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naked in your body and your thought

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“Deku! Are you fucking awake yet?”

Izuku drags his eyes open. They feel gritty, stuck-together. He’s looking at red-painted steel and strange lighting and his own feet. “Kacchan?”

“Finally!” Kacchan’s voice comes from off to his left. “Took you long enough.” His voice is rough. Izuku remembers how to turn his head; Kacchan is slouched against the (not-very-)far wall of this — metal box? He’s covered in grime, but no blood; unfortunately, handcuffs gleam around his bare wrists. Izuku’s cuffed too, which… isn’t great.

“What happened?”

“You ran into the cloud of weird quirk mist, idiot.” Kacchan glares at him, bracing his arms awkwardly on his drawn-up knees. Izuku frowns, getting a better look at his hands. That’s more than enough freedom of motion for Kacchan to blast his way out of the cuffs. 

“Right,” Izuku says, thinking back. “I mean, you were on the other side of the cloud.”

“Yeah, in the edge of it, and you went right through the middle.” His nostrils flare. “I didn’t need your — whatever. What did you think was going to happen anyway?”

“I did hold my breath,” Izuku protests. “I guess I shouldn’t have assumed it would be inhaled. Does everyone in this gang ooze stuff or give off smoke or something like that? It seems like a bad way to put together a team.”

“Yeah, well, they seem pretty stupid.” Kacchan tilts his head back as he yells the last, clearly meaning it to be heard. 

“I guess.” Izuku glances around. “We’re in a shipping container?” It has a little temporary LED light stuck to one wall, which is… better than the alternative. 

“Looks like. Pretty sure we’re on a boat or some shit, too.”

“I wasn’t sure if I was just dizzy,” Izuku admits. His eyes widen. “Oh, no, do you still get seasick?”

“Only a little,” Kacchan grits out. “Should clear up in another few minutes. At least we know.” Boats were the only thing that ever bothered Kacchan, back when they were little and their families did day-trips together. Izuku, of course, got carsick until he was six or so, but he outgrew it.

“I guess.” Izuku bites his lip. “How long have you been awake?”

“Probably about twenty minutes.” He shrugs. “Didn’t want to try and drag your heavy ass out of here if I didn’t have to.”

Izuku hides a smile. “Thanks.”

“For what? I didn’t do shit.”

Izuku decides, on reflection, that nothing good will come of saying for not leaving without me. “I don’t think I’m hurt,” he says, taking slow inventory of his body. Bruises, sore muscles, the usual ache in his right arm, and his mouth kind of feels like something died in it, but he’s fine other than that. “They took your gauntlets — and your collar for some reason? Or, wait, no, that came off in the fight, didn’t it?” It’s meant to, if someone grabs it. Hatsume’s standard practice.

“Yeah. Took my phone, too, obviously.”

“Okay.” Izuku checks his pockets, which the handcuffs make a little awkward but honestly not nearly as bad as it could be. “Wow, they only took my phone and my wallet. I’ve got my keys, um, a rubber band, hand sanitizer, bunch of receipts and an old pencil, that’s not very smart to leave a prisoner — huh.” Wait. Notes. Messages. Information. He opens his mouth, shuts it again, and thinks.

“What’s funny is that the back of my neck really itches,” he says. “It’s kind of annoying, because I can’t really reach it, because —” He jangles his cuffs. “Maybe something bit me? It kind of burns, a little.”

Kacchan’s eyes go wide in comprehension. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, mine too. Gross fucking ship.”

There were a lot of safety precautions, before Best Jeanist’s agency took their interns out to break up some smugglers. One of them was tiny GPS trackers hidden on their bodies. Izuku and Kacchan both hid theirs on the nape of their neck, buried in their hair. The chips are tiny, and powerful, and the warmth of working electronics runs just a little hotter than body heat. Their kidnappers did not search their prisoners well enough.

“Well,” Izuku says, “I’m sure Best Jeanist or Aizawa-sensei will come get us in a hurry, no matter where these people are taking us. I know they’ll find us, wherever we’re going.” Best Jeanist has, in fact, been looking for the smugglers’ base for weeks.

Kacchan opens his mouth, closes it, and raises his eyebrows. “Sensei’s going to kill you for taking stupid risks again.

“I didn’t mean to take this one!” Izuku protests. “But, I mean, since we’re here, staying put and waiting for them to come rescue us is probably the safest thing anyway.”

Kacchan visibly turns the argument over and puffs out air between his lips. “Fine,” he says. “We wait.”

“Let me know if I can help with the seasickness?” Izuku offers.

“What do you think you’re going to do about it?”

“Um.” Izuku considers. “Distract you? I mean, at least I can try and get out of the way if, you know.”

“I’m not going to puke, idiot, I’m already getting used to it.” Kacchan rolls his eyes. 

“Okay. That’s good!” Izuku stretches out his legs and considers the unknown period of time stretching on ahead of them. “So, uh, twenty questions?”

“Are we five?

“No, but we’re about to be really bored.” 

“Ugh.” Kacchan sighs. “Is it All Might?”

“I hadn’t even picked something yet!” Izuku protests, kicking gently at Kacchan’s ankle. Kacchan kicks back, scowling, and things devolve a little bit until there’s a noise at the — is it a door when it’s a storage container? Well, there’s a noise at it. They both jerk themselves straight, waiting.

The air that rushes in with the door is pure ocean salt. There are two people in the doorway: a blue-skinned man holding a six-inch knife, and a short-haired woman with a smile that Izuku immediately doesn’t like. The blue one is familiar, though the briefing didn’t have his name; the woman… Izuku might have glimpsed during the fight?

“Hello, little heroes,” she says. “Enjoying your visit?”

“Fuck off and die.” Kacchan doesn’t miss a beat.

“That’s what I thought,” she says, and jerks her head to her companion. He takes two sharp steps over and sets his knife to Kacchan’s throat. Izuku sits bolt upright.

“No funny business,” Blue says. Smirk grabs Kacchan’s face with one hand, yanks his jaw open, and shoves three fingers into his mouth. Kacchan gags.

“What are you doing to him?!” Izuku yells, struggling to get his weight under him. His vision goes briefly gray; he lurches back, gritting his teeth.

“This,” Smirk says, still with her fingers down Kacchan’s throat, “is my quirk. Unleash.” Her smile, already cruel, grows sharper. “I can secrete a powerful disinhibitor. This should be a pretty effective dose.”

“What? Why? We’re — what?” Do they want to know something about UA?

“I remember this guy.” She shoves her fingers a little deeper into Kacchan’s mouth. He gags again. “The crazy one from the sports festival. Hey!” She yanks at Kacchan's jaw. “Try that again and my friend here will slit your throat on the spot.” He must have tried to bite her. 

“He doesn’t seem to like you much,” she continues, turning back to Izuku. “There, that should be enough.” She pulls her fingers out of Kacchan’s mouth and wipes them off on his cheek. Hatred lances down Izuku’s spine like ice-cold lightning.

“What do you think is going to happen?” he asks. His voice is steady and not quite his. 

“If I leave you in here with a hopped-up crazy?” she asks, and pulls something out of her pocket. Izuku squints. It’s a cheap stick-to-the-wall camera, everything disposable except the digital chip. A toy, pretty much. People use them for selfies, or give them to little kids to play with. She slams it onto the steel wall, high up by the ceiling. “I think I’ll get some nice footage of one UA student killing another, is what I think.” 

Oh. “You’re a Stain follower.” 

“I’ll show you crazy,” Kacchan rasps. “I’ll kill you.”

“Sure, Muzzle-san,” Smirk coos. Blue’s knife hasn’t wavered. “And Stain had some points. Plus, all this chaos is good for business. Why not do my part? Way safer than trying to work out a ransom.” 

“Wanna dose the other one too, just in case?” Blue asks. His voice is deep and surprisingly musical. Izuku hates him too.

“Eh…” She considers. “What the hell, I’ve got plenty of juice.” And before Izuku can move, she’s on him, her fingers pressing on his tongue. They’re still wet. Izuku’s never tried channeling One for All into specifically his jaw before, but the whole point of Full Cowl is that it’s his whole body. He could just bite down. He’d probably take off her fingers. But — Izuku cuts his eyes sideways over the edge of her arm — Blue still has that knife at Kacchan’s throat.

“You think I’m gonna kill him with my hands tied, idiot?” Kacchan asks. He’s bracing himself, ready to jump. Smirk laughs. Her quirk tastes sickly-sweet and horrible. Its slime is dripping out the corner of Izuku’s mouth a little, but she doesn’t seem to care.

“Nah, we’re gonna untie you,” she says. “And then you jump us and make your great escape, huh? We planned for that.” Izuku retches slightly around her fingers. He hopes he throws up on her. If he could do it on purpose he would.

“There you go, greeny,” she says, and wipes her fingers off on Izuku’s face too. “We’ll leave your hands bound, I think,” she says, patting his cheek. “Better video.”

“Thank you for telling us your whole plan,” Izuku says, meeting her eyes. She laughs at him.

