#bkdk It's A Risk, Isn't It?

CW angst, happy ending, trust talks, prohero!bkdk

AU where Bakugou is cheated on by his first lover. He builds walls upon walls around his remaining pieces, unwilling to let anyone in again.

But, damnit, Deku can jump really fucking high, can't he?
Katsuki paced along the hallway. Eyes glued to the tracks he leaves on the carpet. He'd cringe at the mess if his mind wasn't so preoccupied right now.

At his side, his hand held tightly onto his phone. A muted video playing on loop.
This isn't how today should've gone.

It should've been filled with fighting villains, taking down bad guys, protecting people. Saving. Winning. Then coming home from a long day, winding down in his lover's arms. Feeling their laughter. Watching them smile.
Instead his day was filled with paper work, insurance company conversations, PR practices, irritating interviews, and now the feeling of confusion settling under his throat. Muscles tightening. The wrong kind of blood pumping, the uncertain kind of sweat.

He hears the door open.

Katsuki looked up at the voice. His eyes narrowed as he looked over them, taking in their appearance.

Not a thing out of place.

"Did you drink?" Katsuki asked, unsure of what he wanted to hear.

They shook their head. "Nah. I don't like drinks, you know me."
Katsuki's hand gripped his phone even tighter. He spared a glance, hoping that maybe the video wasn't real.

But it was.

And Katsuki didn't know what to think.

"Do I?" He asked, keeping his tone flat and serious.

Katsuki looked into the eyes of his partner, his lover of 3 yrs.
Katsuki only watched as they stepped closer, confused and worried.

"What?" They asked, tone light, an attempt to diffuse the tension.

But Katsuki wasn't having it.

"Do I know you?" He lifted his arm, and showed his phone screen. The video played over and over.
He watched their face fall as they watched the video. The way their muscles dragged down, like gravity pulled them just a little harder, bringing their mask into the Earth's core.

"Did I do something wrong?" Katsuki asked as he threw his phone onto the couch.
They hadn't moved an inch, eyes blinking at the empty space where the phone used to be.

"What?" They choked out.

"Did I do something wrong?" Katsuki asked again, hating the way he could feel his throat tightening. "Please, tell me what I did."
"You didn't do anything wrong, I-" They were panicking. Oh, how he wished he could hold them and calm them down like he's done before.

"Did I forget a date? Did I say something mean to you?" He asked, cutting them off.

"What? No! No, no, you're amazing and-"
"Did I make you sad and /leave/ it there? Was I too focused on work?" He couldn't help as all the questions that were running in his head for the past few hours spilled out.

"No, you were always there for me..." They trailed off.

Katsuki watched as they crumbled onto the couch.
"If I did something wrong, just tell me." He asked, desperate.

He stayed standing even as he felt the ground sway beneath his feet. Watching his lover bury their head in their hands made all the confusing emotions in his chest increase tenfold.
"You did nothing wrong," They said, finally looking up at Katsuki. He didn't know what they could see on his face, but it was enough to make them smile sadly. "You're the /perfect/ boyfriend."

Those words floated in the air for a moment.

Then Katsuki felt his heart snap.
"THEN WHY?" He yelled.

He grimaced, feeling the bellow come from deep in his chest. But they didn't bat an eye, unfazed by the outburst.

"If I'm the perfect boyfriend," Katsuki said through gritted teeth. "Why?"

He gripped the side of the couch to keep steady.
His partner only kept silent, watching and waiting.

"If I didn't do anything wrong, why did you..." He closed his eyes tightly. Thinking it was one thing, speaking it was another. "Cheat... On me?"

He didn't care if he was crying now, voice breaking on the word he so dreaded.
"If I was amazing, why were you with him while I was here for the past few hours, waiting for you?"

The silence was deafening. The careful breathing, the cars outside, the heartbeats racing meant nothing.

"I'm sorry."
Katsuki fell to his knees at that point, leaning on the couch for support. Those words were lethal. It meant it was true. It meant they did something that needed forgiving, and Katsuki didn't think he could breathe anymore.

"Please tell me this is a joke." He blinked away tears.
"Tell me this was somehow my fault. Tell me I messed up or something, I swear to fuck."

"No, I won't do that! It's not your fault at al-"

The volume was rising. Katsuki wondered briefly if the neighbours could hear. But he didn't care.
His heart was breaking. It was like his body made sure he heard every crack, feel every piece fall.

"You could've just told me!" He shouted into the side of the couch, lowering his volume while still letting it out. "We could've talked it out! You didn't need to keep a secret,
you didn't need to hide, and I didn't need to find out through your friend's fucking instagram story! FUCK."

"I'm so sorry," They whispered.

Katsuki let out a bitter laugh as he pulled his face away from the couch. "For what?"

"It ending up this way. It should've been better,
you- deserved better. I'm sorry for messing it up. I'm sorry for hurting you. I'll leave, and it will be done, like I was never here."


"Is that it? Is that all you're going to say?"

Katsuki stood up, feeling his body tingle, muscles screaming and sighing.
"What else could I possibly say? Anything you want to hear?"

Katsuki reached over for his phone, fingers tingling to contact someone. His therapist was gonna have the fucking time of her life when she hears this.

"This'll be the last time we ever talk or see each other again-"
Katsuki snorted. "Good."

"Anything you want to know? Anything for me to know?"

Katsuki looked at them eye to eye. With every bit of hurt he had in his body, he said, "Fuck you."

A beat of silence, and Katsuki's vision blurred. Before he knew it, more words came out.
"I love you. Fuck you for doing that to me, and fuck you if you /ever/ fucking do that to someone else. I love you, I hope you're happy one day. I hate you, and I hope you rot in hell."

He looked back at his phone screen, text screen open to his therapist.
He could've said more to them. Could've told them how he feels his soul ruined.

