Chapter 1: Something-Ku
I am so blown away by all the support for this story. Thank you guys so much, it was a beautiful sweet journey with everyone and I am grateful that you like how sappy and overly-cute this story was!
I've also received fanart, which I am forever grateful for (you guys are crazy talented and SPOILERS AHEAD):
clover fields by seafoamkitten
gardening Deku by tierciel
burnt toast Kacchan by tsuyer
gardener Ochako by Belmak
pâtissier Deku by stailxartist
keychains by stailxartist
angel Kacchan by Sakurapetal91
the baking couple by reverzaart
sleepy Deku by tiramusimisu
Snow White by hanny-chocho
Snow White 2 by bakami-sama
Snow White 3 by dailybakugo
Kind Kacchan by krispyyellowcupcake
“Am I getting fired? ”
Eijirou shakes his head vigorously, and then starts to shake his hands for further emphasis. “Of course not, Katsuki! You’re just getting relocated. Due to your proficient skills.”
Katsuki throws down the dough he was kneading with a resounding slap against the marble countertop. “You can’t fucking relocate me! I have an apartment literally right above this pâtisserie! And I happen to like it here in dirty, messy New York, thank you very much!”
“I knew this would be your reaction,” Eijirou says, sighing, “but the higher-ups want you to help with a shop that isn’t doing too well at the moment. Not every location of Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème will do as well as the New York branch, you know.”
“I am literally the best person on this team right now,” Katsuki says, ignoring the protests from Eijirou who also happens to be a member of that team, “I’m the reason why we sell out all of our desserts in the blink of an eye! There are magazines with my face on it! You can’t just throw me away!”
“And this is precisely the reason why they’re relocating you, Katsuki.” Eijirou pauses for a second, watching Katsuki effortlessly switching from bread-kneading to cupcake icing, his strong hands squeezing out exact amounts of pink icing. “You have the perfect mentality for business, if you didn’t have anger issues.”
“I do NOT have anger issues!” Katsuki explodes, accidentally crushing the innocent pink cupcake in his hands. There is a brief silence between the two before Katsuki coughs a bit, his cheeks the slightest bit of red. “I do not have anger issues.” He repeats, trying to salvage what little left of the cupcake there is.
“You graduated top of your class from Yuuei Culinary Arts, right?” Eijirou continues, dutifully helping Katsuki clean off the mess he created on the counter. “You made an explosive entrance for a newcomer in New York. They just want you to recreate your magic in a place that sorely needs more revenue. Plus, there are ten people working here at Crème de la Crème New York! The one in Shizuoka Prefecture only has, like, one.”
Upon hearing Shizuoka, Katsuki promptly crushes the already broken cupcake in his hands, letting pink icing drip all over his fingers. “Shizuoka? JAPAN? They’re moving me halfway across the globe?”
“Well, I mean, you speak Japanese right? They thought you would be a good fit.” Eijirou reaches over to give him a paper towel, and Katsuki takes it without thanking him. “It’s in some tiny little town, apparently. Very rural. Small store, too. Here, I’ll show you a photo.” Eijirou pulls up his smartphone and displays a few pictures. Katsuki has to admit that the shop looked homey and rustic, but that was all it had going for it.
“You speak Japanese. Momo speaks Japanese. Literally everyone here speaks Japanese. Why the FUCK is it just me?” Katsuki returns to piping out bubble-gum pink icing on the themed cupcakes (this week’s theme was Pastel Perfection, curated by Yuga himself), steadying his hands so that he wouldn’t make so much as a speck of mess.
“Well, it’s also ‘cause…” Eijirou hesitates a bit and carefully takes a few tactical steps back. “It’s also ‘cause the higher-ups have caught wind of your temper tantrums. Your breakdown a few weeks ago made it to their ears, and they think the gentle countryside will tame you a bit, maybe?”
Katsuki uses too much force on the piping bag and causes the pink icing to explode all over his white uniform.
“You’re heading to Japan?” Shouto’s tinny voice sounds incredulous over the phone. “When?”
“I’m actually at the airport right now.” Katsuki says, looking at his passport with hatred. “The joys of having a red-eye flight.”
“You should have told me earlier, I could have at least given you a present.” Shouto was the only person Katsuki (sort of) respected, and in that sense was given the tentative title of ‘friend’. They had met through a hot-blooded competition within Yuuei Culinary Arts in which they ended up in a tie (much to the horror for both of them). Eventually, they cooperated on a few competitions and always wound up first, garnering a nice little bundle of trophies for them to display.
Unfortunately, Shouto was working in Hong Kong, as he was scouted immediately after graduation. Katsuki ended up accepting an offer first in Los Angeles and then New York, so they barely ever spent time together save for a few breaks every now and then.
“Nah, it’s fine. At least you can swing by in Japan. It takes like, what, three hours by flight?” Katsuki sips his chai tea, praying that he’ll fall asleep on the flight so that he wouldn’t be too bored.
“Yeah, of course. I’ll let you know. I should have a break in a few weeks." Shouto says. “By the way, why are they relocating you?”
Katsuki is both mortified and vexed that they moved him due to so-called “anger issues”, so he decides to give Shouto the more business-like answer instead. “Uh, I’m doing way too bomb in New York, so they want me to give the Japan branch a facelift, increase some money, whatever.”
“Makes sense.” Shouto, god bless him, is not the type of person to pry. “And where are you living? You should give me your address so that I’ll know where to go when I come by.”
“Same routine, I live above the pâtisserie. I’ll text you the address.” Katsuki rummages through his pocket for the slip of paper Eijirou handed him a few days before his Japan departure. “I have a roommate apparently, name’s… fuck, is this kanji? I think it says... something- ku… and then Mi-do-ri something . He’s picking me up from the airport ‘cause the bakery is in the middle of fucking nowhere.” Katsuki feels the glare of someone, and when he turns around he sees that it’s a mother shielding her child’s ears from his swearing.
“Watch your language.” She admonishes, covering her child protectively.
“He’s going to learn how to say these words someday!” Katsuki yells. “Ugh, adults.” Katsuki says into the phone, rolling his eyes.
“Technically you’re one too.” Shouto says, his voice tinged with amusement.
“Oh, shut the fuck up.”
When Katsuki arrives at the airport, he immediately drowns under the sudden immersion of Japanese words.
“I cannot read kanji.” He says to himself in English, drawing a few curious glances at his direction. “I cannot read kanji.” He repeats in Japanese. Although he had spent quite a number of years in Japan when he was younger, Yuuei Culinary Arts was a program that heavily relied upon English and French, and he spent the majority of his working days in America.
After he grabs his luggage, he looks at the name on the sheet again, trying to decipher what the strokes and dots meant. He briefly considers asking the information kiosk in the side, but then he catches sight of a huge whiteboard with the words KATSUKI BAKUGOU written in bold, black marker.
There also happens to be balloons attached to the whiteboard. And flowers. Flowers.
What the fuck is “something-ku Midori-something” thinking, Katsuki thinks to himself, wheeling his suitcase over to the whiteboard. The person behind it seems a little shorter than Katsuki, and all he can see is a tuft of fluffy green hair. He knocks three times on the whiteboard, and the green haired boy lowers the sign.
“Are you Bakugou-san?” The boy asks in Japanese, leaning in to inspect Katsuki’s face. He blinks and stares at the boy, his round features and green eyes freezing him in his tracks. His eyes look like they are twinkling. Little stars are trapped inside of them.
Katsuki frowns. Stars?
“Are you Bakugou-san?” The boy implores, this time in English. There isn’t a drop of an accent in there. “Hi, I’m-”
“You’re a fucking little bitch, that’s what you are.” Katsuki says in perfect Japanese. "You don't have to speak to me with your terrible English, I'm fluent in Japanese, you ass." The boy’s face has a few expression changes- surprise, anger, serenity- and then ends up smiling cheekily, his cherubic face looking particularly angelic under the morning light.
“They did warn me that you have a temper.” He says cheerfully.
Katsuki wants to murder the higher-ups.
“So, you probably already know this, Bakugou-san, but CLC isn’t doing too well here.” Izuku says, adopting the nickname for Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème. “I mean, it makes sense because this isn’t even in Tokyo, it’s really far away. I do have returning customers, but this location hasn’t really been featured anywhere- not online, or in magazines, or even in some random blog posts. I mean, I’m a one-man team so business is slow to begin with, but it’s nice that Bakugou-san is here so that we can work together-”
“Stop calling me that.” Katsuki says uncomfortably, looking out the window. “Bakugou. That’s just weird.”
Izuku looks over at him and smiles a bit. “Yeah, it’s your last name isn’t it?” He replies, his hands steering the wheel of his car. “But in Japan, it’s usually close friends that say the first name, you know?”
Friends. Katsuki briefly thinks about Shouto, creating marzipan figures and sugar sculptures in Hong Kong, while Katsuki was stuck in the rural countryside. Needless to say, he was envious. “Just call me Katsuki, it’s better for me.” Katsuki says.
“Then if we’re friends, do you mind if I take it a step further?” The boy says nervously. “Kacchan sounds cute, doesn’t it?”
Katsuki turns around to yell no, don’t give me such an adorable fucking nickname like I’m a stuffed animal, but he sees the other’s sparkling eyes and small freckles and fluffy hair, culminating in an irresistible trifecta of… cute .
Ugh. Stardust. Katsuki thinks, slumping into his seat.
“Do what you want.” Katsuki says, grumbling to himself. He doesn’t see it, but Izuku smiles peacefully at him. “Oh, I probably need to know your name, you green blob.”
“Blob.” He repeats indignantly, his fingers gripping tighter on the steering wheel. “I’m… I guess you’ll call me-” they hit a bump in the road, causing him to yelp in surprise, “De!”
“Your name is De?” Katsuki repeats, snickering at the scrunched up expression Izuku shoots in his direction.
“It’s Izuku.” Izuku says, turning right at the intersection. “My name is Izuku, not De.”
“I think I’ll call you Deku.” Katsuki replies nonchalantly. “Cause you’re useless at driving. And your sound effect was stupid. We have to commemorate this moment somehow.”
“Aren't you just quite the charmer.” Izuku says, rolling his eyes. The morning light filters through the car window and bathes his green hair in a yellow tint, making him glow brightly within the small car. His disgruntled expression was about as threatening as a chihuahua, and his eyelashes cast small shadows across his cheekbones. Izuku tucks a bit of fluffy green hair behind his ear, revealing a small piercing on his ear, an earring with the number 6 on it. He has a very enrapturing profile.
Katsuki unabashedly stares at him for the rest of the ride.
Chapter 2: Starry Embrace
“So this is your new home!”
Izuku does a grandiose sweep of his arm, only to be met with silence from Katsuki. “What do you think?” He looks at Katsuki with an inquisitive eye, waiting for a response. Katsuki appraises the small house with an unreadable expression, his hand slack on his suitcase handle.
“It’s very…” Katsuki looks at the neatly swept front porch, the gorgeous red flowers trailing alongside the entrance, and the sweet scent of peach pie making its way through the window. “I hate it.”
Certainly, it gave off a completely different vibe from CLC New York. Whereas the American branch had ultra-modern facilities and an ornately designed interior, this one was as big as a dollhouse and looked like a house suitable for a kindly grandma. Izuku, not one to be deterred, pushes Katsuki towards the door with alarming strength.
“Go and take a look! See if there’s any tweaking that needs to be done.” Izuku says, picking up the suitcase Katsuki leaves behind. Katsuki snatches the suitcase away from Izuku and looks at him with a pointed glare.
“I can take care of my own stuff, thanks.” He growls. Izuku looks at him nervously but offers up a smile anyway, the sight as pretty as a picture. The large trees that surround the shop provide shade, and the shadows of delicate tree branches dance across the shorter boy’s face like a mesmerizing optical illusion.
“Stop smiling at me!” Katsuki snaps, his voice clipped and panicked. For some reason, it was a bit hard to look directly into Izuku's face- perhaps even a tad dangerous. Katsuki can feel his heart clench, and he grabs onto his own shirt in response.
Weird. Katsuki thinks, turning around to avoid meeting eye contact with Izuku. What's wrong with me?
“Oh, I'm sorry, Kacchan.” Izuku says rather awkwardly. Katsuki huffs in response and stomps up the stairs, feeling his face redden and waiting desperately for it to cool down. After a few seconds, Izuku trails in behind him, his hands gripping nervously on the hem of his shirt.
When Katsuki opens up the door, he is greeted with the sight of fully-stocked glass display cabinets, neatly organized loaves of bread, and beautiful models of cakes placed on shelves. The inside is much roomier than the outside makes it appear and contains little sprigs of fresh flowers here and there. Behind the cashier counter, a door-shaped opening, covered with a piece of cherry blossom patterned cloth, seems to lead the way into the kitchen, and the side of the pâtisserie contains a door with the words DO NOT ENTER.
“Oh, uh, that door leads to our living quarters.” Izuku says, pointing at the DO NOT ENTER door. “There are two floors: this floor, and the second floor, which contains the bedroom and bathroom. There’s actually only one bedroom, but it’s very big and spacious, and I already set up a bed for you. There’s also only one bathroom, so I guess we’ll have to take turns using the shower and stuff.”
While Izuku explains about the layout, Katsuki inspects the rows of small cakes, the designs meticulously created and practically a perfect copy of the ones in New York. He is secretly impressed at the number of desserts Izuku made, especially since he had no help from others.
Not that he would ever tell him, of course.
“On this floor, we have our own private kitchen in the back, but it’s kind of small.” Izuku continues, watching as Katsuki gazes at the multitude of drawings that hangs on the walls. “We also have a backyard full of flowers, vegetables and fruits! It’s a little different from the New York facility because I just grow my own produce here. Sometimes the local villagers will help me out if there is too much stuff to pick, but since you’re here the job will be done much faster.”
Katsuki looks over at a small slice of strawberry mousse cake. The ruby-red gelatin layer has a cluster of neatly cut fruit, along with edible gold leaf and a carefully crafted marzipan rose. Each slice of strawberry mousse cake contains a slightly different flower, ranging from tulips to hydrangeas, all looking quite realistic and delectable. “I need to try one of these.” Katsuki announces, jabbing a finger at the strawberry mousse. “To make sure the quality is on par with the ones in New York.”
Which happens to be the truth. He is here on a mission, after all- to increase sales and attention for this rural location. And the first thing he should be doing is maintaining quality control.
But he also really wants to eat one of them.
“Oh! Of course.” Izuku says, looking a bit flustered. He quickly grabs his apron (green and decorated with a profusion of stars, of all things) and washes his hands before reaching for a slice. Izuku presents the strawberry mousse and hands a fork over to Katsuki, who takes it gingerly.
There is tension in the air as Izuku watches over Katsuki, anxiously waiting for his approval. When he takes the first bite, Katsuki inwardly melts.
This is fucking delicious, he thinks before taking another bite. We have this in New York, right? Why does it taste so different? He runs the ingredients list in his head very quickly- strawberry purée, heavy cream, yogurt- and places his fork down, looking at Izuku in an accusatory manner.
“Did you fucking adjust the ingredients?” Katsuki asks, adopting a more threatening tone, the one he uses to address his co-workers under time constraints. It is also one that tends to instill fear to the general populace ranging from the ages of 5 to 50.
“N-no.” Izuku replies nervously, his expression one of slight terror. “But I grew the strawberries in my backyard and receive milk, eggs and yogurt from the farm down the street, so that might be the reason why the taste is different.”
Katsuki slowly finishes the cake in silence and puts his fork down. “This cake sucks shit.” He says haughtily, standing up to get his suitcase. “I’m going to head upstairs to unpack.”
“O-okay!” Izuku stammers, picking up the plate. “I’ll come up in a bit! Just have to wash this plate.” While Katsuki bangs his way upstairs (his steps are very heavy), Izuku walks over to the sink to wash the used utensils.
Huh, Izuku thinks to himself, scrubbing the plate, he didn’t even leave a single crumb behind.
The room Izuku shares with Katsuki is honestly quite roomy. His apartment in New York was the size of a washing machine, because despite the fact that Crème de la Crème was a huge international success, they skimped on providing suitable living spaces for their employees. (Budget cuts, they called it.) His bed is on the other side of the room, but he is still able to see Izuku and could probably reach him if they both stretched out their arms from their beds.
“What do you think? Pretty nice, right?” Izuku asks, opening the door. “I had to drive to the city to get you a bed frame ‘cause I didn’t think you’d want to sleep on a futon for the rest of your time here.”
Rather than thanking him for his hard work, Katsuki merely scoffs, his sharp red eyes glaring at Izuku. Izuku shrinks from his vision, and Katsuki feels his throat dry up when he looks at Izuku. “It’ll do.” Katsuki says, looking away. The corner of the room contains a bookshelf covered with baking recipes, Japanese novels and magazines as well as a long table with a laptop plugged in. The window is covered with the same cherry blossom patterned print from downstairs, and upon peering through the window Katsuki is able to see rows upon rows of bright green trees, the same color as Izuku’s hair. “So when does the pâtisserie open?”
“Actually, it’s already opened.” Izuku says sheepishly, looking at his hands from embarrassment. “There just usually aren’t any customers.”
“WHAT?” Katsuki growls, throwing his leather jacket onto the bed. “The situation is much worse than I thought it would be! This is horrible. Even though the cakes are fine, if there aren’t any customers, we’ll be wasting ingredients and losing money.”
At this, Izuku brightens up a bit. “You think my cakes taste fine?” He says, eyes glittering. The twinkling effect, coupled with his happy expression that came from the careless compliment Katsuki gave, makes him forget about everything for just a second.
“No, I didn’t say that. Shut up. You clearly have hearing problems.” Katsuki backpedals, mentally hitting himself for accidentally giving out a compliment as well as acting like a doofus. “Anyway, we have to control this. We need to make a plan to get customers, fast.”
“But first, why don’t I take you to see the neighbors?” Izuku suggests instead. “It can also be a promotional tactic! Not a lot of people are around here, so everyone knows everyone. Come on, Kacchan.”
That sounds fucking horrible, Katsuki wants to say, but he sees the hopeful glint in Izuku’s eyes and the way his pink lips pronounce his name- Kacchan- and it makes his mouth disobey his mind.
“Ochako, this is Katsuki Bakugou, and he’ll be working with me from now on.”
The poofy haired girl turns to look at Katsuki carefully, gazing at him from top to bottom. She eventually drops her gardening hoe to reach out for a handshake, her beat up gloves covered in dirt. “Hi! It’s Ochako Uraraka. I’m just here for a few weeks to help with my uncle, and I’m Izuku’s friend. We’ve known each other since before we both left Tokyo. I’m not a pâtissier, but we went to the same high school until he left.”
Katsuki doesn’t really do handshakes, but after some nudges from Izuku, he reluctantly reaches his hand to grasp hers. “Hi.” He responds curtly, retracting his hand almost instantly. “I’m here for a few months.”
After another silent period of Ochako observing Katsuki, she finally speaks. “You seem like a scary person.” Ochako replies. “Did you just come out of prison? You have a very aggressive vibe on you.”
“WHAT did you say, you son of a-”
“OKAY! Stop! Anyway, Kacchan just wanted to come and meet the neighbors.” Izuku intervenes with a nervous but placating smile and a hand on Katsuki’s arm. The contact causes a slight pinkness at the tip of Katsuki’s ears and a quick shake of his arm to remove Izuku.
"Well, whatever. Always good to see someone around my age. We should have oden sometime! Izuku, make sure to spend lots of time with… um, Kacchan, right?” Ochako asks, putting her index finger on her cheek in a questioning manner.
“Don’t call me that.” Katsuki says immediately. “It’s Katsuki.”
At his remark, Ochako’s grin only gets larger. “Aww. Okay. You two are cute. I’ll drop by the shop sometime! Save a slice of Angel’s Wings for me, alright? That one’s my favorite.”
“No problem, Ochako.” Izuku says, pulling out a notebook from his beat-up leather backpack and jotting her order down. “A slice of Angel’s Wings, correct? Anything else?”
“Umm… maybe some earl grey macarons? Ah, sorry, I meant three earl grey macarons. You like specificity.” Ochako says, picking up her gardening hoe. “Anyway, shoo! I have to work on this for now. I’ll swing by later today!”
“Bye!” Izuku calls out after her, watching as she becomes merely a small dot in the distance. “That went well, I think.” Izuku says to Katsuki, his expression bright. “We actually got an order today!”
“Yeah, sure.” Katsuki says, unconvinced at how successful they will become. “There better be more orders.”
Miracle of all miracles, they actually do get more orders. Most of the townsfolk are excessively interested in Katsuki, as he is a) a fresh face that none of them had seen before, b) an admittedly attractive fresh face that none of them had seen before, and c) he seemed to get along with Izuku, who happened to be the darling of the village.
“So where did you come from?”
“Your japanese is really good!”
“I am Japanese.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I work at Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème, which is precisely 1.2 km away from here, and our desserts cater to a large range of people from children to the elderly. This particular pâtisserie has international acclaim as well as the added benefits of having fresh, local ingredients and is run by both De- I mean Izuku and I, so you’ll be guaranteed our products are delicious, wholesome and up to par with the other pâtisseries that you’ll have to travel for around 10 kilometres to reach in order to get anythi-”
“How long are you staying?”
“I don’t know.”
“Will you come by for dinner sometime?”
“Hey, Kacchan,” Izuku says, his notebook full of pencil marks, “we’ve done a really good job today! This is the fullest our orders have ever been, and it’s all thanks to you!”
Katsuki looks at Izuku, his face glowing with excitement, and is a bit pleased that he is the source of Izuku's happiness. “I didn’t do jack shit.” Katsuki says, because he really didn’t. “I just gave one word answers.”
“But you know what made up for your lack of answers?” Izuku waits for Katsuki to reply, but Katsuki merely looks at him. Izuku sighs and continues, “Your confidence. It just fills up the whole room- well, in this case, gardening space, I guess. It’s just so in-your-face and commanding. It’s hard for someone to ignore you. That’s what I think is helping us, and I’m really glad you’re here, you know? I think it’s a sign that business will start looking up. Partners?” Izuku stretches his arm out, as though expecting a hug.
Katsuki looks at Izuku’s open arms and outstretched palms with a disgruntled expression. There is a certain limit to how many times he can have human contact in a day, but Izuku gazes at him with his infuriatingly starry, expectant eyes. At that precise moment, the wind brushes his fluffy hair back, revealing the pierced ear and the softness in his face.
Oh fuck, he sure is annoying, Katsuki thinks, and in the future he blames Izuku’s captivating self for causing him to do something incredibly uncharacteristic.
He leans forward and awkwardly loops his arm over Izuku’s back, giving him a noncommittal one-armed hug. There are a few beats of silence between the two, and- is Katsuki overthinking this?- he can feel Izuku’s heart speed up.
“U-um, Kacchan, I meant to do a handshake.” Izuku says shakily, his face turning red. At this, the tips of Katsuki’s ears become pink and he roughly pushes Izuku away from him, trying to calm himself down.
“I knew that, you asshole!” He huffs, his heart about to burst from his chest. “I-I was just… you were challenging me!”
“What?” Izuku says, his face bright red. “I- I didn’t mean to do anything, I swear!” He covers his head, as though expecting Katsuki to punch him. When nothing actually strikes Izuku, he slowly looks up from behind his arms and sees Katsuki’s hand in front of his face.
“Yeah. Partners.” Katsuki says awkwardly, his face looking away. Izuku looks at Katsuki with trepidation but eventually grabs his hand, pumping it up and down a few times. “However, if we’re assigning roles, I have the better position. You hear me?”
“Yes, Kacchan.” Izuku says, smiling slightly.
After Katsuki witnesses the grenade named Izuku’s Smile, he actually slaps Izuku's face to wipe it away.
Chapter 3: Planting Emotions
- All of the characters should be in their early twenties! It didn’t feel right for me to write about (technically) underage characters
- Also Izuku is still a plain-looking fellow like how the mangaka intended him to be, but Katsuki’s love for Deku makes him beautiful in his eyes ❀ beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.
The pâtisserie in New York had a building directly on top that housed all ten of the CLC workers, but they each owned their separate rooms with a tiny bed, tiny washroom and a tiny walkway down to the pâtisserie itself. They would wake up at 4 in the morning, pull on their uniform, and head downstairs to make preparations for the busy day that surely awaited them.
In Japan, Katsuki is woken peacefully by the honey colored sun rays and is greeted with the sight of Izuku snoring away in the bed beside him. He blinks his eyes blearily and reaches for his phone to check the time, feeling suspiciously refreshed and awake instead of having his usual desire for coffee.
There is a momentary heart attack as his brain registers the numbers 9:32 am.
“DEKU!” Katsuki yells, throwing a pillow at the happily slumbering boy. “Wake the FUCK up!”
“Huh?” Izuku gets up abruptly and looks at Katsuki, his drool sticking on to the side of his cheek. “Is there a fire?”
“No, you dumb fuck.” Katsuki says, hurriedly taking off his shirt. “Ugh, where did I put my uniform?” Katsuki mumbles to himself, rummaging through the closet. Izuku yawns and appears to be immune to the clattering noises Katsuki makes, instead choosing to snuggle deeper back under his fluffy white covers.
“Kacchan, your hair looks explosive,” Izuku says sleepily, his half-lidded eyes about to become completely closed, “you might need to get that gelled down.”
“Why the fuck are you sleeping again?” Katsuki says, finally locating his laundered white uniform. He pulls it on and fumbles with the buttons while trying to force his legs into his white pants, a multi-tasking skill that Katsuki hasn’t fully grasped. “We should have woken up five hours ago!”
“It’s Sunday.” Izuku says, burrowing deeper into his white bed. His hair makes him resemble a small bush in the middle of the North Pole. “No one works on Sunday here.”
“Is this France?” Katsuki says incredulously. “Is there a strike happening every other hour? I didn’t think so. Now get your ass up! If nothing else, we can prepare for tomorrow!”
“I know you’ve only been here for two weeks, but you have to realize this: the pace is quite slooooooooow here.” Izuku says, emphasizing on the ‘slow’. “I only worked last Sunday because you were so jumpy to get started on the job. You’re in a rush for no reason. Trust me.”
“I don’t trust anyone.” Katsuki says, pulling his pants in place. “Just get up and show me how to tend the garden, where to get milk, look over the special orders and also I need breakfast.”
Izuku yawns loudly in protest but manages to get up anyway, his sleep-covered eyes blinking slowly like a sloth. “Your pants are on backwards.” He says in lieu of a ‘good morning’.
Katsuki looks down at his pants, which are definitely not on backwards. “Are you mocking me?” Katsuki says, irate at being tricked.
“Hah! Got you.” Izuku says, smiling happily. “You’re so silly, Kacchan.”
“Fuck you.” Katsuki says, leaving the room. He hears Izuku saying “No! Come back! Don’t hate me!” but really he just needs a place away from Izuku and his stupid smile and obviously not-cute bed head.
“You are a very good chef.” Izuku says, chewing on the totally black toast Katsuki made. “Very, uh, ‘cooking is art’ of you. Is this toast avant-garde? Does the black symbolize the darkness inside of you?”
“Shut the fuck up, I didn’t know how to adjust your timer.” Katsuki says, groaning as another very burnt toast popped up. “Also, you take way too long in the bathroom. I was about to starve to death.” This is an irrefutable complaint- Izuku easily uses up an hour or so in the bathroom every morning.
“I was thinking about very complex issues.” Izuku says, placing the toast down on the plate as a way of politely declining the food. “I’ll make you stuff. Are omelettes okay?”
Katsuki nods in response, too busy manning the French press to care. The scent of coffee, mixed with the sound of freshly cracked eggs and sizzling butter, makes the perfect morning atmosphere. Katsuki realizes that he’s never had the time to just sit down with a friend (?) and enjoy breakfast- it was usually a frantic rush of preparing and yelling before the customers streamed in like a line of ants.
“Considering that you graduated number one at Yuuei, you really suck at savory dishes.” Izuku comments, flawlessly flipping the omelettes over. “How did you get by in New York?”
“Coffee, noodles, and bumming off of the food my coworkers have.” Katsuki says, frowning at the poor reception his phone was having. “Also, how did you know I was number one at Yuuei?”
Izuku remains silent for a bit, but eventually he turns around and smiles sheepishly at Katsuki. “I was also in Yuuei,” he says, “but not really as a student.”
“What.” Katsuki deadpans, unable to procure a Izuku-shaped figure in his memory. “I’ve never seen you there.”
“Yeah, it’s because, um...” Izuku says, handing Katsuki a plate covered in a tomato, cheese and spinach omelette. “I was an apprentice for one of the professors? His nickname was All Might?”
At this, Katsuki’s brain short-circuits.
“ALL MIGHT?” Katsuki repeats, his expression livid, “your mentor was ALL MIGHT and you neglected to TELL ME?”
“Um,” is all Izuku says before Katsuki grabs him, his fingers digging in painfully on his arms.
“He is practically the god of the pâtissier world. How the fuck- what- how did I not see you in his interviews?” Katsuki asks, leaning closer to Izuku’s face to double-check if he had ever seen his face before. The shorter boy almost yelps when their noses touch, but Katsuki doesn’t notice as he is too busy being excessively jealous that this green-haired blob was an apprentice of All Might.
“Well, I have been in a few, but I turn most of them down.” Izuku explains, his face turning pink. “They always pat my hair down so that it resembles a helmet, though. Maybe that’s why?”
Green helmet hair. Now that is an image Katsuki is vaguely familiar with. “You fucker.” Katsuki says, pouring coffee into a blue mug. “I’ve only ever seen All Might when he was judging the competitions back at Yuuei, and that was pretty infrequent to begin with.”
“He talked about you before, which is another reason why I know about you.” Izuku says.
Katsuki promptly drops his mug full of coffee on the floor. The hot coffee lands on almost every surface but Katsuki, as though even coffee droplets are afraid of hurting Katsuki.
“All Might talked about me?” Katsuki hates that his tone takes on an almost idolizing manner, but there is no way he can help it- All Might is, in one word, amazing. “What did he say?”
“Mostly that you had a lot of potential and that he could see you with a shop of your own.” Izuku hurriedly rushes over to clean up the broken mug shards, and Katsuki snaps out of it enough to pick up a few pieces as well, since it was his mess.
“He was the reason I took an interest in baking.” Katsuki admits, dropping the shards into a plastic bag. Izuku brightens at this and leans in closer, appraising Katsuki with newly found interest.
“He was my inspiration as well!” Izuku says, beaming. “I was so ecstatic when he took me in under his wing. I was… 15, I think. I joined a few competitions here and there and he happened to be at one of them. I never felt luckier.”
“You sick fuck,” Katsuki says, heart brimming with envy, “no wonder your desserts are so good.”
“What?” Izuku says, face flushed pink from embarrassment. “This is the second time you complimented me on my baking, you know.”
“I didn’t fucking compliment you!” Katsuki says, cursing himself for speaking so carelessly again. “I was complimenting… All Might’s teaching. Stop looking at me like that.”
Izuku stops smiling and covers his mouth, looking at Katsuki with anxiety. “You aren’t going to slap me again, are you?” Izuku asks worriedly, the brutal sting from a few weeks ago still fresh in his mind.
“I’ll punch you if you so much as take a glance at me.” This is not good, Katsuki thinks, feeling nervous Izuku looks away, I think I’m in a bit too deep. Katsuki feels a mix of adoration and nausea and decides to just change the topic entirely to avoid all emotions. “Okay, garden. We’re short on a few ingredients- what’s there in the backyard?”
“I’ll show you, but first, we’re going to need to change clothes.” Izuku says, getting up from the table. “I’ll lend you stuff to wear.”
Half an hour later, they’re both dressed in misfitting clothes, heavy-duty gloves and a straw hat for sun protection. Izuku carries a bucket full of fertilizer while Katsuki reluctantly holds the tool kit for shovels, watering cans and pruners. The backyard is a neatly arranged square- there are some flowers planted here and there, but it mostly consists of berry bushes, spice plants and a few flowering fruit trees. Izuku points to the side closest to them.
“It’s best if you just pick out the ones with the brightest color, of course. Strawberries should be in season so you can start there. I’m going to pluck out the weeds and sprinkle fertilizer afterwards.” Izuku says professionally, clearly used to the manual labor. Although Katsuki often went to produce markets to purchase the best ingredients for competitions, he had never actually harvested produce.
“Sure.” Katsuki says, trying to act like he knew what he was doing. “Seems easy.”
It is, unfortunately, the farthest thing from easy. Although the task itself is straightforward, he feels great discomfort in his thighs and back after a while of collecting. When Katsuki looks over at Izuku, Izuku seems right in his element, humming away while removing weeds. Izuku seems to notice Katsuki’s stare and looks over to send a nervous smile back.
“I’m coming over there, okay, Kacchan?” Izuku says, standing up and patting the dirt off of his pants. He carefully makes his way through the rows of berry bushes and places his weed bucket to the left, his right side almost touching Katsuki. They work in silence, Katsuki clipping off suitable berries with Izuku pulling out weeds in one smooth motion. Their speed slows down and dips into a snail-like pace, and although Katsuki would never admit it, he actually likes gardening with Izuku.
Izuku’s breathing is even and harmonious, and as he tucks his dishevelled green hair behind his ear, his earring with the number six on it glints under the sunlight. Katsuki gazes at his side profile, memorizing the way his bright green eyes look at everything with interest and how his cheeks have a sprinkling of freckles across his pale skin.
“Yes?” Izuku asks, turning around to stare at Katsuki. “Is there something on my face?”
“No.” Katsuki says roughly, embarrassed that he got caught. “I was not looking at your disgusting face. Your… earring. It catches the light from the sun and reflects it into my eyes. It’s distracting.”
“Oh, this?” Izuku points to his earring, and his eyes droop down a bit from sadness. “Oh… sorry. I would take it off, but, um… my dad, he passed away in June last year. Some sort of disease, we found out about it too late, blah blah blah. My story isn’t original. Anyway, I just have this to remember him by. ‘Cause June is the sixth month? So it’s really uncomfortable for me to remove it.”
Oh fuck. In an attempt to preserve Katsuki’s own self-dignity, he manages to be completely heartless and a total jerk, more so than normal, to Izuku. “Uh,” Katsuki says eloquently, “fuck, man.”
Katsuki wants to rewind the time and say anything- anything- besides ‘fuck, man’ as his consoling words. As a person, Katsuki is sorely out of touch with his sympathetic side, and that small fact has truly bit him in the ass today. Izuku, bless his heart, merely laughs at Katsuki's faux pas and pats his arm.
“Yeah.” Izuku says quietly. “Fuck is right.” They both snicker at Izuku’s sentence, and the mood is significantly lighter.