“What’re you going to do about it?” she asks, and turns back to Kacchan. “Okay, haul him up,” she tells Blue. “Muzzle-san, try anything funny and we’ll slit your throat. Don’t, and after this is over we’ll dump you back near the docks and let ‘em figure out what to do with you. It might work out.”

Fuck you,” Kacchan gasps as Blue drags him to his feet, knife not even twitching.

“Good, keep that energy.” She unfastens his cuffs, smirking still, and heads for the door. Blue backs up next to her, bringing Kacchan with him. “All right, all right, aaaand… mark!” 

Blue shoves Kacchan so hard he drops to his hands and knees; Smirk slams the door shut. Outside Izuku can hear the rattle of locks. Kacchan is coughing; it’s almost retching.

“Right,” Izuku says, taking in the situation. “Well, um, first things first.” He snaps his cuffs. This time, when he stands, there’s no dizziness. One quick bound lets him wedge himself into the corner of the shipping container, right up against the ceiling, and stare directly into the camera.

“This isn’t going to go how you think it will,” he says, and crushes it. When he drops back down, Kacchan is sitting on his heels and rubbing his throat.

“I coulda gotten it,” he rasps.

“Yeah, but so could I.” Izuku scowls at the door. “Ugh, they’re creepy.

“No fucking kidding.” Kacchan slumps back against the far wall again, rapping the steel with his knuckles. “You can break through this, right? I can. Maybe not a huge hole, but I can blast the door off.”

“It might take a few hits, but definitely.” Izuku chews his lip. “Do you know how to steer a boat?”

“We both fly, dipshit. I can tow you if there’s nothing to hold on to.”

“Do you know how long we were unconscious?” Izuku asks. Kacchan looks away. Izuku winces. “I’ve never used Float for more than about ten minutes at a time. I don’t think you’ve ever tried to cover kilometers, either.”

“Ugh.” Kacchan swallows, mouth working for a moment before he says, with great effort, “I haven’t.”

“Yeah. So, steering?”

“Why would I know how to steer a boat?”

“I’m just asking! You know a lot of stuff.” Izuku tilts his head back to the ceiling, as if he’s going to manifest X-ray vision and see straight through to the steering mechanisms. This would be a convenient and non-terrifying opportunity for something new to show up, so it doesn’t, not that X-ray vision is something he expects anyway. “So do we try and figure it out, or do we stick to the plan? That quirk is going to kick in sooner or later, and she wasn’t really clear about how it works, inhibitions don’t necessarily have much to do with steering but if it makes us too impulsive or slows down our thinking, that could be bad? And I do really want to find their base — oops!” He claps his hand over his mouth. “Oops,” he says again, muffled, and lifts his head. “I guess it’s starting to work. But they put up the camera, so hopefully they don’t have another way to listen to us?”

“Besides their ears,” Kacchan says.

“I can’t hear anything out there,” Izuku points out. “So maybe sound doesn’t carry much? Well, if they come back, we can fight them then. That’s not great, though, if it’s kicking in already.”

“Hmph.” Kacchan tilts his head back, glowering at the ceiling. His fingers drum against the floor. “So, what, your plan is to sit here and hope I don’t snap and kill you?”

Izuku blinks. “But you’re not going to.”

“You’re that fuckin’ sure?”

“Um, yes,” Izuku says, more insistent now. “I mean — you saved my life.” Rotting gray ash and blood and the horrible clear blue of the sky. He closes his eyes against the memory, which unsurprisingly doesn’t help very much.

Kacchan is still scowling at everything but Izuku. “So, what, I do one thing and it’s all okay?”

“Kacchan, what?” Izuku sits forward. “I — what?” 

“Nothing!” Kacchan snaps, drawing his knees half-up to his chest. 

“It tells me you don’t want me dead,” Izuku says, slipping into indignation. “If you wanted me dead, I would be. I —” His voice cracks out of nowhere. “There was so much blood, Kacchan.”

“It’s just blood.” Kacchan sets his jaw stubbornly. “I’m fine now.”

“I know, but. I dream about it sometimes,” Izuku blurts. Kacchan jerks around to stare at him. “Oh. Oops.”

“You what?”

“I didn’t mean to say that!” he protests. “It’s the quirk, I guess?”

“Yeah, no shit.” Kacchan snorts, hunching further in on himself. He’s still glowering at Izuku. “Well, fuckin’ don’t.”

Izuku can’t help but laugh, small and shaky as it is. “Do you control what you dream about?”

“No. Goddammit —” He slams his hand against the wall, echoing spectacularly. “It was a rhetorical freaking question! Can’t this stupid shitty quirk tell the difference?”

“I don’t think it works like that,” Izuku says. “I mean, she said it was a disinhibitor, right? So I guess it just makes us say whatever pops into our heads without thinking.” 

“Ugh. Humiliating.” He rolls his neck, stretching out his arms as he does. It’s ready-to-fight body language, but Izuku manages not to say that. Some control left, then. Hopefully it’ll last. 

“You’re gonna mutter even more than usual, aren’t you,” Kacchan sighs, resigned. Izuku laughs again, more easily this time.

“Probably, yeah,” he admits. “Or I won’t mutter at all, I’ll just say everything all the way out loud. Is that better?”

“Not really. You’re not as quiet as you think you are.”

“Oh.” Izuku blushes. “I try! I just… I think a lot.”

“No goddamn kidding.”

“If I had to be stuck here with anyone, you’re probably the best person it could be, actually,” Izuku says contemplatively. He taps his fingers against his mouth. “You already know about One for All and everything, and it’s less embarrassing than being stuck with All Might or Gran Torino. You already know a lot of embarrassing stuff about me anyway.”

“...My mom still has a bunch of stupid pictures she won’t get rid of,” Kacchan admits. 

Izuku smiles. “Yeah, my mom has a few too. She took a lot of them down a while — anyway.” They both flinch a little away from each other, gazes falling on the dull metal around them. The quiet thrums, loud with the ship’s engine working away somewhere far below.

“Yeah, well, this still sucks,” Kacchan says, cracking the silence. He rubs at his forehead. “Fucking — some things are nobody else’s goddamn business, okay? Especially not yours.”

“Oh.” Izuku curls slightly in on himself, biting his lip. “Sorry.” Kacchan makes a disgusted noise low in his throat.

“Don’t fucking look like that, I didn’t — goddammit!” This time he drives his fist against the floor; the clang is far less thunderous. “I don’t want to talk about this shit, that’s why I just goddamn said I didn’t. It’s private.” 

“Okay,” Izuku says. “Okay.” He takes a deep breath, tries to clear his head. In, out — “I just, I thought you trusted me, I guess, and I liked that, and — ugh, now I’m guilt-tripping you by accident, I’m not trying to! I don’t like this quirk either, I can’t not talk. I just — I wish — I’m sorry. I wish — never mind, never mind, never mind!”

“Fucking hell.” Kacchan thumps his head against the wall, muffled. “I don’t not trust you, you idiot, I just don’t want to tell you this crap. Shut up, stop looking all sad, just goddamn — calm down, it’s not — augh!” This time when he slams his hand against the floor, it’s accompanied by a small explosion, just enough to leave a smudge of soot.

“Okay,” Izuku repeats. “That’s fair, I mean, that makes sense, kind of — well, not really, I don’t really get it, but I believe you. That it’s not that you don’t trust me, I mean. Sorry.” Well, kind of believes him, but close enough.

“Don’t,” Kacchan grits out, “want. To talk. About it.”

“Yeah, I get it. Um.” Izuku chews at his lip. “What if we distract ourselves? Talk about something else, I mean, so even if we say everything that runs through our heads, none of it is anything important.”

“Huh.” Kacchan stretches his legs out in front of him, resettling. “Might work. Not bad.”

“Thanks!” Izuku beams. “So, um, I don’t know, what would you bring to a desert island? Besides a boat. Except I guess that would just mean the same problem we’re having right now, wouldn’t it?”

“A GPS and a radio,” Kacchan says. “Solve it right there.”

“Yeah, that’d do it,” Izuku agrees. “So, except for those, then.”

“Huh.” Kacchan scowls into the middle distance. “Where’s the island? You need different stuff for cold-weather camping or tropical or whatever.”

“I didn’t have an actual island picked out,” Izuku protests. “Okay, um, forget the island. If you had to spend a month in a house really far away from everyone, with no Internet or anything, and it was set up with food and stuff but you wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone the whole time. What would you bring?”

“Hrm.” This isn’t something Kacchan would normally give serious thought; the quirk must be really bothering him. Izuku manages not to actually say that out loud, so he’s at least got some control left. “Is there workout gear?” Kacchan asks.

“Let’s say yeah, everything you need.”

“Okay, so not that. Probably some of my cooking shit.”

“There’s definitely kitchen stuff in the house,” Izuku interjects.

“Yeah, I know, dumbass, I still want my own, it’s all how I like it.” Kacchan considers. “Does a dog count?”

“Sure, a dog can count,” Izuku says. “Where are you getting this dog, though? Does your family have a dog and I don’t know?”

“Oh, now suddenly anything about this question needs to make sense?” Kacchan rolls his eyes.

“Okay, point,” Izuku concedes. “What kind of dog?”

“Pit bull.” 