How he knows his trust in people is gonna be fucked up even more. How he feels broken.

But it's too cruel, and he still loves them, and it'll take time to stop.

He looks up, and they're gone.
Izuku hated coming home the most. There was nothing there to greet him but floating dust and dishes he's been neglecting for the past few days.

He wasn't lonely. He had friends, family, he visited his mother 3 times a week, and hung out with friends too.
But coming home made him feel lonely.

He dreaded that feeling. Loneliness felt hopeless, empty, like looking into dull eyes or holding onto a hand that didn't hold you back.

Izuku ignored it all, pretending he couldn't feel it was crawl under his skin.
He got ready for bed, showering, changing into a fresh change of clothes that didn't smell like dirt, sweat and blood.

Finally, as he settled under the covers, he opened his phone and checked his messages.

Confirmations of interviews, thank you messages, all the like, until he
checked his groupchats.

One chat in particular stood out. The one filled with those who usually got paired together for missions, Chargebolt, Red Riot, Uravity, Earphone Jack, and Dynamite, had messages of concern.

Denki: Kats, you okay?
Kirishima: what happened?

Denki: kats blew up at the intern again today when she tried to help the mission

Ochako: Oh no! Is she okay?

Denki: yeah, getting used to it

Denki: but hes been ruthless for months now

Denki: kats is this still about...
Last message was sent over and hour ago, everyone has read it, except for Asui who was stationed for a 3 day mission, and Kacchan himself.

It's been 8 months, since Kacchan's break up was all over the news. Press lasted 3 days before Shoto and Yaomomo's relationship became the
new hot thing, and Kacchan's relationship forgotten.

No one in the public knew what had happened. Tightlipped Kacchan as always, avoiding all questions.

But his friends knew. One small message sent to the group chat answered all questions.

Kacchan: They cheated on me.
Kacchan: It's over.

It's been 8 months since that message in the group chat. 8 months since he sent another.

Izuku wanted to rip their throat when he read the message. Even Uraraka devised a plan with Tsuyu, Denki and Kirishima offering their own specialties.
Kacchan: Don't.

And that was the end of that.

Since then, the chat has been the way it was before. The only change was the way they showed concern every now and then when Kacchan didn't seem okay.

It was different everytime. Some days he was good, other times he shouted.
On bad days, he'd be completely silent. Yet they'd notice the darting eyes, the slight shake, and the way he'd stand a little closer to the group than usual.

They never spoke about it.

The break up must've hurt more than just his heart, Izuku thought to himself.
Turning off his phone, he mentally arranged his schedule for tomorrow, hoping to find some sort of free time to check on Kacchan, and the new intern.

He drifted off to sleep as soon as he found a free half hour, mind shutting down before he could think of what to do.

All Izuku could do was watch, flinching at the resounding slap bouncing off the walls of the room.

He noticed the reddening of Uraraka's palm before looking at Kacchan's cheek.

Cellophane, Chargebolt, and Red Riot were there too, bracing themselves for yelling.
None came.

"You need to get your act together, Bakugou." Uraraka's voice was firm, unrelenting, and concerned.

Kacchan only stared at the floor, hands shaking as he clenched them.

Ochako's glare could've killed him.

Mere seconds felt like hours as the silence only dragged on.
"Hey, Kats. She's got a point," Denki spoke up. "That was too close of a call. That's the kind of mistake you'd make in first year, man."

All Izuku could do was nod. Denki was right. Kacchan wouldn't have faltered like that. The hesitation, the doubt. It didn't seem like him.
"You've been talking to Iris, yeah?" Sero chimed in.

Kacchan nodded.

"When are you seeing her next?" Kirishima asked.

"Tomorrow morning." He gritted out.

"You need to tell her about this, of you can. You're worrying us, man. It's not like you to ignore someone's advice like-
that." Denki stressed.

"Yeah, I know." Kacchan's voice was a whisper.

Uraraka leaned against the wall, staring at her hand. "Sorry for slapping you."

Kacchan smirked, a rare sight these days. "Didn't even hurt, try harder next time."

"Keep talking like that, and you'll find-
out just how soon next time is gonna be." Uraraka smiled.

Izuku could only watch. All they could do was watch. Izuku saw Denki trying to think of something, Kirishima's eyebrow furrowed in concern. Even Sero, who kept opening and closing his mouth, find no words to say.
"You've learnt to trust people before," Izuku said before he could stop it. "You can do it again."

Kacchan tensed, and stared at Izuku. Izuku didn't realise it was his first proper input into the conversation since they got into this room.

"Yeah," Kacchan shrugged. "Sure."
Izuku thought back to the mission they all just finished. Trying to remember who was where, how many people were saved, how many villains got away.

He remembered the way Kacchan's head nearly hit a jagged edge of concrete. The way Kirishima had to repeat a civillians word of-
advice because Kacchan doubted it. The way it almost cost not only the fight, but a life.

"I don't know if you've forgotten this, but," Sero spoke quietly. "We're a team, we're friends, you can talk to us too, not just your therapist."

Those words settled in the air.
"Can you tell us what happened back then, Kacchan?" Izuku asked carefully.

Kacchan opened his mouth, and the room held their breath.

"It was a video. On instagram. That's how I found out," He started. Everyone in the room moved closer, quiet and comforting, willing to hear him.
"And... They were there, with this guy," He continued.

Izuku could tell it was hard for him to think back on it. The words were flowing slowly, like they wanted to stay in his throat.

After a long moment of silence, Kirishims spoke up.

"What were they doing?"
Kacchan's eyes focused back to what was in front of him. The question grounded him, brought him back.

"Just a kiss," He answered.

Izuku knew that wasn't just it. There was something more, and the rest of the room knew it too.

