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Izuku had thought he’d bought the perfect apartment after college.

It was cheap. One bedroom, a little on the drafty side and a little rundown, but its location was perfect. It was just on the edge of the city proper, a block from a bus stop and two from the subway system. It was close enough for Izuku to enjoy city amenities, but far enough out that people didn’t eye it, looking for a quick buck.

That, and it was on the edge of Baku territory.

The Baku Squad was a gang that controlled the city Izuku had moved to after graduation. They were a strange gang, extorting some people while seemingly leaving others alone. He’d seen one member actually walk a grandma across the street while another made a group of children cry —both in the same afternoon.

Strange indeed.

One would think moving into gang territory would be a bad idea, but Izuku had it figured out. They didn’t pay too much attention to the outskirts of their territory, where he was, but he got the added protection should he need it.

The thing about the outskirts, though, is that they were prime targets for other gangs. Within a week of moving, Izuku found his neighborhood taken over by the LOV gang. And while the acronym sounded cute, the gang was anything but.

LOV actually stood for League of Villains and fell into the stereotypical role of Hollywood-ized gangs. They extorted anyone with money and beat them if they didn’t comply. Izuku even found himself on the wrong end of a mugging or two.

The worst thing, though, was that Subs were required to wear collars in their territory.

They didn’t have to be contracted to a gang member specifically, but it was known that any Subs without Dom tags were free game. If a Sub refused to wear a collar?

Izuku remembered that news story. It wasn’t pretty.

So Izuku had bought a collar and wore it under turtle necks and scarves and thanked his past self for renting the apartment he’d ended up in. While the neighborhood had changed hands, he was still on the outskirts, still passing life unseen by the bigger threats.

Mostly.

“Oi!” a voice called out, causing Izuku to slow to a stop. He recognized the dark-haired person and the two behind him as members of the LOV gang, ones that patrolled his neighborhood about once a week. He’d thought he’d seen them outside his window yesterday, so they shouldn’t be on patrol. Had something happened?

Was he going to get mugged again?

“C-can I help you?” Izuku asked timidly as the three crossed the street. He was only a block away from his apartment. Could he make a run for it? No, that would only make them angry. “I-I only have seven dollars on me. I-it’s not much, but—!”

“Keep your money,” the leader of the small group spat as the three spread out to surround him. “I’m just here to check on something.”

Izuku swallowed thickly when the man reach out to his neck, tugging his turtleneck down to reveal his cheap collar. Izuku felt his cheeks warm in shame.

“Huh, so you are a Sub.” The man let go of his neckline, allowing Izuku to hastily fix his shirt.

“Y-yes, I am,” Izuku stuttered, back pressed against a wall. “I’m wearing the collar! J-just like the rules say!”

“Hmm… I wouldn’t say just like the rules.” The man scratched at his chin, thumbing a piercing in his lip. “You’re hiding it.”

Izuku’s eyes widened. “I-I didn’t—! I didn’t know! I-I—! I just came from work! In the city! They don’t—!”

“Save your breath.” The man shoved Izuku’s head down, making him almost bite his tongue. The grip in his hair was painful. “We’re just going to take a quick trip, yeah? You can meet the boss. I’m sure he’d love to know why you thought hiding your status was a good idea.”

“Please…” Izuku whimpered, hot tears filling his eyes. All he could think about was the news story from all those weeks ago. The body had been unidentifiable.

“Better get moving,” the man demanded in his ear. “Don’t want to make me angry, do you?”

Izuku felt his chest cave into a sob. On unsteady legs, he started away from his apartment, following one of the three as the other two flanked him from behind.

He was going to die.

Hewasgoingtodie,hewasgoingtodie,hewasgoingtodie—!

“Oi! You three!” a new voice called from behind. The group stopped to look back at a single figure. He was blond and angry looking, standing half a block away, between Izuku and his apartment. His crimson eyes narrowed. “You wouldn’t happen to be poaching on my territory, would you?”

Huh?

“Of course not,” the leader of the group said, suddenly amiable. “He’s wearing a collar, after all. He’s one of ours. Can’t poach what’s already yours.”

Izuku bit his lip.

“Oi, broccoli-head, where do you live?” the blonde demanded.

Don’t tell him,” the leader ordered, but Izuku’s eyes were already trailing up to his apartment, one block away, three floors up.

So close, yet so far.

The blonde grinned savagely. “Poaching it is.”

“Get him out of here!” the leader ordered as one of the others grabbed Izuku’s wrist and dragged him down the street.

“Stay.” The word was said with only enough volume for Izuku to hear, but with enough force to make him grind to a halt. Izuku wasn’t sure he could push off the order, even if he wanted to.

And he really didn’t want to.

The person dragging him cursed and yanked at him, but Izuku didn’t budge. He heard fighting behind him, but couldn’t look as he tried to fight against his own attacker.

Finally, the man had had enough. “Stop fighting me!”

Izuku felt the strength drain from his limbs, felt the fear from before rear its head up. Before he could even be dragged three steps, a fist appeared over his shoulder and clocked the guy in the jaw. He fell to the ground, out cold.

Izuku shook where he stood.

The angry-looking blond spat on the downed gang member before turning to Izuku. “You okay?”

“No,” Izuku answered honestly as he sank to his knees. “No, no, no! This can’t be happening!”

“Uh, you’re welcome,” the man said with a pointed tone.

“I’m not thankful!” Izuku shouted. Red eyes went wide in surprise. “Don’t you know who they are? They’re part of the LOV gang!”

“And I beat them. I don’t see what the problem is.” The stranger squinted at him.

“It’s a problem because they know who I am! They know where I live!” Izuku’s chest constricted, but he couldn’t stop the words that spilled out. “They’ll be super mad to have lost and they’ll blame me and they were already mad that I was hiding my collar and their boss is going to kill me—!”

“Shut up!” A hand shoved his head down between his knees. The position made it hard to breathe, so Izuku had to focus on that instead of his downward spiral. “None of that shit is going to happen. You’re going to be fucking peachy, you hear me?”

Izuku made some garbled noise that may have potentially been a word at some point.

“You’ll be fine and I’ll tell you why,” the other snarled. “This territory is mine. Those fuckwads cheated me out of it a few months back, but it’s mine and I won’t let them take it again.”

“B-but you’re one person,” Izuku warbled, uncurling enough to speak. “They’re the League of Villains!”

Red eyes narrowed at him. “You have no fucking clue who I am, do you?”

Izuku nervously shook his head.

“Well, you better remember this face.” The stranger removed his hand from Izuku’s head to jab a thumb at himself. “Because I am Bakugou Katsuki— Ground Zero, the mother-fucking King of Musutafu.”

Izuku’s eyes widened and his brain decided to ‘nope’ right out of the situation.

Or maybe he didn’t have his breathing as under control as he thought.

Either way, he felt the world tilt before it went black.

*             *             *             *             *

After that fateful meeting, Izuku had woken up in his bed, wondering if it was all a dream. The prepared meal at his table and heavily worded note to pick up some “goddamn fresh produce” put an end to that fantasy, as did the Dom waiting on him outside his complex.

