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Vacillating Duality

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Mitsuki watched as a cool, night wind swept over the grassy hillside leading up to her temple. The shrine maiden stepped off the path, away from the oppressive shadow of the building and the prying eyes of her sisters and brothers, her fellow priests and priestesses.


The forest beckoned her forth, the wind tousling her hair and disappearing through the trees. She slipped through its trunks and out of sight.


She was light-footed, avoiding the rustling of leaves and the upturning of pebbles. Eventually, she came to a babbling brook and followed along its edge, using its noise to cover her tracks, should more than the usual demons be out on the prowl.


Mitsuki came upon a forked tree. Nestled high in its boughs sat a darkened figure. The ears atop its head twitched and its four tails swished from side to side, clearly aware of her presence. Still, it waited for her to call it down.


“Masaru! Masaru, you can come out of hiding. It’s just me.”


The shadow leapt to the ground, landing almost soundlessly at her feet. A Kitsune man straightened up and gave her a sheepish smile. “I knew it was you.” Masaru took her hand in his and gave it a light kiss. “I know your scent from miles away.”


Mitsuki’s cheeks felt hot. She took her hand back and crossed her arms to hide her embarrassment. “Yes, well, why were you up in that tree then? Don’t make me call for you!”


He gave a nervous look around. “Sorry, it’s just, I could smell another person nearby. I think one of your fellow members of your congregation has caught wise to our affair.”


“Don’t tell me I was followed...” Mitsuki took a step towards Masaru, eyes scanning the treeline for movement. If one of her retinue had come for the Kitsune, the choice would be easy. She would defend her mate with her life.


Masaru sighed and embraced her from behind. Mitsuki jolted in his arms before relaxing back into his hold.


“Don’t worry, love,” he whispered softly into her ear. “You lost them a ways back. They were using a familiar to track you, but it lost your scent by the stream. You were clever to use it for cover.”


Mitsuki practically glowed at the praise. “Right? Not only am I the most powerful of my ilk, but the smartest too!”


His tails wagged happily, enjoying how positive his mate responded to his words. It was an especially entertaining characteristic for a human. Usually he expected it from animal adjacent demons like Inu Yokai or Kitsune like himself. It was a characteristic that made her unbearably cute.


“You’re the best, Mitsuki.”


Her eyes glimmered with warmth. “Of course! But, you know, I think our child will be even more powerful.”


Masaru’s eyes widened. Mitsuki slipped from his arms, spinning around to grace him with the loveliest smile he’d ever received. “You don’t mean…”


“Congratulations, Masaru. You’re going to be a father.”


She watched as all manner of emotions raced across his face. First elation, just the pure instinctual happiness that accompanied the news. But after the initial joy came the fear, the crushing weight of reality that seemed to full-bodily slam the proud Kitsune father in the chest.


“A child born of a priestess and a demon… My god, what will we do?” He slumped back against the forked tree, using it to keep him steady on his feet.


“We’re keeping it of course!” Mitsuki grabbed his hands, pulling them up between them. She spoke with conviction, “I want to have your baby, Masaru. Run away with me.”


The fire in her eyes lit a fuse within him. Looking into her unafraid face could assuage any fears. He smiled wryly. “Where are we headed, love?” he asked, knowing she already had a plan in the works.


“We’ll move to the city, far from this old shrine and it’s ancient rules. We also wouldn’t have to worry about as many demons coming after us.”


It was true. Most demons actively avoided urban areas. Smaller demons could easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of fast moving human feet and complicated latticework of streets. Modernization also made it tremendously hard to find believers, and belief was what gave the supernatural power. Without it, demons would be weakened. Therefore, they tended to remain in rural locations, where people led more traditional lives.


She gave him a sympathetic look. “Of course that would also mean you would be weakened…”


“I would be okay. I have the most powerful and cleverest priestess of the shrine over yonder to protect me after all.”


Mitsuki’s eyes watered. Tears hung from her bottom lashes. “Masaru…” She whimpered out, falling into his arms.


He laughed, hugging her close. “I’m going to count the days until I can hold you like this every second without interruption or impediment.


“Why wait?” Mitsuki peeked up at him. Despite her emotional state, her expression was coy. “Let’s leave tonight!”


“Congratulations to the new parents.” A miserable looking nurse gently settled a warm, screaming bundle into Mitsuki’s arms. She left in a hurry right after, stating that she was needed in another room but that she’d be back in just a moment. Masaru suspected she was trying to get away from Mitsuki, who had grabbed a fistful of her now unkempt, curly red hair in a fit of pain.


“She was quick to escape, huh?” Mitsuki huffed.


“I think it might have had something to do with you almost giving her a bald spot.”


“I told her I needed another dose of the epidural. It’s her fault that she didn’t listen.” She wagged her finger in front of the newborn’s face. He stopped crying, entranced with his mother’s movements. “He doesn’t have your Kitsune ears,” she remarked, “or a tail.”


Even sweaty and disheveled from the birth, Mitsuki remained radiant and ever youthful. It was partly due to her quirk, Glycerin, secreting oils that kept her skin nice and smooth. Masaru peeked down the back of her shirt at the bite mark resting on the nape of her neck.


The other part was due to their mating. After taking a mate, an immortal Kitsune was able to share their extended life force with their other half. Mitsuki’s life would be prolonged. She would match Masaru year for year for as long as they both lived.


Mitsuki giggled, light and airy, like the chiming of bells. “Even though it would have been cute to see him inherit your Kitsune traits, I’m a little relieved. If he’s just a normal human, it’ll be easier to hide his demon blood. He’ll be able to live among humans without worry and other demons won’t come after him...” Her voice trailed off.


She was a powerful priestess. The smartest, bravest women Masaru had ever met, and, yet, she stared at their child with so much hesitance, so much fear.


“He’ll be alright, won’t he?”


Masaru pulled her to his chest and kissed the top of her head. “I’m not worried. He’s a healthy baby boy. But, most importantly, he’s your son, Mitsuki. He’s going to be strong.”



Something soft and warm tickled Katsuki’s nose. He blinked awake, trying to pull whatever new blanket his mother had laid over him during the night tighter to his body. He expected to engulf himself in the softness only to feel a sharp tug at his backside. He jolted awake at the sensation, rising up out of bed.


Between his legs a fluffy tail wagged back and forth over the sheets. His eyes watched the movement carefully. The intensive focus with which he perceived it surprised him.


He leapt out of bed, landing silently on his feet before heading to his mirror. He twirled around in front of the glass, observing his newfound form. He had facial markings, two red stripes, one under each eye, gliding down his cheeks. Twin auburn ears that matched his new tail sat on his head, the ends darkened with tufts of black, as if they’d both been dipped in an ink well.


The ears twitched, changing the direction they were facing as he caught sounds of soft snoring from the next room over. His parents must have still been in bed.

“Mom! Dad!” His feet carried him over their wooden floors soundlessly, unnerving himself as he went. But he had no time to slow. He had to share such splendid news with his parents. He jumped onto their comforter, pressing down on his mother to shake her from sleep. “Wake up! Wake up!”


“Birthday boy…” She squinted an eye open at her alarm clock before shutting it again. “Give me one more hour and then you can be five, okay?”


“Forget that ! I have a second quirk!”


His mother took a great intake of breath. She sat up ramrod straight in bed, hair frazzled, looking a complete mess. She took in Katsuki’s new appearance in silence, eyes wide and mouth thinned into an unreadable line.


Finally, one of her hands twitched to life and she reached over to nudge Katsuki’s father awake. “Masaru… Get up…”


Katsuki’s dad sat up on his elbows. He wiped sleep from his tired eyes. “What is it, dear?” He reached over and plucked his glasses from his nightstand. Once they were on his face, he blinked fully awake. His eyes settled on Katsuki sitting in the middle of their bed. His mouth dropped down as he gaped at him.


“Neat, right? I woke up with a second quirk!” He stood and pointed his palms skyward, letting out small blasts of explosions. Sparks rained down, fizzling out before they could reach the sheets. “With two quirks, I can easily be the number one hero, just like All Might!”


Rather than share his enthusiasm, they both exchanged a nervous look. He hated when they did that. It was like they were having a conversation without words, one he wasn’t privy to.


