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Electric Fool

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Kaminari Denki, the electric boy of 1-A, knows that there are a lot more to his power than shocking people and shocking MORE people. That is, well, shocking himself. It’s easier to control the electricity within him when it’s in him, joined by neurons and synapses. There are conduits and systems for the electricity to flow too, unlike when he fires it out, wild and volatile.

 

He doesn’t do it too often.

 

The human brain is a delicate thing, wired with billions of neurons that transmit messages to one another, firing with electrical and chemical impulses when the cell hyperpolarizes or depolarizes. He’s studied every research paper he could get his hands on, he knows how to enhance his memory, how to turn off his emotions, how to stop feeling fear, just by altering the electric currents he sends.

 

The easiest way for him to do it is to short-term short-circuit the area. It’s quick, but the lasting effects vary, and sometimes he gets worried that it’ll never go back to normal, so he doesn’t do it that much. Sometimes there are side-effects, things that the research didn’t yet cover because the human brain is still largely a mystery. Getting majorly depressed and sobbing hadn’t been fun, and he had to shock himself unconscious to prevent him from killing himself. Not a fun weekend.

 

Enhancing an area was a trippy experience, and exhausted him a lot with the spent muscles. He could use it to boost his speed, make the motor neurons in his legs fire rapidly. He could use it to enhance his eyesight and focus, but then his eyes would be dry and painful.

 

He could turn off his pain receptors. But that hadn’t gone too well the last time he did it. His mother saw him almost chop off his pinky, and he hadn’t registered it because he had been so spent. She screamed bloody murder and that was when he realized the reason the knife wouldn’t move was because his bone was in the way. That had been… a wild ride. He still has the scar.

 

He does, sometimes, still shock himself the simple way.

 

“Ow!”

 

His eyes burn with unshed tears as he re-focuses on his textbook, thigh throbbing where his finger sent a shiver of electric current. He’s punishing himself whenever his mind wanders so he could condition himself to focus on the math. Kaminari’s pretty decent at all subjects but math. There’s a test tomorrow. He has to pass or he has to stay back after classes every day for remedial classes. Getting a single digit in one test really pulls your class average rank down.

 

“You can do this,” Kaminari pleads to himself, holding his head in his hands. “Come on, focus.”

 

His phone vibrates.

 

Kaminari hesitates, looking between the textbook to the phone. He really shouldn’t, but well… maybe it was something important.

 

It’s Kirishima, text full of smiley faces as he asks:

 

Kaminari! :) I’m going to beg Bakugou to teach me last minute math, you in? :) :)

 

Christ. Bakugou. Math. Could Bakugou even teach? He had been to Yaoyorozu’s house the last time for their midterms, but he felt bad asking her for help when he wasn’t even that close to her. He is desperate. Well, if Bakugou blows his head off… maybe he could stop thinking. There’s no bad result to this if you think about it that way.

 

Okay. Now?

 

Yeah! Meet @ his door

 

Kaminari sighs, looking down at his bruised thighs. They end up like this every time they had a math test. He decides to change out of his shorts and wear track pants instead.

 

He grabs his textbook, a notebook, and his pencil case. He hugs the items to his chest as he exits the room, yawning. Trudging, he finds Kirishima already in front of Bakugou’s door, bouncing with nervous energy. Kirishima brightens at the sight of him, knocking on the door.

 

“Bakugouuuuu help us!”

 

The class grump opens the door with a snarl. “The fuck do you want?”

 

“Well, the test is tomorrow, can you teach us enough for us to pass?” Kirishima grins. Bakugou’s red eyes slides from Kirishima’s cheery face to Kaminari’s pouting one intensely.

 

“Both of you?” He lifts his eyebrow.

 

“Well, I want Kaminari to pass too!” Kirishima explains, and Kaminari felt a wave of appreciation. Fuck, he didn’t deserve a friend like Kirishima, bless his little heart.

 

“Bro,” Kaminari fake sniffles.

 

“I got you bro.”

 

They fist bump and Bakugou looks disgusted. Whatever, Bakugou looked disgusted at nearly everything, so that's nothing new. Kaminari fully expects Bakugou to reject them, but the explosive blond gives a heavy sigh, leaving the door open as he retreats back into his room.

 

“If you do that bro shit on me I’m kicking you out.”

 

Kirishima beams at Kaminari, giving a thumbs up. Huh. Since when had Kirishima been close enough with Bakugou to enter his room without getting killed? Have they been doing this often? Kaminari returns the smile, going in with some hesitation. Bakugou is sitting on the floor, books out in front of him. All the pages on the workbook are neatly completed and tagged with coloured tabs, unlike Kaminari’s largely empty one.

 

Tentatively, he sits somewhere not too close or too far, but Kirishima plops down right next to Bakugou. “Bakugou, what do you think will come out for tomorrow?”

 

“You can pass with chapter 3,4 and 7.”

 

Fuck.

 

Chapter 7 was the hardest. He was always so bad at statistics.

 

“Math isn’t even hard, you just need to apply the damn rules,” Bakugou grumbles, but starts flipping his book. “Page 102.”

 

Kirishima and Kaminari scramble to get to the same page. Bakugou explaines the methods behind it, writing algebraic expressions down with ease. Kaminari kind of gets it, but gets stuck at the next question when Bakugou tells them to do it themselves. He feels discouraged, nibbling the end of his pencil.

 

“Damn idiot!”

 

Kaminari flinches when a rolled up textbook smackes his head. “Ow!”

 

“Can’t you even do basic math? It’s 124 and not 125.”

 

Oh.

 

Now he could solve it.

 

Smiling sheepishly, he changes the answer of that step and finds that he could solve the rest of it. Huh. When he looks up, Bakugou is smiling smugly down at Kaminari’s workbook, pleased that he got it right.

 

Huh.

 

Maybe he wouldn’t fail the test after all.

 

They spend a few hours at Bakugou’s room, 9pm turning into 2am. By that time they finish all three chapters and covered a little more material from other chapters just in case. Throughout it all, Bakugou explained clearly and concisely, hit them when they got the answers wrong and barked insults at them, but well, that’s not so much different from what Kaminari did to himself, so.

 

Except Bakugou was smart and got information into him without him having to fry his thighs and leave marks. His fingers trace his throbbing thigh distractedly as Kirishima thanks Bakugou profusely, attempting a ‘bro hug’ that fails when Bakugou shoves him away. Red eyes slide towards him, and Kaminari flinches into consciousness again.

 

“Oh, thanks a lot Bakugou! Man, I really appreciate it,” Kaminari thanks sheepishly. He had been planning on missing sleep to study, but it seemed like he could at least get a few hours in.

 

“Just get the fuck out of my room.”

 

Maybe Kaminari is getting better at reading Bakugou, but that wasn’t anger right there. Bakugou is pleased with their progress and too stubborn to show it. Huh. Were they maybe friends? Or maybe Bakugou just thought of Kiri as a friend and Kaminari was a side plus one. Kirishima was even better at reading Bakugou it seems because he'ds grinning brightly and bidding Bakugou good night like Bakugou didn’t tell them to get out rudely.

 

“Well, uh, night,” Kaminari gathers his things, and Bakugou nods to show that he heard. They left his room, closing the door behind them.

 

“Good luck for the test tomorrow buddy!” Kirishima pats his back.

 

“Thanks for inviting me man,” Kaminari pats Kirishima’s shoulder. They were supportive this way. Man, he is really lucky to have a friend like Kirishima. “Good luck to you too, god knows we need it.”

 

Kirishima laughs, waving at him as he left. Wow, Kaminari will never know how Kirishima stays so happy. Maybe that was just how Kirishima coped. Shrugging, Kaminari retreats back into his room for a well-deserved rest.

 

-

 

The test goes well. Kaminari’s in a good mood, if kind of sleep deprived. He turns around in his seat right after the test to see Kirishima’s relieved and excited face. Okay great, Kirishima would probably pass too. It’s a thing they did after every test, look at each other and gauge how each other did. They almost always passed or failed the same things, and misery’s not so bad when you got company.

 

“Kaminari! Wanna eat lunch with Bakugou and me?” Kirishima invites, “I think we should buy him lunch or something to thank him.”

 

“Oh, yeah sure!” Kaminari nods. That seems fair.

 

Lunch time rolls around, and the three of them sit together in the cafeteria. Bakugou has the most expensive curry set meal in the school, courtesy of the 2 of them. The curry is red hot, because obviously, Bakugou chose the highest spice setting. Kirishima’s telling them about this show he watched yesterday, and Kaminari’s half listening, half watching Bakugou shovel food down his throat while listening to Kirishima himself. Bakugou hardly even looks at Kaminari.

 

Kaminari feels like he is intruding.

 

“So, what do you think Kaminari?”

 

Kirishima’s eyes are bright and excited. A smile stretches his lips to show sharp teeth. Kaminari slides an easy smile on his face. “I think it’s hilarious, oh my god.”

 

That’s obviously the right answer, and Kirishima is beaming. “Right right? I can’t believe he did that! He’s so badass and cool.”

 

Okay, Kirishima must be gushing about a hero show then. He goes back to his own ramen in the midst of Kiri’s cute fanboy ramblings and flinches when he sees Bakugou eyeing him thoughtfully.

 

“Uh, you want some of this Bakugou?”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” slips out of Bakugou immediately like a defense mechanism at being caught, “who wants your MSG soaked crap.”

 

Kaminari shrugs, eating his tasty MSG soaked crap. Bakugou stops looking at him pointedly. Okay then. He lets it go. He’s impressed by how Kirishima can carry on with his one-sided conversation, perfectly happy to talk to half-listening conversation partners.

 

Kiri’s great, obviously, and he seems to have a functional dynamic going on with Bakugou, who seems slightly uncomfortable in Kaminari’s presence. But that’s okay though. He’s probably not even gonna share the same space with the explosive blond again, this lunch and the study session seeming like a one-time thing.

Chapter Text

That night, Kaminari’s trying his best to dry heave quietly in the shared bathrooms while everyone was watching movies to celebrate the fact that exams ended. He barely had any sleep the past few days since he had been cramming so hard for the exam. They had been drinking coke, eating popcorn (and throwing some around), laughing and kidding about, and then he felt that heaving retch, acid burning up his throat and making his eyes water.

 

Goddammit, he just wants to have fun with the rest of his class. Honestly, he had been feeling light-headed and out of it, but he didn’t want to just go to sleep and leave them. He likes being part of the class. If he starts skipping, he would fall out of the loop, and wouldn’t get all the new inside jokes.

 

But now, he’s kneeling on the cool bathroom tiles, leaning over the toilet bowl, sniffling, waiting for the next wave of nausea to wash over him. He’d rather puke, feeling the acid accumulate in him was a nasty feeling, but every single time he’d retch and nothing would come out, and he’s missing out on movie time, and he really wants to cry because he’s so tired, and such a mess.

 

“BLEURGH,” another wave of nausea shoots through his body, and he’s so tired of this, so tired of doing this same bullshit every single exam. Sleep deprivation and your body trying to turn you inside out are not fun.

 

He hears a bright ripple of laughter outside, and he swallows painfully. They’re having fun without him, and that makes him feel even more miserable, feeling all alone in his suffering. He wiped a hand across his sweaty face, grimacing and wiping the sweat down on his pants. His thighs throbbed, and yeah, that reminds him of all the electric shocks he had done to himself so that he could focus on studying. He knows what they look like, a smattering of ugly colours of green, purple, yellow, black and blue.

 

He traces them on his thigh, the throbbing pain is grounding. At the same time, the pain makes him want to cry because he knows there has to be something wrong with this. Something wrong with him doing this to himself, and he has to stop, but he doesn’t know how to start to stop because he’s so useless, he has to do this so that he could cope, and-

 

“Kaminari, you okay?”

 

Kaminari startles, not expecting anyone to come looking for him. But Kirishima had noticed him getting up to leave, and they were friends, he supposed.

 

“H-hue? Yea, I’m, I’m ok!” He stutters.

 

“You’ve been there really long, I’m worried. I thought I heard you puking…? Want me to, ah, hold your hair back?” Kirishima jokes, but his concern shows through clearly in his voice.

 

Well, shit.

 

Kaminari wipes his sweaty forehead again, pressing the flush button even though there was nothing to flush. Shakily, he tries to fix a smile on his face- aw, shit. He has to do better than this. He takes a deep breath, places a smile on his face, and opens the door, going over to the sink to wash his hands.

 

“Yeah, I think all the coke got to me, haha.”

 

“You look terrible,” Kirishima frowns, reaching over to place a hand on Kaminari’s warm and clammy forehead. Kaminari flinches slightly, because shit, he was SO gross and sweaty right now, but Kirishima doesn’t even react to that. “You might be coming down with something, why don’t you call it a night?”

 

“Yeah, yeah, I should. Enjoy the movie, yeah?” Kaminari replies weakly.

 

“Mmhm, I’ll tell the others for you, go take a shower before you sleep,” Kirishima ruffles his friend’s hair gently. “Want me to bring you up?”

 

“Nah, nah it k, I don’t want you to miss anything,” Kaminari shakes his head, woah, bad idea, the room is spinning. He gives a half-hearted smile and a thumbs up. “Appreciate it though bro.”

 

“Anytime bro! And I’d be up for a rewatch, just call me!”

 

Climbing the stairs was a bit of a trippy experience, and he has to really focus so that he couldn’t miss a step. Even though he is still nauseous and groggy, the hot water in the showers is a blessing to his skin, making him feel somewhat soothed.

 

Kaminari hates how long it takes him to understand math. He hates how he procrastinates. Hates how he cuts back on sleep, has to, to study, and still manages to get red scores on his paper. He needs to prioritize his time better, stop dozing off in class, stop mindlessly scrolling through the internet, needs to work harder, because he’s so dumb, and there’s so much that he doesn’t get, and-

 

His eyes burn, and the heavy tears that fall from his eyes feel distinct even as they blend in with the water of the shower, burning trails on his cheeks, and he wipes them furiously because he hates crying. Crying doesn’t solve anything. He’s not supposed to cry, because everything was his fault for being a dumb piece of shit. Now he’s crying like a poor little thing, but as if. He could do so much better if he tried, but he’s not trying hard enough to catch up to all his talented classmates.

 

He knows it’s part of the sleep deprivation talking. He always gets this way when he’s sleep deprived. He feels like screaming. He can’t leave the showers like this, they would tell, tell that something’s wrong with him, he would break into sobs once he sees Kirishima’s concerned face.

 

Kaminari switches off the water.

 

He towels himself off even when he’s crying and sniffling, soft sobs slipping through despite him doing his best to hold it back, making him choked up with tears, and his throat feels painfully blocked.

 

He dresses and leans his forehead on the wall for a bit, and the cooling sensation feels good against his forehead. It feels like he is being brought back to reality. He breathes in and out, lifting his hands to wipe his tears. He has to do this before anyone walks in and finds him like this. Has to do this- what if someone sees him? What if someone finds out how he's such a huge failure?

 

Shakily, reluctantly, he shifts his hands to his head. Emotions and pain are located in the limbic system. Like the amygdala, the temporal lobe… his fingers dance to the spots he knows, presses down, and he breathes in and holds his breath.

 

Bzzt!

 

Kaminari jolts, and then stands upright, blinking. His mind feels hazy, and blank. The world around him looks different, somehow, like how the world looks different when you emerge from a dark cave. He goes to mirror and washes his face, going through the motions mechanically, making sure he looks like he's just weary and red-eyed from lack of sleep, not from crying. He leaves the bathroom to the sight of a very grumpy Bakugou Katsuki. He would usually be surprised, but right now, he just stares.

 

“Oh hey?”

 

Kaminari almost forgets to push the smile onto his face. Oh shit, that was a second too late, but it’s okay. You get a lot of leeways when everyone’s tired from the exams. Bakugou however, is staring a hole through his skull with his intensity, and Kaminari feels strangely alright with that right now, although usually he would be cringing and attempting to flee.

 

“Tch, shitty hair for brains told me to give you this,” Bakugou grumbles as he shoves a bottle of vitamin water into Kaminari’s arms.

 

“That’s nice of him. Thanks,” Kaminari blinks. He takes it.

 


They both stand there, staring at each other. Bakugou’s eyebrows are furrowed.

 

“Oh.”

 

Kaminari tries to open the bottle because maybe Kirishima told Bakugou to make sure he drank or something. He couldn’t really do it. Fuck, he can’t even do something as simple as this.

 

“Fucking- ugh, just hand it over!” Bakugou snatches the bottle, twisting it open immediately with a strong movement, shoving it back to Kaminari, making some of it spill in the process.

 

“Uh, thanks.”

 

Kaminari drinks it greedily, not realizing how thirsty he was. “So, goodnight?” He gave a small wave. Bakugou’s frown deepens.

 

“Night, derp face,” he trudges away, leaving Kaminari to stare after him. Huh.

 

Well, he could think about that tomorrow.

 

-

 

Kaminari wakes up past noon. He’s groggy, and the first thing he does is to pinch his own cheek to check if his pain receptors and circuits are working. They are, although duller than usual. He does feel better, even though he’s still clearly entangled in sleep haze. Sleep deprivation really fucks one up. He gets up and washes up, wondering if there’s any lunch left.

 

It’s a Saturday, and many of their classmates must have left to the mall to celebrate, and well, he knows Midoriya’s group went. Wasn’t sure about others. He trudges down to the common area to see Kirishima playing a game on their tv, but he perks up at the sound of Kaminari’s footsteps and immediately pauses the game.

 

“Good afternoon bro! You feeling better?” Kirishima jumps over to him immediately, checking his temperature, and this time Kaminari leans in, because hey, being cared for feels really good, after the shitstorm of emotions yesterday.

 

“How did you know it was me?” Kaminari gives a small, genuine smile as he watches how Kirishima lights up. Kirishima’s one of those great friends to have because he always looks so excited to see you like he’s genuinely pleased to be in your presence. And he’s attentive, giving 100% of his attention when you’re talking, PLUS remembering all the things you said to him, which was really sweet.

 

“We’ve been bros for so long, of course I know!” Kirishima beams, ushering Kaminari to the kitchen table. “There’s still leftovers, sit tight and I’ll heat it up for you.”

 

“Thanks, Kiri, sorry to be a burden,” Kaminari yawns sleepily, resting his arms on the table. “And thanks for the vitamin water too, I think that helped a little.”

 

“Vitamin water?” Kirishima blinks, turning around from his pot of what smelled like miso soup. Mm. Kirishima smiles at the sight of his blond friend sniffing the air, “And don’t worry, I love taking care of people! I have lots of siblings.”

 

“Yeah, Bakugou said you-“ Kaminari blinked rapidly. Oh. Uh, vitamin water from Bakugou. Pretending it was from Kirishima. But why? “Uh, you know what, it’s nothing. Thanks, Kiri, you’re the best.” Kaminari rests his chin on his arms as he watches Kirishima hum out loud and move around the kitchen, looking great in a black apron. Man, he’d probably make a great house husband. Whoever he marries will be one lucky person.

 

“Alright, get up and eat properly,” Kirishima laughs, placing plate after plate of food- oh, this omelette looks newly made. Kirishima sits across from him with a happy smile, watching him eat. Kaminari’s too hungry to feel self-conscious, and it’s as though Kirishima is deriving vicarious joy from watching Kaminari stuff his face. He knows Kirishima is sitting from him because Kaminari mentioned once that he hated eating alone.

 

Honestly, he hates being alone at any time, because it makes his mind wander, makes him think about all the depressing things that he wished he just wouldn’t feel about.

 

“You’ve lost some weight, you really should eat up,” Kirishima coos, the sweetheart.

 

“Yeaaaaa, sometimes I forget to eat during exam season,” Kaminari replies, and oh shit, this food is GREAT. He’s not exactly lying, but there are times where he remembers but has no appetite nor time to eat.

 

“You got any plans today?”

 

Kaminari could feel from the little vibrations on the table that Kirishima is swinging his legs under his chair in anticipation. He smiles apologetically, “Yeah, Ashido made me promise to go to her room for facials.”

 

“Man, why don’t I ever get invited?” Kirishima pouts, looking disappointed.

 

Kaminari laughs, because a pouty Kirishima doesn’t always happen, and it’s cute. “Because look at you bro, you’re all tall, manly and handsome, and I’m a skinny twink. I gotta work my face.”

 

A nice flush takes over Kirishima’s face, and Kaminari watches it with glee, knowing he caused that. Kirishima doesn’t take compliments very well, always getting embarrassed by them. “What no, I’m not! Nowhere close to Bakugou at least, and… and you’re plenty attractive!”

 

“Aw, I try,” Kaminari flutters his lashes at his flushing friend, who only got more flustered. Snickering, he gets up and clears his plates.

 

“Ah, I’ll do it!” Kirishima whines, on his feet immediately, “You’re still recovering!”

 

“But-“

 

“No buts,” Kirishima shoves him playfully. “Go enjoy your time with Mina. I’ll see you later.”

 

“Okay, I’ll do it the next time though,” Kaminari squints at Kirishima, making an ‘I’m watching you’ signal. Kirishima squints back, but it was clear he was trying to hold back his smile.

 

Feeling much better with good and some positive interactions, Kaminari heads over to Ashido’s room, knocking a few times. He hears her scrambling to get the door, probably undoing herself from a burrito blanket and pushing over all the random stuff she piles up everywhere.

