what to make of this.

All this time, he’d thought his parents didn’t care.

He still doubted his mother cared, but… his father did.

Masaru still hadn’t let go.

It’s been years. And fuck, if he had to be honest, it felt good to be cared about.

They’d already known for a while, so why not?

He wasn’t about to cling to Masaru and start sobbing and revealing all his woes. Katsuki doubted that he would ever do that.

But just this one time, at 10:58 PM, he let himself relax into the embrace.

He felt Masaru relax as well, pulling him in closer.

“Please, Katsuki. Whenever you feel ready, tell me what’s going on.”

“Nothing’s ‘going on,’” he muttered out halfheartedly. “It’s fine.”

“...I’ll be here for you, okay?”

Katsuki sighed. “Whatever.”

Masaru pulled away and stood up. “I’ll let you continue your game.” He walked towards the door and stepped out. “Don’t stay up too late, Katsuki.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

Masaru closed the door behind him.

Katsuki was alone again.

xxxxx

Where was Kacchan?

They had just been talking, and then Kacchan’s avatar had just… went still.

No messages, no nothing, no hold on i’m finding the perfect thing to encompass how much of a fucking nerd you are.

Nothing.

Where was Kacchan?

Did he have another breakdown? Did his DS die? No, if it was that, he’d text me. Did his wifi go out? And his cell service… at the same time? What happened? Where is Kacchan?

As the minutes ticked by, Izuku’s worry grew and grew. His DS shook in his hands. Yet, he resisted sending a worried text. Kacchan would take that as an insult! He had to remind himself of this over and over, until it was a mantra he was chanting.

Tsuki-chan: hey. my dad wanted to talk to me.

Tsuki-chan: but worry not. for i am here.

Tsuki-chan: nerd.

Oh.

From what Izuku remembered of Kacchan’s dad, he was kind of out of the way most of the time. He didn’t speak up much. He was soft-spoken, and Kacchan’s mother was obviously the more forward one in the relationship.

What could he have wanted with Kacchan?

Unless…

It had something to do with the night before?

It was like a vice had gripped Izuku. To Izuku, Kacchan’s breakdown had been minor. Major for Kacchan, but minor overall. Just some frantic texting and a bit of a dead period.

But what if it had been much worse on Kacchan’s side of things?

He could have been doing anything during that dead period.

What if he had been hurting himself? What if Izuku’s worse fears had come true?

What if? WHAT IF?

129: oh!

129: what did he want?

Tsuki-chan: don’t worry about it.

Tsuki-chan: it was nothing important.

Izuku wasn’t satisfied.

Something about that rubbed him the wrong way. He couldn’t put his finger on how, he just knew it did. Somehow.

But he couldn’t confront him about it.

He couldn’t do anything. Not yet.

129: oh ok!

129: do you wanna keep working?

Tsuki-chan: f ck yes, please.

xxxxx

When they had finished, Tsuki-chan had led Izuku to a bench next to the town’s stream, and had his avatar sit down in it. Izuku followed his lead, and had his avatar sit next to Katsuki’s.

The background music coupled with the sounds of the stream made his eyelids droop.

Tsuki-chan: it’s stupid, but sometimes i like to sit here and listen to the music.

129: it’s not stupid!

129: i really like it here;;

129: it’s nice hanging out with you

Tsuki-chan: it’s

Tsuki-chan: nice hanging out with you too.

Izuku felt a blush creep onto his cheeks.

129: i really like talking to you

129: it’s comforting!

A long pause.

Tsuki-chan: that’s the first time anyone’s said that about talking to me.

Tsuki-chan: you’re really nice.

129: haha thanks!! you’re gruff but also nice!

Izuku decided to throw caution to the wind once more. He was delirious with affection, and who cares if it was a bad idea? Kacchan didn’t know who he was.

129: do you think… we could do this in real life someday?

Tsuki-chan: i think i want to.

Tsuki-chan: so yes.

129: i’d really like that~ (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

129: and…

129: that’s not fake flirting.

Kacchan took a long time to respond.

A very long time, by Kacchan standards.

Even compared to the pause from just a few minutes ago.

Izuku held his breath.

Tsuki-chan: i’d like that too.

Tsuki-chan: (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Tsuki-chan: ....

Tsuki-chan: that wasn’t fake flirting, either.

Chapter Text

There was a weight on Katsuki’s chest.

Whatever was there, he had his arms wrapped around it.

He didn’t know what it was- his eyes were closed.

Katsuki felt a breeze. ‘Just open your damn eyes!’ he heard something whisper to him.

He cracked one open, just out of curiosity. To test the waters.

He was in a field, laying faceup. He stared straight up at the sky, right at the point where the pinks and oranges of a sunset give away to night.

The breeze made everything sway gently. The sun’s rays bathed everything in an orange glow.

Katsuki felt warm.

He felt something shift.

Katsuki opened his eyes fully, finally regarding the weight on his chest.

It was someone that seemed to be around his age, his head buried in Katsuki’s chest. His hair was orange, like flames.

Or was that just the lighting playing tricks on him?

“Oi.” Katsuki spoke up, shaking him. “What’re you doing, falling asleep on me?”

The person shifted, and made a content noise. “Tsuki-chan is just so comfortable…!”

Katsuki could swear he knew that voice.

He raised an eyebrow. “Am I?” His hand moved to nestle into his hair, running his fingers through the curls. It was so soft, it was like feeling nothing at all. “The hell do I get out of this arrangement, hm?”

He peeked up at Katsuki, brilliant green eyes lazily meeting his red ones. “If you don’t like it, you could always push me off!”

Katsuki didn’t move. “Shut the fuck up.”

He shifted, and nuzzled his face into Katsuki’s neck. “Mmh, okaay…”

Katsuki’s other arm was wrapped around him.

The sun never did set.

“Oi, seriously. I can’t breathe like this, you’re fucking heavy.”

The person wrapped his arms around Katsuki in turn, and flipped him so that they were both lying down on their sides. He gave Katsuki a cheeky, freckled grin.

“Is this better, Tsuki-chan?”

Katsuki grunted. “It’s fine.”

He pulled Katsuki closer to himself. “I’m cold, Tsuki-chan!”

“Tch. You should’ve worn a jacket, then.”

His eyes sparkled. “Give me yours, then!”

“What?” Katsuki scoffed. “No fucking way. Then I’d be cold. At least you have that jumpsuit thing.”

“Aww, Tsuki-chaaan…”

“Don’t ‘Aww, Tsuki-chan’ me, asshole!” Katsuki pulled him closer. “I’ll be your space heater. But just this one time.”

He nuzzled his cheek onto Katsuki’s. “Mm... I really like you, you know!”

“Bad fucking idea.”

“You always say that, Tsuki-chan!” He reached a hand up to brush Katsuki’s bangs off his forehead. “You need to like yourself more!”

Katsuki rested their foreheads together. “I like myself the perfect amount, thank you very much. I think it might be a little too much, y’know?”

His laugh was light and brilliant- and once again, Katsuki could swear it was one he was familiar with. “Nonsense, Tsuki-chan! You can never like yourself too much!”

He brought a hand to Katsuki’s cheek, cupping it. “But don’t worry! I like you plenty enough for the both of us~”

Katsuki’s body leaned into the touch, moving on its own. “Mh. Don’t need you to coddle me.”

He pouted. “I’m not doing this for you! I’d like you that much regardless! You’re amazing, Tsuki-chan.”

“Katsuki.”

He looked up at Katsuki. “Hm?”

“My real name. It’s Katsuki.” Katsuki pulled him closer. “Just thought you’d want to know.”

He smiled. “Katsuki… Kacchan!”

Katsuki felt like he was about to combust- but in a good way? “Shut up, nerd. Only one person gets to call me that, and it isn’t you.”

“Are you sure, Kacchan?”

His hair was still orange, the light catching it, but in the shadow of Katsuki’s body, he could see its true color.

Green, just like his eyes.

Izuku Midoriya stared at Katsuki with that same cheeky smile.

Katsuki simply huffed. “I guess I’m not.”

Izuku’s other hand went up to Katsuki’s hair, fingers gently running through it.

“You want to tell me something, don’t you, Kacchan?”

Katsuki hesitated. “I want to tell you a lot of things.”

“Then tell me.”

This time, it was Katsuki’s turn to bury his head into Izuku’s shoulder. “Don’t think I can.”

“Why? Is it complicated?”

A nod. “You think I know what’s going on in my head? Because I don’t.”

“I do.”

Katsuki stayed silent.

“You need to talk to me, Kacchan. You’re getting eaten alive.”

“No, I’m not.”

“You’re going to die.”

Katsuki looked up at Izuku. “How the hell do you know?”

Izuku’s expression was solemn. “I always did, Kacchan. You’re not very good at hiding it.”

Katsuki expected to be angry.

He wanted to be angry.

Anger was comforting. He wanted to blow this asshole away from him, and never have to think about anything like this ever again.

But at the same time, he didn’t want to.

“Oh?” He put his head back where it was. “Saves me the effort of confessing it, I guess.”

There was a silence.

“How many times, Kacchan?”

“Never counted.”

Izuku’s hold grew tighter.

“Can we talk about this later, Deku? This isn’t the time nor the place.”

“Okay, Kacchan.”

Everything was silent.

Katsuki closed his eyes.

The breeze didn’t slow. Nor did it pick up.

“I love you.”

Katsuki wasn’t sure which one of them had said it.

xxxxx

What the fuck?

Katsuki slowly untangled himself from the mess of blankets as he sat up in bed.

The hell was that dream?

Was it worth thinking about?

Thinking about it made Katsuki feel like he’d taken his knife and stabbed it straight into his chest.

Over and over.

But at the same time, he felt lighter.

There was no weight on his chest, and there was nobody next to him.

Katsuki may or may not have wished there was.

Fuck wishing, though. Katsuki needed to get ready.

Before anything, he undid the bandage on his leg and checked on everything.

They were all scabbing fine. Nothing was stuck to the bandage, thank fuck.

Two of the ones he’d stitched up looked fine. The third, however, looked god damn disgusting.

Fucking hell. Why’s one always gotta be so stubborn?

He needed to clean it.

So clean it he did, biting down on his shirt to keep from screaming in pain.

He was supposed to be a pro fucking hero in the future. He should be able to handle disinfecting what was basically a paper cut. How was he expected to push through his wounds and be a fucking hero when he grew up?

Pathetic.

Whatever. Stop wallowing and go take a fucking shower, asshole.

Wallow later.

xxxxx

He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about his dream.

He stared blankly at the wall as it replayed in his mind yet again.

Was that 129, or was it Deku?

Yes.

Katsuki sighed as he pulled on his uniform. He had to play it cool so shitty Kirishima didn’t draw attention to it again.

Or worse, Deku.

He was sure everyone in his class was talking about what happened yesterday. He was visibly flustered, in class. In front of everyone!

They were all talking. They were all trying to figure it out.

And then… there had been last night.

When 129 said he wasn’t fake-flirting, did that mean he was flirting for real? Or did that kaomoji just happen to have a heart?

And Katsuki had flirted back.

Was it flirting? The idea of it being flirting made him feel sick.

But the idea of 129, liking him in that way… the feeling was something indescribably euphoric.

Katsuki knew it was wrong. 129 didn’t know who he was. It could be Deku for all he knew, trying to chat up a nice stranger, only to get the worst shock of his life.

But, fuck.

Everything that happened in the last few days… Katsuki felt closer to 129 than he had to anyone in his life.

He felt like he could tell him whatever, and 129 would accept him. Wouldn’t patronize him.

Like Deku, without the patronizing copying of him, moves dripping with silent brags of I’m better than you!

When 129 copied him, Katsuki felt warm. Like they were a little closer.

These feelings were identical to the ones he’d felt for Deku, the ones he pushed down so deep that they now resided in the fucking void that is his heart.

He couldn’t feel like that for Deku.

But here? They were back, and stronger than ever.

Fuck, Katsuki thought to himself. I think I’m in love.

He thought of it as he gathered his things. I think I’m in love.

It made him feel sick. It made him feel amazing.

I’m in love with this asshole I’ve known for two days.

He thought of it as he gathered his homework. I’m in love with- wait.

Wait.

He’d forgotten to finish his homework the previous night.

After the disaster that was dinner, it’d completely slipped his mind.

Because why the hell not!

xxxxx

129: good morning, tsuki-chan!

129: (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Izuku heavily debated sending that kaomoji.

Hell, he’d debated it last night.

Even though Kacchan had reciprocated. He had reciprocated!

When Kacchan sent it back, Izuku had scrambled for his phone in a mad rush to take a picture of his screen, his mind swirling too much to remember that he knew how to take screenshots.

He gripped his phone as he looked at the pictures he’d managed to get.

Tsuki-chan: i’d like that too.

Tsuki-chan: (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Tsuki-chan: ....

Tsuki-chan: that wasn’t fake flirting, either.

Izulu felt tears of joy come to his eyes. This was everything he’d ever wanted.

He knew Kacchan had his unpleasant traits- everyone did! But despite all that, despite everything, Izuku still admired him.

Kacchan was amazing. Kacchan was inspiring! With every single thing Kacchan did, Izuku was flooded with affection.

It had only gotten worse at UA.

It started to get worse after the incident with the sludge villain, he had to admit. Kacchan had left him alone, and Izuku felt a little safer in his affections.

But at UA? Kacchan was changing.

Those unpleasant traits were slowly yet surely ebbing away, being replaced with something wonderful; different and yet still so very Kacchan.

Kacchan was truly becoming his best self- he had a long way to go, but that didn’t mean that Izuku couldn’t swell with pride at the progress he’d already made.

One day, him and Izuku would be able to talk it out.

One day, they would be able to be friends again.

And maybe something more.

A duo. Hand-in-hand against evil. Together.

A duo in a different way. Not just as heroes, but as people.

Izuku Midoriya had fallen in love with Tsuki-chan.

He had fallen in love with Kacchan a long, long time ago.

Is trying to flirt with him even a good idea?

Kacchan might see me as a liar! He might see it as me betraying him once I get found out!

But what if he won’t…? What if he’ll still like me?

I feel like… maybe, for the time being… there’s no harm in flirting just a little.

Izuku had wanted this for so long, it ached. It was right in his grasp, and he’d be damned if he didn’t at least try.

Try to earn the affections of this inspiring, amazing man that he’d loved so dearly for so long.

It could go well! Izuku had no way of knowing if he didn’t try.

And try he would! Kacchan was a fan of flashy things, big gestures! He wanted to be seen, he wanted to be showered with praise! And he deserved that praise, for all the things he had done.

He didn’t deserve to be given a free pass. But at UA, he was never given a free pass. Everything Kacchan had did, he’d done on his own, he’d clawed his way to it his damn self!

He deserved a reward. Izuku wanted to do something grand, something to show that he cared about Kacchan! But… his relationship with Tsuki-chan was cozy. Intimate. He didn’t want to wreck that.

Izuku had the perfect idea. He would give Kacchan a present!

Kacchan had given him that link to his letterman’s QR codes last night. Four images totaling up to a turn-around of the entire thing.

A perfect reference image.

Izuku tended to leave the house early, so he could have more free time to spend talking to his friends, but today he stayed behind just a little while longer.

“Mom?” He’d asked at breakfast, “I have a question!”

Inko Midoriya smiled at him from her seat. “Yes, Izuku?”

“Could you- could you make something like this?” He showed her his phone. “Since you made my hero costume and everything- I can’t sew or do anything like this, and I really want to do this!”

“Izuku, calm down, sweetie!” She put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Is this for yourself?”

“N-no! It’s, uh. It’s a gift! For a friend.”

“Oh? Which friend?”

“U-uhh…” He looked away, sheepishly. His mother had caught on to what had been going on the past ten years, it was stupid to think that she hadn’t. Izuku was sure the second he said who it was, she’d refuse to help. “Kacchan…”

Inko perked up, though she still seemed a little tense. “Oh? You and Katsuki are friends again?”

Izuku could detect the strain in her voice. “Y-yeah! He’s gotten a lot better at UA, you know?”

She sighed, and gave him a soft smile. “Alright… Just be careful, okay?”

Izuku nodded. “Right! He’s not doing anything, I promise!”

“I believe you, Izuku!” She put her hands up in mock surrender, then took a closer look at his phone. “Hmm… I could make this! Do you know his measurements?”

“Eh… no…” He confessed sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. “I didn’t ask- I didn’t want him to catch on! All I know is, he’s one hundred and seventy two centimeters tall!”

“I can work with that, Izuku! Could you send me those pictures?”

“Okay!”

He quickly sent her the link in a text. “There!”

Inko smiled. “Thank you, Izuku! Now hurry up and eat, or you’ll be late!”

xxxxx

“Hey, bro, you doing okay?”

Katsuki glared at Kirishima as he slowed down from his running pace, hands on his knees as he gulped in air.

“Never- never fuckin’ better-” he wheezed out. He stood up straight, and began walking towards the building.

“It’s just that, you’re never late! You were late yesterday, too!”

“I forgot to finish my homework.”

Kirishima gaped at Katsuki, eyes wide in shock. “Okay, now I know something’s wrong. What happened, Baku-bro? Talk to me.”

Katsuki bristled. “Nothing happened, Shitty Hair. What the hell makes you think anything happened?”

“Well, you’re such a nerd about finishing homework, so I figured there was nothing on this planet that could stop you from doing it!” He frowned a little. “Though… seriously bro, did something actually happen? You’re acting weird!”

“Nothing happened!”

“Is your leg better?” Katsuki wasn’t sure if this was Kirishima’s idea of changing the subject, or not knowing when to quit.

“The hell are you talking about?”

“Well… you hurt it yesterday during training, remember? Plus, now that I think about it, you were limping yesterday!”

“It’s a gait, asshole.”

Kirishima sped up a little so he was in front of Katsuki, just so he could make sure Katsuki fully saw his look of confusion. “But a limp is a gait!”

“The fuck are you talking about?”

Kirishima pulled out his phone and punched something in. “See, it says so right here! A limp is a type of asymmetric abnormality of the gait! See for yourself!” He turned his phone so Katsuki could see the screen.

There it was, clear as day, on the Wikipedia page for Limp.

“So, how’s your leg?”

“It’s fine. It was just a cramp, Shitty Hair.”

“But you get cramps a lot! Dude, you were screaming yesterday!”

“One scream, Kirishima! One! Singular!”

Kirishima was completely undeterred. “Holy crap, you’re using my real name? Now I know something’s up.”

“The only thing that’s ‘UP’ is my fucking anger levels!”

Kirishima let his voice take on a softer tone. “I’m just worried about you, y’know? I’ve never heard you scream like that.”

It was a moment of weakness. It was mostly out of fear than out of pain- though don’t get him wrong, it did hurt like a motherfucker.

If you had an injury you’d do anything to keep secret, the worst possible thing would be for that injury to re-open in front of everyone you fucking know.

Including your biggest inspiration. Who tried to bridal carry you to Recovery Girl.

It took everything in Katsuki to demonstrate that he was fine, maintaining a normal gait with his poor, over-damaged leg.

He’d been going at the same leg for too long. It was starting to hurt more and more, healing slower, scars upon scars piling up and overlapping, skin turning lighter and lighter, morphing into shades of red, then angry blues and purples, until they stayed like that and never healed.

Katsuki wondered how many times he’s managed to strike a nerve. Probably many.

Maybe he ought to try and switch legs for a little bit.

“I’m fine, Shitty Hair.”

He knew full well that Kirishima didn’t believe him.

xxxxx

Katsuki’s leg fucking burned.

It burned so bad that he had to duck to the bathroom to take a look at it.

He pulled his pants down and unravelled the bandage to take a look.

It had gotten fucking worse. It’s only been two hours, how the hell did it get worse?

Did he just not notice how bad it was because he was so spaced out that morning?

The first thing that smacked him in the face was the smell. Good fucking god, it smelled like something had died. He put a hand over his mouth and gagged- he hoped that shitty smell wouldn’t stick to him! Everyone would ask which combination garbage dump and morgue he crawled through to get here.

The second thing that smacked him in the face was what it looked like.

Yellow fluid was dripping out of it, and it was red around it. Katsuki squinted- was it swollen?

No, yeah. It was definitely swollen. The stitches looked a little different on this one than the other two. He supposed that was the inflammation making them look weird.

Fuck, the other two.

The three stitched ones were in close proximity to each other. If that fucking shit dripped into the other two, Katsuki’s problem would get way worse.

Plus, there were the non-stitched ones to worry about. Everything was in close proximity to each other- if one got infected, the others would quickly follow suit.

Katsuki grabbed some toilet paper and patted at the wound, wincing.

It hurt to fucking touch.

It was hot.

This was going to take forever to heal. Katsuki figured it was a good idea he told himself he’d switch legs.

Or maybe he shouldn’t switch legs, but placements?

Inner thigh was always good. The scars left would be the least noticeable by, hypothetically, a future lover.

As if anyone would love YOU.

Katsuki still figured it didn’t hurt to prepare for the possibility.

Either way. He should swap to his outer thigh, at least for the time being.

He threw the toilet paper in the toilet, grabbing some more and folding it over itself, pressing it to the infection and gritting his teeth at the pain.

He only had the one bandage, and the side that was previously on his skin was all dirty.

Katsuki sighed and flipped the bandage so that the dirty side was up, and re-wrapped his thigh in it.

Fuck, I can still fucking smell it. Oh god, the smell must be on the bandage.

Everyone’s going to smell it.

Okay, just. Act natural. Act fucking natural. And if anyone asks too many questions?

Katsuki pulled his pants up and walked out of the stall.

Kill. Them.

xxxxx

Oh my god, what’s that SMELL?

Kacchan had just sat at his desk, and it just basically slapped Izuku.

It smells like something died!

Was it coming from Kacchan? That couldn’t be- Kacchan always took so much pride in his appearance! He’d never be caught dead smelling like that.

“Bakugo.” Izuku saw Jirou turn to him, her nose wrinkling. “Really?”

“Oi, you think I wanted this?” Bakugo slammed his hands on his desk. “I don’t know WHO did WHAT in the fucking bathroom, but it’s fucking STUCK to me now!”

“It smells like something died.”

“Yeah, well I’M the one that has to deal with this all day, aren’t I?”

Izuku frowned. The bathroom? Something told him to get up and check.

So get up and check he did.

On his way, his phone pinged.

Tsuki-chan: morning.

Tsuki-chan: would have messaged earlier. but i had shit to do.

Tsuki-chan: kaomoji’s cute though.

Tsuki-chan: is this gonna be a thing?

Tsuki-chan: (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Tsuki-chan: it’s so sappy. make me a more hardcore version.

Izuku smiled at his screen. He couldn’t believe Kacchan was using it! Was Kacchan on board with this being a thing?

129: i dont know! do you want it to be a thing?

His heart sped up in anticipation for a response.

Tsuki-chan: wouldn’t mind it.

129: !!!!! I’M SO HAPPY!! ⤴︎ ε=ε=(ง ˃̶͈̀ᗨ˂̶͈́)۶ ⤴︎

Tsuki-chan: wow that one is INTENSE.

129: well, you make me intensely happy!!

Kacchan was taking a while to respond, so Izuku slipped his phone back into his pocket and poked his head in the bathroom, bracing himself for the source of the awful smell.

But… there was nothing.

Izuku even went and checked every stall. Nothing! There might’ve been a faint smell in one of them- an incredibly faint smell.

Honestly, the smell was so faint that Izuku thought he was most likely imagining it.

It’s like…

And then it smacked into him.

It has to be coming from Kacchan, that’s why it doesn’t smell here! But what would smell like something died?

Unless something DID die?

His mind wandered to his thoughts from the previous night, and Kacchan’s breakdown from the night before that.

Like… perhaps… skin cells?

Izuku wasn’t exactly acutely familiar with infected wounds- he’s only gotten one once, and even then, it was minor. But he could remember, if he got too close to it, that it had a foul odor.

Much like what he’d smelled in the classroom.

No… no! You’re overthinking this, and you’re being creepy! Besides, who even says it was THIS bathroom? It could be any one of them! You’re going to be late for class at this rate! Just go back, and don’t bother Kacchan!

Kacchan would never hurt himself…

Izuku walked back to class slowly.

He wondered if he was right about Kacchan.

xxxxx

He’d seen Kacchan quickly send something right as Aizawa came in, then shove his phone in his pocket.

It was so close that Aizawa gave him a look.

Izuku hadn’t had a chance to look at it until lunch.

With shaky hands, he clicked his phone out of sleep mode.

Tsuki-chan: (///︿///)

Izuku actually made an audible squealing noise at that.

“Deku-kun?” Uraraka tilted her head. “You’re so red! Ooh, did someone confess? Over text?”

Izuku was too far gone to confirm or deny anything, only able to stare at his phone the best he could with it shaking violently in his hands. Was he tearing up?

But Kacchan was being so sweet! Kacchan must like him! Maybe even love him!

Probably not- he’s only known you for a few days!

Still!

Still, Izuku’s heart soared.

129: you’re so cute!

129: ( ♡∀♡))ヾ☆*。

His brain was working on pure autopilot. His brain had also scrolled and picked out a kaomoji on autopilot.

Tsuki-chan: hahahaha.

Tsuki-chan: usually i’d kill anyone who called me cute.

129: why am i the exception? (^~^;)ゞ

Tsuki-chan: no clue.

Tsuki-chan: i don’t hate it when you do it.

129: do you like it?

Tsuki-chan: I SAID I DONT HATE IT

Izuku glanced up from his phone, eyes scanning the lunchroom for Kacchan. He spotted him a ways away, hunched over with his back to Izuku. He could see Kirishima talking to him about something-or-other, and Katsuki turned his head towards him, most likely to yell at him to shut up.

But when Kacchan turned his head, Izuku could see that blush on his cheeks.

129: but do you like iiit?

