Actions

Work Header

Chapter Text

The Pimp Cane works wonders.

Momo leaves him to it and Katsuki welcomes being alone more than anything. He wouldn’t be testing out the cane otherwise, because like hell he was letting anyone see him fumble around like a spastic drunk while he teaches himself to rely on her creation to move around. 

He mentally notes to make her some of her much beloved donburi dish when he feels better. Part of Katsuki stubbornly embraced the idea that if he had been forced to walk around with that grey metal contraption, he would have curled up on his hospital bed and passed away from sheer indignation. 

It might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a comforting thought.

Especially given his current dilemma.

 Katsuki walks across his room slowly, step by step, focusing on moving his legs in tandem with the Pimp Cane. His joint ache, but after a minute of respite in between exercises it starts getting easier. Back and forth he goes, focusing on trying to look less and less like what Katsuki could only guess would be a waddling, drunk goose.

It wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. Hopefully Recovery Girl would let him go today -she did say he could leave as soon as he picked up the fucking four-legged nightmare. Part of Katsuki can’t wait to see her reaction to the Pimp Cane. 

She’s probably going to chuck him out a window.

Heh.

Not like that would make his wounds any worse. At least he would be out of this dungeon.

As he sits down for a quick break, Katsuki’s fingers find their way to his chest under his shoulderless shirt, landing on the edges of the scar tissue threading through his torso. It’s barely there at the touch -if anything, Katsuki feels it more because he knows it’s there, having spent most of his free time tracing the wound that should have killed him, yet did not.

Because he was a fucking cockroach and proud of it.

Still, it leaves him to wonder what could have been. That Quirk doctor sure was something; meeting her would be interesting, even if it only would be to say hey, thank I guess for not letting me kneel over.

Frowning, he drops his hand away from his chest and onto his lap, gaze sweeping with disinterest across his infirmary room. The ugly contraption against the wall is ignored, as is the small stack of folded clothes the old hag left on the counter.

Katsuki’s bored mind does falter when his eyes catch on a familiar stack of notes on the nightstand.

Right.

As he could forget that.

His fingers dig into the fabric of his pants, far too aware of the memory of Deku’s hand cradling his. It’s unsettling to think about, even more so combined with the fact that for some reason he didn’t feel like tearing his hair out at his own lack of reaction. Or rather, his lack of tearing other people’s throats out. Odd? Yes. Confusing? 

Even more so.

No anger. No rage. Just calm. Like he stubbed his fucking toe tripping over something. It’s fucking distressing.

I jumped into a fucking shredder for him and I don’t feel angry.  

Katuski pursed his lips and looked up at the roof, silently asking for answers the dull white infirmary ceiling could not offer. The bitch.

...I’ve gone insane. Left some brain cells in that Nomu’s belly.

Yeah. 

That worked.

It was the most logical explanation. It was a much better alternative to the more ridiculous conclusion: that he didn’t feel bad nearly throwing his life away for someone as shitty as Deku.

Katsuki blinks.

Oh god. That was it, wasn’t it? 

Deku must have rubbed off him.

Dear god no! There went his future career and long life expectancy. He’s done for. The ridiculous self sacrifice is contagious .

Katsuki feels his face twist into a grimace at the sheer horror of the thought. Banishing that terrible, terrible idea away, he forces himself up and grabs the Pimp Cane to do more exercise. 

Maybe a bit of pain would chase away some of it.

That’s how Kirishima and Kaminari find him ten minute later when they barge into his infirmary room, because of fucking course they do. Kaminari spots the Pimp Cane and perks up immediately, a fox-like smile that totally fucking belonged to Shinsou stretching his lips as he called out:

“Hey Bakugo! Glad to see you embraced your third leg!”

It’s only Kirishima’s saving grace -or rather, Quirk- that stops Katsuki’s fist from colliding with his face.

.

 

.

 

.

Recovery Girl is none too happy about the cane, but at this point Katsuki thinks he’s not the only one done with the situation. She takes one look at the Pimp Cane, hangs her head, sighs like a weary, homesick soldier returning from war, and then looks at him tiredly.

“Yes, you’re free to go to the dorm, Mr. Bakugo. Now get out of here, I’ve had enough of you glaring at me.”

Before she can change her mind, Katsuki takes that and runs. 

Metaphorically. Because his legs still can't work for shit.

.

 

.

 

.

After much fanfare -or rather, Kaminari bending over backwards to apologize under Kirishima, Ashido and Sero’s stern glare while at a safe distance, because while Kaminari Denki was dumb he was not that dumb- they finally lead Katsuki towards the dorms. 

Very slowly.

A snail’s pace.

Part of him -all right, all of him- is fucking irritated about the way they were trying to hide the fact they were walking at his pace, not theirs. He’s a better person than the brat he’d been in his first year, though, and can acknowledge it wasn’t purposeful on their part.

He was just that fucked.

Katsuki bites back the ball of fury and embarrassment and forces it down his throat instead of expelling upwards in a slurry of yells. Fine. He could acknowledge the fact he wasn’t in his best shape. This was just a temporary set back. This was nothing his training regimen could not fix in a few weeks.

It certainly beats being six feet under.

You better be fucking grateful, Deku. He thinks sourly as they pass the first year dorms, heading deeper into the student living sector. Cane in his left hand, notebooks in his right -at least, those he’s allowed to carry, because Kirishima and Kaminari are little shits that take all the books the class had stuffed in his hospital room and categorically refuse to give it back until they reach the dorms.

‘Bro, I like your enthusiasm but let’s hold off the heavy weights for now!’

