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through thick and thin

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In his defense, she caught him completely off guard. 

It's not like Izuku is supposed to constantly aware of which alleyways within the proximity of UA are notorious for having homicidal maniacs lying within them. Sue him. Although, this doesn't make it any more unbearable when a little boy’s football goes flying into the road, and—well, he goes after it for the kid, and gets a little caught up in doing so. 

The ball bounced into the alleyway unpronounced, and he had only already leaned down and picked up when a hand clenched around his neck, poking his windpipe. 

“Izuku-kun,” a voice, sickeningly familiar, purrs in his ear, and Izuku blanches. “Hi! Did you miss me?”

Toga twirls around him to face him in the front, and presses his back against the concrete wall behind him. She kicks the football that he had unceremoniously dropped in the fray to the sidewalk nearby; walking him to the shadows, she clenches her fingers tighten around his neck. The grin spread across her face is happy and downright smug. Izuku shivers. Triggering One For All sounds like a good idea if he didn't have Toga’s hand preventing him from breathing correctly. 

“Let go,” Izuku wheezes, and kicks his feet upwards. He promised Kacchan he’d get back to the dorms in time for dinner with their classmates. “Toga—”

The girl in question sighs happily, and tugs at her striped sailor-esque bow. “I love when you say my name, Izuku-kun. You should come with me!”

Toga’s grip loosens so he can speak, but with her vacant hand, she pulls out a syringe that looks relatively familiar. Kamino. Izuku swallows, and the warning bells in his head are clanging loud enough to where he can't hear himself think.

“No thanks,” Izuku says mildly, struggling, pressing the bottom of his sneakers against the bricks.

She pouts, jutting out her lip. It looks silly. Izuku wants out. Her proximity is uncomfortable and there's no teachers within yelling distance and his phone is in his back pocket— “But you're my boyfriend! You just don't know it! Not yet, at least.”

What in the world? Izuku shouldn't be surprised at her behavior anymore. She kinda went off the grid for a while after Shigaraki and All For One were taken into custody—courtesy of class 1-A, now 3-A, but Toga making her way back to campus just to get her hands on Izuku is intensely irritating. 

It doesn't make him feel good. The pressure on the base of his neck, the unfamiliar grip, and the build of frustrated tears in the corners of his eyes—Deku would call for help if he wasn't a cornered animal. I should be stronger than this. Why can't I just fight back? 

“Kacchan,” Deku croaks eventually, eyes unfocused and voice alien to his ears, not nearly loud enough, but Kacchan is nowhere within hearing distance. He's up in the dorms, too far to push Toga away from him and give her a blast to the face. Toga’s eyebrows slide up in surprise—but eventually the smile sliding across her face is evil and mean. It promises nothing good, and Deku feels a prick in his shoulder. 

“Kacchan,” Toga parrots; her voice is deceptive. She bats her eyelashes, and Deku gets the sinking feeling she's got a very, very bad idea. One For All, Deku thinks. Work. Please. Nothing responds to him. “Are you talking about Bakugou-kun?”

Consciousness is rapidly leaving his grasp, and Izuku chants to himself, Please. Please, work, please. Why can't I— 

The girl seems to notice his struggle with his Quirk, and watches as the light seems to fade from Midoriya’s eyes. He wobbles on his feet, as Toga seems to find him harmless enough to set him down. “I just stole a whole lot of your blood, Izuku-kun! I don’t think that's gotta feel very good,” she eyes her syringe, and her tongue darts out of her mouth. Toga sighs, and cups Deku’s cheek—he wants to thrash, he wants to scream and push her away and feels so wrong. “Oh, Izuku-kun, isn't this fun?”

Weak, Izuku berates himself. He cannot see. He cannot see. How could you let that happen, Deku? 



Toga finishes off the ropes on Deku’s wrists. It's highly doubtful this will really keep him in place, since they're a simple rope and all it will do is slow him down—but he's not the real thing she's after. Of course, it's really nice to see Izuku! But she's after the pretty girl with the brown hair that hangs down to her chin, and Izuku is only a nice plus one that she needed the entire time. Besides, Ochako won't be able to see it coming—Toga knows. 

When she glances at a shard from a broken mirror in the floor, which had crashed and fell in her and Izuku’s scuffle—her cheeks are freckles, her eyes are doe-eyed, a pretty green, and when she smiles it's Izuku’s. Toga skips away, happily, not before patting Izuku’s cheek. “Oh, baby. Isn't this fun?” 



