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The Defect

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Todoroki’s declaration sends his blood boiling.

Seething, he watches as the half and half bastard challenges the idiot nerd -and worse of all, the dumbass reciprocates. What the fuck? Why Deku of all people, a one trick pony who broke his bones every time he used his Quirk?!

Why not-

The snarl he lets out is predatory. He’s out of his seat before Kirishima can hold him back. Stalking up to the dual haired brat, completely ignoring Deku’s squeak of fear as he barges past him.

“The fuck are you thinking giving Deku a declaration of war, you shitstain!?” He’s right up into Todoroki’s face, but ever the blank faced motherfucker just stares at him unblinkingly. Uncaring. “Him, really? He can’t even use his Quirk without ending up in the infirmary, the shitstain will be out by the first round!”

Like Katsuki was nowhere near enough of a threat to bother with.

(It makes the hair at the back of his neck rise up.

He’d seen that look before, long ago. The disinterest.)

The silence stretches across the room. The rest of the students are watching -waiting. Gauging their reactions. Probably chuckling internally at how well the Icyhot bastard was handling the class bully.

It makes his blood roar with rolling, unwavering violence.

(Mitsuki always said he got that poison from the old man.)

Kirishima comes to wrangle him back. Hand on his shoulder, hesitant but determined, Kaminari hovering nervously at his side. They say something, but he tunes out their attempt at calming him down in favour of glaring at the two idiots in front of him.

Deku looks determined, but then their eyes meet again and he looks like he’s swallowed a lemon, wavering courage falling apart like a castle of cards.

Ha.

Weakling.

Todoroki’s nonplussed by his threats. Unruffled as ever. There’s a gleam in his eyes, a quiet, vindictive determination Katsuki finds familiar -he sees it every morning in the mirror- but it's contained, directed more guarded.

It makes his blood burn .

Katsuki glares until Aizawa comes to fetch the class, takes one look at the commotion, and barks at them to get to the arena under the threat of expulsion.

 

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“Hey old hag, where’s my dad?”

A sharp smack is delivered to the back of his head, nearly bowling him over had he not braced for it against the kitchen counter.

“Don’t speak to me that way, you brat!” Mitsuki hisses as she fetches the condiments from the spice rack. “Why are you even asking?”

“Cuz’ I want to, duh?”

Another smack.

“Ow!”

Mitsuki’s nostrils flare. The look in her eyes is dark and guarded.

“You’ll meet him someday, kid. When he wants you to.”

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“I just want to say….I’m gonna win.”

There’s pandemonium.

The crowd roars with laughter as the students rise up with a unified bellow. Katsuki stares them down through a impassive mask that didn’t betray the burning excitement roaring in his veins.

Deku’s the only one that stands his ground as he walks back into the crowd of students. Katsuki shoulders him aside when he strides through. Hands tucked in his pockets, he watches as the other first years scramble out of his way.

He ignores the weight of Deku’s eyes on his back.

(There’s a shudder travelling down his spine that he’s barely able to restrain and at that moment, Katsuki knows, just knows , that he is watching.)

 

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There’s a titan looming over him, fire burning in icy blue eyes. Katsuki watches him curiously, barely feeling the tight grip of his mother’s hand on his shoulder. Her manicured nails are digging slightly into his flesh, but he barely registers it.

“Introduce yourself, boy.” Mitsuki says, sickly sweet and pleasant. Then, under her breath and more sharply, she hisses, grip tightening nearly to the point of hurt. “Don’t slouch. Behave.”

Katsuki’s legs quake, but he stands his ground. He tilts his chin up, squares his tiny shoulders, and looks at the man straight in the eyes. For a three year old going on four, he doesn’t flinch under the weight of his stare.

“Hello, sir. My name is Katsuki.”

The man stares at him for a moment, taking in his firm introduction and unwavering stare.

Then he grins.

It’s not a nice smile; it’s sharp and predatory. Expecting.

It takes all but a fraction of a second for Katsuki to return it.

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Todoroki isn't giving him the time of day.

High in the sky, Katsuki glares at his back. The younger boy was still ahead, but the distance between them was getting shorter and shorter.

His opportunity comes when the minefield section rolls over.

Todoroki slows then, carefully stepping around the loaded mines as fast as he could. With the finish line so close and his hands starting to cramp, Katsuki joins him on the ground. Running up to his side, snarling as the half and half boy sends a small blast of ice his way as he nearly passes him. Well, Katsuki might have tried exploding him first, but that was just a detail.

In response, Katsuki ducks under his swing and brutally elbows him on the side.

The choked sound Todoroki makes is music to his ears. The taller boy stumbles, faltering at the sudden lack of air in his lungs. Taking the opportunity, the explosive blond leaps over a mine and accelerates, heading for the finish line.

Unfortunately, just as Katsuki has victory in his grasp-

Fucking Deku promptly barges in with all the grace of a bull in a china shop.

 

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“When can I start?”

“When your Quirk manifests. Only then you will start down the path to becoming a hero, boy.”

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He can still win this.

He can still fucking win this.

Deku somehow had stolen the first spot from him, but mark his words, Katsuki was going to stela it right back and bash the nerd’s face in while he was at it, because if Katsuki was anything it was a overachiever.

But for now, he has to get a team ready for the second half of the tournament.

Which is a bit hard when he barely paid any attention to his classmates during the first semester. They’re crowding around him, students from his own class and other clambering for him to pick them. All Katsuki hears is the pounding of his own heart in his ears and a burst of frustration when Horns shrieks at the realization he barely even knows some of their names.

Give him a fucking break, it’s not like its been a full semester yet. Besides, why the fuck should he care about people he doesn’t even talk to? He barely knows a handful of their names; that’s enough in Katsuki’s opinion.

Mina Ashido apparently disagrees, if the way she forces herself into his team with a upturned nose and a indignant huff has anything to do with it. Katsuki’s not sure where Shitty Hair -Kirishima- comes from, but he pushes through the crowd gathered around Bakugo begging for attention and looks him straight in the eyes, unwavering.

Just for that, Bakugo listens.

That doesn’t mean he likes what he hears.

“I asked Todoroki, but he already has a full team. So come on, can I join?”

Bakugo has to momentarily count backwards from ten to zero to keep himself from bodily tossing the redhead into the stands with an explosion. He’s useful, he thinks as Kirishima continues to argue his case, showing off his Quirk as he did so.

He doesn’t know. I can’t hold it against him.

Then Kirishima mentions Deku and the ten million ribbon and the only thing Bakugo can do is bite.

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They meet, again and again.

Katsuki learns that the fire does not burn him -could not burn him- and every few weeks when he sits on the couch next to his goliath of a father, he can bask in it’s warmth as he talks about how he laid another classmate low or pushed Deku around, or fought a boy a grade higher than him for looking at him wrong and won, even without his Quirk.

At this tale of violence, his father does nothing like his mother. He does not shrug his shoulders and ignore him, does not chastise him for cutting into her work time. Instead, his father smirks and lays a hand on his head. It’s warm and cozy against his hair.

“Good, good. You’ve shown them their place.” The look in his eyes is proud. “Under your feet -and you, at the top.”

Katsuki preens.

The next time he crosses path with the boy from the higher grade, he taunts him and then fights again, just so he can regail his father with another tale of conquest and feel the basking warmth of a hand on the top of his head -the first time anyone had touched him so comfortingly.

He does it again and again, his teachers’ scoldings and Deku’s cries only a background noise compared to a touch that was so drastically different than Mitsuki’s sharp nails and cutting words.

Violence is in your blood, his father tells him one time when he comes home, knuckles bloody. You’re meant for the top, boy.

Caught in his gravitational pull, Katsuki believes his every word with all the fibers of his being.

 

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They pass, if not barely.

His first match is against Round Face, the girl with the gravity Quirk that trailed after Deku like a lost puppy. She looks ridiculously out of place as she comes to stand in front of him in the middle of the arena. For a moment, Katsuki expect her to just turn around and run back into-

Round Face plants her feet and stares him right in the eyes.

Well, there was that.

In the end, Uraraka’s utterly batshit strategy does not work -the insane bitch could have killed them both and some of the audience- and he watches as the nurse staff wheel her out of the arena on a stretcher. His classmates jeer at him for hurting such a girl but honestly, what were they expecting?

They were here to win and become heroes, not to fuck around.

At least Uraraka got with the fucking program.

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“....then you’ll take me home?”

“That’s right, Katsuki. Then you’ll come home.”

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“And now from the hero course, the son of Endeavor, Todoroki Shouto!”

The crowd cheers. Katsuki has to bite his lip to force down the wave of humiliation clogging his throat. He focuses instead on giving his opponent a sharp, predatory grin that Todoroki answers with his ever blank mask.

“Versus his beast of a classmate, Bakugo Katsuki!”

Amongst the cheering, there’s more than one boo. Katsuki shoulders through it, using the screams and jeers to fuel his rage.

This was his fucking moment, he was going to have the lot of them gaping by the end of this match. After this, they’d know who was the strongest.

Who was the best.

(Who had the better Quirk.)

Right away, Todoroki tries encasing him with ice. Katsuki was having none of that shit, and he tears through the glacier with his explosions.

He’s not here to play with fucking snow.

He wants the flames, bright hot and sparkling, their brilliance and warmth enough to be felt from several feet away.

He wants Hellflame .

Which Todoroki refuses to give him. He pushes and pushes and still, Todoroki ignores him, gaze clouded and unsure as he sends waves of frost at Katsuki, who roars and kicks and curses, the filth spewing out of his mouth enough to make a sailor blush.

Despite this, Todoroki is unflappable as ever.

Stoically keeping him away with his ice, unperturbed by Katsuki’s demands.

Like he doesn’t matter.

Like he isn’t even worth the time to respond.

Katsuki’s heart beats like a drum in his ears. He can’t fail now, not when he was so close. Goddamn it the fucking popsicle had to use his goddamn flames otherwise Katsuki was going to kill him!

Am I not even worth that?!

Then Deku shouts from the stands and suddenly Todoroki is alight with fire -fire that is warm and bright and familiar. Katsuki turns giddy at the sight, excitement lighting up his veins -even the fact that Deku is the one that brings the flames out, again, is ignored as he leaps into the sky. Twisting in midair, Katsuki begins going through the motions of a special attack he’d been working on for months, long before he ever came to Yuuei.

Howitzer Impact.

Standing in the eye of this miniature tornado would be dizzying but for Katsuki, he only feels exhilaration at the thought finally, fucking finally doing what he’d been dreaming to do for years -to show the old man that he could shove his Quirk up his own ass, that Katsuki was brighter and better than any fire Hellflame could produce.

Now now now-

But then Todoroki lowers his arm and looks down, flames dying away to wisps of smoke -and Katsuk’s plan, his dream, withers and dies once more by the hands of a Todoroki.

Later, as Midnight puts him to sleep, the last thing Katsuki thinks is that this was a hollow victory and the whole world was there to see it.

 

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Bright popping heat and sparks emitted from his palms as he held his hands up, smile blinding and ferocious. It hurts, but Katsuki pushes through it with a burst of adrenaline and excitement.

“Look! I did it, dad, I did it!”

From the corner of his eyes, he can see his mother in the adjoined kitchen, expensive manicured fingernails tapping against the stone counter. The placid, perfect smile is gone from her lipstick red lips, replaced by a small frown.

His father is also quiet.

Katsuki wavers.

“Dad?”

There's no response. His father shifts away, expression closing -locking him out. Katsuki watches him stand up, confused at the sudden change. He doesn't understand. Why isn't his father happy, wasn't this what he wanted? What he had been looking for?

What did he do wrong? He worked so hard to make his Quirk appear early, he'd done everything right, why wasn't his father proud?

How could Katsuki fix this?

“That's not Hellflame, Katsuki.”

...oh.

 

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Later, when he’s chained to the stadium under the crowd’s roaring cheer, Katsuki likes to think he’s giving the bastard second hand humiliation.

He fucking hopes so, because he's definitely feeling it, more so than the metal digging into his wrists and the muzzle keeping him from screaming obscenities. Every twist and push he makes to break out only makes the crowd holler louder, mocking him with their laughs and jeers and his throat tight. Fuck, the bastards are enjoying this.

(He has to wonder how Yuuei obtained these things in such a short notice.)

Something prickles at the corner of his eyes, but he fights it back with all of his might -the humiliation at being bound and restrained like a animal burns , but crying on top of it would incinerate him.

When All Might descends from the sky and holds up a medal for him, Katsuki balks. Like hell he was accepting it -even if it wasn't a empty victory, like hell he was taking that piece of shit while bound and gagged like a fucking rabid animal. He wasn’t going to accept some shitty participation prize, not when the real winner was standing to his right.

Just the reminder makes his blood boil even further.

Unfortunately, Todoroki is too busy staring down at at the ground to notice his baleful glare.

It's fine.

Fucking fine.

Katsuki is used to being ignored.

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When a fourth week passes by and still, no looming giant stepped through the doorstep. No man waited for him in the dinning room after school, bulging arms crossed over his chest as he listened to Katsuki brashly explain how he beat children one or two years older than himself.

There's nothing but silence.

And Mitsuki.

“You just had to inherit my Quirk.” She’d muttered as a passing comment one day as she walked by him, phone held up to dial. “Had to break our agreement.”

Katsuki feels tiny and insignificant when she turns her bright, scarlet red eyes down at him, her perfect dark lashes falling over that disdainful glare.

“Now I'm stuck with you.”

She pushes past him, heading for her bedroom.

Katsuki lets her go; his mother -Mitsuki- had never been one for affection. The most he ever got from her were sharp fingers digging into his back so he would stand straight, brisk shushing when she was one the phone, and complains when he returned home with clothes covered with dirt. Barked reprimands when he didn't finish his food quick enough, or did things to her liking.

He doesn't remember a time where she'd given him anything else.

He does, however, remember a too big hand on his head and a sharp, roguish smirk mirroring his own, toothy and razor sharp. A short, proud, low chuckle when Katsuki was just a bit too loud, a bit too brash, a bit too much like-

His feet carry him to the large window by the front door.

Katsuki sinks against the windowsill, arms crossed under his chin as he watches out the road. Pointlessly hoping to see that sleek back car roll up in front of their house.

Nothing happens the longer he stays there, curled up against the window. The summer sun was bearing down on him through the glass, making him sweaty and uncomfortable, but Katsuki ignores it. Soldiers through the discomfort and pain because maybe, just maybe, if he pulls away now, if he leaves the front door unguarded he might miss...

He squeezes his eyes shut.

It's pointless.

He knows it, deep down.

He's being useless. Being a Deku.

He should be strong. Unrelenting. Should be standing stall and swallowing it all down and be-

Katsuki buries his face into his arms, quietly screaming into them with enough strength that his body shook and seized. The sound is a buildup of energy from weeks of waiting, weeks of hoping, weeks of being disappointed, over and over again.

A cycle, a wheel that finally spun out of control.

Why wasn't he coming back why why didn't he have his Quirk there's no fixing it Katsuki you know it you're useless useless a failure a fucking defect-

Once the first sob escapes, he can't stop the tears.

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In all honesty, Katsuki hadn't expected to run into Todoroki when leaving school. He’d taken a route out of the school specifically to avoid the hordes of excited students. Todoroki seemed have had the same thought, for when he walks around the corner of the corridor, he’s greeted by the sight of said bastard standing in front of the stairs, about to head down to the ground floor.

Upon hearing his loud, stomping footsteps, the taller boy turns around. Katsuki bristles when their gazes meet. The sight of that single blue eye makes the hair at the back of his neck rise up.

(It never failed to.)

“Out of my way, popsicle.” Katsuki grumbles, snarling.

Todoroki offers no resistance as he shoulders past him. The lack of response, while expected, only makes Katsuki’s blood boil even more. The festering rage simmers just underneath the surface of his skin, searching for a way out. It takes all of his will to not spin around and punch the damn bastard in the face.

