Deku's boldness comes from knowing this fic was going to be short. Who has time to draw things out when you've only three chapters to get to the point? XD
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoy the conclusion to this fun little fic. :D
Kacchan shoved a slim, hand-held voice recorder into Izuku's hands as he walked by on his way to his desk without looking at Izuku or commenting. They both knew what it was. He'd taped a folded piece of paper to the front on top of the headphones wrapped around the recorder.
Izuku flipped up the page and read "Don't listen to this until tonight when you're alone."
That sounded promising.
Kacchan pulled out his materials for their first class, face blank with his usual morning expression. It gave nothing away to what might be on the contents of the recording and Izuku bit his lip as he shoved the voice recorder in his backpack.
The evening couldn't come soon enough.
Izuku barely made it through classes and the rest of the day as the voice recorder tempted Izuku from his bag. The headphones were a cruel, mocking gift that gave Izuku the option to sneak in a listen during lunch or between breaks.
But the note said to wait, so Izuku would wait.
Izuku locked his dorm room door and pulled off his uniform jacket and tie. His heart pumped against his ribs as his trembling fingers undid the buttons of his shirt. Izuku changed in the dark, swapping his school uniform for a t-shirt and boxers as the giddy feeling of excitement stretched from his head to his toes. He grabbed the voice recorder out of his backpack and hopped onto his bed, bouncing on the top comforter.
He put the headphones on and spread out along his mattress, putting his head on the pillow and drawing his knees up.
Izuku counted to ten to prepare himself and pressed the "play" button.
"So, useless little Deku wants to hear he's a good boy," Kacchan started. Izuku listened to his tongue click as his classmate snorted. "Why am I not surprised? I had to research for this, so even if you did pay me, you better appreciate it."
He covered his mouth, hiding his grin from himself in the empty room. Kacchan never did anything halfway—why would this be any different?
"You want to know what you're really good at? Being a pain in the ass. You're the greatest at that without question. No one gets under my skin as well as you do and no one makes my blood boil faster."
Izuku choked out a laugh and his chest hurt from tightening. Kacchan had found a loophole and that was so like him, Izuku couldn't be angry. He set the voice recorder next to him on the pillow and crossed his hands over his chest.
He could replace the ends of the phrases and keep the good parts if he needed to, but for now, he couldn't help but want to hear what else Kacchan had recorded.
"You're also amazing at getting yourself in trouble. I'm in awe every time you find a new way to recklessly charge in or break another limb trying to master that Quirk of yours. You're very dedicated."
Izuku counted that as Kacchan's way of saying he worried about Izuku—which was a rather sweet thing to include.
"What else, what else? Oh, yes. You're very good at getting into trouble, but you like the rush it brings, so it all works out. You're good at making sure things turn out in your favor, I'll give you that."
That one had almost been genuine.
Izuku closed his eyes and smiled. He could picture the curve of Kacchan's lips as he spoke and the way he held himself. The tilt of his head and the shift of his choppy hair as he exaggerated each phrase.
The recording was nice, but it made Izuku want to see him say these things in person some time, too.
"But that's enough of that, isn't it Izuku?"
Izuku's eyes shot open and he stared at the ceiling. He hadn't expected that.
"Did I get your attention?"
Kacchan certainly had.
"You were so generous and clever with that bribe of yours to get this recording, that I should make sure you get your money's worth. Calling you by an insult defeats the purpose of praise, doesn't it?"
Izuku clutched at his shirt.
"Uraraka misunderstood the name and you rebranded it, but we both know what 'Deku' means when I'm the one saying it."
Izuku shifted on the mattress, pressing his knees together. He put his hand over his mouth and pressed his lips hard into his palm.
"But you deserve better, don't you, Izuku? I intend to deliver, so I hope you're ready to be treated right."
Kacchan's voice turned husky and low. He whispered into the microphone, changing the tone into something gentler.
Izuku may have gotten in over his head.