It's nice that UA isn't that far from where Izuku ran into Toga, which was on purpose—but when she walks along the sidewalk, her Izuku red shoes skidding along the ground, she runs into Bakugou, who seems less than pleased. 

He's looking at Toga. Deku. Right. She internally smiles, she can do this. It can't be that hard to pretend to be Izuku— she loves him. Bakugou crosses his arms over his chest. He's in a black tank-top, and the muscles in his arms are prominent—which is somewhat worrying, but, another syringe-full patch of blood can't hurt, can it? “Where the hell did you go?”

Toga blinks, slowly, before shaking her head and smiling, “Sorry, Kacchan. I just went for a walk, that's all.”

“Okay,” Bakugou says slowly. He seems to shake away whatever confused emotion he's harboring towards her. Walking up to her, he stops just in front of Toga—the proximity is close. Too close. But she can't pull away or Bakugou will know. He tugs on her–Deku’s–cheek. “Something’s up with you, nerd. You're way too quiet.”

She waves her hands out in front of her placatingly. “It's fine, B—Kacchan,” shit, “I’m just tired, that's all.”

Bakugou’s eyes narrow, and his shoulders hunch upwards. He yanks away. Toga swears to herself. “The fuck’s wrong with you?”

She runs a hand through her hair, short and curly. Izuku’s hair. Bakugou watches the motion like a hawk, but it's almost upsetting how every time Toga moves, Bakugou seems to get more and more suspicious. “You said my name weird.”

His voice is accusing. Toga laughs, a little nervous now, and watches as Bakugou subtly spreads his legs out shoulder-width. He's preparing for a fight. “I didn’t— what are you talking about?” She smiles, to top it off, which has to be comforting to Bakugou. 

Bakugou backs up, and holds out an arm. He mutters, albeit under his breath. “Deku..? No. You're not- this isn't you, is it?”

“I’m being serious,” Toga says helplessly, and snaps, eventually, “I don't know what you think is wrong, Bakugou, but—”

The blast thrown to her face should've been expected. Toga barely manages to dodge it, throwing herself out of the and stumbling on her feet. She throws a hand behind her, stretching her fingers, and the pads skim the knife in her pocket. Bakugou explodes himself upwards into the air, and yells out profanities with his motions. Toga grins, sharply— her cover is blown, so what? She’ll take down Katsuki too. 

She throws punches and kicks and swipes away from his expertly-placed blasts, and Toga has to remind herself this a hero in the making, a strong one at that— he's been doing this for years now. He knows what he's doing, but Toga—

The fight doesn't last that long. He gets the upper hand on her in the air and pins her to the ground with a boot planted flat on her chest. The left side of Toga’s face melts away, and Bakugou’s eyes flash. He sets his jaw. “You.” 

“Hi, Bakugou-kun,” Toga smiles, half of her mouth still Izuku’s. “I was just passing by to see Ochako-chan! You wouldn't happen to know where she is, would you?”

Bakugou’s eyes gleam in realization. He knows. Toga squirms under his foot, but all that does is make him push down harder. He kicks away the syringe a good few feet away— empty, and his gaze lingers on the drops of blood still in the container. “You went undercover as Deku to speak to Round Cheeks.” He seems to be more or less speaking to himself rather than to Toga, which is somewhat offensive. She glares at him. “But, to turn into Deku, you had to..” 

He gasps, and clenches his fists, orange and black sparks prickling away from the meat of his palm with the force of his explosions. Bakugou doesn't even seem to realize he's doing it in the first place, but Toga shies away from him when he leans down to get up close to her face, baring his teeth at her. The red in his eyes seem a lot more prominent than usual, and the atmosphere crackles, akin to moments before a thunderstorm. “Where the fuck is Deku?” 

“Izuku-kun is fine,” Toga clenches her jaw, outraged at the idea of hurting him. “I would never—”

“You'd never hurt him?” Bakugou taunts, cruel. His face is scrunched up in anger, and he grabs the front of Toga’s jacket with a shaking fist. The air is as light as blood and her heart fills up with kerosene, and it seems to light up enough so she cannot breathe anymore. “Yeah? You'd never hurt him, yet you drank his blood to turn into him? You don't think that hurt him?”

“No,” Toga’s voice wobbles at the prospect. Her disguise melts away, and Izuku’s face is gone. “I would- no, you don't—”

“You don't think it scared him, huh? Having someone suck your blood like a fucking vampire?” He says it to insult, to make fun— but Bakugou’s hands are shaking like he's freezing cold and his face is chock-full of some type of pain , his voice protective and surrounded by an ironclad sheen of worry. 

