Chapter One: A King and His Dragon
Bakugou was already shucking off his cape as he weaved his way through the trees towards the small, secluded watering hole he often used to bath – his clan used a river closer by for their water needs.
But as the pond came into view the sounds of splashing reached him, and Bakugou grunted angrily, prepared to scare of any manner of animal that was going to be ruin his bathing experience.
Instead he saw the toned back, slightly curved hips, slim arms, the swell of backside of what he was sure must be a pixie, or wood nymph. His deceased grandfather had told him many stories about the creatures that inhabited the forest. It wasn't unbelievable. Bakugou's own companion was the size of a small house and could breathe fire.
Bakugou was quiet as he approached, doing his best not to startle her, taking note of damp clothes slung over a low branch, shoes tucked at the base of the accompanying, a sword leaning against the trunk.
Bakugou faltered and stepped on something that crunched under his foot.
The almost ethereal being bathing in front of him twisted around in shock, wet green curls falling into a round, freckled face, cheeks bright red at being discovered.
"Todoroki-sama, I told you – "
It was a man, Bakugou noted absently, his eyes starting down and moving up. It wasn't a nymph, a pixie, a fairy. But the open face, the parted lips, the wide eyes. Yeah. He liked that.
The man seemed shocked it wasn't who he thought it was, flushed cheeks turning darker, lips trembling.
Bakugou cocked his head wordlessly, wondering if he would get a tart, vicious reply. More…civilised people weren't that respective of the wilder clans.
Instead, the man shrieked, and ducked low into the water, so fast it was as if his knees had given way. All that remained surfaced were his wide eyes, his nose, and his burning red ears.
Bakugou felt a smirk cross his face.
"Come now," he jeered. "No need to hide on my account. Keep on, I don't mind. I'm just here to bathe myself."
The green eyes peering from the water nervously darted to the pile of clothing.
Bakugou stepped forward, dropping his cloak next to the neatly placed shoes, his hands moving to the belt that kept his trousers up even as he toed off his boots.
"That's quite okay!" the flustered man told him, lifting his head to be heard. "I was leaving now!"
"Don't rush," Bakugou tried to placate and his instincts were barely enough to warn him there was something behind him when the cold steel of a sword settled on his shoulder, blade pressed to his neck.
"Izuku," Todoroki spoke past Bakugou's head. "I heard your scream. Are you alright?"
"Just – Just startled, Todoroki-sama!" Izuku replied quickly, eyes darting between faces.
"Are you quite finished? Please, I've asked before. Outside of the walls you can call me Shouto."
"My clothes are still drying I'm afraid. Todoroki-sama."
Bakugou felt angry at being ignored, the emotion bubbling in his stomach. But there was something about the defiance in Izuku's tone – Izuku, he had a name – that made him smirk.
Todoroki stepped around Bakugou, arm still outstretched, tip of the sword now resting in the hollow of Bakugou's throat. He felt if he breathed too deep, his skin would split. This move put Todoroki within reach of Izuku's hanging clothes, his palm resting against them. Steam started rising from them as they received heat, rapidly drying.
"You can come out. I'll dry you too." Todoroki's eyes slanted to Bakugou, and Bakugou startled at seeing two eye colours. His clan would have declared someone like that a witch, the heat that he'd used from his skin a confirmation of this. Instead this person seemed to hold power, with the honorific Izuku seemed determined to give him.
Izuku looked at Bakugou hesitantly, even as his shoulders surfaced. The sunlight filtering through the trees picked at the scars that lined his skin, scars Bakugou hadn't noticed before enamoured as he had been.
"It's alright. There's nothing I haven't seen already now." Bakugou smiled, but probably showed too many teeth because Izuku sunk down again.
"I believe you have overstayed your welcome." Todoroki's voice, warm when encouraging and addressing Izuku was so cold when he spoke to Bakugou that it almost gave Bakugou whiplash.
"How would I know people would be in my woods today, huh?" Bakugou snipped back, angry that Todoroki was eye level with him, because he enjoyed looking down his nose at other people.
"Your woods?" Todoroki sounded as if he was trying to hold back a derisory laugh, his lip curling up in a sneer.
Bakugou grinned then, wide and savage, at realising these people, these strange people in his territory, didn't know he was.
"Oh, yes. Mine. I'm Bakugou Katsuki, Dragon King. And you are trespassing." And as if on cue, to accentuate his anger, his partner, still waiting because here the trees were too thick, roared.
"Holy shit," was whispered from the pond, and Todoroki's shock was replaced by alarm as Izuku promptly passed out.
Izuku woke up to the lulling motion of being on a horse, his cheek pressed to something solid and warm. His legs were tied to the saddle but his alarm quickly passed into realisation that it had only been done to keep him upright and secure.
Turning his head showed his own horse trotting alongside them, attached to the reins of the horse he was currently on. His hair was still slightly wet at the back, cold drips down his neck.
"Todoroki-sama?" he asked.
"Ah, Izuku. You're awake? Are you okay?"
