This fic is a gift for Lillabelle for the TodoBaku Discord Halloween Exchange!

Katsuki taps his foot on the floor, his tail twitching impatiently behind him. Beside him, his mother throws him a warning look which he ignores, scowl only deepening further as the minutes tick by.

"They're late," he says.

"They're busy people, just like we are. So keep that childish scowl off your face, Katsuki, this is not what you're here for," Mitsuki chides him.

Katsuki huffs, refraining from asking what exactly he is here for. He's done that already, and got nothing but a vague answer in return. It's not like he hasn't been part of meetings with the vampire clan's leader before, but attending those was always an option given to him, and it doesn't explain why his mother told him that his presence for this one was mandatory.

As it is, being in the dark only irritates him further, and he's practically seething with annoyance by the time their doorbell rings.

"Finally," he mutters. Mitsuki, halfway through the living room already, growls at him, her wolf ears flattening on her head.

"Please, you two, our guests are here! Let's be polite," Katsuki's father says, hesitantly placing a hand on his son's shoulder in a silent request that he stop growling back.

Katsuki does, but it's only because he gets distracted by the people that Mitsuki is welcoming into their house. He can never get used to how fragile the vampire leader looks - her presence isn't nearly as strong as Mitsuki's, her voice quieter, her white hair often falling forward to obscure her face. Next to the werewolf pack leader, anyone would think Hiyuri looks weak, but Katsuki knows from the various meetings they've had throughout the years that Mitsuki respects the other woman immensely.

After all, Hiyuri had managed to take control of the vampires after Enji, her husband and previous clan leader, had died.

While Katsuki, too, has grown to respect the vampire leader, the person who stands behind her makes his stomach churn with anger. He hasn't met the son of the Todoroki family many times and they've never exchanged words directly, but there's something about the way he holds himself that rubs Katsuki the wrong way.

He's all dressed up, slacks without a single crease in them and shirt tucked neatly into the waistband, that weird half-white half-red hair of his slicked back with what Katsuki guesses must be too much gel. He looks like a rich brat, in Katsuki's opinion, and the way he always seems extremely bored makes him wonder why Shouto even bothers coming along with his mother.

"Thank you for meeting us," Hiyuri says, stopping in front of Katsuki and Masaru and bowing slightly, to which they return the greeting.

When Shouto does the same, however, Katsuki remains still, a growl rumbling low in his throat. In a matter of seconds, there's a hand on his neck, pulling his head down with an iron grip as Mitsuki takes her place beside him.

"Please forgive our Katsuki, he's in a rebellious phase," she says, lending a chiding tone to the end of the sentence which Katsuki knows is directed at him.

He's about to reply that he's twenty-three - it's not a goddamn rebellious phase - when Hiyuri smiles, shaking her head and dismissing the apologies.

"Don't worry, Mitsuki. They all go through those." She stares gently at Shouto while talking.

Katsuki eyes him up and down, and finds that hard to believe.

With formalities over, they all take a seat, and the mood suddenly shifts to something more serious.

"You boys must be wondering why we asked you to be present for this meeting," Mitsuki starts to speak, gaze going from her son to Shouto, and Katsuki's attention immediately perks up. "For the past few weeks, Hiyuri's been investigating the deaths of those werewolves that were found drained of blood. She's been trying to find the vampire responsible for it."

"But we've had no leads so far," Hiyuri completes. Her mouth is pressed into a thin line, hands curled where they rest against her knees. "The situation is bad. Without a culprit, the blame is falling on everyone. The werewolves aren't being choosy in their accusations, and the vampires are getting angry in return."

"And if we aren't careful trying to calm the werewolves down, they might turn on us for defending the vampires," Mitsuki says, her expression just as grim.

Katsuki crosses his legs, foot starting to shake with impatience. The attacks are old news - he's gotten tired of seeing his parents bent over plans, increasing the number of patrols, setting up meetings with the vampire leader with more frequency than usual. It still doesn't explain the reason for this meeting in particular.

"The peace we have now won't last for much longer if this continues," Masaru states. "It hasn't been that long since Enji died and war was brought to an end. Most of us still remember what it was like-" Masaru hesitates, casting an apologetic look towards Hiyuri and her son. "-before."

"I have no doubt that whoever is behind these killings shares the same vile beliefs my husband once did, Masaru. It's not a coincidence that they started taking action only days after we announced the possibility of signing a peace treaty. Which is why they must be stopped," Hiyuri says.

At the mention of Enji's so-called beliefs, Katsuki scoffs. The man had had enough power to hold a leadership feared by many, that much was true, but his claim that vampires were the superior race and the way he'd always hated the werewolves did nothing good for both races in the long run, only lending fuel to the fire that were the conflicts between them.

Next to Hiyuri, Shouto's once neutral expression darkens, which doesn't go unnoticed by Katsuki. Linked by blood or not, it irks him that anyone would feel bothered by complaints against Enji's shitty ideas, and the only reason he doesn't kick the other out of his house is because Mitsuki wouldn't let him live to tell the tale afterwards.

His mother, however, doesn't seem to have any reservations against Shouto, and what she says next nearly causes Katsuki to fall out of his seat.

"In the meantime, however, we need something to cool things down. Something to show everyone that we, werewolves and vampires, can be close to each other without any need for fighting." Mitsuki grins, then, leaning back on her seat and exchanging a conspiratorial glance with Masaru and Hiyuri. "We've discussed it, and came up with a possible solution. For that-" she points towards Shouto, then Katsuki, "-we need you to pretend to be dating."

