Katsuki Bakugo woke as most normal people do: with a hand-sized Izuku Midoriya jumping up and down on his chest.
“Kacchan, Kacchan! It’s time to wake up, it’s time to wake up!”
No, on second thought, he supposed most people didn’t wake like this. He didn’t used to, either. A year ago he woke up every morning to an alarm. You know, the normal fucking way. But then the first Deku had appeared. And then the second. And the third.
Fuck, he missed his alarm.
The tiny figure finally shut up but he could feel its little feet scampering across his chest toward his face. Bakugo held back the frown that tugged on the edges of his mouth in order to pretend, if only for a second longer, that he was still asleep and dreaming. Fuck, why couldn’t this be a dream? He didn’t have to open his eyes to know exactly what the tiny figure—now prodding at his cheeks with both of his impossibly small hands—looked like.
He called this Deku “Ganbatte.” The tiny man was always dressed in their school uniform, a perfect clone of the actual Izuku Midoriya he’d see in a couple hours in the desk behind him. The only difference was the white headband on his forehead with the words “fighting spirit” written in black kanji on either side of a red circle. Katsuki had never seen the real Deku wear a hachimaki but Ganbatte lived up to the words on his head. He was a constant pain in Katsuki’s side; waking him up, cheering him on during both training and studying, anything that needed motivation: Ganbatte was there. What he would give to have this puny thing shut up.
“You have to wake up now if you want to train before classes!”
Yup, Ganbatte was persistent.
Just like the real Deku.
With a sigh, Katsuki lifted himself up into a seated position, eyes still closed. Ganbatte yelped as he slid down his chest and gave out a loud, “oof!” as he landed in a lump on the mattress beside Katsuki’s right hand.
“I’m up, I’m up.”
Ganbatte gave out a small cheer as Katsuki tore the dark comforter off his body and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. He stood in one fluid motion, his eyes finally opening but focused ahead with practiced purpose. He made it to his small bathroom in three long strides, far too quickly for little Ganbatte to keep up on his short, stubby legs. In fact, Katsuki made sure he got the door shut well before the miniature Deku could reach the threshold.
Katsuki didn’t need to see the small clone to know he was disappointed not to have made it inside in time. Katsuki also didn’t really care.
Finally! Some peace and quiet. Unfortunately, Katsuki didn’t have an excuse to spend extra time in the bathroom. With a workout still ahead of him, he only had to use the toilet and brush his teeth before he’d have to go back outside to Ganbatte—and probably the others.
Toothbrush still in his mouth, Katsuki groaned and leaned his forehead against the cool glass of the mirror in front of him. Fuck, was he exhausted. Not physically; he kept up with his sleep schedule and diet perfectly. But mentally? Living with five tiny Dekus was hell on earth. Especially considering why the little monsters metaphorically and literally hung on his shoulders and other limbs like tiny weights.
“Kacchan, awe you awight?”
Katsuki slowly let out his breath through his nostrils and pushed away from the mirror. His red eyes turned downward to look at the especially small Deku that sat on the edge of his sink, staring back up at him with wide green eyes. He removed his toothbrush and spit out the gunk in his mouth before he answered.
“I’m fine, Brat,” Katsuki replied, his voice softer than usual.
Brat still looked at him with confusion painted comically on his face. The toddler version of Deku was the most recent addition to the group and Katsuki wasn’t quite as annoyed with him as he was with the others because of that. At least, that’s what he told himself to explain why he felt the need to be a little more kind to this version of Deku. The tiny extra always looked so worried about Katsuki, who could blame the blond for trying to keep the little thing calm?
The last thing he needed was the waterworks. All of the Dekus were damn cry babies.
Since Brat didn’t look convinced, Katsuki forced himself to smile. Nothing too big or showy that would come off as fake, just a tiny upturning of the left side of his lip to give a crooked grin.