“He’s pretty much the reason why I’m working here.” Izuku continues while pulling weeds out neatly. “He used to run this shop when I was studying with All Might. Originally, I was supposed to work in Paris, but I couldn’t allow this branch of CLC to be removed. It’s… well, it kind of feels like the only thing I’m able to preserve for him.” His normally bright green eyes are glazed over with sorrow, but when he notices that Katsuki is still looking at him, he turns around and smiles widely instead.
“Anyway, it’s okay!” Izuku says cheerfully, methodically placing weeds into his bucket. “I still have my mom- she lives in a different prefecture, though- and my friends in the village, and most importantly, um... I have you, Kacchan. My partner. And I know you don’t really like me, but I do like you, and I’m very happy you’re here to work with me.”
There’s a feeling of warmth blooming inside of Katsuki’s chest, but he merely ignores it, wondering if it is due to the extended amount of time they spent in the sun. “Yeah, well, you’re not too bad. You’re a total nerd and a huge loser, but it’s… it’s okay when we spend time together.” Katsuki says gruffly, accidentally cutting an unripe berry in the process. “You’re not a bad person. But we are not friends.”
Izuku is oddly quiet for once, and Katsuki turns to look at Izuku, only to find tears dripping out from the corner of his huge green eyes. “Holy shit!” Katsuki yells, reaching into his pocket to search for something to wipe his tears with. In the end, Katsuki yanks off his gardening gloves and forcefully rubs his palm to remove the fat teardrops from Izuku’s face. “Why in the world are you crying?”
Izuku sniffles a bit before replying. “C-cause, I honestly thought that you hated me.” Izuku says, hiccuping while speaking. “You’re always telling me to look somewhere else and you hit me whenever I smile.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, you asshole.” Katsuki says, exasperated that he is actually enjoying the way Izuku cries. Fuck, even when he’s sobbing he does it prettily. “I don’t care about you enough to actually have such an intense feeling like hatred for you. You’re just a green blob.”
“But am I your favorite green blob?”
Katsuki covers Izuku’s mouth with his hand to make him stop talking.
Chapter 4: But I Like You
A few Sundays later, as Izuku busily prepares breakfast at 2 pm in the afternoon, a knock at the door brings him to the awareness that yes, he is running a store.
“Hello?” A voice drifts in. “I’d like to place an order?”
“Wow, Kacchan!” Izuku gasps, swivelling his head to look at Katsuki. “You’ve been here a month and we’ve gotten more business than I’ve received within the past year!”
“How the hell did you keep this place open,” Katsuki sighs, sipping his coffee, “also you’re still in your pajamas.”
Izuku looks down at his plaid pajama bottoms and white t-shirt before shrugging. “It’s okay, everyone knows everyone here.” He replies, removing the pan from the fire. He hums a bit and skips towards the entrance to open the door.
He is greeted with someone that neither of them recognize, a very tall and bespectacled male dressed in a neatly ironed suit. Izuku suddenly feels incredibly underdressed, judging by the fact that he hurriedly invites the male in and proceeds to hide behind Katsuki, as he happened to have the hindsight to wear his professional uniform.
“Welcome to Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème!” Izuku says cheerfully, his smile nervous. “I’ve never seen you before, are you moving in to town?”
“Oh, no I’m not.” The man says, shaking his head. “I’m Tenya Iida, I’m just here for the weekend. I heard that a branch of Crème de la Crème was all the way out here, and I was quite interested in trying the desserts.” He appraises Izuku’s pajama-clad self and coughs for a second. “I guess I came in at a bad time.”
“It’s not a bad time.” Katsuki says, motioning for Iida to check out the counter. The two of them had baked a fresh batch that very morning, so all the desserts were in prime condition.
Tenya looks over the desserts with interest, and ends up pointing at a few. “The Angel’s Wings and Snow Queen tart, please.” He says, glancing back at Izuku again. The short male decides to ignore the fact that he is currently dressed in home clothes and begins to act like the professional he is.
“Sure, of course!” Izuku says, grabbing his apron. He carefully pulls out the desserts from their snug homes and arranges it securely in the gold to-go box, placing a sticker to prevent the box from opening. “Is this for a special occasion?”
“My friend is getting married, and he wanted to try out different cakes, so he asked me to get something along the way.” Tenya hands over a few bills and balances the box carefully on his hands. Katsuki watches the man struggle for a bit before wordlessly handing over a paper bag. “Ah, thank you.” Tenya replies, placing the box inside.
“Oh! We will be eternally grateful if you choose CLC!” Izuku says invitingly, gesticulating towards the models of different cakes. “We can do a lot! If it’s not a standard cake, we’re also very good with croquembouche, macaron towers, you name it, we can do it. We’re, uh, a little tight on money here. Wedding cakes would be a very helpful order.”
“Is this location having trouble?” Tenya asks, sounding interested.
“Yeah, we barely have any customers, which leads to minimal media coverage… right, Kacchan?” Izuku addresses Katsuki, who is busy scrutinizing the tall stranger in front of them.
“Why do you want to know?” Katsuki asks doggedly, a little suspicious of Tenya. “Are you working for a different pâtisserie?”
“Kacchan!” Izuku admonishes him, a little horrified, “please, he’s just a normal office guy going to his normal wedding thing.”
“That sounds a little condescending.” Tenya says, miffed, “but no, I was just wondering. Well, I will let him know about your cake offer.”
“Also tell him he can get a 10% discount if he chooses Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème!” Izuku throws in, much to the chagrin of Katsuki. “We also do wedding favors and petit fours!”
“Thank you for the offers. Actually, I’ll give you my business card. You can call me if something comes up.” Tenya says, rummaging through his pocket for the thin paper.
“Okay! I’ll hand you ours too, in case your friend decides to take up on the offer. Kacchan, isn’t this just amazing? We might get a wedding order! I haven’t done one in such a long time!” Izuku says. As Katsuki is about to shoot a caustic reply back, he catches sight of Izuku’s green eyes, as animated and lively as fizzy pop. An excited glow surrounds the shorter boy, the frisson of elation that can only come because of one thing: baking.
It’s a feeling Katsuki is familiar with.
“Yeah,” Katsuki says, his voice lacking his usual edge, “it’s great.”
While Katsuki is decorating a rainbow quadruple-layered cake, Ochako walks into the bakery kitchen and taps his shoulder, her face one of utmost seriousness.
“Katsuki, it’s time you come and meet my aunt and uncle.”
He looks up from spreading buttercream frosting on a cake and sees the short figure of Ochako, her gravity-defying hair as bouncy as ever. Instead of her usual attire of a pink plaid shirt and sturdy gloves, she’s dressed in a casual t-shirt and a pair of jeans. “Did you say something?” Katsuki says, entirely uninterested in whatever she’s about to bring up. “Who are you, again?”
“It’s Ochako! Izuku’s friend?” Ochako says, clearly miffed at the lack of recognition. “Anyway, Katsuki, it’s time you come and meet my aunt and uncle.” She repeats, her face determined. “They’ve been wanting to see you for a while because they want to see what hooligan has started slumming with their beloved Izuku. They treat Izuku like he’s their son or something.”
“Yeah, I regretfully decline.” Katsuki says without even an ounce of regret. “I have more important shit to do. Like sleeping. Or working. Or maybe even just breathing.”
“We have photos of Izuku from when he was younger.” she says sneakily, and Katsuki almost drops his piping bag. “I don’t really know what you see in him, ‘cause he’s so plain, but he was a cutie pie in grade school. We were in the same class.”
“Why would I want to see Deku’s shitty photos?” Unfortunately, Katsuki really does want to see the photos, so much so that he even pauses with his icing job.
“Aw, don’t be like that! Don't you want to get to know your partner a bit better?" Ochako says, smiling in an almost motherly fashion.
"I don't like-" Katsuki runs his fingers through his hair, his face annoyingly warm. "I'm not interested in that kind of stuff."
Ochako looks at Katsuki carefully, and he focusses his attention at the cake, his bangs obscuring his ever-reddening face. After a few seconds of silence, Ochako grabs the sides of Katsuki's face, forcing him to look at her in the eyes.
"We’re making oden! Plus, Izuku’s going. Don’t you want to accompany him?” Ochako says, softly this time. "I mean, you two work so well together, and... I'm not blind, you know. You always look a bit starstruck with him around. Is it- dare I say it- a crush, Kacchan?"
“I don't have a fucking crush!” Katsuki explodes, crushing his piping bag into a pulp. He looks at the useless icing bag in his hands and has the oddest sense of déjà vu.
“Who’s not your crush, Kacchan?” Izuku asks, suddenly popping his head to peer into the baking kitchen. Izuku had just arrived at the bakery after a dessert delivery, and his hands are full of paper slips denoting future orders.
“Uh, no one.” Katsuki says hurriedly, discarding the useless bag into the trash. “Anyway, you poofy haired girl, no means no.”
“It’s Ochako! And Izuku, can you convince him to come to dinner?” Ochako whines, pointing a finger at a clearly disgruntled Katsuki. “He’s being a dick.”
“Well, when Kacchan doesn’t want to do something, he just won’t do it.” Izuku says, surprisingly lenient on Katsuki. Katsuki had thought for sure that Izuku would somehow finagle his way into making Katsuki come with, which makes him feel just the slightest bit disappointed. “Anyway, more importantly, Kacchan, can you make a delivery tonight? I’m going to Ochako’s so I can’t take the job.”
“Yeah, give me the order.” Katsuki says, reaching for the slip of paper in Izuku’s hands. There’s a shared look of conspiracy between Ochako and Izuku that goes unnoticed by Katsuki, as Katsuki is busy reading the order. “A simple chocolate cake? With pink icing that says “welcome”? Okay, I’ll get it delivered at 6.”
“Thanks, Kacchan! You’re a lifesaver.” Izuku beams, and Katsuki has to refrain himself from running over and pinching his cheeks. Or punching his nose. Whatever works.
“What the fuck is this.” Katsuki says monotonously, gazing at the the multitude of balloons, paper rings and a huge banner that says “WELCOME KATSUKI”.
“SURPRISE! That cake was for us to eat!” Izuku says, pulling Katsuki inside before he has the chance to run away. “Anyway, it would be nice if you could eat dinner with us. Ochako’s aunt and uncle are super nice, you know, and their cooking is much better than mine. So sorry for tricking you! But you wouldn’t come if we used any other way!”
Katsuki stares at Izuku’s imploring gaze and feels his determination to leave slowly crumble away. To save face, he punches Izuku’s left cheek, and Izuku looks up at Katsuki with surprise. “You know you deserved that one, asshat.” Katsuki says.
“No, it’s just. You didn’t use much force this time.” Izuku says, blinking. “It didn’t hurt, so I was…”
Katsuki is a little embarrassed that he had subconsciously suppressed his power before hitting Izuku. “Oh yeah? I can do it one more time.” Katsuki smirks, pulling his arm back to prepare himself for another punch.
“No, no! It’s okay! Come inside!” Izuku says hurriedly, grabbing his arm with surprising force. “U-um, everyone’s already seated at the kotatsu already, so we’ll just slip in inconspicuously, okay?”
When they reach the correct room, Izuku slides the door open, revealing the sight of two friendly looking adults along with the devil reincarnated, aka Ochako. There’s a bubbling pot in the middle of the table along with a set of two dishes placed side-by-side, presumably where Katsuki and Izuku are going to sit. In the background, the television plays a screening of a Japanese game show, and there’s soft music slipping out from the old-fashioned speaker in the corner.
“Wow! You must be Katsuki!” Ochako’s aunt says brightly, clapping her hands together. “Your eyes are even scarier than how Ochako describes them!”
“I’ll show you what scary really looks like.” Katsuki hisses, already adopting an offensive position. Izuku steps in front of the angry male protectively, smiling nervously at Ochako’s relatives.
“Aunty,” Izuku says, mortified, “please be nice to Kacchan. He’s a good person.”
“I’m just kidding, kidding!” Ochako’s aunt sing-songs, patting the empty seat beside her. “Have a seat, oden is pretty much ready!”
“I am definitely not sitting beside her.” Katsuki mutters to Izuku, and he already takes a seat far away from her as possible. Izuku hesitantly slips in beside him, and Katsuki visibly stiffens as the two of them are incredibly close together. If Katsuki moves even an inch, he will be brushing against Izuku’s body.
Dinner goes by without any further problems, and Katsuki manages to remain civil during the barrage of questions the Uraraka Relatives shoot at him, ranging from his ethnicity to where he saw himself working in ten years. (“Paris, with my own pâtisserie, surrounded by all of my trophies and certificates. And maybe a cat.”) After the rather uneventful meal, Ochako’s eyes lighten up sneakily.
“Ah right, Katsuki, you wanted to see Izuku’s childhood photos, right?” Ochako says, procuring a photo album out from nowhere. “Most of his are with me, but I have a couple that feature just him ‘cause my aunty and uncle love him more than they love me.”
“That’s not true, Ochako.” Her uncle says, chomping away at the boiled beef. “We love you two equally.”
“Wait, Ochako- why are you showing him my photos?” Izuku says in a flustered manner, his cheeks already turning pink. “Please don’t do this to me.”
Seeing Izuku act so agitated causes Katsuki to really, really want to see the photos. “Show them to me, puffy-hair.” Katsuki says, making a beckoning motion like how one calls a squirrel over.
“It’s Ochako.” Ochako huffs, but she walks over there anyway, squeezing in beside Katsuki and thus squashing him and Izuku together. Izuku’s fluffy head is nestled on Katsuki’s chest, and Katsuki can feel his hand placed directly on top of Izuku’s thigh, the heat from his legs warm and comforting. They rearrange themselves quickly, but not before Ochako’s aunt witnesses the whole interaction.
“Ah, to be young again.” Her aunt says, repeating the exact same words Ochako said a few weeks ago to the two of them. “So sweet. So pure.”
Katsuki chooses to ignore the passing comment Ochako’s aunt says and flips through the photo album, thoroughly enjoying how panicked Izuku is. He stops at a photo of a rather effeminate Izuku, his messy green hair past his shoulders and tied into two pigtails.
“Oh! That’s when we both entered elementary school.” Ochako points to the pigtailed Izuku in the photo. “He complained about how his hair got into his face, so I tied it up for him. For some reason he had a very, very long period of looking like a girl.”
“Hey!” Izuku protests, trying to grab at the photo book. Katsuki merely lifts the photo book above his head and cackles as Izuku is too short to reach for it. “I really hated going to the hair salon when I was younger, okay? And Kacchan, stop laughing at me!”
“Oh fuck,” Katsuki continues on snickering, “you really did look female.”
“Cute, huh?” Ochako says.
“Very.” Katsuki replies without thinking. There’s a moment of silence among everyone, and Izuku’s expression is a mixture of embarrassed and pleased.
“Y-you think I look cute?” Izuku says, his voice a tad hopeful.
“Well, back then, obviously!” Katsuki yells. “Obviously you look like a shithead now!” Even in his agitated state, Katsuki knows that he is already sinking deeper and deeper into the ground from pure embarrassment.
“Sure, sure.” Ochako says in a mollifying manner, her lips pulled into a sneaky smile. “We believe you.”
Katsuki really wants to leave.
Unfortunately, Katsuki never gets his wish.
“Stay overnight!” The Uraraka Family says, eyes as bright as their last name. “It’s late! We already have a room for you guys!”
The room is quite small, about the size of a toolshed really, and their futons are lined right beside each other without any gaps. Katsuki has the vague feeling that he has been set up.
“Deku, stay on your side.” Katsuki threatens, pulling his covers over him. Both of them are wearing a t-shirt they borrow from Ochako’s uncle and their own boxers, as they didn’t bring their pajamas on the sudden overnight trip.
“Yes, yes.” Izuku says, snuggling underneath his covers. “Good night, Kacchan.”
“Uh huh.” Katsuki says, turning away from the other boy.
Foreign environments always make Katsuki uneasy, and as the minutes tick by, he feels more and more awake. He rolls over and lies on his back, staring at the ceiling in lieu of sleep before he rolls to the side again to stare at the stain on the wall. After Katsuki tosses and turns for a bit longer, Izuku turns around and taps his arm, causing Katsuki to look at him.
“What.” Katsuki says. Their futons are so close that he can feel Izuku’s soft breathing on his pillow and the way his legs shift under the covers. He’s unused to such close proximity to the other- even in their shared room, they were often located at different corners, doing their own thing.
“You okay?” Izuku asks sleepily, reaching a hand over to pat Katsuki’s head. “Can’t sleep? There, there.”
Katsuki looks at Izuku, dumbfounded at what he is currently doing. “Are you petting me?”
“Uhm, no.” Izuku says, even though he is definitely petting Katsuki. “Uh… you’ll feel sleepier if you’re comfortable? Is this comforting?”
“Are you high?” Katsuki asks seriously, removing Izuku’s hand from his messy hair. “Did they slip something into your drink?” By they, he is referring to Ochako and Co.
“You know, the very first night you arrived in Japan, you couldn’t sleep either.” Izuku yawns after he finishes his sentence, and then looks at Katsuki with half-closed eyes. “Are you uncomfortable with new things?”
Katsuki gazes at Izuku for the longest time, so long that Izuku's eyes flutter shut from fatigue. He can see a constellation of freckles sprinkled across Izuku’s cheeks, and the way his eyelashes curl up naturally. The most infuriating part of all of this is that he feels the uneven beating of his heart against his chest.
You fucking nerd, he thinks, how dare you see through me. Katsuki really dislikes new things, new changes, just any sort of disruption that can meddle with either his plan or his life. One of the reasons why Katsuki likes baking so much is the organizational aspect of it, how the ingredients are measured by numbers and ratios. The reliable nature of recipes allow for plenty of room for experimentation, but at the same time propose a basic, foolproof framework for the dessert. There’s no way he can fuck up anything if he remembers the instructions, if he executes everything with excellent precision. This particular environment he’s in, sleeping in a stranger’s house, causes a severe dent in his original day plan, which was to go home and sleep in his own bed, to be far enough from Izuku so that he can still see him but not touch him.
“Kacchan?” Izuku speaks again, opening his eyes just a crack. “You recognize me, right?”
“Uh. Well, duh, fuckmunch.” Katsuki says slowly, unsure of what was happening. “Why?”
Izuku lifts up his covers, exposing his well-built legs and duck patterned boxers. For a brief second Katsuki thinks why didn’t I bring a condom, but then Izuku pats the empty space beside him with a sleepy smile on his face.
“I’m familiar to you, right? If you stay with me, you’ll probably fall asleep right away.” Izuku grabs Katsuki’s wrist to pull him over, shifting in his futon to make more room for him. His logic makes no sense, but for some incomprehensible reason, Katsuki obliges.
Katsuki slips under the covers with Izuku, and the shorter boy immediately clamps on to his arm, resembling a starfish on a fishtank. Katsuki looks at Izuku before hesitantly leaning over to bury his head into his hair, the soft scent of shampoo tickling his nose comfortably.
“Hey, Deku,” Katsuki asks, voice muffled by Izuku’s curly green hair, “you like me, don’t you?”
“I do…” Izuku mumbles back, his voice slowly disappearing.
It’s now or never, Katsuki thinks, and he swallows down the embarrassment he feels slowly making its way through his body. “In what way?”
“Isn’t it… obvious?”
“What?” Katsuki can almost feel his heart stop. “What way? Hey. Hey. Deku.” Katsuki nudges the boy, but when he does, Izuku merely lets out an anticlimactic snore in reply.
“You are a horrible fucking person.” Katsuki whispers, incredibly vexed at the outcome of the entire night. “You are honestly the worst human being alive and I should really punch you. But I won’t, because… I fucking like you. Unfortunately.” He wriggles in closer to Izuku and feels the incredible warmth emanating from the boy, wondering if he can even fall asleep beside a human heater.
Funnily enough, he sleeps like a baby afterwards.
Chapter 5: Sleep Tight, Angel
- Rather heavy on angst?
Katsuki wakes up to the inquisitive face of Izuku, the green haired boy blinking the stars away from his sleep-covered eyes. There’s a smear of drool down Izuku’s left cheek and eye gunk trapped in his eyelashes, but Katsuki’s stomach erupts into butterflies when he sees Izuku, his heart thumping away nervously against his chest.
“M-morning, Kacchan.” Izuku says, pushing Katsuki’s bangs away from his face. “Wow, your eyes are kind of bloodshot.”
At this, Katsuki closes his eyes again and grabs onto Izuku’s waist like a stuffed toy. If this is a dream, Katsuki thinks, pushing his head against the shorter boy’s chest, I don’t want to wake up.
“Kacchan?” Izuku says worriedly. “Are you okay? Do you feel sick?”
“I’m fine, you fucking nerd.” Katsuki growls, his voice muffled by Izuku’s shirt. “Just… five more minutes.”
“Oh, sure.” Izuku has his hands in the air awkwardly, unsure if he should wrap it around Katsuki’s body or not. In the end he places it on Katsuki’s head, his fingers playing with his hair softly. “Also, um, what are you doing in my futon?”
At this, Katsuki raises his head to look at Izuku, his crimson eyes flashing at him dangerously. “Do… do you not remember what happened last night?” Katsuki growls, his anger rising at a dangerously quick rate.
“I- I remember that you couldn’t sleep.” Izuku says slowly, his fingers frozen in Katsuki’s fluffy hair. “And, uh… that’s about it, I think.”
“So you remember fucking nothing.” Katsuki feels hot embarrassment trickle onto his face, fuming at his preoccupation with Izuku’s delirious words. Of course he didn’t remember anything- Izuku had been talking with sleep in his voice the entire time. “Great. Typical Deku.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” There’s an uncharacteristic edge to Izuku’s voice, and the two of them compete in a tense staring contest that neither of them want to participate in. When Katsuki opens his mouth to yell something rude, a yawn catches him off-guard instead, his eyes tearing up and causing him to look less threatening. Izuku’s expression mellows out and he suppresses a laugh, watching as Katsuki rubs his eyes from exhaustion.
“It means… you’re a clueless idiot.” Katsuki says, pulling the covers over his body. “And I’m going back to sleep.”
“But Kacchan, it’s one in the afternoon.” Izuku says, but he also crawls into the futon, adjusting his body this way and that before settling into the perfect position.
“It’s Sunday.” Katsuki replies, glancing at Izuku with his blood-red eyes. “No one works on Sundays.”
Izuku’s smile has the ability to light up the earth.
Although Katsuki has no idea what kind of ‘like’ Izuku has for him, he does know that Izuku seems to brighten up whenever Katsuki walks in the room, the fact that Izuku touches his arms and shoulders more often than before, and how, when Katsuki starts sleeping in Izuku’s bed like it’s his own, Izuku takes it all in stride and lies down beside him. They sleep together more often than not, Katsuki with his excuse of “I like hot places, and you’re fucking boiling”, and Izuku smiling happily at the sorry excuse.
They settle into a delicate boundary of not-quite-friends, but a phone call from one Tenya Iida shatters the previously simple relationship they had worked hard to cultivate.
“Oh my god oh my god oh my god,” Izuku says nervously, staring at his ringing cell phone with anxiety, “he is actually calling.”
“Answer it, your ringtone is annoying.” Katsuki says, irritated at being distracted from work. He’s currently tempering chocolate on the counter to make the texture smoother for their best-selling piece, Devil’s Advocate, a three-layered cupcake with a surprise lingonberry jelly center inside. At the very least, it was their best-selling piece back in New York. In Japan, the term ‘best-selling’ is never synonymous with ‘Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème”.
“Right, of course.” Izuku wipes flour off onto his apron and answers the phone call with a tentative, “hello?”
“Hi, Izuku.” Tenya’s smooth voice drifts out from the phone, and Izuku quickly puts the call on speaker mode. “It’s Tenya, from a while ago? I gave your cakes to my friend.”
“Oh! Awesome. What did he say?” Izuku says nervously, his floured fingers gripping his apron tightly. Katsuki stops his chocolate process and listens as well, praying for an order to descend from the heavens.
“He loves them! Actually, I tried a bit as well, and they were such delicious cakes! A big hit with both of them, of course. And the discount certainly doesn’t hurt. They asked for you guys to make the desserts for the entire wedding.” Izuku almost squeals from excitement but stops after Katsuki shoots him a look that says, remain professional, Deku.
“Ah, of course! Thank you for choosing Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème.” Izuku says, hands fumbling to grab his notebook. “Can I ask for details about the wedding? Date, location, number of people?”
“Well, um, it’s actually next week. It’s super last minute because the couple postponed getting stuff done as they’re… well, they say that they were busy, but honestly it’s just because they’re lazy.” Izuku and Katsuki look at each other, both aghast at the thought of creating a complete wedding order in a week. “There’s around a thousand people attending as well… oh! And they really wanted to take you up on the offer of a croquembouche, if possible.”
“Deku, you fucknut.” Katsuki groans and leans against the counter, only to remember the liquid chocolate still remaining on there. He immediately retracts from the table, but his white uniform is stained with dark chocolate. “Ugh, chocolate stains. Also, you gave us a near-impossible task.”
“Shh.” Izuku says, putting a finger on his full lips. “Remain professional.”
Katsuki hates himself for thinking that Izuku looks cute with that pose.
“Okay! Just email us the details and we will get started.” Izuku says into the phone. “Thanks, Tenya!”
After Izuku hangs up, his expression changes into one of utmost seriousness. “Okay, we clearly need a game plan here,” he says, flipping through his notebook for a blank page, “as it’s a thousand people, if we assume that each person will have around 3 small treats each and 2 small cream puffs from the croquembouche, we need 5000 servings of desserts, not including the potential wedding favors, dropped food and the number of sugar-filled children. So 5000 would be the minimum, we should at the very least multiply that number by 20% due to the number of confounds that may occur during the entire procedure, and-”
“Woah, back the fuck up.” Katsuki says, holding his hand up. “Your mumbling is intense. I’m going to finish tempering my chocolate, and then we can discuss about this wedding order from hell that you roped us into accepting.”
Izuku smiles sheepishly and slows down his pace of pen scrawling. “Sorry, this is kind of what I do.” He admits, looking at his scribbled handwriting. “I’m more analytical. I find that it gets the job done quickly and well.”
Katsuki looks over at the notebook, the one Izuku uses for juggling orders, designs and every little thing in between. The sight of Izuku, the happy-go-lucky bumbling idiot, maintaining intense concentration and hard work gives Katsuki a sense of newfound respect for Izuku, the kind of acknowledgement given only to a select few. The pages are worn out and completely scribbled over with black ink, and he notes the old smudges of honey and strawberry jam on the corners of the paper.
“Do what you will.” Katsuki says instead, scraping away at the counter. “We’ll kill this wedding.”
“I don’t think kill is a good term to use, but yeah! We’ll definitely do a great job.” Izuku says, looking at Katsuki happily. “Just have to wait for the email now.”
Katsuki has always worked better under pressure- the time constraints, the tension in the atmosphere, and the almost dangerous battlefield of the patisserie world fueled his days and provided him sustenance during the night. The massive order from Tenya was right up his alley, and even though he had never tried to complete an order (recently) with only two people, he had often been part of a small team to finish elaborate baking plans for competitions.
Izuku and Katsuki are, however, a pretty horrible team together. Whereas their strong points remain in their efficient movement, detail-oriented nature and stellar understanding of the nuances of baking, they had clashes here and there over design layouts.
“He fucking wanted Versailles, not Game of Thrones.”
“Your rose is weird, Kacchan, the petals are not equal.”
“What the fuck is that color, Deku? That is turquoise, not mint.”
“Can you make your gold leaves smaller, they kind of overpower the balance I was envisioning for the petit four.”
During the bickering, Katsuki also secretly notes some techniques off of Izuku, and he has no doubt Izuku is doing the same. His own (very few) faults are made up for by Izuku’s deft hands, and he adjusts the small problems Izuku makes after the boy leaves to work on something else.
They argue profusely over the menu for days but settle on a mixture of soft and crispy desserts, ranging from soft puddings to blue sugar crystals. When they’re drizzling caramel sauce onto the huge croquembouche tower, Izuku’s eyes threaten to close every five seconds, but Katsuki ignores it, his brain focussed on sprinkling generous amounts of powdered sugar onto the cream puffs.
Eventually Izuku’s legs give in and he accidentally drops a carton of milk on the floor, the white liquid seeping into his clothes.
“Hey!” Katsuki barks, rushing over with a towel. “What the hell? That’s fucking wasteful!” He hurriedly dabs the towel onto Izuku’s face, wiping his freckled complexion clean of milk. Izuku looks at him with dazed eyes, and Katsuki suddenly realizes it’s 3 am in the morning and the fact that they hadn’t slept since two nights ago.
“Okay, you’re going to bed.” Katsuki orders, hoisting his arm over his shoulder. “You hear me, Deku? It’s sleep time for you.”
“B… but what about you, Kacchan?” Izuku says slowly, his limp legs making a valiant effort to walk. Katsuki lets out a noise of frustration and struggles to push the tired boy through the kitchen door.
“I’ve been through worse.” Katsuki replies, remembering the sleepless nights at the New York branch. His life in America felt a million years away, when it had only been two months ago. “I guess you’re not used to this.”
“Last time I did this… was when I was with All Might.” Izuku lets out a huge yawn that lasts for several seconds while Katsuki tries to bring him up the stairs. “It was a competition! It lasted for several days. And… I love it. I love doing this. But this was before… my dad passed away, though. Then I had to work here. I’m stuck.”
“You’re stuck?” Katsuki pushes the doorknob to their room open and forces Izuku to sit down on the bed. He begins to unbutton Izuku’s milk-soaked uniform while Izuku gazes far off into the distance, his eyelids drooping shut.
“I’m stuck… here.” Izuku says, shrugging his uniform off. Miraculously, the t-shirt he wears underneath is milk-free, so Katsuki is saved from ripping all of his clothes off. “Stuck working here.”
“I thought you liked working here, with your gardens and shit.” Katsuki rummages through Izuku’s closet to search for his cotton pajama top, but ends up giving up after he realizes Izuku's wardrobe is a mess. When he turns around, Izuku has already flopped down onto the bed and is currently staring at Katsuki with alarmingly wide eyes. “Why are you staring at me?”
“The moonlight is directly on you, Kacchan.” Izuku says, a whisper of a smile on his face. “You’re glowing. You look like an angry angel.”
Katsuki looks over at the mirror on the table and sees himself drenched in the soft light of the moon, his skin the color of whipped cream. His normally ash-blond hair is almost a translucent white, and in the background he can see the incredibly round moon hanging lowly in the night sky, as though it might fall off the horizon from its sheer weight. He’s a tiny bit flattered at being compared with an angel, but the angry bit makes him scowl from Izuku’s words.
“That is fucking rude.” Katsuki sits down on the edge of the bed and pulls the covers on top of Izuku’s body, and he wriggles delightfully under the warmth of the bed sheets. “Well, you look like a baby caterpillar.”
“I like caterpillars.” Izuku says sleepily. “They’re small and fuzzy.”
“Like you.” Katsuki can’t help but add, running his fingers through the wavy strands of Izuku’s hair. Izuku does not seem to mind the contact- in fact, he leans his head into Katsuki’s hand, his eyes about to flutter shut.
“I want to be in… Paris.” Izuku says softly, his voice almost imperceptible underneath his blanket.
“Paris?” Katsuki repeats, his hand still hidden under Izuku’s green locks. “What about Paris?”
Izuku looks at Katsuki blearily and rubs his eyes to get rid of his sleepiness. “Your dream, Kacchan.” Izuku says longingly, his eyes looking a million miles away. “The pastry shop in Paris. The awards. The… pet cat. It’s what I want. I want that too.”
“Well, Deku, no one’s stopping you.” Katsuki says, watching as Izuku flits between slumber and consciousness. “You can fucking do it if you want- you’re All Might’s apprentice, for fuck’s sake.”
“I can’t let this store… collapse.” Izuku says determinedly, his fingers gripping onto the bed sheets. “I can’t… I just…”
Katsuki watches as his knuckles turn white from his tight grasp on the sheets, his hands trembling from… fear? Pain? Maybe something even worse? Izuku lets go of his hold on the blanket and slowly reaches his hand over towards Katsuki’s, but he stops right before they touch, his eyes a bit wet. Without even thinking about it, Katsuki reaches over to grab his hand, his bigger one clenching Izuku’s until he slowly stops shaking.
“If I leave, the store… will be gone.” Izuku continues. “My parents are… divorced, and I lived with my mom when I was younger. My dad lived here. I came here every summer to visit. He planted those strawberry bushes. Those cherry trees used to be so small, you know. We… we grew everything together.”
“Oh.” Katsuki’s unused to being the shoulder to cry on, and so he has no consoling words to say; he does, however, possess the ability to hold Izuku’s hand while Izuku continues to speak.
“I can’t seem to shake this place off.” Izuku smiles wryly. “I want to… I need to. But if I leave… who will watch over this place?”
There are a few tears that bundle up at the edge of Izuku’s eyes, and Katsuki wipes them away before they’re able to fall down his face. He thinks back to the days he spends together with Izuku, remembering the infinite number of smiles he sends towards his direction even when Katsuki tells him not to. He had feared his heart will hammer against his chest and escape into the open.
Nothing is as heartbreaking as seeing Izuku cry, though.
Katsuki gathers up his scrambled-up thoughts, unsure if they’ll help or possibly damage their relationship. “Hell if I know.” Katsuki says, his voice sharp in the quiet night air. “But if you feel like you’re being suffocated here, you should seriously leave. Follow your passion, is what they say. And if your passion is in fucking Paris, you should go there, not stay in Japan. You’re entrapped by… okay, sorry, by a ghost. He’s not here anymore. Your dad is not here anymore.”
Izuku looks almost frozen in place, his hands squeezing painfully on Katsuki’s fingers. “I… I know.” Izuku says softly. “I know it’s irrational. But… not yet. I can’t go just yet.”
Katsuki sits beside Izuku for a few minutes and listens to his gentle breathing. When Katsuki thinks that Izuku’s finally asleep, he struggles to open his eyes, his mouth parting to speak again.
“I was going to… die from… loneliness, you know.” Izuku mumbles, his fingers shyly intertwining with Katsuki’s hand. “Before you were here. Ochako is busy most of the time, and I… I wasn’t close with many people in this village. But you arrived. And you are very, very important to me, Kacchan. I need to let you know that. You’re… amazing. You’re so talented… much more than I am. You’re better than me in so many ways. But. Is it wrong for me to, want to be with you? Even though I am… so much less?”
Katsuki feels his chest wrench open, spilling out the small butterflies that had been festering inside of him all day. His heart beats erratically against his body and threatens to crash through his body, and he has to grab onto his shirt to avoid hyperventilating. “You… I’m only going to say this once, so listen to me.” Katsuki says roughly, his hand still holding on tightly to Izuku’s. “You are fucking talented. You’re crazily, no, threateningly good. If it wasn’t because we work at the same bakery, I would hate to see your face. So don’t ever degrade yourself like that again. Only I can talk shit about you, you fucking nerd.”