If there was anything harder to do than keeping Deku from breaking a fucking limb, it was convincing Kirishima to not do something for his friends. Especially when they are recovering from an injury and as it turns out, even more so when they are recovering from getting ripped to pieces by a Nomu. Stubborn bastard. After the redhead’s bold declaration, Katsuki could only bare his teeth and lead the way to the dorms, skulking.

It’s surprisingly….unsurprising how little he’s reacting negatively to all of this save the whole cane issue and, well, the fact his departure from Yuuei wouldn’t be the blaze of glory Katsuki had eagerly been waiting for. It was disarming, like he didn’t mind throwing his own life away for-

File. That. Away.

Now.

I’ll deal with that later. 

Much later, preferably. With Deku in front of him even more preferably. Within punching range. Katsuki knew better than to think Deku was going to let him punch him flat out, though. Not anymore. They aren’t at Aldera and Deku is far from the tiny twig of a fanboy he remembers him being. They changed. Deku’s not the weakling from before and Katsuki wasn’t the bastard ego-centric shithead bully from their childhood.

... but a good yelling session and maybe a spar always worked wonders for Katsuki’s state of mind.

Now if only his body would get with the fucking program, that would be great .

Katsuki tightens his grip on the Pimp Cane, gritting his teeth as his knees make their complaints very well known. Like a fucking hawk, of course Kirishima spots it and immediately asks from his left:

“You okay there, Bakugo?”

“Fuckin’ peachy.”

“I don’t see any peach.”

“You’ll feel it when I shove it down your throat.”

Kirishima just laughs, the bitch. They fall back into an easy sort of silence, only broken by the sounds of passersby. There’s not a lot of students running around in the afternoon. Normally it would be chock full of teenagers trying to go out and breathe some clear air after spending the entire day within the confines of Yuuei’s classes, but with the approaching finals? 

A ghost town.

Everyone was either locked away in their dorms, or frantically trying to get a few extra hours in the training halls. There’s no time for fooling around with the finals looming; every minute was a minute that could contribute to their final grades if it was spent well.

Katsuki is one of the students that follows this ideal religiously. First and second year were spent mostly locked in his room or at the training center, only pausing long enough to eat and shower because unlike most of the guys in his class, maintaining normal bodily functions in times of stress is something he understands.

That is something that seemed to fail nearly everyone else, each year without fail. Katsuki remembers last year with the Marketing and General Department students holding most of Yuuei’s tables at the library hostage. They would hiss and glare at anyone who dared to disturb them. Explosions were a constant background noise when passing near the Support buildings. One third of the battle grounds were either always in use or being repaired because some dumb fuck, generally a overeager first year with a destructive Quirk.

… or he and Deku got a bit too into it and ended up getting a scolding from Aizawa and detention for excessive Quirk damage. Fucking party pooper. Where is the fun in no property damage? 

That was what sparring was about. Well. Besides kicking Deku into the dirt while All Might watched. 

Katsuki learned early on in life to enjoy the small things.

“-I think we went overboard with the books.” Kaminari’s mumble drags him away from the sweet, sweet memory of that one time he managed to elbow Deku in the gut in second year. The other blonde was adjusting his grip on his stack of school books, huffing delicately as the smooth covers made the books slide against each other and nearly slip out of his grasp. Weak shit. “You didn’t need that many to pass the time.”

“I needed all of them.” Katsuki grumbles, shrugging only to bite back a wince when his shoulders protest the movement with a slight burn. “Finals are coming, you idiot. Can’t afford to fucking slack.”

 Kirishima shakes his head, a low rumbling laugh leaving him. “Only you.”

He sniffs at that, indignant. “Oh, shut it.”

“Rude,” Kaminari complains at his other side, sighing. “Man, I can’t believe I missed you.”

“Surprises me too.”

“Right,” Kaminari replies, voice dripping with mirth and false pity. Katsuki side eyes him, contemplating the distance between the two of them and how much reach the Pimp Cane must have. “It’s Stockholm Syndrome, has to be. We’ve been under your control for too long.”

Alright. He’s saved from getting smacked. Even Katsuki had to stifle a chuckle at that.

“Speaking of,” Kirishima interjects as they walk around a corner, avoiding a small pack of students. A few of them side eye them -or Katsuki, more specifically- but a big toothy sneer has them quickly hurrying up.  “...how long until you can get going again?” There’s no real need to ask what get going means, not between the three of them. 

Katsuki exhales a harsh breath.

“A month.” He shrugs.

Kirishima’s not the only one who falters. Kaminari nearly trips over his own two feet at his side, spluttering. “That...that’s past the-”

“I fucking know.” Katsuki grumbles, banishing the swell of frustration before it can fully bloom. He’s under no illusion that his two idiots didn’t pick up on it. “Cleared it up with Aizawa. Got an exemption for the physical tests. I still gotta do the written portions, though.” 

“Well, shit.” Kirishima nods wisely. “That explains all the books. At least you got the written half to enjoy.”

His remark makes his lips tug upwards, the half grin forming before he can really stop it. Really, among his inner circle Kirishima is the only one who understood his, to quote Sero, manic need to dominate the class rankings. Out of their friends, he’s the only one who considered anything below 90 to be a failing grade.

Some, unfortunately, looked at their barely scraping by 60 and were happy with that. Try as he might, he hadn’t ever managed to beat that bad habit out of Mina and Kaminari after three years. Fuck him, but it wasn’t really his problem.

“Good! You can help us study for it!” Kaminari cheers, grinning like a goddamn golden retriever. “You have no idea how difficult this past month was for me!” 

“Can’t have been that bad.”