“Hey! Broccoli-kun, right?” the stranger in red greeted brightly. “Kirishima Eijiro! Nice to meet you.”

“Midoriya Izuku,” Izuku corrected, timidly shaking the other’s hand. “C-can I help you with something?”

“Nah, not really.” Kirishima shrugged and started walking. Izuku followed, only because it was the way he went to work. “I’m just supposed to escort you to and from work for the rest of the week.”

“Y-you don’t have to do that!” Izuku felt his face redden.

“Bakugou said to, so I am.” Kirishima patted him on the back, causing Izuku to flinch. “Besides, I’m on patrol anyway. After what LOV pulled, you’ll probably see a lot of us over here for a while.”

Great. Izuku winced internally. Stupid Past-Izuku, renting that stupid apartment!

“Oh! And I’m supposed to ask.” Kirishima started walking backwards in order to keep Izuku in his sight. “Do you have a Dom?”

Izuku opened his mouth to point out the obvious, only to remember that he’d left his collar at home for the first time in months. His neck felt bare without it. He swallowed. “No. I don’t.”

“Cool!  So there’s this mixer we hold for Doms and Subs in the area in order to meet up and find someone to play with,” Kirishima explained. “Bakugou wants you to go to the one this Friday. You in?”

Mixer? It was true that he hadn’t had time to find anyone since he’d moved and it had been a long time since he’d gone Down, but… if Ground Zero was there, there was a good chance the rest of his gang would be there too, or at least the important members.

Izuku couldn’t handle that kind of stress.

On the other hand, the invite was from Ground Zero himself. What would happen if he refused?

“I mean…” Izuku licked his lips. “I can’t really say no, can I?”

“Dude.” Kirishima stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. His smile turned to a concerned frown. “You can always say no. Don’t let anyone say you can’t.”

“But it’s Ground Zero,” Izuku said quietly. “Won’t he be mad?”

“I mean, I wouldn’t want to turn him down.” Kirishima ran a hand through his hair. “He gets, like, super cranky afterwards. Not a fun person to be around in my opinion.”

Yeah, Izuku expected as much. “I’ll go.”

“Really?” Kirishima’s eyebrows rose.

“Sure.” Izuku shrugged as they headed to the subway. “I don’t have to do anything after I show up, right?”

“Nothing you don’t want to.” Kirishima nodded, smiling brightly. “I’ll let Bakugou know. He’ll probably want to pick you up himself.”

Izuku gave him a wane smile. “Great…”

Escorted to a party by the leader of the largest gang in the city.

Just what had Izuku gotten himself into?

*             *             *             *             *

Kirishima escorted him to and from work the next two days. The afternoon of, he delivered a message to Izuku to be ready at 7 for Bakugou to pick him up. It caused another mild panic attack as Izuku tried to pick out clothes for the night.

Maybe he could fake an illness and just not go? That could work, right? He could have gotten sick in the two hours since he’d last seen Kirishima, right?

The doorbell rang. Too late for excuses now.

He answered the door with shaking hands, still dressed in his work slacks.

Bakugou stood on the other side, dressed in a band t-shirt, dark cargo-pants and matching jacket, and combat boots. He gave Izuku a critical look and sneered when he found him to be lacking. “Are you really going in that?”

“N-no.” Izuku lowered his gaze.

“Didn’t I say to be ready at 7?” Bakugou demanded, pushing his way in.

Izuku backpedaled. “Y-yes, but I—! Couldn’t…”

“Never mind, I’ll pick for you,” Bakugou said as he found his way to Izuku’s bedroom. If Bakugou was surprised by the rejected clothes thrown all over his bed and the floor, he didn’t say anything. Instead, he just sifted through, sorting by some unknown standard before finding a pair of dark wash jeans and a simple, long-sleeve shirt. A turtleneck, because it was all Izuku had anymore, but it was one of the lower-set ones. “Put these on.”

Izuku fumbled when Bakugou threw them at him, but managed to recover. Some wave of panic he’d felt since the door opened, receded. Bakugou left him to change, then looked his new outfit over. “Not bad.”

Izuku fidgeted with his sleeves, not sure how to take the comment. Something hit his face and draped over his head. He flailed with it.

“Wear that. You look cold,” Bakugou ordered as he turned toward the door. Izuku pulled away to see… a jacket? No, Bakugou’s jacket. He looked after Bakugou questioningly. The blond ignored him. “Are we going or not?”

Izuku hurriedly threw the jacket on and zipped it up. The hood was lined with faux fur that warmed his ears nicely as they stepped out into the light breeze outside his apartment. Out front, there was a bright red hot rod illegally parked over two spaces.

Asshole parking. Izuku shoved his hands into the jacket pockets. He wasn’t surprised the car was Bakugou’s.

“Get in,” Bakugou said, not bothering to hold the door open for Izuku. Instead, he unlocked the car and got in the driver’s seat, starting the car as Izuku walked around. For as loud as the engine was outside, it was quiet inside with the door shut. “Don’t touch my radio.”

Izuku sat on his hands, afraid to touch anything but the seat belt. A car like this was probably worth an entire year’s salary. Maybe more. He didn’t want to be tasked with replacing anything.

“Anything I should know before we get there?” Bakugou asked.

“I… I don’t like crowds,” Izuku said quietly. He swallowed and added. “I’m allergic to shellfish.”

Bakugou scoffed. “And your safe-word?”

“I… I don’t…” Izuku’s shoulders drew in even though he knew there was no reason to be ashamed. He saw Bakugou’s hands go white-knuckle on the wheel, making his own words come out much quieter. “I’ve just… used the traffic system.”

Bakugou’s fists relaxed on the wheel. “I thought you were going to say you didn’t know what one was.”

“Of course I know,” Izuku said petulantly. “I learned about them in health class.”

“Health class.” Bakugou rolled his eyes, like he found the explanation lacking.

Izuku chewed on the inside of his cheek. “Um… is there… anything I need to…?”

“The usual stuff. Don’t walk off with any strange people. Don’t eat any food you think has been tampered with,” Bakugou listed as they turned into the upper part of town. “Don’t be an idiot.”

Izuku thought arriving with Bakugou would violate at least one rule, but he didn’t say anything.

“One last thing,” Bakugou said as he pulled into a parking garage. “When you go Down, are you non-verbal?”

Izuku felt a chill go up his spine. “I won’t be going Down.”

“That wasn’t my question.” Bakugou parked and turned fully towards Izuku, eyes dark. “I’m asking, if someone tries to force you Down, are you able to scream for help?”

His heart beat hard in his ears as he remembered the times he’d gone Down before. How the fogginess closed in and made everything quiet. How the world seemed so calm and peaceful. How he felt like, if he spoke, if he moved an inch, he’d break the calm and would suffering a tidal wave of consequences. He didn’t like to break the calm.

But he didn’t want Bakugou to know. He’d probably use it against Izuku.

But Izuku wasn’t going to go Down in the first place. So it didn’t matter. “Yes. I can.”

Bakugou stared at him, eyes hard and critical. Izuku tugged at his sleeves. At some unknown signal, the blonde turned away and yanked his keys from the ignition. “That’s a ‘no’ then.”