There’s a small smile on Izuku’s face at Katsuki’s sentence. “You’re so crass, Kacchan.” Izuku murmurs, burying his head closer to Katsuki’s thigh. “But I know you’re a softy inside.”
“Only for you, you shitty idiot.” Katsuki says, and Izuku’s hands grip onto his tightly for the rest of the night.
Chapter 6: Let's Get Married
- Alcohol consumption
- Bit of verbal persuasion to cause someone to drink alcohol
Katsuki turns around and sees Izuku cradling his head in his arms, his face a vibrant red. “What is it, shithead?” He says, carefully rolling the chocolate ganache over melted white chocolate.
“About last night.” Izuku finally retracts his arms away from his face and stands beside Katsuki, his hands moving to sculpt the ganache into perfectly round mounds. “Thank you for… well, everything. I’m not usually like that.”
“Not true.” Katsuki replies simply, sprinkling almond slivers over the truffles. “You’re always crying.”
Izuku accidentally crushes the chocolate ganache in his hands after hearing the accusation, and he hurriedly pieces the broken bits in his hands. “I-I’m not always crying!” Izuku protests, his expression indignant. “I just… I have overactive tear glands. It’s not my fault.”
“That means it’s entirely your fault, you fucking nerd.” Katsuki says, placing the completed truffle onto the baking tray. “I’ve seen you cry far too often, and I order you to stop.”
“That is the worst thing you can say.” Izuku hums a bit under his breath, and he passes the ganache into Katsuki’s hands so that Katsuki can place it into the melted chocolate. Their hands brush against each other, and Izuku’s fingers hover over the Katsuki’s palm for a few seconds.
“Yes?” Katsuki doesn’t realize he’s holding his breath until he’s suddenly overcome with the desire to breathe, and he yanks his hand away, his heart frantically pulsing within the oppressive borders of his body. “Got something to say?”
“You… uhm…” Izuku looks bashful, or embarrassed, or on the verge of tears- Katsuki isn’t too good at deciphering his expressions. “No. It’s nothing.”
Katsuki, however, has a lot to say. He wants to tell Izuku about how much he likes his smiles, how he loves waking up to the sight of Izuku’s slobbering face, how Izuku’s movements while he’s baking look like he’s swimming through the milky way. He wants to tell him that he’s never liked someone like this, as though his whole world is bubbling like shaken cream soda and is just as rosy-colored. He wants to tell him that he doesn’t have many people he likes or trusts, but Izuku happens to fall into both of those categories. He wants to kiss him. And then take off his clothes. And then maybe do some more.
But Katsuki doesn’t know how to express his feelings and he’s bad at talking, so he just stands beside Izuku, trying valiantly (but failing) to focus purely on the chocolate in front of him instead of the much sweeter boy beside him.
“This place is…”
“Gross, pompous and douchebaggy?”
“I was going to use the word ornate but yes, those words work too.”
Katsuki and Izuku arrive at the wedding venue a few hours before the event is scheduled to start, their van of desserts threatening to melt under the warm sunlight. The bride and groom, a couple by the names of Toru Hagakure and Mashirao Ojiro, wave at them frantically from the embellished front door of what was presumably, a castle.
“Hi!” Toru says gleefully, her hair twirled up into an elaborate updo. She has her makeup ready for the wedding, but she’s still in a button-down shirt, a skirt and a pair of flats, resembling an off-duty model. “You’re the couple who makes the desserts, right? From Crème de la Crème?”
“Um, we’re co-workers.” Izuku corrects her hurriedly, his face a tad pink. “And yes, we’re from CLC, thank you again for choosing us for your wedding!”
“Tenya did say that you two are like, a shoo-in for cutest couple. Right after Mashirao and I, of course!” Toru slaps Mashirao’s arm playfully, and her soon-to-be-husband merely smiles at her tenderly. The duo radiate love.
Katsuki is both disgusted and little bit jealous.
“So, where do you want your petit fours?” Katsuki says instead, rolling up the sleeves of his uniform. “The matcha puddings will melt if they remain in the van any longer.”
“Oh, right, of course!” Mashirao says, clapping his hands together. “So if you’ll follow us into the hotel, we can direct you to the ballroom to set it up.”
“So it’s not a castle after all.” Izuku whispers to Katsuki, the two of them trailing after the couple. Katsuki takes in the huge crystal chandeliers, the gold-enameled walls and the Italian renaissance-themed furniture with a bit of a grimace. “This carpet is so red. I feel like I’m at the Oscars.”
“So here’s the ballroom!” Toru gestures towards a room that can easily fit a few football stadiums inside, and Katsuki’s jaw almost unhinges at the luxurious nature of the silver-streaked marble columns, oil paintings depicting rosy-cheeked cherubs and purple velvet tapestries. Even the floor looks like it’s been waxed and covered in crushed diamonds. “You can set up the chocolate fountain here, and we’ll take the croquembouche tower over there, and we need sugar crystals inside every vase on every table- there are, I believe, 500 tables in total- matcha puddings on the table over there, you can place the caramel truffles here-”
“Okay, got it.” Izuku cuts in frantically, his eyes reflecting the panic he’s feeling inside. “Why don’t you, um, write it down? We’ll get it done.”
“Of course, of course!” Mashirao says, his hands placed on Toru’s shoulders. “And- if you guys don’t mind- when you’re done, you should definitely join us at our wedding.”
“Won’t we be infringing?” Izuku says, but his expression is one of absolute joy. “Are you sure?”
“I’m not a-” Katsuki begins, about to say not a huge fan of weddings, but Toru cuts in before he can finish his sentence.
“Of course, come join us!” She says cheerfully. “We happen to have a few empty seats available because of last minute cancellations. And as an added bonus, we’ll let you guys give a speech! You can promote your pâtisserie if you’d like. You gave us a discount, and on top of that we only gave you a week to finish our order. It’s only right.”
At the word promote, Katsuki looks up interestedly. “Definitely a speech?” He says.
“Yeah, definitely.” Toru says, giving a thumbs up.
“Fine.” Katsuki agrees, and he hears Izuku suppressing a squeal of delight beside him.
When Izuku descends down the staircase in his suit, Katsuki suddenly feels like he’s at prom again, watching as his then-girlfriend walked down in a beautiful red gown. She was a vision to behold, a femme fatale- like a movie actress. Izuku, however, with his star-covered eyes and shapely ass, is so pretty he sparkles. Izuku tugs at his messy hair nervously, unsure of what to say when Katsuki is staring at him so intently.
“Is something wrong?” Izuku finally says.
“You’re...” really fuckable right now, Katsuki thinks. “You’re a fucking mess. What’s up with your tie?”
“My tie?” Izuku looks down at the incorrectly knotted tie, and he scratches his head with embarrassment. “Oh, I’m not good at tying… ties. It’s okay, it’s not a big deal.”
“Hand over your tie.” Katsuki says, making a beckoning motion. When Izuku looks at him questioningly, Katsuki sighs and clucks his tongue from annoyance. “I hate sloppiness. I’ll do it for you, you dumbfuck.”
Despite his acidic words, Izuku looks pleased. “Really? Thanks, Kacchan!”
The mood is awkwardly intimate while he helps Izuku redo his tie- Katsuki is standing directly behind him and can smell his shampoo, a mix of citrus and mint and some other concoction of good. He knows that Izuku can feel his breath because the shorter boy shivers a bit whenever he exhales, and he can see the little piercing on his ear. He purposefully takes his time with the tie, and when he finishes he pulls the tie smartly in place.
“The color of the tie.” Katsuki says suddenly. “The… green. It suits you.”
Izuku is so caught off-guard by the compliment that he actually chokes on his saliva in a very unpretty-manner. After a few seconds of coughing, he’s recovered enough breath to reply. “Th… thank you, Kacchan!” He says, beaming. “You look really handsome in a suit, you know!”
Katsuki can feel a sudden warmth spreading across his face, and he hurriedly covers his face with his hands to prevent Izuku from seeing the unsightly blush on his complexion. “You fucking nerd.” He says without malice, turning away from Izuku. “Idiot.”
He doesn’t see how pink and flushed Izuku’s face is.
“Shouto,” Katsuki whispers frantically into his phone, “I have it bad.”
“Are you in jail again?” Shouto says, heaving a dramatic sigh. “Do you need me to bail you out?”
“I’m not in fucking jail!” Katsuki says, lowering his voice when a well-dressed couple turn around to look at him. He’s currently in the outskirts of the ballroom, hiding behind a purple tapestry to avoid seeing Izuku. “That only happened one time! Anyway, I’m just… I have a really, severe… I like someone.”
“Is it ‘something-ku Midori-something’?” Shouto asks interestedly. In the distance, Katsuki can hear the sound of a torch, the indication that Shouto is currently in the kitchen.
“Are you making crème brûlée?” Katsuki asks, frowning a bit. There’s a sudden rustling at the edge of the tapestry, and Katsuki holds his breath, willing the person to go away.
“I am, yes.” Shouto says calmly, clicking the torch shut. “You happened to call while I was at work. And is it ‘something-ku Midori-something’?”
“He will remain anonymous.” Katsuki says immediately, cursing inwardly when the rustling doesn’t cease. In fact, someone seems to be actively prying the tapestry open.
“So it’s a guy.” Shouto deduces.
“Ugh, you caught me.” Katsuki whispers, edging away from the stranger rummaging through the curtains. “What should I do?”
“Just don’t get drunk.” Shouto says sagely. The red-and-white haired boy seems to be chopping something up at the other end of the line. “You know what happens when you get drunk.”
Katsuki is, unfortunately, very familiar with what he does when drunk. “I’m a pervert when I drink, I know.” Katsuki says when the tapestry is suddenly whipped to the side.
“Kacchan! I’ve been looking for you everywhere!” Izuku says, pouting a bit. “What the heck? Why are you hiding in a tapestry?”
“Did he just call you Kacchan?” Shouto’s voice sounds infuriatingly amused. “Are you hiding in a tapestry?”
“Uh, fuck you, you didn’t hear anything.” Katsuki says hurriedly, ending the call with Shouto.
“Toru and Mashirao says we can just walk around if we want, they already said their wedding vows so it’s really just partying right now.” Izuku says, thrusting a glass of champagne into Katsuki’s hands. Katsuki looks at the bubbling yellow drink and swallows nervously, remembering Shouto’s warning.
“I have low alcohol tolerance.” Katsuki says, handing the glass back. “One sip and I’m out.”
“But it’s a party!” Izuku insists, pushing the glass firmly into his hand. “It’s okay! We can get drunk today! I have low alcohol tolerance too.”
“It’s really not-” Katsuki protests, but his sentence is cut off by a shout from across the room.
“Katsuki, Izuku!” Tenya calls out, a tall figure decked out in an expensive-looking black suit. “You made it!”
“Oh! Hi, Tenya!” Izuku yells, waving his hand. He tugs at Katsuki’s black sleeve and points at Tenya, seeming to temporarily forget about the whole drinking situation. “Kacchan, we should go say hi. It’s nice to see a familiar face.”
While Katsuki doesn’t really give a shit about glasses-man, he’s grateful for the distraction and begrudgingly agrees. The duo make their way through the crowd of well-dressed socialites and approach the bespectacled man, Tenya’s left hand grasping a flute of champagne while his right is balancing a plate of petit fours.
“Everyone’s been gushing about your desserts.” Tenya says, motioning to the happy faces of wedding guests. “I’ve seen at least a hundred photos of your desserts on Instagram.”
“Wow! Finally, media reception!” Izuku says brightly, clapping his hands together. “This entire event is such a blessing. Thanks again for introducing our cakes to the bride and groom!”
“No problem.” Tenya says, picking up the truffle and popping it into his mouth. “You guys are truly excellent at what you do. I’m sure you’ll make it big soon.”
“That’s a guarantee.” Katsuki says confidently, his red eyes flashing and bright. “The pâtisserie world will be mine.”
“Am I included in that equation?” Izuku asks, scratching his face awkwardly. “I’m your coworker, you know.”
Katsuki resists the urge to yell, of course, you dumbass! “We’ll see.” He says instead, smooth as butter. Before Izuku can protest, the emcee taps the microphone a few times on the raised podium in front.
“Hi! Ahem, cough cough, mic test one, two…” The emcee at the front of the stage talks cheerfully into the microphone and dramatically points to the marrying couple. “So let’s get this wedding party started, shall we?”
Unanimous cheers and whoops from the audience bring about a lighthearted atmosphere, and Izuku joins in with enthusiastic clapping. The performance proceeds without a hitch, and the wedding couple look like they’re about to bubble over from happiness. Toru’s dressed in a wedding gown that’s fit for a princess, and Mashirao holds onto her hand tightly the entire time in case she trips over her stiletto heels.
“Honestly, I know people grow more and more disenchanted with weddings, but I quite like the idea of it.” Izuku says suddenly, taking a small sip from the glass of champagne in his hands. “You know how some girls dream about their weddings? I was one of them. Except, well, I am clearly male.”
“What?” Katsuki says, surprised that Izuku was sharing this detail with him. He’s not sure what the proper protocol is- does he ignore Izuku’s rambling, or ask a question back? Katsuki decides to remain silent, but Izuku takes this a sign to continue speaking.
“I had a life plan and everything.” Izuku sighs, staring off wistfully into the distance. His face is a bit pink from drinking, and he is clearly teetering into the territory of tipsy. “What about you, Kacchan? Do you want to get married?”
Katsuki severely does not want to open up about himself. He hurriedly shoves a truffle into his mouth and chews until he can no longer postpone the question. “Eventually.” He says warily. “My relationships always end up as a huge fucking catastrophe, though.” He thinks back to the mess of girlfriends and boyfriends he’s had in the past, mostly people who had asked him out, not the other way around.
“Oh, what happened?” Izuku asks, looking at Katsuki sympathetically. Katsuki grips the edge of the table uncomfortably, and his face betrays the anxiety he feels at answering the question.
“I’ve had… a few, but they really only asked because they liked my face.” Katsuki says, his anger rising just thinking about them. “They’re dumbasses. I was number one at Yuuei as well, so I had a pretty promising future ahead of me. I think they wanted to tame me or some shit like that. Anyway, everything crashed and burned when they actually got to know me.”
There’s absolute silence for a few seconds, and Katsuki doesn’t want to look at Izuku for fear the boy would look at him with pity. Katsuki doesn’t even know why he had accepted their confessions- it was probably a mixture of flattery and disbelief, him being surprised that anyone had actually wanted to date him. It gave him a good enough reason to go to school galas and balls, but other than that, dating sucked.
“That is fucked up.” Katsuki is unused to hearing Izuku swear, and when he turns to look at the Izuku, his face is absolutely livid with anger. Not even a trace of pity flicker through Izuku’s eyes. “I can’t believe this! You are honestly so wonderful, Kacchan. I’ve never met anyone like you before. You remind me of a firecracker- mesmerizing to watch, explosive to the touch, warm during the cold days. And I love firecrackers.”
“What?” Katsuki says, blinking a bit. “Are you...?”
Are you in love with me? Katsuki wants to ask, but he accidentally nudges an empty champagne glass onto the floor, the crystal smashing into a million pieces. They both ignore it, too engrossed in the conversation to bother cleaning it up.
“Huh? W-What?” Izuku stutters, his eyes wide. “Is something the matter?”
Katsuki feels himself getting a grip on his emotions again, and he abruptly turns around, too embarrassed by Izuku’s outburst to even look at him. “Uh.” He sounds like an illiterate dumbass, and Katsuki chugs down a glass of water to calm himself down. “It’s…”
He swallows down all the things he can’t say.
Thankfully for Katsuki, the emcee chooses that very moment to speak, the polite applause a sign of a new speech coming up.
“The bride and groom will be up on the stage soon,” the emcee declares over the microphone, “but before we hear their lovely words, they have requested for a different couple to come up first- please allow thunderous applause for the adorable and talented bakers from Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème!”
Katsuki had never felt so much embarrassment showered upon him in a single day before, and judging by the redness in Izuku’s cheeks, Izuku is feeling similar emotions. They awkwardly walk up onto the stage amongst cries of “aww, cute!” and are handed the microphone by the winking emcee. Katsuki gazes at the crowd of sharply dressed guests, their faces all focused on the duo, and he wonders if the guests are going to become potential customers.
He is definitely not thinking about the way Izuku looks under the sparkling chandeliers, how his bright green eyes glimmer and his smile as damaging as the first time he had ever laid eyes on him.
“We just wanted to thank you for everything that you’ve done.” Toru says lovingly, the girl a stunning vision in a cloud of white. “Especially because you’ve pulled this together in a week! Everyone, please check out their bakery sometime in the future!” She gazes at the two of them expectantly, and Izuku awkwardly reaches for the microphone, parting his lips to make a speech.
“Ah, yes! We are the Japanese branch of Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème, and we are always open for business. My name is Izuku, and this is my partner, Katsuki! We look forward to seeing your faces in the future.” Izuku says charmingly, appearing to be perfectly sober. “Thank you so much for an invite to your wedding, and I hope everyone continues to have a good time!” Loud applause quickly follows after Izuku finishes speaking, and Izuku smiles bashfully. Katsuki, not liking the lack of attention, plucks the microphone out of Izuku’s hands and says:
“Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème is great for all occasions and is a force to be reckoned with in the pâtisserie world. There’s no better choice than our pâtisserie and boulangerie for your catering needs. Also, free samples.” At this, the crowd cheers loudly, along with a “hear, hear!” from one of the guests. “Anyway, see you guys at our pâtisserie soon.”
As the two of them walk off the podium, Izuku grabs onto Katsuki’s shirt sleeve, his eyes sparkling with admiration. “Man, you were so cool up there!” He gushes, the previous false sobriety wearing off. “So laid-back, yet domineering. The perfect balance.” His fingers run up Katsuki’s arm hesitantly, and he freezes in his tracks.
“Yes?” Katsuki says, staring at Izuku’s hands suspiciously. “What are you doing?”
“I want to show you something.” At this, Izuku pulls Katsuki out of the ballroom and closes the large wooden doors, his face developing a small smile. “I mean, you want this, right?” Izuku begins to unbutton his suit and takes off his jacket in a clumsy manner. The crystal chandeliers above illuminate him, revealing the almost transparent nature of his dress shirt, and Katsuki stops breathing.
Time trickles by like sinking sand in an hourglass as he watches Izuku rummage through the silk lining of his coat, eventually procuring something bottle shaped- lube, Katsuki thinks stupidly- and definitely liquidy.
“I swiped two travel-sized vodkas from the waiter!” Izuku declares proudly, his face beaming at Katsuki. “I noticed that you barely drank today, so I thought you should finish these both. I mean, it’s not fun to drink by myself. Unless you really, really don't want to.”
Katsuki’s heart begins to return to its normal pace, and he looks away, a little disappointed that it wasn’t something else. “Deku, I... it's probably not a good idea to drink. I like drinking, but.” Katsuki says, trying to avoid eye contact with Izuku. “We have work tomorrow. And you wouldn't want me to be incapable of moving my limbs, do you?”
“We can close the bakery if needed. It’s a celebration, Kacchan.” Izuku says, smiling at him with an almost tender look on his face. “Besides, if you’re hungover, I’ll take care of you.”
“I don’t need someone to take care of me.” Katsuki says hurriedly, feeling himself succumb to the tantalizing offer of vodka. Katsuki can see Shouto in the back of his mind, mouthing the words you're a pervert when you're drunk, Katsuki. You probably shouldn't accept the vodka.
“But I want to take care of you.” Izuku’s face is alarmingly close to his, and his arms are wrapped behind Katsuki’s neck, drawing their bodies into a tight hug. Katsuki isn’t sure if it was his heartbeat that was quickening or Izuku’s, and he feels his sense of willpower crumble from the imploring gaze of Izuku.
"I'll take you up on that offer, then." Katsuki murmurs, yanking the bottle of vodka out of Izuku's hands. Before Izuku can say anything, Katsuki manages to pour the entire contents of the travel-sized blue vodka into his own mouth.
Chapter 7: Will You Kiss Me?
- The atmosphere I want for this story is akin to a person swimming in a cotton candy cloud- I want it to be sweet and mostly cheerful (occasional angst), but I definitely don’t want anyone to feel triggered or hurt while reading my story. Critique is always welcome!
- Still under the influence of some alcohol
- No smut or anything though, you may proceed
“This was a mistake.” Katsuki says, leaning against the wall for support. His vision is incredibly blurry, and all he can see is a floating green fluffball following him around like an insistent puppy. “Leave me alone, Deku.”
“You’re incredibly not sober.” Izuku says, his arm struggling to pull Katsuki upright. “I didn’t realize you were this much of a lightweight. I’m so sorry for offering you the drinks now. Do you want to go home?”
“I want you to leave me the fuck alone.” Katsuki growls, feeling his heart race at the brief contact from Izuku. He can feel himself slowly growing hot, and he angrily yanks off his tie, unbuttoning his jacket with hurried fervor. “Fuck, why is it so hot in here?”
“I can get you water- ah!” Izuku yelps when Katsuki throws his tie at his face. He shrugs off his suit jacket and leaves it in a crumpled heap on the floor before walking away in a daze. Izuku picks up the jacket and runs after Katsuki, who is remarkably agile for someone so intoxicated.
“No.” Katsuki says stubbornly, throwing his shirt onto the ground too. After he removes the top part of his clothing, he feels a bit cooler, and he relishes the comfort of the icy air conditioner. “Just… leave.”
“I don’t know why you want me to leave so badly.” Izuku says, his hands full with Katsuki’s discarded clothing. “And you should really- um, put on a shirt. Y-you’ll catch a cold.”
Katsuki turns around and catches Izuku staring at his exposed torso with admiration and- is that a blush forming on his face? There’s a feeling of self-satisfaction blooming inside of Katsuki, but he refrains from smiling from the emotion.
“Are you ogling at me?” Katsuki asks incredulously, drawing a look of embarrassment from Izuku.
“Um, a little bit, I guess?” Izuku says, frantically hiding his face behind Katsuki’s clothes. “I-in my defense, you’re half naked! And… you’re really… you’re really built, Kacchan. Geez, do you work out in secret or something?” The words stir up Katsuki’s heart and- to his horror- it also stirs up a knot of lust around Katsuki’s crotch.
“Okay, get your fucking cuteass self away from me.” Katsuki says rudely, sliding down the wall and sitting down on the plush red carpet. “I’m drunk. You’re not safe.”
“C-cute?” Izuku squawks, his blush deepening in color. He shakes his head furiously and walks over to Katsuki, who is currently cradling his legs to his chest. “I’m not cute. I am… I am many things, but… not cute.”
“Shut the fuck up, you… fuck.” Katsuki grumbles, grabbing his hair awkwardly. “I hate you so much.”
“Oh.” Izuku looks downtrodden, his eyes drooping a bit from the sentence. “Sorry. I should have…”
“No. No.” Katsuki’s words feel like marbles in his mouth, and he’s having a difficult time getting them all out. “I hate you. I hate your stupidly adorable antics. Like when you scratch your face when you’re nervous. Or that you’re always writing down notes in your little notebook thing- my god, it’s covered in stains, get a new one or I’ll get one for you. And stop looking at me with your… eyes. Your eyes. Fuck. I can’t breathe when I see them. The green is the exact same color as the trees. And the grass. Even our fucking couch. I can see you in everything.” Katsuki swallows, his pants feeling uncomfortably tight against his swelling penis. He makes sure to wrap his arms even tighter around his legs, looking away from Izuku due to two things: mortification, and to prevent himself from running over and kissing him-
Kissing Izuku. Just the thought of it makes Katsuki’s heart race- their lips touching, his heart singing- and he buries his head into his legs, his face turning into a brighter shade of red. “It’s nothing. Forget everything I just said, or I’ll kill you.” Katsuki’s voice is muffled, and Izuku crouches down in front of him to hear him better.
“I- Kacchan.” Izuku says, his trembling hand reaching over to Katsuki before pausing in mid-air. “Do you- um, does that mean… what are you trying to say?”
“Nothing, nothing. It’s fucking nothing. Nothing.” Katsuki says this over and over again, as though he can eradicate his feelings for Izuku just by repeating it enough times. “Nothing.”
I feel nothing for you, he wants to say. He wants to lie. He wants to detach himself far away from Izuku before Katsuki obliterates this relationship- just like how all of his previous relationships ended with a bang, an explosion, a colossal argument where every word felt like needles punctured through his skin, and settled down into a barricade around his heart. He doesn’t want to pick up his own shattered mind and mend it together again.
Katsuki is tough, but he can only handle so much rejection.
“It's not nothing.” Izuku says, his hand hesitantly running through Katsuki’s messy hair. The familiar contact cools Katsuki’s head a bit, and he collects up his tangled thoughts, his worried state making way for a more soothed mindset.
“Why are we always petting each other’s hair?” Katsuki asks quietly, remembering when he caressed Izuku’s head when he was in pain, and the time Izuku softly grazed his fingers through Katsuki’s hair to help him sleep.
Izuku laughs at this, and Katsuki lifts his head up, his blood-red eyes looking at Izuku with a mix of irritation and curiosity. “I guess it’s how we communicate.” Izuku says with a gentle smile. “It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me what you’re thinking about, Kacchan. I don’t want to push you. We can go home if you like, and we can just scrap this conversation.”
Initially Katsuki wants to agree to his suggestion, but- maybe it’s the alcohol- Izuku’s face seems to be covered with a cloud of stardust, all glittering and mysterious and just as gossamer-thin. Katsuki frowns and tries to swat the tiny galaxy away, but fails miserably.
“Why are you always covered in stars?” Katsuki murmurs, and Izuku is thoroughly confused at this point. “You look so…”
Mesmerizing. How are you even real? How are you in my life?
“Kacchan?” Izuku actually slaps Katsuki’s face, trying to wake Katsuki up from whatever reverie he is currently in. Katsuki clutches the left side of his face, the boy dazed from the pain Izuku inflicts on his cheek. “I’m going to grab some water, but I’ll be right back.”
“No.” Katsuki says, his hand instinctively reaching out to grab Izuku’s suit lapel. He manages to drag Izuku down to look at him eye-to-eye, his herculean strength still apparent even after a few shots of vodka. “I… I have something to tell you. Even if it wrecks… this.” Katsuki gestures to the general area in between the two of them, unsure of what to call their relationship.
“Oh. That sounds… quite grave.” Izuku says worriedly, reaching for Katsuki’s hand. Katsuki loosens his grip on the other boy’s shirt and savors the warmth of Izuku’s palm on top of his. “But Kacchan, I don’t think anything you say can really ruin us.” His brain is blank as he sees the sincere look on Izuku’s face, and he recalls how Izuku is always compassionate and kind and never pushy. Izuku, with his past full of scars and eyes full of wonder. Izuku, the face Katsuki sees right before he falls asleep and wakes up to first thing in the morning. Deku.
“I want to kiss you, Izuku.”
The words flow out of Katsuki’s mouth before he even realizes.
“K-kiss?” Izuku squawks, his face showing both shock and excitement. “Me? You want to kiss… me?” Oddly enough, Izuku doesn’t seem adverse to the idea; his tone merely reflects surprise. “Are you sure? Wouldn’t you want to kiss someone better-looking?”
“That’s a stupid fucking question. No, I don’t want to kiss anyone else but you. You’re such a fucknut.” Katsuki releases his grasp on Izuku’s shirt and places his face into his palm, inwardly cursing himself for telling the truth. The only good thing about this whole situation is that the vodka coursing through his blood is not making him into a sex-crazed maniac for once- just an honest maniac.
“Um…” Izuku sits down in front of him, wincing as the pins and needles in his legs slowly dissipate. “I certainly wouldn’t… I don’t mind. Like kissing on the cheek? How the French do it?”
You fucking numbskull, Katsuki wants to scream, not a kiss on the cheek. A kiss on your mouth. Who the fuck asks for cheek kisses?
“What?” Izuku blushes visibly, his pale complexion becoming rosy in color. “You want to kiss my mouth?”
Katsuki realizes that he actually did scream his inner thoughts aloud.
“M-me? Really? This is so… so sudden.” For some reason, Izuku starts to freak out, his arms dropping Katsuki’s clothing onto the floor. His hands are placed on both sides of his face, and his blush goes all the way towards his ears, making him resemble the color of cherry blossoms. The whole scene is painfully endearing, and Katsuki wants to escape this mess he’s dug himself into.
“Um, I haven’t… it’s been a while since I kissed someone.” Izuku confesses, fiddling with his shirt sleeve nervously. “But, why?”
This is a fair question that Katsuki isn’t ready to answer. “I can’t… just say no already if you don’t want to, goddammit.”
“That’s not it!” Izuku yells suddenly, startling him. “If you want to, Kacch- Katsuki. I would be very happy to kiss you.”
I would be very happy to kiss you.
Katsuki feels like he had just been punched in the gut. By an angel.
“Really?” Katsuki didn’t even recognize his own voice- it sounds too quiet, too delicate, like it’s woven from cobwebs. “Seriously?”
“Katsuki.” Izuku says, sounding exasperated. The way Izuku pronounces his name is too much for Katsuki to bear, and he’s not sure if he likes his nickname more or his real name at this point. “It’s fine. I, well. I like you a lot. You’re probably one of the only people I would do this for. Of course I would like to. Should I just… is it okay if I’m sitting here?” Izuku says, closing his eyes anyway. Izuku waits expectantly, his face transitioning from a light pink to pure red from embarrassment.
Too many things are happening at the same time- like you a lot… Katsuki… I don’t mind… I would be very happy… very happy… very happy…
To kiss you.
“Yeah, stay right there you fucking nerd.” Katsuki whispers, his hands on Izuku’s shoulders. “You better not be fucking with my feelings.”
He slowly leans down, and he can feel Izuku’s body tremble with nervousness from underneath his hands. Annoyingly enough, Katsuki can also feel his own hands shake tensely, and he tries to force himself to remain calm.
“Are you shaking, Kacchan?” Izuku suddenly asks, his eyes still squeezed shut.
“Mind your own business.” Katsuki says lowly, his eyes trying to memorize this moment, where it’s just the two of them in an opulent hallway, seemingly alone on earth.
Their lips touch, and Katsuki’s world is spun out of orbit.
Izuku’s lips are soft. And his eyelashes are long. And his face is so pink Katsuki can mistake it for a heart-shaped sugar candy. Izuku's eyes remain shut, but Katsuki gazes at him while they kiss, feeling the way Izuku’s arms slowly wrap around his back and relishing in the soft breaths he exhales. Katsuki reaches one hand behind Izuku’s head and runs his fingers through his curly green hair, and he briefly wonders if this is what heaven is like, to kiss the one he likes, to breathe in the clean scent of Izuku and to embrace him within his arms.
Eventually he wonders if he can push his luck, and he opens his mouth a little, slowly sliding his tongue into Izuku’s mouth. To his utter surprise, Izuku reciprocates eagerly, and the way he uses his tongue is practically sinful- the soft, wet cavern of Izuku’s mouth envelopes him seductively, and Katsuki has to suppress a moan from escaping his throat.
“You’re good at this.” Katsuki can’t help but be impressed, having half-expected Izuku to possess the kissing skills of a mule.
“I’ve had a few, um… I have experience.” Izuku says, his fingers gently running across Katsuki’s back. His touch is both comforting and incredibly sexual, and Katsuki can feel himself succumbing to Izuku’s hands. “You taste like blue raspberry, Kacchan.”
“It’s the vodka.” Katsuki murmurs, placing his forehead against Izuku’s. His head feels incredibly heavy, and he’s beginning to see two Izukus as opposed to one. He briefly thinks that a world with double the Izuku is the kind of world he wants to be in. “Deku, I’m going to… sleep.”
“Oh, go ahead. I’ll take you home, don’t worry. Good night. Sweet dreams, Kacchan.” Izuku says, smiling sheepishly at Katsuki.
“Good night, love you.” Katsuki murmurs without thinking, his head relaxing onto Izuku’s shoulder.
The last thing Katsuki sees is Izuku looking like he’s about to bubble over from happiness.
When Katsuki wakes up the next morning, the night before feels like a blurry, beautiful dream that he never wants to leave. He blankly gazes at the ceiling for few minutes, reminiscing about the warm, soft lips of Izuku against his own chapped ones. It takes a lot of effort for him not to scream to the whole world that he, Katsuki Bakugou, received not one, not two, but multiple kisses from Izuku Midoriya.
Somehow he feels like he’s won a trophy.
After his initial thoughts, he suddenly remembers telling Izuku that he loved him.
“Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck,” Katsuki whispers to himself, smothering his head with a pillow, “what the fuck have I done?” His brain pulsates uncomfortably, indicating that a raging hangover is in session, and the incessant pain is not helping him with his current dilemma. He grabs onto his head with a groan and rolls over on his pillow, suddenly noticing that he is very much alone in his bed. He looks at the empty space beside him, the area that Izuku usually occupies, and he wonders if the reason why last night was so dream-like was because it really was a dream.
“Kacchan?” Izuku says, popping his head into the room. Izuku is already dressed in his baking attire, the gold-hemmed CLC uniform dusted with flour. Katsuki looks at him through his bloodshot eyes, trying to focus his vision onto Izuku. “You’re awake?”
Did I tell you that I love you, Katsuki wants to say, but all he manages to say is, “Yes.”
“I’m making frittatas. You love them, right?” Izuku says, smiling softly at Katsuki.
Did you say it back, Katsuki tries to voice, but he eloquently replies with, “They’re okay.”
“I’ll be downstairs!” Izuku sing-songs, looking like he's in an extremely good mood.
Are we anything, Katsuki forces himself to say, but his words become a single, mono-syllabic, “Uhhh.”
Katsuki flops back down onto the bed, feeling breathless, hopeless and functionless.
Despite everything that’s happened, Izuku manages to act almost the exact same as usual. Almost being the key word. For one, Izuku is a lot more comfortable with Katsuki, the boy casually taking off his clothes in front of Katsuki and seeming to revel in the way it made him turn his head away abruptly. For another, Izuku acts incredibly happy, humming and skipping while working with pink cake batter. The humming gets so intense, in fact, that Katsuki has to put his foot down and tell him how annoying it is.
Izuku switches to plain singing instead, his clear voice refreshing to hear on a sunny day.
They’ve never defined their boundary- what are we, Katsuki thinks to himself, especially on nights when Izuku is clinging onto him like a child with a stuffed animal. What are we?
Izuku never explains, and Katsuki never asks. He’s unsure if he should feel relieved that Izuku didn’t hear his brief declaration of love or disappointed that nothing has happened since that day, which was, consequently, around a week ago. He didn’t confess, after all- he had just requested for a kiss, and then promptly blacked out. He needed to get his feelings through.
This was not that day.
