Katsuki’s old man is a bit of a mess. He’s a doormat on a good day, and gets flustered ridiculously easily. He tends to get absorbed in whatever it is that he does: most of the time, work. And when he gets absorbed like this, he becomes so much so that sometimes Katsuki feels like he’s the parent, with how much he has to take care of him.
But he’s his old man regardless, and Katsuki very reluctantly loves him a whole fucking lot.
So he patiently barges into the study room to slip a plate of food onto the desk every few hours when his dad locks himself inside for a project, and turns off the wi-fi at midnight so the loser will finally get to bed.
One thing about his dad that has always irked Katsuki is the glasses. Not their mere existence, no—not even Katsuki is that much of an asshole that he’d hold it against someone for being cursed with shitty fucking eyesight. Especially when he seems to have inherited said shitty eyesight. But alas, his father didn’t take Katsuki’s route of wearing daily contact lenses, and instead decided to go about his life looking like a fucking nerd with those thick-ass, ugly-ass rectangle frames.
Katsuki’s issue with the glasses is the fact that his old man doesn’t ever fucking clean them. He’ll wander around the house with smudges littering the clear lenses, so caught up in his newest project that he’d rather just squint through the blurriness than take a damn minute to wipe the damn things down.
To each their fucking own, or whatever, right?
It’s totally fucking fine.
Except it’s really not.
Maybe it’s the perfectionist in Katsuki, or maybe it’s just the frustration of having to be subjected to the sight every day. But what’s the damn point of getting glasses to see better if you’re just gonna end up squinting through them anyway?
So Katsuki, in the way he does everything else, takes care of his father here too.
He’ll stop him, will hold out an expectant hand until the glasses are placed in his palm.
He’ll wipe the lenses with a microfibre cloth, really taking his time so that maybe his loser dad will finally take a break while he waits. As he is with most things, he’s meticulous here too: gentle, even swipes until the glass is left gleaming and without lines.
By the age of twelve, it’s become a habit to carry a microfibre cloth and spray cleaner in his pockets.
What a fucking burden, he’ll complain as he painstakingly sprays down the lenses and swipes away the residue, pointedly ignoring the disgustingly affectionate look his old man is undoubtedly directing at him.
By fifteen, it’s muscle memory.
Maybe that’s why when he’s sitting in homeroom, leaning precariously on the back legs of his desk chair and being subjected to another one of Iida’s many pretentious lectures about propriety, his eyes zero in on the faint, barely-perceptible smudge on the right lens of the other’s glasses.
Maybe that’s why he doesn’t think twice about leaning up in his seat to pluck them right off the nerd’s nose, tugging a microfibre cloth from his pant pocket and beginning to rub at the blemish carefully.
He’s immersed in the task, obviously—he’s Bakugou motherfucking Katsuki, and he doesn’t half-ass anything. He’s immersed enough that the only thing to pull him out of his focused cleaning is Ojiro’s awkward, “Iida, are you okay?”
At this, he finally tears his gaze away from his work for a split-second to glance up. Iida’s frozen in action, arms suspended comically in the air in the middle of one of his characteristic chopping motions. His eyes are wide, laser-focused on the glasses in Katsuki’s hands, and he’s turned a peculiar shade of red.
Katsuki blinks, turning his gaze back down to the glasses.
Is he being rude? Was touching the sacred glasses some sort of insult to the great Iida bloodline or something? He’s not really sure about the social protocols here—not that he’s ever given a fuck about social protocols, but—the class president looks like he’s about to have an aneurysm.
“Iida,” Ojiro says again, warily. Iida, not looking away from Katsuki’s hands, makes a wheezing noise somewhat reminiscent of the air slowly leaving a balloon.
Katsuki bites the inside of his cheek, pausing for a moment longer, before he ultimately shrugs and returns to cleaning the glasses. It’s not like he gives a fuck. If the fucker didn’t want his glasses touched, maybe he should have cleaned them instead of walking around with them looking like the screen of a four-year-old child’s iPad.
He was practically asking for it, in Katsuki’s not-very-humble opinion.
The lenses are dry, he thinks irritably as his swipes simply end up creating ugly lines on the glass. He huffs to himself, rooting around in his pocket for the little bottle of lens cleaner.
Two minutes later, the glasses are finally spotless. He nods to himself once, handing them back to a still-motionless Iida.
“Dude,” Kirishima says, concerned. “I think you broke him.”