“Yeah, that makes sense.” Izuku hides a smile, not very well. “If I were going to get a dog I’d want a small one, probably. You know, one who wouldn’t be unhappy in an apartment. And friendly. The little curly white ones are supposed to be friendly and smart, right? So maybe one of those.”

“That’s just you as a dog, idiot,” Kacchan says, and then makes a really weird face. Izuku blinks into the strange steel shadows, feeling distinctly caught-out.

“I mean,” he says, and settles on the easiest objection: “I’m not that much shorter than you!”

“Still shorter,” Kacchan says pointedly.

“For now!” Izuku folds his arms. Another thought occurs to him: “Anyway, pit bulls aren’t as scary as everyone says, I don’t think. They’re supposed to be really sweet dogs, and they like kids and stuff.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“Nothing, nothing!” Izuku says, as innocently as possible. “Anyway, your turn to come up with something.”

“Try answering your own question,” Kacchan complains. 

“Oh, yeah.” Izuku hums thoughtfully. It echoes slightly off the metal. “I mean, some books, and there’s a couple documentaries I’ve been meaning to watch. And a pet is a really good idea, actually, I’d probably do that too.”

“That’s just copying my goddamn answer.”

“That’s because it was a good answer!” Izuku protests. “I’d bring a puppy or a kitten, though, something that needs a lot of attention.”

“Hrmph.” 

“Your turn now,” Izuku repeats. Kacchan scowls and resettles himself, pulling one knee up to his chest. 

“I don’t know, I don’t have a list of random questions,” he grumbles, and scowls at the floor. “Ugh, freaking… this was your idea.”

“Okay, okay,” Izuku says. “You were — mmn!” He shoves his hand over his mouth. Kacchan was the one who was really scared about this instead of just embarrassed, but saying that out loud is just going to upset them both. Izuku clears his head out, one breath in and one out, and then uncovers his mouth. Kacchan ignores the whole thing, pointedly. New topic: “If you could swap quirks with someone for a day, who would it be? Or what kind of quirk would you want?”

Kacchan opens his mouth, then closes it. “Fuck,” he says blankly. “I have no idea.” He looks so completely gobsmacked that Izuku can’t help but giggle, and promptly gets kicked in the ankle. “Don’t laugh at me, asshole!”

“Sorry, sorry,” Izuku says, through the last of his laughter. “You just looked so surprised. I guess it’s not something you’d have any reason to think about, is it?”

“Not like you would anymore either,” Kacchan says instantly, and then frowns. “What would you do with one for a day anyway?”

“Well, it depends on the quirk,” Izuku says. “There’s an American hero called Pollyanna whose quirk is Instant Healing. Her body just fixes any injury right away. They actually thought she was quirkless, when she was young, because she healed everything so fast she didn’t even notice she’d been hurt. So if I had her quirk for a day, maybe it would fix my arms, and then they’d stay fixed after.” He stretches out his hands, wriggling his crooked fingers. “Or maybe an information-gathering quirk, so I could find out more about One for All?”

“What, like Sir Nighteye?” Kacchan asks.

“Kind of? But seeing the future wouldn’t help. There aren’t a lot of information quirks, especially once you take out the ones that are more like some kind of super-senses, but there was an early villain called… Tattletale, I think?” Izuku frowns, trying to remember. “This was while the quirk registries were still new, and she was a villain anyway, so no one really knows how her quirk worked exactly. But apparently she could look at a keypad and guess the combination, or have one conversation with someone and figure out all their secrets.”

“Ugh, creepy,” Kacchan says.

“Kind of, yeah,” Izuku grants. “But useful, and I could just spend the day training and see what I found out.” He shrugs. “Or maybe a quirk that’d help me figure out what I can do with my own, like training with Uraraka did.” He chuckles, rubbing sheepishly at his forehead. “Maybe with this many ideas I should just pick Monoma’s quirk and try as many things as I could? I don’t know if it would be the most practical choice, but it would be really fun to try yours. I mean, obviously I’ve always wondered.” The corner of Kacchan’s mouth curls up, half-hidden, and Izuku smiles back. “Anyway, what do you think?”

Kacchan snorts. “Fuck, I really am in love with you.”

All thought drains out of Izuku’s head. All blood drains out of Kacchan’s face. The world tilts around them like a kaleidoscope rolled down a hill. 

“Fuck,” Kacchan says, and Izuku has heard him sound this low and sound this vicious but never both at once. “Fucking — fuck!” He covers his face with his arms. “Don’t goddamn look at me, asshole.”

“Okay,” Izuku says; his own voice shakes. “I’m not.” He feels like someone just handed him a thousand-year-old vase with a live bomb rattling inside it. He’s not sure which of them he’s more worried about breaking.

“Um,” his mouth says, without his permission. “What, uh, what brought that on?”

“I didn’t mean to say it, idiot,” Kacchan says, muffled by his sleeves. “Obviously.” He sounds like he wants to obliterate himself and Izuku and the entire ship from the face of the planet and start over. “One second we were talking about quirks and shit and then you got all sappy and you and then — ugh. Fucking kill me.”

“No?” Izuku says, blinking. “But I didn’t — oh.” He bites down hard on the inside of his cheek. Got all sappy, in this context, probably means said something that Kacchan liked hearing, but if there was ever a time to let Kacchan get away with his bristling, it’s right now. All Izuku’s attention is stuck on not saying any of that, and so instead what comes out of his mouth is, “I just… why me?”

“Are you fucking serious right now.” It’s not a question. Kacchan moves just enough to rub at his face in exasperation. “How the hell am I even supposed to answer that? I don’t fucking know, you’re never so stupid I have to slow down, and you’re stubborn as hell, and you’re braver than I am and it scares the shit out of me, and sometimes you’re so goddamned cute I want to burn my face off, and you don’t hate me for some reason even though you really should, and you know me better than anyone else on the planet, and I have no fucking idea what I’d do if you weren’t around. Turn into another Endeavor, probably. Fucking hell shit, I can’t stop talking, what the fuck, I hate this, I’m going to kill every asshole on this ship, shut me the hell up before I somehow humiliate myself more than this —” He shoves his fist into his mouth, then, biting down hard on the first two knuckles. It looks painful.

Izuku’s heart is trying to burst out of his chest.

“Don’t hurt yourself,” is what comes out of his mouth, unhelpfully. “Be careful.” His hands twitch, trying to reach out and do he’s-not-sure-what.

“Don’t fucking pity me,” Kacchan says viciously, barely taking his hand out of his mouth enough to speak.

“I’m not!” Izuku protests, indignation cracking through his voice. “I’m not, I just hate it when you’re hurt, it’s not the same.”

“Whatever,” Kacchan growls. “Fucking. Forget it. Forget this whole thing.”

“I don’t want to,” Izuku says immediately, and pulls up sharply. “Um. That sounded bad.”

Kacchan doesn’t even say anything, just hisses wordlessly and drags his arms over his face again. 

“I’m not…” This stupid quirk doesn’t make it any easier for Izuku to put his thoughts into words when they’re this tangled. “I’m not making fun of you, okay? I swear. I’m not looking down on you, and I don’t want to humiliate you, and I hate that this is upsetting you so much, and I hate the people who put us here.” The fury in his own voice is a surprise even to him. Smirk’s jaw, Blue’s wrist could crack so easily, if he got hold of them. Smirk’s sticky invading fingers could snap like twigs. He knows better than anyone how easily fingers can break. 

“I want to hurt them for it,” Izuku admits out loud. “Badly. And I don’t know if that’s part of the quirk or if it’s just because they tried to hurt you. But what you said, either way it feels really important, and I don’t want to forget, I want — I want to know everything.” He bites his lip. Want to know everything is an understatement; he feels hungry, starved, like a dog staring at raw steak. Not a little fluffy one, either. Well, they probably get just as hungry. 

“...what the hell else is there to know?” Kacchan asks, muffled.

“You can’t say that or I’m going to ask you, I can’t help it,” Izuku says. “How long? Were you ever going to say anything? Does anyone else know? I didn’t even know you liked guys too, when did that happen? Or, oh, actually, I guess you didn’t — I’m bi, I guess?” He shrugs. “I haven’t told anyone but I’m not trying to keep it a secret, or anything, I just… don’t know how to bring it up.” His voice trails off. It’s such a small admission in comparison.

Kacchan snorts from behind his arms. “Yeah, your massive crush on Lemillion was a hint.”

“I don’t —!” Izuku starts, and then blinks. “Oh. Um. Maybe a little, I guess, but it wasn’t… I mean, he has a boyfriend!”

“‘S what Ashido said,” Kacchan mutters. Izuku blinks.

“Kacchan, were you jealous?” Something turns over in his chest, harsh and sharp and shockingly close to mean. He wants the answer to be yes. 

“...Shut the hell up,” Kacchan mutters. “Maybe a little.”

“So does Ashido know, then?” Izuku asks. 

Fuck no,” Kacchan says, vehement enough to border on vicious. “No, I didn’t fucking tell anyone. Why the hell would I?”

Izuku nods slowly; yeah, it doesn’t really sound like something Kacchan would do. “Has it really been that long?”