Oh. Toga should have noticed sooner. Bakugou has this air around him the same way Ochako did. The boyfriend. Unless she's misreading this. Izuku called for ‘Kacchan’ in trouble—she's heard Izuku call Bakugou this name before. Bakugou went looking for him, too, and the proximity of his close he stood— oh. No wonder he found out so fast. He knows Deku like the back of his own hand—he's probably memorized his mannerisms, his speech patterns. It's public information they were childhood friends. Toga never stood a chance; she still swallows back the blood pooling in her mouth and gives Bakugou the nastiest, fuming glare she can. “I didn’t! I have never hurt him!”

Bakugou recoils away from her in disgust. He pulls out his phone from his pocket, and barks to someone, “There's a villain on campus, shithead. In front of the dorms.” A silence. He snaps, “Yes, dumbass! And Deku is missing, get out here so I can go find him.”

Toga struggles underneath Bakugou’s weight—because she needs to speak to Ochako. Except, it takes a matter of minutes for a kid with red spiky hair and Eraserhead to show up, the older man taking out his rope and wrapping it around Toga’s waist. She yells out, “No! Let me go! I need to—”

“Hush it,” Eraserhead snaps. “Bakugou, go find Midoriya, please.” He shakes his head and mutters Problem child.. under his breath. 

Bakugou’s already spinning on the balls of his heels, the red-headed boy clasping his shoulder as he walks past him. He doesn't say anything, holding out the palms of his hands and blasting up into the air without a second thought, like a man on a mission. Toga presses her teeth together, hard, and tries her best not to cry. 



Deku!” Katsuki flies through the air, skipping across the tops of buildings as he makes his way to the outskirts of campus. Deku can't be far. Toga’s Quirk has a time limit depending on the amount of blood she ingests. Where are you, Deku? “Izuku! You idiot- get your ass out here!” 

He knew something was wrong the second he saw Izuku’s face, back then. The way he walked was different—Deku’s is slower, hands hanging limply by his sides, yet his chin is held high. Toga-Deku was walking as if she had something to hide, shoulders slumped with her fingers twitching towards her pocket. Bakugou knew something was up the second Deku wasn't on time for dinner. 

Her eyes were wide and unrecognizing when Bakugou looked her in the eyes. Nothing like the way Deku looked at him. Katsuki knows how Deku looks at him, truly—not the way Toga did. He knows him.

A call comes out to him from below, “Kacchan! I’m here!”

Katsuki blasts downwards, and a gust of wind blows Deku’s hair to the side with the sheer force of his landing. Deku’s got a hand clamped on the side of his neck, his smile wobbling, “Sorry I was late, um, I hope the food didn't go cold because that would probably annoy you and I was gonna be on time but I kinda got—”

Bakugou yanks him by the collar of his suit, his hands trembling. Clenching his jaw, “You're so fucking stupid.” Although his words are mean, his voice wavers and dips too much to be offensive. He buries his face in Deku’s hair, and breathes in, out, in— for what feels like multiple minutes. Deku doesn't make a fuss about it, letting him do as he pleases, because he's clearly rattled. It wasn't exactly how he expected his night to go. He scared him—he's come far enough to admit that. “Don't fucking do that shit ever again.” 

He pulls away roughly. Deku’s eyes are saucers when he looks back up, about to speak. But, Katsuki—

He snatches Deku’s chin, and he snaps his mouth shut. Katsuki turns it from side to side, checking over his cheeks, the entirety of his face, his temples, for some sort of sign. Deku’s entire frame slumps, and when Katsuki’s gaze turns to him for an explanation, he fiddles with the hem of his hero suit. The ground seems to sway beneath his feet, and Deku’s lip wobbles. “She—” he motions to his neck with the opposite hand. “Um.”

“Fucking idiot,” Katsuki gripes, again. Despite his harsh tone, his hands are gentle on Deku’s face. “Why the hell didn't you use OFA?” 

“She was choking me,” he looks ashamed of himself. Katsuki’s thumbs rub circles just beside his eyes. “I couldn't focus.” 

"Wasn't your fault," Katsuki tells. Deku seems unconvinced. "Wasn't, Deku. Don't you dare tell yourself that." 

Peeling away the hand clasped around the span of his throat, softly pulling until Deku lets go. Deku bears his throat to him, letting him look, and Katsuki homes in on the bruising in the shape of Toga’s fingers. There's a small, crimson tick-esque mark on his shoulder, where, presumably, he got injected. 

