The Kiribaku little red riding hood au that no one asked for! \\o/

~ Big Red Riding Wolf ~

CW: NSFW, a little fighting and blood, maybe?

Wolf shifter Kiri, monster hunter Baku.

In the sleepy little town of Hallow’s Creak there were rumours of a big bad wolf.
A huge hideous creature that ripped apart unsuspecting humans that foolishly wandered into the woods.

A monster so terrifyingly vicious that no one had dared step foot in the area of wooded land that made up its home in over ten years.
/But that shit ain’t gonna stop me/, Katsuki thought with an almost manic grin as he kicked a booted foot up on the table, raising a hand to order another ale, +
“well fucking /continue/ then, whatever your name is, I ain’t got all night.” He leaned back in his chair to sling his other foot up and cross his ankles.
“I- I already told you, it’s Midoriya, Izuku Midoriya-”

Katsuki rolled his eyes, “and I already told /you/, I don’t fucking care.” He cut across the nervous man sat at the other side of the table, +
“I want information, not a conversation buddy. Now, /you were saying/-?” He prompted with an exaggerated wave of his hand.
With a nervous flush, /Midoriya/ started talking again, “L-like I said, the monster’s territory is marked with claw marks along the trees. It’s a ways into the woods, but the area outside of it is safe, it doesn’t leave its territory-”
“So it’s /not/ terrorising the village?” Katsuki questioned, dropping his feet to plant them back against the worn floorboards of the town's little tavern as his drink arrived.
“Well, n-no. But there are rare important herbs that only grow deep in the woods where it lives, a-and I need them.” Midoriya looked almost guilty as he averted his gaze and Katsuki narrowed his eyes.
Katsuki Bakugou was a monster hunter.

And a damned fucking good one at that. He lived for the thrill of the hunt, the case, the /fight/, and he traveled the country after new conquests and bounties.
But if this thing wasn’t technically hurting villagers, would it even be worth going after? The reward was decent, sure, but he’d come for the challenge.
The fearful whispers of this ‘big bad wolf’ had sent an excited shiver racing down Bakugou’s spine when he’d been passing through a small town almost thirty miles away, so he’d come to find out if the rumours were true.
“If the thing hasn’t been seen in over ten fucking years, how do I even know this isn’t just a wild goose chase?” +
He demanded, lifting his tankard to take a long draw, before slamming it back down with an annoyed grumble, “If I’ve come all this way for a fucking /fairytale/, I’m gonna be pissed.”
The green haired, befreckled, alchemist looked around them quickly before leaning in, “I’ve seen it, w-well kind of. I- I went into its territory looking for herbs. I thought it would be dead after all this time - b-but then I heard it, +
running towards me, or near me, I-I’m not sure. All I saw was a flash of red, b-but I heard it growl-” Midoriya cut himself off with a shudder, “- I ran as fast as I could, but I’m surprised I’m not d-dead.” +
He finished, eyes wide as he leaned to sit back and raised a hand for an ale of his own.

He looked like he could use a drink.
Bakugou smirked. /Fucking coward/.

But if people could take care of their own monster problems he’d be out of a job.
“alright, I believe you - you wouldn’t look like you were about to piss yourself if you were lying. I’ll take the fucking job. That wolf’s ass is /mine/.” He grinned, more than ready to get started.
Katsuki drank as he probed for more information from the alchemist, before stumbling to the village inn and collapsing onto his temporary bed with a drunken grin of excitement.
This monster sounded like it was gonna be a /real/ challenge for once, unlike the shitty goblin nest he’d cleared two weeks ago and the one armed ogre he’d taken down the week before that.