Before anyone could ask for more, Kacchan sighed.
"It wasn't just a kiss. I mean, it was, but..." Kacchan closed his eyes tightly. "The look. It was this look on their face, on both of their faces. They way they looked at each other... And I guess, from that, I just knew."

Izuku's heart clenched at the resignation in his voice.
"Then I showed them the video, asked what I did wrong, and broke up. That's it. End of story. Happy?" Kacchan bit through the last few words.

Izuku felt the walls going back up, brick by brick, as each second passed.

He was so enraged. Angry at Kacchan's ex, seething with fury.
"Wait," Uraraka spoke up. "What do you mean by asking what you did wrong?"

The bricks slowed down.

"I asked them what I did wrong for them to do that to me."

"What you did wrong?" Sero asked, incredulous. "What do you mean?"

"Exactly what I said, Flat Face."
Izuku's eyebrows furrowed, confusion all over his face. Kacchan must've not understood because he finally, /finally/, looked at the faces around him and said, "What?!"

"Kacchan," He swallowed. "Why on Earth did you think you did something wrong?"
"Because they went and fell in love with someone else! Oh, but they kept spouting out bullshit like, 'youre the best boyfriend' and 'youre perfect.'" Kacchan laughed bitterly, a strong sound coming from his full chest. "It's fucking bullshit."

"How is that bullshit?" Denki asked
"Because if it wasn't my fault, why else would they have gone and done that?!" Kacchan's voice roared louder with each syllable.

Everyone in the room was used to the yelling, but the words were another story. The emotion too. This wasn't the usual anger. This was pain.
"Kats, what are you saying?" Denki pressed.

"I must've done something to them," Kacchan bit his lip to stop the quiver. "Because I can't think of the other option."

They all looked at each other, nodding. Kirishima stepped closer to Kacchan first. "Other option?" He asked.
"It's stupid."

Denki stepped closer this time. "It isn't. Can you tell us what you mean?"

"It won't leave my head," Kacchan said, eyes slightly crazed as he looked at all of them one at a time. "I messed up. Fuck."

Uraraka, the closest to Kacchan, leaned closer to him.
"Bakugou, you gotta tell us what's on your mind. We're concerned, but also confused."

"If..." Kacchan breathed in, steadying himself. "If I didn't do anything wrong to them, then it was all me. I messed up."

"How?" Deku asked as he moved closer.
"Fuck. How can I ever trust anyone again after that? My judgement was wrong then, and it /hurt/. Fuck, it fucking hurt so much. Damn it. Damn it!" Kacchan started crying, falling to the ground, and just laying there, bloodied hero suit and all.
The room was filled with the sounds of wrecked sobs.

Izuku felt himself tear up too. One look around the room, and he saw Denki wiping his eyes, Kirishima looking at the ceiling as a tear rolled down his cheek.
"I can't make that mistake again," Kacchan's voice was thick with sadness, barely audible amidst the sniffles. "I don't think I can take it again if it hurts like this."

There were no more words left to say. No words of comfort or encouragement.
Even if Izuku believed that Kacchan could take that, and more, and still come out victorious, smile plastered on his face, it would do no good to tell him. Not now.

All they could do was watch as their friend, the epitome of never giving up, start to do just that.
Izuku moved first. He laid down on Kacchan's right side, and just stared at the blurry ceiling, not bothering to wipe his eyes.

He didn't look, but he felt the ground move as the others laid down too, silent.

It wasn't much, but they all hoped it was something.
Katsuki closed himself off now more than ever. The conversation from yesterday had complete drained him.

His talk with Iris went over as usual, with her telling him this was okay, that people care about him, that trust is inevitable.

He knows that. He just... ugh. He-
doesn't know.

When it comes to his own emotions, Katsuki tends to feel lost. Not as lost as he was back in school, no. He's improved since then, accepted he cares for his friends, accepted love as something to strengthen, not to weaken.

But wow, he feels kinda weak.
It's stupid, he knows. He knows that his performance had changed. Can feel his grip on the ranks slipping.

More people whisper.

More people watch.

He feels pathetic, letting something like this change him like this. Letting it into work.
But when he goes home at night to the nearly empty house, it feels too much bear.

Over the 2 months since the break up, Katsuki notices things slowly leaving the house.

It started with the mugs. Then some of the pans. A tomato and pumpkin figurine. The fruit basket.
Then everything that ever belonged to them was gone.

It's disgusting really. How can a house that's been filled over 3 happy years, be taken apart in less than 3 months?

Katsuki snorted at the thought. He could ask the same thing about his heart.
I need to do something, Katsuki thinks.

He dreads going home, and fuck if that isn't dumb. His bills are paid by /him/, the house is /his/, he can't just let himself hate it when everything here is his.

Standing in his bedroom, lights off, he reaches for his phone.
When he opens the messages, he's swarmed with notifications.

Work today must've been busy if everyone has started giving their two cents on their day.

As Denki continues to vent about his guitar strings being broken, and Jirou trying to calm him down, he types.
Denki: Tuning the guitar strings is the most terrifying thing

Denki: and ive almost d i e d, jirou 😭😭

Jirou: They won't snap, idiot, just keep tuning


Katsuki: Hey shitheads, who knows where to get a new couch?
Katsuki: Don't say something dumb or I'll slap you

After he sends the message, he chucks the phone onto his bed, and rips his hero costume off. There's spares, he doesn't care. The costume feels too tight today, the gauntlets a little too heavy.
But taking them off doesn't release the weight, doesn't let his skin breathe. It's as it has been for the past 8 months.

A cold shower does nothing. Everything from then on is automatic. Wash, rinse, repeat. Head. Hair. Left arm. Right arm. Just checking things off on a list.
Once everything is done, he sits on his bed. Drops of water fall and dampen his pillow.

He checks his phone.

Jirou: Has a string ever snapped on you before? Exactly

Denki: Ikea!