Katsuki's hand, which had been distractedly playing with the studs in his collar, stills. He must've heard wrong – there's no way his mother just suggested he date the fucking candy cane vampire. That would be ridiculous.

"For how long?" Shouto asks; the first time he's spoken all night. Katsuki's shocked eyes turn to him – what the fuck does he mean for how long?

"At least until we guarantee a majority vote in favor of the treaty," Hiyuri explains.

"What?" Katsuki finally says, realization dawning on him that they're being serious about this. "The Assemblies aren't until October. You want us to date for six months?"

"Pretend to date, Katsuki, are you deaf? Don't make such a big fuss, it's not like we're throwing you into an arranged marriage," Mitsuki says.

"The dating part will be just for the public. But you can take this as an opportunity to become friends," Masaru adds.

At this, Katsuki scoffs, turning to look at Shouto, who doesn't seem alarmed by their proposition. He wants to punch some emotion into the idiot's expression – there's no way he's this calm about this nonsense.

Considering Shouto's lack of a surprised reaction, perhaps he'd been informed by Hyuri of their plan before the meeting. The fact that Katsuki, however, had been left in the dark - that his mother didn't even think of asking for his opinion - makes him feel like he's a kid again, being groomed to be the next pack leader but kept away from any serious discussions about politics.

It makes his blood boil.

"Sorry, but I don't think we'd work out together," he sneers.

"For God's sake, Katsuki, stop treating this like it's a joke!" Mitsuki stands up, clearly out of patience as her tail swishes angrily behind her. "We need to give people hope, or no one will vote for the treaty. And if they don't, we can't sign it this Halloween. I refuse to wait a whole year for another chance just because you're acting like a goddamn brat!"

"Then come up with a plan that isn't stupid!" Katsuki yells back, his nails digging into the armrest as he pushes himself up, ignoring the vampires' stare and Masaru's quieter pleads for him to calm down as he stalks out of the room.

Mitsuki's angry shouts telling him to come back echo behind him, but Katsuki pays her no mind as he stomps through the corridor towards his bedroom. If he knew what kind of bullshit she'd been planning, he wouldn't even have wasted his time being at the meeting in the first place.

He could've been out there hunting the killer. A much more productive way to spend his night, no doubt.

Even though his feet hit the ground with enough force that the impact echoes in his own ears, Katsuki is still able to make out the sound of footsteps that readily approach him from behind.

"Leave me the hell alone, old hag," he says. If his mother thinks she can drag him back by force, she's dead wrong - he won't put up with it without a fight. "You're crazy if you think I'll go along with that stupid plan."

"I don't think it's stupid."

Katsuki halts at the voice - clearly not Mitsuki's. When he turns around, he finds himself face to face with Shouto, who's looking at him with the same bored expression he'd been wearing the whole evening. He doesn't seem particularly pleased to be there, and the fact that someone probably sent him only serves to annoy Katsuki further.

"What are you saying?" he asks.

"I'm saying that I think their idea is worth trying."

Katsuki snorts.

"And which one of them told you to say that?"

"None of them." Shouto shrugs, putting his hands in the pockets of his slacks, his gaze flickering between Katsuki and the paintings that hang on the walls. "I wouldn't say anything if I didn't believe it."

"Yeah, right." Katsuki grits his teeth, his anger increasing with each word that comes out of Shouto's mouth. He knows the other is lying - nothing about his stance or the way he's held himself so far indicates any interest in preventing a war, be it with a ridiculous plan or not. "Cut the crap, Todoroki. And fucking look at me when I'm talking to you."

Shouto does, turning back towards Katsuki, the line of his lips thinning as he presses them together.

"I'm only trying to help-"

"I don't have time for your lies." Katsuki cuts him off. He doesn't wait to see Shouto's reaction, turning on his heels and stomping the rest of the way to his bedroom.

He has enough things to worry about without having to deal with prideful jerks for the sake of some useless plan.

Katsuki slams the door shut behind him, his ears flicking backwards to register the sound of fading footsteps on the other side. He can no longer hear Mitsuki's muffled yelling, which means the meeting continued while he argued with Shouto; hopefully, it'll still go on for a few hours. As long as their guests are there, his mother can't come bother him in his room with an annoying lecture on manners and cooperation.

It's not like he doesn't care about the killings and the treaty. He does - a great deal, in fact, and he'd readily agree to a plan if he saw that it had merit. The mere idea of dating Shouto, however, even if only in pretense, makes him want to laugh. His mom might be their greatest ally in achieving peace, but the air that surrounds Shouto reminds Katsuki way too much of the vampire's father. Shouto can deny it all he wants, but Katsuki will not be forced to play nice with someone who looks down on him and his kind. He's had enough of that.

Later, Katsuki will tell Mitsuki that he'll join more patrol shifts, and he'll catch the bastard responsible for the killings before they can stir up significant trouble.

And there'll be no need for any fake dating shit.

Katsuki's footsteps make almost no noise as he jumps between rooftops, softening each land with his hands as he falls into a crouched position, his gaze sharp on the dark streets below him. The night air is chilly, but he's been patrolling for a few hours now, and his body is warm both from the physical exertion and the constant tension as he waits for something to happen.

So far, however, his waiting has given him nothing but frustration.

Just like the past three days, the streets are tranquil, no sign of suspicious activity being reported during Katsuki's patrols nor anyone else's. Katsuki knows he should be glad about the peaceful state of things, but it feels like a false reassurance - like believing in the calm before the storm.