In response, the class president makes another odd, distressed noise. He blinks owlishly at the glasses, and then at Katsuki, and then at the glasses again.
“Iida, in your seat.” Aizawa stands up wearily at the podium, signalling the start of lessons.
With one final wheeze, Iida turns on his heel and jerkily shuffles back to his desk.
Iida doesn’t lecture him for the rest of the week. Katsuki puts it down to the asshole (rightfully) leaving him alone in gratitude for the undoubtedly improved vision that Katsuki has given him.
Then, on a Monday morning, he’s making a smoothie for his run and walks straight into the class president.
The taller student, who’s sipping at a ridiculously large glass of orange juice, looks comically panicked at the sight of Katsuki.
“Bakugou!” he cries, voice strangled.
“Ugh,” Katsuki says, glaring at the new blemishes that adorn the other’s glasses. It’s six in the fucking morning. How has this asshole managed to smudge his glasses by six in the morning?
Wordlessly, he tugs the frames from the other’s face and pulls his microfibre cloth from the pocket of his joggers.
“I—” Iida says loudly, like he’s about to start on a big speech. Then there’s the audible click of his mouth slamming shut again.
“The fuck’s up with you?” Katsuki doesn’t look up from his ministrations.
Iida sounds like he’s about to burst into tears.
“Maybe if you fucking kept them clean I wouldn’t have to waste my time on it,” he snaps back irritably.
Iida doesn’t reply, standing stupidly stiff as he watches Katsuki wipe his glasses down again. When he’s done, he presses them into the nerd’s hand and stalks off with his new smoothie, cloth tucked back into his pocket.
Iida, despite Katsuki’s very gracious and helpful advice, does not keep his glasses clean.
For the next four weeks, his microfibre cloth and cleaning spray are put to good use as Iida manages to smudge up his glasses unreasonably frequently. He complains every time, but, annoyingly enough, the irritation at the sight of the smudges greatly trumps his reluctance to be caught helping anyone.
Then one day they’re sitting in the library poring over a partnered assignment and Katsuki once again finds himself unable to stop glowering at the tiny smear of dust at the left corner of the taller boy’s glasses.
“You—well—” the other is saying, staring intently at the textbook spread over the desk between them. His cheeks are dark, and he hasn’t looked the blond in the eye all afternoon. He’s been weird around Katsuki lately, but if it spares him from the lectures, he’ll be the last to complain. “I think we should. Well—the report should address at least—at least two of the identified—”
“Shut up,” Katsuki says kindly. Then, he leans over the table to snag the glasses and clean them down for the nth time.
Iida doesn’t say anything.
Katsuki glances up, studies the dark tint to the other’s cheeks and the way his gaze seems to be fixed closely on Katsuki’s hands as they fiddle with the glasses.
Iida looks strikingly different without his glasses—he looks like a jock, Katsuki realises a moment later with no small amount of delight. The epiphany has him snorting to himself before he can reign it in, and Iida’s intent eyes snap up to meet his at the sound.
“What is it?” the other asks quietly.
“Fucking nothing, Four-eyes.”
Iida blinks at him, before seemingly chickening out and averting his gaze to the desk.
“You’re good at that,” he says awkwardly.
Katsuki squints at him.
“Don't get me wrong, I'm good at everything," he says flatly. "But there’s not exactly a way that you can be fucking good at cleaning glasses."
“Well,” the other says stiltedly. “Regardless. I think you are.”
Something odd rears up in Katsuki’s stomach at the clumsy, almost shy manner with which Iida is looking at everything but him. It takes a moment for the sensation to register, but when it does, he almost drops the glasses.
It’s fondness, he realises with abject horror. He feels fond. Of Iida.
Maybe this is karma for bullying Deku. Maybe the gods have finally decided to give Katsuki the retribution he admittedly probably deserves for his childhood years spent being a bratty little bitch. How fucking cruel.
“Fucker,” he spits, shoving the glasses back at Iida and tugging the textbook toward himself roughly.
Suddenly, Iida’s refusal to meet his gaze becomes a lot less amusing and a lot more relatable.
Two weeks later—two glorious, unhindered weeks of avoiding Iida because he knows he’ll cave if he sees those smudged, dusty fucking glasses again—he steps out of his dorm room and stumbles face-first into a very broad chest.
“The—fuck?” he shouts.
“Oh!” Iida says, looking halfway between guilty and panicked. “Bakugou! What a surprise to see you here!”
Katsuki blinks at him, and then at the corridor they stand in, with vague incredulity.
