Actions

Work Header

a double cherry

Work Text:

            Izuku was washed over with a bad feeling when Kacchan walked up to them and asked his sister if they could talk. Privately, Kacchan had added, a fleeting glance towards Izuku.

            Itsuko didn’t spare a glance at her twin brother before agreeing to talk with him, linking her arm through his and pulling him away, out of the classroom and down the hall. Izuku hadn’t even had the chance to open his mouth and ask if it would take long, and if he should just head home by himself. After idling by Kacchan’s desk for a few minutes, rustling around in his backpack to appear busy to the other lingering students, he decided it was probably better to just make his way home. They could catch up with him on the road.

            It was weird, walking home without Itsuko by his side. He wasn’t majorly attached to her anymore, like he had been from birth through early childhood, but the quiet was off-putting. Neither of them were quiet people, and they spent the walks home debating this or that or making plans for something or doing and saying anything that came to their minds in that moment. Often, when Kacchan walked with them, though it wasn’t more than once a week because of his club activities, he wouldn’t have room to speak even if he wanted to (he often didn’t). Occasionally, he would snap at them to shut up, and they would for a moment before resuming their conversation, at a slower pace.

            Izuku liked walking home with Kacchan. Now that they were in high school, at the prestigious UA that they all worked very, very hard to get in to, life was busy. With his sport club, Kacchan didn’t have as much time as he used to to hang out with the Midorias. Even Itsuko was becoming busier, gaining more female friends and going out with them on the weekends. Izuku and Kacchan were often abandoned at the Bakugou residence, the twins’ mother working long hours to help pay the high tuition of their private high school, and Bakugou’s parents either holed up in their offices, either at home or at their workplaces, or were jet-setting off to another city or country for a fashion show. It wasn’t awkward, them being together just the two of them, but it was a different atmosphere. Kacchan was quieter, when it was just them two, and it made Izuku wonder if he felt uncomfortable without the woman in their trio. It had been Itsuko, after all, who had stopped Kacchan’s bullying streak when they were children by asserting that he would never be allowed to see them ever, ever again if he kept teasing Izuku and making him cry. Izuku didn’t remember a lot from his childhood, useless memories replaced with more important ones over the years, but he knew the time had had a profound impact on how Kacchan interacted with him. He was timid when he seemed to get too caught up in his thoughts, and to be frank, it pissed Izuku off. He wanted Kacchan fully present when spending time with him, not cowering in his own brain.

            Which was why when Izuku got to his house, still alone, that wash of something that had flooded over him earlier came back with a vengeance, this time with a name: fear.

            What were they talking about? Why couldn’t Izuku be included in the conversation? Was it about him? Had he done something? Izuku wracked his brain, trying to figure out what he could have possibly done, going through every motion he had made and word he had spoken in the last week. He couldn’t come up with a thing.

            Then maybe it was Kacchan. Maybe something was wrong with him? And for some reason he couldn’t confide in his male best friend about it? No, that didn’t make sense. Kacchan was private, but when something was truly wrong. He would admit it, eventually, and never not to Izuku.

            Was it Itsuko? Was something wrong with her, and somehow Izuku, her own twin identical brother with matching rows of freckles, didn’t notice it and Kacchan did? It was a possibility, but a slim one. And still, why would Izuku be excluded from the conversation? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for him to be involved?

            “Uh, Izu, something wrong with the entrance?”

            Izuku jumped and whirled around, clutching his chest as he caught his breath. “Itsuko!” he exclaimed, panting. “You startled me!”

            Itsuko giggled and rolled her eyes. “Silly brother. Sorry, I didn’t mean to.” She used her own key to get into the front door, and Izuku followed her like a baby duckling.

            “Everything…okay?” Izuku hazard the prod, kicking off his shoes and sliding into his All Might slippers (if they made customized slippers to fit his size foot, then he wasn’t too old for superheroes, okay?).

            Itsuko glanced up at him from where she was working to untangle her long, green hair from the braid across her shoulder, tugging the elastic band at the base free. “Yes?” she stated, confused for a moment, before realization dawned on her. “Oh, you mean Katsuki!”

            Izuku nodded, feeling relieved. If Itsuko had basically forgotten about it, then it probably wasn’t anything—

            “We’re going out on Sunday. He says he has something to tell me.” Itsuko shrugged.

            Izuku felt his heart drop out of his ribcage and settle in next to his intestines. He tried to play it cool, like he was still breathing just as well as he could a few seconds ago, and nodded. He hummed, and Itsuko took that to mean he didn’t need any further answer.

