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A Head Full of Dreams

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Hitoshi Shinsou was honestly a little bit lonely.

He had insisted beyond any shadow of a doubt that he was not in hero school to make friends. It was hard enough for him to make friends in general, his quirk being what it was, but trying to catch up to the rest of his classmates made it even more imperative that he focus on what was important. And that was making sure he became a hero. Not making friends.

And then his second year at UA started, and he officially joined Class 2-A, moving into their dorms, and finally, officially having Aizawa as an actual instructor rather than just a mentor when he could spare the time. Things were looking up. 

Except that, not only had he missed out on a year of hero training, he quickly realized that he had also missed out on a year of social bonding. Sitting in the common room after class could be painful, as he wasn’t quite sure how to insert himself into the by-now routine activities going on around him. Whether it was Asui painting Uraraka’s nails while Uraraka talked lazily to an enraptured Iida, or Satoi wowing whoever was around with some sort of confectionary delight, or Bakugou getting in yet another spat with Todoroki or Midoriya or whoever was around him, Shinsou felt fated to watch from a distance, not knowing how to insert himself into any of their conversations. He still honestly wasn’t sure whether he even wanted to insert himself.

Kaminari and Midoriya were the only two who had actively tried befriending him, and he had been so cold to them the first few days he’d been in the dorms that he figured he’d scared them off for good. Midoriya was too much competition for him to be friends with, and Kaminari was…well…that what something he tried even harder to keep himself from thinking about.

If he was being honest with himself, he was the one who was scared, though. 

It happened at lunch one day. He normally elected to sit alone, or, if he sat with anyone else, he tended to ignore whatever conversation was going on in favor of studying instead. Today, he ended up seated near Midoriya, Iida, and Uraraka. He was trying to read over his notes from Present Mic’s class but could barely focus over the spirited conversation the trio was having. Something about which breed of dog they would be if a quirk were to turn them into a dog. Asinine , he found himself thinking.

“Ooh, ooh, I know!” Uraraka said. “What about in one of those role-playing games! Like the fantasy ones, like Dungeons and Dragons! What kind of character would you be if you were in that world?”

“A knight, obviously.” Iida said. “Valorous and fighting for honor.”

Midoriya hummed to himself. “I’m not sure. I’d want to be someone strong, obviously, but also smart, and brave. Maybe also being a knight would be cool. Or some sort of mage, maybe?”

Uraraka giggled. “Hehe, yes, I can see it already! Deku the Mage!” She puffed out her cheeks as she thought. “I’d wanna be someone fast and strong, who knows how to fight, like a martial artist.”

None of those are even classes in Dungeons and Dragons.

The three of them turned to Shinsou and stared at him, open-mouthed. Shinsou went bright red. Had he said that out loud? 

“Oh,” Uraraka said, pouting. “Well then what are some classes we could be?” she continued, in an almost taunting voice.

Shinsou rubbed the back of his head. “Ah, well, there’s a bunch of different magic classes. Like wizards, and sorcerers, and even druids. And then for warriors you’ve got monks, barbarians, rangers…lots of stuff.”

“Whoa, you know a lot about this, Shinsou!” Midoriya exclaimed, his eyes lighting up.

“I dunno about that, I’ve just got the manuals up in my room is all.”

“That’s really cool!” Midoriya continued. “Have you ever played?”

Shinsou shook his head. “Never had time.” He wasn’t going to add, or people to play it with .

“We should play a game!” Uraraka said. “Since you’ve got all the books, you should plan it, Shinsou!”

“Yeah, Shinsou, totally, do it! I bet it’d be so fun! I would play!” Midoriya added.

Iida nodded. “Me too. Sounds like a wholesome activity! Bonding with our classmates is a crucial part of our hero education, after all!”

At Iida’s mention of bonding with classmates, Shinsou caved in. “I suppose we could try a session or two and see how it goes…”

Midoriya grinned. “I can’t wait to play!”

“What’s this about playing some game, nerd?” Bakugou drawled as he passed by, stopping at their table, his hands shoved in his pockets. 

“Oh! Um, Shinsou is gonna run a game of Dungeons and Dragons for us!”

Bakugou narrowed his eyes at Shinsou. “I want in,” he said. “I’ll pummel you in whatever this game is, Shitty Deku.”

“It’s not really a game you can win, though,” Shinsou said. 

“Oh yeah?” Bakugous’ nostrils flared. “Try me.”

 

---

 

It was the weekend, but Shinsou had still spent all day with Aizawa, doing an extra training session to catch up to the other second-year hero students. He was working on a potential new ultimate move that would let him do more with his quirk. With a little bit of experimenting, he’d found out that putting a target to sleep made them more susceptible to more complex commands. In effect, his influence was greater, and his targets were able to use more of their own brains when they were sleeping rather than when they were awake. 

Aizawa had spent the entire afternoon unconscious, letting Shinsou brainwash him and then put him to sleep. All he had to do was nap while Shinsou experimented with what Aizawa was and wasn’t able to do under the influence of his quirk. He was calling the special move “Sleep Hypnosis,” and he felt pretty proud of it. 

Once it got to the point where his head hurt and he was dizzy from having to concentrate for so long, he stopped, waking Aizawa up. His teacher stretched inside of his yellow sleeping bag and yawned. 

“So, what did you notice?” he asked. 

“You can repeat back most sentences to me in your sleep, but they sound like someone who’s sleeptalking, for obvious reasons. You can also come up with answers to questions I ask about you, which definitely isn’t possible when my targets are awake. Physical actions can be more complicated. Multiple steps and different kinds of movements, that kind of thing. What about you? What did it feel like for you?”

Aizawa shook his head. “It just felt like I was asleep.” He rubbed his eyes. “I think I did have a vague dream or two.”

“Really? Did you dream about any of the things I asked you to do?”

“No, not like that. It was more like I was floating along in some sort of grey fog.”

“Huh. That doesn’t happen when I brainwash people who are awake.”

Aizawa shrugged. “Probably just the brain clearing itself out to make room for you.” He stood up, hunched over, his sleeping bag held under his arm. “Anyway, I was a willing participant. You need to see if you can surprise someone with it and get the same effects. Preferably before class on Monday.” He grinned and stepped out of the classroom. 

“Wait! Isn’t that against the rules?” Shinsou called after him. 

“It’s a rational breach of the rules, so I’ll make an exception,” Aizawa said with a shrug as he walked down the hall.

Shinsou had been thinking about Aizawa’s advice all afternoon. But as he lounged on the common room sofa, waiting for his classmates to show up for their first D&D play session, his thoughts turned to what Aizawa had said about the dreams he’d had while he was asleep and under the influence of his quirk. He mulled it over in his brain, wondering if there could be something more to it.

“Oh, hey! Whatcha doing hanging out in the common room for once, Shinsou?”

Shinsou sat up and turned around to see Kaminari. He looked like he’d just woken up from a nap -- the hair on the right side of his head was flattened and the left side was sticking up from static electricity. Shinsou stifled an affectionate chuckle. “I’m just waiting for a few people. We’re having a game night.”

“Oh! Are you doing the Dungeons and Dragons thing tonight? Jirou told me about that!”

“How did Jirou know about that?” 

“Oh, I mean, she heard it from Mina, Mina heard it from Kirishima, Kirishima heard it from Bakugou. Obviously, dude!”

Yeah, obviously. Shinsou bit his lip, hesitating for a moment, and then he spoke. “Hey, Kaminari?”

“Yeah, what’s up, Shinsou?” Kaminari’s eyes lost focus and his shoulders sagged just the tiniest bit. 

“Come sit down next to me for a minute.”

Kaminari walked over and sat next to him on the couch.

“Okay, go to sleep.”

Immediately, Kaminari’s eyes fell shut and his head lolled against the plush back of the couch.

“What do you see?”

Kaminari mumbled for a minute, and then spoke, a little slurred, but still understandable. “Hmmm, is cloudy. Foggy.”

“Okay. What if I told you that you were at a festival. What do you see now?”

“Hmmm? Foggy -- no, hmmm -- kakiko-ri. Yum.”

“Really? Shaved ice?”

Kaminari nodded, his eyes still closed. “It’s mango flavor. Hmmm, it’s nighttime. You want some, Toshi?”

Shinsou blushed. “N-No, I’m okay.”

“Hmmm, okay, more for me. Pretty fireworks. You’re watching them with me.”

“Really? Me?”

“Mhm. Dunno what’s prettier to look at though. You or the fireworks--”

“Okay, okay, wake up,” Shinsou said, flustered beyond belief. 

Kaminari blinked his eyes open, looking around, confused. “Did I fall asleep?”

“Sorry about that,” Shinsou ran a hand through his hair, his cheeks still warm with embarrassment. “Aizawa gave me homework. I had to test something out on someone.”

“Oh?” Kaminari’s face suddenly turned bright red. “Did you--did you make me dream that?”

Shinsou peered off to the side, embarrassed. “I only gave you the setting, and told you to tell me what you saw. You filled in the rest of the details with your subconscious, I guess.”

“Ah, I’m sorry, Shinsou, I hope that didn’t make you uncomfortable!” Kaminari shifted where he sat. 

“No, no, I was the one who was in your head, I’m sorry.” He paused. “And it…didn’t make me uncomfortable. At least not in a bad way.”

“It made you uncomfortable in a good way? Like-- like--” Kaminari sputtered.

Shinsou bit his lower lip. “Like, I think I kind of like yo--”

“Shinsou-kun! Look what we’ve got!”

Both boys were pulled out of their conversation as Uraraka came pummeling into the room, waving a character sheet around. Izuku and Iida followed. 

Kaminari looked at Shinsou, smiling and cocking his head to the side. “We can talk later, okay? Hope your game’s fun!” He squeezed Shinsou’s thigh and then got up. “Have fun, guys!” he called as he left the common room. 

“I hope I’m ready,” Midoriya said as he sat down on the floor at the table in front of the couch. “I went through the handbook -- thanks for letting me borrow it -- and tried to write down a lot of the information, but there’s so much in there so I hope you won’t get upset if I missed something and we have to go through the book while we’re playin--”

“Midoriya, it’s fine,” Shinsou said, almost laughing. He felt much more lighthearted suddenly. The spot on his thigh where Kaminari had touched him tingled. “Four pages of character notes is honestly probably a little excessive,” he said, peering at the small packet Midoriya had in front of him.