“Hadn’t figured it out yet, but yeah. Longer.” Kacchan’s face is still hidden, but Izuku can see his ears flush. “Shut the hell up.” 

“How long, then?” He shouldn’t be asking this many times, but he can’t stop. It feels important. It feels like the most important thing in the world.

“Dunno,” Kacchan mutters. “No fucking idea. Don’t laugh at me.”

“Why would I laugh at you for that?” Izuku asks. Kacchan shrugs.

“You run out of questions yet?” he asks, instead of any kind of answer.

“No.” Izuku ducks his head. “I just — I never thought you’d ever want something like this from me. I’m not even sure exactly what you do want, yet. It’s kind of hard to get my head around it. If I ask the right questions it’ll start to make sense eventually, right? And I want to know.” 

Kacchan presses himself back like he’s trying to sink into the metal behind him. “You’re so damn weird.” 

“But you like it,” Izuku says, and immediately can’t believe he just did. Kacchan groans into his arms, and it sounds about ninety-eight percent frustrated, but — “Does this mean you think I’m, um, attractive?” he blurts. His face is burning. Kacchan makes a growling noise that bears no resemblance whatsoever to words.

Yes, you fucking idiot,” he grunts, grinding the heels of his hands into his eyes. From anyone else Izuku would call this mixed signals, but it’s crystal-clear Kacchan. He swallows, barely visible in the shadow of his arms.

“Oh. Did you think about — nope!” Izuku claps both hands over his mouth; heat floods back into his almost-cooled face. “Nope, never mind, I’m not asking that, wow, this quirk is — nope!” It ends up half-garbled against the grimy fabric of his gloves.

Kacchan peeks balefully out from under his hands. “Deku.” His voice is just a little rougher than normal, closer to gravel than sandpaper. “What the fuck were you going to say?”

“Are you sure you want me to say it?” Izuku asks, moving his hands clear of his mouth this time. “Because it’s embarrassing and I’m embarrassed to say it and I wouldn’t have even started if we weren’t both quirk-drunk or whatever you’d call this but I do want to know and now I keep wondering and — I was going to ask if you thought about me when you, you know…” The quirk isn’t enough to stop him from feeling like he’ll catch fire, but there’s a distinct sense of a cliff’s-edge vanishing above him. As if he’s moving in a dream, he lifts his hand and gestures briefly. Kacchan’s mouth drops open. His flush is spreading down his throat. 

“I — you —” A whiff of char makes its way to Izuku’s nose. Kacchan’s eyes are absolutely huge in his face.

“You asked,” Izuku says. His own voice is a surprise to him in its evenness, like he’s crossed some threshold of embarrassment and left the feeling behind completely. The steadiness of free fall. “Do you want to tell me?”

Kacchan’s mouth works for another moment, sputtering silently; then his eyes fall closed. He lets his head fall back against the wall. The light casts sharp shadows over his throat. His teeth dig into his lip. His nod is the tiniest jerk of his jaw.

Some animal part of Izuku’s brain lifts its head like he’s caught a scent on the wind.

“Yes?” Izuku asks. “To which?” 

Both, fuckface,” Kacchan grits out. “Yes, I thought about you. Happy now?”

“Yes. Or at least — yes.” Izuku licks his lips. “Can I ask more? What did you think about?”

“What the hell is happening,” Kacchan mutters. 

“I know there’s a reason I wouldn’t normally ask something like this but I can’t remember what it is anymore,” Izuku admits. “Except if it would upset you, and — you don’t look upset. Not in a way I don’t want to make you. Wait, what?”

Kacchan snorts, opening his eyes just enough to look glassily at Izuku through half-fallen lids. “I knew you’re not all selfless and nice all the time,” he says. His voice is hoarse. “You like to win too. A lot.”

“I don’t —” Izuku starts, and discovers that what’s on his tongue isn’t true. “Okay, it does feel like winning something. But I don’t feel like I beat you at anything. It’s like… you’re the judge.” And then, the thought bypassing his mind to form whole in his mouth: “Or the prize.” He licks his lips. “Does that make it better?”

Kacchan is definitely more flushed than he was a minute ago. There’s plenty of heat simmering under Izuku’s own skin, for his part. Kacchan licks his lips. “Fuckin’... maybe. Yeah.” 

“Good.”

“You have that shitty smug look on your face again,” Kacchan says. It’s the most breathless complaint Izuku has ever heard in his life. “The one you only get in a fight.”

“I have a different grin?” But Izuku can feel it in his face, now that Kacchan points it out: narrow and sharp and hooked like a dagger. It feels no less natural than his usual happiness.

“Yeah,” Kacchan says, very low. “I thought about it a lot.”

“Oh. Oh.” The first syllable is blank astonishment; it’s not the answer he’d have expected even if he’d tried to expect an answer at all. After that first moment, though… Izuku’s life, over the last few months, has been marked by the unexpected appearance of power that he didn’t know he had. Again and again. This is far and away the most fun, if maybe not the least frightening.

The first test is always: can I do it again? The second test is: how far does it go?

“What else did you think about? Will you tell me?”

Kacchan’s throat bobs as he swallows. He squeezes his eyes shut again. “Your goddamn thighs,” he says, very quietly. “Freaking Shoot Style.” Huh. Izuku’s pants did all stop fitting a few weeks after he switched styles, now that he thinks about it. “Your stupid hands, okay, I want to know if I could feel the scars and shit if you touched me. I want to pull your stupid fluffy hair.” 

Izuku reaches up wonderingly to touch his own hair, which is currently sweat-damp and as wild as ever. This, soft against his fingers but perfectly ordinary, is something about him that Kacchan likes. Wants. He curls his fingers through the strands in new appreciation. “I don’t usually think about real people,” he admits. “Not people I talk to, anyway. I get embarrassed. So I just kind of… imagine things really vaguely?”

“Yeah, well, I tried thinking about other stuff,” Kacchan says, bitter-edged enough to tug at something ordinary and sad in Izuku’s chest. “Didn’t work.”

“Didn’t work how?” There are two possible answers, and he’s curious. For that matter — “What do you do, anyway? I mean, are your hands a problem?”

“Ughhhh.” It’s emphatically not a sexy groan, which just makes Izuku want to get a better one out of him. “Shut up.

“I’m just wondering!” Izuku protests. 

“Why the fuck are you wondering about that?”

“Um, because we’re talking about you jerking off thinking about me?” Izuku says, and then blushes all the way to the roots of his hair. He’s never said something like that out loud before, not ever. “I just — you don’t have to answer but I want to know! I don’t think it’s even that weird a question when we’re already talking about this, is it?”

“What the fuck,” Kacchan mumbles. His eyes are still closed. Before Izuku can try and say anything, he continues, still low and rushed: “There’s a reason I take showers when everyone else is asleep, okay? And I can kind of rub off on a towel if I’m going to do laundry anyway — don’t laugh at me, asshole!”

“I’m not!” Izuku protests. “I’m really — really, really not.” There’s a hitch in his voice, hopefully a kind of proof. The thought of Kacchan in the shower, head bent under the spray, water rolling down the sharp-muscled line of his back as he strokes himself — or maybe facedown and naked in the shadowed dark of his room, lip bitten and hips working — mockery is the last thing on Izuku’s mind right now. “What would I even be laughing at you for?” he asks, reaching down to rub himself through his clothes.

“I don’t know, okay — what the hell are you doing?”

Inhibition, or at least basic sense, crashes over its dam in a cascade of ice. “Oh God!” Izuku yelps, yanking his hand back. “Oh, wow, this quirk is terrifying, I didn’t think even a little, I just did what would feel good, that’s — I’m so sorry, I wouldn’t —” He comes up short, because Kacchan is staring at him. Staring, not glaring. His lips are half-open, and he’s still, still flushed that giveaway pink, and he’s barely even blinking. He’s not really making eye contact while he stares, either. “You don’t look mad. I mean, you don’t even look normally mad.” He swallows. “Do you… do you actually want me to stop?”

“Hell no I don’t want you to stop,” Kacchan snaps, puffing up in safe indignation. He doesn’t look away from Izuku’s lap. From Izuku’s cock where it shows through his pants, is what he’s staring at. “This is insane, but fucking obviously I don’t want you to stop.”

“Okay.” Izuku holds his breath and palms himself again, squeezing lightly. Cotton chafes gently against his skin, on the pleasant-sensitive edge of pain. “Did you…” He licks his lips. “Did you think about us doing anything?”

“Yeah,” Kacchan says, low and hoarse. He draws one leg up to his chest, arms looped protectively over his knee. He’s still watching Izuku touch himself. “Sometimes.”

“What was it? Will you tell me?”

Kacchan makes a low noise under his breath, half-grunt and half-sigh. It sounds less like pleasure and more like giving in to something. “Different stuff,” he mutters. “Sucking you off. I could be good at it,” he adds, defiant, like he’s been accused otherwise. “You’d like it.”

“Definitely,” Izuku says. “You can be good at anything you want to be.”

Kacchan — shivers, a little. Enough that Izuku can see. “Shut up,” he rasps. Izuku’s eyes go wide.

“Do you like it when I talk to you like that?” he asks. “Tell you you’re good at things?”