            The home phone rang, saving Izuku as Itsuko jogged into the kitchen to answer it. As far as he could overhear, it was their father on the other line. Not wanting to even come near that can of emotional baggage worms today, Izuku escaped and shut himself away into his room. Thank god their mother finally allowed them to move into their own rooms after sharing for a decade. He’d never needed the separation as much as he did in this moment.

            Izuku collapsed onto his bed and tried to smother himself with his All Might pillow, mashing his face into the face of his favorite fictional character. His eyes started to burn, but he swallowed back the urge to cry.

            How he hadn’t seen this coming was laughable. Of course Kacchan liked his sister. He wouldn’t be the first boy, though Itsuko didn’t seem very interested, wanting to focus on schoolwork.

After spending years as best friends, now they were in high school, and Kacchan had come to the realization that he was in love with Itsuko. Of course he had. Izuku took a deep breath, and his pillow case tried to choke him, so he pulled back and sat up. He refused to meet his own eyes in his mirror, because he knew what he’d see.

            Izuku was protective of his sister, of course, though he knew she was the one doing most of the actual protecting in their history. He knew that someday, someone was going to become a very important person in her life, and he knew that he would not be her number one anymore. He had been born knowing this, and he’d never had any problems with that.

            But why did her new number one have to be the same as his?

            Izuku had been in love with Katsuki Bakugou ever since they were eleven years old, when Itsuko had decided she was too old for so-called “baby-ish nicknames” and reverted to calling them Izuku (or Izu) and Katsuki. Izuku had tried his best to follow her, he really did, but there was no unlearning the, “Kacchan!” that desired to spill from his lips. After a week of unsuccessful callouts, he decided he would just never call out to the other boy again, to avoid the whole name catastrophe. It worked, for a day, sort of.

            “Oi, Deku.”

            Deku was a nickname that Kacchan had given him as a child, during his bullying days. And though it started with negative connotations, the way he spoke the name afterwards was kindly, gently, and it made Izuku feel special, not put down; like he was being cheered on every time he was called out to.

            Kacchan wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him down into a painless headlock. His mouth brushed against Izuku’s ear as he whispered, so that Itsuko couldn’t hear, “You can still call me whatever. I don’t care. That’s your choice to make.”

            Kacchan let go of him then, and when Izuku glanced back up at him, the other boy was surrounded in a halo from the sun, and it stole his breath away. “Okay…Kacchan!”

            Since then, only when Izuku was pissed at the other boy (which wasn’t really that often, not actual anger anyway) or worried would he call him by his given name. He was probably sick of the “Kacchan” mantra, but he never said anything to Izuku about it after that day.

            Maybe it was stupid of Izuku to fall for a boy just because of a silly name, and it wasn’t just because of that, but that was the catalyst. And now, as a high school first-year, he was in far too deep. And his crush was crushing on his twin sister.

            How more cliché could his life get, honestly?

            Itsuko knocked on his bedroom door, and Izuku had just enough time to rub his hands over his face to remove any moisture that may have fallen without his knowledge before she popped her head in. She had a devious grin on her face, and Izuku gulped. The fear was back, but for an entirely different reason.

            “How many bodies do I need to hide?” Izuku asked, voice monotonous.

            “Just one,” Itsuko sang, sauntering into the room like it was her own (it used to be). “Mainly: mine.”

            Izuku raised his eyebrows. “What?”

            Itsuko cleared her throat. “That was dad, on the phone.” As he’d suspected. “He wants to see you. He’ll be in town for the weekend for work.”

            “No,” Izuku immediately shot down.

            Itsuko nodded and sat next to him on the bed. “Yeah, that’s what I told him. But I promised I would ask because…to be honest, he sounded pathetic.”

            Izuku scoffed. “Good.”

            “He really wants to have lunch on Sunday to talk with you about, I don’t know, being the man of the house or something stupid.”

            “Mom is the man of the house,” Izuku mumbled.

            “Yeah!” Itsuko exclaimed, pumping a fist in the air. “But he sounds desperate. So I have a plan.”

            This sounded horrible already.

            “I go meet Dad for you and you go meet up with Katsuki for me. As each other.”

            Izuku’s jaw dropped. “What?!’ he screeched, jolting to his feet. “You’re insane!”

            “It would totally work! Come on, just think about it! Me, showing up as you to see Dad, him spilling all of his plans for you to take over the family legacy or something ridiculous and then BAM! I show him it was me he was talking to and prove that he should give his daughter just as much attention.”