“What?” Izuku blinked, shocked. What gave him away?

“Last rule.” Bakugou pointed to him. “Stay close to me.”

He held his gaze until Izuku nodded, then got out of the car. He appeared on Izuku’s side just as he closed the door behind him. “Let’s go.”

When they got to the elevator, Izuku thought they would go up, but instead, Bakugou hit the down button. Noticing his stare, Bakugou explained. “The ground muffles noises, so we don’t get any complaints.”

That was not reassuring.

But the elevator was there and Bakugou was pushing him in. Izuku took one corner as Bakugou took the other and the car descended into the depths. They went past a few more parking levels before Izuku started to feel a thrumming at his feet. Slowly, it travelled up his whole body.

What was…?

The elevator stopped and the doors opened to a waiting area filled with people. A low thumping noise vibrated the air, travelling through his body like a second heartbeat.

Was this a club of some sort?

“I’m going to get us our ticket in,” Bakugou said as he pulled Izuku from the elevator car and pushed him against a less populated wall. “You. Stay.”

Izuku shivered at the reminder of the first order Bakugou had given him just a couple days ago. Had it really been less than a week?

He could feel eyes on him as Bakugou left, probably wondering who he was and why he was with Ground Zero of all people. Were they pitying gazes? Did they feel sorry for him? Did they wish they were him? He didn’t know.

Another Sub stood a few feet away, also staring at Izuku. Izuku thought about striking up a conversation, thought about begging him not to leave Izuku alone with Bakugou. He wondered if the other Sub was formulating his own plan to keep watch over Izuku or if he was part of Bakugou’s gang. If so, maybe he could tell Izuku what to expect.

The Sub said nothing. Neither did Izuku.

Then a Domme was coming through the crowd, greeting the Sub and the two went into the club, leaving Izuku alone, though not for long. Bakugou came back with two strips of paper that looked like the bracelets at fairgrounds and other attractions.

“Quick run down.” Bakugou held up one of the papers to Izuku. “‘S’ should be obvious, but it’s Sub if you’re stupid. Blue means that you aren’t looking for a Dom tonight. The band here is supposed to be your orientation and the one on the other end is for limits and likes. I left those blank, ‘cause I didn’t know. But given how you’re a nervous wreck, I’m not letting you go home with some random Dom tonight.”

Izuku let out a breath as Bakugou wrapped the bracelet around his wrist and pressed the tape flat, sliding a finger between to make sure it wasn’t tight. His fingers on Izuku’s skin made his stomach flip.

“We’ll stay away from the dance floor, since you don’t like crowds,” Bakugou said as he put his own bracelet on. “I’ve got a place reserved. Come on.”

Then he was being dragged through the crowd by a hand on his wrist. Past the doors, the subtle thumping turned into chaos as the band belted out the speakers. The dance floor was filled with squirming bodies and lights flashing overhead, making it hard for Izuku to focus.

True to his word, Bakugou guided them to the back where circular booths were arranged in groups and covered by thick, milky curtains.

Magic curtains, Izuku corrected as they fell closed behind them and immediately cut the noise levels by half.

“The band lead up there is a friend of mine. So is the guitarist,” Bakugou said as he dropped into the center of the booth. There was a small screen hanging from the ceiling that showed the band from a couple different viewpoints —shifting through like an actual music video. “I sponsored her first concert. Found her at some shitty bar and knew she could do better.”

Izuku looked around warily before he slowly lowered himself into the booth. There was a cautious amount of space between them, but Bakugou didn’t seem to notice. His attention was on a small tablet that had a menu listing on it. He was tapping away at things, apparently not worried about their price at all. “Did you eat dinner?”

“Uh, oh, um… no.” Izuku fiddled with his sleeves. He didn’t know what was going on. Wasn’t Bakugou going to…?

“Thought so.” Bakugou tapped a few more items on the menu before setting it down. Just as he did, the curtains opened again.

“Baku-bro!” Kirishima greeted. “I thought I saw you in here!”

He landed on the seat next to Izuku, causing the latter to squeak and move away. “And Midoriya! Nice to see you again.”

“H-hi,” Izuku replied.

He still wasn’t quite sure what to do about the exuberant Dom. He had been nice enough when escorting Izuku and had respected his boundaries well enough, but he was a very high-energy person and his teeth looked really scary. He also had a bad habit of not leaving Izuku alone when he saw him. Izuku didn’t know what to make of it.

“Didn’t you have patrol tonight?” Bakugou asked, eyes narrowed.

“Hmm, I did.” Kirishima crossed his arms and listed more to the side, causing Izuku to scoot more. “But I switched with Denki.”

“Really? I would’ve thought he would want to see Earjack tonight, since she’s playing,” Bakugou commented. He stretched his arm behind Izuku and —wait, behind? When did Izuku get that close? He couldn’t very well move away because that might make Bakugou angry. That and there was nowhere to move to. Kirishima took up a lot of space.

“I think they have something else planned for afterwards.” Kirishima shrugged and turned his attention to Izuku. “So, I know I’ve walked you to work for the past few days, but what do you actually do in that huge building?”

Ah, Yuuei Research Industries. While it was a pretty big name to the general population, the actual on goings were only known to the people who worked there. Not for any real reason other than most of it was research and therefore, not very interesting to people outside the field.

So Izuku chose the usual answer he went with. “I’m an analyst for them. I compile data and stuff for the tests they run and try to pick out patterns where I can.”

“So you’re a nerd,” Bakugou scoffed. Izuku felt his face flush with embarrassment.

“Hey, but speaking of patterns, we saw another couple LOV members over on the west side…” and like that, they were talking business again. Izuku wasn’t sure if he was meant to be listening in or not, so he tried to distract himself.

Fidgeting between the two as they caught up, Izuku shuffled his feet, only to knock into something below the table. Subtly looking down, he saw… a pillow? What was a pillow doing down there? What were multiple pillows doing down there? Did every booth have these?

As discreetly as possible, Izuku peered through the curtain slit, but couldn’t really see anything from his angle. His eyes slid up to the screen. As the camera panned through angles, Izuku was able to make out a few booths that hadn’t closed their curtains all the way. At least three had someone kneeling on the pillow.

Shit, was he supposed to be doing that? Was this that kind of club?

Bakugou hadn’t said anything when Izuku sat in the booth, hadn’t ordered him to kneel, hadn’t gotten angry when he didn’t. What if he was just keeping tally for later? Bakugou seemed like that kind of Dom; one who wouldn’t tell Izuku what he did wrong until he’d already done it.

If he knelt now, could he reduce whatever punishment Bakugou had planned? He didn’t want to do it in front of Kirishima though. Kneeling was embarrassing enough already. Falling to his knees in front of more than one person? Humiliating.

Thankfully, Kirishima waved and left before Izuku could implode. With Bakugou’s gaze following his friend, Izuku could slip down to the pillow without attracting his attention. Izuku had to pull the pillow out from beneath the table as it was too short for him to duck under, but he managed to maneuver it with his feet, then hands. Then he silently slid down.

Knees cushioned against floor, Izuku straightened to find Bakugou’s eyes on him. The blond raised his eyebrows. Izuku blushed.