“A surprise to see me at my fucking dorm?” he asks skeptically. “Real question is what the fuck you’re doing here.”
Iida’s mouth opens, before closing again. He looks stumped.
“Well,” he says unconvincingly. “I fancied a walk.”
Katsuki doesn’t speak for a long moment, before once more turning to study the corridor, and the way his dorm room is the final one, at the very end of the hallway.
“A walk,” he repeats slowly.
Katsuki decides not to dignify that fuckery with a response. Instead, he very exasperatedly looks at the new smudges that have taken residence on those stupid glasses.
“Your glasses are dirty,” he says, trying to keep the frustration out of his voice. His hands itch to just—
“Oh!” Iida cries, a touch too loudly. “My—my glasses? Dirty? I never would have—I had no idea! What a shock!”
Katsuki scowls at the obvious fucking lie. The smudges are thick, covering enough glass that Iida’s head is tilted slightly to peer through them in that familiar way that Katsuki’s old man always does when he doesn’t want to admit his glasses need a good clean.
This fucker—first he comes for a walk to a dead-end in the boy’s dorms, and then tries to lie to Katsuki about his glasses not being—
The unspeakable feeling raises up in his gut again, warm and gross and syrupy-thick.
“Well,” he says carefully, heart doing a weird little twist in his throat. His palms are suddenly sweating at his sides. “I’m guessing you don’t have a fucking cloth on you.”
Iida very pathetically fails to hide the way his eyes light up at the question.
“I don’t, unfortunately,” he says, attempting a dignified tone and falling so flat it’s closer to eagerness.
“Alright,” Katsuki sighs. “Hand them the fuck over.”
At the pleased flush that dusts the taller boy’s cheeks, Katsuki’s heart does another traitorous little twirl in his chest. He ignores the urge to beat it into submission with a fucking baseball bat, and instead accepts the glasses and reaches for his cloth.
A week later, Iida is absent from class because he managed to brain himself on a stray boulder during training.
Katsuki doesn’t realise he’s volunteered to pass on his notes until he’s already halfway to the other’s dorm room.
“Bakugou,” Iida says when he opens the door. There’s a bandage wrapped around his head, and he looks inordinately pleased to see Katsuki. It’s kind of like Kirishima, who physically perks up at the sight of Katsuki, like a golden retriever. But the difference is that Kirishima is a generally gross and nice person who will perk up at the sight of anyone. Iida isn’t like that. He doesn’t perk up when he sees his friends, or brighten at the slightest convenience. And yet here Iida is—just for him.
That dreaded feeling unfurls in his stomach and he finds great gratification in taking a metaphorical sledge-hammer to the thing until it’s splintered into a thousand pieces and his heart can beat normally again.
“Notes,” he announces roughly in lieu of a proper greeting, thrusting the file out towards the other.
“Thank you,” Iida says softly.
His glasses are smudge-free, Katsuki notices with an inexplicable disappointment.
Moments later, he scowls at himself. Why the fuck is he disappointed? He attempts (and fails miserably) to wrangle his traitorous disappointment into something that makes more sense, like relief. When that proves unsuccessful, he takes to glaring at Iida’s socks instead.
“Would you like to come in?” Iida asks stiltedly, after a pregnant pause. “I—I’m not familiar with your method of note-taking, so I may need some assistance with, well—”
“Yeah,” Katsuki replies gruffly, cutting him off. “Obviously.”
He shuffles inside behind the other, and comes face-to-face with multiple shelves of glasses, lenses covered in dust—no doubt from lack of use. The sight is simultaneously his biggest nightmare and, for some baffling reason, his biggest wet dream. He’s not sure when cleaning glasses became something that he wanted to do instead of something that he had to—not sure when necessity became desire, but his hands itch to clean all the same.
Iida, he notices when he turns to face him, is watching him carefully.
“I have… a lot of pairs. In case of emergencies.”
Katsuki chews the inside of his cheek.
“Not gonna be much fucking use in an emergency if you can barely see out of them,” he replies.
An unspoken recognition hangs in the air between them.
A smile tugs faintly at the taller boy's lips, and he dips his head slightly.
“I suppose not.”
Katsuki bites back a grin and pushes past the other to pull the first pair off the shelf.
Iida watches, silent.
“You’re a surprisingly meticulous person,” he says, after a few minutes.
“If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna fucking do it right.”
A soft chuckle sounds from behind him. He ignores it, holding the third pair up to the light to make sure he hasn’t missed any spots.