129: i bet you love it!!(; ̄︶ ̄)

Tsuki-chan: DON’T YOU(; ̄︶ ̄)AT ME YOU ASSHOLE

129: you’re really bad at flirting, you know~

129: be confident, tsuki-chan!

He heard a frustrated yell from tables away.

Tsuki-chan: I AM FUCKING CONFIDENT

Tsuki-chan: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Tsuki-chan: AAAAAA

Tsuki-chan: AAA

Tsuki-chan: AAAAAAAAAAAAA

Kacchan was even more hunched over, and Kirishima had a hand on his back, expression wild with excitement.

129: hahaha ok, i’ll let you breathe!

129: wow, you must really like me if i get you that riled up!

Tsuki-chan: I NEITHER CONFIRM

Tsuki-chan: NOR DENY

Izuku saw Kacchan suddenly stand up straight and run off somewhere, Kirishima left behind looking incredibly confused.

“Bakugo-kun’s acting pretty weird, no?” Uraraka piped up from next to him.

“Y-yeah…” Izuku did feel inclined to agree- after all, he was the catalyst.

Uraraka’s eyes shone. “Deku-kun, what if he likes someone?”

Izuku scoffed and blushed. “Kacchan? Like someone? Th- there’s no way!”

“No, I see it! He’s always blushing and on his phone! He never even touched it in school before!” A look of realization crossed her face and she squinted at Izuku.

“You’re always blushing at your phone too, Deku-kun!” She smiled at him slyly. “Are you and Bakugo-kun-?”

Izuku’s voice was barely above a whisper. “He- he doesn’t know it’s me…”

Uraraka’s eyes widened to the size of golfballs and she slapped her hands over her mouth to muffle a squeal. “No way! I was right? How did this happen? Tell me everything, Deku-kun! From the top!”

“Eh… okay… but don’t tell anyone else! I mean it!”

“Okay!”

“Uh… so it started a- just on Sunday night! I was playing a game and I ran into him on multiplayer! And we got to talking and he liked me, I guess? And gave me his number… so now we’re texting! He hasn’t told me his real name, and I haven’t told him mine, so he doesn’t know who I am, hopefully...”

“On Sunday? Deku-kun, it’s Wednesday! You got him to be head-over-heels for you in three days?”

“H-he’s not head-over-heels! I bet I’m just embarrassing him!”

“Deku-kun!”

“Uraraka, it’s true!” He realized he’d been raising his voice a little, so he lowered it back. “He- Kacchan would never like-”

“Are you kidding? He’s acting like a schoolgirl!”

“He is not!” Izuku could feel his face heating up more and more. “He- he’s just blushing a lot!”

“Like a schoolgirl! A really… really angry schoolgirl!”

“He doesn’t like me! We just met!”

Uraraka tilted her head. “How’d you find out it was Bakugo-kun in the game?”

“U-uhh… his avatar… and there’s a feature that shows where someone lives and what their birthday is!”

“So, wouldn’t it make sense that he’d see that feature for you and put it together?”

“N-no, there’s no way!” Izuku got even redder. “He- he’s talked to me about me! A-and my avatar doesn’t look like myself!”

“Have you talked to him about him?”

“Y-yes…”

“Maybe he thinks that you haven’t figured out who he is yet!”

“I- I don’t know!”

She put a hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “Deku-kun, do you like Bakugo-kun?”

“I…” He let his head droop. “You’re gonna think I’m stupid…”

“You do, don’t you?”

Silence.

“Ah, I figured, Deku-kun.”

She gave him a quick hug. “I’m sure you have your reasons! I don’t know him as well as you do, so… I can’t pass judgement!”

Izuku didn’t move. “He used to torment me.”

“I know! But you’re not a punching bag, Deku-kun! I know that! If you say that there’s something in there worth loving, then I believe you!”

“There is. Kacchan… Kacchan is amazing. He has his unpleasant traits, but… he’s so amazing. And- and he’s getting better! And on the phone, he’s told me that he actually feels bad for what he did…! And that he wants to talk to me, eventually!”

Uraraka flashed him a smile. “Then go for it, Deku-kun!”

xxxxx

129: sorry, i was eating! (シ_ _)シ

Tsuki-chan: it’s fine.

Tsuki-chan: so was i.

129: you should give me some of your food!

129: put it in a little bento. and leave it under a tree

Tsuki-chan: can’t.

Tsuki-chan: i like my shit spicy.

Tsuki-chan: it’d melt your mouth clean off.

129: yeah, you’re probably right;;

Tsuki-chan: i could leave you food under a tree.

Tsuki-chan: if you wanted.

Tsuki-chan: authentic sailor moon cooking.

Tsuki-chan: plus that bento will be collectible, or whatever.

Tsuki-chan: i’m gonna be the #1 hero some day.

Tsuki-chan: that thing would be valuable just because it used to belong to me.

129: you’d do that? (╯✧∇✧)╯

Tsuki-chan: yeah. i can cook

129: i!! i really would like that!!

129: i didn’t wanna say anything, but i’m making you a present!

129: well my mom is haha;;

129: you could leave the bento and then i could swap it with my box!

Tsuki-chan: you’ve known me for three days and you’re already making me a present?

129: you’ve known me for three days and you let me flirt with you!!

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: that’s fair.

Katsuki slipped his phone in his pocket as he stepped into the bathroom.

He could not fucking stand the smell anymore.

More importantly, he couldn’t stand the looks people were giving him.

Even shitty Kirishima had brought it up.

He had to ditch the bandage. The wound itself was fine, the smell was minimal and you could really only notice anything if you got close to it.

But the bandage.

The rank ass bandage he’d ran to school in, sweating like hell and probably agitating the fucking thing with the whole “physical activity with stitches in” thing.

It smelled like the damn thing had gone gangrenous.

Maybe.

Katsuki didn’t exactly know what gangrene smells like, but he assumed it was just a worse version of what a regular infection smelled like.

“Oh, Bakugo-kun, your wound has been infected.”

“Bakugo-kun, you really should have seen me sooner for this. It needed stitches, and now it’s infected.”

“This time it’s really serious, Bakugo-kun. Do not do your own stitches again.”

“Bakugo Katsuki, I’ve already told you not to do your own stitches. So why did you do it again?”

“You can’t just wait around for days on end once you get an infection, Bakugo-kun. You could get hurt.”

“Please, Bakugo-kun, listen to me. You could lose your leg one day if you keep ignoring infections.”

“Bakugo-kun, why do you keep getting hurt in the same spot? Do you need someone to talk to?”

He was intimately familiar with infections.

He winced as he peeled off the bandage. That yellow shit had hardened and stuck the bandage to his leg a little. Not too much, but still. Annoying.

He patted at the wound with some toilet paper again, trying to clean up the leaking.

Why the fuck was it leaking so much?

Fuck, is it deeper than it looks?

Maybe I should get it checked out…

Whatever. He’d worry about that later.

It was so fucking tender. He was lucky that he didn’t have Hero classes today, but tomorrow? Tomorrow he had them.

And what if the damn thing gets worse?

Well then. He’d just have to power through it. Plus fucking Ultra and all.

He tossed the bandage in the trashcan and walked out.

God help whoever used the bathroom next and was forced to get a whiff of that.

xxxxx

Izuku was checking every single bathroom.

Just in case.

Which one is the one that smells bad?

He didn’t know why what Kacchan had said was eating at him so much. But he… really needed to know.

He was going mad with anxiety. He knew, he knew he was wrong!

He hoped he was wrong.

He needed to know he was wrong.

There was footsteps coming down the hall.

He quickly ducked into an empty classroom out of habit- he knew he wasn’t doing anything wrong, but he was still afraid of getting caught.

How would he even explain himself? Oh, I’m just going from bathroom to bathroom to figure out if there’s a bad smell in one of them! Why? Oh, I think Kacchan has an infection! Why? I’m scared he’s hurting himself! Why? Because he broke down on text to me!

That wouldn’t work.

He peeked out of the door to see the person pass by- and held his breath when he saw who it was.

Kacchan.

He was typing something on his phone as he walked, though, and hadn’t seen Izuku.

But from where I am, I should’ve smelled that smell…!

He wasn’t that far away from Kacchan- if he could smell it from his desk, he should be able to smell it from where he was right then.

He kept holding his breath until Kacchan was out of sight, then scurried out of the classroom and to the next bathroom.

And the second he stepped in, he could smell it.

It wasn’t particularly strong, but he could smell it.

Izuku dreaded finding the source.

He knew where it would be. Still, he lingered in the doorway, hesitating.

It had to be done eventually.

He walked towards the trashcan and peeked inside it.

The smell hit him full-force, making him gag.

Fuck, he felt sick. Was he going to be sick just from that?

What WAS that??

One way to find out…

Izuku reluctantly- very reluctantly- reached in.

This was by far the creepiest thing he’d done. Rooting in the trash to find out of his childhood friend was hurting himself or not.

It shouldn’t be his business. It wasn’t his business.

But he felt like he was going mad with worry, every single time he thought of the possibility.

He needed to know.

It was fine if he didn’t tell anyone, right?

Izuku steeled himself, taking a deep breath.

Do it for Kacchan!

He gripped something and pulled it out, and the second he did, he had to cover his mouth.

It was an unraveled roll of gauze, stained yellow with… something. There were flecks of red as well- most of the surface area coated in it.

And the smell was nauseating.

THIS was what Kacchan had?

Izuku remembered yesterday’s Hero training.

“I’m fine! I’m fine, get off me! Put me down, it was just a fucking cramp! It’s fine!”

And Kacchan had walked normally to prove it, face twisted in determination.

Or pain?

Two nights ago. Kacchan was away from his phone for a while.

He never did explain like he did last night.

Kacchan hated lying.

But he did it anyway?

Did he lie?

Cramps don’t bleed.

Kacchan would never be stupid enough to fight with a serious injury.

So why did he?

Was he ashamed? Was he hiding something? What was he hiding?

Kacchan can’t hurt himself.

Izuku put the gauze back.

He can’t.

Izuku numbly washed his hands, scrubbing madly to get any trace of that awful smell out.

Kacchan would never.

He walked out of the bathroom.

He would never.

His legs took him back to class automatically.

Kacchan can’t hurt himself.

He didn’t register his friends’ concerned gazes.

Please, Kacchan…

He sat down, staring at the back of his head, pleading silently.

...prove me wrong.

xxxxx

“Bro-”

“I know the fucking smell is back.”

Kirishima frowned. “What even is it?”

“What’s even what?”

“The smell!”

“I told you, rank ass bathroom.”

Bakugo looked like he was just about ready to send Kirishima flying with an explosive kick to the ass.

Oh well. He could harden, he’d survive the fall.

“Look, can we just stop fucking talking about it? When I get home I’m taking twenty showers.”

Kirishima held up his hands in mock surrender. “Okay, okay!”

Although, he still couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong with him.

Clearly he was getting nowhere with this approach.

Maybe he could ask Midoriya how to do this? He has known Bakugo the longest.

No, but then Bakugo would get pissed… Maybe if Kirishima was vague about it?

Or if he asked Midoriya to keep quiet!

He needed to do something! If his bro was hurting, he couldn’t just stand back and let him hurt! What kind of a man would he be if he did?

But why would Bakugo be so cagey about this stuff?

He was obviously in pain! He was limping yesterday. He had screamed.

So why hide it?

Was he ashamed of getting hurt, for some reason? That wasn’t manly. The real strength was admitting when you need to fold! If you keep going when you seriously shouldn’t, you’ll just hurt yourself more, and ultimately be weaker.

Kirishima was about to apologize to Bakugo for getting lost in his thoughts- but then he saw Bakugo’s nose buried in his phone, texting with that blush.

Bakugo obviously liked the videogames guy! He wasn’t even trying to hide it!

“Baku-bro, you gonna make a move on him?”

Bakugo’s head jerked up. “None of your business, asshole.”

“You didn’t say no!”

His head turned back down. “I don’t need you to be my dating coach, Shitty Hair.”

“You doing it yourself then~?”

Bakugo heaved a sigh. “None. Of your business.”

Kirishima cracked a smile. Bakugo would tell him on his own time. Until then, he could just enjoy the catastrophic un-subtlety of it all.

And maybe, just maybe, ignore the tight feeling in his chest.

xxxxx

Katsuki didn’t realize what taking his bandage off would mean.

The god damn thing wouldn’t just magically stop leaking just because there wasn’t a bandage.

It still leaked. And stuck to his fucking pant leg.

His actual leg wasn’t much better, either.

That shit had leaked onto his other wounds, and had been festering like that for god knows how long.

Hours? It could have been hours.

Katsuki did not want to deal with more than one fucking infection. Not now, not ever.

And especially not on wounds that deep.

It’s what you deserve.

Maybe so, but that didn’t mean that he had to like it.

He hissed under his breath as he pat the wounds clean, the familiar sting of the rubbing alcohol still as unbearable as it was the first time he ever did this.

It seemed like a lifetime ago.

In many ways, it was.

It was around the first year of middle school when it started. Nothing as extreme as what he did nowadays, just minor things like scratching at his arms and banging his head on the wall- or provoking his mom until she’d hit him.

That one was too easy to do.

The first time was an accident- he’d punched out a vase in the living room, and gotten cut on his hand.

And he fucking hated it. It hurt and was inconvenient and he couldn’t stop thinking about it for days.

He’d gotten his hands on his first knife just a couple of days later.

And he’d been such a pussy about it; couldn’t even stomach it at first until one day, one day he was so consumed by anger, anger at everything- but mostly himself- so consumed that he’d just grabbed it and done it in a fit of impulse.

And that was that.

And now here he was, trying to get a stain out of his uniform pants so his shitty fucking friend wouldn’t comment on the smell anymore.

It was so un-Katsuki-like. It sickened him that he was even like this.

He wanted to be a hero, and here he was, intentionally hurting himself and decreasing his chances of being able to win.

He needed to be more careful.

No more needing stitches. No more over-cutting on one leg and reducing it to a shitty waste of muscle.

No more.

He sighed. This was taking for-fucking-ever.

At this rate, he was gonna get caught.

‘I always knew, Kacchan. You’re not very good at hiding it.’

God, why was that dream bugging him so much? There was no god damn way shitty Deku knew.

He would’ve rubbed it in his face if he did. Rubbed it in that the fucking amazing Bakugo is too weak to control his own actions, too weak to not hurt himself, and that he who’d been called shitty wasn’t too weak to succumb to something like that.

Anyone who knew him would.

The only person who might not was 129, and that was absolutely because 129 didn’t know him.

But 129 didn’t know.

Should he?

Katsuki was so, so fucking tired of lying. He hadn’t come clean to 129 about what he was really like yet, and probably never would.

He figured he owed 129 this, at least.

Maybe.

And 129 was Deku.

And I didn’t even CARE!

Would he have cared, if 129 was really Deku? If Katsuki got his phone out right now and texted “hey, just wondering, but have you been lying to me this whole time, izuku midoriya of UA high,” and the response was “aw, you caught me! hi kacchan,” what would Katsuki do?

He wasn’t sure.

Scream? Cry? Throw his phone? Kick Deku’s ass? Kick his own ass for falling for it?

Die?

Probably all of those, in that order.

Maybe not that last one.

Un-fucking-fortunately.

This was as good as his pants were going to get.

Stop fucking wallowing. God, you’re becoming like this more and more frequently.

How fucking long until it’s all that’s left?

xxxxx

129: hey, tsuki-chan! this is for you!

129: (`▽´ʃƪ)♡

129: it’s a little more hardcore!

Tsuki-chan: fantastic.

Tsuki-chan: it’s great (`▽´ʃƪ)♡

129: i’m glad you like it!!! (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Tsuki-chan: nerd.

Katsuki had his phone next to him as he worked on his homework, waiting for a new message.

Was he really that obvious? Fucking Kirishima could tell that he had a thing for someone.

Sooner or later, everyone would know. Including shitty Deku.

Pfft, Kacchan? You’re in love? I thought you wanted to be the greatest hero! How can you be when you’re so distracted!

His mother would find out if he kept being so obvious.

Katsuki, you’re in LOVE? That’s just a weakness for a hero, you know villains will just capture him! He’s QUIRKLESS? Fucking really? You can’t even pick a good person to fall in love with? Or I guess, that’s all that’s willing to be with YOU, who in their right mind with actual options worth their salt would love a pathetic asshole who can’t stop hurting himself?

If she badmouthed him to Katsuki’s face, there was no way he would avoid a fight.

So he was quirkless, so fucking what? Who cares? Who CARES?

Katsuki didn’t fucking care.

He felt like the worst hypocrite alive.

He gripped his pencil and tried to focus on his homework, as opposed to the ever-growing urge to block 129’s number and never touch his DS ever again.

The second he found out, he’d never want anything to do with Katsuki ever again?

Why would someone like him love a violent brute who had to be muzzled on national television?

Why would anyone?

Katsuki should stop.

It’s obvious 129 liked him, for some fucking reason. But reciprocating was a bad idea in the long run. It’d get them both hurt.

Katsuki when 129 decided he wanted nothing to do with him.

And 129 when he realized that his amazing Tsuki-chan was nothing but a weak, pathetic amalgamation of everything a human being shouldn’t be.

But god, did Katsuki want to reciprocate.

129 was like Deku, with everything that Deku did to piss Katsuki off absent.

Without those things, all that was left was personality.

And Katsuki would be a fucking liar if he said he didn’t like his personality.

Even Deku’s.

Especially Deku’s.

He hated admitting it to himself. But Deku’s sheer willpower was to be at least begrudgingly respected.

And the way his eyes shone when he talked about something he liked… hell, even his weird fucking muttering was- ugh- endearing after a while.

It had been endaring for years now.

Fuck.

I can’t be thinking about this.

The hell’s 129 up to?

Tsuki-chan: are you doing that training haha

Tsuki-chan: don’t let me catch you slacking off.

Tsuki-chan: by the way, what’s your favorite food

Katsuki set his phone down and tried to concentrate on his homework, intensely focusing in a ploy to distract himself from the dark paths his mind constantly tried to lead him down.

He’d gotten through a little bit of homework when he heard his phone ping. He dropped everything he’d been doing and grabbed it with a speed faster than he’d admit.

129: um;;

129: i like a lot of things!

129: im more interested in tasting YOUR favorite food!

129: a little taste of tsuki-chan!

Tsuki-chan: that better not be another dick joke.

129: it can be whatever you want it to be~

Tsuki-chan: well.

Tsuki-chan: i like spicy food.

Tsuki-chan: really. really. spicy food.

Tsuki-chan: so if i made you my favorite, i’d burn your mouth off.

129: maybe so!

129: but i like a challenge!

129: i don’t eat much spicy things at all;;

129: will you be impressed if i eat all of it?

Tsuki-chan: sort of.

129: then i’ll do it!!

129: don’t hold back!!

Katsuki smiled. He really did like this little nerd’s drive.

Tsuki-chan: haha it’s just curry. calm down all might.

129: “calm down?” no!! not when there are people to be saved!

129: and curry to be eaten!! (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

Tsuki-chan: dsjhjdhfjksd

Katsuki’s fingers moved before his brain had a chance to form words. This asshole nerd had the fucking gall to make him feel like this?

He could feel his face heating up.

Katsuki would give fucking anything to be there when that nerd ate his curry, to see him struggle and see his face twist in pain and his face go red as it burned his mouth-

-and to see him finish it regardless and look at him with a stupid nerdy smile.

“Tsuki-chan, I did it!” He’d say, beaming. “But I feel really bad that you never had any…”

“Boo fucking hoo, I can make more. That was yours,” Katsuki would say in return.

“I have a little more, though…” 129 would then lean in, putting his hands on Katsuki’s shoulders and pulling him close.

“Oh, do you?” Katsuki would play dumb and pretend like his face wasn’t as red as 129’s.

“Mhm~ I can give you a little taste…” And then 129 would lean in and capture Katsuki’s lips in his and Katsuki would be so happy that he wouldn’t even care that 129 had made the first move and not him and he would in turn pull 129 closer and he actually would taste curry on his lips and it would be amazing-

No no no no no stop it! Focus! Stop distracting yourself with shit that’ll never happen!

Katsuki felt like he was floating. He wanted to just body-slam himself back to reality and away from all of this, but at the same time… it had felt so good, for that little bit when he thought it would be possible.

Being in love, Katsuki concluded, fucking sucks.

xxxxx

Nothing much happened during dinner, thank god.

Mitsuki had been side-eyeing him the whole time, but she hadn’t done anything. It was tense- nobody said anything to each other at all- but it was better than last night.

Katsuki’s leg throbbed.

He did have to shuffle away, though, instead of walking. If he walked, he might have limped.

Before he’d gotten to his room, Masaru had approached him.

“How’s your leg?” he’d asked.

“Fine.” Katsuki had snapped back, marching into his room and kicking the door shut behind him.

Masaru seemed to have gotten the hint, and didn’t follow him.

This time, Katsuki did manage to finish all his homework before finally settling down and taking out his DS, 129 already waiting for him in Satsu. He was wearing the other Aggretsuko letterman, along with shorts.

129: do you like it?

Tsuki-chan: it suits you.

Tsuki-chan: it suits you a lot.

129: thank you!

129: we’re a pair!

Tsuki-chan: shush you.

129: haha fine! we have stuff to do!

129: what… what is that stuff?

Tsuki-chan: fish with me.

129: oh, ok!

So fish they did.

129: this is nice~

129: it’s like we’re on a date!!

Tsuki-chan: don’t f ing say that holy sh

129: you don’t like it?

Tsuki-chan: that’s not what i said.

Tsuki-chan: it’s weird.

Tsuki-chan: you ever liked someone before?

There was a noticeable time gap before 129 responded. Katsuki had even begun to think that maybe he shouldn’t have asked that. Maybe he was being too obvious, making 129 think he had feelings for him.

Well. He did. But he still hadn’t decided if he wanted 129 to know.

129: once

129: he’s… abrasive

129: and he has some pretty unpleasant traits

129: but i look up to him so much…

129: he’s amazing! and stubborn

129: and so heroic

129: and he’s cute!

129: i rarely ever see him smile but when he does…

129: wow, y’know?

129: he makes me want to be so much better than i already am

129: i want to be on his level!

129: i want to surpass him…

129: …and i want him to surpass me right back!

129: i want to show him that he was wrong about me!

129: i want to impress him!

129: ...i want to be close to him again

129: i’ve liked him for so long…

Katsuki’s heart sank. How could he compete with whoever this mystery guy was? He sounded like Katsuki himself, but with all the toxicity and the weakness sucked out.

He was who Katsuki pretended to be.

Tsuki-chan: sounds like an awesome guy.

Tsuki-chan: why don’t you go after him?

129: haha;; he hates me…

Tsuki-chan: i find that hard to believe.

129: why?

Tsuki-chan: you have like zero bad traits.

Tsuki-chan: who could possibly hate you.

129: him, i guess…

129: i want to talk to him!

Tsuki-chan: like how you wanna talk to the guy that was an a hole to you?

129: haha, yeah…

Tsuki-chan: you sure like to talk shit out with people.

129: i believe in the benefit of the doubt!

129: and i believe in thinking that people can change!

Tsuki-chan: how noble.

129: it’s just the right thing to do…

Tsuki-chan: suit yourself.

Tsuki-chan: i think there’s sh t people can’t hope to come back from.

129: of course! i’m not stupid, tsuki-chan

129: there’s lots of things someone can’t come back from!

129: honestly if the person who hurt me had done permanent damage…

129: i wouldn’t want to talk to him.

129: at all.

129: but… he really didn’t?

129: i dont excuse what he did! but i’m not scarred from it.

129: so it’s fixable

129: does that make sense?

Tsuki-chan: i suppose.

Tsuki-chan: it’s a noble way to think i guess.

Tsuki-chan: it suits you.

Tsuki-chan: i like that balance of like. caring. but not caring too much and f ing yourself over.

129: ahaha;; i thought youd hate it!

129: like youd think me giving any kind of compassion is dumb

Tsuki-chan: i want compassion.

Tsuki-chan: i’m selfish for wanting it.

Tsuki-chan: but i can’t really fault you for wanting to give it.

129: ...i don’t think you’re selfish

129: as long as you aren’t demanding it

Tsuki-chan: f ck no. i’m not like that.

129: i had a feeling you weren’t!

129: i caught a black bass!

Tsuki-chan: nice.

Tsuki-chan: wait hold on. stay here i want to go get something.

129: ok…?

Katsuki scurried away and quickly changed into an outfit that he’d downloaded earlier that day. He bit his lip, trying not to laugh as he ran back to 129.

Tsuki-chan: in the name of the moon…

He ran back on-screen, showing off his new outfit: a replica of Sailor Moon’s magical girl outfit.

Tsuki-chan: ...give me your fish.

129: AAAAAAAAAAAA

129: AHAHAHAHAHA

129: OH MY GOD

129: YOU LOOK

129: AAAHHHHH

Tsuki-chan: i thought it’d make you laugh.

He would give anything to see 129’s actual face right then.

To hear his laugh.

To swoop in and kiss him in the moment.

129: it did!!

129: i needed that, honestly…!

129: you’re the best, tsuki-chan!

Tsuki-chan: shush it was nothing.

129: it’s really sweet that you did that just to see me laugh…

129: not even to SEE me laugh!

Tsuki-chan: whatever.

Tsuki-chan: we have stuff to do.

Tsuki-chan: being a mayor is hard.

129: it sure is!

129: but your help makes it easier!

Tsuki-chan: good.

129: does… my help make it easier for you?

Tsuki-chan: pff. i could do all this myself, nerd.

Katsuki was about to leave it at that, but thought of how happy he’d made 129 with that simple little thing he’d done. How that cute face would scrunch up in happiness and beam at his screen. Maybe 129 was even wishing that he could be with Katsuki.

He wanted to make him happy. Make him happy like he made Katsuki happy.

Tsuki-chan: but yeah.

