"K-Kacchan...!" Izuku cried, all but collapsing in the blond's arms on the playground. "I-I can't take it anymore...! Please, please make it stop!"

Bakugo wrapped his arms around his friend, careful of his injured shoulder, "Don't worry, Izuku. I'll protect you, I promise. I'll make it all better."

Red eyes opened, staring at a bedroom ceiling. Bakugo sat up quickly, shoving the covers off of himself as he inhaled sharply. It had been so long since he had that dream last... But it always came when he needed it the most.

Grabbing his phone from his dresser he began to relay all the plans for the day to a blocked number. He had been rethinking his recent choices after one of his classmates had gotten hurt; he wouldn't call them friends, but the boy was strangely attached to him and he felt somewhat responsible for him. But now, remembering why he was in UA, he couldn't let something as superficial as an injured classmate stop him from protecting Izuku.

Staring at the message one second longer, he hit the send button. He really had gotten lucky in his second year, the teachers got in trouble with so many surprise quizzes and trials and now had to send emails to the students with detailed plans for the day. Mr. Aizawa really hated it, more effort he had to put out. Honestly, if he didn't want to put work into something, teaching and being a Pro Hero really wasn't a good job idea. Bakugo couldn't help but hate his laziness... He was just the same as the others... Would he have laughed at them too? Or would he simply just walk past-

A knock sounded at his door, pulling Bakugo from his thoughts. A quick glance at his clock told him it was almost five in the morning, which wouldn't make sense if he was getting a visitor. Had he misheard?

Another knock told him that someone was definitely there. Getting out of bed and pulling a shirt over his head, he went to crack his door open. His eyes widened at the head of messy green hair on the other side.

"Izuku?" He opened the door wider, "What are you doing up so early?"

"I knew you'd be up soon to go jogging." The boy smiled, ducking under Bakugo's arm and going into his room. "I made a new item in class yesterday but it was really late when I finished it so I couldn't bring it to you then. Think you could try it out for me today?"

Bakugo watched as Izuku lifted a headband, smiling innocently. Red eyes narrowed at him.

"What does it do, nerd?"

"Aw, don't you trust me, Kacchan?"

"Not after last time."

Izuku chuckled as he looked down at his item, "It tricks the brain into thinking the terrain is something different that what it is. You can pick the settings for what you want, like up or downhill, sand, grass, cement, things like that. It's perfect for runners that are in a limited terrain area."

"Does it actually build the muscles from those areas," Bakugo took the band, looking at it closely, "or is it just going to make everything harder for nothing?"

"That's what you're going to find out for me." That large smile was back, followed by a chuckle. "I'd try it out myself, but... I don't think I could do it."

Bakugo's eyes flashed to Izuku's right leg before letting out a sigh. "Fine, I'll test it for you. But it better work, you damn nerd."

"Thank you!" He started towards the door, "I'll see you at lunch and you can tell me everything about it then!"

Bakugo rolled his eyes as he readied himself for the day. To his surprise, Deku's invention worked very well, turning the sidewalk into a sandy path. His calves had a burning ache to them that was identical to the real thing, and if he had to guess, it really did build that muscle as well.

His day continued as it usually did: boring classes with Aizawa sleeping through a video presentation, the group that usually hung around him being annoying and pestering him to help with their homework, lunch with Izuku to tell him about the item, then back to more boring classes.

But something had changed halfway through his next class...

Principle Nezu walked in with five other teachers, all of them staring at him. Bakugo knew then, there was no denying it... They knew.

"Bakugo Katsuki," Nezu started, his voice grave and serious. "Please come with us, if you resist then we will use force."

The class broke out into whispers, Kirishima loudly demanding to know what was going on. Bakugo simply stared at them before smirking and standing up.

"Took you idiots long enough." He left his bag there, his arms in the air as he walked to them. "I made it obvious enough that I wasn't 'hero' material."

"Please, Bakugo," Midnight raised a calming hand, "You aren't under arrest."

"Yet," Vlad King grunted. Bakugo smirked more at that and stuffed his hands in his pockets, ignoring the cries of his classmates as they left the room. The teachers surrounded him on all sides, all of them on edge. They passed other students in the halls that would stop and stare at them, whispering and pointing. They probably could guess what had happened, that he was the UA traitor that had been rumored since the first year.

He wondered how Izuku would take the news... Izuku and his love of heroes and goodness and rules. Would he feel betrayed? Hurt? Would he cry? Of course he would... But at least they had their lunch together, his last image of his friend happy. He doubted that the teachers would allow them to see each other again anytime soon-

An explosion rocked the hall, sending a gust of wind carrying dust and smoke to them. Bakugo coughed, covering his mouth and nose as he went on alert. There was a sound echoing through the smoke that sounded almost like cannon fire, the teachers around him shouting in surprise. Had the League really come to save him so quickly?

He scanned the area, his eyes picking up on movement just a tad too far into the smoke to make out if it was really there or his imagination. But then he heard footsteps, the smoke blowing in curls and wisps as a figure was emerging. Bakugo immediately picked up on the distinctly messy hair and too big clothes.