Katsuki puts one foot on the first step-

“Why?” He hears Todoroki call softly to him. Katsuki halts, not turning. Not yet. The other boy’s tone flat as ever but for once it was tinged with a edge of confusion. Ha. So the robot had emotions, who knew. “Why are you so fixated on winning against me?”

Katsuki grinds his teeth so hard it hurts .

Why aren't you? He wants to yell at the dumb brat. At that moment, he wants to grab the taller boy, shake him violently, slap him upside the head. Make him see. Make him understand .

The helplessness burns at him, but he holds back.

For all of his brash attitude, there's a lot Katsuki holds back.

The chains are fraying though, rusting, groaning and creaking under the weight of lies and truths and expectations , of days spent standing at the doorstep of his home, waiting for someone who would never return. Waiting for a tall, looming figure to step through the doorstep, fire burning like a crown upon his head, a familiar form that had never failed to bring a rush of pride and love in four-year-old Katsuki’s heart.

You got the shiniest, most powerful Quirk in the class and you're just cruising along instead of putting your back into it, you bastard.

Because what was the point in winning when the guy you fought against was half-assing it? When everyone could see who between the two of them had the superior Quirk? After that fight with Deku, Todoroki’s battle with him might as well be a commercial cut.

Everyone could see that.

“It’s nothing personal.” There’s a moment where Katsuki hesitates, where he thinks on what he’s about to do. Then he remembers why he was even here in the first  and his resolve boils like lava, hardening into something jagged and unbending. “Then again, that would be a lie.” He snorts.

A pause. His skin tingles with something -excitement- as he tilts his head back and looks at his classmate in the eyes.

Should he?

There was no going back from here.

...he already knows the answer.

Even Mitsuki said it; Katsuki was just as much of a spiteful little bastard as his parent.

“I just wanted to see if the defect could one up the masterpiece.”

He watches with bitter amusement as Todoroki freezes .

Eyes widening, mouth slightly gaping like he'd just been slapped in the face. Face as pale as the right side of his mismatched mop of hair. The realization of Katsuki’s words slowly sinking in, leaving him off balance and mute.

It's the dumbest look Katsuki had ever seen on his half brother’s face.

“What-”

“Give the old man my regards.” Katsuki cuts him off, turning away. The corner of his eyes prickle but like fuck he was going to let the other see this moment of weakness. He waves a hand over his shoulder, barely restraining the urge to flip him off. “Guess he was right after all.”

He leaves Todoroki there.

Feet rooted to the ground.

(It’s not satisfying at all.)

Chapter Text

“Dude, Todoroki’s staring at you again.”

Brilliant observation, dipshit.

It wasn’t like Todoroki was hiding it. Either the taller boy didn’t care about his open staring and how their classmates perceived it, or he had as much tact as a toaster and didn’t realize openly spying on Katsuki during and after class was drawing attention. Katsuki was leaning towards the toaster theory.

It’s only been what, a few weeks since he’d met Endeavor’s masterpiece but it was clear by now that Todoroki was completely unable to grasp basic social cues or bother to try not acting like a creep.

“Let him stare, Shitty Hair.” Katsuki replies gruffly as he scrolls through the news on his phone, not even looking up. “It's none of my business what he does.”

“He’s being doing that a lot.

“Maybe he's starstruck after you won against him?” Pink G- Ashido speaks up from the other side of the table where she sat next to the yellow haired brat who kept shortening out his own brain. Kaminari, if Katsuki remembered correctly. “Puppy love is a thing, you know.” She continues with a sly, purring tone.

It’s enough to get him to finally look up -only to see both her and Kaminari wiggle their eyebrows. Katsuki fights the urge to retch at her suggestions. There goes his dinner.

Goddamnit, why did he even put up with these idiots.

Right. Because they weren’t leaving him the fuck alone since the Sports Festival. Katsuki had no idea where they got the idea he tolerated their company, but apparently they decided that not getting their faces blown off after the first two times they’d plopped down next to him at lunch was green light for them to follow Katsuki like a puppy.

(He hates to admit it, but their chaotic presence made the long stretches in-between classes somehow less lonely.)

Tape guy makes a odd noise from Kirishima left. He’d almost forgotten the boy was here too. “Well in that case, shouldn't he be doing it to Midoriya? I mean, they started sitting together.” He questions, brows furrowed. “After their fight-”

Kirishima promptly elbows the dark haired boy in the side, just hard enough to make him snap his mouth shut. Katsuki glares at him. He’s fucking lucky the redhead was sitting between the two of them.

As if sensing his narrowly avoided death, Tape croaks and ducks his head, chuckling apologetically. “R-right. Sorry, Bakugo.”

“Fuck off with your apology.” Katsuki retorts, shoving his tray away. He’s not really that hungry anymore. “I’m leaving.”

Kirishima immediately perks up, looking concerned. “Dude, you haven’t even finished eat-”

“I’m going.” Katsuki growls, glaring at him. The redhead wilts.

He goes to dump his tray and then heads to the exit, tucking his phone into his left pocket. Katsuki stiffens hears a chair scrape as someone gets up. It’s too close.

Immediately, he starts walking faster.

Unfortunately for him, his brother had inherited their father’s height, and his long legs catch up to Katsuki before he’s halfway across the cafeteria.

Within moments there's a hand around his wrist, keeping him from darting away. Katsuki has to stifle a yelp when he’s yanked back, nearly crashing headfirst into his brother’s chest.

Did the fucker just- Katsuki snarls and jerks his head up, glaring straight into the other boy’s eyes.

Todoroki merely tightens his grip on his wrist to ensure that he wouldn’t leave.

“The fuck do you want now?!”

“To talk.” Todoroki blinks, slow and not unlike a owl. That fucking blue eye never fails to make the hair at the back of his neck raise, and this time was no exception. “You keep running away.”

Katsuki bristles. “Fuck you.”

He wasn't running away, fuck him. It was a tactical retreat. After the massive fuck up at the stairs two days ago -because it was a cluster fuck, Katsuki had spent the better part of that night agonizing over his own stupidity.

He just had to be petty.

Just had to tie a boulder to his leg and throw himself into the deep end of the pool.

This was a mess of his own making, but that didn’t mean Katsuki wanted to take responsibility for it.

“We need to talk.”

“Like hell we should. I already said my piece.”

Todoroki’s eyes narrow. “I haven’t.”

“You’ve said enough during our match.” Katsuki growls, just loud enough that only the other boy can hear it.

His brother scowls. “I didn’t know during our match.”

“Well good for you.” Katsuki replies bluntly, jerking his wrist back insistently. Todoroki’s grip doesn’t relax -if anything, it grows even tighter. “Now let go.”

“No.”

“I said let go, you fucking half and half bastard!” Katsuki’s sharp yell is almost loud enough to be heard by the entire cafeteria. He can hear the students around him grow quieter, and it makes something small and meek inside him flip and twist nervously.

Todoroki clearly had no tact if he was trying to pull him into a conversation in the middle of the goddamn cafeteria. God, if he opened his mouth and said anything, Katsuki was going to throttle him with his fucking tie .

Why did I tell him? In what world would that have made things any better, you dumb shit?

Katsuki knows the answer to that. He was a petty, spiteful bitch through and through and after the Sport Festival he’d been just so raw, he couldn’t stop himself from shoving a big fat wrench into Endeavor’s plans.

“...are you alright man?”

Katsuki blinks. He’d never even noticed Kirishima sliding up to stand next to him, unsure red eyes flicking between him and Todoroki. His body language was strange, tilted in a way that suggested he wanted to slide in between the two of them to break up the fight -because Katsuki’s free hand was smoking and sparking, and the blonde was barely able to keep himself from slamming it into Todoroki’s face.

Finally his eyes shift down, noticing Todoroki hand tightly locked around Katsuki’s wrist. His expression goes from confused to worried and slightly serious.

“Dude, let him go.” Kirishima exclaims softly, looking up from Katsuki’s trapped wrist to Todoroki’s face. “Let’s just calm down, okay?”

Reluctantly, Todoroki lets go.

Katsuki immediately jolts back, putting at least a feet of distance between the two of them. Kirishima makes a odd little noise next to him, questioning, but he ignores it in favor of looking at his brother straight in the eye.

This time, he’s so angry he doesn’t feel the instinctive jolt of fear when his gaze connects with that bright blue eye.

“We have nothing to talk about, Todoroki.” His voice was unnaturally cool and composed even to Katsuki’s ears. “Just drop it. You’re good at that.”

Then he spins around and stomps out of the cafeteria. As if sensing his bad mood -or more likely, seeing the twisted snarl on his face- students all but threw themselves out of his way.

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Shouto watches as the blonde hurries out of the cafeteria.

Just drop it. You’re good at that.

Why did it feel as if Bakugo wasn’t talking about him?

“You didn’t have to grab him like that.” Blink. Oh. Kirishima was still standing there, looking at him with a slight frown. “That was rude.”

“I’m sorry.” The apology tastes bland on his tongue. “I see that. It won’t happen again.”

As if sensing that Shouto wasn’t feeling like talking, Kirishima nods gently. “Okay...okay. Just don’t do it again.”

Mina calls for him from their table, and the redhead wanders off. Todoroki watches his back emptily.

That went well.

“Is everything okay, Todoroki?”

He knows that voice, and turns around to greet the speaker. His eyes soften when they meet wide, confused green. Midoriya was out of his seat, wringing his hands nerviously as he looks up at him with a tiny, perplexed little frown.

“It’s alright.” Shouto murmurs, eyes briefly flicking to the exit Bakugo had left the cafeteria through. He knew better than to follow. “I just have to talk to him, but he keeps dodging.”

Midoriya chuckles nervously. “He does that a lot.” The shorter boy tells him, voice soft. “He doesn’t like talking things out. I’m sure you’ll figure something out, though.”

Todoroki hums in response.

“Want to go back to eat with the others?”

“...right.”

He follows Midoriya back to the table where the boy’s friends were still sitting. Iida scolds him lightly for the comotion he’d caused and Uraraka pats him on the back, and dinner resumes as normal. Still, Shouto’s mind can’t help but wander.

He knows, deep down, that only one person other than Bakugo that could give him the answers he needed.

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The house is eerily quiet when Shouto returns to the Todoroki estate.

He makes his way inside, stopping by his bedroom long enough to leave his bag behind. Shouto doesn’t take the time to change, instead heading straight for the deeper bowels of the house.

At this hour of the afternoon, his father was standing in his office. He turns at the sound of the door opening.

“Shouto.” The man rumbles, a brow quirked and expression dark. He has no doubt that the man was confused as to why Shouto was approaching him first.

“I know.” He merely states, fighting the urge to clench his fists. Now now. He needed to stay calm. “About Bakugo.” Shouto adds, watching as his father’s expression slowly darkens, lips pressed thin.

Endeavor doesn’t answer right away.

“...I see.”

The fact that the man doesn’t say anything else makes something inside Shouto bristle .

Coldly, he asks. “...how many siblings do I have out there that I don't know about?” His father stays silent, refusing to respond. Shouto can’t help the low snarl from leaving his lips. “...why?!

Endeavor looks away. Shouto watches as his gaze shifts from him to one of the glass cases lining the walls of the office. They’re full of awards and other memorabilia of his work.

The silence stretches out, long and uncomfortable.

“I needed a heir.” His father finally states, voice blank and expression carefully calm. “Your dual Quirk will take you far, boy, that I don't doubt -but I needed someone to continue the family line.”

The realization immediately clicks.

“You needed someone with Hellflame.” Shouto breathes.

Endeavor nods once.

“Bakugo had the perfect temperament for it. It took some encouraging, but that wretched woman made it easy for me to mold him however I saw fit.” His father rumbles, unconcerned. His eyes were dark and narrowed, as if was recalling something that left a bad taste in his mouth. “With what I taught him, he was shaping up to be a worthy successor of my title as the next Endeavor.”

Shouto felt sick.

Suddenly, he remembers how much he’d hated Bakugo during the battle trials. Seeing him beat Midoriya within a inch of his life, demanding that the smaller boy with the unstable Quirk fight him at his best. Roaring at him to get up, to stop being a weakling and fight back. Back then, Shouto had been utterly disgusted by the blonde’s actions.

Now he knew why.

Because Bakugo acted exactly like his father.

Because that’s how Endeavor had intended it to be.

Because his father had groomed-

“Unfortunately, he didn't inherit Hellflame.” Endeavor continues, oblivious or just uncaring of the dark, dark pit that was opening up in Shouto’s gut.

“And because of that you dropped him like goddamn trash, didn't you?”

His father makes a minute shrugs. “His mother and I had a agreement.” The pro-hero says in a tone not unlike if he was talking about bad weather and not abandoning his own child. “If he didn't have what I wanted, he would remains hers. If he had Hellflame, I would have brought him to live with us, as a Todoroki.” He pauses, eyes turning back to meet his. “To raise him, alongside you.”

Shouto’s mouth snaps closed; he can’t stop his expression from faltering, eyes widening as the confession left him reeling.

To raise him, alongside you.

God. He could have had a brother.

For a moment, he imagines it. A boy his age, sun-kissed hair and blazing red eyes running after him through the estate. Filling the cold silence his mother’s departure had created with loud laughter and boisterous demands. Playing with Shouto. Growing up with Shouto.

Instead, he got a empty house and far away siblings.

And it seemed as if Bakugo had grown up alone as well -but not just neglected but forgotten, barely a thought at the back of Endeavor’s mind. Thrown aside like garbage once he didn’t fit their father’s plans. That knowledge makes Shouto want to retch.

He doesn’t know what to think.

He needs space.

He needs to think .

“Shouto?” His father speaks up, tone ever calm and rumbling. Shouto has to wonder how pale his face was. It must show, for Endeavor to question him like this.

“I…” The noise that leaves his lips is strangled. “...I just need to think.” His body moves on his own and he takes a step back. And another. And another.

His father’s eyes narrow. “Boy-”

“Shut up.” Shouto rasps, spinning around almost too fast.

He rushes out of the room, nearly tripping over his own two feet. All righteousness and burning desire for answers gone under the weight of the revelation.

His father doesn’t call after him, not even once.

.

 

.

 

.

 

The worst part, Shouto thinks, was how long Endeavor took to respond to his initial question.

‘...how many siblings do I have out there that I don't know about?’

Chapter Text

“Have you heard about what happened at the cafeteria?”

“...no?”

On the other side of the teachers’ room, Midnight smiled from her desk chair; it’s a slow, stretching smirk, all white teeth and plump, glossy lips. It’s the one she would make when she’d just laid her claws on very juicy information. It’s horrifying to behold. “Truly?”

Toshinori forced down the mild terror he felt upon sighting that grin.

Instead of excusing himself and fleeing from the premise like a ordinary, sane person would do, he instead took a polite sip of his tea and gave the other pro hero a curious quirk of his eyebrows.

“I’m guessing it’s important?”

The R-rated Hero huffed. “Well, it depends on how you view it.” She clapped her hands against her thighs. “Apparently, Todoroki and Bakugo got into a bit of a scuffle today.”

Toshinori opened his mouth to ask, but he was interrupted by muffled shuffling. He turns his head towards the source of the disturbance.

As if the names of his students were part of a mythical summon, the yellow bag near their table wiggled faintly. Taking a sip of his tea, Toshinori watches as one Aizawa Shouta emerges from his yellow bag like a horror monster crawling out of a television, complete with the hair falling over his head.

His eyes almost seemed to glow as they lock onto Midnight.

“They what.” The classroom teacher of 1-A states flatly, expression carefully blank. Promising apocalyptic consequences for the other pro-hero should she not respond to his liking.

Midnight’s smile merely grows wider. “They got into a fight. A scuffle really.” She tilts her head, knowing. “Todoroki got a bit physical with Bakugo, wouldn’t let the other boy leave. They were almost yelling at each other.”

Aizawa’s sigh was long suffering.

“Wait.” Toshinori set his cup down as he turned back to his female colleague. “ Todoroki instigated Bakugo?” Not the other way around?

“Yup! Right out of nowhere, too.” Midnight leaned back against her chair, crossing her legs.