Tsuki-chan: you make it easier.

xxxxx

Katsuki lay in bed, curled up in his covers and blearily looking at his phone, the dim brightness comforting.

Tsuki-chan: my wrists hurt haha

Tsuki-chan: from all the playing.

129: maybe we should start stopping sooner?

Tsuki-chan: fuck no.

129: if you say so;;

Tsuki-chan: unless you want to.

129: not particularly!

129: i like spending time with tsuki-chan~

Tsuki-chan: i kinda want to start calling you something.

129: oh?

Tsuki-chan: it’s weird to call you numbers.

Tsuki-chan: ichi.

Tsuki-chan: cause you’re the one for me.

129: (⺣◡⺣)♡*

129: you’re good at this!

129: i got one!

129: your name should just be suki, instead of tsuki!

Tsuki-chan: ‘i like you.’ haha.

Tsuki-chan: clever.

Tsuki-chan: did that also take you an hour, cinderblock bitch?

129: SHUSH, YOU!! 。(*^▽^*)ゞ

Katsuki smirked and moved around a little- he must’ve moved his leg wrong, because a sharp stab of pain hit and he winced.

He was dreading tomorrow.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they had hero classes before and after lunch. Before lunch, it was all hero-related lessons. But after…

After was always training.

Physical training.

Which Katsuki shouldn’t be doing with three stitched wounds, let alone one that was infected and in pain.

He’d forgotten. He hadn’t needed to stitch himself up since applying to UA.

He’d done it more. But he’d been careful.

So, so careful.

But that night… talking to 129- no, Ichi- someone who reminded him so much of Deku, of why he shouldn’t even be at UA to begin with, why he didn’t deserve to stand where he stood…

He’d lost control.

129: tsuki-chan?

Tsuki-chan: hm.

129: you just… weren’t responding for a while;;

129: i get antsy whenever anyone does that

Tsuki-chan: oh.

Tsuki-chan: hey. can i talk about something.

Tsuki-chan: i don’t really do shit like this.

Tsuki-chan: but i’ll be damned if i tell anyone i actually know.

Tsuki-chan: like in real life.

It took a while for Ichi to answer.

129: yeah, sure!

Tsuki-chan: so at ua we have hero training two days a week

Tsuki-chan: including tomorrow.

Tsuki-chan: but.

Tsuki-chan: i have. an injury. on my leg

Tsuki-chan: i’m just kind of. dreading. you know?

Tsuki-chan: it hurts.

Tsuki-chan: and i shouldn’t be training with it.

129 was going to think he was pathetic. Can’t handle a shitty little cut.

If you can’t handle them then you shouldn’t fucking make them.

Or maybe that’s why you SHOULD make them. To remind yourself that you’re not as fucking amazing as you pretend you are.

Not as amazing as you try to delude yourself into thinking.

Maybe one day you’ll actually be strong.

Fucking Deku was going through the Sports Festival with broken fingers, and you can’t handle a few cuts?

Shitty.

Pathetic.

129: can’t you give them a doctor’s note??

129: so you don’t have to do training?

Tsuki-chan: didn’t go to the doctor.

Tsuki-chan: and i’m not fucking sitting out.

129: what do you mean, you didn’t go to the doctor??

Tsuki-chan: i can fucking handle myself ichi.

129: i’m not saying you can’t!

129: how bad even is it?

Tsuki-chan: three stitches.

129: you shouldn’t be training with stitches!! even if it’s just a tiny thing!

129: i guess it’s not super bad… it’s only three stitches…

129: i still think you shouldn’t do it…

Tsuki-chan: one is infected though.

129: ?? but you said three stitches? wouldnt the whole wound be infected and not just one individual stitch?

Tsuki-chan: ….

Tsuki-chan: ichi what do you think i meant when i said three stitches.

129: one small wound where the needle was stitched in three times…?

129: that’s what three stitches means?

Tsuki-chan: oh.

Tsuki-chan: i meant. three separate wounds.

129: WHAT

129: NO WHAT NO DON’T TRAIN WITH THREE DIFFERENT STITCHED UP WOUNDS

129: HOW MANY STITCHES IN EACH

Tsuki-chan: didn’t count.

129: COUNT!!!!!

Tsuki-chan: dude.

129: FUCKING COUNT!!

129: COUNT THEM YOU BASTARD FUCKING COUNT THEM PLEASE

129: PLEASE

Katsuki was taken aback by Ichi’s outburst.

He never considered Ichi to be the cursing type, under any circumstance.

But obviously, something had pushed him to it.

He must be annoyed by Katsuki’s weakness.

He must be checking to see if Katsuki has a right to complain.

Katsuki sighed and counted them up.

Tsuki-chan: seven.

129: SEVEN ON EACH ONE???

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

129: DO NOT TRAIN OH MY GOD JUST SIT OUT OR SOMETHING

Tsuki-chan: you’re no help.

Tsuki-chan: i can do it.

Tsuki-chan: they should hold.

129: AND IF THEY DON’T

129: what then

129: you’ll get hurt

129: please tsuki-chan please

129: for me?

Tsuki-chan: i can fucking do it.

Tsuki-chan: i’m just nervous.

129: please….

129: you should see a doctor too…

129: you said one was infecte

129: w

129: wait…

129: tsuki, where did you get stitches?

129: if you never went to the doctor…

Tsuki-chan: did them myself.

129: YOU WHAT

129: WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT

129: NO WONDER ITS INFECTED!!

Tsuki-chan: oi, you saying im bad at it?

Tsuki-chan: i’ve had practice.

129: THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE?

129: tsuki chan please please please don’t train tomorrow please

129: i’ll do whatever you want please

129: please i just don’t want you to get hurt

129: please…

Tsuki-chan: if i get hurt, it’s my own fault.

Tsuki-chan: and i can handle it.

129: you don’t HAVE to handle it!

Tsuki-chan: i can.

Tsuki-chan: don’t worry about me.

129: ….

129: ...do they hurt?

Katsuki’s leg throbbed.

Walking was a pain.

He could still feel how deep those three wounds were, how he tore himself open, how his skin was stretched and how it exposed something red and something never meant to see the light of day something to be protected and how much it hurt and how he’d gone too deep and the pulsing the pulsing of blood and how he had no idea the human body could have that much blood and it had got to be the end now there had to be nothing left soon as more and more rhythmically came and faint memories of screaming for help as he sat in a puddle of his own blood but why was he screaming for help when he had wanted this was he such a pussy that he couldn’t follow through on anything?

Woah.

It’s been a while since that happened.

Katsuki shook his head to clear it.

Fucking hell.

He still felt the need to check on his leg.

There was one scar much shorter than the others- it was angry and red and stood in stark contrast to the lines of white and pinks.

It had only needed three stitches.

Sometimes Katsuki could swear it still hurt.

Tsuki-chan: they hurt a little bit.

Tsuki-chan: sorry for being quiet.

Tsuki-chan: was thinking.

His hands shook.

His entire body shook.

129: tell me the truth.

129: you were quiet for a long time

129: if they only hurt a little you’d say right away.

Tsuki-chan:

Katsuki was so, so tired of lying. He was tired of everything.

He wasn’t tired of Ichi.

But Ichi would tire of him when he realized just how little he had to offer.

What he could do well, others could do better.

And without that, what was he?

Nothing.

Less than nothing.

A person who didn’t deserve to breathe.

And he knew this, and yet he hadn’t died yet.

Tsuki-chan: they hurt a lot.

Tsuki-chan: all of them do.

Tsuki-chan: there’s more than three.

Tsuki-chan: just only three needed stitches.

Tsuki-chan: the smaller ones are ok. they don’t hurt much.

Tsuki-chan: i’ve been told. that i walk with a limp.

129: ….

129: ...there’s no shame in sitting out.

129: really…

129: you’re going to get hurt.

Tsuki-chan: i have to be the best.

Tsuki-chan: i can do this.

Tsuki-chan: and if i can’t. then mock me all you want.

129: i wouldn’t do that…

Tsuki-chan: i’d have it coming.

129: you would be hurt!

Tsuki-chan: still.

Tsuki-chan: i guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

129: ...i hope you reconsider, tsuki-chan….

129: be safe.

129: suki-chan~

Despite it all, Katsuki smiled.

He could feel his lip wobbling.

He’d never admitted anything about his leg to anyone.

Never.

He’d expected it to go much, much worse.

And yet… he still hated talking.

He’d show Ichi. He’d not only keep his stitches intact, but he’d excel at training. He’d give him a good story. They would do their homework together- sort of, they’d talk while doing it- and then they’d play Animal Crossing. And they would go to bed together.

It would be nice.

It would be normal.

It would be the same thing they’ve been doing since they met.

And Katsuki would swell with pride at Ichi’s amazement.

Ichi would have peace of mind.

Everything was going to go fine.

Tsuki-chan: i’m the hero. it’s my job to worry about civilians like you.

129: you’re just in training!

129: and besides

129: someone’s gotta be your hero…

129: worry not, tsuki-chan

129: i am here for that! (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

129: if you’d want me, that is

Tsuki-chan: whatever helps you sleep at night, nerd.

129: you do (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Katsuki felt a tear slip out.

He pretended not to notice.

Tsuki-chan: shush.

Tsuki-chan: shuuuush.

Tsuki-chan: i’m tired.

Tsuki-chan: so shut up and go to sleep

Tsuki-chan: (`▽´ʃƪ)♡

129: goodnight to you too, tsuki-chan~

I love you.

Katsuki closed his eyes and imagined Ichi, next to him, saying it back.

Chapter Text

Katsuki didn’t dream.

Or, perhaps, he did but had forgotten it.

When he awoke, he lay still in bed, glaring at the wall.

After everything that happened- and everything that was to come- he really needed one of those stupid sappy dreams.

Needed Ichi to be there, next to him, somewhere where Katsuki didn’t have to worry about appearances or being the best- because Ichi already thought of him as the best, no matter what.

He checked his phone.

Nothing.

Guess he didn’t wake up yet.

Tsuki-chan: morning, nerd.

Katsuki was about to send that slightly-less-than-sappy kaomoji, but he stopped, finger hovering over the send button as he was suddenly struck with anxiety.

Just fucking send the kaomoji. You’ve done it before, idiot, stop getting cold feet.

Tsuki-chan: (`▽´ʃƪ)♡

There. Was that so fucking hard?

Yeah, it kind of was.

What if Ichi had decided not to talk to him ever again? Fuck, Katsuki must have scared him off with his talk of his injuries. Ichi must’ve realized they were self-inflicted. Must’ve decided he wanted nothing to do with a shithead who did things like that.

No. No. Don’t fucking think like that. I am NOT starting this fucking day like this. He’s just sleeping. We were up late last night. He’s asleep.

Yeah, and you’re ACTUALLY the best. Stop deluding yourself.

You know full well why he isn’t here.

And it’s all because you couldn’t keep your shitty mouth shut.

What happened to secrecy? Never fucking telling anyone?

And now you scared him away, fucking asshole.

Katsuki got out of bed, and cared no mind to his leg. He swung it about like it was any other day, gritting his teeth through the pain.

Was it just him, or was it hurting more than it did yesterday?

Better check.

He undid his bandage, and it was like he was stabbed in the chest.

The shitty cut was an angry, dark red, and heat seemed to be radiating off of it. The stitches themselves were completely submerged in gross, yellow leakage, and Katsuki could swear he felt it pulsating.

And the other two.

Were fucking swollen.

He poked at each one- and winced.

Because of course it had spread! Of fucking course, today of all god damn days! That’s exactly what he needed!

Why even bother with a fucking bandage? What was the point? What was there to prevent? It getting worse? Fuck, why the hell not! Why not make it worse? It’s not like Katsuki didn’t deserve it!

His palms tingled with explosions begging to form as he crouched and pulled his medical supplies out from under his bed.

His fingers brushed against his knife. And on autopilot, he pulled it out.

Katsuki regarded it; turned it around in his hands.

It was a decently sized Swiss knife, the bright red marred by dried blood and char.

He gripped it in his hand, fingers aligning perfectly with the dark marks.

It was something he did to mark his knives as his- he gripped them in his hand, then slowly, carefully, set off explosions on his fingertips, searing his prints onto it forever.

He’d done it with his first knife, too.

It was a switchblade, far less versatile than the Swiss knife, but a lot sleeker.

Blade was longer, too. Katsuki had to shell out more for his second knife to have a long blade.

He couldn’t have just gotten another switchblade, though. The Swiss knife was a better idea.

For hiking, he could claim.

Still, he wished he hadn’t lost his switchblade. It looked cool as fuck, especially with the explosion marks contrasting against the red handle.

Katsuki turned it over in his hands and inspected the blade.

To check it for dirt.

He rarely did clean it.

There was blood on it, caked on from its previous use.

And more, from further back still, all staining the blade a dark brown.

No wonder he got infected. It was dirty.

So dirty.

Fucking asshole, worrying your friend because you’re too lazy to clean a knife.

What kind of a person does that?

You SHOULD train today. You have to, anyway. If everyone sees how fucking weak you are, then it’s your fault.

You did this. You did all of this.

All of it.

The blade looked dull, too.

Katsuki needed to check.

Was it dull?

He couldn’t tell.

He needed to check.

Check.

Re-check.

Just checking the sharpness.

The blade was so god damn bloody.

He couldn’t see past all the blood.

Was it dull, or was it still good? Katsuki couldn’t tell.

Check.

Check.

Check again.

So bloody it dripped.

Check.

It didn’t feel dull.

But maybe that was just him.

He really did need to clean his knife.

He’d get infected again.

Check.

Again.

One more time.

Then, he was still.

The silence was suffocating as he sat there, eyes dull and staring at nothing in particular. His hand rested against the floor as his grip weakened, the knife falling out of it and the tips of his fingers brushing the side of the blade. His gaze dropped, focusing on the red stains now on his hand- but he hadn’t touched the sharp side of the blade, had he?

What just happened?

Stop fucking lying to yourself. You know what happened.

He’d controlled himself, this time.

No more stitches.

Good. He’d be late if he needed to stitch himself up.

He faintly remembered that he was supposed to be bandaging himself up.

Katsuki used extra this time, about twice what he’d used the previous day.

He forgot to clean his leg.

Like I’d forget.

All he did was accept that this was his due justice.

He wanted to be number one so badly? He should fucking work for it.

The old hag was right- he’d been handed everything on a silver platter his whole life.

Why not work for a change?

He was supposed to be a hero- he should be expected to push past something like this.

His leg burned.

Katsuki glared at his knife and shoved it back under his bed, not even bothering to tape it to the underside. He didn’t want to fucking look at it, didn’t want to go through that extra trouble to hide something nobody was looking to find anyway.

It just reminded him of everything that was wrong with him.

Tucked away in darkness, the blade displayed bright crimson stains.

xxxxx

Tsuki-chan: my leg’s ok, just so you know.

Tsuki-chan: i’ll be fine today.

“Bakugo, you’re li-”

“It’s a gait!”

Kirishima smacked his arm. “It is not a gait! Well, it is, but- a limp is a gait! We went over this!”

“Okay, then. It’s a non-limp gait. Are you happy now?”

Katsuki couldn’t fucking wait until hero training.

He’d show Ichi.

And he’d show Kirishima.

He’d show himself.

Fuck his leg, fuck the stitches, and fuck the double-digit number of other assorted cuts.

Fuck all of it. All of it!

He was going to hero training.

And he was going to kick ass at hero training.

He’d beat Shitty Kirishima’s ass into the dirt.

“Bakugo…” Kirishima sighed. “You’re gonna smack me for saying this but- it’d be unmanly if I didn’t say my thoughts just ‘cause of that!”

“Just spit it out, Shitty Hair.”

“I, uh. I really don’t think you should do hero stuff today.”

Katsuki whirled around and gave Kirishima a look. “Excuse fucking me?”

“You heard what I said! There’s obviously something wrong with your leg!”

“There’s nothing wrong with it!”

“BAKUGO!”

Kirishima’s shout made Katsuki stop in his tracks. Kirishima stopped as well, fully turned around to face his friend with an anguished expression on his face.

“There’s something wrong, Bakugo! Go see Recovery Girl-”

“Like hell I will!”

“-or fake food poisoning, or say that you’re injured, or something! You’re gonna get even more hurt if you try and train with that leg!”

“My leg is fine! The only one of us who’s gonna have any kind of injury is you!”

“Oh my god-! You’ll get hurt!”

“I’m not hurt now, and I’m not gonna get hurt!”

Katsuki started walking again, faster this time. “You’ll fucking see!”

Kirishima ran up to him, falling into the same pace. “Dude, c’mon, think rationally-”

“YOU’RE the one not thinking rationally! You seriously think I’d let a fucking injury stop me?” He threw a punch, hitting Kirishima right on the side of his jaw.

“Dude!” He rubbed his cheek and shot a glare at Katsuki. “What the fuck? I’m just concerned!”

Please, I just don’t want you to get hurt.

Please…

“Don’t be.”

Katsuki spit those words with as much venom as he could muster, running at top speed and taking advantage of Kirishima’s shock to leave him in the dust.

He felt nothing, his leg feeling as disconnected from him as the rest of his body did.

xxxxx

Fuck, it ached.

And everyone had noticed.

Katsuki’s leg felt like it was on fire by the time he burst into the classroom.

No, worse. It felt like he’d stabbed himself. Which, to his credit, he didn’t. A cut wasn’t a stab.

It felt like his stitches had burst, and it took most of his self-control not to dash to the bathroom and check if they had.

I would feel the fucking blood, he reasoned with himself.

Just don’t act weird.

Everyone was staring at him.

Kaminari, Sero, Ashido, Jirou, everyone.

Hell, even Todoroki was staring.

And fucking Deku wasn’t at his desk. He was in the back, hanging out with Round Face.

And of course they were both staring- although Round Face at least had the decency to pretend not to.

Hell, even that bird fucker was staring. What was even his name, Katsuki wondered. Have I ever even fucking talked to him before?

Sizing him up, they were.

Noticed his shitty limp, and now they were getting ideas.

‘Oh, Bakugo’s so weak! I bet it’ll be so easy to be better than him today in hero training! God, I can’t wait for him to make a fool of himself in front of All Might! It’ll be hilarious! Maybe he’ll cry! All bark and a shitty fucking bite, why should we respect him? Why does he even want to be a hero? What makes him think that he CAN be?’

That was probably what was going through their heads.

No, not probably.

Absolutely.

They probably wanted to record the colossal failure they thought was coming- put it on YouTube or something.

SHITTY ASSHOLE WANNABE HERO FAILS IN THE MOST FUCKING STUPID WAY IMAGINABLE (MUST WATCH)

One million views. Instant viral video.

‘Haha, isn’t that the guy from the sports festival?’

‘How the mighty fall ig.’

‘PFF he was never mighty!!’

‘Lmao that was so stupid how does he think he’ll become a hero like that’

‘Waste of a UA seat tbh.’

‘Nono guys this dude is from that sludge villain attack!! No wonder he sucks he couldn't even get himself out of that!!’

‘Some hero lol.’

They were just waiting for him to slip up so they could rush on past him and leave him in the dust after exposing him for the shitty wannabe that he really is.

Nobody was staring anymore. But he still felt their eyes on him, burning and staring and waiting and it made him feel sick.

He’d show them. He’d show everyone.

“Bakugo? You alright?”

Katsuki’s head snapped to the right, and he was suddenly hyperaware of how tensed up he was.

It was Shitty Kirishima, looking at him with that fucking pity that he didn’t need.

Wait, is that a bruise on his cheek?

No. No, it’s just red because he must’ve gotten all red from running after me.

Shut the fuck up, asshole. You bruised him.

Fucking piece of shit.

“I’m fine,” he spat.

“It’s just- you look like you’re gonna set your desk on fire, bro.”

“Then get. Away. From me.”

Katsuki growled his words out from behind clenched teeth, nails digging into his palms as he willed his quirk not to discharge.

“Bakugo, there’s something up! You’ve been acting really weird, and showing up late, and limping, and- bro, what happened?”

“NOTHING!”

And there it was. That fucking staring that Katsuki hated.

He kept staring forward, trying not to focus on how everyone’s eyes must be on him, scrutinizing, waiting, laughing, they were probably laughing silently, whispering to each other about what a fucking wreck Katsuki is- wait, shitty Deku just ran out, probably to tell whoever-the-hell else, maybe 1-B, they’d get a fucking laugh out of this, and oh fuck- fucking Kirishima is on it too, isn’t he?

“Bakugo? You’re trembling…”

“FUCK OFF!” Explosions popped off Katsuki’s palms- though they were still balled up.

He was immune to his own quirk’s abilities- but the sensation still tingled.

“I DON’T NEED YOU FUCKING PITYING ME!”

“Bakugo, I’m not-”

“I fucking get it, you know?” Katsuki rose out of his chair and glowered at Kirishima with an expression of pure, unrestrained hatred.

“I get what you’re fucking doing. You want to fucking sabotage me, don’t you?”

Kirishima looked hurt at that. “N-no! Bakugo, why would I-”

“Want to fucking knock me down a peg, huh? Want me to admit some kind of weakness you can fucking EXPLOIT?”

The yell was punctuated with more explosions.

“No! That’s not what I want! I just want you to not get hurt!”

“I WON’T! NOW LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!”

Kirishima opened his mouth to reply, then closed it again.

“Okay.”

Katsuki had never heard Kirishima sound so resigned before.

Never seen him so dejected-looking as he made his way back to his own desk and put his head in his hands.

Kaminari had taken a place next to him, with a hand on Kirishima’s back, yammering on about something-or-other.

Katsuki couldn’t hear it from his desk.

He sat back down, slumped over in his chair, and checked his phone.

Nothing.

Fuck, I really need something.

He felt like he was about to cry.

Everything was too much, too fucking much.

His leg throbbed.

His chest twisted in on itself.

He felt himself drowning in guilt again- even if Kirishima wanted to sabotage him, why not fucking let him?

Everyone would see Katsuki for what he really was. And was that really such a bad thing?

Kirishima was so nice. And Katsuki had decked him in the face and screamed at him.

What if I made him cry?

Katsuki chanced a look back at Kirishima’s desk.

He was shaking.

Or was it Katsuki’s own trembling making it look like Kirishima was shaking?

Who knows? Did it matter?

Katsuki fucking deserved this. Kirishima deserved none of Katsuki’s treatment.

And now, Katsuki had lost a friend. Why would Kirishima want to be friends with a wreck like him?

He didn’t deserve to prove himself. Didn’t deserve to prevail against all odds.

And yet, selfishly, he wanted to anyway.

I should have fucking done it the other night.

He would’ve been dead in a few minutes, if he’d stabbed himself.

Katsuki had survived it once. There was no way he’d survive it a second time.

He’d need some legendary good luck.

Or, in his case, legendary bad luck.

Why did UA even bother to admit a student who would probably die before the first year ended?

Before fucking finals came?

He didn’t deserve to make it in. He didn’t deserve the efforts the staff took to make sure he’d actually fucking live to the end of the course.

If it was anyone else, fine. Why the fuck not.

But why go through all that god damn effort for a life that shouldn’t even be saved in the first place?

Deku should’ve walked away.

Let me fucking die there.

It’s what was fucking coming to me.

Years and years of wanting to be the best, and then I die at the hands of some shitty villain that I couldn’t defend myself from.

Go down in history as that one asshole punk kid that made rescue operations harder and then fucking died.

Karmic justice or whatever.

Deku would probably fucking celebrate.

Well, he’d be sad at first. For maybe a week or something.

Kirishima would never have made friends with the worst fucking human being.

Fuck.

Why am I still HERE?

Katsuki’s trembling had gotten worse, and he was absentmindedly chewing on his lip.

Fuck, he really was about to cry.

He checked his phone again.

He needed 129.

Isn’t that fucking pathetic? Big bad tough Katsuki Bakugo needs a little internet nerd to stop him from crying in the middle of class.

Pathetic or not, it didn’t change facts.

xxxxx

“Deku-kun? Are you alright?”

Instead of going to his desk, Izuku had went to the back of the classroom to Uraraka’s. He didn’t want Kacchan to notice his condition- he was pale, and had dark circles under his eyes.

He hadn’t been able to get much sleep- each time he tried, his mind wandered back to Kacchan and the day’s training, suspending him in a restless half-sleep until he awoke again. His stomach had churned with anxiety, so much so that he’d actually gotten sick, his head spinning and his entire body aching with exhaustion.

At her question, he shook his head.

“Kacchan’s hurt…”

She looked at him, worry etched on her face. “Hurt how? You mean the cramp?”

A shake of the head. “It’s not a cramp…” He could feel his throat tighten and tears well up in his eyes. “Kacchan told me last night…”

Uraraka put a comforting hand on Izuku’s shoulder. “What is it…?”

“I-” -a choked sob- “I don’t want to say. Kacchan wouldn’t want me to.”

Izuku couldn’t read the expression Uraraka gave him. Was it one of concern, or had she figured it out like he had?

He didn’t know.

“I would never tell, Deku…!”

Her words were meant to be reassuring, but they simply bounced off Izuku, having no effect on him whatsoever.

“I know. I just-” -another sob- “-don’t want to.”

She pat his shoulder. “Okay… I won’t force you to talk. But I won’t tell, if you want to!” She gave him a shaky, reassuring smile.

Izuku wiped at his eyes. “Something… bad is gonna happen at training today…” He’d muttered it out, not sure if he was talking to himself, or to Uraraka, or to whoever was around to listen.

“What? Deku, what’s going to happen?”

Izuku’s stomach churned as he thought about Kacchan collapsing in pain like he’d done the other day, his seven-stitch wound bursting open and oh god those bleed a lot, don’t they? He’d be bleeding everywhere and what if he had to go to the hospital-

God, he was gonna be sick again.

“I- I have to go to the bathroom, Uraraka-!”

He dashed off before another word could be said.

xxxxx

Izuku had no strength in him to get up.