Uraraka: Garage sales!

Kirishima: New couch?

Jirou: I dont have anything, my couch was my mums..
Deku: Same here

Kirishima: I have an idea

Uraraka: Go on

Denki: I'm free Friday, so it has to be then

Kirishima: how did you know

Denki: Bc i was thinking the same thing bro

Kirishima: bro...

Denki: bro...

Jirou: Im confused

Deku: They're saying we're gonna go out
Deku: All of us, with Kacchan to buy a new couch

Uraraka: hell yes!

Jirou: ok, im up for it. But he hasnt seen these messages yet

Deku: We should wait til he reads it

Uraraka: Just drag him out on Friday.

Denki: Your death wish, not mine

Everyone liked Denki's last message.
Katsuki rolled his eyes and smiled. They've gotten too comfortable with him over the years of heroing together. But really... At this point, he's spent more than half of his life with them.

He'll never say it, but... their friendship is something he cherishes very much.
Katsuki: Friday 9am. Any later, and I'm leaving with or without you.

Denki: 9am?! Man we have a stake out mission the night before!

Kirishima: 9am? That's like 3 hours after you wake up

Uraraka: ???

Deku: Just be thankful it's not 6 guys...

Jirou: Fair. See you then.
Uraraka: Okay!

Denki: Gosh darn, okay, see y'all then... if im not dead... 💀

Kirishima: See you then

Deku: 👍

Katsuki closed his phone and let it charge. He laid down properly, uncaring of his still wet hair, and looked for patterns in the blank ceiling.
It's times like this when self reflection is inevitable. The quiet, the night, the soft breathing, the heartbeats.

An idea from long ago came to mind.

He shut his eyes and pictured his heart. The broken pieces in the middle of a field, with a river downstream, trees all around.
- "A small exercise," Iris first told him in 3rd year. "What does it look like when you close yourself off from your friends?"

Katsuki snickered, fingers tapped the couch impatiently. "How the fuck am I supposed to know?"

Iris hummed. "Try to think about it."
Katsuki tried. "Got nothin'."

Iris nodded, and with the patience of god herself, she said, "Is it like being in a house and closing every door?"

He blinked. Iris decided to keep going.

"Or maybe it's like a game of hide and seek, and no one else knows they're playing?"
"What the fuck, stop confusing me!"

"I'm not trying to confuse you, Katsuki. But imagine it. Can you clearly see the actions I mentioned?"

Katsuki furrowed his eyebrows, but nodded in understanding.

"Is the feeling close to what you feel when you close people off?"
The exercise made more sense then, but he still wasnt sure.

"I guess so?" He answered.

"We can work on it." Iris put her notebook on the desk beside her. "Visualising the things you do internally can help you understand them. It won't matter if the action is good or bad-
because understanding them is the main goal here. So when you feel lost in your mind, picture your feelings, and do an action. When you finish, you'll know what's going on, and from there, you can know the next step."

A simple exercise from long ago, ready to be used.
And now, in the field in his mind, his heart is still in broken shards. He can picture himself there, just staring at them.

Do something, he commands himself.

So he does.

Walking around, he finds lose branches and rocks. Carefully, he places them around the broken pieces.
He makes bricks out of the mud he digs in the riverside. Lays them down with the sticks and stones.


It's protected.

Don't let anyone near it again.
He eyes his work. Notes the walls, and tells himself it needs to be higher, thicker, /stronger/.

With what little strength he has, he breaks a few staggering branches from the trees and digs a little deeper in the river.

Katsuki starts to feel his mind drifting into static.
Sleepiness takes over before his mindself can build the tower to a decent height.

His final coherent thought is to add more tomorrow.
It's too early to exist, Izuku thinks to himself.

But the sun seems to shine a bit brighter through his curtains, a silent insistence to get up.

Friday came too quickly. The days had been monotonous. Winning, saving, rinse, repeat. Smile, sign, pose, be thankful.
He's always thankful. Some days he'll walk down the street on patrol and find himself slow to a stop. Tears brim his eyes as he looks to the skies. He hopes All Might can see him now. He hopes Aizawa watches the news and smiles with pride.

He's so thankful.
But he can't help but wish for a little more.

It's selfish, he thinks.

But it's human, he counters.

Waking up with the sun being the only warmth beside him leaves a small weight in his heart.

He sits up, rubs his eyes awake, then looks.
His bedroom is no longer filled with All Might, just one poster hung up. One with memories, previously owned by the first mentor he ever lost.

That poster, he couldn't bear to part with, especially as more of his mentors kept leaving, by death or by him growing up.
All of his figurines are in another room, with more hero merch and limited toys. Time creating vintage.

Izuku stretches and yawns, feeling every muscle in his body pull and release. A mindless hand wanders of the other, feeling every ridge and every scar from years of hero work.
He gets up and gets ready.

It's almost 9am. Getting to Kacchan's place takes 10 minutes by walking, 1 minute by driving, and 10 seconds with full cowling.

He smiles as the wind goes through his hair. The weight of his body pushing against each rooftop, each building, is-
exhilarating. Muscle memory takes over as he thanks the sky for the umpteenth time this week. His quirk, his job, it's all he's ever wanted.

He lands on Kacchan's rooftop and lets out a long sigh as he relaxes.

"Normal people knock on the door."
"WAH!-cchan!" Izuku jumps.

Kacchan gently smiles at him, then jerks his head to the door to the stairs. "C'mon, nerd. The others are probably at the door."

Izuku nods and follows his friend.

My quirk, he thinks to himself. My job. It's all I've ever wanted.
He stops himself from reaching out to Kacchan's back. It's out of reach anyway.

Selfish, his mind spills out.

Human, it replies.

"What're you mumbling about over there?" Kacchan calls over his shoulder.