He lowered his arms, feeling his ears pull back dejectedly. “What’s wrong?”


“N-Nothing!” His mother waved her hands around, as if she could physically dispel their obvious concern. “You just surprised us, you little brat! How much trouble are you going to be now that you have two quirks? Right, Masaru?”


Katsuki’s dad nodded, putting on a weak smile. “R-Right. We were just a little shocked. Plus, you know how we can be when we haven’t had our coffee yet, Katsuki.” He scooped him up out of their bed and stepped out into the hall. “Let’s get started on some pancakes to celebrate the start of your special day.”


Katsuki stabbed at his breakfast and held it aloft. He watched his parents, huddled in front of the stove. His mother leaned against his father as they whispered among themselves.


“So,” he said the word loudly, purposely interrupting them to gain their attention. “Does anyone else in our family have this quirk?”


His parents separated so that they could face him. Masaru gave Mitsuki a nod. He stepped forward and closed his eyes. He let out a deep exhale and two ears, much like Katsuki’s, and four tails appeared.


When he reopened his eyes, the piece of pancake Katsuki had skewered had fallen off of his fork and onto the floor. “You have them too?!” He slammed his little hands against the table. “How come I’ve never seen them?”


“Listen, Katsuki… He pulled up a seat so he was eye level with his son. “This special… quirk , it makes you more powerful than other humans. You’ve probably noticed your eyesight is sharper, as well as your sense of smell and hearing. It improves your reflexes, makes you faster, and your body moves easily over the ground without making a peep.”


Katsuki nodded excitedly. “It’s a quirk perfectly suited for being a hero!”


“Right, but, you know, as you get stronger, you might develop more tails like your dad, and they can be a bit of a pain. That’s why I hide them. Villains could easily grab at them and they’re generally pretty cumbersome to move around with in tight quarters, you know?”


Katsuki looked back at his tail. Was such a thing really a bother?


“Do you think you can hide them for us?”


“Hide them?” Katsuki tried to clarify. “You mean, they can go away?”


Masaru nodded. “You can make them invisible to the eye if you try hard enough. Having them hidden won’t take away your new abilities. But it takes a lot of control to learn to keep them hidden. Do you think you can manage it?”


Katsuki stood up in his chair. He proudly puffed up his chest, resting his hands at his hips, just like one of All Might’s signature hero poses. He closed his eyes and wished for it real hard. He heard his dad gasp..


“Did it work?”


Masaru brushed a thumb across his cheek, “The markings are gone. But the tail and ears are still out…”


Katsuki felt his ears droop at the news that he had failed.


Masaru was quick to dispel his worries. He smiled, “Well, one tail isn’t gonna hurt! There’s plenty of heroes with animal characteristics running about. You really are a natural, Katsuki!”


Mitsuki let out a heavy sigh, returning to flipping some bacon on the stove. “Just what are we going to do with our prodigal son, Masaru?”


Masaru flattened his palm over Katsuki’s head, ruffling it playfully. “He’s certainly growing up fast.”


“I’m going out to play!” Katsuki called back into his house.


“Wait!” Katsuki’s mother made loud, thumping steps as she moved to the front door. “Not yet! I have something for you.”


“What? But I told everyone I’d meet them now !” Katsuki complained, his tail twitching in agitation.


“Ditch the attitude.” Mitsuki got down on her knees. “And give me your hand.” Katsuku held it out for her. She took it and slid a beaded bracelet in a dark green hue over his wrist. It must have been a trick of the light, but it seemed to shrink to better suit his size.


“What is it?” He dangled it high above his head, observing it from every angle.


“It’s a protective bracelet, a good luck charm to help you hide any extra tails that might appear.”


“I don’t need help!” He tried to remove it.


“Don’t!” Mitsuki’s fervent voice stopped him. “Are you really gonna throw away the gift I painstakingly made for you?” She guilted him.


Katsuki hated to admit it was working a little. “H-How difficult could it be to string a few rocks together?”


“First of all, they’re not just any kind of rocks. They’re jade. Second, show some appreciation. I spent all night praying over them to give them their good luck properties.”


“You were up all night?! No way!”


“That’s right, so be grateful and don’t remove it!”


Katsuki clicked his tongue, but didn’t make any further attempts to be rid of the thing. “Can I go now? My friends are waiting in the park!”


“Fine. Go ahead, but be careful and be smart.”


“Always am…” he grumbled.


“Being a smartass isn’t the same as being smart, you little-!” He failed to hear the rest of her words, shutting the door quickly behind him. He made a mad dash for the park, already picking up the scent of his friends in the distance.


His usual group was hanging out by the swings. Deku stood a little ways off. Katsuki grinned.


Good. His friends were doing as he had instructed.


Last year they had discovered that Deku was quirkless. Katsuki had requested that they start to exclude him from their games. He figured that one day he and his friends would outgrow Deku for good, but, at least while they were still kids, Katsuki allowed the other boy to hang around them.


“Happy birthday, Kacchan!” Deku’s cheery voice called out to Katsuki over the decorated picnic table in the park.


Katsuki purposely turned away, ignoring him to speak to one of his other friends, “Hey, Tsubasa, now that I’m eight, that makes Deku the only seven year old, right?”


“O-Oh, yeah!” His lackey leaned into the bullying, although his acting was poor.


Katsuki and his friends had discussed it, and they had all come to a decision. Now that they were all eight, this would be the year they stopped talking to Deku, and Katsuki couldn’t do it fast enough.


Deku was always trying to look out for him, expressing concerns for his well being. But Katsuki was more powerful than him, more powerful than anyone. Who did shitty Deku think he was to pity him? He was just some quirkless nobody constantly chasing after Katsuki’s back.


But today he would shake him off for good.


“Deku, we’re going out to play Bakugou Hero Agency in the woods.” His fox tail wagged with mischief.


Deku hopped out of his seat, already looking excited. “Sounds fun!”


“Not you. Us ,” he clarified. Katsuki picked up some of the art supplies he’d brought from home, a hero themed coloring book and a pack of colored pencils. “You sit here and color.”


“But-but I wanted to play with everybody too…”


“It’s Kacchan’s birthday,” Tsubasa piped up, “Are you really not gonna go along with what he wants on his birthday ?”


“Oh… Um, alright. I’ll color something for Kacchan then, so make sure you come back when I’m done!”


Katsuki led the other boys through the park, in the direction of the fenced off woods. Deku always griped about how they shouldn’t be there, how the path behind it was dangerous. And he never let up, especially after the one instance Katsuki had actually fallen from the log bridge into the shallow stream below.


But he had been completely fine! Deku had worried over nothing. Katsuki smiled to himself, basking in the fruits of his plan to ditch the nerd today. Everything was going according to plan.


That’s how he should have been feeling, but something felt off.


He stopped walking. His lackeys came up short behind him, “What’s wrong, Kacchan? Aren’t we headed over the bridge again?”


“Quiet,” he ordered, listening intently. His ears flicked around. They were always attuned to Deku, even from a distance. The sounds of colored pencil sliding over paper, of his stupid, cheery humming had come to a complete stop.


What was Deku doing? Had he disobeyed Katsuki’s orders to go after them?


Then he heard a shrill, unearthly scream that practically wrenched the soul out of his body. His tail bristled, puffing up like a frightened cat.


He took off, back in the direction of the park, back to the picnic table, back to find Deku.


Only Deku wasn’t there when he returned.


Just a mess of scattered papers and pencils and the smell of Deku’s fear mixed with that of strangers.


Katsuki had used his inhuman speed to find his way back, so his friends were likely far behind. He looked around the empty playground, calling out for him, “Deku?!”


He heard another hollar and the distinct sound of Deku crying. Katsuki was overly familiar with the sound. Deku was a crybaby. He cried over bugs getting too close. Over T.V. programs where the heroes almost didn’t make it out alive. But, this time, it sounded like he was truly afraid. Katsuki took off in the direction of the cries. He left the park and found himself running down the block. He turned the corner and came to a halt.


There, he saw a van and two men trying to wrestle Deku inside.


“Kacchan!” Deku noticed him, eyes pleading for help before one of the men covered his mouth.