He weakly hugged the toilet bowl as his stomach continued to churn and his vision swam, his throat burning and the rotten taste in his mouth overpowering.

Kacchan…

His phone pinged.

He paled- he’d forgotten to say anything to Kacchan today!

What if Kacchan is mad at me now?

Hesitantly, he checked, ready for a ‘fuck you for ignoring me. im blocking you forever.’

Tsuki-chan: ichi are you there

Tsuki-chan: this is stupid but im 2 seconds away

Tsuki-chan: from fucking crying in the middle of class

Tsuki-chan: so could you do something. stupid.

Tsuki-chan: fucking distract me.

Oh fuck.

This was worse than anger.

129: TSUKI-CHAN I AM SO SORRY

129: OH MY GOD I

129: I WAS TIRED AND I DIDNT SAY GOOD MORNING OR TALK TO YOU OR ANYTHING

129: I PROMISE IM NOT IGNORING YOU OR ANYTHING IM SO SORRY

Tsuki-chan: calm down nerd.

Tsuki-chan: just.

Tsuki-chan: how’s your school?

Tsuki-chan: i never asked.

129: it’s good…

129: kinda boring!

129: i’m more interested in knowing about your school!

129: do you have any friends?

129: who am i kidding i bet you have a lot of them!!

Izuku was admittedly not very good at lying. At all. So thinking up a fake school life was out of the question.

Plus, he did wonder what Kacchan thought of everyone.

Tsuki-chan: of course i do.

Tsuki-chan: he has fucking. spiky shitty red hair.

Tsuki-chan: apparently it used to be black.

Tsuki-chan: imagining it makes me feel weird. this fucker was meant to be a redhead.

Tsuki-chan: bet it’d look better down though.

Tsuki-chan: he looks like a bit of a tryhard with it spiked.

Tsuki-chan: like he’s trying too hard to impress someone.

129: oh? is there someone he’d wanna impress?

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: i think he likes this fucker from the other class.

Talking to Kacchan like this was nice. Izuku got up and headed back to class, his stomach having calmed down.

He kept texting on his way back.

129: ooooo really?

Tsuki-chan: yeah. they’re “bros.”

Tsuki-chan: but he’s really affectionate to him.

Tsuki-chan: he insists that he’s not gay but i don’t fucking buy it.

Izuku remembered Kirishima being close to Tetsutetsu from 1-B. Was that who Kacchan was talking about?

They’d make a cute couple.

129: i bet they’d be happy together (*^▽^*)

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: fucker has to wise up though.

Tsuki-chan: he’s the type of person to suck dick and call it a bromance.

Izuku let out a choked laugh right before he stepped into the classroom, quickly calming down before stepping in and sitting down.

Now that Kacchan said it, he kind of saw what he meant, Izuku hated to admit.

129: ohmygodddhhfkdns

129: that bad???

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: drives me nuts.

129: id imagine;;

Tsuki-chan: i don’t really want to talk about him though.

Tsuki-chan: not now.

129: ok!!

129: is there anyone else? tell me more about your classmates!!

Tsuki-chan: umm.

Tsuki-chan: our class rep is

Tsuki-chan: well.

Tsuki-chan: ever played danganronpa?

129: all of the games!

Tsuki-chan: ishimaru.

Tsuki-chan: the class rep is literally just fucking ishimaru.

At that, Izuku had to stifle another laugh at the comparison- Iida as Danganronpa’s Ultimate Moral Compass was perfect- right down to the loud enthusiasm the two shared.

Izuku wondered why he never thought of it himself- maybe Kacchan was a bigger nerd that he’d thought he was? Maybe he thought about these things more often than Izuku thought.

129: hahaha really?

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: at every moment im half expecting him to tell me that my behavior is not acceptable for a school environment.

129: pfffff

Tsuki-chan: hey wait a minute

Tsuki-chan: are you asking about my classmates to try and see who i dont mention

Tsuki-chan: to see who i am? haha.

129: nonono!! its nothing like that!!

129: that would be really creepy…

Izuku wasn’t lying- sure, if he hadn’t known Kacchan’s identity, he would have done it- but he’d feel awful about it.

He’d done a few creepy things he felt bad about.

His stomach churned.

Tsuki-chan: course it would be

Tsuki-chan: but. i trust that you wont.

Tsuki-chan: because if it turns out that you were.

Tsuki-chan: I’ll kill you.

That sent shivers down Izuku’s spine. Who knew proper punctuation was so sinister?

129: i promise im not!! (ΟΔΟ;;)

129: and besides, you only mentioned two people!

129: that wouldnt really help me much;;

Tsuki-chan: guess you’re right.

129: im glad you trust me, though…

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: it’s no big deal.

Izuku smiled wide at his phone.

You have no idea how much this means to me, Kacchan.

xxxxx

Lunch had been tense.

Katsuki sat at a completely different table, its usual occupants staring at him in confusion as he stole glances at where he usually sat. Kirishima had his head in his hands and was talking to Kaminari, who at one point got up to sit next to him, where Katsuki usually sat, to wrap an arm around him in what Katsuki assumed was a comforting gesture.

Or maybe Kaminari was just touchy, he didn’t fucking know.

He didn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary around these extras- Katsuki assumed they were from the business course, and the last thing he needed were those little fuckers spreading rumors about him. Which forced him to constantly snuff down the urge to run to the bathroom and check on his leg, just in case him leaving would be strange enough for them. He could swear it was heating up even more, the bandage starting to feel more suffocating than anything. But even if it was, what could he do about it now?

He just had to grin and bear it.

Talking to Ichi had helped- they’d spent the lunch period talking about the mundane. It was mostly Katsuki talking about his non-hero courses, and Ichi interjeting with an ‘oh my class is kinda like that!’ or an ‘oh, im not very good at that, maybe you can explain it to me sometime?’ or something along those lines.

It made Katsuki feel like they went to the same school. Like they were closer than they really were.

He wondered what Ichi looked like studying. Maybe he was hunched over a notebook, face scrunched in concentration, completely tuned out to the outside world.

Or maybe he was fidgety- looking around, chewing at his lip, muttering to himself-

Either way, Katsuki wanted to see it.

His heart beat faster at the idea- and it had distracted him from the inevitable.

‘good luck at hero training…!’ Ichi had said. ‘be safe, ok?’

Katsuki had replied with a curt ‘i’m fine. don’t worry.’

He was not fine.

His leg was throbbing, syncing up with his quickening heartbeat. The added weight of Katsuki’s gauntlets was not helping matters, adding to the burden his mutilated appendage needed to support.

Katsuki was forced to put all weight on his right leg as All Might explained the exercise.

It was similar to the one they’d done right after internships, but this time, instead of a race to a set goal, the focus was on quick turns. Straight maneuverability was easy, but while in an environment similar to the tight constraints of Ground Gamma, chasing a villain would be more difficult, especially if they decided to zigzag around the area to trip a hero up.

The objective was to get to a set point as fast as you could while going in a zigzag, turning to the right, then to the left, then to the right, going forward in a staircase motion- not as a race, but as a challenge.

Isn’t that what a fucking race is? Katsuki wondered to himself.

I mean, I GUESS having a race would mean that everyone would just stop once the top three finished.

Or maybe he doesn’t want us too focused on competing or something.

Whatever.

All Katsuki could focus on was the exercise itself- which, in his head, amounted to jump jump jump jump legs legs use your legs good fucking luck bastard go die we hate you Bakugo.

He could totally just- shift all burden to his right leg. Kick off with his right, and land with it as well. Usually, he kicked off with his right and landed with his left, but he could just switch legs in midair.

He’d have to fight against muscle memory, which would require the utmost concentration.

There was no room for error. No room to waver.

And his classmates had been giving him looks. Glancing in his direction every so often. He’d made sure to give each of them a dirty look in return.

Shitty Deku was the worst. Fucker looked about ready to cry.

It twisted Katsuki’s insides to see- why was he so fucking worried? Mister I’m Better Than You Kacchan was about to cry over a fucking training exercise?

Hell, Katsuki could beat him even with one leg out of commission.

Even if it wasn’t a race, Katsuki would still win.

He swallowed down the bile he felt rising and tried to even out his breathing. His emotions were so strong he felt like was floating, just a little.

No. Fuck, not now. Concentrate or you’ll ruin everything for yourself.

You’ll be fucked and there’s gonna be nobody to blame but your own sorry ass.

Concentrate.

His leg throbbed with such ferocity that it was impossible for Katsuki to ignore anymore.

Fucking.

Keep your expression looking normal.

Don’t look like you’re leaning.

Pay attention to All Might.

Don’t think about it.

The fresher ones could reopen.

Don’t think about it.

The stitches could burst.

Don’t think about it.

Hell, the other two could’ve gotten worse over the day, like the first one did yesterday. Katsuki hadn’t checked.

Don’t fucking think about it!

He almost missed All Might telling them to go.

And go he did.

That’s it. Kick off with your right, switch NOW, land, kick off again, switch, land, this can work, this could work, this is working!

Explosions trailed behind him as he grit his teeth and continued maneuvering.

Fuck, this is tricky. Cross one leg over the other- right- land, kick off, fuck fuck fuck-

He’d been switching from pipe to pipe in a zigzag maneuver. He’d done it before, it was easy: alternate between your left and your right kicking off.

But he couldn’t.

So he had to awkwardly cross one leg over the other.

His right leg rubbed on his left’s inner thigh. Each time his right leg contacted with the metal, it sent shockwaves through his entire body- usually ignorable, but it sent stabs of pain through his bad leg each time, the abused flesh given no time to recover as shockwave after shockwave ravaged it, the pain increasing as he went on. And yet, he grit his teeth and continued.

Win. WIN.

Faster.

He looked to his left, then to his right- Fucking Deku was using his maneuvers, just like the last time, and of course he was going faster- Deku wasn’t saddled down like Katsuki was.

Katsuki glared at him, then looked forward.

He made his explosions bigger, kicked off harder- fuck, his right leg was starting to burn with this constant strain.

Why couldn’t they have been in Ground Beta? Its wide open spaces meant that Katsuki could just rocket past everyone with his explosions, no kicking off required. But no. They were in shitty Ground Gamma’s shitty labyrinth doing this shitty exercise on specifically this fucking day.

Deku was neck-in-neck with him.

Fuck that.

Right leg, switch, kick, land, kick, switch, land-

Wind whipped past Katsuki as he pushed himself to his limit.

His legs burned.

He looked at Deku again- at this rate, Deku was going to beat him. He wasn’t losing to shitty Deku. Who cared if it wasn’t a race? Who fucking cared! Katsuki was still going to win.

Win. Win win win get ahead of shitty Deku- fuck, switch-

-prove yourself, asshole, fucking WIN-

-switch-

-fucking work for something for once in your damn life-

-switch-

-piece of shit, you’re losing-

-switch-

-FUCKING GO FASTER! WHAT KIND OF A HERO CAN’T ADAPT-

-switch-

-YOU HAVE TO FUCKING WIN!-

-SWITCH!-

-WHAT ARE YOU, WEAK?-

-SWITCH!-

-YOU CAN’T LOSE. YOU CAN’T EVER FUCKING LOSE-

-BECAUSE WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU IF YOU AREN’T NUMBER FUCKING ONE?

Someone screamed.

Katsuki lost his footing and fell, too in shock to catch himself using his explosions.

The fucker was still screaming. Why won’t they shut up?

The fall fucking hurt- Katsuki’s ears were ringing, his vision cloudy and blurry, and he felt as if he was floating-

He was vaguely aware and yet hyperaware of pain coursing through his entire body, originating from- fuck, where was it originating from?

Would that asshole stop fucking crying? Screaming? Both? Shut the fuck up!

Katsuki felt everything and nothing at all, mouth agape in silent agony; eyes wide and unblinking. He was vaguely aware of someone shouting “Kacchan!”

Fucking Deku. Katsuki could’ve sworn he was the one crying. If it wasn’t him, who the hell was it?

Why won't they shut the fuck up?

He saw a blur of green come towards him- then a blur of blue, and he felt himself float upwards.

“Young Bakugo! Young Bakugo, can you hear me?”

All Might had to yell over that screaming asshole- Katsuki could barely hear him. He tried to answer, but his throat was raw for some reason- his mouth still open in shock. He tried closing his mouth, and-

Oh thank fuck the screaming stopped.

Katsuki’s throat was raw.

Wind whipped past him as All Might ran… somewhere.

It was just a fucking fall! I’m fine!

The words never came out, his mouth hanging open as his body was limp. Katsuki tried to move his arms, try to push him away- he didn’t fucking need his help!

His arm shook with strain, his gauntlet heavier than he was used to it being. He concentrated as much strength into his arm as possible, pushed as hard as he could, but he couldn’t move himself even the slightest bit.

Was his arm broken?

He felt wetness somewhere.

Fuck, where?

Katsuki blinked, and suddenly the blurriness was gone. He stared up at All Might’s determined face, slowly becoming more aware of his own body.

His face was wet.

Shit shit shit shit, did I hit my head?

I don’t remember hitting my head.

Fuck…

Something was dripping.

Something else throbbed like his heart itself had moved down to wherever it was, taking up permanent residence there with its powerful, constant pulsating.

But no, his heart was still in his chest- gripped in a vice, the same vice Katsuki had been feeling all day.

The dripping was driving him insane.

Katsuki closed his mouth again, and focused on the words he wanted to say. He replayed them over, and over, and over in his mind, opening his mouth again and finally speaking, his raw throat burning with each word.

“Is… my head okay…?”

All Might seemed surprised to hear him talk, and flashed his signature reassuring smile at him. “Yes, Young Bakugo, your head is thankfully alright.”

“Then put me down…”

“Of course not! I will do no such thing! You’re injured, and you need to see Recovery Girl.”

What?

“But… my head…”

“Your leg, Bakugo!”

It slammed into him like the ground had just a few minutes ago.

Your leg. Your leg. Your leg.

Your FUCKING LEG.

He was suddenly aware of the pain coming from his leg, the warm blood cascading down it, seeping through his pants and probably dripping onto the ground, trailing behind them.

It was the most agonizing thing he’d ever felt.

Red-hot and unwavering, with each throb it seemed to get worse, with each second the blood poured out it seemed to get hotter, spread more-

All it served to do was remind Katsuki of how he’d lost.

His concentration had wavered.

Couldn’t even be in control of his own fucking appendages.

Shitty hero. Fucking shitty hero.

He brought his hand up to his face, covering it, and wishing he could still pretend he was hearing someone else’s agony.

xxxxx

“Let me see, Bakugo.”

Katsuki stared off into space, the blinding white of Recovery Girl’s office blending together, floors meshing with walls and walls meshing with ceilings and the whole thing kaleidoscoping into memories of past confinements to beds.

His head hurt, his eyes red and puffy, his leg still feeling detached from the rest of his body.

Someone had taken his gauntlets off- it wasn’t him, but someone had done it.

Probably All Might.

“Bakugo.” Recovery Girl’s voice bounced off him, but enough was absorbed for Katsuki to turn his head and look at her.

“Hah…?”

“Your leg, Bakugo.” She pointed at it for emphasis. “I need to heal it.”

Fuck.

I can’t show her.

His face didn’t betray his emotions, expression still vacant.

“No.”

She looked at him quizzically. “No?”

“You heard me.”

She furrowed her brow. “Bakugo, I need to heal it. It’ll be quick, and you can get back to class.”

“I don’t want to.”

“You have to, it’s still bleeding.”

“It does that.”

Recovery Girl didn’t seem as reassured by that as Katsuki thought she would be.

“You mean, it was there before training?”

Shit.

“You should have sat out.”

Katsuki crossed his arms. “I could’ve fucking handled it.”

“Yes, that’s why you’re here.”

Silence.

Katsuki blinked, again and again, to rid himself of the mental image of being in the hospital yet again- this isn’t a fucking hospital, he had to remind himself.

“Please show me your leg. You can’t leave without doing so, you know.”

“School day’s gotta end eventually.”

She crossed her arms. “You’re willing to miss two classes just to avoid this?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Bakugo, I’m the nurse.”

Katsuki sighed and put his head in his hands. “I’m fine.”

“Bakugo, it’s still bleeding. You could bleed out, and then you’d need to go to the hospital.”

He stiffened- and hoped that Recovery Girl couldn’t pick up on it.

“Come on, Bakugo.”

Katsuki heaved out another sigh, and pulled his pants down just enough to see his leg. “I’m only doing this because fuck hospitals.”

She merely hummed in response.

Katsuki rolled up his boxers, and began unraveling the soaked bandage. Once he got to the last layer, he gave it a little tug- those fresh ones must have stuck to it- and let out a choked gasp.

The stitches had not burst. Each one was still fully intact.

Entangled in them was skin; mangled, torn skin, the pale flesh marred with crimson. The edge of his wounds were white and red and torn, spread open again and bleeding without restraint, bright red mixing with pale yellow and flowing down his leg, staining scabbed over wounds and mixing with smaller trickles.

Katsuki was going to be sick.

“Oh my…” he heard Recovery Girl say, poorly restrained horror seeping into her voice. Katsuki looked away, gripping the bedsheets so hard his knuckles turned white.

“This is…” he heard her take a shaky breath, “...one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen.”

Katsuki grunted. “Well yeah, I doubt anyone else here does this shit.” It was spat from under his breath, as if he knew this would work in his favor but did not like this fact.

“I’ve volunteered in hospitals, Bakugo.” He felt a light poke on his leg, and he flinched.

“You’re burning up,” she said before he could respond to her previous statement. “These stitched ones are all infected.”

“Mmh. They do that.” Something was bubbling up in him, something vicious- but not anger. Katsuki couldn’t place it. It needed to come out, needed to be explosive like anger. But it wasn’t anger.

“This has happened before? Is this why you always go to the doctor for these types of things?” Being the school nurse, she had access to his medical records.

Katsuki knew of this fact, knew of it ever since before he started coming here.

That didn’t mean he had to like it.

“My stitches are fucking fine.”

“That’s not what I asked. Besides, they’re not fine at all. Who even did these?”

He turned around to face her, an accusatory look on his face- although it was halfhearted. Katsuki had no idea why, but he felt fucking exhausted. Too exhausted to accuse. Too exhausted for anger.

Too exhausted to care.

“Me.”

Her concern was evident on her face, and she gasped at his admittance.

“You? Bakugo, you shouldn’t be doing things like this, you know.”

“They hold. They do their fucking job.”

A huff. “They do hold, but wouldn’t you have preferred them bursting today?”

No answer. Katsuki simply turned his head away again.

He heard the snip of scissors, and felt the familiar sting of his stitches being pulled out. He bit his lip as Recovery Girl unwound them from what was left of his skin, patting at his wounds while she did so. He then felt the burn of alcohol as she cleaned him up to the best of her ability, and his face scrunched up in concentration, trying not to make a sound.

“I can’t heal these, you know.”

“Hah?”

He whirled around to look at her again, eyes wide. She had a little dispenser of- was that fucking tape?- and was patting at Katsuki’s leg again, literally taping his wounds shut.

“I can’t heal infections, especially not ones as bad as yours.” She continued taping him up. “Besides, I refuse to heal self-harm unless life threatening.”

The word self-harm bore itself into Katsuki’s chest and twisted there, making him grow cold, and colder still.

“I’m calling your parents and you will go to a regular doctor for this. The medical tape is just a temporary measure.”

“What, am I supposed to be walking around with fucking tape on my leg all day?” The retort came out stiff, as if it were rehearsed. Badly rehearsed.

“Absolutely not!” Recovery Girl started to re-bandage his leg. “You will not be walking at all until you get proper stitches!”

“So, what do you suppose I should do ‘till then?”

She finished bandaging his leg, walking to her desk with a huff. “You will stay here until one of your parents come.”

Fuck, it felt like he was in a god damn blizzard now.

“My parents?”

“Yes. You’re going now. This is more important than a couple of classes.”

Katsuki had tuned out everything after yes; his heart feeling like it was in a vice, and was it just him or was it getting harder to breathe?

The fuck was he supposed to do? Tell her not to call them?

His mother was stay-at-home. His father worked. He would still be at work at this hour.

That would mean his mother would be there.

She would have to take him to the doctor, and he would have to be stuck in the car listening to her ranting at him about how he was weak and an idiot and couldn’t even handle hero classes and if he couldn’t handle hero classes then what the fuck was he even going to this school for?

No, really. What the fuck was he going here for? It’s obvious he couldn’t handle it. Sure, yeah, Katsuki loved to think he was the best at fucking everything, but now that he was in an environment where he actually had to work instead of moping around, what does he do? He didn’t fucking handle it, that’s what he did.

And now, he was in the god damn nurse’s office, for what? Because he couldn’t have a tiny bit of restraint when it came to mutilating his fucking leg? His body part that he needs for training and walking and shit? No, he had to make the fucking Mariana Trench! It was required of him!

You had one fucking job. ONE fucking job! Concentrate, or you’ll fucking ruin everything.

Now look at everything! It’s all ruined, like you fucking said it would be!

Fuck, you weren’t supposed to be doing this. You weren’t fucking careful in middle school and your shitty ass was almost rejected because of it!

Rejected! From your dream fucking school! Because you can’t do the very simple task of not hurting yourself. Literally NOT doing a thing! Just be a lazy piece of shit and you’d be fine!

But nooo, for some fucking reason you didn’t, and for some other fucking reason they still let you in anyway, but this incident is probably going to make them kick you right the fuck back out again!

Where you belong!

And if they don’t, or before they do, or whatever- fuck, Aizawa’s gonna be up your ass about this. Two god damn months of wasting his time because you HAVE to talk to someone to keep your shitty ass in school, and you decided to make Aizawa’s life a living hell by choosing HIM instead of an actual therapist, and you don’t even have the decency to actually fucking talk?

Whatever! What the fuck ever! He’s going to be pissed at you for this!

And you deserve it!

Shitty fucking Bakugo!

“Bakugo!”

“Hah?” Katsuki jolted out of his thoughts and looked at Recovery Girl with a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

“Your father’s coming. He won’t be for a while, but your mother was farther away than him.”

Bullshit. Katsuki knew their house was closer to UA than his dad’s office was.

But if it meant not having to deal with his mother, he figured it would be best to keep his mouth shut and count his blessings.

“Whatever.”

Fuck, am I really that fucking weak? Can’t even handle seeing one of my own fucking parents? If I can’t deal with that, then how the fuck am I supposed to deal with villains?

If I do end up getting expelled, I fucking have it coming.

xxxxx

Izuku felt like he was about to keel over right here, right now.

He was forced to lean on Kirishima as they walked, hand over his mouth in a feeble attempt to combat his growing nausea. His head was spinning and his legs felt like jelly as what happened earlier replayed in his mind.

In the eleven years he’s known Kacchan, he had never heard him scream like that.

Just the memory was enough to make his stomach twist in pain. He’d been stealing glances at Kacchan throughout the entire exercise, watching as he used only his right leg, holding his breath and bracing for the inevitable.

A little spark in him had hoped that, against all odds, Kacchan would get through the class without a disaster happening. If anyone could beat the odds, it was Kacchan! But the logical side of Izuku knew that was never an option.

He’d completely abandoned the training and rushed over to Kacchan when he’d fallen, screaming his name, and the image he was greeted with made him stop in his tracks out of shock.

Kacchan was on the ground, eyes wide, looking straight at Izuku, but not at him.

Through him.

His mouth was open in a bloodcurdling scream, tears streaming down his face from unblinking, unfocused eyes.

It was as if Kacchan was gone; replaced by nothing but instinctive, pained reactions.

The next thing he remembered was waking up on the ground, Kacchan’s scream still ringing in his ears. But, Kacchan himself was gone, the only remnant of his presence being a red stain on the ground.

Seeing it had made his head swim once more.

In the minutes that passed, Izuku slowly brought himself back to reality, standing up with his head still foggy, and his body slicked in a cold sweat.

But, at least he was standing.

He’d convinced All Might that he was fine, that he didn’t need to go to Recovery Girl- besides, she needed to focus on Kacchan!- that he’d just been disoriented after seeing Kacchan get hurt like that.

Izuku ended up watching the rest of class from the sidelines, not wanting to miss a single thing, but unfit to practice.

After training had ended, his classmates had all crowded around him, asking if he was alright.

Don’t worry about me, he wanted to shout at them, their voices blurring together into a fog of white noise, worry about Kacchan!

But he couldn’t.

His mind was on Kacchan the whole time, tuning out the cacophony of noise.

He had stitches, right? Those protect wounds that can’t stop bleeding. So if his stitches burst, does that mean he’s still bleeding? Oh god, is he at the hospital? Did Kacchan have to go to a hospital? No, no, Recovery Girl’s healed worse. But- but even she’s not a miracle worker! And what if she can’t heal infections! Kacchan said it was infected, I’m not sure if those can be healed! And what if she refuses to heal Kacchan? She refused to heal my injuries unless they’re life-threatening, so what if she did it to Kacchan? She’d be the type to refuse to heal something self-inflicted! Wait, how many even burst? Was it just the one, or was it all three? Kacchan, you idiot! Why did you train today? Why? Why? Please be okay, Kacchan…

Izuku was only vaguely aware of a tired voice saying, He needs to go to Recovery Girl.

Only vaguely aware of another voice volunteering to take him.

Only vaguely aware of himself as they walked.

“Midoriya? You okay?”

“Huuh..?” He numbly looked to Kirishima, who looked concerned for some reason. Why?

“Are you okay?” He repeated. “You’re crying.”

Am I okay? Is KACCHAN okay?!

“M-mhm…”

He was going to be sick. He was going to be sick in UA’s hallway and he was going to gross Kirishima out and hold them up and he wouldn’t get to see Kacchan for even more time.

Izuku needed to know right now that Kacchan was fine and okay and not bleeding to death.

They were there. They were there they were there the door was right there and right behind that door Izuku was going to see if Kacchan was alive or dead or what and how okay he really was.