            You can have it, Izuku wanted to say, but he didn’t, still backhanded by this insane plan of hers.

            “He’ll never believe it,” Izuku asserted to her.

            “He thought you were the one who picked up the phone!” Itsuko shot back. “We have practically the same voice. Same features. Same height. Hell, we even share clothes.”

            “You stealing my jeans does not mean we share clothes. And a voice over the phone is way different than in person!”

            “He won’t notice. It’s not like he’s seen us in, like, a year.”

            Well, she wasn’t wrong. But there was a whole other part of this that still would never, ever work out.

            “But Kacchan has seen us. He’ll never believe I’m you!”

            Hm, go on a date with Kacchan posing as his sister? Was he a masochist?

            Itsuko jumped up and started for his closet, rummaging around until she found what she was looking for. She pushed Izuku back onto the bed to sit and deposited a baseball cap and jeans into his lap.

            “Put the pants on. I’ll be right back.”

            “Itsuko…”

            “Please?”

            Izuku closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Fine,” he grumbled. At least this way, he could show her how ridiculous this plan would be and how it would never work.

            The jeans she’d pulled were a bit tight, but they still buttoned at the waist and clung to his thighs comfortably. He held the cap in his hands, waiting for his sister to return. When she did, she was toting more clothes over one arm and a plastic bin of what appeared to be hair and makeup products.

            She deposited them onto the bed and showed off her own new outfit. It was very similar to Izuku’s, only rather than being topless, she was wearing… two sports bras, one on top of the other.

            “I don’t think that’s safe,” Izuku pointed out, having done research in the past about how restrictive those things could be.

            “I won’t wear them for a whole day, just a few hours, max,” Itsuko insisted as she began pulling her hair up high onto the top of her head, winding it into a tight bun that she pushed flat and bobby pinned down. Going back to his closet, grumbling about his cleanliness, she pulled out another shirt of his and a hoodie, slipping them on. Then, she grabbed a baseball cap she had brought and popped it over her head backwards. She left some of her front bangs exposed, peeking out through the back slit.

            She stretched out her arms and exclaimed, “See!” gesturing to her whole body.

            Izuku had to admit, she did appear more stereotypically masculine with the reduced bust and the baggy clothes and the hidden hair. She must have wiped off her makeup too, because her face was back to its usual freckled appearance, and her eyelashes were suspiciously shorter and lighter than usual.

            “That still doesn’t help me,” Izuku pointed out.

            Itsuko sighed, dropping her excited pose. “We just do the opposite. Here, put this bra on.”

            Twenty minutes later, Izuku was sporting a near identical outfit, sans the hoodie. His sister had stuffed the bra with tissues and then layered an old, tight tanktop of hers (camisole, she told him) on top of that before adding on an oversized V-neck shirt that belonged to their mother.

            She’d taken hair gel and pushed all of his hair up and back, except for his wispy bangs, trapping it into a tight spike at the crown of his head, and slapped the cap on top of it, and it did appear just like hers did, what was visible at least.

            Now, she had a compact mirror in front of his face and was showing him how she applied extra eyeliner after gluing on false eyelashes. Izuku’s eyes felt heavy, and his face felt stiff underneath the fairly light layer of foundation. There was no lipstick or anything on his mouth, and he was glad for it.

            “There!” Itsuko exclaimed. “Now, you’re me.” She held the mirror farther away so that Izuku could see his entire head. And though he was loathed to admit it, they really were identical twins for a reason.

            “I don’t know about this, Itsuko,” Izuku said with a sigh, batting the compact closed with a limp hand. “I still don’t think I look convincing for Kacchan standards.”

            A knock sounded on his bedroom door, and again a woman’s head peeked in. The twins froze, and Izuku felt ice flood his body. Oh god.

            Their mother looked confused for a second before her eyes widened and she opened the door further. A huge grin burst to life on her face, and Izuku relaxed. She wasn’t angry, thank god.

            “You two are doing that twin thing again! How amazing. You two are so identical,” she fussed, reaching over to pat Itsuko’s cheek.

            She turned to Izuku and frowned a bit. “But you should lay off the makeup, Itsuko, it makes it easy to tell who is who.”

            Izuku’s jaw dropped. Itsuko muffled a squeak.

            “Make sure you get your homework done and don’t play around too much on a school night. And Izuku,” she looked at Itsuko this time, “remember it is your turn to take care of dinner. I am going to take a power nap before we eat.”

            Their mother departed, leaving the door open behind her as her tired legs carried her to her bedroom.

            The twins looked at each other.

“How about Mom standards?” Itsuko asked.

