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[x]

 

The rain beat down in a torrential roar, the lightning burst like a great god cracking his whip across the sky, and Izuku stood still in the downpour. A golden medal hung from his shoulders from a thick, cotton band, glinting in what little light there was. And there matted in the cracks around his knuckles was a sheen of blood – none of it his own. 

The gold wasn’t real. Hitoshi had licked and tasted and bitten down on it until he was damn near about to crack a tooth, and confirmed that it was something , but it sure as shit wasn’t gold. 

Not that it mattered. 

That was all after too many spilled drinks, sugary-sweet alcohol staining their clothes blue and orange. It was after all the raucous cheering that came to call when Izuku had won. 

He’d punched a guy in the nose hard enough to knock him to the ground, and he’d kept on punching him till the bones no longer felt right beneath his fists, till his opponent gave a weak cry in surrender, till he was tugged off his feet and to the edge of the ring, and the whole world tilted neither right nor left but a different direction entirely.

Izuku had beaten another gang leader hand-to-hand, and the world beneath the world was raising him up on their shoulders, a fresh-meat king. Who else wanted to mess with little green, little ‘Zuku from Mustafu who was finally earning his first nickels and dimes? Pity to them if Izuku ever found out.

Not that that mattered to him, either. 

No. It seemed that none of it did, lately. 

So he stood in the rain, letting it run along his skin like sweating little beads of ice, seeping through his clothes, down his back, soaking his boxers all the way through.

The blood was still there, though. Still dark and crusted against his skin. 

He was just closing his eyes — his vision was blurring anyway, with all the rainwater — when a sound like sparks popping to life emerged at his ear – 

Oi- !” 

A strong hand gripped his shoulder and flung him back into the concrete wall, a thick elbow jabbed into his chest, pressed against his neck —

Red eyes aflame, voice like a wolf’s growl, snarling white teeth. 

Gorgeous. 

Izuku gasped for breath and found none, his gaze transfixed. 

“You think you’re tough shit now, just cause you could beat some Yakuzas in a bar?” 

He’d been right about the sparks — a golden hand was overflowing with crackling light, stubbornly defying the rain as it sparked and glittered with explosions.

And yet, he was not afraid. 

“I suggest you stay on your own side of town, you Deku .” 

The pressure lightened only a little — enough for Izuku to spit back. But where he meant for poison, instead there was awe — and amusement, like the tinkling of bells. “If you wanted me to be afraid of you, you should’ve picked a better attack outfit.” 

Red eyes blew wide and glanced down — 

A black, faded band t-shirt and jeans ripped to shreds. If Izuku looked close enough, he could see that the boy was also covered in dog hair. He looked like a violent teenager, out way too far past his curfew. 

The stranger’s brow contorted in fury, grip tightening around Izuku’s cotton shirt. “You mother-

Izuku couldn’t help it — he laughed.

And the strangers face, golden and sharp, was stricken, the anger washed away and smoothed into awe. 

The rain poured down around them like a shield — they were meant to be protected that night, it seemed. If anyone had caught a glimpse of the two boys, hardly more than nineteen, standing in a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, they just might have broken the spell. 

 

[x]

 

Uraraka slammed her hands down onto the desk and Izuku jumped out of his skin, coffee sloshing in its mug, barely contained. 

“Okay!” She shouted as the desk shook beneath her. “I can’t take it anymore. Why do you look like that ?” 

Izuku parted his lips, suspending a stack of looseleaf paper in the air as his pen rolled along the desktop, suddenly the loudest sound in the room. “What? Like what?” 

Uraraka reached out and cupped his cheeks. “Like your head is full of cotton candy clouds.” She leaned closer, until their noses almost touched, and she began to whisper in a reverent voice. “Like Gunhead just descended from the sky and complimented your fighting technique, before kissing you on the forehead and giving you his blessing.”

Izuku scrunched his nose, grimacing. “No, Uraraka, I think that’s your fantasy, not mine.”

“Ew, wait, are you gushing about Gunhead right now?” Shinsou turned to gawk at them, feet propped up on his own table as he swiveled in the desk chair. “And this early in the morning?”

“Shhhhhh,” Uraraka hissed, still holding Izuku’s face. “Gunhead is a hunk, H,U,N,K and we all know it. I will take no criticism on this.”

“Uh huh. That sounds real personal pink cheeks.”

They were calling themselves the OFA’s. One For All ’s. It was something cheesy Izuku had read on an internet forum, a leftover remnant from a childhood obsession. Uraraka and Shinsou didn’t know the whole truth behind it, but he’d sold the idea – they were a gang for the people. For underdogs like themselves. Or at least, that’s what they liked to believe. 

Headquarters had found its home in the basement of Uraraka’s old high school – there were old desks for them to use, a tiny refrigerator that sometimes seemed to turn the temperature by itself, and little rectangle windows lining the far wall that hardly let in any light. 

They were prone to losing track of time quite often in that place, with the ancient computers and the rotting papers, but it was fine. It seemed to fit them.

“Back to the point.” Uraraka turned to Shinsou, smushing Izuku’s cheeks as she turned his head as well to show him off. “Doesn’t he look funny?”

“Like that? Absolutely.”

Flustered, Izuku grabbed onto Uraraka’s flighty fingers and tugged his face free, setting his pages down and picking up his coffee before it was once again left in danger of spilling. “I’m fine . Trust me, there’s been nothing interesting going on since the fight, anyway,” he said, giving them both a reassuring smile. “Everything’s been quiet.” 

Uraraka placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head. “Are you sure that’s all?” 

Izuku bit his lip, quickly drumming his fingers against the table top. He took a slow sip of coffee. “Well...what do you guys know about the Bakugous?”

Shinsou’s chair shrieked as he swiveled. “ The Bakugous?” 

Uraraka bent forward, eyes like balloons. “What did you do? Please tell me you didn’t stick your nose into that family, Izuku, I will kill you.” 