“Momo’s a good teacher but she’s not you!” Kaminari complains, bouncing with each step. It makes his shoulder-length hair bob with the motion. Katsuki hopes he gets a tuff of hair in the fucking eye.  “If it wasn’t for Mineta and Midoriya we would be in big trouble -especially me!”

“My condolences.” Katsuki retorts with a voice full of sarcasm, one even an oblivious fool like Kaminari can pick up -which from the look of disgruntled indignation he gives him, the other blonde did.

“C’mon dude, have some compassion!” The electric-user waves his free arm, holding up Katsuki’s books in the other. He only just manages not to clip someone walking past them. “Try being me for a change!”

“No thanks. That would be horrible.”

Kirishima stumbles and Kaminari makes a sound like a deflated balloon before falling silent, defeated. Katsuki fucking preens.

Good to know he still had it.

.

 

.

 

.

The moment he’s through the doors of his dorm, Katsuki realizes two things.

One, the entirety of his class was standing around in the common room.

Two, that Nomu was a stingy whore that should have done its job properly.

The moment Kirishima kicks down the front door and fucking stabs him right in the fucking back by yelling out guys, we’re back and we got Bakugo! Katsuki knows it's all over. He’s dead. So very much dead yet walking, unable to run and do little else than accept his fucking fate. He can hear the noise within the depths of the third year dorm falter, stop -then grow into a cacophony of thundering footsteps as every single living body who hears the redhead aim for the front hallway.

Mina’s the first person he sees at the head of the horde, yellow-black eyes wide and puffy, messy pink hair fluttering wildly around her head as she zooms across the hall with the demons of hell right at her heels.

“Bakubabe!”

Katsuki opens his mouth to make his utter indignation at that horror known; he’s only allowed one tiny, cut off sound of indignant outrage before Ashido collides with him like a fucking bullet and nearly sends him sprawling. If not for Kirishima moving behind him to catch them both like a linebacker, the floor would have been his grave.

There’s no escape. Mina’s strong, pink arms wrap around his middle as she latches onto him like a koala or something equally as brainless. He, the second ranked student in class, is utterly helpless in the grasp of this dangerous predator; Katsuki dies a little bit more inside when he feels her fucking hand ruffling his hair.

“Get off!”

“Maybe later tonight!”

Someone chokes. It takes a second for Katsuki to realize he’s the poor bastard making that horrible noise at her cheeky reply, and it’s a second too late because in that span of time he’s swarmed on all sides like something out of a horror movie. 

There’s no escape. There’s a hand in his hair, a digit poking him in the left cheek, someone bumping their shoulder against his.

“Bakugo!”

“Recovery Girl finally let you out, congrats!”

“I knew you were too much of a bastard to kneel over.”

Okay, fuck you Shinsou.

Bodies press all around him, shouts of congratulations getting lost amidst the chaos and loudness of at least fifteen people shouting over each other. Katsuki never wanted to grow wings and fly away more than he wanted to now, the ceiling above his head be damned. He’ll blast it out of the way if need be. Or just accept the concussion. Come to think of it, getting knocked out didn’t sound all that bad.

Especially with the way they were ruffling his fucking hair.

“All of you deserve to die!”

It’s only at that point that Kirishima behind him decides to interfere, the bastard. Probably not even out of mercy, but the safety of their classmates. The redhead leans over them and uses his arms as a shield, prying their classmates off Katsuki. Ashido stays stuck like a leech, because of course. He tries to wiggle off, but she tightens her arms around his waist and sticks her goddamn tongue against his shoulder as vengeance, making him shriek.

“You’re fucking disgusting!”

“Language, Bakugo!” Someone very familiar reprimands him somewhere among the sea of bodies; Katsuki only frees his left arm and gives Iida the middle finger in response.

All during this, he catches Ashido giggling like a retarded fox. Oh that was it, he was going to fucking kill this bitch.

“Hey, hey!” Kaminari shouts somewhere over to his left as he shooed people away. His laugh grates Katsuki’s ears. “Be careful of the goods, we worked hard to free him from Recovery Girl!”

“Bitch you didn’t do shit !”

His roar only earns him more laughs from the horde. Katsuki grits his teeth, pushing Ashido away just the slightest bit, he wiggles the Pimp Cane in between them and uses the item in combination with Kirishima’s solid to shove the pink devil away. Ashido finally folds but gives him a dramatic pout in response.

“Aww, you could at least hug back, you jerk.”

“I got standards.” Katsuki states flatly, righting himself. From the corner of his eyes, he spies Momo’s gaze spark as she looks at her creation in his hands. “Now all of you back the fuck off before I club you to death!” He tightens his grip on the Pimp Cane and raises it to show off that Katsuki would go through with the threat, aching limbs or not.

And oh, maybe it won’t be that bad with the way his classmates back off at a safe distance. Only Kirishima stays, but Kirishima is a smug ass with his stupid Quirk, so Katsuki lets it slide. 

Iida doesn’t.

“Bakugo!” The class president is a good head taller than most of the class, allowing Katsuki to see him from the back of the horde. It’s hard to miss the flailing limbs, too. He even spies Todoroki lurking farther back in the hallway, the bastard having enough manners to not try and suffocate him with hugs. “Don’t go around threatening violence on your classmates! You just got back from the infirmary, you need rest !”

“I need space!” Katsuki retorts back as he waves the Pimp Cane at Kaminari, who aborts his attempt at hugging him and dives out of the way with a laugh. If he could chase after the little shit Katsuki would almost be tempted to.