“Oh-- I-- oops,” he said, laughing and rubbing his neck. 

“I wonder where Bakugou is?” Iida said, shaking his head. “He really needs to learn to be more punctual. 

“Ah, we were sparring earlier and things got a little sour,” Midoriya said. “I think he’s sulking.”

“Oh no, Deku, what happened?” Ochako asked. 

“Ah, well, it kinda started over summer break. Towards the end of break, Kacchan told me that--” he paused and bit his lip. “Guys, you have to promise not to tell anyone else this, okay?”

Uraraka nodded and held her pinky out. “Pinky promise!” Iida did the same, a much more serious expression on his face.

Shinsou didn’t stick his pinky out, but said, “yeah, I promise.” 

“Okay, well, Kacchan kinda told me that he liked me and I--”

Uraraka squealed. “I knew it! I knew he liked you and he was too stubborn to admit it and--”

“He told me that he liked me. Not that he likes me, Ochako.”

“Oh,” she said, her expression saddening. 

“And I was really flattered you, know, because he’s Kacchan--” Midoriya’s face was bright red, “--but he said he can’t waste time on emotions like that when he’s trying to outdo me, and I told him that no matter how much I admire him I felt the same way. And ever since I said that he’s been extra upset whenever anything happens. Today I beat him while we were sparring and he had a meltdown. I’m kinda worried about him but he really doesn’t wanna talk, so I don’t know what to do…”

“Playing this game might actually help a little,” Shinsou said matter of factly. “Sometimes role-playing can help people say things they would never say themselves.” 

Iida nodded solemnly. “I agree with Shinsou. We’ll support Bakugou as a teammate both as a hero and in the game. No matter how bad things get.”

“Speak of the devil,” Shinsou said as Bakugou skulked into the common room, his hands shoved into his sweatpants pockets. 

“Okay, nerds, are we gonna start this or are you all gonna stare at me like freaks?”

“Ah, sorry, Kacchan!” Midoriya blushed and straightened up. “Yeah, Shinsou, how should we start?”

“Why don’t you all start by telling me a bit about your characters?”

“I’ll go first!” Uraraka said. “Okay, so I’m a half-orc ranger!” 

“Whoa, cool!” Midoriya said. Bakugou nodded approvingly.

“I grew up on a farm, and one day a bunch of goblins attacked and destroyed it. So now it’s my life mission to travel around and protect all the farmland from goblin invaders. And also to find a lot of gold, so I can help my family rebuild their farm!”

“That’s a fabulous backstory, Urakaka. I’m afraid mine isn’t as compelling,” Iida said. “I am a human paladin, bound by a sacred oath to uphold justice throughout the kingdom.” 

“Well, I probably could’ve seen that one coming,” Shinsou said, and everyone laughed. “What about you two?” Shinsou turned to Bakugou and Midoriya.

“Oh, um, I can go!” Midoriya ruffled through his packet of papers. “You see, after looking at all the stats of all the different races and classes and stuff I decided I wanted to do something a little bit unique. So, I’m a, um, halfling sorcerer! And I’ve got the Sage background because I used to be a researcher of the history of magic and those kinds of things.”

“Wow, Deku. Even your character is a nerd,” Bakugou said. 

Shinsou glared at him. “We’re playing Dungeons & Dragons, Bakugou. It’s safe to say we’re all nerds. Anyway, Midoriya, anything else?”

Midoriya nodded. “Yeah, um, like I was saying, I was a researcher, but then a whole bunch of wild magic started manifesting in me, and now I’ve become an adventurer to try to figure out where it came from and how to control it.”

Shinsou noticed Bakugou make an odd face as Midoriya said this, a knowing look of pained incredulity. He thought back to their joint training a few months prior, to the sudden uncontrollable outpouring of Izuku’s quirk that Shinsou had had to stop. But there was something more than just this knowledge in Bakugou’s look. Bakugou turned, realizing that Shinsou had caught him looking at Izuku and quickly averted his gaze, a blush blooming along his ears and neck. 

Ah. So that was part of it. He smiled at having caught Bakugou off-guard for a brief moment.

“Deku! Your character sounds awesome!” Uraraka said.

Shinsou nodded and then addressed Bakugou. “Your character?”

Bakugou slammed his character sheet down on the table, and leaned back against the couch. “Barbarian. Goliath.”

“A goliath?” Shinsou quirked his eyebrow. “They’re not even in the main handbook.”

“Yeah, so? You saying I can’t be one?”

“No. I’m just saying you can drop the cool exterior. It’s obvious that you’ve done just as much research as Midoriya, even if your attitude doesn’t show it.”

Uraraka snickered, and Bakugou crossed his arms and let out an angry puff of air. “Tch. Whatever.”

“Any other info on your character for us?”

“What else would you need to know?”

“Like background, personality, goals? That type of thing?”

“He’s strong. Don’t fuck with him, or he’ll mess you up. That good enough?”

“Okay, but what would a goliath be doing separate from its tribe? That’s something important about your character you’ll need to know.”

“I dunno, Shinsou, maybe he got bored of all their bullshit.”

“Kacchan, come on,” Deku said. “Can we just play the game?”

Bakugou pouted, but he stopped talking. 

“Okay, then,” Shinsou said. “Hopefully you’ll figure out your backstory as we play. You guys ready to get started?”

They all nodded. 

Shinsou started off by having each of them interact with different things and people in their vicinity to get them used to the mechanics of the game. There was a whole lot of laughing and a lot of grumbling from Bakugou when they all decided to go to an inn and Bakugou’s eight-foot tall character was too big to fit through the door. He decided to stand in the entrance and yell ferociously, spectacularly failing an intimidation check, resulting in the entire inn laughing at his short temper. 

Bakugou glared at Shinsou. “You have it out for me, don’t you?”

Shinsou raised his arms in defense. “Blame the dice, not me.”

“When the hell are we gonna get to the fighting, anyway? Come onnn,” he drawled.

“This is really fun, but I’m kinda with Bakugou,” Uraraka said. “I think I’m ready to beat up some bad guys!” 

“We’ll get there soon, don’t worry,” Shinsou said. 

But with all of their antics, it was pretty late by the time the group finally received their first mission and were on their way to complete it. Shinsou looked around as he was narrating, seeing Midoriya yawn and Uraraka rest her head lazily against Iida’s shoulder. Even Bakugou looked tired, his head resting on his crossed arms on the table. 

“How about we end there for now?” Shinsou said. “It’s getting kinda late.”

Iida nodded, the only one of the bunch who looked like he was still alert somehow. “Good idea, Shinsou,” he said. 

Uraraka nodded. “Same time next week?” she said. 

“If that works for all of you guys.”

“Works for me!” Midoriya said, stretching and standing up. “This is a lot of fun, Shinsou. I’m glad we finally got to hang out outside of class.”

“Yeah, me too,” Uraraka said. “You’re finally being less of a loner.” She stuck her tongue out at him. 

He laughed under his breath, self-conscious, but feeling fulfilled nonetheless. 

Midoriya lingered as Shinsou cleaned up all of his DM supplies, somewhat fidgety. It was a moment before Shinsou noticed. 

“Oh, Midoriya? Did you want something?”

“Hmmm? Oh, um, I dunno, I don’t wanna bother you, I should probably just talk to Ochako about this, but she seemed so tired…”

“What is it?”

“Do you think I did the right thing?”

“What right thing?”

“About Kacchan, I mean. Over the summer. About responding the way I did. I feel like I messed up our friendship or something.”

“I don’t know you two very well. I’m not sure what you want me to say.” 

“Ah, yeah, you’re right, Shinsou. I’m sorry I’m bugging you with this, it’s just been bothering me like all the time and now that I told the three of you I just feel like I need to get more of it out and--”

“Why not talk to Bakugou about it?”

“Like I said, he doesn’t really wanna talk about it. He’ll barely even talk to me about One f-- I mean, about other things anymore, even.”

Midoriya laid down on the couch. Shinsou knew that Midoriya would probably stay there, muttering his thoughts to himself for the next hour, even if he left and went to bed, so he sighed and sat back down by the table. “Can I ask you a question, Midoriya? One that will probably seem rude?”

“What is it?”

 

---

 

Bakugou paused in the hallway when he heard voices.

“Why do you care so much about Bakugou? He’s not…very likeable.”

“Ah, but that’s probably just because you don’t know him!” Midoriya said, his voice taking on a slightly more energetic tone. 

Shit. They were talking about him?

He had been the first one to leave after their play session, getting in bed and staring up into the blackness of his room. He quickly realized he wasn’t going to be able to sleep. 

His trouble sleeping had started over the summer. Ever since his stupid confession. Well, it had been a lie. A lie and a confession at the same time. 

“I used to like you, shitty nerd. You know that? Like, actually like you. Like a fuckin’ crush or whatever.”

“Wait-- Kacchan--- what?”

“You heard me! But that was in the past, Deku. If you think I’m ever gonna be soft to you because-- because we’ve known each other forever, or, or, whatever else kinda things might happen, you’re wrong.”

He replayed the way Deku had looked at him after he had said that over and over in his mind. Confused pain, his big eyes suddenly shining. He felt white-hot rage and shame course through him, could feel his own eyes tearing up. Why did he have to lie? Why couldn’t his confession have been the truth? “I like you, Deku,” not, “I liked you, shitty nerd. I used to like you .” 

Some stupid part of his brain had for some reason thought that declaring his feelings as if they only existed in the past would make them stop existing in the future. It hadn’t worked.

Deku’s response played on repeat in his head.

“We have known each other forever, haven’t we?” Deku had said, smiling. “But I feel the same way. I admire you a lot, Kacchan, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna lose my way, okay? I’m still gonna be the number one hero one day, no matter what.”

The pit of Bakugou’s stomach twisted unbearably whenever he thought of the way Deku had responded. It had been so formal, so hesitant, and he’d been too scared to ask Deku to elaborate, to find out if there were hidden meanings behind his words or if he really just flat-out meant what he had said: Deku admired him, in the same way he admired All Might. Platonically, as some sort of hero figure to look up to and emulate. Not that he wasn’t committed to their rivalry, but, just that once, he had wanted it to be about something else. 

He wiped his eyes and sat up, and then decided to make his way back downstairs to get some water. Something to distract him for a moment while he tried and failed to get a good night’s sleep.

And just as he was about to round the corner into the common space, that’s when he’d heard them. Shinsou and Deku, talking about him.