“No no no no no!” Cheeks burning, Izuku waved his hands furiously through the air. “Nothing like that, I have nothing to do with them. I just, I–”

Liar , a voice chided in the backseat of his thoughts. 

“Nothing.” Izuku settled his voice, along with the warmth in his cheeks, picking his words one by one. “I just...ran into him. The blonde one.” 

“Aren’t they all blonde?” Shinsou shrugged. “A little army of perfect hair and perfect faces and more money than god?” 

A gasp from Uraraka. “ Oh my god, it’s like they’re the Cullens… ” 

Izuku gaped. “ God ?” 

“God.” Uraraka nodded sagely. “You said blonde one. Which blonde?” 

“...Katsuki.” 

Uraraka and Shinsou both grew quiet. 

Shinsou pursed his lips, clicking his teeth as he peered at him. “Define…’ran in.’”

“I don’t know, I just...saw him, I guess, outside the bar last week. He seemed...intense, that’s all.” 

“He is.” Shinsou poised his coffee mug to his lips, exposing the Mornings Can Kiss My Ass decal on the side. “He’s the heir to the Bakugou family empire. He’s not the top dog, but he’s got his own division – and he can hold is own whether it’s in a boardroom or a brawl on the streets. I’m all for us climbing the ranks, and doing the whole ‘motely band of misfits rises to power’ kick – but I don’t think we want to fuck with him.” 

“Agreed,” Uraraka said, leaning back to rest on the edge of Izuku’s desk. “He’s a known asshole, a beast , and we’ve got smaller fish to fry.” 

Shinsou snorted. “Isn’t it supposed to be bigger fish to fry?”

“Not if we’re trying to keep our heads it isn’t.”

Izuku pursed his lips around the rim of his mug and was quiet. 

A beast – it didn’t seem too far off. The way Katsuki’s eyes had burned in the darkness was almost superhuman, and spoke of something ever-raging within him, something that was never quiet. With the way his friends were talking, he would be foolish to fumble his way into it. A moth flying it’s unwitting little way directly into the light. 

It wasn’t that he wanted to take on the Bakugou family – he found himself surprisingly content just to watch them, albeit standing a little too close while doing so. 

And Katsuki – well. 

What was he a rising Yakuza for if he wasn’t bold enough to take his chances?

 

[x]

 

Once more, with feeling — 

Izuku’s head hit the wall of the bathroom stall as his back arched, cock sunken into Katsuki’s mouth and pumping furiously. 

His teeth dug into his bottom lip, thick fingers gripping the soft tufts of Katsuki’s hair like a lifeline as a stream of tiny whimpers escaped, like a kitten pawing at the back door late at night. 

He could feel Katsuki’s chuckle vibrating, the back of his throat clenching just around his tip, and Izuku keened, lifting up on his tiptoes. 

Katsuki’s firm hands gripped Izuku’s hips and pinned him, ass cheeks pressed up against the cold tile. 

He wasn’t too concerned — not just considering the wet mouth around his cock. This was bathroom sex, yes, but it was luxurious bathroom sex. 

It was the night of the annual Pro Heroes Winter Gala – and after climbing the rungs of society, Izuku had gotten himself some sort of underhanded invitation. A swanky hotel, a marble coated bathroom that had rolls upon rolls of little white, cotton hand towels for the guests set up in oversized wicker baskets. The whole place smelled like a spa. 

It was meant to be a recon mission, really – to learn the world of heroes in ways a little quirkless boy could only dream of, only so that he could dismantle it – and maybe build something better. 

Of course, that had been the plan. That had been the plan until Katsuki Bakugou had appeared behind him, dressed in black slacks and a pressed vest, white button down, big hand smoothing over the small of Izuku's back. He'd whispered something into Izuku's ear, and the world around them had faded. 

It was better than being surrounded by the giants of the city, by the heroes that made his heart sing even as he made a name for himself in the underground – feeling Katsuki's warmth around him was better than all of it.

Not that he couldn’t account for the all the grimy gas-station bathroom, sweaty nightclub corner, Burger King parking lot sex that had happened before, and would no doubt happen after. 

Two months since that first night, standing in the rain, and it seemed like a lifetime ago that the two of them had started their sweat-soaked chess game. 

It was a game, after all, wasn't it? 

It happened in such a way that sometimes, by the bright light of day, on an afternoon when he was hunched over his desk sorting out funds and trying to keep Shinsou and Uraraka from tearing out each other's throats, that he was duly convinced that it had all been some overheated fantasy. No more real than a monster underneath his bed. Telling someone would be like admitting that he'd crossed over into fairyland and gone ballroom dancing with an unseelie prince. 

And yet, the secret, the dream, the fantasy burned in his heart like black fire and kept him warm through even the coldest nights. 

" Ka...Kaccha–... " Izuku trailed off, his voice weak and watery.

Katsuki growled around him and sunk lower, nuzzling the tip of his nose into dark green, curly pubes. 

“Midoriya…?” Shinsou’s voice was like a sudden puff of smoke. 

He hadn’t even heard the door open. 

Izuku swallowed a gasp and tugged hard on Katsuki’s hair, searching the stall door with frantic eyes as if he could somehow see Shinsou standing on the other side. “Yes?”

“They’re about to serve dinner. Is everything alright?”

“Ye-”

Katsuki pulled back just enough to lick at his slit, cupping the rest of his length with a calloused palm. 

“-es, Yes, everything’s fine, I’m -” Izuku’s breath hitched. “I’m coming–” 

“....Right.” Shinsou’s voice was laced with a tad too much humor.  “I’ll make sure they pour you some more wine, boss,” he said as a sly set of footsteps retreated, the door shutting with a pleasant thud.

Katsuki popped off and stroked Izuku slow, slick wet sounds filling up the cavernous stall as he rubbed his thumb a little too hard over his tip. “Were you being honest?” he said with a ravenous smirk. 

“Wh-what?” Izuku’s toes were curling in his fancy shoes, and as far as he was concerned, everybody was asking him too many questions. 

Are you gonna come ?” As he spoke, Katsuki brushed his fingers ever so gently at the rim of Izuku’s entrance. 