“Kacchan,” Deku shoots, eyebrows knitting together, scarred hands hovering around Katsuki’s face. “Stop that.” 

He unlatches the clench of his jaw, and it's almost a struggle to do so with how tightly he was grinding his teeth together; Deku skims his jawline with the pads of his fingers—he has to turn them at strange angles because of how ruined his fingers are. “I got her.” 

Deku tenses, “She went to the dorms?”

“Yeah. Tried to get to Pink Cheeks in your body.” 

“Uraraka-san?” He's about to panic, his voice heightening in pitch, and before Deku can ask if she's alright, Katsuki clamps a hand around Deku’s nape, pulling him downwards and presses his forehead against his collarbone. 

“She's fine,” Katsuki soothes, in his own way. His voice goes soft at the edges— it's taken him months of anger management and therapy to get to here, but now he can deal with emotions without bursting a fuse— and pats down Deku’s hair. 

Katsuki turns to him, and hums, “What about you, Deku?”

He goes quiet. “I’m fine. Well, um. I feel fine.”

“I’m putting that on your fucking gravestone,” Katsuki sneers, tugging Deku’s head back upwards—who flushes in embarrassment. “ He felt fine. You're going to get your ass kicked one day, and I will sit back and laugh.”

“No you won't,” Deku mutters, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

“No, I won't,” bobbing his head with his affirmation, fluttering his eyes closed, before he moves closer to Deku so they're almost nose to nose. “Can't help going out searching for trouble, though.” 

“I think I always find a way to get into trouble.” 


And Katsuki kisses him, because there's nothing else to say, and Deku drags his hands down to waist-level and intertwines their fingers. They must look pretty stupid, kissing at the end of an alleyway, practically in the open road— clearly recognizable, considering their popularity; Deku’s in his hero suit, too. Bakugou lets go of Deku’s hand and runs a hand through his hair and tugs. 

Deku pulls away. His cheeks are red. “Hi.”

Katsuki raises an eyebrow. “Hi.” 

He brushes his thumb past the corner of Izuku’s lips. Katsuki tugs him. “Recovery Girl. Now.”

The younger boy opens his mouth to retort, and Katsuki knows how this goes, so he stomps his boot into the ground like a toddler. “ Now.” 

Izuku huffs, relenting, and lets Katsuki grab him by the shoulders and drag him towards campus. “Okay, Kacchan.” His voice is tired. Katsuki understands.



Recovery Girl smacks her lips. “You’ll be fine within a day or so, I’d assume. Although, Midoriya, maybe bring someone with you next time.” 

Katsuki glares at him, rubbing his thumb over Deku’s knuckles. Deku nods somberly at her, and rubs the back of his neck; he has the decency to look somewhat ashamed. “I’m sorry.”

Idiot. Katsuki crosses his arms over his chest. Deku avoids his gaze and presses his fingers against the gauzes plastered around his neck. 

The blond slumps over in the plastic chair next to Deku’s bed— where he is sitting, dangling his legs back and forth. “What about Toga?”

The woman sighs. “Aizawa said she's been taken into custody, and I’m guessing she's going to Tartarus. You two better head back to the dorms now, I’m sure Toshinori is worried about you– Midoriya.” 

Midoriya perks up. “ Oh! Oh, gosh, um- yeah, I should go talk to him. Thank you, Recovery Girl.”

The one in question nods, releasing a breath of exhaustion. “Of course. Please stay out of trouble a bit more.”

Katsuki snorts. He grabs Izuku’s wrist, and drags him out of his seat. Bakugou nods at the hero. “Thank you.” 

Recovery Girl rubs her forehead, like she's so fed up with all the shit she gets. Katsuki sympathizes, shaking Deku slightly in his grip when he elbows Katsuki’s stomach. “Yes, yes. Get out of here, you two.”



Kirishima left a small note on the kitchen table that they saved portions for the two of them and that everyone else was heading to bed. The writing was crude and had small hearts next to the letters, and it made Deku aww and Katsuki roll his eyes, so mission accomplished. Either way, it was just them.

Deku lays on his back on the couch on the main floor of the dorm building. Katsuki sits next to his head and presses his hand flat on Deku’s stomach. His hands always run hot, since he's the equivalent of a human furnace, but it makes Deku shiver. His eyes land on small burn marks on his wrists. 



“Your hands.”