What if he can’t use his leg right anymore? What if he has a permanent limp because of this? Because I couldn’t stop him?

What if Kacchan is in pain his entire life whenever he walks because I couldn’t stop him?

A sob escaped him, and he hiccuped.

“C’mon…” Kirishima gently reassured him- but for the wrong reason- as he pushed the door open and led Izuku inside.

There he was. There was Kacchan, on the bed, eyes open and looking very much alive and not a bled dry corpse and the sheer relief that flooded through Izuku nearly toppled him over.

“Kacchan…”

Recovery Girl came over to Izuku’s other side and started ushering him to the other bed. It was right next to Kacchan’s, but it was still too far away. Much too far away.

Why wasn’t she taking care of Kacchan? Kacchan was the one who was hurt the worst! Kacchan was the one that needed help, not him!

Tears streamed down his face as he looked up at Kacchan, who was staring at him- they’d locked eyes, Kacchan’s usually vibrant red now dull and lifeless.

If Izuku didn’t know any better, he would’ve assumed Kacchan was dead just from that gaze.

It was like someone stabbed him, and he felt his stomach lurch again. Fuck, he really was going to be sick.

“Kacchan…?”

Kacchan blinked, but did nothing else. A sob escaped Izuku- where was his Kacchan? What would bring Kacchan back? This wasn’t Kacchan, his Kacchan shouldn’t be like this! It hurt- it hurt- hurt more than fainting did, more than his raw throat did, more than anything.

Recovery Girl was trying to say something to him, something along the lines of he’s fine, don’t worry, he’s been looked at, but Izuku couldn’t not worry.

He wanted to scream at Recovery Girl to do something! Not just for the wound, but for how he’d gotten the wound in the first place! If Izuku couldn’t do anything, someone had to! Someone had to intervene in a way that he couldn’t!

The second Kirishima let go of him once he was sat on the bed, he used every last scrap of strength he had to launch himself to Kacchan, stumbling and falling on his knees next to his bed, his hands brushing Kacchan’s. It was out of its glove, and Izuku could feel how clammy it was, how cold it was, and how badly it was tremoring.

Whatever was left of his resolve crumbled as he sat there, holding on to Kacchan’s hand and screaming his name, sobs wracking his body as tears streamed down his cheeks. He’d known helplessness before, many times over, but he’d never known it like he knew it at this moment, with his childhood friend, his Kacchan, suffering and distraught, right in front of him, and Izuku having no power to help him.

God, Kacchan’s hand was shaking even more. What was going on? Was Izuku just imagining it? No, no it was definitely shaking more.

Kacchan’s hand twitched, and weakly curled around one of Izuku’s.

Izuku lost a last little bit of resolve he didn’t even know he had.

His screaming became incomprehensible, meshing into noises absent of meaning, as he held onto Kacchan’s hand like a vice, as if he took the place of Kacchan’s missing stitches, holding him together with every scrap of strength he had; the one thing standing between normalcy and catastrophe.

He needed to see his Kacchan. Needed to see his face, needed to see him do something other than make that dead-eyed, vacant expression.

Izuku looked, and it was the worst decision he made that day.

Kacchan’s other hand was brought to his face, shielding it from view. From his vantage point, Izuku could see the tears dripping down Kacchan’s face, could see how he shook from barely contained sobs, could see him chewing on his lip to keep from making noise.

Kirishima was next to Kacchan, and he said something to him, something Izuku couldn’t process but something that was enough to make Kacchan lift his head and look at him, eyes peeking over his hand. Kirishima extended a hand to Kacchan, most likely intending to comfortingly grip his shoulder-

-and Kacchan flinched.

Izuku had seen it, Izuku had felt it, and by the looks of it, Kirishima had seen it too, withdrawing his hand like he’d been burnt. Kirishima continued to speak, and Kacchan let out a sob- KACCHAN had let out a sob- and once that first one was out, it was like a dam had burst, and suddenly agonized noise after agonized noise was pouring out of Kacchan’s mouth, increasing in volume with each one as his suppressed agony could no longer be contained.

Even so, Kacchan had tried, his hand covering his mouth in a feeble attempt to muffle the sobs.

The sheer ineffectiveness of it just broke Izuku more.

xxxxx

Izuku had stayed there, gripping Kacchan’s hand in both of his, until he couldn’t cry anymore and could just stay curled there, kneeling on the floor, head bowed on his hands to rest it, and shield his eyes from the bright lights.

Kacchan’s hand smelled like caramel, the scent slowly bringing Izuku back to reality.

He felt the urge to kiss it, to get up and hold Kacchan, comfort him, tell him that he was there for him, that it would be alright, something to help!

But he stayed put, holding on to him and savoring the little victory that was Kacchan’s silence- he’d stopped crying.

Izuku wondered if it was because of him, or because Kacchan, too, physically couldn’t cry anymore.

Eventually, though, Kacchan had to leave, and Izuku’s mind went foggy once more. He’d relented and let Recovery Girl examine him, as he held his hands to his face, the faint scent of caramel a lingering comfort.

The last classes of the day passed by as a blur, as did his friends attempting to talk to him once school let out.

He could faintly recall Iida asking him something-or-other; knowing him, it was something about his obvious emotional distress. Memories of Uraraka had the distinct feeling of concern about them; the exact words lost. Todoroki had been there, too. Did he even say anything? Izuku wondered.

Upon arriving home, he went to his room and tried to work on his homework, tried to distract himself from checking his phone every two seconds.

129: how was your day?

He’d retyped his message so many times over, and still didn’t think he picked the best one to send.

He couldn’t stop his stomach from churning; his mind from replaying the same scenario of Kacchan’s dead he bled out over and over again, intercut with memories of that scream.

He’d tried taking a nap, as well, only managing to drift in and out of consciousness; a restless, anxious mess.

And then his phone had pinged.

Tsuki-chan: i have some good news and bad news.

Tsuki-chan: good news my stitches didn’t burst.

Tsuki-chan: bad news my leg did.

Tsuki-chan: but i was technically right. my stitches didn’t burst.

Tsuki-chan: so take that. nerd.

The relief that swept through him had been like no other.

129: ARE YOU OKAY??? ARE YOU HURT???

Tsuki-chan: calm down nerd i’m fine.

Tsuki-chan: had to get regular stitches in. the shitty non-homegrown version.

Tsuki-chan: i was trying to be organic here.

Tsuki-chan: leg hurts like the shits. but it’ll be fine in a day ish.

Tsuki-chan: if i’m lucky it’ll be less painful tomorrow morning.

Tsuki-chan: not looking forward to all the cleaning i have to do.

Tsuki-chan: that fucker expected me to bring shit to school and clean it THERE because i can’t just leave it festering all day or whatever

Tsuki-chan: i sweat a lot. btw.

Tsuki-chan: so that’s my whole day. and also my er visit.

Tsuki-chan: so calm down nerd.

Tsuki-chan: i’m being transparent so you don’t freak out.

129: you were in the er???

Tsuki-chan: just because the thing was deep and it needed stitches again asap.

Tsuki-chan: i wasn’t gonna die cool your shits.

129: ok…

129: do you… wanna play to get your mind off it?

Tsuki-chan: later. old man’s taking me out to dinner.

Tsuki-chan: sort of a pity “sorry you had the worst day ever” thing.

129: i doubt its pity… maybe hes just doing something nice for you?

Tsuki-chan: doubt it.

Tsuki-chan: bet it’s cause he doesnt want my mom to bitch at me.

Tsuki-chan: cause i bitch back and he wants to keep the peace or whatever

Tsuki-chan: im not complaining. we’re going to my fucking favorite place

129: ooh? whatre you gonna get?

Tsuki-chan: spicy as shit ramen

Tsuki-chan: it’s a ramen shop. EVERYTHING they have is good.

Tsuki-chan: kinda far from my place though, so i never really get to go.

129: sounds good!!

129: thinking about food is making me hungry;;

Tsuki-chan: go eat nerd. i’m starving too but at least you can just go and get food.

129: no! i wanna wait with tsuki-chan!

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: suit yourself.

Tsuki-chan: ok this is too weird i.

Tsuki-chan: fuck i can’t

And with that, Izuku felt his heart drop.

Can’t what? Did I do something? Does he not wanna be friends? Did he figure out who I was this whole time and was humoring me, and now it’s all weird because I cried on him?

129: can’t what…?

129: did i do something?

Tsuki-chan: not you.

Tsuki-chan: just.

Tsuki-chan: this guy i go to school with. fucking.

Tsuki-chan: was in the nurse’s too and he just. saw me and started crying

Tsuki-chan: it was like he just saw everyone he gave a shit about die

Tsuki-chan: i’ve known this fucker since as long as i can remember and i’ve NEVER seen him cry like that.

Tsuki-chan: and i can’t stop fucking thinking about it

Tsuki-chan: i keep hearing it. just. what the fuck happened to him.

Tsuki-chan: i wanted to fucking distract myself but you remind me of him so fucking much

Tsuki-chan: i can’t. fucking. handle anything today and its shitty and pathetic but FUCK

Tsuki-chan: i had to say something. i never have to SAY SOMETHING about anything

Tsuki-chan: i don’t know. what the fuck was up with today. but i just.

129: tsuki!! it’s okay!

129: it’s okay to talk about things, yknow?

129: maybe he was just worried…? i mean

129: wait, are you friends with him?

He couldn’t believe it.

Just as Kacchan’s cries plagued his mind, his own cries were tormenting Kacchan in turn.

And now, he was about to see what Kacchan thought of him.

Tsuki-chan: complicated.

Tsuki-chan: i was a dickhead to him. but we used to be friends

Tsuki-chan: he still follows me around though

Tsuki-chan: hid his fucking quirk from me and made up a bs story.

Tsuki-chan: to fucking pity me.

Tsuki-chan: he looks down on me. constantly saying how he wants to fucking. measure up to me.

Tsuki-chan: copying my fucking moves. my everything. fuck.

129: so you hate him, then…?

Tsuki-chan: no.

Tsuki-chan: like i said. it’s complicated.

Tsuki-chan: i kind of have it coming, the copying.

Tsuki-chan: after everything i did to him i deserve to have him copy everything i worked for

Tsuki-chan: doesn’t mean i have to like it.

Tsuki-chan: like i said. i don’t fucking deserve to be a hero. he does though.

129: STOP

Perhaps it was Izuku’s own sensibilities, but tears sprung to his eyes yet again.

Kacchan thinks I look down on him? All these years, he thought I was looking down on him?

He thinks he deserves to lose everything?

Kacchan thinks like this? He thinks like this all the time?

Is Kacchan depressed…? No, no that’s a stupid question…

After everything I’ve seen, I should know the answer.

129: STOP SPIRALING!

129: you do this!! all the time!! whenever you’re upset!!

129: you just… your mind goes to the worst places

129: and you say things that aren’t true

129: and it hurts, tsuki-chan…

Tsuki-chan: how do you know they’re not true? you barely know me.

129: i know enough.

129: you’re TRYING!! that’s the important bit!!!

129: you don’t think the bad things you did are okay!! you’re changing and you want to make things right!!

129: you don’t deserve to have your life’s work stolen and you DO deserve to be a hero!!!

129: we’re both first years, you still have so many years left!!

129: a lot can change in three years, tsuki-chan!!!

129: YOU can change in three years!!

129: it just… it hurts whenever you beat yourself up about things…

129: and this isn’t pity, before you accuse me!

129: i’m saying all this because i’m your friend and i like you as a person and i think you’re amazing and nice and sweet in your own way

129: you help me with stuff!! you offered to make me curry!! you’re fun to talk to!!

129: you’re training to be a HERO!! that’s amazing!! that’s so cool!!

129: it’s a dangerous job!! you must be really brave!!!

129: i just…

129: i don’t pity you.

129: and i dont think that guy pities you either.

129: you’ve known each other for as long as you can remember? well… what if he...

129: ...i don’t know….

129: ...likes you and doesnt like to see you hurt?

129: your leg burst, that must’ve bled a LOT! i’d be freaked out if i saw that much blood coming from someone ive known all my life

129: and!! i bet he copies you because he admires you!

129: i mean… look at my town haha

129: it’s kind of the same concept!

All Izuku could do was wait for Kacchan’s reply- he wasn’t even sure what he was saying or what his end goal was- he just said anything and everything that came to mind, anything to give Kacchan the smallest thought that maybe, maybe, Izuku wasn’t looking down on him.

Or to cheer him up.

Something.

Anything.

He needed it more than he needed air, he needed Kacchan to be okay.

Izuku couldn’t fail him. Not during one of the few times when he could do anything.

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: i dont know what to say

Tsuki-chan: you made me cry, dickface

Tsuki-chan: you better not be pitying me. you better not be fucking lying to me.

129: i made you cry?? i’m so sorry! i didn’t mean to do that at all!

Tsuki-chan: not your fault. it’s me.

Tsuki-chan: i can’t fucking handle anything today. as i said.

Tsuki-chan: you. kind of. helped.

129: i did?

Tsuki-chan: yeah. but don’t go thinking i’m weak because i needed your damn help or whatever.

Tsuki-chan: today was just a fluke.

129: but i don’t think you’re weak?

129: everyone needs help!

Tsuki-chan: yeah. if you SUCK.

Tsuki-chan: i’m sposed to be the best. can’t go crawling to some internet nerd whenever things don’t go my way.

129: well, i talk to someone when i need help!

129: or is it different because im weak and quirkless, mr big strong hero? ( ̄ω ̄;)

Tsuki-chan: never said that.

Tsuki-chan: i didn’t fucking mean it like that.

129: do you think im strong?

Tsuki-chan: ??what

Tsuki-chan: does that have to do with anything.

129: it has everything to do with everything just trust me!

Tsuki-chan: uh

Tsuki-chan: i’ve no idea

Tsuki-chan: i dont really know anything about you in terms of strength.

129: well. i do train! even if i have no quirk

129: i train my body a lot. who knows!

129: it might be silly not to give up on my dream, but… i don’t know, maybe raw physical strength would come in handy someday!

129: i heard of a vigilante who’s like that! quirkless but can fight!

129: but anyway

129: im training! and sometimes i get really, really hurt when i train.

129: broke my arm once and kept going

Tsuki-chan: WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THAT

129: im getting back to that!!

129: i can lift a whole person now! i could probably benchpress you

129: scratch that i can ABSOLUTELY benchpress you

129: with no quirk to help me or anything

129: so! do you think i’m strong?

There was a long pause- Izuku wondered if he’d offended Kacchan in some way. Kacchan- for some reason- saw Izuku as looking down on him, so perhaps he’d take all of this as bragging? As Ichi saying he was better than him?

Izuku hoped not. It was too late to take back, at any rate.

Tsuki-chan: yes. whatever. fuck. you’re strong.

Tsuki-chan: back to the BONES THING THOUGH

129: but by your logic, it’s fine if i kept going!

Tsuki-chan: hah??????

129: i’m strong, so i dont need help! i can keep going and push through it!

129: the break wasn’t super bad, it’s fine, i could keep going! i’m strong!

129: yknow, like how you trained with your leg.

Tsuki-chan: my leg is fucking different. it wasn’t a medical emergency.

129: IT HAD STITCHES

Tsuki-chan: needing stitches is the emergency. it’s fine once you get the stitches.

129: isn’t the number one rule of stitches not to do too much physical activity with them?

Tsuki-chan: how do you know that

129: google and common sense.

Tsuki-chan: touche. go on.

129: still you doing that today is like me getting my arm in a cast but still deciding to spar with someone and beat them over the head with my cast

Tsuki-chan: please tell me you did not do this.

129: i didnt!! the arm thing was a one-time thing i promise!

Tsuki-chan: …..ok.

Tsuki-chan: but thats not even the kind of strong i meant. like. obviously get your fucking injuries fixed. idiot.

Tsuki-chan: but i cant just wallow whenever i feel a little crappy. i gotta just do shit. why mention it yknow? i can deal with it.

129: because you’re strong?

Tsuki-chan: finally you fucking get it.

129: actually…

Tsuki-chan: oh for the love of fuck

129: i cry a lot, yknow

129: im kind of sensitive

129: so by your logic i should just never cry and keep it to myself and have nobody ever know when im sad?

129: you said i was strong and this is what strong people do!

129: by your logic i should just be constantly miserable and never ever talk about anything ever because im strong and can handle it which automatically means i SHOULD handle it!

Tsuki-chan: THAT’S NOT WHAT I FUCKING SAID OK

Tsuki-chan: i dont fucking want you to be miserable!

Tsuki-chan: i dont want anyone to be miserable! go fucking talk to someone!

129: THEN WHY IS IT DIFFERENT FOR YOU, HUH??

129: HOW COME YOU HAVE TO BE MISERABLE BUT I DON’T HAVE TO??

129: YOU’RE MAKING NO SENSE, TSUKI!

Izuku blinked the tears out of his eyes to better see his screen, a mix of devastated and frustrated tears now spilling.

Kacchan wasn’t getting it. Why wasn’t Kacchan getting it?

His hands shook with resolve. There was no way he’d give in to Kacchan’s self-loathing and let him destroy himself. No more. No more!

He would do everything in his power to get Kacchan to admit that what he was doing had nothing to do with strength. That Kacchan needed to stop, to do something to help himself, to accept Izuku’s help, or someone else’s, or something!

Izuku knew he was pushing the limits. He knew he was trampling all over the unspoken line in the sand separating acceptable levels of intimate conversation from the unacceptable.

But until Kacchan backed out himself, Izuku would push.

And if he backed out, he would push another night.

He knew, he knew he said he wouldn’t push- but this was before he knew the situation was this dire.

Something was horribly, devastatingly wrong with Kacchan, and Izuku wasn’t about to sit around and let it take its course.

Tsuki-chan: i

Tsuki-chan: it’s different

Tsuki-chan: you’re not like me.

129: what does that mean? i’m not as strong as you?

Tsuki-chan: not what i meant.

Tsuki-chan: it’s just fucking different ok

129: how? how is it different?

129: why do you have such high expectations for ONLY yourself?

Tsuki-chan: im supposed to be the strongest. doesn’t mean you’re not strong.

Tsuki-chan: doesn’t mean the other people i know arent strong.

Tsuki-chan: im just supposed to be strongEST.

129: ...well, what about all might?

Tsuki-chan: what about him.

129: what if he got hurt? and then something happened and he COULD fight when he was still super injured and recovering

129: but its not like its the only option, there are other heroes around or something?

129: what then?

Tsuki-chan: ok first all might would never get hurt so jot that the fuck down.

Tsuki-chan: and second, IF he did, hed be able to handle fighting.

129: right after surgery? i dont think anyone can handle fighting RIGHT after surgery.

129: or with their arm or leg in a cast or something

Tsuki-chan: then he shouldnt fight? easy. stupid.

129: THEN YOU SHOULDNT EITHER TSUKI CHAN

Tsuki-chan: i SAID its different!

129: theres no way youre stronger than all might

129: not when youre still in training. no way.

129: so you have no excuse! why did you do that today??

Tsuki-chan: what the fuck was i supposed to do, sit out and show everyone how weak i am??

Tsuki-chan: you want me to do that???

129: tsuki chan nobody thinks its weak to be injured

129: theyre all heroes in training too? they should know that sometimes things happen and you cant train

129: is there something you arent telling me?

Tsuki-chan: look.

Tsuki-chan: i dont know what your fucking game is.

Tsuki-chan: but i dont need someone trying to psychoanalyze me.

Tsuki-chan: there’s nothing to psychoanalyze. i fucked up.

Tsuki-chan: that’s all there is to it.

129: tsuki…

129: im just a little suspicious because… i mean…

129: you never did tell me how you hurt your leg

129: plus the fact that you did your stitches yourself and didnt go to a doctor

129: and how you said there were a lot of them…

129: you have to forgive me for coming to the conclusion that i did!

129: and if im right then that changes the context of what you did entirely!

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: how so

Izuku had no idea why Kacchan was still going along with this. Was this some sort of trap? Was Kacchan testing him, trying to see if he’d overstep?

Or did Kacchan, deep down, need to talk about all this, even if he didn’t admit it.

Ichi, Izuku realized, is probably the one person Kacchan could talk to. Ichi didn’t know who Kacchan was, and if Ichi reacted badly, he couldn’t ruin Kacchan’s reputation, or think negatively of Kacchan in any way.

He was anonymous, and it was safe. Ichi was powerless against Kacchan, and he knew this.

Izuku needed to tread lightly.

He’d stopped crying, his face twisted into an expression of determination, staring at his phone as if this was a battle and it was his opponent.

And it was a battle he couldn’t afford to lose.

129: ...you did it yourself, didn’t you?

129: im not judgy, if that’s the truth…

129: and… im not going to pry into your motives if you dont want to talk about them

129: im just worried that… if that is the case… you didnt sit out because of that?

The time it took Kacchan to reply worried Izuku- had he pushed too far? Was he even correct about him? After everything, was there another explanation, and had Izuku upset him by thinking that he’d hurt himself?

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: you sure are observant.

Tsuki-chan: but no. i didn’t intend to hurt myself even more.

Tsuki-chan: i tried to use my leg as little as possible.

129: then what? what could possibly be important enough for you to take that risk?

Tsuki-chan: i needed to win.

Tsuki-chan: i can’t just fold and sit out. i NEED to push myself.

Tsuki-chan: it’s what heroes do.

129: only if they have no other option! not like this, tsuki!

129: this is reckless!

Tsuki-chan: pff this is nothing. you should see the OTHER guy in my class.

Tsuki-chan: mr pulverizes his fucking arms.

Tsuki-chan: mr bone soup.

Tsuki-chan: it’s horrifying to see. he does it all the fucking time.

Tsuki-chan: not lately anymore but when we first started. jesus fucking christ.

Tsuki-chan: that shit’s the stuff of nightmares.

Tsuki-chan: literally. its shown up in my fucking nightmares once i think. at LEAST once.

That’s me…

Izuku’s stomach dropped.

Kacchan is talking about me… He thinks it’s okay to do these things to himself… because of me? Because of what I’ve been doing to myself all semester?

I HAVE to fix this! It’s my responsibility to fix this!

My own recklessness dragged Kacchan down with me…

129: well he doesnt do it anymore does he??

129: that means you shouldnt either!

129: i doubt hed want you to do it.

Tsuki-chan: i mean.

Tsuki-chan: bone soup WAS the one crying.

Tsuki-chan: so there’s that.

129: see???

Tsuki-chan: who cares though. i mean

Tsuki-chan: he’s crying. whatever. i bet he thinks i cant handle it.

Tsuki-chan: that im weaker than him.

Tsuki-chan: who cares if he doesnt fucking do it anymore? its not because he learned his lesson or whatever the fuck

Tsuki-chan: its because hes better with his quirk.

Tsuki-chan: if he could hed still do it.

Tsuki-chan: and that fucker can push through it. so its fine.

129: is it?

129: i mean, if you could stop him, would you?

Tsuki-chan: i mean. nobody can fucking stop him.

Tsuki-chan: but yes. only because seeing him pulverize his fucking arms is the worst.

129: but would you let him do what you did today?

Tsuki-chan: hah?

129: would you try to stop him if he tried to train with the exact injury that you have?

Tsuki-chan: lets not entertain the possibility.

Tsuki-chan: he doesnt hurt himself so that situation would never happen.

129: but if it did!!

129: IF IT DID, what would you do?

129: hypothetically.

129: if he did the same thing you did today, and you knew what he was doing, would you stop him?

It took Kacchan a long, long time to respond.

Tsuki-chan: yes.

Tsuki-chan: i

Tsuki-chan: id stop him.

129: and would you call him weak for needing to sit out?

Tsuki-chan: id call him a fucking idiot thats what id fucking call him.

129: so how come all these other people shouldnt train with an injury but you should?

More radio silence, and Izuku wondered what Kacchan would say.

He was running out of rebuttals- there were only so many different ways he could say the same thing.

Kacchan had to know, he had to know it was a bad idea! Kacchan was smart, he knew you shouldn’t do physical activity with stitches in, so why did he insist on doing it?

Why couldn’t Kacchan see that he was hurting himself? If that wasn’t his end goal- provided he was even telling the truth then- then what was?

What made Kacchan think this was okay?

Izuku’s thoughts swirled in his mind as he stared blankly at his phone, only dissipating when he saw the new message.

They’d only escaped him because he hadn’t been expecting this. Not at all.

Tsuki-chan: ...it really makes no sense, doesn’t it?

Tsuki-chan: i think i just realized.

Tsuki-chan: it makes no fucking sense

Tsuki-chan: isn’t that weird, ichi?

Tsuki-chan: you know what the doctor fucking said to me?

Tsuki-chan: permanent damage, he said. i could have permanent fucking damage.

Tsuki-chan: the fucking thing hit muscle and not even by a little bit.

Tsuki-chan: i knew i shouldnt fucking do it. it really makes no sense that i did, does it?

129: you have permanent damage…?

Tsuki-chan: he said i have to “wait and see” cause maybe it wont be bad once it fully heals.

Tsuki-chan: which is just a fancy way of saying “yes you totally do but we’re gonna give you false hope, fucker.”

129: doctors are pretty blunt, yknow! if he says theres a chance, theres a chance!

Tsuki-chan: mm. doesnt matter.

Tsuki-chan: it really won’t matter.

Tsuki-chan: nothing makes sense does it?

129: its ok, tsuki…

129: maybe if you figure out why you think like that you can stop it?

Tsuki-chan: i

Tsuki-chan: just.

129: just what…?

Tsuki-chan: nothing about this is ok, is it?

Tsuki-chan: not a single fucking thing.

129: what do you mean by that...?

Tsuki-chan: this.

Tsuki-chan: all of fucking this.

Tsuki-chan: the way i think.

Tsuki-chan: fuck. it’s all fucking wrong isnt it.

129: ...yes…

129: tsuki-chan, its not normal to think like that…

129: and its not ok to either…

Tsuki-chan: fuck.