Mmm ...I will if you keep going–”

Without a word, Katsuki took him to the hilt once more.

 

[x]

 

The living room in the Bakugou household was filled with the crisp air of an early spring. 

The backyard doors – sliding glass and transparent – were flung wide open. And Katsuki stood just on the threshold, hands in his pockets as he looked out over the backyard. 

Fresh green grass, the flowers finally beginning to bud in the trees. 

And his mother, sitting at the little round table on the back porch, a morning mimosa settled in her right hand. Clad in a white sundress speckled in yellow flowers, and a straw hat, you could look at her from afar and think she was some young country girl looking out at the horizon and daydreaming about a handsome prince. 

At this stage in her life, however, the handsome prince had already been found. He was in the office, sipping coffee, and typing painstakingly away at what would eventually become his next novel. Quiet and docile, and so far away from the Family Business that it was a wonder to Katsuki that his mother had wanted him at all. 

But the older he got, the more he understood. Masaru was an island at the center of a raging sea.  Always there to rest on when the waters around you wanted to swallow you whole. He’d been that for Katsuki more times that he could count, even if it was never said aloud. 

After a steadying breath, Katsuki stepped out onto the porch, the wooden boards creaking beneath his feet. 

“So,” his mother took a sip of her drink without turning to him, staining the lip of the glass with a smudge of red lipstick. “What’s new?” 

“Don’t sound so nonchalant,” Katsuki grimaced, stomping his way over and pulling out the chair beside her. 

Mitsuki snorted, reclining in her own seat as the wind picked up her hair. “Alright, fine. How’d the mission go, my insolent son?”

“It was smooth – just like every other mission, thank you very much.” 

“Please, you never report to me in person when a mission is smooth . I’m lucky if I get a half-assed text message. You might as well be sending me smoke signals from the other side of the world when you’re feeling cocky. But you’re here, at my house, which means there’s something lodged up your ass and you want me to fix it.” 

“I don’t need you to fix shit for me. You’re always bitching about how I never come home, figured I’d pay you a visit.” 

“And I’m supposed to believe that all of a sudden you’ve become an honorable, devoted son, who regularly pays respect to his mother?” 

Katsuki rolled his eyes, his lips pressed into a hard line. 

Mitsuki sighed, a harsh laughter carrying on her voice. “Alright, I’ll stop heckling you. Just tell me what it is, Katsuki.” 

Katsuki sighed, sinking low in his seat – and he was flashed back to high school, slouched all the way in a tiny desk seat, thinking about building a gang whilst trying to solve math problems. 

He sat up a little bit straighter. 

 

[x]

 

Katsuki leaned back against the car door with his eyes closed as the wind whipped through overgrown grass.

It was summer. 

The air was dry, heat still clinging to the earth from the noonday wave even now as the sun sunk low, the sky purpling, the moon looking translucent, and yet visible. 

He kept the phone close to his ear, listened to the static and the shuffling before Kirishima’s voice came crackling through, steady and uncertain. “So...what are you gonna do?” 

“What do you mean what am I gonna do ?” 

Kirishima was quiet, and he wondered if he’d bitten down a little too hard. 

Katsuki sighed, turning and fumbling on his heels. “I’m gonna take fucking care of it.” 

“It’s weird, you know,” Kirishima said over the muffled sound of a bottle popping open. “I mean, what are they, a ragtag group of college kids, calling themselves a gang? The OFA ’s? What does that even mean?” 

“Yeah...That’s what grandad said, anyway.” His tone had gone from rough and raging to low and dark. Contemplative. 

What were they , if not college-aged kids trying to take oversized bites from the executives table. 

“They really think they can take on the Bakugous?”

“Don’t worry,” Katsuki said, shifting and stretching his fingers in his pocket. “By week’s end, you won’t hear another damn thing about ‘em. Go buy yourself dinner or something.” 

“Yeah...yeah, okay boss,” Kirishima said, his voice going golden and calm from the reassurance. 

Katsuki hung up the phone and turned his gaze to the squat, two story building before him. Concrete, abandoned. 

He climbed up the steps in twos.

It was a rusted, rickety old staircase, and when it let out onto the roof, the concrete up top was awash in sunset-light. And there, sprawled atop a hole-ridden beach towel, looking up at the clouds, was Izuku. His hair looked wild as it caught the light. 

The view of champions – a suburb, with little SUVs weaving their way through the neighborhood down below. 

“Is there a reason you wanted to meet all the way out here?” Katsuki said, bending his knees only to plop down onto the concrete beside him. 

Izuku shrugged, turning to look at him with a dorky grin. “It’s nice out here. Quiet.” 

Katsuki shuffled in his dress clothes, shoes scraping against the concrete. 

“So –” Izuku mused, sounding like a little kid with a too big secret.  ”Have you been sent to persecute me?” 

“Seems like it.” Giving in to the impulse, Katsuki leaned back and rested on his palms. 

Izuku hummed. “So what’ll it be, warden? Cutting off a finger? Public flogging? Excommunication?” 

Katsuki snorted, nudging Izuku’s calf with his foot. “More like a big ass ruse.” 

“And here I thought you were an honorable man.” 

“Do you want honorable or do you wanna keep your head?” 

Izuku pursed his lips, considering. “I’d like both – but I can see how that would be a tall order.”

The smirk came out of Katsuki unbidden – and for a moment, it was enough to overshadow his fear. 

“You made a big ass fool outta yourself, you know.” Katsuki said, blunt nails scraping idly at the concrete.

“Doing what?” At the surface was Izuku teasing at innocence. But in the time Katsuki had known him, which felt so much like  years and years and years, Katsuki had learned to hear the guilt in his words, the aching twist of his tone if he listened carefully enough. 

“Gee, I don’t know, how about trying to sabotage the Gala, causing a scene with Chisaki, and damn near destroying my family’s tentative alliance with the Todoroki family?” 

With no words passing between them, it was like Izuku had shrunk. 