When they’re working on heart-shaped French lavender macarons, Katsuki takes sneaky glances at his coworker, watching as Izuku consults his notebook to double-check on the recipe. Inside Katsuki’s bag is a brand-new notebook that he had bought on a whim for Izuku, just a plain black one with spiral coils, but for some reason Katsuki is exceedingly nervous to give it to him.
Calm down, you fucker. Everyone was scared of you in Yuuei. Katsuki thinks to himself while sifting flour and almond meal. It’s just a notebook. You can give it to him. He’ll be okay with it. You’ve dealt with far more challenging things. Like jail. Fights. You’re strong. Stronger than this.
Suddenly Katsuki realizes that he is giving himself a pep talk just to hand a gift over to his crush, and he wonders when did he revert to being a seven-year-old again.
“Hey, Deku.” Katsuki says, placing his sifter down onto the marble table. Izuku looks up from whisking the batter, and he has powdered sugar all over his arms. “I have something for you.”
“You got a gift for me?” Izuku sounds both amazed and hopeful, and his eyes shine under the kitchen light. “It’s not even my birthday or anything, though.”
“It’s not a- not a gift, it’s really small, wait. Here.” Katsuki has to rummage through the bag he always has beside him, and he procures the simple notebook, handing it over to Izuku. “I already said your notebook is gross. Have a new one.”
Izuku’s eyes glisten a bit at the edges, and he carefully takes the notebook from Katsuki’s hands. “Oh my gosh, Kacchan. This is so thoughtful.” Izuku flips to the first page, and he covers his mouth to prevent himself from squealing. “You left me a note?”
To Katsuki’s utter dismay, Izuku begins to read the note out loud. “To the fuckmunch- I’ll see you in Paris. From Kacchan. My god, you signed your name off as Kacchan.” Izuku laughs a bit, but tears start to leak out from the sides of Izuku’s eyes, and he hurriedly wipes them away with his sleeve.
“Why the fuck are you crying?” Katsuki says uncomfortably, whisking the dry ingredients to avoid looking at Izuku directly. “You’re such an idiot. You’ll get your salty tears in the batter.”
“This is… thank you so much, Kacchan.” Izuku has been with Katsuki long enough to discount the vulgar sentences he says, and he merely hugs the notebook from delight. “Actually I’ve been running out of pages, so this is really helpful. And… I don’t know about Paris, but I would love to see you there, because, I mean, I love you too, Katsuki.”
At the word love, Katsuki loses all balance and he actually has to hold on to the marble counter to prevent himself from falling. “What did you- what- the fuck?” Katsuki spits out, but Izuku merely skips away, singing as he walks up the stairs to their shared room.
After Izuku leaves, Katsuki accidentally loses his grip on the table and he falls to the ground, his head spinning from confusion.
“He heard me?” Katsuki mutters, stuck between feelings of anger and euphoria. “Or is he just fucking with me? Did he hear me? Love? Like love between family members? What sort of love?”
Katsuki ends up burning the lavender macarons from being inattentive.
Chapter 8: We Can Try
“Wow, what the fuck,” Katsuki trips over nothing, “ow, fuck, shit-” and then he proceeds to drop his carton of eggs onto the floor, “is there a fucking ghost tripping me or what-” before finally crashing face-first into the arms of Izuku.
“You’ve been very clumsy these days, Kacchan.” Izuku says, his smile as pure as a sparkling river on a sunny day. “That’s the fifth carton of eggs you’ve dropped today.”
Katsuki feels like a child being tended by the preschool teacher, and he hurriedly pushes Izuku away, straightening his dirtied uniform with as much dignity as he can procure. “I’ve just been. Thinking. About things.”
“Think about them without breaking stuff, okay?” Izuku squeezes Katsuki’s hand in a reassuring manner without a second thought, and Katsuki is torn between holding Izuku’s hand forever or shoving Izuku away from him. Before Katsuki can even decide what to do, Izuku makes the choice for him, letting go of his hand awkwardly.
“S-so, I think I’ll just head out to the garden, I’ll see you later!” Izuku says hurriedly, pulling his hair with his index and thumb. “Um, have a safe… be safe in the kitchen, okay?”
“Am I going to get attacked by a broomstick or something?” Katsuki scoffs, picking up the abandoned red bowl of egg whites. “I am a fucking grown man. You don’t need to hover over me like a worried mother.”
At this, Izuku has an offended expression on his face, his hands clenched in a fist beside him. “You’re usually rude, but you’re being extremely mean today.” Izuku says in a miffed manner, turning to walk away. His fluffy hair bounces with every step he takes, and Katsuki glances at his retreating back through the corner of his eye. When Izuku finally leaves the kitchen, Katsuki leans against the wall and groans pitifully while half-heartedly whisking the egg whites.
Katsuki does feel snappier than usual, but it’s mostly because of Izuku- when isn’t it his fault, anyway, Katsuki grumbles to himself- and how he causes everything to be drenched in some sort of wonderfully hazy filter. Unluckily for Katsuki, Izuku hasn’t brought up the kisses, or the I love you’s, or any of the other examples of utter sappiness that exists between the two of them.
Katsuki toys with the idea of bringing it up first, but when he thinks about opening his mouth and spewing out the multitude of romantic bullshit that Izuku reminds him of, he can feel his soul crumble a little bit inside. Katsuki is all ego and no emotions- or at least he was.
I can’t last like this. Katsuki thinks, pushing his hair out of his eyes in an irritated manner. I can’t just stay in this limbo with him. Something has to go.
Katsuki places the red bowl onto the table and leans against the wall, dejectedly trying to think of a good enough idea to make the both of them happy. He can’t exactly carry a boombox out into the garden and ask Izuku out on a moonlit adventure, but he has to ask him out somehow. In a decent enough setting. Something more amorous than just saying “hey, Deku, date me” while they’re waiting for the cookies to cool from the oven.
I’ll think about this later. Katsuki decides, feeling himself slip from his position from the wall. He tries to stand up, but he accidentally skids on the incredibly clean floor (which he had vacuumed himself, ironically enough) and lands on the broomstick beside him, causing them both to fall to the ground.
“Fucking Deku.” Katsuki curses, his arms still latched onto the broom.
Katsuki is still thinking about potential ways to ask him out on a date (1. A letter? 2. Through text? 3. Write ‘go out with me’ with icing on a cake?) when he realizes that the pancakes he’s currently making are becoming three large, charred pieces.
“Oh, fuck!” Katsuki yells, trying to scrape off the blackened dough from the pan. He looks down at the ruined breakfast, feeling a bit mournful at the dead pancakes. He might have ruined the pan as well. “Oh, fuck.” He repeats listlessly, throwing the pan into the sink. “Fuck.”
“Are you okay?” Izuku says suddenly, appearing out of nowhere. Katsuki almost jumps from surprise but manages to steady himself, turning around to look at him. Izuku’s name tag is pinned upside down on his uniform, and Katsuki fixates his gaze onto the tag to avoid looking at Izuku directly. “You don’t look so good.”
“Here’s a tip, don’t ever say that again.” Katsuki replies brusquely, running his flour-covered fingers through his hair. “I’m fine.”
“You’re fin- okay, sure, keep on lying to me.” Izuku’s tone borders on hostile, and Katsuki is caught off-guard to hear him being angry, to say the least.
The thing about Izuku is that he’s incredibly perceptive, and Katsuki has witnessed this over and over again during their interactions with the other civilians. When they’re out shopping, Izuku asks if the honey-seller’s back is aching, and the woman proclaims that she has felt an odd pain recently. When they go visit Ochako, Izuku looks at her carefully and remarks that she should drink some ginseng tea to help with her fatigue. The slightest difference in Katsuki’s behavior is picked up by Izuku’s finely attuned senses, and Izuku looks at him with nothing but worry in his eyes.
“Just… not having a good day.” Katsuki admits, running hot water over the pan. He can hear Izuku’s footsteps approach him rapidly, and Izuku abruptly turns the faucet off, whirling Katsuki around to make them face each other. “What-”
“Tell me what’s wrong.” Izuku practically pleads, his hand gently placed on top of Katsuki’s wrist. “You’ve been pretty upset for a while. Is it my fault? I mean, we’re… we’re, um… we’re close, right? You can tell me if I did something.”
Watching Izuku scramble for words to describe their teetering relationship is oddly endearing, and Katsuki feels himself release the tension trapped within his shoulders. He leans back against the sink and appraises Izuku carefully, observing how Izuku twists his apron within his hands.
“It is your fault.” Katsuki mumbles. “It’s about the night at the wedding.”
At this, Izuku’s face flares up into a rather intense red, and he tries to cover his face. “Oh. Um, if you didn’t like it, we can just pretend it didn’t happen-”
“Did you like it?” Katsuki asks, pulling Izuku’s apron towards him. Izuku stumbles a bit before he’s only inches away from Katsuki, and they’re both staring at each other, Izuku’s blushing expression facing against Katsuki’s own red face. He feels almost feverish from the contact, and Katsuki kind of wants to put an ice pack on his forehead.
“Yeah.” Izuku whispers, his expressions flitting from self-conscious to happy to expectant, trembling a bit as Katsuki’s face approaches his.
“Do you want to... ” Katsuki finds himself unable to say the word kiss, but Izuku understands him completely, and the tips of their noses touch.
“Without a doubt.”
A loud knock at the door makes them both jump from the noise, and the sound causes a fracture in the previously perfect atmosphere. Izuku pries Katsuki’s fingers off of his apron but keeps them in his hands, the warmth of their palms comforting to one another. Izuku looks at Katsuki's strong fingers and neatly-trimmed fingernails before speaking again.
“We should probably get that door, huh?” Izuku asks, his face still speckled with remnants of a blush.
“Yeah.” Katsuki replies, but the two of them remain rooted in place until the knocking becomes incessant. Katsuki lets go of his hand first this time, and Izuku hurries to the door, his cheerful voice proclaiming ‘welcome!’ to the customers arriving into the pâtisserie.
Figuring out feelings will have to wait until after work.
There’s a couple at the door- a girl with short, bobbed hair and a listless expression on her face looks around the small bakery interestedly, running her fingers along the glass cabinets. Her companion, a tall male with wheat-gold hair and a pair of headphones around his neck, walks beside her as they chat about the desserts.
“Welcome.” Katsuki says succinctly, walking to stand at the cash register. Izuku follows closely behind, giving a wave when he sees the duo. The girl first looks up at them, glances downwards to her cell phone, and then finally back onto their faces.
“Hey, you’re Katsuki, right?” She says, checking her cell phone screen again. “You were at the heiress’ wedding?”
“What heiress?” Katsuki replies, reaching under the cabinet to pick up a menu.
“Toru.” The boy supplies helpfully, his smile bright and good-natured. “Hagakure Toru? Heiress of Bananapple, the clothing company? Her wedding was featured in Ingenium’s blog article.”
“What the fuck,” is Katsuki’s brilliant reply. Izuku comes to the rescue, attempting to do some damage control on the incorrect customer service Katsuki is implementing.
Not that it’s entirely Katsuki’s problem, of course; he had some suspicions that the wedding couple had to be either wildly rich or wildly famous, but he hadn’t expected the bride to have full control over Bananapple. Katsuki’s jeans are purchased from that store.
“Who knew that she was that impressive, right, Kacchan?” Izuku says, his hand reaching over to grab the menu from Katsuki’s slack grip. “Then again, her wedding was extravagant.”
“We got invites to go, but Denki was busy at his electrical company.” The girl says dismissively, pointing towards her companion with boredom on her face. “She married that cute pet store owner, Mashirao, right? Anyway, Ingenium says that your desserts are top-notch, so we’re here.” Izuku hands the list of desserts to the customers, and after a few seconds of waiting, Izuku is unable to suppress his questions any longer.
“Um, who’s Ingenium, by the way?” Izuku says, blinking a bit at the name. “It doesn’t sound familiar at all.”
“Ingenium? He’s a professional food critic. He’s sampled cuisines from across the globe, but he only posts his favorite restaurants and pâtisseries on his website.” Denki says, draping his arm over the girl’s shoulders. She violently shakes it off and stands a few centimetres further away from him, giving him a withering glance in response. “Kyouka here loves reading his stuff. She actually dragged me to come to this obscure location after she read his recent review.”
“I mean, his writing is amazing, it’s like I’m actually there with him.” Kyouka says, her tone tinged with admiration. “It’s a bit unfortunate that you haven’t read it yet though, so here it is if you want to see it.” Kyouka hands over her pink smartphone to Izuku, and the two of them crowd around the rather large cellular device to read the article. The first thing that Katsuki sees are the words TRULY THE CRÉME DE LA CRÉME, followed briefly with the subheading by Tenya Iida.
“Oh my gosh, isn’t that… Tenya?” Izuku says joyfully. He zooms in on a picture of the man’s face, and he marvels over the photo as though he were a celebrity. “He wasn’t some normal office guy, after all! I can’t believe this! Wow, we’re so lucky!”
“Go ahead, read the article if you want to. I can’t believe you haven’t seen it.” Kyouka says dismissively, her fingers flipping the pages of the menu. Izuku scrolls down the page, and Katsuki places his chin on Izuku’s shoulder- to see better, Katsuki thinks, trying to have a solid enough reason to have closer contact with his coworker. Izuku doesn’t seem to mind; in fact, he adjusts his posture so that Katsuki can settle down comfortably in the crook of his neck, and Katsuki feels something fluffy billowing out from his heart.
He finds that he likes the feeling.
“Um, let’s see… ‘Bakugou-san and Midoriya-san are not only a match made in heaven, but their desserts are also a perfect fit for each other…?!’ And ‘Love is their secret ingredient, and they have lots of it?’ Also… ‘Not only are they polite and helpful, their lovely couple’s bickering adds on to the atmosphere of the bakery?’ This article is… it’s a bit...” Izuku says, accidentally dropping the phone onto the table. It hits the counter with a clatter, and he frantically picks up the phone.
“I’m so sorry!” Izuku says, bowing his head down a few times. “I didn’t mean to drop your phone! I’ll reimburse you however much you want!”
“Oh, that old thing?” Kyouka says, closing the menu delicately. “It’s fine, it shouldn’t be that bad. Besides, I have a few others at home.”
Katsuki looks at the phone, which happens to be the newest model out on the market at the moment. He refrains from asking if they were all rich and instead scoops up the phone, swiping to see what else is on the review.
His eyes catch sight of a few photos at the very end of the article, and the glossy, high quality shots are both embarrassing and touching to see. There’s a picture where Izuku laughs at something Katsuki says, and a fraction of a smile appears on Katsuki’s face. Another one is when Izuku finds Katsuki hidden behind the tapestry, and Katsuki has an unbelievably mortified expression as he’s talking on the phone. “When did they even take these photos? This has to be photoshopped.” Katsuki says, both infuriated and humiliated that they had caught him at such a private moment.
“Well, um, Kacchan, you look really cute here.” Izuku laughs a bit as he points to the photo of Katsuki hiding behind the purple curtains, and Katsuki actually smacks Izuku’s head to make him stop. Kyouka looks at the two of them carefully before pushing the menu back.
“Oh, did none of these interest you?” Izuku says, his voice a bit panicked. “Is something wrong?”
“No, not that.” Kyouka says, sharing a look with Denki. “We’ll take one of each, please. Of everything.”
At this, Katsuki almost feels his eyes bulge out. “Are you serious? That’s easily 40,000 yen!” Katsuki says, appalled that anyone would spend that much money on food.
“Well, It’s not like this place is close to our house, so we’re going to eat as much as we can.” Denki has on a pleasant expression as he easily hands over a wad of cash, and Izuku accepts the money with trembling fingers. While Izuku is tending the cash register, Katsuki carefully arranges the variety of desserts inside the white takeout box, making sure that the cakes wouldn’t stick to each other on the way back.
“Thank you.” Izuku all but bows down at their feet, and the excessive gratitude is even making Kyouka and Denki uncomfortable.
“No, it’s nothing. We’re both big dessert fans, after all.” After a moment’s hesitation, Denki flashes a smile at the two of them. “If everything tastes as good as Ingenium says it does- which I’m sure is true- we’ll be back.”
“Thank you for your patronage.” Katsuki says politely, handing over the takeout boxes with bright gold ribbons wrapped neatly on top. “And thanks for showing us the article.”
“No problem, no problem.” Kyouka waves good-bye, and she smirks. “I hope you lovebirds will continue maintaining this shop.”
“Oh- thank you.” Izuku stammers, not even bothering on correcting them. “We’ll try our best!” After they leave, Katsuki looks at Izuku. His face is flushed with excitement, and he’s wrapped with an almost ethereal glow from the sunlight. His hair looks gold. Everything about him is gold.
Glitter. Stardust. Cute.
A few hours later, Katsuki saves the photos from Ingenium’s blog post on his phone.
When Ochako drops by for a visit, her sneaky smile stretches across her face in an adoring manner. It is probably due to the fact that Izuku places his head on Katsuki’s shoulder, complaining about how tired he is and how much he would really rather be in Cuba at this time of the year. When Izuku spots the pretty brown-haired girl, he gets up abruptly from his headrest (re: Katsuki) and waves at her excitedly.
“Hi, Ochako!” Izuku says, watching as she walks over. Her flip-flops smack against the wooden floor, and she waves back at the two of them. “I didn’t expect you to come today!”
“Oh, I had a craving for some cheesecake.” She says, peering into the glass display cabinets with interest. “What’s this? Is this new?”
“Oh, it’s guava mochi cheesecake, it’s just here for now.” Izuku pulls one of the small circular mounds from the display box, placing it onto a plate carefully. “You can try it, it’s on the house.”
“Awesome!” Ochako takes the snack delightfully and finds an empty table to sit at, eating while looking at Katsuki and Izuku with interest.
“Is this a sign?” She asks, happily munching on her rapidly-melting mochi dessert. “Are you guys dating?”
“Oh, no, of course not.” Izuku says, shaking his head unconvincingly. At this moment in time, Katsuki has his arm draped casually around Izuku’s waist, looking wholly uninterested in the conversation. “Um, Kacchan and I are… we’re just… we’re….?” He ends the sentence with question mark, and Katsuki doesn’t bother filling it in. “We’re quite something.”
“Something.” Ochako repeats in disbelief. “You two are unbelievable.”
Izuku takes a quick glance at his watch and does a double-take, hurrying off into the kitchen while his voice floats behind him. “Ah, I’ll be right back, Ochako. I have to take out the tarts from the oven.”
“Sure thing!” Ochako yells, putting the rest of the guava mochi into her mouth. She chews on the gelatinous skin happily, her expression one of absolute bliss. Katsuki understands the feeling- when he had first sampled the mochi, he had the desire to just order a box for himself to eat.
“Wow, is this a new dessert? I’ve never seen it before.” She comments, and Katsuki turns around to see the beaming expression of Ochako. Whenever Katsuki sees the brown-haired girl, Ochako is always smiling or grinning in a rather contagious manner, and he has to resist the urge to smile back at her.
“Ah, yeah, it’s part of our summer dessert line.” Katsuki says, walking over to pick up her plate. He’s clearing the table in silence when Ochako gazes up at him, her eyes unwavering as they peer into his face.
“You’ve changed, Katsuki.” Ochako comments, stretching out her arms while she’s seated. “You don’t seem as scary as when we first met.”
“I can still beat the shit out of you.” Katsuki threatens half-heartedly, but he’s also aware of the infinitesimal changes in his personality, the slightest adjustments that make him seem less inimical and more approachable. Ochako has a few cheesecake crumbles on the side of her mouth, and so he pulls out his handkerchief, the starched white material a shame to cover with stains. “Here, clean your mouth with this, you’re covered in dessert. What a fucking slob.”
“Wow, thank you!” After she wipes her mouth thoroughly, Ochako opens her mouth to speak again. “You’ve changed Izuku, too. He used to look… lifeless, I suppose. He tried to be cheerful around me, but you can’t hide misery. It’s been hard on him since he’s moved here.”
“Why are you here, anyway?” Katsuki asks. He pulls out the chair beside her and sits down, looking at his now-sullied handkerchief with dismay. “You lived somewhere else, right?”
“I knew it! You DO listen to me when I speak!” Ochako grins, leaning in to see him better. “I moved here because my uncle has a bad back, really. I’m only here until I have to go back to Tokyo for my job- I’m an architect, you know. Farming isn’t really my profession, more of a hobby. I’m also here because Izuku’s been in Shizuoka for a really long time by himself, and I missed his plain face.”
“Can you stop talking about me when I’m not there?” Izuku says sheepishly, coming out from the kitchen with freshly baked pear tarts in his hands. “It’s a little worrisome. And please stop calling my face plain.”
“Plain, plain, plain.” Ochako sing-songs, swaying her feet childishly under the table. “It’s okay, you can have Katsuki shower you in compliments instead. You two looked really cute in Ingenium’s blog post, by the way.”
“You read the post?” Izuku almost drops the pear tarts from surprise, but he manages to balance them precariously with one hand. “Yeah, Tenya wrote about us in such a positive light, it’s almost embarrassing. Thank god we exchanged business cards, huh?”
“My god, you know Ingenium personally?” Ochako’s eyes shimmer happily, and her cheeks are a tad pink. “I’ve been a fan of his stuff for ages! Could you, um, introduce me maybe? Sometime?”
“Someone has a crush.” Katsuki has on a knowing smirk, and Ochako spins around, looking at him with a pout on her face.
“How can you use my own words against me,” Ochako wails, “just because you’re pissed that I know about your cru-”
Katsuki smothers her mouth with his handkerchief to prevent her from speaking, and Izuku gazes at the scene tenderly, his expression akin to seeing his pet dog and cat play with each other for the first time.
“When did you two become such good friends?” Izuku asks, pretending to wipe a single tear away. “I’m so glad you’re getting along!”
“-just fwiendz, gweat friendgz.” Ochako finishes, finally yanking the handkerchief away from her mouth. “But imagine being featured on Ingenium’s blog! Your sales will skyrocket from here on out!”
Ochako’s expression is one of absolute pride, and she grabs Katsuki’s hand, looking straight through his iron defenses and into his intricate inner self. “Thank you so much for being with Izuku.” Her serious tone catches him off-guard, and Katsuki doesn’t even shake off her grip. “I’m so happy for you guys. Really. Especially since… remember last year, Izuku? This place was so deserted.”
“I know. Miracles come in many different packages.” Izuku says, gazing at him softly. Katsuki likes attention, but this specific type of attention- this warm, hopelessly affectionate spotlight- suddenly makes him feel self-conscious, and he looks the other way.
“Oh gosh, Katsuki, you’re blushing!” Ochako says, squeezing his hand tighter. Without a warning, Izuku plops down at the table as well, and he grabs Katsuki’s other hand. Katsuki feels vaguely trapped in their loving stares, Ochako with pure platonic admiration and Izuku with some sort of deeper fondness inside of his eyes.
“I hate all of you.”
Katsuki says the exact opposite of his emotions sometimes.
While walking back from the farmer’s market, Katsuki’s phone starts playing the cow mooing ringtone, a sound he reserves only for one person. He hands Izuku his basket full of apples without asking, and Izuku struggles to balance the apples along with his two bags full of exotic fruit.
“Who’s calling?” Izuku asks, his arms wrapped carefully around their produce. Katsuki pulls his phone out, and after a few seconds of hesitation, he shows the screen to Izuku, the words SHOUTO written across it.
“A… my… this idiot.” Katsuki says, swiping the phone to answer. “Shouto, sup.” Katsuki says as a greeting.
“Katsuki, hi.” Shouto’s voice is incredibly loud through the phone, and Katsuki can hear it even if the phone isn’t directly against his ear. “Are you going to be free in the upcoming days?”
“Will we be free?” Katsuki asks Izuku, catching him off-guard. Izuku mulls this over and nods in acceptance.
“I think so, yes.” Izuku says, combing through their orders inside his head. “We don’t have any major deliveries or events to attend, anyway.”
“We’ll be good.” Katsuki replies, but Shouto seems to be distracted by something. Initially Katsuki thinks that Shouto’s silence must be due to the horrible phone reception, but the half-red, half-white haired male starts speaking again.
“Who are you talking to?” Shouto asks suddenly, his voice interested. “Is this the guy that you have a cru-”
“Shouto, shut up.” Katsuki says, horrified. It seems that everyone is hell-bent on exposing his feelings before he could. “It’s just Deku.”
“What do you mean just?” Izuku asks, sounding chagrined. “Are you talking to your girlfriend? Is that why?”
“Did he just call me your girlfriend?” Shouto asks, his hearing as sharp as ever. “You should have told me that we were dating, Katsuki. I would have paid more attention to you.”
“Okay, both of you need to shut up.” Katsuki growls, severely regretting answering the phone. He puts his phone onto speaker mode and thrusts the cellular device into Izuku’s face, trying to make this awkward conversation disappear. “Shouto, meet De- Izuku. He’s my coworker, we run the bakery together. Izuku, this is Shouto, we met at Yuuei.”
“N-nice to meet you.” Izuku bows his head, knowing full-well that Shouto can’t actually see him.
“Nice to meet you too.” Shouto says. For some reason, Katsuki just knows that the half-red, half-white haired male is also bowing his head politely. “It’s good that I finally know your name. Katsuki talks about you a lot, but he couldn’t read some kanji before so your name was always shortened to ‘something-ku’.”
“Oh, wow, really? Something-ku, huh?” Izuku says, his eyes glimmering with mirth. Izuku takes a quick glance at Katsuki before returning to talk to Shouto. “Can I ask what he has said about me?”
“Don’t say a word, Shouto.” Katsuki threatens, but unlike the rest of the population, Shouto is unfazed by Katsuki’s caustic manner of speaking.
“His sentences consist about 90% complaints, 10% compliments, which means he likes you.” Shouto says. Katsuki has half a mind to just end the call already. “Thank you for being there to reel him in, Izuku.”
“Oh! No, I didn’t do anything.” Izuku says hurriedly. “I mean, I’m sure you’ve done lots more than I have, Shou- Shouto. It’s okay if I call you Shouto, right?” Katsuki feels mildly irritated at how well the two of them are getting along, watching as the smile on Izuku’s face grows larger and larger with every word they exchange. With a mild sense of horror, Katsuki realizes that he’s an incredibly jealous human being, and so he butts in on the conversation.
“Why’d you call, Shouto?” Katsuki says, cutting off Shouto’s sentence.
“Oh, I’m thinking about dropping by Japan in a week or so. I won’t stay for long.” There’s a clattering of pots In the background, and Shouto curses when it happens. “Dear god, I just had to drop the milk pot again.”
“Stop calling while you’re at work.” Katsuki says rudely, but he feels a small rivulet of delight within his heart, as he hasn’t seen the boy in ages. Flashbacks of food fights and actual fist fights between the two of them flicker through his mind, and he has to bite down on his lip to prevent himself from drowning in the memories. “Sure, I don’t care. You can stay in my bed, because there’s only one bedroom.”
“Where will you sleep?” Shouto asks, the pot clanging against the countertop.
“Oh, he usually sleeps with me.” Izuku replies quickly, his voice loud in the rather silent countryside. Katsuki can feel his face burst into flames from embarrassment. Izuku blinks- or bats his eyelashes impishly, whatever, they both look the same on him- and looks at him curiously. “What? It’s the truth.”
“Interesting.” Shouto says thoughtfully, his tone betraying the fact that he wanted to know more details. “Well, please pick me up at the airport. I’ll email you my flight schedule. Actually, I’m not even supposed to be on the phone right now, so-” The line clicks before either of them say good-bye, and Katsuki looks at the now dead cell phone, the useless device completely black in his hands.
“I should have charged my phone.” Katsuki mutters, shoving the smartphone into his pocket. At this, Izuku looks at Katsuki, his face one of mild curiosity.
“So this Shouto guy,” Izuku says, “he’s your best friend?”
“That is going way too far.” Katsuki replies, eyeing Izuku warily. “We’ve competed a few times together and he’s okay.”
Sure, Shouto is the only person Katsuki bothers to keep up with. And okay, he also talks to Eijiro sometimes, who’s a fucking idiot, but Shouto is one of the few who Katsuki genuinely detested at first and later on transitioned into being a decent friend. They’re not very compatible- Shouto is too level-headed and full of dry wit, whereas Katsuki is a bubbling pot waiting to overflow- but they make do with their odd friendship.
If he had to assign the best friend role to anyone, it would have to be…
Izuku turns to look at Katsuki, and Katsuki picks up the basket of apples from Izuku’s arms. After some consideration, Katsuki also removes the bags of fruit from Izuku’s arms, the plastic bag digging into his arms and leaving red welts in their wake.
“Y-yes?” Izuku stutters. “What is it, Kacchan?”
Katsuki doesn’t really have a plan, but he’s always been rash and reckless and rough, a fun little quirk of his that never disappeared throughout the years. He knows that it probably isn’t the right place-
this is the literal middle of fucking nowhere,
what time is it even, anyway,
or even the right words-
I don’t know what to say but I need to say them,
and he still wants to try. He’s filled with the almost desperate need to have himself be heard, to let Izuku know how much he means to him, how he is a requirement to his well-being now, so Izuku should really just shut up and be with him.
“Will you… Do you want to go on a date with me?”
His heart crashes against his body like a tidal wave, and he watches as Izuku’s eyes widen and widen and widen until they’re just two huge, emerald pupils reflecting unadulterated bliss.
“Yes! Yes, of course! I- yes!” Izuku’s shriek sounds like Katsuki had just proposed to him, and he actually has to clutch Katsuki’s shoulder to prevent himself from falling. There are a few elderly farmers near them, and when they hear Izuku jumping for joy, they begin to clap for support. “I do, I do, I do!”
The applause gets louder in volume, and when the two of them turn to look at what’s happening, one of the farmers gives them a thumbs up.
“Congratulations on the engagement!” He yells, and his child frantically waves at them with excitement. Izuku has a stupid grin on his face, and after a while Katsuki realizes that he also has a stupid grin on his face. They smile at each other like matching idiots before Katsuki coughs a bit to wipe off the happiness from his complexion, and Izuku starts laughing at this.
“Thank you! We’re very happy!” Izuku shouts back, waving at the gentle farmer. Izuku turns around, his face flush with excitement. “W-where are we going? Do I need to dress up for it? Are there any supplies needed? What should I-”
“Oh god, please stop.” Katsuki groans, hiding behind the basket of apples. “I haven’t thought that far yet. We should just… try going on a date, you know. Not working together, but actually being outside and… trying.”
“Trying is good.” Izuku says, placing his forehead against Katsuki’s. “Trying is very good.”
Chapter 9: Good Luck Charms
“A date.” Katsuki mumbles to himself, scrolling through google with intense concentration. “What can we do on a date in the countryside?” They’re too far away from the city to sing karaoke or watch movies, but Katsuki isn’t fond of just taking a walk in the forest.
I should have thought this through. Katsuki thinks, leaning back on his chair. He absentmindedly clicks the next page on google, wondering what exactly his life has become.
“Kacchan?” Izuku says, knocking on the door gently. Katsuki hurriedly slams his laptop shut and turns around in his chair, his back effectively blocking off all traces of him googling date ideas in the farmland. “Um, do you want to go pick some chestnuts to make mont blanc? No one is in the shop anyway.”
“From the forest?” Katsuki says, standing up from his seat. “That sounds mildly poisonous.”
“I always eat the chestnuts from the forest! They’re safe! I mean, I’m fine, aren’t I?” Izuku says cheerfully, doing a twirl to demonstrate just how healthy he is. His green apron flutters as he spins, and it fans out like a skirt.
“Yeah, you’re fine.” Hella fine, Katsuki adds in his head, fixated on Izuku’s rosy expression and vibrant eyes. “Sure, let’s go get some chestnuts and bake them into edible bombs for our customers.”
“Perfect.” Izuku replies without even batting an eye at Katsuki’s sour comment. “Come on, Kacchan!” He reaches an arm out and wraps his fingers around Katsuki’s palm, and Izuku smiles up at him in a cherubic manner.
“It’s okay if I hold your hand, right?” Izuku asks, and Katsuki squeezes his fingers tightly to calm himself down.
“Don’t ask after you hold my hand.” Katsuki says, thumping his forehead against Izuku’s. Izuku yelps at the contact and rubs at the sore wound, his eyes a bit teary. “And remember that it’s… it’s always okay, you shithead. I know it’s hard, considering you have the memory span of a goldfish.”
At this, Izuku’s grin widens in size, and Katsuki kind of wants to fetch his sunglasses to protect himself from Izuku’s smiling rays of sunlight. “Okay! I’ll always hold your hand then, Kacchan!”
“You’re going to kill me one day.” Katsuki mutters, turning away from Izuku. “Seriously, what the fuck did I sign up for?”
“A date.” Izuku answers. “With me!” Izuku points a finger to himself, and Katsuki smashes his head against Izuku’s again, trying to numb his senses before a blush forms on his face.
They’re currently scavenging for chestnuts in the forest near their house, but Izuku is sitting down in a clearing, his busy hands rummaging through the crop of clovers with gusto. Katsuki sits down beside him and places their basket of chestnuts down, watching as he plucks out clover after clover.
“You do realize you’re just killing those weeds for no reason.” Katsuki says, throwing a chestnut at Izuku’s face. It ricochets off of his cheek, but Izuku pays no attention to the attack on his face.
“I’m searching for a four-leaf clover.” Izuku says brightly, holding two clovers in his hands. He looks at them carefully before plucking a leaf off of one of the weeds, and he sticks the petal onto the other clover. “Kacchan, look! I found a four-leaf clover!”
“You’re such a fucking idiot! I just watched you stick that leaf on it!” Katsuki says, biting on his lip to refrain from laughing. Izuku gazes at him warmly and tucks the clover behind Katsuki’s ear, the small gesture leaving glowing trails in his heart.
“Now you’ll be lucky.” Izuku says, ignoring Katsuki’s accusation. “You can wish for anything!”
“I don’t think fake good luck charms will actually work.” Katsuki says, touching the clover in his hair suspiciously. “Plus, I don’t believe in that sappy bullshit.”
“Oh come on, it’s a cute superstition.” Izuku pats the clover in place, making sure that it doesn’t fall out from behind Katsuki’s ear. “Well, fine. If you’re not going to use your wish, I will. I wish you would…” Izuku trails off, looking downwards. His pink lips are stretched into a nervous smile, and his curly hair flutters gently due to the afternoon breeze. Katsuki absentmindedly wonders if he’s actually looking at a painting and not just stupid Izuku, with his stupidly perfect hair and stupidly adorable face.
“What?” Katsuki says, his fingers clutched around a clump of grass. “What’s your wish?”
“Oh, it’s kind of silly.” Izuku says, scratching his face sheepishly. “I just wish that… you would kiss me.”
Katsuki’s face morphs into one of absolute embarrassment, and he rips out the chunk of grass from surprise. “You’re using your one, life-changing wish on me?” Katsuki manages to choke out, and Izuku hugs his legs to his chest. His ears are totally pink at this point.
