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“Ashido! Turn that shit off!” Kaminari whines as soon as he sets his duffle bag down by his chair. It’s too early in the morning (eleven) and he’s warring with a hangover that puts all the other hangovers he’s ever had to shame.

“Aw, Denki.” Ashido pouts, “You’re such a killjoy.” She turns the music that’s blasting through the speakers down, but not off. It’s sort of a ground rule to always have some background noise in the place. “You were supposed to be here an hour ago. Your eleven-thirty is still scheduled.”

Kaminari waves her off. He’ll still get his work done and act professional, he’s good at acting. Honestly, he figures, he can’t even really be blamed for the party last night. It was Sero’s fault for telling Asui about it. Things always manage to get out of hand once Asui knows because then everyone knows.

“Rough night, bro?” Kirishima asks, poking his head out of his room. Kaminari can hear his machine buzzing already.

“Obviously.” Kaminari complains, dragging out the word. “I can’t believe you, man. You had just as much to drink last night. How are you up and working already?”

Kirishima shrugs, “It’s a secret.” He disappears from view, probably gone back to finishing up his first appointment of the day. If Kaminari remembers correctly, it was just someone coming in to get some color touched up.

Jirou swipes Ashido’s phone from the counter when she comes in through the front, changing the station to something even worse for Kaminari’s headache. “You’re welcome.” She says as she pushes a coffee into Kaminari’s hand.

“You’re the best.” Kaminari nearly moans, downing the coffee even though it burns his tongue and the roof of his mouth. Jirou rolls her eyes, but smiles anyway. She passes out the rest of the to-go cups then hops up on the counter beside Ashido.

“So, where the hell did you disappear to last night?” Ashido asks. She leans against the counter, sorting through bellybutton rings from the display case.

Jirou sighs wistfully and drums her fingers against the glass, “Momo called and you know me.”

“Oh, of course. She’s back in town then?”

“Yep. We had a good evening.” Jirou grins and Ashido giggles, but Kaminari groans.

“You don’t have to rub it in.” He complains.

“Don’t worry, Denki. One day the love of your life will walk through that door,” Jirou points at the front door and all three of them watch an angry looking blonde climb out of a crimson colored jeep, “and sweep you right off your feet.”

Jirou hops down from the counter and wanders off toward her room. She hates dealing with the customers, that’s Ashido’s job. She’s just here to stick needles in people.

At the same time that the angry blonde walks in, whoever was getting their tattoo touched up walks out from Kirishima’s room, Kirishima following behind him and chattering away about upkeep and sunscreen.

Kaminari watches the blonde’s scowl turn into full blown rage when he sets his sights on the green haired guy Kirishima is talking to, but he doesn’t look like he’s listening anymore, green eyes wide and focused on the blonde.

“Deku.” The blonde growls.

“K-Kacchan!” The green haired guy (Deku?) responds with a sheepish smile. “Long time no see.”

Ashido clears her throat, “Midoriya, right?” She asks. Midoriya (not Deku apparently) nods. “I’ll get you ready to go. Need soap or anything? Lotion?”

Kaminari tunes that conversation out in favor of approaching the blonde who he really hopes is not his eleven-thirty because he’s a friendly guy and everything, but his head is hurting too much to be around someone who shouts all the time. “Tokoyami?” He asks, crossing his fingers the blonde says no.

“What?” The blonde’s bright eyes snap away from the counter and land on Kaminari. Man, this guy is a little intimidating, huh?

“Are you Tokoyami?”

“Fuck no.”

“Alright then.” Kaminari turns on his heel and pats Kirishima on the shoulder as he passes him. “That’s all you, buddy.” Today is not the day the love of his life sweeps him off his feet, apparently.

“Thanks for coming in, Midoriya.” Kirishima bumps shoulders with him then shoves his hands into his pockets as he approaches the angry looking dandelion. “What’s up? What can I do ya for, my man?”

The blonde shifts, eyes darting around the shop, then he tugs the sleeve up on his right arm. Kirishima is instantly intrigued when he spots the lines of a very pretty grayscale piece. “I wanted someone to finish this.”

“Can I?” Kirishima asks, hand reaching for the blonde’s arm. When the blonde nods, Kirishima steps closer and grabs his wrist, turning his arm this way and that to get a better look at the tattoo. “How far up does it go?”

“Just passed my elbow.”

“Hm,” Kirishima nods to himself, “good work mostly. This line is a little ehh and this right here,” he taps a spot on the crease of the blondes elbow, “is a little blown out, but I can fix that. You’d be surprised how many people have issues with it healing there, it’s an awkward spot. Were you thinking color? Why isn’t your other artist finishing it?”

“He moved nearly two hours south. I’m not driving all that way to get a fucking tattoo finished. Motherfucker didn’t even mention he was picking up shop. No, no color. Just, like it is.”

“Cool! Yeah! We can totally finish this up. Hey, what do you think about shading the space between the vines? I’ll show you some pictures of what I mean. Y’know, you don’t really look like a rose man.” Kirishima runs his index finger along one of the thinner vines that curl up the blonde’s forearm and lead into a budding rose. The work on the inside of his forearm is much daintier than on the outside, curling vines lacking thorns, but abundant with leaves and a swirling tribal design. The outside is harder, jagged vines and thorns surrounding buds instead of blooms. It’s really something. Kirishima is excited to work on it.

The blonde jerks his arm out of Kirishima’s grip, “Does it matter? Can you just finish the fucking thing?”

Kirishima holds his hands up, “Sure, sure. Ashido will set you up an appointment as soon as she’s done with Midoriya. Oh! I’m Kirishima, by the way. Eijirou Kirishima. I’ll probably be the one working on it, if that’s cool? Denki would, but I’ve seen his flower work. Hanta is out the rest of this week, so.” He shrugs.

“I don’t care.”

“Cool! Alright! See you round then, uh,”

“Bakugou.”

Kirishima waves a hand, prompting for more, but all he gets is a narrow eyed glare. He shrugs it off. “Later then, Bakugou.”

 

The bitch with bubblegum pink hair sets up an appointment for Bakugou to come back on Thursday at one-thirty. He doesn’t care what day or what time, he’ll work his schedule around it. He’s sick of staring at an unfinished piece of art that should have been finished two months ago. He doesn’t have a valid excuse for why he hasn’t sought out a new artist before now, but so long as it gets done, it doesn’t fucking matter.

He leaves the shop and climbs back into his jeep. He jams the key into the ignition and backs up too fast, nearly hits some asshole crawling at fucking five miles an hour through the parking lot in the shittiest smart car Bakugou has ever seen. He’s pissed. What’s new?

He hadn’t been expecting to see Deku at a tattoo shop of all places and definitely not this one that he’s never heard of. He makes it a point to avoid places near home so he doesn’t run into people he went to school with and yet who the fuck does he see the moment he steps into Riotz?

Bakugou’s knuckles turn white around the steering wheel as he pulls out onto the main road.

Riotz Tattooz and Body Piercing is nestled between a smoke shop and a Jet’s Pizza in a strip mall just down the street from a run-down looking Kmart that Bakugou has never, ever been inside of and doesn’t ever plan to. He’s on the west end of town, which he’d thought would be far enough away from home, but apparently it’s not.

“It doesn’t fucking matter.” Bakugou tells himself. The radio croons Hootie and the Blowfish back at him, completely unaware of his inner turmoil.