 

The door opens with a flourish, “Sweetie, you’re SO late! It’s almost 3 pm!” There she is in her pink skinned glory, a wide smile on her face as she ushers him in.

 

“Come on, we finished an exam yesterday, I have an excuse to sleep in,” he whines as she fumbles around, trying to get everything set up for their session and making a spot on her bed clean enough for both of them.

 

Ashido Mina is his ‘idiot dynamic’ partner, being the bottom of the class alongside him. They get along mostly by grouching about homework and studies and how dumb they are, and also being supportive of one another. She’s a bit of a bimbo, but totally open-minded and pretty nice and friendly to anyone that talks to her. Sometimes she invites him to her room.

 

“Because, y’know, if we’re not smart we at least gotta look hot. Have a selling point and all that. I’m gonna be the alien queen out there fighting for skin colour diversity, do you know how hard it is to get a foundation for my face? I’m going to make colour hot.”

 

He giggles on her bed, wearing a face mask and cucumber peels on his eyes. He finds her hilarious, to be honest.

 

“And Denki, sweetheart, have you seen your skin lately? It’s so dull and haggard, you poor thing. That math quiz took the flush right outta your face.”

 

“I knowww, I just wanna sleep 10 hours on my bed every night but math is like my jealous lover- okay no, that sounds too fun, math is like my mother who wants me to do housework when I’ve barely slept but then it’s already noon so I gotta get up like whyyyy.”

 

She’s giggling next to him now. He always puts on the bimbo theatrics just for her too, and admittedly, it is kind of fun. They always leave the door open in case their classmates think they’re dating or some shit. So yeah, they can just walk past and judge them being weird, lazy blobs and be giggling about dumb shit.

 

“And I almost slept past all my alarms on test day, like, I put one on 6.30, and then 6.35, and-“

 

“6.40, 6.45, 6.50…. yeah I know, same babe,” Kaminari groans.

 

“Dude, maybe we should like, have a morning call pact for every test day? Call each other to make sure the other is awake?”

 

“That’d be great except when we both miss our alarms,” Kaminari snickers, and Ashido nudges his side with a bony elbow.

 

“Ye’ of little faith, my blond child.”

 

“Yeah sure, I’d call you any time,” he says smoothly.

 

“Aw sweetie,” she pretends to be flattered by that. Honestly, they both know what flirting is like, it’s just fun and easy. They’re not really into each other. Ashido treats him like he’s her gay best friend, and she’s kind of half right.

 

“The fuck?”

 

Bakugou doesn’t usually walk past Ashido’s room, but here he is, looking at Ashido and Kaminari lying side by side on Ashido’s bed still like they’re in coffins, with their hands over their bellies, except for the wriggling of their toes. Their faces are covered by animal face masks, eyes with green cucumber, and they look like strange twin monsters.

 

“I’d invite you Blasty, but my bed has limited space,” Ashido replies loudly so that her voice carries out the door. “And for my little electric friend, he gets first dibs every time.”

 

“Babe,” Kaminari calls out in appreciation.

 

“Don’t worry sweetie, we’re gonna be the prettiest heroes out there,” she reachs over blindly, patting his chest- and shifting down to pat his hands. “There we go.”

 

“I want to go for the cool aesthetic, but well, pretty might work out for half my targets.”

 

“The fuck?” Bakugou repeats, unable to comprehend the scene in front of him and the words exchanged.

 

“Kaminari’s bisexual, Blasty, get with the program, ugh,” Ashido groans, “And if you have anything to say about it I’ll fight you.”

 

“Babe, you can’t win,” Kaminari laughs, “But thank you for your support.”

 

It's silent. Bakugou might have left.

 

“I can’t go for the pretty aesthetic, Todoroki will beat me hands down,” Kaminari grumbles.

 

“Well, then go for the cute one, you could totally rock cute. Like, the nation’s little brother or something.”

 

“And that will get me dates how?” Kaminari huffs.

 

“Shucks, but you’d have to fight Bakugou for the cool…” Mina’s pout could be heard in her voice. “Oh, not that I wouldn’t support you, sweetie, it’s just gonna be a tough fight.”

 

“You’d have better luck beating that half-and-half bastard!” Bakugou screechs in a weird tone, and then he’s stomping loudly away. Huh. What, was Bakugou trying to keep his top spot? Was he saying that Kaminari was more pretty than cool? Guess he’ll never find out.

 

“You’re like, totes funny though, so I bet you’d be so popular. Like, meme-fied online forever. Into the halls of fame,” Ashido rambles, glossing over Bakugou’s outburst. “All ‘wheyyyyy’ and stuff. Plastered all over twitter and tumblr.”

 

“Not what I wanted to go for but I’ll take it, tbh.”

 

“Like yeah, funny guys get girls.”

 

“But do they get boys?”

 

“Oh, we’ll see hun,” Ashido snickers.

 

“What does that even mean?!” Kaminari wails, nudging his shoulder against hers. She giggles, nudging him back and saying nothing. Yeah, this was okay. Talking about random shit was okay. Just hanging out talking about nothing and everything was okay. He’ll be okay.

 

“You’ll be okay, hun. We’ll all be great heroes,” Ashido says softly, her hand on top of his. Kaminari flips one of his hands so they could hold hands, providing emotional support for each other. He feels a little like crying again. “Heroes don’t have to be great at math. Well like okay, maybe we need some physics, sure. But even if we fail, we can just go to supplementary classes, although they suck.”

 

“Mmhm.”

 

This was nice, listening to Ashido talk encouragingly while he was feeling sleepy again. She speaks in low, sweet tones, squeezing his hand. He squeezes back, feeling lowkey afraid and anxious.

 

“We could… we could like, start a hero agency for all heroes bad at math,” he offers, making her laugh gently.

 

“Yeah but, who would do all the taxes and shit? Aw, I bet Blasty would take us all under his wing if we begged him enough. He can do the math.”

 

“Maybe.”

 

“I get afraid in the face of villains,” Ashido admits, sounding a little unsure. As though heroes shouldn’t be afraid. But heroes are humans too. He squeezes her hand. It’s valid, villains are scary and out to kill sometimes, and they watched the damage they could do to their teachers. “But, it’s a little less scary when Bakugou’s charging ahead in front of us and screaming for everyone to die.”

 

Kaminari thinks about how Bakugou charges ahead with all of his strength, never gives up, like a bright flame burning down everything in its path. Yeah, it’s inspirational and amazing. He wants to be a hero as determined and strong as Bakugou. It’s always reassuring to team up with Bakugou, because he always has a plan, knows what to do. Even if he has communication issues at times.

 

“I can see that. It’ll be nice if all of the Bakusquad works together, we can cover for each other.”

 

“Yeah,” Ashido gives his hand a final squeeze, and then sits up, removing her face mask. “Well, that’s 15 minutes!” She’s cheerful again, and her skin is glowing. It’s therapeutic, these sessions that they have. Time passes by too fast.

 

“Alright, thanks,” Kaminari sits up and peels off his facemask, and phew, does his face feel refreshed. “I’ll go see if Kirishima still wants to hang.”

 

"Bye sweetie," Ashido waves at him by wriggling her fingers seductively, and he blows her a kiss at the door, which makes her squeal and close the door in his face. They both giggle on both sides of the door. 

 

He heads over to Kirishima's room, pausing when he hears heated voices from behind the door of Kirishima’s room.

 

“….Are you sure he’s-“

 

“Shut up and lower your voice!”

 

Huh. Sounds like Kirishima and Bakugou are talking and sharing secrets. They’ve been off together like that a lot lately, as a pair. Kaminari originally thought that he would be Kirishima’s closest friend since they hit it off the first few days of school, and then Kirishima got attracted by Bakugou’s manliness and was almost always by his side then.

 

Feeling a little letdown, as well as left out, he isn’t sure what to do now. He’s got lots of friends in class, sure, but he’s not exactly close to anyone. He's the closest to the Bakusquad (as well as Jirou), although their squad didn’t hang out as often as Midoriya’s seem to do, and he's kinda jealous. Kirishima and Bakugou’s a pair, and Ashido usually hangs out with the girls.

 

He feels weary, feeling like he didn’t really belong anywhere. He knows that’s not true, since he does have a clique and all, but sometimes, he just wants people to pay more attention to him, to seek him out, to want to hang out with him of their own volition. To choose him first. Now, he felt bad imposing as he walks over to Sero’s room, knocking softly. Even so, he doesn’t want to be alone.

 

“Hey, who’s it?” Sero opens his door to find Kaminari shuffling his feet.

 

“Sorry but uh,” Kaminari grins, scratching the back of his neck. “If you don’t mind, can I hang here?” Sero has never said no to him, but he kind of got the idea that Sero likes to have his alone time.

 

“Sure! I was just reading this week’s jump. You can take something from my manga stash if you want to,” Sero gives his trademark triangular smile as he allows Kaminari to enter. They do this sometimes, but Sero never talks, choosing to focus on his reading. But having the bodily presence of a friend is much better than nothing.

 

“Thanks, dude.”

 

“You can swing about in my hammock, you look like you need it,” Sero offers, settling back down in his bed with a small stack of comics next to him.

 

“Mmhm,” Kaminari picks a random manga and climbs onto the hammock, shifting so he's in a comfortable position. Sero likes to play soothing sounds of nature, like the rain or the waves, which makes the hammock experience much better.

 

Time was spent in silence, but Kaminari gets bored quickly, pulling out his phone to play phone games instead, taking care to play on mute. It’s not that Kaminari doesn’t like hanging out like this, but sometimes he wishes they spent time together as a clique, playing games together, going to shop outside, making dumb jokes. He feels himself dozing off lightly as he daydreams about that. Yeah, he’s definitely sleep deprived.

 

He could tell that Sero went to lower the brightness of his room, opting for a lamp next to the bed instead to continue reading. Sero’s nice like that. He feels his eyes close.

Chapter Text

When Kaminari opens his eyes again, he’s no longer in Sero’s room. Everything around him is dark, and he lies still, glancing about in silence to see where he was.

 

His own room.

 

How did he get back here?

 

His head throbs with a headache that indicates he definitely slept too much. He blinks groggily, feeling like the world was unreal. His clock reads 5 am, and he frowns, sitting up. Fuck, he slept without even showering yesterday. Did Sero carry him back? He could’ve just woken him up, now he felt so bad.

 

His throat is also really sore, so he went to the mini-fridge in his room, grabbing a bottle of water which he gulps down greedily. He sits down in front of his fridge, zoning out. His legs didn’t feel like his own legs, and his arms didn’t feel like his own arms, all noodly and weak while he's still trying to wake up fully. It feels like he's submerged under a pool.

 

He takes in a deep breath.

 

I wouldn’t have been able to breathe in a pool, he thinks with a wry smile.

 

He knocks his head against the fridge door, wincing at the pain but feeling it ground him back to reality. Yeah, he’s still here.

 

He’s just sitting there, staring into space, eyes unfocused.

 

But he has to snap out of this soon. He doesn’t like himself like this.

 

He’s supposed to be cheerful, happy. Although he does feel that genuinely sometimes, lately he feels it’s more forced, but everyone expects that of him, it’s his persona by now, and he can’t break out of persona or they would be disappointed. Who wants to hang out with someone who’s depressed and griping all the time? Nobody. He would make things awkward if he shows them this side of him, he would ruin the mood, and they’d dump his ass because they’re all busy enough without having to be burdened with his shit.

 

Smile, Denki, smile.

 

You’re being dumb, do you even have something real to be depressed over? There are people out there who wanted to get into UA and failed. There are people out there who lost family due to villains, and what, what’s the worst thing that happened to you? Feeling alone? Failing your exams ?

 

He doesn’t deserve to even-

 

Oh fuck fuck, no. He's sinking back into it. He has to get out. Has to stop thinking.

 

He gulps down the rest of the water. Focusing on the sensation of it sliding down his parched throat. Yeah, he needs to get back to his routine in his life, when everyone is awake, things would be better, he wouldn’t even have time to himself to think with how loud and bright everyone is.

 

Don’t think, don’t think , he chants to himself like a prayer as he goes through the routines of the day. Simple steps of his day that he usually takes for granted have to be repeated in his head. He stinks. He has to shower. It’s the morning. He has to brush his teeth.

 

Denki, you haven’t even eaten dinner yesterday, eat.

 

I don’t feel like it, it’s so much work.

 

Eat, you need food to live. There has to be something easy to eat.

 

He forces himself through them all, no matter how much he doesn’t want to. He knows from experience that the more you stay still, ruminating on your feelings, on your thoughts, on  why, why should I do this, why can’t I just give up? That’s when you get stuck. He moves on autopilot as much as he could, shutting all errant thoughts down as the bubble in his mind, like a persistent itch that just wouldn’t go away.  

 

Now he’s sitting in the dark of the lounge, a bowl of cereal with milk in his hands as he crunches down on it, trying to focus on the sensations of the cereal in his mouth, the sweetness of the milk, the crunchy cereal progressively becoming softer the longer they soaked. He blinks at the dark shapes he could vaguely make out. The silence and solitude are equal parts comforting and frightening. No one is looking at him in his sorry state. And yet he knows no one in their right mind sits in the dark, eating cereal, staring into space with wide eyes like something would pop out from that corner of the lounge.

 

He’s here. He’s alive. It’s another day.

 

Is that good or bad? Is there even a point to-

 

“Fuck!” Kaminari screeches, throwing his head back on the couch with strength, hitting the cushions. His bowl of cereal sloshes but doesn’t spill. He feels like crying. But he doesn’t. All these intrusive thoughts are a bother. Why do they even pop up like this?

 

It’s okay, it’s okay, he rushes to reassure himself. It’s almost seven. Everyone will be up soon. You gotta be okay. They’ll distract you. You’ll be okay.  

 

He lifts his head and eats another bite of cereal, barely tasting anything this time. He pauses. No, no, no. His taste buds were fine a few moments ago. Another mouthful. Oh shit. Fuck, fuck. He sticks his tongue into his left cheek, biting down lightly with his teeth. It feels numb.

 

“Kaminari?”

 

Kaminari flinches, turning around with a spoon in his mouth.

 

Kirishima is smiling at him with concern. “You slept really early yesterday, catching up on sleep debt, yeah?”

 

Kaminari watches Kirishima, who switches on the lights. The lounge brightens with colour again, a sight Kaminari is familiar with. He stuffs another spoonful of tasteless cereal into his mouth, chewing as he runs on automatic mode. His thoughts stopped now that he has Kirishima to fixate on.

 

He watches at Kirishima walks to the cabinets, getting the box of cereal. Kirishima is humming a soft tune beneath his breath, filling the silence of the room, and the world feels a little better. Safer. Kirishima gets his own bowl of cereal, and walks over quickly to join Kaminari on the couch. He doesn’t ask why the blond was sitting alone in the dark. Kirishima is great like that. This means he didn’t have to lie. They munch on their cereal quietly for a few moments, enjoying the peace.

 

“We wanted to talk to you, and couldn’t find you, until Sero said you were sleeping in his room,” Kirishima’s tone is light, non-judgmental. He’s not angry that Kaminari skipped out on their loosely agreed upon meeting. Kaminari’s not angry at Kirishima for hanging out with Bakugou and seeming so close too. He just feels a little lonely and left out.

 

Kaminari sure hopes he can talk. His taste buds were fucking up. It’s always scary whenever a part of him malfunctions after his haphazard electrocuting. He’s gone through a lot of research and trial and error, but side effects like these still occur at random. Maybe it was his whole tongue.

 

“...S-sorry, I was tired,” he mumbles, feeling a wave of relief when he could speak.

 

“Mmhm,” Kirishima nods, looking at Kaminari carefully. The blond seems out of sorts. “Bakugou carried you back to your room.”

 

Kaminari almost choked. “ Bakugou?!”

 

“Yeah, so make sure you thank him later,” Kirishima grins, if a tad wearily. There is a question in Kirishima’s eyes as he considers Kaminari, something unspoken.

 

Kaminari imagines Bakugou, carrying a sleeping Kaminari in his muscular arms, a heavy sulk on his lips as though it was a terrible chore forced upon him. Someone must have asked Bakugou to do it… but if Kirishima was there, Kirishima would have just carried him, right? It's hard to imagine Bakugou doing so of his own accord, moving carefully to not rouse Kaminari, holding him close… A light blush lights up Kaminari’s cheeks.   

 

“Well, I’ll go and change and get ready for class, I think everyone’s going to wake up soon,” Kirishima smiles and ruffles Kaminari’s hair, taking both of their empty bowls to the sink. It was nice, being treated gently. But Kirishima’s attention would almost always be stolen by Bakugou when the explosive blond was around.

 

Kaminari closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and then goes back to his room to change as well.


 

 

“I’ll be handing back your math papers. Only one of you failed this time.”

 

Kaminari blinks. One of them…? Fuck. Was it him? The whole class breaks into whispers, discussing who it was likely to be. He could hear Ashido making a low whimper at the back of her throat. Aw, hopefully it wasn’t her.

 

“To be fair, this test was harder than usual, so your marks are decent considering everything,” Aizawa explains with disinterest, calling out names. The whole class groans, not sure if it was a good thing or not. There is hushed discussion about how the paper was way too difficult.

 

A flash of panic suddenly flares to life in Kaminari’s chest, his heartbeat loud enough to reach his ears. Shit. He tries to calm himself down, twitchy fingers dancing along his thigh. Fuck, no. He hoped he didn’t fail. He hoped Aizawa-sensei wouldn’t announce his grade. He has to breathe normally, god, was the panic showing on his face?

 

“Kaminari.”

 

His legs feel like lead as he slides out of his seat, moving through the class as his classmates discuss their own grades, groaning at how hard the paper was and how unfair it was. Aizawa stares at him intensely, handing the papers back.

 

The bright red 49 on the top right.

 

Kaminari swallows his panic, folding the paper into 2 before anyone else could see. He finds it hard to keep his expression straight as he goes back to his seat.

 

“How did you do?” Kirishima asks him, because they always shared.

 

“It was so bad,” Kaminari says softly, discouraged. He shoves the paper into his bag, where no one would ever see it. He looks at the paper on Kirishima’s desk, sees the bright red 61. Kirishima never hides his grades like Kaminari did, never lied about them.

 

Ashido is groaning, holding her paper, and it was a 56.

 

Kaminari swallows painfully. Okay, he fucked up. He definitely did. But why? He had studied with Bakugou and Kirishima. Even shocked his own thighs to concentrate. He thought he got what Bakugou taught. Well, most of it at any rate.

 

“Kaminari, come to my office after class.”

 

His eyes widens, and he turns to see Aizawa looking at him with a deadpanned look. Shit.

 

He couldn’t concentrate the rest of the math lesson, feeling fidgety and afraid of what Aizawa wanted to say. He tried pretty much his best, he really did. He didn’t know what else he could do, and he's so close to bursting into tears and having a panic attack in class, because, one failure. One failure and it was him. He was so dumb, and he was being left behind in class.

 

“Kaminari, what’s the answer to this?”

 

His mind draws a blank.

 

“Sorry, I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention,” he replies sheepishly. The class laughs at his expense. Aizawa only stares at him harder. He bites his lip, sinking into his seat.

 

When class is over, Aizawa waits at the front of the classroom for him. Kaminari looks back to see Kirishima’s concerned look.

 

“Why does he want to see you? Is everything alright?”

 

Kirishima’s concern only made it harder to breathe right now. Kirishima could never find out.

 

“I dunno, I’ll tell you later,” Kaminari shrugs, placing a look of confusion on his face as Kirishima gives him a thumbs up and bid him good luck.

 

The walk to Aizawa’s office together is silent and awkward. Kaminari sneaks glances at his teacher, and only sees the pro hero staring forward, deep in thought. They reach the teacher’s office, which is thankfully empty. Whatever Aizawa wants to say about his grades, he doesn’t want anyone knowing. He stands at the edge of his teacher’s desk as Aizawa sits down, rustling through his drawers. He takes out a stack of papers, and Kaminari sees his name on all of them.

 

“Explain.”

 

All of the circled marks were everything except math and literature. His math grades had always been ridiculously low, and his literature grades high and consistent. Below that, his class ranking was circled as well.

 

7, 19, 20, 19.

 

His grades for the entrance exam that got him the 7th spot, English: 87, Math: 65, Chemistry: 85, Physics: 89, Biology: 99, History 82, Japanese Literature: 92

 

His grades for the midterm, 50, 32, 57, 53, 58, 54, 87….

 

All barely enough to skip remedial classes, except math.

 

“I… don’t understand?” Kaminari says, fingers shaking as they clutch onto his pant legs. “Am I… not doing well enough?”

 

“Sit here and do the entrance exam for next year.”

 

Kaminari hesitates, but pulls over one of the office chairs so he could do the paper on Aizawa’s desk. He stares at the questions, doing them slowly. The text swims in front of his eyes, it's hard to focus with Aizawa staring down at him. He's so stressed and conscious of his teacher's presence he had to constantly pull himself back to the text. He’s confused by some of the questions that seem harder than what he remembered for his own entrance exam. He does them the best he could. Guesses for a lot of them.

 

Aizawa watches him closely, watches how Kaminari’s eyes would shift around on the question booklet as though unable to focus.

 

“I’m done.”

 

Aizawa nods, pulling the papers from him to grade. Kaminari wonders what the hell was going on, because he is was missing history class right now. What did Aizawa want to prove? That he's an idiot? That he isn't an idiot? He's fully prepared to argue his case, about how the entrance exam allowed months of advanced preparation, about how U.A and combat classes made him too tired to study properly.