Was he not supposed to…?

“Comfortable?” Bakugou asked. There was no other sign to say he was pleased or not.

Swallowing thickly, Izuku lowered his gaze and nodded.

A hand patted his head, overtop the hood he still wore. A shiver went up his spine.

The faint music slowed to a stop to applause from the audience. A DJ was introduced while the live band took a break and more music started up. A few minutes later, the curtains flew open again. “Bakugou! Great to see you again!”

“Raccoon Eyes,” Bakugou greeted as a girl with dyed pink hair flounced over to his other side. He grunted when she tackled him in a hug. A second girl, dark haired and mild mannered, followed. “Earjacks.”

“I’ve stopped wearing those now that I have money to spend on a good set of headphones.” The dark-haired girl sat down with a scowl on her face. “Hey, you got food coming, right?”

“Duh, course he does! He’s Bakugou!” Raccoon Eyes (her eyeliner was really thick) said before flopping over Bakugou’s lap to stare at Izuku. “And who’s this? He’s cute!”

“Get up,” Bakugou ordered as he shoved her off. “And he’s mine. Don’t touch him.”

Well, technically…

“Aw, is he your new toy?” Raccoon Eyes pulled at her lip. “Bummer. He’s, like, totally my type.”

“You have no type,” the other girl said.

“Exactly.” Raccoon Eyes leaned against the table to stare at Izuku again. “When you get bored of Bakugou, give me a call, kay? We could have lots of fun together.”

Izuku gulped and sunk lower into the pillow. Bakugou glared at her as she laughed.

Food arrived, several plates’ worth of appetizers filling the table. The girls immediately dug in, as well as Bakugou, but Izuku hesitated.

Was he allowed to eat too? Bakugou had asked earlier if he’d had dinner, so Izuku kind of thought so, but he didn’t want to assume

“Fuck, just take something already,” Bakugou said, holding a mini potato skin out to Izuku. Izuku blinked at the cheesy treat before delicately taking it from Bakugou’s hand. The blonde went back to his own appetizers, letting Izuku snack on his in peace. Once that one was finished, Izuku looked over the table again.

In the far corner, he saw some powdered donut holes that looked really good, but… they were too far for him to reach. Instead, he looked at the plates closer to him. He avoided the calamari, but tried one of the stuffed mushrooms and sauce. The mushrooms were just the right side of juicy and the stuffing decadent with a light marinara sauce.

They weren’t as good as the donuts would have been.

There were pieces of fruit on his side too. They were sweet and juicy, but still not the same as donuts. They did leave sweet juice all over his hands, though, and the napkins were just out of reach. He’d have to make due.

When he looked up from licking his fingers, a hand hovered in front of him, holding a… donut hole.

“Here,” Bakugou said, giving the donut hole a shake. Powdered sugar shook onto Izuku’s thigh. “I saw you eyeing it.”

Izuku stared.

“You want it or not?” The hand started to move away. “If you’re not gonna eat it, I wi-?”

Before his brain connected, his body had already leaned forward and snatched the donut hole away with his teeth. His hand came up to cup under it so he didn’t make a mess as he devoured it hungrily. He licked powdered sugar off his thumb just as his brain realized what he’d done. Wide-eyed, he looked up to find Bakugou and the two girls staring at him. Bakugou’s eyes were dark.

Izuku shrunk down. Did he mess up?

Bakugou seemed to shake himself out of it as Raccoon Eyes cooed over how cute Izuku was. He wiped his powdered fingers on a napkin. “Don’t hold yourself back. If you want something, ask for it. I’m not a mind reader.”

Izuku chewed on his cheek, staring at Bakugou for a long while before he turned his gaze back to the table.

“Anyway, we should probably get back to the stage.” Raccoon Eyes stood and stretched. “Thanks for the snack, Bakugou. Nice meeting you, Little Green!”

But he’s pretty sure they never exchanged names?

“Hey, I have a concert next month,” the dark haired girl said, eyes on Bakugou. “You’re coming, right? As the person who ‘discovered’ me, you’re obligated to be at all of my milestones.”

Bakugou scowled at her. “Haven’t you already had a concert?”

“When I was the opening band.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m the main act this time.”

Bakugou sighed. “Yeah, I guess I’ll be there. If I have to be.”

“You do.” She flashed a mischievous smile. “You better be there for warm-up too.”

“I will.” Bakugou waved her off. Pleased, she scooted out of the booth and ducked out of the curtains after her friend. With both girls gone, Bakugou’s attention was all on him.

Red eyes narrowed. Izuku gulped.

“Hands down,” Bakugou ordered. It was gentle, one Izuku could shake off, but he was scared what would happen if he did. “Color?”

Izuku blinked. What?

“Oi, you said you used the traffic system.”

They were doing… that, here?!

“Hey, you better not have been lying.”

“I don’t…” Izuku started, confused. “I’m not… comfortable with public…?”

“There’s a curtain around us and I don’t expect any other interruptions from my friends.” Bakugou scoffed. “And it’s not like I’m asking you to strip or anything.”

Izuku didn’t know that. “Then… what?”

“I want to feed you. By hand.” Bakugou looked almost pained to have to say the words aloud. “Color?”

Just… just hand-feeding? Not anything more?

Okay… Okay, Izuku could do that. “Green.”

A tension seemed to bleed out of Bakugou at Izuku’s answer, but he didn’t leave Izuku long to ponder. He gathered up a piece of pineapple and held it out for Izuku to take with his teeth. Izuku was still cautious, not letting his lips touch Bakugou’s skin, but he felt himself start to ease.

It had been a while since he got to do something like this. Definitely not since college. Not really in his senior year, nor his junior year either. His sophomore year? Maybe. Gosh, that was so long ago.

The music was starting to soften again, the applause more background noise to him. Another piece of fruit appeared and he took it into his mouth, chewing almost absently. A hand in his hair nearly startled him, but then nails were scratching at his scalp, just above his ears and it felt so good

Wait, hadn’t he had a hood on?

A donut was in front of him this time. Izuku eagerly snatched it up, licking up the powdered sugar left behind.

The hand in his hair paused, making the haziness in his head start to recede, before picking back up at the base of his neck. He hummed as he chewed and felt his head bow slightly, giving that hand more room. A thumb shifted from side to side, rubbing the area right behind his ear.

Something shifted to his side, nudging his pillow, then around it. Izuku frowned, then relaxed as it settled behind him. Now he was warm in both the front and back, guarded on both sides, safe.

Another donut hole and a voice. “Hey, you still okay?”

An answer clawed from the murky depths of his mind, but never surfaced. Instead, he just took the offered food, reveling in the flavor on his tongue.

“Shit, you Down already?” The hand petted at his hair, trying to smooth his permanent curls. “I know you looked ready to Drop at any moment, but this is fucking ridiculous.”

Had he? He had no idea. He’d had a hard time falling asleep and his hands shook more often than not these days, but that had been going on for years, so…

“It’s a good thing I caught you when I did. Otherwise, tonight would have been a lot less fun for you.”