He couldn’t fucking wait.
Bright sunlight glaring through the curtains he’d forgotten to close was what awoke Katsuki the next morning.
He rose with a slight grumble from the comfortable bed and ordered a basin of water to wash and shave the blond five o’clock shadow from his jaw, toweling his face and torso dry before dressing.
He tucked his soft brown trousers into his boots and laced them, reaching to grab and wrap a leather knife holster around his thigh, before sliding his hunting knife into it.
The excited grin on his face only grew wider and more toothy as he donned a soft cotton shirt and rolled up the sleeves, before strapping another leather belt over his chest from shoulder to hip.
The sheath of his silver sword rested against Bakugou’s back as he tightened the strap so that it wouldn’t shift.
Another belt followed, sitting on the opposite shoulder to intersect the other, creating a large X across his chest. He loaded the small sheaths at the front of it with five throwing knives.
He grabbed a final thick length of leather and secured it around his hips, attaching his supply pouch to the side that didn’t hold his steel short sword.
Shutting and locking the door after himself, Katsuki headed down the stairs. He reached the front desk and slammed a fist full of coins and his room key down on the weathered wood, +
“I’ll be back within a week, don’t let anyone in my room. And I mean /anyone/, not even the maid. I’ll know if you do.” He warned the old woman, who spluttered before looking down at the coins.
“That’s enough for almost two weeks son.” She informed him with a furrowed brow.
“Then it looks like I’m buying the room for two fucking weeks then, cause I’m not taking money with me. It jingles.” at the woman’s nod of affirmation, he turned on his heel and left, the brass bell above the door chiming his exit.
Katsuki made his way to the tavern and ordered two plates of bread, meat, and cheese, along with a tankard of water to wash away the slight grogginess from his night of drinking.
He ate everything from the first plate before stacking the meat, cheese and bread from the second into the centre of a square of linen, folding it up.

He slipped the food into his supply pouch, paid his tab with the last of the coins he’d brought with him and set off.
The alchemist, Midoriya, waited at the edge of the small winding path that led from the village, at the edge of a copse of trees.

He had a sheaf of parchment in his hand and a nervous smile on his face, shifting from foot to foot as the blond approached him.
“M-morning!” He greeted Katsuki with a stutter.

Bakugou simply grunted in response and held out his hand for the contract.
Katsuki skimmed through the details, noting the way the alchemist’s name was written at the bottom of the page, before handing it back, +
“I agree. But I ain’t got a quill, so don’t renege on your side or you’ll find out what my blade tastes like too, /Deku/. You got the shit I asked for?” He demanded gruffly.
“D-deku?” The alchemist’s brows pinched in confusion for a moment, before he flushed embarrassedly at the meaning behind the name, “o-oh right, here you are.”
He reached into his own pouch and pulled out a handful of tiny bottles, handing them over, “four healing potions, a Wolfsbane potion, and-” he dipped his hand back into his pouch, “a way to mark the trees.” He handed over a larger bottle with a cork stopper.
Katsuki took it, still looking at the potions in his hand, “why are they so fucking small?” He demanded. Was the little shit messing with him? They were about a third of the size of a regular potion bottle.
“O-oh! They’re super concentrated, that’s all. They should act much faster than the ones you’re used to as well.” Midoriya gave him a nervous glance, fidgeting as Bakugou’s eyebrows rose in surprise.
“Maybe you’re not a complete Deku after all.” He said in lieu of a thankyou, “and this shit? Just put it on the trees and it’ll keep glowing? For how long?”
“Yes, I’d tip it so that the potion touches the end of the stopper and then press that to anything you want to mark. It’ll glow for almost a month, so there’s no worry that it’ll run out before you’re done.”
Sounded easy enough, Katsuki thought as he slipped the small bottles into his pouch and buckled the front strap. If these potions were as good as the green haired man said, he’d have to buy the whole damned stock before he left the shitty little town.
Bakugou cracked his neck. “Alright, I’m gonna go slay your dumb monster.” He stated simply, before marching straight into the woods.
Sunlight broke and filtered through the green canopy above as Katsuki made his way deeper, flashes of sunlight dancing over the ground and tree trunks as the breeze rustled the leaves.
He followed an old overgrown path, stepping easily over increasingly gnarled roots as he ventured deeper.
After a couple of hours the sounds of birdsong became a little quieter, and Katsuki stopped for a moment, quirking an ear to listen intently.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary yet, and he hadn’t reached the beast’s territory, so he huffed a breath and carried on.
Another hour or so saw the canopy overhead grow more dense, dancing sunlight becoming rarer as the beaten path dispersed into even wilder roots, patchy grass and fallen leaves beneath his feet. Bakugou grinned.