A snarl ripped from Katsuki’s throat. His feet moved before he had time to think, sprinting towards them at full speed. He went for the man opening the van door first, leaping up and slamming an open palm against the side of his face, releasing an explosion to disorient him.


But the blast did more damage than Katsuki had expected and he went down, gripping his face and howling in pain.


Feeling confident from the strike, Katsuki turned to face the remaining combatant. He narrowed his eyes and demanded, in a deep voice that seemed detached from his own, “Let him go.


A visible shiver ran up the guy’s spine, but Katsuki didn’t have time to appreciate the man’s fear before a third assailant, presumably the driver, came around from the other side of the van. Katsuki hadn’t noticed him in his rage, his one-track mind focused on freeing Deku.


Deku wiggled from his captor’s grasp to call out a warning, “Kacchan, behind you!”


But the kick came too swiftly to avoid. It sent Katsuki flying, back slamming against the base of a tree. He slumped down against the trunk, but managed to land on his feet. The breath had left Katsuki’s lungs with the heavy hit. As he tried to refill them, his vision began to blur.


No. He wasn’t finished yet. The strongest hero always won!


The air around him started to fizzle and pop. He could feel something, some sort of power coursing through the area, an electric current of which he was the source. His eyes focused on Deku’s and he saw his own reflection glaring back at him, his visage changing in those watery pools of green.


His eyes held a faint glow, the red of his irises bleeding out into the white of his sclera. The red stripes that had marred his cheeks when his second quirk had first appeared grew present once again, and, most noticeably, another tail slipped out alongside his first. But Katsuki didn’t have the time to be happy or surprised by the display of his enhanced power.


His attention was intently drawn to the remaining men before him. They both quivered in their boots at his transformation. Katsuki let out a feral growl and leapt at them once more. His nails raked the cheek of the one still foolishly clutching Deku. He dropped the startled boy and tried to take a step back, but Katsuki kept advancing, kept pressing forward to lash at him.


Streaks of red flashed through the air and the pavement was splattered with his blood. The driver tugged the injured man out of the way of another of Katsuki’s swipes, yanking him into the side of the van. Katsuki’s chest rumbled with the indignation of an animal losing its prey. He tried to attack again, only to have the doors slam in his face. The engine started and the van pulled away.


Katsuki panted in the aftermath. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to flatten the fur standing up on his ears. He looked over his shoulder to find his second tail already gone. It must have only been out for a few seconds. Everything had happened so quickly. Had Deku noticed his second quirk?


“Kacchan?” He turned to find Deku sitting quietly on the sidewalk. He observed him strangely, as if he were trying to piece together what he’d just seen.


But Katsuki didn’t give him time to put things together, offering his assistance. “Get up, Deku.”


Deku flinched at the outstretched hand. He shook his head and quickly accepted Katsuki’s help. After he was on his feet, Katsuki expected a barrage of questions, but was only met with a hug. Deku clung to him, hands tightly gripping the back of his shirt.


“Thank you, Kacchan… Thank you.”


Katsuki sighed and returned the hug, tail wagging back and forth over the pavement. It seemed he was still a far ways off from ditching Deku.


“We heard what happened in the park today,” Mitsuki sat down on the sofa, getting about level with her son.


Katsuki grumbled, “Who snitched?”


“I heard from Inko that Izuku almost got kidnapped. What happened, Katsuki?”


Ah. Of course Deku would be the blabbermouth.


Katsuki set down his colored pencil. He had been fixing some of the mistakes Deku had made, coloring the empty spaces that he’d missed. “Some men almost took him, so I stopped them. Why does it feel like you’re mad at me? Didn’t I do something good?”


“Katsuki, did you use… did you use your second quirk?”


Katsuk blinked at her. “How’d you know?”


“Did your facial markings come out?”


“Yes, and I’ve got-”


“Didn’t we tell you to keep it under control? To hide them?” she pressed.


“Tails.” Katsuki finished his last sentence, before she had interrupted him. “I have two tails now. And I-I didn’t know it was a rule. Plus, they just came out! I couldn’t stop them. They went away right after. I don’t even think stupid Deku noticed.”


Mitsuki let out a relieved breath of air. Masaru walked over and handed her a piping hot cup of tea. “Mitsuki, we should tell him.”


Mitsuki grimaced.


“Is it what you two are always mumbling about together? You always go off to whisper to yourselves whenever we talk about my second quirk.”


They both exchanged a surprised glance. Mitsuki gave him a soft look. “Perceptive brat. Well, I guess it’s about time you’ve learned.” Her face fell. “If you’ve already gotten a second tail, your powers must be increasing. You’ll be harder to hide from them.”


“Them?” Katsuki asked.


Mitsuki grabbed her husband's hand. He sat down next to her and offered his support. “Katsuki, let me tell you a story. It’s about a rebellious priestess and a kind Kitsune.”


“This better not have a love story in it.”


She chuckled, “Oh, a love story is all it is.”


“What’s this?” Katsuki snatched the notebook from Deku’s hands.


“Kacchan! Wuh- Give it back!”


The school day had ended uneventfully. It was just the same old nonsense. Katsuki sat in a room full of extras and wannabe heroes as the teacher had talked at length about deciding what high school everyone intended to attend.


And shitty Deku had mumbled some bullshit about wanting to go to U.A., Katsuki’s first choice, to be a hero.


“Hero analysis for the future? Volume thirteen? The fuck is this, Deku? You really think you have any chance in hell?”


Deku didn’t meet his eyes, looking down ashamedly at the surface of his desk.


Their friendship had been strained for a while now. After his parents had told Katsuki about his half Kitsune blood and how it was vital for him to keep it a secret, he had even more of a reason to push Deku out of his life.


He was the only one who might have seen his fox demon form. He’d done his best over the years to smother their relationship, to keep Deku at a distance so he wouldn’t trigger a memory of the day Katsuki had transformed. It had only been an instant, but Katsuki couldn’t help wanting to be careful.


If Deku knew about his Kitsune form, he hadn’t yet let on. Instead, he cowered before Katsuki’s bullying, but remained determined in the face of adversity, still insisting that he wanted to be a hero after all these years.


“Just give it up already.” Katsuki scorched the book with a contained explosion. He tossed it out the open window.


It was a harsh reality that Deku would have to come to terms with at some point. Katsuki was just hastening that epiphany’s arrival. Still, he could admit to himself that he was crueler than usual, his tail dragging on the floor behind him, when he suggested that Deku take a dive from the building and pray for a quirk in his next life.


Katsuki couldn’t breathe.


Something slimy covered his mouth, pressing against his lips, desperate for entry, and he couldn’t breathe .


He tried to struggle free, but his limbs are trapped too, weighed down by heavy sludge. He could feel his palms setting off explosions involuntarily, feel heat from a fire he must have started, but Katsuki was powerless to do anything to stop it.


“You have a powerful quirk!” The villain encasing him warbled out. His voice sounded like he was gargling water. It made Katsuki sick, his skin crawling as its gelatinous body continued to move around him, dampening his fur. “You’ll make a fine vessel!”


He looked for his friends and found their faces among a crowd of onlookers, staring fearfully at him from the edge of the alley. His eyes flickered from face to face, all of them so scared, so pitying. No no no! He wasn’t someone they should pity! He was stronger than this!


Then his eyes met Deku’s. Quirkless Deku who looked more scared than everyone else. Quirkless Deku who, despite all his shortcomings, was breaking out of the crowd of people. Shitty Deku who was tearing across the pavement, throwing his bag of school supplies and clawing at the sludge villain to free Katsuki’s mouth, stupidly putting himself in the way of danger without regard for himself.


“Stupid! Why are you here?!” Katsuki coughed out.


“Kacchan! I-I don’t know. My feet just moved on their own! Plus, you-you looked like you were asking for help!”


Katsuki balked at the mere notion of it. His shock was short lived, however. The sludge villain had regained its composure. It struck down, aiming a flailing limb at Deku, still fruitlessly cloying at its body to free Katsuki.


Time seemed to slow as events unfurled one after the other. Katsuki could feel the heat of his transformation emanating from his eyes, the way his heartbeat hastened, his Kitsune blood unfurling his extra tails. Four, there were four this time.