The drive clears Bakugou’s head enough that when he pulls into the driveway of his shitty trailer he’s less angry and more tired. He locks his jeep, unlocks his front door, kicks off his shoes, and then collapses onto the couch. His home is quiet and he hates it. He closes his eyes and sees a bright smile framed by startlingly red hair. His eyes snap open again. “Bullshit.” He mutters under his breath. He digs the remote out from between the cushions and turns on the TV, not caring what’s on so long as there’s some noise to block out his never ending thoughts.

 

On Thursday at a quarter to one, Bakugou yanks his nametag off his shirt and shoves it into his pocket as he hurries out of Kroger. There are a lot worse jobs than stocking shelves, hell they had him cashiering for a solid week before his manager realized what a shit show that was, so he’s not particularly bothered by work, but he does hate the people. His coworkers are a fucking joke and his manager has his head so far up his ass Bakugou is surprised he can still breathe.

“Bakugouuuu!” Someone calls after him. He pretends not to hear her, knows who it is and what she wants and he doesn’t care so he keeps walking. “Hey, Bakugou!” His hands ball into fists at his sides, his key digs into his palm. “Katsuki!” Finally he turns around in the middle of the parking lot and throws his hands up in frustration.

“Fucking what, Roundface?!”

“Where’re you going? Deku said he seen you over at Riotz. Are you finally getting your sleeve finished?” Uraraka asks, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

“Is it any of your business? I’m going to be fucking late.” Bakugou turns around again and ignores the footsteps that follow after him.

“Listen, I know you’re still pissed, but Deku has apologized so many times. We all handle break ups differently, but you’re really being shitty about this and it’s been nearly six months now.”

Bakugou snorts as he pulls the backdoor of his jeep open, “I shouldn’t have to see his fucking face all over the place if I don’t want to. That isn’t a goddamn crime.” He rips his work shirt off and throws it into his bag then fishes for a clean one, settling on a plain white tee, then pulls a dark blue hoodie on over that.

“He still cares about you, you know.” Uraraka says. Bakugou knows without looking at her that her arms are crossed tightly over her chest and she’s pulling a face, the one she uses to get what she wants. He grinds his teeth together to keep from coming completely unglued.

“It’s fucking over.” He growls, slamming the back door and yanking open the driver’s. “None of it even matters anymore. I saw him for five seconds in some shitty hole in the wall tattoo place and felt nothing but unadulterated rage. I hate him.” He knows it’s a lie, but he thinks if he repeats it enough times maybe it’ll become true.

Uraraka sighs and to Bakugou’s surprise, drops it. “Eat before your appointment.” She says then turns around and heads back into the store.

“Fuck you.” Bakugou grumbles as he climbs in and starts his jeep. His chest feels too tight and his stomach is upset, but he knows she’s right. He doesn’t want to pass out so he swings through Taco Bell and eats three tacos without even tasting them. He still feels like shit.

 

Are we human?” Kirishima sings along as he spins Kaminari around the shop, one hand on the blonde’s waist and the other holding his hand. “Or are we dancer? My sign is vital. My hands are cold.” He dips him, tries not to drop him when Kaminari cries out in surprise then immediately starts laughing.

And I’m on my knees looking for the answer.” Kirishima wiggles his eyebrows, encouraging Kaminari to continue for him, but they both stop when the bell over the front door rings and Kirishima’s one-thirty walks in looking just as angry as he did on Tuesday.

Are we human or are we dancer?!” Ashido yells as she skips in through the back, arms laden with fast food bags from at least three different places. “Man, who picked the station today? Good stuff.”

Kirishima watches Bakugou stare, not even three steps into the shop. Kaminari wiggles out of Kirishima’s hold and launches himself at Ashido, screeching for food over the music that is still playing very loudly. Kirishima waves at Bakugou then hurries to turn the volume down.

“Hey, man! Right on time. Come this way, I’ll show you what I’ve dug up.” He nods for Bakugou to follow him and snatches the McDonald’s bag off the counter as he heads for his room.

Kirishima’s room is decorated in as much band merch as photos of tattoos he’s proud of, print outs taped to the black walls and posters overlapping showing his wide variety of musical interests. “Sit!” He pats the chair, swivels it for Bakugou then sits on his own stool that rolls faster than Bakugou can keep up with. Kirishima stuffs a handful of fries into his mouth as he moves about.

Bakugou sits stiffly, watching as the redhead grabs a binder and some pieces of loose paper from his desk. He scoots back over and drops the binder in Bakugou’s lap, “Have a look at some of those if you want, just my standard portfolio with the types of tats I do. Denki is our more fancy guy, he does watercolor and stuff like that. Oh! And this is what I meant by shading that in, it’ll look like this, sort of.”

Bakugou looks at the pieces as Kirishima shuffles through them. They look good. “Sure.” He says because he’s not an artist so he doesn’t fucking know.

“Great!” Kirishima throws the papers back onto his desk. “I’ll get my stuff together. So hey, are you going to tell me more about the piece, or am I just going to have to make some wild guesses?”

“Fuck off.” Bakugou grumbles. He doesn’t need to spill his entire life story to someone he doesn’t know. He flips the binder open and leafs through the pages. This guy’s work is good. Seriously good. He won’t admit it aloud, but Bakugou is glad he picked this place to come to. He watches as Kirishima rips off a shit ton of paper towels and opens and closes way too many drawers as he sets up his workspace.

Kirishima hums as he works, wondering where their music went. “Hey, Jirou! Music would be great!” He calls.

“Phone’s dead, put it on yourself!” She yells back.

“Cool. Any stations you’re real into?” Kirishima asks as he unlocks his phone and turns on Pandora.

“I don’t care.” Bakugou stretches his legs out in front of him and closes his eyes when Pearl Jam’s Even Flow begins to play.

“I’m going to shave you now then we’ll get started.” Bakugou opens his eyes to see Kirishima wielding a razor. He holds his arm out and watches Kirishima move quickly, dragging the razor along his arm until Bakugou’s blonde hair is no more. He snaps a pair of gloves on when he’s done then pulls a tray with his ink and tattoo gun closer. “Right,” he says as he sticks his pinky into what looks like Vaseline, “you already know how this works. Don’t move, yeah?”

Kirishima’s smile is too bright. It almost hurts to look at. Bakugou grunts then forces himself to relax against the chair as the machine begins to buzz and Kirishima dips the needle into black ink.

The first poke makes him want to flinch, but Bakugou stays still and enjoys the stinging sensation. He’d never understood what people meant when they said tattoos were addicting until he got one himself. The first one he’d gotten was on his shoulder and it had hurt, but in a pleasant way. Soon after it healed, he knew he’d be getting more.

“So, other than this one do you have any others?” Kirishima asks, obviously trying to make conversation.

“One on my right shoulder.” Bakugou says. He’s not interested in explaining much more than that and apparently Kirishima understands. They lapse into silence again, the music overhead loud enough for it to not be awkward. Kirishima hums along as he works, tongue peeking from between his lips in concentration.

Kirishima lets his thoughts wander as a comfortable quiet settles between them. Bakugou is obviously not much of a talker, which is fine. Kirishima usually talks enough for two people anyway, but he gets the feeling Bakugou prefers him quiet. It doesn’t matter really, Kirishima is just curious. He always wants to know about the art that people are putting on their body because he’s all for self-expression and pretty things, but he understands that sometimes people’s reasons are private and sometimes people have no reasons at all. He thinks Bakugou is just private.

“You like Third Eye Blind?” He asks. So much for not talking.

“Sure.” Bakugou lifts his free hand to his mouth and begins chewing his nails. Kirishima wonders if it’s a nervous habit.