 

Aizawa writes down the grades, and they are all falling grades. Kaminari doesn’t even need to look, because he knows.

 

“Kaminari.”

 

“I didn’t cheat in the entrance exam, I just studied really hard,” he promises, because how else could one explain away the grade difference? Getting into U.A had been hell, and that was the period of time where he had shocked himself repeatedly until he had photographic memory for hundreds of pages of content.

 

“Kaminari, if you keep this up, you’re going to get expelled.”

 

Oh.

 

“W-what?” his voice shakes.

 

Aizawa massages the bridge of his nose wearily. “Kaminari, you’ve shown that you can perform better, so why don’t you?”

 

Caught, cornered, he starts panicking again, tears springing up to his eyes. “I don’t understand? I’ve tried hard, really, I promise. I thought I’d pass this time.”

 

Seeing the distressed state of his student, Aizawa sighs, standing up to get the tea and biscuits. He feels too old for this. He comes back, offering them to Kaminari on a tray. It doesn’t do much good, Kaminari’s hands are shaking too much for him to do anything with it.

 

“Kaminari, that math paper. How hard did you study? Did you even pay attention in class?”

 

Kaminari swallows, staring at his feet. His vision swims. He feels sick. He feels like Aizawa is questioning him and criticizing how idiotic he was.

 

I’m so fucking stupid. So stupid that even though I made it into U.A, I’m about to get kicked out. I guess no matter how hard I try, it wouldn't matter.

 

“Breathe, Kaminari. I’m not angry, I just want to know why.”

 

“Sensei, this is all I can do. I’ve really done all that I’ve could,” Kaminari pleads, his voice high and tight. “I’m just so stupid.”

 

“I don’t think you are,” Aizawa replies seriously, still looking at him with a critical look. “You can do better. I’ve seen it.”

 

Aizawa slaps his palm on the table, on the student information sheet that showed all of Kaminari's grades. On the grades that Kaminari went through hell to get to enter into U.A.

 

“I’ll do better, sensei,” his voice cracks. “Please don’t kick me out of U.A.”

 

“I’m not. Breathe.”

 

It's hard, his breaths are rapid. Tears are filling his eyes. Flashbacks are threatening to rise to his mind. “Sensei, can you close your eyes for 5 seconds?” he pleads, eyes blown wide.

 

Aizawa complies, for which Kaminari feels grateful for. His lifts his shaking hands to his scalp, closes his eyes, concentrates, and…

 

Bzzt.

 

His mind clears up in an instant, and his hands drop from his head, no longer shaking. His disabled his fight-or-flight responses, no longer feeling afraid or panicked. There he sits, calm, heart beating slowly and peacefully like a calm before the storm.

 

Aizawa opens his eyes, staring at the boy in front of him who did 180 from a nervous wreck to sitting impossibly still, eyes empty. He raises an eyebrow, puzzled.

 

“I’ll do better, sensei,” Kaminari murmurs placidly. “That’s all I need to do, right?”

 

“How are you planning to do that?” Aizawa is concerned, even if he doesn’t show it. Kaminari’s eyes slides to the tea hazily, and he lifts the teacup to sip it. The liquid sooths his dry throat.

 

The blond stays quiet, pensive.

 

“I want you to do well. You’re undermining your own potential, Kaminari. Let me know if you need to have after school consultations.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

This is frustrating. But Aizawa genuinely wants the best for his student. It seems like Kaminari was so much more capable than what everyone else thinks of him. “I know you can do well on these tests. I just want you to do your best on these exams.”

 

Kaminari nibbles on a biscuit, nodding his head.

 

“You have to promise me you’ll work hard. I don’t want to expel you.”

 

It's something difficult to say, and Aizawa almost expects the boy to fall into a panic again, but Kaminari is strangely subdued, eyes lowered. “Okay. I just have to do my best right? As long as I pass I can stay in U.A?”

 

“Yes,” Aizawa promises. “I’ll give you time to pull up your grades. If your grades don’t improve by finals, you’re out.”

 

Kaminari nods slowly.  

 

“Go back to class, Kaminari. I’ll talk to you again.”

 

Kaminari gets off the seat fluidly, leaving the classroom feeling empty and inhibited. He knows he should be panicking and worried about Aizawa calling his parents or something, but he feels impossibly calm as he walks. He fixes a smile on his face, opening the classroom door.

 

It's lunch time again, and sometimes some classmates stay behind to eat their bentos together. He's surprised to see Kirishima hanging out at a sulking Bakugou’s desk, both very obviously free of lunch. They talk quietly amongst themselves, in their own little world until Kaminari goes to his own desk to get his wallet.

 

“Oh hey Kaminari! You’re back, how did it go?”

 

“Oh, he just wanted me to work harder in my studies,” Kaminari says with a sheepish grin. He’s perfected these expressions long ago, even though he feels really empty right now.

 

“We were waiting for you, let’s go to the cafeteria!”

 

“Sure… huh? That’s nice of you,” Kaminari’s eyes flitting to the sulking Bakugou. He doesn’t seem the type to wait, so Kirishima must have made him.

 

“Yeah? Of course, we’re friends right? And I noticed you don’t have a fixed lunch group, you always hang about with different people. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I was just worried you’d be lonely if you came back to an empty class.”

 

“Bro,” Kaminari put a hand over his heart, and Bakugou groans right before Kirishima answers with his own “Bro!”

 

They do a chest bump that has Kaminari groaning in pain, stumbling backwards. He doesn’t know why he does these things to himself, but then again Kirishima seems to like all of it. He could withstand a little pain for Kirishima’s amazing friendship.

 

This time, Bakugou brought his bento, and both Kirishima and Kaminari stare at it in wonder. Fuck, are those actual octopus-shaped sausages? Amazing. And that egg roll looks so tantalizing. Makes his current yakisoba bread look like trash, to be honest.

 

Kaminari’s quick fingers move, snagging a little sausage. He plops it into his mouth, moaning at how good it was. OH, he's so glad he could taste again.

 

“Oi, you asshole! I didn’t say you could have that! Want me to blow your head off?”

 

“Yes please, but maybe not in public,” Kaminari laughs with a wink. He doesn't register the threat that is Bakugou right now, his system still down. He takes another egg roll. “Did you make this, Bakugou? It’s so freaking good, I could marry you right now.”

 

Kirishima is surprised. Usually, Kaminari would be leaning away, sheepish and kind of scared of Bakugou and then he would have to play peacemaker, but right now…

 

Bakugou’s face turns splotchy with red, and Kaminari has no idea if Bakugou was angry, embarrassed or both. He raises his eyebrow at Bakugou who slams his hands on the table.

 

“Fuck you, you electric Pikachu! Who wants to marry you?”

 

Kaminari shrugs, turning to Kirishima. “Kirishima, would you marry me?”

 

“Bro, that'd be kind of weird, don’t you think?” Kirishima laughs nervously, glancing around. Bakugou made a ‘tsk’ sound under his breath, glaring to the side.

 

“I give good massages,” Kaminari wriggles his fingers, sparkling with electric currents. He uses his most persuasive voice.  “You’ll see a whole new world.”

 

“Shit, maybe, yeah. I get stiff shoulders after using my quirk.”

 

“Aw, come to my room at 9. I’ll give you a little taste test.”

 

Bakugou eyes them with disbelief, because did Kaminari just steal his food, flirt with him, and then flirt with Kirishima? And succeed? That little fucker. “You little….!” His hands sparks with explosions as he raises them in the air, ready to fight.

 

Damage control Kirishima kicks in, and he holds Bakugou back immediately. “Forgive him Bakugou! He did get lectured by Aizawa for like 3 hours. Who even does that??”

 

“Yeah, who even does that,” Kaminari agrees, putting on his cutest pout and puppy dog eyes. It’s always a hit with the older ladies at the market. And maybe it works, because Bakugou shoves the top layer of his lunchbox at Kaminari, snarling.

 

“Well it’s contaminated with your goddamn germs now, so you eat it.”

 

Kaminari gives a squeal of delight, shoving another egg roll into his mouth. It tastes beautiful. “Man, you’d be so popular with the ladies if you weren’t so grumpy, Bakugou.”

 

“Fucking-“

 

“Kaminari, stop agitating him!” Kirishima moans, pulling Bakugou back again. His electric friend seems to have no filter right now. Well yeah, Kaminari likes to make jokes at Bakugou’s expense sometimes, but he usually stopped. Kaminari giggles at the two of them, stuffing his cheeks with food so he looked like a large blond hamster.

 

“Sorry,” he bats his eyelashes.

 

“If we get matched for combat training, you’re going down!” Bakugou snarls.

 

“Under you? Oooooh,” Kaminari coos. “Kinda hot.”

 

“KAMINARI!” Kirishima shrieks.

 

“Sorry, I’ll really stop now,” Kaminari laughs at the scandalized look both Kirishima and Bakugou sported. He was maybe the only one in the entire class that turned Bakugou’s threats of violence into innuendos. He's proudly bisexual, and not afraid to show it. Flirting is easy, funny, and flattering, so he likes doing it, especially if it was reciprocated.


 

 

Kirishima knocks on his door at 9, and Kaminari rolls out of his bed, having forgotten his own offer. Opening the door, he is met with the sunshine smile of who might be considered his closest friend in U.A. Well, Kirishima probably considers Bakugou his closest friend, and he wasn’t going to intrude on that if possible.

 

“Hey.”

 

“Hey, the offer still available?”

 

“For you? Always,” Kaminari lays it on with a sleazy smirk, and Kirishima laughs, stepping into the room.

 

“How do we do this?”

 

“Hmmm, take off your shirt and lie down on my bed, it’s easier for me that way.”

 

“Wow Kaminari,” Kirishima waggles his eyebrows, and Kaminari laughs, and promptly stops laughing when Kirishima takes off his shirt. Okay wow, Kirishima is fucking built. He swallows hard when Kirishima lies down on his bed, lying with his smooth back on full view as he rests his head on Kaminari’s pillow. Well, fuck.

 

“Like this?” Kirishima asks excitedly.

 

“Yeah,” Kaminari replies breathily, going over. “Um, just stay still.” It feels a little weird climbing over Kirishima, straddling Kirishima’s waist so that his palms had full access to the broad shoulder and back. He lifts his hands, tuning the crackling electricity up a little, enough to tingle but not enough to hurt. “Ready?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

He places his palms on Kirishima’s shoulders, and presses, rubbing his thumbs inward in circles.

 

“A-ah, fuck!”

 

Kaminari pauses, face going aflame. Okay, is it him or was his room suddenly a lot hotter?

 

“Wow Kaminari, you’re really good at this,” Kirishima says breathily beneath him.

 

“Y-yeah, I used to do this for my grandparents,” Kaminari replies shakily, going back to his work. He knows how good this is supposed to feel, but his face is only burning brighter and brighter as he works at the tough knot at the base of Kirishima’s neck, the red-haired boy moaning repeatedly beneath him. Electric currents teased at the muscles, making them relax and tingle wherever Kaminari lays his hands on. He has to concentrate a little for this, and Kirishima is more than a little distracting, mewling like a cat in heat.

 

There's series of furious knocks on his door, and Kaminari pauses, staring at the door in confusion when it is suddenly kicked open, revealing a brightly blushing Bakugou. “Oi, the fuck are you guys doing in the dorms?”

 

“Oh hey, Bakugou!” Kirishima greets sleepily, looking completely blissed out and limp on Kaminari’s bed. Bakugou blinks at them. Kaminari blinks back, face fire truck red, and then turns back to Kirishima’s back, hands sliding down before kneading in circles.

 

“Ah, a-ah shit! That’s so good Kamiiinariiii.

 

“Can you not. Say my name. like that?” Kaminari bites out, he's pretty sure he was semi-hard by this point. Thank god his system for fight-or-flight has links to arousal, the prior which was shut down. “And close the door, Bakugou! I don’t want an audience for this.”

 

Bakugou closes the door, staying in.

 

“Man, you totally gotta try this, it’s sooo good,” Kirishima recommends with a sloppy grin. “Try it on him Kaminari!”

 

Kaminari slides off Kirishima’s back, and Kirishima crawls off his bed onto his carpeted floor, hugging a cushion and curling into a ball, totally relaxed. It's kind of cute.

 

“Well, take off your shirt and lie down if you wanna try,” Kaminari shrugs at the edge of his bed, leaning to take the end of the usb charger from his table into his mouth for a quick charge. To his utmost surprise, Bakugou strips out of his shirt, tossing it unceremoniously onto the floor. Wow, 2 hot shirtless dudes in his room. His little bisexual heart is soaring.

 

Bakugou is also built, but in a different way from Kirishima. That waist is so impossible, gosh. It should be illegal. Kaminari fans his flushed face lightly when Bakugou settles down in the same position Kirishima was in, sulking. His mouth is tightly shut, as though he's determined to not make a sound.

 

Kaminari takes up the challenge, pulling out the usb cable from his mouth with a loud pop. He straddles Bakugou the same way, hands crackling with electricity. “Ready?”

 

“Whatev-f-fuckkkkk….”

 

Kaminari wonders briefly why he does this to himself, because Bakugou’s raspy groan was… goddamn. Hot af. Kaminari goes at an unrelenting pace, smoothing tight muscles and relaxing them out with his charged hands and fingers, putting his body weight into the massage. He hears Bakugou give a muffled moan, and it sounds like Bakugou was biting into his pillow. Okay fuck, that’s really hot.

 

“He’s really good isn’t he?!” Kirishima approves enthusiastically, turning to face them. Kaminari prays to not get a boner.

 

He works on it for another 5 minutes, and then he’s running low on electricity, so he rolls off Bakugou, reaching for his usb cable and holding it in his mouth to feel the comfortable and familiar crackling as the energy flows into him. He regulates it with ease to redistribute it around his whole body.

 

“You could charge for this, I would SO pay you,” Kirishima wriggles his toes while lying down on his floor, still half-naked and hugging his cushion.

 

“Thanks bro,” Kaminari mumbles around the cable, his blush starting to fade. He takes a look at Bakugou, and then his blush comes back full force again, because he has never seen Bakugou so relaxed, face smoothed out and handsome. It seems like the explosive blond had fallen asleep, hair mussed, spread over his pillow.

 

“No, thank you,” Kirishima sighs happily. “I feel so great right now. You’re amazing. Can I just sleep here? I feel so lazy.”

 

“Yeah, knock yourself out dude,” Kaminari lays his hand against the wall, conducting electricity over the wires inside to his fan to turn it on, too lazy to walk. Kirishima murmurs in amazement, already half asleep. He glances at Bakugou, contemplating carrying the blond back to his room, or waking him up, but decides against it since Bakugou looks so peaceful.

 

Shrugging, Kaminari flops down beside Bakugou, pushing Bakugou aside a little to get his space. It's a little tight, but it would work. He yawns sleepily, feeling himself doze off.


Chapter Text

Bakugou wakes up to unfamiliar décor. And blond hair under his chin. As he slowly becomes more and more conscious, he realizes his arm and leg was thrown over someone, as if they were his teddy bear. Recalling what happened the previous day, his cheeks turn pink. He had resolved himself to not make a sound yesterday, but failed, and even fell asleep.

 

His sleep-addled brain supplies that Kaminari’s hair smells really good. What kind of shampoo does he use?

 

Kaminari wakes up to a really nice view of sharp collarbones. There’s the sweet smell of sweat which reminds him that he is currently, in fact, cuddling up to Bakugou Katsuki. And it feels pretty great to have the heavy body weight of an arm and leg trapping him there, to be honest. He doesn’t dare to move, in case Bakugou wakes up. It’s warm and comfortable, like dozing off under a kotatsu during winter.

 

“If you’re both awake, we should get prepared for class.”

 

Kaminari startles, headbutting Bakugou in his surprise as he lifts his head. Bakugou curses in pain as Kaminari slides off the bed to see Kirishima’s bright smile. It ranks high on Kaminari’s ‘Best things to see in the morning’ list.

 

“Man, I slept like a rock, your hands are magic Kaminari.”

 

Bakugou has to agree, but right now, he’s angry because the goddamn electric Pikachu hit his chin, and then he’s angry because he fell asleep in the same fucker’s bed without meaning to.

 

“Your smile is magic Kirishima, have you looked at a mirror?” Kaminari replies with ease, grabbing his toiletries and uniform. Kirishima flushes, looking genuinely flattered. He holds a hand to his heart.

 

“Bro.”

 

“Enough with all the damn ‘bro’ shit,” Bakugou grumbles.

 

“You’re just jealous,” Kaminari sticks out his tongue and flees the room before Bakugou could blow up on him for that, going to the shared showers.

 

He feels a lot better now, more like himself. When he thinks back about what had happened with Aizawa, the telltale flare of fear lets him know that his brain is functioning properly again. He breathes a sigh of relief, quickly washing up. When he gets back to his room, the two boys are nowhere to be seen.

 

Yesterday night was…weird. But kind of nice. He hasn’t been that physically close to anyone in a long while. Shrugging, he puts on his uniform, grabbing his phone- fuck, did he not charge it? He sighs and grabs his usb cable, plugging one end into his phone and placing the other in his mouth as he leaves. He slots his phone into his pocket while still holding the usb between his teeth. This was U.A, people have seen weirder shit.

 

“Morning Kaminari-kun!”

 

“Ssup Midoriya,” he salutes and decides to walk to school together with the other boy. Midoriya is one of the nicest people in his class, though somewhat reserved like he didn’t feel comfortable speaking out his thoughts. Sure, he’s polite, but you couldn’t feel close to him. Maybe he’s different with Uraraka and Iida. “You sleep good?”

 

“Um. Yeah.”

 

Midoriya flushes.

 

Kaminari blinks at his strange reaction.

 

“You okay?” He takes his phone out of his pocket to see the battery level. 50%. This will take a while. He always took care to charge his phone at the recommended voltage because he didn’t want to spoil it. It’s a lot easier to regulate with a cable, although he could just hold the phone in his hand and charge it.

 

“Oh er, there were… weird sounds from your room so…” Midoriya stammers, getting increasingly redder.

 

“Aah,” Kaminari hums thoughtfully, rolling the cable in his mouth so he could talk easier. If anyone finds it gross, they could just look away. “I was just giving some people massages, don’t worry about it. I know what it can sound like though.”

 

“O-oh.”

 

“Though I guess the alternative would have been real exciting,” Kaminari winks at Midoriya, snickering at the fumes coming out of the boy’s innocent ears. “But if you want to experience it though…”

 

“Kaminari!!”

 

It’s Kirishima, stumbling into him and throwing an arm around his shoulder with an infectious smile. Bakugou trudges after them a little further behind, growling with a frown on his handsome face. Midoriya flinches upon the sight.

 

Kirishima pouts, “Why didn’t you wait for us? After all the good times we shared last night too.”

 

Midoriya eyes at the other boys with uncertainty.


“Um, Kaminari-kun, I’ll be going ahead!”

 

“Kay,” he replies lazily with a wave as Midoriya scurries off, probably to run away from Bakugou.   

 

“Aw, I totes would have waited if you wanted me to,” Kaminari flutters his eyelashes, the effect sort of ruined by the cable in his mouth. He looks more cute rather than sexy. Kaminari believes that Kirishima flirts back because he knows Kaminari likes it. Just like how Kaminari knows Kirishima likes all the manly things and the ‘bro’ things they have going so he does it. Friendship is magic and all that.

 

“What the fuck were you talking about with Deku?” Bakugou snarls, eyeing the cable oddly.

 

“Mm well, this and that. If I didn’t know better I’d think you were jealous,” Kaminari rolls the cable about in his mouth. It was a nervous tic- he often nibbled on pencils and the ends of his hoodie strings. It helps him cope with situations like these, when Bakugou dominates the situation with danger like the smell of gunpowder and explosions, watching him with angry red eyes. Attractive yes, but scary too.

 

“Dude!” Kirishima’s laughter is high and bright, making the morning much better. Kirishima nudges Bakugou, making Bakugou’s scowl deepen. Huh. What was that about? Oh well. Sometimes Bakugou and Kirishima do things that Kaminari didn’t understand. Their secret language between the two of them or some jazz like that.

 

Kaminari takes out his phone, perking up at the sight of a message from Jirou.

 

Lunch @ courtyard?

 

Yee

 

Cool.

 

“Man, your massage yesterday, I feel like I died and went to heaven. Don’t you think so Bakugou??” Kirishima nudges his explosive friend happily. Bakugou grumbles a ‘whatever’, and Kirishima turns back to Kaminari, “He thinks so too!!”

 

Meet Kirishima Eijirou, hero-in-training, part time Bakugou translator , Kaminari muses to himself. “Naw man, you’re just praising me to the skies right now.”

 

“You deserve it,” Kirishima insists, making Kaminari’s insides flutter with warmth. Aw, his red-haired friend is always so supportive.

 

“Bro-“

 

“Goddamn stop the bro thing!” Bakugou snarls, irritated.

 

“But Kirishima likes it!” Kaminari pouts, looking towards Kirishima who blinks and thinks about whether he likes it or not, coming to a slow realization.

 

“Oh… I actually do really like it.”

 

Kaminari spazzes his hands in Kirishima’s direction. “See? Are you gonna make us stop coz you don’t like it? At the expense of Kiri??”