“Well… I like you.” Izuku confesses. He runs his fingers through Katsuki’s ash-blond locks, the spiky tendrils sticking out like a stylized porcupine. “And I mean, this is a date, right? So we should kiss on a date, and stuff…”
“T-this isn’t our real date, okay?!” Katsuki yells, grabbing on to Izuku’s hands. He looks up at him, blinking at the sight of a frantic Katsuki. “I’m still planning something! So I haven’t used up our date token yet!”
“Date token.” Izuku repeats, and Katsuki suddenly realizes how ridiculous he sounds. Izuku’s eyes sparkle with amusement, and he shyly slides his fingers between Katsuki’s own fingers, their hands locked together snugly. “Okay, Kacchan. I can’t wait for our real date, then. Not this, um… ingredient… foraging date?”
“I’m still going to kiss you.” Katsuki says adamantly, feeling himself crumble a bit at voicing his romantic thoughts.
“U-um…” Izuku smiles sloppily at him, squeezing Katsuki’s hands in response. “Okay.”
Katsuki leans down and places his lips against Izuku’s soft mouth, scattering the basket of chestnuts they’ve accumulated. They pay no heed to the overturned ingredients, and Katsuki slowly lowers Izuku down onto the grass until he is lying down underneath him, the two of them kissing gently within the patch of clovers. Izuku’s shirt rises up slightly to reveal a sliver of lightly-tanned skin, and Katsuki has to resist the urge to slide his hand against Izuku’s smooth stomach.
There’s a small giggle that floats up from Izuku’s mouth, and Katsuki opens his eyes to see Izuku’s forest-green pupils looking at him with unparalleled affection.
“You know, my wish came true, so I guess that fake good luck charm works.” Izuku says, a self-satisfied expression on his face. Katsuki pushes Izuku’s bangs back and places a kiss on his forehead before leaning closer to his lips, their noses grazing each other slightly.
“For some reason, smugness really suits you.” Katsuki murmurs, tilting Izuku’s head back so that he can captures his lips again.
He keeps the clover in his hair for the rest of the day.
“So, what’s he like?” Izuku asks Katsuki. “Todoroki-san, I mean.” The two of them are waiting at the airport, nursing cups of iced tea and keeping a lookout for the half-red, half-white haired boy. The same whiteboard that Izuku had brought to meet Katsuki is placed on the ground, but this time the words TODOROKI SHOUTO is written on it with Izuku’s messy scrawl.
“He’s…” Katsuki thinks back to their high school days and the almost violent nature of their interactions, the two of them always itching for a bake-off. “He’s stupid. We fight often, and we really don’t get along, but for some reason we’re stuck together. Opposites attract I guess.”
“So you like him.” Izuku says, a teasing expression on his face.
“Uh, hell no.” Katsuki says, sipping his iced tea while refusing to look at Izuku and his coy smile. “Well, okay, maybe just a little.”
Izuku reaches over to squeeze Katsuki’s arm, and he ends up looping his arm around Katsuki instead of retracting it. “That’s good! He’s the only person you ever talk about from your past, so I’m a bit interested in what he’s like- hey, isn’t that Todoroki-san?”
Katsuki tears his gaze away from Izuku and looks in front of him, suddenly seeing the incredibly tall figure of Shouto yawning and rolling his suitcases towards the exit gate. Shouto’s eye-catching red and white hair sways with every step he takes, and the male has on a pair of sunglasses on his face. Katsuki almost snickers at his appearance- what the fuck, does he think he’s a celebrity?- but stops when Izuku frantically picks up the whiteboard sign, enthusiastically waving it with all his might.
“YO! SHOUTO!” Katsuki yells, figuring it to be the faster approach. Shouto turns around and notices Katsuki, the red and white haired male removing his sunglasses from his face. “WE’RE HERE, DIPSHIT!”
“HEY!” Shouto yells back, rolling his suitcases over. “I haven’t seen you since last year, yet you’ve still got that crazed look in your eyes- I’m kidding, stop scowling. And who’s this?” Shouto looks at the whiteboard sign curiously and pulls it away from Izuku’s face, revealing the slightly petrified boy behind it.
“Are you Deku?” Shouto asks, addressing Izuku. “You’re a lot shorter than I thought you would be.”
“M-My name is Izuku!” Izuku protests, placing the sign down. He suddenly bows his head down, and Katsuki can see Izuku shaking from nerves. “Deku’s just a nickname. And you’re Todoroki-san, right?”
“Please, it’s just Shouto.” He says hurriedly, looking over at Katsuki for help. “Hey, how do you make Izuku stop bowing?”
“It’s not like he’s a carnival toy.” Katsuki says, but he grabs onto Izuku’s collar and pulls him up as he stares up at Shouto with mild panic. “Why are you so nervous?” Katsuki asks him lowly, watching as Izuku’s face transitions from worry to terror.
“I-I haven’t met someone new in a while!” Izuku whispers back. “And he’s your friend, Kacchan! I want to make a good impression!”
“Hey, I’m right here.” Shouto says, waving his hand in front of them. “Don’t worry about it, Izuku. You don’t need to be so polite.”
“Of course!” Izuku says rigidly, clutching onto his whiteboard sign for dear life. “I mean- yes. Yeah. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.” Shouto says. Katsuki grabs one of Shouto’s suitcases without asking, wheeling the silver luggage outside. The three of them exit the airport, and Shouto squints at the sudden intrusion of sunlight in his eyes. “Is it okay to come pick me up? Don’t you guys have work today?”
“Oh, it’s Sunday.” Izuku says, helping Shouto roll his suitcase towards the car. “We live in the countryside. It shouldn’t be that busy.”
When they arrive at the pâtisserie, Izuku and Katsuki are flabbergasted at the line of people waiting outside of the bakery, the crowd of customers dressed in city garb and not the usual farming outfits the citizens donned. Shouto lets out a low whistle, appraising the group of people with interest.
“Aren’t you guys doing just fine?” He says, raising an eyebrow at Katsuki. “From your texts, it seemed as though you had no customers.”
“Well, we didn’t have customers.” Katsuki says, trying to make it through the crowd. It proves to be a harder ordeal than expected, and the three of them struggle to mosey around the clients.
“Sorry, everyone!” Izuku yells, pushing the suitcase towards the entrance. “We’ll be with you in a second!” When they eventually make it through the door, Izuku lets out a sigh of relief before wheeling the suitcase behind the DO NOT ENTER door.
“Um, Kacchan, I’m going to get changed, okay?” Izuku says, gesturing to his casual outfit of a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. “Todoro- I mean Shouto, sorry about this. We’ll have to put off your welcome party until later.”
“Welcome party?” Shouto repeats, his expression amused. “Is there cake involved?”
“Of course!” Izuku says, smiling nervously at the red and white haired boy. “U-um, Kacchan and I made it, so we hope you like it! I asked him what flavour you liked, but he just said ‘I don’t fucking know’, so…”
“He’s always been like that.” Shouto says dismissively, unzipping his backpack. “I like all desserts- I mean, I’m a pâtissier, after all. More importantly, I can help you with the customers if you’d like.” He reaches into his bag and pulls out his uniform, the crisply ironed shirt decorated with a thin red stripe on the edge of the shirt sleeve.
“R-really? Thank you, Shouto!” Izuku says, delighted at having an extra pair of hands. “That would be very helpful!” Out of the corner of his eye, Katsuki can see Izuku pulling out his notebook, the one Katsuki gave to him, and he feels a bit pleased.
In a few minutes, the doors to Pâtisserie Crème de la Crème open up and the customers start streaming in, taking photos and admiring the interior of the bakery. The three of them are behind the counter, welcoming the customers in and ringing up orders methodically.
The intense lineup continues for ages, and the guests begin to sit down and eat on the usually vacant tables or outside in the yard, admiring the lush foliage and bright flowers. Izuku even brings them to the garden in the back of the bakery, the customers oohing and aahing over how quaint and rustic their operation is. While Izuku continues on dazzling the clients, Katsuki and Shouto are packing cakes up neatly and watching as the desserts disappear one-by-one.
“So, you’re Bakugou-san, right?” One of the customers ask, her yellow eyes bright and excited. “I saw you on Ingenium’s blog post! You and your boyfriend look sooo cute together!”
“Uh, yes, I’m Bakugou. And he's not really my...” He trails off uncomfortably, not really sure what to call them. They aren't going out exactly, but they are trying something. Not that he would disclose such private information to a stranger. He continues to wrap up her cake box neatly, tying a gold ribbon on the top and taping it down. “That’ll be 1400 yen, please.”
“Right, here you go.” She hands over some change, and her friend pops up beside her, looking at him cheerfully.
“Oh, maybe you’ll recognize me? I guess not?” She says, pointing a manicured finger at her face. “I’m Kyouka’s friend! Actually, I was at Toru’s wedding, and I really missed eating your matcha pudding, so I’m back again!”
“The matcha pudding… was specially made for Mashirao and Toru’s wedding.” Katsuki says stoically, rifling through the cash register to distract himself. “You can try our matcha trifle, if you want something green-tea flavored. Or if you want something with a smooth texture, we have clover honey pudding.”
“Oh, that sounds good!” She says, her eyes gleaming at the prospect of pudding. “I’ll take two, please!”
When they close shop at around dinner time, Izuku collapses onto the floor, exchanging his smile for a look of exhaustion. “That was pretty intense.” Izuku admits, wiping the sweat off from his forehead.
“Here, water.” Shouto hands him a glass full of water, and Izuku takes it happily, looking at the male with gratitude in his eyes.
“You’re very nice, Shouto.” Izuku comments, eagerly gulping down the water.
“Right back at you.” Shouto says, sitting down on the floor with Izuku. They remain in silence for a bit, and when Katsuki sees the two of them relaxing like old friends, he feels a bit disoriented at the sight.
“What the hell are you two getting chummy about?” Katsuki yells, throwing a towel at their faces. It smacks against Shouto’s head, and the male grabs onto the towel curiously. “We gotta clean up first before the fucking welcome dinner!”
“I don’t think you should make a guest clean up.” Shouto says, getting up anyway. He wipes down the tables with an air of professionalism, and Izuku picks up the broom, sweeping the floors with newfound gusto. Katsuki watches as the two of them work together in pleasant silence, and he’s torn between feeling grateful that they get along or irritated that they get along. When everything’s tidy, Izuku offers a clean handkerchief to Shouto, the white material free of any stains.
“What’s this for?” Shouto says, touching the cloth carefully.
“It’s a blindfold!” Izuku replies, twisting the material into a rope-like shape. “For the party! Here, I’ll tie it for you.”
“Oh, sure. Thank you.” Izuku begins to tie the cloth behind Shouto’s head. He wraps it into a neat bow, and Izuku steps back to admire his handiwork.
“Okay! We can go now.” Izuku says, pushing Shouto’s back gently as they exit the kitchen. When they reach Katsuki, he steps between Izuku and Shouto, and he turns to glare at Izuku.
“I’ll guide him from here.” Katsuki says, disliking the brief physical contact between the two of them. Izuku smiles at him questioningly but accepts Katsuki’s statement, and he roughly pushes Shouto into the dining room.
“You know, you’re really shit at guiding people.” Shouto complains, shuffling carefully into the new room. He sniffs the air inquisitively, and he leans back on Katsuki’s hands, preventing them from moving any further. “It smells like strawberries in here. Have we reached it yet?”
“Ah, yes!” Izuku says, removing Shouto’s blindfold in one swift motion. “Tada! We’re here to officially welcome you in!”
They all turn to look at the enormous cake in the center of the table, the dessert resembling a strawberry palace. The incredibly tall strawberry shortcake is covered in huge mounds of whipped cream, powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle, with the words “Welcome Shouto” written in red icing on the plate. The strawberries glisten brightly under the warm light, and Shouto leans in to admire the cake.
“Why a shortcake?” Shouto asks curiously, swiping his finger to taste the homemade whipped cream.
“It’s Deku’s stupid idea.” Katsuki scoffs. “Let him explain why.”
“Oh!” Izuku looks flustered at the sudden attention, and he pulls at a wavy lock of hair before answering. “Um, because Shouto, your name sounds like… shortcake, so…” Izuku trails off, looking away to avoid the pressing stare of Shouto.
“That’s cute.” Shouto comments. He glances towards Katsuki, who is currently standing in front of Izuku in an almost protective stance. “You have a very cute personality. I can see why Katsuki is so infatuated with you.”
“I- I never said that!” Katsuki yells, his mortification apparent on his face. “I’m going to fucking kill you!”
“Not if I strike first.” There’s a sudden air of hostility that wraps around the two, and Izuku is left fumbling for something to use as a shield. He eventually runs in-between them, trying to ease the mood.
“Y-you know, if you fight now the cake will be wasted! Right?” Izuku says frantically, his hands splayed against Katsuki’s chest to prevent him from moving. When Katsuki feels the pressure from Izuku’s fingers against his, his ears immediately turn red and he quickly backs off, shaking his head to calm down.
“Whatever.” Katsuki scowls, walking into the kitchen. “I’ll grab a knife.”
“Kacchan, you can’t just kill people-”
“For the CAKE, you fucking nerd!” Katsuki yells, slamming the door behind him. Shouto and Izuku wince at the sound of the door, and they turn to look at each other.
“So, umm… has Kacchan always been like this?” Izuku asks awkwardly, unsure of what to say to the strange boy.
“He used to be a lot worse.” Shouto says, settling down into a chair. After a few seconds, Izuku slides into the chair in front of him, watching as the red and white haired man plucks a strawberry off from the cake. “An angry delinquent, who also happens to be incredibly talented. A strange combination. We used to argue every time we met.”
“O-oh.” Izuku says, taking a strawberry off of the cake as well. “But, um, you’re friends now, right?”
“For some reason, yes.” Shouto shrugs and then inspects Izuku closely, but Izuku shies away from the eye contact. Before Izuku can ask why Shouto is looking at him, Katsuki returns with the kitchen knife in hand as well as a few plates and forks.
“Get your face off of Deku, Shouto.” Katsuki says, grabbing Shouto’s shirt and pulling him back. “Anyway, here. For the fucking cake. Not for murder.”
They eat the cake with chatter amongst all of them, and Katsuki acts almost civil with the red and white-haired male, the two of them easily slipping into conversation. There’s a general trend of Shouto teasing Katsuki while he riles up from anger, and Izuku is wholly entertained by the interaction between the two of them. During a brief lull in conversation, Izuku pipes in with a question he’s been wondering about for a while.
“So, you met in high school, right?” Izuku asks, directing the question to Shouto. “Are there any embarrassing stories you have about Kacchan?”
“Loads.” Shouto says immediately with a mischievous look in his eyes. “I think the best one is when Katsuki was in the school play-”
“-it was Snow White, so naturally he acted as-”
“-the PRINCESS, and guess who was the prince-”
“-unfortunately it was me.” Shouto says, looking at a fuming Katsuki with amusement. “We had to draw out roles by way of raffle, and at the time we couldn’t even talk to each other without someone’s face turning black and blue. So naturally he threw a fit. Which did not work well with the teachers, who would have thought. He was in full-on drag, he even had to wear petticoats and stuff. God, I think the photos are still up on the school website-”
“I’M GOING TO STAIN YOUR WHITE HAIR RED!” Katsuki yells, slamming his fist onto the kitchen table.
“I’ll break your nose before you even move towards me.” Shouto replies calmly, his eyes narrowed into menacing slits.
“Why are you guys like this.” Izuku groans, clearing the table of the remaining cake so that it doesn’t get damaged. He leaves the dining room before Katsuki and Shouto really start throwing punches at each other, and he turns up the volume on his music player to avoid hearing the angry shouts from the two childlike adults.
“You and Shouto have such a good relationship.” Izuku says a bit enviously, the two of them on a grocery run while Shouto watches over the bakery. They’re currently in front of a fruit vendor, and Izuku is picking up tomatoes to see what would go well for breakfast tomorrow.
“What? Are you blind?” Katsuki says, almost wanting to puke at Izuku’s words. “He’s horrible.”
“You guys get along so well. Even when you’re fighting, it’s like you’re drawn together by some weird, masochistic connection.” Izuku places a tomato in the grocery bag and reaches for another one, squeezing it slightly to test the firmness.
“You are filthy, Deku, you know that?” Katsuki says, tossing a few sticks of mint into a plastic bag.
“I’m kind of… jealous.” Izuku admits. “I wish I could have seen you everyday in high school.”
“I was a huge jerk in high school, so it’s probably better that you didn’t know me. I would have challenged you to a bake-off every week.” Katsuki replies, suddenly remembering the assortment of girls and boys he’s dated in Yuuei. “I was really mean. In fact, let’s change the topic. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“Something that even Kacchan feels guilt over?” Izuku does a faux gasp, and he yelps when Katsuki slaps his head. “Okay, okay. We’ll talk about something else.”
“Good.” Katsuki pauses and picks up an avocado, trying to decide if it’s ripe enough to eat. “Actually… are you free tonight?”
“T-tonight?!” Izuku yelps, accidentally crushing the tomato he’s holding in his hands. The red fruit gushes all over his fingers, and he wipes it away with his handkerchief before the cashier realizes what he had just done. “Yes! Of course I am! Where are we going?”
“Not telling.” Katsuki says, retrieving a new tomato from the fruit vendor. “You’ll just have to wait.”
“Shouto, watch over the store for me. I’m taking Deku out.” Katsuki demands more than asks, slapping Shouto’s face with his apron. The half-red, half-white haired boy touches his face gingerly before hanging Katsuki’s apron, and he has a small smile on his face.
“Was the last time you went on a date with Yuki-san?” Shouto asks. Katsuki has sudden war-flashbacks with the fiery red haired girl, her spoiled manners and demanding attitude scarring Katsuki from using dating apps ever again.
“Don’t mention her. She’s a danger hazard.” Katsuki says, fumbling with the buttons on his white dress shirt. “Anyway, Deku’s different. I feel like… I think…” He bites down on his lip, feeling embarrassment tingle all the way down to his toes. “He’s important to me.”
Shouto studies his face for a bit before sighing. “Why can’t you be this nice to other people?” Shouto complains, leaning on the cashier counter. “It’s both sweet and kind of gross.”
“I’ll throw you down the cliff, you half-and-half bastard!” Katsuki yells, grabbing onto Shouto’s collar. The two of them stare at each other with cold antipathy, but all of a sudden Katsuki can feel a warm hand grab onto his arm.
“Kacchan, are we leaving now?” Izuku says, pulling Katsuki away from Shouto. Katsuki loosens his grip immediately and turns around, seeing Izuku in a simple t-shirt and shorts. His eyes look up at him inquisitively, and Katsuki has the sudden urge to hold him in his arms. “Oh, am I dressed too casually? You’re wearing such nice clothes.”
“No. You’re perfect.” Katsuki says immediately. Izuku’s mouth quirks into a shy smile, and Katsuki feels his head all jumbled up inside. “No! I mean your clothes. Your clothes are. Perfect.”
“Smooth.” Shouto whispers loudly.
“Shut up, no one asked for your commentary.” Katsuki huffs, grabbing Izuku’s hand. “Anyway, bye asshole.”
“Have fun on your date.” Shouto says, sighing dramatically. “Leave your guest all alone, why don’t you.”
“You’re not a bunny, you’ll be fine by yourself at night.” Katsuki says, opening the door. He slams it shut before Shouto can shoot a snarky remark back.
“I forgot to mention, but isn’t it way too late for a date?” Izuku says, batting away the mosquitos hovering over them. “It’s almost midnight.”
“The later, the better.” Katsuki says, leading the way in front. They’re connected by their hands, fingers laced between each other, and Katsuki feels safe. “Besides, it’s summer, so it’s warm anyway.”
They reach the same clearing where they plucked out clovers, and Izuku looks around with confusion. “Isn’t this the same non-date place from a few days ago?” Izuku asks, squinting to see in the darkness.
“Right, yes. But, what I have found-” through lots of research on google, Katsuki adds in his head, “is that this is an excellent area for… these things.” Katsuki brushes his hand across the patch of grass, and the clearing suddenly lights up, the glowing orbs flying up in the air around them.
“Are these fireflies?” Izuku says excitedly, watching as the bugs illuminate the area. Katsuki brushes his hand through the grass some more, and as he continually walks around to disturb the peace of innocent bugs, little shining lights twinkle and glimmer in the warm summer air. Izuku looks at the scene with wonder, his eyes illuminated by the glow of fireflies, and Katsuki watches with a small smile on his face as Izuku walks around the small clearing with the flickering bugs around him.
“It’s like I’m holding moonlight in my hands!” Izuku says cheerfully, his hands cupped gently around a few fireflies. They spill out of his grasp like a river of stars, and Izuku laughs as the bugs flit around his head languidly. “You know, I’ve never been out this late since I’ve moved here. There was no reason to, anyway. I didn’t know there were fireflies here!”
“Well, you’ve showed me a lot of new sights.” Katsuki says, swallowing down the jitters in his body. “I thought I could show you something, too.”
“Oh, Kacchan…” Izuku says fondly, pulling Katsuki closer to him. The fireflies dance around them like couples at party, and Izuku wraps his arms around Katsuki’s waist, his head against his chest. “You’re actually quite the romantic, aren’t you?”
“You idiot.” Katsuki says, feeling his heart speed up from the contact. “I’ve never done this before. Plan something out to this extent, I mean. You’re the first.”
“Always happy to be your first.” Izuku says, looking up at Katsuki. His freckles almost look gold under the light of the fireflies, and Izuku touches Katsuki’s cheek with his fingers. “I like you, Katsuki.”
“Yeah, I like you too.” Katsuki replies without hesitation. “I thought this was already established.”
“Yes but, I like you.” Izuku repeats decisively, his hand carefully making its way down Katsuki’s neck. “Will you… will you be my boyfriend?”
Katsuki’s heart feels like it’s exploded, and all the happiness he’s garnered in there from the past couple of months overflow like a vat of honey, trickling slowly and sweetly as it travels through his body. His vision blurs, and all he sees is a mix of gold and green. The air shimmers with anticipation.
“Can you repeat the question?” Katsuki says, wanting to hear the words from Izuku’s mouth again, just to make sure it’s real.
“Will you be…” Izuku hesitates a bit, looking at Katsuki with expectant eyes. “I don’t want you to just be my coworker, or someone I go on dates with. I want you to be my boyfriend. You and I. Together. For, um, forever, I suppose. Sorry! Is that… is that too serious? Do you want that?”
“Fucking yes.” Katsuki breathes, feeling the urge to just jump up and down like a fourth grader at a playground. “I want that so much. I want you so much. I want to do so much with you- to you- you don’t know how long I’ve wanted this. Us. Fuck, Izuku- you even beat me to making it official, huh?”
“You take too long to decide.” Izuku says timidly, pulling Katsuki’s shirt collar towards him. “So... what are you going to do now?”
Katsuki kisses him, of course.
Chapter 10: Grave of the Wildflowers
- chapter title based off of grave of the fireflies :)
The morning light forces Katsuki to open his eyes, and he squints a bit, too groggy to actually get up from the bed. He feels the reassuring presence of Izuku on his left side, his comforting scent and warm body snuggling into the curve of Katsuki’s waist. It takes him a few seconds to realize that there is a rather foreign object gripping onto his right side, and when he turns around to see it, he gets a face full of red and white hair.
“Why the fuck are you sleeping in our bed?” Katsuki grumbles, but he’s too tired to dislodge Shouto’s hand from his chest. Shouto lets out a small snore in response, and Katsuki feels mildly trapped between the two boys’ arms. “Hey. Wake up. Get off of me, you’re heavy… fatass.”
Shouto doesn’t respond, and Katsuki struggles to push him off before giving up, his body full of fatigue. He decides to just accept the incubator he’s stuck in and stares up at the ceiling, his train of thought chugging away through the past.
This is like a sleepover. Katsuki thinks, hearing the even breathing of the two people he is able to tolerate. The last time he stayed over at a friend’s house was years ago, when he was still dreaming about opening a patisserie instead of baking at one. Funnily enough, it had been at Shouto’s place, the two of them throwing powdered sugar and egg yolks at each other’s faces while half-assedly baking in the middle of the night. Shouto had ended up cradled in his arm back then as well.
“I hate you.” Katsuki whispers to Shouto, and then he turns around, seeing the sleeping face of Izuku. He mumbles something incomprehensible under his breath before squishing his face deeper into Katsuki’s chest, his soft cheeks covered in delicately draped drool. “And I especially hate you, Deku. Stop drooling on me.”
There’s no reply from the Izuku, and Katsuki eventually closes his eyes, his eyelids too heavy to keep apart. Katsuki succumbs to sleep within a few moments, dreaming about flour and flowers and Paris.
He feels warm both on the inside and outside.
Unexpectedly, Izuku pulls on a smart-looking suit, the attire different from the one he had worn to the wedding. There’s a wicker basket loaded up with oranges, slices of cornbread and some sticks of incense, and Izuku checks up on his hair in the reflection of his phone. Katsuki picks up an orange from the basket and throws it into the air, looking at Izuku suspiciously.
“You going on a picnic with someone?” Katsuki asks. From the corner of his eye, Katsuki sees Shouto picking at a piece of omelette, the red and white haired boy yawning at the kitchen table. For a brief moment of panic Katsuki thinks that Izuku is going on a picnic with Shouto, and he imagines them sharing bits of cornbread together like a married couple.
Fuck that! Katsuki thinks, shaking his head vigorously to get rid of the thought. The fuck is wrong with you? We literally just started dating, and you’re already jealous of others?
“I’m not.” Izuku says. Relief briefly flows through Katsuki’s veins, but Izuku smiles at him with a pained expression, his eyes a bit clouded over. “I’m just, um. Visiting my dad’s grave today.”
“Oh. Fuck.” Katsuki runs his hands through his hair in an awkward manner, and he hears Shouto placing his fork down on his plate.
“My condolences, Izuku.” Shouto says sincerely. “Do you need anything? Sugar cookies, maybe? My icing skills are excellent. You can bring them as an offering.”
“Thanks, Shouto.” Izuku says, shooting a grateful look towards the red and white haired male. “Actually, sugar cookies might be nice! Could you do them shaped as strawberries? They were his favorite.”
“Yes, of course.” Shouto brings his dirtied plate to the counter before throwing on his apron, rustling through the ingredients in the pantry. Katsuki curses Shouto for beating him to offer up help, but is also thankful that Shouto likes Izuku enough to pitch in when he’s troubled.
As Izuku covers up his basket with a blanket, Katsuki takes a step towards him and hesitantly places a hand on his head, his fingers tugging at the wavy locks gently. Izuku looks up at his hand and leans his head into Katsuki’s warm palm, a small smile forming on his freckled face.
“You worried, Kacchan?” Izuku teases, and Katsuki tugs him closer, not trusting his voice on delivering the right words. “It’s actually my first time visiting him. He only passed away last year.”
“I should go with you.” Katsuki manages to say, his voice rough. At the offer, Izuku looks at him with a pleasantly surprised expression on his face, and Katsuki coughs a bit at his reaction. “You’re going to get injured if you go by yourself. Walking there will be dangerous, you know. Stray cats. Feral dogs. Rapists.”
“Is this your roundabout way of asking to come with me?” Izuku says, wincing when Katsuki digs his fingers into his hair. “Ow, ow, ow, ow-”
“I’m not asking you for anything.” Katsuki replies quickly, gripping Izuku’s hair from nerves. “I, uh. I’m just saying. With a face like yours, you’ll probably get kidnapped. You’re practically a baby duck. I’ll go with you.”
Truthfully, Katsuki knows that Izuku’s dad is a sore issue with him. Izuku doesn’t like to talk about his deceased father, and when the topic veers towards talk about parents, Izuku babbles on about his mother but rarely speaks about his father, his voice warning Katsuki not to continue asking. Izuku looks down at his basket of fruit and then back up at the ash-blond male again, his green eyes flickering with appreciation.
“Um, sure. Okay.” Izuku agrees, fiddling with his shirt sleeve. “It won’t be all that pleasant, you know.”
“I’m fine, I’m not expecting us to go through a daisy field.” Katsuki looks down at his scuffed sneakers and white t-shirt before looking back up at Izuku’s formal suit, feeling a bit out of place. “I should go change.”
“Oh, there’s no need!” Izuku says hurriedly, waving his hands to decline. “You look wonderful, as always! And it’s just a quick trip, really. I’ll put down some flowers and light up incense, and we’ll be gone. Plus, Ochako is supposed to drop by for dinner tonight, so we can’t stay for long anyway.”
Katsuki gets a bit fixated on Izuku’s compliment- you look wonderful, as always!- and almost forgets that the whole purpose of their walk together is to visit a rather tragic site. He reins in his joy and puts on a scowl, but Izuku smiles at him knowingly, as though he can sense the happiness trickling out from Katsuki’s skin. “Yeah, alright.” Katsuki says, pulling Izuku’s arm to bring him closer. Katsuki wraps his arms around Izuku’s waist and digs his chin into his neck, feeling the way Izuku’s strong body curves into his own comfortably. “I’ll just greet your dad for the first time in these shitty clothes.”
“That’s the spirit.” Izuku says softly, patting Katsuki’s hair peacefully. “Thank you, Kacchan.”
They remain entangled together until Shouto finishes decorating the sugar cookies.
The road towards the cemetery is deceptively beautiful- rows upon rows of flowering trees surround the dirt path, and Katsuki hears the cheerful chirping of wild birds within leafy branches, the delicate sounds harmonious in the warm air. The ash-blond male sneaks a glance at Izuku, noticing the way his pink lips are curved downwards and his eyes staring into nothing in particular.
“Hey.” Katsuki says, breaking the silence. His voice cuts through the woodland music, and the birds flutter their wings to escape from the forest. “So, about your dad.”
“My dad?” Izuku echoes, looking at Katsuki curiously. Katsuki clears his throat and gazes down at his shoes, the dirtied sneakers looking beat-up compared to Izuku’s newly polished loafers. “Oh, you want to know more about him?”
“Yeah.” Katsuki says rigidly, the ash-blond male not talented with the art of tact. “He’s a pâtissier as well, right?”
“Oh, yes. He taught me how to bake my first cake, actually.” Izuku says, sighing wistfully at the memory. “Granted, it was just a cake mix box we bought from the grocery store, because I begged him to get it for me, as it was so colorful. It was funfetti flavored!”
Izuku swings his arms back and forth, the contents within his basket jostling against each other. “My mom was kind of wary about letting me be All Might’s apprentice, but my dad was all for it. He knew about All Might and the kind of influence he held in the pâtissier world, and he told me that it was a once in a lifetime chance to be with such a talented baker. And so I did.”
“Was your dad someone powerful himself?” Katsuki can’t help but ask, wondering if Izuku’s entire family is blessed with perfect baking skills. Izuku grins at the question, his smile a mix of enthusiastic and melancholic.
“He attended a local culinary institute in Japan and he’s won a few awards, but he isn’t particularly well-known.” Izuku replies. “Um… he’s taken care of this location of CLC ever since my parents divorced. They left each other when I was really young, but I didn’t mind that much- at the very least, we spent all of our summers together here, within these gardens, walking down this very path to go pick wild blueberries.” Izuku fights back his tears, the droplets welling up in the corners of his eyes, and without further consideration Katsuki grabs onto his hand. Their fingers lace between each other immediately, and Izuku squeezes Katsuki’s hand tenderly.
“You’re such a crybaby.” Katsuki scoffs, reaching into his pocket to procure a handkerchief. “God, your snot is everywhere.” He dabs Izuku’s eyes with a corner of the cotton cloth before moving on to clean off his nose.
“I think I have overactive tear glands.” Izuku admits, rubbing his eyes with his shirt sleeve. “It’s fine, it’s fine- wow, Kacchan, look at those wildflowers!”
Katsuki looks over at the direction Izuku is pointing towards, and he sees an abundance of wildflowers, the colors bright and eye-catching under the protective shadows from the trees. “They’re nice.” Katsuki admits, feeling Izuku’s hand loosen from his grip. “Why, you want them?”
“They’d make a nice bouquet for my dad’s grave.” Izuku says, walking over to the patch of flowers. He places his basket of offerings down and yanks the flowers out one-by-one, arranging them in a pile beside him. After a few seconds Katsuki helps out as well, plucking out the weeds methodically. They end up with a huge pile of beautiful, multicolored flora, and Izuku looks down at their handiwork proudly.
“He’s always been more of a nature man.” Izuku admits, watching as Katsuki scoops up the flowers into his arms. “He had a green thumb- he can grow anything. I’m not as good as him, but at least the garden is still working.”
“Your garden provides the ingredients for our desserts.” Katsuki says, walking ahead of him. “And our desserts are fucking excellent. Clearly your gardening skills are not bad at all. Don’t debase yourself so easily.”
Izuku blinks at the sentence before a smile forms on his face, the shorter male running to catch up to Katsuki. “Thanks, Kacchan.” Izuku says. “You always know how to make me feel better. Even when you’re insulting me.”
The forest opens up to a huge clearing full of mismatched tombstones, the grey blocks decorated with fruit and flowers. There’s a short, green-haired figure standing in front of a dusty tombstone, and Izuku squints when he sees the woman, his eyes straining to see who it is.
“I didn’t expect to see someone else here.” Izuku comments, guiding Katsuki down the hill. Izuku’s hand is tightly grasped around Katsuki’s, as though afraid the ash-blond male would trip without his support. “There aren’t many people living here, after all.”
“Which one is your dad’s tombstone?” Katsuki asks, grabbing onto Izuku’s arm when he stumbles over a hole in the path.
“It’s actually… the one she’s standing in front of.” Izuku gasps a bit when he reaches a realization, and Katsuki sees Izuku grip onto his basket handle even tighter.
“Mom?” Izuku calls out, and the woman turns around, her eyes wide at the sight of Izuku. “Is that you?”
Katsuki freezes in place, his eyes taking in the sight of Izuku’s plump, sweet-looking mother. Her hands contain a bouquet of store-bought flowers, unlike the wildflowers they had gathered up, and she’s dressed in a somber black dress with a matching black sunhat. The green-haired woman tucks her hair behind her ear before waving at them, and Izuku’s grip on Katsuki’s hand slackens.
“What are you doing here? I thought you had work!” Izuku asks, sounding overjoyed. “You could have at least called, you know.” He walks over and stands in front of her, his basket of offerings preventing the two of them from hugging. The extreme difference in height causes Izuku’s mother to crane her neck to look up, and her eyes tear up a bit when she meets his eyes.
“I wouldn’t miss visiting my ex-husband’s grave for the first time!” Izuku’s mother says good-naturedly, her smile bright and infectious. “I just thought it would be nice to surprise you. There’s a second surprise, as well.”