She wore a huge grin, and Izuku knew his fate was sealed.

            “Dad won’t know what hit him,” she sneered, pumping her fists.

            Izuku stared down at his All Might slippers and prayed that Kacchan wouldn’t kill him for pretending to be his sister and going on a date with him.

            Holy god. He had a date with Kacchan.


 

            Kacchan had made plans to meet Itsuko outside of their house at noon. Izuku had called his father back and, while biting back bile, let him know that he would be able to meet for lunch and that 11:30 at the station was a fine time to meet up.

            Though there were plenty of hours before either of them had to leave, Itsuko still had Izuku awake and applying powder to his face at eight in the morning. Their mother had worked overnight, like she did most Saturdays, so she had stumbled into bed a half an hour ago, and would likely be asleep until the afternoon. This meant there were no disturbances and Itsuko could take her time turning Izuku into her literal barbie doll.

            Izuku continued to remind her that this wasn’t going to work, but she’d obviously begun to tune him out, overlapping his pessimistic fearful chatter with commentary of her own. She played YouTube videos to drown him out when she had nothing else to say.

            To be fair, the extra time gave her the opportunity to be oven more exact, and when Izuku looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, even he was convinced for a second that he wasn’t looking at his reflection, but his sister’s.

            When she finished, Itsuko blew on the tip of her makeup brush, powder flying off of it into the air. “I’m too good,” she complimented herself. She hummed, looking at his reflection and contemplated aloud, “Maybe I should cut my hair short. It actually looks really nice. We have a good face shape for short hair.”

            Izuku didn’t know what that meant, so he shrugged. “Do whatever you want to. I’m sure you’d look great.”

            I’m sure Kacchan would still like you, his traitorous mind supplied, and he felt his own dagger slide home between his rib cage at the reminder of what he was doing here.

            “Now,” his sister commanded, forcing Izuku’s face to turn back towards the mirror. “I want you to look at yourself in the mirror… and say ‘Katsuki’ fifty times.”

            Izuku’s cheeks burst into flame, or so it felt. The foundation was actually doing a great job of muting the rosy hue. “Itsuko!” he hissed. “Why?”

            She rolled her eyes. “Because, if you call him Kacchan…” she shook her head. “the deal’s off. It’s your tell.”

            She wasn’t wrong. Izuku took a deep breath and forced his tongue to move around the somewhat foreign name. “K-katsuki.”

            Itzuko clapped her hands, and Izuku jumped at the sudden noise. “Again!” she ordered.

            “Katsuki,” he repeated, more confidently.

            “Again!”

            “Katsuki.”

            “Again!”

            “Katsu-suki. Itsuko?”

            “Again!” she shouted, clearly getting a kick out of this. “Also, I’m Izuku now. Say it!”

            “Izuku!”

            “No!” She huffed. “Katsuki.”

            “Katsuki,” he obliged.

            “Katsuki.”

            “Katsuki.”

            “Kacchan.”

            “Kac-Katsuki.”

            Itsuko smirked. “Okay, I think you’ve got it. Just remember to be conscious of it.” She adjusted her bun, and bit down on a few bobbypins so that she could use both hands to secure it to the crown of her head. “Thank goodness our personalities are similar, too. We should be able to be mostly ourselves.” The words were mumbled around the pins, but he understood.

            “Itsuko,” Izuku started, paused to clear his throat, and then started again. “Itsuko—”

            “Izuku,” she corrected him with a half smirk.

            “No, seriously Itsuko.”

            Itsuko paused, let her hands drop from her hair, and turned to face her brother. “Yes?”

            “Kacchan called you out to talk to you. Don’t you think this is mean of us? To trick him like this?”

            Itsuko rubbed the back of her neck and sighed. “To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything he could talk to me about that he couldn’t tell you.”

            I could think of one thing, Izuku’s brain supplied.

            “But if you’re really uncomfortable, I could always tell him I can’t make it, or you can blame me and say the switch was my idea. I think what he really wanted was an ear. Maybe a female one, which is why he asked for me. But you’re a great advice giver, better than me, probably, so I don’t think he will be worse off talking with you.”

            If this meeting was what Izuku thought it was, he didn’t think any of that really applied. But maybe he was wrong, maybe it wasn’t a date. The thought eased his heart break, but only a tiny bit.

            “I guess…if he finds out, I could call it belated payback. You know, for…childhood stuff.”

            Itsuko grinned and patted his shoulder. “There’s the spirit. But don’t worry, he won’t find out. My work is impeccable. I know my own face, after all. Oh, yeah.” She held out her cell phone to him. “You’ll have to take mine, and give me yours.”