Instead, he clears a space forward and begrudgingly allows Kirishima to lead him out into the common room; the horde follows after him, yammering away.

The common room hasn’t changed since the last time he’d been here, though it has grown more chaotic. There’s stacks of school books and notebooks everywhere, packets of food peppering in between the dangerously high stacks. The dinner tables were covered in them.

...and on the farthest table a familiar person sits hunched over his notes, staring slightly wide-eyed at him and the horde nipping at his heels. He’s not the only one who stayed back -Jirou still had her nose stuck in a book two seats down- but he’s the one Katsuki latches onto, inexplicably.

Katsuki tilts his chin up at Deku imperiously, earning a hesitant smile from the nerd. It’s dimmer than it should be, part of him thinks, and it makes something irritable squirm in his belly, restless. He opens his mouth and-

“Here Bakugo, let me make you some food!” Sato’s booming voice grabs Katsuki’s attention.

What? He turns his gaze to look at the other third year just in time to see him spin on his heels to go to the kitchen. It’s as if a bomb has been set off -suddenly, half the class trails after, freeing Katsuki a tiny bit more. He can’t do anything but let them lead him to one of the table chairs.

“Let me help!”

“We should make stew, that way everyone can have some!”

“We need to defrost some pork, Todoroki can you be a buddy and…”

Momo perks up at the front of the charge, eyes bright and hopeful. “I can cut the vegetables-”

“I ate a hour ago, cool your fucking jets!” Katsuki interrupts before they can all rush into the kitchen and run over Sato in the process. Something similar happened the last time one of them got really injured -if it wasn’t Katsuki fending them off with a kitchen knife, the whole of the class would have burnt down the kitchen in a stupid attempt at getting a concussed and still tender Kirishima food.

Among the commotion, Katsuki spies with his little eye one particular tuff of green slinking out of the common room like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs. It makes him squint. Part of Katsuki is frankly disturbed by the idea of having some sick sixth sense when it came to Deku, but at this point?

Filing that away. 

In the cupboard it goes, along with the rest of that shit.

That didn’t mean ignoring the way Deku was slinking off from the common room, taking advantage that no one was paying attention to him to make a quick getaway. He knew the bastard since they were practically in diapers. Katsuki knew what his moping self deprecating look was like. He remembers Deku’s quiet, odd demeanor back in the infirmary, and he doesn’t like it.

When Deku got self deprecating, it was a fucking mess. He might be a hypocrite thinking such given what happened in their first year after All Might retired, but when Deku got mopey and blamed himself it was the kind of shit nearly everyone in the dorms picked up on, himself especially. It’s an annoyance he does not want to deal with on top of everything else.

I’m nipping this shit in the bud.

And there were things Katsuki had been left wondering ever since he woke up; might as well nip those now, too. Mind made up, he picks up the nearest thing he can reach and tosses it right at the green haired bastard.

A month and a half spent in a coma betrays him; the banana he grabs from the fruit bowl on the table lands right in front of a startled Deku instead of on his head like Katsuki intended. It irritates him, but Katsuki decides to roll with it. He’s starting to get used to this new body and frankly cannot wait to get back into shape, but this is what he had to work with for now.

He’s won with worse odds.

The room falls silent. Deku bends down and picks up the banana quizzically, no doubt wondering how his life led to nearly getting smacked with it. Then he slowly turns around. Green, befuddled eyes meet Katsuki’s own, their owner quickly figuring out the culprit from how everyone was looking at Katsuki. Though his own crossed arms and unimpressed look might have something to do with it.

“...huh...Kacchan…?”

Katsuki doesn’t wait for him to finish. 

He grabs the Primp Cane and stands up. 

Immediately both Sero and Kirishima are swarming him, hands extended as if to catch him like he’s some goddamn fragile doll. He waves them off with a growl, shifts his hips to lean against the table, and lifts his Pimp Cane to point right between Deku’s eyes.

The moron goes a bit cross eyed, staring at the tip. Dumbass. His eyes shift to his and Katsuki grins like a shark despite the weird feeling churning in his guts.

“You. Me. Now. Upstairs.”

“Kacchan-”

“Zip it.” His command makes Deku’s mouth snap shut. It’s not supposed to be as funny as it is, but Katsuki finds himself in a agreable if not tired mood. Tired and productive? Well, that was one way to describe what he was feeling. Just with some irritation sprinkled in.  “I lost enough time napping, I’m not having you dragging this shit out until we’re both on our deathbeds.”

Deku flinches suddenly and whoops, Katsuki can only feel the slightest, tiniest tinge of shame at his own poor word choice. Very poor word choice. Oh dear, how little he cared.

His old hag would be proud. His poor dad would probably start weeping.

He stomps -or at least slowly stomps, fuck him his snail’s pace speed needs some getting used to- past Deku, grabbing onto his left sleeve and tugging harshly to snap him out of whatever quiet trance the idiot had fallen upon.

“C’mon, you nerd! ‘Got two feet, don’t you?!”

“R-right!?”

His stammered reply sounds more like a question than anything else. Katsuki barely fights off the urge to sigh. Ever sensitive to his mood, he hears Kirishima call out jokingly behind him as he drags the nerd away:

"Hey, please don’t kill him!”

“I’ll think about it.” He grumbles in response. Behind him, Deku audibly gulps.

Good. 

Fear me, bitch.

.

 

.

 

.

They clamber up the stairs in silence. Katsuki pays no mind to the growing ache in his knees -scratch that, most of his legs. And his spine. Fuck, it hurt. It’s not a burning pain, but more of a steady pulse that comes and goes with each step he takes.