They still haven't caught whoever was responsible for the attacks on werewolves. Katsuki is itching to be the one to do so; not only to put an end to the trouble they've been causing but to prove to his mother that he's not some ignorant kid anymore, but old enough to take on his responsibilities as the next pack leader. Things have been tense between them, shouting occurring more often than usual and their disagreement over the fake dating plan brought up on every conversation, but at least Mitsuki hadn't denied Katsuki's request to increase his patrols at the border between territories.

And now, Katsuki can't help but smile with the rush of adrenaline that surges through his body as a shout rings through the air, coming from a nearby alley.

He jumps down, the impact as his feet touch the street below not enough to slow him down as he picks up speed. The closer he gets to the source of the noise, the clearer he can make out the words being shouted.

"I didn't do anything, you beast!" a female voice reaches Katsuki's ears. There's sounds of a struggle, and Katsuki forces his body to move faster, no longer caring about being silent as he approaches the alley.

"As if I would believe a thing you say. You're nothing but a bloodsucking killer!" another voice replies, dripping with anger.

Katsuki's blood rushes in his ears as he skids into the alley. In the dim light, he can make out two figures at the end of it, tearing at each other with such intent that they don't notice that they're not alone anymore. The werewolf isn't fully transformed, but his claws are extended to the fullest, and he roars as the vampire sinks her fangs into his arm.

"Stop this!" Katsuki growls, moving towards the fight, but he's still a few feet away when the werewolf manages to grab the woman by her neck. His heart leaps in his chest. All the man has to do is dig his claws into the vampire's neck, and it'll be over. "I said, fucking stop it!"

They ignore him. They're just a few steps away- he can do this, he can do this-

A figure lands beside the werewolf, grabbing his arm and wrenching him away from the vampire. Katsuki only has time to catch a glimpse of white and red hair before the woman, now free of her attacker, lunges towards the man.

Shouto barely manages to get both himself and the werewolf out of harm's way, but the woman doesn't give up, blinded by rage - she crouches, ready to lunge again, but before she can do anything else Katsuki has his arms around her, keeping a tight hold on her wrists even as she struggles with considerable strength.

"What's going on here?" Katsuki asks through his teeth.

"Let go of me!"

"Not until you calm down, I won't."

"What? I'm the victim here! This- this filthy beast- he was the one who attacked me out of nowhere!"

Before Katsuki or Shouto can reply to the vampire's claims, the werewolf speaks up.

"Beast? Me?" he laughs, scornful. "You're the killer here, bloodsucker. My brother is dead, and you know why?" he tries to get free of Shouto's hold once again, but the other doesn't budge. "Because you murdered him!"

"I told you, I didn't do anything!"

"You deserve to die, you and your whole kind-"

"How do you know she did it?" Shouto's voice cuts through the discussion. He still looks as calm and collected as ever, but Katsuki can hear a sudden sharpness behind words. "Do you have proof?"

"Who cares about proof?" The werewolf growls. "It doesn't matter if it was her or another one of you, you're all the same, disgusting killers-"

One moment, Shouto is securing the man by holding his arms behind his back; the next, the werewolf hits the brick wall with a dull sound, and it's no longer Shouto's hands binding him still, but rather the cold aura surrounding the vampire as he twists his fist on the man's shirt and brings his face closer.

"You're right," he says. Katsuki can't help but watch, mesmerized - this is the first time Shouto has looked this… furious. "We, vampires, are the same. The same as you, werewolves." His voice has lost the calm from before, trembling with barely contained anger. "You wanted to kill this woman, right? Would that make all of your kind killers too?"

The werewolf has lost his defiant stance, expression twisting into fear as he stammers before answering.

"N-No, of course not."

"It's the same with us." In the distance, there's the sound of footsteps, and soon patrollers from both vampire and werewolf territory come barging into the alley, certainly drawn by all the ruckus. "One shouldn't be judged by the acts of another. I'd keep that in mind, if I were you."

Shouto lets go of the man's shirt, taking a step back and breaking the tension that hangs in the air. After that, any desire to fight seems to have left not only the werewolf, but the vampire woman as well; they don't try to resist as they're handed over to the patrollers that have just arrived.

Katsuki keeps looking at Shouto out of the corner of his eye as they explain what happened to the newcomers, instructing them to take the troublemakers to their respective leaders.

"I'll stay and make sure there were no human witnesses," Katsuki says to the werewolves, who nod before leaving the alley with the man safely restrained between them.

Suddenly, there's a presence beside Katsuki, and when he turns around Shouto is standing there, already having sent off the rest of the vampire patrol.

"I'll help," he says. It's a genuine offer - there's nothing in his tone of voice that betrays what transpired between him and Katsuki mere days ago.

Katsuki nods. In case they do find a human who's seen more than they should, having a vampire who can manipulate their memories will be of use; besides, he's intrigued by Shouto's behavior. He looks noticeably calmer now, but his lips are still turned into the beginning of a frown.

They walk side by side, their footsteps the only sound echoing in the empty streets. They're almost done securing the area when Katsuki finally breaks the silence, suddenly stopping in his tracks and causing Shouto to do the same.

"You really believe in what you said, don't you?" he asks. "Not only today. On the day of the meeting, too."

Shouto scoffs.

"About time you understood that."

Katsuki grits his teeth at his cheeky tone of voice.

"Look, I got it, I was wrong. I'll admit that. But it's your fault." Shouto looks at him like he's making no sense, and Katsuki adds, "Your cold, I-have-a-stick-up-my-ass attitude. Reminded me of your father. Thought you shared his ideals, too."

At the mention of Enji, Shouto's reaction is instantaneous. His hands ball into fists, fangs bared as he takes a step towards Katsuki.

"I'm not like my father," he hisses.