            Izuku went into his room to retrieve his phone from the charger and saw he had a text from Kacchan waiting for him. His heart burned.

FROM: KACCHAN

Deku, any plans for today?

            TO: KACCHAN

            Yes, meeting with my dad for lunch, will let you know what goes down

FROM: KACCHAN

Okay, keep me updated

            Izuku tried to picture the look of shock on his father’s face when his assumed son is revealed to be his actual daughter, and what he imagined made him chuckle. He wasn’t sure what story they would have to fabricate to tell it to Kacchan, but he would be sure to be as truthful as possible.

            The morning flew by, and before Izuku knew it, he was being forced to stuff a bra to approximate his sister’s bust (which he never needed to knew before, ugh) and dressed in the same outfit as before, with an added sparkly belt that he knew his sister loved to wear.

             Itsuko snapped some pictures of the two of them, and promised she wouldn’t share them, as he knew she wouldn’t. It was nice, doing something like this with his sister. After starting high school and them naturally drifting apart a bit, it was fun to see they could still enjoy time spent together doing whatever silly things they put their minds to.

            When eleven arrived, Itsuko left so that she could get to the station on time. And early, to try and guilt trip their father for making her (him) wait. When she was gone, he went back into the bathroom and continued his other forty-three repetitions of Katsuki Katsuki Katsuki KatsukiKatsukiKatsukiKatsuki.

            He fiddled with the purse Itsuko had suggested he carry, in which he dropped his wallet and Itsuko’s phone and nothing else. He threw in a tube of chap stick, because the mostly empty bag made him sad and like a cheap imitation of a purse-carrier.

            He wondered if Kacchan had texted him anything else. Itsuko had his phone now, so he wouldn’t know until they both returned. She hadn’t gotten any texts from Kacchan, which Izuku thought odd, but Kacchan also wasn’t the best texter, either.

            As noon crept closer and closer, Izuku talked himself out of going through with this four times. He was on the verge of a fifth when there was a heavy knocking on their door, and Izuku rushed to open it so that it didn’t wake up his mother.

            Hand on the door knob, he took a deep breath and steadied himself before he opened it. He shot Kacchan a smile, gripping the purse strap tightly with his free hand. Itsuko had painted his nails, too, and they matched the blue of his camisole underneath the gray V-neck.

            “Katsuki,” he greeted, keeping his voice purposefully quiet. “Mom’s asleep,” he explained, avoiding making eye contact with Kacchan as he closed the door behind him and locked it, tossing the keys into the purse as well. He stared at Kacchan’s nose so as to not lock gazes with those calculating red irises.

             Kacchan was dressed as he usually was, which made Izuku hopeful a bit more that this hadn’t been a date because he didn’t spruce himself up at all. His jeans were baggy, hiding the real muscular legs underneath, and his usual black t-shirt overlapped them. His hands were shoved into his pockets. And it seemed, for some weird reason, he wasn’t trying to look into Izuku’s (Itsuko’s) eyes either. He looked him up and down, stared at their feet for a long moment, and then abruptly turned away.

            “Do you have any preferences where we eat?” Kacchan asked as he started walking, and Izuku rushed to catch up. Despite the lack of eye contact and nervous posture, Kacchan sounded the same. “I was thinking ramen. That quiet place,” her jerked his head up the road, “behind the station.”

             Izuku’s heart didn’t know whether or not to be heartbroken or healed. Kacchan was acting normal, wasn’t dressed fancily like one would for a date, but he did seem nervous and wanted to go to a quiet, private place to eat. It was also his sister’s favorite ramen place, but Izuku didn’t know if Kacchan knew that.

            “I love their miso ramen,” Izuku commented, getting a side-glance from Kacchan. “Let’s go there,” he added, a moment late.

            The rest of the walk there was quiet. Kacchan kept pace with Izuku, following his lead. But he didn’t try any smooth moves, like brushing their hands together or switching sides so that he (she) was no longer walking along side the road but he was. Manga stuff. It was all normal, but not normal enough. There was definitely something happening here, and Izuku was too curious of a man to blow the top on this secret switch yet.

             Kacchan lead the way into the small ramen place that was dwarfed by the station bustling with people. He nodded at the shopkeeper who nodded back at them and let them know they should sit wherever they like and he would be right with them.