"You really are improving beyond anything I could have expected. When I compare you now to when you were in middle school, you've gotten much better at following through with those big plans of yours. You're making friends, you're working hard, and you've even gotten good enough at hand-to-hand to make me put in the extra effort to stay on top.
"You worked hard for that, Izuku. You did so well—well enough that even All Might is proud of you. I can see it on his face whenever he looks at you. You don't even see it half the time, but it makes me jealous how proud he is of you.
"Izuku, you're amazing and only getting better."
"Kacchan," Izuku whispered. He felt the tears gathering on the side of his eyes. His heart felt full to bursting.
The praises didn't stop there, as Kacchan shifted the topic from something sentimental to something more appropriate for what Izuku had originally asked for.
"Outside of those successes, though, you do have a lot going for you all on your own. Your hair, for example."
Izuku held his breath.
"I do, really, really like it. The wavy curls felt amazing to touch the other day. Every time I see you I want to run my fingers through it and I was not disappointed with how soft it felt."
Kacchan could touch Izuku's head any time he wanted. He wasn't the only one who had enjoyed that and Izuku could still imagine the feel of Kacchan's fingers.
"Your hair has nothing on your freckles though. You have so few but each one is adorable on your cheeks. You can punch through a wall and terrify villains with your fury, but still look so innocent and adorable when you put your mind to it—that is an achievement."
Izuku felt his cheeks heat. He touched the top of a freckle, closing his eyes again and pretended a warmer hand was the one to do so.
"You're as good as you look, aren't you?"
He went back to holding his chest.
"I bet you'd look even better presenting yourself properly. You've got the perfect body for a nice suit, or maybe a tight pair of pants. You're adorable and hide it all the time in those cheap t-shirts. But for me? I know you'd be good for me." Kacchan lowered his voice. "You'd do everything I asked you to, wouldn't you?"
Izuku had absolutely gotten in over his head.
"Why don't we test it out? Let's see just how much praise you can earn. Impress me, not that I need to tell you to. You're smart enough to know what I want."
Izuku put a hand between his legs. He might as well be drowning with how Kacchan had stolen his breath.
"I won't even need and check to make sure you did the things I'm about to ask," Kacchan said, pausing. He chuckled into the microphone and Izuku's knees felt weak. If he'd been standing, he surely would have collapsed. "You're far too good to disobey me."
Izuku bit his fingers on one hand while the other paid attention to a new, pressing problem.
He could hear Kacchan's breathing on the microphone grow heavy as he paused. Izuku filled in the source with his own imagination.
"Are you going to be good?"
"I know you are, Izuku."
His name again.
"You've always been too good for me."
Izuku let the rest of the tape play out, his heart a wreck and body needy.
Kacchan took very, very good care of him.
"Did you get your money's worth?" Kacchan asked as Izuku sat next to him at lunch. He'd been too flustered all morning to say a word to Kacchan, avoiding him with blushing cheeks and no words that felt even remotely enough to get across what he was feeling. Kacchan had noticed with a knowing smirk. "The game holds up great, by the way. It's every bit as much fun as I thought it'd be."
"You sold yourself too cheap," Izuku said, still half in a daze. He stared at the table top and couldn't find his appetite while his stomach harbored a swarm of butterflies. Kacchan's voice had ruined him. "Way, way, too cheap."
"You're just too easy," Kacchan said. "I can read you like a book, twerp."
"It was appreciated," Izuku said. He glanced at Kacchan and asked, "And what about you? Did you get anything out of all that?"
"A video game," Kacchan said. His words had said 'no' but his eyes and smirk said, "Wouldn't you like to know?"
Izuku very much did.
He was pretty sure they'd crossed a line past a regular friendship somewhere in all this and he intended to make sure it stayed that way.
"Do you want to go out later?" Izuku asked. Kacchan turned toward him and Izuku bit his lip. "I want to show you in person just how good I was at following your instructions last night."
Izuku was rewarded with a dusting of pink on Kacchan's cheek as he looked away.
He went for the kill.