His eyes widened, his voice stuck in his throat as he watched his best friend walk to him. "Y-You idiot!" He finally found his voice, hating how it cracked on some of the words. "What are you doing?! Get away!"

Finally stepping close enough to him to see his face, Izuku wore a smile. "Why would I get away from you, Kacchan? You've helped me so many times in the past, I could never leave you behind."

Quickly looking around them, Deku held his hand out to him. "C'mon, those adhesives won't last forever. We should hurry or it'll get a lot harder."

Bakugo glanced at his teachers, then back to Izuku. A smirk started to pull on his face. He held his hand out and set off his own explosion, effectively distracting the Heroes and blasting both him and Izuku away.

It was easy enough for them to escape the school, even with it on lockdown. Just when Bakugo would think it was hopeless, hitting a dead end or seeing a teacher ahead, Izuku would grab his arm and pull him in another direction and they were on a new path to freedom.

They ran through the woods in the back of the school, which Bakugo thought was incredibly stupid because Hound Dog was impossible to escape from in this place... But Izuku maneuvered through the trees with ease before having them circle back and dusted off a hatch in the ground.

"The hell is this?"

"Our freedom."

Bakugo stared at him for a moment, wondering when Izuku had ever had enough time to plan all this out. There was no way that this was an impulsive rescue... It couldn't have been. Looking down into the hatch, seeing the dirt tunnel, Bakugo knew this took much longer than even a week of preparing. So how long had Izuku been working on this...?

They ran through the tunnel, well over a mile if Bakugo had to guess. Izuku did much better than Bakugo would have thought, his leg only slowing him down a little. And by the time his leg did finally give out, they had already reached the end of the tunnel - blocked by a cement wall.

"I never f-finished because the city w-workers would find the hole and report it back to the... the school," Izuku panted, leaning his hands over to rest on his knees. "Think you could... you know..." He nodded forward and looking at Bakugo's hands.

"Heh..." Bakugo looked back up at the wall, "Tell ya what, nerd... You really do think of everything." He marched forward just as a howl sounded from behind them. No time to waste of looking back, he placed his hand against the cement and blasted it away, leaving a nice sized hole for them to climb through. "Can you make it, Izuku?"

"I'll be fine," A weak smile met his concerned eyes, the smaller boy pushing forward. "Act scared."


"Please help...!" Izuku suddenly called, stumbling through the hole. Bakugo looked confused for a second before he heard the voices of others on the other side.

"Are you okay?"

"What happened?"

"Are you alright?"

Bakugo climbed over the rubble of the wall, looking down the sewer line to see Izuku stumbling to a group of large city workers.

"V-Villains...!" He cried, "They're shapeshifters! We thought they were our teachers but then they tried to kill us! Please, you have to help us!"

The group of men looked at them both before patting Izuku's shoulders, "The ladder is down this tunnel, first turn on the right and a few hundred yards down. Our supervisor will be up there."

"Thank you so much!" Izuku smiled gratefully before grabbing Bakugo's hand and pulling him along to where the ladder was indicated. But instead of climbing up it, they kept running.

Bakugo looked back at it then to his pained friend. "Izuku, we passed the ladder if you didn't notice, don't you think we should get out of here as soon as possible?"

"It won't take long for the teachers to convince those men that they're the real deal. They'll know where we went then. It's better if we keep going for a bit more."

Bakugo could see the sense in that... He just didn't know how much longer Izuku's leg could hold out. The limp was almost as bad as when he first got the injury, slowing him down a lot now too... If it was exerted anymore then Bakugo feared the potential of it being re-damaged.

They passed countless other ladders and exits, running for another ten minutes before Izuku finally stopped. "Th-This... one..."

Bakugo started to climb the ladder, but Izuku grabbed his jacket. "What? You said this was it! We should go or Hound Dog will be here soon!"

"Just... Wait a moment." Izuku took a second to breathe before pulling his backpack in front of him and digging inside. He pulled out a stack of clothes, shoving it into Bakugo's hands before pulling out another. "Hurry and change; like you said, we won't have long."

He was about to question it, but a pointed look from Izuku as he started to strip had him silently agree.

Shaking out the shirt, Bakugo frowned as he noticed it was one of his own that he thought was lost months ago... Looking down at the pants, it was also one of his. "The hell, nerd?"


With an irritated grumble and another howl from Hound Dog, Bakugo quickly pulled the clothes on and climbed the ladder, pushing the manhole lid open. He looked down just in time to see Izuku stuffing their clothes into his backpack again before climbing after him.

They emerged from the sewer in an alley, just private enough that it wouldn't be strange for them to spray extra body spray on them. Once Izuku was happy with their appearance he led them to the street where they blended in with the crowd. Bakugo's eyes widened as he saw the mall in front of them.

"What are we doing, idiot? We're supposed to be hiding! Not having fun in a very public place! There's so many people here!"