He knew he was getting closer.
Barely minutes later he came to a halt at a tree with four thick claw marks gouged right through the bark and into the wood of the tree.
Katsuki leaned in to take a closer look, running a fingertip along one of the slashes before leaning in to sniff at it. Nothing. Which meant that the marks were either too old, or it wasn’t a Wendigo.

Those things fucking stank.
He’d thought it was unlikely when Deku had told him that none of the villagers had been attacked or taken. Wendigo’s were savage creatures with a penchant for human flesh, borne of a combination of starvation and insatiable greed.
Humans could turn into the man eating monsters without external forces in the right situation, and be forever lost to their greed. +
But they had to have some small amount of magic within them, if the stories were to be believed.

Not that it mattered to Bakugou when he was hunting one.
They were also infectious once turned, and able to turn others - though they were solitary, greedy, creatures and preferred to keep their prey to themselves.
Katsuki mentally put a pin in the wendigo theory; there was no way the thing would have /not/ ventured from its territory if it became hungry enough.
But the blond also knew that there was another village a couple of miles through the other side of this forest, so the people there could be the ones suffering instead.
Still, his gut said no, and he’d long since learned to listen to it.
Katsuki reached into his pouch to pull the glowing potion from it, shaking it to coat the stopper before pulling it from the bottle and stepping into the monster’s domain.
He marked the back of the tree with a glowing X, before stepping back to the supposedly ‘safe’ zone, before moving to the next tree to examine the gashes in its trunk; marking that one too.
It took him a few hours, but Bakugou finally made his way back to the first tree.

He threw himself down on the ground in front of it and glared into the darker woods as he pulled the linen wrapped food from his pouch and ate half of it, before stuffing it back in.
It wasn’t much, but it would keep him going, and he was used to traveling light, especially food-wise. He took a swig from his water bladder and a few drops of a satiation tincture.
A feeling of pleasant fullness settled in his stomach as he swallowed. He didn’t need it growling in a couple of hours and giving him away if he managed to sneak up on the creature.
Katsuki sat for a few minutes to rest, he’d been trekking through the woods all day and he wasn’t stupid enough to head straight in without taking a break. Besides, it gave him time to mull over his thoughts.
The fact that the creature had marked the whole way around its territory, on the side of the trees that humans would see was interesting. And it definitely completely knocked wendigo’s off Katsuki’s list of theories. No way would one of those nasty fuckers try to keep humans away
Which left a wolfman, a werewolf, or a were-shifter living within the huge circle of trees.
Wolfmen, or Wolf-folk, were probably another unlikely option, in Bakugou’s opinion.
They were pretty much just hybrid creatures; part human, part wolf. They had varying degrees of wolf like characteristics, sometimes simply ears, a tail, and tufted patches of fur - right up to looking like a humanoid wolf that walked on its hind legs.
But they were sentient and self aware in most cases.

Katsuki had killed a few before; ones that had gone feral and savage, but he’d also gotten drunk with a couple in the past.
Though it could still be a wolfman sensing themselves losing control, that had marked their domain to try to keep humans safe. But that was unlikely given how long the stories had been told around the neighbouring towns.
Bakugou grumbled as he rose to his feet, dusting off the ass of his trousers. He rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck, before bending to stretch.
There was no telling how far he’d get before the thing came for him - he’d basically spread his scent around the whole of its territory as he’d been marking his exit.
Katsuki grinned. He knew it was gonna seem like a challenge to the beast.

/Because it was/.

He stalked through into the creature’s neck of the woods.
A few minutes in Katsuki stopped, sniffing at the air. He canted an ear and listened to unseen birds trilling around him, before crouching to brush a few leaves off a small partial print in the soft ground.
“Tch.” A fox print.

He continued on after taking out his compass to check the needle, marking another tree as he went.
There was something...weird about the woodland within the circle of claw marks, Bakugou thought to himself.