Not taking the elevator proved to be a very bad, not good idea. His limbs scream at him and he knows tomorrow they would have their vengeance.

Worse yet, he can practically hear Deku buzzing with worry behind him. It’s oozing off the other, grabbing at his clothes and making the hair at the back of his neck prickle. Feeling self conscious, Katsuki turns his head just enough to peer at the darker haired boy and glare balefully at his anxious look. He even has his mouth open like he’d been about to say something. 

Katsuki’s having none of it.

“If you try shit, I will beat you up with this cane.” He threatens with a rumble, teeth bared.

It works. Deku narrows his eyes, but he shuts up and keeps his mouth shut until they reach Katsuki’s floor. If Deku notices the slightier harsher edge of his breathing, he’s smart enough to not point it out. 

Tossing the door open to his room felt like coming home. Katsuki feels a pleased thrill go through him at the sight of his room -it was pretty much the same as he left it. The bed is made, his backpack is leaning against the wall, his laptop is on his desk. There’s nary a thing out of order, though with everything that happened Katsuki couldn’t prove that things were moved even if he wanted to.

There is, though, a suspicious lack of dirt or dust in the room. Katsuki directs a questioning look at Deku, who looks away in turn, shrugging.

“Kirishima and Ashido kept it clean while you were gone.” The nerd explains softly, eyeing him for a moment then quickly turning his gaze away to look at the room. “They did a good job, right?” Deku adds in a more distracted manner, shuffling on his feet. 

He’s wringing his hands, Katsuki notes. A familiar nervous tick. There’s no doubt in his mind that Deku’s not sure what to do next, and his stupid nrd mind is scrambling a mile a minute trying to come up with something.

“Right.” Katsuki repeats flatly, turning his attention to the bed.

His legs beg for relief and he cannot refuse them now; walking forward, he sets the Pimp Cane down to rest against his bed before letting his knees buckle.

He flops down on his bed with the dignity of a cat with three broken legs, internally groaning happily at the bounce. Fuck yes. He’s very much not sleepy but suddenly, he feels the urge to curl up under the covers of his damn bed and stay there until the day he dies. Fuck the infirmary beds, Yuuei is one of the best funded schools in the country but the Principal can’t get good beds for the one place that needed it the most? 

Urgh. Pathetic.

Alright. He’s out of the infirmary; that’s done, he’s free of Recovery Girl’s grasp, now he had to deal with the current issue. Rising up to sit on the bed, Katsuki levels a glare at Deku who was still standing in the middle of the room, staring at him with far too bright eyes and utters;

“Alright. Fucking spill.”

Deku blinks, green gaze snapping up to his face as if he’s only just registered what Katsuki said. There’s a flicker of unease in his eyes that tells Katsuki that the nerd has an inkling of awareness towards where this is going.

“Spill what?” If the look on his face was a clue, the way he was feigning ignorance practically screams it. His attempt at a relaxed tone makes Katsuki narrow his eyes.

“Spill.” Katsuki repeats monotonously, with the enthusiasm of a cat getting a bath.

“Kacchan.”

“Deku.”

They stare at each other, both unwilling to back down. 

It’s Deku who finally breaks the tie, looking away with a huff. It makes Katsuki frown, something fluttering low in his gut at the way the nerd’s lips tug upwards. The light coming from outside hits the side of the other boy’s face, making his freckles stand out more and Katsuki can’t help but look at his own mouth runs along:

“What’s with the fucking smile?”

“I’m sorry.” Deku chuckles, voice quiet and eyes gleaming. It’s an unexpected reaction. In the dim lighting of the room, it makes the green of his eyes stand out more. Damn broccoli. “It’s just -things have been a bit quiet without you. This is fun.” Another nervous chuckle.

Oddly enough, it doesn’t make him bristle.

Katsuki sniffs delicately. “Masochist.”

Deku chokes. 

“Kacchan!” He cries, scandalized. The red’s kind of a good look on his face. Makes him look like a freckled tomato. Or a christmas tree, given the green hair -fucking hell, what am I thinking about.

He’s going to have to visit Recovery Girl tomorrow, isn’t he?

“Don’t say that!”

“Heh.” Katsuki tries to appear as calm as he can, lifting a brow up at the other boy. “Why not?”

Deku sighs the Sigh that he makes when Katsuki takes shit too far and he’s deeply disappointed in his actions. Normally it would affect him -just a tiny fucking bit- but he’s feeling too smug right now.

“Kacchan,” Deku’s whine is not nearly as annoying as it used to be, but still makes him bristle. Especially given how exasperated the other boy sounds. “..you’re insufferable.”

“And you’re moping.” Katsuki retorts and the way Deku’s shoulders hunch defensively is enough of a tell to inform Katsuki he nailed it. Not like he needed confirmation anyways, it is Deku… “So stop that and spill what’s lurking in that empty head of yours. I don’t want the dark cloud you ‘got hanging over your head dousing me.”

“...do I really ha-”

“Yup.”

Another sigh. Katsuki waits, letting the silence stew. He reconsiders saying something to kickstart the conversation, but no, this was Deku’s turn. He’s the blabbermouth between the two of them, the nerd might as well put that mouth to use.

Lifting his legs up on the bed, Katsuki crosses them with just a little bit of trouble. The walk from the infirmary  did not agree with his body. The joints ache, not liking the position; he hides a wince and stretches them back out, all too aware of the weight of Deku’s gaze on him as he wiggles his toes and tries to alleviate the strain. 