 

“Aw, Kiri sounds so cute,” Kirishima says, looking genuinely happy at the cute nickname.

 

“I can call you babe too if you like,” Kaminari, always armed with a flirtatious comeback.

 

“Stop talking around your cable, it’s distracting,” Bakugou growls, stalking off ahead.

 

“That means we can continue the bro thing!” Kirishima grins enthusiastically, ever the expert in reading Bakugou’s behavior. “You can call me Kiri bro, I like it.”

 

“You can call me Denki, bro,” they share a bro-fist.

 

They soon arrive at the class, and Kaminari unplugs the cable from his mouth and his phone, to the horror of one Iida Tenya.

 

“Kaminari-kun!! That is highly unsanitary, please allow me to give you some anti-bacterial wet wipes!!” Iida thrusts the packet at Kaminari with both hands.

 

Kaminari shrugs, accepting the wet wipe, and under the anxious and attentive gaze of Iida, wipes the usb cable. “Thanks dude.”

 

“You’re very welcome! It would be bad if you fell sick, please take care of your health!”

 

Iida could be annoying or endearing depending on how you look at it, but since he is always thinking out of genuine kindness for others, it fell largely to the latter category. Kaminari pats Iida’s chest lightly in appreciation. “Thanks for having our best interests at heart, class president.”

 

“You’re very welcome!” Iida glows at his words, happy that someone appreciates his efforts.

 

“Sup babe,” Kaminari raises a hand in greeting at his seatmate, Jirou, who just stares back at him, unimpressed. She doesn’t find his flirting funny, finding it a lot more fun insulting him instead.

 

“Sup derp face.”

 

He makes a derpy face for her, making her giggle.

 

Class is boring, but he concentrates with some difficulty, electric currents dancing along his fingers and palm in little shocks. It hurts a little, and tingles, but the feeling helps him to stay focused. He had always been a little fidgety as a kid, mind wandering to multiple places at once until he lost himself in them. Thus, the constant little zaps grounds him to the reality that was class.

 

After all, Aizawa expected things of him now. Things that he could achieve, if with a little pain. People in his class hurt themselves too in their pursuit of being heroes. The easiest example to bring up would be Midoriya, breaking his own bones to win battles and save people. What’s a little electrocution compared to that, right? This pain is practically nothing, and if he stops in the face of pain, he would be a wimp.

 

He’s glad when lunch time rolls around. Finally, a break from himself and boring classes. He stretches in his seat, yawning loudly without a care in the world about how he looks. Class 1-A doesn’t really care much about things like that, which is great. He blinks sleepily at Jirou, who is getting up from her seat, lunchbox in hand.

 

“See you there,” Kaminari flashes a quick smile to Jirou, who does a little two fingered wave to show that she heard him. Kaminari stands up too, grabbing his wallet. He doesn’t have a bento or anything, too lazy to wake up earlier in the morning to make one or to buy one before class. He usually just goes to the school store to grab bread. Not that it is particularly nutritious. He doesn’t care about bulking up, or proteins like some of his other classmates does (like, Kirishima for example, look at his damn biceps, hot damn.)

 

He hops out of the classroom without noticing the looks that Bakugou and Kirishima send his way.

 

After beating the insane crowd around the school store (and keeping his bread squish free!), he drops by the vending machine to get two packets of banana milk. For some reason, both he and Jirou really like it. He finds her under a huge rain tree like always, bobbing her head along to music she has playing on her earphones as she eats her simple bento of onigiri. Jirou isn’ t particularly good at cooking, but she is somewhat particular about taste. She always adds those flavoured sprinkles onto her rice… furikake? They are pretty tasty in Kaminari’s opinion.

 

“Hey!” He sits down next to her, a few inches of space between them. He sets one packet of banana milk on the ground, and stabs a straw into his own, sipping on it contentedly. Jirou removes one of her earbuds, reaching over to plug one into Kaminari’s ear. It is a little ticklish, but he likes it when she does that.

 

She taps about on her phone, changing the song. Today, it seems like J-pop. Shounen-T? He sings “Hello, how are you”, and Kaminari muses that it must be Jirou’s way of saying hi today. She had a lot of songs with the word hello in it. More than he could count on his fingers, at any rate.

 

Jirou picks up the packet of banana milk that Kaminari got for her, humming under her breath as she removes the straw from the side of the packet. It’s their little system. He gets her drinks, she shares music and space with him. And some food. She doesn’t smack his hand away when he takes one of her onigiris.

 

It’s peaceful, sitting here under the shade of a tree, eating their lunch in a relatively empty courtyard. Soft music plays in his ear, calming his heartbeat, and he could hear Jirou starting to sing under her breath. She was originally too shy to sing in front of anyone, and Kaminari finds it a great honour to be considered one of Jirou’s closest friends. Although, it does seem like she is getting more integrated into her female friend groups, which he is glad to see. It just… feels a little lonely to have a friend spend less time with you.

 

Kaminari finishes his red bean bread quickly, deciding to lean against the trunk of the tree to take a little nap. He laces his fingers across his belly, and dozes  off quickly.

 


 

Kaminari was 10 when he first found out about Pavlov’s dog and conditioning. His mother had always been so impatient with him, so frustrated at his inability to sit still whenever they went out together. So disappointed at every grade he got, because he couldn’t listen in class. Teachers complained about him. Told her to send him to a specialized school. She refused vehemently, insisting that he was normal and that he had to go to a normal school. She took him to a doctor, and they said it might get better with age. Said he had might be hyperactive. They gave him medication. It helped some, but they made his head hurt. He could sit still in class, but he couldn’t really concentrate still.

 

He told his mom, but she said he was making something out of nothing. That it would go away, and that he was an attention seeking liar. That she worked so hard to put him in school, and he was an ungrateful piece of shit. He wanted to do better. To please her. To make her be proud of him, smile at him. To love him.

 

When he read about conditioning, about punishing himself for bad behaviours, he did so. The zaps hurt. Made him cry. But it made him stare at his textbook through his tears. Every time he wanted to stop, started to drift off into his thoughts, he zapped himself. Bad. He’s a bad boy, and he’s going to make his mom very, very angry if he failed again.

 

He barely passed that math exam.

 

His mom sneered at him, said that see, he could do it, and was pretending for attention the entire time.

 

He must not be doing enough.

 

He continued doing that. Got into an average school.

 

His mom still didn’t smile at him.

 

Kaminari was 14 when he first found an article about electrical stimulation of the brain and how it could possibly enhance the powers of concentration. Having been a child that was prone to distractions and stumbling over words because he thought much faster than he talked, he read up on further articles. He was anxious about doing well, and couldn’t concentrate in class, no matter how hard he tried. His mom didn’t have money for medications any more. Said he didn’t need it now. But…how could he do this without them?

 

Every minute, his mind drifted to several topics at once, his feet itched, he shook his leg, he cracked his knuckles, looked to the clock, bounced in his seat… he was called disruptive and placed at the back of the class. His friends laughed and said he had ADHD. He laughed and didn’t tell them that he really had it, because they said it like it was…bad. Like it was a huge joke.

 

His mom was struggling to pay the bills, and angrier than usual. She screamed that everything was his fault, that they were living like this because of him, because he was useless and dumb. Kaminari didn’t particularly understand what he did, but he wanted to make it right. Kaminari wanted to make her proud of him, to make things easier for her. To show that hey, she didn’t have to worry anymore. He read up on every single article he could find, zapping himself a little as he read, out loud, to help him focus.

 

The first time he tried stimulating his brain, he used too much electricity.

 

It left him retching and vomiting on the floor miserably, head ringing loudly and everything swimming as stinging tears burned his eyes and gastric acid burned his throat. He drifted in and out of consciousness. He only remembers the hazy view of the bedroom floor as he laid on his side, wheezing in gasps to breathe.

 

He got so scared he didn’t try it for a few days.

 

When their middle school teacher asked what they wanted to be in the future, Kaminari’s entire class laughed when they heard that he wanted to enter U.A. One of the most prestigious hero schools.

 

“As if you even have a 0.01% chance of getting in, Denki. You’re so fucking dumb.”

 

“Pffft, it’s impossible. You should be more realistic.”

 

“If Denki could get in, I bet I’d graduate as U.A’s valedictorian.”

 

Cue all the snickering at his expense.

 

Kaminari smiled through it all, scratching the back of his head sheepishly, doubt surfacing in the depths of his heart. He had always wanted to be a hero since he was a kid. He wanted to be loved and appreciated like heroes were. And make people smile.

 

He had no choice.

 

He did the same thing for U.A’s entrance exams, in the two months before it was conducted. Electrical stimulation, cramming information, page after page. He got better at focusing. His synapses were forming new associations. He got increasingly miserable. He had to do well to get in. Vomiting. Suffering through headaches. Having no appetite for food. He was determined to do his best to get in.

 

He did.

 

But those days, when he saw his own gaunt face in the mirror. He had barely recognized himself. Those days, where he had spent crying over his textbook, fingers pressed tightly around his neck. He choked himself until he was out of breath because he had to punish himself for being too afraid to electrocute his own brain. Wondering if everything was worth it. Wondering if this would even work, get him into U.A.


Every day, he had to convince himself to shock his own brain, screaming with the jolts that sent him convulsing. Once, he bit his own tongue on accident, and thick, disgusting blood flowed down his throat, and he retched it out. After that, he would always bite down on his shirt before shocking himself. He didn’t feel human any longer. When his brain felt so full and tight with the information overload that even the sight of food sent him running for the toilets to dry heave, he was left wondering why he was such a fuck up, why he couldn’t deal with something so simple as studying.

 

He wanted to tear his textbook apart.

 

He wanted to tear himself apart.

 

That one day, when his hands sparkled with electricity, he felt the tingling across his skin, the smell of sulfur as he raised his hands towards his chest and-    


 

“DENKI!”

 

Kaminari’s eyes flung open.

 

His heart is beating rapidly in his chest. It’s beating. He’s alive. He’s fine.

 

He’s breathing in and out heavily, and he glances around rapidly to check where he is. In the courtyard. With Jirou. Who looks super concerned.

 

“Are you okay? You looked like…you were having a nightmare,” she bites her lower lip. She has always been bad at comforting others, and she hesitates before lifting a hand to place it upon Kaminari’s shoulder, squeezing lightly.

 

“I… yeah.”

 

Scenes and memories of his past flash in his head, ending with the haunting sensation of having his heart jump and stutter under high voltages. Shit. He’s so stressed, he has to act better, or they would all find out about him. He shakes his head to clear himself of that imagery of when he almost killed himself.

 

“I’m okay, and yeah… a nightmare,” he gives a small, weak smile to Jirou, pulling her hand off his shoulder. “Thanks.”

 

Jirou stares, because…didn’t Kaminari enjoy skinship and all sorts of personal contact? Her face shows that she is clearly unconvinced, although the worry shines clear through her eyes. “You can tell me anything. You know that, right?”

 

“Yeah, same!” Kaminari grins.

 

“Mmhm,” she hums, still doubting him, but lets the matter drop. If Kaminari didn’t want to share it right now, there is nothing she could do. “Class is starting soon, let’s go back.”

 

He nods, standing up and brushing himself off in case there are any stray grass clinging to his clothes. “Leggo!”

 

When they get back to class, Kirishima is waving at him with his entire arm to get his attention, a toothy grin on his face, wide and inviting. Kaminari waves back with a smile, settling down in his seat and turning back so that he can talk to Kirishima better.

 

“Sup bro?”

 

“Hey, it’s good, but uhhh,” Kirishima’s smile gets a little sheepish. “I was wondering where you went for lunch? I wanted to invite you to eat with Bakugou and I.”

 

Kaminari glances at Bakugou, who looks away from them immediately, although he definitely had been staring earlier. What is up with Bakugou these days?

 

Join them for lunch? What, join and be the third wheel to Kirishima and Bakugou’s ambiguous, possibly together relationship? Bakugou doesn’t even seem particularly interested in having him around. Is Kirishima pitying him and feeling sorry that Kaminari is being left out?

 

“I’m fine, I ate with Jirou,” he replies, a bit defensively.

 

“Oh,” Kirishima deflates a little, looking unsure. “Well, I like hanging with you, so you can join us anytime!”

 

God, Kaminari is being such an asshole, isn’t he? He knows that Kirishima is one of the friendliest and nicest guys in the class. Kirishima didn’t deserve…attitude. Actually, Kirishima probably isn’t even capable of doing anything mean.

 

“Sure, thanks bro,” he says with a smile, and sees Kirishima brighten up again like Kaminari’s words has instilled life within him. God, he really doesn’t deserve a friend like Kirishima. He reaches over so that they can bump their fists together, and Kirishima sends a thumbs up to Bakugou.

 

Bakugou only turns away with a scoff, looking ahead as the class is about to start. Kaminari eyes the other blond, who is crossing his arms. What? If Bakugou doesn’t want him around, he could just say it. Pouting heavily, Kaminari looks away and tries to concentrate on classes again. His right hand takes notes, but his left hand is pinching his earlobe, sending little sparkles of electricity.

Intrusive memories of hateful looks and graffiti marks on his table make him zap himself a little bit too hard. He yelps, garnering the attention of the class.


“Kaminari, are you alright?” their teacher asks.


“Oh yup! I accidentally stabbed myself with a pen!” He lies fluidly with a sheepish grin. Jirou mumbles her breath, ‘Idiot’, and shoots him a look. The class laughs because oh, only Kaminari does that. Kaminari knows. He can take it. He can smile through it.

 

And yet, Bakugou is staring at Kaminari in disbelief, because Bakugou had been watching the electric boy. Knows that there was no accidental self-stabbing.

Kaminari feels Kirishima poking him in the back, and he turns with eyebrows raised. What does the redhead want?

“You okay?” Kirishima whispers softly to not disrupt the class.

 

Kaminari’s heart stutters a little at the concern. He feels a little guilty about his lies when Kirishima is so sincere with his worry. Hoping his throbbing earlobe isn’t too red, Kaminari replies in a whisper too, “Yeah, thanks for asking!”

 

But he’s not as good a liar as he thinks.



 

Chapter Text

The fact that Bakugou was kidnapped hangs over all of their heads like a heavy cloud. Kaminari feels part of what Kirishima must feel. Anger and guilt, at his inability to do anything since he was stuck in supplementary lessons when it happened. Fear, at what the villains planned to do with Bakugou, at all the media backlash, and how the mood in their class is so solemn and heavy, with a few classmates in the hospital. Disbelief, that Bakugou, one of their best was taken away from them.

 

He wants to do something, anything. But he doesn’t know where to start.

 

But what he feels couldn’t possibly even be near what Kirishima feels. The cheerful, friendly redhead hasn’t smiled in forever. The heavy frown on his face doesn’t suit him. Kirishima shut down every attempt all of their classmates gave at cheering him up, including Sero’s and Kaminari’s. They don’t bother him any longer, because having Kirishima force a small, crooked smile on his face… having Kirishima apologize for not wanting to talk was painful. Kirishima feels bad enough about Bakugou being gone, he shouldn’t have to feel bad about hurting his friends’ feelings because he isn’t in a mood to talk.  

 

It happens by chance.

 

Kaminari is walking along the corridor to get a drink when he hears the hushed voices of Aizawa-sensei talking to someone around the corner. Carefully, he stills his footsteps, breathes very quietly behind the wall to listen in. He inches as close as he could, hugging the wall.  

 

“Muscular is refusing to talk,” the voice sounds slightly familiar. The police officer?

 

“We need information, fast,” Aizawa bites out in an urgent tone. “Have you tried everything?”

 

“Everything. Even physical violence, when we’re not supposed to. He’s not breaking. You’ll have to go with just Yaoyorozu’s tracking device,” the officer speaks equally fast and to the point.

 

“It could be a trap. They could have multiple headquarters. We need all the information we can get, Naomasa,” An edge of desperation slips into their teacher’s voice, the severity of the situation, the weight of it all, stops Kaminari’s heart for a second. An idea strikes him. Makes him take in a deep breath.

 

There’s something he can do.

 

In fact, maybe something only he can do.  

 

“We can’t make him talk,” Naomasa responds stressfully.

 

At this moment, Kaminari steps out from where he was hiding. At the sound of his footsteps, the two adults turn their heads to eye him cautiously. He sees the suspicion in Aizawa’s eyes. Aizawa knows that he had been listening in, a frown twisting his lips with disapproval. Kaminari swallows painfully as he prepares his pitch in his head.

 

“Kaminari. Get back to-”

 

“I can help.”

 

The two men raise their eyebrows. Kaminari steels his nerves and walks closer to the other two. Aizawa appears to be confused, but the police officer… Naomasa, was eyeing him curiously. They wait for him to continue, and Kaminari does.

 

“I can make him talk,” Kaminari says as though he’s confident this will work. Honestly, he’s not very sure, having only a theory to work with.  “My electricity quirk, I can electrocute his brain, make him… spill secrets?” Kaminari gestures helplessly with his hands.

 

Aizawa latches onto his insecurity immediately, kicks into teacher mode. “Kaminari, you don’t have to worry. We’ll take care of every-”

 

“No, no,” Naomasa holds a hand out to still Aizawa, a polite smile on his face. Aizawa shoots Naomasa a look of disbelief but stands back. His expression promises that the two of them would talk about this later.

 

Naomasa is nonplussed, continuing smoothly, “What’s your name, kid? Tell me more about your quirk.”

 

The police officer leans down a little to talk to him, and come on, there shouldn’t be that much of a height difference. Not enough to warrant the leaning, at any rate. Kaminari stands as tall and straight as he could.

 

“I’m Kaminari. Kaminari Denki. I, uh, our brain runs on electrical and chemical synapses, right?” Kaminari feels like a student explaining biology to a teacher in class, but he braves through his embarrassment, “And I know exactly… well, not exactly. I know approximately where to electrocute to make him lower his inhibitions. Could make him talk. And if that doesn’t work, I could make all the nerves in his body fire, sending him into so much pain that… maybe he’d talk…”

 

Okay, this sounded so much better in his head.

 

Kaminari twiddled his thumbs, carefully gauging the reactions of the other two adults.

 

There are so many questions and doubts on Aizawa’s face.

 

Naomasa, however, is completely sold. He claps his hands together, eyes shining with excitement. “Perfect. Let’s bring you to the prison.”

 

“Hey,” Aizawa grabs onto Naomasa’s arm to stop him with what seems like annoyed anger, glancing at Kaminari. Aizawa takes a breath to calm himself and glares at Naomasa. “He’s just a first-year student. He’s never been to an interrogation scene. He-”

 

“He’s our best bet!” Naomasa exclaims in disbelief, pulling away. “Come on Aizawa. I’ll be there. You’ll be there. He’ll be fine. Stop coddling your students. They need real-life experience, do you think the villains will wait for them to grow?” He lifted his eyebrows, Bakugou Katsuki implicit in his expression.

 

Aizawa visibly withers, looking wearier than Kaminari has ever seen him looking. Aizawa doesn’t look impressed, although he has clearly given in. “Fine. But if anything happens, I’m stopping the session. Okay?”

 

“Deal,” Naomasa replies pleasantly, smiling at Kaminari. The smile seems too business-like for Kaminari to trust him, but he puts his hand out for a handshake regardless, giving a hesitant smile back.

 


 

Kaminari starts to doubt himself when they pull up at the prison. He’s flanked by two men with much more experience than him. If they couldn’t make Muscular spill details about the League of Villains, what could he do? What could Kaminari Denki, the last place in the class midterms do?

 

Aizawa picks up on the anxious expression on his student’s face and puts a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Kaminari trusts him. Aizawa would protect his students with his life.

 

“Anytime you want out of this, tell me. And we’ll be back in U.A. No repercussions,” Aizawa promises.

 

“Okay.”

 

Kaminari’s head wanders to safe words and laying ground rules during sex and he pulls himself back in disbelief. Not the time.

 

“We need any information we can get. Their numbers, their quirks, their hideout. Plans. Anything,” Naomasa briefs Kaminari on the way.

 

He’s escorted deeper within the compounds. At first, it’s not so bad. After the administrative officers, it’s door after door, always some shade of boring gray. The air is cold and sterile, and he could hear every single breath he took. Every single footstep.

 

And then they enter the cells.

 

One prisoner slams the metal bars, reaching out with his hands, yelling intelligibly. Kaminari flinches into his teacher. Aizawa steps closer to his student, wrapping an arm around Kaminari’s shoulder to steady him. Kaminari tries to focus on that. He’s safe. Aizawa would keep him safe. Naomasa yells at the prisoner to get back or face disciplinary action. After that, it’s just rows of prisoners leering at them. It reminds Kaminari of rabid stray dogs kept in cages. Fun.

 

Not.

 

They reach the higher security cells at the lowest levels, behind what felt like a hundred doors and a million steps. They come face to face with a metallic door with ‘Muscular’ inscribed into the nameplate.

 

“Ready?” Naomasa asks with that small, unnerving smile. “I just want to say that I, and all of the police force, greatly appreciate your bravery and help.”

 

It sounds like lip service, really. But that doesn’t matter. As long as he could help his teachers get Bakugou back safely.

 

“Anytime you want to back out, tell me,” Aizawa reminds, finally removing his hand from Kaminari’s shoulder. It makes Kaminari feel very alone and unsure, but Aizawa’s words bring him back to reality. “You’re my student too,” Aizawa stresses in his no-nonsense voice that the Bakusquad always says is his ‘dad voice’.