Discreetly, Toshinori thought he didn’t like the look on her face. It resembled too much of a cat about to snatch a canary. He might be the Symbol of Peace and the Number One Hero, but he wasn’t even a full year into his new job and he already learned to be wary of this devil in the shape of a woman.

“Just as the boy was trying to leave the cafeteria. If I didn’t know any better, I think Bakugo was expecting it.” The dark haired woman pulled her tongue out, purring slyly. There’s a pleased gleam in her eyes. “My, how beautiful is good old school romance?”

At that moment, Toshinori quietly thanks the gods that he’d set his tea cup down. He’s most certain he would have spilled it all over his lap.

Why did I sign up for this position?

“How much of the cafeteria is left?” He asks, silently wondering how the principal would react to this news. Or more likely, the bill for repairing the cafeteria.

“Actually,” Midnight lifted a finger in the air, waggling it. “...I almost went in to stop the fighting before it even began, but that boy from your class Aizawa….Kirishima, redhead? He stopped the fighting.”

Toshinori couldn’t help the sigh of relief. “Oh thank god.”

At the confirmation that no, he would not get a talking to from Nedzu about property damage and keeping down costs for a already incredibly expensive school, Aizawa made a inaudible noise as he reburies himself into his sleeping bag. Toshinori was almost certain that the man was part eel with the ease at which he slides right back into his makeshift nest.

Yes, it was a nest. Toshinori could only describe it as that.

Still, it didn’t explain…

“Do you know what the fight was about?” He turns to Midnight as he speaks, reaching for his cup of steaming tea at the same time.

Midnight only shrugs. “It was mostly about Todoroki grabbing Bakugo when he tried to leave. I wasn’t able to catch anything else than the death threats, sadly.”

Toshinori frowns.

How strange. And unfortunate.

Todoroki was a generally well behaved child. He’d never caused any trouble beyond Quirk classes by hindering himself, and Toshinori had a feeling that his next few classes after the festival and internships will be different. But to outright attack another student? Even if it was just a harsh grab?

It didn’t seem like something Todoroki would do. Bakugo probably, likely given his temper, but not Endeavor’s son. Too bad there was nothing to go on.

As Midnight steers their conversation away to the rapidly approaching internships and later on, the summer camp, Toshinori guiltily listens only with a half ear, his mind elsewhere.

Try it all he might, Toshinori couldn’t shake off the feeling that there was something more to this incident.


.

 

.

 

.

 

“Today we’re picking codenames.”

Fuck. Yes.

Katsuki tries to not let his excitement show as the other students murmur around him. When he gets his board and pen, he snaps the top off with his teeth and all but stabs the marker into the white, shiny surface.

He can barely control his excitement; it boils through his veins like fire, easing away the last of the cold discomfort he’d felt when Todoroki had-

Katsuki pauses, grinds his teeth enough that it hurts, and resumes his writing.

Midnight told them that it could be changed later on, but Katsuki didn’t want to fuck it up. He’d been waiting for this for a long, long time, from the very moment his mother had put him in front of a television to keep him quiet and he’d seen All Might on screen for the first time.

There’s a few possibilities he could go with. Lord Explosion was a old idea from his childhood; yet it was something of before, so he doesn’t write it down.

(Maybe in another life, he would be cocky and confident and happy enough to do so.)

No, he’s made up his mind a long time ago.

“Kirishima, you’re next!”

Red eyes flick up at the familiar name, just in time to see the other boy stand up, shoulders tense from nerves -but his walk is decided as he approaches the front of the class. Katsuki watches with mild interest as the redhead plants himself behind the pedestal and smiles at his class. All shark teeth and wrinkled nose from that enormous grin. It’s both annoying and somewhat reassuring in its familiarity.

“My name’s the Sturdy Hero, Red Riot!”

The class murmurs; Midnight perks up with a encouraging grin of her own. “Riot, huh? Perhaps paying homage to the Chivalrous Hero, Crimson Riot?”

Kirishima stammers and rubs the back of his head. Katsuki mostly tunes out what he’s saying after a rushed explanation of the origins of his chosen name. Something about the concept, while alright for the other boy, still didn’t rub Katsuki the right way.

He looks down at the name written on his board.

Honoring another hero.

It left a bad taste in his mouth.

...bah. It was Shitty Hair’s problem, not his. Katsuki had other things to worry about than a classmate’s inability to pick a good name.

It’s not that different, though...

Earphone girl, tail boy and the tall one with the multiple arms go up next. When Midnight shouts out Bakugo, you’re up! he feels ready. Or as ready as he could be.

He slams down his board on the pedestal and pins the class with a death glare as he growls out:

“The Explosion Hero: Revolt!”

Midnight croons besides him, nodding her head approvingly. “Spicy! Just the right kind of bite for you, Bakugo!”

Since he’s on this side of the classroom, he ignores her and sneaks a glance at Aizawa. The man was dead to the world, wrapped up in his sleeping bag. He was most certainly awake, Katsuki didn’t doubt it. But nothing came from him at Katsuki’s bold explanation.

Well, that might be as good as a approval as any. He rights his gaze onwards, smirk still plastered on his lips as Midnight compliments his name.

(Absolutely refusing to meet Todoroki’s intense, knowing eyes.)

Midnight shoos him off the pedestal. Kirishima gives him a thumbs up as he passes by him, a cheery grin on his face. Katsuki gives him a imperious raised eyebrow in response.

“Next, Midoriya!”

Shit.

Deku leaps from his seat. Katsuki watches as all of the familiar nervous energy coming from the other boy slowly eases the closer he gets to the pedestal.

When he’s finally able to read what the nerd wrote on his board, he feels like he’s been punched in the face.

No way.

On his far right, Kaminari makes a choked sound. “Dude, are you sure about this?”

“You could end up stuck with that name for the rest of your career, kid.” Midnight spoke up, neither soft not stern but a balanced in between. A teacher’s tone. “Think carefully.”

She might not truly know the meaning behind that tiny little word on Deku’s white board, but she could sense the energy in the room.

By the quiet little murmurs coming from around the class and the lack of cheering, it seemed as if the rest of the students held similar beliefs. Katsuki even caught a few glancing at him. He resists the urge to bare his teeth.

The green-haired boy nods fiercely. “I’m sure.” He fidgets, looking down at his board. Katsuki digs his nails into the palm of his hands, nearly to the point of bleeding.

The ugly feeling grows and grows in his gut like a fungus, feeding on each new word and shifty, panicky gaze. Bitter and choking.

(Shame was just as ugly as hopelessness.)

“I hated this name before, but someone...someone changed the meaning of it. Made me realize that it could change.” The green haired boy perks up, looking at the class as a whole, green eyes burning bright and proud.

The smile of a hero.

“-and if that can change, can get better , I could too! So this is my hero name, Deku!”

“Deku! Deku! A Deku!”

With each shout from the little troop, Izuku’s face drops even more.

Standing over his former friend, watching his entourage jump and jeer at this new nickname like a group of well trained monkeys, Katsuki grins down at the other boy, pride burning in his heart as fiercely as his father’s flames.

Oh, father was going to love this. Deku even looked like he was going to cry!

No wait, he was crying. What a baby.

The grin on his lips grows wider, sharper -sinister. It only grows when Izuku hobbles off, clutching his little plastic bucket to his chest like it’s a precious, precious treasure. His head is down and he avoids eye contact.

It only makes the frantic, burning thing in his chest more jittery with excitement.

Ha! Weakling should have stayed in his lane. Then, this wouldn’t have happened!

Katsuki couldn’t wait for the next time he saw his dad.

He tastes bile at the back of his mouth.

His classmates cheer around him at Deku’s declaration, their words of encouragement clashing with the memory of his friends’ yells and jeers as they chase Izuku out of the park. This time, Katsuki doesn’t join them.

(Never again.)

The rest of the classroom goes on quickly, like a sped up record. As if he was looking through foggy glasses, and cared little about actually seeing, content with letting time go by in favor of retaining a blank, empty mind. It’s only when Midnight calls for the class’ end that the world snaps back into place.

Good.

He can get out of this hellhole now.

Katsuki gathers his things and stuffs them into his bag, not even bothering to make small talk with the members of his classroom. He dumps his board on the growing pile at the teacher’s desk on his way out.

Deku hovers at the door, anxiously waiting for Uraraka to finish gathering her things. The tiny meep he lets out upon noticing Katsuki approaching was all he needed to know to understand what the nerd was expecting next.

Katsuki takes a moment to look at him. His hunched shoulders, his suddenly missing bravado in front of him. Another time, another day, he might have bashes his shoulder into the smaller boy’s just for the shits and giggles. Hell, in that moment, Katsuki was sorely tempted.

But he knew better.

(He’d done enough.)

He waits for Deku to shift aside, then steps out. He feels his gaze on his back, question and innocent, but Katsuki ignores it.

Unfortunately, the blond is only a few steps out when there’s suddenly a arm around his neck. It nearly makes him stumbles. There’s only one idiot who had the balls to do this, and his Quirk is the only reason Katsuki doesn’t blow him up right away.

“Hey buddy, you left quickly!”

Great.

“Shitty Hair.” Katsuki grumbles out. “Stop hanging off me like a leech.”

Almost reluctantly, the other boy relinquishes his death hold on Katsuki’s airways. There’s a brief lull when they walk together in silence, swerving around other students as they too are leaving.

“So,” Kirishima kicks at the ground a bit, fumbling for words. Katsuki quirks a eyebrow at him. “Revolt, huh?”

The grin the redhead gives him stretches almost from ear to ear. Like a fox. It's ridiculous. Katsuki cannot stop the huff from leaving his lips even if he tried.

“What are you trying to imply?”

Kirishima’s grin stretches wider. It almost gleams under the sunlight when they step outside. “I don't know man, I’m just thinking-”

“-that if it had anything to do with yours, don’t fuss about it.” Katsuki retorts as he kicks a pebble, then, adding quietly; “I had it picked out for a long time.”

The other boy pauses, then perks right up. “Really?”

“Really.” Katsuki parrots back. A reply burns at the tip of his tongue, and he takes a moment to consider. Inevitably, it slips out because Katsuki the petty bitch was still very much a thing. “There’s someone I needed to say fuck you to. This seems like the most appropriate way to do it.”

Kirishima’s smile does a odd waver. It’s enough to make unsettle the explosive hero in training. “....someone, huh?”

The breathy, worried way he did it, especially with what just happened in class-

Katsuki bristles. He doesn’t like the implication. Not at fucking all. “It’s not Deku.” He snarls, stopping to glare at the other boy.

Kirishima raises his hands in surrender, eyes widening in alarm. “ I never said it was!”

“You implied it.” Katsuki retorted, clenching his hands into fists at his sides. The burn of his nails digging into his skin is painful, but grounding.

“H-how!?”

“I’m not a dumbass, that’s how.” He hisses back. For added effect, he takes a step forward into his classmate’s personal space, getting right up on his face as he jams a single offended digit into his sturdy chest. “You don’t need to say it out loud for me to get the message.”

None of them needed to. The looks were enough.

Kirishima does a odd noise as he goes still under Katsuki’s narrow-eyed glare. His hands are frozen at his sides, still raised as if it was a intelligent attempt at stopping the boiling rage churning under Katsuki’s skin.

“I…”

Katsuki leans closer, lips pulled back in a feral snarl. Inches from Kirishima’s own face, which had grown pale and dreadful. Eyes so wide they were like dinner plates; they held a mixture of emotions in them. Confusion, fear, regret -and many more Katsuki couldn’t quite place.

“Well?”

“...is this a bad time?”

You know what, fuck you universe. Fuck you. Fucking fuck you right up the asshole-

Gritting his teeth, Katsuki slowly turns to glare at this other torn at his side. Todoroki merely stares back, unblinking from where he’d slid up into the conversation. He bore the perfect poker face; it's a very punchable one too, in Katsuki’s humble opinion.

“What do you want now?” He already knows the answer long before he opened his own mouth but nevertheless, he shoves that foot up there because he’s a masochist as well.

Todoroki offers him a small nod. “Can we talk? Please?” He asks politely, eyes fixed on Katsuki’s face.

The explosive teen returns that gaze with a simmering glare of his own. “Why should I?” He replies, challenging.

Give me one good reason why I should listen to you.

Todoroki breathes out slowly, like he was trying to keep himself calm and centered. Behind Katsuki, Kirishima was still silent.

“...we both know why.”

The underlying message was clear. I’m not going to stop until you hear me.

Katsuki merely narrows his eyes further in response. God, he hated logic.

With how persevering the taller boy ended up being, Katsuki knew, deep down, that he would not give up until he managed to corner him into having a conversation. And Katsuki had enough dignity and intelligence in him to know he did not want that to happen.

So ultimately, he can only sigh in defeat. The finger that had been jabbed into Kirishima’s chest slides off slowly.

Apparently, the combination of these two actions was enough to startle the redhead into speaking up. “Bakugo?” He asks, a hint of worry in his voice.

The sharp-toothed teen looked just the tiniest bit lost as he glanced between the two of them, likely not knowing what to think. His hands had dropped down to his sides somewhere during the exchange between him and Todoroki, and his shoulders seemed more slumped.

Katsuki almost want to come to his help because of just how hopeless the idiot seemed, but then he remembers what the other boy had lowkey implied, and that rage rose up like hot oil splashed with water.

He turns to his brother fully, sneering as he took a step to the dual-haired boy’s side.

“Fine. Lead on.”

At his answer, Todoroki offers him the tiniest smile.

(It makes things even less satisfying.)

 

Chapter Text

 

“Okay. Talk.”

They’re sitting at the outskirts of the campus, far away from the rest of the students and prying eyes. Just like Katsuki intended. Because fuck it like he was going to shove another foot down his throat.

He was already stuck doing enough damage control as it was -and the main problem was currently sitting next to him on a park bench, hands resting on his lap. Spine ramrod straight, mismatched eyes staring right into his soul. What a robot.

Fuck, his brother was barely even blinking.

Addressing the half and half bastard as his brother, even in the safety of his own mind, left a bitter taste in Katsuki’s mouth. It’s made even worse by the stupidly idyllic scene.

Fucking vanilla, Katsuki thinks sourly as he watches a bird fly by.

A little more, and there would be cherry blossoms or some shit in the breeze. At least the sickeningly peaceful atmosphere was completely ruined by owl eyes over here.

Shouto had barely spoken a word since he’d lead him away from Kirishima -the redhead at a lost of words as Katsuki stomped away, half and half in tow. He was certain it wasn’t due to a lack of a subject to talk about -god knows if there was a lot- but more that Todoroki had learned from their last discussion in the cafeteria and was looking for a angle to approach the topic without Katsuki punching him in the face and walking off.

….tempting.

Truth be told, anything was better than the fucking staring.

“Okay, buttmunch,” Katsuki spoke up, tilting his head back towards the other boy. The frigid piece of cardboard named Todoroki Shouto makes no physical sign of distaste. “...are you going to tell me why you dragged me here sometime today, or are we fucking staying here overnight?”

Silence. Katsuki waits and watches as Todoroki looks down at the grass at their feet. Any moment now. Please .

He hated the silence. The waiting for the bomb to drop. He knew he had to get this over with, but it didn't make things any better.

“...have you figured out who you’re going to intern with?”

Against his will, his body jolts at the unexpected question. What?

That wasn’t anywhere near what he was expecting. Why would he-

...right.

A conversation starter. Breaking the ice, so to speak. Break his fucking face, more like. It was a slight improvement from the creepy stalkerish staring. Deku would be proud.

His insides squirm unpleasantly at the thought of the green haired brat. Almost immediately he wants it to stop -ignore, avoid, lock it up in a box and toss away the goddamn key- so he latches on to his brother’s topic.

“Not yet, haven’t finished looking through the papers.” He answers truthfully, “I think I’ll go with Best Jeanist.”

Todoroki tilts his head. His expression remains as flat and uninterested as ever, but there’s a gleam in his eyes that betrayed his unwavering attention. “The Number Four.” He mutters. “I’m surprised you picked him. He’s not…”

Katsuki quirks an eyebrow at his silence.