Stubborn, he lifts his eyes up to look at Deku, making a face that he hopes is expecting because the silence’s getting too long and this is getting boring

The only reason he’s not pushing further is because of the somber expression Deku makes, dark brows set low and lips pinched like he wants to say something but he’s conflicted. There’s a third, more sullen sigh, a quiet sound in the even quieter room, only disturbed by the chatter from the common room downstairs. 

Deku moves forward, walks towards him and boldly sits down at his side, scarred, calloused  hands sliding against the dark bed sheets. Katsuki fights off the urge to say anything, torn between kicking him off his bed and wanting to hear him out.  It’s not the first time the other boy’s been here. Unlike their first year, Deku had been in his room a couple of times. 

Call him soft all you want, but Katsuki wasn’t going to Deku’s room to study with the nerd any more time he needed. Even after three years the bastard still religiously covered his bedroom in All Might memorabilia and alright, maybe Katsuki can understand some of it, but that was some

As in, not all. As in, the guy is Deku’s mentor and the dumb bastard should have quit the hero worship by now. Or a year ago. Or two. Oh well, can’t really fix what doesn’t want to be fixed.  

It’s not Katsuki’s mess to deal with.

This is.

“...what…” Deku’s soft, slightly resigned voice draws him back to the real world. Katsuki blinks, adjusting his eyesight to look at the other young man questioningly. “...what are you even trying to get at, Kacchan?”

There’s a lot Katsuki can reply with. A lot he thinks to answer but he’s not sure how he can put those thoughts into words, because he’s not sure what he’s feeling to start with. So, he goes with the easier option.

“I want you to stop looking like someone pissed in your cereals.”

Deku’s brows furrow. “I don’t look like that.”

“Fine.” Katsuki rolls his eyes. It’s easy to come up with a comeback. “You look like someone stole one of your rare All Might figurines and sold it for five yens and a stick drawing of Endeavor behind a dumpster.”

Deku opens his mouth. Closes it. There’s amusement in his eyes, a brief shimmer of light in those somber depths that makes Katsuki feel unusually proud. 

He tries not to examine that sensation too much.

“....that’s mean.” The other man ultimately mumbles.

“It’s true.” Katsuki huffs. He wiggles his toes, frowning as the ache that makes itself known, travelling up his feet to his legs and curling low in his belly. The walk to the dorms really hadn’t helped, had it? Fuck. “I’m not having you acting like a little bitch when the exams are so close.” Katsuki continues with a harder edge, diverting his gaze back to the other boy. “Don’t you dare slip down the rankings.”

Deku says nothing, quickly looking away. His shoulders drop, defensive posture giving away to something more shy and embarrassed that he notices right away. His ears are tinged just the slightest bit red.

Katsuki’s a smart boy. He stares at Deku in disbelief.

“..don’t fucking tell me.”

The green haired teen turns back to look at him. He’s grimacing, sheepish. If he was a dog, his ears would be down.

“...it’s just three down?”

“Three?!” Katsuki almost chokes, a spike of alarm rushing through him.

Deku wilts like a flower. “I couldn’t focus! Y-you were in the hospital ! In a coma !” He explains quickly, waving his hands in front of him defensively like that was going to save him. Ha. Katsuki feels like throwing the bastard right out of his room now.

“God damn it, Deku!” Katsuki feels his lips curl back into a snarl that he can’t fight off. “That’s no excuse! The fuck happened?!”

Deku’s hands drop down to his lap, fingers digging into the fabric of his pants. He looks like he’s gritting his teeth, frown deep and unhappy and maybe something more. For a moment, Katsuki swears he sees a spark of green light in his hair.

“You know!” He snaps back, the force of which silences any objection that forms on Katsuki’s lips. “I don’t need to explain this to you, Kacchan.” Deku continues in a quieter tone, more defensively. “...it’s really been tough. Seeing you like that -seeing what happened….” Deku pauses, hesitating. 

It makes an odd feeling in Katsuki’s chest that he can’t place squirm even more.

 “I can’t just bounce back.”

Well. Katsuki has no way to mock that. And he’s not sure he even wants to. There’s an odd feeling tugging at his chest, a strange sensation that feels desperate and...not that different from the feeling he got when he noticed the Nomu sneaking up on All Might’s successor.

 He stares at Deku, at a loss as to what to do.

My shit luck really affected him.

“You’re a sap.” He murmurs slowly, quickly regaining his confidence and uttering more loudly. “I was fine . That doc shoved my organs back in-” Deku winces at that part of Katsuki that isn’t an absolute tactless bastard pipes up with the suggestion that maybe that was a poor choice of words, which he promptly ignored with only the slightest twinge of guilt. “-and I’m up now. Case over.”

Deku lets out a tired sigh and looks away. There’s a somber look in his eyes that Katsuki has rarely witnessed in his life.

“You’re my friend.”

Katsuki pauses at that simple answer. Considers. Swallows slowly as he finds no well of irritation or anger within himself at that quiet declaration. If anything, Deku’s low, firm voice rolls over him like a warm campfire, soothing his frayed edges. 

It’s unsettling how not unsettling it felt. This wasn’t how he was expecting this conversation to go. He’d noticed the way Deku acted differently when he woke up, and it was hard not to notice the way he tried to sneak off while everyone’s attention was diverted...

“...right.” He ends up muttering, feeling a strange sense of being lost. “Well, just leave it behind, idiot. Heroes get hurt all the time.” He straightens his back, trying to appear calm. Deku knows him too much though, and Katsuki finds that he doesn’t like at all the way Deku’s eyes narrow. “This kind of shit happens-”

“Swirlwind died.”

Katsuki freezes.

Swirlwind.