“What did you tell them?” 

“Haven’t told them shit. As far as they know, you and your guys are a bunch of nobodies.”

“Right. And isn’t that the truth?” 

Katsuki turned to him, giving him a harder shove. “What the hell are you talking about?” 

Izuku chewed his lip, not looking at him, worrying the sleeve of his jacket between his fingers. “Don’t you think it’s foolish?” 

In the quiet, beneath the wind, Katsuki waited. 

“I mean...we’re no big time Yakuza family. There’s no legacy, no old money, no connections. My mom’s a store clerk, and the rest of my team...well. We don’t come from much, I guess.” 

The quiet stretched on before he continued. 

“You know...when I started this, I thought it was a sign that I was...growing up, you know? I...I had given up on the hero thing, I realized my limitations, I started thinking realistically...and then I met you. And the more I sink in to this, up to my knees, I’m realizing that maybe all I did was jump from one childhood dream to another. Still chasing giants. Still trying to fit into clothes that were never meant for me.” 

Katsuki wasn’t good at reassurance. He didn’t know how to conjure up the kind of sweet-tasting words that eased someone’s mind – it wasn’t how he worked. Even when he tried, it always came out harsh, more sharp than soft. He scratched at the concrete some more as he spoke. “The way I see it, why don’t you make your own damn clothes? You’re gonna let somebody else tell you what fits?” 

Izuku’s eyes were enormous as he looked up at him. 

“You would’ve made a damn good hero, Deku.” 

Izuku’s smile broke like the sun. “You would have, too.” 

 

[x]

 

The smell of paint was ripe and pungent inside the Bakugou household. 

Mitsuki, it seemed, had been on a singular mission – over the past six months alone, she’d torn through the first floor with an ongoing series of renovations. She’d ripped out all the dark wood kitchen cabinets and replaced them with white ones, torn up all the tile floors and replaced them with wood. The decor was different, the furniture was different, and now the walls would follow suit. 

It boiled Katsuki’s blood. Every time he came through the front door and found something different, he hated it. He hated the stench of the paint, and he hated the workers, all drenched in sweat with their stupidly large hands and even larger work boots, swimming in their paint-soiled, denim overalls and bumbling around at his mother’s every whim. 

He didn’t even live in this house anymore, but it still left him prickly. It was like walking into a funhouse, or slipping between the cracks into an alternate dimension. Like his skin didn’t fit quite right anymore.

It was all goddamn wrong. 

But, hell – who was he to tell the long-seated heir of the Bakugou family empire what to do with her money. 

On an evening like this, it was especially important to keep his mouth shut, his temper at bay – no matter how confident he was feeling. Grandfather had come to visit. And Grandfather outranked Mom by quite a bit.

They sat in the dining room, the lot of them – perhaps the only room beside Katsuki’s childhood bedroom that still maintained its original furniture. 

Of course it was this that she’d decided to keep. 

Katsuki sat slouched in an ancient armchair. It was gold-rimmed and crimson, covered in dust, and smelled like an old folks home, luxurious only in the fact that it was obscenely expensive. It was only one piece in a sprawling set that his grandfather’s father had commissioned some seventy years ago, by a once-famous designer of the decade that Katsuki couldn’t name – which meant these suckers were going absolutely nowhere. 

Katsuki drummed his fingers against the arm of the chair and focused on his breathing – to distract from the silence,  to distract from the man in front of him, and to distract from his mother’s incessant chit-chat with the painters. 

Flanking him were the members of his own hand-selected team. He’d been eager at sixteen, and none of his cousins wanted him mucking up their own assignments, so he’d sought out his own. Five years later, Katsuki found himself grateful. His team wasn’t perfect, but they were loyal to him alone. Working with family was a different beast all together. 

To his left, Mina sat curled in a fluffed-up armchair of her own, bright eyes alert as she probed the paintings on the wall, pink skin soft and smooth. 

On his right, Kaminari eyed the plate of hot scones on the dining table like an addict in withdrawal, and Katsuki had to hold back from kicking him underneath the table. 

The only one left standing was the red-headed hunk of muscle, Kirishima, who apparently thought he was being discreet in giving his seat up to Mina. 

Katsuki had known about their ongoing flirtation since high school, and the morons still thought they were hiding it from him. 

He allowed it, by way of pretending he had no idea. 

Sometimes one needed to keep secrets, for one reason or another. 

Katsuki could only watch as Kaminari shifted uncomfortably in his seat, tugging at his jacket sleeves, and rolled his eyes. 

At least they’d all dressed like he’d told them to. Clean and formal, steamed and pressed, all of them dabbed with expensive fragrance. Or drenched, rather, in Denki’s case.

The sounds from the hallway grew incessant, Mitsuku’s voice shrill, commanding and overly pleasant as she ushered the painters out of the living room and towards the door – as if that would be enough to alleviate the paint smell that no doubt had seeped into every nook and cranny of the house. It would linger long after it dried, and would cling to all of their clothes, and would fire up Katsuki’s frayed nerves for as long as he stayed. 

It seemed they were all at least half-listening as his mother shooed the workers away, arming them with bags of chips and bottles of water, smacking them upside with a Monday morning, seven a.m. meeting time before slamming the door. 

A few more moments of shuffling. 

And Mitsuki Bakugou entered the room with a tray of tea, the set of tiny teacups steaming, and the teapot at the ready for seconds. 

“Finally,” Grandfather said on a steep exhale, and Katsuki’s gaze flickered over to him. 

He took his first real look at his grandfather since they’d arrived. Regal, for an old Yakuza member. Hair white as snow, beard full and trimmed. The old man pulled a handkerchief from his coat and rubbed at his glasses with steady fingers before easing them back on, elegant as ever. Of course, he hadn’t always been the patriarch – he’d only taken over for Grandmother after her death five years ago. 

But that was beside the point. 

It was Grandfather, now, that Katsuki had to impress. Grandfather who would offer them that golden stamp of approval, Grandfather who could give them a permanent role in what they called the family business. 