...your style.

“Might as well reach for the top.” Katsuki bites out without any real bite, looking away. “You?”

There's no answer.  Thinking the other was playing the long game, Katsuki waits. After several seconds of just sitting there like a idiot, he has to fold and look over to his sibling.

The look on Todoroki’s face said it all.

“....you gotta be shitting me.”

“Might as well reach for the top.” His half-brother parroted back in that stoic patronizing manner, making Katsuki bristle. This fucker was really doing this? He didn’t know wether to be impressed or angry.

“Not worth stepping on that landmine.” Katsuki grumbles under his breath, crossing his arms.

His brother still heard him.

“Maybe. It's a matter of perspective.” Todoroki’s gaze darkened, something soft and sullen dulling the mismatched eyes. “...the old man might be a right bastard, but there's much I can learn from him.”

“Like what, learn how to look both sexually frustrated and constipated at once on live television?”

Todoroki just stares.

Katsuki raises a brow. “Oh come on,” He exhales gruffly, leaning back against the bench and swinging his legs a bit too energetically. “-don't tell me you haven't heard of that one before.”

“Not...not really.” Todoroki made a odd little audible swallow. Katsuki tracked the way his lips twitched strangely, as if he’d only just barely been able to keep his trademark blank expression. “...I didn't get to go outside the house much before Yuuei.”

Katsuki looks away at the mention of a house. “Glad I didn't end up in that dump.” He murmurs softly, torn between being angry and remembering the weeks after their father stopped visiting. His memories of that time were blurry, a disorganized chaos of sensations and images that almost made his stomach churn.

He doesn’t think he’ll ever forget sitting in front of the door for hours on end like a pathetic dog waiting for its owner to come home.

….what an embarrassment.

Don’t think about it, Katsuki thinks sourly. When  he turns his gaze back to the dual haired boy at his side, he finds a look on the others face that he didn't like.

Immediately, he knows something’s up.

“Stop making a face and spill.”

This time, its Todoroki’s gaze that is averted. “...do you know why he left?” The younger boy asks him.

Katsuki blinks, taken off guard.

I thought you would connect the dots, he wanted to say with a bit of smugness. The blond held his tongue however, the urge to establish his dominance all but a weak ember inside him. If it was any other situation, god he would all over rubbing it into the other boy’s face. Any other.

But it was this situation, this specific fucking topic that Katsuki found very little humor in.

(Only frustration and anger.)

“My Quirk.” He admits.“He just stopped showing up after I manifested my Quirk. Told me that wasn't Hellfire and then fucking left.”

For the first time, Todoroki’s mask breaks completely as he bites his lower lip, brows furrowing. Katsuki tracks the movement; the other teen still wasn’t looking at him, and it rattled his nerves.

“I spoke to him.”

So quiet. Hesitant.

Katsuki’s heart skips a beat in his chest.

“He wanted you to be the next Endeavor.”

Silence.

Katsuki swallows and stops swinging his legs. Tries to absorb the information as a biting cold sweeps up and down his body that had nothing to do with the wind or the boy at his side.

Emphasizes on tries.

‘...the next Endeavor.’

(It explained so much .)

“-Bakugo?”

Like a slingshot Katsuki is slammed back into his own body, and all too aware of the long stretching silence his lack of response had created. Todoroki was even leaning forward, brows slightly furrowed in...confusion? Worry? Just the fact that the other was making anything else than a resting bitch face at him felt-

-wrong.

This was wrong.

Katsuki never felt the urge to leave as strongly as he did not. He blurts out the first thing he can think:

“I need to go.” The sound that left Katsuki’s lips in response sounded too much like a croak for his tastes. “-there’s shit I need to do.”

He scrambles up from the bench.

Todoroki makes a small jolt at the sudden exclamation. As soon as Katsuki is on his feet -his wobbly, wobbly feet fuck- the taller boy is as well. Leaning close, looking down at him with what couldn’t be mistaken as anything else than worry.

Katsuki’s mind swims.

Fuck fuck why is he looking at me like that he’s not supposed to-

Against his will, he jumps at the sensation of something warm on his shoulder. A hand, grabbing him with the slightest bit of pressure, just enough to keep him from runn -leaving like his mind desperately screamed at him to. Todoroki was touching him, trying to keep him from leaving and as much as Katsuki felt the reflexive urge to explode his face off, he felt too frazzled to even lift his hand and activate his Quirk.

Fucking pathetic, fuck fuck fuck-

“Bakugo wait-”

“Todoroki.” The snarl that leaves his mouth is enough to make the taller boy pause and god, Katsuki is grateful. Grateful because he’s not sure that if he used his Quirk right now to shove the other away he’d end up sending the both of them to Recovery Girl. “Fucking touch me and I’m breaking your nose. I need to go.” He repeats, stressing the word need, silently hoping that the braindead bastard would catch on to the meaning Katsuki was too prideful to say out loud.

I need to think.

He watches as Todoroki’s eyes narrow imperceptibly, the gears in his head no likely spinning behind that dumb face of his.

“Give me your number.”

Katsuki blinks.

Eh ? The storm in the explosive blond’s head pauses as he turns his head towards Todoroki, questioning.

Mismatched eyes held his gaze.

“Your phone number.” Todoroki said lowly, insisting and likely having no fucking idea how much he was screwing up his older sibling’s train of thought. “That way we can talk.”

We can talk at school , Katsuki immediately wants to snap back. I don’t need to give you my fucking phone number for that.

It seemed fucking insignificant, to give that up.

But it meant everything.

Establishing such a line of communication with Todoroki...it would change things. It would cross a line Katsuki was not sure he wanted to cross -one he’d never thought could be within reach. After Endeavor, he’d grown with the knowledge that he likely would meet the masterpiece at Yuuei, because there was no other hero school he could ever go that would spite the old bastard as much as this one.

Following the plan Endeavor had set out for his greatest creation from Yuuei all the way to the number one spot in the Hero Rankings was Katsuki’s fucking dream . Winning the Sports Festival had been part of that very same desire -a desire born out of years of wallowing in feelings of betrayal and not being fucking good enough.

Telling Todoroki the truth wasn’t part of the plan.

In fact, it had very much not been part of the plan.

...but Katsuki the spiteful bitch couldn't stop himself from shoving that mountain-sized foot up his own mouth. Figures.

It still left a big, tall, Todoroki Shouto-shaped hole in his plan. Which was quickly falling apart since the Festival.

...fuck.

(He really brought this upon himself though.)

Did he even want to give him his number? Did Todoroki even realize what this meant?

No. That was the first thing that came to mind in response. Because Todoroki was clearly a shut in and had no sense of what was acceptable in a social setting. Then again Katsuki wasn’t exactly a shining jewel when it came to talking to other people, so he was being a hypocrite. Probably.

Likely.

Sighing, he closes his eyes.

“Bakugo?” There’s a pause. The hand on his shoulder slides off. “...you don’t have to answer today.”

Well. There went the idea that his half-brother didn’t know what exchanging phone numbers meant. If anything, it seemed like Todoroki knew exactly what this meant.

Giving numbers meant establishing a link beyond classmates. It left the possibility of communicating with each other outside of the social expectation that came with sharing a class. It was everything that Katsuki was adamant against since he enrolled into Yuuei and saw the fucking mismatched mop of hair amongst the crowd of students, a sight that left him furious, frustrated and ashamed all at once.

(Ashamed because how dare he, after all these years, still feel that fucking yearning ?)

He hears a noise in front of him, forcing Katsuki to flutter his eyes open to face the outside world and namely, the boy in front of him. Todoroki was still standing in front, waiting patiently with the same familiar expression as always. That is, at least, what a observant person would say, for Katsuki could spy a little nervous gleam hidden deep within his eyes, as if he’s unsure what button to press next for fear of detonating the human landmine that was Bakugo Katsuki.

...at this point, he’s not sure he has a choice.

Defeated, Katsuki opens his mouth.

“Fine.”

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.

 

The clicking on nails against stone were the first thing that greeted him when he got home.

“You’re late.”

“Shit happens.” The words taste dead and bland on his tongue, but nevertheless Katsuki pushes through, feeling just as empty. “Train made a few halts.”

Bakugo Mitsuki looks down at him from her perch on one of the tall chairs of the kitchen counter. Her stocking-clad legs are crossed, glossy sharp red stilettos glinting under the light fixture. Her hair was pulled up in a high ponytail, and she was wearing a silk blouse alongside a short skirt.

If her appearance was nice, her face was anything but. No amount of makeup could hide the disinterest in her eyes as she looked down at her only son.

Katsuki kept his gaze fixed on her chin, refusing to meet those scarlet eyes so similar and yet different from his own. He really didn’t have it in him to get into a argument with his mother today, nor having the shit slapped out of him because he ‘dared’ to look at her in the eyes when she was mad at him.

Instead he stood there, school bag still over his shoulder, shoulders drawn. Refusing to catch the metaphorical ball.

“I took out the soup from the fridge.” Mitsuki finally responded, glossing over his rude response. “Eat that.”

And with that, she hops off the stool and walks past him, her shoes clicking loudly with each step. Katsuki clenches his teeth minutely when he feels the smallest brush of a hand on his shoulder as his mother passes, a small contact that could have been mistaken as affectionate for anyone else, but he knew better.

His mother knew just how little physical contact he had in general since he was a child. Her touching like this was not to make him happy -it was just another way to lord over Katsuki.

Look, I can touch you, that tiny, single touch told him, and you can’t do anything about it because if you did, you’d be out of this house so fast your head would spin.

He tilts his head to the side, tracking her movements carefully as she leaves the kitchen.

It’s only then that he turns to the food set out on the counter.

His mother is no great cook. Not from the lack of skill, far from that. It was simply the matter that she did not care. She ate most of the time at her modelling agency, where they provide perfectly cooked, perfectly healthy food that would sustain her disgustingly specific diet.

In truth, she didn’t cook because he had no need to cook.

From the age of nine and onwards, it had mostly been Katsuki who took up the role of making sure he wouldn't starve to death. His mother accepted his newfound job easily, with just a cold don't make a mess, clean up after yourself and a few hundred yen slapped on the counter every morning so he could buy the necessary ingredients.

He'd learned young how to squeeze out the maximum amount of food from the measly allowance.

Shooing those thoughts away, Katsuki looks down at the small bowl she left to him on the counter. By all means, it looks perfect -the napkin properly folded, a spoon set to the side and a glass of water next to it. It looked nice and presentable.

The illusion however last only until he sits down and takes his first sip. The soup is cold.

Katsuki can only chuckle dryly.

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He feels only slightly less like shit the next morning.

Getting squeezed like sardines on the train didn’t help him mood any further, nor what accompanied it. He caught more than a few wary glances from strangers who recognized him from the Festival and disapproving grimaces from mothers who pulled their child out of his line of sight using their own bodies, all which he tried to ignore in favor of focusing on his phone.

When he steps off the train and reaches Yuuei, Katsuki has only a brief few minutes of respite from being in close quarters with other people before someone comes up behind him and swings an arm around his neck in a very familiar way.

“Hey Bakugo!” Kirishima chirps at his side, his sudden weight against Katsuki’s body nearly making him stumble. “Good morning, how are you?”

Katsuki grunts in response, sliding away from under the redhead’s arm. “..’fine.”

A mop of yellow invades his other side. Fuck, here comes the other walking talking headache. “Oi dude, if you keep making that face its gonna stay that way.”

“I think it's pretty late for that, Kaminari.” Tape Guy -Sero piped up behind him. Katsuki silently counted back from ten to keep himself from attacking the two assholes, even going as far as to pull his phone back out to resume his news reading.

It didn’t manage to distract him enough to keep him from baring his teeth at the taller boy.

A low whistle to his right alerted him to Ashido’s presence. The pink girl was walking next to Kirishima, the upturned tilts of her lips marking her enjoyment of the situation.

“Soooo,” Kirishima drew out the sound at his side, eyes searching. That’s when Katsuki knew it was coming. “-what did Todoroki want?”

“Nothing.” Katsuki responded half heartedly as he scrolled through the news on his phone. Nothing promising so far. Knowing that the redhead wouldn’t be satisfied with just that -and knowing that he was not up for any sort of pressing, he added at the end, “-he just asked for my number.”

Too busy looking at yet another article on the Sports Festival -fuck, those pictures with him on the pedestal were not photogenic at all, motherfuck maybe the old hag had a reason to smack him when he’d come home that night- Katsuki didn’t register at first how the others stopped walking at his side.

He did however, look up questioningly upon hearing two loud thumps .

What he found gave him pause.

Ashido had just walked straight into a lampost.

She was bent over, face twisted in a grimace as she rubbed her bruised forehead. Kirishima was sprawled on the floor like a particularly big and ugly starfish, school bag open scattering books across the sidewalk. From this angle Katsuki couldn’t see his face as the other boy was flopping on the ground, his ridiculous red hair hiding his expression.

The hell? Fuck, he really doesn’t have time for this. He’d spent the entire night yesterday mulling over his talk with the tall torn to his side and working through the rest of the pile of internship applications. Katsuki was decidedly not in the mood for this.

Annoyed, he reaches out with a foot and none too gently taps his classmate on the ribs. “Oi, Shitty Hair.” Katsuki calls for him gruffly. “What the fuck?”

“Yes.” Kirishima croaks out dazedly, making him raise a brow at him. Then, the other boy blinks and suddenly jolts up as if he’d woken up from a daze. He looks up at him, face red with embarrassment. “I-I mean I tripped there was a uneven brick I didn’t mean-”

His stammered responses became more and more incoherent and confusing. At this point, Kaminari had doubled over and was choking on his own laughter. Sero looked redder than a tomato, trembling from all the effort he made to keep himself from joining in.

Ultimately, he fails.

And Katsuki, who stands in the middle of this disorganized chaos, phone in hand and running on very few hours of sleep, can only mutter under his breath a quick prayer that the rest of the week wasn't going to be as much of a bitch.

...who was kidding, it was probably going to be just as much hell as today.

At least he had the internship to look forward to.

Chapter Text

Two days pass.

Before he knows it, Katsuki’s standing at the back of a horde of excited students at the train station.

To his surprise -not-, it’s complete and utter hell.

Someone’s yelling. There’s rambling, last minute checking, and general chaos as Aizawa checks each of their ticket a final time to make sure none of them would end up stuck in the train station by accident. Kirishima and Kaminari are engrossed in a conversation somewhere to his right, their voices just shy of grating as they argue about their choices of internship. Ashido is jumping up and down, her excitement gifting her extra strength to carry her heavy metal suitcase while having her little stupid dance.

Katsuki secures his bag over his shoulder, eyes shifting to look at his feet to the suitcase holding his hero costume. The metal brushes against the pant of his school uniform, a solid weight and promise of what was to come.

He exhales softly, looking at his ticket held tight in his right hand. It’s obnoxiously bright and yellow.

Here’s hoping for the best, he thinks sourly.

Looking just at the numbers, Best Jeanist was his best choice for a internship. Rarely did students get the opportunity to work with one of the top twenty heroes given just how many hero schools there were out there, but Yuuei being Yuuei Katsuki guessed they had special privileges, especially given that nearly half the current top heroes graduated from the school.

Strategically speaking though…

...he really knows nothing about the hero. By all means, Best Jeanist is a exemplary hero and earned his spot amongst the top, but Katsuki had a lifetime of experiences to know how much the hero rankings were truthfully just bullshit titles where heroes were shuffled back and forth at the whim of the public. The very fact that Endeavor was ranked 2th was enough of a example.

Heroes had nothing to do with who they were and everything to do with how the public perceived them.

Hawks was another example. Just a rookie, but the Winged Hero managed to snag the Number Three spot at the age of 22. Clearly how much work you put into what heroes were actually for meant nothing in front of the heroes who batted their eyelashes at the cameras and got the most clicks.

Fucking hypocrites, he thinks as he remembers the first headlines the media had run after the Festival. Doesn’t matter if I got to the final round on my own merit, I fight a girl and I’m automatically the bad guy. I shake around the fucker who decided taking a nap was better than putting work into the match and I get put down like a rabid dog.