He’s almost forgotten about the man. He was the Pro-Hero All Might recommended for their final internship. Their mentor wasn’t that well acquainted with the dark haired, blue eyed thirty year old they spent a good half a week working with, but apparently he served under Gran Torino for a few years and had a good head upon his shoulders.

Katsuki hadn’t thought much of the man, when he picked them up from the train station. Bright eyed, bushy tailed, the only thing of interest he’d found was the Pro-Hero’s wind-based Quirk, which he used to float around as if he was a mere leaf fluttering in the breeze. His headstrong, work-focused attitude got him a bit of respect from Katsuki, but his sheer optimism and can do attitude clearly soured the whole thing.

He frowns. Thinking back, the last memory he has of Swirlwind is when he was walking ahead of them during patrol, telling them about an absolutely incredible ice cream shop called Ozaki’s Parlor that he dropped by everyday, and how their pistachio ice cream was heaven in a cup. Katsuki mostly ignored his useless blabber. They’d just ended a quick lunch at the man’s favorite diner, and had been just...walking down the street when the first explosions started and the Nomu came out.

...strange how quickly things turned around. When he spoke of his beloved shop, Swirlwind had no idea those were his last what, three minutes left on this earth?

The thought sends a chill down his spine. Fuck .

“...how?” The words leave his mouth without his own input.

Deku’s eyes darken, flicking down Katsuki’s face -he can feel their weight on his chest, dragging across his right shoulder and down to his stomach and it’s not that hard to guess. Not hard to guess at all.

Especially since he can still remember the phantom memory of sharp teeth flaying him open. Katsuki only barely fights off the urge to hunch his shoulders.

“The Nomu.” His companion starts, not really looking at Katsuki. The look in his eyes -it makes him wonder if he’s thinking back to that day, too. “The one that got you. It snuck up on him and-” Deku falters, voice falling silent. Katsuki swallows, each word carving a deeper pit in his stomach.

Snuck up on him.

Just like it tried doing with Deku. Like it would have succeeded, if Katsuki hadn’t thrown caution to the wind and used his own body as a shield.

Unease swirls in his stomach. It makes Katsuki grit his teeth. “Fuck.” He breathes out, shaking his head. “...couldn’t you have told me this sooner?”

“No one really wanted to.” Deku utters, voice solemn. “I’m sorry.”

At least...at least this explained Deku’s behavior. The Nomu that nearly got him got Swirlwind. Fuck. No wonder Deku’s this off kilter -it had to remind him of that raid in their first year, with Nighteye.

Thinking back, Katsuki can’t recall any moment where the Pros his classmates interned with died. Injured, yes, and the students too -Kirishima has the worst track record after Deku- but a Pro dying while mentoring one of his classmates? Katsuki can only remember one other instance. And that instance just happened to have also occurred with Deku.

Shit fucking luck you got, nerd.

“Does it hurt?”

Katsuki blinks. “Eh?”

Deku’s looking at his chest. At the soft noise he makes. The other boy looks up to his face -then back down. And that’s when Katsuki realizes that it’s not his chest Deku’s looking at -but rather, his shoulder, where the sleeveless shirt doesn’t cover the twisting silver scars.

The scars Katsuki's left hand is currently tracing thoughtlessly.

He pulls his hand way quickly back to his lap, feeling heat rise up on his face at the fact Deku caught him doing that. 

“No,” He answers gruffly. “It doesn’t hurt.” Not that much.

“That’s good.” Deku grows quiet. “...how long until you do…?” He tilts his chin to his right; Katsuki follows the direction and finds his gaze landing on the Pimp Cane.

Right.

“A month at least.” He admits, pursing his lips together in distaste.

“Oh.” Deku makes a soft noise at his side. ”That’s a lot.”

Katsuki raises his gaze up at the ceiling, mentally wondering if whatever is up there could afford to send him down some patience. He doesn’t even want to guess what kind of face the nerd is making. 

“No need to fucking remind me.” Katsuki grumbles with a mixture of acceptance and tired anger swirling in his gut, feeling a familiar frustration swell up within himself at the reminder of how much time he had ahead before he was back to full strength. Fuck. “Aizawa’s gonna make me sit my fucking ass out for the practicals.”

From the corner of his eye he sees the other man at his side grimace, but nods. Deku hesitates for a moment, then speaks up:

“It’s logical-” Katsuki whips his head around and growls because like fuck was Deku going to start parroting their homeroom teacher, his All Might impressions were already horrifying enough. Thankfully, Deku quickly catches on to his ire and changes direction. “-but look at it this way, that means you can focus even more on the written aspect!” Deku finishes with a smile, looking at him expectantly.

If he’s looking for a positive response, what Katsuki does next is anything but.

“Ehhh?!” The furious growl that leaves his lips has Deku freezing in place, that stupid smile included. “What, do you think I can’t do both?!”

“No! I didn’t mean that!” Katsuki’s never seen a  smile flee out of someone’s face faster. Suddenly, Deku is all about backtracking. “You can do both!” He stammers, leaning away from him as Katsuki’s glare intensifies.

Oh this little shit, trying to appease him with such a blatant, weak response. Like Katsuki didn’t see right through it. For a moment, he considers picking up the Pimp Cane and smacking him upside the head with it. At least one good wack, maybe that would recalibrate his dumb nerd brain. 

If he wasn’t so tired -and recovering- Katsuki had half a mind of picking up the bastard, opening his balcony door and throwing him over the railing. 

It certainly is a tempting idea. 

Ultimately he tosses it aside. It wouldn’t do him no good in the end, cathartic or not.