They couldn’t fuck this up. 

“You were always an impatient fucker,” Mitsuki said as she sat a cup of tea down in front of Grandfather before plucking one up of her own. She didn’t sit. 

“Patience is for people with too much time on their hands.” Grandfather lifted his cup with a gloved hand and drank the tea without sugar. 

Katsuki, meanwhile, was already fed up with the small talk. “So we’ll cut to the chase, then.” 

Grandfather looked at him, red eyes darker and deeper than Katsuki’s own. “Feeling bold, are we Katsuki? We must be, for you to assume that this meeting is about you.” 

“If this has nothing to do with us, then why were we invited?” Katsuki sneered, cracking his knuckles against the table.

“Let me rephrase my statement,” Grandfather said, raising his cup to his lips. “Patience is, one, for people with too much time on their hands, and, two, for those who have yet to learn their place.” 

Katsuki slouched back into his chair. “So we’re here to listen to you riddle yourself away.” 

“No, Katsuki.” Grandfather sat his cup down with a powerful clink. “Just to listen.” 

The room held its quiet before Grandfather continued. “Come week’s end, the annual Winter HGH Gala will be hosted at the Gamma Hotel. Most of its services are being funded by Endeavor, and by extension the Todoroki family – all except catering. That bit is being handled by us.” 

Catering? ” Mitsuki scoffed into her tea, incredulous. “So you’re telling me I gotta whip up enough platters of food for seventy-five percent of the pro-heroes in the city?” 

“You do indeed.” 

Katsuki shook his head, drumming his fingers against the table. “I’m not serving any food.” 

Kaminari’s foot slammed into his own beneath the table, and Katsuki snarled in return. 

“What did we say about listening?” Grandfather shifted in his seat. 


“I’m listening, old man.” 

“Good. Then I trust you’ll remember when I tell you that, lucky you, you won’t be serving any food to the pros. As a matter of fact, you and your team are off the job entirely.” 

What? ” Mina’s high-pitched cry drew every eye in the room, pink hands, dainty enough to hide strength greater than any man in the city, gripped the edge of the dining table like hands around a frail neck. 

“You heard me,” Grandfather said with a nod of finality, gazing almost tenderly at Mina. “You can thank your executive for that.” 

Pouting, Mina crossed her arms and flounced back into her chair. 

“Are you kidding me?” Katsuki’s voice rumbled. “So you called us all out here just to make us look like fools?”

“I wanted to see your faces. And I wanted to make sure that you understand why I‘m taking you off.” 

“Why, then.” It was not a question, and Katsuki’s voice was not kind. It was nothing short of a growl, a beast-king scorned. “Please, enlighten us.” 

“So you mean to tell me that you don’t already know.” 

“Don’t play games with me, gramps , I’m not in the mood.” 

“Strange request. And here I thought you liked playing games – ones you’re not supposed to, anyway. Tell me, Katsuki, do your other members know about all the fighting pits you’ve been sneaking into? Funding , should I say? Funneling your money into like liquor through a drunk man’s keg?” 

The sparks discharging from Katsuki’s palms were potent and dangerous, and he could already feel them turning the handles of the armchair to ash. 

So much for a century's worth of legacy.  

He ignored the questioning eyes of his team – Mina’s sharp, liquid gaze, Denki’s raised brows. The burn of Kirishima’s disbelief down the back of his neck. 

Eclipsing it all were wide, glittering green eyes blinking across his thoughts, scarred fists, freckled skin – and something arose in him, feral and protective. 

Grandfather had come much too close to the fire. 

Katsuki bristled like a great demon. “If you were so smart, you would know damn well that none of that money was taken from the team. And not from the family , either. Since when do you get to tell me what to do with my cash?” 

“I’m not telling you what to do in the slightest, Katsuki. I’m only saying that if you continue to dwell in certain places, well then you can’t be trusted, now can you? I thought you were better than that, but what can I say. You have the Bakugou blood in you – loyalty is a set of blood-borne shackles, afterall.”

Katsuki slammed his smoking fists down onto the table and rose to his feet, towering over his grandfather. His chair shrieked across the wood flooring and slammed into the wall, missing Kirishima by a mere inch. 

His grandfather smiled up at him, placating and self-assured, and Katsuki knew he had already lost. 

That did nothing to keep the heated poison out of his voice. “You keep my life out of this, yeah? Unlike some people, I know what my duties are.” 

“And was consummating your mission with Todoroki Shoto one of your oh so burdenous duties, Katsuki?” 

Denki choked on a scone, sending damp, flaky crumbs spewing all over the table. 

Katsuki’s face was afire. He puffed and blustered, his tongue thick and stupid all of a sudden. 

“Ah,” Grandfather leaned back in his chair. “You didn’t think I’d show all my cards at once, did you?”

The scent of burning, ripe and pungent, filled Katsuki’s nose, just as his mother swore. 

“Katsuki, if you burn a hole through my dining room table, you’re gonna find this teapot shoved so far up your ass you’ll be pissing Chamomile for a week.” 

Todoroki , has nothing to do with this. That shit happened months ago, and you’re bringing this up now ?”

“Not anymore, he doesn’t. The boy knows too much of you, now – you made sure of that.” 

Katsuki pushed off the table, sending it shaking, the teacups clattering in their porcelain saucers, and he seized the fabric of Denki’s collar, hauling him to his feet. “If you plan on filling your pockets with pastries, do it now. We’re done here.” 

“This is for your own good, Katsuki,” Grandfather said, with his eyes cast back down into his cup of tea. 

“Own good, my ass. It’ll be your loss, anyway – if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s pulling shitloads of money out of Todoroki’s cock.” 

Denki shoved the butt end of a scone into his mouth, sugar and crumbs tumbling over his jacket. 

Kirishima’s face was redder than his hair, panoramic shoulders hunched over like a beaten down dog. 

Mina, incredulous and already on her feet, “I’m so upset, you slept with the prettiest boy on the planet and couldn’t even give me the details.” 