Tsuki-chan: fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck

Tsuki-chan: i

Tsuki-chan: fuck i cant do this right now.

Tsuki-chan: it’s not the fucking day. it’s just that I’M weak.

Tsuki-chan: just today i cant fucking pretend that im not.

129: but thats the whole thing, tsuki-chan! you aren’t weak!

129: i mean, i cant even begin to imagine dealing with that stuff…

Tsuki-chan: good dont it sucks

Tsuki-chan: but i dont need your fucking pity. or you patronizing me.

Tsuki-chan: thats what EVERYONE says. youre not weak its fine you arent weak youre strong for making it this far et fucking cetera

Tsuki-chan: it’s weak to need to “make it this far.” it’s weak to do this shit to yourself and not even be able to handle the consequences of your fucking actions.

Tsuki-chan: its something i doubt youll get.

Tsuki-chan: and i dont want to talk about it.

Tsuki-chan: i dont want to fucking explain to you how weak i am.

Tsuki-chan: im hiding in the god damn bathroom of a ramen place trying not to lose it for the fourth fucking time today.

Tsuki-chan: fifth if you count our other conversation.

Tsuki-chan: talk about something else or just don’t fucking talk.

Tsuki-chan: please.

129: okay…

129: but can we please talk about this later?

Tsuki-chan: no promises.

129: that’s good enough for me!

129: what do you wanna talk about, then?

Tsuki-chan: no idea

Tsuki-chan: what should we do tonight on ac when we get back?

129: im not sure….!

129: maybe we can go to the island?

Separate from the main town, there was an island with minigames- competitive ones if you brought a friend with you.

Maybe Kacchan would like that.

Tsuki-chan: oh hell yeah

Tsuki-chan: ive never played the versus minigames.

Tsuki-chan: we should play those so i can kick your ass.

129: not if i kick your ass first!! ٩(。•ω•。)و

Tsuki-chan: i’d like to see you try, nerd.

Tsuki-chan: ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ “

Tsuki-chan: now youve got me doing it haha.

129: it’s cute!!

Tsuki-chan: shush.

129: it iiiissss~! tsuki-chan likes me so much he copies me!!

Tsuki-chan: oh would you look at that my food’s here ill talk to you later ichi hahaha

129: you can’t slurp away the truth!!!

Tsuki-chan: watch me!

Izuku smiled. Whether Kacchan was actually feeling a little better, or if he was just pretending, he didn’t know.

He could only hope he’d cheered him up a little. When Kacchan was happy, Izuku was happy.

He imagined Kacchan smiling at his phone, just like Izuku was doing at that moment. Does Kacchan’s heart feel lighter whenever he talks to me? he wondered to himself.

He hoped.

His phone pinged, and he looked- there was no way Kacchan ate that quickly, right?

Tsuki-chan: ALSO GET SOMETHING TO EAT ICHI YOU FUCKING IDIOT

129: aahhhh okay okay!!!!

Izuku got up and went to the bathroom to clean himself up, pressing cold water onto his eyes to reduce their redness. He’d told his mother he wasn’t hungry earlier- a bit of a lie; he was hungry, just too nauseous to even think of eating without feeling sick. But just that little bit at the end of their conversation was enough to lift Izuku’s spirits.

Kacchan cared about him enough to tell him to eat something! Even through that heavy conversation, he’d remembered that he said that he was hungry.

Izuku himself had forgotten that he said that.

And Kacchan might be feeling better. Maybe after he ate, he would be in higher spirits. And he’d cheer up even more when they were playing!

Kacchan could recover from this horrible day, and knowing this, Izuku could recover as well.

His Kacchan had been a hero to him for so, so long- as evidenced by his inclusion in his hero analysis notebooks; an honor usually only reserved for pros.

But even heroes need heroes of their own, and Izuku’s heart thumped at the prospect of being Kacchan’s.

In more ways than one.

xxxxx

Tsuki-chan: home.

Tsuki-chan: gotta deal with the old hag.

Tsuki-chan: then i’ll be there.

Tsuki-chan: shouldn’t be long.

That had been half an hour ago.

They’re just talking! Izuku reasoned to himself. I remember Kacchan’s mom! She’s a little aggressive, but nice! I bet she’s just talking about what happened today with Kacchan! Maybe reprimanding him for even training? Maybe talking about that permanent damage thing…

Would Kacchan have a limp forever?

Izuku didn’t think he’d be able to handle it if Kacchan had a permanent limp. He’d never get used to seeing it every day and having to live with the knowledge of how he got it it in the first place.

Kacchan intentionally hurting himself so badly to have a permanent injury made Izuku’s gut twist.

You’re one to talk. He curled his fingers in, and uncurled them, staring at the scars left behind.

No, that was different! That was a means to an end! Kacchan has no ends, getting hurt WAS the end!

Izuku returned his hand to where it was- wrapped around the pillow he was curled up around and hugging to himself.

There was no more deniability he could possibly have. No other explanation, no possibility that this all was just him being paranoid.

Kacchan hurt himself. His Kacchan hurts himself.

Just thinking about it made Izuku tear up all over again as he buried his face into his pillow.

What do I do? How do I stop him?

CAN I stop him? Can anyone stop him?

What if it’s too late before I figure out the answer…

Izuku distantly remembered from class- there was an artery somewhere in the leg. Somewhere in the thigh. He couldn’t remember where exactly it was, but…

If Kacchan hit it, he was done for.

He had no clue whether or not it was easy to even get to- if you could get to it by accident, or if it was so deep or so out of the way that you’d need to get stabbed or something.

Would Kacchan…?

Izuku had hope that Kacchan wouldn’t. Just because he hurts himself- even if he did that- the presence of that didn’t automatically mean the worst possible outcome was the outcome that was in affect, right?

Right?

Izuku could always ask…

Later, he resolved to himself. Kacchan’s gone through enough today. I’VE gone through enough today. If anything else happens I think I’m going to go insane.

I just want Kacchan here…

That simple want was enough to make himself feel like his heart was ripped out of him and crushed into pieces.

He wished he was friends with Kacchan normally. Wished that he could go over to his house- or Kacchan come over to his- and spend time with him. Hold him, comfort him, and have Kacchan not push him away. Play games with Kacchan and see his happiness, hear his laughter instead of just seeing it typed, be seated next to him, curled up against him and able to savor Kacchan’s warmth, savor the way Kacchan smelled like caramel, see him blush up-close, look up and giggle at him when that happened, smile at him fondly, see Kacchan smile fondly back, lean up and lean in and close his eyes and wait for reciprocation and be lit alive when it came-

Tsuki-chan: hey ichi.

Izuku was snapped out of his fantasy and raced to unlock his phone, trembling fingers all set to send a message back, until the next one knocked all the wind out of Izuku, leaving him so desolate that his phone fell out of numb hands.

Tsuki-chan: you’re never going to see me again

Tsuki-chan: you didn’t do anything

Tsuki-chan: at any rate. goodbye.

Goodbye? Goodbye? Why was Kacchan leaving?

If Izuku didn’t do something, then what? What?

He scrambled for his phone and began to type.

129: why??

129: why goodbye??

129: was it because of earlier??

Tsuki-chan: can’t tell you.

Tsuki-chan: but no it wasnt

Tsuki-chan: youve been a great friend et cetera

Tsuki-chan: even though ive only known you for like. 4 days haha

Tsuki-chan: we can’t talk anymore

129: why not??

Tsuki-chan: i said i cant tell you so stop asking

Izuku felt sick, he felt like he was about to ruin his bedding, he felt like he was going to die-

And then, Izuku wanted to scream.

In horror? In realization? At Kacchan, loud enough so he could hear Izuku from his house?

His mouth hung open in silent anguish.

No. No. No. Nononononono. There’s another explanation.

There has to be.

Please.

There HAS to be another explanation!

129: tsuki you’re scaring me

129: you sound like you’re going to die

129: tsuki please

129: if you want me to never talk to you again i will

129: ill stop talking right after you answer but tell me

129: are you going to die?

129: it sounds like youre going to die

129: i don’t want you to die

129: tsuki please answer me please just tell me this one thing

Tsuki-chan: don’t worry about it, okay?

Tsuki-chan: i’ll be fine

129: THAT’S NOT A FUCKING ANSWER

129: YES OR NO, TSUKI?

129: ARE YOU GOING TO DIE

129: ANSWER THE QUESTION NOW!

Izuku’s hands shook so hard he could barely see his phone screen- or maybe it was the tears overflowing in his eyes?

He was going to be sick. Kacchan couldn’t die. Kacchan couldn’t-

Couldn’t-

Izuku couldn’t even think of the correct term for what Kacchan was about to do. It was as if his mind blocked it out completely, not allowing him to call it what it was in a last-ditch effort to salvage what was left of Izuku’s mental stability.

He curled in on himself further, pushing the pillow into his mouth in an attempt to muffle the sobs that were beginning to come.

Tsuki-chan: it doesnt matter. you just wont ever see me again.

129: IT’S YES, ISN’T IT?

129: you would just say no if it was no

129: tsuki are you going to die

129: answer me. tell the truth. please

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: you really are too fucking observant.

Tsuki-chan: either way i just. didn’t want you to wonder why i up and disappeared.

Tsuki-chan: that would kind of be a dick move.

An anguished wail tore itself from Izuku’s throat as his thoughts swirled.

Kacchan is going to die. I have to do something! What do I do? I have to stop him! How do I stop him? Would he listen to me? Would he listen to anyone? Should I tell someone? Kacchan is going to die! He’s going to die and I’m the only one that knows and I’m the only one that can stop him and I’m the only one that’s HERE and Kacchan is going to die Kacchan is going to die Kacchan is going to die-

It was getting harder and harder to breathe. Harder to see his phone through his tears. Harder to think, harder to move, harder to type harder to talk to Kacchan harder to figure out how to keep him alive how to keep Kacchan alive-

129: tsukki

129: listen

129: i

129: yyou

129: cant

129: tsukii

129: dont

129: ple ase hear me out

Tsuki-chan: ichi wtf

129: INSAID HEAR ME OUT I SAID

129: LISTEN

129: TO ME

Tsuki-chan: ichi calm the fuck down

Tsuki-chan: we’ve only known each other for 4 days

Tsuki-chan: it doesnt matter. youll move on quick

129: no i

129: no

129: sstop

Don’t you tell me how you THINK I’ll feel, Kacchan! Izuku wanted to say. Don’t you DARE think that I’d MOVE ON QUICK!

Don’t you say that about me!

You’re going to die! Don’t you dare treat this like it’s nothing!

He was shaking too hard, far too hard. He couldn’t breathe.

His stomach lurched.

129: ddont

129: woudltn get over it

129: ok i wouldnt get overi t

129: stop it

129: youre going to di e

Tsuki-chan: you’re just going to get more upset if you think about it like that.

Tsuki-chan: so don’t.

129: WHATBAM I SUPPSOSED TO DO THEN

129: JUST NOT THINK ABOUT IT

129: JUSTTLET YOU DO IT?

Tsuki-chan: that’s the idea.

Izuku screamed, but it was trapped in his mind.

Izuku screamed silently, his mouth open, muffled against his pillow.

Izuku kicked his pillow away from him and took large, shaky breaths, his entire body trembling with strain, something wracking it, like sobs, but Izuku wasn’t crying that badly, was he?

He couldn’t breathe.

129: NO

129: nonoo

129: im not

129: no

129: tsuki

129: dont

129: please justtlisten to me please dont do anythign

Tsuki-chan: you havent said anything yet, ichi.

129: there ase to besome reason

129: to live

129: ua

129: hero stuff

129: whatabout that

129: yyouve been working so hard you re going to be a hero

129: youreg oing to be a hero youre goignnto be a hero

129: whata bout that

Tsuki-chan: i mean, it won’t matter if i’m not here, yknow?

Tsuki-chan: i’d make a shitty fucking hero anyway

Tsuki-chan: my quirk is good and im good with it but thats all i have going to me

Tsuki-chan: like i SAID. i dont deserve to be a hero.

Tsuki-chan: all i’ve done is hurt people.

129: NO Y OU CAN BE A HERO YOU CAN BE A HERO

129: YOUCAN

129: BE A HERO

Tsuki-chan: i can but i shouldnt

Tsuki-chan: i know what im doing ok

Tsuki-chan: its fine.

129: ITS NOT FINE ITS NOT FUCKING FINR OK

129: YOURE GOGINGTO DIE

129: youg ogung ti die and img oginto be here andyou

129: ttuski

129: tsukiplease dont did efucking dont do it ok

129: your frirne ds you friends at ua what about them

129: wwhata bput. bone. bones

129: he was crying wasnt he wudlnt he be uspet

Tsuki-chan: he’d cry for anyone

Tsuki-chan: he’d be the happiest if i never showed up, trust me.

129: NO

129: NONOO HE WOUDLBT EB

Kacchan thought of him like that? Kacchan thought he would be happy if he died? What did Izuku do to make Kacchan think this? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

He could hear voices.

No. A voice.

Something was tight around him.

It didn’t matter. It could wait. Everything could wait.

Kacchan couldn’t wait. Kacchan was going to die.

What if he’s dying at this moment? What if you’re wasting time with everything that doesn’t work?

129: tsuki nombody would be happy i

129: youd be de as nobody would be happy theydn all be sad youd be gone stsuki

129: whatabout the guyg you want e d to talk to

129: makeut up to hi myoucant do that if youre dead

129: you cant you hveto sayt alive and talk got him

Tsuki-chan: funny you should mention that actually.

Tsuki-chan: bone soup IS that guy. hid his fucking quirk from me.

Tsuki-chan: he’d be happy. he can just live his life now.

129: NO TUSTNO NO TSUKIS BNOTNO NO O OSTO PTITNSTOP SAYING THAT

Tsuki-chan: oh my god are you okay.

Tsuki-chan: what happened.

129: WHAT HAPPENED EHASTHABNPEED IS WHAY YOUTE ROGING TO TO DIE YORUE GOING TO DIE THATS WHQT JAPPENED

Tsuki-chan: im not going to do anything until you calm down ok

Tsuki-chan: like i said. dick move to just leave while youre freaking out.

What happened? What happened? What happened? Did Kacchan not understand? Is he that far gone? How cheaply does he think of death? How cheaply does he think of HIS death? Why isn’t he listening to me? He didn’t do anything, did he? He said he wouldn’t do anything so does that mean he didn’t do anything yet? Please please let him be okay please Kacchan-

“Izuku, what happened?”

He’s going to die! He’s going to die! Kacchan is going to die!

“Izuku, please… Look at me, okay? Look at me, Izuku.”

Izuku looked, but didn’t see, his eyes glazed over and unfocused, and wet with tears, Kacchan’s words seared into his eyes, ever-present even when he blinked.

“Deep breaths, okay?”

No! I can’t calm down! As long as I’m not calm, Kacchan won’t do anything!

His vision swam and he felt like he was floating.

“Izuku, you’re hyperventilating!”

He couldn’t see his phone. Couldn’t talk to Kacchan, couldn’t see anything, his vision swam, he felt something soft against his cheek, his vision swam, he couldn’t breathe, he was going to be sick and he couldn’t breathe-

-and there was something on his other cheek stroking it rhythmically and slowly as Izuku’s breathing started to slow-

-nono I can’t calm down Kacchan’s gonna do something!-

-Izuku curled up tighter, hands going to his face and covering his eyes as he felt himself be lifted up from his bed- he was laying down? He thought he’d been sitting up- and enveloped into an embrace by his mother- when did she get here?

“Izuku…?” She rubbed his back and let him cry, snot running down his face, his entire body shaking as sobs wracked through him, as he let himself fall apart yet again but at least he could finally, finally breathe, and see again, and think, and now he could help Kacchan, he could help, he could keep him alive, could keep Kacchan alive-

-Izuku took a deep breath and lifted his phone again.

129: please listen to me ok

129: pllease

129: there has tobe some reason you want to live

129: something anything

129: please there ias to be soething

Tsuki-chan: who gives a shit?

Tsuki-chan: who fucking gives a shit

Tsuki-chan: its not like i deserve anything i have

Tsuki-chan: or worked for it

Tsuki-chan: ive been coddled all my life and i cant fucking handle actually working

Tsuki-chan: cant handle the concequences of my own fucking actions

Tsuki-chan: of hurting myself or being a dickhead or what the fuck ever

Tsuki-chan: i claim i dont do this shit for attention but here i am fucking not shutting up about it to you

Tsuki-chan: i dont need help and i dont deserve help but here i am forcing you to coddle someone whos admittedly a dickhead

129: stuko stopit

129: stop tsuki

129: im not coddling youim hleping you because we’re frienc sd and i like you

129: ido nt know anything about why yiure doing anymof this

129: so t el me please

Every second that ticked by without a reply from Kacchan was a second Izuku spent with his throat constricted and heart racing.

Did he lie to me? Is he dying? Is he dead? I didn’t even get to say goodbye, please don’t be dead, please Kacchan, push through this, I know you can push through this, please! PLEASE!

Tsuki-chan: shit the old hag said.

Tsuki-chan: put crap into perspective

Kacchan’s mom…?

Mitsuki didn’t know about this? Should Izuku do something? Had she inadvertently made it worse for Kacchan? Was she unaware that her only son was about to die?

129: w hat dic dhs esay?

Tsuki-chan: um.

Tsuki-chan: i have no idea what you just asked me.

129: whatdid

129: sh e say

Tsuki-chan: uh.

Tsuki-chan: just. she was pissed that i did that.

Tsuki-chan: the training thing.

Tsuki-chan: said i intentionally fell because i loved attention and wanted everyone to feel sorry for me.

Tsuki-chan: said she wouldn’t have taken me to the er if she was the one there.

Tsuki-chan: i tried to tell her that i didnt want anyone to fucking know but she just smacked me

Tsuki-chan: tried to tell her i didnt tell anyone. but im kind of a shit liar.

Tsuki-chan: she found out i told one person. you.

Tsuki-chan: she had my fucking head

Tsuki-chan: it didnt fucking matter if you didnt know who i was or i didnt explicitly say it or i just brought it up once or whatever

Tsuki-chan: she was pissed. fucking. pissed.

Tsuki-chan: said that id just

Tsuki-chan: tell everyone i knew then

Tsuki-chan: and how could i expect to be a hero if i couldnt even not hurt myself

Tsuki-chan: and how could i expect to not get hurt in battle if i did this shit

Tsuki-chan: and said id probably just let myself be killed

Tsuki-chan: and shes right shes fucking right i DONT know if i wont just do that or wont be able to handle shit

Tsuki-chan: i cant hanndle my own mom what makes me think i can fucking handle villains

Tsuki-chan: i cant be a hero and my quirk isnt even that good and ive just been coddled and i dont deserve any of the good shit anyones said about me

Tsuki-chan: im a piece of shit person and everyone would either be happier or just no t care if i was gone so

Tsuki-chan: why the fuck not yknow

Tsuki-chan: i dont fucking want to be here and nobody else wants me here and theres nothing going for me so why not why fucking not?

129: SST

129: STOP

129: hodl on i c ant rbeathe

129: icnant breathe tuiki hold on

Izuku’s head spun and his stomach ached and he could feel everything go fuzzy again and his stomach churned and ached and wouldn’t stop and-

-Izuku wrenched himself out of his mother’s embrace and stumbled to the bathroom, falling to his knees in front of the toilet as he was sick for the second time that day. His throat burned and so did his eyes and he hugged the toilet bowl as he shook with sobs and exhaustion.

His eyes hurt; it hurt to keep them open, hurt to close them for a second. His throat was raw from sobs and bile and his entire body was begging for a second of rest; he’d been dragged through emotional Hell that day and once he thought it was over he was thrown right back.

But it has to be so much worse for Kacchan. I have to do this for Kacchan!

He hadn’t let go of his phone. He hadn’t even thought of doing so.

Tsuki-chan: wtf is with you tonight

Tsuki-chan: it’s fine. you havent even know me for that long

129: ive known you long enough

129: tsukichan i really like you

129: youre really funny and youre sweet to me and you call me a nerd all the time but i knownyou like it when i do nerd stuff

129: plauing animal crossing with you is what iloke forward tothe most in the day

129: you actually flitt back with me even thgouth weve only known each toehr fic four fayd

129: fof rfour days

129: yiu seem a ltitle rough aroun the edges but its really appealing to me

129: you re gonna mbe  a relly good hero

129: a  lto can change in three years

129: you can stop hurting yoursle f and i can hel you

129: youcakk  yourself a dickhead and shitty but you really rwanna amke up for what eyou did

129: anfnit doesnt matte rif you havent done it yet youre scared and its ok

129: its o k to be scared and its ok to take uyour ittime

129: badnepopee dont care abut what they did wrong

129: beas pepoeple.

129: bad

129: poepl e

129: theyd ont care but you do youre amaing tsuki chan

129: youre one of nmy best friends

129: i jsut feel really attached to you and ii jsut

129: please dnt die tsuki chan

129: please i d miss you so much

129: id shwo up to your funeral id fuight my way in

129: pleas etsuki pleae eodnt dir

129: id midss uou sodncih

129: socmuch

129: plwse for me pelese stay alive

Tsuki-chan: look

Tsuki-chan: i cant just up and leave when youre this fucking torn up

Tsuki-chan: i. fucking hate seeing you upset.

129: thrn dont please thenndont

129: dont goplease

Tsuki-chan: look i get you want to play hero

Tsuki-chan: and you want to save me

Tsuki-chan: but trust me im the last person that you should be saving

129: no n on ono

Tsuki-chan: ichi listen to me

Tsuki-chan: im a terrible person

Tsuki-chan: im not strong or amazing or whatever

Tsuki-chan: im fucking weak

Tsuki-chan: i bullied someone LIKE YOU for TEN YEARS

Tsuki-chan: never apologized

Tsuki-chan: im still a dickhead

Tsuki-chan: i punched my friend in the face

Tsuki-chan: fucking hell i told someone i knew since i was a kid to fucking kill themselves

Tsuki-chan: and what if he did it? what then? what fucking then?

Tsuki-chan: then i wouldve fucking killed somebody

Tsuki-chan: dont you see i almost fucking killed someone

Tsuki-chan: just

Tsuki-chan: im not strong

Tsuki-chan: my quirk isnt the best

Tsuki-chan: im shit compared to the rest of my class

Tsuki-chan: ive been coddled all my life

Tsuki-chan: just

Tsuki-chan: fuck ichi

Tsuki-chan: just give up

Tsuki-chan: see me for what i fucking am and let this happen

Tsuki-chan: i cant do this unless you let me

Tsuki-chan: please fucking let me do this

Tsuki-chan: please ichi you have to understand what im saying

129: non onO ONO ON ONO

Another broken wail tore itself from Izuku’s raw throat as he leaned back into his mother’s embrace- wait, when did she get here?- and he squeezed his eyes shut and tried to collect himself.

This couldn’t be happening. This couldn’t be happening.

This day was one of Izuku’s nightmares after the other.

Kacchan got hurt. Kacchan was hurting himself. Kacchan could be permanently injured because Izuku couldn’t stop him and now Kacchan was going to die because of him, because he couldn’t stop him, because he isn’t stopping him-

Kacchan had been thinking all these things about himself? For how long? How long was this darkness brewing in his Kacchan? His Kacchan! He was suffering this whole time and Izuku hadn’t noticed; nobody had.

It was by Kacchan’s design, he told himself. There was no way I could’ve known…

Kacchan was beating himself up for things that didn’t warrant self-criticism this intense. Guilt, Izuku understood. Self-criticism, he understood. Hesitance to apologize out of fear, he understood.

But nothing warranted this level of self-hatred. For Kacchan to want to die? For Kacchan to think that all of this made him deserving of death?

That was never the case. It would never be the case. It shouldn’t be the case.

And if Izuku could help it, one day, it no longer would be the case.

129: sorry sorry i

129: needed to calm down a little

129: tsuki please

129: i wouldnever ever ever ever ver let you die

129: youre my friend and i care about you please

129: youre amazing

129: you can change its not too late

129: death isnt the answer

129: ok? its not the answer

129: it never wil lbe the answer

129: youwanted to make amends and you can get stronger and better and

129: pleas eyoure so much mroe than your quirk and yuor past

Tsuki-chan: why arent you getting it?

Tsuki-chan: why arent yo ufucking getting it?

Tsuki-chan: why cant you understand what im saying?

129: THE ONLY THING I UNDERSTAND IS YOU HAVENTN SAID A SINGLE FUCKING CORRENCT THING AL LNIGHT

129: please youer not thinging right

129: i would miss you smicuh

129: i will never ever ever say you deserve to die

129: thats what this is about isnt it

129: you thing you dont deserve tobebsaved

Tsuki-chan: i don’t though

129: YOURE WRONG

129: please tsuki youre wrong

129: wrgonw wrong wonrgnoqrong

Tsuki-chan: why are you making this so fucking difficult

Tsuki-chan: just let me

Tsuki-chan: please

Tsuki-chan: just give up

129: never ever verer

129: i wil lnever give up on you tsuki chan

129: youcan change and ims tcigking by that

129: listen to me for onceplease

129: im runinng out of things to say but please

129: all ic can say is please

129: so please pelase

129: please pleasepelape please eplase

Tsuki-chan: i cant fucking do this to you

Tsuki-chan: i dont get why youre so fucking distraught but i cant

Tsuki-chan: i cant have the last thing i do be hurting someone

Tsuki-chan: i cant go out like this

129: imnot budginvg

Tsuki-chan: i

You what, Kacchan…?

YOU WHAT?

Did you do something? Are you going to die anyway? Was this all for nothing? Kacchan, please answer! Please say something! Please! Oh god, is he already dead? Was he dying this whole time? Bleeding out? Was he poisoned? Overdosed? Something? What did he do? What did he DO? Kacchan, answer! Say something! You what? What did you do? What did you do, Kacchan? Say something to me!