“What do you usually listen to?”

Bakugou sighs, apparently recognizes that Kirishima isn’t going to work quietly, “Whatever’s on the radio. I like rock.”

“Heavy metal? Classic? Punk?”

“Pretty much all of it. I guess I like punk rock.”

Kirishima grins at the smeared ink on Bakugou’s arm. He definitely would have pegged him for a punk rocker. That hair is just screaming for some color. “Any piercings?” He asks, pausing in his work to look up at Bakugou.

Bakugou clicks the metal ball on his tongue to his teeth then sticks it out, “My nipples too.” He says like it’s no big deal while Kirishima feels the air leave his lungs.

“Oh boy.” Kirishima wheezes and shakes his head, tries not to imagine what that looks like and starts working again.

“You asked.” Bakugou reminds.

Kirishima laughs, “I know. I guess I just wasn’t expecting such a hot answer. Like maybe an eyebrow piercing in the past.”

Bakugou purses his lips in thought, “Think it’d look good?” He wonders aloud.

“Hell yeah.”

“Hm.”

The song shifts to Incubus. Bakugou’s arm is starting to actually hurt, the constant rubbing of paper towel over his skin makes him feel raw, but he refuses to say anything about it. Kirishima is working deftly, neat lines running along his pale skin as he finishes what was abandoned by his previous artist.

“Did you want to make it a full sleeve?” Kirishima asks.

“Can you do that?”

“Course, no sweat man.” Kirishima sets his gun down and picks up a marker that he uncaps with his teeth. Sharp teeth, Bakugou notices. “Roll your sleeve up.” When he does, Kirishima starts sketching on him, bringing the tattoo further up to his shoulder, these vines look more like the ones on the inside of his forearm. The roses are larger, the leaves frame them nicely. “How’s that looking?”

Bakugou nods, “Good.”

“Cool. I’ll try and get the outline done and we’ll make another appointment for shading. I’m sure you don’t want to be sitting here for six hours today.”

Kirishima tosses his marker back onto his desk and picks up his gun again to resume working, this time moving up further to Bakugou’s bicep.

When the song changes again, Bakugou frowns. His left hand fists automatically. “Oh man, I love Hootie.” Kirishima sighs then begins singing along. Bakugou hates this song, but every time it comes on he lets it play. Deku called him a masochist once upon a time and honestly, he was probably right.

Bakugou tunes out Kirishima’s gentle voice and forces a slew of memories away from the forefront of his mind, but they never stay, not when this song comes on. He closes his eyes and he’s at home, but it’s not quiet like he’s so used to these days. Izuku is swaying and singing along to the radio as he cooks dinner. “Last night I tried to leave, cried so much I could not believe she was the same girl I fell in love with long ago.” Bakugou wraps his arms around a slim waist and sings along with him.

“Hurting too much?” Kirishima’s voice drags him back to the present, “Sorry. This is a sensitive spot, I know.” The song is over and Bakugou doesn’t recognize the one that plays now.

“What is this?” He asks as Kirishima bobs his head to the beat.

“Sublime, What I Got.”

They both fall silent again. Kirishima is lost in his work, tongue between his teeth and eyebrows furrowed. Bakugou watches him for lack of anything else to do. He notices the scar above his eye, wonders how it got there. He notices the freckles across his cheeks, wonders if they become darker in the summertime. He doesn’t know this man, but he finds himself wanting to so he asks, “Why red?”

Kirishima blinks, “Huh? Oh! It’s a good color. I’ve had it all kinds of colors, but I always go back to red. You know you’re lucky to have such pale hair. I have to bleach mine to get the color I want.”

“I’ve never dyed my hair.” Bakugou says.

“Really? You should, though I don’t know what color because you seem like a red guy too.”

Bakugou’s fingers are tingling, his hand has gone numb, but Kirishima is still inking away. “Do you have any piercings?” He finds himself asking.

Kirishima laughs, “I do.” Bakugou waits for him to say where, but he doesn’t.

“Uh,”

“Think on it for a while. Obviously I have none on my face, I mean, besides my ears.” Bakugou’s gaze flickers to his ears and sure enough he has two sparkling studs in his lobes and a barbell across the top of his left ear. He goes through places other people get piercings.

“Nipples?”

“Nope.”

“Bellybutton?”

Kirishima laughs again, “No.”

“Are you one of those freaks with the hip piercings or whatever?” Bakugou’s eyebrows furrow. He never understood that.

“Don’t let Ashido hear you say that, but no.” It clicks and Bakugou’s jaw drops. He quickly snaps his mouth closed and fights the heat that begins to creep up into his face. “Figured it out, didya?”

“Fucking disgusting.” Bakugou mumbles. Kirishima snickers then sits back and rolls his shoulders.

Bakugou admires the fresh ink on his skin. He can already tell it’s going to look amazing when it’s finished.

“So what’s the one on your shoulder? And are the roses just because you like flowers?”

“Fuck off.” Bakugou huffs.

“Alright, alright. But you not telling me only makes me more curious.”

“Take a fucking guess.” Bakugou suggests.

Kirishima makes a face, “That’s no fun.”

“I had to guess about your fucking dick piercing!”

“Your what, Eijirou?!” Kaminari stops dead just outside of Kirishima’s room. “Yo, Jirou, did you know Kirishima got his dick pierced?!”

“Who do you think did it?!”

“What the hell, dude? Did it hurt?” Kaminari invites himself into the room and hums appreciatively as he looks over Kirishima’s work.

“I mean, yeah. It’s my dick.”

Bakugou tries not to look as interested in the conversation as he is.

“Have you gotten laid since? How was it?” Kaminari is full of questions. Bakugou appreciates it.

Dude,” Kirishima actually blushes, “seriously?” He stops working and sits back, “Can this conversation wait?”

Kaminari shrugs, “I mean I guess. Do you really care?” He asks, turning to Bakugou.

“I don’t give a fuck.”

“Well then. Have you?”

Kirishima rolls his eyes. His cheeks are still dusted a pretty pink, “No, okay? Now get out of here and let me finish this.” Kaminari leaves, but Bakugou can still hear him asking Jirou about dick piercings.

“Are they always like that?” Bakugou asks.

“Usually. It sort of comes with the line of work. Nothing fazes us for the most part.” Kirishima shrugs. He stands to stretch and grab a bottle of water from his desk. “Wanna get up and stretch your legs or anything?” He asks.

Bakugou shakes his head. He’s fine. He just kind of wants to get this over with, but at the same time he just wants to listen to Kirishima talk about anything and everything. His arm is pleasantly warm and the black is a stark contrast against his fair skin. He’s definitely glad he went with black and white instead of color like he originally wanted.

When Kirishima sits back down, he turns Bakugou’s arm over to work on the other side. “So, what do you do? School, work?”

“I dropped out of college. I work at fucking Kroger.” Bakugou tells him stiffly. It’s not something he’s proud of, but he has a job and that’s saying something at least.

“Huh, me too. You can only get so far with an art degree, plus once I got an opportunity I jumped. This has always been what I wanted to do. What were you going to school for?”

“I don’t know.” Bakugou doesn’t meet Kirishima’s eyes when he feels them on him.

“Makes sense. Well, what did you like to do, or what were you good at?”

“I was decent at math and science. I liked chemistry.”

“I’ve always sucked at math.” Kirishima admits. “You must be pretty smart.”

“Yeah.” Bakugou says then realizes that probably sounds a little conceited, but he doesn’t take it back. He is smart and he knows it. Kirishima just laughs then they both go quiet again.