“Yes, okay, fine! I said shut up!”

“And that’s why you get so mad about it sometimes,” Izuku says wonderingly. “You’re embarrassed, right? Flustered? Wow.”

Ugh, be stupider!” Kacchan snaps.

“Wow,” Izuku repeats, delighted, and gives himself a long slow lingering stroke. “No, but, keep talking, I interrupted.”

“You’re so weird.” Kacchan bites his lip, leaning his chin against his knee. His eyes flutter closed. “One time we were sparring and it just popped into my head out of nowhere — I had you pinned down but you could still move a little, and you could’ve just… reached up and grabbed my dick to make me let go. I’m not stupid, I knew you weren’t going to, but I couldn’t goddamn stop thinking about it.”

“Would it have worked?” Izuku asks.

“Fucking probably,” Kacchan says. “What, like you wouldn’t let go in that situation?!”

“Well, if I did you might stop touching me,” Izuku says reasonably. Kacchan makes a muffled noise and scrubs his hand over his face. “Were there others?”

“Yes, there were, okay?” Kacchan snaps. “You wanna hear all of them?”

“Yes,” Izuku says immediately. “I do. Um, is that okay?’ His hand slows, though he doesn’t let go.

“Like I’m gonna say no?”

“You can!” Izuku says. “You can, you don’t have to, I don’t —”

“Not what I said, idiot!” Kacchan cuts him off. His face is flushing from pink to deep shocking red, now. “It’s freaking embarrassing, but — ugh. Like I’m gonna say no.”

“Okay,” Izuku says gently. “Okay.” He relaxes a little and rubs his palm over the head of his dick, sighing. “Thank you for telling me, Kacchan. I, um, I really appreciate it.”

“Yeah, I can tell,” Kacchan says, and Izuku blushes again, but he doesn’t look away. Kachan goes back to hiding behind his arm, elbow braced against his thigh. “Fuck, this is hot.”

“Is there anything you can do for yourself while we’re here?” Izuku asks.

“Kind of.”

“Do it.”

Kacchan lets out a shuddery breath. “Don’t tell me what to do,” he says weakly, and shoves his balled-up fist between his legs, grinding against the back of his hand. Izuku’s mouth goes dry.

“Actually don’t tell you want to do?” Izuku asks. “Or is that just you being embarrassed?”

“Second one. Goddammit!” Kacchan squirms against his fist, though. “I thought about letting you fuck me, okay?” he growls. “I thought about it and I got off so fast every time, I thought about you saying all your stupid sappy shit to me, I thought — fucking humiliating.” The last is quieter, bitter as well as angry.

“Why?” Izuku asks. “Why’s it humiliating?”

“Because it is!” Kacchan flinches away from his own voice, going still. “Because I want a bunch of stupid weak shit I can’t stop thinking about and it’s pathetic to sit around wanting something I can’t have when it’s my own fucking fault for taking my weakness out on you in the first place —”

Izuku doesn’t decide to move. He doesn’t think. One moment he’s leaning against the metal wall and listening, and a second later he’s in front of Kacchan, knocking Kacchan’s knee down out of the way, and he has Kacchan’s face between his hands and his mouth pressed to Kacchan’s lips. Kacchan’s mouth is shock-slack under his. Izuku’s never kissed anyone before, isn’t really sure how to do it right, so he just tries to press thirteen years of caring into Kacchan’s mouth.

“Kacchan, no,” he says, breaking away just enough to speak. “No. Don’t… no. That’s not how it is. No.” He presses their foreheads together, still cradling Kacchan’s head in his palms.

“What the fuck,” Kacchan breathes. Izuku tries to think.

“I don’t hate you,” he says. “Even when I kind of did, I always loved you too. I never thought about anything like this until now, I never thought this might be something you’d want, but — I want you any way that I can get you. I want everything you’ll give me. I always have. Don’t… no.”

“I bullied you for years,” Kacchan says, very dully. His breath is hot against Izuku’s face. “I told you to kill yourself.”

“And then you saved my life,” Izuku says. “You didn’t tell anyone about my quirk, even when — even when it was really hurting you not to. You helped me train every day for months. That matters too. It matters more.”

“You’re always like this,” Kacchan says, not relieved but weary-sounding. “You never give a shit what happens to you.”

“I… what?” Izuku’s not even putting himself in danger, right now. Well, not more than a little.

“You don’t. You don’t care how badly you get hurt.” Kacchan’s voice is small and starkly naked. “Is that my fault? Am I why?”

Izuku nearly tips over. “What?” he says again. “Wow, that’s — a lot. I never even thought about that, I — how do I even answer that?”

Kacchan’s only response is a minute shrug. His eyes are closed.

“I don’t know,” Izuku says slowly. “I don’t know. I don’t know what’s you and what’s the world and what’s just… me. And I don’t like getting hurt, it’s just that sometimes it’s the only option,” he adds, but — he remembers watching his mother cry. He remembers All Might’s face, guilt-stricken and pale. He knows what Kacchan means. “What I do know is that there are a lot of ways that I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t known you, Kacchan,” Izuku says. Without any conscious thought, he runs his thumb along Kacchan’s cheek. “I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. And — I wouldn’t want to be someone who would walk away from people who need help just because it was dangerous, either. So.”

Kacchan snorts. “You’re unbelievable.” It sounds like disgust, but in that way he has where it’s a paper-thin cover over something else.

“I’m just me.” Izuku bites his lip. “And I am trying to be more careful.”

“No you’re not,” Kacchan says, with surprising bitterness. “You’re trying to keep people from worrying about you.”

“Are they that different?” Izuku asks. Kacchan sighs against his mouth.

“You scare the hell out of me,” he says, quiet, heavy. “You goddamn idiot.”

“Sorry?”

“Shut the hell up.” Kacchan’s hands curl around his wrists, tight and close. “Don’t fucking apologize. Fuck off.”

“Okay.” Izuku traces the line of Kacchan’s cheek again. His skin is surprisingly soft. “Can I kiss you again?”

“Don’t ask stupid questions,” Kacchan huffs, tilting his head just slightly up, so Izuku kisses him again.

It’s different, this time, as Kacchan’s mouth opens easily under his and lets Izuku kiss him slow. A conversation, this time, instead of a plea, saying again what they’ve slowly been learning how to talk about: I care about you; you matter to me. Simple, and yet.

“Want anything you want to,” Izuku says at last, barely breaking the kiss to do it. He laughs under his breath. “Um, that sounded better in my head. I just…” He kisses Kacchan again, quickly, for lack of a better end to the sentence. “I like it if you want me,” he says. “Keep doing it?”

“I said to stop asking stupid questions,” Kacchan mutters. “So, what, you want me to keep…” He shrugs awkwardly under Izuku’s weight. “Talking or whatever?”

“Maybe?” Izuku says. “I know we kind of killed the mood, but — I was enjoying it.”

“Killed the mood.” Kacchan snorts. “We’re in a goddamn shipping container.”

“You didn’t seem to mind earlier,” Izuku teases. “Well, I mean, obviously we both mind being in a shipping container, but —”

“Yeah, yeah.” Kacchan rolls his eyes. “Well, get back here and we’ll see what happens, huh?”

“That works,” Izuku says, smiling, and closes the five centimeters or so between them.

Making out with Kacchan is messy and warm and Izuku’s new favorite way to spend their time. The metal under his knees and the danger outside and the sour-bilge smell that cuts through the sea, they all fade to insignificance. Kacchan bites at his mouth a little, which is unsurprising, so Izuku bites back, and then traces his tongue over the same place. Kacchan leans up into him; their noses bump together for a moment, until Izuku tilts his head and catches Kacchan’s lower lip between his own. They’re learning how to do this.

“Here,” Izuku murmurs against Kacchan’s lips, and catches Kacchan’s hand in his own, guiding Kacchan’s fingers up into his hair. “Here, you wanted to, right?”

“Shut up,” Kacchan says, in obvious reflex. His hand cards through Izuku’s hair, cradling the back of his head. His eyes look amazing, right now: all blown pupils and damp lashes, and so, so wide. Izuku presses a kiss just beneath the corner of one eyelid. Then Kacchan’s jaw, then his throat. Kacchan’s breath hitches; his fingers tighten in Izuku’s hair. Not quite enough to hurt, but almost. Izuku likes it.

He tugs at Kacchan’s shirt, untucking it from his pants until he can reach the warm skin underneath it. “This okay?” he asks, close against Kacchan’s neck.

“Obviously,” Kacchan says, strained-breathless.

“Wait, my gloves — this is stupid, one second.” He’d forgotten he was wearing them. He moves to kiss Kacchan’s throat again while he fixes that; the gloves make a surprisingly loud thud-clang against the far wall as Izuku throws them aside. It’s fine, the point is that he can run his hands up Kacchan’s chest and feel every ridge of muscle. “Are you sensitive here?”

“What, my chest? No, I’m — ngh!”

Izuku grins, rubbing his thumb over Kacchan’s nipple again. “Really?”

“What the hell?” Kacchan arches his back a little, though, pushing up against Izuku’s hand. It’s gorgeous. “Freaking…”

“Maybe it’s kind of like tickling?” Izuku suggests, running his finger in a teasing circle. “It doesn’t feel the same when you do it to yourself?”