“Ah, but that’s probably just because you don’t know him! He’s super competitive, but that’s how he shows he cares about you and respects you. He doesn’t like frivolous things. That’s probably why he even told me about his feelings in the first place--”

Bakugou’s eyes blew wide open, and he had to stifle the small sparks that started jumping off the palms of his hands, which were suddenly damp with nervous sweat. Deku had told someone else about his confession?

He had told Shinsou, of all people?

But Shinsou cut Deku off before Bakugou had more time to think. “Another question. You never told us whether or not you liked Bakugou back.”

Bakugou was positive that the two of them would be able to hear his heartbeat from where they were. It was suddenly the only thing he could hear, pounding against his eardrums at a nauseating pace.

Deku spoke, so quiet that Bakugou almost couldn’t hear him.

“I’ve-- I’ve always liked Kacchan.” 

There was nothing Bakugou could do to stop the sudden, small explosions that erupted from the palms of his hands.

“What was that?” Shinsou said, alarmed. 

“It sounded like explosions,” Deku said, sitting up.

“Hello?” Shinsou said, cautiously.

“Fuck off,” Bakugou said. And then he was no longer in control of his body.

“Gotcha,” Shinsou said. “Get over here.”

Bakugou walked over to where the two of them were seated, against all better judgment, against his mind screaming at him to run back to his room and blow something up. 

“Shinsou, why did you do that to Kacchan?” he heard through a daze. 

“Because I’m curious about something,” he said, matter-of-factly. “And it’s homework.”

“Homework? But--” 

“Shhh.”

Deku immediately stopped talking.

“Bakugou, sit down.” He did.

“Both of you, go to sleep.” 

Through his mind’s eye, Bakugou was suddenly enveloped in a grey mist. That mist became everything he knew. He heard Shinsou talking, telling him something, from a far distance and through a thick haze. And then he got the sense that Shinsou’s presence was gone. It was just him, floating along in this eternal fog. He forgot that he was Bakugou, second year hero student, winner of last year’s sports festival. He just was , in whatever this fog in his mind was. And then, slowly, once he had forgotten everything about himself, the shapes around him started to morph.

 

---

 

Members of Class 2A play D&D in the dorm common room

Chapter Text

Izuku blinked his eyes open. Did I fall asleep? he wondered to himself. He was leaning against a tall tree in a dense forest. He looked down in his lap, where his book of sorcerer’s notes, which he had titled Wild Magic Notes for the Future , had fallen when he must have dozed off. 

He felt immensely groggy and wasn’t particularly sure where he was or what he was doing for a few moments. He held his head in his hands, trying to stave off a sudden surge of vertigo. 

But as he became accustomed to being awake, it all came back to him. He was trying to find the source of the wild magic that had recently begun manifesting from within him. He pulled out the map he had with him and reset his sense of direction. 

The forest was dark and overgrown, with plenty of places for all types of creatures to hide. He hoped that his magic would cooperate if he ran into anything unseemly.

Izuku stopped just short of a fallen statue of a rather large man, obscured in a few places by tufts of moss. He leaned down to examine the exquisitely carved hand peeking out from under a small blanket of green. It was a smooth gray and larger than his head. His eyes trailed up the statue’s arm, which was painted with unfamiliar tribal markings that almost looked like lightning. 

What would such an elaborate statue be doing in the middle of a forest like this? 

He knelt down, placing his own hand on the statue’s. It was warm. He furrowed his brows and moved his hand to rest over the inside of the statue’s wrist, and then his eyes blew wide open and he stumbled backwards. 

It had a pulse. Weak, like the thing was sick or injured, but it was undeniably there. It was alive. Izuku wracked his brain. Golem? No. Troll? No. Ogre? No. Orc? No. Goliath?

He walked around the perimeter of the creature, trying to get a closer look at it, brushing some of the moss off of it without disturbing it, in case it was just sleeping. A mop of ashen blond hair partially occluded its face, but it was matted with dried blood. It was hurt. No, he . Right? He was hurt?

As cautiously as he could, he lifted some of the creature’s hair to get a look at its face. Beneath bruises and a swollen eye were the unmistakable bony ridges unique to goliaths running across both sides of his head, over his temples, along with more of those brown markings lining his cheekbones and jaw. Without thinking, Izuku ran his hand over the goliath’s face. His expression, even in unconsciousness, looked pained and desperate, like he needed help. And Izuku was pretty sure that no one else would be passing this way, so deep in this forest.  

What was a lone goliath doing so far away from any mountain ranges that he could have come from? And what had managed to hurt him so badly?

He ended up taking off his cloak and cutting it into smaller pieces to use it to clean some of the goliath’s wounds. Aside from the gash on his forehead and some scrapes and cuts on his arms and shoulders, his main source of injury appeared to be a wound on his right side as big as Izuku’s arm. None of his wild magic was healing magic, so he did what he could with the herbs and plants he scavenged around him.

He also figured he could spare one of his potions of healing. When most of the wounds were dressed, Izuku stepped back to try and figure out how to get the goliath’s head in a position to drink. 

Some of the numbing poultice he had used must have been working, because the goliath’s expression was already more content, less pained. It was a handsome face, Izuku decided, looking at it from a distance, now that it was cleaned up and less hidden by hair and moss. A little unusual for goliaths to have hair, but it suited him, Izuku thought. 

He shook his head. What the hell was he thinking? He needed to make sure this goliath didn’t die, not waste time ogling him.

Somewhat awkwardly, he knelt down next to the goliath’s head and uncorked one of his potions of healing. He reached his hand out, and then paused when he was close to touching the other’s mouth. He was used to most travelers he came across being larger than him -- he was about as small as they came -- but he felt a spike of self-consciousness as he reached out to try to pry this unconscious goliath’s mouth open. He took in a sharp intake of breath as his fingers ghosted over his bottom lip -- how could something the color of stone still be so soft? Maybe a little bit less pliant than regular lips, but still. And even though they were thin they were somewhat pillowy. 

Pulling down on his lower lip, he sighed in relief as the goliath opened his mouth in his sleep just enough so that Izuku could slip the hand holding the potion in between his two rows of teeth. His eyes lingered on the sizeable canines and he realized that if the goliath were to close his mouth again in his sleep, his hand would most likely be crushed, if not torn off. 

He quickly poured the contents of the potion into the goliath’s mouth and jerked his arm backward, out of reach of the goliath’s teeth. As the potion went down his throat, the goliath sputtered and coughed, and then was still again. The expression on his face changed yet again, his brows furrowing and nose scrunching up for a moment. And then Izuku, from his position squatting on the forest floor, found the goliath’s eyes suddenly wide open, deep red irises boring into him. 

“Don’t hurt me! Please!” Izuku cried, curling into a ball. “I was just trying to help!”

“Help?” the goliath spat. “Why would I need help?”

“Um, well, you were unconscious, and the wound in your side, see--”

“You should’ve just left me to die, fool,” the goliath said, wincing as he sat up. He shook the dirt and moss off of him, and Izuku took in the full extent of the leather breastplates he was wearing under a fur-lined cloak. His lower torso was left bare. He wore the bones of creatures in his ears and around his throat, and Izuku swallowed when he realized that the bones were sizeable enough to have come from a body with a similar stature as his. He was suddenly extremely nervous about the possibility of potentially pissing this creature off. 

“Why would I have left you to die?” Izuku said, standing up and barely brushing shoulder-height with the seated goliath.

“I’m useless like this,” the goliath said under his breath. “Needing help…useless.” 

Izuku frowned. “Looks to me like you can be useful again, thanks to me.”

The goliath narrowed his eyes at Izuku, and the halfling staggered backwards, throwing his arms up in defense. And then the goliath sighed. “Whatever.” He paused and then continued. “You’re particularly small, even for a man. What are you?”

“Oh, I’m a halfling! I don’t know how often goliaths ever really get to meet halflings -- I know you guys don’t really leave your tribes in the mountains much, right?”

The goliath rubbed his temples with his thumbs. “My tribe…” he said under his breath, “how did I get here…”

“Did you lose your memory?” Izuku asked, stepping forward to place a comforting hand on the goliath’s shoulder. The goliath shrugged him off, and the force pushed Izuku backward.

“Stop asking stupid questions,” the goliath said, but Izuku could still see the looked of pained confusion etched into his face. 

“Do you-- do you know your name?” Izuku suggested.

“Of course I know my fucking name. I’m Katsuki Bakugou, and I’m from a tribe of goliaths that lives on a mountain range near Yuuei Mountain. I just…don’t know how I got…here.”

“Oh! Yuuei?! That’s where I’m headed! The volcano there is supposedly home to hidden arcane knowledge. I’m hoping going there will help me understand my magic better.”

“What are you, some sort of nerd?” Katsuki spat. 

“Just a researcher turned sorcerer!” Izuku continued. “I’m Izuku Midoriya.”

“Sure. Whatever. I’m gonna leave now.” Katsuki stood up and stretched, making a slightly sour face as the stretch pulled on his wound. He stooped over and picked up a hulking greataxe from where it had been laying on the ground, slinging it over his shoulder. 

“Hey! Wait!” Izuku called after him as he began walking. “Why don’t I go with you? Since we’re heading to the same place, right?”

Katsuki turned back as he walked. “As if you’d be able to keep up with me.”

Izuku dug his heel into the ground, frustrated. He hadn’t expected gratitude from the goliath, or even a nonviolent reception, so Katsuki’s attitude didn’t bother him, but it just felt illogical to travel alone when there was the potential to have some company. He considered, for a moment, what it must look like though, an unassuming halfling asking to join a goliath as a traveling partner. Katsuki probably thought Izuku just wanted a bodyguard. “Hey!” I’m the one who’s made it through this forest unharmed!” he shouted as he ran to catch up. “What happens if you get hurt again?”

“The weak die, and the strong live. That’s the rule of the land.”

“Stupid rule,” Izuku muttered under his breath. 

“Follow me if you want, I don’t care. But I’m not slowing down for you, and we’re not partners.”

 

---

 

To Katsuki’s dismay, the halfling was more sure-footed than he had expected, able to keep up with him relatively easily, even if the little green-haired thing had to jog to do it. 

He was beyond frustrated at himself, not least of all because he’d somehow let himself get injured, but because no matter how hard he tried to, he couldn’t remember anything about his tribe, had no reason why he was in this forest to begin with. All he had to guide him was the pull to go back to Yuuei Mountain. 