Kirishima isn’t sure what to say. He feels like he’s handling a small bomb because Bakugou sometimes explodes over things any other person wouldn’t. He’s afraid of saying the wrong thing, asking something and pressing too far. Kirishima gets the feeling Bakugou bottles things up to the point of overflowing and he wants to know why.

He has always liked people. He gets along with most everybody and makes friends easily, but it’s not typical for a single person to stand out to him. He doesn’t usually feel the need to pry and dig deeper, but Bakugou makes him burn with curiosity. He wants to know everything about him and the fact that he knows little to nothing only adds fuel to the fire. He wants to know how he knows Midoriya, but judging by the way the two looked at each other the other day, he has a feeling it isn’t something Bakugou would like to discuss.

“Alright,” Kirishima says as he sits back and sets his tattoo gun down, “that’s the outline done. In two weeks you can come back and I’ll start shading.”

“How long will that take?” Bakugou asks as Kirishima collects the stuff to wrap his arm.

Kirishima shrugs, “Three hours?” He wipes Bakugou’s arm clean then slathers the tattoo in salve. He wraps it and tapes it then nods, “Alright. You’re good to go.”

“Thanks.” Bakugou stands, but stumbles. His foot is asleep.

“Careful, man.” Kirishima steadies him.

“I’m fine.” Bakugou snaps without really meaning to. He clears his throat and heads out to the counter where Ashido is chitchatting with a frog looking girl. He pays and she makes another appointment for him in two weeks.

When he’s hunched over the steering wheel in his jeep, parked in his drive way, he thinks two weeks is a long fucking time.

***

For two weeks, Bakugou washes and lotions his arm diligently, appreciating how nicely the tattoo is healing.

For two weeks, Bakugou listens to Uraraka buzz like a fucking fly in his ear about his tattoo and the shop and if they’re any good at piercings, “I’ve been thinking about getting my nipples done. Does it hurt? Deku said you have yours done.” Bakugou pretends he didn’t just hear the word ‘nipples’ come out of Uraraka’s mouth.

For two weeks, Bakugou dreams of shitty red hair.

 

“Yo, what’re you spacing about?” Kaminari asks as they park out behind Riotz. Kirishima hops out of Kaminari’s car without answering, he doesn’t really know how to explain that he’s been daydreaming about the angry blonde that he gets to see again today. “Hello? Earth to Eijirou.”

“I hear ya, man. I just,” Kirishima stuffs his hands into the pockets of his jeans as they head inside, “I dunno.”

“Something wrong?”

“Nah. Just something on my mind the past few days I guess.” Kirishima doesn’t really want to talk about it. He knows it’s silly to be mooning over a client, an angry one at that, but he can’t help it. He doesn’t even know enough about Bakugou to be smitten with him yet, but it’s the possibility that enthralls him anyway. The what if’s have always been intriguing to him.

“Denki, I’ve got a dick piercing at four if you wanna watch, guy said having an audience would be chill.” Jirou says when they pass by her room.

“Didn’t peg you for a voyeur.” Kirishima snickers and elbows Kaminari.

Kaminari chuckles, but makes no attempt to deny the accusation. Kirishima files that information away under “Blackmail’ and heads to his room to set up for the day.

Kirishima has been looking forward to seeing Bakugou again. Of course, he’s been looking forward to working on the tattoo, but he really hopes he can worm his way into Bakugou’s head. He wants to know why the roses, damn it.

 

Bakugou is early. Fuck, he’s too early. Kirishima is going to know he’s eager and he’s going to take it the wrong way. Would it really be the wrong way, though? Bakugou shakes that thought out of his head and climbs out of his jeep. He wore a tank top under his sweater today so his sleeve wouldn’t get ink all over it like it did last time. He regrets wearing the tightest pair of jeans he owns because he’ll be sitting for so long, but they were the only thing he had clean and they do make his ass look fantastic so.

“Yo.” Ashido greets happily when Bakugou walks in. “Kirishima is just setting up, you can go ahead and find him if you want.” She waves him in the direction of Kirishima’s room, like he’s forgotten where it is.

Kirishima is bent over his desk, hips swaying to the music coming from his phone. It’s an entirely different genre than what he’d had on the last time Bakugou was here. “What the fuck is that?” Bakugou asks, forcing his eyes away from Kirishima’s ass.

“Passion Pit!” Kirishima says as he straightens up. Bakugou eyes the paper he’d been scribbling on. The design is unlike anything he’s seen before. Kirishima notices him looking and flushes, “Oh, I just make stuff up sometimes. Things I think will look cool. You always have someone willing to get just about anything on their skin for a low enough price.”

“I didn’t ask.” Bakugou says flatly, but the piece is interesting.

“Right. Well! Nice to see you, have a seat. I’ll have a look and we’ll get to work, yeah?” Kirishima feels antsy, which isn’t a good feeling to have before sitting and tattooing for several hours.

Bakugou tugs his sweater over his head then sits and tries to ignore Kirishima’s bright eyes on him. He’s nervous, but he’s not entirely sure why. Or, he knows why, but he doesn’t want to admit it to himself.

Kirishima can see the edges of a tattoo peeking out under Bakugou’s tank top. The red, yellow, and orange ink catch his eye, but he tries not to stare. Whatever it is, it looks gorgeous. “Wanna pick the tunes?” He offers, but Bakugou shakes his head so he leaves on what he’s got playing. Kirishima is a lover of almost all music, so his taste spans a pretty broad plane. Today he’s feeling The Naked and Famous. If Bakugou doesn’t like it, he doesn’t mention it.

“Man, that’s looking nice.” Kirishima says as he sits on his stool and scoots closer, pulling his tray with him. The lines are still fresh, but the scabs have all but healed, leaving tender looking skin and a pretty outline behind.

Once he’s comfortable, Kirishima pulls a clean pair of gloves on and unwraps his needles. He fills his ink cups and smiles brightly at Bakugou, “Ready?” He asks.

“Sure.” Bakugou props his elbow on the arm of the chair and lets Kirishima manipulate it into the position he wants then he bends low over his arm and his machine kicks on, the buzz almost loud enough to drown out the music.

Bakugou prefers the shading as opposed to the outlining. It hurts less, he thinks. He watches as Kirishima settles into work, fingers pressing gently against Bakugou’s arm to hold him in place and to keep his own hand steady. His dark brows are furrowed again. “What, no twenty questions this time?”

Kirishima’s lips quirk up into a smile, “I was letting you relax a bit before I started throwing ‘em at ya.” Bakugou just huffs and turns away, gaze locking on a Marvel poster on the wall opposite him. “So, what’s that you’ve got under your shirt?”

“Fucking skin?” Bakugou layers the sarcasm on thick. He grinds his teeth together, frustrated with himself. Kirishima just laughs. Bakugou wonders what the fuck is wrong with him.

“Obviously, but that looks like inked skin to me.”

“Move.” Bakugou says then sits up when Kirishima moves back. He pulls his tank top up enough to reveal the tattoo that spans across his entire right shoulder blade.

Kirishima isn’t sure what he expected, but it hadn’t been this. He stares at the phoenix, jaw slack. Its wings are spread and its tail curls under its body. The colors are incredible and bright. He was definitely right, Bakugou is a red guy. “Wow.” He says because it’s just about all he can come up with.

Bakugou ignores him and the heat creeping into his face in favor of fixing his shirt. “So you’ll shut the hell up about it now.” He grumbles.