The air seemed thicker, heavier, maybe even a little sweeter than before.
Not to mention the fact that the birds wouldn’t /shut the fuck up/. They sounded like they were maniacally singing just to piss Katsuki off, but it was more likely that there was just a lot more of them here. Lack of humans traipsing about, probably.
He marked another tree, turning to look back at the one he’d just done - they were almost in line. Good.
Katsuki continued on, stopping every now and then to listen and check his compass. The needle was being a little bitch though, so he shoved it into his pouch a final time and relied instead on his own eyes and his marked trees.
Soon enough the sound of a stream alerted him to his location. He was coming up to where it bisected the territory, from where he’d had to hop and splash through it on the higher side of the terrain when he’d been following the claw marks.
That didn’t necessarily mean he was coming to the centre of the circle though - the water probably meandered through it.
A loud rustling a distance behind him had Bakugou spinning on his heel, snatching his hunting knife from the sheath at his thigh and assuming a fighting stance.
A second later a huge buck leapt over a line of tall brush and bolted in his direction.
Katsuki dodged to the side to avoid being knocked to the ground and trampled, before focusing back on where the thing had come from. He could hear the heavy footfalls of something running in his direction.

It sounded like it was bipedal.
Most likely a werewolf then. They were human most of the time, but couldn’t stop themselves from turning under a full moon. They lost most of their sense of self and became vicious with the need to hunt and kill and /eat/.
They were also infectious, and though Katsuki hadn’t come across any cases where they had spread their lupine disease while in human form, some of them had been known to become more wild, even when the moon wasn’t calling to them.
And if they lost sight of their humanity completely, they became a monster forever, never able to change back; only interested in the thrill of the hunt.
If this fucker was on the turn, it explained why they were chasing down prey on two feet.
Bakugou reached his free hand up for the hilt of his silver sword, but the sound of booming, breathless, laugher stopped him short.
He barely had time to question it before a hulking, shirtless, man leapt clear over the tall bushes and landed on his feet, the tips of his fingers barely brushing the ground as he caught his balance, +
before he balled them into fists and started sprinting after the deer - right towards Katsuki.
The man stopped short at the sight of him, booted feet skidding in the soft dirt and leaves. The wildly happy grin dropped from his face and he /stared/, mouth falling open slightly in shock to reveal two sets of razor sharp teeth.
Bakugou frowned, none of the creatures he had thought of had teeth like /that/, especially in human form. He dropped his hand from his sword hilt and raised his hunting blade instead, looking the man over.
/No/, not a man.

This guy was definitely a beast of some description. He was tall, broad and packed with muscle. Bright red hair seemed to almost explode from his head like a spiked mane, falling to mid bicep in sharp looking, shaggy, points.
Almost completely buried in his wild mane was a pair of equally red ears, moving to point almost backwards with uncertainty.
As the man shifted back half a step, Katsuki saw the tail behind him, straight and low and bristled. Was the beast actually scared of him? That spoke of sentience and awareness well past a half crazed werewolf, at the very least.
Could be were-shifter. But they looked completely human most of the time, just with a set of ears and more body hair - but more importantly, they were almost always on the lithe side.
This guy was fucking /built/ and almost hairless, with the exception of the ridiculous mass sprouting from his head, and the thin red trail that led from his belly button to disappear into his dark trousers.
And the tail - that said wolf-folk. But there were no random patches of fur on his bare chest and torso either.
Katsuki growled in frustration at being unable to categorize him, causing the man to stiffen and take another half a step back. He finally let himself make eye contact with the beast, man, thing, and drew in a quiet breath of shock.
His eyes were /stunning/. Even with the distance between them, they were clear and bright and almost glowed like hot embers as the man stared right back at him. Neither of them moved for long moments, both unsure of what to do next.
“/Another human/…” the man whispered, before raising his voice, “you can’t be here. /Leave/, before I have to make you.” He said firmly, setting his jaw.