When he could start to sense the forest darkening around him, he slowed down his pace, straying off of the main path to search out a good spot to rest for the night. When he glanced behind him, of course, the halfling was still there, dodging the branches that swung back as he pushed through them. He stopped upon finding a selection of boulders covered in a tangle of soft vines that looked comfortable enough to curl up on. The halfling slammed into the back of his leg, unable to slow down in time. “Watch it!” Katsuki yelled.

“Ow, sorry,” Izuku said, rubbing his head from where he had fallen on the ground. “Why’d you stop?”

“Gonna sleep.”

“Out in the open like this? You’re not worried about all the creatures that come out at night?”

“What else do you suggest?”

“I usually just climb up a tree and cover myself so I’m hidden,” he said. “I guess that wouldn’t work for you, huh?”

“No shit.” 

Izuku stood up and brushed himself off. “Like that one,” he said, gesturing as he made his way towards a nearby tree. “Well, goodnight,” he said, as he made his way to shuffle up the tree. 

Katsuki grunted in response, and settled down against one of the vine-covered boulders to start making a small fire. He pulled a hunk of dried meat out of his pack and chewed on it, watching as the fire grew in front of him. 

He’d built up a keen ability through all his years as a barbarian to sense danger just as it was about to happen. Just as he was dozing off, this sense spiked to the top of his awareness. He heard a sudden shriek and shot up and glanced around him, sensing rustling above his head nearby. He heard what was unmistakably the halfling let out a yell and then add a fierce, “Smash!” and then the branches above him were cracking and breaking due to some sudden force, falling around him. The halfling landed with a thump in Katsuki’s lap. He looked down at him, incredulous. This was the closest he’d ever been to the halfling’s face, wide-blown, dark green eyes staring up at him with a look of alarm, matching the mess of wild green curls on his head. His cheeks were dusted with freckles, and Katsuki suddenly felt self-conscious about the way Izuku was resting on his thigh, his hands pressed up against his torso. Izuku’s panicked voice brought him back to the present.

“We can’t sleep here!” he said. “Twig blights!”

Sure enough, as he looked around, a smattering of small leafless shrubs littering the clearing were starting to morph into vaguely humanoid shapes, uprooting themselves and shambling towards them. “Shit!” Katsuki muttered.

Izuku was moving faster than he could have imagined possible, hopping off of Katsuki and running over to the fire, crouching near it and readying the light crossbow he had slung across his back. “Twig blights are susceptible to fire! Lure them towards it and I’ll shoot them, then you throw them in!”

Katsuki nodded and stood up, swinging his greataxe in front of him and barreling towards the twig blights. Instead of dodging out of the way, they jumped and sank their twiggy claws into his legs, and he grunted, trying to kick them off. “Stupid fucking sticks!” he yelled. “Die!” 

He swung his legs and a blight flew off of him into the fire, crackling and burning up with the rest of the wood. He went to kick his leg again, but it was stuck on something. He looked down and saw vines snaking their way up his legs, keeping him firmly rooted in spot. “Can’t fucking move!” he yelled, reaching down to try to rip the vines off of him. All they did was snake up and around his arms as well, trapping him in place. “Fucking vines!”

Izuku peeked out from behind the fire. “Oh no, not good, not a vine blight too! Don’t worry, I’m coming!” He crouched in a battle-ready stance and exhaled once. “Full Cowling!” he yelled, and then his body erupted with glowing greenish lightning. He leapt clean over the fire, landing among the vines and flitting through them as they tried and failed to wrap around him. Katsuki saw a hand shoot up from within the vines, Izuku’s arm glowing orange with pink zaps of energy flowing through it. He grabbed a chunk of vine and pulled, flying backwards as he ripped apart the mess of vines. The vines receded from Katsuki with a hiss, and he slammed his greataxe down into them. They writhed for a moment, ripped and chopped to bits, and then finally fell still. 

When he peered up, Izuku was gripping his arm as if it had been hurt somehow, that glow and those pink lines slowly fading. Katsuki swallowed. Why did those glowing veins of power look just like the markings lining his own skin?

Goliaths believed that the markings they were born with foretold their destiny. What could this possibly mean?

He shook off the rest of the twig blights, ripping them apart in his hands and throwing them into the fire while Izuku guarded the perimeter of their little clearing with his crossbow.

“I think they’re all gone,” Izuku panted.

“What the hell was that magic?” Katsuki asked, resting back down against one of the boulders and rolling his pants up above his knees to take a look at the damage. He had small scrapes and puncture wounds from the twig blights’ claws, and slight bruises from where the vine blight had held him in place, but no injuries that were major.

“That’s what I’m trying to find out,” Izuku said. “It’s the wild magic that I started manifesting not too long ago.” He collapsed against the boulder next to Katsuki, clutching the arm that had been glowing. “I think I used too much. It’s hard to control.”

Katsuki peered down at him and watched Izuku roll up the sleeve of his blouse. There were bruises blossoming over the entirety of his arm. “Too much power for your tiny body,” he teased, jabbing Izuku in the side with a finger. 

“Ow, my ribs! Be careful with that!” Izuku yelled, grinning as he said it. Katsuki realized that he’d been looking at Izuku for longer than was probably deemed appropriate and he averted his gaze, choosing to look at the fire instead. 

“Hungry?” Katsuki asked, pulling out his jerky again. He ripped off a small piece and held it out for the halfling.

“Thanks,” Izuku said, smiling. He sighed. “Can’t believe we fell into the blights’ traps.” He rummaged through his bag, the jerky hanging haphazardly out of his mouth, pulling out a bound book.

“What’s that?”

“For my notes,” Izuku said. “Every time I use the wild magic I try to write it down, so I can keep track of it.”

Katsuki squinted his eyes to read the title in the firelight. Wild Magic Notes for the Future , it said, with his name, Izuku Midoriya, underneath it. The Izuku was crossed out though, and someone had written “Deku” underneath it.

“Why’s your book say ‘Deku’ on it?” Katsuki asked.

“Just stupid people at the college I was at,” Izuku said. “Stole the book from me and wrote stuff like that all over it. Luckily I can still read most of the notes.”

“And you didn’t kill them?”

Izuku snorted. “Kill them!? No, no. It was back before the wild magic started really manifesting. I really was pretty useless back then, honestly.” 

“Heh. Deku,” Katsuki said to himself. “Does have a nice ring to it.” 

Izuku levelled his own punch into Katsuki’s side. “Oi! What the hell?” Katsuki blurted out, surprised at how much force the halfling’s fist could contain.

“Aren’t you glad I followed you all this way?” Izuku said, his smile pulling his cheeks up. “That vine blight would’ve eaten you.”

“Shut up, Deku, you don’t know that. You haven’t seen me when I get angry.”

“I feel like that’s all I’ve seen of you.”

“Ha. Very funny. You ever see someone go into a battle rage before?”

Izuku shook his head.

“Some advice. If you ever do, get the fuck out of the way.”

“Aw, are you trying to make sure I don’t die? That’s cute, Kacchan .”

“What the fuck?” Katsuki said under his breath. “We’re done talking. Go to sleep.” He crossed his arms and closed his eyes.

He could have demanded that Izuku move, maybe should have demanded, but the small spot of warmth where Izuku’s body was pressed to his side was comforting. Comfort -- not a familiar feeling to a goliath. A frivolous feeling. Liable to lead to complacency, which would very quickly lead to death up in the mountains. 

But Katsuki wasn’t in the mountains right now. 

 

---

 

“Oh my God, Shinsou, did they fall asleep like that?” Kaminari asked. 

“Sort of? Midoriya kind of fell into his side, and then they…adjusted?”

They were standing in front of the couch, looking at Midoriya and Bakugou, who had fallen asleep next to each other. Midoriya’s head was on Bakugou’s shoulder, and Bakugou had slung an arm around Midoriya. 

“What did you do to them?”

“I didn’t do anything. Just told them not to wake up until they figure out all the shit going on between them.”

Kaminari stared at Shinsou, open-mouthed. “Shinsou, they’re never gonna wake up. You’ve killed them.”

Shinsou laughed, his eyes crinkling and body shaking. Kaminari was smiling softly at him. The look blew all of the air out of Shinsou’s lungs.

“I’ve never seen you laugh like that before,” Kaminari said. “It’s really cute.” 

Shinsou bit his lip. “Oh. Oh, um. Wow.” 

Kaminari giggled and grabbed his hand, pulling him away from the common room. “C’mon, let’s talk in your room. I wanna see your room before we do Room King.”

“What’s Room King?” Shinsou asked as Kaminari led him upstairs. 

“Oh, did your general studies class not do it? We go around to everybody’s rooms and vote on the best one. Most people’s rooms are what you’d expect, but it’s still fun. I’m still not sure what I’d expect from yours though,” he teased.

“Well, you’re about to find out, I guess,” Shinsou said, unlocking the door and swinging it open. “I would’ve tidied up if I knew someone was gonna come over, sorry…”

“No worries, man!” Shinsou flicked on the lights and Kaminari peered in. 

“Oh, it’s really nice in here!” He walked over to the bed, past a small pile of clothes on the floor, and sat at the edge of it, running his hand over the fluffy gray comforter. “Ugh, this feels wonderful,” he said. He eyed the capture weapon hanging over Shinsou’s desk chair. “How’s that coming along?”

“Good and bad, I guess. I can never tell whether Aizawa-sensei thinks I’m progressing or failing.” He sat down next to Kaminari with a huff. 

“That’s relatable. He’s like that with everyone, even the best people in the class. Did you know he almost expelled Midoriya on the very first day last year?”

“What? Really?”

“Yeah, it was really nerve-wracking, especially for our first class ever, you know? But ours is the first class he’s had in a while where he hasn’t expelled anyone, apparently. So I think if he wants to bring someone new in, that must mean you’re really good. I mean, that’s, like, the exact opposite of expelling someone, right?” 

Shinsou realized with a sudden jolt that Kaminari’s fingers were brushing his. 

“You-- you think so?”

“Definitely. You’re really cool, Shinsou.” 

In lieu of an answer, Shinsou squeezed Kaminari’s hand. He felt like his heart was going to tumble out of his throat, and his entire body was hot. He looked into Kaminari’s eyes, the lights in the room making them gleam like molten gold. 