He felt his expression sour as he remembered what happened after. He’d tried to leave but of fucking course, Midnight was there to force him to comply with the damn medal ceremony, at least long enough to put those goddamn chains on like he was nothing more than a-

A shoulder knocks against his, not enough to make him stagger but more than enough to snap him out of that spiralling train of gradually darker and darker thoughts.

“...ready for the internships, Bakugo?”

(Never had he been more thankful that Kirishima existed.)

“Hm.” Is all he responds with, tilting away from the redhead to keep their shoulders from brushing again. Just because the idiot liked physical contact didn’t mean that Katsuki enjoyed it, as different as it was from his mother. “It’s only a week. Nothing to worry about if you know what you’re doing.”

The other boy snorts.

“You’re overconfident.”

“Just realistic.” Katsuki retorted, not looking at the other boy in favor of checking his ticket one more time.

Kirishima makes a soft noise at his side, followed by a strange groan. A quick glance at the other boy told Katsuki that the redhead was stretching, arms raised up in the air and sleeves bunching up as gravity dragged them down to the boy’s elbows. In that moment, Katsuki finds that the other boy looked like a rumpled cat.

That stray thought gives him pause.

Must be that shit hair of his.

“-man, I hope Fourth Kind will like me.” Kirishima mutters, just low enough that Aizawa can’t hear him. The teacher was a few feet away from them, checking over Mineta’s ticket with a expression that suggested he’d rather be anywhere else. “He has to though if he sent me an invitation, right?”

“Hm.” He responded, complacent in his dismissal.

There was a unsure look in his eyes though, one that gave Katsuki pause.

It’s not the first time he’d seen it. Kirishima had been...off lately.

The idiot had been acting strange since the day after he spoke with his brother, and Katsuki had no idea what to think about it so he did what he usually does when it’s something not related to his goals: play dumb and ignore it. Who the fuck cared if the redhead kept side eying him?

Certainly not Katsuki.

He had other shit to do than wonder what was going on with the other boy. Wasn’t that why Kaminari, Ashido and Sero were for? Katsuki wasn’t in this class to play nice .

He had shit to do, a old man to kick in the ass and a title to steal.

(And apparently, a brother who would not fucking leave him alone .)

“-make sure you listen to everything they say. It’s only a week, but this is a critical part of your semester. Don’t mess it up.” At Aizawa’s flat, droning voice Katsuki tried to snap back to attention, knowing his teacher wasn’t above giving extra assignments to those who irked him.

Too bad his teacher was rambling about pointless shit he already knew. In all likelihood, this was aimed towards people like Grape Boy. During these past few days, the ugly little shit had all but yelled from the rooftops with who he was interning with.

Urgh.

As Katsuki continued to listen to Aizawa’s last minute ditch attempt at not getting a student sent back to Yuuei before the week was over, his eyes strayed off to the side where a particular mop of hair drew his attention. Todoroki was standing a bit away from the main group, back straight and suitcase at his feet. He had no extra bag on him.

Of course not. The old man probably has a fucking suite for him ready at his agency, complete with all the shit he needs.

The thought almost made him want to snort at it’s hilarity.

Almost as if hearing his thoughts, mismatched eyes pulled away from Aizawa to meet his. Katsuki felt himself freeze for a moment, surprised by the other boy’s perception.

Todoroki tilts his head to the left slightly, peering at him inquistively. He says nothing, nor does he try to make his way through the horde of students to him.  For a moment Katsuki thinks about flipping him the finger, sneering at him, anything -things he would usually do at anyone- but he finds himself nodding at the dual haired boy instead, a small barely perceptible movement.

The youngest Todoroki blinks in that creepy manner -slow and calculated, did he think he was an owl or something along those lines?- then he nods back, a tiny jerk of his head that one wouldn’t catch unless they were paying attention.

Just like that, a small tension he didn’t know was there eases in Katsuki’s shoulders. It’s a curious sensation which he can’t help but try to dissect.

It’s not joy, or anger, or anything he knows. If anything it feels like a gentle burst of content energy -as if he was stepping into shade during a hot summer day.

...it’s not a analogy he likes. Thankfully, Todoroki’s attention is diverted by something Deku mutters so their little staring contest comes to an end and relieving Katsuki of the burden of having to stand there like a moron blinking back, because like fuck he was going to let the little bastard win.

He's been losing enough lately.

(Even days later with his fury having given away to a tepid, contained anger, the Festival still didn't feel like a win.)

It's then he noticed something he'd failed to do before. Kirishima was looking at him.

Huh.

His red eyes barely caught his attention when he tries for what felt like the fifth time to actually listen to Aizawa’s bullshit. When their eyes met and the redhead became aware that Katsuki had spotted him staring, the other boy made a odd, little sheepish smile and looked away.

It wasn’t one of his usual grins though, the kind that made him want to punch him in the face because it was just too damn peppy. No, this one was more...forlorn?

This sent a heavy, uncomfortable feeling down his spine.

What’s his problem….?

A loud yell startled him from his thoughts.

“Gotcha!” A familiar pink girl exclains, all but lifting her suitcase above her head in her enthusiasm. Ashido was practically vibrating with excitement.

Aizawa, however, was completely unfazed by the yelling. “Talk properly. It’s yes sir, Ashido.”

Ashido melts like ice cream under the sun at their teacher’s withering glare. Katsuki’s sure if her horns could move, they would be flat on her skull like a whipped dog as she repeated her teacher’s words dejectedly.

“That’s all.” Satisfied after crushing his students’ enthusiasm, Aizawa is quick to dismiss them. “Go, and remember what I told you. I want you all on your best behavior.”

Aizawa’s scarlet eyes trail over the assembled crowd of students for a final time. Katsuki sees them pause briefly as they met his own gaze before continuing on.

In that moment, he feels just the slightest bit singled out.

...fucking jerk.

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None of the other students embark with him, thank god or whatever the fuck was up there that for once didn’t feel like messing with its favorite punching bag.

Finally alone, Katsuki settles in the very back of the last compartment of his train. It’s a five hour train ride to Best Jeanist’ agency in the Okayama Prefecture, so he might at well buckle up for an hour of having people glance at him like he’s a curious oddity they can’t help but look at, yet at the same time shy away.

Fuckers.

The lot of them.

Looking at him like he was a landmine waiting to go off. Fuck them. He’ll show them what he’s made of. That first place in the Hero Rankings belonged to him, god damn it-

Beep.

Katsuki blinks as he feels something vibrate in his pocket. It’s his phone.

...who the fuck was contacting him? He hadn’t kept in contact with any of his lackeys from middle school, his mother wouldn’t call him even if someone was dying, and he hadn’t given his number to anyone in the-

Right. That was a lie.

What does he want? He thinks sourly as he opens the phone and clicks on the messaging app.

Bakugo, I was wondering how things were going on your end.

He frowns.

Still on my train, idiot. He types back quickly, brows furrowing as he squinted down at his phone. I got five hours of this.

Just writing that reminded him how deplorable his current situation was. His seat wasn’t even remotely comfortable, the hard chair digging into his back. This was a fucking bullet train, couldn’t they have equipped this thing better?

My ass is going to end up flat after this shit.

Truly a tragedy.

Another beep. Katsuki blinks to stare down at the screen, lips pursed.

Two little beady black eyes stare back.

It’s a cat picture.

A cat picture.

He has to blink a few times to register this information properly. It’s one of those stereotypical internet cat, fluffier than a goddamn cloud and posing inside a coffee mug.  It’s so off and unexpected that Katsuki finds himself staring at this inexplicable picture in silence.

He didn’t even remember that this was from a message and not him accidentally browsing the internet until a second notification popped up. It’s another cat, this time with black stripes and spotted pale fur staring out longingly from the confines of a small woven basket.

Of course the fucker was a cat person. He had the whole look of one. Muttering under his breath, Katsuki replies:

The fuck is this?

The response is immediate.

Cats.

I repeat. The fuck is this?

I swear to god he repeats ‘cats’ as a response and I’m chucking my phone out the window.

Thankfully, that doesn’t come to happen. Still, he’s not expecting the sudden mountain of words to pop up on his screen after a few seconds of waiting:

I found a site full of these. They piqued my interest, so I thought about sending them to you since you have a long train ride. I wasn’t sure what to say either, so I sent them to entertain you. Is that alright?

Katsuki’s heart makes a odd lurch upon reading this.

….it’s not what he’s expecting. He knew Todoroki was trying to get used to this whole brother thing, but it was still strange. Katsuki spitting the truth at him after a Festival during a hissy fit was decidedly not supposed to lead to this.

His life was spiraling down the drain, wasn’t it?

Squinting, he responds:

Stop making walls of text. Do you even know how to use a phone?

This fucker just got his telephone didn’t he -just as he thought that, he gets a new notification. It’s from his br -Todoroki.

Apologies. I got this cell phone at the start of the semester.

Whoops, there it fucking is.

Snorting, he types back:

I figure.

Then he waits.

Surprisingly, Todoroki doesn’t write right away. Did the idiot felt insulted and was ignoring him now? Who knew. Katsuki distracts himself by pulling up some news article -only to quickly regret that decision as he finds that yep, the Festival was still the only thing the news outlets were talking about.

At that moment, he wished there was some big villain incident, something to get the media off his fucking back. It seemed that lately the only thing they had to do was trash talk Yuuei and him.

Then again, the medal ceremony had been some fucking disaster, probably unlike anything that happened in previous Festivals. He mustn't have been the first reluctant winner, but he sure as hell was the first that needed to be chained to be kept from running off.

There’s a reflexive surge of rage at the memory. God, he should accepted the goddamn medal and then done something. Like throwing it into the stands. Or at Todoroki’s face. Or maybe sell it online. That shit could have sold for a pretty penny, he was certain.

But then the hag would find some shitty excuse to pocket the money.

Just as he has that particularly sour thought, a notification for a message pops up at the top of the screen. At this point he knows what to expect as he clicks on it.

Once more, Katsuki finds the picture of a cat staring right back at him. It's tiny and fully, sitting inside what looked like a ugly green teacup. There was a splotch of black on its white fur right over one of its eyes, giving it an appearance that wasn't incomparable to a teddy bear.

Anyone else would find it adorable. Katsuki just snorts and types back:

Stop sending me cat pictures. Don’t you have something else to do?

No.

Huh.

Thought the old man would get you to work right away.

I’m taking a detour.

...what.

The hell do you mean by that?

No response, at least not right away.

Then, after a full minute of sitting there wondering if he’d finally managed to shoo his annoying classmate away,  he gets a picture.

It’s undeniably a selfie, or at least a shoddy attempt at one. He can see part of Todoroki’s mop of hair -the other boy must have been using the front camera. What he does mainly see is a clear blue sky and tall, arching skyscraper looming over his half brother’s head.

I’m talking a long walk before I go to the agency. Endeavor can’t complain to Yuuei about it. Not without jeopardizing my position in the Heroics Program.

Katsuki bites down a chuckle.

Can’t have his precious heir get kicked out of Yuuei, now can he?

No.

So fucking blunt, it could double as a hammer.

Katsuki has to cough to makes the snorted laughter that forced it’s way past his lips as the mental image of their shit excuse of a sperm donor standing in entrance hall of his agency waiting for a person that wasn’t going to show up for at least twenty minutes. God, he hoped the fucker had bragged about Todoroki coming so there was a crowd of sidekicks and paper pushers waiting around with him.

This mildly good mood is the reason why he types out a vaguely cordial response:

How’s your walk?

Not very eventful. I thought about enjoying the sights, but there’s nothing but skyscrapers here. A pause. There’s too many people; a few seem to have recognized me from the Festival and tried approaching me, but I managed to get them to leave me alone. It’s loud and tiring.

A snort leaves him.

Todoroki getting recognized wasn’t a surprise. That haircut was like a bright neon sign for everyone who even glanced at the Festival, of course he was going to be spotted. A part of him feels sour at the idea of his half-brother being approached by curious civilians; he’ll bet an arm and a leg that they had little negative to say about the younger boy.

So, feeling particularly vicious, Katsuki taps out his response on the phone:

Fuck them, then.

I’m unsure if fornicating with them is legal.

Truly a social disaster you raised there, old man.

Make them leave you the fuck alone, it's not that hard. You'll have a job to do.

Maybe. I’m fairly certain that interacting with civilians on a day to day basis is part of being a hero.

Katsuki stares at the new message emptily.

Then he looks up.

The curious onlookers who had been watching him from the corner of their eyes are quick to scurry away. He doesn’t miss the flash of fear in their eyes as they do. He knew he’d been recognized since the moment he stepped onto the train, but the fact they were still looking out for him like he was some kind of criminal made something ugly squirm in his gut.

They’re acting like they truly believed that he was going to hurt them if they got in his way.

Gritting his teeth, he tucks himself in his seat and tilts his torso to look out the window, phone held close to his chest. He stares resolutely out to the vast landscape, focusing on the passing trees and the occasional building.

The sigh that leaves him feels a bit too heavy.

Beep.

He looks down.

There’s another cat staring right back from the notification window.

By the time the train reaches his station, he’s huddled in his corner, nose in his phone, grumbling at the replies Todoroki offers. Some are just simple yes and no , others are vague ramblings. More so are cat pictures, and for some strange reason he’d need a few years to understand let alone process , one image of an alligator with a hat.

So engrossed in the conversation -or at the very least, a fumbled attempt at one- Katsuki momentarily forgets the wary stares of the people around him.

 

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By the time he reaches the Okayama Prefecture, Katsuki accumulated an unhealthy amount of cat pictures. He does not save some of them.

Absolutely not.

(Fuck it, it’s not like anyone else was going to check his phone, right?)

Chapter Text

The person waiting for him at the train station has the most god awful hairstyle Katsuki has seen in his life. And this was someone speaking who had been dragged around fashion studios by his mother.

He’s seen some shit.

But this guy with his slicked down hair, too tight jeans and pale muscle shirt really took the cake. Dear god, who stepped out of the house looking like that? Who allowed anyone to step out of their house looking like that? The man looked like he was about to go to a rave or something.

Please tell me he’s neither a pro-hero or sidekick.

When the man spots him and starts walking towards him, he’s conflicted. For a moment, Katsuki contemplating turning around and just...walking away. Just going nope and disappearing off the face of the earth for the remainder of the week.

It was so very tempting.

Maybe if he j-

“Hey there! Bakugo right?”

Or not.

The man seems to notice his bad mood, so he doesn’t linger much after introducing himself -something that enters Katsuki’s left ears and runs out screaming from his right. He tries to grab one of Katsuki’s bags, but he levels a glare at the man and he’s quick to back off.

Unfortunately for Katsuki’s sanity, he gets it into his head that he’s free to run his mouth as they walk towards the end of the train station, dodging people as they went. Some, Katsuki noted with a sting of bitterness, took one look at him and stepped out of the way, their grimacing expression telling the blond that he’s been recognized.

“I hope you will be cordial. Nothing but your best behavior with Best Jeanist, alright kid?” The man continues on, unaware of perhaps uncaring of Katsuki’s lack of attention.

Call me that again and I’ll be setting that gel ocean you call hair on fire.

Despite the retort burning at the back of his throat, he merely nods and grunts out a quiet acknowledgement. “Fine.”

The walking talking fashion disaster of a human being seems to take it at face value, perhaps knowing he wouldn’t get anything better from Katsuki. “Alright then. Have everything?” He nods, and the badly styled man smiles. “Good! The car’s waiting for us outside.” He tells Katsuki, dragging him towards the exit.

Silent, he follows behind Bad Hair Day.

(He really, really has a bad feeling about this.)

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If he thought Bad Hair Day looked like he walked right out of a clown festival, Best Jeanist was even worse.

Television didn't make him any favours. In real life and up close, his getup looked even more ridiculous. How did the man even function during the summer under all that denim?

“To be frank, I don’t like you very much.”

Katsuki blinks.