Brat liked that. His wide eyes shined and his smile was ten times wider than Katsuki’s. He lifted his arms up in the air and Katsuki rolled his eyes. With his left hand, he scooped up the small figure before using his right hand to turn on the facet. He rinsed out his mouth and the toothbrush with one hand before turning off the water. When he stood up straight, he put the tiny Deku on his left shoulder and walked toward the door.
Katsuki was careful to not step on Ganbatte where he waited outside the bathroom. He grabbed his work out clothes and set Brat down next to Ganbatte to get dressed. At least the annoying things had the common decency to cover their eyes as he changed. Thank All Might that Deku wasn’t a pervert; the hell would he do if he had a mini Mineta watching him all the time?
The thought made him shiver.
Once completely dressed in sweats and a hoodie, he headed to the door. He paused when he heard tiny footsteps behind him.
“Stay!” He pointed a stern finger at the two Deku clones. Brat plopped down on the floor and Ganbatte raised a tiny fist into the air.
“Do your best!”
Katsuki rolled his eyes but his chest felt warm. Maybe he was wearing too many layers.
He’d made it half-way through his morning jog in peace before he heard that annoying voice in his ear.
“Kacchan, you need to adjust your stride slightly. Your pace is too fast and you’re going to be tired for class later if you push yourself too hard now.”
The figure that looked just like a middle-school aged Deku, black gakuran and all, adjusted itself into a sitting position on his right shoulder as it slung its yellow bookbag into his lap; Katsuki could barely see him in the peripherals of his vision.
“You’re definitely able to run faster, but if you don’t adjust your pace slowly, you could injure yourself or require an extra rest day. Maybe if we got you one of those watches that monitors your heart-rate and steps we can better keep track of your workouts. We can also monitor your caloric expenditure and intake to adjust your diet properly. And then we could—”
“Stop muttering in my ear while I’m running, Nerd, or I swear that I’ll punt you so far it’ll take you a full week to get back to me.”
“Eek!” Nerd squeaked as he lifted up the miniature notebook he’d been writing in to cover his small face. “Sorry, Kacchan!”
Katsuki grunted as he tried to focus back on the act of running, but now he couldn’t ignore Nerd’s presence. To be honest, his threat had no backing. Apparently the Dekus could show up whenever they wanted, wherever they wanted. It wasn’t uncommon for one to materialize on his shoulder or head with no warning. Katsuki wouldn’t even know it was there until they spoke. It was almost as if they didn’t exist until he acknowledged them, at which point he could see them and hear them and even feel their weight.
He supposed that was true in a sense. Katsuki wasn’t even sure they did actually exist outside of his consciousness. No one else could see them. (Shitty Hair had looked at him like he was nuts the one and only time he dared to ask about the things in a fit of frustration.) He couldn’t control them or make them stop appearing. At first, Katsuki thought he’d been affected by some quirk during his internship, but he’d ruled that out. Most quirks didn’t last this long and he couldn’t find any record of a registered quirk that was similar to this.
Next, he assumed he was losing his mind. Jury was still out on that one. He sure hoped he was sane...but the tiny invisible men that looked like his rival didn’t make him feel too sure about that.
He’d only found one other explanation and it wasn’t a great one. Actually, he preferred being insane.
After scouring the internet for weeks, he found this old wives’ tale. Something about how if you thought about a person enough, cared about them enough, you could conjure up their likeness anywhere you went. The stories shared on the page said they experienced this in all kinds of forms. Some people heard the lover’s voices in their ear, others saw glimpses of them when their loved one was far away from home. Some stories were more extreme than others. People danced or had full conversations with the apparitions that were invisible to other people. It sounded like nothing but ghost stories.
Worse yet, none of them sounded like what Katsuki experienced.
Except for one.
Buried deep in one chat room was a detailed post by some person named “SuperMightyMan715” that described exactly what was happening to him. Katsuki had read and reread the post so many times, he practically had it memorized by now. “Small figures,” “no taller than a mechanical pencil,” “invisible to everyone else,” “more keep appearing,” “appear and reappear randomly,” “they look just like my crush.”