"We'll compare how close your imagination got to the real thing," Izuku said. He leaned over and whispered, "I promise to do everything in my power to be better then whatever was in your head when you came up with that recording."
"Tonight's good," Kacchan said, voice higher than usually. He cleared his throat and stabbed his food. "While it's all still fresh in my mind."
"I look forward to it," Izuku said. He pulled over his lunch tray, chest light and happy. Kacchan kept blushing and Izuku wanted to see him turn redder later.
He'd suffer for it when Kacchan got ahold of himself and realized he was being teased, but it'd be worth it.
"What's with the red faces?" Kaminari said, taking a seat across from them. Kirishima joined him and they looked between Izuku and Kacchan with a confused look. "Are you two picking on each other again?"
"Something like that," Kacchan muttered.
Izuku clapped his hands together. "Oh!"
"What?" Kacchan asked.
"Kaminari, you owe Kacchan his money for the bet," Izuku said.
"No," Kaminari said. He pointed at Izuku and said, "We came to the conclusion that it didn't count because it turned out he was in fact being mean by pretending to be nice and therefore failed."
Izuku looked at Kacchan out of the corner of his eye and bit his lip. "After I thought about it some more, I decided that the bet itself was the mean part and Kacchan had indeed been very nice and we're dating now, so I'd say he fulfilled his half better than even he expected."
Kacchan choked on his food and Kirishima snorted under his breath.
"You're what?" Kaminari said.
"Dating," Izuku said. He clapped his hands together again and nodded. "He said he'd go out with me, which means we're dating."
"I'm adding 'being a brat' to the list of things you're good at," Kacchan said, dropping his head on the table. He held his hand out across the table and glared at Kaminari. "Pay up. Now you owe me for the bet and the trouble it caused."
"I don't think getting a boyfriend counts as trouble," Kirishima said. "That's usually a good thing."
"It's trouble when the boyfriend is Deku," Kacchan said.
Izuku reached over and patted Kacchan on the arm. "Don't worry, Kacchan. I'll make sure it's worth your while."
"You might have to pay up," Kirishima said to Kaminari. "They're not going to let this drop."
"Yeah, about that," Kaminari said. He rubbed the back of his neck and winced. "I already spent the money on a new pair of headphones for Jirou. I guess you were nice for the sake of being nice and got a boyfriend instead of money!"
"What! You don't even have the cash?" Kacchan slammed his palms on the table and stood up snarling. "You're dead."
"Look at the time! I've got to go!" Kaminari abandoned his lunch and sprinted out of the lunchroom.
Kacchan chased him fast on his heels, his Quirk sparking and smoking the entire way.
"Bakugou, huh?" Kirishima asked. He shot Izuku a knowing look and said, "I should have seen that coming."
"The dorm room walls are a lot thinner than Bakugou thinks they are," Kirishima said, winking. He took a bite of a steamed bun and chewed with a chuckle. "Keep that in mind later, but don't tell him I told you that. He might literally combust in embarrassment if he knows I overheard some of the things he said the other night."
Kacchan would be fine. At the end of the day, he can admit he got bribed into it.
Izuku was the one embarrassed, but at least he knew and could make sure they were quiet tonight. Kirishima was a good friend to look out for them like this. He covered his face and said, "Thanks."
"Any time, buddy," Kirishima said. He reached over and patted Izuku on the shoulder. "Sorry to leave, but I need to go save Kaminari from my best friend."
Izuku waved and smiled at the empty table full of half-eaten lunches. He could go over and sit with Uraraka and Iida, but he had a better idea of how to spend the last half of his lunch.
He cleaned up everyone's trays and whistled as he snuck out the back of the cafeteria. Izuku found a private spot to settle outside near a tree and relaxed. He popped his head phones on and clicked the play button on the voice recorder.
Izuku had some studying to do if he was going to impress Kacchan tonight.
Empty praise wasn't nearly as nice as the genuine thing.
Izuku was going to make sure every word out of Kacchan's voice was the real deal.
He'd earned it.