Well, fuck you too then, he thinks, but Aizawa’s threat is still very much fresh at the back of his mind so he swallows it down. Still, he glowers at the Pro-Hero.

The tall neckline of the man’s jean jacket -God, he's wearing jean over Jean, the fucking horror- made it impossible to figure out what expression the man was making. His eyes remained as flat and unimpressed, peering down at him intensely.

Scrutinizing him, no doubt.

“Let’s not beat around the bush. I know full well why you chose to intern with me.” The hero drawled after a long pause. Katsuki stayed silent.  “I am one of the top five popular heroes, and no doubt the highest ranking one who sent you an invitation, no?”

The careless, offhanded way the question was delivered was aggravating.

“You made an offer for me.” Katsuki found himself retorting sharply. “So I came.”

Why are you so bitchy about that?

Best Jeanist shrugs at his reply, unbothered by his tone.

“Recently all of my sidekicks and interns have been perfectly behaved, so you-” The Pro-Hero waved a few fingers at him, and Katsuki silently bristled. “-certainly stood out. Especially during the Sports Festival’s later half.”

Oops, there it was.

Here we fucking go.

“While I admit, your fighting abilities show potential, the way you fought and how you acted? Pitiful.” A pause. “Knocking that girl around while you could have blasted her out of the arena from the start?”

She could fucking handle it.

“Attacking an unconscious classmate after you nearly killed him with that explosion?”

I just shook him, I didn’t fucking hit him!

“Having to be chained to the podium like a dog?”

Because they wouldn’t let me leave . They wanted their little fucking ceremony regardless of what I thought.

“Truly this Festival was a travesty. It’s a good thing you came to me; I’m uncertain if anyone else would be able to fix you.”

Fix you.

It’s far from the first time he hears such spiel, but it has him bristling. Like hell . This time, he couldn’t stop the rumbling snarl from leaving his lips as he took a step forward. “Listen here fucker-”

Snap .

He doesn’t see it coming. Threads seemed to materialize from empty air, swiftly coiling around his limbs and tightening, pinning him in place like a bug in a net.

Katsuki didn't even have the time to react before he was completely immobilized. Bound up like a sausage in his hero suit, right in front of everyone like a misbehaving pet about to be stuffed in their pen after making a mess.

Fuck.

He knew why Best Jeanist was top ranked, but it was another thing being on the receiving end of his power.

He hadn't even seen the man move; in fact, Best Jeanist barely even moved, still theatrically slouched against his desk like a catalogue model. Only his raised hands and clenched fingers clutching nearly translucent threads straining in his grip betray that he was using his Quirk at all.

“As I was saying,” The man begins again, tone ever calm and composed. “I think there is a lot you need to work on, Bakugo Katsuki. Thankfully, I have expertise in this area.”

Katsuki says nothing. He’s been through enough rants to know that sometimes, it's better to shut up to get it over with.

“It’s my job to correct people like you. To protect society and adhere to my duty to society.”

Why was he talking like he was some kind of wild animal that needed to be tamed?

“Heroes and villains are the two sides of the same coin.” Best Jeanist continues, eyes shifting away from Katsuki, who follows his gaze. The man was looking at his desk. There’s a spread out newspaper article Katsuki hadn’t noticed upon entering the vast office. “You will do well to remember that.”

He can’t look away from his own face plastered front and center on the newspaper’s front. It’s a shot from when All Might was handing the bronze medal to Tokoyami: his muzzle was still very much on and he was glaring murder at the audience.

He still remembers how each renewed struggled had made them holler and cheer louder.

The threads were suddenly gone, causing him to stumble as he was dragged out of that memory. Stumbling, Katsuki scrambled to right himself. He felt his cheeks burn when low snickers came from the interns and sidekicks behind him.

Fuck, they’d seen everything .

This was all just a show, wasn’t it? To make it clear to Katsuki who here was the boss -like he was an animal that needed to be reminded how internships worked. As if he wasn’t a fully aware teenager enrolled in one of the top schools in Japan.

As much as he wants to start shouting and trashing, Katsuki knows it would only make him look worse. There was no way he was getting out of these binds either, not unless he complied. Knowing this he stays silent, letting Best Jeanist continue talking.

That doesn’t stop him from glaring.

“Your job this week will be to watch me and learn. I will teach you what makes someone a Pro-Hero. I will mold you into a proper hero.”

Mold.

Isn’t that a fucking fantastic word.

In that split second between Best Jeanist inhaling to continue his speech, Katsuki couldn’t help but think of Endeavor. He thinks of the Festival. He thinks of the Sludge monster and the League of Villains.

Finally, he thinks of the heat of a summer sun scorching his skin. Of a door that wouldn’t open, not until his mother came through and realized he was still there even after she’d left for work hours later.

The sting of her slap and her annoyed barks to go to his room were minor pains compared to the understanding that his father, the only person who had looked after him was gone. Even after he understood as he grew that his actions had been nothing but a ruse, the abandonment still hurt more than the manipulation.

Between his father and the League, there was no difference.

All people were shit.

“Well,” Best Jeanist sighing dragged him out of his reverie. Apparently, the man had grown tired of his lack of response. “..no matter, you will learn this during your time here.”

The threads loosen around him. Katsuki stays silent, keeping his mouth shut as Best Jeanist retracted the denim threads back into his own costume. The man stands up from his propped up position against his office desk.

“Let us go, we have much to accomplish in very little time.” Best Jeanist walks past him, then pauses. Katsuki feels his eyes widen against his will as he feels the adult’s hand on his shoulder. “For what it’s worth, I see much potential in you, boy. You only need to learn how to utilize it properly.”

His words were faint next to the warmth of his touch against his bare shoulder. Katsuki tenses as he feels a cramping, acidic burn rise up from his stomach, twisting like a furious snake in his guts. Impotence and rage boil under his skin at the man’s pathetic attempt at complimenting him.

In that moment, he wants to burn that hand.

...but he does not. Instead, Katsuki follows after him dutifully, ignoring the side glances from the sidekicks and their badly hidden sneers. He feels little of their scorn and amusement; if anything, he feels as if his mind is clouded with static, and the only thing left in him are the helpless rage and Best Jeanist’s patronizing speech.

My job is to fix you.

He feels the beginning of a snarl start forming on his lips. How dare he. How dare this bastard say those things, think that he would just roll over and do what he wants just because he has a shiny licence.

How dare he-

-mold you into a proper hero.

Todoroki’s words echo in his ears.

‘He wanted you to be the next Endeavor.’

The next Endeavor.

He can barely fight back the nausea.

.

 

.

 

.

...why am I doing this?

 

Chapter Text

This internship was shit.

Complete and utter shit .

If he didn’t think Aizawa would expel him on the spot, Katsuki would pack his bags and be halfway back to Musustafu by now. Fuck, he’d walk back if necessary.

It’s been three days and as far as Katsuki was concerned, Best Jeanist ranked just below Endeavor and his bitch of a mother.

Simply put, the bastard criticizes everything

The man always had something to say about his appearance, his posture, his behavior. Katsuki’s pretty certain there’s a list somewhere on the fucker’s phone on everything Katsuki was doing wrong, and what needed to be worked on. Like he was some sort of pet project for work.

It made him furious, how Best Jeanist was all over him like a bee swarming around honey, desperately attempting to fix what was definitely not broken.

And the jeans!

Dear god, he’d never look at a piece of apparel made out of denim the same way ever again. Within the first two days of the internship, Katsuki vowed to himself to grab every article of clothing he had that was made of denim, drag it to the backyard, make a neat little pile with, preferably, a little idol of Best Jeanist on top of it, and set it on fucking fire.

Maybe even roast some marshmallows over it.

How Best Jeanist tried to fuse his costume with his own style is enough to make Katsuki want to vomit. His pants, grenadier bracers and mask were all left rotting in the suitcase; the only thing he’d been able to save from the Pro-Hero’s rampage.

His hair was amongst one of the casualties.

At the reminder Katsuki rumbles low in his throat, feeling every single strand of his slicked down hair like they weighed tons. Best Jeanist had poured gallons’ worth of products on his head in an attempt to crush the resistance of his naturally spiky and fluffy hair, leaving him with that felt like a wet mop on top of his skull.

The cosmetics products’ smell was so strong it almost overpowered the constant sweet scent of nitroglycerin that clung to Katsuki’s body like a second skin as a result of his Quirk. The last nail in the coffin for Katsuki’s dignity was how his hair would randomly puff back up as the slight amounts of nitroglycerin he sweat out from the top of his head went off. 

It made for a comical sight apparently, if the snickers of Best Jeanist’ staff was anything to go by.

As it turns out, this internship was a learning experience.

A learning experience in goddamn self restraint.

Eraserhead was going to be fucking confused when they got back, Katsuki thinks sourly. After this hell on earth, he’d probably be able to sit through the worst of Deku’s mumbling sessions without screaming at the dumb nerd even once. He was going to breathe self control and zen and all the other shit, because this week was a walk through hell with a capital h.

It’s not that Best Jeanist was the worst thing alive and reason enough that their ancestors should have crawled back into the sea -that crown still belonged to the old man- but he was a close second.

At least the man was professional to a point. 

Though, maybe even too much. 

The matching clothes all of his sidekicks and himself were contractually obligated to wear was kudos point to his determination to maintain unity and decorum, but it also was added drops of water to the already nearly spilling cup that was Katsuki’s will to live.

At this point, it was a very tiny teacup.

There were some ups, though. 

Jeanist’s Quirk, for example.

At first glance Best Jeanist’s Quirk wasn’t incredible; by the time you glance however the man would probably already have you strung up to a light post by your underwear and be in the process of calling the detainment units. It was clear that the hero had perfected the ins and out of his Quirk, to the point it was kind of impossible to fight against him as long as you had clothes.

...he had to wonder if someone ever came after Jeanist naked. It seemed like a viable although dehumanizing strategy. 

Katsuki was almost tempted to ask, but under the disgustingly gelled hair and the suffocating jeans he still had some ounce of dignity so instead, he kept his mouth well shut.

That didn’t mean he didn’t make his displeasure known in other ways.

The first and last time Best Jeanist sent him to fetch him a coffee, Katsuki had the beautiful opportunity to see the man’s normally ever patient expression twist slightly in a grimace, betraying his horror upon taking his first sip of the lethal concoction Katsuki had brought upon his tongue.

To be fair, the salt and sugar containers in the break room were really similar.

“Anything wrong?” Katsuki asked innocently as he sat down at his own desk by the sidekicks, taking the small pile of reports Best Jeanist had tasked him with filling out and studying to have an idea of how patrol encounters were handled and registered.

He knew he was pushing it. Any time Best Jeanist could boot him out and leave his dumb ass to explain to Aizawa why exacly he’d been let go a few days early from what was supposed to be a week long internship. Katsuki could see the writing on the wall for that one.

But seeing Best Jeanist trying not to choke on the abomination he’d just put in his mouth did things to Katsuki. It tickled that pretty little vicious monster in Katsuki’s heart.

This must be what joy feels like.

Best Jeanist lets out one last cough and set the coffee mug down on his desk -as far away as his long arms could reach.

“It’s nothing.” The man says tightly, eyes staring at the cup warily. “Continue your work, Bakugo.” He adds after a pause, looking back at his papers. Never once he met Katsuki’s interested eyes.

That was the last time Best Jeanist sent him to make him coffee.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

It was nighttime during their third patrol of the day when an audible vibration coming from his pants pocket gave him pause. 

Making sure Best Jeanist was busy with the crowd of adoring civilians that swarmed him after stopping a thief, Katsuki stealthily reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He was pretty much being ignored by the crowd -more like avoided like he stank something horrible, but that was just a detail- so it took only a little wiggling to step out of the crowd and take a breather.

What he sees displayed on the screen was the last thing he was expecting.

Midoriya Izuku has tagged his location!

Deku? He thinks, frowning. The fucker never messages me.

The only reason he even had the nerd’s phone number was because of a school trip back in middle school where the teacher had made them all exchange numbers in case of an emergency. He’d trashed all of his classmates’ a few days after that trip, though something had convinced him not to do the same to Deku’s number.

...was this a mass message?

Wait, what was Deku doing in Hosu?

Internship. Had to be.

From what he’d overheard, Deku was doing his internship with some old retired hero. But because he knew Deku, it was probable that the younger teen had attracted the worst kind of attention or got himself into a mess that of equals to the USJ incident.

Or maybe he got himself stuck in a closet or something. 

Katsuki knew he was being optimistic with that last one. Especially given whom he was thinking about. Deku was the kind of idiot who ran in without a plan to stick the landing. The fact he hadn’t broken every last of his bones during the Festival Race with that mine explosive stunt was proof of that.

If that wasn’t proof enough of his craziness, you could look at the USJ incident. Katsuki had no idea what would have happened if he didn’t blast the warp-villain when Deku went charging in to save All Might, of all people, but he’s certain he doesn’t want to know. 

Or if that still wasn’t enough, the Slime Villain was another example of how Deku was contender of the Darwin Awards. Fuck, the kid didn’t even have his Quirk yet and he’d ran into a fire to try and save Katsuki. 

Even now he’s torn between disgust at having to be rescued, horror that it was a Quirkless idiot like Deku, and begrudging respect for Deku’s inability to give a fuck about just how stacked the odds were against him.

..honestly, Katsuki is kind of impressed that the dumbass lasted this long.  

Still, as he looked down at his phone -at that tiny little pop up message, he couldn’t help but feel uneasy.

You better not fucking die, dumbass.

.

 

.

 

.

 

Something was wrong.

Best Jeanist cut their patrol early halfway through it to lock himself in his office. Katsuki had no idea what the man was working on, but the lack of response and the sidekicks’ befuddlement around him was enough of an answer that something wasn’t quite right.

“Is the Commission calling him?” He overhears one of the sidekicks mutter to the secretary with the ghastly slicked down brown hair. 

“He’s not…” There’s more audible shuffling as she ducks down to look at her drawers. “N-not as far as I know…?” Her head pops back from under the desk, her brown curls bouncing from the brisk movement. Her brows were furrowed in befuddlement. “There’s nothing scheduled for him now…?”

Slam!

Katsuki jumps up slightly at the harsh sound, he turns in time to see the same sidekick who brought him over from the station come in flailing his arms like a maniac.

“Tsuma! Turn on the television, now! Channel five!” Bad Hair Day exclaimed in an urgent voice. “Something’s going down in Hosu!”

Hosu?

Wait.

Katsuki feels his heart make an uncomfortable lurch. Deku’s phone had pinged him from that fucking city -the same city the Hero Killer recently struck.

Fuck.  

The secretary -Tsuma, apparently- scrambles for something on her desk. Moments later the television suspended over their heads by the break area turns on. 

What Katsuki sees is a warzone.

Holy shit, he thought as he watches overhead footage of massive, strangely familiar creatures with empty eyes and exposed brains swatting away heroes like they were flies. 

It’s unmistakable what those things are.

The largest of the Nomu-like creatures was a hulking thing made of bulging muscles straining under black skin and red marks. It’s brain covered most of its face, leaving no place for eyes or a nose. It bore no lips either, just large square white teeth that gave it an underbite and further made it look like a Frankenstein monster rather than a human being.

The amount of smoke made it hard to see what was going on; the heroes on the ground were struggling to see, fighting against the environment as carelessly as they were trying to drive off the monsters. 

Then Endeavor rushed out of the smoke like a nightmare taking shape, landing a sickening punch to the largest creature’s side that send it skitting backwards, arm horribly twisted out of place. One of the sidekicks whooped at the sudden blaze of blue and the Nomu’s ensuing collapse. 

Katsuki just felt sickened.

The nausea turned into something cold when he sees his father grab the Nomu by the skull and incinerate the head into fine ash, blue flames swirling around his hands.

The nausea crawls up and down his throat. He has to actively fight the urge to throw up.

Endeavor disappears again in between the smoke and fires, the fierce orange-red of Hellfire nearly matching the color of the flames around him. The camera tries to keep track of him, but there was just too much chaos and smoke to track the Number Two Hero.