He didn’t really doubt it. He’d gone through his fair share of Drops through the years, with and without a partner. It was never good and usually had him upping his anxiety pills for a few days afterwards.

This, with a warm hand in his hair and sweet treats at his lips —this was a much better alternative.

So, when the hand tugged at his hair in just the right way, he let himself go.

His mind took a backseat, catching sights and sounds for perusal later, but letting his body fall into itself. His vision went hazy as his breath evened out and he felt the ground lift away from him. It was so… nice…

Izuku was drifting. Some part of him found this terrifying, but a larger part of him just felt relief. When he was like this, he didn’t have to worry about keeping his life on track, of staying safe in his own home, of getting to work on time and finishing his projects.

All he had to do was enjoy the gentle hand in his hair and the juicy cuts of food in his mouth. He could get used to this.

“That’s right. You’re safe here. I’ve got you.”

Izuku let out a sigh as the tension in his shoulders released.

A rustling sound as the curtain drew back prickled at him. Someone else was there? That… he didn’t like that.

That fearful part of him trembled and clawed at the fog. His vision started to clear.

The hand in his hair pushed his head down until a firm thigh cushioned his chin. A second line of heat pressed against his spine, adding enough pressure to unlatch those claws in his head. The foggy haze returned.

“Oi! At least announce yourself before coming in!”

The hand turned gentle again.

“Your friends don’t.”

“Well, we aren’t friends, are we?”

“Then why do you invite me to events like this?”

“Don’t get a big head, Candy Cane. I only do so because of your father.”

“… You hate my father.”

“And he hates me. And hates it when you hang out with my ‘gang of miscreants’. It also gets you out of his shadow so you don’t become a piece of crap like him. That’s a win-win in my book.”

“But I’m still not a friend?”

“Shut it.”

A piece of fresh fruit trailed across his lips. The fog thickened and thinned with the cadence of their words, but went heavy and remained so as he took the fruit into his mouth. There was a second person, but they were far away, handled by someone else. They couldn’t touch him.

He let out a sigh as he chewed lazily.

“… I apologize. I didn’t realize you had someone with you. I didn’t startle them, did I?”

“Not too bad. He started to Drop, but I caught him before it could get worse. When Shitty Hair and Raccoon Eyes were here earlier, he was more aware. He seems nervous around more people, more so anyway. Can’t say he’s been real chill any of the other times I’ve seen him.”

“Ah, I see why you would want me to announce my presence then.”

“No, I want you to do that because it’s fucking rude not to!”

He flinched at the harsh tone, his haze wavering. Had he done something wrong? He couldn’t remember anything different for the past few minutes. Was he just being annoying? He didn’t mean to be.

“Oi, calm down. Don’t work yourself up. Take a breath and let it out.”

He followed the orders, feeling his lungs expand and his back brush against the other line of heat. The tone of the orders was different, calm and gentle. He felt his body relax.

“… How deep is he?”

“Pretty far, but he looked to be on edge for at least a couple days. I’m surprised he didn’t Drop before now.”

Fingers ran through his hair, a palm at the back of his neck. Another offer of food, but he didn’t want to expend energy to chew. Instead, he just turned his face away, cheek pressed against his warm pillow.

“Why do you always go after those kinds? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen you like this with someone.”

The fingers tightened in his hair, then smoothed through his curls.

“It’s… easier when they’re already close. When it’s a choice between going Down and Dropping. They expect me to be gentle, want it to be easy and calm. They don’t… expect me to play into my image when they’re so fragile.”

“You know, you could always just ask around. I’m sure there are plenty of Subs that want that kind of play all the time. Or at least a majority of it.”

“You think I haven’t tried? They take one look at me and my reputation and run for the hills. Meanwhile, the Masochists come flocking to my feet, wanting me to rough them up, bruise them, make them bleed and I just… can’t. I get enough of that in the wars I wage on the streets. I don’t want it in my bedroom.”

“Sensible.”

The hand in his hair was tense, petting a little too frantically. He leaned more heavily on his warm pillow, one hand sneaking around to wrap around a cold ankle. The fingers paused, then continued their ministrations in his hair, slower this time.

“You could always ask him. He looks like he enjoys this kind of thing.”

“You can’t assume anything while Subs are Down. Rule number one, frickin’ Neutral.”

“But… aren’t they more honest?”

“Your father really messed you up, huh? When Down, Subs will do anything to please their Dom, even if it kills them. Pushing against a limit could trigger a Drop. In some cases, it’s enough to hospitalize them.”

“Oh…”

“Yeah.”

The fingers tightened in his hair, tugging insistently to get his attention. He let out a huff. “Oi, I need to know how you’re doing. Give my ankle two squeezes for ‘yes’ and one for ‘no’, got it?”

His hand tightened twice.

“Good. Are you still hungry?”

One squeeze, but hesitant. He wasn’t hungry now, but he knew he hadn’t eaten enough to be full all night.

“Let me know if you get hungry again. How about your legs? Pins and needles?”

His toes wiggled and he frowned at the unpleasant sensation that went up his calves. He squeezed twice.

“Go ahead and stretch your legs out. I don’t want you hurting.”

He shifted slowly, not sure if it was allowed… but it had been an order and refusing would be worse. The sensation grew immediately as he settled his legs on either side of the calf in his hold. Slowly, though, it began to fade.

“That’s a good boy.” Fingers ran through his hair again. He sighed. “Are you ready to come up?”

He buried his face in the thigh he was resting against. He squeezed once to emphasize his point. A bark of laughter was his response. “All right. I’ll let you stay Down a little longer.”

He sighed, his shoulders slumping.

“Don’t they normally talk?”

“Depends on the Sub. He warned me earlier that he goes non-verbal when he’s Down. It can be dangerous if the Dom isn’t aware or has no experience, but I’ve helped others like this before.”

“You’re really good at this.”

“Duh, master of all trades.”

He believed it. This Dom was good. He made Izuku feel safe and comfy and he gave him food and… he was just good.

Izuku liked this one.

“Now, scram. I need to work on bringing him up before I get anymore interruptions.”

Scratch that, Izuku didn’t like him.

The curtain rustled, signaling the other person’s leave.

“Okay, time to come up.” Fingers tugged at his curls. He buried his face harder into the other’s thigh. “Come on, I know you weren’t expecting to go Down at all. Besides, it’s time I get you home and I’m not letting you stay Down while I drive.”

He squeezed the ankle in his hold once, but his mind was already starting to surface.

“No? What do you mean ‘no’? You cute, ungrateful little—!”

“You think I’m cute?” Izuku slurred, rubbing at his eyes as his vision cleared. He looked up to Bakugou to find the blonde’s mouth open, mid-word. That strong jaw clicked shut.

“You went Down fast,” Bakugou said, widening his legs so Izuku could stand if he chose. At some point, Izuku had ended up between them, but he couldn’t find it in himself to figure out when or why. Instead, Izuku just continued leaning on him. “When’s the last time you went Down?”

“Three years? Maybe four,” Izuku said, watching Bakugou’s face morph into some kind of angered concern.

