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“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Katsuki mutters.

They thought they were getting better defending from the scavengers, and they were, but they hadn’t been ready for a surprise attack.

“Oi, Deku!” he calls a little louder. “ Midoriya!

A hand sticks up over a nearby pile of rubble. “Over here.” He sounds short-of-breath, and if the trail of blood on the ground is any sign, he’s badly injured.

Katsuki haphazardly finishes tying off the bandage around his palm. He has a couple of new bruises, but nothing else major. Shit, if things were normal, the knife wound in his hand would probably get stitches. But things aren’t normal. Ever since the disease swept the world and reduced the population to a small fraction of what it used to be, it’s been win or die.

It only takes him a couple steps to cover the floor between them--they’re in a long-abandoned apartment building at the edge of a city. Izuku looks up at him. One of his eyes is swollen shut, but that’s hardly the worst of it. Katsuki stares at the feathered end of the arrow. The rest of it is buried in his shoulder.

“That’s old-fashioned,” he comments, trying to keep his voice sounding unconcerned.

“Help me get it out?”

He pushes himself into a sitting position. Katsuki hardly has a weak stomach, but he can feel his hands shake. He steps in front of Izuku and grabs the arrow’s shaft. 

“Wait!” 

He pauses. “Do you want me to fucking help you or not?”

“I do, but you can’t just yank it out. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s almost all the way through, so it’s better if you push it through.”

He looks down apprehensively. Stabbing him more doesn’t seem like a good idea. He doesn’t have any better ideas though, and they can’t just leave the arrow where it is.

“Fine.” Katsuki places one hand on his arm to steady it. “This is going to hurt.”

“Thanks,” Izuku replies sarcastically.

Katsuki tries not to look at his face as he puts pressure on the arrow, but that doesn’t stop him from hearing the grunt of pain or feeling Izuku’s free hand grab his arm and claw into it. By the time it’s removed, his hands are wet with blood. That’s probably not a good sign.

“Cauterize it.” His voice sounds rougher than it did before.

“I can’t just–”

“Otherwise I’m going to bleed to death in a couple minutes.” Izuku looks up at him, and Katsuki can see the tears of pain that sparkle in the corners of his eyes. “Fine, give me one of the lighters, and I’ll do it myself.”

“No, dammit, I can do it.”

Katsuki wipes his hands on his pants. All of their clothing is filthy enough that it doesn’t really matter. He has a couple of cigarette lighters in his pocket. He picked them up, because he thought they would be useful for starting fires–not for something like this. The moment the bleeding has been stopped, Izuku tries to get to his feet. He stumbles, and Katsuki has to grab his good elbow to keep him from falling. 

“You were halfway to bleeding out, rest for a minute,” Katsuki says.

“We need to move. They might come back.”

“Can you even fucking walk?”

In the end, Katsuki has to sling Izuku’s good arm over his shoulder and half-drag him. They don’t make it far along the road into the countryside before they’re both out of breath and about ready to collapse. Since they have no real choice in the matter, they decide to make there camp where they sit. If they’re lucky, no one will try to kill them in their sleep. It’s too risky to start a campfire out in the open, and a chill sets in as the sky darkens. Katsuki pulls his jacket tight around his shoulders, but it doesn’t do much to keep out the night air.

Izuku sits a little ways off inventorying the items in his backpack to see what supplies he still has. With only one hand it’s slow work. He sets aside the water bottle and a couple of protein bars and puts everything else back.

“We should try to find another store to raid,” he comments, tossing a badly-aimed protein bar in Bakugou’s direction. It’s caught with ease anyway.

Izuku struggles to open the packaging with one hand and resorts to using his teeth to get it open. After several days of only eating protein bars, it’s getting a little sickening. He struggles through it, anyway. Maybe they’ll be able to obtain real food before too long.

“Hey, Bakugou,” he calls.

The blond looks up. A couple of months ago, Izuku would have run screaming at the thought of being stuck alone with him for more than a couple of minutes. It was coincidence, really, that they ran into each other as the city started to fall apart. Instead of graduating from high school they had to run from the apocalypse. Both of their families were lost to the disease, and the scavengers were everywhere. There wasn’t time to be picky.

“What do you want?” 

“Thanks,” Izuku says. “For fixing me up, I mean.”

Katsuki’s eyes widen, and he looks somewhat taken aback. “What the hell else was I gonna do?”

“Leave me to die?”

“If I wanted you dead, I’d just stab you in your sleep. And give me the water.”

Izuku sighs. “That’s reassuring.” 

He takes a sip from the bottle before he hands it over. Katsuki makes a disgusted face as he takes it.

“Ew, secondhand kisses,” he mutters.

“We’ve been sharing water bottles for a month.”

“Still gross,” he says, but lifts it to his lips anyway. It’s not like he actually minds at this point.

“What about firsthand ones?” Izuku asks.

It only takes a millisecond before he regrets asking. He has noticed, of course, that all of his thoughts center around Katsuki, but that could be for any number of reasons. Katsuki is the one person who isn’t actively trying to kill him. It doesn’t help that he manages to still look good with blood and grime smeared across his face.

“What about ‘em?” Katsuki asks in return, re-capping the water bottle.

Izuku looks away. It was stupid to ask, after all. “Nevermind.”

“Seeing as we’ve been sharing drinks, I already have all of your shitty germs, so I wouldn’t really care.” 

Bullshit. He would care, and he knows it. He’s met with a green-eyed stare when he looks up. Katsuki crosses the distance between them with a couple of steps and sits down again directly in front of him.

“Bakugou?”

“It sounded like you were asking.”

Izuku hesitantly lifts a hand to his face. The place where his palm touches feels warm, but Katsuki freezes. Being this close to Izuku makes him feel vulnerable, and there’s hardly anything he hates more than that. The moment between them is raw and open. The first kiss is timid. Izuku just barely brushes their lips together, and it only lasts an instant. 

Katsuki grunts in frustration. He’s not satisfied with just a peck. Before Izuku retreats too far, he surges forward. The pain from the cut across his palm flares as he uses both hands to pull Izuku closer again. He feels the shape of Izuku’s lips as he struggles to keep up and feels his heartbeat race. There’s a sort of frantic energy that runs through his veins that has never been there in all the kisses he’s had before.

This time, when Izuku pulls away, Katsuki lets him. There’s a hesitance in the way he kisses back, and Katsuki doesn’t want to force him. He glances over Izuku’s face. His lips are red and slightly gapped, and his cheeks are flushed. He looks almost dazed as he blinks. Katsuki wonders how much of his expression looks like that, too.

“We can stop,” he says.

Izuku shakes his head, eyes downcast. “No, it’s not that--it’s just, this is the first time anyone’s kissed me.” Oh.

“You’re eighteen .”

“So what? Besides-” He sighs briefly. “Loser nerd, remember?”

“It’s not like you’re an ugly loser nerd, though.”

Izuku looks up quickly, his eyes wide with shock. Was that a compliment? From the Bakugou who tells everyone they’re complete shit? It has to be. Izuku feels the blush rise in his cheeks again and buries his face in his hand.

“You really are a loser,” Katsuki says.

Izuku tries to smack him with his good hand. “I’m going to bed,” he says loudly.

A moment after he lies down and tries to settle in a way that doesn’t send his shoulder into agonizing pain, he feels Katsuki lie beside him.