White hot light sparked against the inside of the villain’s body. He screeched as Katsuki’s explosions grew hotter, breaking through his hold. He reached out for Deku, snatching him up in his arms and removing him from danger, just as the number one hero, All Might, unleashed a Texas Smash large enough to wipe the villain from the alley completely.


Dust and wind whipped around them. Katsuki’s extra tails were gone faster than they had appeared. He felt a droplet hit the back of his head. More followed until rain and sludge poured down from above, drenching his back as he hovered over a stunned Deku.


Deku blinked up at him, a light dusting of pink settled high on his cheeks and nose.


Had he seen Katsuki’s Kitsune form? It had happened in the blink of an eye, but maybe it was enough.


“Um, you two...” All Might turned to them. His eyes lingered over Katsuki for a moment too long for his liking. Had All Might seen anything? “Are you both alright?”


“Y-Yes!” Deku spluttered out. Katsuki moved off of him. “Um, Kacchan saved me so…”


“A friend of yours from the same middle school?”


“That’s right-”


“Not on your life.” Katsuki stood up. He shook himself off, spraying droplets of water down over Deku, like a dog after a bath. “I’m going home.”


“Kacchan, wait!” Deku reached out for him, but Kasuki brushed off his hand.


He flattened his ears against his head. “This doesn’t change anything between us, Deku. It’s not like you managed to actually save me, so don’t go thinking I owe you my thanks.”


Katsuki was livid upon discovering Deku’s treachery. Not only had he gotten into U.A. with Katsuki, but he had somehow accomplished the feat with a type of strength enhancement quirk.


How was shitty Deku able to keep such a thing secret for so long? They’d known each other since they were three . Had he been harboring a strength far greater than Katsuki’s this whole time, secretly looking down on him as he tempered his own abilities?




Katsuki’s temper got the best of him. He sprinted forward, intending to blow his curly green mop top up with an explosion, but strips of hardened fabric kept him at bay.


Their homeroom teacher, Aizawa, the underground hero Eraserhead, had bound him with his malleable scarf. His black hair stood up, eyes trained on Katsuki. Katsuki could feel the use of his quirk disappearing, but his Kitsune abilities remained. He could still break out and thrash Deku, but that would also reveal his demonic nature in the process.


He resisted the urge, letting the teacher drop his bindings without making a move to leap at the nerd again. He let Deku slip past him.


Katsuki paced back and forth as his partner for their first practical lesson, Four Eyes, got into character. “Being a villain is so far removed from my usual wheelhouse, but if it’s going to better prepare Midoriya and Uraraka, I should fully devote myself to the part.”


Katsuki examined his hero uniform to distract himself. It was his first time wearing it, but it looked like they had gotten everything right down to the most minute details he had asked for. His tail fit comfortably through a hole in the back of his pants, and the material was stretchy enough that it would allow for others if they ever appeared.


“Mwahahahaha!” Katsuki grimaced. Iida’s awful acting had aided in souring his mood again.


Yeah, there was no way he was just going to wait around for Deku and Round Face to show up. The nerd’s sudden quirk development was bugging him. Deku was hiding something and he wanted answers.


He felt a twinge of hypocrisy stab at him. He shook his head. No, this was different! Katsuki was hiding something inhuman, to keep himself safe. Deku had hidden a whole quirk their entire lives just so he could lord it over Katsuki later.


He started working himself up again, the rage building inside until he was fit to burst. “I’m going after them.” Katsuki started to leave the room.


“But, Bakugou, we’ll do better if we stay together! Realistically speaking, there’s no way they can beat us two v two!”


Katsuki knew that Four Eyes was right, but he didn’t want a double battle. He wanted to brawl with Deku and Deku alone. He didn’t give a proper response, slipping out the door and into the hall.


He wandered through the corridors, scenting the air, trying to locate Deku’s familiar smell. He caught a whiff and grinned, already running in the nerd’s direction.


Katsuki skidded into an intersection, gauntlet drawn up and ready to blow. He caught Deku’s eyes right before the nerd exclaimed, “Uraraka, look out!” pushing the both of them down another hall and out of the way of his blast.


Katsuki quickly took off after them. As he rounded the corner, he found Deku alone, catching the tail end of Round Face turning into another passageway. “Just you and me, Deku? You sure you like those odds?”


Deku’s fists shook as he brought them up. He assumed a fighting stance, but then seemed to think better of engaging Katsuki head on. “Not really, no.” Unexpectedly, he bolted, moving in the opposite direction that Uraraka had run.


Katsuki clicked his tongue and gave chase. He followed Deku into an open room with bright, fluorescent lights hanging overhead. Aside from where they had entered, Katsuki couldn’t see a viable escape route. His tail triumphant swished behind him. He had Deku cornered.


Deku’s eyes darted around, flickering from a chair beside him to the lights above and finally landing on the scattered papers over the floor. He seemed to have worked something out in his head. Katsuki didn’t want to give him time to execute whatever sneaky plan he had concocted, but there wasn’t enough time to get to him before Deku had picked up the chair.


He threw it skyward, slamming it into the lights above. Sparks rained down, sprinkling over the papers and lighting them on fire. Smoke filled the air and clogged Katsuki’s sensitive nose. His Kitsune abilities waned, weakened with the strain on his senses. He growled his displeasure, fur standing on end. Deku looked smug.


That damn bastard! Even if he didn’t fully comprehend Katsuki’s enhanced abilities, he knew enough to counter his Kitsune senses with a smokescreen. Katsuki was reluctant to admit it was a clever ploy.


“Fucker!” Katsuki raised his arm, releasing a blast from the stockpiled Glycerin in one of his new gauntlets. It shattered the windows, and only fed the fire around them. His eyes watered as he tried to blink away the smoke and ash. His ears twitched, uncomfortably sensitive to his own explosion, and unable to locate Deku in the smog. Whatever! He could defeat shitty Deku without his Kitsune blood!


A gust of wind pushed all the fire, smoke and debris upward. The ceiling caved into itself, the cement and broken light fixtures lifting into the air like they’d been shot through by a geyser. Katsuki watched in awe as everything ascended to the next floor and the next. His gaze trailed back down to the source of such a raw display of power, finding Deku, his arm badly injured, but pointing an uppercut to the sky.


“I could only think of winning this way… Sorry about the smoke, Kacch…” He fell forward, cutting himself off.


Katsuki heard the announcement come from the communicator in his ear, “H-Hero team wins.”



That night Katsuki traded his hero costume for a gi, black with an orange sash across his hips. He’d gone to bed early, around eight, like usual. It was about midnight now, known to some as the witching hour, and he had duties to diligently perform.


As the offspring of a priestess and Kitsune, it was difficult to avoid detection from the supernatural world. If he wanted to remain living a normal human life during the day, he had to fend off demons from his territory during the night. He supposed it was a form of reparations, to make up for his parents’ taboo relationship.


Which was fine by him. He needed to blow off steam anyway.


His tails slipped from the gi. He counted five this time. He’d gotten stronger. Since entering U.A., he’d increased his training regimen quite a bit. He’d even surpassed his father. It was commendable at such a young age, something to be proud of for sure, but it wasn’t like it mattered.


He still lost to Deku.


Katsuki leapt from his rooftop, heading to more populated parts of the city. He’d left his gauntlets behind, instead favoring the katana his mother had blessed and provided to him. It was the only way to be completely sure the demons he dispatched wouldn’t return to the area.


As he sliced through monsters hiding in dark alleys and haunting graveyards, he thought back to what Deku had said to him after their first mock battle.


“I want to surpass you, Kacchan! This quirk… it was something given to me.”


Katsuki sunk his blade into a large, spider legged beast.


“I-I can’t tell you who gave it to me, but I’m going to make it my own. Then I’ll beat you with my own strength.”


He sliced the head off a giant mantis, its pincers still twitching open and closed.


“Do you have something you want to tell me?” Deku’s hard green stare, pleading for Katsuki to let him in. He knew Katsuki was hiding something.


Katsuki grit his teeth. He sheathed his sword and stood before the specter of a young woman, cowering before him as she watched the demons behind Katsuki fall to the ground, spilling black, translucent blood over the soil.


He took his anger out on her, “The fuck are you still doing here?! You gonna move on already, or are you just gonna stay here until you get eaten by one of those things?!”