Katsuki took off sprinting.
“Ah! Kacchan! Not so fast!” Nerd dug his small hands into the fabric of his hoodie, holding on for dear life.
Still, Katsuki only stopped running once he made it back to the dorms. His breath came out in puffs of smoke in the cool air and his chest burned from exertion. He leaned forward, resting his hands on his bent knees as he tried to catch his breath. Yeah, he definitely preferred being insane over believing that post was true.
Because if that damn thing was right, then Katsuki was seeing all these miniature Dekus because he lo—cared about the real nerd so much that he was manifesting these things that were meant to represent different qualities he lo—liked about his rival. And the only fucking way to make them disappear was to admit his damn feelings or get over them.
Getting ready for classes was thankfully peaceful and uneventful, a blessing and rarity nowadays. He couldn’t tell you how many times he exited his bathroom to pure chaos courtesy of his annoying imaginary roommates.
Only, Katsuki spoke too soon.
“But I wanna be a hewo!” Brat cried at the top of his lungs not even five minutes after walking into class and taking his seat. Four Dekus currently stood on his desk and Katsuki could only watch the drama unfold.
“I’m sorry, Izuku,” Sports, his nickname for the miniature Deku that wore their school training uniform and thus looked very much like Izuku did during their Sports Festivals, tried to calm Brat down. “But there’s already a hero Deku and Kacchan wants you to be in this form so you’ll stay young forever.”
“But only gwownups are hewos!” The toddler cried again.
“It’s okay Izuku!” Ganbatte took a seat next to the weeping figure. “You can be a hero if you want to be! You can do it!”
“No! Izuku, you aren’t helping! You can’t just lie to him!”
“Izuku is right,” Nerd spoke up even though he didn’t lift his face from his notebook. “Technically speaking, none of us are aging and thus Izuku will always be toddler age and quirkless and unlike you two who have a quirk, he and I would have to train significantly harder to save someone, unless it’s by pure luck. And all of that is unlikely because of Izuku’s extra small form and the fact that he’s a child and—”
“That’s not helping either!”
Brat cried harder at that and Sports looked frantic. Katsuki, on the other hand, looked like he was going to kill something. He so desperately wanted to tell them all to shut up. Only problem: he was in class, meaning he was surrounded by classmates who could neither see nor hear the commotion occurring on his desk. If he said something now, they’d all think he was nuts.
The worst part was, this was a regular thing. Sure, all the mini Dekus were Deku, but they each seemed to embody only one aspect of Izuku’s personality. Ganbatte was determined and driven but because of that he never saw the big picture. Brat was especially caring and in tune with Katsuki’s emotional state but also extremely emotional himself. Nerd was analytical and perceptive to the point of awe, but seemed oblivious as to how that could annoy the people around him. And Sports was unafraid to call out the others, especially if he thought it would make them better, but he seemed shocked every time that made one of the other Dekus upset.
It was a hell of a mess and Katsuki fucking hated it.
“Would you all shut up?” He hissed under his breath when he couldn’t take it any longer. They all fell quiet.
“Did you say something, Kacchan?”
Katsuki tensed as his eyes flicked upwards at the real Deku who looked nervously down at him. He’d apparently just entered the room, his fingers gripping at the straps of his backpack and bottom lip tugged under his front teeth. Of course, he’d be passing by right when Katsuki spoke up.
“I wasn’t talking to you, damn Deku.”
Izuku flushed bright red and Katsuki hated that the first thought in his head was, “cute!” What the fuck was wrong with him?
“Sorry!” Izuku scurried past him, his chair scratching as it was pulled away from the desk behind Katsuki.
The blond closed his eyes, clenched his fists, and began to count backwards from ten.
“It’s okay, Kacchan! I’m sure he didn’t think anything of it.”