“Dunno.” It’s a breathy gasp. Izuku pinches him, just to see if he can get another startled noise — he does — and catches Kacchan’s earlobe between his teeth. Kacchan outright moans, this time, his free hand grabbing at Izuku’s shirt. Izuku catches it, untangles Kacchan’s fingers and guides his palm to Izuku’s thigh.

“Here, like you wanted, right?” Izuku breathes. “You want me.” None of the wonder in it is fading. “What else do you want?” He wants to give Kacchan everything; it’s heady, dizzying.

“I want you to fuck me till I don’t have to think.” Kacchan’s mouth snaps shut; he glares. Izuku touches the pinched line of his lip, just because he can.

“Okay,” he says. “I can do that. Um, rough, right? Like how fighting clears your head?”

Kacchan blinks four times, rapid-fire. He swallows. “…Yeah.”

“Okay, yeah,” Izuku repeats. “I can do that. I can take care of you.” It just slips out. Predictably, Kacchan jerks under him.

“Drop dead, Deku, I don’t need —!”

“Kacchan, please,” Izuku interrupts — means to interrupt, but actually, Kacchan cuts himself off just as Izuku opens his mouth. “I know, okay? I know. But —”

“Yeah, yeah, everyone needs help sometimes, whatever,” Kacchan grumbles. Izuku can feel him locking up under his hands.

“That too,” Izuku says. “But I just — I know how strong you are, okay? You don’t have to prove anything to me. There’s no one you need to prove anything to right now, except maybe yourself, I guess. I just… you’re important to me and I can do this for you and I want to, I want to take care of you for a minute. Please let me?”

One heartbeat. Two. Kacchan tilts his head forward, letting it fall against Izuku’s shoulder. “Fine,” he mutters. “Whatever. Take — take care of me.” His voice cracks sharply, and just behind the crack is — longing. Izuku loves him so much he could drown in it.

“Okay,” Izuku says. “Thank you, Kacchan. I’ve got you.” He kisses him one more gentle time, like it’s sealing the bargain, somehow. Soft and slow.

“Okay,” Izuku repeats, setting his jaw, and then he drags Kacchan’s head back by the hair and kisses him with teeth and intent. Kacchan makes a noise exactly like Izuku has knocked all the air out of his chest. Izuku has associations with that noise, mostly triumph and quick that’s an opening don’t waste it, and it feels just as good right now.

“Wow, your hair is soft,” he says, twisting his fingers deeper into it. Pulling.

“Look who’s talking,” Kacchan pants, like it’s somehow hypocritical of Izuku to appreciate Kacchan’s hair while his own is also soft. Izuku laughs against his skin and unfastens Kacchan’s bandoliers so he can push his shirt up more easily. He bends his head enough to bite — not too rough, but not too gentle — at Kacchan’s chest, first collarbone and then the muscle and then his nipple again. He can feel it firming up under his tongue. Kacchan gasps, and when Izuku sucks at him it turns into a whine. He tries a little more teeth, and Kacchan squirms up against his stomach.

It just makes sense, somehow, to plant his hands on Kacchan’s hips and pin him to the wall. “Be patient, Kacchan,” he chides gently, sitting back a little. Kacchan’s hard in his pants, impossible to conceal like this. Izuku’s mouth waters.

“Patient for what?” Kacchan asks, annoyed.

“I’m deciding,” Izuku says, gripping him a little harder. For all Kacchan’s sulkiness, his hands are looped over Izuku’s shoulders, not trying to move him along at all. Izuku lets his thumb trace the sharp line of muscle above Kacchan’s hip, down to where it disappears under his waistband. Kacchan twitches under his hands.

“You’re really good-looking, Kacchan,” he says conversationally. “Like, really good-looking. And really strong.” He flattens his palm against Kacchan’s abs, appreciating. Kacchan’s flush runs all the way down his chest, pink and gorgeous. Izuku hesitates for a moment, and then drags his nails down Kacchan’s ribs, leaving thin red lines. Kacchan moans for real, head tilting back against the metal.

“Do you like that?” Izuku asks, rubbing his thumb over the marks.

“I — fine, yeah,” Kacchan pants. His eyes are closed.

“Do you want me to do it again?” Izuku asks. He knows the answer. He just wants to know if he can make Kacchan say it.

“Obviously I do, dammit,” Kacchan says. Izuku purses his lips and decides to push, just a little.

“Ask nicely?”

Screw you.”

“Not unless you ask nicely,” Izuku says, grinning. Teasing Kacchan is fantastic. He wants to spend his entire life doing it. For now, he runs his fingertips up and down Kacchan’s chest, so lightly that he’s barely touching him at all. He’s still holding Kacchan’s hips down with his other hand. Kacchan is blushing even harder, biting his lip like he might be polite by accident. Izuku traces a circle very precisely around his nipple, still feather-light and spiralling in, and waits.

“Fine, fucking — please, goddammit,” Kacchan bursts out. “Please or whatever, please fucking touch me for real, you — you said you’d — I —”

“I will,” Izuku promises, and rakes his fingernails down Kacchan’s ribs. Kacchan cries out, clutching at Izuku’s shoulders. “I will, I’ve got you, I just like hearing you ask.” He keeps clawing at Kacchan’s skin as he talks, sharp and soothing at once, and it’s surreal, and — he likes it. He bites at Kacchan’s throat again, still scratching him, and then in a burst of impatience he goes for Kacchan’s belt buckle.

Kacchan wears black briefs, apparently, and he’s leaking a damp spot onto the front, distinct enough to gleam slightly in the light. Izuku touches one finger to the wet patch in delight, and Kacchan gasps under him. “Deku.

“You really like this,” Izuku says, wondering. It hasn’t worn off, the awe of it.

Kacchan stares up at him. His eyes are blown-dark, entirely, and his mouth is swollen and desperate. There are marks all over his chest, his shirt pushed up almost to his armpits. “Deku, come on.”

“You’re beautiful,” Izuku blurts, grabbing at the waistband of Kacchan’s briefs. “You’re gorgeous, Kacchan, and that’s — wow. That’s perfect. Here, let me —” He wraps his hand around Kacchan’s cock without even thinking about it. Kacchan’s skin is scorching-hot under his palm. He strokes him slowly, thumbing over the wet sheen of his slit, and Kacchan gives a stuttering sigh.

“I’m trying to decide what to do exactly,” Izuku says, still stroking him. He lets his other hand wander over Kacchan’s chest again. “You wanted me to fuck you, right?” Heat rushes through him as the words leave his mouth, belated, but still he’s less embarrassed than he was earlier in talking like this. It might be the quirk, it might be that it’s much easier to imagine fucking Kacchan when Izuku has his cock in his hand. “I don’t know how well that’ll work here, but I can see how far we get. Do you want that?”

Kacchan’s eyes actually roll back in his head, at that. “Fuck,” he says. “Fuck.” He just nods, mouth half-open as he gasps for breath. Izuku kisses his cheek, just once.

“Okay,” he says. “I will. Hm, okay, let me…” He has some idea about how this is supposed to go. There’s nothing really to use for lube, or anything; Izuku has that hand sanitizer still in his pocket, but that seems maybe dangerous. Useful for afterward, though. In the meantime… “Can you get my fingers wet for me?” he asks, pressing two fingers lightly into Kacchan’s mouth. Kacchan sucks at him immediately, running his tongue down Izuku’s fingers. Izuku’s cock throbs in his pants.

“Okay,” he says at last, pulling his hand back. “Okay, that’s as much as we’ll get, I think. Thank you, Kacchan, that’s good.” Kacchan’s eyelashes flutter briefly. “Can you move your legs a little further apart?” He doesn’t quite think through what he’s asking until Kacchan scrapes together a flushed and breathless scowl; but then Kacchan actually does slide down the wall a little and spread his legs as much as he can with his pants still halfway down his thighs. Izuku’s mouth goes dry. Kacchan’s shirt is still hiked most of the way up his chest, and the way he looks half-stripped like this… wow.

“Have you done this before?” Izuku asks, running his dry left hand along the inside of Kacchan’s thigh. “By yourself, I mean?”

“Couple of times.” Kacchan clears his throat ineffectively. “There’s a bathtub at home. Not a lot of other chances.”

“Okay. Let me know if it hurts?” Izuku considers. “I mean, let me know if it hurts in a way you don’t like.”

“That — you — goddammit!” Kacchan covers his face. Izuku grins, takes a deep breath, and reaches down to run his finger over Kacchan’s hole. Kacchan twitches under him, whole-body. Izuku rubs at him again, and then — before either of them can get any more nervous than they are — pushes slowly, tentatively in. Kacchan thumps his head against the wall, grabbing at Izuku’s shoulders.

“Wow,” Izuku breathes. The heat is unexpected, so much warmer than Kacchan’s skin. “Okay so far?”