She didn’t answer him. Her spectral form vibrated, her body morphing into a simple ball of light, zipping up to the heavens to wherever souls returned to when they moved on. Usually the whole process went a lot slower. She was in a hurry. Katsuki literally must have scared the hell out of her.


He huffed to himself and made his way back for the night. It was pretty busy lately. He got back to his house around three in the morning. Katsuki took note that it had taken him about an hour longer than last night to clear his territory.


Although most demons actively avoided the city, if there was a thicker density of suffering in one area, it could draw in the types who fed off of that sort of thing. He shivered. Something felt off, like he was sitting at the precipice of a high cliff, awaiting an oncoming storm.


Katsuki shrugged it off and slipped into bed. Whatever. It wasn’t like he had prognostication abilities like his mother.


Katsuki should have known better than to doubt his instincts. Even if he never inherited his mother’s priestess powers, his Kitsune blood was apparently enough to detect misfortune on the horizon.


The fur on his ears and tail had bristled all day. When they arrived at the USJ building, the interior had a foreboding stillness to it. He hated that his suspicions were confirmed correct as a large purple vortex opened up in its epicenter. The huge quantity of villains stepping through it was enough to give even him a moment of trepidation.


The villain with the portalling quirk suddenly appeared behind their class, cutting them off from the outside world and preventing them from seeking out any help that might come to their rescue. Bit like hell he was just gonna wait around for that!


He charged at the villain, perhaps a little too hastily, and felt his body being sucked into its portal.


“Oh, crap!” One of his classmates, the red head with the hardening quirk had somehow gotten pulled alongside him.


There was an inky blackness surrounding them one moment, the next, they were in a rickety building, best used as a place to practice saving civilians from collapsing structures. He wobbled on his feet, feeling disoriented at being transported against his will. Looking out the window, he could tell they were still in the USJ, but separated from their other classmates in a different zone.


His claws itched, sliding out and shredding holes in his gloves. It was hard to keep the transformation at bay with his fight or flight senses lighting up.


“Bakugou?” Kirishima prompted him, but Katsuki found his attention focused on a sound in the distance. The sound of Deku screaming, a splash of water, and the smell of his fear. “B-Bakugou?!”


“What?!” Katsuki finally snapped at him.


Kirishima pointed behind him. Katsuki tensed, looking back to find all five of his tails hanging out of his suit.




“Is-Is that a part of your fox quirk?” Kirishima asked.


Katsuki took a deep breath to steady his nerves. It was a good thing he’d practiced coming up with a believable response, should he ever be discovered, “They usually only come out when I’m in real, life threatening danger.” It wasn’t completely a lie. Katsuki made profound eye contact with his classmate. “But tell anyone about this and you’re dead.”


Kirishima considered him, eyes focused on the streaks of red along Katsuki’s cheeks. Then his face lit up in a smile. “Sure, man. I don’t really know why you need to hide this, but if it’s not something you want known, I won’t tell anybody about it.”


Katsuki’s muscles coiled and he jumped forward, slicing the air by Kirishima’s head. A chameleon looking motherfucker screamed and went down, holding his face. The villains must have fanned out and intended to pick them off now that they were alone.


“Thanks...” Katsuki said the word muffled, unused to relaying his gratitude.


“No prob- Oh! Look out!” Kirishima pulled him to the side, hardening his fist and punching forward. He slammed his knuckles into the nose of another villain with a satisfying crunch. Katsuki stood at his back, ready for another onslaught of villains coming up the stairs. A few clambored in through the windows. “I’ve got your back if you’ve got mine.” Kirishima clashed his knuckles together.


Katsuki grinned. “On your six.”


A feeling of unease crept up Katsuki’s spine. He had felt something akin to it before. The first time had been when he was eight, when he had heard Deku being kidnapped by thugs. The second had been the sludge villain incident, when the grotesque man holding him hostage had almost swatted Deku against the alley wall like he was little more than a fly.


He had that same feeling now. Someone was reaching out towards Deku, intending to inflict real, irreparable harm. A vision of him crumbling to dust danced across the back of Katsuki’s eyes. His heartbeat picked up speed.


“Bakugou, where are you-?” Kirishima’s words sounded so far away, and maybe he was by now. Katsuki was moving fast, too fast to be using his explosions alone to propel himself forward.


Dust whipped up around him as he moved across the open expanse of USJ’s center.


And that’s where Katsuki saw him. Deku was winding up to punch just as a hand was coming out of a portal, reaching for him. Katsuki didn’t know what power that hand possessed, but he could feel its intention to destroy. It smelled like death. He couldn’t let it touch Deku.


He sprinted forward, slamming into the nerd and pulling him out of harm’s way. As the dust settled, Katsuki remembered himself, tucking his excess tails away. Deku’s eyes didn’t leave his. They just stared, shocked and worried up at him. “Kacchan? How did you…?”


“Fuck are you doing? You trying to get yourself killed?”


Deku’s gaze lingered on him for just a moment more before they seemed to catch onto something behind him. He pointed in his distracted state. “Look!”


Katsuki clicked his tongue. He had a feeling he wouldn’t find the time to pick up this scolding later. He turned to find the U.A. teachers had arrived with a winded Four Eyes leading them inside. All Might tore off his tie, leaping down from the top of the stairs to their level.


“Everything is okay now! Why? Because I am here!”




“Bakugou!” Kirishima ran up to him, throwing an arm over his shoulders. The villains that hadn’t escaped were being arrested, and the teachers had deemed it safe enough for the students to leave. “Yo, that was some incredible speed you used back there!”


Katsuki peeked behind them to see Deku’s hand frozen, reaching out towards him. He brought it down hesitantly, eyebrows furrowing. He looked dissatisfied with something.


“We should definitely train together! Or maybe you could look over my routine and make some adjustments?”


“Sure, whatever,” Katsuki shrugged him off, but Kirishima beamed at the affirmation.


Deku tensed at the response. Katsuki watched as the nerd’s face grew red. He dashed off in the direction of his friend group.


“Wah! Deku, you look a bit flushed!” Round Face commented.


“Do you have a fever, Midoriya? You should definitely get checked out by Recovery Girl. Aside from your arm, we can’t have you getting sick!” Four Eyes made a show of fawning all over him too.


“Tch.” Good. The nerd had those extras to worry about him.


Katsuki had been on edge ever since Aizawa had announced the sports festival. It wasn’t as severe as the premonition he’d gotten over the USJ event. But it made him hover around Deku, as if he expected whatever was coming next to unfold around the nerd, seeing as he was a magnet for disaster.


It’s how he found himself hiding around the corner, eavesdropping on him and Half-n-Half, as he rambled on about his abusive hero father and how he wanted to crush Deku in the tournament, Deku who had a power so similar to All Mights, with just his mother’s ice quirk.


Katsuki was an absolute wreck watching their battle. Deku wouldn’t stop breaking himself. His Kitsune blood responded to his pain. He wanted to transform, wanted to leap down and stop him from doing any more damage.


But this was different from every other time he’d transformed for Deku’s sake. There wasn’t a tangible villain to fight. Why should he care if the nerd wanted to break all his fingers? Why should he feel the need to get involved?


“It’s your power isn’t it?! Fight me seriously, with all you’ve got!”


Katsuki shivered, eyes growing wide as he watched Deku scream at Todoroki. Why did it feel like those words weren’t just for Half-n-Half? Why did they resonate so deeply within him?


He slipped from the stands. He couldn’t watch the next part. He could feel it coming. The heat from the arena was being drawn down to Todoroki. He burst into flames and devoured the air around him.


Deku was going to lose.


Katsuki slipped into the bathroom and locked himself in a stall. His other tails fell out. He couldn’t control it. He panted, feeling the prickling sensation in his heart. He sensed the collision of two powerful forces, of Deku getting thrown back, out of the ring and slamming against the walls of the arena. He could hear the faint breath leave his lungs as he fell unconscious.


Katsuki growled, gripping the front of his shirt and poking holes in the collar with his claws. He straightened up, regaining his composure. He knew what to do with all this mounting aggression. His battle with Todoroki was next.


“You better not hold back on me! If you couldn’t beat the nerd without your full strength, what makes you think you can take me out with only half?!” Katsuki hollered across the ring.