Like /fuck/ he was leaving.
“What are you?” Katsuki demanded, standing his ground. If the guy could hold a conversation, was he even this ‘big bad wolf’ people were so scared of?
He didn’t look savage. /Wild/, maybe, but not savage or vicious. Though maybe that stupidly happy laugh from before was skewing his view.
“I’m just me.” The redhead shrugged, “but /you/ shouldn’t be here-” he stiffened suddenly as a low, light, breeze blew past Katsuki, carrying the blond’s scent in his direction.
His nostrils flared as he sniffed and his pupils blew wide, almost completely overtaking mesmerising red, “/Oh shit/.” He whispered as a shiver visibly ran through him.
The redhead /bolted/.

Just straight up turned and ran from him.
“WHERE'D YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?!” Katsuki bellowed, immediately giving chase.

He awkwardly sheathed his blade while running, so that he could pump both of his arms and smack away branches as he raced after the wolfman.
The bastard was damned /fast/. Fucking agile too, leaping over large rock forms and jumping winding roots as he fled.
But Katsuki was determined, not to mention /trained/ for this kinda shit.

He avoided the roots and practically threw himself around the sides of the huge boulders, keeping that red mane and broad back in his sights.
The stream Bakugou had heard appeared, wider and a little deeper than it had been in the higher terrain, and the blond watched as his quarry jumped up to grab the lower bough of a tree that hung over the water, propelling himself to the opposite bank to land with a thud.
“Stop fucking running!” Katsuki yelled as he hopped quickly across the stones that made an almost path through the water.

But the bastard was off again.
His boots hit the ground on the other side and he took off after the redhead, but Bakugou couldn’t see him anymore. The trees were denser on this side of the water, and the beast man had a head start.
He cursed but kept going, slowing his pace slightly to make sure he didn’t fall. The last thing he needed was a sprain or break.
More rustling had him skidding to a halt and spinning on the spot again, but Katsuki couldn’t tell where it was coming from this time. “Face me coward!” He bit out, hoping to goad the man into a fight.
He had /not/ come all this way to play catch the mouse.

Another rustle. He spun. /Another/. Fuck, it was everywhere.
“Sorry man.” Came from behind him, it sounded like the redhead was holding his breath and speaking at the same time.

Bakugou made to turn once more but a hard thud against his head sent his world black.
Katsuki awoke to bright sunlight and the feel of leaves sticking to his face. He bolted to sit upright quickly, cursing at the dull pain in the back of his skull that followed the swift movement, before checking that he still had all of his weapons. He did.

What the fuck??
What kind of backwards ass monster knocked out a :monster hunter/ and then didn’t kill them? Not that Bakugou wasn’t glad to be alive or anything, but it didn’t make fucking /sense/.
He rose to his feet and fished around in his pouch for one of Midoriya’s tiny healing potions.
Katsuki realised he was covered in scratches and small cuts from his chase, but they were nothing compared to the fact that he could be pushing up daisies right then. Though it was kind of weird that there were no little drops or smears of blood on his forearms and hands.
/Don’t tell me that mutt cleaned them too/, Bakugou thought with a scowl.
“Tch, honestly.” The blond took stock of his surroundings, realising that he’d been brought back to the very edge of the woods that led to Deku’s village.
So the red bastard /could/ leave the line of clawed trees.

He bit out a curse and stomped through the tree line to walk the path back to the collection of quaint buildings.
That put pay to the fleeting idea that it could be a magical barrier, or something similar, keeping him inside.
Katsuki didn’t bother stopping by the inn, he simply marched straight through the streets, finally uncorking the little potion and draining it in one small gulp as he walked.
The effects were almost instant; warmth spread through him in a wave that radiated out from his stomach, right down to the ends of his toes and up to the top of his head.
The dull thumping from his almost-braining ceased, and he lifted an arm to watch the scratches that marred his skin seal together before his eyes. He raised a brow, impressed. The nervous little nerd hadn’t been lying about them being the good shit.
Katsuki reached a small two story building with a green door and shutters; a matching sign swung above the open entryway that read; ‘Izu’s potions and apothecary’ painted in looped purple letters.
“DEKU!” Bakugou bellowed as he stepped over the threshold, slapping a hand loudly to the propped open door on his way past it. He heard a squeak and turned his head to see Midoriya juggling a strange looking root that he’d obviously thrown in the air in surprise.