Fuck! No wonder you went so fast.” Bakugou shook his head in disappointment. It stung a little. “Find yourself a Dom and don’t let it happen again. I’m not letting you go home with anyone tonight, but getting a few numbers will help you. If you don’t find one tonight, we have these mixers every two weeks.”

“Will you be here every time?” Izuku asked. It was slowly dawning on him that he’d just gone into subspace in front of Ground Zero and the Dom had just petted him and hand-fed him instead of ravishing him against his will. It sent a weird thrill through his body.

“Does it matter?” Bakugou asked, an eyebrow raised. He waved a hand at the curtains. “There’s plenty of Doms out there. Go pick anyone you want.”

“What if I want you?” Izuku asked. He couldn’t help it. His brief visit to subspace had repaired damage he didn’t even know he had. It had emboldened him, empowered him. He felt confident in a way he hadn’t in years.

 He wanted to go there again, but more importantly, he wanted to go there by Bakugou’s hand.

As the rest of his brain came back online from hitting his subspace, the words not spoken to him were starting to surface. It took no time to feed them into the computer that was his brain and do what he did best: analyze.

 “Haaah?” Bakugou scowled at him, gaze fierce. His knee rocked, as if to knock Izuku off it. Izuku just dug his chin in further. Red eyes narrowed. “Look, I get that going Down for the first time in years messes with your head, but that’s just the Sub talking. You don’t want me. You want the experience. I’m sayin’ you can find that with any other Dom out there.”

“And I’m telling you, I can’t,” Izuku answered the crimson stare with a glare of his own. “Don’t you think there’s a reason why I haven’t gone Down in so long?”

He could tell by the look in Bakugou’s eyes that Izuku had his attention.

“When I was growing up, I was bullied a lot for many things out of my control.” Izuku licked his dry lips. “When it turned out I was a Sub, the bullying intensified to beatings. They said I should like it because I was a Sub —that it was in my nature. It left a lot of triggers. All of that rough stuff… I can’t do it.”

Bakugou scoffed. “Even more reason not to settle for me.”

“But you aren’t like that,” Izuku stated. “Unless what you told your friend was a lie.”

Bakugou looked confused, then tensed with realization. “I thought you were Down for that.”

“I was.” Izuku drew circles in the other’s ankle. “Being non-verbal doesn’t mean I can’t hear you know.”

“Subs usually don’t,” Bakugou noted. “Their brains shut off when they go Down. They only respond to direct questions, not background things.”

“Mine never has.” Izuku shrugged. “Probably a left-over instinct from constantly having to watch my back at school. When I go Down, it just collects data on stand-by for when I come Up.”

Bakugou stared for a moment before barking out a laugh. “You really are a nerd.”

Izuku flushed and pouted. “I can’t help it! It’s always been like that!”

“Whatever.” Bakugou shook himself. “So you know my dirty secret. That should make you walk away. You know there’s nothing here for you, right? No flogging, no whipping, no spanking…”

“I hope you know this is not turning me off,” Izuku commented.

Bakugou scowled and continued his list. “No blood play, no knife play, no breathe play…”

“Perfect. I rather like avoiding deadly situations.” Izuku blinked up at him. “Please say no watersports or scat too. Those are really unhygienic.”

Bakugou made a face but didn’t disagree. “No bootlicking, no humiliations, no bondage…”

“Not even Shibari?” Izuku asked, curious. “Still not a turn off, but that’s the only question I have.”

“Shibari?” Bakugou repeated.

“Art of rope tying,” Izuku explained, turning to lay his cheek on Bakugou’s thigh. If he could encourage the other to pet his hair again, he would. “It doesn’t have to be used during sex or even to immobilize the participant. Sometimes, it’s just about the pattern tied into the rope and mastery of the art.”

Bakugou looked mildly intrigued. “You really don’t like those things…”

“We could draw up a contract if you want to see all my hard limits, but I’m sure you already understand.” Izuku winced. “It’s hard to find someone when all you want is ‘vanilla’… or at least as vanilla as a Sub can get.”

A hungry light danced behind Bakugou’s gaze, but the blond shook his head. “Not tonight. Not so close to the last time you went Down. Give yourself twenty-four hours at least, to think it over. If you still want to give it a try, tell Shitty Hair.”

“Who?”

“Red head.”

“Ah, my bodyguard. Got it.” Izuku nodded. “Thanks for that, by the way. I’m not sure what I would have done if the League of Villains had targeted me again.”

“Those fuckwads shouldn’t be near you if they know what’s good for them.” Bakugou sneered. “But Shitty Hair will keep walking you until you find someone else to walk with.”

“Oh, that’s not necessary.” Izuku sat up, finally taking his chin off the other’s leg. “I’m a fifth degree black belt. I can take care of myself.”

Bakugou’s face did something really interesting. “Then-?! Why the fuck didn’t you?!”

“I forgot about it!” Izuku defended. “My mind wasn’t in the best place, okay?! I just saw three people heading my way and my brain decided then was a good time to replay the footage of the other person that stood up to them, except they weren’t really a person anymore and I really didn’t want that to happen to me so—!”

“Okay, I get it! Shut up!” Bakugou scrubbed a hand down his face. “He’s still walking you. I don’t trust that you have your head on straight.”

“Probably not,” Izuku agreed. “You should fix that.”

“I said to give it twenty-four hours.” Bakugou flicked his forehead, causing Izuku to whine. “And if you still want to… we’ll talk.”

“Yeah?” Izuku asked quietly.

“… Yeah.” Bakugou stood abruptly, but not fast enough to hide the pink tinge to his cheeks. “Now, I’m getting you back home. After going Down, it’s best to rest, especially for you, fuckin’ Deku.”

“Izuku.”

“I know what I said.”

Izuku laughed. How had he ever been scared of this man? He had soft hands and earnest heart, even if his mouth was enough to make a sailor blush.

Yeah, he didn’t need twenty-four hours to decide, but if that’s how long it took for Baku —Katsuki to view his advances as genuine, then Izuku would do just that. After all, he’d waited years to find the right Dom for him. What’s a couple more hours to that?

So, Izuku gave it time. He got numbers from people that night, because Katsuki told him to more than any desire on his part. He didn’t call any of them, already knowing who he wanted.

That week after, he went about his normal routine. Kirishima still walked him to and from work, but Izuku was able to converse and joke like a normal person rather than the scared creature he had been the week before. He told him to tell Katsuki that he was still interested then resigned himself to wait until the blonde decided to contact him.

At work, he found his mind working more quickly, able to stay on task and draw patterns from data that had eluded him before. Well, mostly on task. He often found himself daydreaming about Katsuki for minutes on end.

Even Uraraka-chan had commented on it, teasing him relentlessly. When she found out why he was acting so weird, she demanded all the details.  When she found out who was responsible for his (teensy tiny) infatuation, she grew concerned.

Ground Zero? Really, Izuku?” She frowned. “He’s really dangerous. He leads the gang that runs most of Musutafu. Are you sure you want to tango with him?”

“He’s actually not that bad. His Dom-style is a lot softer than what you would think,” Izuku defended.