 

Kaminari quirks a little smile at that thought.

 

“Yeah, I’m ready.”

 

Naomasa does this complicated card, handprint, and retina scan sequence as they wait patiently. The doors open slowly as they always did in major movie moments simply for dramatic effect, and oh, he really should be focusing right now. Kaminari puts on his best poker face as he comes face to face with the monster who wrecked Midoriya’s body and almost killed a little kid. His face immediately falters.

 

This man is a lot bigger than what he saw on TV screens.  

 

Muscular yawns at the sight of them. The villain glances at each of them in turn, but his dark eyes (both with and without prosthetics) end up settling on Kaminari, the new face. A wicked grin grows slowly on his face, a promise of pain. Despite the villain being wrapped up in a straightjacket, the most padded, reinforced bindings Kaminari has ever seen, really- he shudders in fear. The delight only grows on Muscular’s face at the reaction.  

 

It’s one thing to see villains on tv screens and newspapers. It’s another to see them in person, in the flesh. Fuck, this guy was so huge and muscular- okay, right, that’s why he’s called muscular, focus. He could probably snap Kaminari’s back into two like a toothpick, ow. No wonder Midoriya got so wrecked.

 

Nah, Kaminari was here to do something. He’s the one with the power here, not this little… big… pillow. Yeah, he seems like a giant padded pillow. Nothing to be afraid of.

 

Kaminari gulps nervously.

 

“We’re here to interrogate you again,” Naomasa says as a starter.

 

“And what, you brought a little intern to watch the process?” Muscular laughs. No one else does. Kaminari doesn’t think it’s funny. This guy has a bad sense of humor.

 

“Shame my hands are tied up…” Dark eyes sweep up and down Kaminari’s thin body. Great. Were his legs shaking?

 

Other than Muscular’s fucked up sense of humor, he’s also fucked up. Nice. Nothing Kaminari could mess up with when he starts his electric thing.

 

“Anything you want to tell us before we unleash our “little intern” on you?” Naomasa’s poker face was so much better than his. This guy would probably be great at old maid. Kaminari always lost. Okay, focus.

 

“No,” Muscular raised an eyebrow, spitting in their general direction. Really bad aim.

 

Naomasa gestures for Kaminari to do his thing. Kaminari doesn’t want to touch this villain with a ten-foot pole, but he steps up, circling the villain to stand behind him, Aizawa stays close to make sure nothing bad happens… on Kaminari’s end. Carefully, Kaminari sets his hands and fingers on Muscular’s scalp, shifting to accommodate on the different sizes of their skulls. Kaminari has never done on anyone but himself.

 

“What, you got this pretty blond here just to give me a massage?” Muscular barks out a laugh, the sound echoing throughout the room. It’s ugly. This asshole shouldn’t be laughing, not with his friends in the hospital and Bakugou kidnapped. This gives Kaminari just the right motivation. Sparks fly from his hands onto the villain’s prefrontal cortex.

 

Muscular convulses in a way Kaminari is all too familiar with, grunting painfully.

 

Kaminari squeezes his eyes shut and steps back, hands dropping by his side. He’s getting second-hand nausea as he hears Muscular heave and gasp. The villain must feel disoriented.

 

“What… what did he just…”

 

“So, Muscular, how was the League of Villains formed?” Naomasa takes his chance to ask.

 

“I don’t fucking know, they went around spreading the word in the undergrounds, offered great booze, money, and-” Muscular narrowed his eyes when he realized what was going on. He bites down on his lips. That’s more information than the police officers have gotten thus far. With his executive functioning and inhibition systems down, Muscular is just like a child that can’t stop themselves from taking a cookie from a cookie jar when told not to.  

 

“What are their plans for Bakugou?”

 

Silence.

 

Except for Muscular’s heavy breathing, his chest heaving up and down. He looks confused and dazed. Kaminari knows all too well how it feels. The villain is drawing blood from his lips from how hard he is attempting to withhold information. Pain is always a good tool to start or stop something. Kaminari knows.

 

Naomasa gestures for Kaminari to proceed. Shakily, Kaminari steps forward again, trembling hands hovering above Muscular’s head. This reminds him of Stanley Milgram’s obedience study where you’re told to electrocute an innocent person in another room. Most people did. Should he? Does Muscular deserve this? Of course, he’s a nasty villain that has no problem injuring little kids. He’s nowhere near innocent. It’s okay to do this. And yet, why is he overwhelmed by guilt?


Naomasa decides for him.

 

“If you’re not talking, you’re going to be in a world of pain. You have no idea what our ‘little intern’ can do with your brain.”

 

Muscular remains adamant.

 

Naomasa nods at Kaminari.

 

He has to do this. To make sure Bakugou returns to them safely. To make sure that Kirishima could smile again. He just has to do this, and everything would be alright again in their class. So why was he hesitating and being such a coward? It’s such a simple thing to do. He knows where to fire his electricity. He’s done this so many times, although at different places to himself.

 

He takes a deep breath.

 

Holds it for 5 seconds.  

 

It’s okay. He read so many research articles, studied the brain diagram in his room for what must be a hundred times, knows every nook and cranny of the organ in terms of what research had to offer. This one, he knows too. In theory.

 

His fingers grip onto Muscular’s skull, sending unrelenting jolts of electricity to the somatosensory cortex.

 

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

 

Thundering screams shake the whole cell, reverberating in their intensity and striking Kaminari’s earbuds. He flinches but holds on fast to the convulsing body. Muscular has no means of escape, strapped down as he was. Kaminari makes sure the electricity conduct itself, travels throughout Muscular’s pain center, until every nociceptor of Muscular flares up with a pain worse than burning alive in a fire.  


“-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH-”

 

Kaminari backs away, cheeks wet with tears that he doesn’t realize. Nothing he read ever prepared him for this. Muscular continues to convulse and contort the parts of the body he could, his head twisting and turning along with his toes, veins straining with the sheer force of a fruitless attempt at an escape from the pain. Kaminari is unable to tear his eyes away, unable to breathe even as Aizawa drags him further away from Muscular.


There’s nothing else at this moment but deafening screams and the monstrous sight in front of him.

 

Naomasa rushes forward to scream what must be questions at Muscular, but nothing can be heard over the screams that seem to be from a nightmare. He moves towards Kaminari and shakes him, yelling things that Kaminari can’t hear, and Kaminari knows he is having a panic attack as he gets increasingly lightheaded. His heart thunders in his chest, unable to be heard but painful in its rapid, throbbing intensity.

 

Weakly, he pushes all of their hands away. He knows what he has to do. He lifts his own hands to his head.

 

The next thing he knows, he’s retching the remnants of today’s breakfast onto the floor. But he’s breathing again. He scrambles up onto his feet, rushes to Muscular, fingers finding their grip on the thrashing man to send more voltages of electricity in order to stop all of Muscular’s pain receptors.

 

The sudden silence causes their ears to ring.

 

Everyone appears to be overwhelmed, except Kaminari.  

 

Muscular is sobbing and blubbering, face a mess. The smell indicates that he must have peed on himself when he lost all control of his body under a pain he has never experienced before. Not even close.

 

Kaminari steps in front of Muscular.

 

“Want to talk now?”

 

Kaminari’s face is completely calm and devoid of any emotion, except for the traces of tears drying on his cheeks. He stares, unblinking as Muscular tries to come back into reality. Kaminari hums thoughtfully. He lifts a hand towards Muscular’s skull, and that’s all it takes to break the man.

 

“I’ll t-talk! P-please, p-p-p-please I’ll... talk!” Muscular’s tongue sits heavy in his tongue, and he struggles to speak.

 

“What are their plans with Bakugou? Where’s your hideout?”

 

“They… they…” Muscular breathes in and out rapidly. He’s in a rush despite his failing tongue, afraid to experience that pain a second time, “Wanted to stick it to All Might. W-wanted… to recruit him. Show that, show that U.A was a failure. Can’t even, protect…”

 

“Hideout,” Kaminari cuts in, to the point.

 

“The bar, the bar at, at the 5th street in nichome, the one near the aba-aban… abandoned warehouse.”

 

“All the villains and their quirks.”

 

The voice makes Kaminari look up.

 

Naomasa is back now, having regained his wits. He stands next to Kaminari. His eyes look pleased from all the information they were gaining. Aizawa steps next to the other side of Kaminari silently. Kaminari doesn’t know what expression his teacher was making as his focus was back on the villain.

 

Muscular hesitates.

 

Kaminari lifts his hands silently.

 

“Shigaraki Tomura!” Muscular screeched, “His power, he-”

 

The rest of the information flows smoothly. There are some villains that Muscular hasn’t seen the quirk of, but more information is always good. They get an accurate grasp of their numbers. Their plans. There’s always the risk that the League of Villain lied to Muscular about some of their plans or changed them, but Kaminari knows that Muscular’s statement is 99% accurate of what he knows. Or what he thinks he knows.

 

They go back out, this time Kaminari walking confidently even when surrounded by lines of inmates behind jail cells. They hiss threats of pain and murder at him, but he’s unaffected. He feels nothing right now. Feels no pride when Naomasa thanks him and praises his quirk.

 

“There is always a place at the police force for you,” the man says as he offers his name card. “We would be grateful if you could help out when we-”

 

“He will decide what he wants to do, in the future ,” Aizawa stresses, eyeing Naomasa down. Naomasa only smiles in reply.    

 

“Thank you,” Kaminari takes the name card, staring at it in his hands.

 

And then he’s taken away from the police station in Aizawa’s car, sitting shotgun. They don’t talk for a few minutes. Aizawa is digesting all the events that occurred. Kaminari is having a bit of a dissociative episode. It doesn’t feel like he did all that. He feels calm, at peace like he didn’t just reduce a grown man into a sobbing mess.

 

“Kaminari, your quirk,” Aizawa begins carefully. He glances at his student to make sure the blond was listening. “How long have you been able to do that? And what is… that?”

 

Kaminari thinks about this as he watches the scenery pass by. He’s glad that he shocked himself because this line of questioning would have freaked him out usually. “Awhile? Technically ever since my quirk manifested? Takes a bit of trial and error. I can do lots I guess. The human brain is in charge of all of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. What I did for Muscular I’ve never tried before though.”

 

“Okay,” Aizawa nods, “And… are there any side effects? Whether you’ve experienced them or not. Are they serious?”

 

“Death?” Kaminari says placidly, watching someone walk their dog outside. How cute. “That’s rare though. Nausea, headaches, insomnia, ummmm. Like, you can just google electroconvulsive therapy side effects or what happens after you get struck by lightning. Pretty accurate.”

 

The car stops.

 

Kaminari looks back at Aizawa.

 

“You’re saying you could’ve died that time in the teacher’s office,” Aizawa says incredulously, hands gripping the steering wheel tightly. “And just now.”

 

“Not likely, no, it’s one of the easier ones to do,” Kaminari explains with ease, not sensing the severity of the situation at this moment. It’s hard to gauge situations when you don’t have emotions to point you in the right direction. “Not feeling makes everything easier.”

 

Aizawa holds his head in his hands. Kaminari thinks that he would usually feel bad for his teacher at this moment.

 

A moment of silence. Kaminari waits patiently, and then Aizawa lifts his head again.

 

“Kaminari, you don’t have to do it around me, okay? If you feel overwhelmed, if you want some time to yourself and think I’m pressuring you, let me know,” Aizawa looks angry. Stressed. All because of him. “We can work it out.”

 

Angry expressions never sit right with Kaminari. Even when he’s unable to feel the fear right now, his mouth moves on autopilot.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

“No, don’t apologize, I just don’t want you to risk yourself,” Aizawa sighs heavily, wondering how best to put his point across. “I’m not… upset, or angry at you. I’m angry that I haven’t noticed earlier. Great teacher I am.”

 

Being the teacher of a class of 20 teenage hero-to-be has to be hard. Aizawa is frankly doing a great job.

 

“No, you’re great! One of the best teachers I’ve had,” Kaminari assures. “Sorry, I’m such a handful when you’re busy with everything.”

 

“You’re my students. I’m supposed to be busy with you guys. No hero batch has been smooth sailing,” Aizawa starts to drive again, taking the longer route so that they have more time to talk and think. He taps his fingers on the steering wheel. “What else do you use your electricity for? Other than not feeling.”

 

Kaminari glances down at his hands, clasping them together tightly. Strange. Even though he doesn’t feel afraid at this moment, he knows that saying it could have consequences. Consequences he could regret later.

 

“Kaminari? As your teacher, I need to know.”  

 

“Not much, don’t worry,” Kaminari lied.

 

And Aizawa can tell. But he drops it, not wanting to pressure Kaminari. He needs to be someone Kaminari can trust. “You can talk to me about it whenever. Well, you can approach me about whatever. Don’t worry about imposing or some shit, I know I seem lazy but I intend to be a good teacher for you guys.”

 

Kaminari would cry if he would.

 

“Okay sensei,” he whispers back.

 

The rest of the journey is silent.




Chapter Text

Kaminari gets back home and sleeps everything off, feeling entirely spent. All the students were made to go back home to their parents due to the panic the kidnapping has caused. He sleeps through the press conference. He sleeps through the rescue mission his classmates embarked on to get Bakugou back. He sleeps through Bakugou’s rescue and how the proheroes used the information Kaminari obtained to sieve through all the hideouts. The information is not perfect as Muscular was not given privy of all the knowledge for the League of Villains, but it’s much better than nothing.

 

He wakes up the next afternoon, feeling entirely blank and still. He has zero motivation to move. He lies there, unable to summon the energy to go about his day. The side effects have kicked in again. This time, it seems as if his motivation centres were down. He feels the sensation of hunger, hears his stomach growl, but he’s alright with starving at the moment, rather than moving. There’s always later. And the hunger would go away with time. 

 

His logical mind reminds him that it’s dangerous.

 

He slept for what seemed like almost 20 hours. That’s 20 hours without food or water. 

 

Oh, and he really should… really should catch up on how things went. Bakugou. Kirishima.

 

That gives him enough motivation to sit up, coughing blearily. His throat hurts from the dehydration. He reaches for his phone. There’s barely enough power in it, so he conducts some electricity from his hand into the phone so that it lasts long enough for him to check all his notifications. There are a few from his classmates. They’re all good news.

 

Kirishima Eijirou:
Bakugou’s safe now! We managed to get him back!!!!!!

 

Bakugou Katsuki:
I’m back.

 

Oh, thank fuck. He takes a shuddering breath, covering his face with his hands. It worked then. Bakugou is back with them now. Everything is okay. He gives a small, giddy, disbelieving laugh. He collapses back onto his bed, tears rising to his eyes. He imagines how scary that would’ve been, being captured by villains, all alone. He imagines how it would’ve been, going on the rescue mission with Kirishima, but he didn’t, because he slept through everything.

 

Before the guilt kills him, he reminds himself, kindly, that he contributed. Contributed to the investigation, although he made Aizawa worry about him when Aizawa had enough on his plate. Grimacing, Kaminari decides that he has enough of this self-loathing bullshit. What’s done is done. Bakugou is safe. Everything worked out. Stop thinking.

 

He texts them back quickly.

 

Kaminari Denki:
Sorry I couldn’t do more.

 

“DENKI! Come downstairs, your teacher is here!!!” his mother screeches. 

 

Oh.

 

He scrambles to get off his bed, hair a tousled mess. He’s still dressed in yesterday’s clothes, but he knows his mother wouldn’t have the patience to wait for him to change. He goes to the living room immediately, blinking at the sight of Aizawa dressed in a formal suit in his dingy apartment. Aizawa looks entirely out of place in the messy living room.

 

A sudden fear that Aizawa is here to talk about yesterday with his mother overwhelms him.

 

How long has Aizawa been here?

 

What have they talked about?

 

His mother cannot know about his failing grades, cannot know about the way he uses his quirk.

 

Aizawa notices the rising panic in Kaminari’s eyes and tries his best to look reassuring, although he doesn’t quite know how to smile. It comes off a little awkward. “Morning, Kaminari. Take a seat. I’m here to apologize about causing your parents to worry over the incident with Bakugou and to ask your parents for permission for you to continue to stay in U.A. You’ll be allowed to-”

 

“Dorms?” Mrs. Kaminari cuts in, “Oh, thank goodness. You can have him back."

 

There’s an uncertain silence.

 

Kaminari stands awkwardly to the side, unsure to sit or not. Slowly, he moves to sit next to Aizawa instead of his mother.

 

“Should I speak to Mr. Kaminari as well?” Aizawa offers hesitantly, glancing at Kaminari to make sure the boy seemed okay after the incidents yesterday. Kaminari looks like he slept well, at least.

 

Mrs Kaminari huffs, crossing her arms. She rolls her eyes and says, “You can certainly try. I’ve not heard anything from that bastard for years.” 

 

Aizawa takes that in stride, redirecting the conversation, “He’ll be allowed to return home on weekends, just like before. He can start moving back in today, and-”

 

“Could you speak a little faster? I’m late for work,” Mrs Kaminari says snippily.

 

“...I can tell Kaminari the rest. Thank you for your time, Mrs Kaminari.”

 

Kaminari’s mother picks up her handbag, not sparing the two a second glance as she leaves the house in quick strides.

 

Awkward silence. 

 

Aizawa takes charge of the situation.

 

“Have you eaten yet? Want to have breakfast while we talk?”

 

“Uh,” Kaminari is tempted to lie, but he feels like Aizawa would be able to tell. “No, not yet. We can just talk?” 

 

Aizawa sighs heavily, “Go and wash up. I’ll fix you something to eat.”

 

There’s barely anything in Kaminari’s house. But 10 minutes later, he’s all washed up and in clean clothes, digging into omelettes enthusiastically like he has been starving for days. God, he’s hungrier than he thought. Aizawa watches him eat as they sit at the small kitchen table.

 

“The dorms will have an earlier curfew at 9pm,” he continues relaying information smoothly, “Anytime you want to leave the dorms, you have to fill in the log book at the guardhouse, and you must be accompanied by another student or teacher.”

 

“Thanks,” Kaminari says quietly.

 

“It’s the least I could do,” Aizawa replies in return, ruffling Kaminari’s hair. “I still have other houses to visit. I’ll see you outside the dorms tomorrow.”

 

“Yesssss,” Kaminari replies with a drawl, giving a little wave with a spoon.

 

Aizawa hesitates a little at the door. Resolving himself, he says, “You can come to my office to talk to me anytime. About anything. Let me know if you need help for classes as well.” 

 

“Yup! Thanks, sensei!” Kaminari grins to reassure his teacher, but it only makes Aizawa sigh as he leaves the small apartment. What, was being cheerful not the right answer? Kaminari pouts, glancing down at his half-eaten omelette. Maybe he’ll save the rest for dinner.

 

He heads back to his room to pack. There’s not much since most of his stuff is still at the dorms.

 

He gets two replies.

 

Kirishima Eijirou:
It’s cool buddy. Everything’s good! It would have been risky with too many people!

 

Bakugou Katsuki:
I didn’t need help.


 


The next day, he sucks on a juice box as his breakfast, heading to school. On his way there he meets Sero, who is all smiles.

Image result for kaminari sero

 

“Dude, can’t believe Aizawa came all the way to all of our houses. Guess he can take his job rather seriously, huh? Despite how lazy he looks.”

 

Kaminari withholds all the knowledge he knows about the events that happened. He holds his tongue on how Aizawa made him omelettes (wouldn’t want Sero to think he’s a teacher’s pet), holds his tongue on how he actively participated in interrogating Muscular. He still feels guilty about that, although it might have been the right course of action to choose, he’s still unsure if Muscular would experience long-lasting after effects.

 

Instead, he smiles and says, “I know right!!! Imagine my shock when I got woken up by the news that he’s in my house.”

 

“Did your parents agree easily? My mom was kinda annoying about everything, asking Aizawa about every little thing,” Sero huffs, putting his hands behind his head as he walks.

 

“Yeah she did,” Kaminari laughs, “Couldn’t wait to get rid of me, actually.”

 

Sero snorts in amusement, “You must be a handful at home.”

 

“You can say that,” he replies with a shrug.

 

The whole class gathers outside the courtyard one by one, waiting for Aizawa to arrive. There are loose conversations everywhere. Some of their other classmates had a hard time convincing their parents as well, given that the incident worried parents about the security level of the school.

 

Aizawa arrives, and the look of his face doesn’t seem good. 

 

“Kirishima, Yaoyorozu, Todoroki, Midoriya, Iida,” he narrows his eyes, “These five went to save Bakugou that night.”

 

The news causes discomfort to ripple across the classroom. Concerned and guilty looks were exchanged.

 

Aizawa continues with a disappointed sigh, “Your reactions tell me that you were all at least aware of it, I’m going to set aside a number of issues and say this...”

 

Students gulped.

 

“If it wasn’t for All Might’s retirement, I would have expelled everyone except Bakugou, Jirou and Hagakure. I would be grateful if you could follow the proper procedures and act properly in order to regain that trust.”

 

He pauses to let the severity of his words sink in.

 

“That is all.”

 

He turns and leaves, “Now we’re going inside. Let’s have some energy!”

 

The sudden change in expectations leaves everyone reeling. After such a heavy talk, how were they expected to be excited? They were all experiencing a variety of emotions. Guilt, sadness, frustration…

 

“Come here,” Bakugou grabs Kaminari by the back of his shirt, dragging him towards the bushes.

 

“Huh? What? No!” Kaminari flails but was powerless.