"C-couches!" He panics. His mind scrambles for more to say. "What colour-
should it be? Do you want a big one for more than 4 people? Or a small one? We need to measure your apartment before we go. Then there's also maintaining it. The material is super important. Leather would be bad, with how much you sweat and it feeling sticky. But then there's-
also aesthetics. Leather would look really nice, but..."

Izuku looks up to find everyone, except Kaminari, waiting outside Kacchan's door. They're looking at him, some with tired faces, others with a knowing smile.

"Good morning, Deku," Uraraka says first with a smile.
"We could hear your mumbling from a mile away," Jirou laughed.

The rest followed, and Izuku felt his face heat up.

It's been a while since he's mumbled this intensely. Stress and concentration left no space for his mind to web thoughts like he used to. He missed this.
Kacchan opened the door and gestured for the group to go on.

"Uhh, I thought we were going to the shops first?" Kirishima piped.

"You heard the nerd," Kacchan sighed. "We gotta measure the damn place. Didn't even think about it."

"Maybe Denks can get here before we all-
leave then?" Kirishima added as the group walked through.

"Maybe." Jirou shrugged her shoulders.

It's an hour later, when they're all neck deep in furniture, when Kaminari comes running into the store with his phone charger in his mouth.

"I got lost!" He huffed breathlessly.
"Really?" Jirou asked, poking his cheek.

"...No. I'm so tired from last night, forgot to put my alarm."

Izuku watches as Jirou starts to talk softly with Kaminari, hand on his shoulders. It's nothing different in action, but this time felt like intruding.
He cleared his throat and stepped away, finding a particular shelf very interesting.

"They're so obvious."

Izuku looks over to his side as Kacchan places a piece of decor, a mug, back on the shelf.

He feels a soft giggle leave his lips. "Yeah, but it's cute I guess."
Kacchan raises an eyebrow and looks back at Kaminari and Jirou. Izuku turns back too, just in time to see Jirou shock Kaminari with her jacks. Kaminari shouts out apologies.

"Yeah," Kacchan drawls. "Cute. Sure."

Izuku laughs, his cheek muscles aching slightly.
He feels lighter when he hears Kacchan's own snickers beside him. A light jab to his shoulder with his elbow, and Izuku's heart swells.

He's missed this. The hanging out, the lightness, the humour.

The reasons they're here were from something terrible, but it still felt nice.
Still felt like a place he could relax and not worry about being a hero.

Time passes as the group, split into smaller groups, continue the search for a worthy couch.

"Hey!" Kaminari calls loudly from somewhere in the back of the store. "What about this one?!"
"If it's the floral one with light blue buttons, then no!" Kirishima answers from near the front of the store.

"Why?!" Kaminari asks.

Kacchan sighs in exasperation, and rubs his temples. "We're gonna get kicked out."

"Because Kats doesn't like the shape! Says it looks like a-
sad toad!" Kirishima bellows.

Silence, then a loud laugh.

"Oh man, it really does!" Kaminari shouts back. "I can see the-"

Izuku braces himself as Kacchan opens his mouth, but freezes when another voice enters the arena.

Uraraka's voice is high and shrill but demanding.

A beat.

They're all asked to leave the store.

None bother to play the 'I'm a hero' card, and the store employees don't hesitate to scold them.

It's when Kacchan starts to laugh as they walk away from the shop, that the group
finally shut up.

They listen and look.

Izuku notices the shake in Kacchan's shoulders, the tears in the corners of his eyes.

It's right then that he realises three very important things.

1. Kacchan needed his friends now more than ever. An hour all together in freedom has-
let Kacchan look weightless and free. Even for a moment.

2. Every single ounce of romantic feelings towards Kacchan that Izuku had taken care of and carefully silenced to non-existence all those years ago have come back with a vengeance.

3. Kacchan still really needed a couch.
Kacchan is beautiful. Izuku has known this ever since he met him all those years. He is so bright, so demanding to be seen. His presence takes over the stage even without being there.

Izuku steps back, the small flower blooming in his heart scaring him to death.
Uraraka raises an eyebrow at him, a quiet question mark floating in the air.

He gives a small smile, a subtle shake of his head, and continues walking with the group.

With each step, the realisations become worse. Each of them branching off into a spectacularly messy tree.
Kacchan's laugh bursts out again, Denki and Kirishima right beside it.

But Izuku doesn't dare bask in the sound. It's not fair to him to do this, not when Kacchan's still healing, still hurt.

So with careful hands, he pulls the flower in his heart and lets it wilt in his palm.
Kacchan doesn't need a lover, he needs a friend. He needs this, time to hang out with people, /healthy/ distractions, a feeling of control.

Izuku will provide that. He will help his friend.

"You're one hell of a hero, aren't you, Deku?"
Izuku turns his head so fast and looks into Uraraka's curious eyes.


"You were mumbling." Uraraka smiled, holding back a chuckle.

He slapped his hand to his mouth, as if closing it would take back the words. Closing eyes, he took a deep breath.
He eyed the rest of the group. They were a few steps ahead, engrossed in what looked like a Jirou lecture on what a music playlist should be like.

"What did you hear?"


Izuku groaned. Dang it, the mumbling is gonna be the death of him one day.
"You're strong, Deku. Always have been," Uraraka said as he nudged his arm. "If you think doing this is the way to go, then go for it."


"Of course." Uraraka looked dowm at the floor. "But if I see it hurt you too much, I'll step in."

"I'm a hero too, don't forget that. I know Bakugou is hurting, and I know that you'll help him just like you always have," Uraraka steeled her nerves. "But you seem to lose yourself when it comes to him. I can't let two friends suffer if I can help it."
The wind blew, and it felt like a gentle hug, a kiss on his cheek, and Izuku thanked the world for everything. His friends. Their trust. Their love.

"Thank you, Uravity."