“Can I kiss you, Shinsou?”

Shinsou swallowed, his voice trembling. “I’ve never kissed anyone before.”

Kaminari nodded, his eyes focused on Shinsou’s lips. “I’ve only ever kissed girls. Well, girl. Jirou, last year. And then she came out, so maybe I’m so bad at kissing that it turned her gay.”

Shinsou laughed again. It was almost like Kaminari had a second quirk, the way he could make him laugh effortlessly like that. He cleared his throat. “Aizawa-sensei always tells me that the only way to stop being bad at something is to keep doing it until you’re not bad at it anymore.” 

“Good strategy. Mmm---”

Their lips met and Shinsou squeezed his eyes shut, revelling in the new sensation. Wet, and a little warm, and so much softer than he’d imagined it would be. He moved his lips a little bit and felt Kaminari sigh, his mouth opening just the tiniest bit, tongue poking out against Shinsou’s lower lip. Shinsou whined and opened his mouth, and then winced as their teeth knocked together. They both pulled back, laughing. 

“Try again?” Shinsou said. 

Kaminari placed his hand on Shinsou’s cheek. “Yes, please.”

 

---

 

Izuku’s sleep was disturbed by odd dreams, dreams of a long, empty beach and a gaunt man reaching his hand out toward him, of a constellation of stars melding together into one and exploding, filling his chest with the light of a supernova. Dreams that he was chasing someone, someone with ash-blond hair who was flying away from him on the back of explosions.

But he’d forgotten them by the time he woke up, rubbing his face into Katsuki’s stomach, jerking upward when he realized what he was doing. He used his hand to try to detangle his hair, succeeding only in fluffing it up even more. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and yawned, glancing around him. The forest was lit with a soft morning glow, the charred remains of the twig blights and the decimated vine blight fully visible on the forest floor around them. The fire Katsuki made had turned to ash as they slept. He chanced a glance at the goliath, still sleeping, his stomach rising and falling so much with each breath that Izuku was surprised he’d been able to sleep through the movement.

“Oh my gods ,” he whispered, his mouth falling open as his gaze drifted lower. He swallowed harshly, unable to look away from the massive tent in Katsuki’s pants. It was definitely larger than his forearm, quite possibly even thicker than his thigh. He felt his own cock twitch inquiringly in his breeches. “Okay, goliaths get morning wood,” he said to himself, trying to slow down his breathing, “just like everyone else. It’s fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.” He stared for a few more seconds, and then cursed to himself and ran a good distance away from the clearing, bracing himself against a tree and pulling his own halfling-sized cock out. He rubbed his open fist over it, groaning as he smoothed his precum over the shaft. “Fuck, fuck, fuck ,” he whispered to himself as he thrusted into his fist, the warmth in the core of his stomach building unbelievably fast.

“Deku?” he heard Katsuki call sleepily from clearing. 

He tried to remove any hint of either lust or panic from his voice and called back. “I’m fine, Kacchan. Be back-- in a minute--” he bit his forearm to keep from moaning as his eyes rolled back in his head. 

“Deku, come on! I don’t have time for this!” He could hear Katsuki’s voice getting closer, dangerously closer.

“Fuck, fuck , Kacchan, hold on-- aah--” his orgasm crested just as Katsuki peeked his head behind the tree Izuku was standing at to see if he was there. Their eyes met as Izuku cried out, cum spurting over his hand and onto the tree in front of him. Katsuki stood unblinking, his chest rising and falling rapidly. “S--sorry, Kacchan, fuck. Sorry.”

“What the fuck,” Katsuki mouthed. “What the fuck?”

Izuku wiped his hand on some nearby leaves and hastily tucked himself away. “Sorry about that,” he panted, shaking his head to try to regain some composure. He watched Katsuki’s Adam’s apple bob in his throat as he swallowed. Izuku flitted his gaze downward for the briefest of seconds. Katsuki was trying to make it less obvious, but he was definitely still hard. Fuck. 

“Um,” Katsuki said, “I heard a weird noise near our camp.” He stuttered a bit as he suddenly realized what he was implying. “It-- it wasn’t you, I mean. A different noise.”

“Yeah? Where was it coming from?” Izuku was relieved that Katsuki had changed the topic so quickly.

Katsuki suddenly shushed him. “I hear it again.”

Sure enough, Izuku could hear it too, a small, trill chirruping in the distance. “I think it’s coming from over here,” Izuku said, walking in the direction of the noise. 

“Ah!” Katsuki called out, gripping his head in one hand. “I can feel it-- I can see--”

“Kacchan, are you okay?” Izuku said, running over to him. 

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s-- it’s in a bush.” 

“What? How do you know?”

Katsuki brushed past him towards a thick shrub a slight ways away. He knelt down and rummaged through it. With a rasping purr, a tiny red dragon hopped out of the bush and into Katsuki’s hand. 

“What the hell---?”

Izuku ran up to it. “A pseudodragon! No wonder you could understand where it was, Kacchan! They’re telepathic!”

The dragon crawled up Katsuki’s arm and nuzzled his face, flicking his tongue against his cheek adoringly. “What the fuck, shitty horns, stop!”

“Does that dragon know you, Kacchan?” Izuku asked. 

“What? I--” he pried the pseudodragon off of his shoulder and placed him in his open palm, bringing it up to eye level and looking at it. “I dunno.” It purred and then curled up in his palm. “Maybe.”

“Maybe you both wound up here together somehow. Pseudodragons usually pair up with people, like familiars do. They don’t go searching out random people.” 

“Huh.” Katsuki placed the pseudodragon back on his shoulder, where it curled up comfortably in his furs and closed its eyes. “I guess this means Shitty Horns is joining us, then.” He sighed. 

 

---

 

Katsuki let the halfling take the lead this time as they made their way through the forest. It definitely wasn’t because he wanted to watch him. Definitely not that. 

The white blouse he was wearing was stained brown in most places from dirt, the green vest he wore over it and his green hair making it seem like he was almost part of the forest himself. 

He couldn’t get the image of Izuku’s face as he came out of his mind. Eyebrows knitted tight together, eyes wide in shock, freckled cheeks angry red and tongue lifted just slightly out of his opened mouth. It was both the most innocent and the most lewd thing he’d ever seen, and every time he refreshed the image of it in his mind it sent another jolt down his spine. Gods , he wanted to reach out and grab him and pick him up and make him make that face again.

No, no. He shook his head to try to get the image out of his mind. 

“Kacchan, look!” Katsuki looked up and noticed that the forest was thinning around them. “I think we made it to the edge of the forest!”

The dragon on his shoulder stirred at Izuku’s exclamation, stretching and flying ahead of them.

They left the forest behind and were suddenly standing in a blooming meadow. He heard Izuku’s gasp, and had to agree that the reaction was fitting. 

He didn’t really care about aesthetics, but looking at Izuku standing in the blooming mass of tall grasses and flowers surrounding him, some of them reaching all the way up his torso, he thought that maybe he could learn to appreciate one or two pretty things. 

Beyond the meadow, just on the horizon, he could glimpse the mountain range, tinted bluish through the atmospheric haze.

“Hey, isn’t Yuuei supposed to be a dormant volcano?” Izuku said.

Katsuki searched the mountain range for the tallest peak. Sure enough, there it was, billowing a thin trail of smoke up into the sky. “Yeah,” he said. “Definitely. Definitely supposed to be dormant.”

Izuku giggled as a much smaller puff of smoke rose up from a bunch of wildflowers, the pseudodragon popping up right after it, hopping about and rolling in the flowers like an overexcited puppy. 

The air smelled sweet and it was doing something to Katsuki’s senses, lifting his mood until he found himself smiling too. Shitty Horns flew up out of the bed of flowers he had been rolling in and perched on Katsuki’s shoulder, tittering happily and rubbing up against Katsuki’s cheek. Katuski sneezed and wiped his hand over his face, looking at the powdery pink residue on his fingers. 

“Hey, nerd,” he said, his voice feeling faintly distant. “This, uh, is this stuff, like, pollen, or…?” He found his eyelids growing heavier with each blink, and he could just barely make out Izuku rubbing a bit of the pink residue off of the pseudodragon and in between his own fingers through the haze in his vision. 

“Kacchan…” Izuku whined, his voice unnaturally high-pitched. He stumbled forward and into Katsuki’s thigh, his arms wrapping around it. “Midnight poppies…” he slurred. Katsuki lost his balance and fell into the bed of flowers surrounding them, knocking loose a faint cloud of pink pollen. “The little pink ones…” Izuku continued, and Katsuki felt Izuku nuzzle into his thigh as his eyes closed down. It was almost impossible for Katsuki to keep his own eyes open; everything in him was trying to force him to lay his head on the ground and sleep, but he managed to catch the pseudodragon still fumbling around in the flowers, apparently unaffected. 

“Shitty Horns,” he said as he closed his eyes down. “Torch all the little pink fuckers…”

 

---

 

Katsuki woke with a yell. He smelled smoke and felt his torso burning. He rolled over, snuffing out the fire in the grass beside him that had caught on his cloak. The pseudodragon was standing in a burnt patch of meadow around them, braying high-pitched and alarmed, probably in an attempt to wake him up.

With a jolt he remembered Izuku falling asleep clutching his leg and he jerked his leg up, relieved to find Izuku stirring but unharmed on the ground below him. The halfling was coughing, his smaller stature meaning he was breathing in more of the smoke. Without thinking, Katsuki reached down and picked Izuku up with both of his hands, standing up, a little unsteadily at first, and examining him. Izuku’s eyes were wide and Katsuki could feel the muscles in his chest and stomach flex as he wiggled in his grasp. 

“Kacchan, the midnight poppies…” he said, his tone pleading. “When you burn them, they-- they--”

Katsuki’s eyes narrowed as Izuku continued to squirm. “Quit moving, nerd!” he snapped, just before he felt his thumb brush over something in the front of Izuku’s trousers and Izuku let out a small moan. 

Katsuki was wide awake now, the sting in his eyes and throat from the smoke dulled as a new sense overcame him. 

“--Aphrodisiac,” Izuku sputtered, his hips bucking forward in Katsuki’s hands. “Burning midnight poppies turns them into a--- ahhhh-- into an aphrodisiac.”

“Fuck,” Katsuki growled, squeezing Izuku until the smaller man yelped. “Fuck,” he repeated, putting Izuku gingerly down on the ground and then descending to sit cross-legged himself. “How--”

“Your finger.”