“What the fuck is a Kacchan?” Katsuki demanded with a scowl, sure that the alchemist had just given him a rude nickname like he’d given him.
Not that he wouldn’t have brought it on himself, but Bakugou had a right to know /how/ he was being insulted before he smacked the nervous wreck upside the head for it.
“O-oh, that just kinda slipped out, I don’t think it actually means anything.” Deku gave a light laugh as he set the purple root on the counter and rounded it, “but I think it’s nice! It suits you.” +
He laughed again and Katsuki growled at him, “s-sorry! Are you finished already? That’s amazing!” His freckled face lit up in awe.
“No, you idiot. I’d be covered in blood if I was finished. You got any books on monster lore in this dump?” He cast a glare around the little shop. It smelled like too much of everything, and it offended his nose.
Midoriya’s brow creased, “can you not tell what it is? I always thought it was just a big nasty wolf, or maybe one of those, um, wolf-folk? The ones that look like walking wolves? I-”
“Gods, shut up. I /know/ what Wolf-folk are, what kind of shitty hunter do you think I am? I just want to check a couple of things, ‘cause this one is weird, that’s all.”

“Weird?” Midoriya questioned, before turning to head through another doorway at the back of the store.
“Yeah he’s-” Bakugou cut himself off quickly. He wasn’t sure why, but he didn’t want to share his interaction with the redhead, “-/it’s/ got some characteristics that don’t match anything I’ve seen before.” He followed after the alchemist as he spoke.
Like those fucking /teeth/ for one. And those eyes. And that smile-

Katsuki bit out a vile curse, causing Deku to drop the book he’d just pulled from a shelf. He stalked over and snatched it up himself, turning it over in his hand to look at it.
“It’s probably got most of the information you need, but there’s a focus on alchemy and potion making. I hope that’s good enough. You can sit in here if you like, I’ll just be out front.” +
Midoriya indicated to a desk and chair in the corner, and bustled past Bakugou to head back into the main part of the shop.
Katsuki turned the chair to face away from the desk and threw himself into it with a huff, flicking through to the lycanthropian creatures and ‘ailments’ section.
He didn’t bother with wendigo’s, simply flicking past the subsection dedicated to them - entirely focused on figuring out what the hell his new redheaded quarry /was/.
“Kacchan I’m closing shop! Do you want to come to the tavern for food? My mom’s cooking a hog dinner!” Came Midoriya’s shout from the other room.
“/Tch/. Fine! Just give me a fucking minute, asshole!” Katsuki shouted back.

With the way Midoriya talked to him, you’d think they’d known each other for years and not just three days- the second of which Bakugou had mostly spent trekking through a forest alone.
He was used to people cowering away from him, whispering about how scary he was, and generally trying to stay out of his way - which was just the way he liked it. But as much as Deku stuttered and stumbled over himself, Katsuki didn’t think he was actually afraid of him.
He couldn’t be if he was stupid enough to keep calling him fucking /Kacchan/.

Bakugou sighed as he finished the last page he needed to read and closed the book, standing to slide it back into it’s space on the bookshelf, before stalking through into the main shop area.
“Find anything useful?” Midoriya asked as he lifted a cheerfully green apron over his head and hung it on a hook behind the counter.
“Just shit I already know. Tch. He’s -it’s- just fucking, I dunno, /weird/.” Katsuki grumbled as he marched out ahead of the nerd and waited for him to fumble with his keys to lock the door.
“Hmm, you said that before. Weird how?” Midoriya puzzled as they made their way to the tavern.