He smiled, wide and toothy, then ignored the tears in his eyes. Acknowledging them mean asking questions,
and the swirling tornado in his chest would offer no answers.

"Oi! Nerds!" Kacchan yelled over hus shoulder to the pair. "We're not leaving til I get a god damn couch, so hurry the hell up."

Uraraka's face scrunched together, her unsaid question so obvious. "Really? This-
is the guy you have feelings for?"

Izuku gave a half smile and a short nod.

The two quickly caught up with the rest of the group as they entered a new furniture store.

"Oh my god, it's a turtle bed!" Denki's voice dripping with excitement.
Kirishima began to take photos of Kaminari on the bed in various poses. Kacchan immediately went to the couch sections, ignoring their antics.

Uraraka walked over to the pair and gave them photography tips, high angles, low lighting, all the good stuff much too serious for this.
Izuku watched them, unsure of what to think at the scene in front of him. A hand on landed on his arm.

"You're not the only one with a crush on an idiot."

He would've laughed if not for the way Jirou looked at Denki. Her purple eyes shining, her subtle upturned lips.
"You heard us?"

Jirou sighed, then extended her jacks, tapping them with her finger tips.

"Didn't mean to, I can't help it. My hearing keeps getting better overtime."

Izuku nodded, then looked back as Denki and Eijirou posed together for a photo taken by Uraraka. A snort-
burst out of him so fast it hurt his nose. Even Jirou huffed a laugh at it.

"I agree with Ochako, by the way. It's doing good things from what I've seen from today, the hang outs I mean. But what you're doing, what you're thinking of ignoring, it's gonna hurt after a while."
Izuku kept silent. His finger tapped against his thigh. He knows it's going to hurt, but he's done this before. He's pushed aside his feelings in order to help for so long. There's no harm in this. None at all.

He turns his head to face Jirou and tell her so, but he stops short.
Her eyes no longer sparkled, her mouth thin and tight. With a devastating realisation, he understands. Jirou's done this too.

Izuku swallows down the words, doubtful.

"You should tell him," He mutters. "I think he'll be very happy to hear it."
Jirou stiffles a laugh. "Yeah, he would be. Over the moon."

"You know? Then you shou-"

"And what, get him distracted? I can't do that, no when it affects work," Jirou whispered, voice tight. "Not when he could lose his life."

And it's quiet.
And the quiet hurts.

Hurts like crashing into a brick wall.

It's terrifying, her words, because they're true.

"Will you ever tell him?" He asks softly.

Jirou ponders for a moment. Izuku can see the gears in her mind working, wonders what she's connecting and crossing out.
But before she can answer, Kacchan's voice rings through the store.

"Found one!"

The group instantly perk up and start the search for Kacchan, who decided to not answer anyone's shouts for where he was.

15 minutes pass, and Kacchan is finally found lounging on a sleek black
couch that seems to melt into nothingness. Even when Kacchan pulls a tab and lets it raise his legs, it doesn't seem real.

"How's this one, nerd? Aesthetics, functionality, and-" Kacchan puts his palm on the cover and lets out a small explosion. "Durability."
Izuku marvels at the piece. "Nice choice, Kacchan!"

"Tch, of course. /I/ chose it so-" He cuts himself off, sadness around the colours of his eyes.

Izuku feels his heart ache knowing what Kacchan is thinking of. He makes a vow that day to help Kacchan be happy. No matter what.
Katsuki watched as the flames consumed it all. Blacks and oranges eating away at every murky green his old couch ever was.

It was like looking in a mirror.

He thanks the skies for his friends beside him, watching the fire, marvelling the sparks. Each one threw their own-
piece of a past they hated, making sure Katsuki didn't feel alone or any less strong.

"Do you think we'll get in trouble?" Denki asked, trying to catch stray sparks that move to his face.

"There are worse things than a burning couch on the beach," Uraraka sighed.
Katsuki listened, but didn't reply. The conversation continued, each of them throwing laws at one another. He just kept his eyes on the burning furniture.

Every memory with them was disintegrating right in front of his eyes. Every hug, every cuddle, every kiss. Every laugh.
Every time they cried together at a sappy romance movie. Every time they fought and made up with takeout. Every time they came home after date night, too tired to reach the bedroom, and flopped onto that damn couch.

Every night spent together. Every day off.
Then he wondered when it got sour. Looking back, he realised things he didn't before.

Every time he got home from work to an empty space. Every time he cooked dinner for two and ate alone on the couch watching the news. Every time he waited.

Every time he got up and got ready-
for work, and found them asleep on the couch. Every time he carefully put a blanket on them. Every time he kissed their forehead before he left.

The couch continued to descend into flames, and Katsuki's chest began to do the same.
He's growing angry all over again. Feeling it grow steadily in his heart, spread slowly over his body. The way it pricks at his skin, the way it simmers in his blood. It's the poison and the antidote all at once.

Every good memory with that couch is overrun by the final act-
of their performance.

The confrontation, the admission. The apologies, the goodbyes. The last I love yous, the first I hate yous. The venom filled 'Fuck you,' the care in the "Find your happiness."

Katsuki feels it. He feels it all, every memory on that couch. The whole-
relationship replaying itself in quick snapshots. He feels the way his chest rises and falls with the fire.

Just when Katsuki feels like he's going to be consumed by the anger of it all, it trickles from his fingertips. Slowly, bit by bit, he calms down.
He looks around, wondering if anyone had seen his beginning of a melt down.

Denki and Kirishima are still arguing with Jirou and Uraraka. The conversation must've moved on from the law because now they were talking about which beach was the best.
Katsuki half smiled, then felt a pair of eyes on him. He turned his head and met with concerned green eyes and furrowed eyebrows.

The damn nerd always knew, didn't he? All his life, Deku has been right there, hadn't he?