             Kacchan walked to the back of the shop, and Izuku followed, muscles tensing as he took a seat at the most secluded two-person table in the entire place, almost hidden behind the curtains that led into the back kitchen area. This was the date table. The three of them had commented on it enough times that it was dubbed that, and Kacchan had brought Izuku (Itsuko) to the date table.

             Izuku swallowed thickly, hands trembling as he took a seat, swinging the strap of the purse over the back of the chair. He immediately picked up the menu in front of him and pretended to peruse through it, as if he didn’t know exactly what he liked and didn’t like here.

            “What—” Izuku cleared his throat, catching Kacchan’s eyes for the first time, and he lowered his gaze to his right cheekbone. “What did you want to talk about?” Better to just cut to the case now, deal with the heart break as soon as possible.

            “Let’s eat first, I’m starving,” Kacchan said with a groan. He said it so casually that Izuku felt like he was being thrown around in a clothes dryer full of conflicting emotions. “You want the miso, right?”

             Izuku opened his mouth to correct him, but then remembered he wasn’t him, he was Itsuko, and miso was what she always ordered. “Ya—um, you know it,” he said instead.

             Kacchan raised an eyebrow at him, but then someone came by to take their orders, and Kacchan relayed the meals to them, ordering tea for them as well.

            After taking a long swig from his glass, Kacchan settled it back onto the table top and said, “So Deku said he’s meeting with your dad today, huh?”

             Izuku nodded. “Yeah. He called a few days ago, sounded really desperate, apparently. It—Izuku took the call, so I didn’t hear what he said. He was convinced enough to go, but I don’t think it’s going to go the way our father expects.” Izuku chuckled, wondering how everything was going on Itsuko’s front.

             “Deku’s gonna finally stand up to the bastard, eh?” Kacchan asked with a chuckle. “Good for him. If you’d told me, you could have gone too. Double-teamed him.”

             Izuku shook his head. “It’s fine. Besides…it sounded like you had something important to say.” He caught Kacchan’s eye. “I couldn’t ignore that.”

            Kacchan kept his gaze for a long moment before he looked away, and Izuku took another sip of his tea, to calm his nerves. It felt like Kacchan was seeing right into his soul, like he knew who he was. He knew this had been a terrible, horrible idea.

            “I appreciate that, Itsuko.”

            Kacchan’s voice was soft, and the look on his face was indescribable. It took Izuku’s breath away. He looked so vulnerable, like he was working up to baring his heart out to one of his best friends. It hurt so much to see.

            Thankfully, miso ramen was settled in front of him less than a minute later, and Izuku was able to distract himself with eating and stuff the pain away with warm noodles. He tried not to eat so sloppily, desperately trying to remember how his sister ate. That hadn’t been part of his sister studies that morning.

            Kacchan seemed engrossed in his own meal, eating slowly, like he was contemplating. Izuku tried to slow down as well, but he honestly was hungry. He hadn’t eaten any breakfast, stomach too upset to give him any kind of appetite, too tight with nerves.

            When Kacchan’s bowl was half empty, he set his chopsticks aside and said, “Itsuko.”

            Izuku blinked and slowly glanced up. He swallowed his mouthful and sat up straight. “Yeah?” he responded setting his utensils aside. His fingers still trembled, so he trapped them underneath the table, fingers intertwined tightly to try to force the shaking to stop.

            “There’s something I need to tell you. Something that I couldn’t share with…anyone else, yet.” Izuku knew he was meant by the anyone else. “There is someone that I…like.”

            Here comes the crushing blow. The words knocked the wind out of Izuku, and thankfully Kacchan perceived it as a gasp, so it wasn’t giving himself away. The heat started building up in his temples again. No, he refused to cry.

            He kept Kacchan’s gaze, though, to let him know that he was listening.

            “Surprising, right?” Kacchan said with a self-deprecating laugh. “It hit me pretty hard, too. Because the reason—the reason I’m telling you is because…”

            Because it’s you. Go on, say it Kacchan. Break my heart Go on. I can take it.

            “…because it’s another guy.”

            Kacchan flinched as he spoke the words, and Izuku’s jaw dropped.

            His heart fluttered one last desperate time before it shattered into a million tiny pieces and scattered all over the floor of the ramen shop.

            “Huh?” he choked out, and then reached for his tea, finishing it off in one final gulp. “I-I mean…okay?”

            How was he supposed to give Kacchan any kind of a satisfactory response? Kacchan could have romantic feelings for guys. Great! The guy wasn’t Izuku. The worst!

            Kacchan was staring down at his ramen, fingers gripping the sides of the bowl tightly. His hands were turning red with the force. Suddenly, Izuku felt extremely selfish.