“What do you mean, a ‘second surprise’?” Izuku asks curiously, watching as his mother laughs sneakily behind her hand. “Come on, mom, now I’m interested!”
“You’ll find out very soon, darling.” Rather suddenly, Izuku’s mother swivels her head to see Katsuki’s face, and she looks at him with suspicion. “Oh, I’ve never seen you around before. Are you... Izuku, is this your friend?”
“I’m Katsuki Bakugou… Midoriya-san.” Katsuki says uncomfortably, unused to using honorifics. Izuku’s mother taps her chin for a few seconds, mulling his name in her head.
“Your name sounds very, very familiar.” She says thoughtfully. “I wonder why…”
Katsuki looks over at Izuku, who is currently looking at his mom intensely as she continues on thinking. Her face clears up quite abruptly, and she points a finger at Katsuki triumphantly. “Oh! Are you, perhaps, ‘Kacchan’?”
“Kacch- DEKU!” Katsuki yells, a bit mortified at the nickname. Izuku yelps in response and covers his face before Katsuki can hit his head, and the ash-blond male reins back his violence to avoid punching Izuku in front of his own mother. “At least tell her my real name, dammit!”
“Sorry, sorry! I just let it slip!” Izuku says, opening one eye to see if Katsuki is going to hit him. When Katsuki looks docile enough, Izuku lowers his arms, only to have the ash-blond male grab onto his cheek and pinch it. “Ow- okay, sorry, ow-”
“You two are so sweet.” Izuku’s mother wipes away a tear from her eye, ignoring the fact that Izuku is getting abused by his partner. “You can call me Inko, Katsuki. There’s no need to be so formal with me- you’re my son’s boyfriend, right?”
“Boyfriend?” Katsuki repeats, feeling Izuku try to remove his fingers from his swelling cheek. Neither of them have officially called each other ‘boyfriend’, and having someone else tack on the status makes Katsuki feel somewhat embarrassed.
“Yeah, Izuku told me all about you.” Inko chirps, placing her bouquet of flowers down onto the cement. “He said that you make him happy.”
“Mom!” Izuku cuts in, his face bright red. Katsuki can feel his own complexion heat up, and he buries his face among the wildflowers to avoid revealing his pink face. “Stop! You’re embarrassing me!”
“It’s cute!” Inko argues, lighting up her sticks of incense with a match. “There’s nothing wrong with it, you know!”
“I- I know, but…” Izuku trails off, sneaking a glance towards Katsuki’s direction. Their gazes meet, and they quickly look away from each other, resembling schoolchildren dealing with their first crushes. “Anyway, stop saying unnecessary things! I’ll tell him myself!”
“What?” Katsuki says.
“What?” Izuku replies, and they lapse into a pregnant silence. Inko looks from one boy to another before clucking her tongue, clapping her hands together to pray.
“Why are we all so quiet?” A loud voice booms beside the gravestone, and they all look up, startled from the noise. “Have no fear! For I am great at getting rid of awkward silences.”
Katsuki feels his blood run cold. He can recognize that voice anywhere- it’s the voice he hears on television, the sound that praised Katsuki’s desserts during a competition, the one Katsuki had never even imagined he would hear again.
“Is this- All Mi-” Katsuki’s throat turns dry and makes his words into garbled mumbo-jumbo. The last thing he sees is a sunshine-yellow suit and a swab of bright yellow hair, and before he can say anything, his world spirals into black.
Katsuki opens his eyes slowly, only to catch sight of All Might looking over him worriedly.
“Is your boyfriend alright, Midoriya?” Toshinori asks, patting Katsuki’s face carefully. “You awake, my boy?”
“Aut- autograph.” Katsuki manages to say, rolling over onto his side. He suddenly realizes that he’s placed on top of something soft, and it’s only a minute later that he discovers that he’s lying down on Izuku’s lap. “Lap.” Katsuki says stupidly, still feeling a bit disoriented.
“Kacchan, you fainted.” Izuku says, brushing Katsuki’s bangs back. “As in, you fell down onto the ground head-first. Maybe that’s why you’re not making any sense right now.”
“Young Bakugou,” Toshinori says, handing an unopened water bottle towards the ash-blond male, “you should hydrate yourself. Getting heat stroke at this time of the year is problematic.”
“It’s not- whatever.” Katsuki says, reluctantly removing himself from Izuku’s lap. He accepts the water bottle without arguing, and when he takes a sip he admittedly does feel better.
“Anyway, All Might, why are you here?” Izuku asks, watching the older male pay his respects to Izuku’s father. Toshinori has his eyes closed, and Inko replies for him.
“Oh, he’s the second surprise.” Inko says brightly. “See, we haven’t seen you in a while, Izuku, so we just thought it would be nice to drop in together.”
“It is a nice surprise.” Izuku says, smiling warmly at the two of them. “I really missed all of you.”
Katsuki watches as Izuku crouches down in front of the tombstone, his hands clasped together and his eyes squeezed shut. The incense lets out wisps of smoke against the clean air, and Inko rearranges the oranges carefully around the grave.
“Okay! I’m done.” Izuku says, standing up and patting his pants down. “Kacchan, you want to say a few words?”
“Oh- me?” Katsuki says, caught off-guard at the suggestion. Izuku nods his head, and the ash-blond male crouches down, kneeling on the cement awkwardly. He can feel the stares from the other three digging into his back, and he tries to ignore them as he prays to Izuku’s father.
Hey. I’m a stranger to you. Katsuki thinks, sending his thoughts to Izuku’s dad. You might be wondering why the fuck- I mean, why I’m here.
Katsuki doesn’t really know if he’s communicating properly, but he continues on speaking after taking a breath. I’m your son’s, uh, boyfriend. You know, your son- Izuku - the one that looks like a cabbage patch doll. Your garden is maintained perfectly by Deku’s hands, and your bakery is doing really well right now.
“You want to eat dinner at our place?” Katsuki can hear Izuku’s voice in the distance, and he opens his eye by the tiniest fraction, looking at him talking animatedly with his family. “Our friends, Shouto and Ochako, will be there as well.”
“Ooh, of course! We’d love to meet your friends!” Inko says, her arms wrapped around Izuku to hug him tightly. The three of them are in a group hug, and Katsuki closes his eyes again, focussing on Izuku’s father.
So… I have a request. I know it’s a bit premature to ask for requests already, since we don’t know each other, but this is in regard to your son.
The wind gently rustles Katsuki’s hair, and he can feel the soft breeze brush past his face like a blanket that has just been removed from the dryer. For some reason, Katsuki feels perfectly at peace.
Can you let him go? Katsuki thinks. He’s talented, and ambitious, and he’s too good to be caught here. He can do big things- great things. He just needs to see that.
The wind blows the incense out and swishes past the tree branches, and he doesn’t believe in supernatural entities at all, but he wonders if maybe, just maybe, that had been Izuku’s father’s reply.
The four of them end up walking back to the bakery together, and while Izuku, Inko and Toshinori have easy conversation among the three of them, Katsuki hangs back a bit from the trio, feeling a bit intrusive to the family gathering.
Fuck, why did I come if I’m only a hindrance? Katsuki thinks to himself, clucking his tongue at his own stupidity. I’m like the kid the mom brings along to dinner parties who ends up watching TV by himself the entire night.
“Bakugou, my boy!” Toshinori suddenly appears beside the ash-blond male, startling Katsuki due to the contact. “Thank you so much for taking care of Midoriya. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy task.”
“Oh, uh.” Katsuki’s tongue feels useless in his mouth, and he bites down on it to give it some feeling again. “No, Deku is fine. He’s good. He’s…”
I love him.
“He’s capable of taking care of himself.” Katsuki forces the words out of his mouth, and Toshinori looks at him with amusement.
“I heard that you used to work in the New York branch, correct?” Toshinori asks, his arm casually draped over Katsuki’s shoulders. Katsuki notes with some bitterness at the difference in muscle tone, and he mentally notes that he should start working out more.
“Oh, yes. I was here to… for some reason.” Katsuki says vaguely, disliking the reason of ‘anger issues’. “I prefer it here, though. It’s very different from New York.”
“That’s a shame.” Toshinori shakes his head, his fingers digging into Katsuki’s shoulder blades. “I’m going to New York after this to judge a competition, and I was going to ask if you and Izuku wanted to come with me, but-”
“WHAT?” Katsuki gapes at the blond male, feelings his heart drop into his stomach. “I- YES, wait, let me ask Deku- DEKU!”
Izuku winces a bit at the sudden yelling and turns around, looking at Katsuki and Toshinori who are currently wrapped together like old friends. “What is it, Kacchan?”
“I just asked Young Bakugou if you two wanted to come to New York with me.” Toshinori repeats, delighted by the ash-blond male's reaction. “He’s up for it.”
“Oh! Of course, why not?” Izuku smiles at the suggestion. “I haven’t left Japan in a while, so this would be a nice treat.”
“Wonderful! I’ll have you booked on the earliest flight to New York, then!” Toshinori says, his laughter loud and booming. “It’s for a junior baking challenge, and I think they should be around 15 years old. You’ll just have to sit on the sidelines, but afterwards you can try out their desserts as well.”
“That sounds-” great, perfect, amazing- “good, we’ll be there.” Katsuki says. He suddenly recalls his coworkers in New York, the medley of weird and fun people he used to spend every waking hour with, and he wonders how they’re doing.
I guess I’ll drop by, Katsuki thinks, peeking over at Izuku’s smiling self, and I should bring Izuku with me.
The rest of the walk feels like a waking dream.
“Hey, welcome ba- did you guys pick up some stray cats along the way?” Shouto says, looking at them curiously. He’s currently crushing almonds, and Ochako is setting the table, adjusting the chopsticks this way and that.
“Ah! It’s Inko and All Might!” Ochako says blithely, waving at them with earnest. “Welcome to CLC!”
“Mom, All Might, this is Shouto Todoroki, he’s known Kacchan for years.” Izuku introduces them to each other, and Shouto gives a firm handshake to the both of them. When he reaches over to shake Toshinori’s hand, a wave of recognition flows through him.
“You were at Yuuei before.” Shouto says, looking at Toshinori carefully. “And Katsuki idolizes you.”
“I do not,” Katsuki argues, but his words fall upon deaf ears.
“Yes! I visit Yuuei annually. I recognize you, young man- your sugar sculptures are top notch.” Toshinori says, and Shouto actually cracks a smile at the compliment, his expression pleased.
“So, does anyone want food?” Ochako says, gesticulating towards the table. “I didn’t set the table for nothing, you know.”
Everyone clambers into their seats and talks loudly over the food, the multitude of hands and mouths creating a lively atmosphere at the dinner table. Izuku is awfully quiet during dinner, and whereas everyone is in high spirits, Izuku watches over them in a silent manner, his expression serene as he sips on soup. Katsuki looks over at him, worried about his mental state, but when Izuku catches sight of Katsuki he smiles sweetly at the ash-blond male.
“You want to go to the garden with me?” Katsuki asks suddenly. Izuku blinks at the suggestion but wraps his pinky finger around Katsuki’s pinky, and they gaze at each other carefully.
“Sure thing.” Izuku says. They leave the table without a word, and no one tries to stop them.
The garden is drenched in moonlight, and a few stray fireflies dance around their heads. They walk in silence, Katsuki leading and Izuku following, like always.
“You’ve been crying an awful lot today.” Katsuki comments. “You probably want to cry right now, huh?”
“What? Who’s going to…” Izuku trails off, and there’s a rustling sound from his clothes as he wipes the tears away from his eyes. “How did you know, Kacchan?” He asks, his voice quiet.
“When you’re with someone all the time, you kind of understand their cues.” Katsuki reaches over to pull Izuku closer to him, draping his arm around Izuku’s waist. “Are you upset at seeing your family? You’ve been kind of sad the entire time.”
“It’s just… oh god, you’ll laugh at me if I say it.” Izuku says, hiding his face with his hands. Katsuki gently pulls his hands away, revealing Izuku’s tear-stained complexion.
“I probably won’t laugh. No guarantees.” Katsuki warns, feeling Izuku’s laughter bubble up.
“Okay, okay. I guess that’s the best I can get from you, huh?” Izuku says, smiling. “It’s just… it’s amazing, you know. Having everyone here together. My friends, my boyfriend, my family members… we’re all in this bakery, enjoying desserts and talking like we’re all old friends. I’ve spent so many nights alone here, without anyone. It’s like the air is sparkling when we’re in the same room. I think…” Izuku gulps, looking up at Katsuki. His eyelashes obscure some parts of his eyes, but the green irises shine through brilliantly. “I think only good things have happened since you’ve been here. I said that business will be looking up because of your arrival, remember? Back when we first met. But honestly my… life… has been a lot better because of you. So thank you.”
Katsuki digs his fingers deeper into Izuku’s waist, his face completely red from embarrassment at this point. “How can you say something like that with so much sincerity?” Katsuki mumbles, his cheeks burning. “You’re the one who… I need you to be with me. Did you cast some sort of voodoo spell?”
Izuku laughs at the accusation, his giggle soft and twinkling in the summer air. “You caught me. I actually stole a lock of your hair and forced you to like me.” Izuku says, touching Katsuki’s cheek gently. “Now you can't live without me.”
“I fucking knew it.” Katsuki says, leaning in Izuku's face. “You better take responsibility."
"With pleasure." Izuku whispers. The distance between their mouths disappear, and no further words are spoken.
Chapter 11: Patience
mashes up all the cute, cliché things into a blender to make a super sugary and fluffy smoothie
- Corny af. This was meant to be ridiculously sweet! Exercise caution when reading.
The pâtisserie is ill-equipped to house more than two people in it, and this fact becomes glaringly obvious when Katsuki has to lay down some futons on the kitchen floor for the night. Katsuki looks at the threadbare sheets and the worn-out pillows with a grimace, but Izuku shoots a reassuring smile at his direction.
“It’ll be fine!” Izuku says, patting Katsuki’s arm gently. “It’s just for a night, after all. All Might and mom will sleep well in our beds, and Shouto is on the couch in the living room. It’s like a big slumber party!”
“Okay, look.” Katsuki says, sliding in under the covers. He winces when his elbow knocks against the hard ground, but he continues on speaking. “There are way too many fucking people living here now. I feel like a homeless person sleeping on this shitty hard floor.”
“At least we’ll be suffering together.” Izuku says blithely, pulling the covers over his chest. He turns to gaze at Katsuki, and Izuku smiles softly.
“What are you smiling about, moron?” Katsuki says, flicking his forehead. Izuku yelps at the pain and pinches Katsuki’s cheek in retaliation. “Ow- fucking Deku-”
“I’m smiling, ‘cause…” Izuku hesitantly inches closer to Katsuki, and his curly green hair tickles Katsuki’s cheek. “You know. I like you. Looking at you makes me happy.”
Katsuki can feel his entire body turn hot from embarrassment, as though his veins contained warm lava flowing through within him. He coughs a few times, trying to cover up how red his face is, but Izuku merely brushes his bangs back lovingly, fixating his large green eyes onto Katsuki’s crimson ones.
“And since it’s so hard on the floor, I can use you as a cushion!” Without a warning, Izuku clambers on top of Katsuki’s chest, and he gasps when Izuku applies too much pressure against his already quickening heartbeat.
“Get the fuck off of me!” Katsuki wheezes, using his fingers to tickle Izuku’s sides. Izuku yelps at the touch and wriggles delightfully off of him, his hair and clothes completely messed up. Izuku’s shirt rises up to reveal an expanse of soft, tanned skin, and Katsuki feels himself hitch a breath when he sees Izuku’s toned stomach.
“God, you’re so mean. I was just kidding.” Izuku complains, rolling over to latch onto Katsuki. He wraps his arms around Katsuki’s torso, his bare skin pressing against Katsuki’s chest, and he can feel his throat dry up when Izuku’s only a few centimetres away from his lips.
“Are you trying to kill me?” Katsuki mutters, his nose grazing against Izuku’s cheek. Izuku just smiles cheekily at him instead, dipping his head down so that he can gently press his mouth on Katsuki’s lips.
They kiss for a long time- soft, barely noticeable pecks against chapped lips- before Katsuki pulls him closer, their hands searching for each other with increasing urgency. Izuku’s fingers slowly make their way down Katsuki’s pants, pulling them down with one fluid motion as he brushes against his thighs with his own bare legs, and Katsuki realizes that he is one hundred percent fucked.
“Stop pulling sexy shit on me, stupid Deku.” Katsuki growls, biting down on Izuku’s bottom lip without mercy. Izuku cries out at the contact before digging his nails into Katsuki’s butt, his eyes looking down at him with mild irritation.
“You should really file down your canine teeth, Kacchan.” Izuku comments, rubbing his sore lip carefully. “I think you broke the skin on my lip.”
“No, I didn’t.” When blood begins to drip down Izuku’s chin, Katsuki hurriedly brushes it away with his hands. “Uh, okay. You need to invest in fucking chapstick or something, your lips are bleeding.”
“I think that’s actually from your teeth.” Izuku says, slowly sitting up from the futon. “I’ll, um, just get a tissue or something. It’s not a big deal.”
“Okay, just stay put for a second. If you move even an inch, I’ll bite down on your neck.” Katsuki warns, getting up to search for the tissue box. He rummages through a few cabinets before finding an unopened box of kleenex, and he rips it open to pull out a dozen sheets of paper.
“That’s a lot of tissue paper.” Izuku says, looking at the bundle with amusement. “You know, I’m barely bleeding now.”
“Just use these crappy tissues, idiot.” Katsuki says, shoving the paper onto Izuku’s mouth. Izuku lets out a noise of protest, but he remains silent afterwards, allowing Katsuki to continue soaking up the blood from his mouth.
“Well, that was a gigantic waste of paper.” Izuku says, pulling the tissue paper away from his mouth. Katsuki crumples it up into a ball and throws it onto the table, ignoring the cries of ‘you litterbug!’ from Izuku.
“Your lip looks busted.” Katsuki says, grabbing onto Izuku’s chin. He leans closer to appraise the bitten lip, and Izuku refrains from breathing as Katsuki inspects his face.
“You should kiss it better.” Izuku suggests, but when Katsuki leans in to place a kiss down on his lip, Izuku recoils at the contact. “Wow, that hurt. Okay. No more kisses.”
“Ugh.” Katsuki says articulately, flopping onto his back. After a few seconds, Izuku curls up beside him, snuggling in closer to absorb as much body warmth as possible.
“So, are you looking forward to going to New York?” Izuku asks, lifting his head up to look at Katsuki. “Your friends are there, right? Are you going to introduce me?”
“They’re just assholes.” Katsuki says dismissively, reaching over to place his hand Izuku’s back. “But if you want to see them, I guess you could look at them for a nanosecond. And then we’re going to better places.”
“Okay.” Izuku sighs contently and closes his eyes with a permanent smile etched onto his visage. “Well, I’m just excited to see New York through your eyes. And plus, it’s our first vacation together.”
Katsuki’s New York is really just early mornings and late night shifts at the bakery, where he and a bunch of his other extremely fatigued colleagues would power through the day with forced smiles on their faces. Amidst the swirl of powdered sugar and spilled eggs, Katsuki felt right at home while they chopped and mixed and sculpted order after order. At the thought of his old life in New York, Katsuki’s fingers twitched longingly with the thought of racing against time to complete insane instructions from picky customers, and Izuku sleepily places his hand onto his palm.
“Don’t get your fucking hopes up, New York is shit.” Katsuki warns, watching as Izuku slowly nods off to sleep. “Utter trash. All those TV shows lied to you.”
Izuku snores in reply, and Katsuki sighs, cradling Izuku’s head closer to his chest. He can feel Izuku already slobbering over his t-shirt, but he doesn’t really mind the saliva at this point. In fact, Katsuki finds it rather cute.
Katsuki’s finger hovers over the contact name Idiot Eijirou on his phone, contemplating whether or not to inform him of his rapidly-approaching arrival in New York. Toshinori had mentioned that the competition began in a few days, and so Katsuki wonders if he really should drop by at his old bakery. Something akin to nostalgia washes over him, and before he can talk himself out of it, he hits the call button.
“He...llo?” A voice replies blearily, the sound of drowsiness laced throughout his tone. “Who is it?”
“It’s me, you fuckface.” Katsuki says in lieu of hello. “Why are you sleeping?”
“Huh? Katsuki?” Eijirou’s voice brightens up, and he starts to speak in a more cheerful manner. “I haven’t heard from you since you left New York! What’s up?”
“I’m going back to New York soon.” Katsuki says, glancing over to the kitchen. Izuku is currently informing Toshinori about the ingredients in the pantry, and the two of them look right at home with each other. “Two other people are coming too.”
“Oh? A girlfriend?” Eijirou says. There’s laughter in the background, and Katsuki frowns at the sound. “Be quiet, Mineta.”
“You be quiet.” Mineta replies.
“Why don’t you both be quiet.” Katsuki groans, sending a withering glare at his innocent phone. “You’ll see him when you see him.”
“Wait, so it’s a boyfriend? You have a boy-”
Katsuki presses the end button without a second thought.
“I need a ride to the airport.” Shouto announces, staring pointedly towards Katsuki. “And I don’t think you have taxis around here.”
“Ugh, good riddance. You’re finally fucking leaving.” Katsuki says, looking over at him through the corner of his eyes. Shouto has been with them for around a week, and as the red and white haired male cuts a neat slice off of his pancake, Katsuki silently hands a cup of coffee over to him.
“What time is your flight, Shouto?” Izuku asks, sitting down at the table with them.
“Oh, it’s in the afternoon today.” Shouto says. “I’ll miss you, Izuku.”
“I’ll miss you too, Shouto.”
“Stop bonding.” Katsuki says warningly, and Izuku laughs at the thinly-veiled hostility in his voice.
“Oh, leaving so soon, Todoroki?” Toshinori says, settling down in the seat beside him. Katsuki appraises him carefully, his expression thoughtful before handing him his business card. “If you need anything, you can give me a call. I’d be happy to help out such a talented friend of Midoriya’s.”
“This is very generous.” Shouto comments, accepting the card. “Well, for starters, could you give your autograph to Katsuki? He’s a big fan of yours.”
“You’re fucking dead, Shouto.” Katsuki says, horrified at the request. He grabs onto the salt shaker to toss it at Shouto’s head, but Toshinori merely laughs and takes out a pen from his pocket.
“It’s not a problem! Young Bakugou, where would you like me to sign?” Toshinori asks good-naturedly, his smile as blinding as the sun. Katsuki actually covers his eyes from the effect, and he reluctantly hands a square piece of napkin to Toshinori.
“If you could sign… here… thanks.” Katsuki says stoically, unused to acting respectful to others. After Toshinori signs the napkin with a flourish, Katsuki carefully pockets the napkin into his apron, vowing to frame it when he has the chance.
“Oh, are we all taking Todoroki to the airport?” Inko asks, patting Izuku’s head before sitting down. The mother and son look at each other with silly smiles on their faces, and Izuku nods at the question.
“Yep! It’ll be the last time we’ll see him in a while, so it would be nice.” Izuku says, bringing his chair closer to Katsuki to make room at the table. The seating area is rather small for the five of them, but the closer proximity to Izuku makes Katsuki feel a bit grateful for the cramped space.
“Now, you give me a call when you’re in Japan, Todoroki.” Inko says brightly. “I’ll definitely treat you to some good food!”
Shouto looks caught off-guard at the idea, but a slow smile forms on his face. “You are all much too kind. But I will accept your offers, thank you.”
Shouto nudges his pancakes across his plate absentmindedly, a habit the red and white haired male has when he’s in deep thought. Katsuki glances over at him carefully, but when they accidentally lock eyes, he turns away abruptly.
“Well, I guess I better start packing.” Shouto says, getting up from the table. “I’ll be expecting a car ride in an hour, Katsuki.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Katsuki huffs. “You act so fucking entitled.”
“You’re just a jackass.”
“Language, children.” Toshinori sing-songs, drinking from his cup of coffee. “Language.”
Katsuki leans against the wall, watching as Shouto packs up his clothes and arranges them into his suitcase neatly. The red and white haired male has a very organized packing system, and his notebook full of packing lists is opened on the bed beside him.
“You haven’t changed a bit, Shouto.” Katsuki says, picking up a discarded red t-shirt from the floor. He suddenly realizes that it’s the school jersey from Yuuei, and he places it against his chest. “Holy shit! You still have the old soccer jersey?”
“Yes, of course. They’re pajamas.” Shouto says, reaching over to pull the shirt out from his grasp. He folds them up and places it next to his water bottle. “What, don’t you have the jersey anymore?”
“I do.” Katsuki admits, sitting down onto the bed. “It’s bunched up at the bottom of my suitcase somewhere, because I only have crappy, traumatizing memories of you kicking the ball at my head.”
“Yeah, I hated you.” Shouto says candidly. “Your head was the goal post for me.”
Katsuki picks up a pair of jeans and begins folding it, and the two of them work in silence for a bit. Shouto’s departure shouldn’t be a big deal to Katsuki, but the thought of not seeing him for another few months leaves a sour taste in his mouth. Katsuki looks over at Shouto, and the red and white haired male pauses stacking his books up to speak.
“You know, Izuku and his family seem really nice.” Shouto says. “I’m glad you’re with someone decent this time. Your past relationships have been utter failures.”
“How very kind of you.” Katsuki says sarcastically, throwing a sock at Shouto’s face. It lands on his shoulder, and Shouto peels it off to toss it into the suitcase.
“And he’s with you even though you’re such an asshole.” Shouto continues, ignoring the angry looks Katsuki shoots at his direction. “But I guess, you’re surprisingly nice to Izuku when you’re together. You have a sweet side to you, huh?”
“Oh, shut the hell up.” Katsuki groans. Secretly, he doesn’t mind the words Shouto say, and the red and white haired male knows it. “I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever fucking meet.”
“Right.” Shouto says, sounding unimpressed. He zips up his suitcase and turns around, motioning for Katsuki to come forward. “So, are you going to hug me or what?”
“Fuck no.” Katsuki says, horrified at the suggestion. When Shouto’s arms remain open, Katsuki reluctantly leans in, placing his hands awkwardly onto his back. They hug rather tightly, and Katsuki can smell the clean shampoo Shouto uses, the scent of green apple both relaxing and familiar. “Okay, only this time though. Never again.”
“That’s what you said last time, idiot.” Shouto’s voice is surprisingly soft, and Katsuki remains in his embrace a few seconds longer than he had planned on. “Well, anyway. I left you and Izuku a present.”
At this, Katsuki removes himself from Shouto’s grasp, looking at him warily. “What present?”
“I already gave it to Izuku, so you two can open it when you have the time.” Shouto says, a smirk forming on his face.
“You have a stupid fucking look on your face. Now I’m scared about what the present contains.” Katsuki groans, trying to think of what it could be. A variety of blackmail material dances through his mind, and he runs his fingers through his hair worriedly.
“Don’t be scared. It’ll be nice.”
“Okay, just stop talking now. You’re severely freaking me out.”
Shouto’s departure is both bittersweet and anticlimactic, the red and white haired male merely giving a wave before walking into the terminal. Katsuki sighs and twirls the ice cubes in his coffee with his straw, watching as Izuku and Toshinori line up for sandwiches in the public airport cafeteria. Without him even noticing, Inko appears beside him, her hands carrying a cup of tea.
“Hello, Katsuki.” Inko says, taking a sip from her mug. Katsuki looks down to see Izuku’s mother, and he inwardly panics at the contact.
It’s Izuku’s mother. Inko is also, potentially, Katsuki’s mother-in-law, and the idea of them standing together without anyone else causes him to feel wholly uncomfortable. Katsuki is unfriendly and prickly, and he understands his personality quirks better than anyone else, especially when people reiterate how unapproachable he is time and time again. He hurriedly drinks from his iced coffee, trying to buy some time before replying.
“Hi.” He says cautiously, watching her to gauge her reactions. Inko smiles at him, and he relaxes by the slightest amount.
“Just thought I’d come over to talk to you! You know, since you’re my baby’s boyfriend.” Inko says. Her eyes soften when she looks over at Izuku, and the two of them watch as Izuku and Toshinori talk happily with one another. “I wanted to thank you for being with him.”
“It… it’s not… a problem.” Katsuki says hesitantly. He takes another sip from his drink tensely, and Inko laughs at his reaction. He suddenly realizes that Inko’s laugh is similar to Izuku’s, the sound gentle and relaxing.
“No, seriously. He’s a really wonderful child, and he deserves to be with someone he likes. I mean, he’s always been filled with such a respect for his parents. It’s why he’s still working in that bakery.” Inko looks down at her tea wistfully, and Katsuki glances at her, waiting for Inko to continue speaking.
“Are you planning on staying at this location, Katsuki?” Inko asks, raising her head to look at him. Katsuki seesaws between telling her the truth or the better sounding lie, but he settles with honesty instead.
“No.” Katsuki says bluntly. “I’m going to Paris, and I’m opening my own bakery. Not a branch of someone else’s, but my own pâtisserie, with my own recipes and a shitload of awards to back it up. Excuse the, uh, profanity in my sentences.”
“That sounds like what Izuku wanted.” Inko says, her eyes focussing not on what’s in front of her, but rather somewhere far away, like she’s thinking about a distant future. “He was supposed to have his own place in Japan. It was somewhere in Tokyo, but he turned it down after his father passed away. After that, he’s been at CLC. He says that he’s happy there, but… I don’t know. Maybe I’m overthinking things. I just want Izuku to feel safe enough to do whatever he wants.”
Katsuki looks over at Inko, and upon seeing her already-finished tea, he plucks the styrofoam cup from her hands to throw away into the trash. “Deku will be fine.” Katsuki says, staring at a surprised Inko. “Because I’ll be there for him, no matter what fucking choice he makes. And, if he needs a nudge in the right direction, I’ll kick his ass all the way to Paris if I need to. Don’t worry about it, Inko.”
Inko watches as Katsuki walks over to the garbage can, dropping his cup and Inko’s into the disposal. She sighs and places her hand on her face, a smile forming on her visage.
“You’ve picked such a lovely man, Izuku.” Inko says, seeing the furtive glance Katsuki sends to Izuku’s direction. “Truly.”
“You look really good as Snow White.” Izuku says, laughter threatening to bubble out from his mouth. Katsuki feels his face redden at the statement, and he pinches Izuku’s cheeks with both hands.
“Did Shouto show you pictures or something?” Katsuki snarls, yanking even harder on Izuku’s face.
“Ow- please forgive me- Kacchan-” Izuku says, flailing his arms as Katsuki continues on pinching him. After a few seconds of punishment, Katsuki lets go of him, and Izuku rubs his face carefully before responding.
“Um, he left us pictures, actually.” Izuku says, smiling cheekily at Katsuki. “You know, as a gift.”
I left you and Izuku a present, Shouto had said. Katsuki groans and puts his face into his hands, mortified that his boyfriend had seen him at his worst.
“I’m going to kill Shouto. And you, actually.” Katsuki says, narrowing his eyes at Izuku. “I’m going to kill everyone who has evidence of the photos- where are the photos, Deku?”
Izuku whistles and looks away, and at this point Katsuki realizes that Izuku is never going to tell him. “They’re hidden.” Izuku says, batting his eyelashes at him innocently. “They’re too lovely to throw away, Kacchan.”
“I hate you.” Katsuki says coldly, turning away. Moments later, Izuku wraps his arms around Katsuki’s waist, hugging him gently from his back.
“Aw, come on, Kacchan.” Izuku says, digging his chin into Katsuki’s shoulder. “You don’t hate me.”
“No, you don’t.”
Katsuki concedes to Izuku’s light grip, relaxing into his chest. He raises one hand to ruffle Izuku’s hair, and the ash blond male looks over at him. Izuku looks back, his eyes rimmed with dark eyelashes and his pupils sparkling animatedly, and Katsuki wonders how he managed to date him.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Katsuki says, and Izuku laughs, the sound pure and full of undiluted happiness.
The night before the airplane ride to New York, Katsuki and Izuku end up huddling on a blanket outside, the two of them staring up at the stars. It’s the countryside, so the pollution doesn’t cloud over the night sky like a heavy blanket, and Katsuki is amazed at the sheer number of sparkling, glittering stars dotting the velvet black horizon.
“Do you know what that is, Kacchan?” Izuku asks, pointing at a random cluster of stars. Katsuki squints his eyes to decipher the constellation, but he turns around to look at Izuku instead.
“No. What is it?” Katsuki asks.
“Oh.” Izuku laughs nervously, his hands outstretched to the sky. “I have no idea. I thought you might know.”
“I took lessons on meringue, not fucking astronomy.” Katsuki says, stretching his hands out as well. They lie down side-by-side, both reaching towards the stars but not quite touching them. “So, why are we here tonight, instead of on our super luxurious bedsheets on the floor?”
“I like looking at the stars from here.” Izuku says simply, gently touching Katsuki’s pinky with his pinky. Katsuki grabs onto his hand, and their arms fall down to their sides, the two of them looking at each other. “I mean, they look pretty. You can’t see this from the city.”
“True.” Katsuki admits. He looks back up, the profusion of stars quite the sight to see, and Katsuki feels perfectly peaceful for once.
“Are you sad that Shouto is gone?” Izuku suddenly asks, his green eyes staring at Katsuki inquisitively. Katsuki takes a few seconds before replying, and he pinches Izuku’s nose with his fingers.
“Who gives a fuck about him?” Katsuki says, watching Izuku squirm from his grip. “I’ll see him again, anyway. No need to feel sad.”
“Okay, because you two seem really close.” Izuku says, sounding a bit resentful. At his tone, Katsuki’s lips form into a smirk, and he brushes Izuku’s hair with his fingers.
“Oh? Are you jealous?” Katsuki says teasingly, watching as Izuku’s face turns pink from embarrassment.
“N-no! Of course not!” Izuku stammers unconvincingly. After Katsuki laughs at him, Izuku sighs and pulls Katsuki close to him, his lips curved downwards into a subtle pout. “Well, who wouldn’t be? You two have been friends since high school. I’ve only known you for a few months.”
“You’re the person I feel closest to.” Katsuki says without a second thought. “You shouldn’t feel jealous.”
A smile blossoms across Izuku’s face, and he reaches over to pat Katsuki’s face lovingly. “You’re such a charmer, you know that?”
“Oh, fuck you.” Katsuki grumbles, flicking Izuku’s forehead. “You’re so embarrassing to be with.”
They remain quiet afterwards, watching the stars flicker above, and Katsuki can see the reflection of the stars in Izuku’s eyes, his face free of worries. He thinks about Inko’s desire for Izuku to move on, to travel to Paris, and he laces his fingers in-between Izuku’s fingers.
“You still want to go to Paris?” Katsuki asks, watching as Izuku turns around to face him. A few expressions flit by his face, and Izuku struggles to get the words out from his mouth, his words awkward and spoken reluctantly.