“Yeah, fuckin’ fine,” Kacchan pants. “Are you gonna —”

“Yeah, yeah, I am,” Izuku promises, pushing deeper. “Wow, you’re tight. I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage more than one finger, today. But that’s fine, that’s — this already feels really good, and we’ll have plenty of other times, right? With, you know, real lube and stuff.” Kacchan makes a choked-off noise, gripping at Izuku, bruise-tight. Izuku hopes it bruises, anyway. He draws his finger back a bit and back in, still only halfway to the second knuckle. “Does it feel good?” Kacchan nods frantically, eyes screwed shut.

“Come on, Kacchan,” Izuku coaxes, pumping his finger slowly in and out again. He’s not sure he’s ever felt anything like the way Kacchan’s body clutches at him, not ever in his life. “Tell me if you like it, okay?”

“Fine, yes, okay, I — I like — fuck, Deku, fuck,” Kacchan hisses, as Izuku pushes his finger just a little deeper.

“You sound really good like this,” Izuku says. “I know there’s a spot I should be looking for, but it’s hard to feel anything except how tight you are.”

“How the fuck — are you — talking like that —” Kacchan chokes out. Izuku blinks.

“I’m just thinking out loud?” he says, confused. “I’m not trying to, to talk any particular way or anything.”

“Goddamn filth,” Kacchan gasps. Izuku shrugs.

“I guess?” he says. “Do you want me to touch your cock too?”

Kacchan shudders around him, tight around his finger. “Yes, goddammit, I — please —”

The simple uncued please sears through Izuku’s entire body and settles somewhere deep in his chest. He sighs happily. “Yeah, Kacchan, of course I will,” he promises, and takes him in hand. “Oh, wow, you’re really messy. In a good way,” he adds hastily. “Does this happen every time?”

“Nnn.” Kacchan shakes his head, bringing his hand to his mouth to bite at his knuckles. Izuku doesn’t even think, just drops his cock to grab his wrist.

“Nuh-uh, Kacchan, I wanna hear you.”

“Fuckoffanddie.” Kacchan’s voice is a wreck and a wonder. Izuku laughs.

“Yeah, like that.” Izuku draws his hand up again to the back of Izuku’s neck. “Hold on to me just like that, okay? Yeah, like that, perfect. And let me hear you.” He goes back to stroking Kacchan, and Kacchan makes a low, desperate whimpering noise in the back of his throat. “You sound so good like this,” Izuku breathes. “I love it.”

He tries a couple of different rhythms, working Kacchan over: fast and slow, steady and ragged. He gets the most desperate, punched-out sounds by stroking up over Kacchan’s cock just as Kacchan’s hips roll down to meet the inward push of his finger, so Kacchan keeps rocking back and forth between one sensation and the other. Kacchan keeps leaking all over his hand, digging his fingernails into Izuku’s shoulders. His thighs are shaking so badly Izuku can see it.

“Look at you,” Izuku sighs. “You’re incredible, Kacchan, this is amazing.”

“Sh-shut…” Kacchan’s cock twitches in Izuku’s hand; his body seizes up around Izuku’s finger.

“I want to do this all the time.” Izuku gazes down at the bright head of Kacchan’s cock poking up between his fingers, at his finger disappearing into Kacchan’s body. “Whenever you get stuck in your own head. I want to make you feel good, I want to take care of everything you need. I love that you trust me enough for this.” He barely knows what’s coming out of his own mouth. “Can you come like this, Kacchan? Do you need something else? I’ll give it to you. Whatever you need — oh.” Wetness spills down his fingers as Kacchan comes all over his stomach and his chest and Izuku’s hand. “Oh, you’re gorgeous.”

Kacchan makes a noise that’s probably supposed to sound indignant and slumps forward until his head rests on Izuku’s shoulder. He’s breathing like he just ran a mile at a full sprint. Izuku eases his finger very slowly out and kisses Kacchan’s hair. “Just let me clean off my hands, okay?” The mess is pretty much just come, actually, but — still. He doesn’t really want to touch things.

He fumbles the hand sanitizer out of his pocket without too much trouble, and does his best with it and with a corner of his costume. Kacchan mutters something that contains no recognizable words whatsoever.

“What was that, Kacchan?” Izuku asks, calling his hands good enough and wrapping his arms around Kacchan. He’s so warm.

“I said your goddamn collarbone is pokin’ me in the chin,” Kacchan says, still slurred. “Moving too much.”

“Sorry.” Izuku squirms a little, trying to get them situated a little better.

“Hey.” Kacchan cracks an eye open. “I’m not owing you shit, just — gimme a sec.”

“You don’t owe me anything, Kacchan, I promise,” Izuku protests. “I really, really enjoyed that, you don’t —”

“You wanna get off or not?”

Izuku smiles against his cheek. “Well, um, when you put it that way.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Kacchan fumbles for Izuku’s belt; his hands are shaking.

“I got it, I got it,” Izuku promises, taking over. “You know you don’t have to, though, right? Really.”

“Deku, shut the hell up and put your dick in my mouth.”

Izuku’s laugh is half sigh; he squeezes his cock at the base, just once, before he finishes easing it out of his boxers. “Sit back, okay?” he asks. “Slide down a little.”

“Bossy,” Kacchan grumbles, doing exactly what Izuku asked. Izuku rises up onto his knees and tangles his free hand in Kacchan’s hair. His chest is tight.

“Open your mouth for me, Kacchan?” he asks. Kacchan gives him a narrow-eyed suspicious glance, but then he does it, and the way his eyes fall to Izuku’s cock all hungry is — a lot. Izuku takes a deep breath and feeds his cock slowly between Kacchan’s lips.

“Oh, wow, that’s good,” he sighs, rocking his hips forward a little just as he pushes Kacchan’s head down. “Oh, wow, Kacchan, you feel amazing.” Everything is heat, and closeness, and then Kacchan’s tongue rubs against the underside of Izuku’s cock. Izuku groans wordlessly and snaps his hips forward, harder than he meant, and this time he presses against the back of Kacchan’s throat. “You didn’t even gag, Kacchan,” he breathes. “Can I — like that again, I want to —” Kacchan leans in, sucking at him, wrapping his hand around Izuku’s hip to urge him forward. Okay, then.

“Just pinch me if it’s too much, okay, Kacchan?” he asks, and then — well — fucks Kacchan’s face.

Almost immediately Izuku loses track of what he’s saying, or whether the sounds coming out of his mouth are words at all. He’s never felt anything like this before; nothing like the slick warmth or the press of Kacchan’s throat, nothing like the heady power or the permission to be a little selfish. Because Kacchan likes it that way.

The instinct is to close his eyes, but Izuku fights it as hard as he can, because this is too beautiful to miss: the flush still on Kacchan’s cheeks, the bitten-red shine of his mouth, the way his eyes water when Izuku thrusts deep. Kacchan stares up at him, as close to dead in the face as he can get when Izuku’s jerking him around by the hair, and for all the time they’ve misunderstood each other, Izuku knows the look on his face. This all you’ve got? Come on. I can take everything you’ve got, so give it to me.

Which is easy to do. Izuku is Kacchan’s for the asking, Kacchan’s for the wanting.

The sounds coming out of his mouth definitely aren’t words anymore.

Orgasm hits him all at once, cresting over him before he even notices he’s getting close. “Oh, God, Kacchan — fuck —” he gasps, as every muscle in his body draws tight, and as the pressure starts to break he drags Kacchan off his cock by the hair and comes all over his face. It lands on his cheek, his chin, his open mouth, filthy and real.

Izuku’s legs give out under him, which he hadn’t even known could happen while he’s on his knees. He collapses into Kacchan’s lap. Their joined breathing echoes off the metal.

“I could’ve swallowed,” Kacchan says at last, huffily.

“I know,” Izuku says, kissing his shoulder. “I wanted to do that.” Thought drifts in, a little late. “Was that okay?”

Kacchan is quiet for a moment. He still has one hand on Izuku’s hip, and it drifts up to the small of Izuku’s back. “Freakin’ warn me next time,” he says at last. “I almost got an eyeful.”

“Oh, yeah, that would be bad. Sorry, I will,” Izuku promises. He swallows. “You look good like that.”

“Perv,” Kacchan says. There’s a pressure in Izuku’s hair that feels suspiciously like Kacchan’s mouth. “…Never heard you swear like that,” he adds, half under his breath.

“Well, I’ve never had an orgasm around you before,” Izuku points out.

“Thanks, dipshit, I figured that out for myself.”

“Well, what do you want me to say?” Izuku is cut off by a slow-building yawn. “You’re warm,” he adds. “And you smell… I mean I guess you smell like nitroglycerin, but ‘s nice. Sugary.” He nuzzles at the side of Kacchan’s neck.

You’re one of those guys who passes out as soon as you get off, aren’t you,” Kacchan says, all unconvincing disgust.

“I’m not going to sleep here,” Izuku protests. “’S not comfy, even if you are warm. N… kidnapped.” He does yawn again, though. “Just gonna cuddle for a bit, okay?”

“Cuddle? Shut the hell up, asshole, I don’t — no.”

“Okay,” Izuku says peaceably. “No cuddling. ‘M just gonna sit on your lap and lean on you while you hold on to me.” Kacchan’s other arm has made its way over Izuku’s shoulders, at this point, and Kacchan doesn’t seem inclined to move. He does, however, flick Izuku on the ear.