“I most definitely will not!” Kirishima disagrees, scooting back to continue his work on Bakugou’s arm. “Dude, that’s incredible. I’ve seen and done a lot of great tattoos, but that’s just really, wow. It suits you too, I think. There a story behind it?”

“Do you ever run out of questions?” Bakugou wonders. “No there’s not a story, it’s just a fucking phoenix.” He lies. He doesn’t tell him it was fucking Deku’s idea. He still can’t bring himself to regret the tattoo even though he wants to.

Kirishima hums, “Phoenix’s have a couple different meanings, if you’re into symbolism and all that junk, which I don’t know if you are, but I am. A little. Usually they mean rebirth, since you know they burn out then rise back up out of the ashes.”

“I know.” Bakugou mutters. Kirishima lets it go.

Bakugou thinks Kirishima is pretty good at reading people, which is strange because he’s been told all his life that he’s difficult to read. Apart from anger, not much else shows on his face. Still, Kirishima takes hints and recognizes when Bakugou doesn’t want to talk. He doesn’t push, or he pushes just the right amount because it makes Bakugou want to push back.

“I don’t see any on you.” Bakugou says after they’re both quiet for too long.

“Oh, I don’t have any.”

“What kind of tattoo artist doesn’t have any fucking tattoos?”

Kirishima laughs. Bakugou really likes the sound. “This kind, I guess. I dunno, I just haven’t had anything jump out at me. I’ve always liked piercings more.”

Bakugou immediately thinks about Kirishima’s dick piercing and he hates himself and fucking Kirishima too. “What else have you had pierced?” He asks because the curiosity burns. Is this how Kirishima feels all the time?

“My lip, my nose, my eyebrow. I did get my bellybutton done when I was drunk off my ass, but I didn’t keep it in.” Kirishima shrugs, eyes flickering up to meet Bakugou’s momentarily before they’re back focused on his arm. Bakugou tries not to think about what Kirishima would look like with all those piercings because the image in his head is hot, too hot. “I can never make up my mind, though, so I haven’t kept a lot of them.”

Bakugou doesn’t ask if he plans on keeping the one in his dick. He doesn’t want Kirishima to fuck up his tattoo. He settles for watching Kirishima work quietly, skin burning where he wipes repeatedly.

“So,” Kirishima says after almost twenty minutes. Bakugou thinks it’s a new record. “Are you still not going to tell me why the roses?”

“Why do you want to know so fucking bad, anyway?” Bakugou asks instead of deflecting. Why does it really matter? Can’t he just do the fucking tattoo and leave it be?

Kirishima pouts, grumbles under his breath, then straightens up and pulls the needle away from Bakugou’s arm, “I’m an artist, so usually my art has some kind of meaning behind it. Sometimes people want things on their bodies just because it looks good and that’s reason enough for me. I like hearing the stories that go along with the ink I’m jamming into your skin, y’know? If it’s something private, just say so and I’ll leave it alone. I respect that, man.” He says and he’s so fucking earnest that Bakugou feels like he owes him an explanation now.

“It’s for my mom.” Bakugou eventually says after Kirishima has started working again. The buzzing pauses, but picks back up and Bakugou watches Kirishima out of the corner of his eye. The redhead chews on his bottom lip, probably to keep himself from asking the million and one questions that seem to be bouncing around his brain. “We haven’t always had the best relationship, fuck knows we’ve both tried. She wonders where I get it from.” Bakugou laughs humorlessly. He can’t remember the last time he voluntarily coughed up this kind of information, but it doesn’t feel bad. Just, strange.

“Does she like roses?” Kirishima asks quietly.

“Yeah.” Bakugou finds his voice has lowered too, “They’re her favorite.” Kirishima’s small smile is the only reply he gets.

 

Kirishima doesn’t really know what to say. Lots of people get tattoos for their kids and their parents and so on and so forth, but this feels special somehow. Bakugou said he and his mother didn’t have a great relationship and for someone like Kirishima whose whole world is his family, it almost hurts to hear. But he’s gone out of his way to tattoo something beautiful on himself for her and that warms Kirishima’s heart. It’s silly how such a little thing can change his impression so easily.

At first, Kirishima had pegged Bakugou as some egotistical asshole, hot though he may be, he figured he was just a shallow person. Now, he thinks there’s a lot he doesn’t know. There’s a lot he’d like to learn. He’s almost sad that their time together is going to draw to an end within the next half hour to an hour, but Bakugou’s tattoo is coming together exactly how he wanted it to and he couldn’t be more proud.

“Your turn.” Kirishima says after he pulls himself out of his thoughts.

“My turn for what?” Bakugou blinks sleepily at him. Kirishima wonders if he dozed off.

“Twenty questions. I asked the last one so it’s your turn.”

Bakugou snorts, “When did this turn into a fucking game?” Kirishima shrugs so Bakugou tries to think of a question that might shut him up for a while. “Why haven’t you gotten laid since you got your dick pierced?” That should do it.

Kirishima barks out a surprised laugh and though he’s turning almost as red as his hair, his hand doesn’t waver from its place on Bakugou’s arm while he’s tattooing. “Uh, well probably because I’m not one to hook up with strangers usually.”

“Usually.” Bakugou echoes.

“Usually. There have been times, but I tend to be the DD at parties so I don’t typically get smashed enough to wanna hook up.” Kirishima explains.

“So you’re only horny when you’re drunk?” Bakugou grins at him. He likes the way Kirishima blushes and ducks his head when he’s embarrassed.

“No! God, why’re you even asking? I just haven’t been interested in anyone enough to try and get them into bed. A one man show has passed the time well enough.” Kirishima doesn’t really mind talking about these kinds of things, but he minds a little when it’s Bakugou.

“Is it different now?”

“Is what different?”

“Jacking off.” Bakugou bites back a laugh when he hears Kirishima mutter a soft ‘fucks sake’ under his breath.

Kirishima sits back and sets his gun down to wipe Bakugou’s arm clean, “Not really.” He says as he inspects the tattoo. He picks up his gun again and turns Bakugou’s arm over to finish the inside.

“Aren’t there different kinds?” Bakugou continues to push because Kirishima seems hesitant to talk about it and he wants to know why.

“Yes. I can get Jirou in here to explain them to you if you’d like. We can stop talking about my dick at any time now.” Kirishima feels way too hot. This isn’t the usual light conversation he tries to keep with his clients, but Bakugou is seriously something else. Leave it to him to find the one thing Kirishima doesn’t want to talk about. And it’s not because he’s embarrassed! Well, a little bit, but only because all the questions are making him think that maybe Bakugou is interested. Like maybe he wants to see? No. Definitely not. He swallows hard.

Bakugou thinks on this then nods once, “Sure.”

“Jirou!”

“What?”

“C’mere!” Kirishima can hear her grumbling, but she comes and stands with her arms crossed over her chest. “Bakugou would like to know more about dick piercings.” He says. Her expression changes instantly and she grins.

“Sure. I’ll be right back.”

When she returns, it’s with a smaller binder than the one Kirishima had, but it’s still full of pictures that she flips through quickly and then Bakugou is assaulted by dick. “What the fuck?” He asks.

“Well, you’re gonna want some visuals, no? Here, this is Eijirou’s.” She taps a picture of a dick with a barbell through the underside of the shaft, just under the head. “It’s called a frenum piercing.”

“Seriously, Jirou?” Kirishima asks, his voice tight. She didn’t have to tell Bakugou that one was his.

“Hm.” Is all Bakugou says. Kirishima doesn’t know what to make of that so he avoids looking at him while Jirou flips through her little book of piercings and names them off as she goes. He’s really glad he’s almost finished with his tattoo.