Todoroki looked down at his hand. Katsuki could sense that his heart was still in turmoil, but he wasn’t here to teach him a lesson, like too-nosy-and-helpful-for-his-own-good Deku. Katsuki was here to kick Todoroki’s pretty boy ass and win.


A wall of ice shot up and around him, trying to cage him in. Katsuki felt his body burn with indignation at the restrained use of his quirk. There was another feeling nagging at him, sinking into the pit of his stomach as he raged and yelled at Todoroki to use his full power.


He felt his own hypocrisy once more. His Kitsune side wanted so badly to come out and engage. He wanted to fight the guy that had taken Deku out of commission, not this watered down version.


He growled, melting the ice with an explosion and blasting shards all over the field. The audience cheered as he rose into the sky, tail whipping around in the wind behind him. He let out short blasts in succession, rotating his body as he brought himself back down to earth, back towards his opponent.


“Howitzer Impact!” He unleashed his quirk’s full potential.


He bit his lip. It wasn’t enough. He wanted more. His Kitsune blood was dissatisfied, even when Todoroki went flying, passing out unconscious outside of the ring.


“Fuck…” Katsuki charged him. He held his body up by his shirt front, shaking him. “You fucking bastard! That doesn’t count! That wasn’t a real fight! That was…” His vision blurred as his sense of smell became impaired. “Dammit…”


Everything went dark.


When Katsuki awoke next he was tied to the number one podium, muzzled and chained like a wild beast. He thrashed around, trying to break free, the sensation too similar to the way he’d been held by the sludge villain. Todoroki and Tokoyami stood on either side of him, staring awkwardly to the side, avoiding his gaze.


The podium rose. He continued to fume, ears entirely flat against his head, tail, bushy and wildly whipping about, even as All Might approached him to award Katsuki his gold medal.


“I-Isn’t this a little much?” His childhood hero removed the muzzle.


“Fuck off, All Might! I don’t want that meaningless thing!” Katsuki bared his fangs.


“Come now, young Bakugou. Don’t be modest. You have to accept it for the ceremony at least.” He managed to wrestle it over his head.


Katsuki snarled and snapped at him. All Might looked nervous, but he leaned down to whisper, “I’m sorry about all this, but it would be best to control your animalistic tendencies for now…”


That gave Katsuki some pause. He tried to gauge All Might for what he meant, but the number one hero was already closing the ceremony, leaving Katsuki to worry and brood.


Katsuki braced his hand against the alley wall by Deku’s head. His nose still looked sore from where Katsuki had smacked him with his gauntlet. His ears drooped at the sight.


Ugh! But it was Deku’s fault to begin with! All he wanted to do was run away instead of fight All Might head on! And what the hell was he thinking, dragging Katsuki away from a fight? As if he needed Deku’s help to begin with...


Deku’s eyes nervously flitted from Katsuki’s face to the opening of the alley. He shrunk in on himself. How could such a sniveling guy be so insistent? Katsuki’s cheek stung with the punch Deku had landed on him earlier, stunning him enough to get the both of them away.


Katsuki let out a deep sigh. He supposed he deserved the hit. Now they were a matching set. “Listen, we’re not gonna be able to avoid fighting with All Might’s crazy speed!”


Deku gave him a pleading look. “But if we take him head on then you might-”


“Hah?!” Katsuki dared him to finish his sentence.


Deku swallowed. “We might not be able to defeat him if we attack him directly.” He changed course.


Katsuki levelled him with a scrutinizing look, but Deku didn’t flinch under his gaze.


“Then let’s catch him by surprise.”


Katsuki swung out from behind a building, raining down heavy fire on All Might’s back. All Might spun around to engage him, all according to plan. “Now, Deku!”


“Sorry All Might!” The nerd zipped to All Might’s other side, using one of Katsuki’s gauntlets to let out a disturbingly large blast. He was pushed back, wincing as the blowback dealt damage to his arm.


“Run!” Katsuki ordered him, and they both took off.


But All Might wasn’t far behind and he quickly caught up, appearing between them in a flash of speed that practically rivalled Katsuki’s Kitsune abilities. Before he could raise his arm, both of Katsuki’s gauntlets were smashed to pieces in the blink of an eye.


“Now, die heroes!” All Might kneed Katsuki in the gut, sending him flying into an adjacent building.


Katsuki pushed himself out of the crumbled exterior, shaking gravel from his ears and hair. He returned to deliver another round of fire, only to find himself slammed into the street with the force of Deku’s body being swung around like a makeshift weapon.


Katsuki hit the ground and All Might threw Deku aside, discarding him so he could focus on pinning Katsuki.


“It’s over.”


Katsuki snarled under his weight. He upturned his palm and released another explosion, this one significantly less contained than the last. Pain shot up his arm as his quirk put strain on him, but the risk was worth it as All Might stepped off, allowing Katsuki to free himself.


He stood up, his tail lashing behind him. He could feel it coming. The anger burning a hole in his gut, the way everything flashed red.


“Hmm?” All Might tilted his head to the side.


“Kacchan!” Deku’s frightened voice called out to him.


Then he watched as the nerd delivered an incredible punch to their childhood hero’s face that sent the man stumbling back. All Might struggled to stay on his feet, grounding himself in a kneeling position and rubbing blood from his chin.


Deku grabbed his hand and tugged a stunned Katsuki forward. “Let’s go!”


Had Deku just saved him from revealing his secret? Could he tell that Katsuki was about to transform? Katsuki shook his head, trying to keep himself focused on the task at hand.


All Might seemed to be significantly slowed by the blow. If Katsuki carried them out with his Kitsune speed now, he wouldn’t reach them before they made it to the gate.


He got low and scooped Deku up from behind. “K-Kacchan?!” He lengthened his strides, feet skimming silently over the ground, almost as if he were walking on air. They dove through the arch, swift as the win, and a victory bell chimed overhead.


He panted, looking up to see the sign on the arch display a “Good Job!”


Deku cleared his throat, bringing Katsuki’s attention back to the nerd in his arms. “You-You can put me down now Kacch- Ah!”


Katsuki promptly dropped him on his ass. His tail stood up, frazzled that he’d mindlessly held onto Deku longer than need be.


“Are you okay, Bakugou. If you’re scared, you can hold my hand,” Todoroki said it so monotonously and with such a lack of expression.


Katsuki grumbled. “As if I would be scared! If anything, you’re the one creeping me out, so knock it off!”


As if a half demon would be frightened during a test of courage. He regularly ran into ghouls and monsters nightly. Just because his tail had puffed up when that one Class B extra had popped her head out of the ground didn’t mean he was scared . He was just startled!


“You seem really fidgety though,” Todoroki just couldn’t keep his comments to himself, eyeing up the way Katsuki’s fur still stuck out along his tail.


Katsuki didn’t dignify it with a response. He was unusually jumpy. His Kitsune senses were making him wary. He could feel something off with Deku too, but he was too far away to get a clear read.


They kept walking, his mind wandering back to the nerd, how they had just managed to scrape by their final exam. He was pissed, having to rely on Deku to pick up the slack just so he wouldn’t accidentally reveal his full Kitsune form, but he supposed it beat having to take make-up classes with the rest of his loser friends. Kirishima hadn’t stopped complaining about how tired he was since their camping trip started.


Katsuki stopped moving. “Hold on.” Todoroki paused, looking back at him with a puzzled expression. “Do you hear that?” His ears twitched. “Something’s coming.”


Todoroki, who obviously couldn’t hear it with his weak human hearing, tensed up and fell naturally into a defensive stance beside Katsuki. The smell of smoke in the air reached his nose, wrinkling it. Had someone set a fire in the forest?


A long blade-like object twisted out from the bushes. Both he and Todoroki narrowly avoided being split in two, but it still managed to slice a few hairs from the end of Katsuki’s tail. A man in full body leather rose before them, held high above the trees by what seemed to be his sharp edged but malleable teeth.


“Flesh…” The man drooled around his weaponized mouth.


“That’s… not one of our classmates I don’t think,” Todoroki mumbled.


“No shit! Hey freak, what sort of reject BDSM club did you crawl out of?!” Katsuki called up to him.