“Die,” Kacchan says, as softly as Izuku has ever heard him say anything. There’s that phantom, suspiciously kiss-like presence in Izuku’s hair again. “Do whatever you want, I don’t care.”

“Okay, Kacchan.” Izuku hides his smile against Kacchan’s shirt. “’M not gonna sleep, though.”

The next thing he hears is, “Deku, wake up!”

“Wha?”

“Wake up, idiot, people are coming!” The world lurches as Izuku is tipped unceremoniously off Kacchan and onto the floor. “You want them to find you with your dick out?” Kacchan is already fumbling with Izuku’s belt as he speaks, setting his clothes to rights. Izuku checks Kacchan over, but he’s mostly dressed already — which, huh. That must’ve taken some careful work.

“Who is it?” Izuku asks.

“I’m supposed to know?”

“No, I’m just wondering!”

Izuku can hear the footsteps outside too, shuffling and uneven and loud. The door scrapes, and Kacchan rears up into a low crouch over Izuku, hands sparking. Izuku is still trying to work out how to move without tangling Kacchan’s feet when a deep, familiar voice says, “Thank God.”

“Sensei!” Izuku and Kacchan both say at once. Kacchan sits back on his heels; Izuku pushes himself up.

Aizawa is at the metal door, with the smirking woman from before tangled up in his capture scarf. She’s limping; Izuku bets she tried to kick Aizawa’s left leg. Her lip curls, looking them over, in a way that looks far too much like she looked when in charge. “That works too,” she says.

Izuku doesn’t make any conscious decision to move; he just does. His hand twists into Smirk’s shirt, green lightning sparking in his fingers. “You don’t know anything,” he bites out. “I don’t know what horrible thing you think happened in here, but you don’t know anything about who Kacchan is or what he’s like. So don’t you dare stand there and imagine that — that —”

“Deku, calm down.” Kacchan’s voice is gruff behind him. “Doesn’t matter what she thinks. She’s nobody.”

“Okay.” Izuku breathes out, careful and slow, and pries his fingers loose from her shirt one by one. He reaches back, instead, and Kacchan takes his hand. “Okay.”

Aizawa has been watching this exchange with wary close attention. Now he says, “Both of you, stay still. Don’t move. Don’t take a step. Stay exactly where you are. Present Mic!” The last is a bellow. “They’re here, we found them. Take the prisoner —” He drags Smirk two steps back, behind the open door, and sound fades to a vague mutter of movement and low voices.

Izuku glances over at Kacchan. Kacchan glares at the horizon. Izuku realizes, in horror that seems to dawn very slowly for how little time it spans, that the two of them are a deeply unambiguous mess. Kacchan’s mouth is swollen and tellingly red. There are deep purple-red marks on his collarbone, well above what his costume hides. Extremely suspicious stains are smudged across his shirt and Izuku’s pants and — oh no — crusted in Kacchan’s hair.

At least Izuku manages not to say any of this out loud. That’s progress.

Aizawa reappears past the door and leans his hand against the metal. For a moment, one of those short but lingering ones, he simply looks at them. Izuku can’t read anything in his face.

“She said she dosed you with something,” he says at last. “A disinhibitor.”

“Yeah.” Izuku nods. “Both of us. It’s starting to wear off now, I think, but — probably not completely, yet?”

Aizawa’s eyebrows do something complicated. “No, I don’t think so,” he agrees. He drums his fingertips against the door. “Someone who uses a mental quirk to compel another into an act is legally considered liable for that act. Or acts. We could charge her for a lot of things, here.”

“I don’t… know exactly what we did that would be a problem?” Izuku says. “We were saying everything we were thinking for a while, but beyond that I don’t think it could make us do anything we didn’t want to do.”

“People can want to do a lot of things and choose not to,” Aizawa says, with absolutely no inflection.

“She expected us to kill each other,” Izuku says grimly. “We didn’t, obviously.”

“Get it right, Deku, she expected me to kill you.” Kacchan’s fingers tighten on Izuku’s, or maybe Izuku clutches at him and Kacchan squeezes back. He’s not sure.

“Did you try?”

“No!” Izuku yelps.

“No,” Kacchan says, at almost the same time, with surprising steady seriousness. Aizawa glances between the two of them, fathomless.

“If you tried, it wouldn’t be your fault,” he says slowly. “Nothing that happened in there is either of your fault.”

“We didn’t, though,” Izuku says. “Sensei, look behind us, okay? They didn’t have any kind of quirk suppression or anything, we just weren’t sure if we could get the ship back to land if we broke out. If we tried to kill each other, don’t you think you’d be able to tell?” He gestures back into the shipping container, at the undented and (mostly) unschorched metal.

Aizawa’s mouth twists. “You two can certainly trash a place,” he grants. “I’m surprised it’s still standing.”

“Yeah, well, all her nasty sludge made us do was talk.” Kacchan tilts his chin up and takes a half-step (quarter-step, maybe) closer to Izuku, still gripping his hand. Izuku bumps their shoulders gently, pressing his thumb against the back of Kacchan’s wrist. I’m here, I’ve got you, you’ve got me.

Something slackens in the line of Aizawa’s shoulders. “All right,” he says. “But you are both still under its influence. If you feel differently when it wears off…”

“Oh. Hm.” That clicks the conversation into clearer focus. Izuku worries at his lip. “When it was first started to kick in, we realized right away if we’d said something embarrassing,” he offers. “By the time we stopped noticing things like that,” and he is not going to think about all the embarrassing things he said, or whether he might be able to say them again, when he’s standing in front of Aizawa-sensei, thank you very much, “I was saying everything that went through my head, basically. And I’m not doing that now. So… I think I’d know, if I, um. Felt bad about anything that, um, happened.” He takes a deep breath. “Which I don’t.”

Aizawa nods slowly. “Bakugo?” he says.

“Beats the hell out of my last kidnapping,” Kacchan says. He and Aizawa both flinch in sharply separate ways. Well, it at least proves Izuku’s point about immediate regret. “It’s fine.”

“Hm.” Aizawa sighs, swinging the door back and forth. It creaks. “Normally I should talk to you separately, but I’m not getting the two of you apart without a crowbar, am I?”

“No, sir,” Izuku says.

“What the hell do you mean normally?” Kacchan asks, which is actually a very good question. “How often does this shit happen?”

That depends on what you mean by this,” Aizawa says elliptically. “All right, let’s get the two of you cleaned up. There’s a bathroom at the back of the ship. You wash yourselves off while I see if I can get you a change of clothes.”

“Thank you,” Izuku says fervently. He takes two steps and then stops. “Um, I can’t tell — are we at their base? I was thinking you could probably follow us all the way there…”

The look Aizawa gives him is tired and strange. He glances past Izuku’s shoulder to Kacchan, and some conversation happens there that Izuku unexpectedly can’t follow. “No,” Aizawa says, “we didn’t, because we prioritized reaching the two of you.”

“Oh.” Izuku shifts from foot to foot. You never give a shit what happens to you.

“The odds are good someone from the ship will give up the location in exchange for a lighter sentence,” Aizawa says. “But your lives were more important.” Kacchan’s grip tightens on Izuku’s hand. Izuku swallows.

“Yes, sir.”

“Go clean up,” Aizawa says, shaking his head. They do.

The bathroom isn’t really big enough to fit both of them — it’s barely big enough to fit one of them — so Izuku leans against the doorway and lets Kacchan be the one to bend over the sink. Kacchan is definitely worse off anyway; Izuku can make do with the damp and grubby towel.

“So, um,” Izuku says, scrubbing fixedly at the leg of his pants. He can’t quite make himself look away from the deck beneath his feet.

“Eh?”

There are probably people in the world who could do this without sounding stupid, but Izuku isn’t one of them and never has been, so he just goes for it: “So, am I your boyfriend now?”

Screublugug?” is roughly the noise Kacchan makes in response, accompanied by a dull thud. When Izuku looks up, Kacchan is ducking his head out from under the faucet, water dripping down his face.

“You fucker, did you time that on purpose?” he demands, rubbing the back of his head.

“No!” Izuku protests, wincing. “No, I wasn’t looking, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, dumbass.” Kacchan glances at him, then away. “Other than my goddamn boyfriend trying to drown me.” He’s trying not to smile, but Izuku can see it gaining ground at the corners of his mouth.

“I didn’t do it on purpose!” Izuku shoves at his shoulder, so gently it’s barely pretending not to be for the sake of touch. “Here, let me help, okay? It has to be easier than trying to fit your head in that sink.”

“Hmph.” But the noise is all the protest Kacchan makes before he presses back against the wall to let Izuku reach the sink and get the towel wet again. They’re pressed together, chest to thigh; the bathroom is too small to allow for anything else.

“Hey,” Izuku says, wiping carefully at the mess dried on Kacchan’s cheek. (Oops.) “I’m not actually totally sure if I said it out loud or not, so much was happening, but — I love you too.”

“Yeah, idiot, I figured that out,” Kacchan says, but Izuku can feel Kacchan smiling against his hand. Izuku kisses him again, because he can do that now. It’s a good impulse to follow.