“I don’t know. He seems like he would be a real sadist. And even if you were into that…” She trailed off with a wrinkled nose. As a Neutral, Uraraka had never really understood the draw some Subs felt to pain. Then again, neither had Izuku. “I just don’t want to see you hurt…”

“I won’t be.” Izuku gave her a bright smile, brighter than it had been in all the months she had known him. “Trust me, there are no safer hands I could be in.”

She hadn’t looked swayed, but had let the subject drop and turned to more neutral topics.

The rest of the week passed by in the same manner. While he waited to hear from Katsuki, Izuku used the weekend to clean up his apartment, something he’d been neglecting for a while before going to the local gym.

There, he had a run in with a Dom too big for his britches. When the sleaze had tried to order Izuku to his knees, Izuku had put him on his, to the disbelief of other Doms and relief of other Subs. Apparently, the guy had been a nuisance for a while. After that, the Dom made the wise decision to never show his face at the gym again.

The whole thing left Izuku feeling pretty confident about himself —a feeling that stayed with him all the way to the next weekend.

He’d had to get the address from Kirishima and take two trains before walking a block on his own, but he soon found himself at the same club that Bakugou had taken him to, two weeks prior. He decided that, if Katsuki wasn’t going to come find him, Izuku would find Katsuki.

He’d had to wait in line this time, but then he was in and mingling. He kept to the edges of the dance floor, not too close to the crowd, but still close enough to dance with strangers and some familiar faces. He kept his eyes open for Bakugou’s face in the multi-colored lights.

Twenty minutes, he was about to call it quits when he spied the blonde leaning against the bar, glaring at someone attempting to cling to his arm. Even in the low lights, Izuku could see the blatant want on the stranger’s face. His heart sank. It looked like he’d already missed his chance… but Katsuki didn’t seem to like the stranger’s advances. Izuku wondered why.

The stranger was fairly good looking, more so than Izuku’s plain features. Their clothes were more casual and stylistic –like Bakugou’s style, not Izuku’s long sleeves and close fitted jeans. He couldn’t tell from where he watched, but he would bet the stranger had make-up on too, something Izuku never put much stock into despite Uraraka’s prodding.

For all intents and purposes, Bakugou should be dragging this stranger home. Any other Dom would, going by the appreciative looks Izuku was seeing. So why…?

Without thinking, Izuku stepped closer. He got close enough to hear what the Sub was saying over the music and –oh, mystery solved.

“-bet you’re good with whips and floggers too. Your biceps are so big, I bet you can make it hurt so good.” The stranger panted, riled up by their own words.

Katsuki’s look was one part annoyance, one part disgust. “For the last time, you’re barking up the wrong fucking tree. Go bother someone else with your horny ass-!”

“Oh, yeah!” the Sub moaned lowly. “Such a dirty talker. Talk down to me more…”

And Izuku was just going to stop that right there.

“Kacchan!” he called, yelling over the music, like he hadn’t just heard their whole conversation. The Sub glared at him, but Izuku ignored them. “There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you!

“Deku,” Katsuki greeted with less annoyance. “Something you needed?”

The stranger huffed, affronted. “Yeah, can’t you see we’re busy-?”

“Oh, not me. Earjacks wanted to talk to you about some of the setups she’s got planned.” Izuku grabbed onto his wrist, the same one the other Sub was clinging to. “She really wants to get them figured out and she said it had to be you. Something about you being the one to discover her or something…”

“Excuse me!” the Sub cut in, still clinging to the arm Izuku was trying to subtly pry out of their grasp. “We were in the middle of something here!”

“And now we’re not,” Bakugou said as he shook both of them off. He bumped shoulders with Izuku though, prompting him to follow. “Go find some other Dom to get your rocks off on.”

The Sub didn’t immediately protest, eyes gone a little hazy before they remembered themselves. They pouted, but Izuku and Bakugou were already walking away. The crowd parted more easily for Katsuki than it had for Izuku, but he contributed that to the blonde’s fierce glare and reputation.

He soon found their destination to be the same booth as last time. Idly, he wondered if Bakugou had permanently reserved it. He wouldn’t put it past him.

His musings were cut short by a harsh, “Earjacks isn’t here tonight. You know that, right?”

“Nope,” Izuku said, chipper. He took a seat at the booth and picked up the tablet to order. “But it doesn’t matter. It got you away from that Sub.”

“Is that what you were doing?” Katsuki looked unimpressed. “I can take care of myself, shitty Deku.”

“Then why didn’t you?” Izuku looked up, brow furrowing.

“Because another will take their place.” Katsuki sighed. “Besides, they all get tired and wander off eventually. Trying to tell them off or getting physical just makes them stay longer.”

“Sounds like you need someone to chase them off for you,” Izuku noted. “Or arm candy. If they think you’re taken, then they’ll stay away… or most of them will, that is.”

“Yeah, right.” Katsuki snorted. “And who should that be? You?”

“For the right price.” Izuku shrugged.

Katsuki scowled at him. “Price? You blackmailing me now?”

“I prefer to see it as a mutual benefit.” Izuku tapped at the tablet, choice made.

Bakugou’s eyebrows flew up at the comment. Then his eyes narrowed, even as a playful toothy grin tugged at his lips. “Are you always such a brat?”

“Maybe.” Izuku shared that same playful smile. “You’d have to stick around to find out.”

“Bratty subs like you…” Bakugou’s face suddenly shuttered. “Is that what you’re after? Punishment? Someone to dole out consequences?”

“Nope.” Izuku set the tablet back down and leaned on the table, chin in hand. “I want you to feed me.”

Katsuki’s eyes went wide. His lips parted, but no sound came out.

“I told you before that I don’t like the hard core stuff.” Izuku stared him in the eye, hoping to get his point across.

“And I told you to go look at other options,” Katsuki said. His eyebrows drew in again.

“I did.” Izuku dug into his pocket to dump a handful of paper scraps, a phone number on each.

 Bakugou’s eyebrows shot up again. “Those all from Doms?”

“Yup.” Izuku held one up. “This one wanted to flog me. This one really likes knives. This one likes suspension play. This one promised to ‘make it hard to breathe’, if you know what I mean.”

Katsuki winced at that. “Are they all like that?”

“All twenty.” Izuku nodded. “And every Dom I’ve ever met that had an interest in me.”

“Except me,” Katsuki corrected.

Izuku’s gaze shot up from the pile of numbers. “You’re interested in me?”

Katsuki flushed once he realized his mistake. “I mean, you’re not exactly hard on the eyes.”

“I’m plain,” Izuku said without a hint of shame. “That’s why these guys go after me. They think I’m desperate.”

“When really, they’re the ones desperate to get their dicks wet,” Katsuki grumbled.

“Among other things.” Izuku shrugged. “So I did what you asked. I looked around at my options and still decided on you. What do you say? Play with me?”

Katsuki let out a mirthless laugh. “Do I even have a choice?”

Izuku frowned harshly and laid a hand over Katsuki’s, catching his eyes in a firm stare. “You always have the right to say ‘no’. Dom, Sub, or Switch, everyone has the right to say ‘no’ and be heard.”

“That’s not the tune you were singing last time we met up,” Katsuki noted.

Izuku pursed his lips, disgruntled. “I also wasn’t in the best mindset. Hadn’t been for years.”