“Stop trying to play monster hunter and stick to what you’re good at, Deku.”
Bakugou didn't realise he'd accidentally complimented the shitty nerd until Midoriya spoke, “Oh, you used one of my potions then?! I was hoping you wouldn’t need to, but I’m glad you’re okay.”
The blond was taken aback for a moment, before he glared over at the alchemist, baring his teeth,“fuck you, I don’t need your pity, loser.” He growled, stepping faster.
Midoriya matched his pace, “it’s not pity, it’s concern. I hired you, you know. I don’t know what kind of person you think I am that I wouldn’t care about the welfare of someone in my employ, but I do. And even if you weren’t, I don’t want anyone getting hurt.” +
+ He cast Bakugou an almost sickeningly honest look, “I’m only trying to help, Kacchan.”
Katsuki’s anger deflated slightly, “/fine/! he’s got red hair, for fuck sake. Bright fucking /red/. No werewolf, wolfman, or were-shifter I’ve ever seen has bright hair, or fur, or /anything/. Just regular wolf colouring.”
Sure, there might be the occasional one with a kind of russet tint, but nothing like his mystery forest monster.
He ground his teeth. If there was one thing Bakugou hated just as much as the thought of losing, it was not knowing something.
Deku didn’t really have an answer to that, so he took to mumbling under his breath as they walked - to the point where Katsuki actually raised a hand to smack him, but they arrived at the tavern just as he did.
With an annoyed grumble Bakugou barged in ahead of the alchemist and sat down at a table.

Midoriya walked to the bar and spoke to a short plump woman with green hair - the woman that Katsuki had received his breakfast from the day before.
He waited for Deku to sit across from him before speaking, “I need to go back to the inn and fetch coin. Ditch my gear too.” He made to rise but Midoriya motioned him to stay seated.
“It’s fine, the food is free for me here, and if you want ale, I’ll pay - and before you bite my head off, /no/ it’s not charity. The job is more awkward than I knew when I hired you, so it’s the least I can do, ‘cause I can’t afford to raise the bounty.”
Bakugou thought for a moment before answering, “/Fine/. I’ll drink you fucking dry.” He replied with a sneer as Deku gave a light laugh that still somehow managed to sound nervous.
Katsuki didn’t bother to tell him that he wouldn’t have asked for a larger reward, that he was staying because he /wanted/ to go back into the woods.
He needed to know what kind of creature the redhead was. He wanted to fight the hulking man and see who would come out on top.
And, most annoyingly, Katsuki wanted to talk to him again, and he wasn’t even sure /why/; they had barely even exchanged a few words before, but he felt almost compelled.

Maybe he was a /tiny/ bit impressed that the asshole had gotten the drop on him, okay?
After they had both eaten, they ordered ale and drank as they theorised about ‘the big bad wolf’.
Katsuki kept his encounter to himself; he said nothing about what the redhead actually looked like, and it was clear that Midoriya thought that it was a giant red wolf with the thoughts he kept throwing at Bakugou.

He was going to keep it that way, for now at least.
Despite the fact that Katsuki had told Deku that he was going to drink him out of pocket, he had never intended to.
So after only a couple of hours and a few drinks he stood to leave, telling the alchemist that he’d drop by to collect another healing potion in the morning, before making his way back to the inn.
“Back so soon!” The old woman exclaimed as Bakugou entered.

“Needed a bath. Is it too late to order one?” He asked gruffly as he took his room key from old haggard hands.

“No, no, of course not. We’ll draw you one shortly and let you know Mr. Bakugou.”
Katsuki rolled out of bed clean, refreshed, and ready to track and catch that red haired bastard. He’d purposely left his curtains open the night before this time, so that the sun would wake him. He dressed, weaponed up, and set out with a small handful of coins once again.
After eating at the tavern and insisting that Midoriya’s mother -Inko- take the money to pay for his meal the night before, Katsuki made his way to the apothecary.
“O-oh Kacchan! I didn’t think you’d be so early. I’ve only just opened, but give me a minute and I’ll bottle you another potion.”
Midoriya bustled about, opening the lids of ingredients and checking the register, before disappearing up a worn wooden staircase off to the side of the room that Katsuki had used yesterday, before coming back down with another tiny vial of red liquid.
“Thanks, I guess. While I’m at it, you got a way to change the colour of this?” Bakugou pulled the half empty bottle of faintly glowing lime marker from his pouch and shook it for emphasis.
Deku chewed the inside of his cheek immediately, turning away from the blond as he muttered and rummaged around in his potion supplies.
/Guess/ that means yes, Katsuki thought with a roll of his eyes as he leaned back against the shop counter to wait for the alchemist’s brain to slow the fuck down long enough for him to answer. He didn’t have time to waste today.
“Put the closed sign up and come with me Kacchan.” Midoriya said absently as he made for the stairs with an armful of random crap.
“Stop calling me fucking Kacchan, it’s annoying.” He growled, even as he did as he was told and followed the alchemist up the creaky stairs.