Tsuki-chan: i fold

Tsuki-chan: you win.

Tsuki-chan: i’m not going anywhere tonight

Tsuki-chan: are you happy now?

Izuku dropped his phone as he began to numbly cry out in relief, his body going limp in his mother’s arms as she stroked his back and whispered comforting words to him, words he couldn’t pick out, as he burned his head in her shoulder and wailed mindless sounds that might’ve resembled words if he was coherent enough to say something.

All he could think about was Kacchan being okay, and alive, and Izuku stopped him he saved his life he saved Kacchan’s life.

All Izuku wanted to do was pass out; pass out and forget this ever happened, and wake up with everything fine and no message history of this and the knowledge that this was all some kind of sick, cruel bad dream.

But this was reality, and the reality of the situation was his Kacchan had almost died.

By his own hand…

Nothing would be fine. Not when Kacchan still felt like this.

129: yes eyes ye s yes ye s im happy

129: imso releiefed

129: thnak nyo uso mcuh tsuki chan

129: youore so strong  youre amssxing

Tsuki-chan: eh

Tsuki-chan: we should. do something

Tsuki-chan: take our minds off this

Tsuki-chan: sorry for scaring the shit out of you

Tsuki-chan: i get if you dont wanna be around someone whos like this

129:  no no itso kook

129: id never ditch  you for this

129: im he re for you always

Tsuki-chan: hm

Tsuki-chan: nerd

129: i mean it !!

Tsuki-chan: i dont know why, but i actually fucking believe you a little

Maybe, though, for a little while, they could be okay.

They would push through this, Izuku resolved to himself. Him and Kacchan, together.

A lot can change in three years.

A lot can change in just one week.

Izuku would help Kacchan; help him have reasons to live, help him like himself in earnest, help him take the steps to mend his actual real-life relationship with Izuku, so he could show him that there was nothing worth destroying himself over. He would help his Kacchan.

He was the only one that could.

xxxxx

Katsuki had no idea what to say.

He robotically worked on the homework that should’ve been done by now as he stole glances at his phone every so often.

What the fuck should he say to Ichi?

Oh, yeah, sorry I had a fucking breakdown and you had to save my life because I’m too fucking weak to stay alive my damn self! Let’s never god damn mention this again, at least not until two fucking days later when I do this again! Because I can’t stop because I’m a wreck of a person who’s only still alive because I’m really, REALLY fucking bad at dying!

Would Ichi leave?

No. No, he said he’d be here.

Ichi is so genuine…

He’d never lie to me. Ever. Not about something like this.

There were flames of doubt in his heart that would never go out, however.

But Ichi was… Katsuki had no idea how to describe it. Ichi was comforting, Ichi was a grounding presence, fuck, Ichi felt like what a home should feel like.

Safe. Warm. Comforting. Reliable.

But Ichi’s not my fucking life coach.

It was stupid to think Ichi was. The poor kid was Katsuki’s age, and he’d made him have some sort of panic attack.

Katsuki tried to ignore the throbbing in his head, and how his eyes hurt.

He just wanted to curl up, fall asleep, and dream of Ichi.

There was a glimmer of something Katsuki couldn’t place flourishing inside of him. It wasn’t love, there was less a glimmer of that and more a full-on heavy duty flashlight shone directly in his eyes.

He didn’t know what it was, though, but he liked it nonetheless. It sounded fucking stupid to even think, but maybe, just maybe, Katsuki wasn’t going to be like this forever.

There was no way a fucking weakling like Katsuki could pull himself out of it. But Ichi made him feel… stronger.

He couldn’t describe it.

Katsuki didn’t deserve a friend like Ichi; he knew that full well. But Ichi was what he got, and Ichi had taken a liking to Tsuki-chan.

And so this was the situation Katsuki was in. Unable to convince Ichi of how bad of an idea it was to know him.

Maybe you’re the wrong one, a nagging little voice said inside of him.

Maybe Ichi’s right, and you’re wrong.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Katsuki picked up his phone, to see if Ichi had said anything.

129: im… im calm now

129: im fine

129: im in bed

129: are you ok?

129: i know youre doing homework but youre ok, right? you didnt do anything?

Shit. He’d left Ichi hanging.

What if he’d had another panic attack?

Tsuki-chan: yeah im fine

Tsuki-chan: doing homework

Tsuki-chan: it took you a long time to calm down

Tsuki-chan: was it really that bad?

129: its not your fault!! i just feel emotions really intensely!!

129: my mom made me some food n stuff

129: i might have thrown up;;

129: so i needed to eat

129: but im fine now, honest!

129: just have a bit of a headache haha

Tsuki-chan: yeah me too

Tsuki-chan: fuck im sorry for all of this

Tsuki-chan: i never ever do this shit in front of someone

Tsuki-chan: youre not my fucking life coach you shouldnt have done that

129: tsuki we talked about this

Tsuki-chan: not in an i dont deserve it way

Tsuki-chan: yknow. you were freaking the fuck out

Tsuki-chan: you shouldnt have needed to do that

129: but i did, didn’t i…?

Tsuki-chan: yeah. you did

Tsuki-chan: im going to fix this.

Katsuki had never, ever told this story to anyone.

It was the secret he was most ashamed of. If he had his way, it would be purged from the minds of anyone who knew about it, including himself.

But Ichi was owed an explanation. He was owed some sort of comfort; some sort of relief.

Tsuki-chan: you know. i was almost rejected from ua

Tsuki-chan: medical records. it’s not exactly hard to figure out what ive been up to once you see everything

Tsuki-chan: why would they accept a kid who probably wouldnt live to the end of the first fucking term

Tsuki-chan: someone with those kinds of urges would be a liability.

Tsuki-chan: but. obviously i got accepted anyway.

Tsuki-chan: sensei got then to accept me with a caveat

Tsuki-chan: i HAD to see someone for this shit

Tsuki-chan: but fuck therapy. literally fuck it.

Tsuki-chan: sensei helped me out AGAIN by letting me talk to him instead

Tsuki-chan: but between you and me, i havent really. said anything of value all this time.

129: will you now…?

Tsuki-chan: fuck, im going to try.

Tsuki-chan: so you arent constantly freaking out over shit

Silence.

Did Ichi realize how pathetic he was? How deep this darkness inside of him ran? How all-consuming it was; how life-ruining, how constricting?

Why would he want to be around that kind of black hole? Why would anyone want to be around that kind of black hole? Katsuki would never want to be around himself if he had the choice.

129: tsuki-chan… that means the world to me

129: im so happy!!

129: tsuki-chan, you made me so happy!!

129: you have no idea how happy i am!!

A faint smile crossed Katsuki’s face. He’d just resigned himself to doing something he really, with every fiber of his fucking being, did not want to do.

But Ichi was happy. Ichi was incredibly happy.

That somehow made it worth it in the end.

129: (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

Katsuki’s smile stretched wider. Fucking nerd and his fucking cute shit.

Tsuki-chan: (`▽´ʃƪ)♡

Tsuki-chan: you’re a fucking nerd

129: if im a nerd then what does that make you?(; ̄︶ ̄)

Tsuki-chan: hey i never said i wasnt a nerd. dont think you’ve cornered me

129: use the faces!! you only use the ones i do!!

Tsuki-chan: i refuse.

129: thats not very plus ultra of you (っ- ‸ – ς)

Tsuki-chan: I’LL SHOW YOU PLUS ULTRA (╬⓪益⓪)

129: (ΟΔΟ;;)

129: ah!!! so intense!!

129: wait i have an idea!

Katsuki’s gaze lingered on his phone as he reluctantly went back to his homework for a second as he waited.

He stopped mid-answer when he heard the ping.

129: (╬⓪益⓪)ノ彡♡

129: it’s you!!

Katsuki let his head thunk on his desk as soft laughter overcame him. It was amazing how quickly he’d been lifted up- he remembered, he used to spend hours in a shitty, numb state. It was like nothing could touch him, not even his comfortably familiar rage. He’d been isolated from the world, from everything, and left with swirling, clouded thoughts of whatever had happened that time.

Too many times he’s fallen asleep like that, only to wake up the next morning like nothing had happened, the only evidence being a tiny, tiny part of him that felt missing in a way, a tiny part that never came back, and yet he had to pretend was still there.

Once, that hadn’t been an issue.

Tiny parts build up over the course of years, and now Katsuki couldn’t afford to lose any more of himself. It was getting harder and harder to act like he was all there, like nothing had happened.

Katsuki wondered what it would feel like when the day came when there would be more of him missing than not.

He grunted and shoved those thoughts out of his head, and looked at his phone again, feeling a smile spread across his face at that stupid little text.

Fucking nerd.

Tsuki-chan: hey i dont remember sending you any pictures of me

Tsuki-chan: so where did you get that one?

129: maybe im right outside your windoooooowwww~

Tsuki-chan: oh yeah you’re right there you are.

Tsuki-chan: a floating kaomoji.

129: you caught me!!

Tsuki-chan: i’ll let you off the hook this one time, nerd.

129: ah!! i know you would~

129: tsuki-chan could never be mad at meeee

Tsuki-chan: i will get mad at everything, ever, for any reason.

129: aww i doubt it!

129: have you ever gotten mad at me?

Tsuki-chan: i get mad at you all the time fucking nerd.

Tsuki-chan: see i just did that.

129: nono thats joke mad!

129: youre not ACTUALLY angry at me, its just you messing around!

129: have you ever gotten REALLY angry at me?

Katsuki was about to reply with a ‘yeah, of course i fucking have, who do you think you’re talking to, i got angry at you when you’

But he couldn’t finish the sentence.

Had he ever gotten really, truly angry at Ichi…?

Maybe that one time when Ichi had said he wanted to be a hero. But that was really concern, wasn’t it? He hadn’t felt angry with him since; at least, not angry enough to go out of his way to make it known.

Or that other time when he thought Ichi was giving him the cold shoulder, but no, he’d calmed down once he found out Ichi was just asleep.

What the fuck is WITH this nerd?

I’ve seriously never fucking gotten mad at him?

Tsuki-chan: uh. not really.

Tsuki-chan: i was ready to destroy your ass when i thought you were ignoring me

Tsuki-chan: but yknow. you were just asleep so.

129: so you calmed down?

Tsuki-chan: yeah?

Tsuki-chan: i swear im a lot angrier usually

Tsuki-chan: you’ll see

129: mmm i dont think so!! you’re kind of a nerd~

Tsuki-chan: im the angriest fucking nerd you’ll ever meet so jot that down

129: youre kind of a softie too

Tsuki-chan: EXCUSE THE FUCK ME

129: a little! you can be really cute sometimes~

Katsuki felt his face heat up and his heart race.

Fucking stupid crush.

Tsuki-chan: SHUT UP SHUT UPPPPPP SHUT UP

129: hmm, is that tsukispeak for ‘im flustered?’

Tsuki-chan: YOU’LL BE REDUCED TO A SINGLE FUCKING ATOM BY THE TIME I’M DONE WITH YOU.

129: are you going to

129: what was it, again?

129: destroy my ass?

129: dont worry, tsuki-chan~ you can do that any time

Tsuki-chan: FUUUUCK YOU

Tsuki-chan: WAIT

Tsuki-chan: NO

Tsuki-chan: FUCK

129: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Tsuki-chan: why are you like this ichi

129: you just give me so many good opportunities!!

Tsuki-chan: be careful ichi

Tsuki-chan: you said this wasn’t fake flirting so one day you might have to put your money where your mouth is.

Tsuki-chan: and put your mouth where my

Tsuki-chan: you get the idea

129: (///〇_〇///)

129: i!!!!! will do my best!!!!!!!!!

Tsuki-chan: wait are you actually fucking prepared to.

129: you said no fake flirting!!

Tsuki-chan: SO YOU WOULD???

129: i dont know!!!!! maybe???? i dont know???

129: (/。\) this is so embarrassing!!

Tsuki-chan: im going to be real i expected a ‘no’ right off the bat

129: tsuki-chan you’re always real!!!!!

129: (/。\)(/。\)(/。\)(/。\)(/。\)(/。\)(/。\)(/。\)(/。\)

Tsuki-chan: haha

Tsuki-chan: i flustered YOU

Tsuki-chan: how the turn tables.

129: sdfnjsjdnfsjhdf tsuki-chaaaaaaan!!!!

Katsuki smiled softly at his phone as he imagined the boy on the other side. He was probably beet red, maybe hiding his face in his pillow. He said he was in bed, maybe he burrowed under the covers, curling up and hiding from everything except his own phone.

Everything except Katsuki.

He wondered if Ichi was really alright; if he really bounced back so quickly. He had no way of telling just how bad he’d been panicking, but judging by those typos, it wasn’t pretty in the slightest.

It twisted him up inside to think that Ichi was so distraught because of him. Twisted him up to think that Ichi was so distraught, in general.

If Katsuki had his way, nothing would ever hurt Ichi again. He’d be there next to him, protecting him from anything that might make Ichi feel that horrible, ever again.

Ichi didn’t deserve to suffer like Katsuki did.

Tsuki-chan: you’re a huge fucking nerd

Tsuki-chan: its adorable how easy it is to fluster you

Tsuki-chan: it is so easy

129: tsukiiiiiiii!!!

129: i was falling asleep but now im too embarrassed to fall asleep!!!

129: you could fry an egg on my face i think;;;

Tsuki-chan: hey, i’m just surprised that’s where all the blood is going

129: TSUKI OH MY GOD

Tsuki-chan: if you can do it i can do it

Tsuki-chan: welcome to the bottom of the mariana trench, asshole

129: ive got nothing haha!!

129: you win im out of insults!! !(*´∀`*)尸”

Tsuki-chan: i’m the insult master and dont you forget it ٩(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و

129: my kaomoji are cuter though~ ✧*。٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*。

Tsuki-chan: that i don’t doubt.

Tsuki-chan: there’s no way i’m ever fucking winning that one.

129: uwaa? the great tsuki-chan admits defeat!!? (。・o・。)

Tsuki-chan: SHHHUUUUT UP

Tsuki-chan: I HAVE HOMEWORK ANYWAY NERD

Tsuki-chan: SO THERE

129: ok!!

129: im gonna write down more ways to fluster you while you’re gone~!!

Tsuki-chan: FUUUUUUUUUCK YOU

129: do you never learn, tsuki-chan? (∗´ `)

Tsuki-chan: GOD DAMN IT

Katsuki really, really needed to work on his word choice before this fucking nerd exploded his head off with how hot he was making it.

xxxxx

Tsuki-chan: did you know there’s a rule of english that not even native speakers know

129: really?

Tsuki-chan: yeah. they follow it anyway though.

129: what is it??? whats the rule???

Katsuki shifted around in bed as he quickly flicked through the screenshots on his phone. While finishing up his English homework, he’d remembered something he’d found once on social media. Even though both him and Ichi were too exhausted after the day to stay awake any longer, he still wanted to do something impressive.

Tsuki-chan: ok so when you’re using a bunch of adjectives they have to be in a specific order

Tsuki-chan: opinion size age shape color origin material purpose

Tsuki-chan: then the noun

Tsuki-chan: like a

Katsuki narrowed his eyes in concentration as he switched keyboards and copied down the words in the screenshot. In retrospect, he really should have just copy-and-pasted this information into the notes. It would make this way easier for him.

Ah, well. Hindsight is 20/20.

Tsuki-chan: lovely little old rectangular green french silver whittling knife

Tsuki-chan: apparently if you fuck with that order you sound fucking insane

129: HOW DO YOU EVEN REMEMBER THAT??

Tsuki-chan: i have no fucking idea but im going to remember this order if it kills me

129: nerd!!

Tsuki-chan: ITS FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS

129: the fact that you even know this exists makes you a huge nerd!!

Tsuki-chan: I SAW IT ONLINE SHUT UP

129: i wanna see if i can remember it too!

Tsuki-chan: bet i can remember it faster.

129: hey no fair!! you had a head start!!!

Tsuki-chan: keep up nerd haha

129: fiineeee

129: but

129: what is “ whittling ”? i don’t know that one!

Tsuki-chan: i looked it up then forgot what it meant hold on

Katsuki quickly looked it up and translated it for Ichi. He hoped this was still somehow impressive despite the fact that he didn’t even remember any of this information.

It fucking isn’t. You’re cheating.

No no no we are not doing this, he’s impressed. He likes this. He likes it. He’s happy. Shut the fuck up. Not tonight, not tonight, not tonight, not tonight.

129: oh!!

129: i don’t think of that when i see the english word at all!

Tsuki-chan: yeah it’s the one word i didn’t know.

Tsuki-chan: i can curse in english

129: i’m not surprised!

129: you’re a nerd but you also seem like the type to learn the curses first!

Tsuki-chan: american tv has so much cursing in it

Tsuki-chan: so much cursing. so much fucking cursing. and people say i curse too much

129: you watch american tv?

Tsuki-chan: a lot actually

Tsuki-chan: i used to watch without subtitles just to see if i could

129: could you?

Tsuki-chan: are you fucking kidding me? of course not

129: hahahahaha oh my god!!!

129: you still did it anyway didnt you?

Tsuki-chan: yeah i never fucking learned

Tsuki-chan: got me into practicing though.

Tsuki-chan: i can understand the same show better now

129: that’s amazing!!

Tsuki-chan: i still have no idea what the fuck they’re saying half the time

129: but thats better than not knowing what theyre saying all of the time!

He’s right.

No the fuck he isn’t. It’s not impressive to understand half of a show.

It’s still better than understanding nothing.

It’s not fucking good enough.

Tsuki-chan: ehh

Tsuki-chan: would be better if i understood all of it

129: and one day you will!!

129: and then we can watch it together and you can translate for me!

Tsuki-chan: fuck no, learn the fucking language yourself shithead

Tsuki-chan: im not a goddamn dictionary

Tsuki-chan: you’re a big enough nerd to do it

129: im good at it written down!! spoken is different!!

Tsuki-chan: catch up then.

129: is that a challenge?

Tsuki-chan: hah? how is that a challenge?

129: if im so much nerdier than you then doesnt that mean id learn way faster and just blast right past you? (; ̄︶ ̄)

Tsuki-chan: fuck

129: orrr are you as big of a nerd as me?

Tsuki-chan: SHUT UP NERD

129: tsuki-chan, it’s not nice to tell yourself to shut up!!

Tsuki-chan: you’re the worst and i hate you

129: aww~! i appreciate our friendship too~! ≡(*′▽`)っ

Fuck, why was this nerd challenging him so… attractive?

Everything about Ichi was so confusing, especially Katsuki’s feelings towards him- it went against everything Katsuki thought about himself, every action he took, every facet of his personality.

He never wanted it to end.

It was a comfortable confusion, one where Katsuki, for a little while, could be who he pretended to be to everyone else.

The thought of being perceived how he’d always wanted left him feeling lighter, so light that he could take all of his guilt- the guilt of deluding Ichi into believing every wonderful thing about him, the guilt of basking in the light feelings that came from a delusion, the guilt of ignoring these feelings- and push them aside, at least for a little while.

Just a little while was all Katsuki needed.

129: ah! i almost fell asleep for a second!

Tsuki-chan: im with you on that

Tsuki-chan: im fucking exhausted

Tsuki-chan: if i didnt have school tomorrow id sleep all fucking day

129: me too~

Tsuki-chan: gnight then nerd

After everything that had happened, after everything Ichi had seen of him, Katsuki saw no reason to hesitate.

Tsuki-chan: (`▽´ʃƪ)♡

129: goodnight~ my tsuki-chan (´▽`ʃƪ)♡

It was as if Katsuki was set ablaze, warmth spreading through his body as his mouth hung ever-so-slightly open and his heart beat so rapidly that Katsuki could feel it thrumming inside of him.

Ichi’s fondness ran that deep? That small gesture, those two extra letters sent waves of an indescribably amazing feeling through him, a feeling so overwhelming that every instinct of Katsuki’s was screaming at him to find Ichi somehow, march up to him, take him in his arms and kiss him until he couldn’t breathe- and then kiss him some more.

He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so strongly about anything, outside of anger.

He never wanted this to end.

Ichi was doing things to Katsuki, things nobody else could do, as if they’d been interwoven for a time far longer than four days, in a way far more intimate than their current relationship.

And Katsuki loved it.

For the first time in a long while, Katsuki Bakugo fell asleep alight with happiness.

Chapter Text

129: can’t sleep… (๑ᵕ⌓ᵕ̤)

Izuku didn’t expect a response to that.

He’d gotten some sleep, granted, but it had been fleeting- he’d woken up just a couple of hours later. His head still pounded from all the crying he’d done, and every time he thought of what had happened, a pit formed inside of him.

Every time he tried to drift off again, he’d think of Kacchan, and then be too upset to fall asleep all over again.

Izuku had almost lost the person he’d known for the longest. He’d managed to save him, but even that was little comfort.

This time, that little voice inside him reminded him. You saved him this time.

Kacchan hadn’t even understood why Izuku was upset. He was about to die, and he hadn’t understood why someone would be upset. Was he really that far gone, all this time? Or was he just so used to the concept of near-death that it was unfathomable that anyone would care so much about something so commonplace?

Don’t think about it…

Izuku, on instinct, had planned to play Animal Crossing to calm himself down, but all he did was grab his DS before re-considering.

It would feel wrong without Kacchan there.

So, he’d ended up jotting down Kacchan notes in his notebook. It wasn’t his Hero Analysis one, it was a completely separate one; a blank one he had lying around, the same one he spent an hour writing down insults in.

Why did it feel like that was so long ago?

- Kacchan likes it when I flirt with him!

- THOSE kinds of jokes are kind of risky though!

- He likes when I make him kaomoji!

- He also likes compliments, but he might think I’m just flattering him if I put too much emphasis on it!

- Kacchan thinks it’s cute when I get flustered…?

The thought made Izuku blush- and blush harder when he realized that Kacchan would find him cute in that moment.

His heart fluttered in his chest- could he really, truly have a chance at wooing Kacchan? Had he already done it?

Would his success matter once Kacchan found out who he was…?

Hopefully their friendship hadn’t meant nothing to Kacchan. But Kacchan and Izuku’s relationship outside of this secrecy was… Izuku had no idea how to describe it.

Wrought with misunderstanding?

Kacchan thought Izuku looked down on him. All these years, and for some reason, he’d been so dreadfully wrong about Izuku’s motives. He must’ve thought Izuku really was patronizing him all that time. No wonder why he was so angry at me, Izuku thought. Why he didn’t want me going to UA… he must’ve thought I was mocking him…

But there was nothing Izuku could do about this, nothing Izuku himself could say to Kacchan’s face to show him that he had never, in his life, ever looked down on him. And never would.

They had to talk. And Kacchan needed to be the one to instigate that talk.

If Kacchan found out who Izuku was before then, it could very easily spell disaster. It also could very easily go well, but after last night, Izuku was not prepared to take that chance.

If it ended in disaster, Izuku wouldn’t be able to save Kacchan. Kacchan wouldn’t listen to him, and then he would…

He would…

...and it would be Izuku’s fault.

No. He had to wait. Best to avoid catastrophe.

He’d wait until Kacchan sought him out, and they’d talked, finally laying any misunderstandings to rest. And then, he’d wait a little more. A talk like that would be stressful for Kacchan. No need stressing him out even more so soon with this realization.

A few days should do it.

Ping!

Izuku’s heart leapt into his throat at the noise, squinting at the light now emanating from his phone. He picked it up and read the new message.

Tsuki-chan: that makes two of us.

Kacchan couldn’t sleep, either? Was he more shaken up about last night than he’d let on?

Izuku felt a pang of guilt at the flutter of happiness he’d felt- of course, he’d hate for his Kacchan to be upset, but he had to admit, it felt nice to have company.

Felt nice to have Kacchan.

129: im soooo tired….. (∪。∪)。。。zzz

129: how about you?

Tsuki-chan: restless.

Tsuki-chan: it fucking sucks.

129: do you wanna talk about it…?

Tsuki-chan: no. its.

Tsuki-chan: you’d figure out who i was

Tsuki-chan: it’s fine though. i can handle it

129: a nightmare…?

Tsuki-chan:

Tsuki-chan: mm.

Tsuki-chan: i want to tell you about it. but i can’t.

Izuku was about ready to admit it right then and there, just to get Kacchan to talk to him. What could be upsetting Kacchan so badly? Was it the incident with the sludge villain? USJ? Something else?

Don’t worry about your identity, Kacchan! He wanted to scream. Please, just talk to me!

But he didn’t.

He couldn’t.

129: i get it…

129: how’s your leg?

Tsuki-chan: sore as shit.

Tsuki-chan: that’s normal though.

Tsuki-chan: nothing to worry about.

129: ok…

Tsuki-chan: by the way

Tsuki-chan: what are YOU doing up?

Tsuki-chan: i forgot to ask.

129:

129: just… last night shook me up a lot…

129: you almost died, tsuki-chan…

Tsuki-chan: but i didn’t.

Tsuki-chan: because of you.

129: yeah…

Tsuki-chan: just keep thinking.

Tsuki-chan: i could’ve died. but i didn’t.

Tsuki-chan: lots of things could happen. i’m still here. focus on that instead of almosts.

129: it’s not that…

Tsuki-chan: ?

129: i just…

129: what if it happens again?

129: what if i can’t stop you next time?

129: i almost couldn’t this time…

129: i don’t know if i can do it again

129: i dont want to lose you and i dont want this to happen again

129: i dont know how many times you almost die but you seem so casual about it, it freaks me out

129: you didnt understand why i was upset

129: i dont want you to die…

Izuku wiped away fresh tears, taking deep breaths to steady himself and keep himself composed to the best of his ability.

No use breaking down all over again when nothing was even happening.

Tsuki-chan: ichi. listen.

Tsuki-chan: this isn’t your problem

Tsuki-chan: that. came out wrong.

Tsuki-chan: fuck.