"I'm fine, nerd."
"You sure?" Deku asked, stepping closer, but keeping side to side.

"Yeah, I'm sure this time."

Katsuki marvelled at how the words felt when they were true.

"Burning the couch was a good idea," Katsuki noted. "Dunno how you, Mr Symbol of Hope, could think of such an idea."
Deku laughed, muffled by the back of his hand. "Kacchan, I've had my own share of things to burn."


Katsuki was amazed. He knew Deku had his own past failed relationships, but always seemed on his feet in a matter of days.
He tried to imagine Deku burning a letter in the sink, green eyes turned orange as he watched the fire so its job. Would he be angry? Or would he cry? It had been so long since he saw Deku cry of sadness. Maybe the nerd just got better at hiding it.

"Next time you wanna burn-
something, let me know. No need to waste matches when I'm around."

Katsuki gave a half smile half smirk at Deku, then punched him playfully on the arm.

The last of the sunset skies, the sun descending on the horizon, the wind blowing more sparks into Denki and Kirishima's-
making the rest of them laugh wholeheartedly and true, was the perfect end of a tiring day. Emotional exhaustion caught up to Katsuki's body.

"I'm gonna say this one and only once, so don't fucking make me repeat it," He said aloud, eyes on the flames. "Thank you,
all of you, for today."

There was no sound but the gentle crackle of the fire.

Katsuki wondered if they had actually heard him. He looked up slowly, and felt heat rising to his cheeks. All of them were smiling, sweet caring smiles that reminded him of why they were all here
in the first place.

"Has it been that long since I last said that?" He asked quietly.

Denki snorted, then tried to subtly wipe a tear. "Yeah, dude, but that's not it."


"Your thanks always make people cry, Bakugou." Jirou played with her ear jacks.

"You made Denki cry, look at that!" Uraraka dramatically sighed, a hand to her chest.

Katsuki knew they were playing around now, but he was still confused. After all, Denki really did tear up.

"Wait, Kaminari, why are you sniffling?" Katsuki asked properly, ignoring
the others.

Denki then began to wail, Kirishima patting his back.

Katsuki just watched in confused horror, the lighting of the fire making Denki look like a scene from a scary movie.

"W-wait, Kaminari- AH!" Deku hurried to get tissues from his pocket as a long snot rope
dripped from Denki's nose. "Here."

"Oi. What the fuck is going on?" Katsuki felt like he was in a messy dream.

Kirishima laughed as he shook Denki gently by the shoulders.

"Kacchan, it's your thank yous." Deku smiled crookedly up at him. "You always say them with too
much meaning, so it stunts us. More so Denki than anyone else..."

"So I should stop saying thank you?" Katsuki raised an eyebrow.

"What? How did you come to that conclusion?" Deku asked, aghast.

"It makes everyone sad so-"

Everyone pounced on him, shaking their heads fast.
"NOOOO," They shouted as they all suffocated Katsuki in a deathly hug.

"We're not sad!" Denki cried, tears in his eyes and cheeks. "We're so happy. We love you, man. We love you so much."

It was disgusting. Katsuki couldn't even move, they were all hugging him so tightly... But
if anyone asked him how long he struggled to get out of their loving grasp, he'd lie and say he fought against it the entire time. No one but them needed to know his gentle smile or the hearty chuckled, nor the wetness of his eyes as he relaxed and rested his head on theirs.
A few days go by since the couch burning on the beach with Kacchan and the others. Waking up and going right back into hero work felt jarring and wrong, but villains never stopped coming, people never stopped needing to be saved.

There he was again, in the corner of the room while they went over the ending of an investigation. Tsuyu was back, mission successful, and joined Uraraka and Jirou with the rest of the police force.

Izuku watched as Kacchan's eyes went focused and unfocused.
He'd been closing off again. Kacchan needed space, Izuku knew that, but it never was enough to squash his worry.

"Hey, Kacchan," Izuku pressed, this time elbowing him.

That finally got his attention. He tilted his head the slightest bit in Izuku's direction and let out a small,

Izuku threw his heart against the wall before it could scream at the cuteness. "You listening?"

"Not one bit."

Izuku stifled a laugh behind a fist. Truthfully, neither was he. The meeting is more of a formality, ensuring the finality of the investigation.
Listening to them is never on his priority list. Kacchan probably felt the same.

"What're you thinking about?" Izuku asked quietly.

"None of your business, nerd."

Before Izuku could reply, the chief asked for Hero Deku's own recount of the events.
Without moving from the corner of the room, still standing next to Kacchan, he recounted every detail he managed to keep in mind. From the way the wind was blowing (smoke clouds movements) to the way the crumbling floor felt beneath his feet.
When he finished, all people in the room content enough with his retelling, they moved on.

Punishments for the villains involved were now being decided, and Izuku hated this part -almost-the most. This is when he drifts off. This is when he walks away.
"Oi, Deku." Kacchan presses this time.

Izuku, already mentally halfway out of the room, ready to think of anything else but the cruelty the room will decide for people who may have just had no choice, hums and tilts his head towards his childhood friend.

"You listening?"
And warmth bursts in his chest, a playful smile on his lips. Izuku turns with a shine in his eyes. "Not one bit."

It's kinda dumb, Izuku thinks, to crave this banter. These moments where they create an inside joke that can last for 2 minutes or a lifetime.
Kacchan seems satisfied with himself. Izuku isnt sure why, but doesnt bother to press on it. He doesnt need to know, he's okay with not knowing many things when it comes to Kacchan.

"What're you thinking about?" Kacchan asks this time.

Izuku knows how to respond, but he shrugs
and says something else instead.

"I saw a flyer for a new ramen bar while we finished up the mission, was planning on going there later."

"Oh?" Kacchan raises an eyebrow. "How far?"