Eventually, Jirou finishes her explanation and she leaves to do some actual work when a gaggle of high school girls come in to get their bellybuttons pierced. Bakugou thankfully doesn’t ask anymore penis related questions, but Kirishima can feel his eyes on him as he works.

“Alright!” Kirishima says after another fifteen minutes, “You’re done!” He sets his gun down and wipes the ink from Bakugou’s arm then wets another paper towel and cleans the whole thing up, admiring it as he goes.

Bakugou turns his arm and nods, “Nice.”

Kirishima runs through hygiene and the usual spiel he gives, but Bakugou already knows so he cuts himself off and clears his throat when he’s finished wrapping his arm, “You sat like a champ, man.”

“Wasn’t bad. It looks really good.” Bakugou shoots him a small smirk as he gets up and tugs his sweater back on. “Thanks.” He says then sticks his hand out. Kirishima takes it, holds it for maybe a second too long, then Bakugou is walking out to the front desk to pay. Kirishima follows after him.

“Anything else I can get you today?” Ashido asks, but Bakugou shakes his head and says he already has all the stuff he needs at home. He pays and Kirishima tries to think up a good enough reason to make him stay just a little bit longer, but he’s got nothing.

“Later, shitty-hair.” Bakugou throws a peace sign over his shoulder as he heads out.

“My hairs not shitty!” Kirishima calls after him. He catches Bakugou’s tiny smile as he climbs into his jeep. “I’m fucked.” He mutters.

“Congrats.” Ashido says.

***

Kirishima spends the next several days with his head in the clouds hoping that Bakugou will come back to get that eyebrow piercing they talked about, but it stays relatively quiet and there’s no sign of the angry dandelion.

At four something in the afternoon on Friday, Midoriya shuffles in behind a bouncing woman with a round face and kind eyes. She takes immediately to Ashido while Midoriya says hello to Kirishima.

“Good to see you, man!” Kirishima slaps him on the back, “What’re you in for today?”

Midoriya shakes his head, “Not me. I’m just here for moral support. That’s Ochako.”

“Oooh, cool! What’s she thinkin’ bout doin’?” Kirishima asks, figures some kind of piercing since Ashido heads off to find Jirou.

“Uh, she wants to get her nipples pierced.” Midoriya says with a shrug. “Apparently she couldn’t get a straight answer out of Kacchan so she’s just going for it. Says Asui will love it.”

“Kacchan?” Kirishima asks, the name sounds vaguely familiar, “You know Asui?”

“Oh, I mean Katsuki. He’s a, well,” Midoriya purses his lips in search of the right words, but then shakes his head, “and yeah, she and Ochako are together.”

“Bakugou?” Kirishima asks. He remembers reading Bakugou’s full name on the paper he filled out for Ashido.

“Yeah. Oh! He was in here last time I was here, wasn’t he? Did he get his sleeve finished?” Midoriya waves when Jirou takes Ochako back to her room.

“Yeah, just last week I finished it for him. How do you know him? I wanted to ask him, but his reaction when he saw you last time didn’t make me wanna broach the subject. He’s a little hotheaded, huh?” Kirishima leans against the counter and watches a flurry of emotions flit across Midoriya’s face.

“Kacchan and I dated for a while.” He eventually says, “We’ve known each other since we were kids and Kacchan’s always been short tempered. He teased me a lot growing up.”

Kirishima’s eyebrows furrow as he takes in this new information, “You got together even though he was an ass to you?”

“Kacchan is sort of an ass to everyone. When we were younger he didn’t know how to voice his feelings, but I eventually figured it out.” Midoriya doesn’t seem very happy about the whole thing, so Kirishima wonders what happened, but isn’t sure if he should ask or not.

“It’s not really my business, but I’ve spent a couple good hours talking to him now and he’s kind of closed off, y’know? Like I wanted to know more about him, but he constantly shot me down.” Kirishima rubs the back of his neck and stares down at his feet to avoid Midoriya’s eyes.

“That’s Kacchan for you. I don’t mind talking about it, but I doubt he’d be very happy with me for telling you. We don’t talk much nowadays. You’re wondering why we broke up, right?” Midoriya is smart, Kirishima figures he probably shouldn’t have tried to dance around the question. He nods. “After high school, Kacchan and I realized a couple of things and we, well, our relationship wasn’t really a healthy one. We hardly ever talked and it was really just a lot of angry sex from pent up frustration with one another. Eventually we sat down and talked about it, or I talked at him and he pretended to listen.

“Kacchan doesn’t know how to express his feelings in a healthy manner. He’s filled to bursting so little things set him off. He’s always been like that, but I think it’s worse now because he lost a lot all at once and now he blames himself, but refuses to acknowledge the blame so it just like, eats away at him. He’s very angry with me because I’m the one who left, but I gave him an ultimatum. He refused to talk with me and I was tired of trying. I was in love with him, but I think that scared him. Kacchan says he’s not afraid of anything, but he’s afraid of opening up and getting close to people because that means he could lose them and he hates to lose.”

Bakugou’s behavior makes a lot more sense now, but Kirishima thinks maybe he’s in over his head. If someone like Midoriya couldn’t make a relationship work, why would he be any different? And why was he thinking about a relationship anyway? They hardly knew each other.

“I wondered if Kacchan wouldn’t warm up to you.” Midoriya says after a moment.

Kirishima is still processing the influx of information so all he says is, “What?”

“You have the kind of heart Kacchan needs. You’re pretty resilient, aren’t you, Kirishima?”

“I guess.” Kirishima shrugs. “If you mean does his foul mouth bother me? Then no, that’s just his personality.”

Midoriya laughs, “Yeah, that’s a given. I meant you’re good with people. I’ve never met a person who had a negative thing to say about you. You’re pretty good at reading between the lines, so I wondered if you wouldn’t be able to slip through Kacchan’s cracks. He’s a lot softer on the inside even if he refuses to admit it.”

“He’s.. definitely something.” Kirishima agrees. “He showed me his tattoo and told me his sleeve was for his mom. It’s been ages since someone has piqued my interest like he has.” He admits.

“You should ask him out.” Midoriya decides.

Kirishima chokes on his own spit, “What?” He coughs.

“You wanna know more about him, right? Take him out. He loves the arcade at the mall. He’ll bitch about it, but once you get there he’ll blow all kinds of cash on the games. Make him dance with you on DDR.” Midoriya’s face is contorted and his tone makes Kirishima wonder if there isn’t something he’s missing.

“Um, Midoriya, you’re not still hung up on him, are you?” Kirishima asks hesitantly.

Midoriya’s eyes widen, “No! I mean, I’m sort of seeing someone, so. It’s just… I know Kacchan has more to offer, but I wasn’t the right person. I tried for a long time. I just, I really want him to be happy, you know? That phoenix was my idea after he started seeing a therapist. He changed and he still seems like an ass, but he’s more in touch with himself now. His anger is usually directed at himself, but it deflects outward so he needs to be surrounded by people with thick skin who’ll dish it right back at him. I was never able to do that.”

“And you think I could be that person?” Kirishima asks in disbelief. Still, hope blooms in his chest.

“Yeah, I think so.” Midoriya’s smile rivals the sun. Kirishima has to blink and look away.

“Deku!” Ochako bounces back out with a paler face than before, but a wide smile. “Oh, are you Kirishima?” Kirishima nods. “Katsuki talks about you at work all the time, you and your shitty hair. I think it’s pretty cute. Do you do it yourself?”