 

Bakugou whispers under his breath, “You wanted to do more right? Then overuse your quirk and go into derp mode. Hurry up.”

 

Kaminari only hesitates for half a second. If this could help, then…

 

The sparks flew, and Kaminari walks out from behind the bushes, both thumbs up with a dumb expression on his face.

 

It makes his classmates laugh, and the heavy atmosphere is gone in an instant. While everyone is busy laughing over Kaminari, Bakugou walks toward Kirishima. 

 

“Kirishima!”

 

He hands him some money.

 

“Wait, what?? Where did this money come from? Did you shake someone down for this cash??” Kirishima freaks out.

 

“No, I withdrew this money,” Bakugou looks pissed, but the slant of his lips shows his awkward stubbornness. “You used up all your allowance, right?"

 

“Yeah… but where did you hear about me buying the night-vision goggles?”

 

Bakugou just shoves the money at Kirishima’s chest, forcing him to take it. “If you keep having to scrimp and save, then it’ll make me feel bad. You guys should just go back to your dumb selves.”

 

“Wheeyyy!!!”

 

Kirishima gives a fond but helpless smile, looking towards Kaminari, then at Bakugou’s retreating back. They’ll be okay.

 

“Guys!!! Sorry about everything, let’s go eat some good meat with this money!” he grins, pumping his fist in the air, a bunch of notes held tightly within them.

 

“Seriously?!”

 

“Let’s go!!!”




Kaminari regains his consciousness a few hours later. He’s barely aware of what’s going on when he’s in his quirk overuse state, which feels like being under a severe brain fog. It feels like he’s slowly emerging from deep underwater, and then he’s aware of where he is, which way is up, all the sounds and sensations around him. It’s not an unpleasant sensation, but it’s not fun to realize he’s missing a few hours of memories.

 

Thankfully, even when he’s his derp self, his classmates keep him from knocking into things and brings him around. He’s unbruised. He’s in his room. Standing. Huh, they must have kept him here to keep him safe.

 

Bakugou’s staring at him from his chair.

 

Wait.

 

What?

 

The other blond sulks and says, “Thanks for earlier. I’ll buy you a meal.”

 

Earlier?

 

“You’re… welcome?” Kaminari places a smile on his face. He tries to wipe the confusion from his face.

 

Bakugou’s gaze turns sharp.

 

“Do you even remember what happened?”

 

Trapped, Kaminari glances toward the door. He’d have to walk past Bakugou to get to it, and he knows Bakugou wouldn’t take no for an answer. He’ll have to pick his words carefully.

 

“Yeah, we all gathered before the dorms to hear a briefing, right?”

 

Play it cool.

 

With veiled nonchalance, he sits down on his bed.

 

“Then?” Bakugou presses, eyebrows furrowed.

 

“I was being stupid?”

 

That worked most of the time. It’s unlikely that a villain attack occurred in U.A, and that was the next plausible explanation for why he would’ve used enough electricity to go into his derp mode. But this was Bakugou. Things don’t get past Bakugou.

 

“What do you remember, pikachu?!” Bakugou raises his voice, snarling. 

 

“Dude, what’s wrong with you?” Kaminari replies with a frown. Tries to make it seem like it’s dumb that Bakugou were even asking these questions. “Don’t most people go with the ‘hey, look how many fingers I’m holding up?’”

 

Bakugou cuts through all his bullshit, “You don’t remember a thing, do you?”

 

Dude, why is Bakugou taking this pissed-off tone with him? He narrows his eyes at Bakugou, who only stares back accusingly. Fine then.

 

“Yeah, I don’t. What’s it to you?” it comes off a bit snappish, but Kaminari doesn’t really care right now. Bakugou’s the one that keeps pushing his buttons, “The human brain and body require a certain amount of electricity after all. Using it all up until you’re barely able to function, well, that affects your brain. Our brain uses 20% of the energy the body can produce. That energy is used to fuel electrical impulses that neurons employ to communicate with one another. Memory systems are obviously impacted.”

 

Bakugou gets off the chair with so much anger it topples to the ground loudly. He’s in front of Kaminari in a few long steps. Kaminari holds his ground, trying not to be intimidated. “God fucking damn it. Why haven’t you told us anything!?”

 

“Do I have to tell you everything? Do you even care?” Kaminari jibes. “There are things you don’t tell me either.”

 

Bakugou pauses. Kaminari sees the thoughts flicker across his face. Bakugou visibly struggles to put his thoughts into words.   

 

“I’ll answer everything you ask,” Bakugou says finally, still seeming pissed.

 

“Why the fuck are you so upset?”

 

“I’m angry at myself!” Bakugou yells, surprising Kaminari. “I won’t make you do that again. I won’t let you.”

 

That sounds ominous. What, the derp thing? What’s wrong with that? It makes people laugh. Forgetting a few of your memories isn’t that big of a deal compared to his classmates out there, breaking bones and tearing muscles.

 

They stare at each other, thoughts swarming in their own minds, not a single one of them said. Kaminari purses his lips, wondering if he should ask the question he had been wondering the past few days. Would things change if he asked this? Oh, to hell with it. It’s been weighing on his mind forever, and this was a good chance to ask everything.

 

“Are you and Kirishima dating?”

 

He gets his answer in a second.

 

“Yes.”

 

Right. What did he expect?

 

It hurts a little, knowing that they didn’t tell him about it until now. Kaminari looks down at his feet, trying to manage his expression.

 

Bakugou sighs in frustration, “It’s complicated.”

 

Kaminari gives a little laugh of disbelief, “Complicated how?” It’s not that hard to tell your friends that you’re dating.

 

There’s a knock on the door.

 

The door opens slowly. 

 

Kirishima peeks in, “Is everything alright? I heard yelling.”

 

The two blonds are unsure how to answer. Kirishima enters Kaminari’s room, holding a plate of cut apples. He smiles to defuse the tension in the room, “I thought you might be hungry, Kaminari. We didn’t want you to hurt yourself wandering about in derp mode, so we took turns to look after you.”

 

This new information confuses Kaminari, making him feel both guilty and warm. What? They were taking turns to take care of him?  

 

“Do you feel up to eating?” Kirishima asks gently. “Or, want us to feed you? No homo.”

 

“He knows,” Bakugou cuts in quietly.

 

“Oh, then full homo…?” Kirishima says uncertainly.

 

“Guys, I honestly wouldn’t have minded if you guys were gay, I mean, I’m bi,” Kaminari says. They’re all messes in this talk, to be honest.

 

“We only found out about that by chance a few days ago?” Kirishima replies. 

 

“But I always flirt with you guys?” Kaminari retorts like his sexuality was hella obvious.

 

Kirishima furrows his eyebrows.

 

“So do we with you?” 

 

“What? When?”

 

A mess.

 

They stare at each other for a moment before the next round starts.

 

“I mean, when we had that study session, when I cooked for you, when Bakugou gave you that vitamin water…” Kirishima lists the instances off his hand. 

 

“But… why would you guys flirt back when you guys are dating?”

 

“Because we like you?”

 

“Why would you like me?”

 

Bakugou can’t stand it any longer, and he cuts in. “Why the fuck wouldn’t anyone like you? God damn it, you work so hard, you’re able to get along with everyone because you’re funny, you’re stupid-cute… fuck, just give us an answer.” 

 

“An answer to what?” Kaminari balks. To why wouldn’t anyone like him? It’s because he’s so dumb, because he says the wrong things at the wrong time, because he sucks up to everyone to be liked by them?

 

“To whether you want to date us,” Kirishima interjects nervously. This is not the confession Kirishima envisioned. He wanted it to be romantic. Not this… clusterfuck of a mess where everyone is confused. “Because we’d like to date you.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Kaminari gets deathly quiet. He’s contemplating it. Mostly, his head is screaming ‘huh???’ ‘what???’ “why?!’ He looks from Kirishima’s nervous and hopeful face to Bakugou’s determined one. He couldn’t believe they liked him. He blinks at them rapidly with wide eyes.

 

Bakugou gets impatient, “Just tell us if you like us or not, pikachu.”

 

“I… do?”

 

“Then we’re all dating from now on,” Bakugou says with a tone of finality and a heavy pout. It looks cute. Wait, what, what? Dating? Kaminari gapes at both of them. He did not expect to get attached, let alone to two hot guys. Two hot guy friends he thought he had no chance with, so he didn’t even really consider the notion of dating, although he high-key flirted with them when he could. He feels winded.

 

“Or, uh, do you need some time to think things through? You seem a bit overwhelmed,” Kirishima offers, worry clear on his face. Bless him. Such a sweetheart. 

 

“That… that would be good, yes,” Kaminari confirms robotically, eyes still as wide as saucers.

 

“I’ll put the plate down on your table, okay, Kami? Make sure to get some food in you,” Kirishima’s being a mother-hen again, and fuck, Kaminari doesn’t deserve him. 

 

“Thanks, thanks,” he repeats dumbly, watching the movement.

 

“See you tomorrow, dumbass,” Bakugou scoffs, not with derision but with fondness.

 

The door closes. Kaminari is left alone in the silence. His head is swarming with endless thoughts. Since when did they like him? How long have Bakugou and Kirishima been dating? What the hell do they see in him? What would dating be like? What if he’s not what they expected?

 

He thinks of Kirishima, who heated up the food for him and sat with him at the lounge, watching him eat with a smile. He thinks of Bakugou, who’s always looking over with a watchful eye. They’ve both been taking care of him in their own ways, and he had been blind to it all. 

 

“Wow.”

 

Kaminari collapses onto his bed.

 

He couldn’t believe it.

 

Chapter Text

Kaminari snacks on the apples. He doesn’t quite feel like leaving his room yet, although he should eventually shower and go to bed. He feels rather spent.


He’s anxious and excited. He’s in disbelief. He couldn’t believe someone- two someones actually liked him. And he liked them so much, crush-wise? Like, both Bakugou and Kirishima are easily some of the most attractive people he knows. But even away from just the looks-


Bakugou’s wicked smart, both book-wise and street-wise, and he’s confident, determined. Sure, he’s angry and yelling sometimes or most of the time, but it’s usually all bark and no bite, and it only makes his softer, embarrassed side even cuter. Bakugou often takes care of his friends in the quietest of ways. Leading his friends, teaching his friends, calling them out on bad behaviour. Sometimes he’s direct. Sometimes he’s roundabout about it, and awkward. But it’s clear he cares about his friends.


Kirishima’s like a fucking angel from the heavens. He’s Kaminari’s best bro, best friend, mom, dad, everything at once. He always goes on about being manly, but he feels emotions wholehearted and shows his affections loudly and sincerely. And maybe that’s what manly about him. The way Kirishima embraces being kind, the way he gives his time and energy for others so easily.


Why him?


He’s so dumb, so lame, such a handful. He’s not even good looking. There’s nothing working out in his favour. So why would two of the hottest guys in U.A want to be with him?


Do they… see him as a charity case? No, they’re not that kind of people. Bakugou doesn’t take people in based on charity.


Was it the massage he gave? No, that’s dumb. 


Did he mess with their systems then and they mistook something for love? Unlikely- Kaminari didn’t get anywhere near their brains.


His phone rings at that moment, jolting him from his thoughts. 


He scrambles to find it.


It’s an unknown number. Kaminari hesitates for a few seconds and then picks up, wondering who it could be. “Hello?”


“It’s me, detective Naomasa. I got your contact info from the school. There’s something I would like your assistance with.”


The name brings up memories of Muscular. The image of Muscular writhing in pain intrudes into his mind, making him nauseous. He tries to shake his head to get the scene out of his head, but Muscular’s expression haunts him still. With a heavy weight in his chest, he tries to focus on the current topic.


“Er, yes, how can I help you sir?”


Maybe Naomasa wanted to ask him about the case? Kaminari swallows painfully and sits up straighter, trying to prepare himself emotionally for the questions. Perhaps Naomasa was writing a report on the case and wanted more details on his quirk usage.


The hand holding the phone is shaking.


Kaminari holds his wrist with his other hand to steady it, trying to calm himself down. He breathes in and out deeply as he waits for Naomasa to reply.


“I found your quirk highly valuable for investigative purposes. We have a case on hand that’s tough to crack. We would appreciate it if you could come down and help out.”


Kaminari freezes. Hearing that his quirk is useful makes a sense of pride blossom in his chest, because he never heard anyone say that his quirk is useful or amazing. However, the idea of helping out stumps him. What kind of help did Naomasa want? To do the same thing… as he did… with Muscular? The very thought of it makes him hesitate.


He doesn’t know if there’s side effects to what he did to Muscular.


He doesn’t know if anyone deserves that.


“Thank you, um, what… sort of case is it?” he doesn’t want to commit to anything just yet.


“While it’s confidential, what I can tell you is that it’s a murderer who kills his victims in very specific ways, and we need him to spill where he hid all the bodies in order to convict him with evidence.”


A murderer.


Kaminari doesn’t reply for a few seconds, thinking about going into the scary prison again, meeting a restrained person. What would a murderer look like? Would his gaze be cold and calculating? Would it be threatening and dangerous? He imagines himself stepping behind a person bound in a straightjacket, and him lifting his hands to-


A wave of nausea makes Kaminari dry heave suddenly. The gastric acid burns at his throat, and he pulls the phone away from him for a second as he coughs, tears pricking at his eyes. Cold chills wash over his body, and he immediately cuts off his imagination as best as he could. Dwelling on it might possibly make him vomit for real.


He really, really doesn’t want to do it again. 


He wipes cold sweat off his brow.


“Kaminari,” Naomasa continues speaking due to the silence, “He kidnaps and kills people. His targets range from all ages and genders. Little children as well, Kaminari. The fate of this case and the justice the victims deserve could very well rest in your hands.”


Kaminari’s nails dig into his skin once he hears the mention of little children.


“Their poor parents lose sleep every night thinking about what this perverted bastard did to their bodies. We need him behind bars, and we need you for that. If he’s not convicted, he’ll be released, and more children will die. We don’t want that, do we?”


The idea scares him, that he could be the sole thing that’s stopping this criminal from getting off scot-free and being behind bars. He has to do this. He feels afraid of going back to the prisons, of doing the same thing again, but… there’s no room for arguments. His fear pales in comparison to the pain of the victims and their families. What kind of hero would he be if he refused?


He bites down hard on his lips.


“When is the earliest you can come in, Kaminari?”


Multiple thoughts flit through his mind. What’s his class schedule like? He’s scared. How could he emotionally prepare himself for this? He doesn’t want to do this. Could he tell anyone about this? Would he? There’s no other choice but to do this. How would this work? He feels pressured to agree. Does he have to go alone, without Aizawa? The idea of being in a room with Naomasa and this cold-blooded murderer, without Aizawa scares him. He holds onto this thought and everything associated with it.


“We’re not allowed to leave the dorms alone…”


God, he sounded so childish, like a kid that needed parental consent. But maybe he should discuss this with Aizawa. “I’ll… I’ll have to ask Aizawa about it.”


“I’ll sign as your guardian if needed, and pick you up from U.A. Today, or tomorrow. Time is of the essence.”


Kaminari swallows. He’s not sure about the whole thing, especially without Aizawa-sensei around. He hopes his teacher would be free.


I would appreciate it if you kept it confidential.”


It didn’t sound like Naomasa wants Aizawa to know. He feels conflicted. Should he tell his teacher, or not? Technically, Aizawa should be told about all ‘hero-related activities’ conducted outside of U.A, according to the rules. The only thing that could go wrong with Aizawa knowing might be Naomasa’s disapproval, or Aizawa not allowing him to go…


Not allowing him to go…


“I’ll… think about it,” Kaminari says finally.


“I hope to hear a positive answer from you soon.”


The call ends. Kaminari finds it hard to breathe. He drops the phone and holds his head with his hands, grabbing his hair. Wouldn’t it be selfish of him to not go? Wouldn’t it be selfish of him to tell Aizawa in hopes that the teacher would stop him? It’ll be his fault if he doesn’t help and the murderer goes scot-free. The blood of his future victims will be on Kaminaris’ hands.


“I don’t know what to do…”


There’s so much going on now, with… the confession, and the request for help, and his impending expulsion if he doesn’t pull up his grades. He’s so overwhelmed. Having to deal with one of those things is hard in itself. But having to juggle all three?


The most pressing appears to be the case Naomasa requested help with. Swallowing, he resolves himself to go find his teacher to discuss it. He’ll go with whatever decision Aizawa decides on, because surely his teacher knows what the right decision is, right? He walks quietly to his door, cracking it open to see if the coast is clear. He doesn’t quite know what to do about Kirishima and Bakugou yet, he doesn’t have the luxury of time to dwell on that, although Kirishima’s smile and Bakugou’s decisive voice intrudes into his head. He shakes it off, trying his best to leave the dorms without anyone noticing.


“Kaminari?”


He flinches. He turns around to see Ashido yawning.


“Where are you going?” she asks.


Uhhhhh.


“I’m… hungry? So I’m... going to…” Kaminari gestures helplessly.


“The dining room has food, silly. In fact, I think I have leftover nuggets in the fridge I can heat up for you,” Ashido holds a hand to her cheek, humming as she thinks. “We also have cereal and fruits. Some leftover fried rice from when Bakugou rage-cooked earlier. Or maybe you’d prefer snacks?”


The offer is sweet, but now Kaminari needs a new excuse.


"I was… thinking of grabbing a snickers from the vending machine, and uh, also, to consult Aizawa for some homework help…”


“Wow, Kaminari Denki? Consulting a teacher?” she jokes, “Are you feeling alright?”


Kaminari knows she’s just teasing him lightheartedly, but is the idea of him actually consulting a teacher so hard to believe? Well he might not be the best at studies (and that’s an understatement, he’s fucking terrible), he does try his best, kind of (outside of his mindless procrastination). Okay yeah, so maybe the idea is hard to believe because he never consulted his teachers thus far. He didn’t want to hear any ‘you don’t even know this?’, ‘do you even listen in class?’.


He swallows and tries to force a smile on his face.


“Yeah, I know right?” He goes along with it because it’s easier that way. “But uh, my last exam results were really bad and I really, really need to pull my grades up.”


Ashido frowns, and god, now he’s got her worried.


“That bad?” she tilts her head. “We can hold study groups, maybe?”


Kaminari appreciates the offer, but any Bakusquad study groups, or even a large study group with Yaoyorozu is very distracting. There’s always someone asking questions or commenting on something. The flipping of the pages annoy him. The rate at which others flip their pages annoy him, because he knows how slow he is. It seems like most people only had to speed read to study, while he got stuck on questions and zoned out and had to re-read every time someone started to talk. And they all got the explanations given by their ‘tutors’ immediately. Sometimes Kaminari didn’t.


“Maybe. Uh, you want anything from the vending machine?”


“Nah, thanks,” she replies, still having that worried look in her eyes. “Make sure to take breaks okay? You have really bad panda eyes. I have eye masks for that, so feel free to visit my room!”


She beams as she offers, and Kaminari thinks of their weekly facial mask sessions where they lie down side by side on her bed, shoulders touching. Where they talk about everything and nothing. Where it’s a safe bubble to live in the moment, if only for a short time.


“Y’know what,” Kaminari chuckles, “I think I need that. I’ll see you later!” 


“Sure sweetheart! Miss you!” she wriggles her fingers at him, sending him a wink.


He blows a kiss to her as he leaves, and she giggles.


He feels a little bit better, lighter.


He walks through a dimly lit path to the teacher’s dorms. The silence is a bit unnerving, and so is going to see his teacher alone. Feels weird, somehow. Ever since entering U.A, he’s always stuck by the side of one of his friends or classmates so he wouldn’t be alone and left to his thoughts. And with how friendly the class is, you never have to go anywhere alone.


Today though, Kaminari walks alone because there’s something he doesn’t want them to know about him. It feels like he’s getting more and more secrets. No one knows what he did to Muscular, and he’s afraid to tell his friends. No one knows he’s in contact with Naomasa.


He walks slowly on purpose, so he gets room to breathe and calm himself down. He rehearses the upcoming conversation in his head, wondering what’s the best way to approach the topic. Even when he reaches the dorms, he stands outside the door, finger hovering above the doorbell.


Well, now or never.


He presses it and waits anxiously, holding his hands together.


The door opens to reveal Present Mic dressed in blue pajamas with banana patterns all over them, hair tied up in a bun. The image is friendly and welcoming, and so is the teacher’s smile.


“Hey, you’re one of Aizawa’s, aren’t you? Kaminari right? You looking for him?”


“Yes,” Kaminari nods, “Uh, yes, sensei.”


Present Mic waves a little hand at him, as though saying, ‘Don’t bother with the formalities’. He ushers Kaminari in, showing him the way.


“He’s right at the end of this hallway. Just holler if you need me for anything as well, yeah? Aizawa can be quite the scary grump sometimes,” Present Mic jokes.


“Thanks,” Kaminari grins a little, appreciative of how nice the teacher is because his nerves are shot from anxiety. Any positive interaction helps to calm him down a little.


Present Mic returns to his room, waving at Kaminari, who waves back. Kaminari makes his way to Aizawa’s room.


He knocked on the door, shuffling his feet anxiously as he waited for an acknowledgement.


“Come in.”


He takes a deep breath and opens the door.


His teacher is dressed in all black as usual, sitting at his desk grading what seemed like homework. Aizawa’s room is pretty plain, having the bare essentials, but is that… a cat calendar on his desk?