Despite himself, Katsuki opened his eyes to glance down at the new Deku on his desk. The others had all disappeared leaving only Deku casually leaning against his right fist. This clone was the only one he called Deku, mainly because he’d been the first and only for a while, before the others began appearing and Katsuki realized he needed new names to distinguish them.
To be honest, he didn’t know what else to name this Deku either.
Unlike the other Dekus, this one looked the least like Deku of the bunch. If it weren’t for the figure’s green hair, green eyes, and that damn green spandex that was a sorry excuse of a hero outfit, Katsuki didn’t know if he’d recognized it as Izuku. Deku was too muscular, large despite being small in stature. He had a strong chin and slightly less chubby cheeks still smattered with freckles. But what really made him unrecognizable was his demeanor.
Deku appeared and talked to Katsuki as if he was meant to be there. He had been unaffected by Katsuki’s angry demands for answers or screams to go away in the beginning. He didn’t blink at threats or try to talk Katsuki down. He just smiled; smiled so wide and so large that he seemed to embody enough confidence that Katsuki tended to back off.
It took a long time to figure Deku out and, in the end, this was still his least favorite of the bunch. Because if the others all represented characteristics of Deku as he was or had been, this figure represented the man Deku could become.
And the real Deku got a little bit closer to this small Deku every day.
“Class is starting, Kacchan,” Deku said with a sly smile, as if he knew exactly what Katsuki was thinking. “You better pay attention if you want to stay ahead of Izuku.”
“You’re still only number three in the class.” Katsuki mumbled under his breath, so quiet no one could hear him. Except for fake Deku.
“Yes, but Izuku just beat Iida in class academics. That’s pretty huge.”
“Whatever, I could beat Deku any day.”
“You have something to share with the class, Bakugo?”
Katsuki froze as all heads turned his way. He looked up at Aizawa’s bored face, noting the half finished sentence written on the board.
“No, I don’t have shit to say.”
“Good. Continuing on—”
Katsuki slumped forward in his desk and avoided Deku’s smug little face and the muscular arms crossed across his chest.
By the time Katsuki finished his evening work out, it was late. At least, late for him. The clock was fast approaching nine pm, his self-enforced bedtime. Luckily, it was a Friday, meaning he had no homework that demanded completion this evening. His studies could wait until tomorrow.
When he walked into the dorm living room, he was surprised by how quiet it was. Sure, it was late for him, but it was still a friday night. Normally he had to complain for his classmates to shut the hell up because they always had something loud and obnoxious planned in the shared space. Oh, right. They’d gotten permission from Aizawa to go see that new horror film on opening night at a nearby movie theater, so long as they were back before midnight. He’d forgotten turning down the invitation to join earlier in the week.
He didn’t see what the big fuss was about. The movie didn’t even look that scary. Something about this spirit that knew your every fear and wormed its way into your head until you killed yourself or someone you loved. Katsuki wasn’t scared of that. He didn’t believe in ghosts. He would have seen it if the screening didn’t clash with training time. Yup, definitely. He wasn’t scared of it or anything.
“How was training, Kacchan?”
Katsuki nearly blew up the couch with the unexpectedness of the question. As it was, he’d definitely jumped and that pissed him the hell off.
“What the fuck are you doing here, Deku!”
Izuku blanched, immediately dropping his book to the floor with the urgency of bringing up his hands up in front of his chest in surrender. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“You didn’t scare me!”
“Right! Of course!”
Katsuki sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. He peeked between his fingers at his rival. “No, but really, what the fuck are you doing here? Why aren’t you at the movies with everyone else?”
“Ah, well, I had some training to do with All Might—”
“Still fucking scared of horror movies?”
He couldn’t help but grin at how high Deku’s voice got. The nerd had always been afraid of horror movies; Katsuki remembered how he cried all night and had to be picked up from one of their sleepovers when Katsuki got ahold of a really gruesome slasher movie from his parents’ room when they were little.
“So instead you’re here all by yourself, what, reading?”