Izuku answered a question that Katsuki hadn’t even gotten around to asking himself yet. The goliath felt heat instantly travel down to his core. The halfling was walking forward towards Katsuki, his arms outstretched, grabbing at his knee to try to pull himself on top of him. “Please,” Izuku whined.

“Fuck, Deku,” Katsuki said, his voice husky with lust. “You really that far gone for me?”

“Yes,” Izuku panted. Katsuki lifted him up and draped him across his lap. His head was nestled nicely in his thigh, his nose burrowing into it pleasantly. 

Izuku was definitely more far gone than Katsuki was -- he'd breathed in more of the smoke -- but Katsuki was still feeling it -- a hazy, gnawing want in the pit of his stomach. He placed one hand on Izuku's shoulder blades to steady him, while his other tugged his trousers down to his ankles. Izuku shuddered and whined as Katsuki pinched one of his small round asscheeks between his thumb and forefinger. 

"You're gonna have to start out for me, princess," Katsuki crooned. "My finger's the size of one of your kind's cocks." 

Izuku shifted his head so that he was looking up at Katsuki and nodded. He seemed incapable of coherent speech in whatever headspace he was in. Katsuki watched, breathless, as Izuku rolled onto his side in his lap and curled up, coating his fingers in his own spit before reaching them downward. 

"You do this a lot?" Katsuki said as Izuku worked himself open. The halfling bit his lip and nodded. "You let other people fuck you there?" Izuku whimpered in response. "Humans? Elves? Who's the biggest you've taken?" 

Katsuki was aware that he sounded vaguely threatening, his voice a deep, low, growl. But Izuku didn't seem to mind, the speed of his movements picking up as Katsuki spoke.

There was nothing Katsuki wanted more in that moment than to sit Izuku upright in his lap and fuck up into him. He was sure Izuku could feel how hard his cock was with his face pressed up against his crotch the way it was. 

But fucking Izuku was most likely physically impossible, so he settled for the next best thing and tugged his cock out of his pants so that it now rested along Izuku's torso. 

The goliath leaned down, his whisper probably more like a bellow in Izuku's tiny ear. "You can touch it, you know." He tried to keep the utter, desperate need out of his voice, but it trembled nonetheless. 

Izuku's hands, wet with spit, found Katsuki's shaft, both wrapping around it as much as possible. He groaned as Izuku’s hands explored him, but he wasn’t prepared for his mouth to also find the side of his cock, the little wet press of his tongue wriggling against a sensitive vein. 

He needed to fucking grab onto something, to hold Izuku there, but Katsuki was afraid that wherever his fists ended up clenching they would hurt Izuku, so he ground them into the meadow around them instead, twisting and pulling up flowers. 

Izuku readjusted so that he was straddling one of Katsuki’s thighs and grabbed near the base of Katsuki’s cock, holding on as he brought his mouth to the head. His tongue swirled over the bead of precum collected at the tip, and the surface tension broke and the liquid dripped lewdly down his chin. The sight below Katsuki -- Izuku’s pretty freckled face and those mossy saucer eyes -- made his dick twitch, and another line of precum smeared onto Izuku’s cheek. 

Izuku’s hands and tongue didn’t cover much surface area, but the pressure near the base of his cock and over his slit was acute, undoubtedly enhanced by the midnight poppies’ properties. He felt himself barrelling towards an uncontrollable orgasm. “Fuck, Deku, move,” he panted, prying the halfling off of him -- no way the halflings’ clothes would recover from that without a thorough wash that they didn’t have access to right now. Izuku watched, enraptured, as thick ropes of cum pooled onto the ground and coated Katsuki’s hand. His breathing was a near-constant low whine, and Katsuki realized now that his head was a bit clearer that Izuku was grinding slowly against his thigh, where he had returned to perch. 

“Turn around,” Katsuki said, voice gruff from exertion. Izuku scrambled to face the opposite direction on Katsuki’s thigh and then threw his head back over his shoulder, watching as Katsuki brought his cum-soaked hand to Izuku’s ass. The halfling shivered as he rubbed the excess semen off on him, and then keened when Katsuki pressed a glob in between his cheeks. 

Katsuki followed with the tip of his index finger, testing the stretch. He felt a cool wet spot form on the top of his thigh where Izuku was grinding against him, shaking, as Katsuki pressed his finger into him. Izuku’s insides squeezed around his finger, tight but not too tight to accommodate him. The halfling’s head drooped as Katsuki seated himself at his second knuckle, and then his head shot back up and his back arched as Katsuki slid out just a bit and curled his finger, pressing the fleshy pad of his fingertip up to where Izuku’s sweet spot should be. 

He didn’t have to do any more work if he didn’t want to at that point -- Izuku braced his arms on Katsuki leg to hold himself up and thrusted back, riding Katsuki’s finger like a cock. Katsuki stroked the finger inside of him, and Izuku’s moans rose in pitch, beautiful blush travelling from his face to his ears and the back of his neck. “K-Kacchan-- I’m gonna-- gonna-- Ahh!” Katsuki reached his other hand around to make sure Izuku didn’t fall over as his body twitched and jerked through his orgasm. He hummed when it was over, rubbing his face into Katsuki’s hand and peppering it with kisses. 

"I feel better now," Izuku sighed into Katsuki's palm.

He nodded and stood up, bracing himself on Katsuki's leg as he put his pants back on. His legs wobbled a little bit and Katsuki chuckled. 

"Me too." Katsuki ran his thumb over Izuku's cheek and Izuku made a soft noise. "For such a small thing, you're tough," he added, trying not to let affection seep into his tone. 

 

---

 

The goliath was clingy. Izuku had to hold back from showing his amusement -- Katsuki was trying to hide it -- but now that they were back on some semblance of a trail running through the meadow, making their way towards the mountain, Katsuki was sticking close to Izuku, just a few steps behind him as Izuku led the way. Katsuki huffed as Izuku stopped every few minutes to pick flowers -- there were just so many interesting ones here, ones he’d never seen before, including several that were edible, and he was hungry . They would probably need to hunt and forage for food soon. 

There was also wild fireclover dotted throughout the landscape, small bright orange-red blooms that looked like little explosions and reminded Izuku of Katsuki, somehow. He cheekily refused to tell Katsuki what they were for, and just silently wove them into a daisy chain, something to keep his hands occupied as they moved. 

The pseudodragon had appeared not long after they’d made themselves decent again, and Izuku had to wonder if it was smart enough to have given them privacy, or if it had just gotten spooked by their odd behavior. 

It liked to hang behind and play with Katsuki, nipping at his feet and flying in front of his face, and Katsuki swatted at it and yelled “Oi! Shitty Horns! Cut it out!” But Izuku could hear the amusement in Katsuki’s tone. 

They hadn’t talked about the midnight poppies, or what had happened, and Izuku wondered whether they would. He wasn’t necessarily feeling anxious about it, just curious. Curious, like there was some even bigger discussion to be had. Something he couldn’t quite place. 

As the sun began to dip below the mountains in the distance Izuku took stock of his daisy chain and nodded. “I think I have enough,” he said to himself.

“What was that, Deku?”

Izuku jumped, having forgotten for a moment that Katsuki could hear him. He turned around and faced Katsuki, smiling. “Oh, nothing! Just-- do you think we should try to find somewhere to sleep for the night? The edge of the meadow isn’t far -- there’s probably somewhere we can set up camp near the foot of the mountain.” 

Katsuki nodded, curt. 

“Also...here,” Izuku said, holding out his hands.

 

---

 

“What the hell is that?” Katsuki said, looking quizzically at the ring of woven flowers Izuku was holding out for him. 

“Here, kneel down. I’ll show you.”

Katsuki made a sour face but knelt down regardless. He started as Izuku scrambled into his lap. “Oi, nerd! What’re you doing?” he said, slightly alarmed, but Izuku just shushed him, tongue between his teeth, as Izuku reached upwards to nestle the ring of flowers in Katsuki’s hair. 

“There,” he said when he was done. “It looks nice. They reminded me of you.” 

Katsuki reached up and gingerly fingered the blossoms in his hair. This was embarrassing. He didn’t know how to respond, but it turned out that he didn’t have to, because Izuku was yawning against his chest, his eyes closing down in a split second. “Seriously?” Katsuki grumbled, but he wrapped an arm around Izuku regardless, standing back up and finding a place to camp for the night. Izuku clung to him as he made camp, so light that Katsuki barely noticed him. 

Katsuki eventually fell asleep with both the pseudodragon and Izuku sprawled out on his chest, two tiny spots of living, breathing warmth on top of him. 

When he woke, the warmth was gone, and he rolled over to find Izuku and the pseudodragon attempting to work together to drag a dead wild hare, close to the same size as Izuku, over to the campfire. 

Katsuki sat up and rubbed his eyes. “You hunt that?” he asked, mildly impressed. 

Izuku nodded. “Me and your little buddy here.” The pseudodragon chirped in agreement. “Figure we need to eat sooner or later.” 

With Shitty Horns’ help, they had roast hare in no time, along with a few nuts and berries Izuku had picked up on the way. Fully sated, they made their way to an opening at the foot of the mountain that slowly turned into a narrow mountain path. 

“This seems suspicious,” Katsuki said as they passed under one of many ornately carved archways, strung with bells that jingled as they walked through them. They were placed at intervals on the path so that the pair of travellers passed through one every hour or so.

“Why’s that?” Izuku said.

“Path’s too well-maintained for it to be so empty. Feels like we’re trespassing. Just...be cautious,” he said, casually lifting Izuku up and over a boulder that was too tall for the halfling to climb over. 

“Hey, I could’ve jumped over that,” Izuku said.

Katsuki ignored the pout on his face. “Thought you said your magic was unpredictable. Only use it when you have to. Don’t be stupid. Actually...” he said, pausing again to lift Izuku up. “This is easier.” He placed Izuku up on his shoulders. The pseudodragon chirped and adjusted, moving to one side for more space. “Don’t get an attitude,” Katsuki warned.

“You know I can walk, right…?” 

“I know you can walk , Deku, but something doesn’t feel right.” Katsuki was on edge; his intuition told him that they were being watched. Izuku didn’t seem to have a sense that something might be wrong, and the halfling was so goddamn fast, he wanted to make sure that he didn’t do anything that Katsuki couldn’t stop if he had to. 

