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nothing quite as sweet

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There’s a boy.

There’s a girl.

There’s a boy, a girl, and a supernova in the making.

X

Midoriya is the first to notice it.

It's not his intention, not really. But it’s a habit of him that has grown over the years, being observant with people, noticing things that others may not notice. And he always had had a tendency to look more at Bakugou than any other boy until his first year in Yuuei (because, well, it's Kacchan, as if that were enough explanation.

It is not.)

So. Midoriya realizes before the others.

Right.

The revelation hits him like a punch from the One for All. It catches him by surprise, completely— but, at the same time, it's as if he's been anticipating it, somehow.

It's a glance.

It’s Bakugou staring at Uraraka without blinking, from his seat in the classroom while she, oblivious to this, talks animatedly of something with Tsuyu, a pair of seats forward. Midoriya can admit to himself that this in itself is strange enough, that Bakugou being aware of someone other than himself breaks a little with the universal balance, or something. Unless it's a derogatory or mocking look, or Bakugou is interested in having them as an opponent— which would not be so rare, considering that Uraraka was a tough fight at the sports festival in their first year and is perfectly capable of handling Bakugou in battle without backing (even if she lost that fight).

The thing is.

There’s no fire in Bakugou’s eyes. They’re almost... affectionate. Like a candle, warm, but not enough to cause a fire. Like lava about to solidify after the eruption of a volcano.

And well, yes. Midoriya recognizes that kind of glance. It’s very similar to the one that he dedicates to Shouto, sometimes, when Shouto is distracted in taking notes if they study together, or when they send text messages to each other while being in the boys' dorms and Midoriya feels that his feelings are more protected, somewhat.

Of course it’s not exactly the same. Bakugou looks at Uraraka as if he’s having a conflict with himself, as if he thinks it’s wrong to look at her in this way, which confuses Midoriya.

(Why would it be wrong to have a crush on someone else, after all?)

And then—

Oh.

Because there’s uncertainty. Fear of not being reciprocated.

Because Bakugou respects her. Not only does he consider her pretty or something like that, he sees her courage, her strength, her determination, and respects her for it.

Because Bakugou’s number one priority is to become a great hero, the best hero. For him, there’s no time for trivial distractions like dating, less since the retirement of All Might.

Because Bakugou hates being weak or impotent (and a teenage crush is almost synonymous of weakness).

Even so.

It bothers Midoriya.

X

“I think... I think you should be nicer to her, you know,” he says one day out of nowhere, while Bakugou and he are alone. Midoriya regrets it five seconds later— Izuku, do you have a death wish?! and more when he sees Bakugou's shoulders tighten.

He turns his head slowly towards him.

“What.”

“I, uhm, I-I. I just thought... Uraraka is inherently friendly to everyone, but, yes, you should treat her a little better if... you understand... to win her affection... to compromise... not that I’m saying that you two should get married, err, no! I—”

Suddenly Bakugou is in front of him, frowning. And oh god, what a bad idea.

Idiot, idiot.

What,” he repeats, quietly. Midoriya doesn’t take a step back, doesn’t even think about it. They’re in better terms, after all. And Midoriya kind of wants to be brave, at least with this.

“You like Uraraka, don’t you!” he exclaims abruptly. Bakugou tightens his shoulders more, if that’s possible. And Midoriya doubts himself, just for a brief moment, “...Don’t you?”

There’s silence.

But Bakugou's cheeks painting furiously with red are a pretty clear answer anyway. His expression of anger is still there, however.

“I swear if you say this to someone else—” he begins to threaten. (Bakugou hasn’t threatened him in six months.)

Midoriya clears his throat and interrupts him.

“No need, Kacchan, I meant it! I’m not gonna... divulge it. And neither is something very obvious!” he adds, just to make sure Bakugou does not act defensively with their classmates. Well, more than usual. “I just...”

Bakugou grits his teeth.

“Deku. If you're going to say some sentimental bullshit, do it now.”

Oh geez, thanks for the vote in confidence!

Just. I wanted to help you. Help both of you, actually. To be, you know, together. L-like a couple.”

Bakugou remains silent, and examines him carefully, despite Midoriya’s nerves.