            Kacchan had called Itsuko out to confide a very personal secret with her, and Izuku was giving Kacchan none of the support he deserved. He needed to set aside his own feelings on the matter and be the best friend that Kacchan needed right now, deserved right now.

            Though his fingers shook, he reached out a hand and settled it over one of Kacchan’s, prying his fingers away from the ceramic bowl. Kacchan stared down at their hands and then looked up at him.

            “Okay,” Izuku repeated, and gave Kacchan a small smile. “Okay, Katsuki.”

            “That’s okay?” Kacchan asked, like he needed confirmation.

            Izuku squeezed his fingers before letting go. The touch was already burning his hand, and he knew the tingling wouldn’t go away anytime soon. “Of course. You’re my best friend. Next to—next to my brother, of course,” Izuku rushed to add, forgetting he was playing a part. “This doesn’t change how we feel.”

            Doesn’t change how I feel for you.

            Kacchan took a deep breath and nodded slowly. He flexed his hands, joints popping and knuckles cracking with the sharp motions. “Good. Because I’m going to need you to remember that when I tell you the rest.”

            “There’s more?” Izuku blurted before he could stop himself.

            What more could there be, other than…. the who.

            Izuku didn’t know if he could take knowing whom Kacchan liked.

            Kacchan chuckled and nodded, biting his bottom lip. “Yep,” he said, popping the ‘p’. “And you might want to hit me.”

            Izuku froze. “Why?” he asked carefully.

            “Because it’s your brother,” Kacchan said, leaning away from the table, out of arm’s reach. “The one I like. It’s Deku.”

            “What?!”

            Izuku, who thought his entire body had been rendered inoperable after the confession, found he could still move when he heard the screeching voice of one of his family members. Namely, his sister, in this case.

            Itsuko, dressed as Izuku, stalked up to the table and slammed her hands onto the tabletop so hard that the bowls and glasses shook.

            Kacchan looked mortified, which would be a hilarious expression, if Izuku didn’t feel mortified. Oh god, this wasn’t going to be pretty.

            “Deku—Izuku,” Kacchan stumbled over his words, holding his hands out placatingly towards Itsuko, “I can explain.”

            Izuku slammed his forehead on to the table. His face was burning. “Kacchan,” he whined. “It’s us who have to explain.”

            Kacchan blinked, still staring at Itsuko. “Weird, I just heard Deku’s voice, but it didn’t come from Deku’s body.”

            Izuku raised his head just as slowly as Kacchan’s head swiveled to look at him. All at once, the color drained from Kacchan’s face. He looked scared, hurt, and then furious all in the span of two seconds.

            “Fuck this,” Kacchan hissed, standing abruptly and stomping out of the place.

            “Wait, Kacchan!” Izuku stood to go after him, but Itsuko grabbed his arm.

            “Hold up, hold on,” she ordered, forcing him to sit back down. “What happened here? Katsuki likes you?” She shook her head slowly, processing the new information. “Do you like him?”

            “Yes!” Izuku blurted loudly for the whole establishment to hear, but it didn’t matter. He was dressed as a girl, anyway. “I like Kacchan! And I need to go explain that to him before he never speaks to either of us again!”

            This time, Itsuko let him stand and run off.

            “I’m finishing off the ramen,” she shouted, hoisting the purse in the air. “And I’m using your cash to pay for it!”

            Izuku ignored her and ran, hoping Kacchan had just gone home and hadn’t gone anywhere else, because if he was wrong, he would never be able to catch up.

            The gods must be with him, because he sees Kacchan in the distance, the other boy having stopped running at some point and was just trudging along now. His shoulders were hunched, hands in his pockets, kicking rocks across the sidewalk.

            Izuku put on a burst of speed so that even when Kacchan did turn to see him and make a move to run again, it was too late. Izuku crashed into him, wrapping his arms around Kacchan’s torso and tackling him into the grass of someone’s yard.

            Kacchan wiggled fiercely in his grip, but Izuku stayed attached. “No!” he protested when Kacchan’s movements became rougher. “Kacchan, stop!”

            “How dare you, fucking nerd!” Kacchan exploded, pushing Izuku off of him and into the grass next to him. He panted, shoulders sagging up and down from exertion. “How could you…” Kacchan clearly was at a loss for words.