“Oh,” Mitsuki waved a hand as Katsuki ushered his team out of the room. “And I’ll need you here to deal with the painters on Monday, yeah? I’m sure you can take care of it with your hard earned Todoroki cash.” 

Grandfather’s laugh followed them all the way out into the foyer, muffled only as the front door, freshly painted and red as poppies, slammed shut behind them. 

 

Sero stood outside, one slender hand in his pocket, the other with lanky fingers wrapped around a cigarette. “You guys look like hell,” he said with a toothy grin, leaning against the door of the car. “This is why I don’t attend Bakugou family meetings.” 

“Shut the hell up and maybe I’ll consider paying you for this,” Katsuki said, tearing his jacket off his shoulders and tossing it into the car. 

“Right,” Kaminari drawled, brushing crumbs off an electric blue bomber. “I’m riding with the Sex Bombs over here. I’ll, uh, catch you guys later.” He ducked past a set of scathing looks from Sex Bomb #1 and Sex Bomb #2 who, standing next to each other, looked like a couple of Halloween candies come to life — pink bubblegum in goddess form and cinnamon red hots welded into a hunk with sugar for brains. 

Pinky shoved past Denki with her eyes on the prize – that prize being their unfortunate leader. “Excuse me, Katsuki , but are we just supposed to ignore the fact that you’ve been a Pro-Hero bedwarmer all this time?” Mina turned an acid gaze onto him, short skirt blowing in the chill wind.

“Oi, oi ,” Katsuki crowded into her space, arms spread wide, knowing damn well that Mina was one of the last people he could intimidate. “I was nobody’s bedwarmer , alright, that’s the last place I’ve been. Club bathrooms and hotel lobbies only, you fucks. Now get the hell outta here.” 

“You could’ve told us dude,” Kirishima’s voice was low, hands sunken into his pocket. “We’re supposed to be a team. Your family.”

Katsuki scowled, ignoring Mina’s pursed lips, and Sero’s raised eyebrow as he stamped out his cigarette in his parents pristine driveway.

His phone buzzed in his pocket, and Katsuki tugged it out, blood already boiling as the screen lit up —

Only for the lava to turn electric.

D: Will I see you tonight? 

Katsuki cleared his throat, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. “We need to clear out. My dad’ll be home soon, anyway.” 

“So we’re not gonna come up with a plan.” Mina’s voice was the cool edge of a blade.

Kirishima’s face burned red again as he stepped closer to her, dark eyes darting back and forth between them. 

“We’ll talk later,” Katsuki said with finality — and he held Mina’s gaze until she broke it, rolling her eyes and turning to climb into her own car, a bright pink Land Rover. 

Kaminari could be seen with his face pressed up against the backseat window, yellow hair looking like a radioactive lemonade spill. 

Swallowing around the weighted breath rattling in his chest, Katsuki climbed into the backseat of the sleek, black Mercedes truck and slammed the door shut. “Drive, Sero.” 

“You got it, chief.”

It was only once they were firmly on the road, the A/C blasting, Katsuki a little bit high on the fresh-leather smell, some pop-rock blaring from the speakers up front, that Katsuki slid his phone back out into the open.

He typed quickly, thumbs tapping somewhat pleasantly against the screen.

K: Have I ever stood you up? 

The reply came just a tad too quickly, bringing with it the whisper of lightning-green eyes.

D: <3

 

[x] 

 

Katsuki’s toes wriggled in his work-boots against the concrete platform, as he waited for the late-train.

He tapped idly at his phone screen, left hand sunken into his sweats pocket. 

The station smelled of oiled metal and fuel, the cold wind whipping through the open air platform and tangling in Katsuki’s hair. It was already after sunset, the sky mixing violet and midnight blue. In the wake of the fiasco at his parents house, Katsuki had long since changed out of his business clothes and into a pair of cotton sweats and a tank top. A puffed out duffle bag was slung over his shoulders, and hanging heavy against the backs of his thighs, overstuffed with too much shit. 

He only had one earbud in, and the music didn’t serve as anything much more than ambiance. 

His stomach had turned during the meeting with his Grandfather, and had not yet straightened itself out. 

It would be easy to say that those two messages, short and sweet from an unsaved number, were keeping him at bay, but that was not quite the case. 

It was those messages, little grey bubbles of text, instead, that shoved at his ankles, pushing him further and further towards the rocky edges of a jagged cliff. The way down was wrought with spikes and sharp teeth, and the bottom was so shrouded in darkness that there was nothing to be seen. 

Katsuki heard the train before he saw it – a great roar, the shrieking of the rails, before the metal beast came rushing into the station, puffing out great clouds of steam as it eased to a shuddering stop. 

Before the doors opened, Katsuki buried his phone back into his pocket, along with both curled fists, and turned his gaze up – 

The figure staring back at him in the dark, dense windows, was pale, blond, and hollow-eyed. 

Maybe that was just what happened once the mask of a leader came off – beneath the Boss, what was left of Katsuki was a translucent sliver. A heaving knife of a boy, with blazing red eyes. 

It was a stark reminder that, in some other time, with some other choices, he could have been anyone — could have put on a different mask, a different sort of suit. Could have been anybody else. 

Instead, years ago, when he was overflowing with competitiveness and wanted to climb any mountain, any skyscraper that he could get his hands on until his fingers were shredded, he chose to bury his hands into the bloody underbelly of the city. And he carried the black-ink lines across his flesh, and the weight of the hearts cut into sopping pieces on his shoulders like a brand, still burning into his skin.

His tank-top exposed his tattoos to the oncoming cold, the ink lush and broad, black-lined edges creeping up over his shoulders. Everyone around him — a schoolgirl with headphones on, a businesswoman in a pencil skirt tapping furiously at her phone, a man wearing a grocery store uniform — kept a safe distance away. 

Like he was a bomb waiting to detonate. 

And maybe he was. 

The doors slid open with a mechanical whoosh, and Katsuki stepped into the cabin, leaning a strong shoulder against the handrail. 