Deku turned bright pink and again Katsuki only thought, “cute!” It made him scowl.
“What are you reading, anyway?”
“No fucks. What kind of book?”
“O—Oh, you actually want to know?” Deku looked genuinely shocked by Katsuki’s interest which only further pissed him off.
“Yeah, dumbass. Or else I wouldn’t ask.”
“Right! It’s, um, a fantasy book. It has magic and adventurers and dragons.”
“Dragons, huh?” Katsuki stuffed his hands into his pockets and walked closer to the couch to take a seat next to Deku. Not because he wanted to be near him, but because he’d just come from a workout and was exhausted. Yeah, definitely that.
“Uh huh,” Izuku continued and he was still red in the face, but seemed to relax once Katsuki sat down. “It’s about this shop-keep that suddenly finds himself on an adventure with knight and a mage. And he runs into this prince, well two princes, but one’s like a barbarian king who rides dragons—”
“Sounds like a badass.”
“Yeah, he’s a pretty cool character! My favorite actually.”
“Thought you’d like the weak shop-keep.”
“Oh, no, the shop-keeper isn’t weak! He actually becomes really strong and—sorry, that’s probably too much information. Or, I guess if you never plan on reading the story it doesn’t matter. You never were much into fantasy.”
“Nah,” Katsuki laced his fingers together behind his head, just barely missing hitting Deku with his elbow. “That was always more your thing.”
“You remember?” Deku whispered to himself but Katsuki nodded anyway.
Of course he remembered. Izuku always had his nose in some kind of book, but superhero comics and fantasy novels were his favorites. He used to recount the stories practically word-for-word to Katsuki, at least until Katsuki told him to shut the fuck up. Deku loved those kind of stories with heroes and adventurers, and it reminded Katsuki of times when they used to go on adventures with each other through the forest by their childhood homes. He’d always loved how adventurous Izuku could be. Now he wistfully imagined what it would be like for them to go somewhere together some time in the future. Maybe they could travel the world together.
Sure enough, a Deku popped into existence. This one dressed in old-timey fantasy gear including a long white sleeved shirt, a worn green vest, and slacks.
“Hello there, sir!”
“No!” Katsuki stood up suddenly. “No, no, and fuck no. No more! I can’t deal with another one of you.”
Katsuki spun around having momentarily forgotten he’d been sitting next to the real Izuku. But it didn’t matter, he’d made up his mind.
“I like you.” Izuku’s eyes widened but Katsuki didn’t give him a chance to respond.
“I’ve liked you for a long time, maybe for years, maybe since always, but I didn’t realize it until after our fight on Ground Beta. And I’ve been thinking about you a lot. Constantly. I literally can’t get you out of my head and it pisses me off! There’s no reason for you to like me back, fuck, you probably hate me, but I needed to tell you, I needed to stop seeing you everywhe—”
Soft lips crashed into his in a silencing and surprisingly hard kiss. Katsuki’s words were swallowed by Deku’s mouth as the smaller man wrapped his arms around Katsuki’s shoulders. In his shock, Katsuki didn’t kiss back, he couldn’t. All functioning had ceased and he was lucky he was still standing.
It took Deku a second, but when he realized Katsuki wasn’t responding back, he pulled away. His face twisted in horror as Katsuki brought a hand up to touch at his lips. Izuku turned away.
“Oh shit—I mean, I’m so sorry! I shouldn’t have. What was I thinking? I should have asked first! I was just so happy to hear that you liked me too, I didn’t—”
Izuku looked up again, eyes watery with unshed tears. “Ye—yeah. I’ve liked you for always, too.”
Now Katsuki couldn’t stop himself from leaning forward and smashing his lips against Izuku’s. He’d never kissed anyone before Deku and he had no clue what he was fucking doing, but Deku was kissing him back. He was kissing back!