"Where are we?" Izuku was already sitting upright, fingers fumbling with his leg ties. He felt ashamed, angry at himself for daring to doze when he was supposed to be protecting his charge, his prince.
"On the main road. The castle is already in sight."
"How long have I been asleep?" Izuku's alarm deepened. The woods were not close to the kingdom by any means.
"A few hours. If you were tired before this journey, you should have told me. We could have left it for another time. When we return I will have the scribes send a raven, to tell the Iida's why we could not make it to their home."
"If I was simply asleep, we could have continued? If you can excuse my impertinence."
Todoroki's back stiffened. "You aren't impertinent. How long have we known each other for now?" he sighed. "I did not feel…safe in those woods, despite the assurance of their…their king."
Izuku felt himself tense at the reminder, that the tall blond man that had watched him bathe, first with curiosity then with heat to his eyes, was the Dragon King. With a dragon. Maybe many dragons.
Todoroki's hands white knuckled on the reins.
He'd swiftly abandoned his sword and pulled Izuku gently from the water, the water still holding a lingering of heat from where he had warmed it not twenty minutes before for Izuku to enjoy.
He was just reaching for the clothes hanging from the branch when Bakugou had simply swept his own cloak over to protect Izuku's modesty.
He'd said, with a sharp grin, that he'd be happy to escort them through his territory, to help them reach the other end of the forest without harassment, with his protection.
But Todoroki had felt warm, burning protectiveness, possessiveness he was near reluctant to say, curling in his gut at the glances Bakugou had been throwing at the sleeping Izuku.
So he'd simply, curtly, rejected his help, ignored the piercing gaze in the back of his neck as he'd dried and dressed Izuku, and then he'd swept his knight into his arms and left, a prickling still in his spine.
"You held a sword to his throat," Izuku said quietly. "Will they retaliate?"
"He found it funny, more than a threat," Todoroki replied tersely. He neglected to say, once their horses had picked their way back into open plains, that the trees behind them had cracked and rustled, a huge red beast lifting from the canopy, wings beating fiercely to keep it aloft, snout facing them.
He'd been afraid then, that Bakugou would just take them. But the dragon had simply swooped over the expanse of trees and disappeared once more.
Izuku exhaled slowly, his forehead falling to rest in the top centre of Todoroki's back, Todoroki's hair mingling with his own, tickling his forehead, his hands curled on his thighs.
"Todoroki-sama, if you stop shortly I can move to my own horse."
"Just go back to sleep," Todoroki said dismissively. "I know you've been training rigorously recently, for what reason I don't know, but you can rest now. We're within reach of patrols, but I will wake you if anything approaches."
Izuku's hand lifted, fingertips gently pressed to Todoroki's back, the muscle tight beneath them. Then, he breathed his near silent thanks, and his hand was dropping away before he could feel Todoroki relax in relief that he had listened.
Izuku grunted as the sword hit his, Kirishima using his height and weight to bear down against Izuku, a wide grin on his face.
Izuku retaliated by sweeping out his foot and sidestepping, Kirishima's own force pressing the sword into the dirt of the training courtyard, and Izuku whipped around, his wooden sword smacking against Kirishima's shoulder, knocking him to the floor as he overbalanced.
"Ah, damint," Kirishima cursed good-naturedly. "You're too good for me."
"You're just too eager sometimes," Izuku offered, setting his sword aside to give Kirishima his hand. "You have brute strength, but in some cases that won't help you."
"I sometimes feel cheated," Kirishima sighed, accepting the help up. "That you have all your strength too, but you can beat me without using it."
Izuku grinned, and replied, "That's for special circumstances, and you know it. Just like yours. You saved Lady Uraraka the other day from being stabbed, with your quick thinking. Don't think I hadn't heard."
Kirishima blushed slightly, rubbing his neck. "I mean, it helps that sharp things can't pierce my quirk."
"You can protect other people without a sword," Izuku simply said, and patted him on the shoulder before reaching up to pick Kirishima's sword. "Clean up. Get some dinner."
"Yes, sir," Kirishima snapped a mock salute and jogged across the courtyard towards the barracks.
Izuku watched him go before replacing the weaponry. Where the jug of water was on the nearby bench, there was a note tucked under the ceramic. Izuku had not seen anyone enter or leave while he'd been sparring, but he was often distracted when fighting.
He drank deeply from the jug, the water dribbling down his chin, before he set it aside and picked up the note.
The water in his stomach felt suddenly heavy.
'Bakugou Katsuki is here. Please come to the parlour when convenient. T.S'
He'd almost forgotten the name, the months later that it was. They'd visited Iida Tenya and his family in the western kingdom by taking the roundabout route, and returned several days later by the same course after the pleasantries. Iida was a close friend, after all.
And then it had been quiet, Todoroki brought into more and more court affairs, despite his sister being more favourable for the throne than he. Izuku himself had very recently taken position as Captain of The Guard over his mentor, Toshinori Yagi, often called All-Might for his strength and prowess.