“And why the hell would you do that, huh?” he answers at last.

He does not say: because I think Uraraka helps you to be less rough and you help her to be more bold. He does not say: because you inspire her to not be fragile. He does not say: because she’s literally the only girl who is your friend since... forever, even if you deny that you guys are friends. He does not say: because besides Kirishima she’s the only one with whom you look least annoyed while talking. He does not say: because I know that you usually train in hand-to-hand combat with her after classes, she told me once. He does not say: because I think she makes you happy and you make her happy as well, in a strange way.

Instead Midoriya says, “Because... because I think that you deserve good things in your life too, Kacchan.”

He’s honest.

There’s more silence. Not quite uncomfortable, but easy to cut with a pair of scissors.

“... stupid Deku,” Bakugou says finally, without heat whatsoever. “Stupid Deku and your stupid need to look out for others before yourself and for your stupid wish to being the hero of all when no one asked you to.”

('when I've treated you so badly almost all your damn life and yet you worry about me, you make me feel so…!')

But you treat me better now, Midoriya bites his cheek.

“As if I care if Uraraka likes me back or not,” he continues. But Midoriya knows better. Bakugou is lying. “As if I give a shit about the face she makes when she sees you, as if you were the fucking sun or something, and when you look at her the same.”

And. Wait what?

“Wait a second, Kacchan, you don’t really—” But oh, he could really. Midoriya groans. “You do think Uraraka has feelings for me. Seriously? And that I have feelings for her as well?”

“Well, I'm not exactly fucking blind.”

“That's— no! I mean yes! I mean! I had a crush on her, just starting in Yuuei, but I swear I got over it! She was the first girl I talked to and, yeah. Besides, I like someone else now,” he admits, somewhat embarrassed. Although it’s preferable to not leave room for misunderstandings with Bakugou, “as for her— she admires me. She confessed to me a few months ago that she considered the possibility that she might like me in our first year because everyone bothered her with the subject, but it's really just admiration. It has always been just admiration.”

Oh god, now I’m babbling.

“So..., so if that's what is holding you back, you do not have to worry about it.” Bakugou says nothing. “Uraraka is pretty,” Midoriya says. He's not blind either, duh. But, “The boys in the 2-B class and other departments are beginning to notice. So. You should be nicer to her, t-that’s all.”

As soon as Kaminari and Jirou arrive, talking between them, followed by Iida and Momo and the rest, the conversation comes to an end and Bakugou avoids him the rest of the afternoon.

Midoriya sighs.

(And his knees tremble, too. But he’s still brave. So it’s good.)

X

Midoriya soon discovers that Bakugou's feelings may not be as unilateral as he assumes.

It’s, of course, a glance what tells him this.

Uraraka and Iida and him are in the common room of the dorms, enjoying the weekend. They we’re deciding on what kind of genre they should do a marathon of movies since they finished their homeworks for Aizawa-sensei already.

(“Uraraka-kun I don’t want to offend you, but I think that your cinema’s preference is somewhat disturbing—”

Eeeh? But Iida-kun! Alien’s saga is iconic! and the terror as genre is—”

“To be honest, I-I’m not such a horror fan either Uraraka. Why don’t we watch some romantic comedies...?”

“Deku by whom are you taking me! That's sexist—!”

“What if we watch some American superheroes movies! Midoriya-kun, Uraraka-kun?”

“Ah, perfect!”).

They have already put the fourth DVD of the day, ‘Captain America and the Winter Soldier’, when Midoriya sees out of the corner of his eye, by accident, that Uraraka does not seem to be very focused on the screen. Actually, nothing focused at all. And she’s pressing the keys of her cellphone— as if her life hangs from a thread.

“Uraraka?” he asks in a whisper, not wanting to be heard by Iida.

Uraraka lets out a high-pitched noise resembling a mouse. But she recovers quickly and pretends that nothing happens.

Weird.

“Y-yeah, Deku?”

“Uh, what are you doing?”

“Oh. You know. Texting.”

“Okay. That’s kinda obvious.” He smiles.

Uraraka smiles back, but she seems... off.

“Texting with– uhm, with... Bakugou-kun?” she says at last.

Midoriya blinks.

“With Kacchan.”