Tsuki-chan: i really want to promise you that i wont ever do it again

Tsuki-chan: i fucking hate seeing you upset and i fucking hate that I’M the one that made you upset

Tsuki-chan: but i can’t promise shit.

Tsuki-chan: i can’t fucking control myself thats how god damn weak i am

Tsuki-chan: i want to tell you ‘i promise i’ll never fucking do it again’ and mean it.

Tsuki-chan: but i can’t.

129: youre not weak

129: can you at least promise me that youll talk to someone if you ever start feeling bad…?

129: it doesnt have to be me

129: anyone. please.

129: someone…

Tsuki-chan: i’m not gonna promise shit i dont know if i can do.

129: then promise me you’ll at least try!!

129: even if you cant do it you can at least TRY, right?

129: you’re talking to me right now! you’re being honest!

129: so you cant say you cant try!!

129: and there’s no reason for you to say you can’t!

129: or shouldnt.

Izuku took shaky breaths as he waited for Kacchan’s answer. Was it wrong to push him like this? Was it wrong to demand things from him?

Maybe. But he’d almost died. A little force was necessary for Izuku to assure that his childhood friend wouldn’t die.

Tsuki-chan: ok.

Tsuki-chan: that i can promise.

129: thank you, tsuki-chan (⺣◡⺣)♡*

Tsuki-chan: it’s nothing i can’t fucking do.

Tsuki-chan: wanna play acnl? get our minds off this shit.

Tsuki-chan: we can do whatever you want.

129: !! i’d love to, tsuki-chan~!

129: my town or yours?

Tsuki-chan: whichever you want.

129: can it be my town? it’s more open!

129: we can go bug hunting?

129: i kind of… want to get more stuff for my museum

Tsuki-chan: sure.

129: by the way, what’s your museum like?

Tsuki-chan: it’s been complete for a while.

129: really??

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: it’s what happens when you’re fucking glued to this game for years.

129: wow!! you’re so dedicated!

129: i kind of want to see your museum now…!

Tsuki-chan: we can see it later.

Tsuki-chan: let’s go to ureshi first.

129: ok!!

xxxxx

Tsuki-chan: worry not ichi.

Tsuki-chan: why not?

Tsuki-chan: because im here.

129: !! my hero~! ⊂(♡⌂♡)⊃

A soft smile spread on Katsuki’s face at that, warmth beginning to radiate from his chest.

He was Ichi’s hero.

It had just been a joke, but…

Katsuki thought of one day, actually being Ichi’s hero. Saving him from something, anything that dared hurt him, and seeing Ichi’s eyes sparkle and hearing him excitedly chatter on about how amazing Katsuki was, and how much he likes him, how much he loves him, how lucky he is to know Katsuki.

But nobody was lucky to know Katsuki.

Nobody would be lucky to know Katsuki, ever.

No. No. Don’t fucking think like that.

Ichi would cuss you out if he heard you thinking shit like that.

Nobody was lucky to know Katsuki now. But maybe in the future, he could make something of himself. Something that wasn’t pathetic, something that was to be admired.

Better.

Tsuki-chan: i sure am your hero haha

Tsuki-chan: your town is nice at night.

129: !! thank you!

Tsuki-chan: yeah you cant see how badly everything is placed

129: HEY!!!! you did most of that placing, yknow!!

Tsuki-chan: and?

129: tsuki-chaaaaan!!!!!

129: (。•́︿•̀。)

Tsuki-chan: ok ok ok ill stop just never make that face again

129: awww, tsuki-chan cares!!

Tsuki-chan: shut up and get me a bug you f ck.

129: im a what now~?

129: aww tsuki, im so flattered you think im a f ck!

129: that means you’d do it, yknow~

Tsuki-chan: I HATE YOU GO CATCH A BUG OR SMTH

129: ok!

129: you gotta be quiet though! so you don’t scare them off!

129: so walk slowly!

Tsuki-chan: don’t tell me what to do.

He did it anyway, though.

Making sure he walked and not ran, he followed behind Ichi, watching him sneak around.

This brought back memories in an odd, roundabout way. Memories of him and Deku as children, trekking through the forest with nets and terrariums, Katsuki bragging that he was better at catching bugs and that he’d catch the most bugs; Deku remaining unfazed, looking at him with that fucking smile and saying that Kacchan would need someone to carry the bugs so his hands would be free to get more bugs, yeah?

It was a comfortable routine. Katsuki would catch, Deku would help him get them into the terrarium, which Deku in turn carried for Katsuki. He hated to admit it, but Deku’s help was vital for any bug after the first one- they’d needed two sets of hands to keep all the other ones from crawling out, after all.

They’d fit together nicely, back then.

Katsuki wondered if they’d fit together nicely in the present, too.

Of course not.

You fucking ruined it.

He could try and fix it, though.

As if you could fix everything that happened with a single apology.

You just need to fucking live with the fact that you’re never gonna get that back.

It’s not like Katsuki was friendless.

He had other friends- some came and went, but there was that one other loyal motherfucker that stuck by him since childhood- since before he got his quirk, since before any of them got their quirks. Except the wings fucker, he was born with those; lucky bastard.

Even so, it wasn’t the same as what Katsuki had with Deku.

He was a good friend- but he wasn’t Deku. He didn’t perfectly compliment Katsuki like Deku did.

He wasn’t Katsuki’s first friend.

It was all because shitty Deku had gotten it in his head that he was better than Katsuki, and decided to rub it in by “complimenting” him at every given opportunity.

By being Katsuki better than Katsuki was Katsuki.

Deku was earnest, he was strong- actually strong; he’d faced off a villain while quirkless, and what had Katsuki done? He’d made everything worse.

Deku was perceptive, Deku was smart, and Deku knew Katsuki all his life, could pick up on little changes in character better than anyone else.

It wasn’t out of the question to come to the conclusion that Deku knew just how weak he was behind the scenes.

How weak he pretended not to be.

So weak it almost killed him.

He must be doing this to rub it in Katsuki’s face- you call me weak but I know the truth! YOU’RE the weak one, and I’ll prove it to everyone by being better than you, at the things that specifically you do.

It’s what you deserve.

And it was.

But- there was another feeling, a small one but one that had burrowed itself in Katsuki’s heart and made its home there, unable to be persuaded or badgered or forced out.

Maybe. Maybe Ichi was right, somehow.

Maybe Deku was copying him out of admiration.

Maybe Deku didn’t pity him, or look down on him.

Hell, maybe Deku didn’t even know about Katsuki’s all-encompassing weakness.

That would be nice.

It could be the truth.

Fuck you. No it’s not.

You don’t know that for sure.

And YOU don’t know it’s NOT true for sure.

Deku would’ve said something if he knew.

He’s a heroic little shit, he’d try to save him.

Not you. You don’t deserve to be saved.

He doesn’t fucking care about you.

Deku cried when Katsuki was injured; had rushed over to his bed, held his hand and cried, like seeing Katsuki there and injured sparked a deep, personal, intrinsic sadness inside of him that he could not keep contained.

And Katsuki couldn’t explain it.

If he were to be correct, this would make no sense.

So I’m wrong.

He could still give a shit about me for some reason.

Katsuki would have to ask him, whenever he gathered the nerve to go and fucking apologize to him.

Go and talk things out with him.

He needed to make sure his apology was perfect- he couldn’t just go up to Deku and go “yeah remember that shit? Sorry. Ok that’s it.”

Deku deserved much, much more than that, after what Katsuki did to him.

And Katsuki was going to give him what he deserved if it was the last thing he ever did.

129: i caught one!

129: wait, where’d you go?

Katsuki hadn’t even noticed that Ichi had gotten away from him. The last thing he wanted to do was worry him- saying ‘oh i was just thinking’ would probably make the guy assume the worst, especially after… last night.

Tsuki-chan: come and find me, nerd.

He quickly scurried off into the opposite direction, hiding behind a tree.

129: tsuki-chaaaan!!!

Katsuki had to hold back laughter as Ichi ran right past him, not even slowing down or sparing the tree a second glance.

He got an idea.

Katsuki took his shovel out of his pockets, the tip of it poking out behind the tree. He’d never gotten to try this out in all the years he’d spent playing Animal Crossing, but he had a feeling that tonight was the perfect night to see what would happen.

129: tsuukiiiii

Tsuki-chan: haha. you ran right past me earlier.

129: WHAAT

129: TSUKI!!!!!

Tsuki-chan: hahahahahaha

He waited- and then he heard it; the sound of footsteps getting closer and closer to him. His finger hovered over the button as Ichi got closer and closer to him. He came to a stop right next to Katsuki, sending a message that had to have been pre-prepared, judging by the speed which he sent it.

129: found you!!

Katsuki didn’t hesitate- he jammed his finger on the button and-

-poked Ichi with his shovel.

Ichi’s avatar looked shocked and wobbled for a second. Guess that worked, then, Katsuki mused to himself.

129: hey!!!!

Katsuki immediately took off running as he saw Ichi take his shovel out as well, running after him.

129: GET BACK HERE

129: AND FACE YOUR PUNISHMENT!!!

Tsuki-chan: YOULL HAVE TO CATCH ME FIRST

129: MAYBE I WILL!!!!

Katsuki barely knew Ursehi’s layout- he was at a disadvantage here. The wide open spaces made him easily visible to Ichi, as well.

He needed to gain the upper hand.

He rushed into the train station and spammed the buttons as fast as he could, to get back to Satsu before Ichi could stop him.

His phone pinged- and Katsuki smirked.

129: COWAAAARD!!!

Tsuki-chan: coward? or strategist?

129: COWARDCOWARDCOWARDCOWARDCOWARDCOWARDCOWARD

Tsuki-chan: SHUT YOUR FUCK IM OPENING MY GATE

Tsuki-chan: LETS SEE WHO’S THE COWARD IN MY LABYRINTH, YOU SHIT!!

Katsuki shook with silent laughs as the second after he opened his gate, a notification popped up that someone was arriving.

He hadn’t even left the train station yet- Ichi would pop up outside of the station, and Katsuki would have to get past him in order to leave.

He typed a message.

Tsuki-chan: hahaha too slow!

129: ggghhhhhhhhh

129: ILL FIND YOU!!

129: theres only one direction you could have gone!!

Katsuki waited with bated breath. Had Ichi really taken the bait?

129: where are yoouuuu!!

Seems like it. He stepped out of the train station, and the moment his town loaded-

-he was smacked with a shovel, Ichi running away before he could chase after him.

129: sorry, tsuki-chan!

129: but you’re not the only one with strategy!!

Katsuki grinned, heart beating in his chest.

That motherfucker!

This kind of shit is a good look for him.

Katsuki couldn’t describe how that made him feel- for Ichi, it was surely just a way for him to gain the upper hand in a stupid little game they’d decided to play. But there was something about it that made Katsuki want to grab Ichi and kiss his scheming little nerd face over and over.

If Katsuki were to be honest, that was his default attitude when it came to Ichi. All he wanted was the other with him, for the other to be his, like he was apparently Ichi’s.

My Tsuki-chan.

His heart fluttered.

What he wouldn’t give to hear Ichi say that sappy shit to him in person.

xxxxx

Izuku laughed as he navigated the labyrinth that was Satsu, taking turn after turn, passing torches and hydrangeas and tulips and lilies as he hoped he wouldn’t run face-first into Kacchan.

All that momentum, all that building himself up, that challenging Kacchan- would be for nothing if he did that! He wanted Kacchan to like him, after all.

Like, or love?

Love.

He wanted Kacchan to love him.

It was selfish; Kacchan didn’t even know who he was, he was tricking him!

But it’s not like I’d confess to him before talking it out…! Not unless he confessed or something- maybe? I don’t know. It’s useless thinking about it, anyway. I doubt Kacchan likes me like that, he’s probably only flirting with me just because I’m doing it, or something. Or maybe I’m still upsetting him but he doesn’t wanna say? No, no, Kacchan would say something! Especially now- he’s honest with me, or at least, he’s honest with Ichi. And he didn’t HAVE to start calling me Ichi! And he was being flirty when he told me why- I think? It seemed flirty, but I don’t know!

He was getting distracted.

He was also getting lost.

Despite Satsu not being a horror-themed town, the real horror was its layout, narrow pathways that wound and wound, pathways that made Izuku dizzy trying to figure out- was he going in circles, or did it only seem like he was? How did Kacchan remember this layout? Did he have a map somewhere, or was his town like this for so long that it was just instinctive to him, as he navigated the pathways over the years?

Izuku came across a clearing.

Finally! A clearing probably means a building! Or a garden, or something! Something other than those pathways!

There was a building, indeed. Izuku’s eyes shone at what he’d found, marvelling at it.

Kacchan’s house was large, a zen-style house styled with greys and reds.

This is amazing! Kacchan must have every expansion!

I wonder what the inside looks like.

Should I…?

Kacchan would probably be mad.

Maybe.

He could toe the waters, but it would mean giving away his location. All he could do was hope that Kacchan was too far away to get there quickly- the curiosity was eating him alive.

129: hey, tsuki-chan! nice house!!

Tsuki-chan: WHAT

Tsuki-chan: of course its a nice house!!

129: im going in!!

Tsuki-chan: FUCK YOU

If Kacchan really hadn’t wanted him to go inside, he would have said so.

So inside he went.

The first thing that smacked into him when he stepped into Kacchan’s living room made his face heat up- but there was no way it had anything to do with that, did it?

There was no way-! Izuku was just projecting! It was late, he must not be thinking straight!

129: wow, tsuki-chan!

129: it’s so…

So very…

It was- it made Izuku’s heart beat wildly in his chest as he looked across Kacchan’s living room, as he ran from room to room to room and saw the same, overarching theme, the same theme that made his palms sweaty and a wide smile form on his face.

It was so… Kacchan’s house was so…

….so….

129: ...green!

Light green, dark green, green floors- some of it custom patterns of dark green wood- green wallpapers, wood furniture and little splashes of red here and there, little hints of color- but the main, theme color was green.

So much green, it made Izuku turn red.

He knew, he knew it had nothing to do with him, but he still blushed as he looked at the rooms- the one he’d just entered was a greenhouse, with a hammock in it and a chair and plants covering the walls and every available surface, the green leaves dotted with flowers.

Tsuki-chan: yeah.

Tsuki-chan: i like green

129: oh? is it your favorite?

Tsuki-chan: never thought about it

Tsuki-chan: but i guess

Tsuki-chan: how about you?

129: you’d like me, then;; i wear a lot of green!

129: but my actual favorite is red

129: green just looks the best on me!

Tsuki-chan: i bet you look good in red.

129: and i bet you look good in green!

Tsuki-chan: eh. can’t say

129: why not?

Tsuki-chan: i don’t wear a lot of green

Tsuki-chan: it would be a little weird

129: why weird?

Izuku’s heart beat even harder as Kacchan hesitated.

Tsuki-chan: bonesoup is very green

Tsuki-chan: it would be kind of weird.

129: why weird?

129: lots of people have specific colors to them!

Tsuki-chan: well

Tsuki-chan: uuhhh

Tsuki-chan: well

Tsuki-chan: remember a few days ago when i said that

Tsuki-chan: you reminded me of this guy i knew?

Tsuki-chan: that i may or may not like

No.

No way.

There was no way Kacchan was about to say what Izuku thought he was going to say.

No way at all.

No way!

129: yeah?

Tsuki-chan: bonesoup. is the guy

Tsuki-chan: so i cant wear much green

Tsuki-chan: so its weird

It was as if Izuku’s world had stopped in its tracks; the only thing existing for now and all of eternity being himself and what Kacchan had just said to him. His mouth hung open in shock and he felt tears welling up in his eyes- although he wasn’t upset; far from it.

Kacchan liked him.

Kacchan LIKED him.

KACCHAN liked HIM!

Suddenly, Izuku’s locked-away desires were pushed to the forefront, his entire being flooding with emotion as he was drowning in love, love, love, nothing else but love for Kacchan, his Kacchan, his Kacchan whom he’d loved for so long and who loved him back, had loved him back all this time-

It was almost enough to make him admit who he was right then and there- and if he wasn’t frozen in shock, he just might have.

Kacchan; amazing, inspiring Kacchan, liked him.

Kacchan didn’t hate him.

Kacchan liked- loved him!

What he wouldn’t give to be able to rush to Kacchan’s house, right now in the middle of the night, and leap into his arms, showering him with kisses and proclaiming that he loves him back! He loves Kacchan so much, he’s loved Kacchan ever since he could remember!

He was in heaven.

He really, truly, was in heaven- he’d only been nearly as happy as this a choice few times in his life- and even then, he wasn’t sure if he’d been happier then than he was now.

Anything could happen, anything could come of this situation Izuku found himself in; this delicate, intimate dance of a situation, a situation of halfway false anonymity and secrets that ate at Izuku’s core from the inside out, begging to be let free-

But anything could happen, now.

Perhaps the chance that this would go catastrophically wrong was less than Izuku thought.

Tsuki-chan: hey. you alive there?

Did that silence give me away?

I hope not!

Or maybe that would be a good thing? I don’t know anymore…!

Izuku quickly dragged himself back to reality and typed out an answer.

129: yeah im here!

Tsuki-chan: look. dont think much of it ok

Tsuki-chan: im not sure if i do or dont like him

Tsuki-chan: he would never like me. so i never thought about it

129: what makes you say that…?

Tsuki-chan: i was a dick to him

Tsuki-chan: besides why would someone who looks down on me want to be with me

129: you don’t know for sure if he looks down on you!

Tsuki-chan: even if he doesnt.

Tsuki-chan: you know the sh t ive done to him.

Tsuki-chan: why would anyone want to be with their tormentor

129: tsuki! there HAS to be a reason why he still cares

129: are you really giving up without even trying to talk to him?

Tsuki-chan: im going to talk to him.

Tsuki-chan: never f ing said i was giving up on that

129: but you’ve given up on him ever reciprocating

There was a long pause.

Had Kacchan given up? It wasn’t like Kacchan to give up on anything, ever.

Then again, Kacchan had been doing a lot of things that he didn’t seem like the type to do.

Tsuki-chan: havent given up

Tsuki-chan: if i did like him i wouldnt give up

129: are you sure?

Tsuki-chan: its no use thinking about it. ok?

Tsuki-chan: no use even thinking about it before i even f ing talked to the guy

Tsuki-chan: besides. theres another reason i dont want to think about it

Tsuki-chan: because theres just no reason to

129: and that reason is?

Kacchan didn’t answer.

Izuku’s fingers twitched, the silence beginning to get awkward. Should he say something to break the silence? What was Kacchan doing?

Was he-?

Was he-?

No. No, don’t think about that! He’s probably just typing! Maybe he’s typing on his phone, because whatever he’s saying is too long for the character limit! Or maybe he’s thinking about what he’s going to say! He’s not doing that, he’s not, he’s not that upset is he?

129: tsuki…?

129: are you okay?

Tsuki-chan: yeah

Tsuki-chan: typing

Good.

Izuku couldn’t shake the pit forming in him, though. He needed a distraction.

129: can i explore your house…?

Tsuki-chan: sure

Izuku broke away from Kacchan and started exploring the rest of the house- Kacchan had caught up to him in the greenhouse room, and before, he’d been too caught up in his own mind to fully digest what each room was- just that they were green, green, green.

The main room was just that, a living room. Green floors with light green walls- but an orange carpet. Izuku noted the Jacob’s Ladder in a pot on a table. Of course Kacchan would show it off like that- why wouldn’t he? His town was perfect!

Izuku wandered into the next room, and was met with- a kitchen? Every single item in this room pointed to it being a kitchen- of course, the wallpaper was green, and the floor looked to be an edit of a white-and-yellow tiled floor, making it white-and-green.

Kacchan really is committed to this whole green thing… not even I’m that committed to one color!

Bowls of fruit dotted the tables in this room- it was… very home-y. If this was a real house, Izuku would never leave it.

Would Kacchan live in a house like this?

Izuku had no idea what he would expect from a living space that Kacchan had total control over. Perhaps it would be larger than life? Fancy? Or maybe it would be simple- would it be neat, or messy?

He had absolutely no idea.

But perhaps, it would be something like this? What he wouldn’t give to see Kacchan’s real house in the future, see what Kacchan would do with his own space.

A selfish little part of him wished it wasn’t only Kacchan’s space.

A hopeful little part of him whispered it could be yours, too.

You don’t know yet. Maybe he does like you, after all.

He seems to like Ichi a lot. Maybe he’d like Izuku again.

Maybe.

The third room was a music room.

It was impressive, too- the walls here were red, granted, but here was where the custom dark green flooring was shown off. Records- obviously a custom-made pattern- were hung on the wall as well. The room was decorated with electric guitars, a mic stand, and its centerpiece- the drum set. A few bright red chairs dotted the room- to simulate where an audience sat, maybe?

Did Kacchan play an instrument? Did Kacchan play multiple instruments?

Izuku needed to ask him, once he got back from… whatever it was he was doing.

A pit formed in him.

Okay. Next! Next room! Basement!

He sprinted to the basement.

The green theme was alive and well, albeit it was justified here- the basement, ironically, was made to look like the outdoors. Trophies from the annual bug-catching and fishing tournaments were proudly displayed on tables, lining the room with them.

Impressive- but that was all this room had to offer.

Izuku wanted to see Kacchan’s bedroom.

Maybe we could share something like what I see up there, one day?

Maybe.

Of course Kacchan’s bedroom was green, in fact, it was the room most overpowered by green. Plants littered the room, along with a carpet and yet another Jacob’s Ladder next to Kacchan’s bed- of course, on a green table.

Kacchan’s bed was a wide bed, the obvious centerpiece of the room. It seemed as if Kacchan was still occupied- if Izuku was quick about it, he wouldn’t get caught.

As he moved to lay down in Kacchan’s bed, he wondered why he was so worried about getting caught in the first place. It’s not like he was in Kacchan’s actual bed, wrapping himself up in Kacchan’s actual blankets, taking in Kacchan’s actual scent and committing it to memory.

Caramel.

Izuku had faintly remembered it from their childhoods. Kacchan had always smelled like caramel, but the smell was so much stronger nowadays; it permeated Izuku’s entire being, nestling itself deep into his essence and holding on tight.

He closed his eyes and nestled under his blankets, letting the warmth envelop him as if it were his Kacchan, with his arms around him and face nestled into the crook of his neck- his Kacchan, whose hand Izuku was grasping, holding it to his face as he gave it kiss after gentle kiss, his lips brushing Kacchan’s knuckles as he breathed in deep and let the sweet smell wash over him, lulling him to sleep…

Tsuki-chan: this aint a f in bed n breakfast

Izuku’s eyes snapped open- laying down was a bad idea, it seems. He got off Kacchan’s bed and stood next to him, making a sheepish expression in-game.

129: aah!!

129: i fell asleep for a bit there, haha

129: for real!

Tsuki-chan: cute.

Tsuki-chan: ichi wants to sleep?

Tsuki-chan: great. now you’ve got me doing the third-person talk thing.

129: it’s cute when you do it!

129: ...are you done typing?

Tsuki-chan: uh yeah

Tsuki-chan: never sent it so dont even bother looking

Tsuki-chan: ill tell you whats up eventually though

129: ok…

Tsuki-chan: i didnt do anything if thats what youre worried about, ok?

A weight was suddenly lifted off Izuku- it was a weight he’d become numb to, yet the feeling of being free of it finally, finally allowed him to relax, his body going limp, exhaustion creeping in due to being tensed up for so long.

129: good

129: thank you for telling me, tsuki-chan

Tsuki-chan: its whatever

Tsuki-chan: rather not see you panic like that again

129: haha yeah;;

Tsuki-chan: im tired

Tsuki-chan: bet you are too, nerd

129: i did fall asleep earlier, haha;;

Tsuki-chan: wish i couldve seen it

Tsuki-chan: wait that sounds creepy

129: haha!! dont worry about it!

129: i kind of… wish you were here too

Tsuki-chan: do you now

129: yeah…!

129: maybe one day?

Tsuki-chan: one day, nerd.

xxxxx

Just like that, Ichi had to leave Satsu so they could save their respective games.

Katsuki walked him to the station, bidding him good night just before he left.

Tsuki-chan: i love you.

Of course, there was nobody around to hear it.

Katsuki stared at his screen, and felt nothing.

Felt as if nothing was there? What was even the difference, anymore?

He felt only the love blossoming in his chest- and with it, the longing he was so familiar with, the crushing feeling of having something you desperately want be just out of reach, and no matter how much you tried, you would never catch it, never grasp it in your hands and call it yours.

Are you really giving up without even trying to talk to him?

Katsuki Bakugo was not one to give up.

How hypocritical. You fucking gave up on LIFE.

Maybe so.

But as long as he was still breathing, Katsuki Bakugo was not one to give up. If he were to live to see the fruits of his labor, he would make sure the harvest was worth living for.

Not because he particularly wanted to- but because he deserved at least something for his trouble.

If he couldn’t die, then his hand was forced- he had to live. And if he had to live, like hell he’d live as a nobody.

Katsuki needed to plan for every possibility- if he died, he died. And if he lived, he lived.

And if he lived, he’d damn well at least like what’s there.

You like Ichi.

He loved Ichi.

Katsuki looked at what he’d saved in his notes- the text he was too afraid to send. Lines upon lines of his feelings, spilled onto the screen without anything holding them back, all leading up to what he felt, deep inside of him.

I love you, Ichi.

I fucking love you.

His finger had hovered over the send button for far too long- far too long, until he’d copied it all and saved it away, tucked where nobody would find it.

Katsuki Bakugo hadn’t given up.

He wasn’t ready, yet- but that didn’t mean he’d keep his feelings hidden away forever. There was no use in giving up before even trying to see if Ichi would reciprocate or not. If everything Katsuki had said, everything Ichi had known about him, everything he’s seen him do and say hadn’t ruined their friendship, then a rejection wouldn’t end it, either.

Hopefully.

Hope.

That was all Katsuki had- and he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to take it.