“What’s going on?” Aizawa asks directly, setting down his pen. He gestures for Kaminari to come closer.


Kaminari does so, biting on his lower lip and wringing his hands.


“I have something to consult you about, that I’m not sure whether to talk you about.”


Actually, Kaminari has a lot of things he’s unsure about whether to consult Aizawa about.  


Aizawa lifts his eyebrow.


“I, you see… I received a phone call from Mr. Naomasa.”


“About Bakugou’s case?”


Kaminari shakes his head, “He wants me to help him for a new case.” 


Aizawa’s brow furrows with worry. He’s immediately irked by how Naomasa didn’t go through the formal procedures required when requesting help from U.A staff- no, it wasn’t even a staff. They were asking a student to help out with investigations. Without consulting the school or his teachers.


“In that case he should have filed a proper document as a request,” Aizawa sighs, massaging his head. He looks visibly stressed about this, and it makes Kaminari feel bad about telling Aizawa about it. “Did he tell you what the case is about? Do you want to help?”


Kaminari hesitates, “Um. It’s confidential. And, I don’t know, honestly. I should help, shouldn’t I?”


Aizawa takes a closer look at his student. Kaminari looks anxious and desperate, hugging himself with his arms. His body language screams reluctance and fear. Honestly, he doesn’t want Kaminari to be used by the police department as their truth serum. The police department isn’t even supposed to use violence as part of their interrogation unless for extremely high profile criminals when lives were at stake in an emergency situation.


Kaminari doesn’t even have proper control or training over his quirk used for interrogative purposes, and the case with Muscular seems to have traumatized him enough.


“It’s not your duty to. You’re a student. You’re expected to stay in school and study,” Aizawa says simply.


When Kaminari looks unconvinced, he continues, “Don’t worry Kaminari. It’s the job of police officers to apprehend criminals. They’ve been doing so for years. They have the relevant expertise. I’ll have a word with Naomasa for him to use their own trained personnel for their own jobs .”  


“...But, if they don’t have enough evidence and lets him go-”


“Then they’re highly incompetent and should be trained again. At any rate, the criminal would be placed on high surveillance even if not imprisoned,” Aizawa says firmly.


That makes Kaminari feel a bit better. He nods, slowly. “Yeah… yeah, I guess so. Thanks.”


“Focus on the upcoming finals, I’ll deal with this,” Aizawa promises.


“Sorry for the trouble,” Kaminari says sheepishly. The mention of finals sends a little pang of panic in his chest, but nothing as bad as his anxiety towards the possibility of another interrogation scene.


Aizawa shakes his head. “You’re my student. You’re expected to give me trouble. Feel free to consult me any time.”


Kaminari gives a little smile. “Thanks, sensei.”


“Goodnight, Kaminari.”


He closes the door behind him and breathes out a sigh of relief. That’s one thing down. He’ll be okay. He won’t be asked to do that again.


The sudden image of Muscular straining enters his mind. The sound of phantom screams ring in his ears, and he flinches.


Shaking his head a little, Kaminari tries to focus on the present. His hands are shaking again, feeling the thrum of electricity, feeling the way it tingled with sparks as they directed the course of electricity through Muscular’s-


“No no no, stop, Denki, please,” he begs himself, stepping away from Aizawa’s door, leaving before he has a breakdown on the spot. He chants to himself under his breath, “Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think.”


His eyes burn with tears, and he doesn’t understand. He doesn’t have to do it. He doesn’t have to do it again, so why does he keep thinking about it? He walks rapidly, then breaks into a run, trying to focus on his immediate surroundings. Trying to focus on his straining muscles.


He can’t return to the dorm like this.


He stops when his lungs burn, when he’s coughing and out of breath, breathing in short and sharp gasps. He squats down and grabs his head, and then suddenly he’s back there, in the entirely gray room, and Naomasa’s yelling at Muscular, words unheard because Muscular is screaming, screaming, screaming, and there’s nothing else, and Kaminari can only stare as Muscular strains like a grotesque monster, skin red and purple as he fought against his restraints, and-


Kaminari is the monster.


He did that to someone.


He did that to another human being.


Kaminari yells in anguish, sobbing through his hands, fighting to breathe as he hyperventilates. He wants it all to stop, but Muscular won’t stop screaming, and he sees it, keeps seeing Muscular, and Kaminari doesn’t even know if his eyes are opened or closed in the real world, and Naomasa looks so angry just yelling, voiceless in the constant screams, and suddenly Naomasa turns his attention to Kaminari, and he looks overcome by rage as he storms towards Kaminari, and grabs Kaminari’s shoulders, and yells, keeps yelling but Kaminari can’t hear anything, nothing except the screams, can’t-


“KAMINARI!!!”


“OI, KAMINARI!!!”


And suddenly he’s back. He heaves, breathless. It’s dark around him except the dimly lit path, and Kirishima and Bakugou are both in front of him, looking extremely concerned. Shadows are cast over their faces. He’s squatting on the ground, and so are they, and he removes his hands from his face shakily, feeling the wetness of tears all over them. He’s back.    


Then he starts wailing.


“Hey hey hey, Denki, it’s okay, sweetheart. We’re here, it’s okay,” Kirishima coos with a tight smile, trying his best to reassuring. His hands hover, unsure if it’s okay to touch Kaminari or not.


Kaminari decides for him, collapsing into his arms. Kirishima feels the blond grab onto him desperately like a lifeline, as though him and Bakugou might not be real. Kirishima hurts, feeling his own tears spring up. His throat is tight as he hugs Kaminari back, rubbing soothing circles across Kaminari’s back.


“What happened? Who did this to you?” Bakugou asks with barely restrained rage, looking helpless and confused. “Oi, Denki. Who do I have to kill?”


Kaminari blubbers, unable to speak, just overwhelmed.


“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Kirishima repeats, glancing at Bakugou helplessly. “We’re here now. We’re here.”


Is it us? Bakugou mouths, and Kirishima shakes his head. He doubts so.


It takes a few more minutes before Kaminari calms down enough to be able to breathe properly and speak coherently. Embarrassed, he lets go of Kirishima and wipes messily at his face. Bakugou reaches over to help him, calloused hands comforting as they brush awkwardly across his wet cheeks. Kaminari gathers the courage to look both of them in the eyes. Both pairs of red eyes are worried for him. It gives him a strange feeling in his stomach.


“Why are you guys here?” he asks quietly in the night, ears ringing from the silence.


“You didn’t come back for curfew so we got worried,” Kirishima explains, reaching over to rest his hand on Kaminari’s shoulder, squeezing reassuringly. “Do you want to talk about what happened?”


Kaminari’s heart stutters. He doesn’t want to think about it again.


“No,” he says apologetically.


“Hey, it’s okay, it’s been a lot, huh?” Kirishima smiles kindly, and Kaminari finds himself staring. Kirishima is so sweet to him. So reliable. His presence keeps Kaminari in the present, keeps Kaminari focusing on his expression. It’s a signal that things will be okay, that Kirishima is here for him.


“Y-yeah,” Kaminari stutters, and Bakugou’s face grows darker, scowling. His fists tighten and he wonders which fucker made Kaminari react like this. Kirishima reaches over to pat Bakugou’s shoulder as well. He understands just how Bakugou feels, but they have to be patient. Whatever Kaminari is dealing with, it affected him too badly to be so easily spoken about or dealt with.


“Let’s go back, okay? It’s late and we still have school tomorrow. Is that cool with you?” Kirishima asks. Kaminari nods, and he’s helped to his feet, still wobbling slightly.


“Want me to carry you?” Bakugou offers gruffly, hands stuck in his pockets.


The idea makes Kaminari’s heart skip a beat. Actually… yeah, that would be nice. He nods shyly, and Bakugou turns around to offer Kaminari his broad back, gesturing for Kaminari to get on. Kaminari does, and Bakugou lifts him up so easily, strong hands gripping onto his thighs, over his bruises- he winces a little.


Bakugou notices.


“You’re hurt?” he frowns.


“Oh,” Kaminari squeaks, panicking a little. “It’s nothing serious, don’t worry. Old injuries.”


That’s not a lie.


Bakugou seems skeptical but he accepts it, and they’re on their way back to the dorms now in companionable silence. Bakugou’s back is broad and warm, and he smells like a fireplace burning on a cold winter day. Kaminari finds himself nodding off, feeling safe and comfortable.


He’s surprised and touched that they cared enough about him to notice him gone, cared enough to come and find him. Cared enough to comfort him and be so patient with him, even though there’s so much he’s not telling them. He feels like he doesn’t deserve them. He wonders what they even see in him. Their presence alone gives him so many feelings, so complicated that he can’t quite grasp them. He’s so glad and thankful they’re here. But he also aches, wishing he could be better.


A tear slides down his cheek when he blinks. He rests his head on Bakugou’s shoulder, trying to get more of that comfort. He’s so tired.


“You’ll be okay,” Kirishima says softly, reaching over to run his hand through Kaminari’s hair. His gentleness and sweetness make Kaminari want to cry even harder. He wants to believe that. To believe that everything will be fine. Slowly, he’s lulled into sleep by the carefully soft and steady footsteps of Bakugou.   

Chapter Text

Kaminari wakes up feeling much more well rested than he ever has in his life. His eyes open without much fight. He doesn’t feel the usual grogginess and pain of just existing as he exits dreamland. He’s just warm, comfortable. Awake. The first thing he recognizes is that he’s not in his room. 

 

It’s Bakugou’s. 

 

An arm is slung across his waist, keeping him in place. Glancing to his side, he sees that it’s Kirishima, still deep in sleep. His hair isn’t gelled, falling around his face softly in long red strands. He looks so different that Kaminari spends some time staring, just observing Kirishima’s facial features. It’s different in a good way. He looks handsome. Beautiful. 

 

Memories of last night rush to his head. He’s immediately embarrassed, recalling how he pretty much had a panic attack in the middle of nowhere. Now they know what a wreck he is.

 

When?

 

When did he become so bad at keeping up appearances? 

 

They’ve been really nice to him about it, but he feels terrible over it. They would be full of questions for him, wouldn’t they? Perhaps he owes them an explanation. An explanation is the least he could do for Kirishima and Bakugou, who went searching for him in the middle of the night. 

 

Sleepy red eyes open, and Kaminari has no time to pretend to be asleep. He’s already caught by Kirishima, who smiles so gently at him, gaze warm and sleepy. Kaminari’s heart beats like a jackhammer. He can feel himself starting to blush, being so close to Kirishima.

 

“Morning, Denki.”

 

“Hi,” Kaminari whispers back. 

 

Kirishima raises a hand to chop Kaminari on the head softly. Before Kaminari has time to be confused, Kirishima says in a slurred voice, “You’re thinking negative things again, aren’t you?”

 

“How do you know?” Kaminari blurts out, surprised. 

 

Kirishima’s hand lowers to cup Kaminari’s face. His thumb gently brushes across the blond’s cheek, and Kaminari’s eyelashes flutter at the soft movement. It’s warm and comfortable, being with Kirishima. 

 

“Been watching you lots,” Kirishima explains with a sleepy, embarrassed smile. Now the blush is definitely on Kaminari’s face.

 

Kirishima doesn’t tell Kaminari just how much he and Bakugou have been discussing him. Bakugou’s definitely the more observant one of the two of them. 

 

Changing the topic, Kaminari says, “Wait, what time is it? Don’t we have to go to class?”

 

“Seems like late morning. We’re on sick leave,” Kirishima explains sleepily, “Bakugou told Aizawa. He’s going to class to take notes for both of us. I offered, but he vehemently refused, saying his notes are better. I know he just wants me to get more sleep though.”

 

Kirishima chuckles fondly. He’s always been good at interpreting Bakugou-language. And it’s true, it would be better for Bakugou to go to class and then teach them later. Sometimes he teaches better than their teachers. Plus, Kirishima trusted Bakugou to deflect all their classmates’ questions. Kirishima found it hard to lie.

 

Kaminari’s mind stutters and stops at the words ‘Bakugou told Aizawa’. What?! What did Bakugou say? Could he have told Aizawa about the panic attack? God, he didn’t need Aizawa knowing that, what would Aizawa think of him? He’ll look so lame, like he’s not suited to be a hero. He’ll look like a major coward, who couldn’t even take one measly interrogation, when heroes are out there, dealing with villains who-

 

“Hey hey hey,” Kirishima hushes, patting Kaminari’s face lightly to bring the blond back to reality. “Calm down Denki. What’s going on, babe? You’re panicking. Talk to me?” 

 

Kaminari looks into Kirishima’s bright red eyes and swallows. Kirishima’s face is worried, not judgmental at all.

 

“What did… Bakugou tell Aizawa?” he starts hesitantly. 

 

“Just said we’re both sick. Aizawa was pretty understanding about it, allowed us a day off,” Kirishima replies, leaving out how Aizawa hadn’t looked particularly convinced, though worried. There seems to be something Kaminari doesn’t want Aizawa to know. That he doesn’t want anyone to know, and that worries Kirishima. It’s not good to deal with everything yourself.    

 

Kaminari nods. He’s quiet for a moment. Then he takes in a deep breath and says, “Sorry for yesterday.”

 

“Aw Denki, it’s alright,” Kirishima murmurs, petting Kaminari’s hair gently. The blond’s eyes flutter and close from the soothing contact. When was the last time someone touched him like this? He could feel tears rising up in his eyes. There’s a lump in his throat, like a dam threatening to burst under pressure. He feels like telling Kirishima everything, everything that happened so far, in his life, school, the kidnapping, Naomasa. But he’s not sure where to start. Not sure if it’s too much. 

 

He settles for pressing closer to Kirishima, tucking himself under Kirishima’s chin and biting back a sob. 

 

Kirishima holds him, tight. Holds him there. 

 

“I’m sorry too, Denki, for not being there sooner. I’m so glad we found you,” Kirishima says apologetically. Kaminari shakes his head. God, why would Kirishima feel bad about that? Kirishima and Bakugou are such blessings. 

 

“Thank you for coming,” he mumbles. Kirishima hums in reply. 

 

They spend a few moments just laying there, enjoying the closeness. 

 

“How you feeling now, sweetheart?” Kirishima whispers against his forehead, his hot breath tickling Kaminari. It makes his heart do flip flops.

 

“Better,” Kaminari smiles slightly, “Better with you here. I haven’t had such good sleep in weeks.”

 

Kirishima chuckles in a low tone and holds Kaminari closer.

 

“Yeah? Guess I’ll have to be your pillow every night from now on.”

 

Kaminari’s face heats up and he makes a dying noise as Kirishima laughs at his embarrassment. 

 

It’s only then that Kaminari remembers that he’s actually cuddling with his boyfriend. One of the two. Oh my god. He’s so lucky. Kirishima is rubbing soothing circles on Kaminari’s back again, and it’s putting him to sleep. It’s so warm and safe. 

 

“Maybe we should go to class, I might get addicted to skipping,” Kaminari says quietly. If he’s coddled any longer, he might want to stay in Kirishima’s arms forever. He untangles himself from Kirishima, avoiding the redhead’s gaze. 

 

“You sure you feel okay enough?” Kirishima asks gently, and it fills Kaminari’s heart with warmth. His concern is so sweet. 

 

“Yeah,” Kaminari agrees, putting on a smile to reassure Kirishima. To his surprise, Kirishima leans in to press a kiss on his forehead. At his wide-eyed look, Kirishima laughs a little self-consciously. The redhead scratches the back of his neck, and it’s unfair. Unfair how good Kirishima looks with his hair down and messy, unfair how Kirishima’s shirt was slipping off a shoulder.   

 

“Just felt like it. Hope it’s okay?”

 

“Oh my god, it’s more than okay,” Kaminari squeaks. Okay, he’s definitely blushing now, he can tell from the way Kirishima looks at him warmly. “I’m gonna, uh, wash up! Be right back!” 

 

God, being around Kirishima and Bakugou makes him so nervous. It feels like he’s falling deeper and deeper with everything they do. 

 

When he’s back from brushing his teeth and showering, Kirishima’s nowhere in sight. Probably went back to his room to prepare for class as well. Kaminari picks up his phone from his desk, surprised by the number of messages he got.  

 

Kyou:
Oi idiot, where are you?? I went to your room to lend you CDs but you’re gone? I’ll give them to you in class later
Heard you’re sick, thought idiots don’t catch colds? Dumbass.

 

Class Pres:
Kaminari? I asked around and heard from Ashido you went out to get snacks, please be back on time.
Kaminari, where are you? It’s curfew time.
Let us know if you need help.
I heard from Kirishima that you’re back, hope you’re alright.

 

Tailboy:
Hey, Iida’s been pretty frantic and worried trying to find you, you okay?

 

Alien Queen:
This sure is a long snack break you’re taking hun
I think I want some peach tea, if you’re still out there?
Denkiiii
God did you get eaten by wolves or smth
Come back!!

 

Serotonin:
Wow why does Bakugou keep coming to my room to find u
Okay i mean valid, sometimes u ARE here
But still
Dude, keep ur phone on u and answer ur messages
Where u?? We’re searching the whole dorms and outside too
Damn heard u r sick, get well soon dude

 

God, he feels so sorry for worrying them, but something warm wells up within him at the fact that all of them cared enough to notice him missing for one night. He quickly sends texts back to them, assuring them all that he was alright. They’re such great friends. 

 

There’s a soft knock on his door, and it opens. It’s Kirishima, hair styled like usual. His smile is bright like the morning sun.

 

“Ready, boyfriend?”

 

“Ready, boyfriend,” Kaminari replies with a chuckle. It makes Kirishima smile even wider, and the sight tugs at Kaminari’s heart. 

 

They have one hell of timing because they’re right on time for lunch. Sliding into the seat across grumpy looking Bakugou makes Kaminari nervous, but his heart flips at the protective look Bakugou sends his way. Had Bakugou always been looking at him like this? Was Kaminari just blind? 

 

“... You okay?” 

 

The words are awkward, but Bakugou’s sentiment gets across. Kaminari nods shyly. 

 

“I’ll go get food for both of us!” Kirishima beams, patting Kaminari on the shoulder. He sends Bakugou a reassuring smile and then leaves them both alone. 

 

Kaminari’s not quite sure how dating works. With three people. Then again, he supposed not a lot of people had experience dating three people anyways. 

 

“So uh, how long have you two been dating?” Kaminari asks quietly lest anyone overhears them. He’s not sure how well their class would take to homosexuality or polyamorous relationships. Ashido knows he’s bisexual because she’s a huge supporter of the LGBT based on her room decor, and he felt safe enough to open up to her about it. 

 

Bakugou chews on his bowl of katsudon, thinking about it. Kaminari doesn’t know how Bakugou makes the very act of eating so attractive. Maybe he’s just already hella whipped. Though, Todoroki is quite a pretty eater as well, in a different way.

 

“A few weeks.”

 

Kaminari nods, trying to think of a time frame where Bakugou and Kirishima seemed particularly close. Hell, the two of them had always been the closest in the Bakusquad. 

 

“Who asked who out?” he asks curiously. 

 

Bakugou coughs slightly, looking away from Kaminari. His ears are tinged red with embarrassment. Shit, that’s actually kind of cute? 

 

“You don’t have to tell me! If you don’t want to!” Kaminari backtracks rapidly, waving his hands about. He does that when he’s nervous, use his hands too much. Dang it. He tugs at his collar. Is it just him or is it very warm today? 

 

“I said I’ll answer everything you ask, okay?” Bakugou growls, still not quite looking at him. Bakugou casts a quick look around the noisy cafeteria, making sure no one listened in. “It… It just happened. We were studying in my room. He asked if he could kiss me.” 

 

Kaminari squealed, “Oh my god. And then?” 

 

“Then I kissed him first.” 

 

Kirishima sits down next to them at that very moment, making both of them jump a little. 

 

“Got you a hamburger, that’s your favourite right?” The redhead beams, looking at his two blond boyfriends fondly, “Bakugou, are you telling him how we started dating?”

 

Bakugou nods, stubbornly stuffing his mouth with rice. He looks like he would rather be anywhere but here, so they drop the topic. However, Kaminari’s mind can’t help but wonder about how it must have been. Kirishima, hair down after his shower, blushing but determined as he asked Bakugou. Bakugou, who would rather use his actions than talk because he’s shy in that way. He must have grabbed Kirishima’s collar, and then-

 

“What are you thinking about?”

 

Kaminari flinched at the sound of Kirishima’s teasing voice. Oh hell, he’s still holding his unwrapped hamburger in his hands without eating it. No wonder they noticed his heads being in the clouds. 

 

“Nothing!” he yelps a little too defensively, unwrapping the hamburger to stuff his face. Yes, because if you’re too busy eating, you can’t talk. And if you can’t talk, there’s a lower risk of embarrassing yourself. 

 

However, he’s pretty sure he catches Kirishima mouthing the word ‘cute’ to Bakugou. 

 

“How many bites minimum do you need to finish a hamburger?” Kirishima asks curiously. Kaminari looks up, cheeks full of food. He chews and swallows. The other two boys wait for him. 

 

“Well, that depends on the size of the hamburger obviously, but if it’s this size, and if I try hard enough, maybe 4-5?” He takes a huge bite to prove his point. Both Kirishima and Bakugou track his movement with a little too much interest to be innocent. Kaminari almost chokes on his food. 

 

“You sure can fit a lot into your mouth,” Bakugou said with a smirk, none of his previous embarrassment to be found. Okay sure, make Kaminari the scapegoat. Kirishima chuckles and slides Kaminari his coke.