“Probably still aren’t,” Katsuki said. “Is that what you’ll do if I refuse? Go back to avoiding all the Doms you meet?”

Izuku wanted to deny it, but he knew himself too well.

“Then there’s not really a choice at all.” Katsuki laughed, this time with a hint of genuine amusement. “Dumbass like you, someone has to take care of you.”

Izuku straightened, interest piqued. “So you’ll do it?”

“I’ll do it, but!” Katsuki held up a reprimanding finger. “I have some rules!”

Izuku did too, but he would hear Katsuki out first. Then they’d write up a contract, just to be safe and everything. Before that, though… “Shoot.”

“One, I don’t want this to be a one-time thing.” Katsuki made a face. “You can find other Doms if you want, we don’t have to be exclusive, but I don’t want a one-night stand. If I’m going to take care of you, I’m going to do it right.”

“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about other Doms,” Izuku said as he spared a look at the scraps of paper on the table. He had half a mind to leave them there when they left. “But I can get behind a regular thing. But I don’t want you running my life for me.”

“Not into full-time play?” Katsuki asked.

“Not really.” Izuku shook his head. “I’ve got my own dreams and goals. Being a stay-at-home Sub doesn’t play into those.”

“Probably for the best.” Katsuki frowned. “I’ve got a lot on my plate and not a lot of time for outside things. Full-time play wouldn’t work with my schedule.”

“You have a schedule?” Izuku wondered aloud.

“Why you little-!” Katsuki‘s growl was cut off by the arrival of a fruit tray, some cheesy potato skins and donut holes. Izuku licked his lips even as Katsuki looked at the array of food with a hint of disgust. “Did you order anything healthy?”

“I got fruit!” Izuku protested even as he reached for a donut hole. Oh, it came with chocolate sauce to dip in too!

“Fruit is literally just sugar and fiber.” Katsuki scowled.

“And vitamins!” Izuku said as he popped his treat into his mouth.

“And you’re going straight for dessert!” Katsuki hissed. “Honestly, I’m surprised you haven’t died before now! If we’re going to be a thing, I am fixing your diet.”

“You’re going to take me out?” Izuku asked around a mouthful of donut.

Better.” Katsuki shot him a savage grin. “I’m going to cook for you.”

The promise had Izuku swallowing thickly. It had been months since he’d had a home-cooked meal, and even then it had been the last time he’d gone home and his mother cooked him his favorite Katsudon. Having a foul-mouth, warm-hearted Dom like Katsuki promise to cook for him? It warmed Izuku from his head to his toes. Katsuki could be the worst chef in the world and Izuku would still happily eat his cooking.

He had a feeling that wouldn’t be the case. Katsuki had said he was a master of all trades, after all.

“Now get over here,” Katsuki ordered, tugging on Izuku’s long sleeved shirt to prompt him closer. “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to start off right!”

They fed each other for a bit, teasing and making light conversation. Izuku’s mind went a little foggy, but nothing like how he’d been before. He was still able to keep up conversation, even if it was a bit delayed. They spoke more on the contract as Katsuki cuddled him close, not daring to skimp on aftercare. They had the basics down by the time Izuku decided to head home.

When he woke up the next morning, Katsuki was knocking on his door, a written contract in hand. They argued over wording for a while before Katsuki sent the corrections to his lawyer (gangsters had lawyers, who knew?) and a new one arrived on Izuku’s doorstep Monday morning.

He signed and made a copy before sending it back in.

They didn’t immediately move in together. Katsuki wasn’t used to sharing his space with anyone and Izuku wanted to take things slow. It was his first relationship in a long time and he didn’t want to move too fast or expect too much. It certainly drove their collective friends insane when they still hadn’t moved in together after a full five months of dating.

Then the LOV gang started making noise around Izuku’s neighborhood and Katsuki insisted he move in, just for a few weeks, just until they made sure Izuku was safe. The arrangement was only supposed to last until the LOV gang was taken care of, but at the end of it, Izuku just… didn’t leave.

Katsuki’s apartment was more centrally located to Musutafu Proper and within walking distance of Izuku’s work, believe it or not. Izuku found the shorter commute a lot better than his typical bus or subway route and it let him catch a few more minutes of sleep in the mornings.

The LOV gang was a threat for several weeks, even taking over Izuku’s neighborhood after he had moved out, but as he listened in to Katsuki’s reports, Izuku started to notice certain data points aligning. Analyzing past movements, Izuku did was he did best: draw out a pattern and figure out where the gang would strike next.

It only took two times of him being right for Katsuki to follow his word and deploy his minions to the right areas. Suddenly, the tide in the on-going turf changed and the Baku Squad started stealing more and more territory from the LOV gang.

It took three weeks to gain back all the ground they had lost, including the neighborhood Izuku had rented his apartment in. Then there was celebration and calm and Izuku just… woke up one day and realized that he didn’t want to go back to his apartment, so he didn’t.

 He moved all of his things into Katsuki’s place and made the whole thing official. Katsuki helped maneuver the heavier things into the elevator, then into his –their apartment. They even went shopping for shared furniture together, when it became obvious that their taste in interior decorating clashed.

Their play didn’t change much after the move in. Izuku was serious when he said he didn’t want full-time play, but he didn’t mind a few things following him to work. His new collar and tags being one such thing, but a few other toys were allowed, so long as he was able to fly under the radar.

He ended up with a slight problem after Katsuki took an interest in Shibari.

After an explanation on Izuku’s part, Katsuki had decided to do some research into the sub-category of Bondage and became intrigued. It seemed that the art and mastery of Shibari was something Katsuki could get behind –doubly so after he found out that there were Shibari contests through-out the year. With scores on ingenuity, patterns, and appeal, the professional Shibari stages were difficult to master. And, as Katsuki had said before, he was a master of all trades.

Izuku took full advantage of Katsuki’s want to practice. Katsuki’s knots walked a fine line between restrictive and restraint, but the feel of the silk cords over his skin had Izuku going Down quicker and quicker with every practice session. Katsuki liked the way the bonds looked on Izuku, a mark of his he could leave without actually damaging his Sub. It led to several hot nights together.

Nights that, unfortunately, followed Izuku to work. Katsuki had wanted to leave his ropes on Izuku throughout the day, see how things shifted as Izuku moved about his normal routine. Izuku was all for it, even liked the idea of wearing the other’s work under his clothes, but he hadn’t expected the images and memories that sparked from the rub of silk on his skin.

He’d ended up with a boner before lunch and had to endure a very awkward conversation with Toshinori when his supervisor had found Izuku’s moans in the bathroom concerning.

Izuku made Katsuki promise to never do that kind of play again. And the blonde kept that promise… for Izuku’s work. Everywhere else was free game. Izuku didn’t mind in the least.

If Izuku had been told what his life would turn into when he first moved into that tiny apartment months and months back, he would have laughed hysterically before slamming the door behind him.

Now, he couldn’t help but be thankful that past!Izuku had decided a little apartment on the edge of Baku Squad territory was the best place to live.

Because this life? This Dom? His Katsuki? He couldn't imagine living without.