"About a minute or so from here," Izuku pauses. "Wanna check it out with me?"
If the wall suddenly gained sentience and decided to choke Izuku to death with the cracking wallpaper, he wouldn't blame it. He said it casually enough but wow did it come out of nowhere.

Before he could take back his words, the man beside him sighed.

And Izuku stared at him. He just stared, mouth open just a bit. It had been so long since they'd hung out, just the two of them, especially since Kacchan started dating. He kinda wasn't prepared for him to accept so quickly.
"Okay." Is all Izuku could say.

The rest of the meeting, yes, all 30 minutes or so remaining, was spent with silence from the corner. No input in punishments or changes go records, no laughter when the rest of the room giggled, no disappointed sighs at the paperwork. Instead,
the two of them were in their own separate worlds, thinking of being anywhere but there.

It had been a while since he had to wear his full 'hiding from the public' outfit. The fake moustache and beard always made his face itchy, and the fake piercings
messed with his hearing. It was never an outfit he used unless in dire need. A possible opening celebration for a ramen bar ended up being a situation as such.

The eyelash glue dried om his fingers, making them sticky and feel gross. He started flicking the dry gloops
when someome knocked on his office door.

"Come in!"

"Oi, Deku. What was the name of- Whaaaaat the fuck is that."

Half of Izuku's moustache was hanging over his lips, swinging with every motion of his head. "Umm... Eyelash glue?"

Kacchan blinked. "Uh huh."
(This fic will be on ao3 with some minor edits bc wow there are a lot of SPaG mistakes and bad sentence structure on here. If you'd like to wait til the rest is on ao3, I'll add a reply of my ao3 details to this tweet. Thank you if you're reading this!)
Izuku huffed, and put down his messy eyelash glue fingers. "Kacchan, there'll probably be a lot of people there. I gotta wear the sneak style outfits for it."

The blond rolled his eyes and silently pulled out a wig and wig cap from his pocket. Izuku cringed at the tangles
in the short brown wig. Yet, Kacchan swiftly put on the wig cap, tucking his blond locks on the sides, then placed the wig, letting the fake hair settle naturally.

Sure it was still a bit messy, but Kacchan looked very different. Brown flat hair didn't suit him, it made
his red eyes look more tame. Izuku didn't like it.

"I'm ready now." Kacchan deadpanned. "So who the fuck thought of facial hair for your baby face?"

Izuku mumbled to himself, slightly embarassed. But it was a friend! There was no reason to say no if the disguise worked...
"Hah?!" Kacchan pressed, stepping closer into the office now. He shut the door behind him. "Speak louder, nerd!"

"Hatsume," Izuku said a bit louder, looking down at his desk. He bit his cheek. "And Iida."

The deep inhale from Kacchan was long and the exhale torturous. Izuku
could see it perfectly in his head despite still staring at the desk. Kacchan would even be pinching the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes in annoyance.

"Just finish up. What was the name of the shop?"

Izuku quickly got his clear eyelash glue and continued to work,
eyeing the mirror on his desk to the side. "Uh, I dont remember, but I think it's Sato's sister's shop?"


Izuku stopped the smile tugging at his lips before it could ruin his beard. "You know who I'm talking about."


"Sugar Man?"


"Sweets Hero?"

The greenette rolled his eyes and looked up at the blond (technically brunette now, yikes) to find him with a smug grin. This man knew exactly who he was talking about.

"Jerk," Izuku joked lightly.

"Dumbass," Kacchan threw back.

Oh, how Izuku had missed this. He hadn't
had this for so long. It wasn't all bad though, he never realised he missed it until he got it back.

Things change too often, too fast, while at the same time they stayed the same. Knowing Kacchan, being in his life and vice versa, was definitely one of those things.
It wasn't that Kacchan's ex-lover never let him hang out with anyone else, nor did Izuku feel the need to step back. People drift away as life continues to go on, and he was content with seeing Kacchan every week or so for work.
It didn't matter if they didn't hang out like they used to in highschool. No more sparring night sessions, no more catch-a-Kacchan or hidden All Might/Kacchan/Izuku meetings. Getting right into hero work made them so busy, it was okay.
But right here, right now, it felt like they were 17 again. Before All Might died, before the big fight, before it all.

Izuku put the final touch, concealer on over his freckles, and wiped the eyelash glue on his fingers. One last look in the mirror, seeing how
different he looked, and nodded. This was okay. Not too recognisable.

"Okay, Kacchan, let's go now."

Kacchan looked up from his phone and swept his eyes over Izuku. This sneak style surely was good enough, right? He hadnt needed such an intense disguise before, content
with being recognised in public. After all, they usually just asked for a photo and an autograph. But a lot of people at once would make it seem like a hero meet. He was too tired to deal with that.

"Your hairs still green and Deku-y, Deku. Should get a wig or somethin'."
"I... Don't have one." Izuku scratched the back of his neck awkwardly as he walked around his desk to join Kacchan.

"Then style it differently. Someone will definitely recognise you." Red eyes bore holes into the top of his head like it personally insulted him.
"Then what do you suggest we do?" Izuku genuinely asked.

"Cut it?"

"Absolutely not."

Kacchan clicked his tongue, then looked over the stuff that came in the box with Izuku's make up and sneak style outfit. With careful hands, he picked out something that looked like a pair of

"Then we'll straighten it." Kacchan offered.


"Yep. Get the fuck back on your seat, Deku. I'm gonna make you look like the most boring piece of shit ever," Kacchan said with a bored bug slightly evil tone. "Not that it'd be hard."
"Oh, ha ha." Izuku slumped against the chair.

Experienced hands swept through green hair, separating small bits. The soft tick tacks of the straightener filled the otherwise quiet room. Izuku felt relaxed and safe, enough to close his eyes to let Kacchan work in peace.
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