There was a strange tingling sensation in his head. Katsuki froze as Mandalay’s voice called out to everyone, “Villains have invaded the training grounds! Eraserhead has given permission to defend yourselves! We’ve also been made aware that they are looking for a person named Kacchan!”


Katsuki’s eye twitched.


Fucking Deku. Of course he had involved himself in whatever danger had arisen.


Another zing followed the announcement. He straightened himself, feeling a flood of painful emotions washing over him all at once. Agony, full body aches radiating from every limb, and it was rushing towards him, as fast as it could manage.


Deku was coming here. Deku was searching for him. Deku was hurt.


Removed from a certain variable, Katsuki could control his transformations without trouble. He was acutely aware of this fact, and had been for some time.


But to be faced with the reality of it, the juxtaposition of having his own life in danger, while Deku leapt towards him, as if to bargain his life for Katsuki’s, only solidified the feeling.


A hand encased itself around his neck as he was pulled back into the inky portal.


“Don’t come, Deku.” he pleaded.


Don’t follow me into danger. Don’t look at me with those eyes, asking me, begging me to shift, to reveal myself, to save myself with a power you know I have, but don’t yet understand.


And, fortunately, for Katsuki, he didn’t have to say any more. Didn’t have to watch Deku’s determined, outstretched hand longingly move towards him. He stepped back into the portal and it all fell away. No more forest. No more classmates. No more Deku.


Only the League of Villains.


“You have to be the one to do it,” Izuku hated that he could detect the jealousy lacing his own voice, although it didn’t seem like Kirishima or the others had noticed. “Kacchan trusts you, Kirishima. He sees you as an equal. If I did it, I’m positive he wouldn’t take my hand. It’s the only way our plan will work.”


It had to work. This was the only way he saw it working. Whatever it was Kacchan was hiding, it had partially been revealed to Kirishima. That much he was sure. For Kacchan to put that sort of trust in someone, someone who wasn’t Izuku... it pained him. But he couldn’t let that cloud his judgement as a hero. They needed to act accordingly.


“We need to talk.,” Katsuki grumbled in passing. Deku flinched at his words, turning to look back at him, but Katsuki kept moving. He didn’t need to peek over his shoulder to know that Deku was following him.


They made their way to the location of their first battle, where Katsuki had experienced his first failure, Ground Beta.


“I’ve been thinking about your quirk. You once told me you received it from somebody.” Katsuki turned to face him. “That person is All Might, isn’t it?”


Deku swallowed. “Kacchan…” His eyes roved over to Katsuki’s tail. “You’ve been keeping secrets too, haven’t you?”


Katsuki narrowed his eyes.


The nerd continued. “At first I thought it had something to do with your second quirk, but if that were the case, you’d definitely be the type of person to flaunt that sort of thing. Kacchan doesn’t like to hold back, so keeping some power you have hidden, there’s a reason right?”


Katsuki growled. “I came out here to pick a fight, not to entertain your nonsensical theories. I want to fight against All Might’s successor. Show me why you were worthy to receive his power or be crushed by-”


“Hypocrite!” Deku lashed out at him. “You want me to go all out, but you won’t do the same?” Deku’s eyes watered. He wiped at them, sniffling. “Kacchan, you’re my hero. When I think of winning, you’re the first person that comes to mind. You’re my image of victory. I know I kept All Might’s secret from you, but I didn’t want to. I want to know what you’re hiding too.” He raised his head, widening his stance and holding up his fists. “So show me, Kacchan! Show me what you’ve been hiding all this time!”


Katsuki sat panting above Deku. A low growl ripped from his throat as he threatened the boy beneath him, daring him to make a move to escape his pin. Deku didn’t stir, chest heaving with the effort to breathe.


He was sweaty and flushed, hands pressed to the ground above his head, legs pinned beneath Katsuki’s. Seven tails flared out behind him and twin shadows fell over his head, Katsuki’s fox ears giving Deku a mirrored pair of his own. His facial markings had come out long ago.


Deku looked unsurprised at the development. Instead, relief and mirth played on his lips. He smiled, coughing out a laugh. “I knew it…”


Katsuki’s growls cut short in his throat, replaced with an endeared rumbling. He bent down, losing himself in the moment of triumph. His teeth, sharpened with his Kitsune transformation, slid along Deku’s neck. He could feel the pulse quicken, taste the heat that emanated from his skin, the smell of his sweat, sweet and inviting.


“Ahem.” A throat cleared and brought him back to his senses. Katsuki pulled himself off of Deku, rolling over to sit beside him. All Might stood before them.


“All Might,” Katsuki greeted him.


“Uh!” Deku flailed into a sitting position, trying to cover Katsuki’s tails with his arms, a truly pitiful effort. They twitched under his touch. “This-This is just a second quirk! Kacchan doesn’t often use it because he-!”


“Put a cork in it, nerd. He’s known that ain’t it for a while now too, isn’t that right?”


All Might nodded. “I suspected something during the sludge villain incident, but my suspicions were confirmed after your final exam, although I’m still not sure I understand it completely.”


Katsuki sighed. “Guess it’s only fair that you know my secret, if I know yours... I’m a half demon. My father was a Kitsune.”


All Might ran a hand through his hair. “I’m assuming this is also why you leave the dorms at night?”


Katsuki nodded. “I take out other demons that enter the territory.”


“Well, you’ve made a lot of work for me, you know,” All Might scolded, “Be careful to avoid the cameras in the future. I’ve already had to make edits to the footage, as well as convince Aizawa to leave your little spat tonight for me to handle.”


“Did he also see-?”


“No. I sent him out before your other tails came out. But please be more careful in the future. Now, come along. I still have to write you both up and dole out your punishment.”


Katsuki groaned and got to his feet. Deku followed suit. They made brief eye contact before Deku looked away shyly. Katsuki could still see a tint of red gracing the tips of his ears. Katsuki’s eyes fell to his neck again.


In the heat of the moment, Katsuki had planned to sink his fangs in, to mark him. But that couldn’t be right. Kitsune only marked their life mates.


Katsuki stopped dead in his tracks.


“Kacchan?” Deku paused a few steps ahead. He made a teasing face. “You know, even if you’re a half demon, I’m going to do my best to surpass you one day.”


Katsuki’s Kitsune blood boiled. “Hah? Not on your fucking life, nerd. I’m the one who’s gonna surpass you!” His tails wagged behind him.


Oh. Perhaps he was enjoying their banter a little too much.


Katsuki watched as Deku finished up with the last of their chores for the day, their punishment for fighting on campus. He emptied the dustpan, sneaking a glance at Katsuki . Some of the dirt drifted up and he sneezed. “You can head up first, Kacchan. You don’t have to wait for me.”


“Don’t order me around!” Katsuki barked at him.


Deku just shrugged. He hung up the broom and dustpan and then started to make his way down the hall. Katsuki followed about a foot behind. He could feel the way Deku’s heart raced, felt the pounding of it through his bare feet against the floor. Deku was keenly aware of his presence.


He hit a button for the second and fourth floor and waited for the elevator. They shuffled in quietly. It was a short ride to the next floor up, but, with the way Deku was acting, anybody would have thought it was taking forever. The doors opened and Deku tried to scurry out.


“Well, so long, Kacch- Wait, why are you getting off on this floor?”


“We’re going to your room, duh.”


“O-Oh!” Deku didn’t say a word more, turning around quickly. His movements were robotic as he led Katsuki back to his dorm room. He unlocked the door and gestured inside. “C-Come on in!”


Katsuki stepped inside casually. As soon as Deku had the door closed behind them, his other tails came out.


Deku blinked at them in surprise. “Oh, there’s one more than before.”


Katsuki scoffed. He’d already been aware that he’d earned his eighth tail after their fight. He plopped down on Deku’s bed and stretched out.


“Um, Kacchan, why are you here?”


“What? You want me out?”


“N-No! I mean, it’s not like I want you here either, but... Shit, wait, that came out wrong too.” Katsuki fanned a few tails out, hooking them around Deku’s waist to pull him into the bed beside him. “Wah!” The nerd’s face fell against his chest. He looked up at Katsuki, cheeks red and burning.