“I do.” Izuku says quietly. “I… I really want to.”
“Do you think you’re able to go?” Katsuki rephrases his question. He sees the number 6 earring glinting from Izuku’s ear, and he reflexively touches the earring carefully.
“I… maybe.” Izuku says tentatively. “I still don’t know yet. I feel like I can, in the future. I just don’t know when.”
Well, that’s better than a no. Katsuki thinks, not willing to press on with the issue even further. He sighs and places a kiss on Izuku’s knuckles, and he smiles at the contact.
“Sure. Just tell me when.” Katsuki says. “I’m not in a rush.”
“Thank you, Kacchan.” Izuku looks truly grateful, and he curls up closer to Katsuki. “Thank you for being so patient.”
They end up falling asleep under the soft glow of the stars.
Chapter 12: City of Dreams
- Very mild LGBTQ discrimination. (Very, very mild. A very small section.)
Katsuki feels something on his nose. Something light. Something bright. Something… uncomfortable.
Katsuki cracks open one eye, only to find that a stray firefly had somehow landed on the tip of his nose. The bug lights up brilliantly against the pitch-black sky, but the glow feels akin to a pair of hot tongs poking into his eyes. He bats at the offensive bug and rolls over onto his side, a little miffed at the interruption during the night.
“Our flight is at shit o’clock in the morning, asshole.” Katsuki mutters to the firefly, determined to fall back asleep. “Just let me sleep.”
“Are you insulting a bug?” Izuku says tiredly, half-lidded eyes gazing up at Katsuki. “That seems rather rude of you.” Katsuki’s heart skips a beat at the sight- calm down, he’s drooling all over the place, it’s not sexy- and he places his arm on Izuku’s waist, pulling him closer to his chest.
“I’ll insult whoever the fuck I want.” Katsuki says roughly. He feels Izuku’s hands making their way to his neck, his cool fingers tickling his skin.
“Wow, are we still outside?” Izuku asks, his eyes blinking away the fatigue. “You want to head back into the pâtisserie so that we can sleep indoors?”
“I’m not that tired anymore, actually.” Katsuki sighs, glaring bitterly at the firefly who is currently flying away at mach speed.
“Thinking about New York?” Izuku says teasingly. “Aw, does someone miss his frie- ow!” Izuku yelps from the pinch from Katsuki, trying to wriggle out of his pincer-like grip on his skin.
“I don’t miss them.” Katsuki says gruffly, his nose happily burrowed in Izuku’s hair. “I did meet some of them in high school though, so it’d be nice to, you know, check to see if they’re not dead.”
“How kind.” Izuku smiles happily up towards Katsuki, and he can feel his innards melting, melting, melting away, like a dripping ice cream cone. “Can you tell me a bit about them?”
“Huh?” Katsuki frowns at this, momentarily becoming A Person again instead of A Melting Object. “My… coworkers?”
“Yes, them.” Izuku says, his green eyes staring directly into Katsuki’s red ones. “Tell me about them?”
Izuku has a pleading tone to his voice, fluttering his eyelashes in a mockingly seductive manner. Eventually Izuku laughs sheepishly, as if embarrassed by his own actions, but Katsuki just wants to hold him as close as possible because- he’s-
You’re too cute, you fucknut, Katsuki thinks, biting down on his lip to prevent himself from smiling stupidly. Izuku leans in a bit, his breathing soft and even, and Katsuki would have given up anything to remain wrapped up in Izuku’s embrace. That would be enough for him.
“Well, since you’re so fucking interested,” Katsuki says lowly, dipping his head down a bit, “I’ll give you a brief rundown. So there’s four of them,”
“Uh huh,” Izuku says, inching closer to Katsuki,
“Eijirou, he has bright red hair, he’s dumb.”
Izuku’s hand makes its way to Katsuki’s face, his fingers caressing his cheek lovingly.
“There’s Momo, her hair is practically gravity-defying.”
Katsuki moves close enough to Izuku so that their noses touch, and Izuku smiles at this, his eyes flickering between looking at Katsuki’s nose to his lips.
“Uh, Yuuga. Blond.”
“Do you only know people based on their hairstyle?” Izuku lets out a laugh, but his voice dies away when Katsuki lifts his chin up with his hand, his mouth only millimetres away from Izuku’s lips.
“There’s one more person, he’s… oh, fuck it.” Katsuki says exasperatedly, placing his mouth onto Izuku to give him a kiss. Izuku’s lips stretch into a smile, but he kisses him back, and they end up making out until the sun rises up from the horizon.
Their flight to New York is early in the morning, and the three of them- Katsuki, Izuku and Toshinori- wave good-bye to Inko, as Izuku’s mother was catching a flight back to Tokyo.
“Bye mom.” Izuku says, his voice wavering. There’s tears that form at the corners of his eyes, but he hurriedly wipes them away with the edge of his shirt sleeve. “Have a safe flight!”
“Oh, Izuku…” Inko says mournfully, her eyes prickling with her own unshed tears. “I’ll miss you so much.”
“It’s fine, I’ll see you much sooner next time!” Izuku says, trying to smile. He ends up with a few more tears rolling down his face, and Katsuki silently hands him a piece of tissue paper. “Thanks, Kacchan.”
“Take care of my son please, Katsuki.” Inko says, dipping her head down in a polite bow. Katsuki hurriedly bows down as well, feeling out of place as he’s unfamiliar with showing respect, but Inko seems to appreciate the gesture.
“He’ll be fine, don’t worry.” Katsuki says uncomfortably, raising his head back up. Inko sighs and grabs onto her suitcase, the green haired female rolling the red package down the airport terminal.
“Be safe, you guys!” Inko calls out, waving good-bye. “Bye, All Might! Bye, Katsuki! Bye, Izuku!”
When she disappears around the corner, Izuku leans against Katsuki, who is currently a literal pillar of support for him. Toshinori coughs a bit awkwardly at the sight, smiling reassuringly towards the two of them.
“Don’t be too sad, young Midoriya!” Toshinori says consolingly, slapping his hand on his shoulder. “You’ll see her again.”
“No, I know. I’m a grown man. I’ve lived this long without my mother.” Izuku says, trying to laugh it off. Katsuki hands another piece of tissue to Izuku, who takes it and promptly blows his nose.
“I’ll just head to the airport terminal first, all right?” Toshinori says, already picking up both Izuku and Katsuki’s suitcases and tossing it over his shoulders like they were weightless. “You two take your sweet time. I won’t be a third wheeler, don’t worry.”
The day that All Might is considered a third wheeler for Katsuki is a day he had never envisioned would happen. “You’re really not,” Katsuki begins to say, but Toshinori is already far from shouting distance.
“Well, you want to explore the airport with me, then?” Izuku asks, his hand outstretched for Katsuki to hold. Katsuki immediately laces his fingers with his and pulls him forward, feeling the tips of his ears turn red from the contact.
They’ve done many things together- cooking, sleeping, exploring, kissing- but those actions were all done in the countryside, far from prying eyes and the curious minds of strangers. Being viewed by so many people, even the rather innocent gazes of children, makes Katsuki severely uncomfortable. He’s a man who doesn't really do public displays of affection, and even during this progressive phase of the world, he understands that sometimes, homosexuality is met with judgmental glances from people who knew nothing about them.
They walk through the crowd of people with interlocked hands, Izuku smiling cheerfully at whoever happened to stare at them a bit too long and Katsuki feeling rather self-conscious about his incredibly sweaty palms. Ideally, Katsuki would have hightailed the fuck out of there and sat down in the shelter of the airport terminal seats, but Izuku looks over at everything with an almost childlike intrigue, pulling Katsuki into all sorts of ridiculous gift shops and jewelry stores.
“I think this hat would look great on you.” Izuku says proudly, pulling out a top hat with a pair of bunny ears on the rim. Katsuki almost pukes at the item, but when Izuku gazes at him with his hopeful eyes, he succumbs to his fate.
“There. I put it on. Happy?” Katsuki grumbles, adjusting his top hat so that the bunny ears flop forward perfectly. Izuku laughs and pulls out a mirror for Katsuki to look at, and Katsuki has to admit that, wow, I can pull off anything.
“I’ll get it for you.” Izuku says quite suddenly. Before Katsuki can even protest, Izuku runs over to the cashier, placing down some money on the counter before hurrying back. Izuku grins at him, tugging at his bunny ears affectionately.
“I don’t need this.” Katsuki says sourly, trying to cover up how utterly pleased he’s feeling.
Deku bought me something! Deku bought me something! Katsuki sing-songs in his head.
“But you look so cute.” Izuku says, pouting a bit. Katsuki really thinks that Izuku should be the one wearing the hat, but he is pretty content just seeing Izuku's delighted expression.
“I want the hat he’s wearing!” A girl shrieks, her voice cutting through the atmosphere. Katsuki blinks and turns around, only to find a small girl that really only reached up to his knees. “Mom, can I get one?”
“Oh, maybe.” Her mother says absentmindedly, turning around to glance at the two of them. She dons on a puckered expression when she notices that they’re holding hands, and she gently pulls her daughter closer to her. “Come along now, Sayako.”
Normally Katsuki would ignore such subtle discrimination from others, but when he sees the little girl, a bit saddened by the lack of a hat as well as being the unfortunate recipient of an unaccepting mother, he takes a step forward towards the two of them.
“If you want the hat,” Katsuki says loudly, pulling the top hat off, “you can have it.” Katsuki kneels down onto the floor and places the top hat onto her head, rotating it so that it nestles snugly on top of her head. Sayako blinks at the gesture and starts giggling, her small hands gripping both of the bunny ears happily.
“Thanks, mister!” Sayako says. Katsuki nods a bit before getting back up, trying to ignore the impressed or grateful or even amazed look on Izuku’s face. He grabs onto Katsuki’s hand, and Sayako twirls around on the spot, still excited over her hat.
“You didn’t have to…” Sayako’s mother says, her voice trailing off. Katsuki glances over at her with a rather neutral expression, his eyes cold.
“It’s not a problem. Come on, Deku.” Katsuki says, looping his arm around Izuku’s waist and pulling him to his side. Izuku flushes pink at the gesture but doesn’t argue, and Sayako sighs behind them.
“Mom, they’re so nice. They’re so cute together!” Sayako says brightly, skipping away with her newly acquired hat. At her words, Katsuki feels his face redden, and when he turns to look at Izuku, they both have matching blushing faces.
“Your face is really pink.” Izuku comments.
“You should look in a mirror, idiot.” Katsuki says brusquely. After a moment, Katsuki dips his head down, glancing at Izuku from the corner of his eyes. “Sorry I gave your gift away.”
“Oh, it’s not a problem!” Izuku says hurriedly, smiling up at him. “In fact, it was very adorable. I think I’ve fallen more for you.”
“You’re s-so fucking stupid!” Katsuki accidentally stutters, feeling all sense of pride trickle away when he sees Izuku actually snort from laughter from his response. “I’ll fucking kill you if you laugh anymore, shithead!”
“Okay, okay, sorry.” Izuku says, wincing when Katsuki begins to pinch on his sides. “You’ve got really sharp nails, Kaccha- ow ow ow, please, have mercy on me!”
They don’t even notice the glances flitting towards them afterwards.
The airplane rumbles forward into the sky, and when Katsuki looks down through the window, he sees the city in colorful squares criss-crossing amongst each other. Izuku leans over and places his chin on Katsuki’s shoulder, and the two of them watch as Japan becomes smaller and smaller until they emerge within the puffy white clouds.
“So it’s just hours and hours of not doing anything, huh?” Izuku says, his nose nuzzling into the crook of Katsuki’s neck.
“Basically.” Katsuki replies shortly, turning around to look at him. He catches sight of Toshinori awkwardly trying to remain an almost invisible presence, and Katsuki decides to spare Toshinori of the torturous role of being a third wheel.
“All Might,” Katsuki asks, watching as Toshinori whips his head around gratefully, “how did you train Izuku when he was younger?”
“Ah, excellent question, Bakugou my boy,” Toshinori says, his voice booming in the small space of the airplane, “it all began when I met him at a competition. He was quite young- fifteen- and very hopeful. He also happened to be very innovative with his desserts. You want to tell him what you made?”
“I just made a hot and cold dessert.” Izuku says sheepishly, trying to downplay his achievements. “It’s, um, a round white chocolate sculpture, and you pour hot raspberry sauce over it. It’s supposed to crack open like a flower, and inside was another round chocolate sculpture, but smaller. I modelled it after the Russian doll, matryoshka, and at the end it was supposed to look like a pink rose splayed out. That’s all.”
“It was very beautiful. And very moving, especially for a boy at such a young age.” Toshinori sighs happily at the memory, pretending to wipe away a tear. “Anyway, I knew that I needed to cultivate such talent. I had to ask his mother for permission first, of course- it was quite the uphill battle. Inko can be incredibly stubborn.”
“She declined the first couple of times he asked, but after he guaranteed me a job and safety, my mom relented.” Izuku smiles, looking over at Toshinori with admiration. “We went to- hmm. Most of the European countries, like France and Germany, and also we checked out a lot of the Asian countries too. I think I’ve been to America once, but that was a long time ago.”
“You dropped by Yuuei, too.” Toshinori chimes in, slapping Izuku’s back good-naturedly. “Not often, but you still did. Maybe you two met each other back then.”
“If we did, I probably would have remembered.” Izuku says wistfully, sneaking a glance at Katsuki. he quickly turns his head away to avoid showing how red his face is, and he scoffs at the sentence.
“Yeah. I’m fucking unforgettable.” Katsuki replies shortly.
“Yes, you are.” Izuku says, his voice soft.
“New York is,” Izuku says, sniffing the air a bit, “rather dirty.”
“Welcome to America.” Katsuki says, pulling their collective suitcases out from a bright yellow cab. The three of them are making their way to their hotel, which happens to be a luxurious-looking building that Toshinori has connections with. The lobby itself is dripping with chandeliers and sparkling lights, and Katsuki thinks about what a stark contrast it is compared to his old shabby New York living arrangement.
“I’ll get your suitcases,” the bellhop offers, already dragging a cart behind him to pile up their luggage, “and whenever you’re ready you can go ahead and see the hotel clerk to check you in.”
“Thank you.” Toshinori says, discreetly slipping two dollar bills into the bellhop’s hands. “Alright you two, let’s put our stuff away and you can go do some sightseeing. The competition isn’t until tomorrow.”
“Oh, wow! Thanks!” Izuku scrambles to pull out his tourist guide from his backpack, his eyes betraying the excitement bubbling up inside of him. “I want to do so much! You know, like visit the Empire State Building, and maybe check out MoMA, and- aren’t those cronuts here? I want to eat-”
“I’m going to take you to real good places instead of touristy places, idiot.” Katsuki says, rolling his eyes while yanking Izuku’s travel guide away. “Don’t you want to see how a local does things?”
“Well, yes, but I also want-” Izuku begins to protest, but Katsuki shoots him a scathing glare to shut him up.
“I’ll make you enjoy New York.” Katsuki growls, his tone forceful. He's caught off guard by a sudden desire to yawn, and when he finishes he rubs his eyes sleepily. “Well, after a quick nap. And then it’s fucking go time.”
“Can we still go up the Empire State Building?” Izuku asks meekly, his eyes glossy and optimistic. “I’ve seen so many movies with that landmark. It’s weird if I come here, and I don’t even see it.”
“Fine.” Katsuki relents, earning a cheerful ‘yay!’ from Izuku. “But we won’t be there for long, alright? It’s fucking crowded and full of shitty tourists thinking it’s where they’ll find true love or whatever other bullcrap.”
“Think positive,” Izuku chides, his fingers tugging on Katsuki’s shirt sleeve, “and hey- if we’re there together, it’ll be fun!”
“Right.” Katsuki says doubtfully, watching as Izuku pulls out his camera from his bag to hang it around his neck. Izuku looks up at Katsuki expectantly, waiting for his orders, and Katsuki sighs before reaching forward to pat Izuku’s head.
“You look like puppy.” Katsuki says. He almost smiles at the enthusiasm spilling out from Izuku like a neverending fountain, but manages to compose himself before getting caught up in Izuku’s pace. “Stop looking at me with those eyes.”
“It’s how I normally look.” Izuku says, pouting a bit. Before Katsuki can lean down and kiss the hell out of him, Toshinori waltzes back, his hands carrying two different room cards.
“So you two will stay in the same room, if that’s okay.” Toshinori says, handing each of them a glossy, cerulean blue room key. “It’s pretty cramped, but just think of it as a way to train! Sometimes we just never have enough privacy from each other, and the earlier you learn to cope with it, the better!”
“Don’t worry, All Might.” Izuku says, adjusting his camera strap. “I’m pretty used to Kacchan. In fact, I think we stick on to each other more often than not.”
“Keep your hands off of me, you fatass.” Katsuki says, but his voice contains no edge to his words. Izuku ignores the insult and laces his fingers with Katsuki’s, and the three of them make their way up to their hotel rooms.
After a bit of time for recuperation and a long shower, Katsuki and Izuku make their way out of the hotel and into the streets. The red and gold leaves rustle in the autumn breeze, and Izuku wraps his long trench coat around himself a bit tighter.
“It’s a bit chilly.” Izuku comments, looping his arm around Katsuki’s. Katsuki looks down at his own red scarf before pulling it off, messily tying it around Izuku’s neck. “Oh- I don’t- Kacchan, you’ll be cold.”
“If you happen to get a cold, you’ll end up passed out on the bed.” Katsuki grumbles, sticking his hand into the pocket of his navy blazer. “And if you’re fucking incapacitated, what’s the point of even coming here?”
Izuku looks over at him through the corner of his eyes, but there’s a small smile quirking up on his face. “You’re such a softie.” Izuku says, leaning in closer to Katsuki. Katsuki finds it hard to walk with Izuku pressed against him, but he doesn’t complain, finding that he likes the warmth exuding from his boyfriend.
“We met near the end of spring.” Izuku says, placing a finger against his chin thoughtfully. “And now it’s the beginning of autumn. Time sure flies, huh?”
“Don’t get sentimental on me, Deku.” Katsuki says, spotting a rather crunchy leaf on the ground. He makes his way over to purposefully step on the crisp leaf, and the crackle from the dead brown leaf is satisfying to hear.
“Oh, I love doing that too!” Izuku exclaims, letting go of Katsuki in search of more brittle-looking leaves. The two of them end up wandering around the streets, looking down at the ground for more innocent leaves to crush. Katsuki pauses his frolic on the streets to look at Izuku, who is happily stepping here and there, and his curly hair is even crazier today, the green locks sticking out without a care. Izuku’s eyes sparkle with happy enthusiasm under the warm sunlight, and with his long black trench coat flapping behind him, Izuku almost looks like he’s flying.
Honestly, Deku just looks beautiful. Katsuki thinks, reaching over to grab onto Izuku’s hand. Izuku holds onto him immediately, smiling much too brilliantly at the him, and he leans over to plant a kiss on Katsuki’s lips.
“I want coffee.” Izuku says, a little breathless. His viridescent eyes peer into Katsuki’s crimson ones, and Katsuki kisses him in lieu of a response, mouths relaying unsaid words and eyes closed from the world around them.
“This is,” Katsuki says, his hand on the crook of Izuku’s waist, “the last stop for today.”
“Whaaaaaat?” Izuku says, dragging out his sentence in a rather upset fashion. Izuku takes a sip from his pumpkin spice latte, the brown coffee cup decorated with gold leaves sprawled across the surface. Katsuki had dragged him to a tiny, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop with hand picked coffee beans and vintage brewing contraptions, and yet he had the gall of ordering a pumpkin spice latte. “Well, it makes sense. It’s almost midnight, and we have to meet All Might, anyway.”
“You’re not going back until much later, Deku.” Katsuki says, his hand on the handle of the door. Katsuki looks at the familiar gold-embossed windows and draped blue curtains, and he feels a sense of nostalgia when he sees the numerous certificates and trophies lining up proudly on the mint blue walls. “This is-”
“-your old bakery! Of course I recognize it.” Izuku says, tracing the words Crème de la Crème on the glass. “It’s beautiful. It looks so different from ours. Even the color scheme…”
“Anyway, they’re probably cleaning up right now.” Out of nowhere, Katsuki pulls out a tiny gold key, like one to unlock a music box. “I’m going to rob the fuck out of this store.”
“What,” Izuku says right before Katsuki shoves the key in, the telltale click indicating that the door is unlocked. They hadn’t even stepped a foot into the pâtisserie when someone jumps right on top of Katsuki, his spiky red hair temporarily blocking his view.
“Katsuki!” Eijirou yells, a smile stretching across his face. “It’s so good to see you! You’re like, so tall now. And- did you gain weight?”
“Oh, fuck you.” Katsuki spits out, pushing him off. From the corner of his eye, Katsuki notices Izuku gazing at Eijirou with a dissatisfied expression, as though uncomfortable with the contact. A feeling of sadistic delight wriggles around inside of Katsuki, and he finds that he likes seeing Izuku a little jealous.
“No, seriously, you’re not fatter, but maybe… buffer?” Eijirou laughs at this, the sound loud and booming, and Izuku reaches over to grab onto Katsuki’s hand. As though just noticing him, Eijirou gasps and places his hands onto Izuku’s shoulder, his fingers digging in unpleasantly.
“Who are you!” Eijirou says, eyes glittering like a curious dog. “Is this- your stylist?”
“You’re such a fucking idiot, you hairy baby.” Katsuki says, prying Eijirou’s fingers off of Izuku’s shoulder blades. Izuku smiles nervously at Eijirou, and he does a small bow with his head.
“Hi, it’s n-nice to meet you.” Izuku stutters, his cheeks tinted pink from embarrassment. “I’m, um. My name is Izuku, so…”
“Izuku!” Eijirou says thoughtfully, bowing back clumsily. “Hi! Wow! Katsuki, you just leave for a few months and you return with a boyfriend? Tell me your ways!”
“Eijirou, why are you so noisy?” A girlish voice travels through the air, and a ponytailed girl comes into view, her uniform neatly buttoned up all the way to her neck. At the sight of Katsuki, the girl’s eyes widen with surprise, and a tear actually appears in her left eye. “Is this… a ghost I’m seeing? I thought you died!”
“Shut up, Momo. You guys are literally the worst fucking coworkers ever.” Katsuki deadpans, pushing Eijirou to the side to walk into the shop. Izuku follows behind him, his eyes taking in the glittering fairy lights dangling from the ceiling. “Where are the rest of you shitheads?”
“Oh, Mineta is writing down how many ingredients we have, and Yuuga is powdering his nose.” Momo says, her eyes searching Izuku carefully. “Who are you?”
“Izuku!” Eijirou chirps, replying for Izuku. “Katsuki’s boyfriend!”
“Boyfriend!” Momo gasps, her hand covering her mouth in surprise. “What!”
“Don’t listen to them, Deku.” Katsuki mutters, looking at his coworkers with murderous glares. “They’re just idiots.”
“It’s okay, Kacchan.” Izuku says, flipping through the menu. “I’m not judging.”
“Well, I am.” A short boy huffs, his entire body covered in flour. The boy makes his way across the store, and when he reaches Katsuki, he has to crane his neck up to look at him. “You don’t bother replying to our group chat, and now you’ve suddenly appeared out of nowhere with a random boyfriend?”
“Group chat?” Izuku echoes, looking over him. Katsuki sighs and scratches his head from irritation, remembering how he muted the group conversation because the notifications would not stop.
“Oh, shut it.” Katsuki gazes at them condescendingly, his lips pulled into a cruel smile. “You’re all subpar idiots, anyway. Why don’t you all just find a hole and bury yourselves in it?”
“Aw, look at Katsuki being friendly with us!” Eijirou coos, looking unfazed by Katsuki’s scathing tone. “We missed your spiky personality.”
“I didn’t,” Mineta begins, but he shrivels up when Katsuki shoots a poisonous look at the short male.
“Why don’t you two come to the kitchen with us?” Momo suggests, her hand placed gently on Izuku’s arm. He smiles gratefully at Momo, and she smiles back sweetly. “It’ll be more comfy there.”
“I’d like to.” Izuku replies, turning to look at Katsuki. “What about you?”
The idea of hanging even longer with his old coworkers is a bit unappealing Katsuki, but at the sight of Izuku’s imploring gaze, he can feel his willpower crumble away. “Of course. Sure. We can’t stay for long, though.”
“Woah, there wasn’t a single swear word in that sentence.” Eijirou says, sounding impressed. “Izuku, how did you do it?”
Izuku stares at Katsuki, a kind smile on his face. “Kacchan is pretty nice.”
“Kacchan. Nice.” Momo repeats incredulously. Katsuki stares back, a faint blush forming on his face, and he flicks Izuku’s forehead with his fingers.
“You idiot Deku.” Katsuki says softly. Izuku grins back, and the two of them look at each other blissfully while the others watch them with a combination of curiosity and embarrassment.
“I can’t look at this any longer.” Mineta cuts in. “Let me know when you’re done being wrapped up in this happy bubble.”
“They probably won’t ever leave the bubble.” Eijirou laughs.
He isn’t wrong.
Katsuki immediately sits down on the marble kitchen counter, his go-to spot during his days in New York. After a moment of hesitation, Izuku sits down beside him, and they take off their jackets to accommodate for the sudden warm temperature in the bakery.
Izuku still keeps on Katsuki’s red scarf, though.
“How did you guys meet Kacchan?” Izuku asks, kicking his legs back and forth in the air. Eijirou and Momo look at each other, smiling a bit at the memories.
“We met him at Yuuei!” Eijirou proclaims, sitting comfortably on top of a bar stool. “Well, Momo and I did. I met him when we were both freshmen, and he hated my guts.”
“I still do,” Katsuki cuts in, but Eijirou ignores the little interruption to continue his story.
“He was partnered with Momo for a competition, and they actually got along pretty well when they weren’t arguing over which topping to use.” Eijirou says. “We were all in the same theatre class, though. Katsuki was the star of several plays. Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland…”
“It’s pretty obvious that the theatre teacher had a death wish.” Katsuki says darkly.
“I met him here.” Mineta says, pointing downwards as an indication of the bakery. “He used to kick me around like I was a soccer ball or something. He does it less now, thank god. Katsuki is scary.”
“Isn’t there someone else here too?” Izuku asks, looking around the pâtisserie curiously. “Um… some blond guy?”
“Oh, Yuuga.” Momo says, absentmindedly rolling a piece of dough in her palms. “He should be here soon.”
“Someone call me?” Yuuga says, poking his head from behind a wall. At the sight of Katsuki, Yuuga pales a bit, his grin waning. “Oh dear. It’s the unfashionable one.”
“Why don’t you just choke on your saliva and die.” Katsuki hisses, grabbing a rolling pin to throw at his head. Izuku hurriedly places his hand on Katsuki’s arm, and the ash blond male reluctantly allows Izuku to pry the rolling pin out from his palms.
“You look as pissy as ever.” Yuuga says, breezing into the room and sitting atop of a chair. “Aizawa is going to be sad that Japan hasn’t cured that nasty attitude of yours. You should sparkle more, like yours truly.”
“You’re disgusting.” Katsuki says, rolling his eyes. “And where the hell is Aizawa, anyway? He’s the one who sent me away to Japan, but he isn’t even here to greet me?”
“To be fair, you didn’t give us a warning.” Momo says. Her words fall upon deaf ears, and Izuku tilts his head curiously at the sentence.
“Aizawa?” Izuku asks, waiting for an explanation.
“Our superior.” Eijirou fills in helpfully. “He watches over the entire operation here. He has permanent dark circles under his eyes, and he’s generally unpleasant to be around.”
“I’m going to tell him you said that.” Mineta says, snickering at the look of betrayal on Eijirou’s face.
“Please, please don’t. He’ll dock my pay.” Eijirou protests.
“I might reconsider if you make me some fruit tarts.” Mineta smiles sneakily, watching as Eijirou wrings his hands on his apron worriedly. “And be generous with the whipped cream.”
“Hey, you kids.” A man’s voice growls, the sound travelling through the air with the brevity of a rockfall. “Shut the hell up. It’s almost midnight.”
“Hello to you too, Aizawa.” Momo comments. Everyone watches as Aizawa appears in a slow fashion, the man’s dark circles drawing attention to his hollow eyes. Aizawa scratches at his beard briefly before yawning, and it’s only after a few seconds that the man even notices Katsuki’s presence.
“Woah! Look who climbed back up from his grave.” Aizawa says, a smirk on his face. “I recall banishing you to the outskirts of Japan a few months ago. What brings you here?”
“I’m here with Deku.” Katsuki says, pointing a finger at Izuku who is beside him. Izuku lifts a hand up to wave, and Aizawa casts a fleeting glance towards Izuku before sending him a quick wave back. “And we’re accompanying All Might to a baking tournament. After that, I’m getting the fuck out of here. Obviously, you haven’t changed a bit, Aizawa. Still the shitty looking geezer whom I love to hate.”
“And you’re still the foul-mouthed brat who needs to treat his superiors better.” Aizawa says, his eyes glinting maliciously. “But that’s not the point here. It’s nice to meet you, Deku-”
“-my name is Izuku,” Izuku begins to say, but Aizawa barrels forward with his sentence,
“-but I have some business with Katsuki. So if you’ll excuse us.” Aizawa says. “And it’s an order, Katsuki. In my office we go.”
“Ugh, fuck.” Katsuki curses, sliding off the kitchen counter to reluctantly follow Aizawa. “Look, none of you pick on Deku, alright?”
“What! Dear Katsuki, we would never treat your beloved poorly!” Eijirou complains. Izuku laughs a bit at this, and despite how little trust he has in his coworkers, even Katsuki has to admit that Izuku is probably safe with the ragtag bunch at Créme de la Créme.
Aizawa’s office looks just as messy as it was a few months ago.
The small cubicle is practically overflowing with sheafs of paper and trophies, the shiny gold awards piled up as though they were trash. Katsuki brushes away a cat figurine to make some space for him to sit down at, and Aizawa leans against the ivory walls, his eyes appraising Katsuki quizzically.
“You’ve done well.” Aizawa says, a small smile blooming across his scruffy face. “We’ve never seen such record sales at that small location. My superiors are overjoyed by the reception we’ve received there.”
“Oh.” Katsuki says simply. Internally, he’s never been prouder- in fact, he almost wants to jump up in the air and scream out of pure delight. “Well. I’m the best, after all.”
“They’re actually so impressed that they’re thinking about… your future.” Aizawa says. “Actually, I implore you to consider your options as well. I’m pretty certain this is your dream come true, after all.”
“What?” Katsuki asks, scrunching up his nose with confusion. “What are you talking about?”
“France.” Aizawa says.
“France?” Katsuki echoes stupidly. Aizawa sighs and shakes his head, as though confounded by how dumb the ash blond male is.
“They want to move you to France. Not exactly Paris, unfortunately, but they want you to set up shop in Marseille, which is a pretty amazing opportunity to begin with. They want you to run a branch of CLC there, and eventually you’ll own your own pâtisserie there if you do well. The company will fund it.” Aizawa says.
“What?” Katsuki repeats, his expression one of disbelief. “What the hell? This is all so sudden!”
“Sometimes life throws you curveballs.” Aizawa says monotonously, looking down at his nails. “So, if you’d like, I’m pretty sure you can get going in a month or so. Maybe sooner. We do need you to make up your mind quickly, though.”
“If I go…” Katsuki says, his heart pounding in his chest. “If I go, can I take someone with me?”
“Oh, are you talking about the plain boy you brought over?” Aizawa says, motioning to the general direction of Izuku and his coworkers. “Well, he can go with you. But we’re not funding him in any way, so he’s on his own with that. And besides, if he leaves- I’m assuming he’s part of the Japanese CLC? If he leaves, that branch will have to close down.”
“Are you fucking with me?” Katsuki says hollowly, gripping the edge of Aizawa’s desk to steady himself. “Can’t you guys just hire someone else to work there?”
Aizawa studies Katsuki carefully, watching the livid boy dig his fingernails into his table. “You’ve made great strides with that location, Katsuki, but it wasn’t supposed to be a chain that lasted this long.” Aizawa says, drumming his fingers against his arm. “We’re also kind of short on workers, anyway. The Marseille location takes precedence over the Japanese location. Anyway, you don’t have to decide right now. Take your time.”
“Okay.” Katsuki says, suddenly feeling incredibly fatigued. His heart beats tremulously in his body, and the ash blond male walks over to the door in a dazed manner. “O...kay.”
When he goes back to the kitchen, he’s greeted by the sight of Izuku laughing rambunctiously with his coworkers while practically crying from the stupid jokes Eijirou cracks. Katsuki smiles ruefully at Izuku, and when Izuku spies Katsuki in the corner, Izuku shoots a grin back.
“Did Aizawa want something?” Izuku asks, making room for Katsuki to climb back onto the counter.
“Nope.” Katsuki replies, wrapping his arm around Izuku’s elbow. “He didn’t say anything.”
Nothing could last forever, anyway.
Chapter 13: Rainbow Love
“Ew.” Katsuki mutters, staring at the large crowd of people trying to fit into the thin corridor of the stadium. “It’s way too early to deal with all this shit.”
It’s the day of the tournament, and while the insurmountable number of audience members scramble towards their seats with excitement, Katsuki bares his teeth towards anyone who bumps into him, resembling a dog on edge. Katsuki can see a handful of aspiring pastry chefs, donning on their starched aprons and carefully arranging their hats in the center of the stage. Their mothers and instructors pass on last-minute advice to the already nervous children, and from a distance, Katsuki can make out the silhouette of All Might, the man’s muscular frame almost threatening to pop the buttons off from his shirt.
“So where are our seats?” Katsuki asks Izuku. He checks on their tickets, the thin pieces of paper flapping in the air.
“Oh, it’s front row seats.” Izuku says, squinting at the numbers. “We’re one of the lucky few who can have samples afterwards. Isn’t that neat? I have to thank All Might again later.”
They crawl through the row of people who are already seated with some struggle. Although Izuku politely says ‘excuse me’ to make his way towards his seat, Katsuki decides to stomp extra hard on the floor as a warning for the strangers to keep their feet away. When they finally sit down, Izuku shrinks from the angry glares the strangers shoot towards Katsuki’s face. Katsuki, however, looks nonplussed at the attention.
“When does the competition begin?” Katsuki complains, pulling out his phone to check the time. Izuku hands him a cup of lemon tea from his thermos, and Katsuki drinks it with silent appreciation.
“I think it’s starting soon. See? The judges are making their way to the stand.” Izuku says, pointing at the direction of All Might. As if he could sense their gaze, All Might turns around to shoot a dazzling smile at the two of them, and they wave back.
“Jesus, these kids look small.” Katsuki remarks, watching as a nervous girl tries to button up her coat. Unfortunately, the young contestant ends up putting them all in the wrong holes, and her flustered expression is apparent even from afar. “How old are these people?”