“Stop calling me Deku then, Kacchan.” Was his distracted reply.
Bakugou smirked. Yeah, the nerd definitely wasn’t fucking scared of him. Maybe he just had a stutter when he was nervous or some shit.
The upper floor of the shop was a wide open space, with work tables along every wall and a strange granite counter in the middle that held small burners beneath little black cauldrons, all sporting a different coloured flame.
Deku immediately moved to one of the wooden work benches and set down his ingredients, mumbling once again. Katsuki sighed and moved to drag the only chair in the room far enough to the side that he wouldn’t be in the way , before sitting down.
“This better not take long Deku. My blade has a date with that monster’s throat.” He grumbled. Annoyingly, he found he didn’t like the idea of what he’d just said, and he chewed the inside of his cheek as he glared at the flickering purple flame on the centre island.
“I’m sure they’ll make a lovely couple- I don’t think that’ll work, but If I-” Deku devolved into unintelligible mutterings once more as he moved about, crushing and chopping things as he added them to four different pestle and mortars.
Before long the alchemist was filling four vials full of glowing marker to set them on the centre island, from a cauldron on one of the distant work benches. Bakugou rose and moved closer as Midoriya took a pinch of whatever it was in the first bowl and added it to one.
He repeated the action for the rest, using a dropper for the last as it was somehow a liquid, even though Katsuki hadn’t seen any water poured into it.
The first bottle began smoking and Midoriya quickly grabbed it and tipped it into a large barrel of water set beside the granite counter.
The second one swirled and sparked for a moment before turning a pale, luminous orange. The liquid in the third curdled and was thrown away, but the fourth turned a pale blue.
“I’ll take the orange one, keep the blue for now. I might need it if that bastard keeps running away.” Katsuki spoke out as he grabbed for the now orange marker as Midoriya stoppered it and held it out.
“It ran away from you?? B-but I thought it attacked indiscriminately. It was definitely growling when I went in there.”
Annoyed that he’d shared more information than he’d wanted to, Katsuki schooled his features and gave a shrug, +
“probably cause you look about as threatening as a piece of soggy cabbage. Or it knew I was there to kill it, take your pick.” He put the potion vial in his pouch and started towards the stairs.
“Yeah, but-”

“I don’t care /why/ he- /it/- ran.” He did, he wanted to know damn well why, especially after Red had threatened to ‘make’ him leave,
+ “all I care about is catching the fucker.” Katsuki reached the bottom of the stairs and headed for the shop counter, fishing out the two gold coins he had left in his pocket.
“Catching?” The alchemist was right behind him.

“Fucking killing then, whatever. Here.” Bakugou slammed the coins down on the counter, “for the damned beers, now I’m not in your debt.”

Deku looked down at the coins, eyes widening, “Kacchan that’s way too much for four beers!”
Katsuki knew that, but he was secretly paying for the potions too, at least a couple of them.The alchemist had excitedly offered them to him free of charge, so that he could use the blond as a guinea pig for his new concentrated recipes.
But seeing as they worked well, it was only fair that he pay for them. Not that Bakugou would say that, of course.

“Tch, use the change to buy yourself a backbone then.” He offered the suggestion with a mean grin.
Deku seemed unfazed, even if his laugh was still nervous, “Oh, I’ve got one! But it’s normal to be scared sometimes, you know.”
“Hn, a better personality then.” Katsuki turned on his heel and marched out of the little shop, making sure he got the last word, but he was sure he heard the bastard snort a laugh as he left. Asshole.
Katsuki walked through the streets purposefully, then followed the dirt path down until he reached the edge of the woods. He cracked his neck and stalked right in - he knew where he was going this time.
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