"Yeah, I know that now, so will you calm the fuck down?" Katsuki says, taken aback by the sudden return of Shouto's cold aura. With the way he's acting, his reactions during the meeting are brought into a new light, and Katsuki is forced to admit that there might be more to the vampire than he'd first thought.

As they continue walking, Shouto's demeanor slowly changes back to normal, and he's the one to break the silence again after a few minutes.

"What happened tonight was retaliation."

Katsuki sighs, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his pants.

"I know." His gaze fixes on the entrance to the alley where the fight happened, which gets closer with their every step.

"With the way things are going, incidents like this one will only get more frequent."

"I know, damn it," Katsuki growls, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. His mind is going through options, taking this new variable into the equation, but Shouto doesn't have to say anything for Katsuki to know that they're both thinking the same thing.

Time is running out, and they have to do something.

Even if that something is incredibly stupid, and the only reason Katsuki's even considering it is as a last resort.

"So, do you want to give that fake dating thing a try?" he finally says, forcing the words to leave his mouth before he changes his mind.

Shouto, however, doesn't even hesitate before agreeing.


They stop at the alley entrance, and Katsuki shuffles awkwardly on his feet as Shouto stares at him. He wishes the vampire would say something already, because he has no idea what to do now. How does one fake date, anyway? Katsuki hasn't even had that many experiences with real dating.

As the seconds tick by, the silence becomes unnerving, so Katsuki blurts out the first thing that comes to his mind.

"I should go back. Help deal with that werewolf since I was a witness and all that." His ears flicker, but he squares his shoulders in an attempt to look like he knows what he's doing. "Give me your number. I'll text you so we can decide how to start making our, uh, relationship public."

"Yeah, that's good. Good idea," Shouto says. Katsuki is relieved to see that the vampire seems a little flustered as well.

Once they have each other's numbers registered on their phones, Shouto mumbles an awkward goodbye before leaving. Katsuki is still unsure how to deal with him - it's extremely unsettling, especially now that he has committed to pretend to date the guy for six months.

As he makes his way back to his apartment, his mind races, going over the events of the night. Katsuki can only hope Shouto will prove to be less insufferable than he had thought him to be, and that the plan will turn out to have some effect, at least. They'll have to be out in public to gather attention, which will mean being the target of silly gossip.

The mere thought makes Katsuki seethe with annoyance.

Thinking about the plan reminds him of his mother, and Katsuki groans as he imagines her reaction when she finds out that he's changed his mind. It'll be hell to explain to her that he did it because there was no other choice.

By the time Katsuki arrives at his place, he's come to the decision that agreeing to fake date Todoroki Shouto is the most stupid thing he's ever done in his life.

The following night, Katsuki reluctantly makes his way towards the place where he and Shouto have decided to meet. Ever since he'd announced he was putting a start to their plan and going on a date with Shouto, his mother hadn't stopped fussing over him with instructions and recommendations, and by the time he'd finally gotten rid of her - which had involved slamming the door on her face as he left - it was already eight thirty, half an hour later than the time Shouto had suggested.

Still, Katsuki continues to walk at a leisurely pace, not exactly caring if he's making the Half-'n-Half vampire wait.

As he approaches neutral territory, he sees both werewolves and vampires wandering in the same streets, their supernatural traits hidden by a glamour to unsuspecting human eyes. This part of the city is always busier than the rest, what with the amount of establishments dedicated exclusively to the catering of the supernatural world, but Katsuki dodges through the crowd with ease, ignoring the few looks he can sense being thrown his way.

He gets those, from time to time, whether it be because people recognize him as Mitsuki's son or simply because he's good-looking.

Finally, he enters the street where Shouto is supposed to meet him. It's more of an alley than a street, and the amount of people there is considerably smaller, which makes spotting Shouto a quick task.

Katsuki has barely taken a few steps to approach him when he halts, feeling his jaw drop as he looks Shouto up and down.

"What are you wearing?" he asks. Having seen Shouto only in formal meetings and during patrol, this is the first time he sees the vampire wearing a casual outfit, and he has to admit it's absolutely nothing like he expected.

At the sound of Katsuki's voice, Shouto turns around in surprise, then immediately looks down at his outfit.

"What? Is there something wrong with my clothes?" He pulls at his white and blue patterned sweater with a frown, then rakes his eyes over Katsuki's form and adds, "They're normal, just like yours."

"They're ugly. And I am not dressed like a seventy-year-old man, unlike you," Katsuki retorts. There's no way that his favorite ripped jeans, paired with a black form-fitting undershirt, a leather jacket and his ever-present red collar compare to Shouto's ugly sweater that seems like something he got from his grandmother. Or found in a garage sale.

"I think they're comfortable," Shouto says, shrugging, apparently uncaring that his abysmal fashion sense is an attack to Katsuki's eyes. "Shall we go?"

Katsuki huffs, but hurries his step to catch up with Shouto as they walk back towards the busy streets.

"Oi, don't just go walking ahead of me."


Amidst the crowd, they're still safe from being the focus of attention, but after a few minutes Katsuki feels something cold take hold of his hand.

He immediately pulls his arm back, letting out a surprised yelp.

"What the hell?" He shakes his hand as if that could dispel the icy sensation that remains, shooting a glare towards Shouto. "You're freezing."

"Of course I'm freezing, I'm a vampire. What did you expect?" Shouto replies, reaching out to take Katsuki's hand again, only to have the werewolf dodge him. "Really, Bakugou?"

"Keep your frozen hands away from me," Katsuki growls. Shouto, however, decides to ignore him, making a few more attempts before managing to tightly entwine his fingers with Katsuki's. His hold is strong - too strong for Katsuki to wrench himself away without causing a scene, which is the last thing he wants.