“Eh, yes.”

You’re. Texting. With. Kacchan.”

Uraraka makes a pout, as if unsure.

“Well, yeah. But it's technically your fault! For always talking so good of him! You’re a bad influence, Deku.”

Midoriya cannot help it, he laughs. And Uraraka laughs with him.

“So, Kacchan, eh,” he says, half joking half seriously. Uraraka nods. “I had no idea you had his number,” he says, curious.

Or that Kacchan would use a cellphone, for that matter.

“Uhm. I asked him for it shortly after the USJ incident. It's just, I thought it would be useful if I had all of our classmates numbers in my contacts, in case there was an emergency like that again, you know. Or if we made a birthday celebration, or more normal stuff. Although at that moment he said something like ‘get out of my sight girl that makes shit float’. I was a week after our first sports festival that he looked for me and gave me a paper with messy numbers written in it. And he mumbled something like, "You better not text me to share stupid memes at three in the morning," Is a bit funny actually, isn’t it?” she does not wait for Midoriya to respond, “It seems that Bakugou-kun did not think I was worthy of his time until our match.”

“Y-yeah, don’t take it in a bad way. Kacchan’s just... complicated.” He doesn't know what else to add. “But, uhm, so you guys are texting frequently now or...?”

Uraraka plays with her fingers.

“More or less. Yes, maybe. I think so? Kirishima-kun told me the other day that he only has saved me in his contacts as well as him, Kaminari, Sero and Ashido and Todoroki-kun. He discovered that by accident when Bakugou-kun forgot his cellphone in Kirishima-kun's room after they played some video games together. He also told me that Bakugou-kun had us with specific nicknames, but that he couldn’t reveal me mine because, and I quote, 'Bakugou would blow my face. Sorry Ocha.'”

I don’t doubt it, Midoriya thinks.

Then— a click.

That’s right! Kacchan has a crush on her! He probably just put ‘Uraraka’ with a heart emoji. Although that's totally out of character of him... maybe a nickname with more value? ‘Round face’? I think that's what he used to call her in the past. ‘Uravity’ could be an option too.

“Perhaps Queen of Explodo-Kills...”

“Deku? You're mumbling.”

“Uh! S-sorry! I got lost in my thoughts,” he hopes she does not notice his nervousness, and decides to take a risk once more since I already got too involved in this mess, and my sense of survival is utterly broken, why not, ugh. “You can call him or text him o talk to him in front of me without feeling guilty, by the way. I'm not gonna patronize his friendships or such.”

“Uhm, but is not embarrassing?” Uraraka looks insecure, kinda. “That I have become close to someone who "beat me up" in front of thousands of spectators. And... I know he made your childhood miserable Deku, but he has changed, a little, I swear. You both are friends again, after all! And it’s fun to be with him, when I'm not with you or Iida-kun or Tsuyu-chan, and I like to train with him too, even if I end up full of bruises because Bakugou-kun doesn't measure his strength or attacks me softly just because I'm a girl and that makes me so happy. Is it weird? In our matches he smiles at me, sincerely, surely without realizing he's doing it, but still. And have you seen a smile of his, Deku? Not a mean one, a true smile. It’s like, like an exploding star, before the formation of a black hole in the space. It’s dangerous and attractive like a magnet and I find difficult to breathe whenever I see his smile, I really—”

Midoriya stops listening her, without meaning to.

He’s suddenly lost in her eyes, as hypnotized.

They are shining.

They shine so, so brightly, and with an emotion she doesn’t even try to hide.

It’s unexpected. It never stops being unexpected.

Because Kacchan is not sweet. Kacchan is not nice-nice. Kacchan is not friendly. Kacchan is not the kind of guy who gives you a serenade under the moonlight. Kacchan is rough edges. Kacchan is bad manners and hurtful words. Kacchan is self-hate camouflaged in incomparable grandeur. Kacchan is gasoline and nitroglycerin.

But to Uraraka— that does not seem to matter. She prefers him that way.

Grumpy, with clear emotions, like a transparent glass of water. Real. It’s—

“Oi.”