“If you don’t mind me asking, Bakugou, why do you carry around a microfibre cloth and cleaning spray?”
Katsuki huffs, gently smoothing out a particularly stubborn blemish on the fourth pair.
“My old man’s shit at cleaning his,” he mutters noncommittally. “If I didn’t do it for him, he’d probably be walkin’ around blind.”
“Oh,” Iida says slowly. Something about the tone of the word, almost disappointed, has Katsuki turning to him with narrowed eyes.
“Fuck’d you think?” he demands.
“Nothing. I just—”
Iida’s standing closer to him than he’d initially realised. Probably less than four feet away.
“For a second I’d thought that maybe you wore glasses.”
“I do sometimes. Most of the time I wear contacts.”
At this, a spark of something vaguely resembling hope flickers back to life in the taller boy’s eyes.
“You—I’ve never seen you wear them.” It’s a question phrased as a statement.
“Yeah,” he says simply. Then, for the sake of his image, “I’m not gonna let any of you losers see me lookin’ like a nerd.”
Iida doesn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he takes a step closer. And then another, until he’s less than a foot away. He raises a hand over Katsuki’s shoulder, reaching for the shelf behind him. Carefully, he pulls a pair of glasses down, newly-polished. He’s watching Katsuki like he’s afraid he’ll bolt if he moves too quickly, which—is a pretty fair assessment, if Katsuki is being brutally honest.
The blond watches as Iida invades his space, all height and broad muscles. He has to crane his head up to meet the other’s eyes, ever-so-slightly, and that realisation has something unfamiliar churning in his chest. Iida’s gaze holds something akin to wonder—like he’s surprised Katsuki’s still here, surprised he’s letting him get away with this.
“I think,” Iida murmurs, expression careful and searching, “that you would look…”
With careful hands, he places the frame atop Katsuki’s nose, gently resting the temples against Katsuki’s ear.
It’s—it’s trippy. Always is, just like when Katsuki used to steal his dad’s glasses off his desk and slip them on cheekily. The too-strong prescription, vaguely migraine-inducing, makes his head spin. But like this, with his hyperfocused vision, he’s given an up-close view of Iida’s face. He can see the intricate details, the way his eyes widen, lips parting ever-so-slightly. If he lets himself hope, he could swear he sees Iida’s pupils dilate imperceptibly.
The other’s hands still hover by his face where they’d placed the glasses on him.
Iida looks so much closer to him with these lenses warping his vision—it’s like there’s not even an inch between them, and he wants to write it off as the lens prescription until he feels the soft puff of breath, warm as it fans over his cheeks.
“I—” Iida says voice hushed. “You are so—”
This time when he moves closer, Katsuki knows it’s for real—can see it in the way cobalt eyes flicker down to his lips carefully, before darting back up.
Their lips are a whisper apart when Iida’s eyes flash with something adjacent to panic and he swerves, lips instead landing clumsily at a spot at the apex of Katsuki’s cheek, right below the corner of his eye.
“Wh—” Katsuki says, eyes widening.
For some traitorous reason, his face grows hot. He’s kissed before, in middle school when he was fucking around with friends and shit. But this—for some reason, this feels so much more intimate than kissing on the lips. It sends his heart hammering against his sternum.
“Damn it,” Iida mutters, head dropping to rest against Katsuki’s shoulder. He still has him pressed against the shelves, boxing him in close, and the curse is enough to have Katsuki’s jaw dropping.
“What the fuck,” he says dumbly. Iida sighs.
“You make me extraordinarily nervous,” he mutters candidly. “You’re terrible for my heart, Bakugou.”
Katsuki’s cheek burns where soft lips had pressed moments ago, and he resists the urge to press a hand over his own heart.
“Good for your vision, though.” The words are raspy, almosttentative.
Iida huffs out a chuckle against him, warmth seeping into his shoulder.
“That’s true. I guess some sacrifices must be made.”
A slow grin spreads across Katsuki’s lips at this, wide and unfettered. His nervousness ebbs away, and in its place seeps in that familiar, syrupy-warm something. He raises a hand to the starched collar of Iida’s starched uniform shirt and closes his grip around it, thrilled at the way it crumples under his fingers.
“Sounds like a shitty sacrifice,” he drawls.
Iida lifts his head up to meet his gaze, eyes dark and amused.
“Terrible,” he murmurs. “You have no idea.”
Katsuki’s still smiling when he tugs Iida down to press their lips together.