"People hold hands on dates," the vampire states.

Katsuki grunts, knowing that Shouto's right. He can't help but shiver as his skin rapidly cools, and internally hopes that if they hold hands for long enough maybe some of his heat will go to Shouto instead.

If there's any heat left, that is.

"First my clothes, now my hands." Shouto's amused voice breaks through Katsuki's internal musings. "You're a terrible boyfriend."

"Shut up. I'm an amazing boyfriend. Never had any complaints before."

"Forgive me if I don't actually believe you about that."


Katsuki stops himself from saying what exactly he thinks about Shouto as they arrive at their destination, a tattered-looking building with a door that has a No Trespassing sign on it. Ignoring the sign, Katsuki takes hold of the doorknob with his free hand; the metal heats up as the spell placed on it to repel humans acknowledges their entrance, and the lock clicks open.

The sound of chattering immediately reaches their ears. The Bloody Claws is a small bar despite its fame, and the tables are mostly taken as Katsuki and Shouto step into it. There's no indication of the deterioration of the building on the inside - the walls are painted with an undefined beige, assorted decorations that seem to come from different points in time hanging from them. It has a chaotic feeling which is only heightened by the cacophony created by the loud voices that come from the crowd.

As Katsuki and Shouto make their way towards an empty table at the far end of the room, however, some of the voices quiet down, and more than one head turns towards them with curiosity. Despite the bar being set in neutral territory - the exact reason they chose it for their first date - Katsuki can clearly see the division between werewolves and vampires, who mostly stick to their own groups, so Shouto and him would naturally stick out even if they hadn't been holding hands.

Which they are, a fact that Katsuki becomes increasingly conscious of the more stares are focused on them.

Reminding himself that this is exactly what they want, he tries to soften his expression as he takes a seat beside Shouto, their joined hands resting on the table. Even though Katsuki's gotten almost used to the coldness, it's still an alien feeling, and he's suddenly aware of how pale Shouto's skin looks next to his.

"You look like you're in pain," Shouto says.

Katsuki's head immediately whips up, and he can't help the scowl that forms as he meets the vampire's eyes.

"That's funny, coming from someone who looks like they're bored to hell," he shoots back.

Shouto opens his mouth, hesitates, and closes it, letting out a resigned sigh instead.

"I'll get us something to drink," he finally says, getting up. The sudden loss of his cold fingers against Katsuki's startles the werewolf almost as much as when Shouto had first touched him. "What do you want?"

"Beer's fine."

As Shouto makes his way to the bar, Katsuki lets his eyes wander over the room. Most people have gone back to minding their own business, but he can see some of them still whispering and glancing at his table every now and then.

None of them, however, have caused a fuss, something that Katsuki is pleased about. Of course, the Bloody Claws had been their choice to set the plan in motion especifically because its violence-free policy made it the safest place to start, but the fact that beings of all kinds were mixed together always made for a propitious scenario for trouble to arise in face of unusual news.

He sees it as a good sign that everything's been going so smoothly.

Katsuki's attention snaps back to Shouto as he spots him walking back towards the table. He's holding two glasses, one full of beer and the other with a deep red liquid which is obviously blood, but what surprises Katsuki is the fact that he's no longer alone. A short, green-haired vampire is walking beside him, gesturing and talking excitedly, his overly cheerful voice rising over the bar's noise.

" interesting story, actually! I heard there were illegal dealings going on underground, nasty stuff like fight rings-"

As they approach the table, Shouto doesn't even seem to notice Katsuki, nodding to whatever the other guy is saying with an unusual smile on his lips.

Annoyed that he's being ignored, Katsuki suddenly interrupts them, raising his voice so that both of them turn surprised eyes towards him.

"Who's that?"

"Oh." Shouto seems to remember what they're there for, because he places the glasses he's holding on the table and moves so that he's standing next to Katsuki's chair. "Midoriya, this is Bak- Katsuki. Bakugou Katsuki. My boyfriend." He hesitates before putting a hand on Katsuki's shoulder, and the werewolf has to resist the urge to facepalm. "Katsuki, this is Midoriya Izuku. He's a friend of mine."

Izuku stares from Shouto to Katsuki, his previously blinding smile dimming.

"Uh, pleasure to meet you, Bakugou." Katsuki merely grunts in acknowledgment, and Izuku's expression changes to one of confusion. "I don't remember you saying you'd started dating the son of the werewolves' pack leader, Todoroki!"

His voice has a slightly hurt tone to it, and Katsuki wonders how close the two of them really are. It's just his luck that they'd run into someone who could potentially see through their pretense not even an hour into their first date.

"Oh, that's-" Shouto's hand tightens on Katsuki's shoulder. "It's quite… recent."

"I see. I just thought you'd have mentioned him after going to so many meetings with your mom. That is how you two met, right?"

Katsuki isn't sure what Izuku is thinking, but his rapid-fire talking and inquisitive tone make it difficult for him to keep his patience. He might not have put faith into this plan in the beginning, but that doesn't mean he's ready to let some too-curious vampire ruin it on the first day.

"Not that it's any of your business, but yes, it is. If T- If Shouto didn't tell you about us before it's because we decided not to tell anyone. You have a problem with that?" he growls, ears flattening on his head as he starts to rise from his chair.

"Katsuki!" Shouto holds him back down, casting a worried look towards Izuku, who seems even more taken aback at Katsuki's outburst. "Sorry, Midoriya. He has a bit of a temper."

"Temper my ass-"

Shouto's nails dig into Katsuki's shoulder, turning the ending of his sentence into a hiss.