"Exactly." Izuku smiles easily, innocently. As if they hadn't just revealed themselves as villains and escaped from a group of Pro Heroes. Was he even a villain? Or was he just an accomplice to his deeds?

"Listen, Kacchan," Izuku continued as they entered inside the food court, bringing Bakugo out of his thoughts as they sat at a table. "What do you hear?"

Bakugo's eyebrows pushed together, his eyes bouncing around at the people before going back to his friend. "A bunch of noise, people talking, ads, music... You can't hear anything specific here."

Izuku's smile grew, and Bakugo understood immediately. Izuku shrugged as he leaned back in his chair, only the back two legs on the ground. "Besides that, who would think it strange for two teenagers to be at a mall? This is the last place heroes would look for us. While dark alleys and abandoned buildings..."

His eyes widened, "Would be the first..."

"Bingo." Izuku winked, rocking on his chair. He looked so happy and innocent, not a care in the world...

Bakugo stared at him, his head tilting. "...How long have you known...?"

"About you being the UA traitor?" Izuku's eyes glanced over the crowd passively as he lowered his chair back down. "The whole time. It wasn't much, but there was a slight difference to you when the Pros got you back from the League in our first year. You weren't hurt. But there was something in your eyes every time you looked at a teacher... as someone that's known you our whole lives, I take pride in noticing when you act differently. It wasn't hard to piece things together then."

Bakugo's eyes widened as he leaned forward, elbows on the table. "All this time... and you've just been... planning? You knew how to get out during the lockdown!"

Izuku smirked. Not evil or cunning or anything like Bakugo was used to, but it was a smirk. "Remember the false alarm that went off two months ago?"

"That was you?"

A single nod. "I knew it wouldn't be long before you got found out. Nezu was putting more attention on the hunt during the second year, so I had to start planning. I'm only upset I didn't do it sooner. I almost didn't have enough explosives to escape..."

"A hero school was just letting you make random bombs in your class?"

Izuku grinned this time, laughing lightly. "Of course not, not in class. I did all of this on my own. It's not uncommon for support students to take their work into their dorm rooms. Teachers don't really think much of it. So while I'm building machines and props for the hero course, I'm making my own things in my room at night."

Bakugo narrowed his eyes, examining Izuku more closely. He hadn't noticed it before, but the boy was paler than he should have been. There were dark bags under his eyes as well. He sighed and looked down at the table. "I'm... I'm sorry. I dragged you into this. You risked so much to help me..."

"Why are you apologizing?" Izuku's voice was full of genuine curiosity, innocence. "You didn't drag me into anything. Kacchan... You've done so much for me our whole lives. You saved me from my dad, from bullies, from teachers and adults. If I could do this to help you, then I'm doing it gladly."

A smile worked it's way onto Bakugo's face, messing with a straw wrapper that was left on the table. He wasn't sure how he managed to become friends with Izuku or how their complete opposite personalities had let them stay as friends for so long. But he was grateful. "Even if it means going against the Heroes?"

The boy was silent for a moment, bringing Bakugo's eyes back to him. He was staring at Bakugo, though his eyes were hazed over as if he was seeing something that wasn't really there. "I... As a child... I was so sure that one of the Heroes that you told about my dad would come save mom and I. That one day I would wake up and he'd be gone. I never imagined that they would tell him what you said, laughing with him over the absurdity of it on the front steps. The only reason that the Hero showed up was because all the others you told were in their agency complaining about it and sent him to check it out. He told my dad about all the Heroes who knew... That was the night that dad broke my leg. The next night he fractured and dislocated my arm." Izuku's eyes cleared, looking directly at Bakugo, "The Heroes only made it worse for me. So I don't mind if we make the world a little worse for them."

The blond nodded, his eyes serious as he reached a fist towards Izuku. "Together."

Green eyes stared at his fist for a second before he smiled, a light laugh escaping him as he pressed his fist against it. "Together."

Soft sniffles sounded behind Bakugo as he panted, shoveling another pile of dirt out of the ground. He stopped for a second to look back at the younger boy, arm wrapped and a bandage on his cheek. There was blood smeared on his cheek, mixing with his tears.

"You don't have to be here, Izu... I can handle this. You should go see Auntie to get your arm looked at."

"N-No..." Izuku sniffled again, "I don't want to leave you to clean this all up yourself... It's my fault-"

"No!" He dropped the shovel and grabbed Izuku's good arm. "Nothing is your fault! It's all that bastard's for being an awful dad! You did nothing wrong, it's all him! So don't ever say that about yourself again, got it?"

Wide, wet green eyes stared at him, mouth opened slightly and showing off a missing tooth. Izuku stayed in stunned silence for a minute more, simply admiring his best friend and his resolve to help him - even from himself. Finally, he started to smile, sniffling again and rubbing his fist against his eyes to dry them. "Alright. But I still want to help. We're in this together."

He shrugged Bakugo's hand off his arm, then lifted his in front of them. Bakugo looked at it before smirking and grabbing his hand. "Together."