Maybe there was something burning and sparking inside of him, just waiting to explode. And all he had to do was press the button.

 

[x]

 

Izuku watched the lit, burning end of Shinsou’s cigarette, and tried not to inhale too deeply.

But he had to admit – the scent was somehow comforting. 

It reminded him of too many nights spent where it was just the two of them, underage at the backs of clubs, or lounging atop rooftops – and Shinsou smoking his cigarettes all the while.

 

Izuku didn’t crave any for himself – but the whiff of one on the street, the smoke still clinging to someone’s clothes on the late train, could put Izuku’s mind suddenly at ease.  

Tonight, however, he was even having trouble with that. 

But maybe that’s just what Katsuki did to him. 

Shook him to his core, unsettled him, made him want to blow his life to smithereens – and yet, planted his feet on the ground all the same. Onto concrete, into plush grass, into sea-soaked sand. There was Katsuki, holding his ankles down into reality. 

And wasn’t reality strange. 

“You’re talking to yourself,” Shinsou mused as he tapped the cigarette against the makeshift table of an overturned garbage can between them, sending the ash tumbling and hissing to the ground. 

Izuku’s cheeks warmed and he shifted in his coat, tennis shoes scraping across the gritty concrete. “Sorry.” 

Shinsou smirked, an inky, playful grin. But there was fondness hidden in the crinkle of his eyes all the same. “So…” he drawled around a smoky exhale. “I’m guessing you’re still not gonna tell me who he is, no?”

“Who?”

“Your Mystery Man.” Shinsou’s eyes were alight in the darkness, a glittering obsidian. “It is a man, right? Or have I been misreading it this whole time.”

Izuku stuck his tongue out, tasting cool winter air. “Yes, it’s a he, and no, you can’t know who he is.”

“He must be real fucking special, for you to keep him under wraps like this.” 

“He’s...it’s...well, it’s nothing. Nothing like what you’re thinking it is.” 

“Nothing like what I think it is, meaning he’s not your sugar daddy, right?”

Shinsou .” 

He laughed, dry and pleased. “Hey, there’s no judgement here, boss. Shit, I’d take a sugar daddy.” 

“Yeah, I’m sure you would.” 

Boss . Izuku had pretended for a very long time not to like the word. Asked his friends, his members not to call him that, to keep calling him Midoriya, Izuku, Izu, ‘Zuku , whatever – but they did it anyway. Once the tattoos started accumulating, once their name started spreading through more and more circles, once the cash started coming in, in stacks and stacks and stacks, the Boss thing was all of a sudden part of the package. 

He knew it was at least partially in jest, especially from Shinsou, especially from Uraraka. But sometimes, when a bridge beneath them would snap without warning, when a gun was put to the back of someone’s head, each and every one of them would turn and look to him first. 

He was the Boss. 

He couldn’t deny anymore that there was pleasure in the word. Something feverous and human. Something that made him feel both more and less like himself. 

But he refused to underestimate the chains and responsibilities that came with that power. Boss didn’t just mean sitting atop his chair and telling others what to do, raking in half the money just because he said so. Boss , he’d learned early on, meant protecting his own. 

It meant throwing himself into the fire so that the rest of his team could stay safe. 

Boss meant that he must be sword and shield all at once. 

He was okay with that. 

Izuku watched with a far away feeling as Shinsou took the last drag from his cigarette, warming the both of them with the orange heat, before flicking it down onto the concrete and stamping it out. 

“You sure you wanna do this?” Shinsou asked without looking at him, instead tugging at the collar of his jacket and searching the empty alleyway with violet-syrup eyes.

Izuku shrugged, scraping the bottoms of his shoes against the ground. “It’s how I started. If I don’t go back to where I came from, them I’m no better than what we’re fighting against.” 

Shinsou shook his head. “You bleeding-heart types are so obsessed with honor and legacy . I don’t see anything wrong with moving forward.” 

“But this is moving forward.” Izuku got to his feet, stool shrieking against the ground, and he stretched his arms up high into the hair before curling back in on the exhale. “This is just to show how far we’ve come. Not to mention, to make us some more allies.” 

“I’ll trust you with the details.” Shinsou followed suit, rising to full form, long and lean as he led the way, tugging open the back door to the club and holding it open, allowing Izuku to slip inside. 

 

[x]

 

Izuku’s back hit the wall, knocking the wind out of him. 

Here they were again.

‘Don’t worry, Hitoshi — I can find my way home…’ 

The blood was hot and salty against Izuku’s tongue — but Katsuki’s lips were hotter, moving against his, plush and desperate. 

‘If you don’t text me by morning, I’m calling a search party.’

‘Don’t worry’ He’d said with a gleaming white smile. ‘He’ll keep me safe…’  

Was it strange? Izuku wondered. That he felt safe like this — oh so safe, with Katsuki’s body melting into his, caging him against old weathered bricks and pinning him in place. 

There was that earthly feeling. Like he was rooted into the ground, like his feelings were made flesh, like he was real.

Like maybe it meant something. 

And all at once he felt like a fool. The rug ripped out from under his feet as his thoughts rounded on him, piercing an arrow right through his heart — there was no way. 

There was Katsuki, and Katsuki’s body that heaved and bled and made thunder, and there were Katsuki’s hands that bred fire and caved in worlds, but none of it belonged to him. It was a game, he had to remember. A game they’d been playing for a long, long time.

Izuku plunged the arrow in one more inch and kissed Katsuki even harder. 

And it was then that the world tilted once more. Breathless, still latched onto him, stuck to him and refusing to let him go, Katsuki whispered against his lips. “ Come home with me, Izuku…

Gasping, Izuku blinked his eyes open and took Katsuki in, that fire inside of him seeming to burned somehow brighter than before. “Home?” 

Katsuki nodded, nuzzling their noses together before dipping down to mouth at Izuku’s neck, his lips soft and gentle. “Come back to my place…” He kissed at the curve of Izuku’s neck, just as the tips of his fingers slipped up beneath Izuku’s shirt and burned along the muscle of his hips. “Let me take you home…”

They had never. 