Kirishima nods again, a bit too stunned to form actual sentences. Bakugou talks about him.

The two chat with Ashido while Kirishima collects his thoughts then Midoriya catches him before they head out, “Give me your phone,” he says. Kirishima hands it over and watches Midoriya type a number in and save it under ‘Bakugou (ur future husband) Katsuki’. He hands it back and smiles brightly, “Text him, tell him you’re taking him out. Be persistent. If he’s already opening up, he’s interested. Good luck.” He and Ochako both wave as they leave.

“I’m seriously so fucked.” Kirishima says, grinning down at his new contact.

“Congrats.” Ashido says.

***

Bakugou bobs his head to the beat of the music flowing from his headphones as he shoves gallons of milk into the shelves. His fingers feel like they’re going to fall off. He’s fucking cold. He’s asked on multiple occasions to not be put in the freezer, but it’s like the more he asks, the more Aizawa puts him on stock in the freezer. Fuck him. His phone vibrates and since he’s in the fucking freezer, he doesn’t care about the rules. He digs it out of his pocket and frowns at the screen.

Unknown number: hey ! it’s Kirishima :3 I have a ? for u

“What the fuck.” Bakugou complains. How did he get his number? He quickly saves Kirishima’s number as ‘ShittyHair’ before he texts back.

You: who gave you my fucking number?

ShittyHair: its a secret :D but I have a question!!!

You: fucking what

ShittyHair: wanna hit the mall with me????
ShittyHair: it’ll be a good time ! swears !

Bakugou wants to tell him to fuck off, but Kirishima has been the only thing on his mind as of lately so his thumbs dance over the keys as he tries to think of ways to say yes without seeming eager.

You: you’re paying for everything.

ShittyHair: :D:D:D:D:D DEAL

Bakugou is not grinning at his phone like an idiot. He’s not.

 

On Wednesday evening, Bakugou stands in front of his full length mirror with a frown on his face. He’s overthinking this outing with Kirishima, he knows he is, but he can’t help himself. It’s been ages since he’s done anything genuinely fun like this and he sure as hell won’t admit it to Kirishima, but he’s a little excited.

Kirishima hadn’t called it a date, but Bakugou still hopes. Sort of. “Fuck,” He groans hands running through his hair and musing it even more. He’s torn between wanting to run in the complete opposite direction or just letting his feelings do whatever the hell they want for once. He already fucked up one relationship, where’s the harm in testing the waters with another?

He shrugs out of his jacket and pulls his plain blue t-shirt off in favor of an orange V-neck. He pulls his jacket back on. It looks a little better. He checks the time and curses under his breath as he hurries to put his shoes on and grab his wallet. Keys in hand, he heads out and tries not to think too much about anything. It doesn’t work.

The roads are mostly dead, 5’oclock traffic already cleared out and the mall parking lot is far less busy than Bakugou had been anticipating. Then again, it’s a Wednesday. He checks Kirishima’s message about where to meet him then circles the parking lot to find a spot in 1-A.

Kirishima is almost impossible to miss. He waves enthusiastically, his red hair falling loosely around his face rather than spiked up like how Bakugou is used to seeing it. It does funny things to his heart that he ignores. “Hey! Bakugou!” Bakugou rolls his eyes as he crosses the parking lot to catch up with him where he’s waiting to head inside. “Man, you look nice. I didn’t know it was going to be a fancy thing.” Kirishima looks him up and down. Bakugou wants to die.

“Fuck off. This is what I usually wear.” He lies. Kirishima shrugs and nods toward the door then they fall into step beside each other. “Why the mall?” Bakugou asks as they head towards the food court.

“I’ve got some shopping I wanted to do and the arcade here is better than the actual arcade over by Yuuei. You ever been?” Kirishima asks even though he already knows the answer. He’s definitely not going to tell Bakugou that this was Midoriya’s idea.

Bakugou grunts an affirmative.

“Well, the shopping can wait! Let’s get our game on.” Kirishima grins crookedly and pulls finger guns on him. Bakugou doesn’t know if he wants to kiss him or punch him. He bites his tongue and balls his fingers into fists in the pockets of his jeans just in case his body decides to try either without his permission.

Kirishima’s stomach growls as they make their way through the food court. It’s a little busier here and the smell of food reminds him that he hadn’t eaten before he left. His nerves were too bad earlier, but now that he’s here with Bakugou beside him, it’s not so bad. Maybe he’ll buy them something later. “What’s your favorite arcade game?” He asks as they step into the room. It’s large and lined wall to wall with retro games and things like air hockey and foosball. The carpet looks absolutely disgusting and it smells perpetually like stale popcorn, but Kirishima is buzzing with excitement.

“Any with guns.” Bakugou says, though he’s partial to Space Invaders as well.

“I’m a Galaga man myself.” Kirishima says as he stuffs a five dollar bill into the token machine. Coins spill into his palm and he grabs a handful to hand to Bakugou. “Have at it! But you have to play DDR with me at least once! Oh, and air hockey! I’m going to wreck your shit.”

“I’d like to see you try, shitty-hair.” Bakugou fixes him with a narrow eyed glare, “I take a challenge like that very seriously. I will kill you.” He promises.

Kirishima holds his fists up (his hands are filled with tokens) in surrender, “Look, I won’t go easy on you, but I think murder is a step too far.”

“Fine. Loser is paying for dinner.” Bakugou decides.

“Deal!” Kirishima was already planning on buying dinner, but this at least gives his thinning wallet a slight chance. He stuffs his handfuls of coins into his pockets and nods for Bakugou to lead the way.

They hit Pac-Man first and Kirishima gives it his all, but his all is not enough. Bakugou makes it two levels further than he does and gloats shamelessly. Kirishima challenges him to Galaga next and does the best that he’s ever done only to have Bakugou one up him again. “You cheated.” Kirishima deadpans.

“You can’t cheat at this fucking game. I’m just good unlike you.” Bakugou argues. He’s much more smiley now that he’s won twice, so Kirishima can’t even stay mad.

“I will definitely whoop your ass at air hockey.” Kirishima says, but he regrets it after the table turns on and Bakugou immediately scores a point on him. It’s honestly bullshit.

They play four rounds of air hockey. The puck flies off the table a total of twelve times, mostly because Bakugou hits it too hard. Kirishima wins once by cheating and Bakugou wrestles him into a headlock until he admits it was a cheap victory. “You piece of shit.” Bakugou tightens his arm around Kirishima’s neck until the redhead taps out and promises not to do it again.

“Dance with me.” Kirishima says after they both catch their breath. The DDR machine stands in the far left corner, glowing and just waiting for them. He doesn’t give Bakugou time to say yes or no before he’s skipping over and dropping coins into the machine.

Kirishima doesn’t want to brag or anything, but he is a pretty excellent dancer so he’s really looking forward to wiping the floor with Bakugou this time around. Bakugou eventually catches up with him and watches as Kirishima cycles through the songs. He hums as he debates between two, eventually settling for the one with a higher difficulty. “Bring it, Katsuki.” Kirishima goads.

“Fuck you.” Bakugou growls as he steps up beside Kirishima. He hopes the lights of the game hide his blush.

The countdown begins and Kirishima hops in place excitedly before the music starts. When it does, he falls into step perfectly and tries to keep his attention on the screen rather than Bakugou next to him who’s moving just as well. Kirishima lets his competitiveness show a little when he throws an arm out in hopes of catching Bakugou and forcing him off balance, but Bakugou slaps his hand away and calls him a “dirty fucking cheater” and keeps dancing, keeps getting perfects.