“Damn fucking right.” Katsuki ends up huffing out, indignant. He jabs a finger towards Deku, watching the other man initially lean back thinking he would poke him in the eye. Instead, he shoves it into Deku’s shirt with enough force to make the joints there ache and his victim wince. “Don’t you fucking dare underestimate me! Just because I’m beat to shit right now doesn’t mean I can’t kick your goddamn ass!”

Instead of flinching back, Deku smiles. It’s not a hesitant or appeasing smile like he normally would make when on the receiving end of Katsuki’s fury, no. This smile was different, soft and happy and utterly devoid of any fear or apprehension. The contrast throws Katsuki completely off guard.

Even more so when Deku reaches out and grabs the hand poking him in the chest. His eyes gleam. A fond sigh echoes through the room, and it doesn’t come from Katsuki.

“God, I fucking missed that.” 

Well.

It makes him blink. Deku cursing was new. And Katsuki wasn’t sure if it was entirely a bad thing. Especially with how rough his voice got towards the end. 

Or how he just realized how in his space Deku is.

Katsuki hadn’t noticed, too caught up trying to pick apart the green bastard while simultaneously stewing in his own frustration, but they were practically sitting side to side on his bed. And Deku’s holding his goddamn hand, just like he did back at the infirmary.

Suddenly, he was very much aware of the height Deku had over him. Bastard started Yuuei barely reaching his eye level with his messy green hair and yet inexplicably, he was now taller than Katsuki, because hell that’s how the universe repaid him for years of bullying the nerd. Give the little shit a good inch and a half over him.

Fuck.

He’s not sure if it's a punishment anymore.

Don’t fucking go there, brain.

Nope. Not now. Fuck. Things were changing.

...or rather, they had changed. Katsuki just slept through it, and only part of him had figured what this whole new puzzle even was.

This is a mess. Part of him thinks and he has to agree. This is too complicated.

“What?”

Katsuki startles, finding Deku looking at him quizzically. “What?” He croaks.

Deku frowns, his grip on his hand tightening just a bit, the nerd’s rough, scarred skin sliding against his palm. “You said this is too-”

Katsuki blanches. I said that out loud?! Fuck!

“Shut up.” He snaps, feeling like rubbing the sides of his head to stave off a growing headache. He quickly pulls his hand out of Deku’s grip, ignoring how it makes the other boy’s frown deepen. “Urgh, this is stupid. We’re going around in circles. Fuck off, Deku.” For added effect, he shoves a foot into Deku’s useless face, pushing him away. 

It earns him a strangled shriek. “Kacchan!” Deku cries out with a yelp, only partially dodging his shoe. “What are you doing?!”

“I.” Katsuki sniffs imperiously, shoving his foot against Deku’s stupid freckled face again. This time the green haired teen dodges completely, scrambling off the bed. Gotcha.. “...am gonna take a fucking nap. You, in the meantime, are gonna screw off and do some nerd shit.” He tells him, making a shoo motion with his hand.

Hair tousled, eyes still wide in surprise, Deku looks at him quizzically. He looks more entertained than confused.

“Kacchan?”

“Fuck off.”

“It’s only five in the afternoon.” Deku’s amused tone does nothing to help his mood.

He bares his teeth at the nerd. “Don’t care. Shoo.”

Deku fails to respond, still looking at him with a half smile. Katsuki knows he’s pushing it a bit. Maybe a lot. This is not something they usually did. Maybe Deku-

“...want me to bring you something to eat?” Deku offers, straightening himself up.

Katsuki shrugs in what he hopes is a relaxed manner. “I’m fine.”

“You sure?”

The other’s pressure does not help matters at all. Katsuki lets out a warning hiss. It earns him a chuckle. It makes Deku shake his head. Bastard shouldn’t look so entertained -Katsuki’s gaze flicks over to the Pimp Cane. 

Tempting.

“Okay, Kacchan.” Deku finally relents, perhaps catching Katsuki’s internal debate and deciding a concussion wasn’t the way he wanted to finish his day. “I’m going, take care!”

Katsuki watches him go to the door, tracking the way his curly green hair bounces with each smooth step. Gone is the hesitation and nervousness of his child self. It makes his stomach squirms. Urgh. Fucking shrub.

Still..

“Deku.”

“...hm?” Deku looks back, expression criminally innocent for a little shit like him. He probably knew that Katsuki was going to call out after him. “Yes?”

“....get me some tea.”

It earns him a smile.

Katsuki tries very hard to forget that memory when he settles into a light nap, face pressed against a pillow that oddly enough, smelled of pine and thunder.

.

 

.

 

.

The next morning when he feels slightly less dead, he heads to the common room.

It’s not that packed, this early in the morning. Katsuki finds Kirishima, Kaminari, Sero and Mina huddled together in one of the common room tables, swarmed with books and oozing desperation. Ashido’s got a squirrelly little squint going that she only makes when her brain is threatening to explode; Sero has his face inches from his textbook, nose practically in the pages. Kaminari and Kirishima are trading notes and looking even more confused despite their best effort at making a collective attempt at understanding the material.

It’s delicious, welcoming chaos.

Katsuki doesn’t even wait to be acknowledged. He drops his books right next to them; all four of them jump at the sudden noise. Kaminari even manages to spill some of his coffee on himself and yelps as a result.

“What the fuck, dude?!”

“So,” Katsuki begins, slow and terrible like a dragon slowly rising from the depths of slumber among its bed of gold. “...I hope you maggots have been studying, because I got a few ideas on how to make sure you kept at it while I was out.”

All four of them whimper. Kaminari starts weeping.

Yeah, he’s back alright.