Iida pauses the DVD and Midoriya and Uraraka look up and Midoriya feels as if he had done something wrong when he finds the gaze of Bakugou perched on them, even though there is no reason for being nervous and Bakugou doesn’t look more pissed off than usual.

We are best friends, Midoriya wants to shout. Friends talk, I will not fall in love with Uraraka by talking to her.

“Bakugou-kun, what are you doing here?” Uraraka asks, without a hint of fear. Bless her. Bakugou bites his lips, looks around, making sure that everyone is on their own business, and looks at her again. Then he shows her his cellphone, as if that explains everything, or anything at all. Perhaps it does.

“Your last fucking text was half an hour ago.”

Shit. Were we talking for so long? Midoriya worries.

But then, oh.

Uraraka plays with her hair.

“My mistake! I got distracted by Deku.”

Bakugou wrinkles his nose at him. Midoriya mimics him.

“Whatever. Since you made me come from my room up here for nothing, you’ll come back with me or what?”

Uraraka turns around, facing him and Iida, who seems slightly confused.

“You don't mind finishing the marathon without me, do you?”

“Uraraka-kun—”

“Of course not!” Midoriya exclaims. “We can, uh, we can spend some quality time between men! Right, Iida? You and Kacchan can, err, go back to his room. Alone. As friends! Because there’s nothing wrong in—”

“Shut up Deku,” Bakugou growls, and he almost sounds apologetic. Midoriya obeys him without protest.

Okay Izuku, that might not have been so smart of you.

Uraraka remains ignorant of that exchange, fortunately. She says goodbye to them and accompanies Bakugou down the hall, laughing with him and being all spring. Bakugou lowers his guard at her side. His shoulders more relaxed, his frown a little less noticeable, the ghost of joy at the corner of his lips in a quite not smirk.

(and if Midoriya squints his eyes he can almost see how their hands look out for each other, as if wanting to intertwine their fingers together. He can almost see how Bakugou takes courage, and finally holds her hand. He can almost see how Uraraka hesitates, for a minute, but then squeezes back with enthusiasm. He can almost heard him curse too, “Don’t you dare to go and make a stupid scandal about this Ochako” and her voice, light, in response, “Of course not! Even if I feel like I’m floating without my quirk, you’re so mean—!”)

They disappear down the hall.

“I didn’t know that Uraraka-kun and Bakugou were close,” says Iida after a minute, genuinely curious.

Midoriya sighs.

Then he hears six beeps in a row. He checks his cellphone.

 

From UraUra: deku!!!!!! bakugou-kun has the whole universe in the palm of his hand!!!!!!!!!! i knwet it!!!!!!!!!! and he's going to tell me something important!!!!!!!!! i think he likes me????? and i like him too???????????? (sorry for not telling you before....., i'll buy u ice-cream later i promse!!!).

From UraUra: OKAY I DONT THINK I CAN BUY YOU ICE-CREAM AFTER THIS. I'M GOING TO DIE!!!!!! HE LIKES M E. YOU HAVE TO ATTEND TO MY FUNERAL DEKUUUU!!!!!!!!

From unknown number: so i confessed my fucking feelings and now we’re dating, are you happy. DIE

From unknown number: ps. no I WILL NOT wish you in ANY WAY good luck with your stupid crush on the bastard of ice and fire. it’s not like you need it anyway

From unknown number: ps2. yes it’s that obvious you nerd. as some wise idiot said to me, 'you should be nicer to him', fucking duh

From Todoroki-kun: Midoriya, are we still going to have our morning study session tomorrow or do you prefer to postpone it to another day? Your face is very red. I can tell even from where I am. I can accompany you to the infirmary with Recovery Girl if you feel sick.

He sighs, again.

Iida raises an eyebrow.

“You have no idea,” says Midoriya blunty. “No idea at all.”

(And his knees don’t tremble. And he’s brave, as always. But he’s happy, too. So it’s good.)

X

Three days later the whole class goes into absolute chaos when Mina sees Uraraka kissing Bakugou’s lips in their lunch time.

It arises the hows, and whens, and wheres, and whys

But for Midoriya it’s quite simple. He has already figured it out. So he just laughs, shakes his head, and brushes it off.

(Because Uraraka smiles.

And Bakugou smiles.

But only when they look at each other).