Katsuki’s Kitsune wanted to let out a warm rumbly noise, but he managed to contain himself. The way Deku was behaving, the way Katsuki was feeling, how badly he wanted to sink his teeth into that pretty, freckled neck…


He brushed his palm against Deku’s cheek. He heard his breath hitch in his throat, and felt his body tense over Katsuki’s. Everything was a tell, a confirmation to Katsuki’s unaired question.


Deku was his life mate, the person he was meant to share his life with. He was the reason his Kitsune half screamed to come out. It was only so hard to control whenever Deku was in trouble. He really should have noticed it sooner.


He threaded fingers through Deku’s green curls. Deku shivered at his touch, but didn’t pull away. His eyes slipped closed, expression tense but expectant. Katsuki pulled that face close and nipped his nose.


Deku let out a surprised, “Eep!” hands coming up to cover his embarrassed face. “Kacchan, what the hell?!”


Katsuki snickered, forcefully removing Deku’s hands so he could chase that pretty red color overtaking his whole face. He shoved a pillow into it and taunted him, “You look stupid. I’m gonna take a nap in here before I have to leave for my nightly demon hunt, so make sure to stay alert for me.”


“Wh-Why do you have to do that in here ?”


“I want to sleep in my Kitsune form. It’s stuffy if my other tails aren’t out, but I’ll be antsy if I gotta do it in my room by myself, so just be a good guard dog and keep watch.”


“Fine…” Deku mumbled out, “But do I really have to lay next to you while I’m on guard?”


“Already sleeping. Can’t hear you.”


“Kacchaaaaaan!” He whined, unable to break out of Katsuki’s arms.


Izuku checked his mother’s grocery list. Let’s see, next on the list, three apples. He reached into the produce bin. His hand met that of another and he quickly pulled it back. “Oh, sorry, I- Mrs. Bakugou?!”


Mitsuki stood behind a shopping cart. A huge smile split her face. “Ah! Izuku, is that you? Look at you! You’re all grown up! How have you been? How’s life with Katsuki in the dorms? That tight-lipped brat won’t tell me anything!”


Izuku felt heat rush to his face. “W-Well, everything’s going fine, I think? Kacchan and I are on better terms now. He’s been hanging out in my room more often, and we spar together!” Izuku couldn’t keep the pure, unadulterated joy out of his voice.


Mitsuki gave him a knowing smile. “He’s told me you and All Might know about his little predicament. After hearing you speak, I feel relieved.”


“Yeah, I was worried for a while, but now Kacchan trusts me enough to stay in his full Kitsune form when he’s around me.” Izuku returned her smile.


The moment of gratitude over Kacchan’s favor was cut short as Mitsuki burst into a fit of laughter.


“Mrs.-Mrs. Bakugou? What’s wrong?”


She composed herself enough to talk again, “Izuku, has Katsuki told you what a life mate is yet?”


“No, uh, he hasn’t?”


She started to explain, “Kitsune are only comfortable walking around in their true forms around their life mates. It’s the partner they’ve chosen to spend the rest of their prolonged life with. They give all of their love and half of their life force to their mate, so that they can spend the rest of their time on this plane together, down to the very last second.”


If Izuku wasn’t blushing before, he definitely was now. “That-That can’t be right! Kacchan never mentioned anything like that! And wouldn’t I have noticed if he was-was-”


“Courting you?” Mituski finished his thought for him. “You think my idiot son would just come out and tell it to you straight? I have to wonder if that brat even figured it out himself yet.” She gave Izuku a conspiratorial wink. “Well, if he does make a move, you’ll definitely know. Here’s a hint. To solidify the mating bond, Kitsune make a mark on the neck.”


She tilted her head to the side, displaying what looked to be a very old bite mark, healed over with the passage of time, but never fully covered. Rather than take away from Mitsuki’s attractive appearance, there was something about the claim that made Izuku giddy, even envious. He swallowed, thinking about how it would feel to wear Kacchan’s mark of possession one day and how he had almost received that mark during their recent tiff at Ground Beta.


Mischief danced in Mitsuki’s eyes. She picked up her apples and waved goodbye. “Good luck, Izuku! I suppose I’ll be seeing you at future family dinners. I’ll have to get Katsuki to text me your favorites the next time we talk!”


She cackled like a mad woman, leaving Izuku a red, melting mess in the middle of the grocery store.


Deku nervously shuffled on his feet. He looked sheepish as he talked with All Might. It would probably be the last time they spoke in a while, but, still, Katsuki had already given him an hour to say his thanks and goodbyes. His ears flicked impatiently. How much longer did he need? 


The graduation ceremony had ended and all of their other classmates had no problem clearing out after. Apparently Katuski needed to pry Deku from the U.A. campus with a crowbar.


“Alright, nerd! That’s enough! How much longer are you two gonna cry over each other?!”


All Might pulled Deku into another hug. Deku teared up again, getting snot all over their mentor’s suit jacket. Katsuki rolled his eyes. Damn these two. Why did everything need to be such a production?


He guessed he sort of expected it. He did spend the last few years berating them for sneaking around poorly, talking about their secrets out in the open, only mere feet away from their classmates and teachers. Katsuki doubted they would have made it to graduation without him around to keep them both level headed.


Deku rubbed at his eyes. He gave All Might his brightest smile, the one Katsuki had seen him practicing in the mirror so he could be just like his predecessor, assuaging people’s fears in times of doubt. He waved goodbye and caught up with Katsuki at the front gate.


As soon as they were out of range, his smile fell and he pressed his face into Katsuki’s side, a loud sob ripping from his throat. Katsuki threw an arm around him to keep him steady while they walked.


“Smiling like that only to fall apart a few feet from him sort of defeats the purpose. Is this how you plan on acting when you’re a hero and need to put on a brave face?”


“No…” Deku whined, “You don’t get to make fun of me. I graduated top of the class, you know!”


Katsuki scoffed. “I think that’s exactly why I should be making fun of you. You dare rob me of the number one spot and then you have the audacity to cry on me. How’s that fair?”


Deku hiccuped. He wiped at his eyes and looked up at Katsuki. This time he wore a genuine smile, wobbly, but lifted up at corners. His eyes sparkled with excitement. “We’re picking out furniture this weekend right?”


“That’s right.” Katsuki pinched his nose. “We still need a dining room set.”


“I told you, we can use the novelty Lunch Rush plates I got the other day!”


“I’m not eating on those.”


“Jokes on you. I wouldn’t want you to anyway. They’re a collector’s item. I’ll just get a nice china case to display th-”


“No fucking way! You’re barred from bringing any of your hero merch into our apartment! I’m not living in a place filled with a billion fucking eyes of my coworkers staring at me every second of every day. Just the thought is making my fur stand on end.” He pulled his tail around as if to demonstrate.


Deku pouted, freckled cheeks puffing up adorably. Katsuki groaned. He pulled Deku off the streets and into an alley. “Kacchan, what are you-?”


“Shut up.” He brought them behind some old fencing, obscuring them from view. Nine miraculous tails unfurled behind him. His ears pointedly fixated on Deku. Katsuki gripped his chin and forced him to look up, stealing his lips in an impatient kiss.


Deku turned to putty, leaning hard up against the brick wall behind him. Katsuki broke out of the kiss to eye up how red and delicious his mate had become. “Kacchan…” He sounded breathless and broken. “Kissing me into submission isn’t going to work every time you want to get your way.”


“No, but it does work most of the time.” He peered below, eyes tracing the faint outline of a bite mark against Deku’s neck. He grinned triumphantly at the sight of it, his Kitsune half pleased with the racey visual. When his eyes returned to Deku’s face, he found his expression to be smug. “Fuck’s with that look?”


“Nothing, I just had a pleasant thought.”


“And that would be?.”


“Well, I realized we’ll have plenty of time for me to change your mind.” He tilted his head in a way that effectively brandished more of the mating mark, taunting Katsuki with it.


“You conniving little shit. Since when do you know how to use your wiles to get your way?”


“Probably since we started dating? I’m pretty sure I picked it up from you after all.”


“Oh, yeah. Never thought that it would come back to bite me in the ass one day.”


Katsuki relinquished his hold and Deku fell into step next to him. His extra tails faded out until there was just a singular one wagging behind him. Deku happily took his hand as they exited the alley, moving forward into an eternity spent together.