"He's jealous because you interrupted our date."

Katsuki nearly falls off his chair. Jealous?

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!" Izuku quickly apologizes, though he still casts a wary glance towards Katsuki before continuing. "I'll leave you two to your date, then. See you later, Todoroki!"

The vampire is gone in the blink of an eye, back to the other side of the room where he sits down at a table with a few other people. As soon as he's far enough, Shouto slumps on the chair with a sigh, and Katsuki turns to him with a murderous gaze.

"What are you looking at me like that for? I just saved our skins," Shouto says. "Midoriya knows me. He was suspicious."

"You couldn't come up with a better excuse? Like I 'd be jealous of someone like him." Katsuki takes another glance at the vampire across the room, meeting green eyes that quickly divert their attention once they're caught staring.

"I don't know what you mean by that."

"Of course you don't," Katsuki huffs, leaning back on his chair and taking a sip of beer. He can almost feel a headache forming, and that's from just one night of being Shouto's pretend boyfriend - making it through six whole months is going to be a fucking nightmare.

"Midoriya is still looking at us. I don't think we convinced him," Shouto says, one of his fangs peeking out as he bites on his lower lip.

Katsuki tenses his shoulders, setting his glass down and turning towards Shouto in one swift movement. Their knees bump under the table.

"Let's convince him, then," Katsuki says before tangling his hand in the vampire's hair, pulling him closer until their lips touch.

This time, Katsuki is prepared for the coldness of Shouto's skin; he's surprised, however, to notice that his lips are soft, which would make them great for kissing if only Shouto hadn't frozen like a goddamn statue.

" Are you really such a terrible kisser?" Katsuki pulls away enough to say. "We're not convincing anyone like this. I could be kissing the wall and it wouldn't make a difference."

Shouto blinks a few times, finally breaking out of his trance at Katsuki's teasing.

"You caught me by surprise," he says, scooting forward. "Okay, kiss me again."

Shouto's expression is serious, as if he's taken Katsuki's words as a challenge, and the werewolf has to stop the laughter that threatens to spill out.

The urge to laugh dies down, however, when he kisses Shouto again. He's not expecting anything much different from the time before - Shouto hardly acts like someone who's had kissing experience - but either Katsuki is wrong about that or the vampire definitely has taken what he said as a challenge.

Shouto threads his own fingers through Katsuki's hair, the pointy tips of his nails barely grazing the back of the werewolf's ears as he deepens the kiss, being mindful of his fangs. The intensity catches Katsuki by surprise; it only takes a moment, however, for him to overcome the shock, spreading his fingers on Shouto's nape and kissing back with just as much enthusiasm. After a while, he stops noticing the coldness of Shouto's skin, too focused on every swipe of his tongue in his mouth, on the warmth that spreads throughout his body instead.

When they finally separate, both are breathing harder than before, and the corner of Shouto's mouth is slightly turned up.

"Better?" he asks.

Katsuki can't bring himself to be angry at his smug tone, giving Shouto a smirk of his own in reply.

"Not bad," he says. Leaning back on his chair, he licks his lips - and grimaces. "But you taste like blood."

"And you taste like beer. I'd say we're even."

Katsuki laughs. Shouto's eyes widen at the sound, and even Katsuki himself has to say he's surprised - it's as sudden as the kiss, genuine amusement he never thought Shouto of all people would be the cause of bubbling forth without warning. It gives him the fleeting thought that maybe Shouto won't be that bad to be around for six months.

As soon as it crosses his mind, Katsuki averts his gaze, clearing his throat.

"Well, it looks like it worked well."

Shouto immediately turns to look towards the other end of the room - so much for subtlety.

"Midoriya's not staring anymore," he says, sounding relieved. "But a lot of people are."

"Obviously," Katsuki snorts, picking his glass back up but giving up after a gulp of too warm beer. "We did just make out in front of them. If anyone had any doubts about what's going on between us, they just got their answer."

Shouto nods, apparently unfazed by all the attention as he focuses on finishing his drink. Katsuki, too, ignores the heads turned towards them - it was their goal from the beginning, and hopefully it'll be enough to start spreading rumours.

Until then, he and Shouto have to continue working on being as convincing as possible. Which, as they'd just found out, worked quite well in terms of kissing, but when it came to the whole "being affectionate" aspect that supposedly came with dating-

Katsuki remembers the previous parts of their date and scowls.

"We need to get better at this," he says.

"At kissing?"

"For fuck's sake, of course not. The… rest."

"Oh." Shouto stares at his hands, tapping his fingers on the table rapidly until Katsuki growls at the irritating sound. "Yeah, we do."

They leave the Bloody Claws not too long afterwards. It's already past midnight, and Shouto still has a patrol shift until dawn; besides, they've already stayed long enough at the bar, and Katsuki can only take so many hours of fumbling his way through being Shouto's boyfriend without wanting to scream in frustration.

He'd never had to be so conscious of everything on the few fleeting relationships he'd had in the past, and it's turning out to be much harder than he thought, especially because Shouto isn't that good at it, either.

They keep their hands linked until they're back at the border between vampire and werewolf territory, away from the crowded streets. Only then does Katsuki step back, and it's like a repeat of the previous day, with them staring at each other in silence, not knowing what to say.

Now that they're alone, it shouldn't be this awkward, but Katsuki feels like he should say something.

He just doesn't know what.

He's saved from having to think, however, when Shouto says, "Well, see you later, then."

Katsuki sticks his hands in his pockets, giving a curt nod.

"Yeah. See you later."