Katsuki stares emptily at the television emptily. The members of Best Jeanist’s agency were practically hanging at the edge of their seat, cheerfully talking amongst themselves about how easily Endeavor had dispatched the villain. He can barely hear them over the static in his head.

...wait, wasn’t Todoroki interning with the bastard?

Any previous emotion or train of thought was suddenly wiped away.

That meant he’s in Hosu. 

Where the Hero Killer is. 

.

 

.

 

.

When he spots on the television a clip of Todoroki, Glasses and Deku limping into an ambulance while the Hero Killer is dragged into another, Katsuki feels himself deflate like a balloon. 

Something familiar and liberating floods him, an emotion he recognizes but given the situation promptly tosses into the darkest corners of his mind.

Like hell he was relieved.

.

 

.

 

.

First thing he did once he was alone was call up Todoroki.

Fucker better be alive, he thinks sourly as he stabs the numbers into his phone and put it next to his left ear. Otherwise I’m gonna dig his shitty ass corpse out of his grave and hanging it as a banner over the Yuuei gate.

The wait while the phone rings is almost painful. He shifts where he sits on his hotel bed, fighting back the urge to fidget. Seconds pass by, too long and too quiet, the stringent sound of the phone’s ringing grating at his ears until-

“Hello?”

Oh look, Katsuki immediately thinks, his heart jolting at the sound of that tired but familiar voice. I won’t be jailed for grave desecration. Truly a blessed day.

“What the fuck happened.” He bites out instead of the much more explicit insults burning at the tip of his tongue.

There’s a pause. “I got into a fight with the Hero Killer.” Todoroki finally breathes out with that familiar flatness. There was something different though. For once, he sounded exhausted. No, weary. More so he’d ever heard the half and half bastard be. “It was challenging. Nearly lost my left arm.”

Katsuki chokes on his spit. It might have been heard through the phone, for he hears his half brother asking in alarm:

“Bakugo? Are you alright?” Todoroki almost sounded worried. Katsuki ignored it in favor of hissing into the phone like an aggravated snake.

“-what do you mean that you nearly lost your left arm?”

“The villain tried to amputate it to keep me from using Hellfire. Iida stopped him.”

“Thank fuck.” He blinks, realizing what he’d said. What the fuck. Scrambling, Katsuki says evenly. “-that would have been a bitch and a half for Yuuei to address.”

Todoroki doesn’t seem to pick up on this falter. He hums. “...yes, it would have.” There’s a pause. “I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to have said any of this to you.”

Katsuki frowns up at the ceiling. “How so?”

“The police chief told me not to.”

If he wasn’t lying down, he would have fallen over. Katsuki jerks up to sit on the bed, heart jolting in his chest. “Wait, what?!” He yells out, loud enough that his neighbor bangs once on the wall. “The Hosu police chief? The fuck, Todoroki? Aren’t you breaking the law telling me?”

“Yes.”

The bluntness of the response nearly has him in hysterics.

Oh my god, you fucking disaster. How the hell did you make it to fourteen?

The question, for once, lacked the furious bite he’s expecting in his head. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. 

Must be the exhaustion. These past few days with Jeanist were hell on earth.

Yeah, that.

He must have been silent for too long according to Todoroki’s taste, for the next thing he hears is a soft, questioning call of his name. “Bakugo?” 

“Just.” Katsuki breathes out through clenched teeth. “...don’t be a dumbass, idiot.”

He hears his younger brother let out a low chuckle. It doesn’t grate on his nerves as much as it should.

“Alright. Can I go to sleep now?”

Katsuki can only huff hauntily and end the call.

Fucking lunatic.

 

Chapter Text

“Huh, Todoroki?”

Shouto blinks away the last remains of sleep from his eyes. 

Slowly rolling onto his side, he looks at the occupant of the hospital bed next to his. The faint light of a rising sun coming from the veiled windows outlined Izuku Midoriya’s fluffy, bouncy green hair. The other boy was sitting in his bed, fiddling with the bandages around his injured foot as he waited for Shouto to react.

“...yes, Midoriya?”

The other boy seems to pick up on his sleepy tone, for he winces. “Oh, did I wake you?” Nonplussed, Shouto nods for it was the truth, somewhat. At this Midoriya grimaces sheepishly. “..I’m sorry, I thought you were already awake. Nevermind-” He shook his hands in front of him, apologetic. “Y-you should go back to sleep, your arm must-”

“No.” Todoroki cuts him off by sitting up on his bed, shuffling the covers to rest on his lap. Midoriya falls silent.“I’m awake. You can talk.”

The green haired boy blinks. “You were asle-”

Shouto shrugs. “I’m not asleep.”

“...but you were…”

“Midoriya.” Shouto interjects, because if there was one thing he’s been learned during the past two weeks since the Sports Festival while struggling with his new familial reality, is knowing how to interject and pick up on small clues about another’s behavior. Sure, Bakugo was a whole different ball than Midoriya, but he was the only thing Shouto had to work with. “What is it?”

There’s a soft sigh.

“I know -well, y-you don’t need to answer if you don’t want to, but…” Midoriya wrings his hands nervously. Shouto can’t help but look at the scars curled around his right hand. “-yesterday when you went to the bathroom, who were you talking to?”

Shouto blinks. Oh.

“Bakugo.”

Midoriya’s green eyes darkened. “...so you did exchange phone numbers…” At Shouto’s likely confused expression, Midoriya cleared his throat and clarified hastily. “I heard it from Sero. Did...did Kacchan say anything?”

What is he going for?

He knew Midoriya was naturally curious -that was the reason their fight turned out the way it did at the Festival, and more so the reason why they were in a hospital at the moment- but there was something nagging Shouto. Like there was something he should know, but wasn’t able to quite grasp at the moment. It’s frustrating, but he hides it behind a placid facade.

“He saw the news.” Shouto answered honestly. “-he also told me not to be a dumbass.”

“That sounds like Kacchan.” Midoriya does a tiny frown.

“Yes.”

The silence comes back. 

It’s odd, given Midoriya’s well known proficiency of talking about anything and everything. Shouto likes the silence usually. It’s nice and calming in its familiarity. After his mother was admitted, it had become a constant companion Shouto had learned to enjoy.

(It’s better than the crackle of flames and the loudness of a booming male voice calling for him to get up .)

But there was something about this particular silence that prevented him from relaxing on the bed and allowing his weary body to recover...and this was wholly due to the uneasy feeling sitting in his stomach at how Midoriya was acting.

The boy wasn’t saying anything, but the way he was looking at the floor with the slightest frown and dropped shoulders pulled at his heart. Now, Todoroki knew he wasn’t the best at noticing something was wrong, but he couldn’t let this slide.

“Is everything alright?”

"N-no! Everything’s fine, it’s just…” Midoriya looks away, hesitating. “-I’m surprised that Kacchan talks to you. Usually he’s...not the most social person.”

...oh.

Now that he thought about it, others might find it strange. Bakugo seemed more like someone who would prefer choking out a classmate than holding a civil conversation with them. It must be strange in Midoriya’s eyes to see such a deviation from the usual pattern.

Come to think of it, Bakugo going from outright ignoring his presence half the time to exchanging numbers with him must be whiplash for Midoriya.

For a moment, he considers opening his mouth and telling the other boy everything. It’s a thought that crosses his mind for a fraction of a second before it is thoroughly crushed by the belief -no, the knowledge- that if he did that, anything he was trying to build with Bakugo would fly right out the window.

It was clear that Bakugo and Midoriya’s history was charged, and as much as Shouto wanted to confide in his first friend, ask him for advice, he also knew doing so could irreparably damage his relationship with his half brother. In many ways Bakugo was like an easily startled buck, ready to bolt at the slightest hint of danger but just as much capable and willing to charge forward to fight off said threat.

Regardless if he ended up harming himself in the process. 

“You’re right. He doesn’t like talking with…” Anyone. Todoroki swallows. “-people. But I think I’m learning.”

At first, Midoriya is quiet. 

“...can we trade notes then?” The other boy finally pipes up. Todoroki frowns.

Trade notes? 

What could he possibly mean by that? The confusion on his face seemed to register in Midoriya, for he ducks his head sheepishly and reiterates:

“I’ll be honest, I’m really, really surprised how easily you two kicked it off.” The other boy looks away. Shouto finds himself following his gaze, eyes landing on Iida’s still form across from them. 

Their class principal was deeply asleep, faint snores coming from the taller teenager.  It’s strange, but the sight of Iida asleep and breathing calms something in Todoroki. It cements the fact they survived that nightmarish night -that they would live to see another day and hopefully, learn from their mistakes.

“It’s almost unbelievable.” Midoriya says quietly from his bed. “Kacchan never really connected with anyone.”

The curly haired boy turns his gaze back to him, green eyes filled with something heavy that takes little time for Todoroki to recognize.

Longing.

Midoriya and Bakugo grew up together, Shouto remembers in a flash. If anyone knows who Bakugo Katsuki was as a person beneath all that anger and distrust, it would be him.

That knowledge doesn’t bring him any joy however, not with Midoriya’s words rattling around his brain.

‘Kacchan never really connected with anyone.’

...had Bakugo been alone just like, all of this time?

“I thought you two were friends.” Shouto finds himself asking.

The look in Midoriya’s eyes was one of conflict and old pain. He curls up on himself a bit, falling over to lay the side of his face against his pillow. 

“Maybe, when we were kids. After...after his Quirk manifested, he became different.” The other boy admits quietly.

He fiddles with his bandages and swallows. Shouto waits quietly, a hole in his chest grew bigger and bigger the longer the silence stretched. There something gnawing at him that he doesn’t like, a creeping realization that slides up his spine like the cold of a chilly winter night.

“Looking back, he was always chaotic as a kid. But after his Quirk, he just grew...angry?” Midoriya frowns. His eyelids are dropping, like he’s struggling to stay awake. “Frustrated. Just...different. I think it was because he had a Quirk and I ...didn't.”

Shouto’s stomach lurched.

‘I think it was because he had a Quirk and I...didn’t.’

Midoriya had a theory of what could have caused this change...but Shouto had the faintest idea that he was the one who had the answer.

Could their father’s actions been the reason? Could Endeavor had driven Bakugo down a dark path just like he did to Shouto?

No, it was different. Todoroki’s life before Yuuei had been tall walls, training, siblings that tiptoed around him and their father and nursing wounds accumulated from said parent on his own in his room. 

Bakugo was allowed out on his own, as far as he knew. He was much more independent. He had the chance to go to school with other kids. He had a life outside of the walls of his home, outside of training and Yuuei and the expectations of becoming a hero.

And yet, Shouto felt he was missing something.

Suddenly a thought struck him.

What about his mother?

Todoroki feels a cold chill run down his spine. He….he hadn’t even considered that. Who was Bakugo’s mother? Had she remarried? How was she as a person?

(How did she treat his brother?)

Shouto looks back to Midoriya, a question burning at the tip of his lips. “Midoriya, may I ask if you kno-”

Instead of the boy staring at him with those ever curious green eyes, Shouto finds that his friend had fallen asleep on the bed, face smushed into the pillow and curly green hair flopping over his eyes.

….he’ll have to talk to Bakugo about this directly, then. 

There was a lot to think about, and more so that Shouto could not even begin to comprehend. His thoughts were a clumsy storm of ideas and possibilities that had him pinching the brow of his nose in order to stave off an oncoming headache.

The middle of the night was no time for this. Tomorrow they had to go home early, and Shouto was not looking forward to seeing the old bastard again. Endeavor had left him mostly alone, too busy angrily soaking up the fame that came with ‘stopping’ the Hero Killer and while that made him burn with repressed rage, it was also a relief.

He would not have to deal with the man anytime soon. Hopefully until after classes picked up again.

Sighing, Shouto let himself drop against his bed. The hospital mattress barely moved under him, firm and almost uncomfortable. For his weary body however, it was enough. He’d sleep in worse places during his youth.

This was nothing.

However…

The more he stared up at the ceiling, the more his mind was made up.

Because after all of this, all of this semester , Shouto was certain of one sole thing.

That this really wasn’t how he was expecting his first year at Yuuei to be, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

.

 

.

 

.

“Stay still.”

“Stop molesting me then!”

One of the sidekicks chokes on their coffee. It flies everywhere.

Die, Katsuki thinks as he watches the secretary scramble from her work to help the man to clean up the mess on his desk.

Best Jeanist’s hands pause on his hair, faltering as they watch one of his employees splutter and let out coffee from his nose. The Pro-Hero’s long suffering sigh was a balm to Katsuki’s soul. Good. Here’s hoping the bastard suffered as much as he did.

“Please do mind your language, Bakugo.” The man tells him, cordial despite the mess he’d just caused. “Your words matter as much as your actions. A Pro-Hero must be stand strong, but you also need to be polite.

Katsuki goes still, glaring at the floor. He really, really tries to ignore the fact he thought he saw a small smirk on the man’s lips.

Fucker had no right to look amused at Katsuki’s latest attempt at committing manslaughter.

The hands resume work on his scalp, slowly forming that horrible side fringe that has Katsuki’s blood quietly boiling. No matter how many times the nitroglycerin on his scalp goes off every day, somehow Best Jeanist manages to take the time out of his day to guide Katsuki to that hated chair and work his hair back into submission.

The first few times were the worst experiences in Katsuki’s life, save for that day and the Sludge villain. He fucking hated people touching him. Kirishima’s claps on his back and sudden half-hugs were mostly tolerated through a combination of will and him and Mina being just the absolute worst at understanding the no touching rule.

Best Jeanist was no different. 

Thankfully overtime that prickling, terrifying feeling in his chest had eased, and he could breathe easier. Even more, Jeanist’s touch threw him for a loop with how careful the man was. 

It didn’t stop Katsuki from attempting to slip salt into his coffee when the man wasn’t looking, though.

Best Jeanist quickly learned not to trust him with any sort of beverage or food for himself. Which was unfortunate, the fun was just fucking starting.

But the week’s ending in a few hours, a tiny voice pipes in his head as Best Jeanist proceeds to attack his spiky blond mane with a thin black hairbrush. For how light his hair was, it stood no match against the combined brush and oils Best Jeanist was using. Soon you’ll be back to Yuuei and in that shithole with the bitch.

Something dark and heavy settles in his gut.

Best Jeanist seems to sense something from him, for he suddenly speaks up:

“As much as you seem to think otherwise, I am not your enemy Bakugo.” 

Yeah, right. Katsuki snorts lowly, not loud enough to sound obnoxious but neither quietly enough that the Pro-Hero didn’t hear it. 

Nevertheless, from the corner of his eye he sees that Best Jeanist appears unfazed by his reaction. “Through the week I’ve been trying to instill in you the manners and responsibilities that come with being a Pro-Hero. I hope you got something out of this work experience.”

Katsuki knows better than to talk. He just stares flatly at Best Jeanist from the corner of his eye, unimpressed.

Contrary to what people believed, Katsuki could do quiet. 

He could do it really, really well. The goddamn king of passive aggressive , if his mother’s rantings had anything to say. Living with the bitch had gifted him with the skills needed to make his resentment known without needing to scream and shout at people.

For all Mitsuki had to complain about it, this was really her fault. Clearly Endeavor didn’t do that shit, so that came from her. He got the best from both of his parents, ha! 

Best Jeanist clearing his throat snaps him back to attention.

“As a ranked Hero, you will constantly be in the media spotlight. The whole of Japan will be looking at you, every day, waiting to find something to pick on.” The man’s lips twisted into a wry smile.  “Sometimes, maintaining your role as a public figure will be as every bit as difficult and draining as the very villains you will fight.”

It shouldn’t fucking be, Katsuki thinks sourly.

“The line between villain and hero is a blurred thing. Society has no issue shuffling those who don’t fall in the mold back and forth depending on the will of the public.”

Something sour grows in his throat. 

Katsuki doesn’t speak as a hand landed on his shoulder, the gentle, careful pressure just enough to be felt. Somehow, Katsuki doesn’t feel the instinctive urge to shove it off like he’s always done throughout the week.

It’s strange.