“Hey, what’s that?” Izuku said, pointing ahead on the path. 

“What’s wha--- Deku, no, wait!” Izuku leaped off of Katsuki’s shoulders, activating his wild magic to ease his landing, and barrelled towards a bundle of fabric on the ground just ahead on the path that looked much too conspicuously like a prone body. 

The second Izuku’s feet hit the ground next to the body he collapsed, screeching, his foot caught in some sort of trap. “Dumbass!” Katsuki yelled, and ran towards him, only to hear the whoosh of a litany of tiny arrows fly in his direction from higher up on the mountain pass. A couple stuck in shoulder, the hot pricks of pain an annoyance more than anything. The pseudodragon flew up in the direction of the arrows with a tiny, rasping roar, and a few seconds later the small bipedal crocodilian body of a kobold fell over the edge of the cliff. 

Izuku looked up at Katsuki, his face pale. “Kobolds…” he said weakly. “Kacchan, I can’t…” he said, tugging pathetically at the vice around his ankle. “There’s gonna be a lot of them…”

Katsuki swallowed and nodded. “Got it,” he said. He could see blood dripping down Izuku’s ankle and onto the ground below him, and as the small army of kobolds began to descend upon him he felt his nostrils flare and his muscles burn white-hot with battle rage. 

His primary directive was to keep them the fuck away from Izuku, but his secondary motive to kill as many of the fuckers as possible. His awareness always became a little fuzzy when he went into a rage, sheer power and muscle memory taking over, but he could vaguely recall the angry little lizard men -- each slightly smaller than Izuku -- sliding down the mountain towards them, crawling and climbing over Katsuki to try to keep him weighted down, his greataxe cutting out swaths of them and sending kobold after kobold flying off of the edge of the mountain path. Everything was a weapon -- his hands, boulders, the soles of his feet, other dead kobolds. At one point a kobold got to Izuku, who was floating in and out of consciousness, its spear pressed to Izuku’s flesh, and Katsuki tore the thing to pieces in front of Izuku’s eyes with a terrifying roar.

Katsuki came to, eventually, panting and surrounded by a devastating scene of carnage. He was still growling under his breath but he was calm, and he approached Izuku, who was on the ground, deathly pale, splattered with kobold blood and his own blood staining the lower half of his leg. 

Katsuki knelt down and tried his best to maneuver the halfling into a position where he could pry off the toothed trap clamped just above Izuku’s ankle. “Stupid Deku,” Katsuki growled as he worked the trap open, until eventually the metal snapped and broke and Izuku gasped in pain as fresh blood started to seep out of his open wounds. “I told you not to go fucking running ahead.”

“M’sorry Kacchan,” Izuku mouthed, his voice small and weak. 

“Don’t talk,” Katsuki said, rummaging through Izuku’s bag for something, anything that would help stop the bleeding. When he turned around Izuku’s eyes were closing down. “Hey! Idiot!” he yelled, panic seeping into his voice. “Don’t fucking pass out on me!”

“But-- Kacchan-- didn’t you say that the-- the weaklings-- you leave them to die?”

“Shut the fuck up, Deku,” Katsuki said, tears lining the corners of his eyes. He leaned over Izuku and guided Izuku’s last health-restoring potion into his mouth. Izuku sputtered and moaned inconsolably, but drank it down.The wounds on Izuku’s leg become more shallow. They were still open wounds, and still bleeding, but they were easily treatable now, and Katsuki breathed out a sigh of relief. “You’re not weak, Deku,” Katsuki said, wiping his eyes and pulling Izuku closer to him as he worked on his leg. “You’re stupid. S’different,” he said, sniffling. “S’different.”

 

---

 

Izuku woke to a feeling of enveloping warmth. He also felt like he was moving, a subtle up-and-down motion like being lulled along by a wave. He adjusted, and the pressure on his body increased comfortably. Opening his eyes, he realized that Katsuki was carrying him. “Hey,” he whispered, looking up. He hesitated for a moment. “Are you mad at me?”

Katsuki sighed. “I don’t understand you. Why would you run ahead right after I said it was dangerous?”

“It looked like it was someone who needed help… I couldn’t not help them, even if it was dangerous. Especially if it was dangerous.”

Katsuki sighed again and stepped off of the path. He lowered himself and Izuku down to the ground, back against a rock face. It was colder now, Izuku realized -- they’d made progress -- a lot of it, it seemed -- while Izuku was out. “Deku,” Katsuki said, placing Izuku down gingerly in his lap. His face was serious, bloodred eyes boring into Izuku’s and his lips a thin line. Izuku winced at pressure being put on his injured leg, and he shivered under Katsuki’s stare. “Deku, you would’ve died if I hadn’t been there.”

“Kacchan…” Izuku said back, weakly. “You don’t know that though, I could’ve used my magic to--”

Katsuki cut him off by pressing his mouth to the side of Izuku’s face in a kiss. His lips brushed over his cheek and the side of his lip, and Izuku let out a small surprised whine. “Wha--”

“You fuckin’ scared me, Deku.” He pressed his lips to Izuku’s forehead and tightened his grip around the halfling, who was nestled in his lap, pressed up to Katsuki’s torso. Katsuki let out a noise something close to a low growl, but softer.

The noise, needy and vulnerable and angry and possessive all at once, did something to Izuku. He found himself whimpering, his lips trembling, eyes tearing up. He didn’t feel remorseful -- if he had the chance to do things over again he would have still jumped into the fray without second thought -- but he felt seen . This was different than thinking the goliath was hot and scary -- which he was -- there was something else there, something Izuku didn’t quite understand fully. 

“Why are you fucking crying?” Katsuki asked, softly, as his thumb brushed through the hair on Izuku’s forehead. 

Izuku looked up and wiped his nose. “Sorry, Kacchan,” he said. He smiled and willed away the rest of the tears. “Thanks for saving me. I guess we’re even now.”

Katsuki let out an amused huff. “Yeah,” he said. “Guess we are.” 

“Hey, Kacchan?”

“Hm?”

“I know that neither of us really know what we’ll find up there at the top of Mount Yuuei, but after, depending on what we find, do you wanna, maybe, keep traveling together?”

“Mm.” Katsuki closed his eyes for a moment, like he was thinking. Then he smirked and looked down at Izuku. “Don’t get sappy, nerd,” he said. “Like I’d let you get away now. We make a good team.”

Izuku nuzzled into Katsuki’s chest. “We do, don’t we?”

Chapter Text

“Why are we still using these stupid names for each other, anways? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“I don’t know. It just feels right. I feel like I’ve known you forever, Kacchan.”

“Whatever, weirdo.” Katsuki didn’t say that he felt the same way -- even if he did. 

Their journey to the summit of Mount Yuuei was almost over. Katsuki had both the pseudodragon and Izuku on his shoulders. He was used to climbing mountains; found it exhilarating, so he wasn’t bothered by the extra weight. 

The volcano had become alarmingly active as they made their final ascent, the ground shaking underneath them and rocks and boulders dislodging and falling freely down the mountain. But still, they pressed on, the idea of a destination -- even if they had no idea what to expect when they got to that destination -- urging them forward. 

The trail grew less noticeable and then eventually faded away, although Katsuki kept trying to find the clearest route through the black rocks and rubble leading to the top. Foul-smelling gas spouted from fumaroles, and Izuku buried his face into Katsuki’s hair to try to avoid the smell. 

Katsuki could feel the pseudodragon on his shoulder guiding him telepathically, even though they couldn’t exchange words. The ground below them shook suddenly, and Katsuki stopped, glancing upward at the sudden outpouring of smoke and ash above them. 

“Uh,” he said, unsure of how to react. Izuku lifted his head up, coughing, taking in the scene around them.

“That’s not good at all.”

“No shit, Deku.” 

The pseudodragon hovered in front of Katsuki and pulled at his cape, trying to lead him in a different direction. He could tell that this was urgent, could tell that Shitty Horns was trying to tell him Safety this way! Come on!

Katsuki sighed and nodded at the dragon, who zipped ahead of them, glancing back to make sure Katsuki and Izuku were following. 

The rumbling was at a near-constant now, flumes of ash raining down on the travelers as Katsuki rushed the dragon on, hoping that it knew where they were going. 

A sound like an explosion occurred nearby and Katsuki braced himself close to the ground instinctively, covering his ears. He only looked up when he felt the air grow dry and hot and heard crashing around him -- pieces of the mountain face were being blown to bits by what was very obviously now a full-blown eruption. 

“Shit,” he said under his breath, standing back up and running now, while Izuku directed him from his shoulder, helping him figure out where to move and dodge. Some of the chunks of rock were literally steaming -- or maybe smoking, Katsuki couldn’t tell -- as they rained down on them, and the pseudodragon hissed and screeched as it too tried to avoid them. 

The dragon suddenly stopped and alighted on top of a large boulder -- a bit larger than Katsuki -- and called out to him. 

“He wants us to move that. How the fuck are we gonna--”

“Put me down, Kacchan, I can do it.”

“Wha--??”

Another tremor shook through the mountain, this one almost causing Katsuki to lose his balance. 

“Just trust me! We don’t have time to argue about this!”

Katsuki nodded and swallowed, placing Izuku down gently in front of the boulder. Izuku closed his eyes and squatted down in front of it, ignoring the pain in his wounded leg, bracing himself as his body became electrified with wild magic. Katsuki watched, more than a bit unbelieving, as Izuku inched his fingers underneath the boulder and started to pry it loose with a strained yell. Katsuki ran over to help, nudging the boulder with all of his strength to try and dislodge it.

It moved, just a bit, and Izuku was able to get enough leverage to wiggle one of his shoulders under its edge. Katsuki could see the veins on Izuku’s temples bulging, his nose bleeding from the pressure on his body. And beyond Izuku--

“Holy shit Deku, there’s a cave behind it.”

Izuku grunted his acknowledgment of Katsuki’s discovery and with one final yell, pushed the boulder with enough force that it rolled over to the side, just far enough to allow the three of them to squeeze through. 

Izuku panted, his arms limp, bruised and swollen, looking at Katsuki with a feral face of victory. Katsuki smirked back, and then coughed. The air was getting too hot to breathe, visible heat waves obscuring everything around them. The pseudodragon flew in front of them, into the cave.

“Guess we gotta go,” Katsuki said. Izuku nodded and limped forward. Katsuki picked him back up on his way in, and Izuku flinched, but then sighed when Katsuki nestled him in his arms. 