“My— oh!” Deku holds up both of his hands, and turns them to the back to see more. There's red welts on the span of his wrist, plastered directly over his veins; they don't go up or down. Katsuki grabs them, and is careful not to push down when he grazes across the tender skin. 

“Fuck are they?”

 Deku glances at him in surprise. “Um. Toga- she, uh, once I passed out she wrapped my hands in rope. I think I rubbed against them. Recovery Girl gave me some cream for them.”

Katsuki doesn't like how dismissive he sounds. Pressing his lips against Deku’s wrists, just for a moment. Deku allows him to, and closes his eyes—Katsuki just breathes in. Out. He huffs, and leans over to look at Deku, gently dropping his hands. Izuku giggles, “You're upside down, Kacchan.”

He rolls his eyes, and pecks Izuku on the lips. “Stupid.”

Izuku reaches up and grabs his cheeks. His eyes are wide, adoring. That look tears Katsuki up inside out; he doesn't deserve it—but Deku insists he does. Hound Dog has been working on that with Katsuki. “You have this look on your face.”

“You scared me,” Katsuki points. He feels silly, upside down like this. But technically, so is Deku, so they might as well be silly together. He doesn't like being sappy like that, though, so he says, “Fuck you for that. I’m sorry I wasn't there.”

Deku’s face softens, as if he never registered his insult. “I didn't mean to scare you, Kacchan. I'm glad you weren't there, ‘cause she could've hurt you.”

He doesn't respond, and instead grabs Deku, flips him over—and Katsuki’s spine is up against the back of the couch, Deku at his front. It's a tight fit, because they're both pretty big, but it's a huge couch, so it doesn't matter. Both their heads are sideways, facing each other. Deku leans over an arm and tangles his fingers in the spikes of hair at the back of his neck. Katsuki lets him. 

Their legs are tangled. Deku still has the I’m sorry expression everyone hates. “Kacchan, I—”

“I should've gone with you,” is all Katsuki says in response. He's not going to berate Deku for what he did, going out on an impromptu patrol late at night for no reason, because he might've done the same if he thought something was up. He's not going to blame him— Deku must've been uncomfortable with Toga. “You tryin’ to get ahead of me, huh? Think I’m gonna sit back and watch?”

He's teasing him, Izuku knows this. He's also trying to prove a point. (He's not going to relax and watch Deku go out on his own with no one to watch his back. They've talked about this. All Might said it. They need each other—they have to rely on each other, hang off each other’s shoulders to get to the top, together. Deku’s not in this alone. At least, not anymore. Katsuki is going with him.) 

“No,” Deku whispers, like a promise, forbidden and hushed. “You won't.”

“Damn straight,” Katsuki curls his lip. Deku's eyes glint, because he could make a joke about that, but he doesn't for Katsuki’s sanity. “I am going with you, next time you pull that shit. And there's no way in hell there won't be one.”

Deku nuzzles his nose in the crook of Katsuki’s neck. “She— I don't get it.” He slumps into him, even more. “She said I was her– she said she liked me, and that I liked her back, and I don't. It made me uncomfortable. I just— I don't know.”

Katsuki rubs his back in soothing circles. He's a limp, boneless weight on his chest. He doesn't say anything; Deku is slotted against him like a puzzle piece in the correct spot. “Thank you, Kacchan.”

He doesn't have to thank him for something so simple as looking after him, but that's just how Deku operates. Gives so much, never takes. Katsuki will give him all that he has. 

He digs a hand into the bulk of Izuku’s curls and makes him look in the eyes. Deku’s are watery and wide. “It will always be you.”

Deku’s eyes widen. Katsuki shakes his head, and rubs away the red in his cheeks with the back of his wrist. “I will be there.”

Izuku releases a sharp exhale, and thumps their foreheads together. The bastard is smiling. “Okay.”

It's not some conjugation. It's for them— this tenderness, here, with Katsuki basking in Deku’s presence that he is given so abundantly, the world can't have that. He won't give it to them, because the world can have the Wonder Duo. The heroes. Katsuki won't give them Izuku. It's his. Because, at this moment, they're two lovers cuddled on a couch and Katsuki has his own world cupped between his hands. 

(Deku’s hand is warm against his cheek when Katsuki leans in. They eventually make their way to the blond's dorm room, and Deku’s, during that time period, stripped himself of his suit so he's in a white shirt and boxers. They fall asleep there, and Katsuki— 

He never would've guessed they would end up here. Not that he's complaining.)