He watches as Shouto disappears into the shadows of vampire territory, then turns around to make his way home, replaying the events of the night in his mind and scowling as he thinks of how far they still have to go to guarantee the success of this plan.

When he arrives at his apartment, he's met with silence - both his parents are out, probably on patrol. Katsuki sighs in relief; he's not in the mood to face any questions about his date, and any energy he might have left is gone, tiredness weighing on his bones.

He doesn't even bother folding his clothes after he changes, throwing himself in bed and falling asleep almost as soon as his head hits the pillow.

By the time Katsuki wakes up, the sun is already high in the sky, its rays filtering through the blinds and making him blink against the sudden brightness. He fumbles for his phone on the nightstand, realizing he slept all the way through lunch and part of the afternoon. It's a miracle that his mother hasn't come to drag him out of bed yet; then again, sleeping in stopped being a habit of his years ago, and it's not like he has patrol today.

The notifications for four new messages catch his attention, and Katsuki groans when he sees Eijirou's name on the screen.


[1:38PM] SHITTY HAIR: i can't believe i had to hear this from your mom man

[1:39PM] SHITTY HAIR: just delivered a report at your place, you were still asleep

[1:39PM] SHITTY HAIR: the night was that good huh

Katsuki groans, wishing Eijirou was still at his place just so he could give him a proper punch. He should've known news would get to him at some point. Being his best friend, Katsuki knows Eijirou won't leave him alone about it anytime soon.

The werewolf lets his head fall back on the pillow. He's not deigning Eijirou with an answer, especially to that last text; he'll eventually meet him during patrol, anyway. Until then, there's enough time to think of how to avoid a situation such as the one with Shouto's annoying friend the previous night.

Thinking of that reminds him that there's still things he and Shouto have to sort out if they want to keep up their pretense for another six months. Right now, however, Shouto's probably asleep, so instead of texting him Katsuki drags himself out of bed, quickly changing to presentable clothes before making his way to the living room.

Mitsuki is sitting on the floor, bent over a few papers spread on the center table. She's biting on her nails, as she usually does when she's mulling over something - a habit both Katsuki and Masaru have tried to break her out of, to no avail.

The moment Katsuki steps closer, Mitsuki's ears flicker towards the sound of his footsteps, and she puts the paper she's holding down with a sigh before turning towards her son.

"You're finally up," she says, sounding tired. There's dark circles under her eyes. "How did it go last night?"

Katsuki sits down next to her, pulling some of the papers towards himself. They're patrol reports, both old and new, along with drafts of what looks like parts of a speech.

"We managed to shock people, that much is for sure," he starts. "Word about it should get out soon."

"That's good." Mitsuki narrows her eyes. "But I sense a but in that sentence. Tell me the truth, Katsuki."

Katsuki rolls his eyes. He should've expected his mother to notice if there's something wrong.

"Could've gone better," he says, scowling. "Todoroki sucks at acting."

He leaves out the part that he, too, might not have been the most convincing at his boyfriend part, but the way Mitsuki laughs tells him that she's seen right through him once again.

"It's not easy to deal with you, Katsuki, both of you just need time to get used to each other."

"The hell do you mean, I'm not easy to deal with?"

"See, that's what I'm talking about." Mitsuki shakes her head, still smiling. "I'm sure you'll make this work. I wouldn't have suggested this plan if I didn't believe you could get it done, Katsuki." She ruffles his hair, ignoring Katsuki's attempt at dodging. "You are the next pack leader, after all. And you'll be a damn good one, I bet."

The way she talks catches Katsuki by surprise. He's used to his screaming matches with his mother, whether they be serious or not; this, however, this show of trust and the way she smiles at him with pride - he's not used to this. It spreads a warm feeling through his chest and he simply stares at her, at a loss for words.

Mitsuki looks down at the papers, letting her hand fall to her lap as her expression is once again taken by worry.

"I received a report from Kirishima today."

"Yeah, I know. He told me."

"Did he tell you what it was about?" Mitsuki picks one of the sheets on top of the pile and hands it to Katsuki. He immediately recognizes Eijirou's handwriting.

As he skims over the report, his fingers tighten on the paper.

"Another fight?"

"Between our own, this time. It's the discussion we expected. Some want revenge, some are defending the vampires." Mitsuki rubs her temples, closing her eyes. Katsuki's never seen her looking so worn down. "Thankfully, Kirishima and some others intervened before anyone got hurt."

Katsuki curses. Things are escalating more quickly than he'd thought.

"Hiyuri is coming for another meeting tonight. We're thinking of making a joint announcement about the situation, for both werewolves and vampires, as well as to remind everyone of the importance of the treaty," Mitsuki continues. "It'll help keep things under control for the moment. But still-"

"Having something that supports what you're saying is even more important now," Katsuki completes her sentence.


Katsuki sets the report down, pulling himself up to a standing position. What he's being told makes him restless, that familiar need to do something building within him and making it hard to stay inside the apartment.

"We'll do something about it," he says. "You said the vampire leader is coming today, right?" Mitsuki nods. "Great."

Katsuki leaves the room before his mother can say anything else, coming back five minutes later in his patrolling clothes.

Mitsuki raises an eyebrow as he walks towards the door.

"You don't have patrol scheduled for today."

"I'm going anyway. Need something to do until my stupid boyfriend wakes up," Katsuki mutters. He can still hear the sound of Mitsuki's quiet laugh before closing the door behind him.

He blinks against the afternoon sun, his ears flickering as he gets used to the noise from the city below. Picking up his phone, he sends Shouto's number a quick text - he'll see it when he wakes up - then begins to make his way towards the street.

He and Shouto have to find ways to be more convincing, and fast.