The cave was lit with a strange, shifting, whitish light dancing over the rock face. Katsuki descended deeper and the air cooled notably, bordering on humid. He stopped short when he turned a corner and came into an open chamber.

“What is it?” Izuku asked, turning around in Katsuki’s arm to see it. 

“Some sorta pool. I dunno.”

The cave shook around them, and small rocks dropped on them and splashed into the pool, causing the white light to dance around them on the cave walls. The pool was round and fairly large, and whatever liquid it contained was opaque, milky, and slightly opalescent. Izuku tugged at Katsuki’s arm, signalling him to put him down. 

Katsuki placed him at the edge of the pool and Izuku leaned over it. They could see their reflections in the pool, but just barely, like looking through mist at themselves. 

“Oh,” Izuku said under his breath. “Oh, wow.”

“What is it?”

“I think it’s a portal.”

“What? Where does it go?”

“I don’t know…”

There was a crash from the direction of the cave entrance, and Katsuki turned around to see their only way out cascade down around them, trapping them in the same place as this pool. 

“Well we don’t really got any other option now, do we?”

“I guess not.” Izuku reached his hand out, so small, nearly destroyed by his earlier feat of strength. “I don’t want to lose you in there,” he said. 

Katsuki nodded, letting Izuku grab onto one of his fingers. 

Katsuki felt a small pang of sadness from the pseudodragon, felt something akin to a goodbye

He looked to where the dragon was perched at the edge of the pool. “You’re not coming, Shitty Horns?” he said. The pseudodragon shook its head. Something like I stay in this place . “Tch. Okay then.” 

“Here I go,” Izuku said,” and lowered himself into the pool until he was floating in it, the only thing keeping him from falling fully into it his grasp on Katsuki’s finger. “Feels weird,” he said. “Kinda cold. But not really wet.”

Katsuki followed after him, feet-first, and as soon as his arms left the edge of the pool he found himself falling, through what he at first thought was blackness, but then he opened his eyes and realized that he was suspended in what looked like a mass of wispy storm clouds. “Deku?” he asked. “Deku, where did you go?”

He looked at his own hands and found them hard to focus on, shifting and malleable like they would be if in a dream. 

“I think this is the astral realm,” he heard Izuku say from a distance. 

“The what?”

“Astral realm.” Izuku’s voice was suddenly close. Katsuki turned around -- he found that he could maintain relative stability on his feet, even though there wasn’t really something solid to stand on. Izuku was looking up at him, but his face was only raised slightly now, his eyes at Bakugou’s chin height. Izuku let out a small giggle. “You shrunk, Kacchan.”

“Shut the fuck up, Deku. You just got taller, is all.”

“Mhm,” Izuku replied teasingly. 

“Where do we go from here?” Katsuki asked. When the words started coming out of his mouth, he had meant Where is this portal going to take us? How do we get out of here? But as he said them, the meaning morphed. 

“Where do you want us to go?” Izuku asked in response.

“Home.”

The words came out choked with emotion, even though Katsuki wasn’t completely sure where they were coming from. 

“Where’s home, Kacchan?”

Katsuki pulled Izuku close to him, arms wrapping around his waist. “I’ll show you, you damn nerd.” 

 

---

 

As Izuku closed his eyes to meet Katsuki’s kiss, everything melted away. Not just his vision, but all of his senses -- a total blackout before blinking his eyes open again. 

“Sleep well?”

Midoriya rubbed his eyes and make an inquiring noise. The voice was Shinsou’s, and it sounded sly and slightly amused. 

“Hm? I’m not sure, I--” Midoriya yelped as he realized that not only was he lying on his side on the couch, but there was another body pressed up against his back, the person’s arm draped around his middle. He craned his head over his shoulder and recalled his dream (it was a dream, right?) from the previous night as he realized that Katsuki was the one sleeping behind him.

“Any dreams?’

“What!? No! I mean-- I don’t know!” Midoriya sputtered, feeling oddly self-conscious about Shinsou’s line of questioning. 

The purple-haired boy just shrugged and turned to leave the room, breakfast in hand. “I’ll leave you two to it,” he said.

“Leave us to what?” Midoriya asked, but Shinsou was already out of sight. He could feel Bakugou stirring behind him, nose rubbing against the back of his t-shirt as he sighed. Midoriya tensed up as Bakugou squeezed him and muttered something incomprehensible in between his shoulder blades. 

The movement then stopped suddenly and Midoriya found himself pushed off of the couch and onto the floor. “What the fuck!?” came the outburst that Midoriya had been expecting from the get-go. He sat up and turned to face Bakugou, face undeniably red from thinking about all of the things that had happened in his dream, and he was met with Bakugou wearing an equally confused, flustered expression.

“Good morning,” Midoriya hazarded, a meek offering. Bakugou sighed and sat up, rubbing his eyes.

“Yeah, you too. Or whatever. Listen, I’m mad that you told that purple-haired bastard what I told you.”

Midoriya let out a small anxious noise. “Ah, Kacchan, I’m sorry, I just didn’t know who to talk to about--”

“You talk to me about it, idiot!”

At that moment voices filled the dormitory as other members of class 2-A began to filter in from their individual rooms. Kirishima and Kaminari walked into the room, talking animatedly. Kaminari gave them what Izuku could only think was an oddly searching look, and he felt self-conscious. Kaminari passed by into the kitchen, while Kirishima made his way into the room that Bakugou and Midoriya were in, beaming like only Kirishima could that early in the morning. 

“Good morning, guys!” he called as he walked in.

“Oh,” Bakugou responded.

“Oh? Oh what, Bakugou?”

“I just realized something about a dream I had last night, don’t have a fit about it, geez, Shitty Horn-- Hair.”

Midoriya’s eyes went wide as he recalled the exuberant and helpful bright red pseudodragon from his dream. “Oh my God, the pseudodragon,” Midoriya said under his breath.

Bakugou turned to him in a flash, eyes narrowed. “The fuck did you just say?”

“Oh, it’s kinda stupid but you just helped me realize that this dragon that was in a dream I had last night was Kiri--”

“Was Shitty Hair.”

“Well, yeah. But how did you know what my dream was about--?”

“Shinsou fucking did this, I bet. What’d you dream about last night, Deku?”

Kirishima had sidled away with an awkward grin to go get breakfast as Midoriya and Bakugou had become engrossed in their own conversation. Midoriya tried to figure out where to begin with describing his dream, but just found himself blushing again, and Bakugou clicked his teeth. 

“It was, um,” Midoriya began, “it was sorta like our Dungeons and Dragons game.” 

“Shit,” he hissed, face reddening. “What, uh, happened in it?”

Midoriya swallowed. “I feel like it was real,” he said, dodging the question.

“Yeah. Me too.”

“Was it?”

Bakugou bit his lip and looked off to the side. 

 

---

 

“You’re being so obvious, Shinsou! Cut it out! I’ve never seen you so excited about something before.” Kaminari was nudging Shinsou as they sat in their breakfast nook.

Shinsou couldn’t contain his curiosity -- he kept glancing in the direction of the sofa to try to gauge what Midoriya and Bakugou were talking about. They seemed to be having a relatively normal conversation, aside from the fact that Bakugou was perhaps more calm than usual. 

“I just wanna see if it worked,” he said.

“They wouldn’t have woken up unless it did, right?” Kaminari pouted. “Pay attention to me instead.”

Shinsou smiled and ruffled Kaminari’s hair, fingers trailing behind his ear and lingering over the small, fresh hickey there, just behind his jaw. Kaminari giggled, a sweet soft noise that sent a chill down Shinsou’s spine and obliterated all thoughts of the couple in the other room from Shinsou’s mind for a second. 

“Oh shit! Oh shit!” Kaminari began wildly tapping on Shinsou’s shoulder, and Shinsou forced himself to bring his attention back to the present moment. Kaminari was watching Bakugou lead Midoriya, hand-in-hand, back towards the dorm rooms. Shinsou made eye contact with Bakugou as they passed, and Bakugou narrowed his eyes at him, but didn’t say anything. 

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, at the very least he was going to have some interesting things to tell Aizawa-sensei the next time he saw him. 

 

---

 

“Deku.” 

Midoriya pulled a pillow up to his chest and watched Bakugou nervously as he paced back and forth the length of Midoriya’s dorm room. Bakugou seemed more calm than agitated, but Midoriya could tell that he still needed time to process, to think. Bakugou worked through things like that, a bit more slowly, almost cautiously. 

Bakugou glanced over after a few moments of pacing and, seeing Midoriya waiting eagerly for him to say something, sighed. 

“You okay, Kacchan? We don’t have to talk about this now, we can wait--”

“No. I wanna talk about it now.” He sat down in Midoriya’s desk chair and leaned back, letting out a long exhale, spinning around to face Midoriya.

“I lied to you, Deku. About liking you.”

Midoriya felt his face grow red at the same time that he felt his heart sink. “Wait,” he started to say, voice trembling. “So you never--”

“I never stopped liking you.”

The half-finished sentence got caught in Midoriya’s throat as he registered Bakugou’s words. He opened and closed his mouth several times before he was able to find a response. “So, that means you still…?” he said, trailing off. 

Bakugou looked at the ground and nodded. 

“That makes me...really happy, Kacchan.” 

Bakugou lifted his eyes just enough to meet Midoriya’s. “Yeah?” he asked. “It does?” His voice was quiet, unsure. 

Midoriya decided in that instant to do away with the unceasing tension between them, to end it once and for all. He stood up and walked the few paces from his bed to the desk chair that Bakugou was seated in, leaning forward and catching the blond’s lips on his own. He felt Bakugou let out a stiff, surprised huff before relaxing into the kiss. The eager reciprocation made Midoriya suddenly self-conscious, and he drew back, opening his eyes to see Bakugou’s red ones looking back at his, searching.

“Why’d you stop?” 

“I-- sorry-- I got nervous,” Midoriya said, letting out a small chuckle.

Bakugou grinned back at him in response. “Damn, Deku, after what we did in that dream I figured you’d be a lot less shy about all of this.”

“Oh my God,” Midoriya exclaimed, hiding his head in his hands. “I’m so embarrassed, Kacchan, I can’t believe we both remember all of that...”

Both of them smiling, Bakugou pulled Midoriya back to the chair, and into his arms.