And when Izuku slowly opened his mouth, Katsuki was able to run his tongue against Izuku’s lips until he felt Izuku’s tongue touch his. He’d never imagined what Izuku would taste like, but hell if this wasn’t better than what he could have come up with. Katsuki’s hands, which had hung at his sides up until now, suddenly found themselves on Deku’s waist. His fingers fit perfectly in the slot of Izuku’s hip bones and tightened his grip just enough to pull Izuku closer.
Deku moaned into their kiss and Katsuki used that as an excuse to kiss him deeper. Everything was so new. He felt like he was on fire. But even if he wanted to, he couldn’t stop. Thank fuck he didn’t want to stop.
Based on the state of the heat pressed against Katsuki’s leg, he guessed Deku didn’t want to either.
Before they knew it, they’d fallen back onto the couch, heated make-out session uninterrupted. He had Deku sandwiched between the couch cushions and his body with absolutely no intention of letting the other man free. Katsuki could kiss Izuku all night. He could kiss him forever. He could do so, so much more.
A wolf-whistle broke through the quiet sounds of their kissing and muted moans.
Katsuki’s head snapped upwards with brutal force. He expected to see his classmates standing in the doorway, but instead all he saw were six tiny Dekus all in different stages of cheering standing on the armrest of the couch.
“Congrats, Kacchan!” The oldest Deku said with a knowing smile.
“For fuck’s sake—”
“Just ask them to leave, Kacchan.” The real Deku’s hand wrapped around the back of his neck in an attempt to bring Katsuki down for another kiss.
“Right, I’ll just ask them to—wait, what the fuck.” Katsuki pulled himself out of Izuku’s grasp to sit backwards on his knees. “Can you fucking see them?”
Izuku’s brow furrowed as he lifted himself upwards on his palms. He looked from Katsuki to the band of merry Deku’s and his eyes widened. “Wait, are those little mes?”
“Hiiiii,” they all said in unison as they waved to the real them.
“You can see them!”
Big Deku nodded slowly as the little ones continued to cheer.
“Yeah, I can see them. Can—can you make them leave?”
“Shit, you can actually see them. And no! I had hoped telling you how I felt would make them disappear.”
Izuku bit his lower lip and finally pushed himself into a normal sitting condition. “Can you really not? Just—just ask them to go, only you have to really mean it. As in, will them away.”
What the fuck was Deku talking about? There was no fucking way this would work. Still, he closed his eyes and concentrated especially hard on the thought of the small Deku’s disappearing. “Go away.”
Suddenly everything was quiet. When Katsuki opened his eyes, they were all gone. He stared at the empty armrest with the blankest expression.
“Are you shitting me? That’s all I had to do this entire time!”
Next to him, Izuku began to laugh bringing Katsuki’s attention back to him.
“What the fuck are you laughing at!”
“I—I can’t believe you never—never asked them to leave.”
“Of course I asked them to! They just never did!”
Izuku turned bright red at that. “Oh—oh. I guess that means—that means you never actually wanted them to disappear before.”
Now it was Katsuki’s turn to blush, the heat traveling all the way to his ears. Had he really not? Did he...actually like having those little guys around? Then he realized something else.
“Hey, why didn’t you freak out when you saw those damn extras? And how did you know how to make them go away?”
He hadn’t thought it was possible but Izuku turned even more red. With a shaky hand, he brought his fingers together with a “snap.” In an instant, there were ten miniature Katsukis surrounding them.
“Oi, Deku!” “What the fuck did you call us for?” “What’s this, Nerd, finally getting some?” “Fucking finally.”
Katsuki took in the small horde with wide eyes but then they suddenly disappeared. He turned back to Izuku who smiled at him sheepishly.
“Um, I guess you’re not the only one who sees their crush everywhere they go?”
“...You’re SuperMightyMan715, aren’t you?”
“Wait, how did you know about—”
Katsuki silenced Izuku with another kiss, happy to pull another moan from the love of his life.
He might be stuck with the nerd and his annoying little friends forever, but there wasn’t and never would be anyone else he’d want instead.