Seeing Katsuki had always been relegated to the most impersonal of places — dark, and often dirty, in the shadows just beneath everyone’s noses. It ended too quick, always, and when it did there wouldn’t be a word for days, until like a pair of magnets they snapped right back in to each other. 

He wasn’t sure —

Katsuki’s hands traveled upwards, bunching the fabric around his chest and grazing his fingertips around hard nipples. 

Izuku whimpered, digging his fingers into Katsuki’s shoulders, and wondered if it was too late to stop himself from falling. 

Katsuki dipped lower, taking a nipple into his mouth and suckling — and Izuku cried out into the alleyway. 

Katsuki nipped the bud of his nipple with his teeth and popped off, meanwhile slipping his hands just beneath the hem of Izuku’s pants, squeezing his cheeks and pulling him closer. “ I don’t want to fuck you here…” He pressed Izuku harder into the wall. “I want to fuck you in my room…” he rocked his hips. “In my bed,” He nipped at Izuku’s chin. “And when you wake up in the morning, I want to fuck you again before cooking you breakfast and asking you not to leave…” 

Peering wide-eyed up at him, Izuku dug his fingers into a thick, blonde mess. “Okay...okay...then take me home, Katsuki…” 

Katsuki grinned against his neck, kissing him once more before tugging him along, both of them stumbling out of the alleyway and into the night. 

 

They rode in Katsuki’s car, Izuku’s first time in there, a big black truck that revved on the road and that somehow still smelled almost brand new.  

Izuku shook the whole way, thighs shivering, hand gripping the edge of the seat until Katsuki’s voice froze his nerves and shattered them.

“Hey-”

Izuku looked up, took in the strong hand that held the steering wheel, a hard face softened in the passing streetlights.

“Deku...you okay?” 

“Yeah...yeah, I’m perfect.” 

 

Izuku hardly had time to take in Katsuki’s apartment building as they made their way through the pristine lobby, Katsuki hurrying him along to the elevators and up, up, up — 

He fumbled a little with his keys, but Izuku thought he was just as graceful as ever. 

The door flung open, and Izuku was plunged into the shadows of Katsuki’s apartment as the door closed behind them. 

Izuku took a steadying breath, allowing his eyes to adjust. And he chuckled — the apartment was huge, not that he was so surprised at this point. But it was almost bare of decorations, so clearly focused on function rather than form, and that simple image was so endearing that Izuku felt full on it.

Katsuki, meanwhile, crept up behind him, easing strong hands back onto Izuku’s hips as he pressed up into his back, nuzzling into his curls. “What’s so funny, huh?” 

Izuku giggled some more, leaning back into his touch. “It suits you.” 

Katsuki snorted, wrapping his arms around Izuku’s waist entirely. 

Izuku felt the graze of his teeth just along his shoulder, and he shivered once more. “Kacchan…?” the word fumbled out. 

“Hmm?”

“Why did you bring me here? Why not just…?” 

Katsuki paused against him, still warm, still swelling with life. “Why not just what?”

Izuku shook his head, cheeks heating. “You know, why not just...take me in the backseat, and drop me off somewhere when it’s over.” 

He could feel Katsuki bristling against him – there was the beast, the notorious creature he’d had the pleasure of seeing up close. “Is that what you think this is?” 

“Isn’t it?” Izuku turned in his arms and found crimson eyes. “What else would it be, Kacchan?” 

Katsuki’s face was smooth, his eyes seeming to glow in the dark as he reached up and carded his fingers through Izuku’s curls. “You think I’d stick my neck out for just anybody, Deku?”

Izuku found himself melting, sinking into Katsuki once more, deeper, ever deeper. “No. But that doesn’t mean you’re in love with me.” 

“Oh yeah? And what if I am?” 

Izuku’s breath hitched. “What if…?”

Katsuki leaned in, tilting his head, but didn’t kiss him – not al the way. Brushed his lips against Izuku’s own as he whispered. “I’m in love with you, Deku...don’t make me say it twice…” 

When they kissed this time, it was through laughter, Izuku cupping Katsuki’s face, Katsuki’s hands gripping Izuku’s thighs and hefting him up, carrying him off to the bedroom, still with only the moonlight guiding their way. 

 

Izuku had seen Katsuki naked before, but it was never like this – never in the dragon’s domain. And never, it occurred to him, all at the same time. 

Sometimes shirtless, sometimes with his pants around his ankles, or kicked off entirely. But never all the way bare. Now, with Katsuki towering over him, knees sinking into the plush comforter, Izuku had hushed him, telling him to be quiet and not to move while he took him in. 

He smoothed his scarred hands over the flesh of Katsuki’s thighs and found him soft and sensitive; he squeezed Katsuki’s hips and drew out the prettiest of moans; and the gasp of surprise was worth the weight of the world in gold as Izuku got on his knees and took Katsuki down his throat, moaning around his length. 

The hands in his hair tugged a little rough, a little harsh, and Izuku relished in it. 

It was exactly as Katsuki had requested. 

The bed shook beneath them all night long, knocking against the wall in a frantic rhythm, out of tune, with Katsuki thick and warm inside of him. 

It was a long night – hazy, overfilled with kisses, with Izuku bent over the edge of the bed, with  Katsuki writhing beneath him, sweat glistening over his chest. 

And when the morning came, they did it all over again – and Izuku didn’t turn to see the sunrise, but he managed to watch it anyway, painting blue and golden along Katsuki’s skin. 

They were curled up together, Katsuki lying atop his chest like a fat cat, who was high on sex and had thoroughly claimed his territory. 

Izuku brushed his fingers up and down along Katsuki’s spine, gently playing with his hair. “Is this the part where you ask me to stay?”  

Katsuki shook his head, pressing a lazy kiss to his chest once more. “I gotta cook you breakfast first.” 

Izuku chuckled. “I’m expecting a full course meal.” 

Katsuki smirked, nipping at his skin. “Yeah, yeah. You can have whatever you want, Deku.”