 

Kaminari chugs it and wipes his mouth, giving them a sore look. 

 

“Perverts,” he hisses under his breath, “Almost Mineta level. Almost.” 

 

Kirishima exchanges a look with Bakugou. “Almost, huh? Guess we gotta try harder.” 

 

They both laugh at the scandalized look Kaminari sends them. 

 


 

Going back to class is a little more nerve-wracking, even when flanked by his two boyfriends. But to his surprise, no one really asks him any questions except for whether he feels better or not. His seatmate Jirou is a little different, greeting him with an “Idiot” and passing him a few CDs that she promised, like nothing was different. There’s a pack of gummies filled with vitamins on his desk, with a sticky note showing it’s from Mina and Sero together, who got them from recovery girl for him during lunch. 

 

Actually, the most nerve-wracking part is when Aizawa comes into class, eyes immediately looking at Kaminari. Thankfully, Ojirou’s tail is slightly draped over his desk today, easily within reach for him to play with. There’s a possibility that Ojirou did this on purpose as a show of support for him, who’s supposedly ‘sick’. Either way, he appreciates whatever higher powers brought the fluffy tail within reach because it’s calming to play with it. 

 

The class goes as per normal, other than Aizawa looking at him more than usual. He’s not called up to answer any questions, even though he’s clearly more distracted than usual. So it looked like everything was okay and going well, until…

 

“Kaminari, come see me in my office.” 

 

Fuck.

 

Ojirou flinched from Kaminari suddenly squeezing his tail. Kaminari lets go, giving a few soft pats in apology. The half smile the other boy gives him shows that it’s okay.

 

“Yes sensei.” 

 

Well here goes nothing. He stands up, shrugging to Jirou’s look of ‘did you fuck up again’. He glances at Kirishima, who gives him a supportive thumbs up. Then to Bakugou, who gives the barest of nods in acknowledgement. It’ll be okay. He tries to smile in return to all of them, hoping it looks convincing. 

 

The walk to the office is quiet as he trails behind Aizawa. Instead of the teacher’s office, they enter an empty meeting room instead. He takes a seat tentatively across Aizawa. The table between them feels like a safety measure. Fidgeting with his fingers, he waits for Aizawa to say something. 

 

“Tell me what happened yesterday night.” 

 

Kaminari’s breath catches in his throat. The first flare of alarm rises in his chest.

 

Aizawa immediately adds, “Take your time. But as your teacher, I need to know. I’m concerned about your health.” 

 

Kaminari fidgets with his fingers. His escalating panic is stoped, but it doesn’t go away. It sits heavily in his chest, nagging at him that it’s a serious situation. He doesn’t quite know where to begin. No one has ever expressed such direct concern towards him. And an adult at that. He feels sorry that he’s being such a huge pain in the ass for Aizawa, who would rather doze off during all of his free time. He doesn’t want to talk or think about yesterday night. There’s a mess of emotions and thoughts, murky in their form as they swirl in him, too complicated to be said. 

 

“I’m okay, really,” he says softly with a smile. This will be better for both of them. It’s his own problems. He could just forget it, move on with time, and Aizawa could move on too. “Might have eaten something wrong.” 

 

Aizawa sighs heavily, displeased by his reply. This makes Kaminari feel even worse. Was that not the ideal answer? It used to work for his other teachers. 

 

“I’ve looked at the security footages Kaminari, in case there was a threat.”

 

Okay fuck, Aizawa clearly doesn’t buy it. What did he do last night, when having a panic attack? He screamed. He cried. He broke down on the ground for god knows how long before Kirishima and Bakugou showed up. Kaminari laces his fingers together, pressing them down with all the strength he could muster. The slight burn of pain keeps him there, keeps him from panicking. Aizawa notices him shaking. 

 

“I want to help, Kaminari,” he says, looking the most helpless Kaminari has ever seen him, “That’s all. I’m going to suggest something, if that’s alright.” 

 

Aizawa looked afraid of setting Kaminari off, afraid of pushing Kaminari to his limits where he had to shock himself to calm down. Kaminari couldn’t help but blame himself for it, blame himself for letting it slip when it had kept it a secret for so long. He’s not sure what to do to make things better, easier for Aizawa and for himself. He nods slowly, unsure of what Aizawa would say. 

 

“What I’ve seen resembles posttraumatic stress symptoms. What you went through in prison was frightening, Kaminari. PTSD is common in heroes, it’s why we have trained counsellors in the hero association. I want to schedule counselling sessions for you with recovery girl. We can have a male counsellor instead if you’re more comfortable with that. I think it could help you greatly. Would that be okay?” 

 

Kaminari hesitates. PTSD? From… aiding police investigations? He looks into Aizawa’s eyes and sees nothing but sincerity. Aizawa isn’t judging him, or thinking of him as weak. He doesn’t look irritated or irked by how troublesome Kaminari is being. He’s patient, waiting for Kaminari to reply. Kaminari doesn’t recall any of his teachers, or his mother being like this. 

 

He… he wants to do the right thing, for Aizawa. 

 

 “I’m willing to… try?” he says unsurely. It’s the right answer this time, a small smile crosses Aizawa’s face. A small bud of relief blossoms in Kaminari’s chest. It couldn’t possibly be that bad. He knew recovery girl, knew how kind and gentle she was in speaking with students. 

 

“That’s great,” the relief is obviously matched by Aizawa. “I’ll schedule a session for this weekend.”  

 

“Okay.” 

 

He’s anxious about how the session will go, but he’s willing to give it a shot.

Chapter Text

The scent of the room smells so obviously targeted at calming the person down that it actually puts Kaminari on edge. His mind works strangely like that at times, and he’s not sure whether it’s the side effects of electrocuting himself. It’s kind of like how you would feel suspicious about a person’s intentions if they’re too nice to you all of a sudden, like the calm before the storm. It makes him hyper-aware of why he’s here, he’s here for a reason, for mental health , and honestly, it sounds frightening. Or, it smells frightening. He’s rambling in his head now, and he’s lowkey freaking out. The urge to electrocute himself to calm down grows stronger and stronger, and he knows it's a bad habit that would only get worse if he gives in every single time he’s afraid.



Soft footsteps grow louder, and Kaminari tenses, preparing himself for the imminent confrontation. He’s seen recovery girl alone before, but for physical injuries , nothing like this. He’s not even sure what he’s supposed to do here, really. He plasters a polite smile on his face when she sits down across him with a smile.

 

There’s an air about her that’s calming and friendly, in the way her eyes wrinkle when she smiles like she’s looking at her favourite grandchild.

 

“Thank you for waiting. Is the temperature of the room okay? Do you want me to raise the temperature?” she asks kindly, placing cups of hot tea between them like it’s a friendly cafe chat. Kaminari half-buys into it. Logically, there would be very few scenarios where they would go to a cafe together. It’s way too white around them, and the smell is, oh god, he’s rambling in his head again, and she’s waiting for him.

 

Nervously, he shakes his head. “Uh, nope. It’s fine! Thanks, for, uh, asking.” Great. He already looks like a weirdo. He’s thirsty but he doesn’t go for the hot tea. Knowing him, his hands would shake, the tea would spill, he’d scald his tongue, and make a mess.

 

“That’s good to hear. Don’t hesitate to tell me if there’s anything I can do to make you more comfortable, okay?” He nods rapidly, and she smiles at him again.

 

“Before we start, I’ll need you to fill in a few forms. Everything will be kept strictly confidential. Not even your teachers will have access to this information, unless absolutely necessary,” she says as she hands him a thin stack of forms, as well as a pen. Kaminari receives them, and thankfully, his hands are not shaking. Yet.

 

“Yeah, okay.” Forms, he can do forms. Kaminari has filled a few hundred forms before in his life. No biggie. He resists the urge to chew on the end of the pen as he reads through the instructions. It asks about his mood for the past two weeks, and as he fills the form, the questions get increasingly intrusive.

 

How often do you experience thoughts about self-harm?

 

He swallows, pausing. The urge to lie rises in him, but he’s here for a reason, and everyone knows. Aizawa sent him here because his teacher thinks he needs help, and honestly, Kaminari feels like he needs help too, even though he’s not sure how anyone could help him, when he’s so utterly lost himself. It feels like the ways he’s fucked up are so deep-rooted, years upon years, from his childhood to his school experiences, to his bad coping methods, and-

 

He glances up when he realizes he’s paused too long. Recovery girl smiles around her teacup, the image of peace. Kaminari almost feels jealous. Would he be able to reach that level of zen in the future, when he’s old? Would he be able to live to her age? 

 

“Take your time dearie,” Recovery girl says gently, picking up a cookie to nibble at it. Great, it’s a lot better than her sitting still and staring at him doing it. He refocuses on the form, though his eyes swim a little. Some questions make him think, some questions cause images and memories to rise to his head, most of them unpleasant.

 

Have you ever thought of killing yourself?

 

The options range from ‘Yes, more than a year ago’, ‘A year ago’, to months and weeks. He hesitates again but decides to be honest. The further down the form he goes, the more he realizes that he’s really some level of fucked up and in need of therapy because a lot of these things are not normal.

 

When he completes the form, he hands it back to her with some trepidation, and she looks over the form, scoring his responses. Her expression doesn’t change throughout the process. He doesn’t know what level of fucked he is, and she doesn’t tell him. She simply sets the form aside, focusing her attention on him.

 

“Before we start, I would like to know, what are your expectations for therapy? What do you want to achieve through it?”

 

It’s a hard question right off the bat, and stereotypes of therapy, movie scenes, shows, all flash in his mind. That’s not quite what she’s asking though, it’s not what he thinks society thinks therapy is, and what therapy is marketed to achieve. He knows what he wants to be, what he keeps thinking of, what he hopes therapy can help him to be. 

 

“To be normal,” he says hesitantly, hoping that’s an alright answer. 

 

“And what’s normal?” she asks gently. 

 

It’s another hard question. Kaminari’s face twists into one of slight frustration. There’s no time pressure though. Normal is… to be like any other teen. Any other classmate. To be able to do well in class, to be able to focus, to not think about hurting himself or killing himself, to be able to cope. To not feel so tired all the time, so afraid.

 

“Normal is… to be like everyone else.”

 

She waits for him to elaborate, and he tries to do so, stumbling over his words.

 

“I’m not supposed to hurt myself? I’m not supposed to think about killing myself. I’m not supposed to struggle so much in classes. I’m not supposed to be this tired of living.”

 

It’s strange, he feels increasingly emotional as he talks about it, as he finally talks out loud to a person about his thoughts, about his fears, of what he wants to be, of what he’s ashamed of. Tears spring up in his eyes, and he gets more choked up, feeling a lump in his throat.

 

“Would you like to take a break? You seem to be feeling a bit emotional,” she asks, handing him a tissue box. He takes a tissue and dabs at his eyes. He looks up at the ceiling, trying to compose himself. That was so embarrassing. They’ve barely just started and he’s already crying. He takes a few deep breaths, and when he’s sure he’s not crying anymore, he focuses back on her.

 

“Sorry, I’m fine, we can continue.”  

 

“Alright, let me know at any moment if you’d like to have a break,” she repeats kindly. She doesn’t judge him, and he feels strangely vulnerable right now, like the walls around him are taken down, leaving him sore, aching and vulnerable. There have been so many things he’s been suppressing around everyone else that he’s expected to talk about now, that are the only focus of this meeting.

 

She neither agrees or disagrees with his previous words, starting a new question.

 

“When you think about hurting yourself, what do you do?”

 

It gives him a bit of whiplash, how clinical and straightforward it is. He knows therapy is different from talking to a friend. In a way, it’s much easier to just talk to a professional instead of having a friend sympathize and comfort him.

 

“I try to distract myself, procrastinate on the internet, text some friends. If I keep thinking about it, I’ll try to think of reasons why I shouldn’t do it.”

 

“It sounds like you have a few strategies to help you stop self-harming. Do they work?”

 

“Sometimes,” he admits. He ends up giving in when it doesn’t.

 

“At other times, how do you hurt yourself?”

 

He swallows, thinks of the electrocution on his thighs, thinks of being so incapable of coping that he electrocutes his brain so he could stop feeling. The urge to cry comes back, and he fights it off. This time, he does reach for the tea, and his fingers shake slightly as he sips it with both hands. The slightly bitter taste coats his tongue, bring him back to reality. “I, uh, electrocute myself. On my thighs, usually. I tried cutting once, but it was a mess, and it took a really long time to heal, and left a scar. Electrocution leaves bruises, but they fade over time.”

 

“Why do you hurt yourself?”

 

“It’s… hard to think of a reason,” Kaminari replies, thinking deeper. He knows it’s not normal. He tries to think back to where it started. It lands on him pinching himself to focus when he was a child, after getting a scolding and punished and caned by his mother. After disappointing her again and again. 

 

She helps him along with another question, “What do you think about when you hurt yourself?”

 

“That I deserve it, that I’m fucked up, and I hate myself, and I need to be better.” 

 

She doesn’t nod, she doesn’t shake her head. She just listens, asks him questions, and he replies them to the best of his ability. It gets a little easier with time when they fall into a rhythm, and when Kaminari feels like she doesn’t judge him, that she’s used to seeing people like him, maybe people worse off than him. She’s not fazed at anything he admits to her, just listens. She teaches him a few relaxation techniques, on how to acknowledge and sit with his feelings.   

 

Before he knows it, lots of time passed, based on the way she glances at her watch. His eyes trail towards it, and they’ve been here an entire hour.

 

Recovery girls smiles a little sadly. “Why do these young heroes have quirks that hurt themselves? When heroes use quirks to save the world at the cost of themselves, who will be there to save the heroes?”

 

“I’m… not quite sure what you’re asking.”

 

“You can save yourself. Set your own limits and boundaries. You are only human, not superhuman. You need to save yourself to be able to save others. There are so many people who care about you, who’s willing to help you. Reach out to them, your friends, your family, your teachers. Learn to care for yourself and be good to yourself, because you’re precious. There’s only one of you in this world,” she says passionately, and Kaminari can’t help but look into her kind eyes, wanting to believe in her words. He feels a sense of care behind her words, and the fact that she cares about him deeply when they barely know each other amazes him.


“Kaminari, I’d like for you to come for weekly sessions. Therapy isn’t a fix, but it can help you cope, help bring you closer to where you want to be. We’ve covered a few strategies that can help you manage your emotions. You can try them, and let me know how it goes next session. We can also cover anything else you would like to talk about that we didn’t manage to cover this session.” 

 

He feels a lot better, actually, now that everything was over. And he also feels a little hopeful. It feels like a step towards the right direction. Nothing has been solved yet, but he’s managed to tell someone else about his thoughts and feelings, and it feels… freeing. He smiles at her and nods, grateful towards her. He still feels emotional, but there’s also a sense of lightness, like the weight on his shoulders has been lifted.

 

“Yeah, thank you.”

 

She hands him her business card with her contact info. “Please call me when there’s any emergencies, when you feel like you can’t cope. You can also contact the Tokyo suicide prevention hotline.”

 

He leaves feeling strange, but not a bad kind of strange. It feels like the world is slightly different, changed. The namecard sits in his pocket, and he stands in the hallway, trying to get his feelings together. He wants to go back in his room and sit alone for a bit, just to process everything that happened.

 

On his way back, he buys a can of coke from the vending machine, as a little treat for himself. It had been scary at the start, but now that it’s over, he’s kind of proud of himself for starting therapy after years of suffering alone. It tastes sweeter than usual, and he couldn’t help but smile around his drink. He stops and squats down to pat the campus cat, using his phone to take pictures of her.

 

“She’s cute, isn’t she?”

 

Kaminari startles, releasing his grip on his can of coke and white bandages fly to catch his drink. Kaminari blinks, staring up at his teacher.

 

“Oh uh, yes. Thanks,” He takes the drink gingerly, suddenly too aware of the condensation on the can, of the weight in his hands.

 

Aizawa squats down next to him, placing a bowl of cat food on the ground. They watch the cat chomp greedily on the pellets for a few moments.

 

“You’re in charge of feeding the campus cats?” Kaminari asks as a way of conversation. 

 

“Out of my own paycheck, yes,” Aizawa muses. “And other cats around the neighbourhood.”

 

Kaminari is starting to see Aizawa in a new light. The man had come across as strict and tired of his job when they were first introduced to each other. However, he’s seen the way Aizawa fought to keep them all safe, the way he spoke up for Bakugou in the media conference, the way Aizawa treats him kindly. He’s the first teacher to cook eggs for him, at any rate. Now, he hears that the kindness extends to animals. Kaminari wants to grow up to be an adult and hero like Aizawa.

 

“That’s amazing,” Kaminari says honestly, watching the way the cat meowed appreciatively when all the food was gone. The little tabby rubs itself all around Aizawa’s legs, and the man pets the cat with a scarred hand.

 

“Was the session alright?” Aizawa asks straightforwardly, eyes still trained on the cat. He doesn’t want to pressure Kaminari.

 

“Yeah, it went better than I expected. Thank you,” Kaminari says gratefully. Aizawa smiles, and Kaminari’s not sure whether it’s at his words or the cat’s cute antics. Aizawa’s eyes are warm when he turns his head and regards Kaminari. The teacher reaches over, ruffling the blond’s hair roughly. Kaminari flushes, feeling like he’s being treated the same as a stray cat, although it does feel very nice.

 

“I’m proud of you.”

 

Kaminari feels like crying again. Heck, who’s chopping all these onions. Aizawa was so unfair, Kaminari wasn’t prepared for that.

 

“Thanks,” his voice cracks, and Aizawa’s smile softens.

 

“Feel free to approach me for anything,” Aizawa reiterates, giving Kaminari’s hair a final ruffle. He stands up to leave, and Kaminari’s left staring after his reassuring back view. The cat meows, bunting its head against Kaminari’s legs and he gives a watery laugh, giving it the attention it wants.

 

After quality cat time, and feeling his heart all sore and warm and vulnerable, Kaminari goes back to the dorms. He takes a deep breath outside the door, then pushes it open. It’s a full house in the living room, a lot of their classmates hanging out around the sofas to watch a movie together. Ashido perks up at the sight of him, waving.

 

“Hey, Kaminari! Where did you go?”

 

He doesn’t want his friends to know that he went for counselling sessions, for some reason. It sends a hard lump to his throat. It’s hard to talk about, a hard thing to admit, especially to a crowd. He doesn’t want them to ask why he needs to go, he doesn’t want them to tiptoe around him and treat him like a walking timebomb. 

 

“Was craving for a cold can of coke. It’s a hot day,” he says instead.

 

“Boo, and you didn’t get one for me,” she pouts teasingly, buying into his excuse. “We’re watching endgame, wanna join?”

 

He hesitates, it’ll be a bit weird to say no, since he was always up for spending time with the class. However, he really doesn’t feel up to socializing and laughing like nothing was wrong. 

 

“Have you eaten lunch yet?” Kirishima cuts in, seemingly aware of his hesitance. The redhead beams reassuringly. It’s a way out, he realizes.

 

“Nope,” he replies, and Kirishima springs to action, getting off the sofa. He doesn’t seem to care that he’s missing out half the movie.

 

“I can heat up what’s left of Bakugou’s fried rice for you, he cooked for everyone earlier.”

 

Kaminari follows him to the kitchen, away from the popcorn throwing, away from the hushed conversations and muted laughter. Kirishima doesn’t ask where he really went, humming a tune under his breath as he heats up the food for Kaminari. The urge to hug Kirishima compels him, and he gives Kirishima a back hug as the redhead stands over the fire. He nuzzles into Kirishima’s shoulder, breathing in Kirishima’s familiar scent.

 

“Tired?” Kirishima asks gently.

 

“Mmhm.”

 

He does almost doze off on Kirishima’s shoulder, over the quiet sounds of spatula and the wok, the sounds of the movie and their classmates a pleasant background noise.

 

“Denki, it’s done,” Kirishima laughs, “You gotta get off me and eat.”

 

Kaminari snaps back to reality, whining and nuzzling a final time into Kirishima’s shoulder, before letting him go.

 

“Big baby,” Kirishima huffs fondly. “Want me to feed you too?”  

 

“Tempting,” Kaminari snickers, settling down at the kitchen table. Kirishima watches him fondly as he digs in with gusto. The redhead lifts his phone to take a photo.

 

“What’s that for?” Kaminari smiles.

 

“Bakugou wants updates, and I need a new phone wallpaper,” Kirishima says cheesily, smiling at the photo he took, where Kaminari’s cheeks were stuffed with food.

 

“Compliments to the chef,” Kaminari remarks dramatically, blowing an air kiss. “Where’s Bakugou?”

 

“At the gym,” Kirishima replies, texting on his phone. “He told me to make sure you ate.”

 

“What did I ever do to deserve you two,” Kaminari sighs.

 

Kirishima stops texting, looking up at Kaminari. His smile grows wider and wider, and Kaminari knows a really cheesy line is coming up.

 

“You were born.”

 

He didn’t expect that. A breath catches in his throat. So often, he had questioned why he was born, why he even existed, what he couldn’t just fade away. And now, Kirishima is just happy that he’s around. He keeps coming close to crying today.

 

Kirishima’s eyes soften. He reaches over the table to intertwine a pair of their hands together.

 

“Love you,” he says sweetly.

 

“Me too,” Kaminari says, blinking away tears.