But for now, he still has a few hours to kill before sunset.

"Did you ask me to come here just to ignore me?"

Katsuki turns his eyes away from the window, staring at the vampire who's sitting stiffly on the other side of his bed. Shouto looks strangely out of place, back on his formal clothes - though he skipped the gel, this time, and his hair falls over his eyes - while Katsuki is still wearing his patrol gear, resting against the wall with his legs spread in front of him.

"I'm thinking," he says. "I told you what happened this afternoon, didn't I? That means we have to-"

"Do better than last time on our next date, I'm aware," Shouto cuts him off.

"Good. Then you know we have to come up with ways to do that, so let me think. You should try doing it, too."

Katsuki averts his gaze to the dark sky outside once again, distractedly playing with his collar as he goes over everything that went less than perfectly the previous night.

Not even a minute goes by, however, before something cold brushes his hand, and he pulls back with a startled growl, ears flattening on his head.

"What the fuck?"

Shouto is closer than before, leaning forward with one of his hands extended. He blinks, unimpressed despite Katsuki's reaction.

"If we want to be convincing, this is something that obviously can't keep happening," he states, reaching for Katsuki's hand once again. This time, the werewolf lets him take it, scowling at the chilliness. "You need to get used to me touching you."

"Easy for you to say," Katsuki huffs.

Shouto slowly scoots back until they're sitting side by side, and stares at their joined hands resting between them.

"We could practice at home."

"What? "

"Doesn't it make sense?" he looks at Katsuki, genuine confusion on his face. "If we're used to it when we're alone, it'll seem more natural in public."

Katsuki starts to say something but stops himself; he has to admit that Shouto's right. He nods instead, squirming awkwardly in place. The silence that hangs between them is suddenly uncomfortable, and he feels his cheeks heating up when Shouto starts running his thumb in circles on the back of his hand.

"This is stupid," he mutters.

Shouto ignores him. He has a pensive look on his face, worrying his bottom lip - it's not the first time he's done that, and Katsuki wonders if it's a habit of his.

"We should also use each other's first names… Katsuki," he finally says. Even though he doesn't stutter as he'd done when trying to use Katsuki's name in front of Izuku, Shouto still hesitates, as if the word feels foreign on his tongue.

Katsuki can't blame him.

"I suppose you're right," he says and then adds, forcing the word past his teeth, "Shouto."

They fall silent once again. Katsuki hates the fact that he has no idea what to say next - it's unlike him to be so quiet, but it's as if he were completely out of his element.

"I'm not that experienced in dating, so I don't have any more suggestions," Shouto suddenly says. "But I can ask my older sister, if you want. She might have some ideas."

Katsuki doesn't even realize he has released Shouto's hand, turning his whole body towards the vampire in a swift movement.

"Are you kidding me?" Shouto shakes his head, looking completely serious. "We're not doing that, it's fucking embarrassing."

Katsuki is torn between being angry or laughing at the sheer cluelessness of Shouto's suggestion. In the end, however, he's distracted by the implications of what he's just said.

"Wait, you have a sister?"

"Yeah," Shouto replies, cocking his head to the side as if he doesn't understand why Katsuki sounds so surprised. "And two brothers."

"How come I've never heard of them before?"

As the current ruling vampire family, the Todorokis were always target of people's attention, and with Hiyuri's closeness to his mother in the past years, Katsuki had come to know some lesser known details of what went on behind the scenes of the throne. Never, however, had Hiyuri mentioned any other children, nor had he seen anyone other than Shouto accompanying her to the meetings.

"They don't live with us," Shouto explains. "Back when… my old man ruled, they were never in the spotlight, so most people barely knew they were there."

Once again, when talking about his father, Shouto's demeanor changes, if only slightly; his fingers dig into the sheets, some of that cold anger Katsuki had felt before coming back to his expression.

"When Enji died and my mother decided to take over, those who believed in his old ideals were against it. We were targeted. Fuyumi, being the oldest, took my brothers to a safe house." As sudden as before, the anger drains from Shouto's face and he sighs, head falling with a thump against the wall. "They wanted to come back when my mother secured her position, but she asked them to stay hidden until the peace treaty is signed. It's still dangerous - especially now, with these attacks."

"And yet, you are not hiding."

Shouto gives out a dry laugh.

"No, I'm not. I'm not going to hide, ever again, as long as there's people like my father out there." When his eyes open, he looks calmer, though there's a set determination behind them. "I'll do anything to get that peace treaty signed, and stop another war from happening." He takes Katsuki's hand again, and this time the werewolf only flinches from the sudden touch, but doesn't pull back. "Even date you."

"What the fuck do you mean by that, you Half-'n-Half vampire-"

Katsuki is about to will his claws to come out and pierce the stupid vampire's hand when he notices the small smile on Shouto's face, and he realizes the other is making fun of him.

It doesn't make him any less angry, but it's enough to stop him from maiming his so-called boyfriend.

"You bastard," he growls.

Shouto ignores him, turning his head to the side as his smile grows. The tense aura that had come from him talking about his family dissipates.

"We should decide what to do for our next date," he says.

Katsuki is tempted not to let him change the subject so easily, but they've already been talking for a long time, and Mitsuki's meeting with Hiyuri must be nearing its end. He's curious about what went on between Shouto and his father - because he's sure there's something more than the man just being a shithead, Shouto's reactions being too visceral for it - but they have more pressing matters to discuss.

He can ask Shouto about it later.

Hiyuri = 氷百合 = 'Ice Lily' (credits to Nin for giving me this lovely suggestion for Todoroki's mom's name!)