            “That’s why I’m sorry! It wasn’t meant to trick you, I swear!” He rolled onto his knees and bowed low to the ground. He explained to the grass, “Itsuko had this idea for her to pretend to be me and trick dad, but since she already made plans with you, she asked me to go instead but as her because you didn’t seem like you wanted me and now I understand why, but I didn’t at the time, and it hurt that you singled out my sister and not me even though we’ve always been close and it hurt because I thought you were asking her out but she had no idea what you wanted and I was so convinced that I would ruin this and I did I’m so sorry I’m not blaming Itsuko even though it was her idea. It’s all my fault, I never meant to hurt you, and I’m really, really, really, really, really happy to hear your confession even if it wasn’t meant for me because I—” Izuku choked on a breath. He needed to breathe.

            Kacchan was staring at him, eyebrows furrowed, red eyes narrowed in a glare as he sneered, taking deep measured breaths in and out. “Gonna need you to finish that fucking sentence, Deku,” he sneered.

            Izuku nodded, lifting his head from the grass to meet Kacchan’s gaze. “I like you,” Kacchan. I have liked you for five years.”

            “Five years?!” Kacchan exclaimed, sounding horrified but also insanely excited. “That’s so pathetic!”

            "I know!” Izuku agreed before bursting into laughter. His sister’s clothes were covered in stray grass blades and dirt stains. He would have to apologize sincerely later, not that he could focus on that right now.

            “You should have said something sooner, Deku!” Kacchan shouted, shuffling on his knees closer to Izuku until their knees knocked. Izuku felt his breath hitch. Kacchan was so close to him now. It had been a while since he’d been this close to Kacchan, not since sleepovers when they were very little and Izuku would climb into Kacchan’s sleeping bag and vice versa, because they were both attracted to warmth from another human body. “Why didn’t you say something sooner?” he asked, this time his voice soft.

            Izuku adjusted his fake breasts in the bra, and Kacchan slapped his hands away from his chest, holding back laughter.

            “I was scared,” Izuku admitted. “Not of you,” he quickly added, seeing the hurt flash across Kacchan’s face. “Just in general. I’m sure you understand, since you wanted to talk about it with Itsuko first before me. Sorry I ruined that, again. Sorry.”

            Izuku hissed in pain when Kacchan’s hand came down on the back of his head, smacking him. He rubbed at the abused area. “Forget it,” Kacchan ordered. “I do. Understand,” he added.

            “Soooo… are we…okay?” Izuku asked apprehensively.

            Kacchan nodded after a second, and Izuku grinned, arms going around his best friend in a huge hug. Kacchan melted into the embrace, arms encircling his waist and tugging him closer so that their knees knocked again.

            Kacchan brushed his nose against Izuku’s cheek, and the pulled back abruptly before sneezing over his elbow.

            “Sexy,” Izuku commented, blushing a harsh red, the lingering brush staining his skin with a burn.

            “It’s the stupid makeup you have on. What the fuck, by the way. You two are almost too good for me.”

            “Almost!” Izuku repeated, insulted. He stumbled to his feet and Kacchan followed after him. “Pretty sure you were convinced up until Itsuko showed up and blew our cover.”

            “Blew your cover, what are you, secret agents?” Kacchan hissed, reaching for Izuku’s hand and interlacing their fingers. “I’ll admit you had ben going, but not at first. Ninety-five percent,” Kacchan admitted.

            “Uh-huh,” Izuku said, not believing him. “And what did your trained eyes observe?”

            Kacchan pulled Izuku closer with their clasped hands and whispered in his ear, “Your stupid fucking red high tops, dumbass.”

            Izuku gasped and looked down at his feet. Sure enough, he was wearing his regular shoes. He must have forgotten in his panic right before Kacchan showed up to put on the boots his sister had offered for him.

            “As punishment,” Kacchan began, getting Izuku’s attention once more, “you aren’t allowed to do this twin switch-up on me every again. And if you do, I need to know about it.”

            “Deal,” Izuku agreed readily. He had no plans to do this again in the future. Unless… “We should get Itsuko and see how much she messed with our dad.”

            Kacchan grinned, sharp and deviously. “Absolutely. But can you get the fake tits off first? It’s weirding me out. Actually, everything, all the makeup. The eyelashes. I’d rather look at you,” he asserted with a squeeze of their interlocked hands.

            Izuku threw his head back and laughed, leading Kacchan towards their house. He sure hoped his mother was still sleeping or was otherwise occupied because he did not have the energy to explain this whole thing to his mother. Yet. He would, just, not yet.

            “I know how to get the makeup off, but I’m stuck on the bra. I can’t do those stupid clasps myself.”

            Kacchan smacked his back, right where said clasps were hidden beneath cloth, and Izuku yelped. “We’ll figure it out,” Kacchan promised.