“It’s ages 13 to 16, I think.” Izuku says, checking the itinerary. “I think most of them are 15, though. Wow! Some of them have even gone to Yuuei!”
“Do you remember when you were 15?” Katsuki suddenly asks. Izuku takes a moment to ponder over the question before smiling sneakily at Katsuki, his eyes glinting in a mischievous manner.
“Yes, I do.” Izuku says. “It wasn’t all that good, really. I had a meeting with a mean person in Yuuei when I was fifteen.”
“Who’s this bully?” Katsuki says, turning to look at Izuku. Izuku laughs at the question, his voice getting lost among the chatter of the crowd.
“Um, well, this happened in the school rose garden.” Izuku says sheepishly, twiddling his fingers together. “Do you remember that garden? It had so many different varieties of roses, and when it was in season the flowers bloomed in different colors. It was magical.”
“Oh, yeah.” Katsuki says, recalling the beauty of the flower utopia. “I spent a lot of my time there, even though it was a pretty restricted area. The school gardener was very lax on me.”
“So this guy,” Izuku’s voice borders on an almost gossipy tone, “he was wearing his school uniform, and I was an assistant for one of All Might’s baking lessons- I think we were baking madeleines?- and I was still wearing my chef uniform. So All Might wanted some roses as decoration, and I was going to pluck a few off from the garden. But this person seemed to be really protective of the garden- they told me to ‘back the fuck away from the roses, you dumb fuck’. And then chased me out of the garden.” Izuku says, sighing at the memory.
“Wow, he sounds like a dick.” Katsuki says, drinking some more tea.
“Yeah, he does, doesn’t he?” Izuku laughs. “It was you.”
Katsuki looks at Izuku blankly, waiting for him to exclaim just kidding! Instead, Izuku just stares back at him expectantly. “Me?” Katsuki manages to say.
“Yep.” Izuku says, laughing at his reaction. “I didn’t realize it when we met again, but after some thought I recalled a spiky, blond-haired boy with an angry expression that looked just like you.” Izuku gazes at Katsuki fondly, his green eyes soft and warm, and Katsuki gulps when Izuku leans in closer to bump his nose against Katsuki’s.
“I hate this story.” Katsuki murmurs, his hand grazing Izuku’s cheek. “I’m going to pretend that our first meeting was in Japan, when you made me a sign to welcome me to the bakery.”
“If you want.” Izuku says, abruptly leaning away from Katsuki. Katsuki's hand ends up touching nothing but air, and Katsuki unconsciously scowls at the lack of physical contact. His expression doesn’t go unnoticed by Izuku, who shyly reaches over to hold his hand again. “But I like this story myself. It really brings out your charm points.”
“Angry? Violent? A potty mouth?” Katsuki says sarcastically.
“Passionate,” Izuku replies, “and also those other things you listed.”
Before Katsuki can throw a punch at Izuku’s face, the emcee taps on his microphone a few times, drawing the attention of the audience. A silent hush falls over the crowd, and the flamboyantly dressed emcee adjusts his sunglasses before speaking.
“Hi, hello!” He chirps. “I’m Yamada, but you can call me Present Mic! I’m the lucky person who will lead you through the event today. It’s going to be a very short competition today- only around 5 hours- so take your time to enjoy yourself, and make sure to stock up on some snacks!”
“Oh man, it’s starting!” Izuku whispers, squeezing Katsuki’s palm. “I haven’t seen a competition in person for a long time now. I’m getting kind of nervous.”
“You’re not the one competing, Deku.”
“Yeah, I know. But still.”
“So before we begin,” Present Mic says, walking across the stage with giant strides, “let’s have a small introduction of each of the contestants. They are all from prominent pastry academies for the young and gifted, so we have quite the cast to look forward to. Like you, young lady! What’s your name?”
After a couple of introductions that Katsuki decides to tune out from, Present Mic reaches the last person, a rather tall boy with bright red hair. There’s a confident looking expression on his face, and Katsuki lulls himself out of boredom to listen to the contestant.
“Why did you join this competition today?” The emcee asks, shoving a microphone in front of his face. The boy scoffs at the question and grabs the microphone, staring almost directly at Katsuki.
“I want to win.” He says simply, pausing for emphasis before continuing. “I want to win, and keep on winning, because that’s what I do. This is what I’m good at, and I want to keep on improving, so this competition is crucial to me. Eventually, I’m going to start my own business and then open up my own pastry shop. And no one can stop me.”
Katsuki turns around, wanting to say wow, get a load of this boy’s ego, but stops when he sees Izuku lost in thought. His green eyes shine vividly, and there’s a trembling in his hands that even Katsuki can feel buzz through his body. Although Izuku is biting down on his lip, chewing nervously, his smile gives him a crazed appearance on his normally mellow features. The cacophony of emotions within Izuku are apparent on his troubled appearance, and without saying anything Katsuki hands the thermos full of lemon tea into Izuku’s shaking fists. Izuku is startled by the action, as if momentarily forgetting that anyone existed but him.
“The fuck is wrong with you?” Katsuki whispers, and Izuku snorts at that, looking amused at the blond haired boy’s words.
“Nothing.” Izuku whispers back, pouring out a cup of tea. “Nothing at all.”
Katsuki knows that it’s not nothing, because he knows Izuku’s gestures and habits and mannerisms, and everything about his appearance at the moment exposes a deep unrest within his emotions. He also knows that Izuku will probably remain tight-lipped about the issue for a brief period before he feels ready to share, and so Katsuki averts his gaze to focus back on the championship.
“So if we’re all ready,” Present Mic’s voice booms over the speakers, “the competition will begin in three… two… one… go!”
There is intense fervor within the contestants’ actions, and the fluid, elegant motions of their hands betray a well of experience that ordinary fifteen year olds could not achieve. Katsuki can’t help but feel impressed when he watches the pigtailed girl removing the pot from the stove at the exact temperature needed (91.2 degrees, Katsuki thinks while staring at the thermometer) and the smooth texture of the chopped up couverture chocolate. Izuku never lets go of his hand during the entire competition, and Katsuki can feel his palms getting uncomfortably sweaty.
“Yo, Deku.” Katsuki says uncomfortably, trying to pry Izuku’s fingers off. “Your sweat is seeping into my shirt sleeve.”
“Oh, sorry Kacchan.” Izuku says, removing his hand hurriedly before wiping it on his own shirt. “I didn’t realize how anxiety-inducing this whole thing would be. I thought it’d be more… fun.”
“Competitions are tough shit, idiot.” Katsuki replies, checking his phone. “See that boy? The one with an ugly haircut? Despite all the stares from the audience and the pressure of the judges’ presence, he’s sculpting those chocolate roses with thin scalpels without breaking a sweat. Reminds me of my competition in Los Angeles two years ago. Ours was an emphasis on chocolate desserts”
“Did you win anything?” Izuku asks curiously. After racking his mind for a second, Katsuki nods and smirks at him.
“First place, obviously.” Katsuki replies, his tone snarky. “When was the last competition you ever competed in, Deku?”
“Um…” Izuku trails off, scratching his face. “I think- maybe… I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” Katsuki says incredulously. “How can you not know?”
“It’s been a while, okay?” Izuku says, sounding a bit upset. “I don't remember. I've been spending a lot of time doing other stuff.”
“Other stuff?” Katsuki’s tone is unintentionally accusatory, and Izuku looks at him with a warning glance that is about as scary as a pomeranian. “Weren’t you just house-sitting at the bakery?”
Izuku doesn’t bother replying, but he quickly swivels his head forward in muted discomfort. Katsuki stares down at his hands before sneaking a glance at Izuku, who still looks rather uncomfortable, and Katsuki mentally kicks himself for speaking without thinking.
“Sorry.” Katsuki murmurs, his voice almost incomprehensible among the hubbub of cheering. “I didn’t mean-”
“No, it’s okay, Kacchan.” Izuku says, his tone indicating that it was really not okay. “You didn’t say anything that was false.”
After a minute of silence, Katsuki leans over to land a kiss on Izuku’s cheek, his speed lightning fast, before retreating back to his own chair. Izuku looks at him with surprise, his hand clasped on his face, and Katsuki can feel his own face slowly heating up.
“Seriously, I’m sorry.” Katsuki says gruffly, trying to shrink into his chair to avoid eye contact. “Now shaddup and watch the competition.”
“Okay.” Izuku says, a small smile forming on his face. They remain hand-in-hand for the rest of the competition, despite the constant sweaty palms from the both of them.
A loud buzzing sound indicates that the competition has concluded, and the contestants hurriedly move away from their completed desserts, their eyes bright and anxious. “After a long yet nerve wracking 5 hours, we can finally taste test and judge who will be the winner of this humble competition of ours. The winner will receive the grand prize of $100,000 as well as an apprenticeship under one of our exclusive judges for one year. The rest of the contestants will receive a certificate of appreciation as well as a lovely trophy emblazoned with the rank they have achieved during this event.”
“If I were in the competition, I would punch the judge who gave me anything less than first place.” Katsuki murmurs. Izuku laughs a bit at that, but a few concerned glances from strangers quickly shuts him up.
“So, we’ll proceed with the taste testing going from the youngest contestant to the oldest.” Present Mic declares, motioning towards the direction of Katsuki and Izuku. “We also have a few lucky participants who can try out the desserts afterwards! If you happen to have a ticket that allows you to try out the food, please step up onto the stage to sit at the table behind the judges.”
“Oh my god,” Izuku says, blinking rapidly, “that’s us.”
“Stop your stupid gawking and let’s go, idiot Deku.” Katsuki says, pulling Izuku up from his seat. They walk down the stairs along with a handful of other people, and the gazes from others are hot on Katsuki’s back as they reach the judging table. All Might grins at them with appreciation before turning his head forward again, and Katsuki can barely see the contestants behind All Might’s broad back.
“We’ll begin with this young boy here.” Present Mic says, gesticulating towards the boy standing behind a dizzying tower of rainbow cake. When the boy sets the cake down, he slices the dessert into neat square chunks, revealing an oozing strawberry syrup cascading down onto the plates like a waterfall. Izuku’s eyes glitter as a few staff members distribute the cake to the judges, and he audibly sighs happily when a plate is presented in front of him.
“So beautiful.” Izuku coos, lifting the plate to gaze at the dessert up-close. “This looks like a mixture of strawberry, rhubarb and honey, and the aroma is delicate yet balanced… I wonder what could be inside? Mint? Is this buttercream frosting? It also looks like a twist on traditional icing styles… I wonder…” Izuku hurriedly pulls out his notebook to take down some notes, muttering under his breath the entire time as he tries to decipher the exact ingredients utilized. Katsuki watches as Izuku’s hands scrawl against the page with rapid speed, and he takes a bite out of his cake.
“Oh fuck.” Katsuki curses, taking another bite from the dessert. “This is fucking good.”
“I know.” Izuku says, his eyes welling up with tears. They drip down across his face and land on the table before Izuku tries to wipe his eyes dry with his shirt sleeve. “This is delicious.”
“Are you… are you okay?” Katsuki asks uncomfortably, reaching into his pocket for a napkin. “The fuck?”
“I’m fine.” Izuku says, his voice muffled. “It’s all good here. All good!” Izuku forces his hand into a thumbs up, and there’s an almost maniacal grin on his face as he continues to shove more cake into his mouth. “I just… wow, I have so much to learn. And they’re still studying in culinary school. It’s so weird to see someone younger than me who is… better than me.”
“Just because you’re good doesn’t mean you’re the hottest shit out there, Deku.” Katsuki says, taking a bite out of Izuku’s cake. “But if you want to be the best out of the best, you better study up. That’s what I do.”
“I… yeah. You’re right, Kacchan.” Izuku says, finishing up his cake. “It’s a good idea.”
They move on to the next dessert, and the next, and the next, but Izuku’s smile disappears slowly despite the sweet taste of the pastries. When they reach the final plated dish, a gorgeous sugar carousel containing seven different types of chocolate bonbons, Izuku has become so quiet that it’s almost as though he didn’t exist anymore. Katsuki glances at him from the corner of his eyes, wanting to ask what’s wrong, but the clapping of the audience indicates the end of the competition.
“I’d like to thank the program directors for extending an invitation to me.” All Might says, his friendly voice booming from the microphone. “I’m always excited to meet such wonderful, young talent who will shape an innovating and brand-new world for pastry chefs. Thank you to all of the contestants who have participated, as well as the audience members for dropping by on such a beautiful afternoon to watch this exciting event. So, ahem- Present Mic, will you announce the winner?”
“Of course.” Present Mic says, speaking into his own microphone. “We’ll announce it in descending order. To sixth place….”
Polite clapping ensues with each respective baker, and the boy who picked up the sixth place trophy has a puckered expression on his face to prevent himself from crying. Katsuki claps as the pastry chefs stand up to the podium, until it comes down to the red-haired boy and the pig-tailed girl for first place.
“Second place is… Miss Violet Durand, from the Fleur de Sel Académie.” The pigtailed girl smiles apprehensively at the trophy before picking it up, her legs shaking as she stands onto the podium for photos. The red-haired boy smirks widely when he walks onto the number one podium without even waiting for his name to be called, causing the staff members to hurriedly hand him his gigantic cheque of $100,000.
“”First place is- well, we already know who first place.” A soft laughter emerges from the crowd as they watch the red-haired boy wave his giant cheque around the air triumphantly, his face one of pure delight.
“And that concludes this week’s event.” Present Mic says, pausing to take a photo with an audience member. “Check out future competitions on our website, and we’ll be posting up photos of the completed desserts later. Thanks for everything!”
After they meet with All Might and say their thanks,
After they walk outside of the stadium to enter into the flower garden,
After they take a pause beside a marble sculpture for a birdbath,
After all that, Izuku’s face remains pale, his worried expression knitting his brows. There’s a small trembling in his shoulders, and Katsuki pulls off his jacket to place it on his back, arousing a surprised reaction from Izuku.
“Seriously, is something wrong?” Katsuki says, touching Izuku’s forehead with his hand. “Do you have a fever or something? Tell me what it is, Deku. You’ve been acting weird all day.”
“I-I just…” Izuku stammers. “It’s not a fever, Kacchan. It’s just that… well… I feel so useless.”
“What?” Katsuki is confused, sure, but Izuku looks anxious, his teeth biting on his lip to prevent himself from crying. “Why?”
“I’ve worked at CLC Japan for a long time, Kacchan.” Izuku says, blubbering. “And I’m still there. And my dreams… are that boy’s dreams too. You know, the red haired one? I want that too. But I haven’t done anything in years. And when CLC was going downhill, I couldn’t do anything to help it. And maybe that’s just how it is, you know? That I can’t do it. I can’t do anything. My skills- those teenagers are better than me now! Maybe some people just aren’t meant to achieve their dreams. And their dreams disintegrate.”
“You- what?” Katsuki says exasperatedly, wrapping his jacket tighter around Izuku’s body. “You’re normally infuriatingly optimistic. What the hell has gotten into you? What is this bullshit that you’re spouting? You know you’re amazing, Deku. You even worked with All Might.”
“That was years ago, Kacchan!” Izuku says, his tone unusually spiteful. “That red-haired boy might be the better version of me. He’s with All Might at the same time I was with him. He can do such amazing things with his baking. I can’t. I should face the truth. I keep on thinking I’ll eventually be okay, and that I can make it anywhere I want with my baking expertise, but I can’t even shake off CLC Japan, or the remnants of my memories. I think-”
“You think about your memories so much because you’re still there, Deku.” Katsuki says hoarsely, watching as the color drains away from Izuku’s face. “You’re face-to-face with every moment you had with your deceased father, and you can see the previous happy moments you had together when you walk through the forest. But it’s over, Deku. You can look back at your memories fondly, but you shouldn’t sink yourself into it, idiot. You need to leave.”
“Leave… to where?” Izuku’s voice shrinks, and even his body shrinks down a bit. He looks up at Katsuki with desperate eyes, his green orbs washed over with shimmering tears, and Katsuki can’t help but wipe a stray tear away from Izuku’s freckled face.
“Go to France with me.” Katsuki says, the words tumbling out of his mouth without a second thought. “I’ll help you achieve your dreams.”
“What?” This time it was Izuku who was left speechless, his stunned expression and wide green eyes staring at Katsuki with surprise. “What are you trying to say?”
“You… ugh, I didn’t want it to come out this way.” Katsuki says, letting go of his grip on Izuku. “I was offered a promotion. To France. It’s for CLC, but once we’re there, we can look for our own place, and open up our own pastry shop, because… I see a… I see a future with us.” Katsuki can feel his face burn from the embarrassment of saying sappy words, and he avoids eye contact with Izuku. “And I’m in love with you.”
They stare at each other, Katsuki’s red eyes boring into Izuku’s, and the tension is so palpable Katsuki can taste the bitter anxiety. Izuku opens and closes his mouth a few times, as if unsure what to say, and Katsuki clenches his hands into fists by his sides.
“A future? With me? You love me?” Izuku says quietly.
“Yes.” Katsuki replies, his voice small. There’s a long lull in conversation afterwards, and Katsuki mentally beats himself up for saying something so intense. Of course Izuku doesn’t feel the same way. Who the hell would want to move halfway across the country with a person like Katsuki? A person filled with rage? A person with a chip off of his shoulder? A person who has destroyed so many people in the past? Izuku is too incredible for him, too wonderful and beautiful and sweet for an acidic man like himself, and he suddenly feels very stupid for offering up his heart.
“How can you,” Izuku’s voice cuts through Katsuki’s thought process, “love someone like me-” Izuku hiccups a bit, his words thick with tears, “even though I’m such a mess?”
For some reason, Katsuki can feel his own eyes beginning to form tears, and he rubs his face roughly with his hands. “You idiot.” Katsuki says, bringing Izuku into his chest. He can feel Izuku’s lithe body shake from crying, and he tightens his grip around Izuku’s waist. “You’re not a mess. You’re just going through some rough times. If anything, you’re just what I need, and don’t ever think otherwise.”
Izuku has on a wobbly smile, but there’s newly-found hope in his eyes as he gazes at Katsuki adoringly. “I love you so much, Katsuki.” Izuku says. His eyes are rimmed with pink and his face stained with tears, but Izuku still looks as beautiful as the first day they met each other. “You’re too good for me.”
“Likewise.” Katsuki murmurs, and they stand there for a long time, tightly embracing each other to make up for the holes in their lives.
Congratulations, Mr. Bakugo. We truly thank you for opening up a Marseilles branch of CLC and for continuing to support the pâtisserie. With your level of expertise, you will definitely help promote our seasonal desserts and pastries to customers of all ages…
Katsuki closes the email shut on his phone and slips it back into his pocket, watching while Izuku rummages through the strawberry bushes for fresh berries. He picks up his wicker basket and hurries over to Katsuki, his green eyes gleaming with delight.
“Kacchan, we have enough berries to make a four-layered cake!” Izuku says, shooting a lopsided smile to Katsuki. Little stars explode in Katsuki’s chest- an effect that tends to happen whenever Izuku gazes upon him. “And then we can have a big sale for the customers so that they can try out our desserts one last time before we close down for good.”
“You’re not inviting the whole fucking town, are you?” Katsuki asks warily. He hoists the wicker basket over his shoulder and the two of them walk back into the pâtisserie, kicking off their sandals before stepping on the porch. “I’d really rather not socialize with such animals. Especially that Ochako family.”
“They’ve been nothing but nice to you.” Izuku chides. Katsuki throws a strawberry at him, and Izuku yelps when the berry smashes against his apron, leaving a bright pink stain in its trail. “Oh, you- you’re washing this later!”
“Oh, fuck you.” Katsuki rolls his eyes, but they both know that yes, Katsuki will end up washing it. “Okay, we need some more cake flour, so you should put in the order by Friday. Also we’re going to need a shitton of couverture chocolate, I don’t fucking care if people want white chocolate because we’re getting the dark one, okay? The 80% one, imported from Switzerland, I like that one more, it’s got a smoother finish-”
Izuku plops a strawberry into Katsuki’s mouth, causing him to temporarily stop speaking. He chews on the sweet berry, looking a bit disgruntled, and removes the stem when he’s done. “Calm down, Kacchan.” Izuku says, pulling him closer to his side. Izuku also takes this chance to feed another strawberry into Katsuki’s mouth, and the move comes off as oddly seductive. “We can deal with all that later. But for now, let’s just relax, okay? We should enjoy the last couple of days we have here.”
“Fine, fine.” Katsuki caves in to Izuku. Again. It’s been happening again, and again,
(and again, and again, and-)
When did I get so soft? Katsuki groans inwardly.
It’s stupid, but Katsuki can only conjure up sparkling memories with Izuku right in the center of it all, the boy resembling a beautiful statue in a garden of roses. He may be a city boy through and through, but the softly-bent trees of the countryside, the delightful chirping from bird songstresses at dawn, and the abundance of bright flowers bursting with color paint an admittedly delightful scene even for a stone-cold man like Katsuki. Izuku tugs at Katsuki’s shirt sleeve to catch his attention, his slender fingers almost digging into Katsuki’s skin.
“Hey, can you leave tomorrow free for me?” Izuku asks, smiling brightly at Katsuki. “I have something I want to do. I hope you will indulge me.” His eyes glint in an impish manner, and Katsuki starts to have a bad feeling about this request.
“I don’t really trust you, Deku-” Katsuki begins, but Izuku cuts in, his voice atypically authoritative.
“Follow me, and you’ll see.”
And Katsuki, searching Izuku’s face for a devilish plan but discovering nothing, decides to just blindly trust his boyfriend.
Izuku’s secret itinerary begins right before sunrise, and the two of them struggle to keep their eyes open by drinking copious amounts of coffee and blasting the stereo at full volume in the car. Izuku turns the car engine on and sighs into the steering wheel, the dark shadows underneath his eyes indicating a poor night’s rest.
“Okay, first stop,” Izuku says groggily, “we’ll go to the airport.”
“The airport?” Katsuki chokes, sending a wary look over to Izuku’s direction. “We’re going to be in the airport in like, a week, why the fuck are we going there? Now? At, let’s see, 5 am in the morning?”
“Less questions, please.” Izuku says, taking a sip from the thermos. “And more coffee. Before you complain- I can see your mouth wide open in protest, Kacchan- I have a plan! Let’s just go along with it, okay?”
“You piece of shit.” Katsuki rolls his eyes. “Okay, we’ll follow whatever stupid harebrained plan you came up with.”
“Thanks, Kacchan.” Izuku says sarcastically. “Loving the support- ow!” Katsuki had taken the liberty to reach over and pinch Izuku’s face, a wicked smirk on his face while watching his boyfriend struggle helplessly. “Please, stop pinching me! I beg of you! I’ll just drive, okay?”
The drive to the airport is rather silent, and Katsuki rolls his windows all the way down to feel the intense wind washing over his face. He can see the sun just beginning to rise far away in the horizon, the gentle orange rays eventually deepening into a vibrant red, like flames licking away at the sky. Izuku switches the radio station to turn on his personal playlist, a mix full of soft ballads and acoustic melodies, and the two of them sit together with the chords of a guitar being strummed away.
He glances over at Izuku from the corner of his eyes, wanting to make a snide comment about Izuku’s bed hair, but his breath is momentarily taken away when the golden rays light up Izuku’s face, the honey-colored glow spilling over like liquid gold. The sunlight fills up every single crevice inside the car until everything is covered in daffodil yellow, and he wonders if their tiny car contained the entirety of the sun within itself.
As if he could feel the stare, Izuku turns over to look at Katsuki, his eyes blinking with curiosity, concern, and bright, twinkling stars. “You okay?” He asks, and Katsuki gulps, because he is not okay, never was, never will be, not in the presence of Izuku, the boy who is made of stars and has the power to light up his world. The galaxy is right here.
I wish this could last forever. Katsuki thinks, placing his arms on the open window. He hasn’t got a single sentimental bone in his body, but he can still recognize a perfect moment when he sees one.
This is one of them.
The airport is a familiar sight by now, and when they find a spot to park, Katsuki crawls out of his seat and stretches. “Alright, Deku, we’re here.” Katsuki says, whirling around to face Izuku. “So what next?”
“Okay, okay.” Izuku says nervously, all signs of fatigue missing from his face. “Go into the airport.”
“Are you fucking- why.” Katsuki deadpans, crossing his arms in a resolute fashion. “I’m going to look like an idiot with no suitcase, no passport, and no airplane ticket.”
“Just do it!” Izuku says exasperatedly, pushing Katsuki with all his might. “I’ll meet you inside in 5 minutes! And also, make sure to face the boarding kiosks, okay? Don’t turn around until I tap your shoulder.”
“Fine, fine! Jesus, stop pushing.” Katsuki complains, walking into the airport while rolling his eyes. When he enters the building, he sees the exit that Shouto had come out from, as well as the tea store he bought drinks for Izuku’s mom and All Might. And if he turned a bit to the left…
I met Izuku there, huh. Katsuki thinks, looking at the empty spot. That was such a long time ago.
So much more had happened than Katsuki had expected- bad events, stressful events, sad events, but mostly… good events. He thinks back to his tiny apartment in New York, full of loud coworkers and even louder customers, but in a way that life felt like it belonged to someone else.
“Okay, Kacchan!” Izuku says, nervousness tinging his voice. “Turn around!”
“Okay, this better be good.” Katsuki closes his eyes for further effect before turning around. He can hear Izuku stomp his foot on the ground testily, imploring Katsuki to open up his eyes. “What do I do now, exactly?” Katsuki teases, and Izuku sighs impatiently.
“Open your eyes, please.”
Katsuki opens them up slowly, and he tries to fight the smile making its way onto his face when he sees Izuku holding up a whiteboard covered with balloons and flowers, the words KATSUKI BAKUGOU written in giant font through the center.
“Welcome to Japan!” Izuku chirps, placing his board down. “We’ve got a long day ahead of us- I would say a year’s worth of memories, at the very least- so let’s get into the car and get going!”
“You’re so fucking stupid.” Katsuki murmurs, but he helps hoist the whiteboard on the way back to the car. “So, so, so…”
Izuku’s memory is incredible. Somehow he had managed to remember every last detail, from stealing fruit from orchards to collecting chestnuts within the forest. Katsuki doesn’t protest either when Izuku places a three-leafed clover into his hair, and when they collect wildflowers for Izuku’s father, Katsuki sends his regards and his thanks silently at his gravestone.
Thank you for raising such a fine son. Katsuki thinks, his hands clasped together. Also, thank you for helping him move on. And, uh… I’m not too good with these kinds of things, so I’ll leave the rest to Izuku to say.
They walk hand-in-hand around town for the rest of the day, saying hello to the villagers and petting fluffy dogs. Katsuki takes some photos of the small farms on his phone, just for safekeeping, not for nostalgia, obviously.
“So what great idea do you have now?” Katsuki asks, petting a cat on his head. The ginger cat mewls before leaving, his tail flicking in disapproval at Katsuki’s apparently subpar petting. “Pretty sure we just spent the entire day living out a trashy book summary of our estranged, dramatic romance.”
“Well, this is probably the last day we can physically visit any of our memories, isn’t it?” Izuku says shyly, looking at Katsuki. “Besides, we’re not done yet. We have a few more things to do.”
“Alright, where to?” Katsuki asks, waiting for Izuku to guide him to the next destination. “Are you going to take me to a river and go on a gondola ride? Did you hire some violinists to play Vivaldi while you serenade me?”
“Nothing that fancy, but I’ll keep those in mind for our next date.” Izuku says cheekily. “Actually, we’re going back to the pâtisserie! I have something nice.”
Immediately Katsuki pictures Izuku naked on their bed with a rose stem between his teeth, but he has the sensibility to wave that fantasy away. “Okay, Deku. Whatever makes you happy.”
“Back with the blindfold again?” Katsuki says warily, carefully holding his arms out in front of him to avoid bumping into anything. “What is up with you today, Deku?”
“Stop being such a grump and just enjoy the mystery, Kacchan.” Izuku admonishes him, his palms flat on Katsuki’s back. “We’re almost there!”
Even though Katsuki isn’t a child anymore, the temporary loss of his vision still makes him worried enough to yank the blindfold off, much to the chagrin of Izuku. When he blinks the dancing phosphenes away, the white dots flashing within his eyesight, he’s face-to-face with…
A slice of strawberry mousse cake.
“Is this…” Katsuki says slowly, looking at the glossy gelatin with wonder. “Is this the first cake I ate that you made?”
“Yeah!” Izuku says, taking the blindfold out of Katsuki’s hands. “I can’t believe you remembered.”
“It was really good.” Katsuki murmurs. “Of course I remember.”
The cake had been unexpectedly delicious, a perfect balance of sweet and sour, lovely to eat by itself and even lovelier to eat with black tea. The cake had confirmed Izuku’s talents. The cake represented a blend of CLC New York as well as CLC Shizuoka. The cake…
“The cake should be eaten, Kacchan.” Izuku takes the fork and scoops up a bite, raising it in front of Katsuki’s mouth expectantly. Katsuki feels his ears turning red, and he makes a strangled noise before taking a bite off of the fork.
“This is torturous.” Katsuki mumbles, accepting another forkful of the cake when Izuku presents it to his mouth. “Okay, okay! I’ll feed myself, I’m not a fucking baby.”
“Sure thing, Kacchan.” Izuku places his chin in his hand as he watches Katsuki eat, his expression one a doting parent would give to their child.
When Katsuki finishes off the cake, Izuku places a cup of coffee in front of him (black, the way that coffee should be consumed) and loops his pinky finger around Katsuki’s pinky, the two fingers entertwined gently. The sun had begun to set, dyeing the sky a cotton-candy pink, and Izuku lets out a big yawn to shatter the peaceful atmosphere.
“You going to sleep now?” Katsuki remarks, watching as Izuku’s eyelids begin to flutter shut. “Get to a bed before I have to carry you upstairs, dipshit.”
“I’m not sleeping yet.” Izuku says, rubbing his eyes clear of rheum. “We have one more thing to do before the day is over.”
“You still planned more stuff?” Katsuki says incredulously. “Oh crap, I should have arranged events for you too then. This is bad.”
“No!” Izuku shakes his head vigorously, snapping out of his slumber. “Just spending the day with you was enough for me. Just go along one more time with me?”
“Obviously I would do that for you.” Katsuki says simply.
I would do anything for you, Katsuki thinks, but he doesn’t want to say it lest Izuku gets a bigger head than he already has.
“You fucking idiot.” Katsuki whispers, watching as the stars wink and twinkle in the distant dark sky. “You’re so sappy it hurts.”
They end up sprawled underneath the night sky one last time, and Katsuki can see the moon hanging down, the shape as round as mochi. Izuku uses his index finger to make a trail along Katsuki’s chest, and they stare at each other for a brief moment, dark red eyes into light green ones.
“You are too, you know.” When Katsuki lets out his protests, Izuku just shakes his head. “You’re in extreme denial, but you know it’s true.”
Katsuki thinks about Izuku, with his wild green hair and even wilder eyes peering into him without any sort of judgment. The kind of face that causes him to think about good things and gives him fluttering monarch butterflies that escape from his skeletons. The kind of personality that beautifies everything he touches and even causes the air to vibrate with excitement.
And he thinks that yeah, maybe I’m just a bit sappy at times.
“I’m really going to miss it here.” Izuku says suddenly, his hand outstretched towards the black cosmos. “But I’m also really excited to spend time with you in France. I think it’s going to be absolutely amazing!”
“Obviously.” Katsuki scoffs. “You’re going to be with me.”
“Yes.” Izuku breathes, turning over to face Katsuki. He places his hand on Katsuki’s cheek, and his eyes gaze at him with utmost sincerity. “I love you.”
“You-” Katsuki feels his face heat up, and he prays that the darkness will cover up how red his cheeks are. “I love you too, stupid. Where’s this coming from?”
“No, I mean- I really… okay, I guess words can’t really describe it. Let me act it out, too.” Izuku suddenly sits up, and forms his hands into a circle. “This is how much baking means to me.” Izuku explains, showing the circle to Katsuki. “And this is how much you mean to me.” At this, Izuku stretches his arms out as far as possible, and Katsuki knows that yes, his face is definitely bright red at this point. “I love you so much, Katsuki.”
“Oh my fucking god, Izuku.” Katsuki says, covering his face with one hand to mask his embarrassment. “I love you t- no, wait. I’ll do something better than what you just did.” Katsuki suddenly stands up and walks past the trees, the flowers, the rocks, and he ends up going so far away that he only has the stars for company. From there, he hears Izuku shouting “wait, where are you going?”, but he continues to move until Izuku is just a small dot in the distance.
“FROM HERE!” Katsuki hollers. He breaks out into a sprint, the wind whipping his already crazy hair out of his face, before making it back to Izuku, the bewildered boy staring up at him as Katsuki tries to recover his breath. “To here.” Katsuki wheezes, a bit miffed at how out of shape he has become. “That’s how much I love you.”
“Of course you had to make this a competition.” Izuku rolls his eyes, but he stands up as well. “Okay, then, you wait here. I’ll show you this time again.”
They do this back and forth for an inconceivably long time, the two of them running further and further away from each other than expected. Their constant sprinting disrupts the fireflies hiding within the bushes, and within seconds they’re completely wrapped up with the glow of the fireflies, the bugs gently floating in the air like fairy lights. Eventually, Izuku trips over a twig and falls flat on his face, and Katsuki pauses his sprint to go back and help Izuku stand up, because while Katsuki loves to win, he really doesn’t want Izuku to die because of a competition.
“Hold my hand.” Katsuki says, reaching his hand out. Izuku grabs onto it gratefully, but a devious look flits through his face ever-so-quickly. Without a warning, Izuku pulls Katsuki down onto the ground with him, laughing when the other sputters in dismay at being yanked onto the grass.
“You piece of shit!” Katsuki yells, tackling Izuku in the hopes of giving him a solid punch in the face. When he sees the demure smile on Izuku’s freckled face, however, his anger dissipates, and he just places a kiss on his lips instead. “I’ll seriously punch you the next time you do this.” He warns, but Izuku waves it away without a care.
“I still ran farther than you.” Izuku looks as pleased as punch at this fact, and Katsuki just groans before lying back down on the ground. “Guess I love you more, huh?”
“You’re gross,” Katsuki says simply, “and that is an untrue sentence.”
“I love you!”
“Yeah, yeah. Love you too. Now shut up and let’s sleep.”
They lie down, side-by-side, and Katsuki doesn’t know how living in France would be like with Izuku, but however it turns out to be, he’s ready for it.
Thank you so much for following me on this journey. I have met so many kind, lovely people through story writing, and your comments, kudos, fanart, reblogs and likes have brought me great happiness. And thank you for indulging in my sparkly, corny romance fic of these wonderful boys! Honestly I am forever grateful that you liked my writing at all and I hope you will continue to like this story, even though it has ended.