Reading the familiar name made him nervous, and he crumpled the note as he quickly strapped his sword to his waist and entered the castle, trying to ignore how the dirt was caked to his skin, and how sweat was still plastering his hair to his skull.
Maids and the like avoided him, parting like waves around him as he strode down the hallways, pausing outside of the parlour to gain his bearings.
Then, he straightened his spine and knocked.
The door opened almost as soon as he was done, a frightened maid ushering him in. With a gentle hand to her wrist, he murmured, "You can leave now. Don't worry."
The maid darted away before he'd finished his reassurances, and Izuku watched her go as he closed the door.
"Ah, ah," a familiar voice said almost sarcastically. "You're wearing clothes this time. Shame."
Izuku turned around to see Bakugou slouched in one of the soft armchairs, looking at odds with the décor with his state of dress. Whatever he was about to say next failed to leave him as he took in Izuku's appearance, flustered, sweaty and dirty.
Izuku let his eyes sweep the room, was relieved to see Todoroki perched primly in one of the other chairs, and then abruptly felt his breathe leave him in a faint squeak at the snout pressed against the wall to wall windows that gave the room its natural light.
Unsure how he had missed it before, Izuku could only gape, back pressed against the door, as he took in the dragon huffing clouds of condensation onto the glass.
"You like him?" Bakugou asked then, a grin taking over his face as he sat up. "Half-and-half here wasn't too sure, but you look like you know how to appreciate a good thing. Biggest of the litter he was, my Ryoto."
Izuku managed to drag his eyes away to look back at Todoroki, before he was walking across the room, taking a stance behind the prince.
"It is…nice to meet you again, your highness."
Bakugou scoffed. "I've seen you naked, what the fuck sort of formality is that. Besides, I'm not here to be 'king'. I'm here to make friends. Told your princeling here to get you."
"To get…me?" Izuku hesitated, and Todoroki sat back in his chair, the back of his head pressed into the armchair, as if trying to get closer.
"Yeah," Bakugou grinned again, hands gripping the arms of the chair. "I want to be your friend."
Izuku was bewildered now, faltering as he asked, "You want to be my friend?"
Bakugou sat back again, nodding curtly. "You're going to have to tell me how, though."
"I don't particularly…" Izuku began. "Todoroki-sama is my only friend, in informal settings." His face twisted as he added, "Sorry, Bakugou – Bakugou-sama."
Bakugou's face looked as if he'd swallowed curdled milk. "Don't fucking do that, that's disgusting. Friends call each other by first names, or nicknames. So I'll call you…Deku." He grinned, satisfied at with his own wit. "Now you have to make a nickname for me. I'm not your king, so don't be formal! And use my first name or I'll fucking kill you."
Izuku was sure Bakugou wouldn't actually kill him, but at his words Todoroki was singeing the armchair on one side, crackling ice on the other. He was pretty sure the armchair cost more gold than he saw in a year.
Looking once again at the imposing dragon, he tested the waters with a reluctant, "K-Kacchan?"
Bakugou sat up, ramrod straight, and gave such a smile that Izuku almost felt naked again.
"Yeah. That's all that I was here for, anyway." He abruptly stood, so quick and sudden that Izuku's hand curled around the handle of his sword anxiously.
The dragon at the window rumbled.
Suddenly, and unbidden, Izuku blurted, "Would you like the window open for him?"
"Izuku," Todoroki said softly. "The windows require a four man team and ladders, to open."
Izuku leaned forward, lips nearly to Todoroki's hair as he murmured, "We need to show him we are not scared of his brute strength, because we have our own."
Todoroki smiled, eyes flickering to the window.
"Ryoto ain't fond of strangers," Bakugou said dismissively. "Anyone you bring in to open the windows, he'll probably eat them."
Izuku unstrapped his sword, letting it lean against Todoroki's chair, taking off first his vambraces and then his greaves, the leather armour likely to be unwieldy in what he was going to attempt.
"Don't worry," he bit down on the formalities as they wanted to run off his tongue. "I can get the windows."
He strode across the room, crouching down to release where they all individually latched into the floor. Bakugou had sat back down, but was leaning forward to watch clearer, an unsure frown on his face.
Izuku turned to make eye contact, once with Bakugou, and then with Todoroki, who gave a slight nod of encouragement.
Then, with barely a flick of his wrist, a soft crackle of power over skin, Izuku pushed the window up until it clicked into place near the ceiling, the bottom pane sliding over the top pane. It unnerved him greatly when he got to the next window and Ryoto's breath gushed against his clothes, setting his clothes aflutter.
By the time the last window was open, he'd been bumped by his snout no less than six times, and didn't realise Bakugou had stepped closer to watch until he turned around and his nose met a bare shoulder.
"I think," Bakugou said, soft all of a sudden when he'd been nothing but brash before, angry and proud.
"I think I'm going to marry you."
Todoroki all but exploded.
This was meant to be an interlude for Golden Voice. I think I might turn it into a multi-chapter TodoDekuBaku.