It’s...odd.

...but not entirely unwelcome.

The brush suddenly pulls away from his scalp. Katsuki feels a mixture of relief and something else. Guess the man was done?

“Please do remember what I’ve taught you.” Or tried to. It’s unspoken but it’s clear for Katsuki in the way Best Jeanist’s stare seems to be a thousand miles away. 

Katsuki finds himself glaring halfheartedly at his feet. 

“...sure.”

Surprisingly, Best Jeanist takes his answer as is and steps away. Katsuki hops off the chair warily, looking at the Pro Hero place the brush back on the cosmetic table in silence.

“Now let’s go. We have one last patrol to fulfill.”

 

Chapter Text

The next day is the end of the week . He heads for the train station.

To Katsuki’s complete and utter surprise Best Jeanist decides to tag along, inserting himself in the middle of Katsuki’s frantic attempts at batting away Bad Hair Day because like fuck he was going through the humiliation of walking next to a man who had no idea what a decent hairstyle meant, let alone look like.

Instead of that, Katsuki finds himself standing in Best Jeanist’s shadow as the man checks the train schedule for the third time. Both of them are silent, and Katsuki for once finds he doesn’t want to break this bubble of quiet -namely, for how odd this all was.

He’s fifteen, he can do this on his own. Sure Aizawa had done a last minute check but that was because the underground hero was a paranoid mess. One fuck up on their part and a student would end up halfway across Japan and very much late to their first meeting with their chosen Pro-Hero -thus hurting Yuuei’s image and likely getting Aizawa yelled at by Nedzu.

Would Nedzu even yell? He didn’t seem like the type with that demeanor, in his opinion. 

Bottom line was, there was no need for Jeanist to be here, Katsuki can do all of this himself. 

The bitch had made sure that Katsuki was independent and self sufficient early on, and even though her methods were more of throwing him into the deep end and walking off without checking if he’s sinking, Katsuki thinks he managed pretty well so far.

Which makes this all the more off-putting.

“Your train departs in twenty minutes.” Best Jeanist’s ever composed voice drags him out of his thoughts. “Do you have everything?”

Turning his head to look up to the man, Katsuki offers him a flat, unimpressed stare. “Yes.”

What did he think I was, a kid?

Unruffled by the uninterested reply, Best Jeanist nods and hands over the schedule to him. Katsuki takes it without fuss.

“This is it.” Jeanists says in that ever collected voice that had, for the better half of the week, driven Katsuki up the wall. Not anymore though, strangely enough. “Your train is leaving in twenty minutes.

“Thanks.” Katsuki responds and surprisingly enough, finds himself meaning it. “Guess I should go now.” He continues gruffly, shifting on his feet.

The space between the two of them should be awkward. 

It isn’t.

Ignoring that thought as best as he could, Katsuki shoves the sling of his back further up his shoulder. He considers turning around and just walking off to his train, but the way Jeanist seemed to be patiently waiting after him had something inside Katsuki planting its feet and refuting this option entirely.

“Goodbye.” Katsuki finally manages to hack out. It feels wrong on his lips, but he pushes through it. “...and huh, thanks for the week.”

Well that sounded just dumb.

Katsuki dares to look up at the hero. He can’t see Jeanist’ mouth, but there’s an upward crinkles in his eyes that had something vaguely warm flipping in Katsuki’s gut.

“Good luck to you, Revolt.”

.

 

.

 

.

It’s odd how that single, tiny little phrase floats at the back of his mind as he sits quietly in the train carriage, on his way back to Musustafu.

‘Good luck to you, Revolt.’

Katsuki feels uneasy...or at least he hopes its unease, at the memory. Those words even from one of the top tier heroes shouldn’t affect him as much as they did.

For all intents and purposes, this week was not what he expected. Then again the whole semester had been an utter shitshow so guessing the future was apparently not one of his skills. Life seemed really fucking fickle and things could go sideways more and more easily as time went on.

….time. 

Huh.

Maybe that was that.

Maybe he would have needed more time to figure this out. 

For them to figure each other out. The last few days, Jeanist had been different. Less overbearing, more careful in his approach of Katsuki -something that was a first, to be honest. From anyone. He himself had been different the last few days in response. Softer? He’s not sure how to describe it.

It almost felt like they had finally started meeting each other halfway.

Doesn’t matter, he thinks as he gazes out the window, watching the sunset over the countryside. The grass was almost bronze from the weakening sunlight, and the sky was bathed in blues and oranges. It’s done with. I’ll probably won’t see him again. Time’s over now.

It’s unsettling how disliking of that notion Katsuki felt. He tries to ignore it, focusing instead on the countryside flying by. Even the whispers from the other passengers, their wayward glances and shifting bodies were forgotten.

Katsuki’s eyelids lower halfway down, and he leans further against the window, tucking his chin on his crossed arms. His legs folded against his chest, closer now. 

Distantly, he’s aware that he is still wearing the jeans the older man had gifted him.

.

 

.

 

.

There’s no one waiting for him at the train station when he arrives.

Katsuki doesn’t even bother calling. He takes the bus home, using his monthly pass to avoid having to pay for a taxi. When he gets home, she’s already on her way out again.

It might be a week long modelling gig, a vacation, a meeting -Katsuki does not care, and he is certain that she does not care either. Hopefully she would leave for the entire week, or the next two weeks if he was really lucky. Katsuki wasn’t that hopeful though. He learned quickly not to be.

His mother pauses in the main hall of the house, suitcase in hand and designer bag slung over her side. She’s all dolled up, hair pulled back in a stylishly messy bun. Her eyes meet with his own.

“Katsuki.”

Not a greeting. Just a statement.

Katsuki closes the front door behind him slowly.

Any sort of positive energy he’d previously felt was gone. Katsuki feels his skin pickling, his body tension and untensing. 

He feels the weight of his phone more than ever in his pocket. There was no doubt in his mind that if she knew about the number, his mother would demand it right away with a susuring voice and a sly smirk.

“You’re early.”

“Traffic.” He replies, flatly and with as much disinterest as her because they both knew he did not care to talk to her. They might as well be strangers living in the same house. “You’re leaving.”

Mitsuki shrugged. Nonchalant and uncaring.  Yeah, he’d definitely gotten his passive aggressiveness from her.

“Alright then.” Katsuki choses to say, tightening his grip on his suitcase and walking forward. Better store this and get settled, school started tomorrow and Katsuki was not looking forward to that particular brand of hell. “See you, hag.” He says dismissively, walking past her.

It’s a testament to how relaxed he’s become the past week that he doesn’t see the blow coming.

His mother’s closed fist connects with the side of his head. Pain flares out as he stumbles, choked down cry fighting its way through clenched lips as he crashes into the wall and slides to the floor, disoriented. Katsuki lays in a heap, black spots dancing in front of his eyes.

He looks up at his mother. She’s picking at her nails, no doubt checking if she’d broken them. Katsuki had no doubt she would kick him while he was down if they were. She’d done it before.

After a tense moment, her arm drops at her side and she gives him a small, sickly sweet smile.

“Don’t stay up late, Katsuki.”

He knows better than to say anything. To yell, cry to ask why -he’d long learned as a young child how her fits of violence were erratic and never really something he could expect.

(When he’d been younger and not used to the loneliness, he’d tried placating her. 

Baking her foods specific to her diet and cleaning up the house and keeping an eye out for modelling gigs and always being of services. Desperate and starved for scraps of attention after Endeavor dropped him until that day his mother had smacked him for forgetting to follow her strict dieting plan when he’d cooked supper and right there and then, his want to connect with her -with anyone- and crumbled and shattered into dust.)

Shoulders dropping, he leans back against the wall and closes his eyes, waiting for the blurriness to fade on its own. Distantly, Katsuki hears the front door open and shut. She was gone.

He was alone.

“Welcome home.” Katsuki mutters under his breath, feeling hysterically giddy at the cruel irony that the world had slapped him with.

The lavish, empty house had nothing to offer in response.

.

 

.

 

.

His hair was still flat.

It was still fucking flat.

He stomps his way to his classroom, silently fuming. A few students notice and recognize him along the way, but they’re not in his class so it lessens some of the irritation currently threatening to sweep him away. Most were sensing his murderous intent and stayed well out of the way.

Okay.

That he could deal with. 

It was familiar. Their scurrying helped quell some of the rage stewing deep in his guts. It not unfamiliar anger, it’s old, almost as old as Katsuki. Anger that had cooled and dimmed during his week with Jeanist only to rise up bubbling and hissing after his mother’s loving goodbye yesterday.

At least it didn’t leave much of a mark. Katsuki had been running low on concealer.

He stops in front of his class door. It’s open. Great. He fights the urge to turn around and walk away because skipping the first class after a week was not a choice he was willing to do. Especially if it meant facing Aizawa’s wrath. For someone who slept half the day, he was really strict about scheduling.

Taking a deep breath, Katsuki steps inside.

Every head snaps his way. Nearly half the class was already at their seats.

The reaction is immediate. Sero chortles and falls over. Mina makes a deflating noise like a popped balloon and sinks down on her chair like one. Kirishima’s face contorts into a variety of strange expressions Katsuki can’t even begin to describe, and his face looks as red as his shit hair.

Thankfully the other students that weren’t part of his circle of sentient barnacles acted with a little more respect and dignity. Yaotorozou simply looks away to her school book; Jirou makes a nod of sympathy and then returns to listening to her music. Mineta knows better than to open his little shit mouth and simply chuckles into his palm instead of letting out hysterical hyena laughter like Kaminari was doing.

Speaking of which…

“Oh bloody fuck, shut up already!” Katsuki roars at the other blond. 

Kaminari does a hiccuped sound in between bouts of laughter.

“You look ridiculous!” He wheezes, arm around his midsection. “I mean loooook-!” Anything else he says devolves into more laughter, which Seros goings. Mina just giggles hysterically from her seat, banging her fist against the desk as she rests her head on it. Her shoulders are shaking.

Katsuki fucking hopes she’s choking on her own spit.

“It looks n-nice!” Kirishima grins, but it’s as weak as his attempt at placating him. Katsuki glares, embarrassment flooding his cheeks red. 

Kaminari lets out a high-pitched wheeze that wouldn’t, in Katsuki’s opinion, sound out of place coming out of a seagull choking on a hot dog.

“He looks like a banker’s squirrelly little son!”

Wait, what? Oh that motherfuck- Katsuki feels his face become even redder. He must look like a tomato right now, and that mental image was not helping him feel less murderous. Embarrassment turns into rage at the seemingly inconspicuous remark. 

At his sides, nitroglycerin pops almost uncontrollably in his palms.

Realizing he’d touched a nerve, Kaminari whimpers when he takes a step forward, and from the corner of his vision he sees Kirishima move forward to block his way. Katsuki was well prepared to leap over the redhead to get at the other blonde, and he readied himself so as he stalks towards his terrified prey. 

Before he can reach out and throttle the little shit, a familiar voice rings out behind him:

“Bakugo.”

Immediately, all anger evaporates. It’s like a switch had gone off -suddenly Katsuki’s attention shifts, anger fracturing and falling away to something still furious but mildly so as he turns to the source of the calm, collected voice.

It’s Todoroki. He standings a mere feet or so away from him, hands at his side and backpack still strapped to his back. Katsuki spies Deku peeking out from behind Todoroki. The nerd looks at Katsuki’s hair, reddens, then looks away, likely realizing how much of a mistake talking about the horror show Jeanist had turned his hair into would be, especially for Deku.

Todoroki hums, softly so. It’s enough for Katsuki to ignore Deku’s curious eyes and strange expressions and focus on the taller boy. Scowling, he glares at his half brother. 

“What?”

“You got a haircut.”

“Fucking yes.” He hisses, crossing his arms defensively. Katsuki’s not certain why he should be explaining himself to his half brother of all people, but the words leave his mouth anyways. “Jeanist put that shit on me.”

Todoroki squints almost imperceptibly, absorbing that information. The silence is almost suffocating. Then he opens his stupid mouth and deadpans in the same tone one would contemplate the weather:

“It looks horrible.”

Katsuki freezes. The distant class murmurs that he’d only been half paying attention to suddenly stop. Someone makes a wheezing sound. Kaminari stopped his hyena impersonation.

Even Ashido’s mad giggling had stopped.

Katsuki stares at the tall bastard. He blinks once, twice, mind slowly cobbling together what was uttered -and when it does he bristles, a low, angry growl steadily rising up his throat because he’s already got enough shit on his plate and how dare the little shit say that, did he see his own hair?! It looked like someone dropped a bucket of bleach on half of his head!

He takes a step forward, then the next, nearly chest to chest with a utterly unbothered Todoroki and yeah, it was the shitty unconcerned expression like he was fully expecting Katsuki not to punch him that really made his blood boil.

“Oi, you shitty motherfuc-”

There’s a pair of hands on his head. 

Katsuki freezes, and that’s all he gets to say before a wave of mild heat washes over his skull. He squeezes his eyes shut reflexively, body locking in place instead of lashing out right away. He hears a quiet, hissing sound, and feels Todoroki’s long, slender fingers gliding over his flat hair gently. Digging into scalp, gently pressing against his skin in a way that had Katsuki’s mind spluttering. Even his hands failed to rise up to rip off the taller boy’s touch hovering halfway up.

It almost feels...nice. Like when Jeanist touched his hair.

(He guessed that’s why he didn’t smack Todoroki off right away.)

Wait, what was he doing? Katsuki’s mind is slow to move, slurred and placated by this unexpected comfort. The warm heat was odd. Wait. Todoroki was using his Quirk to ...to…

Wait a minute. He’s making steam. That means-

Todoroki pulls away, letting his hands drop to his sides. “Better?” He asks with that ever infuriating flat voice.

Katsuki reaches up to touch his hair. It’s light and fluffy again, spikes standing straight up, liberated from their prison. If he had to guess, they felt like they had been blow dried. He’ll have to check himself out in a mirror to assess how messy it looked, but it already felt and he guessed looked marginally better than the flat atrocity Jeanist had made out of them for the past week.

“...better?” Todoroki’s voice repeating his question dragged him out of his musing.

He blinks, eyes shifting down to look at the younger boy. Todoroki’s expression was softer than usual, a tiny shift in his mismatches eyes that Katsuki wouldn’t pick up on if he hadn’t spent most of the semester glaring at his nigh perfect poker face.

If anything, he looked kind of hopeful.

It makes him feel even more aware of the state of the room. The class was quiet. Dead quiet. Not a murmur, not a laugh in sight. They’re all staring -Kirishima especially, with an expression Katsuki doesn’t recognize. It’s darker than he’d come to expect from the usually airhead of a classmate. Something torn between confusion and melancholy.

Another thing he’s not sure about.

“...yeah.” Katsuki finally murmurs after a moment

Todoroki’s eyes proceed to narrow slightly, an upward crinkling that was definitely not a not-smile.

“Good.”

With that, the asshole turns his back to him and goes to his desk. Leaving Katsuki staring, feeling slightly lost, at his retreating back.

What the fuck.

Even Deku seemed lost, the nerd’s green eyes trailing after Todoroki like a helpless puppy. Katsuki watches him none too discreetly, for Deku’s attention shifts to him. He bristles internally, embarrassed at having been caught staring.

Deku opens his mouth, closes it, then opens it again, that annoying hopeful glint in his eyes sending Katsuki’s insides twisting with a mixture of old anger and frustration.

“Kacchan-”

Just as Katsuki debates what to do next -go to his seat or disregard that silent promise of ignoring Deku for the rest of the foreseeable future in favor of shutting the nerd up before he can finish his sentence- there’s a loud thud that brings his attention to the class door, alongside every other person in the class.

A familiar disheveled man was standing at the doorway, hands tucked into pockets and unbandaged face set in a disinterested scowl.

Their teacher freezes upon opening the door, taking in the scene. Aizawa takes a look at him, at the entire class and then his expression somehow grows even flatter and done with all of them.

...even though it is the first time their teacher had seen them in a week.

“Get to your seats. Now.”

Well, at least some things stayed the same.