The game finishes with a tie.

“You’re automatically disqualified, you piece of shit.” Bakugou shoves Kirishima, but he’s grinning.

“Hey, I should be awarded for even trying. I’ve taken L after L tonight, man!”

“You’re still buying dinner.” Bakugou tells him as they head out of the arcade and back toward the food court, their shoulders bumping.

Kirishima checks his phone as they wait in line to get pizza. They wasted a good hour and a half and it’s starting to get late. “Yo, you wanna catch a movie?” He asks as they carry their tray full of pizza to an empty table.

“Do you even know what’s playing?” Bakugou asks then stuffs his face full of food. It’s admirable, really. Kirishima doesn’t, but he can find out. He pulls up movie times on his phone for the theater in the mall and scrolls through as he eats. “This shit is disgusting.” Bakugou says around a mouthful.

“It is.” Kirishima agrees. Mall food is the epitome of nasty things. “But I’m hungry and theater food is expensive. I’m not buying you jack shit for that. The tickets alone will bleed me dry.”

“I’ll buy my own damn ticket.” Bakugou grumbles.

“Why, so then I’ll buy you sno-caps?” Kirishima laughs, but stops when he sees Bakugou looking at him. The blonde nods and Kirishima snorts. “Fine.”

When they both eat their fill (something like three pieces each) they dump their trash and debate over which movie to see as they make their way to the theater. Kirishima is pretty easy, he likes anything that doesn’t involve animals dying. Bakugou wants something with explosions. They settle for The Dark Tower, which Kirishima remembers reading at one point.

True to his word, Bakugou buys his own ticket, but insists Kirishima get him sno-caps and sour patch kids. Kirishima calls Bakugou a sour patch kid and gets punched in the shoulder.

The theater is mostly empty, which is fine by Kirishima. He heads up the stairs, arms full of popcorn and Bakugou’s candy. He lets Bakugou pick their seats, right smack in the middle of the theater. Bakugou kicks his feet up onto the chair in front of him and relieves Kirishima of the several bags, immediately ripping one open and shoving a handful into his mouth.

“Do you really still have room for more junk?” Kirishima asks, almost in awe.

“Fuck off.” Bakugou says, then flicks a sour patch kid at Kirishima. Kirishima retaliates with popcorn. This continues until they’re both running low on ammo and the lights finally dim, movie starting.

Kirishima realizes once the lights are off that he didn’t think this idea through very well. His fingers itch to reach for Bakugou’s because he’s had such a good time tonight, he thinks they’re on the right track, but then he doesn’t want to ruin a tentative friendship. He misses nearly the entire movie because he can hardly keep his eyes off the man next to him.

“Did you like it?” Kirishima asks as they head out to their cars. The parking lot is really dead now and there’s the odd couple leaving the theater, which makes Kirishima wonder if they look like a couple too. He hopes so.

“It was okay.” Bakugou shrugs. Kirishima hadn’t said this was a date, but the way he lingers makes Bakugou think maybe it was after all. He felt Kirishima’s eyes on him throughout the whole fucking movie and he only just managed not to snap at him to ‘fucking pay attention’, or ‘what the hell are you looking at?’ Now, he’s dragging his feet as they walk to his jeep. He should ask. Kirishima will be honest with him, no doubt. Then Bakugou won’t have to wonder anymore and he can fucking relax a little, but he can’t seem to find the words.

“So,” Kirishima breaks the silence when they stop at Bakugou’s jeep. He rocks back on his heels and chews on his lip. He wants to do this again. He wants to do this all the time. He wants to see Bakugou smile more often and call him names without really meaning it and dance with him. He wants. “Can I take you out again?”

“Was this a fucking date?” Bakugou asks at almost the same time. They stare at each other, Kirishima with his mouth open and Bakugou with his pressed tightly shut.

“Do you want it to be?” Kirishima asks. He watches Bakugou war with himself. He thinks the answer is yes, but Bakugou doesn’t want to come right out and say it.

Bakugou grinds his teeth, nods, then stumbles when Kirishima grabs his arm and pulls him closer. “Watch it, shitty-hair.” He hisses, yanking his arm out of Kirishima’s grip.

Kirishima smiles sheepishly, “Sorry, I forgot.” He apologizes then leans close, giving Bakugou plenty of time to catch onto what he aims to do, but the blonde doesn’t move, just looks between Kirishima’s eyes and lips. “Can I kiss you?”

“Don’t fucking ask.” Bakugou says, steps closer, fists a hand in Kirishima’s shitty hair to ground himself, and then kisses him like he’s been thinking about the entire fucking night. It’s chaste until it’s not, until Kirishima settles a hand on Bakugou’s waist and pulls him flush against his chest, until he tilts his head just right and swipes his tongue along Bakugou’s bottom lip. Bakugou takes the hint and opens his mouth to him. Kirishima tastes like chocolate because he stole nearly half of his box of sno-caps and it’s good, it’s fucking perfect. “Yes.” Bakugou breathes when they finally part.

“What?” Kirishima asks, thoughts thoroughly scattered after that.

“You can take me out again.” Bakugou clarifies then kisses Kirishima again before he shoves him away and fishes his keys out of his pocket.

“Text me when you get home.” Kirishima insists.

“Goodnight, Eijirou.”

***

Bakugou is stuck in the freezer again. Today, at least, he remembered his gloves so his fingers aren’t as cold, but he’s still fucking cold. He’s been bitching since his shift started and the only thing that’s keeping him from shriveling up and dying is Kirishima’s promise of warm food and a blanket fresh out of the dryer when he gets home.

His shift still drags.

Eijirou: r u on ur way home yet???
Eijirou: food is almost done !
Eijirou: blanket in the dryer :*
Eijirou: I love you

Bakugou bites his bottom lip to fight his smile as he reads the texts. He’s still in his jeep, parked in the driveway of his trailer that’s no longer too quiet when he comes home. He slides his phone and his keys into his pockets then heads inside.

Kirishima is swaying at the stove, water flicking from the spoon he’s using to stir noodles as he swings it around while he dances. His phone is blasting a song that Bakugou has become (unwillingly) familiar with.

When Bakugou’s hands settle on his waist, Kirishima leans into him. Bakugou doesn’t have to look at him to know he’s smiling like a fool. He slips his hands under Kirishima’s shirt (Bakugou’s shirt) and presses his cold fingers against warm skin.

“Cold.” Kirishima whines.

“Warm me up.” Bakugou mumbles against his shoulder.

“Give me like ten more minutes. Garlic bread is in the oven. Your blanket is on the couch, I literally just pulled it out of the dryer.”

Bakugou presses a kiss to Kirishima’s shoulder and disappears to the living room where he undresses and grabs a pair of sweats off the pile of clean laundry that’s overflowing off the designated laundry chair and onto the floor. He then wraps himself in the blanket Kirishima promised and sits his ass in front of the TV wondering how the hell he ever got so lucky.

Kirishima brings two plates with him and makes Bakugou scoot forward so he can climb up and sit behind him. With Bakugou between his legs, Kirishima has little room to eat, but they make do.

Neither of them mention that they’ve already seen this episode of Criminal Minds, neither of them care.

They eat in silence until their plates are empty and Bakugou is far warmer than he was when he first got home. He turns in Kirishima’s arms and wraps himself around him, forehead pressed against his shoulder.

“So,” Kirishima says, his fingers trailing up and down along Bakugou’s spine, “about that eyebrow piercing we were talking about ages ago.”